Friday, June 3, 2011

Rockies and Bullwinkle

Look what I saw the other day! In one of the road side clearings that I had been scrutinising, more to the point,
so that paid off at least. Its a moose, by the way, for the hard of seeing.

So anyway, I worked out the daylight thing...I think... I have decided it must be to do with the time zones I am crossing that I don't realise I am crossing because they creep up on me over two or three days. As I get closer to the new zone, the days are that much longer, and then I cross into the new zone, lose and hour and everything goes back to normal for a few days. Both times so far I have been caught out in my new location, and have wandered around having dinner far too early or wondering why shops are still open when they should have closed by now. Only one more zone to go, and then I start doing it in reverse. Should be interesting.
The driving has become tedious, I'll be honest. I think I am doing too much of it and not having enough time to stop and smell the flowers, so to speak. It doesn't help that I keep underestimating how far I have to go each day. I've notched up about 4000km so far. Not that there have been that many 'flowers' on the plains, it has mostly been just dull, but I have reached the Rockies now so things should become more interesting, for a while at least.

Also, driving cross-country in a car is not nearly as satisfying as on a bike, and I am the first to be surprised to hear myself say that. At least on the bike you feel like you are doing something with your day, but in the car it is just a surprisingly draining slog to get from A to B. It was draining on the bike too, of course, but there was a reason for that. Also, on the bike, there was a wealth of humourous experiences everyday as I struggled to master my machine - and sometimes even succeeded. And if no humourousness presented itself courtesy of the bike, then there were interesting, 'cultural differences' scenarios to entertain me (and, in the telling of them, you, perhaps). On the bike, as well, you are much more out in the open and part of the
landscape in a way that you never are in the tin box environment of a car. I'd always trotted out this line in the past, but I am fully believing it for the first time. Canada is nice and all, but the people are just 'more of the same' as you'd get in NZ, the UK or any other westernised, wealthy country. Nothing to write home about, in other words.

Still, there is always the SatNav. Now, I am not particularly techno-savvy, but even I thought I'd worked out the budget beast I picked up in Toronto, and it has mostly been invaluable, particularly in and out of cities. However, the other day in Winnipeg, we had words. More accurately, I had words, the SatNav remained calm and irritatingly rational - and, for the record,confused!

I'd performed a clever, round the block U-turn (due to a one-way system) to get on the road it was telling me to be on at the start of a day trip to Oakhammer Marsh, and somehow it got confused and put me on a parallel road to the one I was actually on. I thought this was the case, but followed its instructions anyway, and got rapidly lost as it told me to take lefts and rights that weren't there or were called different things to what it was saying. Somewhat surprisingly, I got a bit sweary at it, and it didn't help itself by steadfastly sticking to its story. Eventually, I was forced to pull over, wipe its route memory and re-program it. Cheered me up though, as you can imagine. That sort of thing hardly bothers me at all. if only other aspects of life could be resolved in the same way...

The other day, on my way to Edmonton, I stopped in at the Ukranian Cultural Experience of Canada. Its exactly where I'd expect to find a Ukranian Cultural experience, naturally, so I wasn't surprised either. Lots of traditional farming techniques and cabbage dishes to try. That evening I checked on Ed's progress and saw that he'd been in Uzbekistan. Alright for some. I was excited at the time - right up to the point of writing this, in fact - as I thought he'd been in the Ukraine on the same day I'd been experiencing their culture. But no, Uzbekistan. Not quite as
funny. Nuts.

Got some hikes coming up in the next couple of days, and I should be on Vancouver Island by
Wednesday next week. So many things I want to fit in and the only way is to keep going. I know I can't do it all, but its hard to pass up the stuff
right in front of you for stuff up the road, so I will continue to drive big distances and hope I am not too wiped to make the most of the places I get to. With scenes like this, can you blame me? More later. Time for dinner.

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