Monday, September 13, 2010

Spending Time with Earl and Dan and Dorothy

For the last few days of our trip the airwaves were full of talk about Hurricane Earl. The category one hurricane was supposed to be centered over Sackville at the time we planned to leave. We had limited tv and internet access so it was very difficult to know exactly what was coming.

We had a hard time deciding what to do. Stay and hope for the best? Desert Tori and the roomates? Her landlord is a firefighter and reassured us that Sackville was well equipped to weather the storm. The town is high and the tide was going to be out. The water is gravity fed so it wouldn't be affected. We were a little concerned that both front and back lawns were covered in lumber because he is in the middle of rebuilding both entrance decks. One of the roomates boyfriends couldn't understand what we were worried about. He spent most of his life in Mauritius where they get spinoff tornados several times a year. But we don't so it was a big deal. I remember my dad's stories about Hurricane Hazel. Kevin's aunt is still traumatized by Hazel. It is not something we deal with often in Canada. The internet worked for a few hours so we could start looking for hotels out of the danger zone. They were all booked already by people more decisive than us. The one we found had been increased 60% so we decided to stay and leave early in the morning and race Earl. Then my boss' husband called. His daughter also lives in Sackville (small world) and he spent 3 years counselling Hurricane Katrina survivors and he was very concerned. At that point there wasn't much we could do. We had nowhere to go and it was 5 pm.

The next morning we got up at 5 and were out the door at 5:45. Shortly before we left I glanced out the window. I was startled to see a big cat. I had hoped most pets had taken in. Then I realized how BIG a cat it was. I was thinking it was a bobcat then it turned and I got a good look at it's tail. It was a cougar, meandering down the main street of town. It was about the size of my dogs so not full grown. I figure it is a baby from this spring just cut loose and trying to find it's way in the world. This is undoubtedly something I will never forget.

The drive to Oromocto was eerily quiet. We only saw two other cars in the first 2 hours. We arrived in Oromocto just before 8. We had intended to visit friends on the way to Sackville but we were late (sorting out Tori's financing). We didn't call so they weren't expecting us. We cruised by their house and saw a light on so knocked and surprised them at breakfast. Here is Dan and Dorothy.
We have known them since Caitlin and Alec were born. Dan (he's the one on the left) was a helicopter mechanic at the Search and Rescue flight were Kevin was and Dorothy and I hit it off at the twin's shower. We had two years together in Goose Bay, then encountered them again when we lived in NB. Dan became our car and small engine mechanic (he can fix anything and makes awesome first beds for all the grandkids). Connor loved playing at Dorothy's when he was a toddler. Dorothy makes amazing quilts to grace the beds Dan makes. We have met all their children and grandchildren. It was good to see them after 10 years. But remember we were racing a hurricane and didn't have time to dilly dally. Off to Edmundston, near the border of Quebec, where we had tried to seek refuge the night before. Surprise - the worst weather was in Edmundston. The forecast had been 50-70 mm rain in Sackville, 40-50 in Fredricton and 20-40 in Edmundston. It turned out to be exactly backwards (Oh, I love weathermen!). The rain was very heavy here. It was the only place we had to slow down and we saw a car that hydroplaned into the guardrail.

The rest of the drive was uneventful, just long. We hate driving through Montreal. We had 3 maps and none of them had highway numbers that matched the actual road signs. We had supper in Brockville at 9. We got home about 2:30 after 20 hours of driving. That is a new record for us. We used to drive straight from Oromocto to Newmarket but we have set a new record. And Kevin did all the driving. I read. The kids slept.

The End


Cherylinn said...

After seeing what the new reporters were reporting, I told John I'd love to be there for the initial part of the storm, watching the waves crashing in. But leave for the brunt of it.

You are so correct when you say what a small world it is, especially when you mentioned Jon....(just not by name).

Laura said...

I forgot you had met him. It was so nice of him to be concerned. He even offered that we could stay with his daughter. They were among the planners and had a room booked in Edmunston - they ended up cancelling it - smart move as it turned out.

Fiddling Granny said...

Sounds as if you guys had an awesome trip

Country Girl said...

Did you warn tori?