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  • Rae

Part 3: The road trip and arriving 'home'...

Updated: Jul 20, 2023

Finally we were counting down the days. We were packing up the condo and saying goodbye to friends – this was the really tough part and reality was sinking in. I was filled with joy, anxiety, fear, sadness and elation all at the same time.

The piano got moved again and is currently in storage in Halifax until we get the studio finished. We hope to never have to move it again! Moving out of a condo is not a fun experience. At least not from the one we were in. Another reason why we will never live in one again – way too many rules! We found out that we needed to pay for a security guard and that we only had a 4-hour window to move everything. We had to get a street permit for the POD and we could not keep the POD on the street overnight which meant it would be picked up at 3:45 pm. Luckily we didn't have any furniture but unfortunately we were both sick. We came down with bad colds and the exertion of moving and being rushed took its toll on our health. We met the deadline, although in the last few moments we were literally throwing some items into the POD... fingers crossed that everything would make the trip.

By the end of the day, were so sick and my sister wisely suggested that we take a day to rest. We didn't have a firm deadline to arrive in Nova Scotia, and we had paid for the condo to the end of the month so this was not a problem. We were so glad we did as it gave us a chance to rest and collect ourselves to prepare for the big drive.

As we were leaving the city on March 28th, my long-time friend David called and I cried and cried for the next few hours realizing how much I was going to miss him and his family and all our friends and clients in Calgary. As we crossed the border from Alberta into Saskatchewan, I saw a beautiful coyote standing in the field looking east. I had always loved spotting the coyotes and it felt like a final goodbye.

We had a nice clear day on the road driving through the prairies with long trains and beautiful old grain elevators (I just love grain elevators), and spent our first night in Moose Jaw, SK. It really is astounding how flat the terrain is and we felt a deep respect for the people who choose to live there and provide so much food for the rest of us. Love a farmer for sure. The next day we drove right through Manitoba and into Ontario to Kenora – a sweet town on the Lake of the Woods in Northwestern Ontario.

MAGIC MOMENT: we were driving along at dusk and I saw an animal step out of the woods just ahead – is that a coyote?... no, it's too big... oh my heart, it’s a wolf! I slowed right down to a stop and this beautiful, tall healthy wolf trotted right by the car about 10’ away… we both watched him and looked right into his yellow eyes. He was just beautiful with coffee, golden, black fur. Wow. That was the first time either of us had seen a wolf in the wild and I'm certain that we will never forget it.

Northern Ontario is not very pretty in April and hardly anything is open; Lake Superior was just massive and still frozen – we were driving along it for hours; then Lake Nipissing, also massive. The third night we stayed in Marathon, ON and there was nowhere decent to eat and few choices to stay. Any trip will have its ups and downs... the complete elation of adventure and possibilities for the future gets tempered with the reality of some crappy places along the way and a reminder that you are leaving behind all your comforts of home.

Frozen Lake Superior

As we drove further from Calgary, I started to get anxious. The next day we were in Sault Ste. Marie and I had a breakdown. I was missing Alberta and feeling so fearful – what if Nova Scotia is not what we’ve dreamed of? My wonderful husband helped me through this rough patch; he was so kind and patient and let me cry and go on about my fears. He decided that we should treat ourselves with a nice upgrade hotel and room service, and that's what we did in Sudbury.

Nothing like a suite and room service to get you on your feet again!

It did wonders for my state of mind and got us back on track and in good spirits for the rest of the trip. For our fifth night, we stayed in Cornwall, ON – the town I was born in and where my sister Deb still lives. It was so nice to visit with her, and we had some time to visit Williamstown, where we had met way back in 1979.

The pretty church in Williamstown - the town where we met and went to school

The next day we finally got out of Ontario – what a massive province! – and drove through Quebec. We stopped in Drummondville for lunch, the town of Alan's birth, and I had to have Ste. Hubert Chicken! (I remember when I had moved to Toronto right after high school and no one had heard of Ste. Hubert's. I just couldn't believe it...) We could see Mont Saint-Anne across the river – a place I haven't skied for years, and I thought, YES! We can ski here. Not quite the same as the Rockies, but still good skiing.

And then we were in New Brunswick. We stayed in Grand Falls for our sixth and last night on the road. We were finally going to be at our new home tomorrow. It didn't seem real. We woke up to a storm the next morning and it was a white knuckle drive for the first few hours; huge waves of water and slush would cascade over the car every time a big truck went by – we were so not used to this kind of wet rainy mess! It hardly rains in Alberta and the snow is so light and dry... we would have to get used to this.

And then... the sign for Nova Scotia. I had tears as I got out and took photos in the pouring rain. I didn't care. We had arrived in our new province! A few hours later, we drove up the driveway to our new home and we both cried. It was April 3, 2019 and we were finally here. It had been such a long time since we’d seen our house and our property – almost 2 years. The rain had stopped but it was super windy.

What a feeling to stand on our property and look out at Burns Cove again...

Our POD had been delivered earlier in the day – thank goodness because our bed was in there. The lock was frozen after being in storage for 13 months, so there we were out in the dark in this terrific wind, trying to get our POD open, bone-tired from the challenging drive but it was one of those moments that you just can't throw your hands up; you have to get through it. We managed to find a pot in our bins, get the water turned on, pour some boiling water over the lock, struggle to get the door open because stuff had shifted... get our bed out, throw it down on the floor, grab the linens that I had remembered to put in the car, and fall down.

We had the most fantastic sleep. Even with the wind, it was so quiet and dark – something we hadn't experienced for many years. We were home.

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