Two people. Ninety days. One tiny yellow two door Ford Focus Hatchback.
We are nuts.
Has reality even set in? Are we really living in a car for the next three months?
It sounds like something I would read about, something I would watch on TV. Something I would look at, step back, and think “I wish I could do something like that.” The most outlandish part of it all, is that it is real. That I’m not watching it. I’m not reading about it. I’m immersed in it, and actually doing it. A lot of people say things, but take no action to do it. As soon as I said out loud to a friend that Chris and I were tentatively (myself more tentatively than Chris) planning on doing this trip, it became more of a reality.
This whole adventure started around two months ago.
My grandfather died, and I was stressing about the payment for flights and time off work to attend the funeral on the east coast of Canada. Basically, when the idea that I could cut that cost in half and have a week off work fell into my lap, I jumped on it. A positive twist on an unfortunate situation.
About a week later, we spent ten nights living in, what is now our cozy mobile home for the next three months, Chris’s 2000 yellow Ford Focus hatchback. I was able to get a compassionate leave from work (kudos to having such a great boss at work!), which erased the worry of taking unpaid time off from my mind. Flights, even with a savings deal, would have cost 400-800 dollars, round trip. Individually, we each ended up spending close to $300, including gas, food, and accommodation.
Rookies to any sort of RV/camper/van living, the first night we spent at a little alcove tucked away at the end of a residential street, within a few kilometers of Montreal. The ongoing joke was that the police would show up and knock on the car windows on the first night.
A few hours after parking, the Quebec police did show up. The most useful phrase I know in French translates to “I don’t understand French.” Note to self: learn more French. This sentence is useless and would have got us absolutely nowhere.
Cue: Chris. After a few minutes of a friendly sounding conversation ‘en Francais’ between Chris and the officer, and a quick ID check, he told us we seemed like nice people and that we could stay. The officer walked back to his car and drove away.
Fast forward an hour later, one of our neighbours, a lady from one of the fairly large homes on the street, is abruptly knocking on the car window. Round two. I witnessed a less friendly conversation in French between our “neighbour” and Chris. A few minutes later, the lady, less than pleased, walked back to where she had emerged from. From Chris’s translation, she had threatened to call the cops, where as the cops had already come and gone, okaying our parked overnight location. Despite the early interruptions, I recall sleeping pretty snug in the back of the Ford that night.
Over the next ten days, we slept along the Trans-Canada Trail, along the Saint John River, next to a lighthouse along the Bay of Fundy, in the driveways of my family’s properties on the east coast, a truck stop in the middle of a snowstorm in New Brunswick, and a Walmart parking lot.
I was able to attend the wake and funeral of my grandfather, whilst Chris spent those two days getting work completed along the Halifax Harbour views.
Chris and I have come to the assumption that it was the drive back to Ottawa, on that initial “test” trip, that the idea of doing a Southwest coastal road trip through the States was suggested. January 20th was randomly chosen as a start date.