How I love the north!
Every time I head up there, a strong "call of the wild" causes me to want to get out of my truck, walk into the bush and go live off the land. It beckons me to no end!
But back to reality, I hook onto my load in Mississauga and head out of the city, leaving most of the traffic behind, once north of the Muskokas.
I have a tendency to run up and around Highway 11 as opposed to 17 when I head west. I have fond memories of my father's moose hunting stories on the Pagwachuan river, located east of Longlac. Between that and the rice pudding at the Husky in Hearst, I'm sold:-)
The last time I went to Winnipeg, it was winter. I have travelled this highway many times in the past but this trip would prove to be an exceptionally spectacular one!
It started just north of Orillia. Lupines were blooming along the road side. Pink, purple and cream-coloured blooms, in full display for all to enjoy!
This spectacular sight went on all the way to Dryden! I don't ever recall seeing so many blooms on previous trips. Did someone plant these flowers while I was taking a break from long haul? Or have I been driving all these years with my eyes closed?!
These were taken near Pass Lake.
There were many other flowers along the way too, dotting the landscape of the north with a plethora of colour.
My bladder was dictating to me once again that I needed to stop soon, so I wheeled into a parking area alongside the highway. After "marking my territory," something my little dog taught me to do years ago;-D, I noticed more flowers in bloom. What I thought was red clover turned out to be chives of all things! There were even wild roses nearby.
A trip north would not be complete without moose sightings, (although it would make for a peaceful one) and I saw two moose this trip. They seemed to be guarding the town of Hearst; one was spotted beside the highway on the way into town, and the other on the way out of town the next morning.
Or... was it the same moose? Hmm... Well, as long as they stayed off the highway!!
Life was good that morning. The weather was nice and the roads were devoid of traffic. The sun was out but hidden behind thin clouds. Breakfast was now behind me as I travelled my favorite section of highway.
Then, about 45 minutes into my trip, I thought life was going to end! A truck heading eastbound drifted off the highway and onto the gravel shoulder.
Swerving to get himself back up onto the road, his truck aimed at mine for what I thought was going to be a head-on!
He somehow managed to keep it all on his side of the yellow line as we met, and after I regained my composure, I wondered: Is this how one gathers grey hairs?!
The rest of the day proved to be more peaceful though, with the ongoing entertainment of more lupines!
Later that day, as I entered the Kenora district, big ominous clouds filled the horizon. I soon caught up to this "monsoon weather" which unleashed endless amounts of rain.
I was amused at every rock-cut I passed, as waterfalls spewed over the sides of the rocks like outdoor showers.
And after a while, all the entertainment of the day subsided; the land grew flatter and the trees more scarse.
And the sign read:
Welcome to Manitoba.
Where does one begin?
Well it's a sunny, spring day here in Pennsylvania as I await to get off-loaded at a customer. I take a sip of my morning cup of coffee in the truck, and reminisce about "the most precious cargo" I have ever hauled. A warm smile crosses my face.
Having spent most of my career life behind the wheel of a big rig, it was a bit of a blow to my ego to land a job driving a small 18 passenger bus. But a local job is what I needed at the time and so, I took the job. Little did I know what awaited me!
This special cargo that I hauled everyday lifted my spirits, melted my heart and gave me hope. You see they were seniors from a retirement home.
From the grumpy ones to the happy-go-lucky ones, they all held a special place in my heart as I drove them around to various places.
And so, when I think of them as I often do while on the road, my heart melts and a smile crosses my face.
And I think of how privileged I was to have been able to haul "a most special and precious cargo."