“Clutch in”, coached Hillary.
“Which one is the clutch?” I reluctantly responded.
“Cassie we are leaving for Alberta tomorrow, we have a 36hr drive and I can’t drive the whole 36hrs”, stressed Hillary.
“I can’t do this; there are cars behind me, any time I take my foot off the break I roll backwards”.
“Just take your foot off the clutch as you press the break” Hillary exclaimed with a hint of panic in her voice.
The bologna sandwich that I had just devoured for lunch was slowly retracing my digestive track. “Toot, toot” blasted the black Mazda sport, that was stopped directly behind us. “Can we trade seats?” I begged. I couldn’t handle the pressure any more, I was sure I was going to roll backwards and hit the black car behind me. My heart was pounding so hard that I thought it was going to protrude through my chest. In silence, we traded places. I walked to the passenger side like a puppy with my tail between my legs. “Tomorrow will be different” I kept repeating in my head, trying to calm myself down. Hillary dropped me off at my house. We would reunite for our road trip in just 5 hrs.
“Beep, beep, beep”, the high pitch sound rang through my ear drums. I rolled over to smack the snooze button, as my body was begging me for just ten more minutes. Then I jolted up thinking Alberta here I come! I gathered up my” last minutes must haves”, and then waited impatiently. In the front room of my house peering out the window watching for the headlights of Hillary’s car, I felt like I was waiting for Santa Claus. She finally arrived; I said my good bye’s to my parents. Even though my mom was half asleep she was balling. “Mom I’m only going to be gone for 4 months, please stop crying, you’re going to make me cry”. My parents helped me squeeze my mounds of belongings into the small Honda Civic, making sure to leave a hole out the back for the driver to see.
“You should drive first”, Hillary stated as she tossed me the keys. We both agreed that it would be best for me to start off driving, seeing as it was 3 in the morning, and there was a less chance of me hitting other cars. I jumped into Hilary’s car, her baby, which was now controlled by my shaking body.
We were off; I was running the show for the next three hours until we reached the boarder. I pulled over in the duty free parking lot to switch spots with Hillary. The trip had gone over quite smoothly; it was all highway driving, no cars, no stops, and no problems. As we pulled up to the boarder window I started to feel nervous. I had nothing to be nervous about. The chance of adding any delays to our travel time made me nervous. Hillary pressed the automatic button, whoosh went the window. “Passports?, where are you headed? How long are you going to be gone for? Have you ever been charged by the police?” “Charged by the police? Is this guy for real? We are going to work at a camp!” I couldn’t help but think. We were finally cleared to travel on.
While sitting in the car gazing out the window, I entered a dazed state of mind. Memories of family road trips filled my head. I could remember sitting in the back seat of the car next to my little sister, playing eye-spy and seeing who would be the first to spot a wild animal. Now things were different, I was making this road trip without my family. It was now Hillary, myself and the wide open road.
Two provinces, 4 states, six car stalls and 36hrs later we came across a large sign “Welcome to Edmonton Alberta” “AAAAAAAAAAAh” we squealed with excitement. We had made it. I had made it. I was officially able to say “I can drive a standard”. Even though there were stressful times during the drive, I pushed through and made it. I knew I would not have to drive standard for another four months until it was time to head home. Then it would begin all over again.