Posts Tagged With: halifax

Day 3 (final day!) of my Halifax Road Trip


The gentle patter of rain in the shower awakens me at an ungodly hour. Mother emerges from the washroom at 9:45. Our scheduled departure is 10:00. Defeat is already inevitable.

I shower and dress and gather my things and before I know it, the time is 10:40. Damn it all. I rush down the stairs and out to the parking lot, where everyone is waiting for me. They have the decency not to call me on my lateness, but we all know the truth. Once on the highway, mother breaks our sacred vow of silence and tells me I was late, and that the others weren’t. I brood for a few minutes, and then drown my sorrows in local radio babble.

Lunch falls at a far more opportune time today for my poor growling stomach, and we break for gas and tasty A&W root beer and burgers. I apologize to my companions for my lateness. The lead car driver agrees that I was late, and points out that I am notorious for being late. I agree with this assessment, apologize again, and all is forgiven.

We’re nearing Nova Scotia now, and our lead car driver professes her desire to sit in the truck with her husband as we cross the border and enter our new homeland. I am agreeable to this, so mother takes over driving the lead car (soon to be the last car, as the truck will now go first in our caravan). The truck driver’s companion abandons her post and joins me in my ancient Mazda. I can only pray that the poor little thing makes it all the way to Halifax with all parts intact.

We speed along the highway, and as the road curves and twists, a new form of entertainment emerges. As the last car in our caravan now, it is mother’s duty to defend us from filthy tailgaters and their evil ways. A challenger approaches: a white car who disapproves of the slow pace we’ve set on this one-lane road. He gets up close to mother. Mother, accepting this unspoken challenge, slows down slightly to warn him off. Irate at her challenge to his vehicular supremacy, the white car draws closer. She of infinite patience slows further. This continues for some time. I am amused.

A two-lane segment of road approaches! My travelling companion and I are thrilled, for this will surely break the stalemate. But such reprieve is not to be, for the white car and mother are now locked in a duel that only death itself can end. The white car refuses to pass in the new lane, hugging mother’s bumper like my roommate’s cats when they cuddle. Mother refuses to move into the new lane to get out of his way, and slows even more. We can barely see her in the mirrors now. Soon she will vanish from the world entirely. We cheer her on.

At some point the white car turns off, and mother emerges victorious. We have little time to celebrate, though — the border to Nova Scotia approaches. It’s magnificent, with huge windmills and gardens and a welcome center and a cheery sign. We are impressed, partially by the beautiful welcoming to our new home, and partially because we actually noticed that we’d entered the province (unlike the New Brunswick/Quebec border, which is just pathetic).

Onwards and upwards into Nova Scotia we fly, and the road signs count down the kilometres to Halifax. Closer and closer, faster and faster … and then … VICTORY! We turn off, we drive, we turn again, and a cozy red brick townhouse looms up on the left: our new home. Our landlord greets us and takes us inside. Plush carpeting, a cute kitchen, an expansive deck, and an unnecessary amount of stairs are ours to explore and claim.

We haul the truck door open and carry in our mattresses. The true unloading will take place tomorrow, but for now a place to sleep is our only thought. We wrestle a king-sized mattress up the twisting staircase, cursing and sweating and bonding over our shared physical exertion and exhaustion.

Once all mattresses are in place, we head down to the waterfront for dinner, drinks, and good company. My uncle joins us, and regales us with stories as we consume assorted seafood. After dinner, we walk along the boardwalk eating icecream and taking in the sights. We stop at the end of a dock and admire the dark, sparkling waters of our new home. And then we return to the townhouse to sleep and recharge and refresh, ready and excited to face the days ahead.


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Day 1 of My Halifax Road Trip!

Early morning. Birds chirp, garbage trucks squeal as they labor to lift huge metal bins and disgorge the smelly contents into their innermost parts. A knock at the door. Father has arrived.

“Hello, Michelle. We only have 3 hours to move your brother out and he hasn’t finished packing. You’ll help us, right?”

Guilt and conflicting emotions swirl within. Do I help, or do I shower and head out on the road? My friends are waiting for me at the Port Hope service station, ready to begin our epic trek to Halifax. Should I stay or should I go? Should I accidentally quote The Clash? The answer is clear.

“Okay, Dad. Just a few boxes, then I have to go.”

One hour later, a few boxes are packed. Dishes are unexpectedly heavy, and my plastic mat under my desk chair keeps sticking me with its pointy bits. A tiny little hummingbird is trapped in my head, and keeps smacking my skull as it tries to escape. I wait until Dad and Jesse are down at the moving truck and then make a break for the shower.

Clean and significantly more alive, I emerge. One more hour later, I have wrestled all my belongings into my car. Tetris masters have nothing on me. There’s even room for two boxes of alcohol, courtesy of my new roommate — fun times will be had when we reach the coast.

Off I go down the road, sniffling and wiping away a few errant tears. I’ll miss my family, especially my brother. He may wake up at 4pm every day and lecture me on military history, but he’s awesome and I love him. He’s not much for emotional displays, so it’s a good thing the tears hit me once I’m in my car.

A few traffic jams and muttered curses later, I’m on the highway. It’s moving swiftly, and I turn on the radio and try not to swerve wildly off the road as I consume my breakfast sandwich. Brief stop at Cambridge for gas. Then I hit Toronto. Traffic, traffic, traffic, and not the good kind. The troll kind, where you’re stop and go for half an hour, then up to 100, finally think Hermes has blessed you with boots of flight to get you out of the quagmire, and then back to stop and go when you realize it’s all a cruel lie.

Finally, I reach the Port Hope service station. My travelling companions are finished lunch and about to continue onward. I was late, and the caravan waits for no one. Don’t worry, they say. I can catch up easily — just look for the UHaul truck lumbering along in the slow lane. I scarf down a slice of pepperoni and hurry after them. For two hours I speed along, eyes peeled for a glimpse of the elusive truck. It’s gone.

Panic sets in. What service station are we stopping at next, again? Port Mallory? No, that was Port Hope. But Mallory something … or was it Melissa? Don’t be ridiculous, there’s no town called Melissa. Mallory … ville? Mallorytown? Yes! I see the sign, coming up on my right.

But I also see the blinking fuel gauge light — I’m almost out. 38 kilometers left. Will I make it? The needle sinks lower … and lower … and then the turn off! Sweet relief! The tank greedily gobbles up gas, and I force my shoulders to un-tense.

Finally our caravan is in the same spot at the same time. After a brief bathroom break, we’re away. I’m the rear guard, cruising along behind the UHaul truck while my friend leads in her car. I feel a curious sense of unity — like I’m part of something greater, something with a purpose. Is this what it feels like to join a religion? I may be thinking too much into this. I focus on driving, and on ignoring the cars tailgating me.

We reach Quebec. It looks exactly like Ontario, except all the signs are in French. This is awkward, as we do not speak French. It is surprising to me that a province of the English-speaking Canada would not at the very least have bilingual signs. I’m torn between irritation and resignation. 

Onward into Montreal. As we hit the off ramp, an eighteen-wheeler swerves wildly toward us, then hauls itself back onto the highway at the last second. Not sure if it’s just lost, or was trying to play an extremely ineffective game of chicken.

A few more turns, and my mother’s home appears on the left. We stumble out of our cars, guide the truck into the driveway, and then let out a hoarse cheer — we’ve successfully survived day 1 of our three day trek. Mother furnishes us with smoked meat and coleslaw, red wine and chocolate. We are satiated, and ready for Day 2.


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Categories: Random | Tags: , , , , , , | 20 Comments

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