The next morning in Ottawa did not start well. It appears that we want different things in the morning when we get into the car. Honour wants to know where we are getting gas and eating breakfast and I want the day’s route mapped out. The curious thing about these two different needs is that you can have a conversation that sounds as if you are talking in response to the other person’s need but that is absolutely the wrong response for that need. That is what happened to us, and we found ourselves on a 6 lane road full of heavy Ottawa morning commuter traffic. Neither the traffic nor our moods were pretty. We pulled off the next exit (which has a sign to Nepean – a place where I KNOW people!!!) to look for both gas and food. We pulled into a mall. Very little was open at that hour, but after striking out at the first breakfast-looking place we found (nothing appealed) it turned out that there was a lovely restaurant (Chance’s) open.
While we were studying the menu my phone rang. I had already ignored a text from my son, but a phone call is harder to ignore. I was already quite annoyed and out of sorts and seeing a text about his car not starting was not improving my mood. I left Honour at the table so I could take the call with some privacy. Apparently the battery in his car exploded. The good news about that was that he was NOT in the car when the battery exploded. The bad news is that the car did not start, even with a new battery. The AAA responder thought that the battery had probably damaged all the electronics as well. It needed to be towed. Unfortunately the tow truck wasn’t going to be able to make it for hours, and he needed to get to work. If I wasn’t in a good mood before (and trust me, I was NOT), I was in a worse mood when I returned to the table. Honour seemed to be feeling better, which probably didn’t help me any either.
When we were done with breakfast we had our first, and really only, true disagreement. This was the moment all the nay-sayers had been predicting and anticipating. Would I bail or would I stay? The good news is that Honour was willing to compromise (because I was not). We agreed to a plan for our next steps and that’s what we did. We got gas, I calmed down, we began driving our way out of Ottawa to Edmunston. As I’d been saying to all the naysayers – Honour and I are both big girls now. We can disagree and get over it. We did NOT sit in silence for hours and hundreds of miles. We both were much more interested in getting along and having fun and getting to the Bay of Fundy TOGETHER.
It is a good thing we were getting along because there really was very little in the way of interesting scenery to distract us. I’ve cheated and posted a pic from the trip TO Ottawa – the horse and buggy along the road. We had no good views of Quebec or Montreal from the road. We had some very weird directions from the GPS that seemed to take us off the main highway just to go through 2 local traffic lights (while paralleling the highway) and then get back ON the highway. We were thrown onto our own resources for entertainment. It was back to looking at road signs and laughing. Honour is convinced the deer/elk sign shows the animal stretched out reclining (kind of like a dog or cat) whereas I think it’s leapt off a cliff and is falling. I added to my moose sign collection as well. Honour has promised to write a treatise on “The Moose and It’s Significance in Canadian Signage”. Or something to that effect. I suggested that she make it a poem, along the lines of Evangeline or The Song of Hiawatha. 🙂 She can be the next/female Longfellow! Maybe when she FINALLY gets around to posting HER version of this epic journey it will start “Listen my children and you will hear, of the transCanada trip by 2 women dear”. Except she’ll do it better. 🙂
We stopped in Lévis for lunch, a town I insisted on pronouncing as if it were named for my jeans (that is NOT how it is pronounced, by the way, please note the accent on the e). Lévis is along the St Lawrence and I did get one or two photos of the river, which is magnificent. It’s a good thing we were hanging out together because I would have been lost. At this point in the trip everyone local spoke French and only French. We ate lunch at Mike’s, which could only be “Mike’s” because it existed before the French Language Services Act (Loi sur les services en français) was passed in 1968 that ruled everything must be in French. I was okay with the menu but I’d never have been able to converse with the waiter. 🙂 The best part about this stop was the visit to the pet store, where Honour got a leash for Jamie – no more walking her on the car tow line. While Honour handled that important chore, I went into the cat adoption center to visit the cats. I made friends with a very male cat who decided I could pet and cuddle him. Since I’d not seen nose nor whisker from Fergus and Duff in days, I needed a cat cuddle.
While trying to navigate in Lévis, we were stopped at a 4 way stop. The Canadians are sooooo polite. Every stop appears to be a 4-way stop (or 3 way if it’s a T intersection). Sometimes it was a bit hard on the nerves for a gal who was born and bred in NJ, where we have perfected the ‘rolling stop’. While we waited and waited and waited for OUR turn to go, I amused myself by taking pictures of the policeman directing traffic.
Since the Ottawa/Edmunston trip was one of the shortest of the journey (we rolled into Edmunston in DAYLIGHT), I’ll take a moment to share some reflections. I LOVE how Canada does cash/coins. There are no pennies. They will ring up an amount such as $7.13 and round it automatically to $7.15 and give you the change accordingly. $7.11 would be rounded to $7.10. I love it. I understand they are considering doing away with the nickel too.
Probably under the heading of TMI is the discussion about all the rest rooms we saw. Either we were very fortunate or Canada is much cleaner than the US. There was not a single restroom that was dirty or disgusting or otherwise repellent. And I really am pretty darn picky about these things. In all the traveling there was only ONE time there was no toilet paper and thank goodness someone else was there. *grin* And she was helpful. 🙂
It is totally weird to me that there are stop signs in the middle of the highway in the middle of the prairie, and traffic lights when going through northern Ontario. I can only think this is part of that innate politeness ascribed to Canadians. I have a LOT of pics of traffic lights in what I considered to be the middle of nowhere. 🙂
We got to Edmunston in daylight, as I said, so we had time to unwind a bit. There was a casino less than a half mile away so that is where we headed. Honour hit the slot machines and I hit the bar. 🙂 We were both happy. What we’d forgotten was that we’d lost yet ANOTHER hour on this trip. It was NOT 9pm as we thought but 10 pm. Why is this significant? Because the restaurant in the casino closed at 10. We should have eaten first. We asked the bartender for a recommendation for a nice restaurant. We were directed to some place with the word “Pirate” in it – just past the casino. Back in the car and out in the rain and past the casino and ….. Okay, that is NOT our idea of a ‘nice restaurant’. It was your typical roadside fastfood establishment, with several chain stores, plus a convenience store, and a gas station. Sigh. Yeah, we ate there. And Honour may be Canadian but trust me – she wasn’t really polite about it. *grin* Well, she WAS polite to THEM, but she told ME the truth!
Back to the hotel where we agreed that we would NOT talk to each other in the morning until she had figured out gas and food and I knew where we were going. 🙂