We arrived in Winnipeg on a Tuesday afternoon smelling strongly of propane. It was actually very scary. I parked in a big box store parking lot and called Mike the RV Doctor while yelling at Finn and Lucy "I'm freaking out! Don't argue with me while I am freaking out!" It seemed to work - they moved away from the The Vehicle without too many opinions and questions but it was possibly not the high moment of my parenting career. It turned out that the smell was coming from our newly filled propane tank - a combination of the increase in outside temps and the bumpy roads causing the liquid to expand and need to vent. That it vented into the cab was not so nice but, apparently, no reason to run for cover either. Now we know.
But there we were, smack dab in the middle of the continent: Winnipeg.
We stayed north of Winnipeg in Birds Hill Provincial Park, which was really lovely and almost empty except for the deer and some very funny squirrels. It was here that I began to fully understand the limitations of having this large vehicle as our sole means of transport. Spontaneity, it doesn't encourage, which actually is a bit of a drag because there were many moments that I wished I could have just pulled over to document but I couldn't. I had about a day of feeling despair that I had made the wrong decision with this RV thing - shot myself in the foot - but then I had to just accept that this trip isn't the trip we did in September and realize it will be what it is, which actually is pretty great too.
Finnian became my main cameraperson and I asked him to photograph and videotape the small scattering of suburban sprawl that surrounds Winnipeg (there just isn't that much of it, so perhaps it is ok to shift the focus while here).
And that is how I drove three times through downtown Winnipeg. The first was to get to Wolseley Wardrobe where there was a Tuesday night knit together. The store is a yarn store and consignment shop (very cool!) and the group was very animated and fun. The conversation ranged from issues around community to the new name for sexually transmitted diseases (it's STI now, not STD in case you were wondering).
Many of the same people also go to the Wednesday night group at Chapters, and I would have been there too, but I was feeling pretty shabby on Wednesday and, despite getting almost there, decided to turn around and head back to our little berth at Birds Hill.
I think I was just plain old tired from driving for a week and keeping the whole thing moving. At a certain point I wondered if I could actually generate enough energy to make this trip AND create a rather large, ambitious art project.
So it was that Winnipeg was something of a low point. Not because of the people or the place - they were amazing and terrific - but because of my own need to sort it all out. One thing I have sorted right out of the project is my need to video tape the knitting groups. It was just too much and, frankly, not my style at all. When I gave myself permission to give that up, everything seemed more manageable.
Winnipeg, I haven't done you justice, I am afraid. But perhaps this just means I need to go back.