By Wayne Litke
OK, before I begin I must first apologize to the truckers I know and have worked with. I did not intend to offend these professional men as I know the hazards they face on the road and the situations they encounter on a daily basis. Unlike the trucker at Lac Klotz who was unable to open an animal-proof garbage can (which I wrote about a couple of weeks ago), my former co-workers have the ability to deal with far more important and potentially dangerous situations. I say all this because I observed them at work and documented their actions in routine and hazardous situations.
It is hard to imagine anyone who is so incompetent that he cannot open an animal-proof garbage can, but that is what Angela and I observed firsthand on the northern route of the Trans-Canada Highway in Quebec. Somehow this individual was able to pass the Quebec Class 1 truck driver exam and take a big rig on the highway. Perhaps he had falsified his driving log and was sleep deprived which could explain his inability to think logically. While it is not a good idea, the operator of a private vehicle can drive as many hours as he or she desires at one stretch. However, provincial and federal regulations limit the hours a professional driver can drive.
Next, I must reiterate how pleasing it was to drive through the Gaspe Peninsula (Quebec) and Acadia Coast (New Brunswick) and see house after house – property after property – that was neat and well kept, mile after mile. It was also a real treat to see Canada’s naval history in a small town as we clamoured around HMCS Bras D’Or, a large experimental 1964 hydrofoil ship that is stationed at the small town of L’islet sur Mer which is home to the Maritime Museum of Quebec. The high-speed Canadian-made vessel recorded a top speed of 115 kmph (62 knots) and was sadly retired in 1983 (after 12 years in dry dock) without a replacement.
Our travels took us to areas where English was definitely not a second language and yet we were welcomed as guests. Since my French is far worse than that of my wife, she did most of the communicating and we used a Google translation a few times and crossed our fingers and hoped it was more than half-way accurate. Our hosts were most accommodating and their English was often as poor as our French, so simple tasks became a linguistic adventure. We had fun and enjoyed our time with our Quebecois brothers and sisters.
Climbing up the oldest working lighthouse in New Brunswick was a memory I will not forget. It is located on Miscou Island in the St. Lawrence River and marks the most northern part of the province. Ascending its steps to the top and reliving history at every storey definitely takes a person back to the time when our country was being settled, a time prior to settlers moving to the Prairies en masse to homestead.
Prince Edward Island was as picture-perfect as a person can imagine and it costs nothing to cross the magnificent Confederation bridge which links the small island to New Brunswick. We visited the Green Gables National Historic Site which was made famous by Lucy Maude Montgomery’s stories about Anne of Green Gables. It was a pleasure to tour the original farmhouse on the site that Montgomery lived and see how life unfolded in that time period.
Unfortunately, all travellers must pay a toll in order to leave P.E.I. I discovered a way to circumvent the toll booth by driving down a one-way access road that was only 150-metres long, but my navigator did not approve of the plan and shut me down. Hence, we paid the toll and took some photos that must be worth the $42 fee that we had to pay – please contact me if you are interested.
Before I sign off I want to say hello to the students and teachers at Cypress Colony School from Gros Morne National Park on the west side of Newfoundland. I worked briefly at Cypress School and thoroughly enjoyed it. I hope to visit after we return.
As for next week, can anyone tell me what the Newfie term “shagged out” means?