Friday, January 23, 2009

There'll be other dawns

I was unfair to Saskatchewan. It doesn’t just have Wossname Lake, it has the Saskatchewan Potash Interpretive Centre as well. How could I possibly have missed this gem on the way out, when it was a major point of interest on the way back? And what is a Potash Interpretive Centre anyway? Well one has to Google, doesn’t one? And there would appear to be an exhibition mine celebrating the Province’s modest claim to fame. Its website includes the strapline “more to Saskatchewan than meets the eye” which is clearly true, since nothing meets the eye.

The only tourist attraction signposted along the whole of the TransCanada Highway from Manitoba to Alberta set me to wondering what else about this province doesn’t meet the eye and thanks to the Internet I found some serious excitement. No less than six villages with murals depicting historical events, a couple of dams, a lighthouse, the Addison Sod House and the World’s largest Coffee Pot. People have told me relatively often of the boredom of driving across the Prairies, but only now do I get it. The only visual cue leaves one pondering the curvature of the earth.

It was just such a ponder that had me all of a twitter of excitement for driving back home through the sunrise. When the horizon is the only thing you can see, driving east at dawn has to be almost mystical right? “I’ll start at two and drive through dawn today” I volunteered to Neil. We are trying to take it in turns to drive at antisocial times, splitting the night driving and the unnatural sleeping times. I think that thus far Neil is coping a little better with the exhaustion stakes, he has had a little longer than I have to get used to sleeping while moving, but he still quite enjoys shutting down and getting decent rest where possible, so driving through dawn can be my job if I want it.

I braced myself for the longer western night and drove hopefully towards the sunrise, mentally composing a soppy romantic blog, entitled “Lovely girl, Dawn” and waxing lyrical about sunrises past and the places they took me back to. But then the fog descended. Freezing fog, blotting out the sky, settling on the mirrors and reducing visibility to a matter of feet. It froze its way into my soul, I pulled into a closed weighstation in disgust and settled down for a half-hour catnap where the dawn should have been. Maybe it’ll be an uplifting experience next time.

The first real run is over. We covered fifty-five hundred miles in five days and would have delivered our final load back in Toronto on time, if it hadn’t been for the blown tyre about a quarter of an hour from our destination. Goodness, a disabled truck can cause some chaos on the ramp from the 400 to the 401 in rush hour. Still, on the up side, I now know all about how to send breakdown messages by satellite.

Was it ok? Yes, on the whole it was fine. I seem to have mastered reversing at last. Neil, being a mere trucker and not an instructor, has the wisdom to just stand there and let me work it out for myself. With no-one telling me what to do, I can just manoeuvre a bit, look at the result, think about it, do some more and get there in the end. The results are inch-perfect, and don’t take a great deal longer in the grand scheme of things. Just the sleep thing left to beat then. Off to a non-moving bed for several days.

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