The key factor

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It’s the little things that get you when you travel.

You can make that list and check it twice, thrice or even more times to be precise but something always goes amiss, or on my case a-missing.

This time it was a simple car key that got me all keyed up. Without it I couldn’t start the vehicle that had been left for me in the Deer Lake, N.L., airport parking lot. It had been left there for me by Jane Ralling so I could drive up the coast to meet her and her Charlottetown mariner husband Geoff Ralling at the Parks Canada Viking site of L’Anse aux Meadows for a sail to retrace some of the sea path Viking explorers likely took 1,000 years ago.

“So you put it somewhere so you wouldn’t forget it but then forgot where your don’t-forget-it place was?” a friend remarked when I later regaled her with the whole tale.

“Yep, pretty much,” was my answer to this missing key question.  

This situation was on top of more than a few angst-filled moments the day before when I finally decided to pull the car key out to make sure I indeed did still have it in my possession, as if it was somehow going to fall down that mysterious rabbit hole to Wonderland where all the better halves of the sock pairs go.

There was no key attached to what I assumed was a plastic remote door opener. You have to remember that in my world my vehicles are so prehistoric they are one step up from Fred Flintstone’s foot-powered model.

I searched and searched my whole purse through but couldn’t seem to get a clue as to what happened to the actual metal ignition key.

The little black device did however have a panic button so I pushed it. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. I was on my own.

Well I was till I decided to swallow that bitter pill of dashed dignity and post my problem on Facebook. Because if the little plastic thingy was a key, I didn’t have a clue how to use it.

Sure enough, it was and with a brief primer that included photos I was all fired up for my six-hour coastal Newfoundland drive the next day.

Now back to that next day.

The key was no longer in my not-gonna-forget-it spot.

I slowly took everything out of my purse and separated it all but no luck.

Then I started on the surrounding areas and, yes, I did look in the fridge just in case.

Just when it looked like a whole new plan of Newfoundland arrival action was going to have to take place, it hit me.

I had briefly considered leaving my purse behind so had started transferring some of my essentials – aka the aforementioned key – to my small fanny pack. Then I gave myself a serious headshake and said, “You can’t go without a bigger bag!”

And so you can guess the rest of the story.

With the car key in hand I was all set for my Northern Peninsula drive to L’Anse aux Meadows.

It is after all the equivalent of a Viking oar a millennium ago, you can’t leave home without it.

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