Sunday, August 30, 2009

A Journey Home - Part One

We left Middleton on Tuesday, July 22nd in two vans. Mudder and I drove in the ‘people van’ with the boys and DH escorted the zoo in the camper van. We were absolutely loaded down (and I didn’t get any good pictures of that. Sigh) and got away from our house and Middleton much later than we’d hoped for. However, we only drove as far as Truro that day and the trip went a lot faster than anticipated. We stayed at a hotel that took pets (the Holiday Inn Truro in case you need similar accommodations) and had a reasonably good nights sleep. Not bad for our first day of travel.
The next day was a bit of an adventure and established a pattern. Aidan began screaming for the first five minutes of most legs of the trip, resulting in Mudder and I finding the next exit off the highway and me tending to him. I thought the van’s DVD system was a bit over the top when DH mentioned he wanted that option (I wanted the leather seats to assist with easy spill clean up so both of us have expensive taste) but it really helped appease the toddler and maintain my sanity as I do not deal well with a newborn screaming when I cannot get to him immediately.

The 1988 camper van overtook us on the highway at some point when we were stopped tending to the children so we met up with DH and the pets in Baddeck, on Cape Breton Island. I highly recommend visiting Baddeck if you are ever in that neck of the woods as it is a lovely town. Setting Baddeck as our next meeting point worked out well as DH really wanted to see the Alexander Graham Bell historic site (it's the Centennial year of the flight of the Silver Dart) and he took Iain while Mudder, Aidan and I went to Baadeck Yarns. As luck would have it, Aidan was hungry as soon as we arrived so I sat and nursed him while surrounded by yarn. That was lovely until he needed a significant diaper change so we went back to the van to do that and for me to top him up. Disaster struck when I realised that one of the ladies I saw working in the shop leaving and I noticed the time – 5:00 PM – closing time! Almost in tears, I handed Aidan over to Mom and scrambled back into the shop in hopes that they closed at 5:30. I have been trying to get a relaxed and lengthy visit to browse in that shop for two years now and each time something seems to prevent it.

When I stuck my head in the door and asked what time the shop closed, the owner said “We close at 5:00 but we knew you were outside with the baby so come on in and shop.” Be still my beating heart - what sweethearts! It turns out the owners live in the same building as the yarn shop (be still my beating heart again!) and are a retired Canadian Forces couple like DH and I! We had a lovely chat and I walked out with some gorgeous yarn including two skeins of Marlabrigo Lace (100% Baby Merino) in the Mariposa 125 colourway. Marlabrigo is a type of yarn which I had only heard about on Suzanne’s blog and had never seen in person. It is gorgeous and, when I saw a knit up sample using this yarn in the shop, I decided that it was going to be my leaving NS treat to myself. My newest stash addition will become this Whisper Cardigan.

After that very happy experience, the whole family grabbed sandwiches at a local deli and got back on the road. The original time to catch our ferry from North Sydney, NS to Port aux Basques, NL was at 6:30 PM. However, we had heard that Marine Atlantic was having trouble making their booking times and were not surprised when we received a telephone call from them advising that our ferry crossing was delayed and we had an extra hour before needing to be at the terminal. When we arrived in North Sydney, the ferry traffic line was, literally, backed up past the terminal line up area and out onto the highway. None of us had ever seen the line up so bad. And, our situation got worse.

Aidan started screaming the last 40 minutes of the ‘creeping forward at just fast enough of a pace that Mudder could not jump out of the van and grab him and walk next to us’ phase of the line up. When we finally got to the ticket gate, he was pretty much hysterical. The ticket agent then proceeded to have an extensive telephone call with somebody about an issue unrelated to our booking before completing our registration process. Aidan continued to scream and I was very close to tears myself, so Mom saved us by getting out and taking Aidan from the van and walking with him until we got through the booking process and parked in our waiting spot for the ferry. I may just blank out the whole four hours prior to leaving NS due to emotional trauma!

Through the jigs and reels (and the luxury of time having softened the memories somewhat), we did not leave port until about 12:30 AM after struggling, exhausted, into our cabin. Thank God I insisted on only taking a crossing that had a cabin for us as I was not sure how I would be feeling after the delivery and a journey with a newborn. Iain was so overtired that it took about 30 minutes of him screaming before he finally dropped off to sleep. After that, the rest of us managed to crawl into the bunks for about four hours of sleep (Aidan sleeps wonderfully next to Mommy :)). I must note that, despite the number of times she has taken this trip, this was the first time that my mother had ever been able to sleep on a ferry crossing from NS to NL. Apparently anything is possible if you’re tired enough!

The first part of this trip was so stressful for me that I did not take any pictures and I am already regretting that oversight (the pictures above were taken in Deer Lake, NL the day after our ferry crossing). However, reality was that we were all exhausted, physically and emotionally, from just having had a new baby and packing and preparing for a big move. I have some great images in my head from that first gorgeous morning when we arrived back on the island in Port aux Basques and of the drive East. However, our first pictures of the trip are of our first day back on the island in Deer Lake where we spent most of the third day and night number three of the trip. Unfortunately for you, those details will be in my next post. Catch up with you soon!


JustApril said...

God bless whomever thought of making DVD players that work in cars. It makes a road trip SO much better. For us it cuts out about 99% of the fighting.

Traveling with a newborn is such an interesting experience - lol - it definitely makes getting to your destination a blessed relief =)

Elizabeth said...

I'm exhausted and speachless just reading that.

Knitting and horrific travel with young 'uns - they both benefit hugely from blocking! : )

Can't wait for the next installment.

Yarnhog said...

What a trip! You're braver than I am. I can't imagine making that trip with a toddler and a newborn. I'm so glad you've made it...and that you got to stop at a yarn shop!