Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Going Nowhere Fast

Last night I carefully checked the road reports, carefully packed up my supplies, my dog supplies,  walked around the trailer and added things that I thought I'd need.  This morning I was going to attempt a run at Fort St. John, British Columbia which is where Whiskey's new home is.  Click here to see the Google Map.  This was no small undertaking.  My plan?  Get up early, drive, deliver, turn around and come home. I was looking at around 16-18 hours of driving.

Here's what really happened.  I got up, showered, loaded my truck while playing with the dogs and feeding the horse.  My tummy was upset so I chugged some PeptoBismal and packed that as well as a kit full of my "safe" foods.  I then took the dogs out for their final pre-leaving potty.  And Ryder had the trots.  Fabulous.  I had planned to take Ryder and Diva, with my mom scheduled to come and take Tessa to the farm until I returned.  Leaving Ryder behind meant I'd also leave Diva (so they had play buddies).  This also meant rearranging my garage so that they couldn't eat anything they're not supposed to - such as recycling or shoes.  I took the Exercise pens out of their boxes and created a barrier, leaving them the one parking space, front and access to the doggy doors.  I filled up an extra water bowl and placed it in their area, and pulled their collars off.  I didn't want to risk them hooking their collars on anything or getting tangled while wrestling.  (This is why I love Sherry's slip collars!)  This change of plans set my departure time back by an hour.

Feeling somewhat strange I loaded and left.  It's weird for me not to travel with at least one dog.  Hitting Whitecourt (about 2 hours in) I had a great conversation with an older man who was filling up next to me.  (Part of my strategy was to top off my tank at each larger center - this is my wilderness driving strategy!)  He asked where I was headed and then informed me they were calling for freezing rain.  Pointing my truck north I kept driving.  It was drizzling off and on but our temperature was hovering around the melting mark so I figured I'd be okay.  Because my homemade CDs would not work (!!!) I was flicking and finding radio stations as each area lost reception.  It was in the Grand Prairie radio zone when they announced a freezing rain warning was in effect and that it was anticipated freezing rain would last the next 24 hours.  Nervous now, I kept driving.  I kept driving through the increasing rain.

I was about 15 minutes from reaching Valleyview.  (To get to Valleyview takes about 3.5 hours.)  My phone rang.  It was Kelly (where I was headed).  She said it had started snowing 20 minutes ago.  Eeek. I am an admitted wimpo.  I'll admit it scares me to drive the mountain passes in the winter with a trailer.  It makes me nervous without a trailer when there's snow on the ground.  Yes I have 4x4, but I don't have chains - and that was the type of country I was headed into.  I told her I'd think about what I was going to do.  I needed to decide if I was going to turn around or push through.  The road I was driving on was wet.  This meant once dark hit there was potential for ice.  Even more potential for ice if the storm hit.  My gut clenched with stress I called my mom.  I wanted to get her opinion.  Valleyview was my point of no return.  Any further and it would just be shorter to keep on to my destination (still 4-5 hours away).  I stopped at a truck stop, parked and fretted.  Weighing the various options.  I didn't have time to get a hotel and wait it out.  (Which could take 1-2 days.)  Plus I didn't pack a bale of hay for the horse - who I could turn loose in the stock trailer, making it into a stall.  Finally my fear of the mountain passes during a storm pushed me into a decision.  I decided to turn back.  I called Kelly to let her know.  Of course she tells me the snow seems to be letting up.  That's fine given the fact that there's still 500 km (about 310 miles) to drive.  With the rain warning in effect I would basically be driving into the storm front and not away from it.  This made me worry.  Even if I made it safely to BC I still had to make it safely home.  My gut was screaming at me that it wasn't a good decision to continue on.  I decided to listen to it.

So I turned around.  Poor Whiskey.  What a good girl.  When I got home and unloaded her she looked around, seemingly confused.  You could see her thinking - isn't this where I just left?  The trailer is a mess and I need to take it to the farm to clean out and put fresh shavings in.

Tentative plan is to make another attempt on Friday - once the weather up north clears.  My brother who lives up north will be back from his trip and I'll have some extra people around.  This makes me feel a bit more secure and safe.


Liz Stout said...

Eeee, glad you're safe and listened to that gut feeling and didn't end up stranded in the cold!!

MTWaggin said...

Good choice. Listen to your gut and it is never good to be driving with a trailer AND a horse on snow much less ice covered with snow! There will be another time, besides what is the hurry? :) Oh and I have the same issue traveling without any dogs - the van seems empty and quiet and I don't like it!!!!!