So, I wasn’t going to post anything after yesterday because it’s just the boring drive home, but it turned out to be a bit more noteworthy than expected.
Since I haven’t actually written yesterday’s post yet I will combine it with today’s.
Yesterday we all got up early and had our things packed and the boat ready to return, and were back at the bay by 9:30 am thinking if we got there early we’d be able to get on the road home sooner. Wrong. Turns out the biggest boats, the ones that need a pilot to bring them into the marina, get checked in last. We sat there coasting around the bay with our sister ship for four hours. We couldn’t cook anything and everything was packed, so around noon we made do with crackers, cheese, and tomatoes scavenged out of what food boxes weren’t already zip tied. Then it was another hour at the dock before we could actually get our belongings off the boat. To be fair, this is still probably the best system Twin Anchors could use for bringing all the boats in on the same day with enough time to prep them to go out again later in the day. Our pilot told us they had 22 boats to move that day and were expecting 29 boats next Friday.
We finally got on the road around 3:30 PST, which is 4:30 MST, with a roughly six hour drive ahead of us to Calgary. The original plan was to get to my mother’s in Edmonton that night, but with the unanticipated delays we knew that wasn’t going to work anymore. We still had to stop at Eddy’s and John’s places to drop off totes and pick up the stuff we brought the F150 for in the first place. We decided Red Deer would have to be the Friday night stop, then we would have a roughly 10-hour day to High Level Saturday followed by a relatively easy 7-hour day to Yellowknife Sunday.
We arrived in Red Deer at half past midnight, had a good sleep, got breakfast at The Donut Mill (thanks for that recommendation, Cassie :)), and then hit the road. The road hit back. Traffic was pretty congested on the QEII. South of the 32nd Street (avenue?) exit we were driving behind a fifth-wheeler that had bicycles on a rack on the back. Every time they hit a bump in the road the bicycles bounced. Jarod and I agreed we didn’t want to be driving behind that accident waiting to happen, so we moved into the passing lane and started passing, Dan right behind us. As I approached the mid-point of the trailer the guy starts moving into my lane! I had to swerve onto the shoulder to avoid getting pushed off the road and get past him. Once our hearts started beating again I looked in the rear view mirror to make sure Dan was still there and no, he and most of the other vehicles were slowed and stopped on the highway. Oh, hell. I pulled over under the 32nd street bridge, the trailer drove past me and kept going, and Jessica (who was in the truck with Dan) called to let me know they’re all right but got rear-ended when they had to slow down to let the trailer in. I circled my way back to them. Turns out the trailer dude was cut off by someone in the merging lane to his right, causing him to veer into my lane, and when Dan slowed down the car behind him was driving too close and slammed right into the back of the truck. The F150 was barely damaged — the bumper is bent and the licence plate was punctured obscuring the first number –but the car that hit it is a write off. The front end is smashed right in. One of the cars’s occupants roughed up his knee a little bit, but nobody required medical attention. A couple of witnesses left their contact information. Ambulance, tow truck, hazmat, and police arrived in pretty decent time. The car was loaded on the tow truck and we followed it and the police to the college grounds to fill out statements. We then brought the F150 to Canadian Tire to have it inspected for further highway driving worthiness. Other than noting the brakes could use replacing and the wheels needed balancing, the tech noted no damage that would prevent us from going home. And they didn’t even charge us for the inspection, either, which was really nice of them. From talking to a few people at various stages of waiting for things we learned that the area of the highway we got hit is known to be a problem, and the type of accident we had is common. The merging lanes have not been adapted properly to account for the significantly increased traffic. We were very lucky things didn’t turn out worse.
We managed to get back on the road just before 4:00. There was no way we were going to make it all the way to High Level as planned, though, so we agreed to end our day in Peace River, get a decent night’s sleep, and have a roughly 10-hour drive tomorrow. Nature couldn’t help but throw one more stressful situation at us first though. We stopped in Whitecourt for gas and munchies and as soon as we got back on the highway just outside of town we got hit with a wicked thunder storm. Could barely see through the rain, running water everywhere, wind gusting (which it had actually been doing most of the day); we ended up pulling over into a rest stop to wait it out because I was so uncomfortable. Within half an hour things let up and we were on our way again. We arrived in Peace (in one piece…hehe) around 10:00, checked in to Best Western, ordered a pizza, watched an episode of The Simpsons,and got some sleep.
Good night all. Hopefully this will be my last post for this trip…