Hitchhikers guide to the galaxy (i.e. day 19)

So we woke up this morning to a very misty chilly morning and we were ready to get our way through Quebec. Unfortunately though we found the Benedryl did not actually work as advertised, since Andrew was even more swollen and knarly looking. We decided it was best to keep him out of public as much as possible and get him home to see a doctor asap, no more scenic routes. That in mind we set off to find some tea at Tim Horton’s and then hopped on the Trans-Canada highway. Just as we were getting up to speed though, we saw a hitchhiker on the side of the road. He looked absolutely freezing and in a split minute decision we pulled over with the feeling that you have to try everything once.

He jogged up to us, asked if we had stopped for him, and introduced himself as Richard. We said hi and apologized for Andrew’s appearance and offered him a ride. After hopping in he immediately recounted his recent experience of just having spent last night in his sleeping bag in the woods next to the highway. He told us about how he awoke that morning to a group of deer and a freshly fallen apple on the ground next to him which was his only food that morning. It was all quite poetic really. He was still in awe over it. We were pretty shocked he stayed outside as it was definitely chilly last night. We offered him some tea and got going on our way.

Turns out he had come from the Cabot trail where he spent the summer and he was headed to Ottawa to meet some of his sisters for a family get together. Ottawa was our plan too as we wanted to visit some friends for the evening. He seemed like a nice enough guy so we offered to drive him the whole way as we were headed there anyway.

If you’ve never picked up a hitchhiker I have to say that It’s a rather interesting experience overall. As the day progressed we started to realize that the whole time you might be worried about what he might steal from you, he is equally as worried about what you might steal from him.

The days drive was both boring and interesting. Unfortunately we spent the day on the road, just stopping at a few gas stations along the way. We did not get a chance to see much (hence the lack of pictures) except some hunters who had a huge moose in their truck.

On the other hand the drive was made a bit more interesting as Richard gave us a rundown of his travels and adventures over the years. He was a semi-homeless man (by choice) who for the past few years had spent the summers out east doing some manual labour for room and board, and the for the winter he would thumb it out west to live on the streets of Vancouver. He had many interesting stories of places he’d been and things he had done, all on a very little budget. It was a great to hear his perspective on life based on these experiences and how he lives with very little material things (something we are trying our hand at). His lack of funds though means he eats whenever he can. We offered him snacks of granola bars and peanut butter sandwiches which he happily ate. For lunch we pulled into a Tim Horton’s and had a little gourmet parking lot meal of rice, salad and salmon that we bought the other day which had now fully defrosted. It was pretty tasty and a welcome break from the road. A few more hours of driving later and some brutal Montreal traffic and we had arrived. We dropped Richard off at his hostel for the night, said our good-bye’s and headed to our friends house for the night.

It was a really good visit. It had been more than 6 months since we last saw them and it was so great to catch up. We were also finally able to get a peak of their new house which they were in the process of re-modeling. Like our van, the house was also a product of the 70’s, which is shown in the layers of brown wallpaper and parquet floors, among other features. They were well into floor sanding and kitchen updating so it was really starting to take shape. Although being there made me realize that I don’t think I would want to undertake a re-model of a house at the moment as the to-do list seems absolutely endless. Right now, the to-do list on the van is quite enough.

We spent the evening sharing some beers and chatting before we crashed for the night. It was a huge day, we were in 3 provinces today and felt pretty pleased with that. Hopefully tomorrow is just smooth sailing home!

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A: Edmunston, NB
B: Ottawa, ON

Today’s track – about 750kms
Tomorrow’s plan – beeline for home