(No this pic is not now but last summer. Haha).
Well, it’s been a while in extending an invitation to you all to come and sit a spell with me. Whew! I have been off the grid so to speak over the past few weeks as I have been in Ontario with family since early November. Blessings blessings blessings. So good to see family (sorry to all of my friends, it was not a time for me to visit you; but one day) when I normally would not at this time of year. I felt like Nanny McPhee in the movie when she said, when you need me, I will come. When you want me but no longer need me, I will go. That’s it in a nutshell. Best feeling to be needed. But before I forget, Merry Christmas to all and to all a joyous and bounty of love for this season of Christmas 2020. I hope whatever you did or whomever you were with, it was simply wonderful and life-giving with good company, good eats and good memories. Forever grateful for mine.
And now….woohoo, yippykaiyeah…all I can say as it is good to be home. No offense daughters of mine. I felt like Dorthy from Wizard of Oz last week, wanting to click my red heels together to say quietly and gently “there’s no place like home“. To get back home to the island, talk about jumping through hoops though. Firstly, knowing I am leaving just after Christmas, preparation is essential. Why one may ask? Weather and Covid-19 certainly has its snowflakes and little cellular spindles of virus, impacting decisions including travel. Me, truck, travel, home. Yep, you know it. Easy…not so much, Can I just hop in the truck and go? Nope. Not likely.
What do I have to think about? Well let me tell you. Over and above the weather and Covid-19 obstacles, one might get a stress call, for example (you know the kind), from certain family members saying…Karen, did you hear on the news? Lock down. No go. Mayday, Mayday. Red zone….are you kidding me!!! But having done this twice already this year with Covid-19 and its wake, it does not mean I cannot travel straight through provinces. Just have to know what service centres are open and essential gear with me like masks, Purell, gloves, food, water, pillow, blanket, winter clothes, windshield washer, snow wiper). I have to kick myself as I always forget to pack that shovel in the back of truck. Oh well. Four wheel drive all the way. AND so with a calm voice or text, I assure family members that its all good. Hmmmm….Not so easy. Worry worry worry. Yep, gotta love them. Breathe.
And then of course, weather. You know that white fluffy billowy snow that may or may not come in November or December. And why not top off the planning adding a touch of drama of record breaking snow fall hard and plenty in Barrie area, again!!! Check meaning of weather…Ontario – Quebec – New Brunwick – PEI. Put in phone weather city points from Kingston to Cornwall to Montreal to Quebec City to Riviere de Loup to Edmunston to Fredericton to….you get the picture??? So enter city and voila, Sunday is the window of opportunity!! Not Saturday, not Monday, but Sunday. Why one might ask? Sun. Glorious sun ALL day. ALL DAY. No hint of snowfall. So backward planning, (gotta love my educational learning many moons ago), which I see what Saturday looks like for Ontario along the 401 to get me safe (as one can be in the unpredictableness of weather) into Quebec. Good to go. All I have to do is leave on Saturday because Sunday is the go to day…which means I have to get permission, yes you know it, get Covid-19 permission to enter New Brunswick. Register. Check. Confirmed. Check. Email of confirmation reference number on phone. Check. Check. Check.
So off to the races. Tears are the hard part. Saying goodbye to family. Not good. Do not want to think about it. That is why I usually leave during the dead of night when all asleep, easier on the old ticker. Just saying. But left during the day because I do find driving in the day time easier…so much easier. However this time not much traffic around Toronto and GTA and beyond along 401…silver lining of Covid-19. Although everywhere I look, huge neon signs flash BE SAFE, STOP COVID-19. STAY HOME. Well that is where I am going…to stay home. Literally.
Anyway thankfully, gratefully, happily the drive was fairly good all the way up to and including Riviere du Loup. But naturally, by the fates, turning from 20 est to route 187 in northern Quebec ,it did not follow protocol….my investigative report on weather did not hold. Nope. Snow. Slippery. Yucky. And dark too. The swirling snow with high beams…not so great. Enough already. But I already know to expect the unexpected as northern Quebec and New Brunswick will alway be the bane of my existence in terms of unpredictable weather. For one never knows including moose crossing what lies ahead. Albeit one day, as an aside, I would like to see a moose. That is for another time. Anyway, I got into New Brunswick okay.
Check point. Stopped inside the NB border to be screened by health unit person and police woman. Symptoms. License. Registration number. Reason for travel. License plate. INSTRUCTIONS. No stopping except for gas, washroom and if you want food, drive through. Okey dokey smokie. Got it. Smooth sailing. A bit tired as I had been driving since 3 pm the day and it was 3:07 am (not bad timing I have to say). Anyway had a hot minute of shut eye in Grand Falls Big Stop before doing the last leg. The sun finally came up just after 7:30 am…oh my goodness the world looks different in the daylight. Yeah. New Brunswick is wicked beautiful with the snow laden rocky terrain, sheer ice rock face on both sides of super highway (super meaning you can travel 120 km as speed is 110) shhh. Oooyah. And forest…everywhere. And little to no traffic. Gotta love it.
I have to say I love stopping at the big service centres along the drive from Ontario to PEI. They had goodies galore if you want them, prepared for the travelling man (woman). Enroutes and Big Stops – my kryptonite for travel pitstops. Check them out. Okay, getting back on track…its time to take the round about at Port Elgin NB and head on home, the last leg before Confederation bridge. That is another thing. I mean I could plan all I want on the mainland provinces but if a wind or storm comes up, I am out of luck getting across to the island. Literally I would be stuck on NB side. But hey, not Sunday, alls well that ends well.
The best feeling, my hands start to clap together quickly, a big smile on my face as put the pedal to the metal (metaphorically speaking)…and get me home. The 13.5 km trek across the bridge, over the open water is welcomed. Surprisingly, but happily, I see the red dirt cliffs lining the island as I drive closer the shores of PEI. I was expecting snow but greeted by the charm of the red dirt from the island. Alas I sigh and smile widely. I’m home.
Good to be home?? Yes it is. 19 hours later I am finally back. There is no place like home. Self-isolation for 14 days. Yes. Do I miss family. Footprints stamped on my heart always. It’s all good. Blessings.
Let us pray for those whom are in need of our prayers today.