Made it to Quebec through trial and error, I think. Trial and error with Google Maps, Apple Maps, Garmin System, MapQuest and old fashioned maps! Errors happened when there was no internet connection and I ended up here:
Went through a National Preserve which ended with a sign “FERME” (closed) sign next to a bridge — not happening for me since I noticed tire tracks across the wooden bridge after 1.5 hours on SERIOUS dirt roads. I told Alice to get out and “SIT” – I drove across, yelled her name as she tore across the bridge and off we went. Thought if I crash, she at least she will have a dog tag on! Ended up knocking on a door next to the above barn and albeit the couple didn’t speak English and my French is fair, we managed to communicate. They were in hysterics that this “Americain” was at their door “perdue” lost! One hour later I was back on the highway to Montreal which of course I got lost again, but with better success with Google maps. First of all, the voice on all devices doesn’t speak French so the names were all spoken phonetically, not that it really made a difference.. – I could have changed it to French. Then, turns out, I was driving too fast for the Garmin guide or satellite or cyborg in the sky to catch up with me when I made the wrong turn…and…I would end up going in a circle. This was decided by a group of people in Quebec’s Starbucks!
The difference between Canada and the geographical area to the north and west is palpable. There’s a wildness that is not felt here and perhaps that is why I am do drawn to the northern area. Not to say Canada isn’t one beautiful country, but there is a permeation of neatness here that I didn’t get in the northwest area. Guardrails for one thing, Canola fields, tilled fields and hills with bales of hay rolled up neat and tidy, oil rigs in neat rows all bring a civilized feeling into the air.
Contrasting this with some images of the NWT and Yukon, the difference is felt in me. Although, it isn’t fair of me to compare because I only traveled, when I wasn’t lost (!), on the main highways of Canada so 95% of the country I didn’t see.
These images remain in my mind…the mining town of Keno, pop. 15, which had an extensive collection of mining equipment that would rival the Mining Museum in Leadville, CO; the stone Sheep and Wood buffalo along the highways who had become used to the vehicular travel and the welcome site of a gas pump. Freedom’s privileges.
I would like to visit this eastern part of Canada, which reminded me so much of France, as it should. I missed so much but another time and with a different mindset. We are leaving now for Labrador and Newfoundland.
What causes one person to just keep going and going and another person to be content going to the same store, walking the same street, seeing the same people?
Since my mom died in 1995, I have done extensive traveling: Everything from being a cook on a boat leaving Costa Rica cruising to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico to horseback riding thru a section of Mongolia, traveling thru Asia to studying Yoga in Greece with stops in-between. What is the driving force to do this? We make our own fences, our own restrictions on our lives. Responsibilities of children, marriage, jobs come into play and eventually children grow up, retirement happens and we choose another life or continue with the same life with a few subtractions or additions. Money is a grounding factor for many, but, I have met people on this journey who have sold everything and gone on a never-ending trip. Others have downsized and left for six months or two months or two weeks. Others never leave home. Fear plays a factor; family plays a factor, life’s circumstances play a factor, contentment wins most of all. Contentment with life as it is strums a jealous note in me.
Stability has never been my strong point: traveling draws me.
Looking back at the genealogy, I had a grandfather who left a Quaker school at 15, moved to New York City to work at a tea store and at 17, struck out west with a survey crew: a grandmother who was adopted after her mother died and upon marriage, traveled between Mexico and California; a mother whom I don’t remember not getting on a plane a couple of times a year; and a father who left Pasadena, CA. for the University of Arizona, and at age 21 headed to Sonora, Mexico to be a cowboy. DNA?
People ask me these questions: Aren’t you tired? Doesn’t all that driving just exhaust you? Aren’t you lonely? What do you do when you aren’t driving? Don’t you miss home?
I love to drive. Loneliness is rarely a feeling I experience and being alone is assuaged by a conversation with one of my sons or a friend or another traveller. I hike or read or sleep or journal or see the sites, which surround me. These same things are done when I am at my house. It has taken a long time, but now the word “home” has become a feeling of contentment with whom I am and wherever I am.