Destination: wal-mart, Levis, Quebec
Due to it being a ferry, we were awoken foolishly early by someone not being respectful that most of the people in the common room were sleeping. It was a bit of a grumpy way to wake up, but we also got to watch the sun come up on the ship.
We waited for permission to leave the main part of the ship and get down into where the cars were sleeping. Eventually we were allowed below and waited in the car until the big doors opened, freeing us all again. It’s a little claustrophobic being contained on a ship for that long, so driving the car again felt like we were really racing along.
Christine and I made a couple stops in Nova Scotia on our way back through. Unlike our journey to Newfoundland with spending many nights in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, this time we were powering right through, as far as we could get that night. So the stops were something of a luxury. We went into a gift shop and Christine bought me something – a surprise! And I found a pretty hexagonal ring, which is meaningful to me because I love bees and the hexagon is the most efficient shape in nature.
Christine was the driver until we stopped for lunch around 2pm. We were desperate to try lobster rolls because everyone had been raving about them in Ontario. The season was a little off so whenever we saw them, they were just too expensive. But we decided we needed to know what they were all about, so we threw caution to wind at Chez Leo and put in a giant order of two lobster rolls, french fries, and fried clams. It was beyond delicious but probably ran us about $40. On the trip we’d been really good about eating camp food and groceries instead of fast food, which worked in our favour because our indulgences have not been cheap. We took over the picnic tables at the restaurant and hung out our wet towels and clothes in the brilliant sun while we ate.
After lunch, I took over the driving. We started a new podcast about a woman named Maura Murry who went missing in the US, and the suspicious events surrounding her disappearance. A lot of people are really obsessed with this story, and it was really interesting but the podcasters were quite annoying to listen to, really gullible and not at all objective. There was almost a fetishistic element to the investigation into her world. It kept us entertained for the very long drive.
We did end up taking a few wrong turns and exits because Quebec’s relationship with GPS seems to be somewhat contentious, but we always managed to find the right path in time.
At this point in the trip, there are only four nights left. We could almost plot out the rest of the journey, since all along we’d been planning maybe 2 or 3 days ahead at the most. We drove through Nova Scotia and when we were in New Brunswick, we stopped at Parlee Beach. Parlee is my mother’s maiden name and I guess there was some familial connection to the Parlees that originated Parlee Beach.
Unfortunately, we didn’t have the best experience. When we looked up the beach online, we saw that it was closed due to fecal contamination from the nearby RV campground. Shut due to shit. We weren’t really in the mood for swimming, anyway – it was absolutely freezing there on the seaside, even with the sun shining above us, and the wind made it impossible to even carry on a normal conversation. We did spend some time there on the lifeguard chair, taking pictures. There was not another soul on the entire beach. We used a freezer bag to collect some seashells for our mom, and I think we got a bit too much glee out of the retelling of the story of the swimming advisory.
So after starting the day at the Newfoundland Ferry, we decided to end our day at the wal-mart in Levis, Quebec. Driving in Quebec at night will never be my favourite, so it was really nice to finally pull into our RV village. The villages were looking more and more sparse now that summer had officially concluded, but there were definitely other intrepid travellers still on the road.
It’s difficult to fathom that we are only one province away from home. A big one, to be fair, but we were in the neighbourhood again. Our plan was to get to Voyageur Provincial Park in Ontario the next night, and then spent the last two nights in Thousand Island National Park. We would be returning September 15th as expected – pretty decent planning when so many things had gone so completely askew. There was so much waiting for us at home. We both desperately missed our cats and our friends and family. There was so much to do. And I had new opportunities waiting for me at home that I was eager to pursue. I felt like I was returning with a renewed sense of myself but, at the same time, a larger uncertainty about what I am meant to do with my life.
I like the notes I took in my journal this day. “I am filled with intense emotions and I greet each with due attention. I am glad for the experience but also glad for the completion. I am content.”
We are only a few hours away from Voyageur when we settle in the wal-mart, so the next day should prove to be an easy, early drive. Day 41 was the first day we beat 1000km in a day, and also the only time we filled up with gas three times. It’s been complex for me as an environmentalist to justify the use of gas for this journey. At the end of the day, however, I decided that the things I learned about myself and about our planet balanced the expenditure of fossil fuels. It’s not an elegant exchange: I will have to make use of my learnings and invest in changing the culture of disrespect and greed around the gifts of our world.