Saturday, October 31, 2009

Rest stop trees

Beauty in a forgotten place
Along the 401, somewhere in Ontario, October 2009

The scene: On a long, somber drive home from Montreal, we've pulled over at a rest stop to, well, rest. The province, in its infinite wisdom, planned the upgrade program for its network of roadside rest stops so well that virtually all of them along this stretch are now closed. Renovations on the smaller number of venues that will reopen eventually virtually guarantee stretches of many hundreds of kilometers where the only option is to get off the highway and drive aimlessly through one small burg after another in search of semi-edible food and semi-clean washrooms.

The one stop that was open about two hours back had a lineup for gas that stretched onto the on-ramp from the highway. So who doesn't get my vote next time?

Yes, about this rest stop. It's a double-wide trailer on the site of a now-demolished complex that may or may not be rebuilt. The cold, grey weather matches my mood as I stand outside and wait for Debbie to return with the kids. This is the last place anyone would ever want to be. Or could expect to see something worth remembering.

But the trees seem to merit a little attention. So out comes the camera and furrowed go the eyebrows of the passing motorists as I set, focus and shoot. I feel a small smile at the edges of my mouth, the first one I've had in a while. I guess I'll take tiny bits of comfort and happiness wherever I can get them.

Your turn: Stupidity on a monumental scale. Please discuss.


Tracie Nall said...

The rest stop does sound dismal...but the tree is perfectly beautiful.

awareness said...

Pretty pathetic eh? :) The ones that were open on my last trip to Ontario were filthy and unfriendly. Quebec has done it right with rest stops and picnic places all along the highway. And NB? Well, Mr Irving has taken care of this and monopolizes the trans canada with his "Big Stops." Great coffee and tea, lots to eat....gas.... and cleaned facilities. They clean them every hour.
But then again, sometimes the beauty found on the side of the road in New Brunswick forces one to return the call of nature. :)

invisible said...

Semi-edible food , and semi-clean washrooms. That sounds like the government allocated rest stops BEFORE they were closed for renovation.
Some of the big players, like the Flying J and T/A are coming in , and we've had the Husky and 5th wheel around.
Does anyone remember the rest stops before they were franchised out to the fast food restaurants?
I think they were called Carousel, and had huge buffets 24/7.
I much prefer good greasy spoons to bland homogenized chains.
Liver and onions at 5:oo A.M. with a side of hash browns and sunny-up eggs. You Betcha!

Mojo said...

"Brilliance on a governmental scale" I call it. (Sometimes known as "WTF were they thinking??") Around here, the "official" rest stops are generally pretty decent -- if not loaded with amenities. there are washrooms that are normally reasonably well maintained, and vending machines that are reasonably... well maintained. But if you want real food you're going to have to find it at one of the neon crusted exits along the Interstate because the "official" rest stops are strictly BYOF. Unless, of course, you can subsist on items from the CCC machines. (Cash-to-Carb Conversion).

And I love that smile that signals the reaction to the raised eyebrows of passers by. There's a certain satisfaction in the realization that you see something "they" don't.

Maybe like these:

Thematic Photographic 73: "Leaves" v.4.0 - Down On Main Street

Thematic Photographic 73: "Leaves" v.5.0 - Lunch on the Deck