A Good Day for a Drive…

I haven’t been out recently so following an invitation to come to Duncan I decided what the hell.  It was a gorgeous day and I was well within my budget requirements.  Yes I have mileage budgets that I pay attention to.

Based on my current budget and the price of gas I can drive about 600 km per month, that’s one tank of gas.  Most of my driving these days is like 4 or 5 kilometres (return) to pick up things I can’t get by wheeling to.  Plus I really enjoy driving.  I think one of my favourite jobs was when I drove taxi in Toronto.  At that time (mid 70’s) I was the only cab driver in Toronto on crutches but that’s a story for another time.

So part of my driving is budget based but the other part is also a way to avoid too much repetitive action on my left shoulder.  To load my wheelchair I need to disassemble it and load it into the car.  This means transferring into the drivers seat, dismantling the various parts and loading it into the car.  I have a method!

Lightweight wheelchair
The large wheels pop off, the back collapsed and folds up like a suitcase to sit on my passengers seat

The wheels go in the back behind the passenger seats, the cushion behind my seat, the backrest of the wheelchair collapses and is about the same bulk as a mid size suitcase.  Then I recline my carseat so I can lift the body of the chair over to the passengers seats.  That particular lift really stretches the deltoid and the pectoralis minor muscle in my left shoulder so I try to minimize how many times I have to load my chair.  Making just one stops requires four lifts and they can add up.  Yesterday, with 6 stops, it was 24 lifts and my shoulder expressed its disappointment with me last night.

Anyway a friend had send me a note suggesting I drive down to Duncan to check out this new “apothecary” shop.  I needed to get out for a break and it doesn’t hurt to take the old beast out on the highway every now and then to clean out the motor.  As I said it was a gorgeous day so well worth the drive.  Duncan is about an hour (can be done in 45 minutes) drive on the highway.  I headed out at 10 and was there by eleven.

After meeting my buddy and having a coffee plus a brief discussion on the 39 Days of July festival I headed out to do my other chores.  After all of that was done I headed back to Nanaimo to pick up a few groceries.  It was very warm by this time, high 20’s Celsius, and very warm sun.  There was just enough of a breeze blowing in off the ocean to bring that sea air scent but not breezy enough to really cool it down.

As I said it is close to an hours’ drive so you do have to do things to keep you alert.  Not having cruise control means all the speed issues are totally controlled by me and I do my best to avoid any threat of tickets/fines.  The highway was unusually busy for mid-day Tuesday although tourist season is ramping up.  Busy highways tend to contribute to a lot of weaving through traffic by many drivers so I keep most of my senses pretty focused on the road.

I was just coming up the highway between Chemainus and Ladysmith sandwiched between a fully loaded logging truck in front of me and an 18-wheeler behind me hauling double tankers of propane.  People were weaving in and out (this is a four lane highway so there are fast lanes) around traffic in a hurry to get I don’t know where.  I glanced into my side mirror and noticed a half ton barreling up the road in the fast lane with what appeared to be sun shine beaming from its box.  As it passed me it turned out to be half-ton with a dozen large sheets of glass stacked in a stand but reflecting the sun.

Now as I said one does what one needs to to keep oneself amused and focused on these highway drives, at least I do.  The first thing through my mind when I connected the glass, the propane and the logging truck was how this could be a scene from a movie like The Omen with me being the object of the devils death plan.

I began to story board a scene where the reflection from the glass ignited the propane truck with the incurring explosion catapulting my vehicle into the logging truck immediately in front of me.  Of course at this point all of the dried out logs ignited making any chances of survival for me simply out of the question.  I have to admit I kind of chuckled as I looked around for the devils hell hounds.  In the process of checking for the dogs I glanced down and noticed my speed had edged up to 110 KM which was 20 over the limit (while not having any impact on my positioning between these two large trucks).  Not wanting any new expenses like a speeding ticket I slowed down and left the movie creation thinking alone until I got home.

I made three more stops on the way and arrived home with some supplies from the apothecary as well as three days worth of groceries.  Today, with the car parked, I thought I would capture some of my imagination in my blog.  My shoulder is making it more than obvious that I won’t be loading my wheelchair today.

That’s the confession for today.


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