In a short couple of months, we will set off on a long distance road trip to the East Coast of Canada, also known as The Maritimes. The drive alone is enough to frighten any right minded human being. We will be traveling around 4,800 kilometres in one direction. Our starting point, is due west of the capital city of Alberta, Edmonton. The destination is Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Supposedly the most direct route to reach Halifax, includes two sets of diagonal lines. The first runs Edmonton, AB to Saskatoon, SK, to Regina, SK into North Dakota, cutting through the heart of ND, to Fargo.
From Fargo, you continue on a diagonal drive to Minneapolis, MN, then into the heart of Wisconsin until you reach the southern tip of Lake Michigan and the windy city. Driving the curve of the lake, as you skip into North Bend, IN to peak at Celtic hero, Larry Bird’s old stomping grounds.
A short drive north takes you into lower Michigan, as you skip past Kalamazoo, Lansing and Flint until you reach the US/Canada border crossing and get back into our home country, eh!
From here its a quick drive to London, ON, with a detour over to Niagara Falls, then on up to Toronto, (to catch a Blue Jay’s game) and a couple of craft beers. After a good night’s rest, you pile back into the vehicle and head to Kingston, then out of Ontario and into detour number two, as you take a sharp turn north and head for Ottawa, to see the Parliament and legislature grounds and discover the Canadian legal system from the front lawn of the Prime Minister’s house of commons.
Finally out of the grasp of government, you take the next hour to reach the cobble stoned streets of Montreal. Pickup a sandwich, drink wine and sip espresso’s while people watching and eating on fresh baguette’s and tasty morning pastries. Once your bellies are full and your heart is content, you pack up your hammock to journey further north along the St. Lawerence River. I am certain there are hundreds of locations to hole up for a night or two, to take a swim in the river, or find a spot to drop in a kayak and go for a spin, as the ancestors, once did during the fur trading era.
Back into the vehicle, you are a mere two-ish, hours outside of Quebec City. Here, you will find the old world charms of Europe living in Canada. Big historical castles, moats and the walled city of Old Quebec. Tired of wandering over cobble stoned roads, you head for Rivière-du-Loup, in order to turn southeast and discover the town of Edmundston, New Brunswick. Traveling along the TransCanada highway, you will find yourself skirting northern Maine, until you reach Fredericton.
While the wife is gazing out the passenger seat at the scenery or hopefully reading her book, I will inadvertently take a sharp turn further south, to reach Saint John, along the Fundy Coast. Here you have two options.
- Drive 412kms, from Saint John, along the Fundy Coast, take a brief stint, to look at Fundy National Park for a bit of sight seeing. Stop at a seaside restaurant for some fresh cod and head into Moncton. Its quit simple from here, Moncton, to Amherst, to Truro, down through Enfield until you reach Dartmouth where you will see Halifax across the harbour
- Drive six-minutes to Digby Ferry Road, wait the 20 or 30 minutes to board a maritimes ferry, for the 75 kilometre, slow ride of 2 hours 45 minutes across the Bay of Fundy and land in Digby, NS. From the terminal its a 50 minute drive to Kejimkujik National Park of Canada. When the sun sets, the skies over Kejimkujik reveal a beautiful panorama of tens of thousands of stars in Nova Scotia’s only Dark Sky Preserve. Take a night or maybe two to explore this awesome location, before setting off for Milton, and the final stretch of 145 kms, to your destination: Halifax
The best part about the lighter side of travel, via road trip, is there are plenty of hidden gems out there along the way for you to indulge into, explore, and get lost trying to reach your destination. And if you do reach your end point or if you do not, remember this, quote from Arthur Ashe “Success is a journey, not a destination. The doing is often more important than the outcome.”
~ James Curtis