Jan 5, 2012

Just about....on the road again

***Originally written January 5*****

 Firstly let me start this post with a Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year to all. As some of the readers know this past month I suffered a serious setback during my road trip. On my way to Savannah I was an unwilling participant in a propane fire. I was super duper duper duper duper duper duper lucky and managed to survive with minimum damage as did most of my material belongings. The object that took the brunt but also probably saved my life was my van...the Chariot. It gave away at it's seams….it's old school front window and it's roof vent dissipated the explosion and allowed me to surface virtually unscathed.

 After a week in Toledo smearing myself with burn cream in a hotel room and wondering just what I was going to do I managed to get the van back to Detroit at the cost of the impound and a new front windshield. I, at that time, believed that I would be able to buy some new doors, do some cleaning, some sealing and be on my merry way. Alas though, that did not happen, the concussive force was severe enough that is pulled the welded ribs off the walls, separated the roof from the body in two places and rendered the idea of continuous “safe” travel moot.

 I did however manage to drive it 100 miles after arriving back in Detroit and how it made it that far I will never know because before I left it was totally dead….something electrical got cooked, literally.

This was a nice shot from a mall in TO
 In looking for a solution I scanned the Detroit area classifieds endlessly and then eventually returned to Ontario to look at a few decent prospects.  Being a westerner I has some knowledge of what Ontario does to vehicles but I did no realize the extent of rot that existed in anything older than 10years. In fact all Ontario vans looked like they had been sitting in a salt pool for a few years only to have been brought out, vacuumed up (some of them) and put on display like corroded Spanish ingots rescued from a sunken galleon. So after logging in close to 1000k’s I was faced with the simple fact that no matter what I bought it would need to be registered back in AB anyway and buying rust over something clean…well… it just made more sense to head there to find a ride. .

 So after some mulling, some mumbling, some grumbling and some total loss of direction I decided to take my trip home in some what the same fashion that I had come all that way...slow and steady.

 So I decided to take the Via Rail train from Windsor to Toronto and then from Toronto to Edmonton.

TO train station
 The train....holy roller...that is a magnificent way to travel.  Would have loved to have organized some sort of sponsorship as it wasn't cheap...but I haven't quite figured out how to make those contacts or how to sell my travelling self as a blogger worthy of such generosity. Crossing my fingers that I am able to work something like that in my future travels.

 I managed to secure a sleeping berth albiet for a higher cost that the economy section...and it was worth every damn penny!! Meals included, private space, great conversation with all sorts of people...and the slow chugga chugga of a choo choo train taking me through places few people travel to on four wheels. Soux Lookout anyone? As I learned on the way down it took half of the trip just to clear Ontario…but wow what gorgeous country up there. Little homes nestled into the shorelines of nameless lakes…so rustic and secluded, so awesome.

 I wasn't done yet, I hadn’t experienced enough to say I did what I set out to do so mentally and physically going back to calgary to get work again just sat in my belly like a thousand pound stone. The nice thing is though that on the train there was hardly any cellphone service and certainly no internet….and with those distractions aside I enjoyed the time, the thoughts and the reality of something that I have never really learned thoroughly…sometimes you just have to roll with it. And while I am keen to learn to roll with it…I’d rather roll on…and that’s where lady luck stepped in.

 ...in the sleepy little town of St Paul, AB I found something that made my heart skip a beat. I'm sentimental, stubborn and ridiculous sometimes but this...this was more serendipidous than anything else...in my opinion.

 So thanks to my awesome folks who picked me up in Edmonton we took the drive out to St Paul from Edmonton (2hrs) (thank you mom and dad), then after cutting a deal with the owner I realized that there was no Scotiabank in ST Paul so we drove to Cold Lake (thank you mom and dad), the back to St Paul (thank you again), laid down the bucks and then after staying the night in ST Paul we drove the 650+km home. Did I say thank you?

 Now who drives 650km+ in a new untested van....me :)

 And here I am back in cowtown...Chariot 2 is in the driveway, today I started the maintenance and in a few days I will have it down at the shop for some skilled work...then it's back to Detroit to pick up my gear and continue my journey.

 At first I was cringing over coming home because I wasn't sure if I would lose all momentum, get stuck in a rut or just fall apart. I have done none of those and feel more confident and motivated than I did before. Why? Because second chances aren't about getting it perfect, they are just about getting to finish what you started (I read that somewhere)

 So here I am...ready to rock and roll...I know that my last post was dismal and I sounded defeated...and at the time I was. It's like a cold night that brings out the worst thoughts, or a dark alley that makes your imagination go wild. If you look back on those moment where you were on the edge of caving into that fear or that unknown...you realize that unless you were trapped like the guy from 127hours...the moment is very short and when it passes you sure are happy you didn't take all those other roads or follow through on those other thoughts.

 I want to thank everyone that sent their love while I was in the hospital, in recuperation and in a funk...it's a marvelous thing to have friends whether distant or close that you can lean on for support.

 My family has been amazing. They were not only the most supportive of me taking this chance and taking this journey...they are the ones who have alway been the net. Every highwire move I have ever done has been with their net of love under me and that is something that I wish everyone could experience. I say that because in my journey of life even though it's only been 37yrs, I have seen too many people who do not have it and while I can't fix it...I can try to be it everyday in everyway I interact with people (or at least I remind myself that I want to be like that more so than I am).

 Peace out

******This blog is being updated while being grossed out at McDonalds. I was hoping that the free wifi here was enough to upload pictures on but neither you nor I have 10000hrs to waste while the file loads only to be denied the second picture...and the third and the fourth. So yes more pics will be coming...but for now you'll have to be patient as it's January 27th, I'm on the road, on the way to Detroit...it's cold out but the van works great and aside from the shitty conditions on the highway the trip has been excellent so far******


  1. Welcome back!
    Love your reference to your parents being the net under your high wire. And add my thank you to your mom and dad.

  2. Hi H, enjoying your blog, by now you you should be in Savanah. Stay in the moment to allow your natural power to create through you. And it will lead you to relationships & activities you never imagined possible. Love your parents & your reference to them. They gave you a start, set the example & did the best they could...now it is up to you to carry on the journey. Happy Trails. T

    1. Thanks TK! I look forward to seeing you sooner than later if possible! You are awesome and thanks for all the encouragement and support over the years. cheers, B


Thank you!