The Lalonde Clan just returned from a real-live road trip. This doesn’t seem like a big deal to most people I’m sure, but to us it was HUGE. First of all, it’s summer time and as my husband keeps reminding us, we do not travel in the summer: We are Lake People. He insists there are two kinds of summer celebrants… Lake People and People who Go to The Lake. There is a difference, he says with great emphasis. Lake People will turn down weddings, reunions, and other inconvenient get-togethers because --don’t you know?? --they will be ‘at the lake’. People who Go to the Lake go if there’s nothing else going on, and if there is not a cloud in the forecast.
Secondly, we are not car people, and when I say we, I mean me. My mother said that from her earliest memory, I screamed when I entered a car and did not stop screaming until we arrived at our destination. I totally believe her. Vehicle travel is a necessary evil for me. In the 70s, our family car was a new Chevy Impala. I believe the Chevrolet people, in their infinite wisdom, took the new car smell Too Far. The comforting smell of vinyl and formaldehyde never did leave that car and if I could find it today in some junk heap, it would STILL smell like that. I am willing to bet my life. You could take samples of that odour, bottle it and use it against your enemies to invoke a wicked combination of headache and car sickness. The whole car-smell experience did nothing to appease my barf-inducing hatred of road trips.
So only for my dear, dear friend and former band mate, Doll, would we make an exception to leave our lake utopia and travel to Southern Manitoba. We decided to go via Montana and North Dakota to make it a bit more interesting. I’ve made the trip to Brandon many times and always joke that I’m ready to slit my wrists by Moosomin. If there’s such a thing as flatter than flat, the landscape is pretty close to that. Zzzzz. “Look kids! It’s another freakin' canola field!” Good thing the kids are too old to play that game where you have to spot all the things on a list. They would have checked off a crow, a fence post and a grain bin in the first 5 miles and the rest of the items would remain blank.
“Ooooh! Is that a fox in that field, Mom?”
“Nope. Rock.” I would confidently say, without even looking.
I have to say, in Doll’s area, south of Brandon the landscape does change and it becomes quite scenic, but the stark contrast between north and south Saskatchewan never ceases to amaze me. No wonder people call us The Gap!
|Our joke -- We travelled to the south to see 'The Tree'|
I try to make sure we have everything we need in the car when we’re on the road. A cooler filled with great snacks and drinks, pillows, books, a small pharmacy...you name it. Against my will, I took many road trips as a kid and there was never anything in the car but a box of Kleenex and a dusty map of Alberta. Summer was unbearable; no air conditioning and water wasn’t invented yet. (okay bottled water wasn’t invented yet). I was the only kid in North America who didn’t drink pop so you could usually find me dehydrating quietly in the back seat unless I wanted to treat myself to a mason jar full of warm water that had rolled around back there the whole trip. Sigh…good times.
Speaking of snacks, one trip stands out in my mind. We took a month to travel through Alaska and the Yukon. Me & my parents. In a ¾ ton truck with a camper on the back. I was 12. Now Alaska is breathtaking but you see one mountain, one stand of tamarack, and one waterfall and you’re all done as a 12 year old. On top of this, Mom & Dad had packed ‘snacks’ before we left. Was it cookies and fruit? No. Trail mix? No. Radishes and green onions from the garden? Why, yes!! I spent the first week on the road listening to classic country, enduring nasty radish burps and begging to ride in the camper. Why couldn’t we be a normal family, go to Disneyland and eat ice cream??
Well, fast forward 30 years and now I know the answer to that. I have memories and experiences that are not ‘normal’ and I am very grateful. We had a lovely time on our little road trip with friends who are like family to me. I hope my kids have taken some memories with them, even if they are just their Dad singing out of tune to 80s classic hits and their Mom yelling for him to turn around because we are certainly hopelessly lost. Maybe I’ll even get to read about them someday ;)
|Buffalo Jump near Cartwright, MB|