I am on a visit to Calgary, Alberta.
Although I had snow tires and and tire chains, I lucked into a window of glorious weather for my winter drive. Over two days, I drove amongst snow-covered mountains, on good roads, through light traffic, in brilliant sunshine. Life doesn't get much better than that.
I was reminded, once again, of my failure to find the ugly route from Vancouver to Calgary (or vice versa). That statement tends to puzzle my friends. They ask, "Why would you want to do that?"
My joke stems from the several requests for travel advice that I've received from overseas family members and friends when they've been preparing for trips to Western Canada. They ask, "Should I take this highway or that highway?" I say, "Throw a dart at a map, and choose the route on which the dart lands."
No, I don't really leave them dangling without any more information. I do share with them what I consider to be the advantages of each route. But I also tell them that, after three decades, I have discovered it's impossible to design a bad itinerary in British Columbia and Western Alberta.
Anyway, that stunning drive was a high note on which to end my relationship with my vehicle, which I had named Molly. My ex husband is buying Molly from me. We are about to leave for the registry office, where I will transfer ownership to him.
After visiting with my ex husband, our two adult sons, and a handful of long standing Calgary friends, I will fly back home to Nanaimo, British Columbia on Sunday evening. That will be the start of my car-free lifestyle.
Part of me is going, "Eek!" But mostly I am excited at the prospect of reducing my annual carbon emissions by 1.2 tonnes and discovering how resourceful I can be in implementing this change to my lifestyle.
I will be walking, catching the bus, riding a bicycle, car-pooling with friends, and joining a car sharing club called the Co-operative Auto Network for those occasional trips and errands that really do require a car.
Yes, I'm sure there will be a few frustrating moments. For example, about ten days ago I set out to walk a route that I had planned from my map of Nanaimo. A street that the map showed and that I intended to take wasn't there in real life. Aaaaaaargh! That necessitated a time consuming detour.
Friends later told me that maps of Nanaimo show streets that are planned, not necessarily streets that exist. What's up with that?!? Grrrrrrr!
Yes, a little glitch in Paradise. But onwards and upwards, eh?