Day Two – Driving Blindly

Morning came awfully early today. Getting down for my free hot breakfast by 09h00 was a struggle. Even the dogs wanted a coffee.. a night sleeping in the car left them both feeling their age and injuries. An hour into the drive we noticed an excellent quad trail beside the highway and a brisk walk put all three of us in better sorts.

This trail made me want to go for a run.. until I imagined sweating in the car for the next twelve hours.

I forgot to mention my border crossing from yesterday. So, late last night I rolled up to the nice North Portal Border Guard, nervous and tired, and handed him my passport. The exchange was as follows:

“Where are you headed?”

“Ontario.”

“What are you doing there?”

“Visiting friends and family.” (I don’t notice him eyeing my bike, the car full of sleeping bags and toiletries or the two dogs)

“Where are you from?”

“Turtleford.”

“Where?”

“Turtleford.”

“What do you do up there?”

*laughs* “Well, I used to be a veterinarian there, but I quit in July.”

I heard: “Do you want a place here?”

I laughed. “Nope!”

What he actually said: “Do you have a place there?”

… He looks horrified at me and said, “Look, I’m going to give you some advice. We usually turn people away who have no ties in Canada. And it sure looks like you’re moving.”

Hahahahhahahahha. Except all I could hear at that moment was “turn people away” and so instead of dying of laughter or explaining why I’m travelling with such an odd assortment of luggage, I turned pale and said, “I’m sorry sir, I thought you asked if I wanted a place in North Portal. Of course I have a place in Turtleford.” (Which, of course, sounds like a hasty, placatory lie).

He waved me through. An hour or so later the adrenaline starts to ebb and it occurred to me to wonder if he has missed the news for the last six months… ain’t no Canadians moving to the United States of their own free will until we all see who becomes President this November.

An aborted attempt to “wait out” the rain..

But back to today. As the sun sets it starts to rain: not friendly prairie rain, angry gluttonous eastern rain. Sheets of water pour from the sky for four hours. This would have only been an 8/10 on the “unpleasant driving” scale; until construction reared its ugly head and added two hours of blinding orange and reflective lights and pylons and signs and posted speed limits of 55mph while everyone is still going 75mph. This pushed it well past 11/10. I was not at my best, oscillating wildly between rage and despair, and tried to occupy myself authoring haikus in my head. For example:

Lightening flashes,

Bathing the dull ache of my

Tired inner eye.

Eventually I arrive in Rockford, Illinois, check into my hotel and alleviate most of my frustration on a 5km 6:28min/km run with Ayla. This narrowly avoided being the worst idea of the entire trip, as we met two skunks during the run. One of these Ayla even saw, and chased a bit, but miraculously came back to be leashed and led away before disaster struck.

Please sit for a moment and imagine nine hours trapped in a small car that does not have air conditioning, in thirty degree, 85+% relative humidity weather with a skunked dog.

You’re welcome.


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