Saturday, September 15, 2018

Tuesday September 15, 1998 - BC

New Westminster - sunny and warm.

There was a little lake at the rest stop I had pulled off at the night before, I woke to see ducks there. Very peaceful and pretty. I stopped in the Osoyoos - Summerland area for groceries at one of the many well-stocked fruit stands. Then I stopped for lunch at the Hope Slide, a huge landslide just outside of Hope on the eastern end of the Fraser Valley. Then it was straight on to home, stopping only for gas in Abbotsford. On arriving in New Westminster I went uptown to arrange for a phone to be installed at my condo, then home to a nice clean empty apartment. Yohan plopped down in the entrance way and I don't think he moved for two hours. I on the other hand spent the rest of the day unpacking the truck. What a mess!

And so ended my four-month journey across the country and back. The only territory I failed to visit was Nunavut.

When I arrived home there was a letter from Laurene saying that I should call them right away as Ray had been diagnosed with lung cancer (again) and this time it was terminal. The breathing problems he'd been having in northern BC and the Yukon were the first signs of it, they had had to cut their trip short when Ray was airlifted back to Victoria. I managed to see him one last time at their home in Victoria.

Yohan was old (16 years) and not well, I knew before I set out on this trip that it would be his last. He died the following December. The vet thought he might have pancreatic cancer; that may have been why his liver was swollen when I took him to the Copper River clinic in Whitehorse. Josh eventually turned up. The police in Castlegar did track him down but they did not tell me his whereabouts, just simply that he was alive and well. Sam spent the full nine (eight?) months with Katimavik before returning home, he spent three months each in Quebec, Newfoundland and Ontario.

And that's the end of my travel tale.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Monday September 14, 1998 - BC

Grand Forks - sunny and warm.

I crossed Alberta and reached the mountains by early to mid-afternoon. I stopped in Castlegar around 7.00pm to try to locate Josh. I talked to a lady living in his old house, then tried to get a hold of the police. The Police Office was closed but there was a phone at the front door. After hours everything is routed through Nelson, which means long distance; and because of the new long distance plans, all circuits were busy. Some of the guys at the Fire Department next door were watching from their second floor lounge and offered to help. I went in and they called the Nelson police from their phone, I guess they had a better number to call. I made my report, they said they'd be in touch.

I got gas and made a quick supper—I was starving at this point—and continued on. I pulled off the road for the night at a rest stop somewhere past Grand Forks.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Sunday September 13, 1998 - Saskatchewan

Gull Lake - sunny and warm.

I got on the road early again and drove through to a rest stop on the side of the road at Gull Lake. I've been there before so I was looking for it. It was mostly prairie driving. Once again the CD player was not working properly. If there is anywhere you want to listen to music it is driving across the prairies.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Saturday September 12, 1998 - Manitoba

Falcon Lake, Manitoba
Falcon Lake - sunny and warm.

I left the campground early and made it to Falcon Lake, Manitoba by night. I passed through the infamous Wawa (where hitchhikers dread to be let off).

The Wawa Goose
Also passed through White River, the birthplace of Winnie-the-Pooh.

Postcard from White River
Lots of places to stop along the Lake Superior shore and the weather was beautiful.

Yohan being majestic. He can't hold his tail up anymore.
The shore of Lake Superior
More great scenery along the north shore of Lake Superior. I took a little side trip to see the Panorama amethyst mine. The mine itself was nothing special but the drive in was pretty nice, with a road up a cliffside and great views of Lake Superior. Panoramic.

On the road to Panorama
Panoramic view, Lake Superior in the distance

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Friday September 11, 1998 - Ontario

Lake Superior Park - sunny and warm.

I am finally on my way home! I stopped in the Muskoka area for lunch at a small town on Georgian Bay and then spent the night in a campground in Lake Superior Provincial Park, just south of Wawa. It was good driving and great scenery. It's an early fall, the colours are starting to come out.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Thursday September 10, 1998 - Ontario

Richmond Hill - sunny and warm.

In the morning Isaac and Gretel and I had coffee and bagels and then Gretel started going through her manual for the new job that she starts today at 11.00am. Isaac and I took Yohan for a walk in a nearby park and had a nice long talk about family matters. It was a bit of a touchy topic but Isaac seemed satisfied with what I said and I felt I'd pretty much covered it the way I wanted to. When we got back to the house Gretel was ready to leave for work. After she left I got ready to leave as well. I had talked to Beth on the phone the night before and had arranged to visit with her between 1.30 and 3.30 in the afternoon. Isaac helped me load the truck and then I drove him downtown to his job at Roy Thomson Hall. I then set out for Beth's place in Richmond Hill, just outside of Toronto.

Just as I arrived at Beth's I realized that I did not have my fanny pack which I was using as a purse. No money, no cards, no camera. I freaked. It was hard to visit with Beth because I was so focussed on the loss of the fanny pack and contents. Beth suggested that I call the Film Festival office to try to track down Isaac or Gretel, and after several phone calls I found someone who knew who Gretel was and agreed to page her. But Gretel was not at her designated theatre and it was a while before she called back. Finally I heard from her and Isaac was with her. He confirmed that my fanny pack was still in their apartment. We made arrangements for me to pick it up from him at Roy Thomson. I arranged to spend the night at Beth's as I did not want to drive into Toronto again.

I took the subway to Roy Thomson and exchanged Isaac's YPT hat which he had left in Wolfville for my fanny pack, and then had supper and took some photos of Roy Thomson Hall before heading back to Beth's. In the evening Beth and I walked Yohan in a nearby ravine. I slept in the spare bed in an alcove off Laurel's room in the basement.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Wednesday September 9, 1998 - Ontario

Toronto - sunny and warm.

I had a small breakfast and said good bye to Sam, I was on the road by 8.30am. It was a nice drive from La Malbaie to Quebec City along the north shore of the St. Laurence River, through hilly farmland and forest and many small towns. I crossed the river at Quebec City and got onto the TransCanada highway toward Montreal.

Shortly after crossing the river I was adjusting the CD player (and not looking at the road) and I veered off the highway at speed. I zoomed across the grassy verge at 100 kph, knocking down a small reflector post and narrowly missing two larger signposts. By the time I got my foot off the gas pedal I had slid into a swamp by the side of the highway. The truck was at an almost 45 degree angle in the swamp, the 2 wheels on the driver side still on the grass but the other two wheels well into the swamp. I climbed out thoroughly shaken up. There was smoke or steam billowing out from under the truck.

Amazingly, the car immediately behind me on the highway followed me off the road. I guess they thought something was terribly wrong and wanted to help. So by the time I managed to get out of the truck (pushing the door open was hard because it was almost above me) that car was parked beside me and the three men in it were already out and asking me questions in French. Did I fall asleep? What happened? Did I have a rope or chain? I told them that I did have some rope but it wasn't very strong. I tried to dig it out but it was on the passenger side of the cab and I couldn't get at it. The men started talking about what they could do, that they really needed a chain to get my truck out of the swamp.

Just then a cube van also pulled off the highway, it drove a little ahead of us before stopping. We all stared at it: there was a chain wrapped around its rear bumper. The van driver got out and the three men ran to meet him. There was some discussion about whether to try to pull my truck out forwards or backwards and then they wrapped the chain around my truck's front bumper and the car pulled my truck out of the swamp surprisingly easily. They got me to start the truck and drive it forward a few feet to see if it was driveable. On seeing that it was they all left. From start to finish that episode took maybe 20 minutes! But I was still pretty shaken up by it all so spent another 10 minutes or so cleaning mud off the windows and straightening things out inside the truck. It was a good thing I had screwed down my sleeping platform when I was in Whitehorse, the back of the truck was relatively undisturbed by the trip into the swamp.

After that I pulled off the road when I wnated to fiddle with the CD player. The rest of the drive to Toronto was uneventful and as boring as only the highway from Quebec City to Toronto can be. On the outskirts of Toronto I phoned Isaac and Gretel for directions to their place and arrived there around 9.30pm. I told them about the swamp episode and showed them the mud along the passenger side of the truck, which I had not yet cleaned up. Isaac thought it looked kind of artistic, you could see the marks of the bulrushes sweeping along the truck side.

I said I'd really like a beer so Isaac got a sixpack of Corona from their downstairs neighbours. They live in an attic apartment in a three storey house in the Annex part of Toronto. They showed me their theatre in the stairwell between their apartment and the one below. They come into their apartment via an outside fire escape stairwell so the inside stairwell is blocked off at the bottom. It has a landing half way down which is their theatre stage, and the steps from their apartment down to the landing is audience seating area. They have lights on the railing above that shine down onto the stage, and at intermission their kitchen is the theatre bar. Their theatre can hold a grand total of six audience members. We also discussed their plans for the Film Festival opening the next day, which they are participating in. I slept on a futon on the floor of the living room.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Tuesday September 8, 1998 - Quebec

La Malbaie - rainy.

Since the time changed at the New Brunswick-Quebec border I had set the clock back an hour in the cab of the truck, but I forgot to change the clock in the back where I slept. So when I woke up and saw that it was already 6.30am I thought I was going to miss the ferry. But once I got into the cab of the truck I realized my mistake and saw that I was actually early, arriving at the ferry dock at 6.00am. I made breakfast there and boarded the ferry just before 8.00am.

You get a ticket in the line-up parking area and then pay for it on the ship. On the ferry ride I got caught up on my journal. After debarking I drove to La Malbaie and asked for the Katimavik house at the local tourist info house. The coast here reminds me a bit of the Labrador coast, but there mare more trees, farms and towns. It is very pretty.

At the Katimavik house I talked to Christian, the project leader. He told me that Sam was working in Clermont and I could probably see him at lunch time at the City Garage. We talked about Katimavik a bit and how they get the most applicants from Ontario and Quebec and need to advertise more in the other provinces. He said that Jacques Hebert has retired from the Senate recently and is now touring all of the Katimavik sites. They got their budget increased this year and may have 750 participants instead of 600.

I drove to Clermont and chopped up some of my vegetables at a picnic spot by the river and then showed up at the City Garage for noon to meet Sam. He is really enjoying it. Later I went to see their work site where they are clearing trees and brush along a trail by the river.

Sam asked me to stay the night which I agreed to but that definitely throws off my schedule. Also it is further to Toronto than I thought. Oh well.

Around 5.00pm I returned to the Katimavik house in La Malbaie. After some milling around I had supper with the group: fajitas and coleslaw. A bit skimpy due to miscalculation. I brought in all of my CDs from the truck for Sam to go through and pick stuff he wants to tape and I got on the internet on their computer to pick up email. After supper I brought Yohan into the house.

They had a weekly meeting scheduled which I sat in for part of. Five of the participants are francophone and six are anglophone. No one is bilingual so Christian must do a lot of translating. They first debated a statement proposed by Christian that healthy human beings have choices and must therefor take responsibility for their lives. Very interesting debate. The conclusion seemed to be agreement with the statement, but the debate was limited to 30 minutes so who knows what the outcome might have been if they had gone on longer. Then they discussed food, money, work and the schedule of events.

It was a very long meeting and afterward they thanked me for visiting. Part of the group then went out to the local Sub shop, and another part started work on making a clubhouse in the basement. Sam taped the CDs he wanted. I was pretty tired and went to bed in the truck around 11.00pm.

Friday, September 7, 2018

Monday September 7, 1998 - Quebec

Riviere-du-loup - cloud and sun.

Isaac and Gretel got up very early and had left by 6.00am for Toronto. I started packing and was ready to leave by 8.20am. Said my good byes and was off.

I made pretty good time until I got to New Brunswick. First I stopped for souvenirs in Sackville, and then I made awrong turn and started heading for Shediac. I bought gas outside of Moncton and missed my turnoff for the back road via Renous and had to double back. The gas station was right on the turnoff but I didn't realize that at the time.

I stopped for supper on the Renous - Plaster Rock road. It was a beautiful sunny clear day and the leaves are just starting to turn, the hillsides were touched with russet and bronze. I was planning to get cheaper gas in Edmunston but I missed it and ended up going back because I didn't want to pay the Quebec price just yet. And so, as a result of all that I did not get to Riviere-du-loup until 7.00pm and the last ferry across the river was at 6.00pm.

I forgot to mention that Sam had sent me email from his Quebec Katimavik posting saying how much he liked it and giving me his address and phone number in La Malbaie. I looked at a map and realized that it was just across the river from Riviere-du-loup and that there was a ferry crossing there. I thought I could visit him there on the way home. I had also phoned Beth in the Toronto area yesterday and had told her I would be in Toronto on the 8th and could visit her on the 9th. But now that I had narrowly missed the ferry my schedule was going to be all out of whack.

I found a good campground right next to the ferry dock and went to bed early. The first ferry will be at 8.00am so I need to be up early to be at the ferry dock for 6.30am.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Sunday September 6 1998 - Nova Scotia


The last day of socializing in Nova Scotia. I had coffee with Dennis at the Coffee Merchant and he gave me some names of people in Vancouver that I might contact. I called Marilyn to leave Isaac's address and phone number for Marilyn's daughter Ariana. Heather answered so I went up there to return her thesis, which I had borrowed when I had lunch with her on Thursday.

Heather became interested in alternative communities when she was living in my old house at Wenega. Unfortunately it burned down and she had to move; she ended up going back to school at Acadia and studying sociology. Her thesis was on the Wolfville and area scene, focussing on Eos and Wenega. She collected quiestionaires and did interviews; when she completed her thesis she made six copies for distribution. When I returned the copy I was borrowing she asked if I had any comments and I did. I also relayed some of what was said last night, especially some of the reminiscences. She wished she had been there.

I stayed for tea and cookies and by the time I got back to Fritz and Carolyn's it was almost 7.00pm. We had pork chops for dinner.