Knowing my history of getting lost in even so confined a space as walking from a doctor’s office to the elevator on the fourth floor of the Park Avenue Medical Building, I wasn’t about to venture out on an unfamiliar highway without first amassing the best guidance available. Little did I expect how difficult information would be to come by.
I soon learned despite all the electronic gadgets people carry today, they can be less informed than my farm family was with a single land line wall phone.
When Dad headed out to the field in the morning, he told Mom which field he would be working, and what he would be doing – plowing, seeding, mowing … He gave her a time when he expected to be back in the yard. And barring an accident or mechanical trouble Mom could count on that.
Likewise we kids told Mom where we were going, to do what, and who if anyone would be with us. None of us checked in every five minutes; Mom could rely on us.
My reason for a spur of the moment trip began Friday afternoon when I arrived home after an hour’s absence to find an email from my daughter who had, during that time , let herself in with her key to pick up a Coleman sleeping bag I had offered her last October. She couldn’t find it. And no wonder. I had returned it to the storage closet.
Without involving my toes I can tally the number of times I’ve camped. Without exception, nights were always uncomfortably chilly. The thought of my daughter spending a cold night without a cozy sleeping bag made me feel guilty. So I set about delivering the sleeping bag to her.
She had told me she would be camping with a group, but I hadn’t asked where because I had no need to. If only I had.
Before cell phones, everyone had a land line listed in a printed directory or on-line. Now, though an established business may have a huge on-line ad, the phone number can be out of service, replaced by a secret cell phone number. How do you find a cell phone number? The only way I know is to ask one of their friends.
Friday I was hard put to reach anyone. Those I did reach had no hint where she might be. (If any group had in mind to huddle in a secret rendezvous, these would be the event planners to hire.)
Many phone calls later, I had learned she was camping somewhere between Terrace and Rosswood. A distance of 39 km, over Highway 113, according to Google, average driving time 34 minutes. At what speed?
My single contact said I’d turn right at Ken’s Marine, cross a skinny, one vehicle width bridge, and eventually spot a clump of vehicles plus a travel trailer parked on the right. With those sketchy instructions I drove out of my yard about 6:45 p.m. and was soon on Highway 113.
Highway 113 is unmarred by a crack or a lot of highway signs or markers to give away where I was. Constant twists varied my speed from 60 to 80. Before I left home, I had forgotten to note my mileage. A major gaff. After an hour and well past Wasech Creek I had yet to come upon a skinny bridge or a campsite.
I concluded I had missed a drive-off somewhere. Math of time plus average speed suggested I should have gone far enough. I turned back, mission unaccomplished.