Thursday, December 13, 2007

Winter Travels

Travelling in Northern Alberta during the winter months can definitely be a challenge. Case in point, yesterday's quick trip to Red Deer to pick up my son's truck and then swing back through Edmonton to pick up my daughter from University should have been a relatively simple thing to do. I had a good plan, catch the 4:45 a.m. bus in Hinton and arrive in Red Deer at 10:30 a.m. Do an inspection of my son's truck and then hit the road for the short 1 hour trip back up to Edmonton. There I would have a couple of hours to do some Christmas shopping and then I would pick up Francesca from the University of Alberta campus and back to Hinton we would go. Probably be home by 7:00 p.m. As you can guess by now, the trip didn't go anything like this. The day started with me and Angela driving to the bus stop at 4:00 a.m. The depot guy had told us the day before to arrive at least 15 minutes prior to scheduled departure so we were there in plenty of time. bus, bus, bus, bus! Finally at 6:40 a.m. the bus rolls in. The bus driver reels off about a dozen excuses, "we were late out of Prince George", "the roads were really bad",...blah, blah,blah. I can already sense that my plan is going to fall apart. Off we go and arrive in Edmonton at 10:30 a.m., my connection to Red Deer is long gone and the next one is not due to leave until 1:00 p.m. Great I get to spend the next two and a half hours in the Edmonton Greyhound Station. Exactly what I had planned!
Now I am not too prone to judge people, but have you ever spent any time in a bus depot. Seriously, I don't know where these people come from. I'm not going to say anymore, but this is not a place I want to spend any more time than I have to in.
Finally at 1:30 (another half hour delay), we are off to Red Deer. During my lay over in "weirdville", a winter storm has started to develop in the Edmonton area. This will play into my story a little later. Anyway we are off to Red Deer which is about a two hour run. Of course I get beside someone who wants to tell me about their 4 brain surgerys, and while that is sad, at this point I am beginning to think I need brain surgery. Attempts to fake sleep, comma, and even death fail to stop the incessant chatting. Finally as I am wondering if the laws of physics would allow me to leap out the window and roll backwards under the bus, we arrive in Red Deer. I quickly gather my stuff and head for the exit to grab the first cab and within minutes I am headed downtown. Thank God!
By 4:00 I have the paper work done and have done a real cursory inspection of Nicholas' truck. It has been in the body shop since September when he got side swiped at a light here. He was going to school at the time and has been without his wheels since then. Everything looks good and I head off back to Edmonton. The weather here is nice and sunny and about -1 Celsius. Hopefully the squall in Edmonton will have blown over. The first thirty minutes of the trip are uneventful and then I start to notice that the sky is darker and the wind has picked up. Before long the road is a skating rink and I pass a truck pulling a trailer that has jack knifed along with another small car in the ditch. Next there is a tanker on it's side and a little further along a moving van with it's contents strewn about. Now we are crawling along at 40 kilometres an hour. The one hour trip, now turns into a white knuckle two and a half hour trip. The weather reports are also calling for this west of the city which is the direction I will be heading to go home.
Once I get to the University residence, Francesca is packed and ready to go so there is no delay there. We decide we will see how it is and if we have to turn back we will. Fortunately after about another hour of slow going the roads clear up and it is clear, but cautious sailing the rest of the way. Such is winter travel!
We got home safe and sound, however I was pretty exhausted.
Tuesdays workout:
Swam 1,900 metres - 400 metre warm up
4 x 250 swim (alternating one set with pull buoy, one without)
100 metre swim
400 metre cool down
Ran 8.7 miles on treadmill - 1:02:00

Have a great day!

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