I am in the ocean time zone.

I have no idea what the real name for the ocean time zone is. In fact, I didn’t even realize I would enter it. Last night, I was actually extremely confused when some of my clocks changed time.

“How did it get so late?” I wondered. “What was I doing for the past hour?”

It felt so truly mystifying that I actually turned the van back on and checked the time on the dashboard, because the dashboard clock has to be changed manually. I was relieved when I got that hour back. The over-active imagination was conjuring up alien abductions and trauma-induced fugue states before looking at a map and discovering that sure, it was highly likely that there was another time zone in eastern Canada, because I believe I am as far east as I’ve ever been in the continental Americas.

But let me backtrack for a day. On Tuesday, I went to visit a reader in Quebec City. (Hi, Mireille!) I’ll admit that I was kind of nervous, but I only told one friend that if I disappeared it would be an internet serial killer plot. It would have had to be very long-laid plot, because when Mireille invited me to stay in her driveway, I recognized her name from years back. I thought maybe she was even in the Eureka fanfiction community, that was how long ago the familiarity was from, but she was actually from arghink.com, Jennifer Cruisie’s blog. (If that link doesn’t work, it’s because I’m writing this without internet and will post it via my cell phone, so can’t test the link, but the name should be right. I hope so, anyway.) At any rate, Mireille invited me to stay, I was a little anxious but mostly excited about the idea, and so I did.

It was lovely. She and her beautiful look-alike daughter live in a terrific neighborhood in Quebec City. I obviously am never going to live in Quebec City (there’s a citizenship problem), but if I could dream up my fantasy semi-urban neighborhood, it would be much the same. I wish I’d taken more pictures, although I probably wouldn’t post them even if I had, because I have no bandwidth today.

The three of us and Zelda went off to Montmorency Falls, a waterfall that’s taller than Niagara, with a walking bridge over it. The truly ambitious could climb down (and then up, or vice versa) a steep and very long flight of stairs, to see it from the bottom (or top, depending on where you parked), but I didn’t think Zelda’s leg was up for that much yet. I suspect our six-year-old companion would also have complained, but it was such a hot day that such complaints would have been justified. But we admired the falls and then drove a small way around the tip of Ile d’Orleans, the nearby island.

Gorgeous island, with beautiful houses. It would definitely be a fantasy place to live, except probably not so much in winter. It’s like admiring Vermont, so beautiful, but winter is always coming. Quebec, in general, has been notably beautiful. It’s sort of a surprise, because it’s not in my head as a gorgeous landscape, but I think that’s because I think of it as a winter place and I am not a winter fan. My mental picture of it is barren trees and bleak landscapes, but at this time of year, it’s pine forests and rolling hills. (Yes, the one other time I was in Quebec, it was in January.)

Back at Mireille’s house, I used her washer & dryer, her internet, and eventually her shower. (Thank you, Mireille!) I would really be hard-pressed to decide which of these luxuries I loved the best. I have clean sheets! Her internet was high-speed! I conditioned my hair! 🙂 It was lovely. And it was fun hanging out with her. It didn’t feel like spending time with a stranger, but much more like being with someone I knew but hadn’t seen in a while and needed to catch up with. We ate quinoa bowls for dinner and chatted until M2’s bed-time, when I headed back to the van to finish reading Magic Triumphs, the last book in the Kate Daniels’ series, which released that morning. (It was a great conclusion to the series and if you like the others, you’ll like it, too.)

Mireille invited me to stay as long as I liked, and I was really tempted to stay for longer. I wish the weather had been cooler because it would have been fun to wander around Quebec City. But I was worried about leaving Zelda in the van for too long, plus she would not quit barking — she won no points for well-behaved dog behavior! — so around lunch-time, I headed out.

The weather was horrible. Lots of rain, so much that I stopped at a rest-stop for an hour or so to wait for it to stop. It stopped, I started driving, it started raining again. Bah. But I was just thinking about stopping for dinner when an absolutely fantastic rainbow — quite possibly the best rainbow I have ever seen, and Florida gets lots of rainbows — spread across the sky. I took the rainbow as a sign, pulled off the highway and camped at the Walmart in Edmundston for the night. Somewhat mystifyingly, everything is still in French, but Google maps tells me I’m in New Brunswick.

And today will be a driving day. I’m not sure where I’ll spend the night tonight, but I’ve still got many hours to go on my route to Prince Edward Island. It is, unfortunately, still gray and cloudy, so I’m not feeling optimistic about the drive, but it was also so cold this morning that before I was willing to get out from under the covers, I turned the heat on for a while. So cold that Zelda also snuggled into the blankets and covered her nose with her paw. (Ridiculously cute!) It’s another reminder that winter is coming. I love the idea of a slow adventure down the east coast, with lots of long stops along the way, but I’m going to have to remember to watch the calendar. Serenity is not meant for snow.