Friday, October 30, 2015

The Gunther Fest

    We got on the road early Friday from St Andrews.  With fuel in Canada being a bit more expensive than in the US, I was playing games with how empty the truck could be.  I had also already put in one of the extra gas cans from the back of the truck, and the other probably had only 2 or 3 gals (20-30 miles).  We stopped at a gas station in St Andrews and filled up with the last of the loonies, toonies and quarters, so we don't have any money to change back.  Annie had spent the last paper canadian dollars on peanut butter the day before.  We did make it into the US on fumes, I think the 26 gallon tank took 25.5 gal.  It's not the saving $10 on gas, it's the fun of cutting it close....
     Our destination in Farmington was not as far as we thought, or we made better time, and the extra hour from Atlantic to Eastern time, even with stopping for lunch along the Kennebec.  It's fun to just pull over when a scenic spot presents itself.

       After stopping in town to walk around a little and looking around Reny's, we made it to Annie's sister's house early, chose our spot in the yard and got all set up at our leisure.  Tada, cousin Eddie is here!!!    Who knows how long the Gunther Fest will last..?   (Gunther Fest is what happens when anyone visits the Gunthers!)  It's great to relax and spend time with family.

       Next day Saturday we hiked a small part of the AT to Piazza Rock.  Only about 2 miles each way, and not a hard walk, but I am sure we are not up to snuff for carrying a pack with all gear for camping.  There is a tenting area along the trail, pretty posh I think, with a two holer complete with backrests and an entertainment center (cribbage board).  Is the idea that you don't need to take off your pack?
 Piazza Rock and the Caves are fun to climb around in.  The rock does not look like it has as much mass behind as it has sticking out, but there it rests.

       Sunday we did some small projects:  new columns installed on the front porch of the house, rotated the tires on the truck.  I also spent some time getting my computer to boot off a new SSD to give the failing spin hard drive a rest and hopefully quit crashing the computer.  The startup time difference is amazing; about 5-6 sec vs. about 30 sec to boot up.
      We spent a couple of days and an overnight at the Gunther camp, doing a bit of kayaking around, and took an easy hike up to an overlook above the lake.





     There was time to rewire the front of the trailer, now there is a breaker box and junction box all cleaned up and sealed, without any melted wires crammed in the old j-box!
     Other nights we had a great surf & turf dinner;  home grown lamb turf, with Maine lobster & scallop surf.  


Thursday, October 22, 2015

St Andrews, NB

   The last 3 days we have been camped in a boondockers welcome driveway, near St Andrews, NB.  It couldn't be a better location;  a couple miles from a cute summer cottage town by the bay, a rail trail goes past a couple hundred feet away, and a nice flat spot with friendly hosts, everything we could want.
   On Tuesday, we left around 8 am from Moncton, stopped a couple times for wifi so Elliot could get the latest Star Wars trailer, and I wanted to hear news about Theranos.  (Theranos is a castle in the sky blood testing company; test blood with just a finger prick amount, in the doctors' office or at the drugstore, they have a deal with Walgreens so far sending out tests to their labs, not yet doing the tests in-situ.  But now maybe the story is unraveling or taking longer to work out at least.)  We also stopped at a home store for more weatherstripping.
    We arrived about 2 pm and got set up.  Carl and Cindy are very nice and we talked for a while.  I borrowed a ladder to climb up and reseal the wifi cable on the roof.
    We also rode the old railway trail toward town.  I say rail no-trail, because some of it is completed and very nice,  but it also continues through some private property where it is not improved and overgrown pretty well, but people climbing through keep it open.  It was a great ride, I thought, a lot of it was fun to bomb along single track.  But not all of us were happy about having to explore a little and pick through the woods a couple times, go around fences and some rough cobbly trail, etc.  It's sometimes hard to match up everyone's vision, but at least none of us are all too picky.  ;>)


    Pretty close to where we're staying the trail comes out to Bar road,  where there is a gravel bar exposed at low tide to Minister's Island.  The tide was just covering it when we got there.  We were able to go part way out, but the rest already had water over the road.  About 10 minutes before I could still see the whole way across from the trail up in the woods.


    We continued into town, which required going through some uphill roads, and more sections of hiking trails, great for rough mountain biking, but not everyone's cup of tea.  We made it into town eventually and explored around, and got some groceries at the respectably sized almost-super market.  St Andrews is very cute, a little touristy shopping on the main street by the water.  The ride home was a good 4-5 miles and some more uphill again.  In summer, it must be a little tight with all the people, sorry no rv's welcome right here.  There is a real nice campground out on the point though.

    On Wednesday,  back to the future day!  We biked the opposite way on the rail trail, north.  It is better maintained and used, and it goes to a lake that supplies drinking water for St. Andrews.  The railroad bed goes across the corner of the lake and along the side.  It continues on further, but there was a low spot covering the whole trail where it was cut through rock on both sides, forming a long pond with no easy way around.  We turned around and biked back, took the main road partway back to the Rossmount Inn.
     Up behind the Inn is a trail or carriage road that goes up to the top of the hill.  It was a nice little hike, very pretty with the leaves, and we could see all around;  the US over to the west, and down to St Andrews and Navy Island to the south,  and the infamous Hospital Island to the east (small island at about 12:30 in the picture).   The walk and ride back 'home' was most all downhill and was real easy.

     After lunch we went into town to do laundry, check out the library and look for seafood.  Nope, no fresh seafood.   Could have had mackerel though.   So chicken burgers for dinner then.  Alice stated that she prefers them to be called turkey burgers, because it sounds mean to eat chicken as a burger patty.  Really...  Who'd have thought.
     Next day, Thursday, we slept in again, I've been staying up too late playing on the computer.  Well, I was doing some work for a while, doing bookkeeping for the rentals expenses sorting through the receipts since April/May.  It will be easier keeping up with it instead of letting it go.
     After breakfast, Annie & Alice went into town with the truck.  Alice was happy about a shawl that she bought, Annie stocked up on organic peanut butter.  Organic since it's about all we eat for lunch, and the local store seems to be as good a price as we've seen with the exchange rate, as good as the dozen jars on sale from home. 
     Elliot & I took another ride in on the no-trail rail trail, and went over to Minister's Island, with the tide out we went across the bar and all around the island on the trails.  The main house is a pretty impressive cottage, just the bath house or any of the other outbuildings would be a great cottage or house.






   We had a later lunch and stayed cozy inside while it got colder and rainy outside.  And we had a survivor show for dinner!  Next morning we left for Annie's sister's house in Maine, back to the USSS!
    

Monday, October 19, 2015

Travel disasters!

Today it snowed, brr it's cold, we should go south.
 And then we were eaten by a Shediac lobster.

We still had a good day though!

RV Euphemisms! and bad signs...

Empty and full in all the right places:    The state of the tanks after filling the fresh water, and dumping the holding tanks.

Pour and dump:     verb,  act of filling and dumping

Pump and dump:    verb,  act of filling and dumping
Hit the station:       verb,  use the dump station

Use the fan Luke:    command,  turn on the overhead fan before using the head,  or when one of the cats has just used the litter box.

Cramper:    noun,  the camper

Tower of Power:   when the tp and other matters forms a sea mountainous shape on the floor of black tank, whereby it occludes normal flow from the bowl.

Speed Hump:   I dunno.  But too good a picture to pass up.


Rite of passage, Elliot's first solo dump:



more to be added I'm sure.....   If there's any off color humor, we'll try to keep it
 contained here.

A company we passed.  We didn't stop to find out what they do, but I couldn't stop the camera from taking a picture.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Cape Breton Island - east side, Wreck Cove to St Peters

Thursday we had camped off an overlook near Wreck Cove on the east side of Cape Breton Island.  We got up relatively early to see the sunrise again.

After breakfast, we walked down the cobble beach to the south, to the next point about a mile away.  Alice & I climbed across the stream and around the. point to see what was there; sets of taller dirt cliffs and more cobble beach.




The sound of the cobbles rolling back down into the water after each wave is a little spooky, or ghostly.  Imagine the history along the coasts here, and the waves that push all these rocks up the beach in bad weather.  There is also a Wreck Cove on the west side of CBI near Pleasant Bay.  All fun and games today though in nice weather.

video

After our hike we had the potatoes from the campfire which was now about out, finished packing up and go on the road south toward Sydney

We drove south and were going to take the ferry across St Anns Harbour to Englishtown; we had not realized it was a ferry, and the small ferry ramp looked like too sharp and angle for the trailer.  So we went back up and around the bottom of St Anns.  The area looks a lot like the Finger Lakes in New York, all salt water though.  From an overlook on the east side of the water, we could see back down to the narrow cobble shoal where the road to the ferry crossed the water.


We drove on to Sydney, where we found some wifi and looked for places to stay next, and did a big grocery shop.  It didn't look like any campgrounds were open nearby,  and we passed on exploring Sydney at the last minute, waiting on all the traffic just to pull out of the shopping plaza, do we really want to go downtown so late in the afternoon with the trailer?  

Along route 4 south, we checked out a couple possible roadside parks, but kept going on and on.  A private CG at Ben Oein was closed, but we were able to do a pour and dump stop there.  The road was relatively fast and smooth, so we made pretty good time, before we knew it, we were at St Peters, and the Battery Provincial park is still open for 4 more days, so we're in.  

St Peters is big enough to explore, and the campground & area is neat.  There's a short canal from the Atlantic into Bras D'Or Lake, the large inland salt water lake,  a short rail trail, hardware, grocery, liquor store, library.   There were no electric sites available when we checked in (only 3 electric sites), but we were able to get a site near the shower building and a longer extension cord reaches there.  It was great to have a little bit of heat.  There's wifi down at the front office, and Elliot got us our latest Survivor episode.

We went out to a very nice dinner for our 50th anniversary!   50 days in the camper without any serious injuries or permanent emotional scars (maybe)...

Nova Scotia!

So, after Campobello Island, we went north!  After going through Moncton and Prince Edward Island, we made it to Cape Breton, where we are now.  We came over on the ferry from PEI, then spent a few nights at Chetticamp, and dry camped our way down the east side of the island, to Battery Park in St Peter's, where we're staying for a few nights.  Blogger isn't able to publish all the pictures I wanna share in the post, so here's a link!

Friday, October 9, 2015

Prince Edward Island

Still behind with updating the blog, but here's a catchup:   Since Campobello Island, we stayed two nights in Moncton, New Brunswick, and then four days on Prince Edward Island (PEI).

There is an 8 mile bridge or a big ferry boat to get to PEI.   Both are free to go to the island, and toll to leave PEI.  The best way to do it is to take the ferry to PEI (free), and take the less expensive bridge off the island.  For the direction we were going we did the opposite, free bridge on western end, and pay ferry on the eastern end.  At least we timed it right;  we were second to last onto the boat, and the first off.


Today we're on a boat, taking the ferry off PE!   See all the big confident smiles?!?!   If I can catch a picture with more smiles on a boat, I'll put that up, but this may be as close as we get...

See, it's ok,  it's a real big boat....

There was a cool conversion bus on the ferry, a 97 Thomas, from Colorado with a family of four.  The guy said they've been traveling for 5 months, and it took him a couple solid months to build it.  Looks like a wood stove, cozy and warm,  and a big solar panel up top.  See the sign in the front window?  They're going to the BEACH.  I'd like to find out more about this bus and family.


We spent the last 4 nights on PEI at boondocker hosts, and did a lot of exploring and by bike and walking the beaches.
First we were on the central north shore, near Prince Edward Island National Park with big wide sand beaches and dunes.  Just a few miles down the beach in one direction or the other can be very different.  Some rocky red cliffs, or red sand beaches, or wide sand beaches with dunes, or barrier spits of sand with salt marshes or bays.

 A little further to the west is the Green Gables park and the LM Montgomery museum, where we explored the Green Gables home and barns,  and walked Lovers Lane hand in hand, and tried to scare each other in the Haunted Wood.  Those cold icy fingers on our necks...!

The last 2 nights we stayed in Rocky Point, opposite Charlottetown across the harbor.  We had local mussels and fresh PEI potatoes for dinner (picked over from a just harvested field), and a couple of great bike rides.  Visiting with PEI Bob was fun, we hope to see him again out at the BLM area in Arizona in a few months.

Update:  We did find PEI Bob again,  at the Holtville BLM Hot Springs!!

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Campobello Island, it's a Hidden Gem

  We got all packed up last night at Acadia, had an earlyish breakfast, hit the station to get full and empty in all the right places, and were out on the road by 8 or 9 am.  We stopped for gas, getting there on fumes with putting 25.6 gal into the 26 gal capacity tank.  At 10 mpg, that's about 4 miles left.  We carry two extra fuel jugs with about 10 gallons between them, for the generator and times like this.  Fuel was 2.24 near Acadia, and I thought maybe it would be less when away from the tourist area, but it was the opposite.  We went on for a while passing towns with only one gas station and higher prices, and then plenty of towns with no gas, and then finally a station and with it back at 2.24 a gallon.  Moral of the story, should have filled up earlier.  When will I learn?  Probably when we're not carrying extra fuel.
  We stopped for a small grocery shop in Machias, and found an unexpected Schnitzel Wagon lunch food trailer.  Who would have thought, is Schnitzel a Maine thing?  This picture is for Randy, the Schnitzel man.

  The border and bridge to Campobello is quick, easy and free.  The island is unique that it has a bridge to the US, and only a ferry to Canada (and only via some other small islands).  This time of year the ferry is closed.  To get to Canada is about an hour drive through the US. 
   As soon as we got onto the island we stopped at an overlook above Friars Bay, which looks across to Welshpool where we were staying.  There are fish farm pens in the bay, probably the big tidal currents work well.

   It was warmer and not raining when we arrived and set up.  Alice did some math outside under the awning, but then it started to rain.  The wind picked up and it started really pouring, and lots of wind all night.  But we were all hooked up and snug inside, Annie & Alice made a very good apple pie (apples from Peter and Grace in N.H., near the Pond of Safety).
   On thursday morning, Elliot and I took a bike ride around the Welshpool thumb of the island, and over to Herring Cove with the big sand beach.  At low tide the beach was very wide.  Yesterday afternoon was record high tides with the full super moon, and the low tides today may have be much lower.  In any case the tides here have a lot of height near the bottom of the Bay of Fundy.
   In the afternoon is was still cold and windy, and we drove around in the truck to see most of the island, except the main international park.  The beach was a lot narrower with the tide most of the way up.

   Later in the evening Peter & Bea invited us in for cookies.  They are great hosts and we all had a nice time.
   On Friday morning, we all took a bike ride, over to Herring Cove again while the tide was out.  Big difference, eh?

   Then we went to the Roosevelt cottage.  That by itself can be a half day if you thoroughly check out everything.  This is where FDR grew up and lived during the summers.  The lake or pond where he went swimming the day before polio crippled him is behind the Herring Cove beach.
   On the way back, I picked some wild apples and explored off the road.  I found a neat old generator house by the top of the cliff over Friars Bay at the far edge of the international park.  Generator long gone, but still a couple spare parts (brushes) and other old bits on the shelf.  Maybe this was for one of the other cottages along the bay near the Roosevelts house.


   Later in the afternoon Peter was giving a tour of the island and invited us to come along.  Thanks Peter!  There's really a lot more to know about a place by taking a tour than just bumbling around on your own.
   After dinner, Annie and I visted more with Peter & Bea.  They told us about their favorite place for camping in Arizona, east of Holtzville on a BLM area.  Sounds fun, and we hope to go there.   Their blog is at american-traveler.blogspot.com
   The next day as we were leaving, we stopped at the lighthouse across from Lubec.   The channel is where FDR once piloted a navy ship through when the captain demurred his request to take the short route in.  Now the is only smaller fishing boats that go through this way since the bridge was built.  The current is very strong here, and the noteable Old Sow whirlpool occurs just up the bay a mile or two.  There are a couple of seals in the picture, hanging out to have dinner washed through to them.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

New Brunswick, Day 2!

We spent a nice second day on Campobello Island, New Brunswick!  We entered a new time zone sometime yesterday, which is a little confusing, we're an hour ahead of Michigan time now.  My dad and I went for a (cold!) bike ride this morning around the island, then we came back and did some math.  After lunch, we took a drive around the island.  We saw some eagles and seals on our drive, but no whales. (Or moose!)  The tide has been really cool these past couple days, probably because of the supermoon.  The plan is to leave probably Saturday, and head further into Canada. (We will have to go back through the US though, because that's where the only bridge off the island goes to.)