Tuesday, September 2, 2008

About Face

Today we find ourselves back in the USA en route to Vermont, the last of the New England States we need to visit for our States Visited Map. We actually had no intention of coming here at this time, but weather conditions in the Maritimes continued to deteriorate to the point that the new 12 mile bridge to Prince Edward Island, where we expected to go next, was CLOSED on the day we intended to travel there. And frankly, we were sick and tired of the constant rain, fog, high winds, and soggy ground that seemingly found us everywhere we went. At our first stop in PEI we knew our camp site was to be on grass. At 37,000 pounds, our parking on grass that is waterlogged is not a good idea, and the last few sites had already been iffy. We actually made it to the starting point for the bridge before deciding we would have to be nuts to continue along this route and this plan at this point. So without a whole lot of further discussion, we turned left instead of right and headed back to the states. The first 4 1/2 hours of what we then knew would be a very long day were terrible. We had Fox News on the satellite radio and were listening to coverage of Hurricane Gustav as it came on shore in Louisiana. Admittedly after cat 5 Mitch when we lived in Honduras, then 8 more hurricanes while we lived in Florida, we do have a bit of post traumatic shock syndrome working every time we hear the word "hurricane." I shutter at the mere mention of The Weather Channel. But on this day, driving in the lightning and thunder, the heavy winds that kept lifting the wipers right off the windshield, rains so heavy that pulling over regularly was the order of the day, we felt exactly like we were living Gustav, not just listening to it on the radio. It made me think how it must have been for people listening to Orson Welles "War of the Worlds" radio broadcast so many years ago. When we finally drove out of it some 5 hours into the trip, the rest of the drive to an overnight stop near the border at Houlton, Maine, was a piece of cake, even though the wind stayed with us all the way.

So for now, we say "adieu", about the only French I know, to PEI and the intended next map target of Quebec. While we had hoped to color them in and see what they had to see, the fact of the matter is that we are doing what we are doing- touring in a motor coach and writing a blog- because we came to learn the pluses of the invention of the wheel. A house on the beach and a house on the river and a house on a canal- are sitting ducks when it comes to crummy weather. But a bus? That has wheels and can roll away from anything it wants to roll away from. And so we did. Because we didn't want the weather we had. Because we no longer wanted the place where we were. Because this was the idea all along- plans not withstanding. And because we could!

At the border crossing I pulled very slowly into the narrow cutoms gate, as I always do. My window was open to hand the passports to the agent on duty in the "Campers and RV's" lane. He observed the size of the coach and remarked to me upon coming to a stop, "She's a big one, isn't she?"
Marilyn popped her head up from behind her maps and said loud and clear, "He better not be talking about me!" With a big grin, he wished us a nice day and we were on our way- back to the US of A.

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