Vacation Recap Part 1

Sans pictures because I don't have all of them downloaded yet and none are actually on my computer yet. Oops!

New Brunswick Part 1
Vacation started at 4:20am. That part sucked. An hour later we were pulling out of the parking lot of Tim Horton's starting our drive to St. John, NB. That was the first of many Tim Horton's. And this may get me kicked out of Canada but I'm bloody sick of Tim Horton's. When you stop at one every couple of hours and go inside (Tim's usually has pretty clean bathrooms - just an FYI if you are ever driving across Canada) the donuts and food start to look really disgusting after awhile. And we really didn't eat any of it (actually I didn't eat any of it, L might have bought a muffin or two along the way). But I don't want to step into Timmy's for quite awhile. We stopped somewhere in Quebec for gas. And then at a Normandin for lunch. I dislike Normandin's. It's not so much that their food isn't good (it's not bad, but I sure wouldn't go out of my way to stop at one) but it's the only restaurant that the bus used to stop at between Moncton and Montreal and that Normandin's really wasn't very good and just blah. Had we been able to wait an hour or two we could have stopped at an Irving Big Stop which would have been far better.

Should you ever find yourself driving east from central Canada here's another tip - the 90ish km between Rivière du-Loup (hint: don't pronounce the "p") and New Brunswick are lonnnngggggg. Really long. Longer than long.

And then you get into New Brunswick and it's new divided highways and you will be bored. The highways are great. Really. But boring as hell. From the time you past Edmunston to the time you hit Fredericton the scenery will not change. WILL NOT CHANGE. There will be trees, you'll occasionally go across a bridge-like thing over a ravine (which may or may not go over water, you won't be able to tell), and by big pieces of rock. And that's it. Shake, rinse and repeat and that's most of the New Brunswick highway. When you've been awake since 4:20am Eastern and it's 3 or 4pm Atlantic and are hopped up on caffeine (too many Tim's plus and energy drink) and don't want to read because you highly suspect that if you try you will get queasy (you are probably right) this is the part of the drive where you will be bouncing off the walls and go a wee bit loopy. Or loony. Or just plain nuts. Eventually I downloaded a game onto my cell phone, not caring about the $7 charge, and used that to amuse myself for an hour. It was worth the $7 (something that L will agree with, I was scaring him).

The highway from Fredericton to Saint John was pretty darned unscenic too. But it goes through CFB Gagetown's training areas so you can make up stories about what kind of things are hidden in there and what kind of things could befall someone who decided to take a wander through there (erm...once they got past the fence). Oh, and watch out for moose. Moose + car = BAD.

Then you hit Saint John and it will surprise you. Why? It's an industrial town and it looks industrial. When you first drive in to it you see Industry. Once you are in the town, particularly the downtown, it's not a bad little place. Some nice old buildings. Some hills that come close to rivalling the one I used to live on. But we weren't there for the scenery. We were there to meet people. We checked into our B&B (Carleton House Bed and Breakfast - it was fantastic - highly recommend it). Then it was off to Churchill's Pub (which doesn't not have a website...surprising) to meet up with people that we used to work with. It was actually the first time I had met any of them face-to-face. It was great! We chatted for a bit, ate, and then parted ways. We went back to the B&B and promptly fell asleep.

The next day we got up and had a fantastic breakfast (pumpkin spice pancakes...I must play with this idea) and then hit the road to go visit someone else that we used to work with. But we went to their cottage which involved a couple of ferries. Just wee little ferries, not like the big ones that I'm used to. Their cottage is really neat. Propane stove, fridge and water heater. All electricity is provided via solar power. Composting sewage system. Very neat.

Then it was time to head to PEI. We hit the road a wee bit later than we would have liked. I started getting a bit stressed out because I wanted to get "home" in time to see my mother before we checked in. And eat. So we pushed on, stopping only for gas, and you guessed it - Tim Horton's. Thankfully the highway views improved a bit giving us an occasional glimpse of something other than trees and rock. By the time we hit the bridge it was rainy and hazy and the view wasn't much to see. We've both been over the Confederation Bridge before (me many more times than L). For me the disappointment over that wasn't so much about not being able to see the bridge as much as it impeded the view of home.

On a clear day as you go across the bridge you honestly won't see much anyway, particularly if you are in a car (low vehicles really don't get a view). But there's this one spot, at the center of the bridge where it is taller and from there you see it. The jagged red shore of Prince Edward Island. And you open the window and smell the salt in the air. From there the shore gets closer and closer, larger and larger, and then finally you are off the bridge and you are home.

That's one of the nice things about the Island. It's not merely a border sign on the highway as you enter. You have to make an effort to go there and when you arrive you know you've arrived. Be it the transition from bridge to highway or the clanking of the ramps as you drive off the ferry you know the moment that you've arrived.

A quick stop for gas and to switch drivers (I did some of the driving in PEI and this was the first time I was behing the wheel of a car in 2 years) and we were on our way through PEI. L was amused because he's rarely in the passenger seat of his own truck and he'd also never driven with me before. Our destination was closer than I remember it being. It used to always seem so far way from the bridge. But I guess everything is relative and after the long drive we had just done it was as if it was merely across the street. We made a quick stop at the local drive in restaurant to pick up some grub (gotta love a place where you can still get a cheeseburger platter for less than $4) and then on to my mother's. We stopped in for a bit to eat, say hi, drop off some gifts and make plans for the next day. We made it to our cottage 4 minutes before the office closed. But we made it. :)