The ongoing story of a girl and her van on an epic journey across Canada.
Day 20 (Saturday, May 29)
For someone who loves to travel as much as I do, I have a horrible sense of direction. I mean really, really bad. When Angie and I were in Europe, if we were ever lost she would ask me what way I thought we should go. Then she would lead us in the exact opposite direction. And 90 percent of the time, it worked. It would have been funny if it wasn’t so pathetic.
I rolled into Golden, BC, Friday evening. With a population just shy of 4,000, this is not what we would call a large metropolis. I found a campground on the edge of town, smack between the high school and the train tracks.
Saturday morning I went for a run. I had one of those little tourist cartoony maps that showed a simple trail system around the town. I was going to go running on that, but about 30 seconds into the run I came across the high school track and used that instead. Thankfully!
After breakfast my brain returned to this trail system. It looked like maybe a 2o minute walk that would deposit me in the very small, but very cute, town centre. So off I headed. Without the map.
I’m not sure where this went so horribly wrong. At one point I found myself up on a hill, in someone’s back yard. The kindly gentleman out gardening told me I could use the deer paths to get down the hill. That led me straight to a sheer drop off that would have sent me headfirst into the rail yard if I’d attempted it. My friends call me many things. “Sure-footed” is not one of them.
Later I found myself on a railroad bridge, crossing a river. Wait, what? I don’t remember going over one before. Do I really need to cross one to get back to town?
About 11k later I found a gruff rail worker who directed me to scramble up an embankment to the freeway, cross the overpass, then use the deer paths on the other side. Those damn deer paths! But this time the man led me true, and I FINALLY found my way back to town.
In this re-creation, the blue line is what I wanted to do. The red line is what I ended up doing.
Why am I left unattended?
Day 21 (Sunday, May 30th)
I stopped for gas on the way out of town. It was there that I remembered my headlights hadn’t seemed like they were working a few days previously. I left them on as I filled up to check them. Yep, they were on. Okay, maybe when the car is running they don’t work? So I turned the car on, then hopped out, walked around my open driver side door and checked them. They’re still on.
Hmm…maybe for some reason when the car is in drive they didn”t work?
Before I continue I should say that I had assumed my parking brake was on. I mean, I always used it! Well, almost always…
I walked back around my driver side door, reached in over the driver seat, and shifted the car into drive.
Over my foot!
Before the paralysis of panic set in I did manage to throw myself across my driver seat and yank it back in park. The front wheel was on my foot at this point, and it was like watching the Wheel of Fortune spin slow down. Would it land on “Bankrupt”, or tick by one more slot to the $1000 mark? Would my tire stop on my foot? Or would it roll forward another few inches and free me?
And, more importantly, did I hit anyone?
No one was yelling. In fact, the only person who seemed to notice was a little boy in the car next to me. His eyes were as wide as mine. I’m sure he tried to tell his parents later. “Did you see the lady that ran over her own foot?” “Now Billy, that didn’t really happen. No one is THAT stupid.”
My van came to a halt just passed my foot. My toes were throbbing, but that stopped after a few hours. So far no permanent damage done. Until all my toenails fall of in a month.
And my pride. That still stings quite a bit.
I ask again, where was my constant supervision?
All photos by Sarah Gignac
Desired vs Actual Path
The river I didn’t need to cross
This article was first published on Raggedy Threads in June 2010.
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