Stopping traffic

Road trips are fun.

Road trips during the hottest days of the year in a minivan with no air conditioning are less fun.

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A few weeks ago, my family and I embarked on a wonderous weekend excursion to the lovely town of Smithers for the Midsummer Music Festival. This is our third time at the festival and I am, again, in awe of how lovely the countryside is, west of town. When we were kids, our vacations tended more towards south or east of town with the occasional jaunt north up to Bear or McLeod Lake. We did not really know anyone who lived Highway 16 west so we didn't go. But now, we travel to music festivals that my husband is playing in and follow the hippies across the province. It was a wonderful festival and very family friendly. We saw Shad play and other excellent musicians. It was great fun and I highly recommend everyone with small kids attend this festival - it is safe and friendly.

But, leaving town was a bit of an issue. Years ago we took a train ride to Smithers with my mom and we were very excited to leave town only to have our excitement dashed by the train waiting for the longest freight train in existence to pass. We did not even make the Cameron Street Bridge. Similarly, this trip was delayed by traffic. We just past the last gas station heading out of town and we were slowed by a lineup of cars, both sides of the highway. We thought either construction, road work, traffic accident or animals. It was the latter, sort of.

Vehicles on both sides of the highway inched along until we could see a woman standing in the middle of the road, holding up traffic - by herself. She was, as it turned out, chasing her dog who had no interest in being caught. The woman had no problem holding up two directions of traffic on a hot, dry weekend to ineffectually chase down her jerky dog who was misbehaving. Just out of sight was a pullout with a number of motorhomes that had people standing around outside of their RV's watching the lady not catch her dog. I will assume that the motorhome looky-loo's were in a caravan with the lady and were waiting for her to catch her dog so they could carry on driving to whatever lake they were going to. There were at least 100 cars that were held up by this woman.

When we got to the front of the line, we were forced to stop because the woman was standing on the highway in front of our minivan with no air conditioning. The dog, a silly-looking black cross breed, was weaving in and out of the cars that were barely moving. Every time the woman moved towards the dog, the dog moved away with its ears back.

Either the dog was being a jerk and knew exactly what he was doing and didn't want to go back to its owner or the dog had no idea who this crazy woman was and was trying to escape the nutter by hiding in the safety of traffic.

Dog Training 101: first, train your dog.

Second, respect the fact that most people seeing a runaway dog will not actively try to run over it. We will slow and the dog will move - as it was moving when cars were moving towards it. Listen lady, in the event that your dog escapes (again) and runs back into traffic, you standing in the middle of the highway will not help.

But I hope you caught your dog anyway.

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