Thursday, July 31, 2008

Maritime Trip - Day 1, Ottawa to Saint John

We packed last night and set the alarm clock for 2:00am. For some reason, it didn't work. Luckily, Sandra woke up at around 2:30am.

We loaded the truck and woke the kids and managed to leave by 4:00am.

The scenery along the way is awesome. It really makes you appreciate living here in Canada. I'll summarize our day in point form:
  • Quebec has the most awesome rest stops. They're large, clean, well-kept, and the buildings that house the washrooms are huge and clean.
  • Our auto GPS sucks because it clearly has old maps. The new Trans Canada highway from around Edmonston to the Fredericton offramp doesn't exist on its map. So what it showed us, between its attempts to reroute, was that we were driving across fields, through forests, and over mountains. It's a good thing that we didn't have to make and route changes in that large stretch of highway.
  • It's the first time I've seen fences that follow a highway to keep deer and moose off the highway! They even have one-way gates every 1/2 kilometre that stop them from leaving the forest, but allow them back in if they should manage to find their way onto the highway side. Every so often, they have tunnels that pass under the highway to allow them to cross safely. Very cool idea!
  • They sure have a lot of "Watch for moose" warning signs along the highway to Saint John.
  • I love the 110km/h speed limit on the Trans Canada highway in New Brunswick! Driving 120kmh sure cuts down the travel time. :)
  • There are endless Tim Hortons along the highway. That is, until you really want one.
  • Downtown Saint John reminds me of Montreal... but a lot smaller, and with steeper streets.
  • The people here are super friendly.
  • The inside the Lafontaine Tunnel in Quebec needs some serious repairs.
  • Driving 14-15 hours is tiring, but not as brutal as I thought it would be.
  • It's more difficult to sleep in a moving vehicle than it used to be when I was a kid. (No, I wasn't driving at the time... Sandra was) :)
  • Driving across the Hartman bridge (world's longest covered bright) that crosses the Saint John river was pretty cool.
When we arrived at the Delta Brunswick in Saint John, it was around 7:00pm. There's a shopping mall under the hotel and it closes up at around 8:00pm. By the time we got down there to look for a place to eat, it was 7:50pm and too late. :( We went back to the restaurant in the hotel and ate there. It was fairly inexpensive and the food was good.

Shortly after 9:00pm we were done and decided to come back to our room and call it a night. We've got a big day tomorrow, going to do the touristy thing. I'm not entirely sure where we'll go and what we'll see. I know I want to see the Reversing Falls for sure. The kids seem more exciting about swimming in the hotel's indoor swimming pool. We have to find a Zellers or some store so Sandra can buy a new bathing suit -- she forgot to pack her's.

That's about it for today. Need sleep. I'll write again tomorrow and will post lots of pics on Flickr when we get home on August 9th, unless I manage to find time before then.