the move west: day one: sauga to sudbury

I tried to post this earlier today but had some annoying technical difficulties. Truth be told, I had organizational difficulties: the AC adapter for the netbook was in the truck. Later I wrote in the Deluxe Hamburger in Sudb‌ury... then blogger crashed. Then I drafted it again in the car. Oy.

Yesterday was a long, tiring day, but in the end, it was successful. We are happy!

The movers arrived right on time, which was impressive... then things quickly went downhll. They may have been trying to set a speed record. Our stuff was being tossed and piled and generally thrown about. It was kind of scary! It doesn't help that we live(d) on the 19th floor, the apartment furthest from the elevator, so the elevator has to be packed and unpacked, too. So many opportunities for disaster. Allan and M were able to corral the guys a bit, and in the end, we hope it was better than it looked.

It was a complicated process. We drive a very small car with minimal truck space, and Diego takes up the whole back seat. This means we need many things to be accessible, packed in the back of the truck. I used green painter's tape to label many things -- but it still needed explanation. Plus we will be getting into Port Hardy at night, and a crew will be (we hope) arriving the next day to unload the truck. This mkeans we have to sleep one night in an empty house -- which means that the mattress and futon must be accessible, too. It's complicated! Plus there was last-minute packing to do, and we had to keep Diego out of the way. It was complicated!

I left at one point to get refunds for our Presto cards (so glad Allan remembered that!) and Allan and M went out to do some errands, which included another M obsession.

The movers finally left late in the day, then we packed up our road trip needs. I picked up some Subway -- we hadn't eaten all day -- Allan returned our keys and whatnot, and were about to set out on the road. But what would a travel story of mine be without at least one fall?

It was the perfect storm. A storm named Diego. I wasn't using his harness/halti/collar combo that gives me control over him. I was holding the leash loosely around my wrist. I was putting stuff in the trunk, not paying attentionto him. And a little dog surprised him. All the elements in place, ready for disaster. Suddenly my arm is jerked violently, the leash burns through my hand, and I fall in slow motion onto my hand, my knee, and my ankle. But mostly my hand. When I got up, Diego was barking in the face of a small dog who is giving it right back to him.

Oh my god my hand. You know I have arthritis in my hands, plus fibromyalgia makes things hurt all out of proportion -- both in intensity and duration. I was in dire pain for close to two hours. M gave me a painkiller, which helped a lot, but also meant I couldn't drive. Poor Allan has worked his three 12-hour days, with zero rest, and an incredibly busy, stressful day... and now he has to drive all the way to Sudbury, at night. Yuck.

[An aside for the locals. On the way out of town, we missed the 401/427 split and were on the 427 north. M was still following us in the truck, and wouldn't have good directions until we got on the 400, the route north. Oh shit, how the hell do you get from the 427 to the 401 if you've missed the split? Allan reads a road sign -- 409, does that help? -- just as I see the 409 on Maps. The 409! It apparently exists only to link the 427 North to the 401 East!  Whoo hoo! I learn this exactly when I need it -- and now I'll never need it again.]

So we got on the 400 North at about 7:00 pm, and we were happy. Cue a helpful reader explaining that you shouldn't drive on country roads at night, because of animals. Big animals that, if hit, can cause serious or even fatal accidents. We know. We agree. But sometimes it must be done. And this was one of those times. It was (we hope) the only leg of this road trip to be driven at night.

At some point it started to snow. a lot. It was really hard to see, very tiring. There were very few cars on the road, and when some uncoming traffic appeared we discovered that visibility in snow is much improved with your high-beams off. Go figure. Also: hooray for new snow tires! We never had them in Mississauga.

For this trip, I did a lot of emergency preparedness. I was all kinds of pleased with myself, as we tend to be pretty casual about a lot of things most Canadians consider necessary. So it's snowing and we're driving on a completely dark, unlit road, and I realize 100% of the emergency gear was in the truck. We didn't even have our warm jackets in the car! Do not be alarmed, I was very amused.

Despite the snow and the dark, Allan and I had a great drive to Sudbury, talking about everything in the world, occasionally checking in with M in the truck. We pulled into the Super 8 Sudbury around 11:30 pm.

Once in the room with a shit-ton of stuff, we realized that we were disorganized, bringing in many things we didn't need and forgetting many things we needed. I had organized what was needed on the trip, and what we needed access to in the back of the truck. But I had not considered what we'd want in the car or in the hotel room every night. One more thing to fix in the morning.

My finger was hurting again; it will probably hurt for weeks or months. Not to be undone, Allan misjudged a step and fell off the back of the truck. It sounded horrible, but he appears to have escaped without lasting damage.

When I was booking rooms for this trip, Super 8 had a deal to stay two nights and get the third night free. It sounded worth a shot. The one in Sudbury was pretty nice for a budget motel -- clean, bright, and new looking. You can see where they cut corners -- a better hotel would have retired those threadbare towels -- but it was perfectly adequate for one night. And the whole chain is pet-friendly.

One of the many items kept in the back of the truck is Diego's crate. We're hoping it will help if he has to be alone in unfamiliar surroundings. We haven't used the crate since we first adopted him, but he was crated overnight any time he stayed in Dogtopia. Diego doesn't have separation anxiety, thank dog, but he does like to bark. And he doesn't use his indoor voice.

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