Update 14

A sign approached on the right-hand side... Longitudinal Centre of Canada... And something else, too, about numbers and degrees and so-such, but I couldn't catch it, gone in a blur... What does this mean, you ask? This slithering snake wiggling across the country, its flickering tongue pointing determinedly eastward... Is half-way there.

It was, to say the least, a stunning drive. Breath-taking, even. Lakes on both sides by the handful, perfect mirrors laid across the ground for the trees to gaze at their reflections. Cliffs of pink granite, slick from the rain. Mist, rising from the road like a lazy ghost, slipping gently around the bow of our land-locked boat, whipping in spirals in our wake. Huge trucks, too, blasting past with a sudden roar, the wind of their passing shaking our ship like an angry giant. And then, we reached Thunder Bay.

There were people running a race. The opponent, cancer. Running for that cure. Thinking us: These good people, they need some warm-hearted, big-voiced encouragement, especially on a day like this. The biting cold, tugging wind had returned. And this time, the terrible two had been joined by a gray, slanting rain.

"...Hey, buddy, way to go!" Val yelled. "And nice gloves, too!"

Erik added his voice. "...Hey! Have you heard? You're running so fast, they're naming this race after you!"

"Only ten kilometers more to go, folks!" says Chris. "You can do it!" (This, of course, at the finish line of a five kilometer race). Oh, you funny one.

And, finally, Brad... "Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way..." Huh? Christmas carols? "Well, you know... I just kinda felt in the mood."

We followed this with an ice-hockey game. Pronghorns versus Wolves. Herbivore versus carnivore; same battle as always. "Hello, ladies," Brad said to the two brunettes at the refreshment stand, his smile in full Technicolor effect. "Would you like to purchase a puck?" Walking up and down the stands, we were selling orange foam pucks to people. Throw it into the car that sat on the ice at intermission time, and win that car. As simple as that. "A puck or two, ma'am?" Brad asked, grinning at the beautiful blonde woman in the second row.

Then came the intermission. The car rolled out, and Chris came with it, running around, bouncing himself from the boards, cheering wildly, chasing ten-year old skaters across the ice, and trying to avoid the security guards yelling and shaking their fists and slipping slithering after him. "Just five more minutes, mom!" he laughed over his shoulder.

Everyone reared back with their orange pucks, let fly... And, of course, missed. The car survives for another day. (I'll admit it, though. Most of the people aimed at the referee, rather than the car. Far more fun.)

"Good evening, ladies," said Brad to the three radiant red-heads sitting near the aisle. "Would you like to buy one of these pucks?" Uhh, Brad. The contest is over. So take that fistful of phone numbers and call it a day.

Afterwards... While everyone milled outside, a triumphant Chris climbed to the top of the motor home, raised his arms, and began to dance. Everyone cheered, shouted, hooted-and-hollered. Everyone, that is, with the exception of the police car that crawled near. "Get down from the motor home!" the loudspeaker shouted.

"But it's my motorhome!" Chris protested. The squad car drew closer.

"You want to go to jail?" it asked, in a this-is-the-last-straw sort of voice. The crowd rallied... You stay up there, buddy! ...Stick to your guns, guy! ...Don't let the system get you down, ha ha! Apologies... But down he came.

Hmmm... Twice now, he considers, and plays-the-safe... Third time lucky, perhaps?

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