Yikes!! Day three was crazy! We ran into LOTS of road construction with stops and detours and loads of slowdowns. Then Bruce took a turn into Ottawa looking for an information center. He followed the signs and followed the signs some more and followed....into a pile of busses all pulling in front of us and around us like they owned the place (okay, they do). Bruce lost sight of the info signs and I lost sight of Bruce until I spotted him in the "Canadian Supreme Court" parking lot talking with a security guard. Uh oh. Turns out you can't just pull into a governmental office parking lot with a U-Haul truck and just park there to wait for your lost wife, unless you first talk to a super friendly Canadian security guard who then directs you back to the main highway after your wayward wife in the overloaded van topped by a canoe finds you. Did I mention yet that the cat had been meowing ALL morning long in the van.....and the kids were tired and antsy.....not to mention my sore bottom? Okay, okay, everything was still feeling doable but then we entered Quebec and EVERYTHING was in FRENCH with NO English subtitles. This would have been fine had it not been 6:30 pm and we had already been traveling for 9 hours and wanted to get past Montreal before bedding down for the night and I couldn't get the pay at the pump thing to work because it was all in French and I couldn't quite figure out what it wanted. I couldn't understand my own kids anymore let alone try to decipher a language I only know two words in -- bonjour and merci (Jill?...Rob?...a little help please?). Luckily, a friendly information person at the first place we stopped at in Quebec was very helpful even though she couldn't find us a room for the night....no problem...yeah, right! We finally get headed through Montreal after getting turned around on a detour and heading the wrong way down the interstate toward Toronto -- oops! Okay, we are traveling through Montreal, fine...fine...fine...yawn...fine...OH MY GOSH WHERE ARE ALL THESE ROADS GOING TO???AHHHHH! Whew, made it through the ultimate can of worms! Duluth's crazy intersection has nothing on this one! There were 5 or 6 levels going all sorts of directions. It actually reminded me of the Jetsons for some reason. Anyway, we made it without perishing or taking the wrong turn amazingly enough. After leaving Montreal we hit no mans land. Where were all the hotels on the side of the road? Another hour and a half or so later we finally arrive in Magog, Quebec. We had been very excited to see the beginnings of hills and mountains until it got dark and I just hoped the Moose Crossing signs weren't foretelling the future. Magog is located in a lovely area with wooded foothills and a lake and river (not that we could see it by this time. that came in the morning) We followed the little bed signs to find a hotel and couldn't locate anything that looked promising except for one place that turned out to be a long-term care residence -- sorry for the lights folks! By this time it was nine o'clock at night, we are exhausted and Bruce can't even see the road anymore so I led on to the next exit and we stop to rally. I whipped out the hotel guide (all in French by the way) that the helpful tourist info lady had given me and find the first listing under Magog (just happened to be 3 star but not too expensive -- yeah right). I called and luckily the receptionist spoke English with a very heavy accent (remember I can't even understand my own family by this time). Yes she had a room but how to get there from where we were..... Well, there's a Canadian Tire and a Burger King and yes, yes the street is Sherbrooke... and now a tanker truck driver is honking at us to get out of the way so he can fill up the gas tanks...oh, there's Bruce and the kids coming out of the store after a potty break....jump in and follow me!....yes,yes I see Burger King but I'm sorry I don't know what lublows is...okay, okay follow Sherbrooke past lublows (whatever that is) and turn right on main street then on Rue Merry Nord we are just across from McDonalds....not a problem. I'll call if we get lost. We get lost but the only one that knows is Ava who keeps telling me to "just stop mom and call her". I keep turning in the general direction I'm pretty sure we want to go in and darn it if I didn't find Rue Merry Nord, Yipee! Then Ava used her McDonald's sniffer to find the McDonalds and voila, we found the hotel. Bruce climbed out of the truck and asked, "How in the world did you find this place?" Answer, "magic, luck and Ava's McDonald's sniffer". After some quality tv (American ninja competition) and a very short night, we had a nice breakfast with our waiter wishing us "bon appetit". We took off as quickly as possible with three kids including a very fed-up two-year-old and boogied down the road to Wal-mart (of all places!!) to get diapers. We had more in the back of the truck but were afraid to open the door as we may never have been able to shut it again. Twenty minutes later we were at the border with the U.S. Wow, the border patrol is a riot! Good thing Bruce went first and paved the way for the crazy van with the crazy lady driving it as kids are hollering and the cat is meowing. Okay, it wasn't that bad, I just felt VERY frazzled. The kids were actually great and Rusty didn't even let out a peep while stopped at the border. He just picked back up when we took off again.
Okay, it is past eleven and I will have to finish day four tomorrow. Good night! Sleep well. :)