After Sunday

memoirs of a downdog

Up until this point in the trip, everything had been planned.  The route had been planned, the stops, the teaching gigs, the places to stay.  But as I roll my van out of Kentucky on Sunday, I am merging back into the lane called the “No-plan Plan”.  After this Sunday, I have a vague idea of where I need to go, but with no clear direction of how to get there, where to stop, where to sleep or how long it’s going to take.  It’s already snowing in Chicago.

We spent a night over wine and Google maps.  If I had decided just to beeline it west from Kentucky over to Portland, and we’re still talking 2,200 miles left to go.

But no.  That would be too simple.

I’ve never seen the middle part of Canada, and though perhaps it is as flat and as boring as its American counter parts south of the border, with no fascinating roadside attractions to break up the monotony of pavement like the Mall of America or the infamous Wall Drug, I want to see it nonetheless.   So, I’m headed up towards Winnepeg, Regina, Moosejaw, Saskatoon, Edmonton, Calgary, Nelson and (finally) crossing the elusive Rockies into Vancouver.  This makes my mileage grand total to be hovering somewhere around 3,300 miles.  Tacking on an extra 1,100 miles just to see some undiscovered scrub bush and maybe a brown bear digging Taco Bell out of a garbage can.

Truth be told, I’m a little bit nervous about what comes next.  3,300 miles seems a very long, LONG ways to go when your top speed is 120 kilometers per hour and your bladder is the size of a walnut.  You do the math.

A friend was supposed to meet me in Chicago and tag along for the rest of the ride.  In the end, he needed to plan an adventure of his own instead of clinging onto the coat tails of someone else’s.  And I get that.   But it might have been nice to have a little company.  Someone to tell me stories as the white dotted lines blurred and whizzed into mile after passing mile.  Or someone just to be there and say nothing at all.

After Sunday, the known becomes unknown.  And maybe that’s why I feel like I haven’t gotten very far away from Montreal.  Maybe that’s why I’m a little afraid.  It’s starting to get colder outside, and there are forecasts of snow across the country.  The She-Wolf (Mom, stop reading) has developed a small leak of brown fluid when she’s parked.  And no matter how many opportunities I’ve had in my life to trust and free fall into the unknown, it’s still a difficult pill to swallow.

But I’m trying nonetheless:  to shift gears, merge into a new lane and trust.  There’s a whole WILD frontier that exists beyond the borders of what I know.

And I guess it’s time to gas up and drive.



2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Wynona
    Oct 26, 2013 @ 12:09:52

    Your focus on the enjoyment of the journey (even when that journey is unknown) and not just the destination is a really important reminder for me right now. Safe travels, and I can’t wait to meet you in Calgary 🙂


  2. Amber
    Oct 26, 2013 @ 12:13:11

    I won’t tell Mom about the suspicious ooze. 😉 You’ll figure it out, Jen. You always have and this will be no different. And, seeing a brown bear munching on a crispy taco could be pretty darn cool! Love you, Dear sister. Have fun on your adventure!


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