Thursday, 23 November 2017

Holiday Road Trips Were An Early Family Tradition

    Christmas is a great time for a road trip. As our sons matured and had obligations to university, jobs and girlfriends we decided a quick Christmas trip would be a good way to see them over a very busy time; if not over actual Christmas Day before or after worked well.

    Being from Ontario we grew to love travelling to Quebec at Christmas; Quebec City in particular was a favourite destination. I don’t mind driving in the snow, in fact I rather enjoy it on back country roads. Quebec City is beautiful in the snow; the old walled city, the Chateau Frontenac, the Parliament Buildings and all the city buildings, all vibrant with lights.

    Fortunately Karen speaks a little French and we quickly found a little can get you in a lot of trouble. On one occasion we actually were away over Christmas Day and St. Hubert Chicken was one of the few places open for delivery. In French quarter is quart and four is quatre. We ordered four quarter chicken dinners and were indeed fortunate the young man on the phone was diligent and insisted on reading our order back to us in English. An overly hearty meal of four chickens was narrowly avoided by his decision.

    A road trip is wonderful at any time but it may very well be the way to keep families together over the holidays.

Friday, 10 November 2017

Back to Reality

  My love for the road trip experience is often matched by my disappointment that it has to come to an end. As reported earlier, the traffic was the first slap-in-the-face return to reality. Fortunately, I have not had to venture into the city yet or I'd have gone completely berserk.
  The daily grind, as it were, quickly replaces the relaxation and tranquility of a vacation and a surprise greeting from Mother Nature adds to the mystique. It was only a week ago I cut the grass (complaining bitterly about having to do so in November) and this morning I awakened to a winter wonderland.
  Life is good indeed.

Sunday, 29 October 2017

A Great Canadian Road Trip 22

It truly was a Great Canadian Road Trip. Before we left absolutely everyone asked, "Why are you going to Labrador? What is there to see or do there?" I couldn't answer then but now I can. In a lot of ways the most definitive answer is, "Nothing!" And that in itself is the real essence of venturing there. We wanted to get away from a world that is often a madhouse; have time to relax and enjoy just being. We were not distracted or annoyed by traffic at all - as a matter of fact as I looked out the windshield of the car driving along the 401 this morning as we approached Toronto I commented there were more cars in my immediate field of vision than we had seen all the time we were on the road in Labrador.
We had TV and internet but were not inundated with all the bad news - maybe we just chose not to look at it. That alone made it worth getting away. On the road in Labrador we were often the only car for kilometres and sometimes hours. There was always the opportunity and possibility of seeing wildlife but that rarely happens with us and this trip was no different. We saw two moose, lots of chipmunks and grey jays, some white whales crossing a river in Quebec and that's about it.
Labrador is one of Canada's few remaining wildernesses and we are blessed to have seen it in that state. As the road is improved and we are treated to "progress" all that will disappear. We truly did and saw things that few people get to and that made our month special. The photo below is back home. We made it! Nothing unusual there but the fact that van did it is nothing short of miraculous. I was going to jump way up in the air for the photo but, alas, that ship has sailed some time ago and I figured I'd severely injure myself so this is what you get.
Eric and Karen

Thursday, 26 October 2017

A Great Canadian Road Trip 21

Sadly our time on the road is rapidly coming to an end. This is likely the last post from the road. I'll post a wrap up once we're home next week. We've been on the go since Monday and unable to post until now. We left Isle Madame on Monday morning and stayed overnight in Antigonish, NS. There is a wonderful immigrant story come to life there in Peace By Chocolate. Forced from their home country of Syria they came to Canada, resurrected their chocolatier business and are doing well and giving back in their community. We met several of them and Karen had an instant bond with the mother recalling her own mother's story of arriving in Canada after the war.
Tuesday morning we left Antigonish and moved on to Mineville to visit our friend's Mike and Gayle. Along the way we stopped in Victoria Park in Truro on their suggestion. A beautiful park with lots of trails to walk, waterfalls and plenty of stairs. It was a gorgeous day and we spent a couple of hours enjoying Nova Scotia.
We have known Mike and Gayle for over 45 years with a sizeable interruption when they moved to Europe for a couple of decades. We don't get the chance to see them often and even less in their beautiful Nova Scotia home. One day is not enough of a visit but all we had time for this time around. We did manage to squeeze in a hike through the salt marsh.
We wanted to make it to Fredericton, NB last evening and we did but it was full. We tried several spots and all were fully booked - some government conference we were told. The boys will remember many such instances in our travels in years past. Always something absurd when it should never happen. There is nothing on the TCH heading north so we diverted to the James River road hoping to find something before we got to Edmundston 300 kilometres away. That's a beautiful drive in the sunlight but a nightmare in the teaming rain and the dark. It's a winding road alongside the river but has numerous warning signs about moose. Luckily this time we did not see any. Seeing them as they slam into your vehicle at 80KPH is not a good thing.
We landed in Florenceville-Bristol around 7:30PM. The French Fry Capital of the World. Everybody's got an angle.
Until we meet again in a few days...Eric and Karen

Monday, 23 October 2017

A Great Canadian Road Trip 20

For the second day in a row it was beautiful - clear skies, no rain and as a bonus not bad for wind and it was fairly warm. Kinda funny to see how people react to this. Some in shirt sleeves, some in parkas - that's Canada isn't it? Even the early morning was beautiful on Isle Madame.
There aren't a lot of photos of Karen and I together. Here's one. You will be hard pressed to find people of our calibre anywhere.
Lighthouses are always cool in my book. On such a beautiful day it was worth the drive to Cape George for this one. That's what a road trip is all about.
A visit with some very special people in our lives is on tap for tomorrow. Stay tuned.
Eric and Karen

Sunday, 22 October 2017

A Great Canadian Road Trip 19

We actually had a bit of a sunny day today. Windy and cold but sunny. When we arrived on Isle Madame yesterday it was windy, cold, overcast and raining and the whole atmosphere reminded me of the Moors in England. Now understand me, I have never been to the Moors in England and with the exception of London have never even been to England. However, I have seen An American Werewolf in London several times so consider myself an authority.
We went up to the Cape Auguet lighthouse this morning. It required a hike in the cold and wind but, once again, we were prepared with ski jackets, toques and gloves. It is still October isn't it? Just checking.
After lunch we did our own road trip tour of the island. It's a beautiful place, and just a little unusual - islands off islands, rocky shores and lakes in bays. This is in the middle of Rocky Bay. How does that work exactly?
The town of Arichat where we are staying is on the south shore of the island and is quite an historic town. Lots of churches, cemeteries and memorials. I was standing beside a couple of canons pointing out to sea when I took this shot this afternoon.
Sadly our time is winding down. We should be home in about a week. We have some good times to look forward to as we will be seeing several friends on our trip back home. Keep following us.
Eric and Karen

Saturday, 21 October 2017

A Great Canadian Road Trip 18

Another on again off again rain day. We headed south to Isle Madame. It was a pretty drive - no surprise as part of it was on the Cabot Trail - can't go wrong there.
I am convince the Maritime provinces of Canada are Heaven on Earth. The people are so nice and the scenery is neverending. The West is pretty amazing but I could probably afford to live out East.
Isle Madame has a mysterious tone to it. The clouds and howling wind probably help set that scene. We're staying in a cabin on the shore of one of the endless stretches of rocky shore here in Arichat. Stay tuned.
Eric and Karen