Korean Adventure Essay

Submitted By maggymack
Words: 894
Pages: 4

Visions of impenetrable blizzards, a dead battery stranding us on the roadside, freezing temperatures, boredom and the sheer distance of driving from Calgary, Alberta to Fredericton, New Brunswick in the dead of winter (almost 7000 kilometres round trip or 4328 miles) almost stopped our winter road trip before it started. Cold. When we first talked about driving through the USA to Canada's East Coast for Christmas 2013, my adult daughter and I weren't all that sure it was a good idea. But ultimately our concerns didn’t stop us and that – like the road less travelled – made all the difference. After a day or two of car prep in Calgary (changing oil and tires and a wonky CD player), we left Calgary in the middle of an afternoon snowstorm heading south towards the USA. The first night in tiny Shelby, Montana we enjoyed what only a small town in the middle of a winter snowstorm could likely offer: a private 7:00 PM showing of The Hunger Games in the mid-20th century Roxy Theatre. Not only did we have the theatre completely to ourselves, there was free popcorn (every Tuesday night!) in the bargain. We picked up the pace on the second day and arrived in Mitchell, South Dakota around suppertime. A flyer on the counter at the Thunderbird Lodge offered a massage package for hunters who wanted to de-stress after a long day in the duck blinds. Owner Matt Culhane could hardly contain his enthusiasm over a recent budget approval for renovations to the Corn Palace. The Corn Palace is a multi-purpose structure built as a tribute to the agricultural heritage of South Dakota and hosts stage shows and other regional events. Night Two was spent in Wauseon, OH on the eve of a menacing snowstorm drifting in from the East. While the cozy motel room tempted us to settle in while the storm passed, we were on deadline so headed out the next morning. We were soon grateful for pre-planning. Our SUV had four wheel drive and new winter tires. There was a 68 pound bag of sand in the trunk along with a winter emergency kit that contained – among other things - booster cables, tow rope, flares, candles, hand warmers, drinking water, Lara bars, extra winter clothes and a roadside emergency triangle. Knowing we could face almost anything winter might throw at us was a comfort and the extra weight of the sand may have kept us from sliding into the ditch. We passed nine tractor trailers and seven vehicles that had slid off the road and landed gently in various snow banks along the highway before our next motel pit stop. Seeking shelter from the tail end of the storm, our little SUV was dwarfed in the hotel parking lot in Barkeyville, PA among dozens of transport trucks. The two of us spelled each other off on driving, stopped for regular coffee, snack and bathroom breaks and were struck by the distinct character and geography of each state we passed through. Rugged and mountainous Montana. Flat land with big skies in South Dakota. Rolling hills in Iowa and Minnesota. And driving into the Eastern States after Pennsylvania, an endless variety of deciduous trees were constants along the roadside. The boredom we feared was relieved by a wide-ranging assortment of CD audio books we had taken out from the local library. We either broadened our minds with audio books such as Jill Bolte