Saturday, September 27, 2014


We headed further east, to just about as far east as you can get without getting wet, at least in Nova Scotia.   Actually the easternmost part of Nova Scotia is Cape Breton Island, reached by way of a causeway, so a ferry is not required to get there.  We based ourselves in Baddeck, Nova Scotia because it's the start of the Cabot Trail, a 180 mile long scenic road that loops around the eastern end of Cape Breton Island.  I think the road was oversold to us.  Yes it's a beautiful drive, but Canada has a lot of trees and the trees block the views for the majority of the drive.  We took some short side trips off of the Trail where we were rewarded with some great views.  We had read that the roadway hugs the cliffs and might be uncomfortable for some. Whoever wrote that hasn't driven California's Highway 1.  The road wasn't scary at all, with the exception of some Canadian sized potholes, which are plentiful in this part of country 

The second reason for visiting Cape Breton was the Fortress of Louisbourg a Canadian National Historic Site.   The Fortress of Louisbourg is the largest reconstruction project in North America. The original settlement was founded in 1713 by the French and developed over several decades into a thriving center for fishing and trade. Fortified against the threat of British invasion during the turbulent time of empire-building, Louisbourg was besieged twice before finally being destroyed in the 1760s. The site lay untouched until well into modern times, when archaeologists began to reconstruct the fortress as it was in the 18th century.

Today a visit to the Fortress is taking a walk back in time.  The reconstructed fortress and it's buildings were rebuilt using some of the same methods utilized in the 1700's.  Docents dressed in period costume stationed throughout the complex are there to answer questions and to do tasks in the same way as the first inhabitants.

Here in the garden and in other gardens in the complex, vegetables are grown and harvested.  They are then used in the kitchen where meals are made and served to visitors.  In trying to remain true to the times, many of the the varieties are genetically the same as the vegetables of the period.  I was given a carrot to sample, and once getting past the grit, it was pretty flavorful.

This is the laundress who was trying to remove a stain from some cloth in the pot besides her.  She told us that urine is a good stain remover.  We'll have to try that when we get home.

This gentleman was repairing this Hurdy Gurdy and gave us a demonstration on how it's played.  He was hand carving the replacement part.  He said in real life he is a musical instrument repairman but has never had a Hurdy Gurdy brought into his shop.

Here at the hotel you can purchase a meal made from food produced in the Fortress, including turkey pie, pea soup and bread baked in wood fired ovens.  We bought a loaf of bread from the baker.  A soldier of the period got one loaf every 4 days.  I tried to buy the bread at the going rate of the time, but they wouldn't go for my offer.  Hey, they're the ones playing the 1700's game, so I figured the prices would be 1700 prices. Not so.  The bread was really good though.

We opted not to eat at the fortress restaurant because we were finally giving in to the idea of Poutine.  If you remember from the previous post, Poutine is a Canadian staple consisting of french fries smothered with gravy and cheese curds.  It comes with other stuff too, if you desire.  So, on the way back to camp we stopped in Sydney and found Ziggys Pub and Grill. We shared a regular sized plate of Poutine which was huge.

If you think, potato, instead of french fries, gravy and cheese don't sound so bad.  We survived, but we shortened our life expectancy.

We are back in the States now and have begun our trip west across the country.  In two or three weeks we'll be home and start planning our next adventure.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014


We leave Maine and head back into Canada crossing into New Brunswick for the next destination of Fundy National Park.Fundy National Park.  This is the first National Park we've stayed in and like the Provincial Parks, it's very well maintained, except for some of the roads which suffer each winter.  This is true on many of the secondary roads in Canada.  I am told that Canada has two seasons, summer and road construction.

Fundy park is obviously on the Bay of Fundy were tides of 24 feet are the average.  Here's a picture of Cathie at low tide so you can get an idea of what a real low tide looks like. That's seaweed on the rocks and you may notice that the water is some way off.

We made a visit to Hopewell Rocks where at low tide you can walk among some pretty impressive rock formations.  At high tide you and paddle your kayak around them.  Check out the time lapse video on the link.

You may have noticed that the water is a reddish brown.  The fast moving tides picks up the mud from the bottom of the bay changing the color of the water.


Next day we opted for a hike out the Matthew's Head, named after a family that homesteaded the area in the 1800's.  A portion of the trail follows an old wagon road leading to the family's homestead where you can still  see the rock foundations of some of the buildings.  The trail traverses through thick forest before reaching Matthew's Head.  It then goes along the top of the cliff above the Bay of Fundy before looping back to the trailhead.


Moving right along, after 3 nights we pulled up stakes and headed into Nova Scotia and it's capital, Halifax. Nova Scotia is Latin for New Scotland and many of today's residents claim to be of Scottish heritage.  It is Canada's second smallest province in area after Prince Edward Island.  Called Canada's ocean playground, the Nova Scotia peninsula is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean and nowhere in the province is more than 42 miles from the sea.  Besides it's numerous bays and estuaries there are over 3800 coastal islands.

We took a walk along the harbor boardwalk, busy with family out on a beautiful Sunday. With a storm forecast for the evening we and they were taking advantage of the warm weather.



The HMCS Sackville was one of more than 120 corvette class ships built in Canada during WWII. Corvettes some became the workhorses of the North Atlantic, escorting merchant convoys to Europe and attacking U-boats.  The Canadian Navy escorted over 25,000 merchant vessels across the Atlantic.  In August of 1942 the Sackville encountered a U-boat on the surface.  At a range of less than a quarter mile, Sackville fired on the sub. The U-boat dived, the Sackville accelerated steaming into the swirl of water left by the sub and fired depth charges.  The blast forced the sub to the surface.  She then slipped back down below the surface and disappeared.  The Sackville was credited with the kill.



Here's a brilliant idea.  Take a tug boat, paint a face on it and give it a hat.  Name it Theodore and offer rides to kids.  Every child is going to want to go and most parents will have to oblige.  What a way to make money.

About the storm that was approaching.  It arrive right on schedule, at about 7 pm a lasted for 12 hours.  4 to 5 inches of rain in the Halifax area and winds gusting to 60 MPH.  Our RV park lost some trees, but luckily none fell on us.  The trailer was rocking and a rolling.

Poutine is a Canadian staple which consists of french fries, smothered with gravy and topped with cheese curds.  That is the basic recipe, but you can add all sorts of things to it.  There is sea food poutine, poutine with bacon added, and as shown in the picture, pulled pork poutine.  There is even McPoutine at McDonalds.  We so far  have avoided sampling it.

Saturday, September 20, 2014


As I write this we are in Halifax, Nova Scotia where we have Internet. Not a good connection, but better than the last week where we had very limited access to WIFI and no phone service. So, I'm a little behind on the blog. I'll try to catch up, but even though we have WIFI it's pretty slow and it takes time to upload photos.

We headed south from Quebec City into Maine. We had a line in front of us at the border crossing, four cars something never experienced traveling from Mexico.  We stayed in an RV park just outside of Bangor, a good place to do laundry and re-supply. We also managed to get in a little sightseeing. We took a drive out to the coast, avoiding Bar Harbor as we have been there before. Not really knowing what we would come across we just picked some of the lesser traveled roads to see where they would lead.

We stopped in the town of Bucksport and noticed the spectacular looking bridge that crosses the Penobscot Narrows. Called the Penobscot Narrows Bridge (go figure) it is a modern suspension bridge with a observation deck at the top of one of it's towers. For a small fee you get to ride a very fast elevator to the top and look down upon the bridge.

After taking in the view we continued our drive to the small coastal town of Castine. Castine is the home to the Maine Maritime Academy, where young men and women learn the ways of the sea. Their training ship the State of Maine is docked at the wharf.

Cathie loves lobster, I could take it or leave it. Lobster here in Maine is plentiful, but in a restaurant it's not really a bargain. But from the local store it's around $7.50 a pound. With the average lobster weighing 1.5 pounds, we figured it was the way to go. So we stopped at a small grocery store we spied along the way and Cathie was introduced to Larry the Lobster. Now Larry had to be kept alive until such time as it was time for his demise, so the proprietor put him on top of some ice in our cooler and covered him with wet newspaper for the journey back to the kitchen.

I, being the cook in the family was given the task of cooking Larry. That's because Cathie wants nothing to do with dropping Larry in a pot of boiling water and hearing him scream.

Now Cathie devoured Larry with a gusto rarely seen. Cathie was happy and if she's happy, I'm happy. Larry on the other hand, I'm not so sure. Just before taking his last dive, I thought I heard him say, "What the....."

We moved on from to Bangor, continuing to the easternmost part of Maine. We found a very nice campsite at  Cobscook State Park and had a campsite right on the waterfront. The tides in these parts raise and fall up on an average of 24 feet, which is pretty impressive.  I had some photos of camp, but somehow I deleted them and they now reside somewhere between my camera and the computer.


The next day we took the short trip over to Campobello Island, which is in Canada. Campobello's claim to fame is that it was Franklin Roosevelt's summer home from the time he was a child. Now the Roosevelt Campobello International Park, it is managed by both Canada and the United States and is a really a beautiful place.  There is no charge to visit the park and the cottage.  We were given a tour of the grounds and told of the history of Campobello and it's development as a resort for the rich.  We were allow to look around inside both the Roosevelt Cottage and one other.  There were docents stationed through both houses to answer questions. A great tour.


The red "cottage" was where the Roosevelt's spent their summer. With 15 bedroom, it was some cottage. There are other summer home on the island, several of which are in the park and open for tours and events. The Roosevelt Cottage was built by FDR's father and handed down to him after both his parents had died. After FDR died, Eleanor sold the house, but was allowed stay there when she wanted for the rest of her life.