Twenty years ago this month I drove up to Yellowknife by myself with all of my worldly possessions in the back of my pickup, hoping to find work. I think that that's the last time I drove that road completely solo. Since then, I've either had my husband, my kids, a friend, or a combination thereof with me on the road. However, on Thursday, August 7, at 6:30 pm I left Yellowknife, pulling a U-Haul trailer with my personal belongings, alone again.
I cried nearly the entire way to Behchoko (100 km away). I was leaving my kids behind, my marriage in tatters and not a lot of hope for the future. However, by the time I got to the ferry at Fort Providence (300 km from Yellowknife) I was in much better control of myself. I had also seen close to 50 bison (2 smaller herds, and for about 25 km a lone male every km), a fox, countless ravens and two pairs of sandhill cranes. I had to wait at the ferry for about 45 min; first for the ferry to arrive from the other side, and then for the ferry workers to grade the landing a bit. Usually when we drive out with our van, we have enough gas to get us to Manning, AB (about 900 km away), but because I wanted to be sure that I had enough gas to get to High Level (about 700 km away) while pulling the trailer, I put in $20 worth of gas just before the ferry.
About 85 km short of High Level, my low gas warning light came on. Now, Lloyd has told me that when it comes on, I usually can go another 80 km - but that's not pulling a trailer! So, if I hadn't been praying before, I commenced to pray without ceasing. I also reset the cruise from the 100 kmh I had been going at to between 60 and 70 kmh. There is no other place to buy gas at night before High Level. When I finally pulled into the Shell station there, I was able to put 98 litres of gas into my 90 litre tank. Thank you, Lord - I wasn't driving on fumes by that time, it was solely by the power of prayer and the grace of God.
After High Level I was really tired, so pulled into a lay-by just before Manning and was able to sleep for about 1.5 hours. That's all the sleep I'd been getting any night for the past while (did I mention I've been under a bit of stress lately?) - so then I got up and continued driving. I drove straight through, arriving in Saskatoon at my parents house Friday evening at 7:20 pm. My odometer told me that I was just 4 km short of 2,000 km - in just over 24 hours! (Don't try this on a regular basis folks, it's not worth it!)
It just so happened that Friday, August 8 was my parents 55th anniversary, and they had a small, impromptu family gathering - inviting just the immediate family who were around. Seeing as "small" is a relative term - especially with our relatives, we had about 45 people there. It was good to see everyone.
The next day I drove to Regina. I've been staying at my sister Ruth's house this past week, until I can get into my apartment tomorrow. Sunday I was privileged to be at Carole Straker's funeral in Regina - but that'll be another blog entry for another day.