Yesterday was the first day of school. Only it was just one hour of school. Not really a “day” to speak of really. But the kids enjoyed seeing their friends and smelling the hallways once more.
My wife even took the obligatory “Seeing the kids off on the first day of school photo“. This year was of the car as it drove off. That’s because our oldest has her driver’s license and the other two are both in high school now. This meant we didn’t have to spend the “day” waiting for them. It’s bittersweet in a way. But for this year, my wife and I won’t have to spend 40 minutes in the morning and 40 minutes in the afternoon driving.
Huge sigh of relief.
Today is a real day of school. Now starts the hard work and education.
As I mentioned yesterday in my blog- Off To Fort St. John– we had a road trip taking us fairly far North in British Columbia. We left our home at 6am and made it into Fort St. John by 8pm. we made it in one word:
That’s the key that I want to mention about this road trip that I always overlook when talking about driving. I love taking the roads through the mountains, deserts, countrysides and cities. Road trips are a good way to bond with my family on these vacations. But the journey needs to always be taken safely.
We left before the sun came out. But we stopped twice before even hitting the freeway. That’s because I was uncertain about one of the front straps on the kayaks I had mounted to the roof. Because of my anal retentiveness- this prevented any possible issues during our drive. Every time we stopped for gas- I rechecked the tie downs. All was good.
After about eight hours of my hand at driving, I realized I was becoming extremely tired and had my wife take over. I hopped into the back seat with our son, while our daughter sat up front and played “DJ”.
After a couple of hours driving on the single lane roadways- my wife was behind a slow moving vehicle. When an opportunity arose for her to pass the RV, she signaled and began to pull around. At which point the truck behind her also decided he wanted to pass both our car and the RV. He had no signal and a lead foot. My wife had to jerk back into our lane narrowly avoiding hitting the front side of the truck and the rear bumper of the car in front. There was no reason for the guy behind us to try and run us off the road. But he felt he was more important.
My wife remained calm and then passed the RV. The other truck was now barreling down the road ahead of us at close to twice the posted speed limit. Oh well.
About an hour before we were to get to our destination- there was the remnants of a bad accident. It looked as though a train had collided with a semi trailer at the only train crossing around. The flag people were in position alternating the flow of traffic. We weren’t held up for very long.
Needless to say, we encountered a few indiscretions during our fourteen hour drive. Road trips are long and can be tedious. But keeping your occupants and fellow drivers around you safe should always be number one. We preach safety at my work, and I take that home every day as well. I’d much rather get to our destination safely than in a hurry.
So we made it to Fort St. John safely.
Today we are driving North. This will be the furthest North I have ever driven. Prior to this was back in Grade Eight in 1988 when I went on a band trip to Prince George. That was memorable because we stayed at the host homes of one of the schools up there.
But today we are driving for about another four hours past Prince George. Driving North. I can’t get over how far this is from our home.
But it’s not the furthest we’ve driven from our home. We drove South one time almost all the way to the Mexican border. Driving South usually means warmer weather and a more fun destination.
Earlier this year we headed East. Not quite out of Alberta. But getting pretty close. The distance is almost as far as our travels today. But the time to get there is quicker. Most likely due to the route and my tendency to get a speeding ticket in Alberta…
As for driving West- Gold River On Vancouver Island was the furthest so far. Can’t overly drive through the Pacific Ocean. The ferry only gets to the islands nearby.
Do you enjoy roadtrips as much as we do?
What’s the furthest you’ve driven?
Any sights you’d recommend on the drive North through British Columbia?
Let me know in the comments!
On Friday our oldest got her N which means she can drive without supervision. Today she left for her work on her own. To my wife and I- this is a big deal. It’s the start of a bit more freedom. Freedom from chaperoning the kids everywhere.
But it was also tough to see our oldest leave without us. Even though we could’ve slept in- we had to make sure she left the nest and got to work safely. So we made her text us once she arrived at her job. Being a parent means we still worry.
And worry we will.
A little bit over a year ago, our oldest daughter got her Learner’s License. She has practiced driving a few times every week since then. Mostly driving my car because it is an automatic. She has also driven our 2003 Honda Element which is a manual transmission. We kept that vehicle because it has been extremely reliable and had we traded it in- we wouldn’t get much money for it. It’s also a safe vehicle for her to drive around in.
Today she went in to get her “N” to begin being a Novice Driver. She successfully passed the road exam. Now she will have more freedom to drive without mom and dad overseeing her every move. Just look at that teenage smile!
We insured the Honda Element today for a full year with her as the primary driver. The first thing she did for the car? Set her radio stations.
Having an L for the past year meant she wasn’t permitted to have music or the radio playing while she learned to drive. Earning an N gives her the opportunity to enjoy driving. She will be more independent now. I also gave her some training this evening on how to change the tire in case she ever gets a flat.
So there it is- another milestone in a young person’s life. It feels as if we just took off her training wheels yesterday. Except that was a fight. She had no desire to learn how to ride a two wheel bike… but that’s a different story.
Commuting alone has its advantages.
I commute 56.9 km from my home to work and the same for the return. It takes about 45 minutes on average each way. I’m lucky in the sense that I usually miss the bumper to bumper driving because of my start and end times at work. Usually.
I don’t mind this commute. I listen to the daily news report on the radio as I drive. It also clears my head after a day of working. This allows me to devote my time to my family when I arrive at home.
Mornings like today are spectacular to drive home in after a night shift. I get to enjoy the sun peering over the trees and casting a light onto my destination- my home. My neighborhood lights up with activity as well. Birds, rabbits and squirrels darting around the streets. As if my drive home has turned me into a Disney Princess and the small woodland critters are greeting me on my journey home.
Or else I’m just really tired and need to get some sleep and stop tripping out. At least I made it home alive…
Having a day off before the weekend is fantastic. Shopping is easier when the stores aren’t crowded. This morning I thought I’d get a good jump on my day off. Out the door at 8am to drop the kids off at school, then down to the good ol’ U.S. of A for some reasonably priced gas and dairy. I’d even beat the other parents since most school drop off is at 9am.
What a great plan. Or so I thought.
Today was the only day I wasn’t listening to the news radio. Turns out there was an accident at a major intersection that I needed to go through. I was wondering why the traffic was so busy going the opposite direction from me. Got to the detour and instead of heading south I was on my way north.
My brain went into re-routing overdrive. What roads connect where? Which ones won’t be busy? GIDDYUP U-Turn! Followed by a quick right and I was headed down a quiet street. I got this. Smooth sailing so far. Hang a left… traffic looked a bit busy up ahead- just a school zone to get through. Crossing over the other busy street when complete stop. Still about five blocks away from my planned route.
A couple minutes went by and we’ve moved two car lengths. There’s a driveway to my left…U-turn number two! Heading north again in order to go west down another back road. But I need to head east and south! Now I have a Pet Shop Boys song stuck in my head. “Go West- life is peaceful there…”
Finally a road that isn’t busy. The road that takes me home. I can’t go that way- I still need gas! I’m finally heading south. Back roads are fairly empty. Phew. I can begin to head east again. Alright- smooth sailing… construction zone!??!? How in the world is a person supposed to get anywhere? Am I living the traffic jam scene from “The Truman Show”? I gave up and just sat in the lineup. It was a bit of a wait, but not too bad.
I finally made it to the border. Which was not busy at all. My guess is people gave up trying to get through the blocked intersection I was frustrated with that begin my ordeal. Zipped to get fuel and zipped back across to come home. No waiting either way. Going home was easy as well. No traffic this time.
Two hours gone from my day however. But it was my day off without much in the way of plans- so that’s okay. Next time I’ll listen to the radio for traffic reports.
Last night I had to pick up my wife from the airport. Since I was working out in North Vancouver during the day, it didn’t make a whole lot of sense to drive home first. I’d have driven eastward for 45 minutes just to have headed south west and drive for another 50 minutes to the airport. So I decided to kill some time in North Vancouver and had a quiet dinner by myself followed by a drive through Vancouver.
It was a route I don’t normally take. As I’ve mentioned in the past- I rarely travel to Vancouver. So I took my time and drove over the Lions Gate bridge from the North Shore past Stanley Park and into Vancouver. To my surprise, I really enjoyed seeing this part of the city at night. I can see why my wife would like to spend some time living in this area.
There’s something about city lights and a clean part of the city that becomes enticing. My wife may be able to sway me into buying our next place out that way once our kids are adults. I never thought of myself leaving the ‘burbs. But a nice view of city lights seems plausible. Only time will tell.
C’mon Girls! Do you believe in love?
I’m just going to put this out there.
I enjoy listening to Madonna.
The other day, I pulled out her “Immaculate Collection” CD from my music assortment. I popped it into my car’s CD player and put it on shuffle.
You know, commuting in and out of Vancouver is much more pleasant when you sing along to music. Boy, do I love to sing along!
Sitting in my car is a crocheted BB-8 that hangs out by my cup holder. I’ll pick him up by the head and flip him around as I drive. His ass makes a great impromptu microphone. Occasionally I’ll stick it in my family’s face to try and get them to sing along as well. A lead singer needs his back up vocals!
Rocking down the highway to some classic Madonna makes me happy. I know most of the lyrics to Madonna’s songs from the 80’s and 90’s. Some of the lyrics I mumble or sing incorrectly for fun. Even though I belt them out, I still have to have her music cranked up. It drowns out my inability to sing. But I sure look like I’m having fun.
So I take a note from one of Madonna’s lyrics:
Express what I got,
oh baby ready or not
Today as I was driving to work, I almost got in a car accident. There was practically no one on the roads at the time. I was in a roundabout when another driver nearly hit me. She was clearly not paying attention. Probably distracted thinking about Christmas because she was in a real hurry.
There are certain rules of the road that people need to follow. Yielding to those in a roundabout is one of them. I wasn’t angry at the other driver, just a bit frustrated. But I’ve been on the other end as well where I’ve made a mistake driving nearly causing an accident.
Christmas Eve 1993, when I nearly got in a car accident. I was 17 at the time and my mother had asked me to go get gas and a car wash up the road from our place. My younger sister came along for the fifteen minute car ride. It was probably to get us out of the house in order for my mother to do last minute gift wrapping. It was evening time and the roads were getting frosty with patches of ice.
I was approaching a stop light and wanting to take a righthand turn. That’s when my wheels locked and I slide towards the car that was perpendicular to us. I must’ve stopped inches away from t-boning the driver’s side door. When I stopped, I quickly reversed and then proceeded to make my turn- waving apologetically to the other car.
Once I had turned into the gas station, a police car pulled up behind me with lights flashing. The officer had seen my close call but was kind enough to let me off with a warning and some friendly advice to be careful during the holidays.
I’ve always remembered that moment and taken it to heart. Even with your mind elsewhere, you need to pay attention to your immediate surroundings.
Stay safe over the holidays everyone!