It’s a bit of a shock to the system to be at home again. As always the house feels like a spacious palace after the confines of a motor home, no matter how large. We were on the tour of the Canadian Maritime provinces for such a long time it began to feel like our life. It’s nice to experience a bit of true summer weather before we have to wear those parkas once again. Pages on my computer load like lightening; the shower stream is torrential; I can cook whatever I want without worrying about how many amps of electricity I’m using. When it comes to creature comforts, there’s no place like home.
Although we could have taken this trip on our own, doing it with a caravan group enhanced the experience. It was fun to pull into a shopping center and see all those rigs parked there and know that they were all friends. As we age we wonder how long we can keep traveling, because the bucket list gets longer instead of shorter. Many of our fellow travelers had ten years on us, sometimes more, and were still doing great. Even the couple that had sold their home and were returning to an assisted living community, kept up and never seemed lost or confused. As you get older, you worry about those things. As I age my body frustrates me greatly as aches and pains lessen my ability and joy. For some reason I found it reassuring to compare notes with my peers and recognize that they were trying to cope with similar aggravations and failures.
Nearly every day ended with a social. We shared food and drink and compared notes about what we had done on our own and how things went. This broadened our horizons as much as the actual travel. After comparing experiences with our colleagues we learned to really appreciate the Rogue wi-fi signal amplifier we purchased last year. When you are connected to the internet, you assume that everyone else is, too. On this trip where iffy wi-fi was often all that was available, we had by far the best and most consistent experience. As we neared the satellite dish coverage footprint, we were disappointed to learn that one of our colleagues was connected to more channels than we were. Our dish is ten years old; maybe it’s in need to a refurb/replace in the near future. Most of our colleagues wasted time in the campground laundromats. They made me appreciate the washer/dryer in our rig even more.
When we plan RV trips we generally drive to an area on expressways as much as possible, park and use the Jeep for further exploration. On this trip we traveled on many twisting, winding, narrow, bumpy roads and the motor home and the driver handled them all just fine. One of our colleagues brought a truck camper instead of his large trailer on this trip because he thought it would provide a better traveling experience. The motor home went everywhere we needed to go, fit in all the campgrounds and was such a comfortable place to be after we were parked, especially on the cold and rainy days. After this trip we will feel more comfortable to take the road less traveled, even with the motor home. If only those ferries weren’t quite so expensive when you are 62 feet long.
We knew that we liked Canadians before we started this journey and this trip continued to confirm that. We appreciate the Canadian approach to life. Perhaps because the country is far less crowded than ours, people seem genuinely glad to meet you and welcome visitors. People take good care of their homes and property no matter how spartan and we never saw litter anywhere. Instead we were often bedeviled in campgrounds with all the recycling opportunities. We would stand in front of the bins with our little trash bag and wonder where to put it all. Canadians don’t own guns unless they have a good reason to have them. In most of the rural areas it seemed unnecessary to lock the door. The country is safe and well organized. They were about to start a political campaign for a new prime minister and were deploring the fact that due to factors we didn't understand, it would last almost two months. If only.
Some days we were embarrassed to discover how little we knew about our dearest neighbors when it came to our mutual history. As always they know a lot more about us than we know about them. The point of rebellion and separation was not nearly as neat and clean as it feels in retrospect. It was odd to hear stories about our attacks on them, which they always told with calm voices and smiles on their faces. The farther north and east we traveled, the influence of Europe and their origins felt much stronger than it does at home. The Newfies and Nova Scotians are still ardently preserving the language and culture of their forbears while still very much living in the modern world. They had a strong sense of humor and a way with words that sometimes left us scratching our heads. I look back with chagrin when I think about the first time we went to Canada and I thought to myself, “They’re just like us.” The differences are subtle, but significant. We will miss the grocery stores where all the foods are labeled in two languages. We will miss the Canadian Tire stores which were so much more than tires. To learn how people live, you have to live among them for a while. It would be hard to pick out a destination or two and say these were the ones you can't miss. Rather it was the sum total of all the places we went and the experiences we had that made this a memorable trip.
We came home with a freezer full of snow crab and lobster meat. On those special occasions when we eat it, we will think back with great affection on our summer in the Maritimes.