Friday, October 19, 2012
Considering James Bay, Pt. 1
For those of you not so familiar with the geography of this great land of ours, let me walk you through how to get to James bay. Start in Toronto. Hop on the 400, and head all the way (about an hour driving time) north to Barrie. OOh, rural Barrie. Torontonians are already calling this "up north". Then keep going about the same distance and you hit Orillia, and keep going through places like huntsville, gravenhurst, etc. The lily dippers among us might already tentatively be calling this northern ontario. But we all know we're not really there yet. Around this area, 400 changes into Hwy. 11. Stick with it, and keep on trucking north. Unless you need to pee. Do that here, because it's two hours to North Bay, with little in the way of polite rest stops in between. Plenty of trees though. So, North Bay. This is bonafide Northern Ontario. You get the tax credits that say so and everything. Normally, when we go to visit grand mamman we stop for lunch here, it seems to be the half way point. No coffee though, oh no. I bet that there are two toilets between here and grandma's house that are not inside a private dwelling. Then we hit the road again for grandmamman's house, which is in New Liskeard. Easily another 2.5-3 hours, sometimes more since in places the road is a single lane each direction, and there are lots of farmers, loggers and miners up here, and all of them have road hogging, slow moving vehicles. Whew! We've made it to New Liskeard, and let's say for argument's sake that it's taken us around 7 hours. Now drive about another 3 hours north to Cochrane. Here Hwy 11 veers off west, and travels all the way to BC. We stop the ride at Cochrane. After about 10 hours in a car, we're ready to ditch the car. Actually, we have to. There are no roads north of here. We've run out of civilization as we know it (ok, dramatic, but we've run out of paved road). There is however, a train station. That's right, we're going to hop aboard the iconic Polar Bear Express, and sit on our asses in it for a further 5 hours. When we hop off in Moosonee, we will be 150 km north of those paved roads. Now sit down, look around and sigh. We've maybe made it. Moosonee is the southern most town where Andrew might get posted. The other five... er... well settlements anyways, some don't deserve to be called towns, lie along the western rim of James Bay, with the northern most place (Attiwapiskat) another 150 km or so north of Moosonee. Yeah, that's up north. Attiwapiskat requires a flight, unless you're in the magical season where one might traverse the ice road. Scary thought.
So you think I'm cringing in a corner, right? Hell no! At least not yet. See, Andrew really needs this I think, to help bolster his confidence. I think it will be one of the easier jobs to get. Maybe I'm wrong, but I think when it comes to going aaaaaalllllllllllll the way up there, pretty much showing up for the interview will get ya the job. I don't see there being a huge queue clamouring for the the opportunity to move up there. And up in James Bay there will be all kinds of opportunities to do upgrades, like the chopper medic stuff that he couldn't afford to do if it weren't for the service paying for them. So, we head up to Moosenuts, Northern Ontario, spend a year or two making friendly with the locals, and then when we come back south, my honey bear will be super hire-able, and hopefully finally land his dream job with Toronto EMS. I really don't want him to give up on his dreams, but at this point, I think he's getting close to doing just that.
At first when he was contemplating this move he had a very lone ranger attitude towards the whole thing. I guess he figured I'd either stay here or move back in with my folks while he braved the wilds alone. I'm not that girl. I'm not afraid to get my hands dirty and live without certain modern conveniences. And I sure as hell couldn't stand being away from him for over a year. I'd be worried sick... and I would miss him like crazy. I've said more than once that I'd go to the ends of the earth for him. I never thought it would be tested in quite such a literal way, but there you have it. I love that man like crazy, I'm going to make a husband of him shortly (gosh, won't that be fun, planning a toronto wedding from the arctic tundra... hmm...) and darn it all, if he's off on an adventure, well then I'm coming too.