Thanks Margaret for this review. Much appreciated.
If you dream of taking a long road tour and writing a good book about it, here is a good model to follow. I picked it up at Prose in the Park where I bought local memoirs that might improve my own writing in the same genre. Lucy’s Road Trip by award-winning author Louise Szabo stands out for these reasons:
- Vehicle as Lead Character
If you are going to make a 8088-mile road trip, you have to obey the terms and whims of the vehicle that carries you. Giving the RV a name and titling the book after her makes this clear. In this case it is a 24-ft Class C RV with a diesel engine priced at $17,000 and purchased with $100 down. Its former owner left it filthy and stinky so the first challenge was to scrub it. The second was to fall in love because you realize it will fulfill your dreams comfortably and affordably.
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After our flight from Ottawa to Montego Bay, Charlie and I were both tired. Still, we looked forward to the 1-1/2 hour drive through the mountains as we headed to Sandals Whitehouse.
I had read, on tripadvisor.ca, about the route to the resort and found many complaints of people who wished the resort was closer and the ride on the twisting road not so bumpy but since taking it was necessary, unless you hired a helicopter to take you there, we regarded it as part of our adventure. I tried to take pictures from inside the moving van and I apologize for the quality.
Going from Montego Bay in St. James Parish to Whitehouse in Westmoreland Parish is about 64 kilos, as the crow flies. By road, according to the mileage indicator in the van, it was 150 kilos. The B8 highway traverses the high mountain range and with so many hairpin curves I almost got carsick. There were no shoulders and, In some areas, the road was bordered by either a high stone fence or meter high bushes.
The road was very narrow and you risked an injury if you dared stick you arm out of the window. We drove by oncoming cars and trucks missing them by inches. When our driver came to some of the curves he pressed the horn to warn oncoming cars that we were rounding the curve.We passed through small villages that were interesting to look at only because of how dilapidated were the buildings.
The bright spot were the children. All the girls looked well groomed in their white blouses and jumpers of blue or bright yellow, green or burgundy while the boys wore beige uniforms.
Some of the small houses along the road had the front practically touching the highway while the rear was perched on precarious stilts a few meters high. I wondered where they got their water from and since there was no space for an outhouse how they managed. Small houses were built next to huge houses secure behind wrought iron gates, doors and windows.
The vegetation was luscious and so tropical green. We drove up the mountain and I was surprised to suddenly come upon large orange groves. They somehow looked out of place along this mountainous road.
When the driver swung over to the opposite side of the road to avoid a huge pothole I held my breath convinced that a car would round the curve and come straight at us. My body vibrated as we bounced around and I almost got carsick as we zigzagged through one curve then another. I breathed in deeply and swallowed hard and knew that it would solve itself as soon as we crossed those beautiful lush mountains and got back onto a more civilized straight road along the coastline.
All went calm when we drove through the entrance of the resort. The flat land with its manicured lawns, flowering red and white bougainvillea bushes, tall palm trees and tropical plants made the ride worthwhile.
In a couple of weeks we’d’d do it all over again as we headed back to Montego Bay to catch the flight home. I wouldn’t have missed this ride for the world.
author – Lucy’s Road Trip – RVing Across Canada
Co-author – Travel Dreams and Nightmares – Four Women Explore the World – ISBN 978-1-4759-8201-5
I could hardly wait to get to Montego Bay in Jamaica. What I did hate was waking at 3:00am but I had little choice. Sandals Whitehouse waited for my arrival, and I had an early flight to catch.
Our plane was to leave the Macdonal-Cartier airport in Ottawa at 6:00am. When we got to the airport there was hardly anyone there. We were third in line and when we walked up to the ticket agent counter we handed him our passport and asked, “How much is an seat upgrade?”
“Fifty dollars each.”
“If you have any we’ll take them.”
“Do you want a window seat or an aisle?”
The agent did his thing, handed us our passport and boarding pass and said, “That’s it folks. You can go.”
Charlie dug out his credit card.
The agent repeated very slowly, “That’s it folks. You can go.”
We walked away. It was a great beginning to our trip. The free upgrade meant more leg room, and a free breakfast and, if it hadn’t been for the early hour, we could have had free booze. We soon boarded and headed for the deicing station at 5:45 and were in the air on time.
Thank you Charlie for the Christmas present, Bose earphones. What a difference this made. With the noise reduction turned we could hardly hear the motor noise. Now I know why I always ended up with a headache when I flew. The quiet ride made the flight enjoyable.
When we arrived at the Montego Bay airport we were one of the first out of the plane. When we walked to immigration the place was practically empty. We whisked through immigration and by the time we got to the baggage pickup area our suitcases were already off the carousel and waiting to be wheeled away.
Twenty minutes after our arrival we were at the Sandals lounge. Greeted by their friendly staff we waited for other going to the Whitehouse in an air-conditioned lounge where drinks, including beer, were available. Twenty minutes later six of us boarded a van and headed for the resort. The ride would take 1 ½ hours as we headed for the south side of Jamaica.
The first leg of our journey was over. Maybe I’d get to sleep in the van.
I still remember the day when I came home from work and Charlie opened the door for me all excited and pleased with himself. His announcement that he had put a deposit on a ten-year-old 24-foot long RV came as a complete shock. We had discussed buying one when we got married over 30 years ago but I thought that the dream had died long ago. We’d camped in a tent, progressed to a tent-trailer, then to a 13” trailer and now owned a cottage which kept us grounded. Obviously the lure of the open road was still in Charlie’s soul.
“I know you. You’ll love it. Wait until you see it.” He brings me to this monster of an RV, so dirty that I couldn’t tell if it was white or gray. Parked at the back of a farmer’s field I wasn’t impressed.
Charlie opened the door, I took one step in and almost tripped as I stumbled back out again. It smelled of a heavy smoking male who had lived in it with minimal washing facility for himself or his laundry. The stink was so overpowering that it almost knocked me over. What on earth was he thinking? He must be out of his mind. No way was I going back inside that thing.
Charlie opened the windows and vents, left the door wide open and coaxed me back in. With my hand over my mouth and nose I gagged as I entered again but managed to stay long enough for a good look. At first glance I hated it. At second glance it looked alright. At third glance, once scrubbed, shined and disinfected I could see its potential.
I walked out, took a deep breath, took another, turned to Charlie and smiled. Travelling across Canada in this RV would be fun. We bought it. We named her Lucy and I am forever grateful to Charlie for finding her.
Check out my book ‘Lucy’s Road Trip – RVing Across Canada’ ISBN 978-1-77216-006-2 http://www.chapters.indigo.ca
Thanks Margaret for the great advise. #book signing
Making a living wage selling books on the sidewalk outside a book store for four hours on a hot, busy Saturday is not easy but can be done with the right tools and approach.
Here’s what worked for me:
- 1. A sandwich board with my name and title on it put outside early in the morning so people knew I was coming and slowed down when they saw I was there.
2. Being conspicuous by wearing a red dress, and my wide-brimmed, wacky, khaki hat to keep the sun off.
3. A table and cloth with a dozen of my books neatly displayed (one turned over to show the back cover blurb), bookmarks, business cards and my best pen — to show I was a professional signer!
4. A stool. This was the key. Store owner Ted Britton had…
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The Jószef Katona Theatre in Kecskemét, Hungary is named after the writer of the first Hungarian national drama. It was built in 1895-1896, renovated and modernized in 1960-1962 and again in 1986-1987. Its last restorations were done sometimes after 2000.
On our last visit to Kecskemét in 2010, our host had managed to get permission for a private tour of the Jószef Katona Theatre. It was mid-afternoon and a few hours before the evening performance of ‘Les Miserables’. Let in by the security personnel, we entered the building through a back entrance used by the actors and staff. It felt strange and eerie to be the only ones on the premises. A very narrow meter wide hall led to the backstage. On each side the many doors opened to dressing rooms. I would have loved to peak in but didn’t dare open any of them. The cramped quarters and almost dungeon feeling made me realize the antiquity of this building.
As we entered the theatre all changed from dim surroundings to an opulent area. The gold from the molding glinted against a burgundy and white background. Rows upon rows of seats were draped in white sheets to protect them from the dust. With two levels of seats I noticed way at the top a sectioned off area for the standing room crowd. And above all was this magnificent immense chandelier glinting above the 850 seats. The theatre was magnificent.
We then entered a spacious and bright lobby. Wide staircases led to the upper level where we found many comfortable cozy seating areas.
The place looked royal and majestic and well deserving of the accolades given to it when the Europe theatrical convention voted it as the most beautiful jewel box in the theatre world