Sunday, October 13, 2013

780 Km - Port Dalhousie to Sault Ste Marie

So it begins.

About a month or so ago Bama and I were talking about how frustrated I was with trying to find a decent job. Read the report by Adzuna (and confirmed with a little googletime) that discusses the Niagara Region has the highest application to job ratio in the country. I have read reports ranging from 100 - 1 to 225 to 1.  Manufacturing and Production jobs have long been eroding from the area and are NOT coming back any time soon plus there is no technology sector to speak of. So adults are taking the low paying jobs to survive leaving nothing for students.

This conversation led to a reality check on where to work and restart a new career. There was only 1 real option, Alberta. The town with the largest new hires the last 3 years running, Red Deer Alberta. Then places like Grande Prairie, Fort McMurray and Edmonton. Then I was surprised to read about the oil boom that was happening in North Dakota and as oil does not recognize international boundaries towns in Southern Saskatchewan and Manitoba were starting to develop. So a tough decision was made. Now to make it happen.

I applied for quite a few jobs but it was obvious that was not going to work. I needed help. There were many companies offering basic training and knowledge dumps. I went with Alberta Oil Field Solutions Black Gold Oil Field Program with Ken Somers. This 3 days of training in Ottawa and I received my H2S alive and confined spaces tickets, critical for any job requirement. I upgraded my First Aid and CPR and with my clean driving record I have the leg up I need. However you need to be in Alberta (or Sask/Manitoba) and apply in person to make it happen.

So at 8:30 this morning and after a tearful good bye to Bama and Marina I hit the road. How many times had I driven the QEW to Toronto over the years?

First stop would be Sault Ste Marie where I went to college in what seems like a life time ago.

Once north on the 400 I passed Bradford - When I drove a van for Brights Wines I would always stop at the Village Inn for chicken wings.

I saw the cutoff to Collingwood where I lived for 6 years. Good memories as a bartender and ski bum, summer slo-pitch, and small town living.

The 400 changes to the 69 and I went through Perry Sound home of Bobby Orr, Britt where I had an amazing 4 day pike fishing trip a few years ago with some baseball buddies. At Sudbury I turned West on the 17 so no view of the big nickel.
The 17 goes through all the nice little town on the way to the Sault. Bruce Mines (Canada's first nickel mine), Thessalon, Blind River made famous by Neil Young, Espanola, Elliot Lake. The road was clear, the sun was shining and the leaves were trying real hard to hang on.

A thought about this part of the drive. North of Barrie I felt as if I was in one unending scene from a Tom Thompson painting. I was transfixed at every bridge crossing that were glimpses of wind swept trees and clear lakes nudging up to the hard granite of the Canadian Shield.

I pulled into Sault Ste Marie and found the first clean place to sleep along a strip of cheap motor hotels. There is a clean bed, TV to watch the ball game, wifi for some illegal downloads and a clean bed.

Sault College Redux
I remember telling everyone that I was coming here to study Forestry, the course being Forestry Technician. In reality I was a teenager that needed to find some independence and to clear the haze of a teenage pot fueled lifestyle.
Well the school had changed and is much larger. The former student housing is gone replaced by a parking lot. I just walked around the eerily quiet campus (holiday Monday) and it rekindled lots of old memories. .
- Fishing on the Saint Marie River
- Ice fish on Bachawana Bay and Trout Creek
- Winter Camping
- College Dorm life and all the fun that goes with it
- Learning to strum some basic cords on a guitar
- The Purple Lantern (if your from Niagara Falls think Bon Villa)
- Acer Rubrum the red maple and Acer Spicitum the mountain maple. The only 2 things I actually remember from college
- Pinewood 13 - 3
- Scoring the overtime winning goal to win the inter-mural ball hockey championship and the Sault Cup.
- Coming in 2nd in a 5km cross country ski race. I won a Molson mug that I still have
- The Downchild Blues Band
- The Kentucky Fried Chicken had a liquor license
- Molson Golden
- Grew up a little bit!

This is the last adventure for me to find work and I am only doing this for the $$. This is my last kick at the can for big money earnings before I say "I give", "That's enough work for me". Now its time to reap the rewards of a life of hard work and "semi" responsible living. Bama Agrees and wants to join me on the ride.


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