Monday, August 13, 2012

A Thoroughfare for Freedom Beat

This is a public service announcement to all Canadian taxpayers: Your government has been stealing from you.

You pay the equivalent of over $4.50 a gallon for gasoline, much of it taxes, yet you have the highway infrastructure of a third world country. Either your government is full of waste, fraud, and abuse (more than even the US government), or the Trans-Canada Highway (which, as far as I can tell is not yet complete) is being built across the most hostile terrain ever encountered by road makers. I’m skeptical about the latter, since they manage to make roads out of ice every year. So boreal forest can’t be that tough to build on.

Yet there I was, paying $63 for a tank of gas when I’d never before paid more than $50, and yet every local road I took until mercifully limping onto the big 104 was as unpaved as unpaved could be. I’d call them dirt roads, but dirt would have been a welcome alternative to the ridiculousness I encountered.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

The World’s Your Oyster Shell, But What’s that Funny Smell

Whenever I’m on these adventures, as I think of something I want to remember to mention in that night’s entry, I use the iPhone Notes app to write myself… well, a note, as the thought hits me. The stuff left from last summer’s note includes “open space, self-determination, no deadlines, only chance.” Today, I only wrote down one word: “Punished.”

Saturday, August 11, 2012

You’ve Already Won Me Over, In Spite of Me

Nova Scotia, you’ve been holding out on me. After today, it’s clear that you’ve just been teasing me – showing me your less attractive features so that your best qualities stand out that much more starkly.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Pack the Car and Leave This Town

For the most part, this was your typical “driving day.” In a nutshell, I went the 410km (which I assume is about 975 miles) from Halifax to Ingonish on Cape Breton Island. However, since it was an international driving day, there were some extra added dimensions to this leg of the journey.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Hello City

I awoke this morning to the dulcet tones of some horrible bird-rodent shrieking in a tree above my tent. This was followed shortly by what I thought was a raccoon stealing the sealed screw-top bowl of Gordo food I’d accidentally left on the picnic table. Much to my surprise, when I peeked out to see how many of the diseased monsters were working on this half ounce of dry dog food, I instead saw a chipmunk trying to drag the bowl up a tree. You know, the way an ant would drag something, if it didn’t have that super ant strength. Rather than throwing my shoes on an chasing it away (I knew from Bryce Canyon trail mix experience that he’d only come back with reinforcements), I feebly tried clapping once to scare it off, and went back to bed. I figured that if it was able to get something larger and heavier than itself up a tree, it deserved the dog food. An hour later, I was a little disappointed to find the bowl still on the ground, but twisted open and emptied of its contents. I’m still not sure how many dozen of these creatures lacking in opposable thumbs it took to open it.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

One Does Not Simply Walk Into Canada

Tonight I find myself in the New Brunswick of the north, east of eastern standard time – at site 287 of the Chignecto North campground in Fundy National Park. The first leg of a journey that will largely revolve around the park’s namesake, I consider it something of an accomplishment just to have made it here at all. Whenever I’ve prepared to cross the border into Canada (all 2 times), I’ve developed somewhat irrational fears that I won’t be allowed in. First it was the dog and how I almost wasn’t able to get a copy of his rabies certificate, but I was able to get that straightened out so that wasn’t it. Then it was the thought that the border agent wouldn’t like what I had planned, but his only complaint could have been that my itinerary wasn’t concrete enough and if that’s what he thought, then I would have had serious doubts about the mental faculty of the people guarding this country’s borders. Maybe my failed car inspection sticker would keep me out, but why would an agent of the Canadian government care whether my car’s tire pressure was up to Massachusetts’ standards? After persuading myself that all of these reasons were no cause for concern, about 20 miles from the border I remembered reading about some international car insurance documentation which I didn’t have and obviously couldn’t get at this point. But I’d been to Toronto for more than 24 hours only a few months ago and hadn’t needed it, so why would the rules be any different at this crossing?

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Northeast M'Od

What’s northeast of the Northeast? As it turns out, quite a bit! And I’ve decided that exploring that “bit” will be my last great adventure for the summer.