Well, I drove 917.31 miles (thanks, Mapquest, for the exact number) from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia to just west of Ottawa, Ontario. With a detour to Shediac, New Brunswick to find a beach with shells, since we didn't find any at the beach on the Atlantic Ocean. (I guess all the clams were vacationing someplace else. Alberta, maybe?) In an oldish car that makes a lot of funny noises. With two little girls, a portable DVD player, some dollar-store knock-off "Where's Waldo?" books ("Where's Donald?" and "Where's Frankie?" -- seriously, I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried), 4 stuffed animals, assorted Barbies, 2 blankies, a cooler full of drink boxes and cheese, 2 boogie boards, lots of luggage, and a driver with a bad case of seafood overload indigestion.
We left Saturday morning, spent Saturday night in Woodstock, NB where I had an interesting conversation with a 19-year-old waitress who referred to pretty well every inanimate object/geographic entity as "she" -- "Woodstock, she's a pretty small town. Now, Prince Edward Island, she's beautiful, you really ought to go." Not that I was complaining; she was interesting to talk to, and our dinner of pepperoni pizza, garlic fingers, two cans of Orange Crush, and 2 beers for me came to less than $20.
Sunday morning we set out at 7:30 and made good time through the rest of New Brunswick and Quebec until we got to Montreal, where, inexplicably, we hit a traffic jam. At five freaking thirty on a Sunday afternoon. What gives? The highways through Montreal are all twisty and snaky, and they don't seem to have been resurfaced since the Trudeau years -- they're mostly potholes strung together with rebar and chewing gum. Oh, and apparently, Montreal drivers think turn signals are for pussies. There I was, hurtling along at 120 (km not miles) trying to find my highway exit and 2 different cars wedged themselves into my lane in front of me, one from each side, at the same time, and neither of them signaled. I nearly had an accident. Of more than one kind.
The vacation itself was great. Visiting an old friend is a fun thing to do, especially when she's an amazing hostess. Evelyn took us to Queensland beach and we watched our kids play in the sand and ride their boogie boards in with the waves. We took the ferry to Halifax and watched magicians at the International Busker Festival and had nachos and beer at a restaurant on the pier while sailing ships sailed past and the fog came in.
One afternoon, Ev and I spent an hour or two with about 2 pounds of breaded clam strips and a deep fryer. It wasn't a pretty sight. But it was good. Once the kids were in bed, we drank wine and talked and laughed and almost (just almost, mind you) broke the cardinal rule that merlot and e-mail don't mix. Fortunately, we were in enough posession of our faculties that no exes were e-mailed, no matter how good an idea it seemed at the time.
It was fun, and worth the drive, but I'm not in a hurry to do another road trip any time soon.
Oh. Wait. The annual Labour Day bash at the Churchill's in Sudbury is coming up soon.