Getting out of Regina, just in time, and starting my trek home to the west coast would take a few days if I took it easy and tried not to get any speeding tickets. I wanted to soak in the scenery through the Rocky Mountains and try to forget the countless mishaps I had experienced since I left home, besides, why was I in such a hurry to face my neighbor and hear all about the law suit and the war he would wage on me after seeing his new Lexus go up in flames. For the time being, all I wanted to do was watch the sky change colors in my rear view mirror as the sun rose in the east which was all very inspiring and made me wonder how many colors would be needed to accurately paint that scene on canvas. We’ve all sat in restaurants and shopped in stores that have ceilings someone has painted in a ham handed fashion with blue and white paint, depicting wispy cirrus clouds, low to the ground stratus clouds or the big Kahuna of all clouds, the mighty and picturesque Cumulus. I’ve often looked upward to these tacky ceilings and always felt that there was something missing….. How about 16 more colors!!!! In every sky where clouds and sunlight are present you will be able to locate purples, reds, yellows, grays, pinks and I don’t know how many shades of blue. I was able to see all of these colors in my rear view mirror plus an oscillating black dot that was growing in diameter and starting to block out the full spectrum of color behind me in the east.
Like many times in this road trip, I started to feel extreme discomfort when I realized that this wasn’t a vehicle on the road behind me but something flying in the air and gaining on me by the second. I sped up to 70 miles per hour on the Trans-Canada Highway but the dot, which now I could detect was no longer a dot but some type of bird, kept closing in on the back of the car. At 90 miles per hour the bird, which I could now identify as being a hawk, passed me, appeared in my vision a few feet away from the windshield and dropped a little bloody rodent on the hood of my car. The bloody, sandy colored carcass of a perforated gopher slid up the hood towards me and got one of it’s hind legs snagged in the driver’s side windshield wiper. After an unsuccessful attempt at trying to free this mottled crimson prairie dog with the wipers at high speed, I was left with a perfect arc of pink on the windshield in my line of vision and a lifeless prairie cadaver staring at me as it quivered in the wind all the way to the next gas stop.
I was in no mood to play the role of ” Roadkill Funeral Director” so I decided to pay the few cents extra for fuel when I pulled into the full serve stall at the Chevron station on the outskirts of Swift Current. I politely asked the pimple faced kid who came up to my car if he’d take care of the crime scene, check the oil and squeegee the red streak from the hood ornament to the driver’s side wiper, then I made my way inside to get a coffee and some Rolaids. After paying for the gas I decided against the slow paced drive to a sleepy hotel on the other side of the Alberta border, it was time to make tracks for the coast.
Alberta came and went without any incident, as did the majority of British Columbia. As I was driving into Kamloops, I guess I must have been going over the speed limit after I noticed the dazzling red and blue flashing lights in my rear view mirror. The rather good natured RCMP asked me why I was in such a hurry, as I handed him my driver’s license and insurance papers. I told him that I was on my way back to Vancouver after attending a funeral in Saskatchewan for my uncle who was a retired cop. The youngish rookie proudly announced that he was from Saskatchewan and used to drive tractors and shoot gophers ( Hey, I like this guy ) on a small farm where he grew up, just outside of Oxbow. He told me to slow down, handed me my papers and walked back to the patrol car.
After four and a half more hours of driving in the dark through the mountains, then into the Fraser valley, I finally got to see the lawn damage in my front yard and heard the cracking of fiberglass under my tires as I crept into the driveway up to what used to be a sea worthy vessel. I was in no mood to survey any other damage to my hedge or peer into my neighbor’s yard so I unlocked the front door and made a beeline to my humidor. The first cigar I had smoked on this unholy journey was a Cohiba Magicos and I felt that it was time to set fire of the foot of my last one.
There are those who love to experience the unknown in life and will get into their cars and drive into the night to destinations that are new and exciting and there are those who love to curl up into a fetal position on the floor with a tumbler of Scotch and a good cigar. I was now firmly rooted into the second category.