June 16th in Guelph

Thursday, 16 June 2011

We spent the last few days in Our Nations Capital.  I actually like Ottawa; it's nice to see our tax dollars in action.  The night that Suggie and I spent at the Delta was pretty nice actually.  I chummed up to the bartender (a Newfoundlander) and, as I was leaving, I asked if there were any steak scraps around.  First he looked at me like I was pond scum but when I explained it was for my dog, I got a much more hospitable response.  I ended up with about 10 oz of beautiful steak for the dog.  The chef washed off all the peppercorn sauce so it was perfect for Sugar Bear.  Pretty decent, I thought, and I really did feed it all to the dog. 

The next day we moved over to the Holiday Inn in Hull because it was cheaper.  Evidently, the Pan-Am games mens' Volleyball tournament was in town so there were lots of hunky young Spanish-speaking tall guys.  It made me wish I were taller and thinner and maybe Spanish.  They must have all been pretty serious because there was no hooting and hollering in the hotel.  It turns out Sugar loves hotels.  She loves the big beds and all the smells.  I too like the big beds and, fortunately, I smelled no smells.

Coincidentally, the hotel was very near the War Museum so I spent the better part of a day in there.  They have a large scale model of the HMCS Athabascan, the ship my father served on during the war which was sunk.  Alas, no one was around me when I was looking at it so I couldn't say "hey, my dad was on that ship."  The exhibit was on war and medicine and it was quite fascinating and kind of gruesome.  I have to say that war is great for advances in medical science.  One kind of funny thing happened.  In the gift shop I bought a book on the Seven Years War (or the French-Indian Wars for my American friends) and the clerk didn't really know anything about it.  So I was telling him what it was all about and, as I was walking out, I said in way too loud a voice "and that's why we speak English instead of French." Anyway, about three people spun around shooting me such dirty looks.  Perhaps on one of their blogs there is a remark about some ignorant fat english lady making rude remarks at the War Museum.

We also spent some time with friends.  We visited with the wonderful Seetal Sunga and her partner Per Forsland and their lovely little doggie Snoopy.  Interestingly, Snoopy and Sugar couldn't give a shit about each other; we were hoping they would at least entertain us with cute doggie play but Sugar seems to be more of a people dog.  I also met up with the wonderful Christine Koggel and Andy Brook and spent the night there watching the hockey game.  I feel so lucky to have such nice people in my life.  I did have one pretty bleak day where I didn't leave the hotel room but to take the dog out.  I still miss Sue a whole lot and sometimes I find it a little overwhelming. Still, I think I'm doing okay.

Today was the day to get to Guelph and that meant driving on the dreaded 401.  I don't know what it says about me but I rather enjoyed the challenge of driving too fast while surrounded by transport trucks and other idiots going too fast.  As per Christine and Andy's suggestion, I took the toll road to bypass the sections of the 401 close to Toronto which, I understand, are truly insane.  I arrived in Guelph and my GPS which isn't broken (I'm only stupid) got me to Rocky and Renee's with no trouble at all.  I'm going to be spending some a few days here, maybe go up to London, or down to Toronto to visit.  I also pick up my trailer here so I've got to learn to go drive with that. 

Oh, I've decided not to post every day for, as you can see, I can be boring enough when I relate three days at a time.  I will, however, try to post at each new location.  Also, I've got more pics but, dickhead that I am, I forgot my card reader at home so I can't download them off of the camera.  I'll be picking up one tomorrow so I can post some boring travel photos to go with the dull travelogue. Well, that's it from the Holiday Inn in Guelph.

June 11 in Ottawa

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Yikes.  Today was quite the day.  It all started off so benignly when we woke up at the Comfort Inn in Edmunston after a reasonably good sleep.  I have to say that that area of New Brunswick is really beautiful with the tail end of the Appalachians and the river.  I suspect there is some really good hiking around there.  This pastoral beauty extended into Quebec but then things slowly and inexorably went horribly wrong.  I was fine driving on the highway even though the signage in Quebec is terrible; often the information you need is given to you right at the last minute.  As a consequence, I ended up having to circle around and get back going in the right direction.  I purchased a GPS before I left and it helped me negotiate Quebec City just fine.  However, I kept making wrong turns and the voice announced several times that it had to recalculate the route.  I swear I heard the GPS sigh at me after about the fourth time.  Anyway, I decided to take the northern route and avoid Montreal and pass through several towns all named Saint or Sainte something or other.  It was about this time when I realized that part of the problem was that I kept getting east and west mixed up in French.  Come on 'ouest' says east to me and 'est' should mean west.  My french mother would be so ashamed.  Once I solved this, I was on my way on route 158 ouest which seemed to go in circles.  I swear I passed Wilfrid Laurier's boyhood home more than once without ever getting off of the same road.  Oh, and my Garmin GPS wouldn't start up.  And my road atlas showed an easy and straight route which it was not.  Basically, I spent the whole day trying to get out of Quebec which, as the day went on, felt more like the Hotel California (you can check in any time you want but you can never leave).  I was never as happy to get to Ontario in my life and I'm not that fond of southern Ontario.

STill, Suggie and I had some nice moments.  We stopped for lunch in Levi and I had that famous Quebec cuisine Shish Taouk which was near a Sushi place that Alexis recommended but I don't eat cat food.  We also stopped at the fort at Levi but they had removed the guns so I was disappointed because, as a good Canadian child, I spent lots of time on school trips visiting forts and farms.  I also saw a plane on a pole and I've always like planes on poles.

I had expected to spend the night in Quebec but in my zeal to get the fuck out of there, I ended up in Ottawa not having made plans with friends to bunk.  Not wanting to be a pain in the ass, I decided to stay at the Delta in the downtown area.  What is really special is that there is a Conservative Party convention in town and this hotel is littered with chuffed right-wingers.  I love the thought of Sugar, the mutt from Yarmouth, rubbing shoulders with our governing elite.  We have a room on the top floor with a balcony (cheapest room).  Oh, and while I'm writing this in the bar having a beer, there is a couple of Conservatives sitting next to me talking about trying to raise their kids to abstain from sex until they get married.   Both admitted that they never did or could and the way their talking I wouldn't be surprised if they shagged tonight.  Oh, both hate Jason Kenney too (along with the rest of Canada).

 These were taken when Suggie was still interested in the scenery of western NB and eastern Quebec.
These were taken while I was driving on a straight road with no traffic around.  I would never put the dog in danger.  I've got more pics on my camera but left the cable in the truck.

June 10 in Edmunston, NB

Friday, 10 June 2011

Today I finally got on the road.  Sue was always getting stuff together way too early and I am always thinking that things won't take nearly as long as they do.  When we were together, it worked out fine but now...?  I didn't get away until sometime between 1 and 2.  Our first stop was the Timmies near the airport 'cause Suggie loves her timbits.  Since I got a late start, I stopped in Edmunston rather than continue on to la belle prov.

The lupines are starting to come out along the roadside.  Sue was always so pleased to see that happen; I know I'm going to miss her on this trip.  The sun came out as soon as I crossed into NB and I'll take that as a sign (of what, who knows). I have to say that New Brunswick is awfully pretty.  There would have been a few places I would have taken pictures if there had been a safe place to stop.  I saw a fox just outside of Freddytown but the best was when I saw a mama bear and three cubs.  In this province there are long stretches of the highway where a fence separates the road from the trees.  Maybe for moose.  Anyway, I saw a black bear stand up on her haunches and, a moment later, all three cubs stood on their haunches and poked their heads out of the scrub.  I recently spoke with someone who spent a few weeks in the Yukon and Alaska and they didn't see any bears at all.  Ha.

I think Suggie enjoyed her first day.  Besides the timbits, we stopped near Sackville for her to have a bit of a walk and attend to her doggie business.  Well, she found some cow shit to roll in.  There weren't even any cows around.  Luckily, it was maybe calf shit because, after a bit more rolling around, she is back to normal so it couldn't have been a whole lotta shit.  But I guess rolling around in smelly stuff is doggie business.