The End of Our Journey

It has been a pretty emotional day for me. Lots of excitement and a little bit of sadness.
There were a lot of reasons why I did this trip and shared it with all of you. One of those reasons was that I knew no amount of maintenance can reasonably keep a car running forever. Eventually things start to break too frequently and it gets more expensive to keep them going than to let them slip quietly away. Carl was getting to that age but I knew he had the guts left to take the trip of a lifetime with me. That being said, the trip was done just in time. Maybe the trip accelerated the symptoms but we had a great time together. Wheel bearings are gone, engine is burning oil, electrical system is failing, transmission has always been sticky from day one but it is getting close to needing replacement again. To summarize it was time to let him go…that was the sad part of today. We took our last real drive together. There may be a short drive to whoever wants to buy him for organ donation but they may pick him up.
Today I got my new (to me) car, that was the exciting part of the day. It’s a Suzuki SX4 (no name yet), easy on the gas bill so we will take lots of trips together and I’m hoping that I will enjoy this car as much as I did my time with Carl. Time will tell.
I seem to have stayed with my S named companies and cars with letters and numbers for their model (Carl is a Saturn SL1 for those of you who don’t know).
Today I also received a part in the mail that I was waiting for to fix a point and shoot camera so I tried it out in the parking lot. Works fine.
So to recap, new car = happy, Carl ending = sad and fixing camera = happy.
Gonna miss you buddy. 😦

This was the first full body shot of Carl on our trip to PEI August 2008.

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Home

After two lovely days on the north shore I had to admit it was over and head for home. It was hard to get in the car and I even considered calling in sick for a few more days but I figured I should get home and see what’s been happening at work. Thirty two days of not checking the work email account, scary stuff.
Now some numbers.
30 is the number of states that I drove through, 7 provinces.
18,596 km in 29 days of driving, there were 3 days without driving. An average of 641 km per day.
$1,250.24 is the dollar amount spent on gas. works out to roughly 7 cents per km or 11 cents per mile. This number isn’t completely accurate as Visa has been applying the exchange rate but it is the total of the amounts that I read from the gas pumps. I had budgeted $1500 for gas so yay me and Carl for coming in under budget.
14 nights of sleeping in the car. The rest of the nights were in friend’s homes or hotels.
2 is the number of minor car repairs.
1 is the number of people who had the best vacation ever.
I had some moments of stress and frustration due to traffic or weather but this has been one of the greatest experiences of my life and to be able to finish it with a weekend shared with some of the best people I know (dogs too, so you better start liking me Monty) was a wonderful treat. I’m also pleased to have been able to share this experience with all of you whether you have been following along as I went or if you’ve discovered this after the trip was done and read it all at once.
The main message I wanted to get through here is that you don’t have to have a brand new car to take a little road trip, just maintain what you have and be prepared for emergencies. The same goes for computers, TVs, phones… if it works and does what you need it to, keep using it. If you need something new for whatever reason pass the old one on to someone who can use it either through sale or donation.
The other thing is that I’ve always wanted to take the cross Canada trip but there was always a reason not to. Granted this trip was the “cross Canada plus” trip but if you want something just say “F*** it” to all the excuses and go out and do it. Whether it’s going back to school, taking a trip, asking someone out, applying for the dream job, having a baby…so many things people don’t do out of fear of the unknown. The worst that can happen is that you fail, the best that can happen is that you get everything you want. It might involve some speed bumps along the way but go for it.
This site will continue to be updated with information on Carl and as I look through the pics on a larger screen I may see something that I like and I’ll post it. Also I’m planning to put together a book of pics from the trip. Some you’ve seen here and others that I’ve held back.
Live happy people, I’m planning on it.

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Bleue

Made it back to Canada! Little over 18,000 kms with a few hundred left to get back to my home base. Feels like home here in the Anse Bleue. The border crossing at Houlton was fairly quick despite the line up. I told the guy what I had and he gave me advice for my next trip and sent me on my way. Keepin’ this short cause the beach is calling me.
Enjoy, see ya soon with a summary of the trip.

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RI, MA, NH and ME

So today got off to a late start due to a wake up call misunderstanding. Got on the road and headed for Bangor (destination for the day) with some stops along the way. Rhode Island is evil but it smells good. They have signs on the side of the road saying there is a Tim Horton’s at this exit…so I take this exit…two different times/exits. Neither resulted in a Tim Horton’s coffee. One time I found the location and it looked like it had been deserted for years, at the other exit I drove for about five miles through the town with no sign of the coffee. That is the evil part. The smells good is that it smells like a woodworking shop for most of the state. I love the smell of freshly cut wood.
Massachusetts needs to work on their traveler friendliness. Not that the people aren’t nice, just really hard to find souvenirs of your visit. I ended up in Salisbury Beach to get my shot glass.
And thanks to the guy that told me where to get a custom t-shirt done. I forget the name of the town and business but you get three good karma points. I don’t know how many points you have to redeem for the good stuff but I figure three is better than one.
I got the shirt done at a kiosk in the Northshore Mall in Peabody MA (I just made the connection, Northshore Mall…north shore of NB for survivor. I guess that’s why I couldn’t find anywhere else on the east coast to get it done.). Nate was very helpful and thanked me for my patience and for waiting while he did about eight shirts for a woman with five kids running amok. The shirt turned out exactly as I envisioned it and I can’t wait to wear it as I roll onto the beach tomorrow. The design was all Andre, I just trimmed some extra yellow off and the faded look is a result of using a grey t-shirt. Any other colour would have looked very different.
The machine on the trailer, I don’t know what it does but I know I would really like to drive it down the street.
Tomorrow I cross the border back into Canada. The trip will be almost over in that I won’t be driving again until Monday when I head home from da nort shore. I’ll still post tomorrow and maybe even share some of the beauty that is northern NB with you over the weekend. I’m sure Tony will share the WIFI.

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NY n stuff

Today was all about getting past New York City and White Castle. It would be very easy to go negative here but I’m going to focus on the positive. Next time I’m drunk I’ll rant about the rest.
First off, yesterday I forgot to mention the Maryland Welcome Center. It was a very well designed and clean rest area and info spot with very knowledgeable staff. And they have the WIFI flapping around the yard. The downside was I didn’t have any cash and the vending machine didn’t like the Canadian Visa, but there were water fountains so I could still hydrate.
So today when I got to Jersey I wanted to hit the White Castle in New Brunswick. I wasn’t expecting to get to New Jersey quite as soon as I did and didn’t have good directions to the place. Luckily I found Rutgers University and their info center. The staff there were quite helpful and turns out I was fairly close but never would have found it on my own. Thanks guys!
Got to the Castle and had a delicious feed of sliders and chicken rings…yes they have chicken rings. It was delicious and I can see how it could become an addiction that would cause the type of adventure from that movie. You know the one I’m talking about. I got four of their anniversary drinking glasses. Pictures below to make you jealous and to start the cravings in you.
I got through NYC pretty easily but it is taking hours to get through Connecticut. So far I’ve been averaging about 20 mph on I95. But they are building another bridge in New Haven so that might help.

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DC

Made it to Washington DC just after lunch time. Still in the clutches of the heat wave. Drove by the Pentagon and a security guy waved at me to turn around, there were also signs everywhere saying no photos. Off to see some monuments and stuff. I was all set to say that they had signs so you could find stuff but that would be a lie. I just found things as I was looking for other things. Drove around the National Mall but didn’t stop anywhere because all of the street parking was full and you had to show ID to get into the parking lots. I have ID but it seemed like a lot of work to walk around in the heat. The crowds of tourists reminded me of the pedestrians heading for Parliament Hill to see the prince and his wife on Canada Day. Managed to get a shot of the Washington Monument from the car as I drove by though.
So to summarize DC, if you are an American you should check it out. If you are a Canadian who would kind of like to see this stuff go in armed with a map and well planned routes. Also avoid the summer and go when you are on your way to Florida in December or March. Come on, you know your going to Disney some time. 🙂 Don’t get me wrong, it was nice but leave the summer for the American tourists, you take the “off season”.

Pointy Thing

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Day 26

Missed posting yesterday so here it is.
First we’ll start with this pic so I can tell you about it.
IMG_8181
I came out of the store and thought I had left my window down and a small dog had climbed into my car (there was a small dog laying in the back window) then I noticed my car was the next one. Pretty rare that I see another blue Saturn the same style as mine especially parked right beside me.
What the h*** is that blue thing?

IMG_8282
Oh, now I remember. Haven’t seen one since California. Good job North Carolina.
I did a lot of driving yesterday but I took some time out to go into Savannah to tour around the waterfront and get my Georgia shot glass. Apparently Savannah is all about the pirates…or maybe that was just the gift shop I went into. And they had a life sized Miley Cyrus cardboard cutout that said “no pictures inside the store.”
Got through South Carolina and most of the way through North Carolina. Slept in the car last night despite the heat and humidity. Need coffee now. Enjoy the pics and see you soon.

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