The road keeps rising up before me

Cogitation 46/223 Friday 15 November 2019 Reader Steve intimated that I might have more to say about our recent 5-week road trip. “There’s another installment (or two), right?” Steve said.

Sure, I can do that, I’ll do it with random photos and captions. To start, though, I’m taking a step back to 2008. That’s the year we completed walking the Bruce Trail in Ontario, Canada. The trail figured again in our 2019 road trip.

This poster hangs in our office. We took 7 weeks over 7 years, plus a few weekends, to complete the Bruce Trail in 2008, in company of sister-in-law Christa and brother Mark, and other family members and friends. The End to End Award certifies that we “hiked the entire length of the Bruce Trail between Niagara and Tobermory!” We are numbers 2268 and 2269. We walked a short distance on the trail in October 2019 with Christa and Mark and other family members. Christa and Mark were on the trail since early October. Christa completed 720 km (447 miles) of the 900 km (556 mile) trail and had to stop because of weather and appointments at home. Mark ran support and did some walking after turning his ankle.The Bruce remains the longest trail we’ve completed. Finest memories. On our 5-week road trip we managed to get in walks totaling 146 miles (245 km). Winter weather has slowed us down considerably, yet we’ll grin and bundle up when we can.

Maud Lewis next week

I was going to feature our visit to the Nova Scotia Gallery of Art in Halifax to see the Maud Lewis collection. However, the introduction and Q&A on the movie, Maudie, I was scheduled to do on Tuesday, was postponed because of snow and cold. The course of four movies is part of the offerings of the Lifelong Learning Institute of Elkhart County. My part is now scheduled for next week. I’ll say more in next week’s post on the Nova Scotia folk artist Maud Lewis and her depiction in the docu-drama, Maudie.

The road revisited

Lily scouts out the back yard of her home,aka the home of Frank and Ev, in State College, Pennsylvania.
God’s creatures all, bless them.
“Who learns will love / And not destroy / The creatures life / The flowers joy.” Verse on a building at Peace Valley Nature Center in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.
In a shop window in Rockport, Massachusetts. Real friendship, considering the dogs are playing musical queue and each one eagerly awaits its turn to move one position forward.
The Atlantic ocean surges next to the Marginal Way in Ogunquit, Maine.
Sculpted moose, symbol of Moosehead and Alpine Breweries, established in 1867 and at home in Saint John, New Brunswick, since 1918.
Rainy, windy, all-day travel from Saint John, NB to Halifax, Nova Scotia. Glad that the ferry from Saint John to Digby NS, the closer route, was in dry dock.
Marty peers through one of three windows in the house where Maud Lewis spent her married life. The door standing in a frame was the main door, that Maud painted on both sides. The door on the house was the storm door. The restored house, along with a selection of Maud’s paintings, is on display at the Nova Scotia Art Gallery in Halifax.
Sign outside a school in the north end of Halifax.
A touching,. thoughtful tribute to the history of St. Joseph Church (1865-2009), that had been a pillar of Halifax’s north end for decades. “It was best known for assisting the poor, educating the young, comforting the elderly, and providing a place of worship for Catholic residents.” The church was destroyed in the Halifax Explosion of 1917, with a loss of 400 parishioners. The church started to rebuild in 1920 and was known as the “Basement Church,” until the rest of the structure was completed in 1961. By 1931 the church was made up of 1,200 families. In 2006, faced with dwindling numbers, soaring operation costs, and a shortage of funds, the Church was sold. It was torn down in 2009, to be replaced by the St Joseph’s Square project. “The original 1960’s church stone, the cornerstone, and three stained glass windows depicting the impact of the Explosion were salvaged and incorporated into the building design.” Sorry, I don’t know more about the St Joseph’s Square complex or what happened to the church families after 2009.
An exhibit at the Museum of Natural History in Halifax done in partnership with the Mi’Kmanj Native Friendship Centre in Halifax. The artists “reveal how their personal journeys are reflected in these works of art.”
First “falling snow” sign I’ve ever seen. Falling ice, yes, but the snow in Fredericton, NB must balloon-up like the upper sign advertising “Gourmet Rolled Ice Cream.”
We kept watch, but failed to spot a moose, though thankfully we did not have to drive at night. Interestingly, though, the Daily Gleaner newspaper in Fredericton, New Brunswick had a front page story (October 21) of a young male moose that for two days led officials through the city. It was finally captured, tranquilized and released in a wooded area. October 21 was also the day of Canada’s federal election that returned the Liberal Party, led by Justin Trudeau, to power, though without an all-out majority. Who knows, the moose might have been looking for a polling place to cast a ballot for who would best guide the nation’s social and economic (and animal rights) policy.
It took us a bit of time to figure out that this sign means the bridge ahead freezes at O degrees Celsius.
Wouldn’t you just love to exit here for Saint-Louis-du-Ha! Ha!”? The village of 1,300 lies just off of the Trans Canada Highway, near Quebec’s border with Maine. Ha, ha (sant de loup) refers to a recessed landscape design that creates an unobstructed view when a narrow ditch or V-shaped depression separates a field or plain. The design prevents grazing livestock from crossing to a garden or other green area and also prevents vehicular access. We first came across a ha, ha in Trengwainton Gardens, A National Trust garden near Penzance in Cornwall, UK. Saint-Louis-du-Ha! Ha! is the only village in the world with the double exclamatory Ha, Ha in its name. The landscape that flows fluidly, visually unobstructed beyond the village, might be Lake Memprhemagog.
Canada geese on the move. Honk! Honk! Honk!
That’s the St. Lawrence River on our GPS as we head toward Knowlton, Quebec.
That’s 47 km per hour. I hope it was a 50 km (30 mph) zone.
Loved our visit to Abbaye de Saint-Benoit-du-Lac in the Eastern Townships of Quebec Province, especially the 11 am Mass in Gregorian chant. Founded by monks from France in 1912, the monks seek God through prayer, work and fraternal life.
A fine coffee to sip with one of Louise Penny’s novels at hand, takes you into the depth and flavour of Three Pines (Knowlton), the fictional home of some outrageously “a touch of acidity” colourful characters.
This ceramic hog, a picture of true contentment, rested near our breakfast table at Ancestral B&B in Knowlton.
Tree in cousin Dale’s backyard in Brockville, Ontario.
Fall’s transition is more than half done. Looking out on Lake Couchiching in Orillia, Ontario.
Lunch of beet soup and a toasted cheese sandwich after a walk to the Stephen Leacock Museum in Orillia, Ontario. Leakcock’s short story sequence in Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town (1912), the publishers, Gaspereau Press, say, “may well be the funniest book ever written by a Canadian–at least intentionally.” Leacock (1869-1944) was a humourist, essayist and political economist.
Whimsical print at the Collingwood home of a friend of my sister and her family.
Beans being harvested in Michigan on our way home on November 4.
When your backpack is too small to hold the “few” groceries you walked to the store for, and you failed to take extra bags, you improvise and carry on. Not too surprisingly, we had a bunch of gulls swoop over us as we walked home.
First snow, 11/11/19.

Thanks, again, to all the people we encountered directly and indirectly during our trip. And to the dogs we got to know. It was all so real. As real as the goodness of being at home.

May you succeed on your road, blessed by this old Irish prayer: “May the road rise up to meet you. / May the wind be always at your back. / May the sun shine warm upon your face; / the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again, / May God hold you in the palm of His hand.”


8 thoughts on “The road keeps rising up before me

  1. Excellent article, John! Chock full of interesting comments and pictures, reflective of your awesome trip! You have more than enough material to write a book. I look forward to your comments on Maude Lewis! Thank you for sharing your and Marty’s fascinating adventures.


  2. Thanks for the continuing photos and saga about your big road trip. Sure wish we could hear your presentation next week on Maude Lewis. She sounds like the kind of artist that was driven to paint, even the front door of her house!

    Ginger and I have begun packing for our 5 months in Florida. We will head south on December 3 but before then we have planned an early Thanksgiving in Toledo with my mother at the Assisted Living and three of her friends will be joining us for dinner together. She is weaker and getting physical therapy but still hanging in there!

    Enjoy your time in Cornwall when you get there in February!

    Monty & Ginger



    1. Monty, enjoy that time with your mother and sister. You’ll be able to read about Maud and see some of the pictures I took in Halifax. The Florida music scene will be so happy to have you arrive. Enjoy!


  3. Enjoyed reading and seeing more pictures from your travels. Looking forward to your review of the Maud lecture. Just didn’t care for the snow pictures. As dad would say “what’s next?!”


    1. Hi Kaye. How about investing in some paint brushes? That could be a “next” for you. Murray, too. Murray could paint the views he sees from the sky. Just an idea. See you soon!


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