It’s Tuesday night, 6:30PM. I texted Max to ask if he wanted to order pizza for supper because I was too lazy to make anything. He got home moments later and ran downstairs.
“We’re leaving tomorrow.”
I had made no arrangements. I hadn’t packed a single thing. I hadn’t bought any snacks. I hate being unprepared.
We went to pick up the pizza, scarfed it down in about two minutes, and I sent out messages right away to see where we could stay along the way. We didn’t want to stop in Saskatchewan so we knew we would have to leave really early to be able to get to Winnipeg at an acceptable hour. I readjusted my itinerary to leave two days earlier than planned and changed all the timeframes. Set time for departure: 4AM.
After some quick planning, we decided we would get snacks first, then pack clothes and accessories, and then organize the car. So we got right to it and actually managed to do everything within an hour and a half. Pretty impressive. Of course, I was constantly wondering what I had forgotten, because I had surely forgotten something in all this rush.
By 10:30PM, everything was ready to go except Maxime’s stuff. He had spent half his time debating which gun to bring home for Christmas so none of his clothes were packed yet – not that it would take him very long in any case. We brought half the stuff to the car that same night. The rest were either electronics or expensive items that we didn’t want to leave in the car overnight.
We slept well, but not nearly enough. Waking up at 3:30AM was painful to say the least. I had planned on making breakfast but my body decided otherwise. I dragged my butt upstairs slowly and spent the next half hour loading the car and double checking everything to see what I could have forgotten. Max got up pretty last minute and packed his guns and backpack, then we hit the road – by which I mean we immediately went to Tim Hortons, and then we hit the road.
We made very few stops other than for gas and take out, and we ended up making it to Chantal & Rob’s place in Winnipeg by midnight. We were pretty thankful to have arrived, although we did feel bad to getting there so late given that they were both working in the morning. Chantal stayed up to welcome us and we chatted for a bit before promptly passing out. Oh, and I was pretty happy to spend some time with their cat Beast again. What a cutie!
Next destination was supposed to be Blind River, ON. We set off at 6AM, which was a little later than planned, but I had already warned Lois & John that we might arrive quite late in the night and they had said they would leave the door unlocked for us so we weren’t in any rush.
The roads weren’t great, but they weren’t that bad. We made it all the way to Marathon, Ontario, which is about 6 hours before Blind River, and then we were stuck in a line-up of traffic. Max went to figure out what was going on and we learned that a plow had driven into – yes, INTO – the bridge that led out of town. The only bridge out of town. Time to look for a hotel…
We stayed overnight and actually got more than 4 hours of sleep, so that was a plus. Max got up at 6:00AM to go to the bridge to see if it was open yet. He came back minutes later to let me know we were good to go. Another plus: we had a free continental breakfast with our stay at the hotel so after I got dressed and packed all our things, we headed down the hall to eat. As soon as we were done, we crammed everything into the car and we hit the road by 7:30AM.
Oh, and for those who were wondering, yes, I did send a message to Lois & John to let them know we wouldn’t be able to make it to their place that night. The morning after, Lois replied and said they had prepared lunches and snacks for us and that they would leave the door unlocked if we wished to stop in on our way through. She even said she would try to get off work to come see us if we did stop by, so I told her the approximate time we would be at the house and hoped it would work out.
By 2:00PM, we made it to Blind River. We had toughed it out and hadn’t stopped for lunch so we were getting pretty hungry. Max pulled into the driveway and seconds later, Lois drove up behind us! There were hugs all around and introductions were made. We hurried inside, chatting as we walked, and sat down to eat some delicious sandwiches. As always, we were treated like kings and queens, offered some sticky buns that John had made for breakfast as dessert, and it was just perfect! And before we would finish our meal, John shows up to the house as well! We stayed to talk a bit but knew that if we stayed too long, we would be getting to Montreal quite late. So despite the quick visit, we thanked them very much for having us over and made our way out the door. But of course, we couldn’t leave without getting lots of goodies for our trip. Lois & John had packed three full grocery bags of food and water as snacks. Lois said “This should be good until you get to Montreal.” And let me tell you, I’m still eating Oreos today!
Our next stop was Ottawa. Max’s friend from high school was there and we had planned on stopping there to eat supper with her and her boyfriend. Unfortunately, we were running behind schedule since we had initially planned on leaving Blind River at 9:00AM, as opposed to 2:30PM. But we just kept changing the plans to make sure we could stop in to see them and grab something to eat as well.
There was one more hick-up in the road before we could get to Ottawa. We were near Sudbury, ON, and there had been an accident. It must have occurred right before we arrived close by because there was only one police officer blocking the road and he was quickly trying to get everyone to turn around. Well the thing is that we aren’t exactly locals so we had no idea how to get around the incident. Max parked the car on the side of the road and tried to get some directions from the officer. He wasn’t the most helpful lad but he did bark out a town nearby where there was another exit to continue on our route. We left right away and tried to figure out the rest with our GPS on Max’s phone.
Finally made it to Ottawa at 10:15PM! We met up with Max’s friend at Moxie’s, which wasn’t too hard to find – thank God. We had a great meal together and shared lots of laughs. It felt good to be out of the car and to relax for more than 5 minutes before getting back on the road.
We said our goodbyes about an hour later and hit the road, en route to Montreal! We sent an update to Max’s sister to let her know what time we would arrive and we hit the road.
It’s 1:30AM, we’re in Montreal. Emilie’s apartment was easier to find than I had remembered. But now came the worst part: looking for parking. Fortunately for me, I have an amazing boyfriend who decided it would be best to drop me off at the apartment and he would go looking for a spot. I dragged our bags upstairs and was greeted by Emilie at the door. I dropped our stuff in her bedroom and we chatted in the living room while waiting for Max.
I was surprised – but glad! – that he knocked at the door only 10 minutes later. Let’s hope the spot that he found isn’t in a no-parking zone because I would much rather not get a parking ticket tonight.
We talked for a while until everyone was yawning and we could barely keep our eyes open. Emilie generously offered to let us sleep in her bed, and she took the couch for the night. And what a comfy bed it was!! I slept like a brick.
When I awoken by the alarm at 8:30AM, I felt refreshed. And that doesn’t happen too often while traveling. So I got up and started getting ready. I made sure to wake Max and tell him what time it was. We had planned on leaving around 9:00AM or 10:00AM.
I took my shower, cleaned my face and got dressed. I went back to the bedroom. Max is sleeping. I wake him up again and tell him what time it is. He acknowledges what I’ve told him. He says he’ll get up in a few minutes.
I return to the bathroom and do my make-up. I also started cleaning up our stuff to get everything ready to leave. It’s 9:30AM. Max is still sleeping. I wake him up and tell him the time.
“OK, I’m getting up.”
“MAXIME! GET. UP. NOW!”
Ok, I yelled it in French, but the point being is that I yelled because I was starving and we were supposed to leave at 10:00AM by the latest.
He got up somewhere around 9:45AM and we woke his sister in the living room. She got up and made us these delicious sandwiches with egg, cheese and veggies. I’m actually drooling a little thinking about it right now.
We took our time and stayed to chat with Emilie for a while that morning. By the time we did hit the road, it was close to noon, which meant we would get to Charlo, NB around 10:00PM, including pit stops.
The roads weren’t great, and even with the few pit stops that we made, we still only got to Charlo by 11:00PM. By the way, Max’s parent’s had no idea we had even left Alberta, so it was a surprise arrival.
We were greeted with smiles and warm hugs at the door. As always though, Max’s mom had a feeling we were on our way, but she didn’t think we were going to be arriving that night, so our surprise was still a success!
We were pretty happy to have arrived. We sat down and talked with them in the dining room for a bit before dragging the essentials into the house. I continued talking with Max’s mom while he and his dad went downstairs to set up the Murphy Bed that Max had build himself in the spare bedroom.
When we finally laid down to rest our weary eyes, I passed out almost immediately. We had a great trip crossing the country together, but now comes the best part of all: spending lots of quality time with all our family and friends for Christmas!