I need to find the time to finish sorting through pictures and to write up my notes (mental and pen and ink) into a proper trip report, but a few observations that I thought I would bung down on on paper (as it were) while I'm thinking of them.Arriving early for one's plane is better than arriving late.
Among my friends and relations there is probably a solid consensus that, for whatever reason, I tend to be late for things most of the time. Friends and family are forgiving (at least mostly, at least so far...); airports are not. I made extraordinary preparations both leaving and returning to ensure I was at the airport by at least the recommended "two hours before your flight for international travel". Both times I was much earlier than that (3-4 hours). I wasn't sorry. I've arrived at the airport late, rushing to check in and hopping from one foot to the other in the security line (appearing anxious and worried <> a good thing under the eyes of trained airport security officers), afraid I was going to miss my flight. It's not a good thing. Better to have time to kill in the departure lounge.Make sure you plan carefully those things that need to be planned.
Trained by redactrice
, I tend to plan vacations in detail. Sometimes it's fine to leave more things to chance; I tried that approach this time. But some things you should really be sure to plan carefully. For various reasons, I planned to fly into and out of Charlottetown Airport on PEI (at some point we can discuss why that wasn't the best idea and, in fact, totally puzzled my hosts at my last stop, who are travel agents as well as B&B owners). The original last stop on my "tour" before that was in northeast New Brunswick. I hate spending the last night right near the airport (though I should probably do that) because it seems as if by doing that I devote the whole of the last day to just positioning, instead of doing something fun with it (we can go into the logic-fail of that later, too). I'm sure that at some point I checked the distance from there to Charlottetown and thought "Oh, that should be OK." But while I was on the trip, I checked again and found that at the best of times it would take me 4 1/2 hours to get to the airport. Plus the two hours before my flight, that would have had me getting up quite early (though somehow I did a math fail and calculated that I would have to leave at 6 am). So I switched final stops to Saint John, in southwest New Brunswick, because that would be "closer". Well, it turns out, only about half an hour closer. And I actually ended up driving what Google predicted would be four hours in about three (both because I was worried about timing and because there was no one on the roads at 7 am on a Sunday in the provinces. :-) All of which is to say: I need to think more clearly and plan more exactly in future. And I should not panic so fast. Though it was swings and roundabouts--I didn't see Acadian NB, which I would have liked to, but I did go to Fundy National Park and Hopetown Rocks, which had not planned on, and which were wonderful.In Canada, "open through mid-October" doesn't mean what you think it does.
I had originally meant to take my trip in late September, but events disrupted that plan. When I got ready to book later dates, I did a quick scan of my guidebooks and they said all the things that I wanted to see that were seasonal were open "through mid-October". I was planning a trip for the 6th to the 14th, so I figured I would still be able to see things. What I found was that most places closed after Thanksgiving, which in Canada is the second Monday in October. The 1st was a Monday, so Thanksgiving fell on the 8th. Of course everything was closed on Thanksgiving, and most things were closed the day before, since it was Sunday (note to self: Canadians still have some serious blue laws). So by the time I could get to them, everything was "fermée pour la saison".If you're goofy about taking photographs, be sure you have all the stuff you need.
In the past I've forgotten to bring my camera, brought it but forgotten to bring extra batteries, or brought batteries but forgot to bring the recharger. This time, I took a set of three camera batteries *and* the recharger. And used all of them every day. What did I not do?I forgot to clear my pre-trip pictures from the camera. And I didn't bring a spare memory card (fortunately the large one was in the camera). So, 90% win this time. :-)I am totally sold on toe socks.
Up until now, I had been buying them and wearing them because they are unusual and the choice allowed me to be eccentric in a small way so as to distract from and mask the utter slavish conventionality of much of the rest of my life. :-) But I did a fair amount of walking and hiking on this trip (more than I do in the normal course of events at any rate, though probably no more than I should be doing normally) and the only day I developed any blisters was the first day, when I wore conventional socks and my slip-on "going through American airport screening" shoes (Canadian airport security measures seem to be not so concerned with my highly dangerous shoes). I wore toe socks the rest of the time (mostly specially purposed hiking toe socks from Sock Dreams
), and my feet were happy and blister-free.
OK, more on the actual trip when I have time...