Monday, July 16, 2012

The Man In The Sky Smiled and Said You Have Made Good Time

And the heavens opened and behold! a host of angels sang and an enormous hand reached down and high fived me and then lo! gave me an enormous IPA that was brewed on Thursday, Thursday!, from just four ingredients, never mind the dozens of ingredients that those big brewers use to make their crap.

And I smiled and it was good.

 We've done the Toronto to PEI run seven times before this year. Twice we did it at Christmas, once with a two month old, the other time with a five month old. Six of those times we started in Toronto. Another time when we were especially mental we left from Goulais River at 10 am on a Sunday.

 2300 kilometres that time, over two days. That was the craziest.

Its just under 1700 kilometres when we do it to or from Toronto. Now, we're experienced at this and so are the kids, shit we did Florida this spring and it was a piece of cake really and coming into this trip we figured after doing 2300 km in two days this spring, including 1300 in one day (under 12 hours door to door) that this would be a piece of cake.

The problem is that the run from Toronto to PEI is not on I75. In trying to make good time we have quite often failed miserably, indeed the last two trips east have been disastrous. Last year the first day (1100km) took 14 hours, day two (600km) was seven and a half.


Our plan is a straight forward one. We have a cooler and bags full of snacks. We drive for five hours. Stop for lunch, gas up, bathroom breaks. Drive another five. Done. Have dinner, early to bed, repeat.

One final note. We drive at a reasonable rate. We don't roar down the highway at 140 or 150 km/hr. We go a little over the speed limit, not much more.

If all goes well then we're golden but sadly things have been breaking down.

Each of the last two years we've lost two hours in Montreal. Last year we were flying through, just a minute (literally) from the Champlain bridge when we hit gridlock. Two hours later we hit the bridge, four km later, day shot. With those two hours gone it means supper is part of the day rather than the end of it, so there's another hour. And on top of that now you're driving at night and on the narrow highway from Riviere De Loup to New Brunswick moose are a constant danger so you're forced to slow down to a crawl at times.

And getting in around midnight means you're bleeding into the next day because you're getting up later which means lunch on the road as well.

So this is what we've seen each of the last two years and we were resigned to more of the same this year.


The first positive this year is that Jenn worked Friday so while that made Friday night hectic (she got home at 10, the latest she's arrived after work in years, no kidding) it also meant an earlier getaway than usual. Normally she works the Friday night so we're pulling out at 10am. This time we were on the road at 7:20am.

We ripped up the DVP no problem, helped along by the early getaway, and we raced east through the suburbs and then into eastern Ontario. Its a dull drive. You're passing by Prince Edward County and Kingston and the Thousand Islands (or is it Ten Thousand? Anyhow its a lot) but all of this is just a rumour as you head down the 401.

Not even four and a half hours and we've hit Quebec and we decide to grab lunch and fill up.

And here's where we realize something. The new van we just bought? Fucking kills on the highway. Our old van (same make, just four years older) was good for five hundred and a bit of highway driving on a tank. The new guy? At this point of the trip (closing on on 500 km) we had plenty to spare still. 45.00 and we were full again.

 I cry every time I open my wallet. I almost had to rub one out when I realized what was going on.

 So fifty minutes and we were back on the road, Montreal looming.

 Just like last year we tore through the city, my heart was in my mouth the whole way. We neared the bridge and saw that they are STILL working on it but, its construction holiday in Quebec, so, we slowed for a moment to get past the lane closures and pylons and then, over the bridge and onto the south shore of the St. Lawrence.

 From there we were golden, although we didn't say a damn thing about it, jinxes and all that. Along the St Lawrence we ripped, all the way to Quebec City and beyond, past the limestone knobs that dot the highway along the way to Riviere De Loup. One of my favourite place names on this drive, by the way, a close second to St Louis de Ha! Ha! And then jogging south for the hour to New Brunswick, finding that what was once a two lane highway is now four lanes and divided in a lot of spots. Bonus.

 And with no need to stop for gas (god bless the new van) we stopped twice more to switch drivers, just a minute each time, and that was it. We pulled in just after 6:30 (7:30AST). We had time for a sitdown dinner and a swim and everyone was in bed before ten.

 Up early on Sunday, a big breakfast, a full tank of gas and then on the road at 8:20.

 And away we went. No need for lunch after the big breakfast. A stop right before the bridge for Jenn to take over the drive (I don't do bridges) and a whizz for me and we pulled in just before two.

 1700 km in 17 hours. Everything included.

 We'll never top it.


 Of course now that I have bragged on this I am doomed to a four day return trip but I DON'T CARE. /drinks


Anonymous said...

Nicely done. Have a safe journey home, Pat!

Max Powers said...

Enjoy the trip back ;)

I once drove ridiculous hours like you. Started off near the tip of the island at Port McNeill (Willie Mitchells hometown) at 7 am and arrived in Edson (2 hours west of Edm) after midnight.

Had to see a chiropractor 2 days after returning for my neck and upper back. I Shiite you not, I am still visiting the Chiro sometimes for the same exact problem. I'm trying to decide whether the drive was that bad or my Chiro was good enough to Keep me returning for 3 years...

Watch your neck Pat

Woodguy said...


You sir, made good time.

Did the Riviere du Loup to Moncton drive in Oct 2005 on my Honeymoon. Was 21C and fall had dressed up the mountains in all their tarted up splendour.

Great drive.

Stopped a lot as we did the tourist thing.

Did not make good time.

Made love in the woods near an ice cream shack off of #2 highway though.

Black Dog said...

Woodguy - yeah saw the plaque ;)