I drove to Ontario with my cat.  I was going to stay a month so I had to bring her.  I also brought two passengers from the rideshare board, to mitigate the environmental impact, maybe.  I just couldn’t be a single occupant vehicle for 3000 miles.

It was just during the coldest snap of the winter, when Regina was seeing -35C.  Almost miraculously, we didn’t see one speck of precipitation the whole transit.  And the coldest weather was scuttling away in front of us, or something, because the coldest my outdoor thermometer ever read was -22C. 

My right hand drive caused a bit of a frenzy at a truck stop in Northern Ontario.  A half dozen friendly natives were swarmed around, looking at everything inside, asking questions all at once and exclaiming in amazement.  They were just thrilled.

We drove the north route as one of my passengers was headed into Quebec.  After we left him, the girl and I were sitting up front talking when we passed a big billboard proclaiming “Book Store 75% off” .  We sighed together and looked at the time.  It was just after six, there wasn’t a chance that a small town book store would still be open.  Sigh, alas.

A half hour later, she bursts out, pointing to the right, “Hey that was it!  The lights are on!  And there’s cars.”  I screeched to a halt and whipped a Uey (or the transCanada equivalent), and we went back to it.  Open!  Until eight!  Oh frabjous day!

What. A. Bookstore.  This was the Highway Book Shop in Cobalt, On,  and I’m sure it’s already legend.  It’s got more books in it than some libraries I’ve been in.  And catalogued.  We were asking for every book we could think of ever wanting.  Technically,they were reducing their inventory, so lots of books were already all taken away, but still!  For some, she said, “Oh, that’s in the back.  Follow me.”  Through a door at the back of the store, into a huge, long room, stacked 5’ high, full, with closed liquor boxes, all full of books.  A narrow corridor parting the field of book boxes led to a door at the other end of the room.  A short hallway, then….the biggest room of all, with floor to ceiling stacks, university library style, just long corridors of them, and every shelf doublestacked!!!!  She went straight to the book I asked for, then we returned to the main store, my brain now reeling from overwhelm-ment.

I especially loved the really loose organization pattern too.  It was like browsing through all the sections of a Chapters while standing in one place flipping trade paperbacks.  I cleaned up.  I bought  a box of books that night (bringing my unread book box count to five), and the two of us left giddy and drunk on the beautiful world, that has such book stores in it!

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