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Editorial Comment: Musings from the open road

There's nothing I enjoy more than a good road trip....




There’s nothing I enjoy more than a good road trip.

I regularly get the urge to load up the car, stock up on beef jerky, gather up my favourite CDs and hit the road. I love to drive and I agree with the old adage that getting there is often half the fun – regardless of where I’m headed.

So it was with a great deal of enthusiasm I headed out on my recent drive from Calgary to Toronto – a trip necessitated by my relocation to Ontario.

There was only one missing ingredient on my cross-country drive – someone to share the experience with.

My dog Monty is an excellent companion, but he’s not much of a conversationist.

As a result, I found myself with plenty of time for reflection along the way and have compiled a few notes and observations I thought I’d share:

* My Toyota Corolla drank $248 in gas – prices ranged from 88 cents to more than a buck a litre.

* There are surprisingly few Tim Hortons’ along the Trans-Canada Highway.

* Heavy fog is less fun to drive in than rain, sleet or snow.

* We really do need more rest areas in Canada.

* Satellite radio can’t come to Canada soon enough.

* Wildlife I saw along the way included one deer, a moose, two coyotes, a black bear and a mink.

* I encountered a total of two trucks in Ontario that should’ve been equipped with mandatory speed limiters.

* I saw about 173 cars in Toronto alone that should’ve been equipped with mandatory speed limiters.

The entire drive took about 40 hours over four days and it re-affirmed what I already knew – Canada is an amazing country.

Even the Prairies are beautiful in their own way.

During the trip I envied those of you who do this for a living, but by the time I arrived in Toronto I couldn’t even fathom the thought of turning around and heading back.

Four days on the road and I was beat. The trip re-affirmed another thing I already knew. It’s not easy making a living behind the wheel – especially in such an expansive nation.

My drive was relatively leisurely – there were no dispatchers demanding my whereabouts or deadlines to be met. I didn’t have to contend with the DOT or slow down for weigh scales.

Filling my car’s tank cost $30 – not several hundred. And I didn’t get sidelined for several days with a busted alternator or stuck in a freak blizzard like the truck that was carrying my furniture did.

Being a professional driver can be a thankless job but I’d like to express my gratitude to all of you for everything you do – including the trucker who helped guide me through some particularly dense fog outside Regina on an early October morning.

I won’t be trading in the keys to my Corolla for a set to a Western Star anytime soon, but I’m already beginning to itch for another road trip. Florida, anyone?

– James Menzies can be reached by phone at (416) 510-6896 or by e-mail at jmenzies@trucknews.com.


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