What a long strange trip it’s been.
We are delighted to report our safe arrival back on the west coast of Canada. Yes: it was raining as we approached Vancouver city limits.
We are thankful for the adventure that took us over 26,000 km. in our 32 year old truck. No air conditioning. No cruise control.
From Vancouver to Cape Spear, Nfld., from Maine to Memphis, the Deep South, the Delta and the Coast we saw so many sights, met awesome people, stayed healthy, and explored the extremes of living small for six months (two people in a 19 foot truck). Yowsa.
Thank you to all our friends who sent us encouraging messages on the road.
Merry Christmas to all our friends from Willy Blizzard.
Indulged in authentic pit-cooked southern BBQ at the Crossroads in Clarksdale, Mississippi. Located at the crossroads of Highways 61 and 49, it witnessed the birth of the Delta Blues. Legend has it that Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil here, paving the way for Muddy Waters, BB King, John Lee Hooker etc.
Along the way we also paid a visit to the birthplace of Elvis himself, the town of Tupelo. The humble origins of the King of rock’n’roll are a reminder that new ideas come out of the old and the authentic.
Gospel, Country, The Blues and BBQ.
What’s not to love?
Leaving behind the tour van at the very bottom of the Burin Peninsula, we walked on a ferry and ended up . . . in France! After 8,000 km, what a treat to ride our own Vancouver bicycles on the small French islands of St. Pierre et Miquelon, off the south coast of Newfoundland. So awesome to experience an authentic blend of French culture, complete with wine and baguettes, in a Terre Neuve setting. C’etait magnifique!
Greetings from Fogo Island, off the north east coast of Newfoundland. We have finally returned to Newfoundland, after many decades. A return visit for both John and Andrea, we are delighted to spend time on Fogo Island. Because Newfoundland was the original inspiration for the song “Maritime Blue” we have decided to include the lyrics below, at the request of a friend who recently heard it played live in a folk club in Ontario. Being here on The Rock, how can we not reflect on the images and lyrics from such a rich piece of Canadian history. The folks here are exceptionally friendly, and helpful. This song is our gift to them.
Maritime Blue (words and music by John Hough)
A young boy watches his uncle and father
Cleaning the cod on the rocks by the water
A lifetime of lifetimes are his on this day
As the boats return into the bay
He’s red-haired, barefoot, free as the wind
That blows strong and hard from the eastward again
He’s a link in a chain that is centuries long
And a part of this rock where he’ll always belong
Maritime blue, on the water so cold
Colours our lives ‘til the days when we’re old
Ran through the veins of the ones we all knew
Even my heart runs maritime blue
Eileen is just twenty and part of this life
At eighteen she wed to be a fisherman’s wife
She’s a treasure, a beauty and just wants to be
With her family and close to the sea
There’s a dance in her step as she hums out a tune
And a cove that she thinks of when there’s a full moon
There’s a love all around her like wind ‘round a sail
And a shower of stars in the sky is her veil
Now the east coast brings heartache and sadness untold
If you find yourself drivin’ down Old Kingston Road
The St. Lawrence Valley is a long way from home
But there’s a promise you won’t be gone long
So you hold dear the laughter, the faces, the friends
As the road unfamiliar seems never to end
The face of your loved one and how she loves you
Keeps driving you homeward to maritime blue
Is it possible, or desirable, to go back in time? This road trip is taking us to many interesting places, most new to us, but some familiar spots too. The beautiful Muskoka town of Parry Sound has a major claim to fame with Bobby Orr. But we have a more personal connection to it. Many years ago (back in the days of Kodak film) I photographed the town’s heritage railway station. That photo became the art work on the back cover of the album “Train Through a Northern Town”. If you own that album, look closely at the back picture. So much has changed in our world since then. Film is gone, and sadly, most of the passenger trains too. But for today, at least, we can still visit the long abandoned waiting room.