Canada’s Soul: Metis to Ahmic Harbour

June 27, Ride Two: Pont du Quebec to St. Georges (Beige Subaru) Driver was an anesthesiologist: “The separatist movement meant nothing.”

Ride Three: St. Georges to outside Montreal (White Fury) Driver got stopped for speeding, used ‘judge’s card’ to get off. Gave me a pack of Matinee cigarettes. “We’re all on this earth together, man.” Stayed in Ottawa and wrote on “the silken void” and “First Impression Syndrome”.

June 29, Ride One: Ottawa to Carleton Place Turnoff (Cadillac) Took me on scenic route to see Ottawa River shoreline.

Ride Two: Carleton Place Turnoff to Pembroke (Dark red Rabbit) Saw space shuttle  over apartment building, not too thrilled with “peace and love crap”.

July 1, Ride One: Pembroke to North Bay (Grey sports car) Driver had worked on the Trans Canada Pipeline.

Ride Two: North Bay to Ahmic Harbour (Brown VW Rabbit) Driver was well traveled across Canada; constant barrage on how many “twats he’d snatched”. Stayed at Ahmic Lake for two days at my family’s cottage.

Canada’s Soul: To Gaspe, Quebec

June 21, Ride One: Kouchibouguac National Park camp site to park boundary (Pick-up camper) Middle-aged couple from Kentucky who loved Jiffy peanut butter.

Ride Two: Kouchibouguac National Park boundary for three kilometers (Pick-up truck) Rode in the back with barrels of some kind of acid.

Ride Three: To Chatham, NB (car) Driver believed in ESP, bringing your subconscious out; owns chain of furniture stores.

Ride Four: Chatham to Bathurst, NB (Beige Phoenix) Driver said, “Hitchhiking is a picnic.”

Ride Eight: To Quebec hostel (car) Driver said, “As the great gods say, Justice will prevail.”

I helped build a gazebo for room and board at the hostel. Wrote about “the mists of ignorance” and “the guaranteed of continued submission to ignorance”.

June 23, Ride One: Hostel to St. Fleure, Quebec (1969 Mercedes) Cameraman for Radio Canada, Rimouski, apologized for poor English, loved his Mercedes.

Ride Two: St. Fleure to Metis, Quebec (Custom Deluxe red camper van) Weird laugh, missing side tooth. Stayed with my aunt in Metis, Quebec and attended a dinner party where Sammy carved and Cookie commented, “I bet you don’t live like this.”

Canada’s Soul: To Kouchibouguac Park, NB

A week into my cross-Canada hitchhiking trip, I was back from Newfoundland and crossing Nova Scotia again:

June 19, Ride One: Port Sydney to Kelly’s Mountain, Nova Scotia (Red heap) Driver was a wreck diver and told stories of sharks, whales and trout.

Ride Two: Kelly’s Mountain to Baddeck, NS (Green car) Beard driver with a red cap and sweaty chin.

Ride Three: Baddeck to Truro (Car) History high school teacher, who was boring.

Ride Four: Truro to Moncton, New Brunswick (Sports car) Driver was a former Mountie, now a bartender. Gave me beers and a quarter pound of cheese.

I walked into Moncton and watched a truck crash into a wall from above. Heavy rain, followed by sweltering heat. A Silver Mazda pick-up followed me around until I went into an A&W, dropped off my backpack and chased after him, but I couldn’t catch him or read the license plate. I went to the cop shop and was told, “I simply don’t know what to tell you.” I stayed at the Canadiana Motel and give my backpack as collateral.

June 20, Ride One: Moncton to Shediac (Family car) Driver, a painter by trade, gave me his last smoke and a Moosehead beer.

Ride Two: Shediac to Kouchibouguac National Park (Silver Honda) Driver had a comical laugh, and was anti-Wagner. “Bach’s Variations above all.”

Canada’s Soul: St. John’s to Port Aux Basques

After three days at Will’s house in St. John’s, I began to hitchhike back west.

June 14, Ride One: St. John’s to Kelce Groose Turnoff (Brown Rabbit) Old and young guy, dog hair all over the back seat.

Ride Four: Argentia Turnoff to Marystown Turnoff (Red LTD) Scottish guy, still wild, music just as wild, “Watch yourself down there. It’s back woodsy.”

Ride Nine: Frenchman’s Turnoff to Fortune (Red Schneider truck) “LSD is shit.”

With the ferry service to the French island of St. Pierre Miquelon cancelled, I hoped for a ride on a trawler, the Marguerite, and stayed overnight in a cheap motel and watched Butterflies Are Free. The Marguerite left without me. I hitchhiked back up the peninsula and then across Newfoundland.

Ride One: Fortune to Grand Banks (Turquoise Ford) Wanted to do something for me…”If I wasn’t married.”

Ride Five: Trans Canada Highway Turnoff to Cornerbrook (Old blue car) Eldery lady spoke of mongoloid mentally retarded boy; offered me a little red bible.

Ride Six: Cornerbrook to Stephenville (Old green car with no back seat) Doug drove (getting married in two weeks) with Pat (intense, speed user) and Brian (hard drinker) in the front seat; all moose and salmon poachers, each been to jail a few times, went to the dump looking for bears; drank four beers by the time they dropped me off at the ferry.

Ice Friday: Salinger’s Holden Caulfield

“You ought to go to a boys’ school sometime. Try it sometime,” I said. “It’s full of phonies, and all you do is study so that you can learn enough to be smart enough to be able to buy a goddamn Cadillac some day, and you have to keep making believe you give a damn if the football team loses, and all you do is talk about girls and liquor and sex all day, and everybody sticks together in these dirty little goddamn cliques. The guys that are on the basketball team stick together, the Catholics stick together, the goddamn intellectuals stick together, the guys that play bridge stick together. Even the guys that belong to the goddamn Book-of-the-Month Club stick together. If you try to have a little intelligent–” “Look,” I said. “Here’s my idea. How would you like to get the hell out of here? Here’s my idea. I know this guy down in Greenwich Village that we can borrow his car for a couple of weeks. He used to go to the same school I did and he still owes me ten bucks. What we could do is, tomorrow morning we could drive up to Massachusetts and Vermont, and all around there, see. It’s beautiful as hell up there, It really is.” I was getting excited as hell, the more I thought of it, and I sort of reached over and took old Sally’s goddamn hand. What a goddamn fool I was. “No kidding,” I said. “I have about a hundred and eighty bucks in the bank. I can take it out when it opens in the morning, and then I could go down and get this guy’s car. No kidding. We’ll stay in these cabin camps and stuff like that till the dough runs out. Then, when the dough runs out, I could get a job somewhere and we could live somewhere with a brook and all and, later on, we could get married or something. I could chop all our own wood in the wintertime and all. Honest to God, we could have a terrific time! Wuddaya say? C’mon! Wuddaya say? Will you do it with me? Please!”

Canada’s Soul: Across Newfoundland

June 11, Ride One: Grand Falls to Clarenville (Manual pick-up)  Very friendly moose hunter, stories of the ‘screwdriver murders’; the difference between Newfoundlanders and Mainlanders is “a matter of trust”.

Ride Two: Clarenville to St. John’s (Small white pick-up): Stopped at Finney’s Pond to fish and could not get back up the hill. Ride Three: Hiked up the hill with Will and Bob and hitchhiked into town with a drunk driver. “Pass me a beer, yeah? You’re welcome to one too.”

Spent two nights at Will’s house where I was given their son’s bedroom; he had to sleep on the couch. Spent much of the time listening to Will talk of his search for the Sargasso Sea as he did crosswords and his wife, Helen, rolled cigarettes.

Canada’s Soul: On Being Alone

While camping on Prince Edward Island at Cavendish Beach for two days in 1983, I reflected on “being alone”:

Solitude is a necessary state, that I feel that all men should experience for some intended period of time. But also, it must be noted that man should not be in this state for too long a period, lest he lose his sanity.20161203_180038

Man is an insecure beast – so be it. The fact that we are aware of our existence does not prove our existence. It only clarifies our insecurities. Man in his comfortable and unnatural state has time to reflect on more than the today. Man cannot enjoy life as it is, because he worries of the future. And so do I.

I hitchhiked from Prince Edward Island to the North Sydney, the ferry terminus to Newfoundland, seven rides in all, the last driver who told me that he preferred female hitchhikers because “you never know what might happen.”20161203_175640