Wednesday, April 13, 2011
I have driven highway 28 to highway 36, Edmonton to Lac La Biche, for the last 12 years at break neck speeds. I am pretty sure that if anyone was bothering to keep track, me and my trusty little VW Cabrio have set land speed records on those roads. I can tell you the exact time, speed needed and distance it would take to get from each and every landmark to washroom to rarely used road. What would be the need for this you wonder? Unlike highway 401 in Ontario or other major routes, the highways in northern Alberta don’t have rest stops. We have little gas stations every few hundred kilometres or side of the road restaurants in the few town’s big enough to boast them. Knowing where it was safe to drop your drawers without getting caught with your ass in the air was a fact of life for me. This week-end I made the trek to Lac La Biche by myself for the first time since Oscar’s appearance. I left at 4:45 on Friday afternoon and was quickly ensnared in Edmonton week-end traffic. It took almost an hour to get out of the city limits with not so much as a gurgle from Oscar. As I reached Bon Accord I glanced into an abandoned service center and was flooded with memories. I keenly remember a Thanksgiving week-end road trip that included a stop to dash behind that empty building. Spot’s along the road had me remembering the dozens of panties that are no longer in my possession but rather under this or that tree or shrub. It suddenly dawned on me that I was driving within the bounds of the legal speed limit and that I could enjoy the sights without worrying where the next possible pooping spot was. I set the cruise control at a respectable speed and drove with the abandon of a retiree on a Tuesday afternoon. I marvelled at the fields under 3 feet of water, knowing that in a few short months they would be majestic fields of Canola. I started name gaming towns “Hey Ed, where’s your wand? – Edwand” and thought about making a quick side trip to see certain town’s claim to fames like Redwater’s tallest non working Oil Derrick. I gave serious consideration to visiting Smoky Lake’s pumpkin park or travelling down Victoria Trail, Alberta’s oldest road. I soon began to realize that although I have lived in Alberta for years, I have never had the chance to truly discover and appreciate what this amazing province has to offer. I haven’t viewed the Pysanka in Vegreville or Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump near Fort Macleod. The last time I visited the Royal Tyrrell museum I was more interested in locating the nearest washroom then finding out about the massive creatures that once roamed our land. I have a lot of living to do! I also need to buy a bigger memory card for my camera. Thank you Oscar for letting me experience the drive. Just when I think I have seen and done everything, Oscar makes me realize there is so much I have missed. I rolled into Lac La Biche 3 hours after my starting time, an entire hour longer then it had ever taken me in the past. Thank goodness the new VW sitting in the driveway is diesel.