Ugh, I’ve just spent 24 hours in a car, driving from Montreal to the Maritimes.
My Mom (see my earlier blog of May 7) was in Ottawa earlier this week for a business conference and I had offered to drive her back to Nova Scotia, in order to spend some time with her and get some miscellaneous business-related paperwork taken care of while I was there.
Since my Mom doesn’t drive, it was entirely up to me to drive the 18+ hours to get us out there. However, I’ve had a lot of experience with long drives since my family used to make the Quebec-Maritimes trek at least 1-2 times a year when I was younger.
I ended up taking 3 two hour rest/sleep breaks, so it was a total of around 24 hours of being in the car. Mind you, I have a nicely appointed Saturn wagon with tinted windows and all the luxury options, and I have the back seat fixed up with comfy blankets and pillows so I can crawl in the back stretched out — after all, I am only 5 foot tall.
We stopped briefly just before Quebec City/Lévis to get our “fix” at a 24h Tim Hortons. (For those non-Canadians who might be reading this blog, Tim’s is a very popular nationwide chain of coffee shops.) I had my usual French Vanilla Cappucino. I now have several of my friends hooked on FV, including my best friend, Lady Katana. Mom and I shared a large grilled turkey club and some soup – I don’t like to eat heavy when I drive as it can make me sleepy.
There was an awful lot of fog during the journey, starting out from just west of Riviere-du-Loup QC until Edmunston NB. After that, there was misty rain, which was just a bit too light for my rain repellent to work very well on the windshield. It did rain much harder later on that night, so it was worthwhile putting it on after all… On long trips, I prefer night driving, as the traffic is much lighter and the sun doesn’t bother my eyes so much. (I have above average vision, so I am highly sensitive to bright ambient daylight.)
We dropped by my Aunt’s place in New Brunswick, as we had to drop off some package or other for her. Only time for a nap, a meal and then on the road again… Mom wanted to take a short cut to avoid having to drive all the way through Miramichi, but it ended up being the wrong road near the wrong set of two bridges. We were grumbling at each other, but as the driver, I had final say — especially when I pointed out that the GPS signal on my PDA was showing us as travelling parallel to the route upon which we had come into town. Meaning that we were backtracking and heading in the wrong direction!
I finally stated that I would rather drive through the city and take an extra 10 minutes, than spend another 20 minutes trying to find the so-called backroad shortcut. Then I remembered this great little ice cream shack along the road that my Aunt had taken us last summer to that had the most scrumptious Strawberry Ice Cream Shortcake and decided that was exactly what I needed to get me out of the grumpy mood I was in after Mom got us lost/sidetracked with her “shortcut”.
Wow……. just melted in my mouth.
Yup, exactly what I needed.
Mom had a frozen yogurt and then we were off again. After going a bit on the road, we realized that there was a second set of two bridges, after a big curve that matched the map we had and indeed was the one we were seeking to the shortcut. So we both felt better realizing that she had been partly right, but the landmarks were so similar to what we had seen farther out of town, that it hadn’t really been wrong, and that my call about the GPS had kept us from getting even more lost. Anyways, everything always looks better after strawberries & ice cream…
The fog and mist continued on and off, but it was at it’s worst as we crossed over “Folly’s Mountain” shortly after crossing into Nova Scotia on the Trans-Canada Hwy. It was so bad that the trucks all had their blinkers on and I actually had to drive in the left passing lane (it was a divided highway) so that I could see the yellow painted band on the left side, as the middle stripes and right side band were too worn. It was the only way I could tell where the edge of the road was! Wow, sometimes I forget how bad the fog can get out here…
Arrived to late to catch the local broadcast of the CSI season finale, but since my Mom’s place has satellite TV we were able to catch a more western broadcast starting at midnight. After that, I stayed up to catch the tail-end of the remake of “Planet of the Apes” as I was still too alert after the drive to fall asleep right away.
Slept relatively well, considering that it isn’t my pillow-laden and duvet-covered waterbed at home. But it was especially nice that Rusty, my late father’s little dog, remembered me and forsaked everyone else to sleep with me all night on the couch and followed me to sleep in my Mom’s bed after she left for work. It was funny too, because during the drive, I had a dream that Rusty was sitting there waiting for me. I guess in some way he was… the two of us “clicked” extremely well last year after my Dad died and I spent several months out here helping my Mom get her life back together. He used to love going driving around with me and kept me company all the time. He transferred his affections to my Mom after I left to go back to Montreal, but it’s nice to feel he hasn’t forgotten me…
It’s been raining off and on all day since I got here. I’ve been taking the day fairly easy, trying to recuperate from the drive. Spent an hour trying to connect my laptop to the Net; last time I used to be able to instantly connect to the high-speed line, but something’s been changed on their system and I’ve had to make due with a backup dial-up account that I have for emergencies. (Jeez, after using high-speed and cable internet for the past year, dial-up is interminably slow.)
Will try to post more blog updates when I can during my trip, but web access may be intermittent so no guarantees.
Wishing everyone well while I am away!
~ Mistress Jade Dragon