After a final check to ensure necessary supplies were enclosed I closed the trunk of the car, a 1973 Pontiac Parisienne coupe with 69,000 original miles, and what a trunk it was. It might have been possible to rent it out as a micro apartment the likes of which one would see if they made a journey to Hong Kong. However Hong Kong was not the destination, the terminal location was indeed New Brunswick, around 5700 kilometres from the West Coasts largest city, which was our starting geographical location. The Pontiac belonged to a close member of my family and I had agreed to drive in convoy with him to his newly purchased home out east, he in a commercial truck carrying other possessions and myself in his gold coloured ghost of highways past. It was 2pm Sunday, the third week of October, maybe not the best time to be leaving for a cross country trip, but hey, you only live once, except for those who die and are resuscitated, ok, and those who are never able to achieve nirvana and negate reincarnation. On second thoughts it looks like almost everyone lives more than once. Anyways, my life was about to become a highway for a short amount of time.
Also, I had plastered a large decal advertising this website on the back window of the car in hopes of garnering some advertising for this soon to arrive website. Though that may have been like hoping people would notice my kite as a UFO was flying by in the same time and space.
We made it to just outside Revelstoke before we stopped at a truck pull off for the night. When I awoke the next morning to my brother trucker clearing about 5 inches of snow off of the car, the likes of which no trace was there the night before I was thankful that I had opted to choose the minus 3 degree sleeping bag and truly wondered what I had just signed up for. The continuous country crossing continuity had to continue continuously, as I was supposed to be back at work in about 14 days or less, so we carried on.
Next stop, Medicine Hat. Nothing new to report here except that it was further east than I had ever driven by car or any other form of terrestrial transportation, unless of course I had done so on other occasions in previous lives. If such was the case I must have been black out drunk or suffered from a form of cognitive impairment disease because I certainly have no recollection of such a journey.
After driving for many hours on the third day and feeling the need for some rest, but more importantly a hot shower. I noticed a sign on the side of the highway that said hotel room 50$, I thought I would take them up on that offer so I radioed my sibling and he verified my inclination for relaxation. A farming community, mostly livestock, Wolseley was the name of the town, Saskatchewan was the larger encapsulating geographical boundary area and the third zone contained within the aforementioned two was indeed the Leland Hotel. Lucky was the owners name and his wife made one of the best butter chickens I have ever had the privilege of ingesting. After which a few beers with some friendly locals was in order before sleeping in an actual bed for the first time in three days. We left the next morning after a nice breakfast from the Tilli-Beans Bakery & Coffee Shop.
Day 4. We left Wolseley in the rearview, completely cleared Manitoba and ended up in Ontario, Kenora to be exact, where we refuelled. Perhaps it was the gravitational pull tugging on us from the centre of the universe, Toronto, but we both agreed and decided that we would drive on for a bit before we found a picnic spot to tent in our vehicles for the night.
Day five of the drive, after a bit of a mechanical setback with the truck in Dryden where we diagnosed and remedied a leaking air line on the motor that was shutting off the diesel engine as a safety feature. We carried on to somewhere around Nipigon before stopping for another night in the vehicles.
Whenever you are out and about and talking to someone from another state or province, if our(warning extreme sarcasm to follow) fully competent, intelligent, all knowing and illustrious politicians ever let us speak face to face again, because as you know we are in the midst of the worst pandemic this universe has ever seen(sorry trying not to laugh,) where it is so bad that most do not even know they are infected unless they get a test, and then the test is so unreliable that it is constantly giving off false positives and negatives, ask said person in that jovial conversation what the best thing to come out of their state province or territory is? When they are done giving you whatever serious answer they can think of, such as, Stephen Hawking, Neil Young, maple syrup or something of the like, you must let them know that indeed the best thing to come out of their geographical location is the highway leading to another geographical location! Trust me it is always the last thing they expect to hear and a good way to probe as to the sense of humour somebody has.
Our sixth day on the road was a long one having driven around 1000 kilometres from Nipigon to just past North Bay, Ontario. What a long province to try and get through. We took the northern route Highway 11, and snow it did, until we started to descend into a lower latitude. The Parisienne bench seat would again be the mattress. I am glad it was not a Toulousaine that Pontiac decided to name the car after, as I fear it would have been smaller in geographical area, leaving my 6 foot 1 stature in an even more crunched fetal position. As well, thanks bro for not at all being into imports, I will take a bench over a bucket any day of the calendar, for a bed that is, a commode, different story. Well same story different function. Keep reading to find out.
Today we would be passing the pinnacle of bureaucracy and corruption, Ottawa, I could sense the miasma in the air already. The thought crossed my mind to swing by the residence of the King of Canada and slap an ENDPOLITICIANS.com sticker upon the ramparts of his crumbling abode, however I made the call to carry on without detour, not because I feared arrest and detention from his legion of loyal knights, but because I came to the conclusion that there was a very good chance that he probably could not read, as drama queens are always pretending about one thing or another. Goodbye Ontario, hello land of extreme culture and pride, Quebec. C’est bon, oui! Quebec City would be my resting place tonight, more specifically, Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac. I found a room at over 50% off as some crazy politicians unnecessarily shut down a good portion of the economy. You have to treat yourself once in a while, why not in the most historic old town north of the 49th parallel. Sad to say but all restaurants were closed for dine in so room service it would be.
On a side note, somewhere between Montreal and Quebec City I stopped at a certain hockey players drive thru for a tea and donut. Being a liker of chocolate I decided to opt for the double chocolate doughy creation with a hole in the middle. Magnifique! It was the best donut I had ever eaten in my life. I am not sure if it was strictly that franchise or the whole province which creates such spectacular sugary masterpieces. For a fair analogy I would consider an Anglophone double chocolate as a filthy dirty puddle of water that one would only imbibe if dying of thirst while endlessly lost in the desert and knowing there were most likely parasitic hosts swimming within. Whereas the Francophone version to be that of mountain spring glacial fed water filtered through heavenly aquifers and directly placed in ones mouth by a holy, gold chalice brought forth by the all knowing hand of gods superior as it floated elegantly on the most perfectly formed cloud in the history of the universe.
Ah, New Brunswick. I had just been through 6 provinces in 7 days. Sure, almost all cities had unnecessary and authoritarian mandatory mask regulations that would make Joseph Goebbels blush, but nothing could prepare me for what I was about to encounter, and I listened to as much radio as I could along the way. It was about noon as I rolled up to the Quebec – New Brunswick border and it was a roadblock, manned by, I believe, Public Safety Officers, also RCMP to make it official. Public Safety was surprised to see an antique automobile roll up to the first booth, and even more surprised when I told him I had just driven it from BC. He informed me the border was shut and I would have to register with the province in order to be let into their jurisdiction and what they were calling the Atlantic Bubble(my guess is the bubble was formed from all the hot air emitted from politicians mouths then encapsulated in a very thin veneer of truth.) Not only would I have to register myself online, but I would then be forced to self isolate for a period of 14 days. They had wifi at the border yet he sent me back to Quebec with a website address to register myself. I think he wished I would not return, but I did. With my registration number in hand I returned and he let me through to booth #2, but not before I asked if it was possible to take a covid test to be able to negate the quarantine? The answer was NO, no test as I could still be incubating. But he assured me I could get in a car and leave the province any time I wished, a hard task when I just drove 5700+ km to drop off my mode of transportation. What about the airport, could I leave from there before 14 days? Also a NO. Looks like I was going to be missing my return to work date!
Public Safety Officer #2. Same questions, different answers. Yes, he thought I should be able to take a test but was unable to tell me how I could get to the testing location as I had to be under self isolation. The airport question, no answer to give me. We went through my place of quarantine information I had supplied at registration and he informed me that they would be calling me at a later date and stopping by the address to check in on me. I could only stop at a drive thru and gas station to fuel up on my way to a fortnight of quarantine isolation.
I will not get very deep into the story of the property my brother bought having sat vacant for 7 years after the owner died and did not currently have electricity and was not a simple process to get the electrons flowing again, which was needed to power the pump to supply water from the well for life’s little pleasures like a shower and functioning toilet. Thanks bro for having a bucket and not a bench in this instance. Luckily he had a friend who could drop stuff off when needed and there was a spring a few kilometres up the road where extremely fresh water could be transported from, in, yes, you guessed it, buckets. Thanks bro’s friend for having buckets. There was a wood burning stove so we were able to keep warm by burning punky wood for a few days before a couple cords of wood were dropped off for us. I drank a lot of beer to deal with the situation. Thank you Moosehead Breweries for making a palatable beer by the name of Alpine. You should ship it out west, I am sure people would buy it.
Three days into quarantine and I had a private call on my phone, it was Public Safety wanting to know if I was in self isolation? I was. Was I experiencing any sore throat, runny nose or any other symptoms? No. I did feel like telling her that I was feeling very lethargic and did not feel like doing much, but this was just a way of life in the Maritimes : ) She informed me again that I could not take a test to skirt the quarantine as it could result in a false negative. Ok, punishment due.
After a week I called the government hotline to see if a test was in order as I could still not be in incubation stage could I? Shot down again. How about leaving by airport after a week? She told me it was up to the airport authority to decide. I 411’ed the airport, made the phone call and relayed the question. The helpful lady I spoke to could not believe I would ask her such a question as this could only be determined by the government. She took my number and told me she would call me back after speaking to the supervisor. Sure enough only the government can make that call. Say, did I tell you all how I came to enjoy the fresh intoxicating taste of Alpine Lager by Moosehead Breweries? It sure had a good taste, but maybe that is just because the situation I was in was bad. Guess I would wait it out.
In reality the time gave us the opportunity to do some work on the property and bring it up a few notches from where it had been when we arrived. The only inter-net I had while there was the barrier I put around my sleeping area in an attempt to stop pests from crawling on me while I slept : )
Is there a moral to the story? Possibly, but that is up to you to analyze. One thing I will say is that when it comes to the government, typically the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing and I think that might be because they are nearly all double amputees, without the ability to even pull up their own pants unless the private sector does so for them. Let us founders and carriers of civilization and society sew their pockets shut for good so we no longer have this wardrobe malfunction. The pantaloons have reached their knees and their next step is about to cause a massive fall. All government needs to do is stand in front of a full length mirror and admit they have a gluttony problem and instead of a physical next step they need to take the psychological first step, admit that they have a problem and begin the road to recovery.