Twenty-six hours?

This is the story of an ill thought-out road trip from Winnipeg to Seattle and back over the course of Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2009 through to our return Monday Sept. 7, 2009. For those of you unaware, this is a projected 26 hours of driving each way, giving us around 120 hours for the entire trip

Nearly half of the trip was driving. The names have been changed to protect the innocent and the story may be extremely biased and strange due to the sleep deprivation the participants of the trip experienced. Take whatever lessons from this trip that you dare.

5:00 a.m., Sept. 2 – Anticipated departure time from Winnipeg.

8:00 a.m. – Actual departure time from Winnipeg. Brad and myself had pulled an all-nighter and yet we were not the most overtired or delirious people in the car that morning.

8:15 a.m. – Tim Horton’s stop. Originally intended to be breakfast in North Dakota, delayed schedule leads to a breakfast break.

9:30 a.m. – Arrive at the border between Manitoba and North Dakota; a car full of over-caffeinated and over-tired males aged 18-25 led the border-patrol staff to immediately send us into their garage for further screening. We are asked to empty our pockets and answer a series of questions.

“Where are you going?”
“To a videogame convention.”
“Really? So you all play World of Warcraft and that kind of thing?”
“Actually, that’s too nerdy, even for us.”
At which point one of them chooses to investigate the contents of the trunk, only to be greeted by comic books, videogames and a full set of “Dungeons and Dragons” 4th edition rulebooks. We are promptly informed we can carry on.

12:00 p.m. – Lunch break! We choose to expose ourselves to the best food that a gas station can offer.

5:00 p.m. – Continuing to drive, we are suddenly greeted by the world’s largest heifer cow cresting the horizon. I promptly make an executive decision that it must be investigated. We are stopped at a bait and tackle shop inside a gas station, despite not having seen open water since we entered Montana. Fearing a conspiracy, I say nothing. Investigations reveal that the heifer cow is a free attraction, quickly prompting a hike up the hill. It is a large heifer cow, providing all of 20 minutes of entertainment.

3:00 a.m., Sept. 3 – Flagged down by two women who have a car that has broken down in the middle of the Rocky Mountains. Cellular connection is entirely unavailable. Everyone takes a look at their broken down vehicle before realizing that as university students, we are all entirely unaware as to what we are looking for. We hum and haw, poke around their engine for a bit and then summarily elect a spokesperson, let’s say Herman, to announce that they need a tow truck. Being unable to provide them with a phone to contact one, we suggest waiting until morning, seeing as they are safe, getting some sleep and seeking assistance from a group more knowledgeable than us.

4:30 a.m. – I turn on “I’m gonna be” by The Proclaimers on repeat.

5:30 a.m. – Everyone else begins to realize that this song has been on repeat for an hour.

7:30 a.m. – I realize we are inside of a cloud, literally, as we descend down the Rockies. Everyone else in the car is twitching.

9:30 a.m. – To everyone’s delight, we enter Seattle and promptly go to Starbucks. We think back about how ridiculous the previous 24 hours were and realize that we made the trip in two hours less than we were supposed to. Then it dawns on us that we would need to repeat this harrowing experience in a few days.

I find myself gearing up to make the same trip again this year, at the end of the month.