Posts Tagged With: travel

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

Sunday

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.

 

Unrelated media of the day:

 

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Day 2 of my Halifax Road Trip!

Saturday

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!

 

Unrelated media of the day:

21 Analogies used by High School Students

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What up from Washington

What up, blogosphere!

I’m on day 4 of my mini-vacation to Washington, and my travelling companion (aka my mother) has given up her computer to go take a shower. I have therefore seized this opportunity to say a quick hello and update you all on my adventures here in Washingtonland.

Day 1 of the vacation featured an exhaustive car trip from London, Ontario (my home), down to Washington DC. Instead of taking the interstates like normal people, we meandered our way through mountains, valleys, and quaint villages, averaging about 60 km/h and getting thoroughly carsick from all the twists and turns.

Our Google Map directions, despite being really slow, worked well up until the point we reached the outskirts of Washington. At that point it was about 10 p.m., we were exhausted from driving all day, and certain people’s tempers grew … short. Anyway, we took a wrong turn and ended up at the northern parking lot of the Pentagon. I didn’t even know the Pentagon is in Washington. Maybe it isn’t. Maybe it’s all a big parking lot conspiracy. That’s a thing, right?

Day 2 sent my mother off on an unrelated day trip that I can’t discuss here due to privacy concerns. I, on the other hand, was left free to explore Washington on my own. I proceeded to the Smithsonian Aerospace Museum, where I watched no less than 3 separate IMAX/planetarium shows, explored the bottom floor of the museum, and saw the original Apollo 11 space capsule. Needless to say, it was really awesome.

Day 3 involved going to the zoo and eating delicious Chinese food. I would love to say more about that, but unfortunately I can’t due to those privacy concerns I mentioned above. At this point, you’re probably wondering if I’m secretly a government spy. The answer is yes. My code name is Green Platypus.

Today is Day 4, and current planning suggests that mother and I will be rocking the upper floor of the Aerospace museum, followed by a visit to the Natural History museum. I expect funtimes and shenanigans to be had.

Two notes on Washington, in case you ever go:

  1. The subway system sucks. The automated ticketing machines are inexplicably designed to make your life as difficult as possible. And I have been on a lot of subway systems in my life, in a lot of countries, so I do know what I’m talking about. Eek. Something to work on, Washington DC transit authority.
  2. All the Smithsonian museums (although apparently not the Portrait Gallery) close at 5:30 p.m. So if you intend to see the museums, start your day early (and not at noon like I keep doing).

This concludes my check-in. Stay awesome, and I look forward to catching up on all your blog posts and stories that I’ve missed once I return to Canadadada. (Sing that last word to the tune of Beethoven’s 5th).

Random Video of the Day:

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