Monday, 14 July 2014

Road Trip

I am about to head out on the road again, driving from home to Vancouver, a distance of some 600 miles or 1,000 kilometers, depending on your age and location. I will visit with family and friends for a day or so, then head off to Victoria to see my newest grandchild, along with his older sister. One the way back I will visit with my other grandchild. Oh, and I will see my children too. They are, after all, a part of the deal.

Some of you might be asking if I am ever at home, given all the traveling I have done lately. The answer is yes; I am at home in the winter. Here in Canada the summer road trip is a national pastime, one where millions of people cram too much gear into cars that are too small, jam children and dogs in with them, then clamber into a crowded front seat to head off to places known and unknown, in search of escape from the winter they know is coming. I will have plenty of home time in the months to come; right now it is road trip time.

There is even an economists term for it; the summer driving season. It is a season all too short here in this country, starting on July 1, our national day of celebration, and ending on the Labour Day weekend in early September, the day when we try not to work in order to celebrate the dignity of the working person, a day that most children see as the end of summer and the beginning of school imprisonment. For two months the roads are crowded with angry parents, crying babies, dogs hanging out of car windows and long lineups at the gas pump. It is a glorious time of year.

There is another, darker reason why I am traveling so much these days. I am not going to get much opportunity for it in the future. As my condition deteriorates, I will be spending more and more time a shut-in at home, trapped not by weather or work, but by the depredations of ALS. While I can travel, while I can road trip, while I can explore, I will do so, joining the hordes of road raged insanity all driving below the speed limit so the wife can get a picture of the cute bear beside the road. Parents will sing endless silly children's songs; children will learn creative new ways to express the frustration Daddy and Mommy feel; the dog will puke at least once a day from eating ice cream and potato chips.

I, of course, will be gloriously solo. I don't mind a solo road trip. Nor do I mind a companion on a road trip, a grown up companion. I will enjoy the scenery, slow down for the campers and mobile mansions in front of me, stop for coffee when I want to, and generally have a great drive. I will enjoy it all the more, wondering how many more road trips I will make before I have to stop.

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