MITCHELL’S MUSINGS: On the road again

Ah, the memories. The broadened horizons. There really is nothing like travel.

I like to travel. I always say it broadens your horizons and allows you to see how other people live and if you have even a bit of an open mind you can learn about others, and maybe even a little bit about yourself if you’re not careful.

Given the choice, I’ll take travel over stuff any day. I figure life is more about moments that turn into memories than material things that you just end up throwing away anyway.

So when my niece said she was getting married in Edmonton in February I said I was up for the challenge, after all she’s family and pretty special and the first one of her generation to tie the knot and…..

Well, maybe that’s not what I said at first. It might have been more like “I didn’t know there was an Edmonton in Mexico, I’ve heard of Puerto Vallarta and Mazatlan, maybe it’s on the Caribbean side, I’ve never been to that side, do you say it the same way as the one that’s the capital of Alberta?”

“Oh, it is the capital of Alberta? In February? OK, then, let’s go.”

And she is from there after all and her man is going to U of C and it’s his reading break and it was Valentine’s Day weekend and, what the heck, there’s never a bad time to have a wedding.

Still, I was a little nervous about the weather possibilities, although less so than my wife who wasn’t sure how to dress formally for a wedding when you’re actually more concerned about not freezing to death.

We needn’t have worried.

The day we got to Edmonton International it might have been a couple degrees below zero (Celsius), a little colder if you count the wind chill, but no snow, dry roads for our rental car, and so I ponied up extra bucks for a GPS and we were off into the flat white yonder.

I can’t say it was totally stress-free, however.

Without the GPS we would have been sunk (how did we get by again in the olden days, oh, yeah, road maps and our brains), but throw in rap music on the music system for the boys in the back, an uptight driver on foreign roads, and a nervous co-pilot who has little to no faith that we’re going to come out of this combination alive, let alone get to our destination, and, well, we actually did, but not without incident. And not without some stress to the family dynamic. Personally, I blame the rap music, ahem.

But our luck seemed to change as we got into our hotel room early and started making plans for the day before the wedding. Of course, unfortunately they all involved driving, but even a moron like me, with his trusty GPS, can make it to the West Edmonton Mall without too much trouble. U-turns are legal in Alberta, right?

And the wedding day? It was sunny, plus 5 Celsius, and almost as beautiful as the bride herself.

Apparently, the locals tell me, it’s like that all the time in northern Alberta in February, who knew?

We all had a wonderful time and the wedding was a bonafide success. Maybe destination weddings can help boost the economy until oil recovers its lustre.

So all there was left to do was gas up the car, return it to the airport and we’d be on our way with our memories intact.

About that.

I couldn’t find the lever under the seat to open the gas cap hatch door and soon my wife was involved and before you knew it the front hood was open, kind of funny, and then the anti-theft device was fully activated, not quite as funny, until my youngest son got out of the car and noticed that you just had to push the hatch door to open it.

We finally got the horn to stop honking by putting the key in the ignition and I quickly pumped the $6.73 worth of 57.9 cents a litre of gas, actually overfilling the tank and spilling it on myself and the pavement below.

Once we figured out how to deactivate the antitheft device and get the steering wheel actually working again, we were on our way to the airport, no problem, well with a little help from the GPS.

Ah, the memories. The broadened horizons. There really is nothing like travel.