Having crossed the bridge of certain death…

I got a bit arrogant (hard for some of you to imagine, I’m sure) after driving home from central Nova Scotia in one day last year. So I tried to relive that Friday, driving from southern New Hampshire up to the marvelous spot where New Brunswick, PEI, and Nova Scotia all meet. Ten hours of driving after a week of very little sleep and with only almonds to subsist on because I’m stubbornly dieting at the moment and refused to stop at any of the 50 Burger Kings I passed.

The Katahdin view is my favorite thing about driving all the hell through Maine. Even if it never comes out quite as majestic looking as I’d like.

Mount Katahdin lookoff
Mount Katahdin lookoff from I95

I have what I guess you might consider a dad sense of things on the road. Gotta see how extreme I can make this. So I get to a perfectly reasonable place to stop for the night and think, “Well, the next city is only two hours away…” and then go like hell trying to do that. And onward. And that puts me, of course, in a place with no hotel rooms. Oh, Moncton, NB, you never fail to disappoint.

Sunset view through mirror
Somewhere between Fredericton (where I should have stopped) and Moncton, NB (where there were no rooms at the dozen hotels). It’s a two-hour wasteland, and I know better. Bye-bye, sun.

And you don’t want to go driving around Canada in the dark because the moose apparently just tip toe up to your car.

Moose sign

And that usually leaves me…well, to say desperate would admit defeat. Let’s just say that I may have kept my mouth shut at the front desk of the Comfort Inn while standing behind a couple who decided to go down the road to see if they could get a cheaper room at another hotel, which I knew for a fact was full up.

* * *

Waking up in Nova Scotia is a marvelous thing. To me, anyway. Even if I’m just on the border and heading back out. I stopped at their beautiful visitor center.

Nova Scotia visitor center
Cairns, the smell of wild roses, and a bagpiper playing–if I always make NS seem magical, that’s because it is.

Back on the road, I approached what I find to be the scariest part of the trip. The Confederation Bridge is an 8-mile passage over the Northumberland Strait, and one of two ways to get to the island (the other being a ferry from NS). It takes 10 minutes to cross, which is plenty of time to think about an accident sending me flying over the wall and into the blue and dying swiftly.

And on the New Brunswick side, they’ve kindly built a lookout tower so you can really take a good look at your impending death ride.

Confederation Bridge
Confederation Bridge. Eight miles long, finished in 1997, and scary as all get out.

Because I’m writing this post, you can assume that things went well, though I kept looking at the clock on the dash and counting the minutes to safety.

So here I am, on Prince Edward Island. I made it. It’s been 10+ years since my first visit, so I don’t remember a damn thing and we’ll be exploring this together.

First awesome thing I saw–neon yellow canola fields.

Canola fields

Second awesome thing–an insanely large mailbox.

Giant mailbox
This picture doesn’t do it justice. I’ll have to go back and park my car under it. Honestly, I could host a sleepover inside.

And then there are the beautiful churches, like all around the Maritimes.

Between Alberton and Tignish.
Between Alberton and Tignish.

As for lodgings, I’m at the Briarwood Inn and Cottages in Alberton. I went for the screened-in porch because mosquitoes dominate PEI.

Briarwood Inn and Cottages
The first cottage on the left contains an angry baby who cries all the time. The third cottage contains a loud family that shouts at their dog. I’m, of course, the cottage in between.

It’s nice to have a home base for a change, so I won’t be dashing about and living out of a bag. (I put stuff in drawers–look at me all growed up!) But that means I’m also a bit lazier than usual so far. And though the forecast initially said 70s-80s and sun, it’s now going to be 60s and rain, so I’m woefully unprepared. I may join the ranks of tourists walking around in a new PEI hoodie. Sigh.

But whatever happens, I’m here because it’s beautiful and remote and a little odd (more on that later–and I say it with love).

Beach at Jacques Cartier Provincial Park
Jacques Cartier Provincial Park and the famous red soil of PEI.

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