Saturday, 26 October 2013

Ham-Fisted Driving

It's Saturday morning. The cool autumn sun is slung low in the sky, creeping its way southward day by day, straining to reach a warmth in which one can walk, or roll, with only a jacket or sweater. Soon it will snow, soon all the warmth will have drained from the sky, soon the outside air will drive us all into our heavy winter gear.

The weather forecast is calling for snow as a possibility tonight or tomorrow. The high for tomorrow could be as low as -5 degrees Celsius. It is the leading edge of winter, not quite yet fully formed. It is enough, enough to serve as a warning that the climate in which we live here on the great prairies and eastern foothills of the Rockies is moving into winter mode. I am, in fact, looking forward to this coming winter. The autumn, with all its changes, has always been a time I have enjoyed, a preparation for those days of cold when I could sit indoors and watch the cold weather beat about those who dare to engage in outdoor excursion.

I have decided to use this weekend for a two day road trip. Ricky and I are headed for Saskatoon today, not for any real reason although I want to see my friend Murray who lives there. It is a great drive, up through the farms to Drumheller, down into and then up out of the Red Deer River valley, wending further across the open prairie, past miles and miles of ranches, farms and open country. It will be a soothing drive, an easy drive with plenty to see and do along the way, as long as the weather cooperates.

Drumheller, with dinosaur bones and hoodoos, is always fun to explore. Ricky hasn't been there in quite a while so we will probably stop for a bit. The drive from Drumheller to Saskatoon is about five hours, so we should probably arrive sometime around dinner. We'll stay in a hotel overnight and then head home tomorrow.

Coming home tomorrow could be exciting. The snow will be here, or so they say. Fortunately I just put new tires on the truck, so I expect little or no trouble. The only challenge will be driving in winter weather with the hand controls. Last year I still had enough strength in my feet to drive with them. This winter I am doing it all by hand.

Driving with hand controls is difficult when it comes to things like feathering the brake or gas; hand controls are a bit "ham-fisted", a bit clumsy when it comes to the finer side of vehicle control. You tend to hig the brakes harder and accelerate more rapidly. I'll do it, I just have to take it easy and be a little bit more careful. I can do that, can't I?

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