Mary Beth Writes

Hi! Len and I returned home at 1:30AM from our 15-day road trip through eastern Canada and Maine and more.  

In case you ever wondered, you CAN go to the “Glazed and Confused” donut shop in Syracuse, NY at 9 in the morning, peruse the  Erie Canal museum https://eriecanalmuseum.org/ and then drive back in Waukesha - all in one 16-hour day. We are generally closer to interesting places than we know.

But I get ahead of myself.

I am going to post small pieces over the next few days about our vacation. I meant to do this while on was on the trip but mostly my laptop sat in its padded bag and by the time I could have used it, I was asleep on whatever motel bed was my nirvana that night.

Our basic itinerary was honed over nearly a year of documentary-watching after the evening news, Internet rambling, atlas drooling, and a whole lot of talking.  (We liked this dorky and interesting series of documentaries about Canadian rivers: https://www.tvpassport.com/series/great-canadian-rivers/39893)

We would drive to Eastern Canada to see and hike the wilderness beauty of Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. Then we would drive back home via Quebec and Montreal, enjoying the history and city life of those old and classy cities.

That was the Plan… until Hurricane Dorian unfurled its last hurrah over Nova Scotia and Newfoundland.

Yes, if you have been reading me a long time, Len and I and our kids DID go to a Florida Keys resort one August. When they evacuated us because of an imminent hurricane, we drove to Orlando, which ended up being in the precise path of that storm.  Remind me to look up those old columns. 

So plans had to change and, in short, this is where we went.

We drove the first day to Sault Ste Marie (7 hours, 415 miles). Next day we drove to Manitoulin Island and then on to Sudbury. (6 hours, 325 miles).  We spent the best part of that next morning with a friend of Len’s from his college newspaper days. Hi Mick!  After that we ate Trans-Canada 17 to Rivière du Loup for 2 days, 12 hours, and 687 miles. 

It was becoming apparent that no one knew exactly what Dorian was going to do, but it was clear the storm was going to do something, so we slowed down to explore the Peninsula of Gaspe for a day or two.

Gaspe was gorgeous.  You’ll like our photos from that part of the trip.

We were driving down the east side of the peninsula, still thinking that if we poked around a little more, we could drive to Nova Scotia in a day or two. While we were hoping, it started to rain so hard our car hydroplaned on that lonesome highway cut through an endless New Brunswick forest; no signs of civilization anywhere except Moose-warning signs. Windshield wipers going full blast couldn’t keep up with the sheeting rain. I said I thought we should stop at the nearest place with a motel. Len agreed and that freaked me out the most. Nothing daunts Len and here he was, agreeing that we should stop driving in the middle of the afternoon.

We pulled up next to a Tim Horton’s (you don’t even have to go in, you just have to park close); via their WiFi we found a place in Bathurst 20 miles down the road and that is where we stayed that night.

Next day we drove from Bathurst to Monckton. (2 hours, 137 miles – you can tell we are slowing down…)

What a cool town! We saw a Tidal Bore! There will be pix. The next morning the CBC news was spouting this; Nova Scotia has a population of 500,000 people and 400,000 of them were without power. They were pretty sure they would get a lot of the damage taken care and power restored in the next 3 to 5 days.  And oh yeah, Dorian was battering the west coast of Newfoundland right then. The west coast is where we had planned to go. 

So we changed plans.  We would leave Canada, drive to Acadia National Park in Maine, and then come home via Revolutionary War battle sites in New York State. As well as Schoharie Crossing, an Erie Canal museum in Fort Hunter, NY. I had just listened to a Ben Franklin’s World podcast about it! Karma!

The smart museum person in the tiny Schoharie museum (Hi, Dave!) talked to Len and I for nearly an hour.  That was amazing. And then he suggested the Glazed and Confused doughnuts as well as the much bigger, slicker Erie Canal museum in Syracuse .. and that is what we did.

Are you ready? These will be small postings about some of our adventures with some of our photos. 

Comments

It is good to have you both back in one piece my friends...
Mary Beth's picture

Good to be here...

Whenever I think of Canada, I think of my Grands. They lived in Canada for three years - Scott was an expat for US Steel, and when they told me they were moving, I’m sure you could hear me crying all the way to Wisconsin. Anyway, that’s not the main part that I remember. Those two children could belt out Oh Canada with the best of em. If I close my eyes, I can still hear them. Those small little people ( age 3 and 4 when they left) knew Oh Canada before they knew the Star Spangled Banner.
Mary Beth's picture

And all the rest of their lives, when they hear the song, they are going to have such startling, little kid feelings!

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Quarantine Diary #312

“You know me, I think there ought to be a big old tree right there. And let's give him a friend. Everybody needs a friend.” ― Bob Ross

This tree lives in Waukesha and stopped me in my tracks when I was out for a walk.

...

 When will this Quarantine Diary end? When Len and I drive out not wearing masks to go to a place where we will stay overnight. Just letting you know. FYI we started last year on Friday the 13th of March.

 …

Quarantine Diary #308 1/15/2021

My life is pretty fine, and I bet yours is, too. Warm place to live. Food to eat. Friends to share and laugh with - even if we have to do it via Zoom.

At the same time, who isn’t feeling anxiety and dread? Will the white supremacist insurrectionist knobs attack the inaugural? Will they screw up state capitols and infrastructure? One lone guy blew up Nashville a mere three weeks ago. What the hell is going on?

Quarantine Diary #307 Brain Names

Remember when there was no autism? Sure, there were kids in our schools who were weirdly able to remember stuff, or were hard to control, or whose emotions triggered at the oddest time. We generally ignored those kids. Those of us who were kind did, anyways. Others bullied. 

Remember the mopey kids in high school who knew too much about depressing art and angsty music and sometimes killed themselves?

Quarantine Diary #306 Hunched Over & Paying Attention

I am going to write some Quarantine Diary entries again. There’s a lot going on and sometimes it helps to hear a small voice as well as the big voices of journalists, pundits, networks, the other public media we follow.

I have had a small headache off and on for days. I worried that I might have contracted Covid, except dang it, I haven’t gone anywhere! And then, thinking about it, I realized I am hunched over my phone much more than usual. These mild on-again, off-again headaches are from eyestrain and weird posture.

Rime and Treason

These photos were taken by Len on Monday in that other time and world that existed before the Trump gorgons mobbed the Capitol. (Gorgons existed in Greek literature. Gorgons are the poisonous siblings with hair of living snakes. Those who beheld them face-to-face turned to stone. Or were killed by being beaten by a fire extinguisher.)

I have been trying to write about that but it is too hard. There is so much that is clear and is informative. You are reading it as much as I am. Blessed be the journalists, right? 

Quarantine Diary #292 New Year's Eve

Many of us feel as if we are in limbo until Biden takes office. I don’t think you need me to say a lot about how long and hard this year has been; we’ve been in this dentist’s chair together.

But...

Did you see how many days quarantine has lasted? 292 days.

So far.

This week I read a remarkable essay. On Natural Landscapes, Metaphorical Living, and Warlpiri Identity, by Barry Lopez. https://lithub.com/. Life is weird. The day after I read it, Mr. Lopez died.

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