Adventure Awaits

Our desire for adventure and our desire to be safe and comfy are often at odds. Of all the adventure stories that we hold dear, most of them only really start once something fails to go according to plan.

Yvon Chouinard probably put it best:

It’s not an adventure until something goes wrong.

I learned this again a couple weeks ago.

Driving in the rain

On a recent Saturday morning in June, I joined my grandpa, uncles, and brother-in-law to drive my grandpa’s vintage tractors in a 50km trek across the open prairie. The Tractor Trek is an annual affair, and a celebration of the history of our area. Each of my grandpa’s tractors tells a story of my family’s past.

But the weather is rarely favourable during the Tractor Trek. There’s a story for nearly each of the past 10 years. There was the year that the sky loomed an ominous green as we set out, the torrential downpour following a half-hour later forcing us to turn quickly home to take shelter. Then there was the time that we stocked up on gloves and toques at our lunch stop in Kleefeld to try to keep warm against the cold and wind. On the other extreme, there was the time that the sun got so unexpectedly hot that our sunburns were our main concern.

Something about venturing into the open prairie on roof-less old tractors in late spring that welcomes great weather stories.

This year, it rained.

The weather forecast had been threatening all week, but we were not deterred. Even a brief shower shortly before we headed out from the Mennonite Heritage Village couldn’t convince the group of 50 tractor enthusiasts to turn back to the barn.

Tractor Trek 2019

And the weather was pretty good. For the morning.

After lunch though, the weather turned. The rain came on gusts of wind. Clutching to the steering wheel, seated between the two large knobby tires of our red IH tractors, we were at the mercy of whatever water and mud the tires threw our way.

I was thankful that I’d packed my full head-to-toe rain suit.

Better than knack zoat

When we finally got back home (a little sooner than planned), we laughed at the absurdity of it. But we also realized it’s days like these that make the annual Tractor Trek interesting. If the weather was perfect every year, we’d get bored of telling the same knack-zoat-spitting stories (a huge bag of sunflower seed is standard issue for every trekker). Let me assure you, there was no thought of snacking on salty knack zoat once the rain picked up this year!

Referring to the infamously terrible conditions of the 2018 Boston Marathon, running coach David Roche pointed out (in a podcast, sorry, I can’t recall which one) that most people run a marathon for the challenge, and for a memorable experience. Bad weather offers the promise of a memorable experience and a great story to tell at the end.

Adventure awaits each of us, as long as we’re willing to get a little wet.