Friday, June 5th started with a lot of coffee. I took the first shift at 7am and at 11:30am we arrived in Dryden, Ont. There we made a quick stop at The Bookcase to leave behind five signed books which slotted nicely into their great section on bush flying and the north.
A couple of hours later after switching off at the wheel, we were in Kenora
, which Doug remarked “has clearly outgrown its britches.” There was tremendous traffic on its construction-clogged streets and we ended up waiting in line at Subway for twenty minutes while a girls’ soccer team placed their orders. Then I dropped off five more books at Elizabeth Campbell Books
, a treasure of used books tucked into an alleyway that smells faintly of the tanning salon to which it is attached. Elizabeth and I chatted about her mother’s amazing life as a field nurse who was responsible for a huge swathe of territory north and west of the town. Someone else I want to call when I get back to Wyoming (which will be a little later than originally expected – more details to come)…
5pm we arrived in Winnipeg and I had just enough time to shower, get dressed, and shovel in a salad before I was off to the Western Canada Aviation Museum to give a talk at a meeting of the Canadian Aviation Historical Society (Manitoba chapter). The organizers were nice enough to shift the meeting date to accommodate my schedule, and the other featured author, Judy Kozar (War Grooms and the Girls Who Stole Their Hearts), let me tag along. We had a fairly good turnout for a Friday night where the temperature rose above 10 degrees Celsius (meaning that every Winnipegger would want to be out tending to their gardens). Bill Zuk, the chapter secretary, editor of Western Canada Aviation & Aerospace Magazine, and author, also passed along the four cartons of books he’d accepted for me so that I’d have enough rolling stock for my events in Winnipeg, Edmonton, Calgary, and beyond.
Well, by noon on Saturday, June 6th I started thinking I might not need as much stock as previously estimated. At 11:30am, shortly after leaving Moosomin
, Saskatchewan on the Trans-Canada highway (which by this point is a two-lane, relatively well-tended highway), Doug discovered that the car would not go into gear. We went from cruising along at 120km/h in the left lane to coasting in neutral to the shoulder.
So, Doug tried to restart it (cars are just like computers now, right?) but while the engine started up fine, the car would not move. Then Doug uttered those dreaded words: it’s probably the transmission. But with our Progressive insurance roadside assistance and our Rock Springs, WY Honda-Toyota Extended Warranty we were sure we could get everything sorted quickly. Maybe not…