‘Wait … this is a two-way street?’

Long, wide, flat, good gravel. Just how I like ’em.

PRINCE OF WALES RD. – A great cheer went up. I’ll admit: I was one of the people cheering. We hadn’t taken Joe the truck off pavement since that oh-shit-we’re-gonna-die road in Georgia last summer.

While we relax in Wasaga, Trevor’s spending the week at Unicamp, an hour’s drive away, halfway down a long strip of gravel road. It’s well maintained and just enough country for me to put a little Kane on the iPod and belt out tunes.

We were early, though, so Melani wanted to keep driving to see where the road would take us. And it was an easy road, like I said, so I humoured her.

We waved at the farmer hauling hay and when we passed the horses, I pointed at the pinto and said, like I always do, “Let’s slap his butt and see what happens!” Trevor laughed, because that’s how I’ve raised him. Melani didn’t, because she knows I’ll love her anyway.

But then we crested a hill and road just fell away. True, I exaggerate, but it was much steeper on the downside and narrowed to barely Joe-width.

“Sorry, guys, the fun stops here,” I said, reversing into a farm lane to turn around. I’m very good at ignoring “Awww, Mom,” and “C’mon, loser!”

We doubled back to the highway and meandered along till we found a roadside stand with green beans that tasted exactly as green beans should. A little farther along, we stopped at a full-service gas station where we paid twenty cents less per litre than we would at home. Nice. So with Joe full of gas and us full of beans, and nearly completely lost on back roads, we set the GPS to take us back to Unicamp.

Shoulders? We don’t need no stinkin’ shoulders.

We’d done a three-quarter loop and the GPS looks for the shortest route between A and B. You know what’s coming, don’t you?

Back on gravel, Joe bopped along. The rocks were loose but the road was flat. There was nothing but fields to our right and left, old, swaying trees far in the distance. Melani started to giggle. “We’re coming at it from the other side. That hill’s going to get you coming or going.”

The hill I’d scorned at the beginning wasn’t so bad, it turned out, but that might have been a matter of perspective, as getting there meant being jostled along loose gravel and mud for more than ten kilometres, on a road barely wider than Joe.

“Go faster!” Trev encouraged.

“Yeah, and what happens when I meet a car going the other way?”

“Wait … this is a two-way street?”

Yeah, that’s right. Because that’s the way we roll.


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