I awaken to the smell of dog and the sound of my best friend talking to her newly-wed husband in the hall outside my door. A quick check of the clock reveals the time — 9:00 AM. With an estimated departure time of 11:00 AM, I have all the time in the world.
Two hours later, I no longer have all the time in the world. Everyone is ready to go, and I am still in the shower. Curses and damnation! I wring the last dredges of conditioner out of my hair and jump out of the shower. I know I have a reputation for being late, but dammit, I’m not going to be that late.
I get to the car, ready to go, but there’s a hitch — my mother is joining us as an extra driver on our trip to Halifax, and she needs tea. How could I forget such a fundamental fact of existence? Where my mother goes, tea follows. No move can be taken unless accompanied by hot, sugary leaf juice. We mill about beside our cars while we wait for her to return from her trip to Tim Hortons.
Once tea is acquired, onwards and upwards! Slowly, though. Oh so slowly. Montreal traffic is inexplicably horrible, and we navigate through a series of incomprehensible street signs and narrow on-ramps in our desperate attempt to escape the city. A GPS malfunction takes us off the highway and onto narrow country roads. Mother panics, but the lead car assures us we’re headed the right way. A beautiful mountain appears on our left, and the highway appears on our right. We return to our rightful path, and peace is restored.
As we drive, we discover that New Brunswick is really frickin’ far from Montreal. Like, stupid far. We drive and drive and drive. Then we stop and get tea. Then we drive and drive and drive. Mother is amused by how close our truck drives to our lead car. Our truck driver is not so amused — other drivers seem hell-bent on slipping in between the vehicles in our caravan. Suddenly my suggestion to stick signs on our back windows saying “I’m in a caravan, don’t get in between us” doesn’t seem so ridiculous after all.
We finally break for lunch around 4:00 PM. Praise the highway gods! Mother and I adjourn to a grocery store, where an elated cashier practices his English on us. I munch on fries and chicken as we proceed back onto the highway and continue on into New Brunswick. The only indication of the changing provinces is the signs switching from French-only to French and English. I declare my final impression of Quebec as we cross into New Brunswick — I am not impressed.
Night falls, and out come the moose. Well, that’s what the myriad of giant flashing signs indicate. Moose everywhere! Beware of moose! They will destroy you if you don’t keep constant vigilance! AHHHHH!
There were no moose.
That being said, caution is the key to survival, and our lead driver took that to heart. We proceeded slowly and cautiously along the twisting highways, going up hills that had our truck struggling to push past 60 km/hour, and then zooming down hills that had our truck braking frantically so as not to smash into the bumper of our lead car. Mother and I started a game in which we guessed how many times the truck would break in a 10 minute period. I am pleased to announce I won both rounds.
We pull into Fredericton, the capital of New Brunswick and our destination for the night, at around 11:00 PM. Our chosen resting place — the imaginatively-named City Motel — is simple but nice. Competence is not, however, their forte — mother and I are given a room with a single bed, whereas our single companion is given a room with two beds. Were it not for my fear of my companion’s cat suffocating me in my sleep, I would have gladly taken the second bed.
After a quick takeout dinner from Boston Pizza, we prepared for bed. Next stop, Halifax!
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