Test Drive

How A Novice Driver Learned To Love The Roads In The Maritimes

Words by Ross Vernon Dias

Photography by Lucas Scarfone Photography

Every day, after I brush my teeth and get dressed, I take a short walk down the street and hop on a bus. It’s a routine as mundane as any other, but I take comfort in its regularity.

So when I was offered the opportunity to drive around the Maritimes for a couple days with the folks from General Motors, it was a welcome relief, but it was also daunting. As a city slicker, I’m perpetually rushing from point A to B, headphones in, and metaphorical blinders drawn.

I’d been in the driver’s seat on a road trip only once before during a chaotic day trip across Southern Iceland from Reykjavik to the ice floe beach at Jökulsárlán, an 11-hour drive there and back. I’d just gotten my license, which explains why the Icelandic trip was more nerve-wracking than pleasant.

I arrived in Moncton, New Brunswick, to try out the new Chevrolet Traverse, not knowing what to expect. The planned itinerary would take us around the Bay of Fundy, through the Fundy Tides campground, Cape d’Or and Cape Chignecto Provincial Park, and on to Halifax airport the next evening.

Once I got paired with a car, I immediately got to setting up all its capabilities. The Chevrolet Traverse comes in various price ranges depending on what you are looking for. Each model includes a Bluetooth connection to your phone that can read out your texts, your navigation system, or play your music. Also featured are instant OnStar and emergency buttons, and WiFi. Behind the vehicle’s main screen where your phone display is mimicked, is discreet storage for your valuables, complete with a lock code you can enter through the screen.

The roads in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia reminded me of those in Iceland: narrow, two lanes, and winding. But rather than being nervous, as I was in Iceland, the experience felt oddly therapeutic.

The Traverse is a comfortable ride, from the leather seating to the individualized air con and heating system for each person in the car. (Finally, a remedy to all those arguments between siblings over temperature control). The scenery was plush with greenery, and we had a map with look-out points to lead us to the campground.

Upon arriving at the campground, the car was a solace; my escape. Overnight, temperatures dropped below zero. So, after shivering through the night, I hurried straight towards the Traverse that morning. Twenty minutes inside the car was all I needed to guide me into a meditative state.