Crossing Canada - Day 2
Updated: Dec 16, 2021
Madawaska River (2021) by Jaime Lee Lightle
First thing's first, I wanted to make a correction to our Day 1 story: I bought Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) for supper the first night – we did not have potato cheese onion pie (oops). In fact, there was enough “dirty bird” left over for another meal that we packed KFC bucket into cooler the next morning (mmm).
My brother Greg, his wife Sarah stopped by my parent’s place with my niece Ainsley and nephew Hayden to wish us bon voyage and we enjoyed their visit. Those kids tuckered me out with playing games and their infinite energy. The first day of travel was only a five-hours. Day 2 was going to be the big test of what our little truck house and ourselves could handle as we were looking at a 12-13hr drive to the Nation’s Capital.
We left Oromocto early in the morning and headed on the road to Ottawa. This would be the second stop along our cross Canada trip. I have driven this distance many times in the past as the Canadian Forces School of Military Engineering (CFSME) is in Oromocto and I was Stationed in Petawawa my whole career (Petawawa is 150 km West of Ottawa). The highway through New Brunswick was smooth, 4 lanes, 110 km/hr speed limit. It made for nice driving conditions.
Jasper, Alberta (2021) by Jaime Lee Lightle
Going with the flow we kept driving. We were a little upset to be leaving the mask-less province of New Brunswick. It was nice to feel the freedom of our faces again. We had a big push through Quebec and were nervous about the traffic through the major cities of the region, Rivere du loup, Levi/Quebec and of course Montreal. By the time Jaime and I switched driving we had not eaten a meal and I had drank two monster energy drinks. By the time I stepped out of the truck I was jittering. I used some of my medication and ate some of the left-over KFC. I have been on Medical Marijuana since 2016 and it has been a long road of recovery. With the meds I calmed down and the anxiety of the drive melted away. During this stop I texted my old military buddy Bryan seeing what he was up to. He was out camping for the weekend, so we decided to catch up with him on the way back through on our Journey. Jaime called her uncle Paul and aunt Jodi who live West of Ottawa.
Driving through the City of my birth – Ottawa - always brings out my inner race car driver. Maybe getting through the painful reminders of home as quickly as possible was what my lead foot was helping me achieve. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to come home, or that Ottawa was not a beautiful City (it certainly is); it was that I just lost so many people who connected me to Ottawa – my father, my grandmother and then my mother. I guess going home to Ottawa brought on a lot of emotions. This pain subsided however when we finally got to my aunt and uncle’s place. My little (not so little now) cousins were a sight for sore eyes. Madison was getting ready to go off to University and Sydney was working at her first job. My cousin Rob and his wife Melody stopped by, more hugs, reminiscing, sharing stories of life during a Pandemic.
Mary St. Pembroke Ontario (2021) by Jaime Lee Lightle
To bring in some context of the time, Ottawa and the rest of Ontario was a few weeks away from making Vaccine Passports a reality. Ontario was on the heels of Quebec, the first Province in Canada to adopt this mandate. This made me feel worried and anxious. Why? I had a looming feeling that we were witnessing the beginning of erosion of Canadian society.
But enough about my worries! We enjoyed our visit with family as it reminded me that I was and always will be an Ottawa Valley Gal. Although some of my branches have been broken by some tremendous winds, my roots were intact. Under the loving roof of my uncle and aunt’s home we slept. Our truck/house sat empty in their yard next to the saltwater pool. Tomorrow we would journey beyond the embrace of familiar places and faces. We’re coming for you Canada!
We hope you enjoyed this excerpt from our Cross Canada Tour. We are sharing our experience of traveling across Canada while a Pandemic and Federal election loomed over our future and the future of our county.
Before we let you peruse some of the art inspired by our travels, here is a quote from Andrey Tarkovsky, one of the greatest directors in modern cinema:
“The artist cannot be deaf to the call of truth; it alone defines his creative will, organizes it, thus enabling him to pass on his faith to others…The aim of art is to prepare a person for death, to plough and harrow his soul, rendering it capable of turning to good”.
[Images left to right: Ottawa River (2021) by James C E Lightle; Saint Lawrence River Quebec (2021) by James C E Lightle; Watering Hole Saskatchewan (2021) by James C E Lightle; Reed Lake Saskatchewan (2021) by James C E Lightle; Gravel Road Saskatchewan (2021) by James C E Lightle]