As a usual morning dragged me through numerous busses, trains and transfers I find myself edging to the far borders of Montreal. I had to walk a lot. Off a bus a few stops early and I found myself adding near an hour aboard the shoelace express. Finally finding a suitable on-ramp only to be watched by the Police. I’ve heard stories of Montreal Police forces, I really didn’t want to push my luck. Back up the road a little and hidden behind a sign I brought myself back to it and found a ride in no time.
Fifteen minutes up the road I’m off in a parking lot and to it again. Another, short ride. Another, Short ride. Another, made it to Lavis. Not so bad now. I’m moving as I like and the pace is building. Did I mention I don’t really speak french?
An older fellow picked me up on the ramp heading East. All is well except after picking me up we’re headed west. Now I’m just slinging phrases and hoping to get through to him I’m headed east. Dropped off I break for lunch. A break for me is defined as sitting down, never building a habit of sitting while looking for a ride gave me a feeling of a higher self image and I think it helped my attitude a lot. Only sit for snacks, reading and naps.
Spicy red pepper and garlic hummus, Pita bread and some fruit. Not a bad way to go. I’m missing home cooked food by this point. Next time I’m bringing a camp stove.
Que Mario. Seemingly a big wig business man driving a mid 2000’s BMW. So back through and following a pit stop in Levis to see his wife we’re on the road. Conversation really sparked when he mentioned this is his “Winter” car. So we got to talking. He’s built numerous Japanese and European sports cars over the years and has been helping his son with a bugeye WRX. Lifted, built engine and so on. Mario is the front running founder of the Tomahawk electric car unveiling this year! The time flew by. Hoping I can be in touch and learn more from him. He left a lasting impression on me.
Another Lull in the day, on ramp and my invisibility cloak in full swing. I could probably have played dead on the side of the road and not a soul would have stopped. At least I was entertained. A fluid hauler at the stop sign had a comical (for me) mishap. Air lines from the truck to trailer came to dangle and were caught up in the driveshaft. With a burst of air and dragging 8 tires I laughed. He didn’t. I offered to help to receive no recognition at all. I kicked back and watched him struggle. Way she goes.
Oliver. The first person I have ever met who believed in the “Flat Earth Society” They have members all around the globe you know, he told me himself. I prefer science. I’ve been on a boat and seen the curvature of the earth. I’ve flown in a plane and seen the lay of the land. I was a little awe struck how concepts and beliefs like this are still so active in our modern world. We talked a little about it. He wouldn’t budge. Now I had just met him, I’m not interested in having this conversation and destroying my chances of securing this ride for a long haul. I had to stop him. Explained I’m going to have to agree to disagree and we leave it at that. He agreed. Not a word was spoke as the sun dipped. Weird how that works huh? Almost like the earth is…round..and turning. I didn’t mention it.
Must have worked out. He asked where I was staying and as usual, a shrug and a laugh. He invited me to his Cabin 9km out of Reviere de Loop. That’s not axe murdery at all! I’ll take it. Beers and groceries then we hit the dirt. It was beautiful. Built by his Grandfather in the 1960’s without power, plumbing or anything aside from the necessities of heat and bedding. Cracked a beer and set out for wood from the shed we were getting settled in. I struck up a fire in the old cooking stove and beer started flowing. An AM radio from a truck was built into the wall with a car battery clipped into power. This place was a time machine. As we warmed the cabin from the low negatives we gradually were able to remove our hats, coats, sweaters and shoes. Comfort at last and we set off to bed. With my sleeping bag and a bear pelt from his father we crashed and the morning came.
Frost and a brisk walk to the spring to fill our water bottles.
Road time and the St Lawrence river followed. I was mystified by the ecosystem of the murky water. You could tell the ocean had an influence on it but it was still fresh. It was new to me and I could have stayed all day just observing it all. I greeted a dog in French. It understood and I still brag about it today. Melted my heart.
From here on it’s a little bit of a blur. The next day was sub-par. I spent 5 days in Quebec and now into New Brunswick I found nothing to report.
The french speaking population became more apparent and there was really, truly nothing to do. Small town with no more than a Tim Hortons and another chain truck stop. I started recognizing the commercial vehicles by their unit numbers and the faces of the truckers seemed the show they recognized me too. Not a single one ever offered a ride, gave me a little extra room on the side of the road or even bothered to slow a little. It’s sad how we’re headed the same way, on the same road for days at a time. Catch another ride and pass them again. Trucks labelled from Quebec to Newfoundland sure would have been a treat. Can’t blame them though.
Slept in Tim Hortons. That sucked.
It’s fucking cold. This sucks. I want to give up.
I want to quit.
I get another coffee every chance I can. I’m so tired.
Grand Falls. Beer. They only had Budweiser, coors and Canadian. It’ll do. Their taps were a lie.
It’s 3am and I’m walking to another 24hr Tim Hortons. People left me food while I was sleeping. Thank you. That’s the little support I needed to keep going.
Grabbed a shower in Fredericton at a Gym. They really didn’t want to let me use their shower. I made them get their Manager. He had a beard. Instant best friends. We haggled back and forth and I dropped five bucks. It was 5 days since my last shower. I really, really needed this. I ran it for an hour. Best five bucks ever.
I’m making the break for PEI, Potato Island. It’s a beautiful way with amazing views. The Acadians are crazy. They’re a group of French Canadians known to be a little bit different. You’d have to meet one to really understand what I mean but they’re a riot. Brutally honest and very intense people. Every one that stopped on the Highway has no sense of road safety. They all found it entirely necessary to slam it to reverse and scream down the middle of the highway backwards. I laughed every time. They’re a bunch of idiots and I loved every second of it.
Scored myself some road beers from some folks you normally wouldn’t accept road beers from. A pair of Brothers and one of their girlfriends. Hard people, all towering over me in size and tattoos to match. The brother up front just got out of Prison. He ain’t ever going back. Relaxed me to hear that. I learned a lot from these guys. Don’t tell my Mom. She would smack me for getting in the car with them. Thanks for the Beers, you guys made my day.
Tom Maclean. I have his business card, only reason I remember his name. Another genuis. The past 25 years he has spent self learning about the underlying causes of mineral deposit formation and where you’re likely to find them. He struck it big. Deep in the woods of New Brunswick he found himself 70 Billion (This number is probably wrong I was a little buzzed after road beers) Dollars of deposited ores. He’s struck a claim and working with investors currently in order to get it out of the ground. He had a few Core samples and rocks taken from the surface. They were beautiful. The copper had corroded and oxidized in such a strange way as to nearly glow a vibrant green. Another big influence on me and our conversations still resonate with me to this day. He helped me come to terms with a lot of problems I had been facing in life recently. He kinda offered me a Job too, should get in touch.
I was beginning to heal.
I think I’m going to be alright after all.
Oh yeah, and some old hippies picked me up. We found a really big bridge! I caught the sunset as it fell over the Atlantic ocean while driving across. What a fucking treat! Welcome to PEI.
Oh and for the record, Locals think its funny to call it Potato Island. People on the internet don’t. Suck it Reddit, it’s a joke!
More coming, Three provinces to go, a flight back to Calgary and a whole new book all to be written in future entries. Three weeks to finish this up and I’m on another adventure this summer. Hang in there!