Make that 7,000 kilometres

Just drove to southern Manitoba and back over the course of 2 days.  Another 1,800 clicks on the old odometre.

On the way, Luke and I spent the night at the Russell Inn.  This is significant only because a few years prior, on a bleak, snowy return from Winnipeg, we passed the Inn, which looked horribly cozy in the twilight: white Christmas lights strung along its roof, big snow flakes falling.  It was “horribly” cozy only because, even though we wished to stay the night there, we were too cheap (or possibly in too much of a hurry) to stop.  Some of the Inn’s cozy-factor is lost when there is no snow and Christmas lights are not ablaze.

* * *

I actually over-estimated how far Russell was from home.  It’s actually quite close to the Saskatchewan border and only slightly over halfway to Otterburne, which meant another long drive on Saturday morning.  Shortly after departure the fuzes on the car-adaptors for both the portable DVD player and the fm-transmitter for my iPod blew.  Spent the rest of the 4.5 hour trip scanning through crappy fm radio stations.  Luked stared out the window.

* * *

Handed over cheque for trailer purchase at approximately 1:15pm on Saturday.  We now have two homes.  We will survive there–it’ll be cozy and we’ll have to get rid of more stuff, but we will survive.  We may even flourish.

* * *

Faint wet dog smell after windows have been closed for a while.  To be expected, as the previous owners had two dogs and a cat.

* * *

Children in Steinbach speak German.  To each other.  By choice.

* * *

Decided, instead of staying in the trailer overnight and driving 10 hours today, that I would drive as far as I could last night.  Made it to Russell by 1:00a.m.  Settled by 1:30a.m.  Slept in van.  Up and at them at 7:30am. to claim $5.oo breakfast coupon from previous stay at the Russell Inn.

* * *

Picked up my first ever hitchhiker in Yorkton.  He stood at the highway 16 junction–he looked a bit like someone I grew up with, both in appearance and mannerisms.  I always feel a bit of guilt as I drive by hitchhikers when I have empty seats in the van.  Some people don’t look trustworthy, and I wouldn’t pick up two people hitchhiking together, and there are the shady legalities of hitchhiking, but I often do feel a little guilt and regret as I drive by.  This time I really felt like I should pick this guy up.  The clincher was his cardboard sign, which read “I SMELL GOOD”.

I kept driving for several kilometres but couldn’t shake the feeling that I should go back.  I pulled over and cleaned out the front passenger seat and then sat there for a while, thinking.  Turned around and went back for him, looped around the intersection and rolled down my window as I approached.

“Where are you headed?”


“I can only take you as far as Kandahar, which is where I turn north.”

That last phrase sounded odd, naturally, as neither of us was in Afghanistan.

Took him the hour or so to Kandahar.  Nice fellow.  He enjoyed Bob Dylan’s Tell Tale Signs playing quietly on the stereo.

“Good traveling music,” he said.

“It is.”

“I should listen to more Bob Dylan,” he said.

“Yes, you should.”

Dropped him off at the 16west/6north junction.

* * *

Drove on to Watson, where Luke decided to become obstinate.  I wonder what all the screaming in the bathroom sounded like to those wandering by?

* * *

Home by 1p.m.  Straight to bed.  Slept the afternoon away.

Tonight: possibly Napoleon Dynamite.  Tomorrow: we must get to work.

5 thoughts on “Make that 7,000 kilometres

  1. Collette


    I’ve picked up hitchhikers twice, and both have been moving and beautiful experiences.

    1. picked up a young couple travelling from Quebec to Edmonton to look for work. they miscalculated the trip and were on day 7 of what they thought would be a 3 day journey. they were out of money and had lost their tent. I gave them all of the cash I had: $13 and change. I gave them the number of a friend in Edmonton in case of emergency. I cried when I hugged them goodbye.

    2. I picked up a young couple (very much in love!) from the Czech Republic and they ended up staying with me overnight. I taught them about Sask and gave them the chance to meet a friend who had lived where they were going and could give them great advice, and they taught me some things about the Czech Republic that I didn’t get to learn when I was there myself 6 years previous.

    being in to has lead me to be much more trusting of strangers than I once was.

  2. Marc

    Depends on how you look at it. He didn’t smell bad, but neither did he smell good. I would say he was more or less odourless. Scent-free, if you will.

    That might arguably be false advertising, but then the way he looked one would have expected him to carry at least a faint sweaty odour, but he did not.

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