A winter drive in Lunenburg Co.

Let me take you for a drive after a snowfall.

Highway 103
Heading west, past Mahone Bay, on Highway 103
Cornwall Road
Turn north at Blockhouse onto the Cornwall Road
Mushamush River
Along the Mushamush River in Middle New Cornwall
Crossroad Farm
Turn left at Crossroad Farm in Upper New Cornwall. It's for sale, by the way.
Cross Road
West on Cross Road
House on Cross Road
Another house
Along Cross Road
Further along Cross Road, heading west
sign covered in snow.
Which way now? Can't read the sign. Keep to the left.
Farm on Cross Road
Upper Northfield churches
Ah, here we are, at Upper Northfield.

All photos taken on Thursday, January 21, on my way to Pinehurst, just west of Upper Northfield.

The long drive to Upper Canada

Road through New Brunswick
The highway through New Brunswick has been greatly improved.

Some take it in stride; others would rather fly. The train is rather nice. I took the bus once – never again. But many, perhaps most, Nova Scotians have done the long drive between Nova Scotia and Ontario (once called Upper Canada) or Quebec (formerly Lower Canada) at least once. Many have gone “down the road” to seek their fortunes and return to Nova Scotia for holidays. Others make the trip regularly, in one direction or the other, with kids in tow.

But doing it in winter? Is it crazy?

We did just that for our Christmas holidays. It certainly is a bit of an adventure. The roads have been improved in recent years, but it’s still necessary to prepare for the unexpected.

Church in Batiscan, Quebec
Church in Batiscan, Quebec

The new toll highway through the Cobequid Pass in northern NS, which shortens the trip, was closed for 14 hours overnight a couple of years ago during a snowstorm. Imagine a family travelling in a car getting stuck for that period of time. My sister was once delayed for 3 days in northern New Brunswick, in the snow belt between Fredericton and Rivière-du-loup, with her dog. You also have to deal with heavy truck traffic, constantly spraying your windshield and dictating your speed.

The alternative, flying, is iffy too, if your goal is to be “home for Christmas” as I learned by experience years ago. Flights are often delayed by weather, and it is an expensive time of year to fly, especially for a family.

Man driving
The long drive: just relax and enter the Zone.

So we got our VW diesel Jetta into excellent running order, checked the snow tires, packed provisions and entertainment in case we were delayed en route and had to tuck into a motel for a few days, carried bedding for warmth in case we were stranded by the side of the road, packed extra motor oil and wiper fluid, and even a spare battery, just in case.

Long distance sailors say that if you want to meet up with them, they can promise you a time or a place, but not both. A long winter driving trip is a bit like that. Most of the time, the roads are fine. So we kept our fingers crossed, while preparing for whatever would be thrown our way.

We were lucky this time, with smooth sailing all the way. If we’d returned home one day earlier or later, we’d have found ourselves in a blizzard.

Trees, and a sign saying Nature's Air Filters
Nature's air filters stand on guard for us the day after a blizzard hit New Brunswick.
Best Western Hotel pool, Edmundston
Out of the water slide and into the pool at top speed, at the Edmundston Best Western Hotel, a great reward for kids after a long drive.

Edmundston, New Brunswick, is a good overnight stopping place for those who aren’t inclined to drive straight through the night. Several hotels cater to people traveling through. Sitting in the hot tub at the Best Western, I chatted with other Nova Scotians, heading either east or west, while our kids enjoyed the water slide. I felt part of a special club of hardy pilgrims keeping alive our family ties and connections to “home”.

After the freezing rain

Morning of January 8, 2009
Morning of January 8, 2009

Schools were cancelled due to road conditions like this. Icy and completely slippery, treacherous just to walk on.  I could have skated.  Later in the day the ice had melted and run off into the ditches – in most places.