This has been a year of changes. Our home in Roanoke, Virginia finally sold after two years on the market. Saying goodbye to Roanoke was tough, but it was time. We lived there even longer than the sixteen years that we lived in Canada.
With the challenge of taking care of two houses gone, we could plan a trip back to New Brunswick. The trip has been at the top of my agenda for a few years, but it always seemed like we were too busy.
We managed to get on road October 19, and drove to the Northern Virginia area where two of our grown children live. We spent the night with them and visited the next morning until just before noon. We managed to make it north of Baltimore before stopping for a lunch at diner that turned out to be a disappointment because of mediocre food and slow service. Lunch taking over an hour put us in line for some serious traffic.
That day which was a Friday, we did great until we got across Tappan Zee Bridge. Just forty-five miles from our planned destination in Connecticut, we ended up in stop and go traffic. It took us nearly two hours to go those last forty-five miles to Danbury. Then when we got off the Interstate, we couldn't find our hotel. I finally called from the parking lot of a local Target. We were only one quarter of a mile from the the hotel, but their maintenance man had forgotten to turn on their external lights so they were practically invisible.
Fortunately there was an Outback attached to the hotel so we didn't have to get in the car again for dinner. That next day we drove from Danbury, Connecticut, to Bangor, Maine. We managed to get on the road early and avoid any slow diners so we could reach our destination at a reasonable hour.
I wanted to arrive early so I could enjoy a couple of lobsters for dinner. We asked the folks at the front desk for the best spot for lobsters and headed out for Captain Nick's. The two lobsters that they brought me were delicious. Having lobsters for dinner made up for eating lunch at a Subway in Littleton, Massachusetts.
Our fourth day on the road, Sunday, October 21, we headed off for Houlton, Maine, where we had lunch at a McDonald's before attempting the border crossing. You never know what kind of mood you will find at a border spot. We didn't slide through like we have so many times. We were asked to go inside and wait for an immigration agent. It being Sunday, there was only one on duty so we waited over forty-five minutes. I was beginning to get a little worried until I figured out that the agent was busy processing a family that was actually trying to immigrate.
When we finally got to talk to him, it started off slow, but as soon as we mentioned that we had lived in Canada for sixteen years and farmed in New Brunswick for over ten years, he immediately waved us on through. It only took about forty-minutes after crossing the border to wander up to Carleton County and find the beautiful home of our friends George and Alberta.
We were quickly welcomed and quickly taken inside in case our thin Southern blood started to freeze. Fortunately it actually wasn't very cold and the grass was still very green. In fact it was greener than our centipede grass down at the beach. Before going inside we met another guest, Bear, a wonderful dog staying a few days while his companion was away. We were treated like special guests, and we didn't hear a single political advertisement while staying there. There was no worry about getting cold since George and Alberta heat with wood.
I had forgotten how much of a treat it is to be in country. The next day I got a great tour of the countryside and visited with an old friend from our cattle days. I was struck by the beauty of the area and how clean and pure the air smelled. It was just a wonderful experience with some great friends.
After two nights in Carleton County we headed off to visit some friends who just lived down the road from where we used to farm. Kerry and Brenda quickly made us feel at home in their lovely remodeled farmhouse, and the next day I got another tour. This time I got to drive through our old farm. While it was nice to see the old farm. Some of the changes were tough to take, but once you don't own a piece of property, you have to let it go. It was much colder that first morning in Tay Creek with the temperature dropping to 20F, but again the wood heat kept us from even noticing.
Kerry was kind enough to take me to the Fredericton area. It seems to have prospered since we left. I have a feeling that it would be a great place to live. Kerry also took me to see his maple sugar operation and we even came home with some delicious homemade maple syrup. I would love to visit again when the snow is on the ground and the sap is running.
After a couple of nights in Tay Creek, we noticed that Hurricane Sandy was making its presence known off the coast of North Carolina. We made a wise decision to head back before Sandy managed to make landfall in New Jersey. Our border crossing back into the states lasted about forty-five seconds.
We had planned to drive back by way of the Jersey shore, but you don't win any agruments with hurricanes. Our quick trip home allowed us to slide down the coast before Sandy got serious. I'll be writing a short book about our Canadian experience.
It was nice to get home after driving 2,800 miles. The weather hasn't been perfect this year, but it looks like the worst might be past us. As this Nor'easter is disappearing, things are starting to look better. At least a little blue sky has finally shown up.