Saturday, June 25, 2011

Trapped in Thompson

This time when I woke up this morning, I knew exactly where I was.

On a mattress on a garage floor in Gillam, Manitoba.

This wasn't part of the plan.

Nor was it the update I planned to write. The story I wanted to tell was either the great Gillam Wrestling Basketball Invitational, the Dauphin Pants-Off Dance-Off or the Triumphant Return to the Thompson Inn in which Dan got to watch two intoxicated and rather weathered-looking older women nearly get into a fight over him.

Those stories may come later.

But for now, I am trapped in Thompson, which in the scheme of things is an upgrade from being marooned in Gillam, but still not ideal, given the circumstances.

Both are wonderful towns with wonderful people and great places to put on shows.

Still, Thompson is a town with zombies. At least that's what we joke about when we see the way some of its population shuffles around the town, seemingly oblivious to other people, cars, or street signals.

Gillam, on the other hand, is kind of like the moon, if there was a Legion hall there--isolated and desolate, a town that is barely a town at all and exists only by the grace of Manitoba Hydro.

The tour was going smoothly until the trip to Gillam on the last day, when the wheels came off--literally. One of the cars--the one that was to take us back home--blew a tire on the gravel road to Gillam. Unfortunately, the boys didn't realize the tire had blown until a hundred and fifty kilometers later. The rim was torn to pieces.

The car made it to the show on the donut. The show itself was fantastic, capped by the Supreme-Adonnas riding to the ring on tricycles they found backstage.

It was only after the show that things got a little sticky when it occurred to us we were about to attempt to drive back to Thompson in a vehicle with only three good tires.

On a narrow gravel road, mainly populated by speeding trucks. Over two hundred and fifty gas-station free miles north of the next town.

Did I mention none of our cell phones had service that far north?

They didn't.

Did I mention the forest fire warning?

Well, there was.

We ended up spending the night in Gillam and headed out early the next morning, hoping the car would make it.

It didn't.

We were less than twenty kilometeres out of town when the tire blew.

The back-up plan was to ride in the back of the ring truck with all the equipment. IT was not a plan I liked, since dust had proven its ability to get into the truck, and I wasn't keen on being thrown around in the back of a trailer filled with steel supports breathing in dust and forest fire smoke.

Still, I was making myself a little nest in one corner of luggage, entrance cloth and ring padding when the bus arrived.

The Greyhound from Gillam to Thompson right on schedule.

All of us except for two guys jumped into the bus and we rode back to Thompson in style. And from the way the bus bounced over the roads, I'm very glad we didn't go through with Operation: Ring Truck. Meanwhile, The Supreme-Adonnas drove the ring truck back to Thompson.

We owe that bus driver big as well as the staff of Lakeview Inn and Suites who let us stay past check-out time and were patient with our endless phone calls and questions as we tried to solve our dilemma and let our loved ones know what was going on.

Which brings us to where I am right now: writing this entry on a hotel computer while I wait for the tow truck to bring the car back to us. We've already picked up a tire and rim from Canadian Tire and are going to make the change ourselves if the dealership is closed by the time it gets here.

I am optimistic.

But the Sports Entertainment Gods are fickle.

If you don't hear from me in a few days, you might want to take a trip up to Thompson, Manitoba.

Could be you'll find a few new zombies shuffling around.

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