Category Archives: travelling

Maritimes Road Trip, Day 0

Everything is packed and ready to go into the car in the morning. Charlie’s food, medications, bowls, and various accessories are ready to go. Nora’s food and medications are packed and ready to drop off with Chad, who is a wonderful friend who will be taking good care of Nora while I’m gone.

Here’s what the next three weeks look like:

This is looking like it’ll be over 4,000 miles. It’s a lot, but I’m really looking forward to it. Seeing new parts of the world is always exciting anyway, and I’ve never explored Quebec or the Maritimes before. I’m also looking forward to meeting up with great friends along the way, and hopefully meeting some new friends too!

I’ll be blowing up my Twitter along the way, and I am hoping to post daily updated here as well. Stay tuned!

A map of the Great Lakes and Eastern Canada showing a round-trip route from Chicago, Illinois to Halifax, Nova Scotia

On the Road Again: Maritimes Road Trip 2022!

It’s been five years since my last road trip, which means this year’s trip is long overdue! The general idea is to hit the road for three weeks, traveling to Halifax, Nova Scotia and back. And this time I won’t be going alone! I will have Charlie as my co-pilot.

Charlie, a RedMerle Border Collie
Charlie can be my navigator. Sure, he’s blind, but what could possibly go wrong?

The general plan is to stop every couple of days and work from my hotel room. In my current position I can’t just disappear for three weeks, so this seems like a reasonable balance. Plotting things out, I realize I’m probably still driving too much on too many days, but on the flip side I have worked hard to keep all driving legs to five hours or less. All of my hotels are booked, so the itinerary is set:

  • Ann Arbor, Michigan
  • Toronto, Ontario
  • Ottawa, Ontario
  • Québec City, Québec
  • Rivière-du-Loup, Québec
  • Moncton, New Brunswick
  • Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia
  • Halifax, Nova Scotia
  • Lubec, Maine
  • Boston, Massachusetts
  • Binghampton, New York
  • Cleveland, Ohio

A bit of a whirlwind tour even taking 19 days, but I’m really looking forward to it! I’m glad I will have Charlie with me, since he helps with a couple of things. First and foremost his company will be welcome. Having him along means that I will almost always be eating in an outdoor environment (Remember Covid? Yeah, it’s still around.) Finally, everyone wants to stop and say hello and pet Charlie (and he loves it). This provides needed social interaction, since I tend to be rather introverted when traveling alone, and not very good at striking up conversations with strangers. It helps that Charlie adores riding in the car, too!

As with my last road trip, I will be documenting it both on Twitter and here. Keep an eye out!

Postcard from Columbus

takaza and I are halfway through a lovely weekend in Columbus, Ohio, staying with fordshepherd and kai_darkwolf. We were able to scoot out of Chicago earlier than expected, at about 11 AM on Friday. Traffic was surprisingly light and we made it to Columbus in less than seven hours. Because we are horrible guests, we surprised Ford and Jack with a call saying we would be earlier than expected, but they handled it with aplomb. After some pleasant chatting and a tour of their lovely house. It reminds me of how much I really loved my bungalow in Joliet, subsiding foundation, collapsed sewer tile, and all. For dinner we went to the Elevator Brewing and Draught Haus. The food was quite tasty, though the beer was somewhat lacking. The company more than made up for that, though. And yes, visiting their place reminds me that we need a dog(s), since I’m really enjoying being around Nathan, Pete, and the visiting Jazz.

Yesterday we had a somewhat early start as we met up with Rob and Dean (alas, I can’t recall Rob’s furry handle, but Dean is SeetherWolf) at the Center of Science and Industry (COSI) and an entertaining tour of the CSI exhibit (“Darn, I left my syrup of ipecac at home!”). After wandering around a bit we adjourned for a tasty lunch at Ted’s Montana Grill where we amused our waitron muchly with silliness. The evening brought a great party with about 15 people, some truly amazing marinated and grilled pork tenderloins, and lots of beer. Life was good. I was amused to hear that Dan knows Dean from about ten years ago (and hey steviemaxwell – Dean says hi!). Furry fandom is indeed a small town. It was great to see some familiar faces (Alaskanwolf, kwik, truegrave9) and make some new friends.

As for today? Probably a lot more laid back. We’ll seek some lunch eventually, maybe meet up with Kwik, and there were rumors of going to see a movie. Maybe. Who knows? We’re having a blast, that’s all that matters. I’m keeping an ongoing gallery of the weekend, sure to be updated more as the weekend goes on.

On a more serious note, I’m keeping an eye on Hurricane Gustav. Even though my links to New Orleans are somewhat tenuous (a year and a half at Tulane University over twenty years ago), I still have wonderful memories of my time there. Genet, I’m keeping your family in my thoughts and I’m hoping everyone rides out the storm OK. The same goes for everyone who has those they hold dear who are in the storm’s path. After the terrible events of three years ago, I dearly hope that there were some good lessons learned and that those will be well-applied over the coming days.

Meanwhile, In Another Part of the Forest…

Well, that was a lovely little impromptu little trip. As I mentioned in my entry on Friday, I hitched a train down to St. Louis for the weekend, got to hang out with some fun folks, got in some family time, and got a nice change of scenery. It was a lot of fun.

On Friday I left work on the early side and caught the El down to Union Station. As I was getting on the Brown Line at Kedzie, I heard a mother and her daughter inquire about how to get to Union Station; when they reached the platform I volunteered to show them the way. This opened the way to an interesting conversation all the way downtown. The daughter was in the middle of a multi-week tour to visit college campuses and they were just returning from North Park University, which is right around the corner from where I live. Given that she was leaning towards Wellesley and didn’t think much of North Park, I reckon they won’t be back. Anyway, we had fun chatting and once we got to Union Station we parted ways.

The Business Class upgrade that I had purchased turned out to really pay off, since they had us board the train first, well ahead of everyone else. In all, I think there were eight people in a section that seated eighteen. The seats were wide and relatively comfy and since we were at the front of the car right behind the engine, there was no foot traffic. The middle of the car was the “snack bar” (a couple of refrigerators and a microwave – I was glad I’d picked up something at the station!), then the rest of the car was something akin to restaurant booths for people to eat and socialize. The trip too five and a half hours, and while it was somewhat boring it was nice that I could plug in my laptop for entertainment. I watched the first disc of The Fellowship of the Ring, then listened to MP3’s the rest of the way. I also worked on sorting through my inbox in Eudora, paring it down from 1,600 to 700 e-mails (some back to 2003. Um, whoops). We arrived a few minutes early at 10:40 PM and takaza pulled up to the station not long after. We retired to the La Quinta Westport and quickly went to bed.

On Saturday we lazed about the room a bit, then met up with ramalion and KBear. We grabbed a quick lunch then went over to their lovely house and watched a few episodes of Firefly (while entertaining Sammy the hyperactive black lab). We chatted for a while then drove up to meet Tygercowboy, spikerotty, and mauilovich for dinner at a diner/pancake house. The food was tasty and the company was excellent. From there it was over to Webster University for an interesting film, Three of Hearts. It was about the creation and ultimate dissolution of a three-way relationship between two bisexual men and a woman. Seeing the pushes and pulls of the relationship was fascinating, and while I don’t think I would have the constitution for a polyamorous relationship, there were a lot of interesting insights to be found about relationships in general – how they’re formed, how we cope, and what it takes to sustain one. I’m really glad we went. Afterwards we parted ways with T.C. and company and Dan, Rama, K, and I hit a Cold Stone Creamery (in Kirkwood, right near St. Joseph’s Hospital where I was born! 🙂

Sunday was equally slow getting started, but hey, we were on vacation! Once we got up and got checked out of the room, we met up with my sister’s family at Macaroni Grill. The meal was fun and it was really nice seeing them again, even though it was all too short a visit. Then it was time to hit the road for the five and a half hour drive back. Outside of some heavy fog near Braidwood, the drive wasn’t bad at all.

And now we’re back into the work week, yay. Not too much planned for the week – I have an appointment at the gym tonight to plan a workout routine, and tomorrow I have to take my Element in for its 10,000-mile checkup. No plans for the coming weekend, which is good since we’ll be the on the road again the weekend after that. No rest for the wicked, and all that…