I had to go to Canada for a funeral and even though we have been going there at least once a year for over thirty years, I still need directions. It’s not the freeways and the marked hi-ways I have a problem with, I can read road signs, it’s the roads within sixty miles of my home town that are my problem.

Seriously, I don’t know anyone who can get lost so close to the place they lived for over twenty-five years. There is more than one place to cross the border to get to my house, but I get lost both ways. I suppose it’s just talent.

One of my problems is that you have to travel on Indian reservations in middle of the prairie, where everything looks the same and one wrong turn on a gravel road and you can be lost for days before someone notices the buzzards circling  overhead.

Secondly, I am not good with directions that say, look for the train trestle going over the dam and turn at the rusty gate. I made Rick sit down and give me precise directions to navigate the shortcut from Browning Montana through Duck Lake. This is what he wrote.

'Gas up off the #2 Hwy on RT down the street, turn left onto ‘Duck Lake Road’ by the three huge Ice Cream Tepees. At the end of Duck Lake Road turn Right to Border Crossing. You can’t miss it.'

First of all there are a lot of gas stations on the right. Secondly there were not three Ice Cream Tepees. There was one Tepee, that said nothing about ice cream, but it did have a road that went to the left just before and just after it.

I took the first left and drove down the road looking for a sign that said Duck Lake. There was none, so I found a place to turn around and headed back to the gas station to confirm my directions— something my husband would never do.

There were two gentlemen standing in front of the gas station. I jumped out and started to talk to them. When I got close I could see that they were stone cold, stone, drunk. Leave it to me to sniff out the only drunks in the vicinity to ask for directions.

They pointed up the street to the white Teepee and said, “Turn that way.” Then they threw their arms out in each direction. They were about as helpful as Rick. When they followed me to my car asking me what I had for them I knew I had to get out of there. I crossed my fingers and turned left again at the Teepee.

Thirty minutes seems like eternity when you are the only one driving on a lonely road in the middle of the reservation with no idea if you are going the right way. Finally, I came to the end. Again, there was no sign. I memorized where I was in case I had to come back and do it all again and made a right hand turn to what I hoped would take me to the border.

I did make it to Canada, and back. My sister is coming to visit in a few weeks so I wrote clear directions for her. I included a landmark that I noticed on my way down. When I saw it on my way back home I breathed a huge sigh when knew I was going the right way.

'Look for the giant gopher stuffed onto a fence post.' Now that’s a visual no one can mistake!

1 comment:

Connie said...

You are such a brave lady making that trip by yourself. Ick, those two drunk guys sounded kinda creepy. So glad you made it back home safe and sound.


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