When I tell people I am heading to Manitoba for a guided bow hunt the response I normally get isn't "Where in Manitoba?" it's more like "Where is Manitoba?"
"I don't really know," is my patent response - and that's not all that far from the truth.
I know it is many, many miles away - a fact that will surely be driven home as my hunting chum, Mike Fenoff, and I take to the highway this week for the 1,900-mile ride.
My concern isn't so much the 1,900-mile ride, but more the 19,000-mile ride back .... or so it will most certainly seem.
But alas, life's not about the destination, it's about the ride - as Peter Fonda so aptly put it in the 1969 flick "Easy Rider."
Fonda is one cool cat - and those are some super words to live by. Which is totally why I opted to drive 30-plus hours over the five-hour flight.
Okay, not really. Are you nuts? You actually think I'd chose 30-plus hours of staring at pavement and brake lights until my eyes bleed over being waited on by stewardesses with arms full of those tiny little liquor bottles?
Nope. It's more because I couldn't pony up the $700 plane fare ... plus baggage fee, pillow and blanket fee, meal and drink fee and God knows what else they whack you for these days.
I'm a journalist for Pete's sake ... not an employee of the Adirondack Park Agency.
Soooo, I plan to make the best of it, which is where the whole "enjoy the ride" philosophy comes into play. Actually, it is a mindset I have long subscribed to.
Perhaps it has something to do with the deep psychological scars that linger from my childhood, left by my dad's refusing to stop the car for a single bathroom break during the entire 22-hour trip we took to Florida each year.
"We've still got a quarter-tank of gas, can you hold out another few exits?" he'd bellow, just as the last rest area for 60 miles whizzed by.
I can still picture him standing at the rear of our panel-sided station wagon, hair all disheveled, stuffing enough food and drink in the back to last through a Sammy Davis telethon.
"We've got a schedule to keep," he'd say, slamming the huge swinging door at the tail of the Queen Family Truckster and glaring hard at his oversized wrist watch.
And then, inevitably, would come the million dollar question: "Okay now, does anyone need to use the bathroom?"
I still wet myself a little when I say that sentence aloud.
"Uhmmmmm ... no, not really, dad," I'd say, staring blankly at the ground with my hands behind my back, grinding the toe of one shoe in the sand.
"Well, try anyway," he'd holler, glaring so hard at you it all but made peeing impossible anyway. "I don't want to hear you've got to go an hour into this trip."
An hour? We all knew better. It was next step South Carolina. The man had an iron bladder, I swear.
Anyway, back to the Manitoba story, which was my motivation for this column in the first place.
As you read this, I'll be readying for a seven-day guided bow hunt in Minnedosa, Manitoba, just east of Saskatchewan.
I chose Manitoba for a host of reasons, but mainly because of the plethora of large whitetail combined with almost non-existent hunting pressure.
In a province the size of Texas, only 3,400 bow permits are issued every year - that's resident and non-resident combined. And, the rate of harvest is 40 percent, which is nearly unheard of in the U.S.
I plan to have a camouflage laptop with me and will be chronicling the hunt from my tree stand as it unfolds.
Again a slight exaggeration, but I will be giving daily reports and taping portions of the hunt which will be posted to my blog at www.denpubs.com.
Just click on "Extra!Extra!" in the top bar, pull down to blogs and click on my smiling mug.
Now if I can just get Mike to watch "Easy Rider" before we go and talk him into a half dozen pit stops along the way, I should be golden. No pun intended.
John Gereau is managing editor of Denton Publications and an avid outdoorsman. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.