This summer, my family and I drove from Halifax, Nova Scotia to Vancouver, British Columbia, mostly on the Trans-Canada highway, and then home again on Interstate 90, via Seattle and Boston, plus I-95 north through New Hampshire and Maine and then the Trans-Canada and the 102 through New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. In between, we spent some time in Calgary and then in Vancouver. (My husband was working in the emergency departments in hospitals in each of those two cities.) I hadn’t made the trip across Canada since I was seventeen, and I loved rediscovering the country and exploring new places with my family. I also loved taking pictures along the way, and I’ve chosen some of the ones I like best for this blog post. I tried to follow Elizabeth Bennet’s example of not jumbling together the names of the lakes, mountains, and rivers. (See “What are men to rocks and mountains?” for photos from our trip to Banff, Alberta in July.) Here’s the short version of our very long road trip. Hope you enjoy the journey across North America!
I loved seeing this spot again, especially since my book club is planning to read Amy Jones’s new novel We’re All in This Together: “Exactly two hours after her mother-in-law goes over Kakabeka Falls in a barrel, Katriina Parker has a miscarriage. She would never suggest the two incidents are related, but she also doesn’t believe in coincidences….”
While we were in Winnipeg, we also visited the Project Bookmark Canada plaque for Shields’s novel The Republic of Love and I’ll write more about that in a future blog post.
I kept looking at the various Laura Ingalls Wilder museums highlighted on the map, wishing we had time to stop and explore. (We weren’t too far from the ones in South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa, and I know there are more museums in other states.) Someday, I hope. I’d love to hear more about literary sites related to the Little House on the Prairie books, if any of you have visited them and have advice to offer.
At that point, we hadn’t seen any rain in about three weeks, even during the time we spent on the West Coast, and it started to rain just as we crossed the Mississippi. We crossed several rivers on this trip, and listened to many songs about rivers, including Kev Corbett’s “On the River Off the Lake,” which will always remind me of this summer. (“I kiss the air when I’m here / I kiss the water / I kiss the memory of my grandmothers and fathers.”)
This was the first time I had ever seen Niagara Falls from the American side. When I was six, I lived in St. Catharines, Ontario, and we often visited Niagara Falls on the Canadian side.
It’s so good to be home, after a long and eventful and memorable journey across North America. We’re not ready to hit the road again right away, but we are already starting to talk about our next big trip—maybe heading south next time, driving from Halifax to Miami, perhaps, or from Winnipeg to New Orleans, or from Seattle to San Diego…. Or maybe we’ll drive west again, spending more time with friends and relatives and more time exploring places we missed this summer. I’d like to revisit the longest covered bridge in the world, for example, in Hartland, New Brunswick, which I remember from childhood trips across Canada. And I’d like to see the Project Bookmark plaques in Toronto and Hamilton, Ontario, and other literary sites in both Canada and the United States.
And of course this list could go on forever, so I’ll end by inviting you to tell me about road trips you’d recommend, whether they’re trips you’ve done or trips you’d like to do someday.
I’m also making a list of bookstores I’d like to visit, so if you have suggestions, please let me know! Kidsbooks in Vancouver and Owl’s Nest in Calgary are among the ones we visited this summer; some of the others on my list for future trips are Parnassus Books in Nashville, Tennessee (which has a great blog called Musing), Powell’s City of Books in Portland, Oregon (can’t believe I haven’t been to that one yet!), and Mabel Murple’s World Book Shoppe & Dreamery in River John, Nova Scotia. That last one is only about a two-hour drive from my house, and, since I’m a long-time fan of Sheree Fitch’s picture book Mabel Murple and Mabel’s “whole purple world,” I’m already a fan of the bookstore she plans to open next summer and I’m planning a (short!) road trip to River John. (Given that it’s a “Dreamery,” as well as a bookstore, I guess I’d better say I’m dreaming of visiting.)
All photos © Sarah Emsley, 2016.