A Perfect Ten – 2015

Continuing my countdown to my blog’s 10th Anniversary on 27th September this year, I’m revisiting what I posted on or around that date each year.

On September 25th, 2015, I’d planned to do a bit of a postscript of the previous nine posts, which isn’t what happened, but I decided that those nine posts were worthy of their own place on my ‘Perfect Ten’ list.

2015 was many things but one thing stands head and shoulders above all else, our Road Trip.

Have you ever chosen to do something so monumentally beyond anything you’ve ever experienced before that the Universe looks out for you until you get a handle on what you’re doing?

I’ve had these things thrust on me by Life, and the actions of others, but only thrice have I dared to leap off such giant Cliffs of the Unknowable, by choice.

Cliff 1 – buying a motorcycle when I’d never, ever, been on one before. (I didn’t even have my drivers license) The only thing with two wheels I’d ever ridden on before then were bicycles. (and believe me the experience is very different!)  I had a very elegant road bicycle that got me everywhere I needed to go, but not everywhere I wanted to go.

I rode my motorcycle (everywhere) for two years – until a truck on the wrong side of the road took us out … destroyed my bike, put me in hospital for five weeks and one day, (but who’s counting) and left me with one-and-a-half knees for evermore. Had I been in a car I would’ve been killed.

I loved that bike. Like my bicycle before it (which I sent off to a good home) I gained the freedom, the space, to leave the damaged parts of my life behind, and focus on putting the remaining bits back together again – a lifelong project, I might add.

Cliff 2 – Moving from Australia to Canada via an interminably long aeroplane journey. Most of you know the story, but here it is again, briefly. Mrs Widds and I met online and as I had no ties to bind me to Australia off I flew … having only twice ever been in little ‘puddle-jumper’ planes before.

I had no idea what a trans-oceanic sixteen-hour flight, from one side of the world to the other, from one hemisphere to the other, would be like. Needless to say I survived.

Cliff 3 – Mrs Widds and I driving ten thousand kilometers across Canada, and back, towing an 8 meter (25′) travel trailer that we’d only picked up four days previously, having never towed anything before, ever, either of us.

I was the designated planner and map-reader (Mrs Widds was working in Vancouver at the time and commuting from Widder Island – an hour-plus-change in each direction) and I discovered all sorts of fun things for us to do on the way … an amethyst mine, Dinosaur Provincial Park, hyper-tourist-y jaunts in Niagara Falls … but neither of us got the hang of the intricacies of reversing our honking great (as it seemed at the time) RV into camping spaces with millimeters to spare (there was lots of room, really) until we were well on our way home.

Each of these ‘cliffs’ moved my life forward in ways that were wondrous and terrible, challenging (understatement of the millennia!) and satisfying … but, all things considered, I’d rather any cliffs that come my way in the future, be a smidge less … hmm … high.

-oOo-

And now, for all you Swingin’ hepcats out there, here’s Muggsy Spanier’s Ragtime Band, getting smooth in the AM with, ‘Relaxin’ at the Touro’ …

One More For The Road

I remember it backwards.

*Blink*

Mrs Widds and I give our statements to the cop. I’m shaking but can think coherently. Mrs Widds is in ‘crisis management’ mode, feet firmly on the ground. I love that woman.

*Blink*

It feels like it takes forever for the police and ambulance to arrive, but in reality it’s only about half an hour. The cop asks for witnesses and thanks everyone else for their help.

*Blink*

Waiting is always the hardest part. The adrenaline fades and shock takes over.

*Blink*

Some idiot who’s probably had five minutes training in Med school flings his stethoscope round his neck, pulls the young woman passenger out of the car (first huge mistake) and asks if anyone has any Tylenol. What an idiot. Mrs Widds shuts him down.

*Blink*

A young guy gets out of the wreck wearing a shirt, underwear, and no shoes. He checks on his passenger then grabs his cellphone and pants. More people stop.

*Blink*

A couple of cars have already stopped and people are trying to help. I walk up the hill waving my arms, warning the cars and trucks in the slow lane.

*Blink*

Mrs Widds calls 911 and I make sure the trailer is secure. Chock the wheels. Not going to make that mistake aver again. Especially on a steep hill like this.

*Blink*

I pull over immediately, slam on the hazard lights. We share a look of horror, take a deep breath, and swing into action.

*Blink*

Mrs Widds is screaming something. I see the car. It’s going too fast on the inside lane. The driver loses control. In the blink of an eye it swerves back across three lanes of traffic, misses us by a few meters and crashes into the embankment.

***

Lets backtrack a little shall we?

When we left Dinosaur Provincial Park the rain and overcast sky of the day before had cleared and we had beautiful blue skies before us all the way to the Rockies. By the time we were back on Highway 1 storm clouds had rolled across the prairies and were taking bets on who would get to rain on us first.

We decided to drive straight through Calgary rather than take the bypass. (because we’d been so successful avoiding storms on the Winnipeg bypass) Visually it was a bit of a disappointment because cities seldom show their best side to the freeways dividing them in half. Still, we did avoid the storms. Those ones.

I saw a jagged blue smudge on the horizon and rejoiced. Mountains!

I felt like I could breathe again

I felt like I could breathe again

… and then they disappeared. Rainstorm!

Not a big one and soon it was blue skies (and big fluffy white clouds) all the way home.

Mountains to the left of me, mountains to the right of me ...

Mountains to the left of me, mountains to the right of me …

This glacier used to come all the way down the mountain.

So many of them looked like this

So many of them looked like this

Inside an avalanche shed east of Golden

Inside an avalanche shed east of Golden

***

The accident happened about fifteen minutes east of Merritt. Stopping and helping and giving statements took a good chunk out of our afternoon travelling time, but we were back home on Widder Island in time for supper!

***

A couple of photos that slipped through the cracks …

I took this one at Mt Robson P.P. The way the trees grew reminded me of the rune, Mannaz – The Self. A great message to have at the beginning of our journey.

Ents of a different sort

Ents of a different sort

We were in Sault Ste Marie (the Canadian one) in the midst of a sweltering heat wave when I see this sign.

What? Snow? Where?

What? Snow? Where?

***

Next: Tally