For some, signs of summer may be the swallows returning, the solstice,modern-day druids performing made-up rites on said solstice, or perhaps having to mow the lawn.
For me, it's Irving gas-station coffee.
Whether perking up at the mid-point of a ride or perking me up at regular intervals on the highway, this is a beverage that never passes my lips in the off-season. As belated as summer has been coming to Nova Scotia, I've drunk a boat-load of Irving coffee in the last few weeks and, therefore, it is undubitably summer.
The latest batches of Irving's witches brew have been downed keeping me awake on the 1400km drive to the south shore of Montreal, Salaberry-Valleyfield to be precise, for the Soulanges Continental Cup triathlon. No, I'm not racing, I'm one of the officials. I've only been in town long enough to find the hotel and find the nearest St Hubert BBQ chicken resto; triathlon work starts tomorrow.
The drive was uneventful; as much as I usually don't like driving, it was nice to have the better part of 14 hrs to myself. I filled the first two-thirds of the trip with the CBC or a couple of audio-books, but then defaulted to louder and louder music as Montreal got closer and closer. Traffic was pretty bad around Montreal, and it took me over two hours to do the final 90k s from the junction of the 20 and 30 to the hotel. This was ignoring the advice of a suicidal GPS who wanted me to drive onto, and off, the island instead. Sure, it would have been a bit shorter, but with the current state of Montreal's bridges, I'd probably be out there.
There was no compelling reason to do so, but I did use a Garmin Nuvi on the drive, even though I knew exactly where I was going. Was this so I had accurate kilometres so I could submit my travel-expenses to TriCan? This is what I'm telling myself, but we all know the real reason; if it isn't on your Garmin, you never did it. Oh, how it creeps. Firstly, it was bike-rides that never happened, then rubs, but now long road-trips? If you remember doing it but you can't download it (or have a downloaded record of it) does that mean the workout still happened? When my computer crashed and I lost three years of saved Garmin tracks on Training Centre, did that mean I hadn't run all those miles? Which is more reliable; the BAA website shows I ran Boston twice, but I can only show you one downloaded track to "prove" it, and I was never actually "at" MDI! I think I need to get a life. Or a least one whose' worth cannot be so qualitatively determined, and if necessary, dismissed!
The Ninja was very good on the highway, I seem to be getting ca 500 kms out of a tank or ca. 6.6 L/100 kms, which were the figures the Smart was sold to me in the first place. La belle was very skeptical and didn't think I'd see those numbers, based on her experience with the diesel, so I'm pleasantly surprised to see the Ninja doing exactly what it said on the tin. As it uses Supreme, not regular, it costs about $40 to fill 'er up and so I go for about the same distance for the same money as the Deer Killer, but I am using less fuel, hence reducing my overall footprint.
And yes, I am aware of the irony of using the phrase "reduce one's footprint" whilst discussing a drive to Montreal. It's like discussing the ethics of food-production methods whilst eating a foie gras-stuffed veal sandwich (possibly the worlds most indefensible meal).
Well, bed-time for me; early start tomorrow. Should be an interesting linguistic weekend; most of the officials are Francophone, I'm a Brit and the TD is a Newfie! We'll have the arse out of 'er in no-time!