7.27.2012

On the Road AGAIN

We felt like we were riding by the seat of our pants a lot of the time, despite all the road maps, road signs and the GPS on our trip north to Nova Scotia. We sailed right along, planning on skirting Boston, as we had New York City, but, once again, we fell off the interstate and ended up in Peabody, Massachusetts. I have to mention this for my son, Joe, who likes to remember his business trip there once and learned that you don't pronounce Peabody, like Peabody. You pronounce it like "Peebuh-dee" and you say it fast. Now whenever we can't decide how to pronounce a word, like tomato or tomah-to...something like that there, no matter what word it is, one of us declares, it's pronounced, "Peebuh-dee"...and that's the definitive answer now for any word. A foreign dignitary's name, a strange road name, anything we have trouble with...it's pronounced, "Peebud-ee" and leave it at that. So since we were meandering about Peabody, trying to find our way back onto the interstate and hadn't had breakfast, it being around 11 a.m., we went to a CVS and loaded up on trail mix, "chay-ter chips", bottled water and lemonade, and also we found a  nice dark brown Massachusetts souvenier t-shirt for Cappy. He got to hear the "Bah-ston" accent, too. On the street we saw some old guys, who looked like they had just stepped off the cover of a book that held stories of sailors who had sailed the high seas for half a century and had barely lived to tell their tales. If we hadn't been in a hurry to get into Canada, Cappy would have loved to have stopped and talked with them, but alas, we kept going.
  And we made good time, the weather being sunny and nice. In Portland, Maine, around three o'clock in the afternoon, we stopped and had supper at the Foreside Tavern. I forgot what we had, but I know mussels were part of 'da deal'. I'd never had them before. I guess they were pretty good, but I am still thinking I'm not a big fan of them. Cappy said they were great. Take it from him, tho' and not me, because he knows seafood a lot better than I do. (I just hate finding sand in the food in my mouth, no matter how tasty the food is, spoilsport that I am.)
  On the road again, Cappy and I were thrilled at the good time we were making. Famous last words. If I thought the bad storm that we got under while going around New York City was bad, it was nothing much compared to what we got hit with going up through Maine, toward Bangor and on up. Oh. My. Gosh. It was bad. Bad. Plus, our soft, although new South Louisiana tires weren't equipped to ride fast in those sloshy conditions. Not being able to see the white lines on the side of the road even with the windshield wipers going as fast as they could, other drivers put their emergency lights flashing away, so we turned ours on, too. A couple of  times we had to pull off the highway along with a herd of traffic to wait til we all could see anything so we could pull out onto the road and try again. We heard later in the motel that we had somehow missed being in a tornado, and I don't doubt it one bit. Actually, we didn't get to that motel til way after midnight, because although the speed limit had been 75mph, I could only do about 40mph at the most in that constant torrent. If I tried speeding it up, we would start to hydroplane. It felt like the back of the SUV was lifting up and going off to the left into the passing lane. Scarey stuff. It was interesting, tho' once it got dark enough for the lights to reflect off things on the side of the road, to see deer crossing signs, but more fun was the moose crossing signs. We were very far north now, with towns very far apart. Actually, we never did get to see a moose during our whole trip, but the moose signs were enough to satisfy. (I have only ever seen one real moose in the wild while driving along the New York State Thruway headed toward Syracuse years ago.)
  But hours earlier, before we had gotten to that motel, there on the road, since it was getting so late now, we decided that, we really should try hard to find a place to stay. Good luck with that. It was another thirty miles or so to the border and we didn't know if we'd even find a hotel or anything once we did get into Canada. Exits were few and far between, and we were still slogging along around 30-40 miles an hour in the dark heavy rain. We got off at one exit and saw a motel sign right near, so we drove into the dimly lit parking lot. Immediately I got a creepy feeling; a "Bates Motel" feeling. The place was dark green and spread itself, down along the big, darkened  empty, gravel parking lot, like a tentacle, with it's pale yellow peeling window panes faintly glowing in the dark. The place looked like it had been built in the 1800's. There was a small group of people, drinks in hand, standing around an open door halfway down, with motorcycles parked right up tight to the well-worn long wooden porch. My Cappy was all enthused. He said, "Hey, they look like they may be our kind of people". What I wanna know is: when did I get so uppity? When did I get so snooty? I like people...I really do. I try fitting in. These guys...I dunno. They looked like Hell's Angels to me, but then maybe I was just jaded by the dismal night we'd been having. Cappy is a way better judge of character than I am, so if he said they were nice people, then I'm sure they were, but I didn't want to stay there. Cappy  got out and went to talk with them, looking for the owner of the place to open a room for us. (I don't wanna stay here,  don't wanna stay here, I don't wanna drive another thirty miles in this bad weather, but I really don't wanna stay here.) Everybody tried helping Cappy rouse the owner. They banged on doors, they pounded on doors, they tried calling, they tried  yelling, they tried their phones. I sat there peering at the whole blurry scene through the rain on the windshield. Cappy finally came back and said, "No....we can't get the owner, so looks like we'll have to keep going".  I sighed, "Oh, that's a shame", and I meant it, even though I was relieved,  because we'd have to drive somemore in the wind and rain; wherever it would take us for the night. I'll bet the place was nice, despite my misgivings, too.
  On we went into the night, listening to some really stupid public radio CD's I had gotten for the trip. By then we were the only vehicle on the dark, lonely road. At long length,  we got to the town of Houlton, just south of the border, found the greatest motel, Ivey's Motor Lodge, which is obviously family owned, meticulously clean, sweet little homey touches in the room (and in the morning a wonderful dining room with free breakfast and they only charged $83 for the room and breakfast). It was such a clean place, that I even walked around in my sock feet! And that's really saying something. But when we first got there that night, we were drenched to the bone by the time we got all our stuff dragged through the rain, into the motel. We watched the weather channel and the local weather said there was flooding right in the town of Houlton and all along where we had driven that night. No kidding.  Then we got the best sleep ever with the wind and rain beating on the motel room windows.  In the morning we 'gassed up' and made a bee-line for the border. The weather was still kind of raining, but not as hard as last night, still I had a difficult time with our tires, getting up to speed. I was lucky to be able to do 50 mph, let alone the posted 75 mph. (Yow! 75 mph) We had everything on the dashboard all ready for the border crossing folks.  Our passports, our special car insurance to be able to drive in Canada, and my special driving license to be able to do the same. They let us right in, no problem. It was still drizzling, so as we pulled back onto the road, I was wondering how fast I'd have to drive on the interstate in Canada when I spotted the speed limit sign, "110"....whaaaa? Here I couldn't even do 75, how in the heck am I going to do 110?? Cappy said, "No, Peg, it's kilometers, not miles per hour". That was still kinda fast for the conditions.  We decided to get some literature about Canada and maybe a couple of maps at the Tourist Information Center. (They give all that away free.) Also, they love to talk to people who are traveling and give them lots of advice and updates. Sooo, we drove into the infomation place as soon as we got into Canada. What a very nice group of young, helpful ladies who work there! I can't emphasize that enough. We were having so much fun visiting with them, we had to remind ourselves that we had an agenda to get to our destination before nightfall, over in Nova Scotia, and drag ourselves out of there. So away we went again. They also gave us a laminated conversion chart to be able to tell how fast we were supposed to go, weights and measures, etc.  Whew, so I didn't have to go 110 mph, but 68 mph instead. I did what I had to do until it stopped raining, then we did the 110 klodhoppers per hour, as they came to be called (in Peebud-ee). 
Tell ya what. How 'bout I make you a slideshow with pictures that whizzed by as we were doing our "ROAD TRIP" thing.      Okay, I was trying to upload the video here, but it's going to take too long and I've got other stuff to do, so I'm just putting the link to our youtube channel. Hope you don't mind. (some people don't like clicking on links in general) Anyhow, here's the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ILpqyxocIHU&list=UUe6CkaSkPG0EXROyp-xQkjw&index=1&feature=plcp
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