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Here's a winter truth which I learned immediately after I started working in Canada as a truck driver. Your luck will run out. A winter storm will catch up with you.

This is my fourth winter in this beautiful and awesome country. Interestingly though, I seem to have managed to steer clear of the worst of it this winter season. (In other words: my excellent dispatch has been routing me around the worst of the winter systems so far, but my luck won't last).

However, to give you an example, in December, while driving in West-Virginia, Ohio and western New York, I only brushed past a huge system that brought all of Pennsylvania and large parts of Virginia and Maryland to a complete standstill.

Another example was when a second Nor'easter battered New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York City and New England in January. By then I had already fled the scene and was well on my way to Winnipeg, from my pickup near Harrisburg, PA, only to return east when the skies had cleared - and the roads had been cleared as well.

A cold truth

But what you cannot to escape, is the cold. In Manitoba the temperature dropped to -23°C, with a wind chill that made it feel like - 35°C. In western Quebec the temperature dropped to -25 °C, again with a much worse wind chill.

As I was parked for the night in Val d'Or, QC, I realized that a beautiful moon was rising over the truck. Those moments can yield a cool photo. So, I decided to get all winter-dressed up and have a look outside of the cab and its comfortable warmth.

It turned out it was worth it. Her Majesty the Moon hung low and beautifully in the black night sky and I could capture her with a nice broadside shot of the truck without having to move it.

Her Majesty the Moon hanging low over the truck


But fumbling around with the tripod and subsequently taking a glove off to make a few adjustments to the camera settings was immediately punished by a stinging pain in the exposed fingers. That same cold also started to bite into my face while I could feel it slowly permeating my layers of clothing, especially on the windward side of my body.

The cold simply attacked me. Yet interestingly, cold as a scientific concept actually isn't something. Rather, it is the absence of something: thermal energy. Without thermal energy there is no warmth. And without enough warmth around it, the human body will sustain serious damage. Or worse.

After a few minutes I climbed back into the warm truck, escaping the cold. But I couldn't escape the idea that something that isn't something can be so dangerous. And I couldn't shrug off another thought either. Here in Canada, the winter cold is entirely inescapable. Unlike dodging snow storms - when you're lucky - thanks again to dispatch. But in this country nobody can dispatch you around the cold. Best be prepared.

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