There are so many good days when you travel. Even when things don’t really go your way, there are unexpected surprises and new discoveries each day when you’re in a new place.
Today, however, is not that kind of day. Perhaps because this place, this train I’m inching across Canada on, is moving at a caterpillar’s pace across the Prairies at the end of October. I’ve spent so much time on this train that the steel cross bar under my threadbare seat is imprinted with the shape of my derriere. This is not to say that the Prairies are not stunning – this trip has served to remind me of their astonishing beauty and I appreciate every sunset and moonrise. However, the leaves have fallen, the landscape is stark and if I hear another easterner tell me the joke about watching your dog run away for 3 days in Saskatchewan I’m not sure what I’ll do.
Via Rail isn’t exactly the most customer-friendly company in the world, but it’s not totally their fault. The rails are owned by CN (Canadian National Railway) and they often block commuter trains so the freight trains can do whatever they need to do. This means we’re consistently 6-12 hours behind schedule and often spend hours not moving for no clear reason. Kind of reminds me of this Julia Ward Howe quote:
Heavens knows what I have not been through with, since I saw you-dust, dirt, dyspepsia, hotels, railroads, prairies, tobacco juice.
Good thing I’ve got good books and wonderful parents who picked us up and dropped us off at 4am.
Aside from train-bashing, the last couple of weeks at home have been wonderful. It’s been a year since I saw my parents, and it was a great reset to be home and to introduce Sean to my parents (Dad didn’t bring any guns to the station – surely a good sign).
Here’s a photo journal from time at home:
- Thanksgiving! (AKA: Sean Finds a New Love in Pumpkin Pie)
- Sean had his First Thrilling Encounter with a Beaver:
2. Quad-picnicking at Shell Lake:
3. Rider Pride at Rider Nation
4. QT with a Few Favourite People & my BFF’s Birthday:
5. Appy-Day & Another Rider Game:
The pictures say more than I can type, but still aren’t the whole story. It was a wonderful time to be home – to reconnect with friends and loved ones, to be with Mom & Dad and to watch fall give way to the start of winter. We’ll be back for Christmas and are already looking forward to it. Sean made friends and has plans to go winter camping, ice skating, curling and dog-sledding. Whether I envy or pity him will depend on how much colder than -20 degrees C it is.