From Where I Sit – Road Trip

Driving has taken on a whole new groove since we purchased a Honda CR-V EX-L. It’s prompted some behavioural changes. The two or three miles of gravel standing between home and pavement has meant going only 40 or 45 kilometres an hour to save the paint job. The well-intentioned pledge not to eat or drink in the new vehicle was short-lived.

Even more important than the sleek new look is the reliability of a brand new vehicle. With that new-found confidence I set out on a road trip to Hinton. The timing was not mine. I was going to spend a couple of days with my niece Hailey while her mom and dad were livin’ it up in Vegas. At 15, Hailey didn’t really need a chaperone or babysitter. It was more a reassurance for all of us that in fact she was okay.

I left home Sunday afternoon, checked out a flea market, bought a Mandarin chicken salad at Wendy’s, and settled in at Hilary’s for the night. Hilary and her roommate were in New York so I was on plant watering detail. I kept the appointment for my shoulder surgery one year checkup at the Grey Nuns Hospital Monday morning.

Before heading out to Hinton I spent an idyllic hour or so at Chapters. Knowing our dollar was topping out at $1.07 U.S. made book prices seem all the more outrageous. I did pick up Beyond the Words by Bonni Goldberg from the sale table. I’ve never left a bookstore empty-handed.

I wanted to be in Hinton by the time Hailey got out of school. I loaded up the disc player with (don’t laugh) Celine Dion, Keith Urban, Michael Buble, Enya, Andrea Bocelli, and Pachelbel’s Canon in D. An odd mix, granted.

I set cruise at 100 kilometres and was off. I didn’t care one whit when everyone and his brother passed me. I was enjoying the drive, the music, the fuel economy. The dash and gauges on the Honda remind me of an airplane cockpit. One of those gauges illustrates instant fuel consumption, average trip consumption, and kilometres left before the tank is empty. Through a series of calculations and conversions I know that the trip averaged about 35 miles per gallon. That’s old school, I know, but some of us are old school.

My thrill with the trip began eroding the farther west I went. There were snowmobile tracks in the ditches. There was sand and salt, snow pack, and glare ice on the road. What’s up? I’d left just a dusting of snow behind. Would my VSA (vehicle stability assist) come through for me in the hills of Hinton, especially after the freezing rain fell Monday night? The forecast for Tuesday and my return trip to Edmonton on Wednesday is textbook Alberta in winter. Yuck.

Maybe a summer road trip with an open moon roof and the music cranked will be better. Only seven months ’til I find out, from where I sit.