Reached the Promised Land – driving across the continent (Day 1)

Well, I reached Canmore, Alberta after three days of driving. I have never driven across the continent, or for more than a day even, before – it was an interesting but very tiring experience. I was glad to reach my destination in the prescribed time I had set for myself, but driving for ~15 hours each day was definitely taxing on the body and mind. I’m writing this a few days late, just because it has taken me some time to sort other things out, like skiing, dealing with logistics and unpacking (for this first stop).

My goal for Day 1 was to get as close to Chicago as possible, although I had been told reaching Cleveland, OH was a realistic goal. The route took me along the Great Lakes (Buffalo, Niagra Falls, Erie (PA)). Fortunately, temperatures were cold, so the roads were dry. There was some Lake effect snow that made for an atmospheric interlude.

Flurries around the Great Lakes.

Flurries around the Great Lakes.

day-1-buffalo-niagra

I’ll get to you, Canada, farther down the road…

The estimated drive time is not indicative of the actual drive time, but on this day, I made good progress.

The estimated drive time is not indicative of the actual drive time, but on this day, I made good progress.

Being on large interstates (I-90 and I-80) meant that there were frequent rest stops and opportunities to refuel the car and myself. It made for easy and relaxing driving. I ended up bedding down for the night at a rest stop near South Bend, IN. I deliberately chose to sleep surrounded by the dulcet hum of large long-haul trucks under the very bright mood lighting of the truck parking area. I am very aware of being a small female sleeping alone in my car, but I felt like the best choice was to sleep amongst truckers versus being the only car (or one of very few cars) in a car rest stop/pull-out.

It was cold. Thank goodness for having a very warm sleeping bag.

It was cold. Thank goodness for having a very warm sleeping bag.

I managed to get some sleep in the car. I had set aside the length of the car behind the drivers seat for me, and it was the perfect length. I even had a duffel bag at the foot of my feet and there was still room, although I do tend to sleep curled up in the foetal position. It would certainly be a little less comfortable for someone of taller stature; they would likely have to sleep diagonally. I wanted to get an early start for the next day as I wanted to get a lot of driving in to make the third, and final, day manageable and have me arriving in Canmore not too late, giving me time to unload the car etc. I have a tendency to stress out a little about planning and logistics. I am good at it, but it does occupy my mind a fair bit, especially on big trips like this.

 

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