Two blogs in less then 24 hours. You know I’m having a helluva day when…
I got lost. Again. All I can think is thank God I’m not a contestant on The Amazing Race. I’d be Philiminated out of pity I think, much like a pity fuck. Since Phil is totally smoking hot, I’m not sure this would be so bad but now I digress.
I mentioned in a previous post that Mom and I got lost doing one of our NS scenic trails. I also pointed out that we live not far from the Lighthouse Trail, which we are jaded about, since we’ve traversed it repeatedly. Seems I may have been a bit mistaken in that we’ve only grown accustomed to part of this trail. We found most of the rest of it today, but not willingly.
The day started with babysitting and me not golfing. This was a choice made by me not to hit the links, and yes, I’m feeling fine, albeit quite tired after a long week at work. Once the nephew was reclaimed by his father, Mom and I jumped in the car and headed off in search of yard sales, one of her favorite hobbies. Me, I like the driving and am content to play Jeeves the chauffeur.
We took the highway out to Peggy’s Cove, but instead of turning left like we always do, we turned right towards what we assumed was Mahone Bay and Lunenburg. NS is great in that there’s a coastline and you follow it, and towns that are located along the aforementioned coastline are usually pretty easy to find. Usually.
I’ve been living in Nova Scotia for 19 years, since I came to Acadia University in Wolfville to complete my political science degree. I had dreams of saving the world via politics that embraced common sense. What can I say? I was young and delusional and drinking too much. Now I drink too much, but my delusions are generally restricted to how good he looks when I’m not so sober. The point is that I know my way around this province. Or at least I thought I did.
Mom and I drove for a good half hour, following the Lighthouse Trail provincial road signs. I was cruising along when Mom declared that I had missed a turn.
“The sign pointed left”, she said.
“Damn, didn’t see it.”
I drove on a little further, and we spotted what we thought was a yard sale, but turned out to be a motorcycle with a huge hand-painted FOR SALE sign nestled alongside. I swung a u-turn and headed back to where Mom said the road branched off. Sure enough she was right, and we made the turn and continued along the coastline, enjoying the sea views. We drove along like this for a good 40 minutes, and although I was enjoying the scenery, I had a nagging thought in my head.
Finally I looked at Mom and said, “I’ve never been here before.”
Her response? “Oh thank God! I wanted to say that too! I thought it was just me!”
It was then I started to get perhaps just a teensy bit worried. We had recently gotten lost on the Glooscap Trail, and I wasn’t looking for a repeat experience. Besides, this was the Lighthouse Trail, and we had been to Mahone Bay and Lunenburg plenty of times and I was certain they were on this trail.
The problem with this province, as I noted previously, is that once the Tourism Department has you on a scenic trail, they don’t like to let you get off of it. They also save a fortune by not posting signs that tell you where you are going, and how many kilometers it will take for you to get there. This drive-by-the-seat-of-your-pants mentality no doubt affords Tourism Department employees great amusement, but it doesn’t do much for my acid reflux. Still, there was nothing for it but to keep going.
Mom gamely tried to read the map of NS that I had in the car, but she lacked her glasses and any real sense of direction.
“We’re on the 329,” I said.
“I see 324,” she said, trying to help. “I see 332.”
“I have no fucking idea where we are.”
“Follow him,” Mom suggested, pointing at the car in front of us. “He looks like he knows where he’s going.”
The little blue Honda was sporting Florida plates, so I wasn’t sure that was entirely true but it didn’t really matter. It’s not that I don’t appreciate the Dirk Gently mode of navigation, but there wasn’t much choice as there seemed to be no exits anyway. We kept going and finally happened upon a sign which indicated a link back to the 103 highway. We could have kept following the trail towards Mahone Bay, but by now we’d both had enough.
“I don’t understand how we keep doing this,” I said. “We’ve lived here for almost 20 years and we’re lost an hour outside the city.”
I swung a right as indicated and what did I see? The same goddamned motorcycle that was for sale. We had taken a 40 minute detour to circle around back to where we had started.
“Oh for crissakes!” I said, thoroughly unimpressed. “This is all YOUR fault!”
“Me?” Mom was indignant.
“You made me go back. We only had to go around the next curve and we’d have continued on to Mahone Bay. But noooo…. You made me turn around.”
“That’s what the sign said, though,” she insisted, and she was right but I continued to give her a hard time anyway.
We hit the highway and started back towards the city, quickly realizing that we were going in the wrong direction. We didn’t actually want to go back to Halifax just yet. Having scratched the Mahone Bay and Lunenburg idea, we had decided to head to Windsor and the butcher shop instead. Suddenly we had no idea which way to go to reach the proper junction highway.
“It’s near Chester,” Mom said.
Since we had just circled Chester for over an hour and exited onto the highway next to it, I sighed and pulled off on the shoulder. I grabbed the map, and found that the No. 3 highway through Chester connected to the No. 14, which would take us to Windsor. I pulled a u-turn on the busy 103 highway and then proceeded to miss the off ramp back into Chester.
“You did that on purpose!” Mom yelled.
“It’s further up the highway anyway,” I said confidently, having just consulted the map. We drove until I saw an exit ramp for Chester, and after circling the town for over an hour, it seemed we were finally going to drive through it.
“We just need to find the No. 3,” I repeated.
“There’s a tourist information centre,” Mom said. “Stop and ask for directions.”
“But I know where I’m going!”
“Just stop!” she yelled, having lost all faith in me.
I sighed, pulled over and followed her reluctantly into the tiny building. A young man with a British accent told Mom that we only had to drive a bit further up the road to find the No. 14 highway, and that would take us into Windsor, about 40 minutes away, like I had said to Mom in the first place. It was truly galling that we had to stop and ask directions from someone not even from the same damned country, let alone the area itself. He was hardly local, and he knew more about the province than we did.
“Could you sign our guest book?” the young Brit asked, and Mom complied.
“Don’t write we’re from Halifax,” I said. “Put down Port-aux-Basques.”
Port-aux-Basques, Newfoundland is where we were both born.
“We’ll look like idiot Newfoundlanders,” she said reluctantly.
“We’ll look like tourists,” I said. “If we put down Halifax, then we’ll look like idiots.”
"We ARE idiots," she replied, and there was not much debating that, but she did as I asked.
I climbed back into the car and threw her a withering glare. “We get lost for an hour, but you won’t let me stop and ask for directions, and now when I know where we are, you make me stop and ask!”
“You need to research these trips more,” she shot back. “You need to check out these trails on the internet beforehand and see how long it takes to get where we want to go. Instead you just think you know where you’re going and we always end up lost in the middle of nowhere. This is all YOUR fault!”
She’s right but there was no way I was going to admit that then, so I just drove away from the center only to get distracted by a tiny dog riding unrestrained on the back of the motorcycle in front of us. It was a mystery as to how he was able to balance on the back of the seat, shifting his weight with the turns and not falling or getting blown off. He couldn’t have weighed more than seven or eight pounds.
“Did we shoot by the highway?” I asked Mom, once the motorcycle turned off.
“I don’t know. I was looking at the dog.”
I stopped rolling my eyes just long enough to spot the junction exit just in time. We booted it to Windsor, and made the butcher’s shop just before it closed, then took our usual highway route back to the city. I managed to wait a full hour after we got home before I gave in and cracked open a bottle of red wine.
Next weekend, I’m staying home.