While I don't want to make myself a set itinerary for my cross-country trip, I am researching my various route options for a couple of legs, namely that from Gatineau to Winnipeg and Calgary to the British Columbia interior. I'm mostly focusing on the former right now and just gathering information to be reviewed in Saskatchewan (!) for the latter.
Until today, I thought I was getting to Winnipeg the way I came back from there in 2005, on the 17 via North Bay, Sudbury, the Sault, Thunder Bay, and Kenora. I didn't think that the more northern route through Kapuskasing was a viable alternative. Then, I began to read several trip blogs and forum posts describing the 11, a more northern route, as being superior to the 17 for RVers because it's less mountainous (better gas mileage, less wear and tear on the brakes) and that it's the exact same mileage. I liked the idea of taking a new route for part of the trip to Winnipeg and adding more towns and sights to my 'been there!' list.
So, I pulled out my trusty Michelin road atlas and looked at the 11 more closely. Suddenly, a third route opened up. I called up Google maps to test a theory. A nice feature of Google maps is that you can chart routes of your own choice by specifying that you want to from a to z by way of c and y. By altering my search parameters, I figured out the mileage between Gatineau and Winnipeg by each of the three routes. The 11 and 17 routes are indeed exactly the same mileage. My route adds only 30 kilometres more.
Therefore, unless further research makes me feel this plan is ill advised at the time of year during which I'm leaving, I plan to get to Winnipeg by way of l'Abitibi-Temiscamingue, with Vérendrye Park for my first night. This is my favourite place to camp and it would be lovely to say goodbye to it. Then, off to Val D'Or, a city I've been meaning to visit ever since I came to this region. After, Rouyn-Noranda, Kirkland Lake, Iroquois Falls, Kapuskasing, Hearst, and on past Geraldton and Rocky Bay to rejoin the 17 at Nipigon. From there, it'd be two short days to Winnipeg. If I plan on averaging 5 hours of driving per day at an average of 90km per hour, I'd be in Winnipeg in 5 to 7 days.
Originally, I planned to leave on September 15th. But I had a talk with my supervisor about this and she strongly suggested that I leave at the end of a pay period, so either September 3rd or 17th. The 17th is too late for me. We agreed on the 3rd, but didn't sign papers because she had a few more questions for me to ask HR. Papers should be signed tomorrow. Then it'll really be official. I'm so scared to let go of that steady pay cheque, but I know I need to do this.
Obviously, if I'm done with work on the 3rd, there's no way I'll hang out here for two weeks before taking off. :-)
Next on my list of things to do is ask my landlord if he'd be willing to advertise my house as being free for September 1st. I've already given him notice that I'm not renewing my lease, and I'm hoping to not have to pay rent for September. I have a feeling he'll be open to discussion on this matter.
So much to do and arrange and plan and research, but how good it feels to be so free.
"Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more. It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."