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THOMPSON: The Grand Semi-Annual Adventure

October 15, 2018 - 12:00 PM

 


OPINION


It’s mid-October. Major League Baseball’s World Series is just over a week away. The CFL season is almost wrapped up. NCAA football and the NFL are almost half way through their seasons. Kids are getting excited about Halloween.

But for my wife, Bonnie, and I, mid-October means one thing…the Grand Semi-Annual Adventure. Granted, no one but us marks the calendar in such a way. The day after Thanksgiving we head to Florida…this is our seventh year.

Usually, this involves us, a dually truck and 48-foot horse trailer, three horses, two dogs and two cats in a 3,124-mile trip from our home in Vernon, B.C. to our home in Bronson, Florida. This year, we made the Grand Semi-Annual Adventure even more of an adventure.

We’re taking all of the aforementioned menagerie as usual…and instead of driving one big rig…we’re driving two. We have a 36-foot motor home…and in the last three years we’ve used it once…an overnight trip to a horse show in Kamloops.

So, we decided to take the thing to Florida and sell it…a larger market for such vehicles. And maybe - just maybe - we’ll use it for a get-a-way trip in Florida before passing it on to someone who might get better use from it.

With good luck on the road, we should be in Florida as you read this. But, with more than 3,000 miles, unpredictable weather, crazy drivers and two vehicles with 18 tires…good luck is almost a requirement.

How do you not notice a wheel coming off? Just another episode in the Grand Semi-Annual Adventure!
How do you not notice a wheel coming off? Just another episode in the Grand Semi-Annual Adventure!

Some of you might remember past trips I’ve written about…this marks our thirteenth cross-country journey. We have been trapped for 13 days in Council Bluffs, Iowa during the worst spring blizzard in 140 years. We have both been in hospital emergency rooms…separately in two different states.

We have had flat tires in remote sections of Montana…possibly an unnecessary redundancy. We have been stopped by authorities for blowing through an agricultural station in Florida’s panhandle. We have been waylaid by what a mechanic said was “a catastrophic dual fuel pump failure.” So, the Grand Semi-Annual Adventure is an apt name.

This year, the adventure started early. Being good citizens, we did everything exactly by the book to “import” our motor home into the United States…where it was manufactured in the first place. We used a broker…filled out a pound of paperwork…paid $600…and probably aren’t in jail since you’re reading this.

Usually, Bonnie and I are in the same vehicle…listening to Sirius radio and solving most of the world’s problems as we go…and switching off driving duties. This trip we have a convoy and don’t get the pleasure of each other’s company as we motor down the road. I’m guessing the trip will be a day slower…at least.

We’ve learned you can’t rush these trips…especially when you have two vehicles. You really can’t drive as long because there’s no one to spell you. Of course, we still have to take care of all the animals…the horses don’t mind the journey, and the dogs are okay with it because they get walked on leashes three times a day. The cats, however, hate us…and if they could use Smartphones I’m certain they would call authorities about animal abuse.

The good news…we’re staying in the motor home…which means stopping at truck stops rather than motels with poor parking. And, we’re eating better food than what we usually find in mostly bad restaurants along the way.

— Don Thompson, an American awaiting Canadian citizenship, lives in Vernon and in Florida. In a career that spans more than 40 years, Don has been a working journalist, a speechwriter and the CEO of an advertising and public relations firm. A passionate and compassionate man, he loves the written word as much as fine dinners with great wines. His essays are a blend of news reporting and opinion.


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