As I mentioned in my previous post, from Jan. 16-19th I had the opportunity to go on a reading tour of the Maritimes. First stop was UNB Fredericton – where I did my M.A. – it was wonderful to be back and see friends and to read at my old university. From there I went on to UPEI in Charlottetown, St. F.X. University in Antigonish, and St. Mary’s University in Halifax. I had a great time at every stop – thank you very much to everyone who came out to the readings! The audience questions and discussions were thoughtful and challenging, and it was wonderful to meet and talk to people after the readings. A HUGE thank you to Ross Leckie at UNB – my M.A. supervisor and mentor and organizer extraordinaire – for setting up the tour. Also, thank you very much to all the hosts along the way – Richard at UPEI, Douglas at St. F.X., and Brian and the readings committee at St. Mary’s (Alex, Jennifer, and Stephanie for the amazing intro; also Deborah for the transportation!).
Reading tours usually involve a few unscheduled adventures. Acadian Bus Lines were on strike, so I rented a car (a teeny Fiat) and drove myself to each destination. The car came with a GPS that took me (quite literally!) down a garden path on PEI. I have had good experiences with GPS before, but this one seemed a bit shady from the beginning. When I arrived on the Island, I disregarded what it was telling me in favour of Richard’s directions on how to get to the CBC (where I was scheduled for an interview on Mainstreet.). On my the way off the Island, however, I decided to follow the GPS route – it started taking me on a “scenic” route, but I thought, “oh, I have quite a bit of time to make it to Antigonish, and it will be fun to see another part of the Island. Besides, it’s GPS, I’m sure it knows where it’s going.”
The GPS took me down a road that started to go through the woods. But the road seemed well-travelled and on the map it looked like I was heading in the general direction of the bridge, so I thought “Oookay, I’m sure I’ll get there.” But then, the road went further into the woods. There were no houses. There was more and more snow:
Still, there were tracks of other cars, and it wasn’t long before I was supposed to turn off this road so I decided: forge ahead. But then, I went down a big hill (for a Fiat without winter tires) that I knew the car wouldn’t be able to get up again. Oh dear. I thought: there better not be a big uphill ahead or I’m in serious trouble. About a kilometre later: there was a steep, and curvy uphill section. The little car would not make it up the hill. I was stuck between two hills in the middle of the woods.
So I got stuck entirely due to my own very poor judgement of following the GPS down a snowy road through the woods, while driving a teeny Fiat. I take full responsibility for this very stupid course of actions. But I was stuck and I needed to get to Antigonish for the reading that night, so with one small, delicate bar of reception on my cell phone I called a tow truck. I explained my predicament to the driver, Mr. D- – - -. who told me, “Well, you shouldn’t have gone down that road.” I agreed with him fully. But when I asked if he could possibly send out a truck, he said again, “You shouldn’t have gone down that road. Maybe you can walk out and find a farmer with a tractor.” Clearly, he was not impressed with my stupid decision to follow the GPS down the snowy road.
So I tried another tow truck service – Shaw’s Towing – and they were extremely nice even though I got stuck due to my own poor judgment. They sent out a truck, rescued me, and got me on the road in time to get to Antigonish:
Thank you Shaw’s Towing! After I got out of the woods I put the GPS in the trunk and used the radical technology of a map.