Friday, April 29, 2011

Overcoming Confusion and "Metric" Shock Therapy

One might think that driving from the U.S. into Canada would not be all that difficult.  We both speak English so it's not like the challenges we faced driving in Mexico, right?  Wrong! and maybe it's the similarities that lie at the heart of the difficulties that we've faced after crossing the border.  Sometimes, we think we understand only to find out that we don't have any idea at all.  

One of our biggest concerns is finding diesel at locations that are accessible to us.    
Peek-a-boo Puppy!

There are some of our favorite "Flying J's" along this part of our trip.  Whether or not they match our point of need can be another question.  As we traveled north from Winnipeg, we missed our planned stop at a "Flying J" in Regina.  Rather than turn around and try to re-negotiate the maze of highways and by-ways, we chose to go on and find an alternative.  

As we watched the fuel gauge going down, the wisdom of this decision grew shakier.  One of the most common pieces of advice given to us has been to top off the fuel tank at every opportunity.  We hadn't even reached the real "wilderness areas" yet and we were on the verge of trouble.  

Fortunately, we weren't really all that far from a gas station and the town of Findlater had an easily accessible pump and a friendly attendant to boot.  Filling the tank with diesel and our tummies with a welcome lunch got us back on the road in record time and we continued on to Saskatoon for a welcomed respite at the Gordon Howe RV park in the middle of the city.  

Getting to the RV park turned into quite a challenge as confusion over the road signs once again bit us in the rear and we found ourselves driving our Big Horn through the middle of downtown Saskatoon during rush hour.  EEEEEKKKK!!!!  The Canadian highway signs feature a large, decorative maple leaf with a little, tiny number in the middle that can't be read all that far away.  Anyway, not far away enough to maneuver 53 feet of "rig" into the correct lane sometimes. 

It seems that our first problem lies in the fact that we're "metrically challenged".  Fuel prices look really good in "litres" until you figure out how many "litres" are in a U.S. gallon and how much a U.S. dollar doesn't compare to a Canadian dollar.  Speed limits look really high and distances are really far when you're looking at numbers in kilometers and thinking miles.  Bridges look REALLY low when you're looking at meters and thinking "feet". All of these things coming at you in highway speeds can be quite nerve-wracking and it keeps us on edge.  We definitely need a break from the road at this point. 

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