They always want to know how long it takes.
“About 18 hours of actual driving time,” I say, refusing to add the part that goes without saying.
Going from Ottawa (Ontario) to Huntsville (Alabama) requires that you cross several states that mostly look exactly like the one you just left. That’s especially true when it’s raining the way it was last Friday, between Buffalo and Columbus. Or was it Louisville? I seem to recall Kentucky was dryish. But then of course it was dark so maybe I missed something.
The thing I noticed the most was the roadkill. Many kinds of splayed guts and fur on the side of the road, but mostly deer. I counted at least 15 on the way down. I dread the way back up tomorrow, via Detroit this time.
It’s not because people drive worse than usual. November is mating season so the animals are out more. It may also be that there are more deer in North American forests for reasons that have yet to be explained. If you google a little bit you’ll find news stories about increased risk of wildlife collisions this year, and the presence of more roadkill on the shoulders waiting to be picked clean by scavengers, but I’m not sure I believe their explanations.
And besides, it doesn’t matter. We should find ways to travel without hurting the wildlife so much. New Brunswick has an impressive fence system on both sides of the Trans-Canada Highway in areas where those collisions would otherwise occur. I’m sure it was very expensive, and it was no doubt installed to protect the humans more than the wildlife (it’s moose they have in those forests; these kill humans when humans hit them with their cars, much more than the smaller deer do), but still, you know. Maybe we could think about that on the Interstate system?
I’m delighted to be in Huntsville again, my 10th trip since last November. I’m taking part in a storytelling event tonight, and that gave me a great excuse to take Youngest on the road with me, their first time in the Rocket City. Not their last, they say. It’s a pretty cool city.
They were skeptical, as I was before I started spending time here. Alabama, mom?
Yes, dear. But this city is different, you’ll see.
They saw. There is much trumpism in this state, but not in this city. And while trumpism lives on in Alabama and elsewhere, including the much-worse Florida or the conspiracy swamps of Arizona, Trump himself is on the way out. He’ll kick and scream and scratch at everything he can, dragging down anyone close to him in an attempt to keep his head above water. But he’s done. And soon the justice system will catch up with him, too.
I try not to gloat. It takes some doing.
I decided for my column this week to take a break from politics and think about snow instead. Which I gather made its first appearance in Ottawa today. (Don’t be too jealous, it’s barely above freezing here.) I’m promoting an idea stolen from Michigan which stole it from Scotland of having a naming contest for the snow plows. Already readers are sending their suggestions. I’m happy to collect them and pass them on to the first city councillor who decides to shepherd this idea at City Hall.
As long as they agree that our prettiest plow be named the Ryan Reynolds, for reasons I outline in the column. Might as well go read it now.
Some cool name suggestions sent by readers, including…
- Jonathon Winter, Sno-Sho (David Potterton)
- Deadplow (Doug van den Ham)
- Justin TruSnow (Keith Egli)
- Diefen-Clunker, Justin TruSnow, Chrystia’s Freezing, Parliament Hail, Dow’s Lake Flakes, The Byward (Can’t Park It), Beaver Hails, The Tim Hortons Double Double We’re in Troube, Sparks Sleet, Rideau Canal Plow, The Alanis You Outta Know I Have to Plow this Street! The Bryan Adams This Ain’t the Summer of 69 Move It! (Terry Toll)
- Snow Ploughder (Karen Davies)
- Parliament Chill, Implowsible, Sno Bigdeal, Flake Away (Rene Boucher)