Friday, June 21, 2024

Across the border to points north

We left you last in Bar Harbor, Maine.

Since then we've traveled north into Canada and the provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and into Newfoundland.     The trip map below (from the "where are we today" link on the right side of the blog) shows our travels since we left Tucson.    You can adjust the amount of time to show a map of all of our travels all the way back to 2014.

Trip map Tucson to Newfoundland

Crossing the border, we were pulled aside and the coach was searched.    We had declared everything on board so in about 15 minutes we were cleared and on our way.

Our first stop was St John New Brunswick.    We stayed in their city park campground called Rockwood Park.    Its FHU 30 amp.   Nothing too fancy but its conveniently located and reasonably priced.

I booked an end site - a long pull thru - #100

Site 100 Rockwood Park

We stayed for 3 nights and while here revisited St John.   We'd been here about 6 yrs ago.

Kings Square Park in St John

The park is right next to the St John City Market which is the oldest continously operated farmers market in Canada

St John City Market

We had to do some replenishing as we made sure we were out of veg before crossing the border or else it would be confiscated.

St John City Market

St John has all the big stores; Costco, Petsmart, Walmart etc, so its a good place to get stocked up.

Down by the Cruise Ship Terminal was a neat new thing that was not here on our last visit.
The locals call it the Area 506 Container Village.

A pretty neat area along the waterfront that was redeveloped using old shipping containers.   Stacked and welded together, they form a colorful retail area.    Complete with retail, food venues, and even a stage area, they host live concerts here.

Area 506 Container Village

Our next stop after St John was Fundy National Park.     Located on the Bay of Fundy which has the highest tides in the world - upwards of 52 feet!

We had a nice long pull thru will FHU and 30 amp.    Some of the pull-thrus are 50a.
Other than our section, much of the park was deserted.

Site #10 Chignecto Campground Fundy NP

Our drive to Fundy was at times thru the clouds and visibility was drastically reduced.

We were scheduled to meet our friends Pat & Rob in Nova Scotia.   We'll be traveling with them this summer.   Rob decided to meet us here on our last day and we kept it a secret from Kate so that she would be pleasantly surprised by meeting them ahead of schedule.

Site 10

As I said - The Bay of Fundy has the highest tides in the world.   The small port at Alma, Nb shows the results of those tides and this is not even close to where the tides are the highest in the bay!

Low tide Alma, Nb

High tide Alma, Nb

We took in some of the sights in and around the park including the covered bridge below

Leaving Fundy we headed into Nova Scotia, and north to Cape Breton Island.    To get there you must cross the Strait of Canso on the Canso Causeway.     It was quite an engineering marvel to built in the deep straight with strong tidal currents running thru.   At points over 200' deep, the causeway is about 130' wide at the top and over 800' wide at the bottom.   It carries a two lane roadway and single train track

Canso Causeway
About 5 hrs or so after leaving Fundy we arrived at our destination for the next 4 nights - the Cabot Trail KOA near N Sydney.    With FHU and 50 amp it was a good place to do laundry etc in preparation for our overnight crossing of the Cabot Strait to Newfoundland on Saturday June 15

Cabot Trail KOA. We are left of center

Views from Cabot Trail KOA

Views from Cabot Trail KOA

While here, we took a day to make a return visit to the Fortress of Louisbourg.   Kate and I visited here in 2016 while touring the Maritimes.

This Parks Canada site has a lot more information about the Fortress.

The Fortress is a Parks Canada Site and consists of the reconstructed town and fortress.   It is a massive undertaking.   The original town dates back to the early 1700's, was built by the French and changed hands several times during the wars between the British and French for the control of North America.    Eventually taken over by the British, the town and fort were eventually destroyed.

Looking towards the main gate from the sea

Looking away the main gate

The Fortress was used as a filming location for numerous period films.   We instantly recognized it this past winter when we were watching the series "Frontier".

Kate in the "lower class" section of the hotel

Dominating the view over the lower town is the Kings Bastion.   Perched on a hill overlooking the town below, this massive building housed the Governor's  quarters, jail, military barracks, and other administrative facilities.

The Jail

The Chapel

The Governor's bedroom

This was just a small sample of the buildings to visit here.   There are reconstructions of buildings representing all walks of life in the town.  Each was meticulously reconstructed using the original plans that were saved in France.

Off to Newfoundland

Our short time in Nova Scotia completed for now (we'll be back later this trip) it was time to head for our ferry to Newfoundland.    The terminal in N Sydney was a short 20 min drive away.    On the way we stopped at an RV Park to get our propane tanks topped off.    We'll be doing more boondocking up there and expecting cooler temps so we might be needing our propane furnaces more.

In lane 11 for the ferry

The ferry ride is listed at about 7 hours.    We chose the overnight (10:30p - 6am) crossing as it would be best for the dogs since its during their normal sleep hours and they would be remaining in the Bus.

Loading onto the MV Highlanders

Driving down to our assigned spot...   just mere inches on either side clear our mirrors.

We put the dogs into their night kennel, locked up the bus, and then headed up off of the vehicle decks for a quick check of the ship before heading to our cabins for some sleep.

Down the long passageway to cabin 8212.     

Well it's certainly not the Queens Grill on the Queen Mary2, but it was clean and comfortable and provided us with a pretty decent, if not short,  sleep for the crossing.

About 1130 or so we settled into bed and let the motion of the ship rock us to sleep.   It was a quick crossing and only took about 5 1/2 hours.   At 0300 we were awakened by the PA to let us know we were 1 hr from docking.    At 0330 there was a second announcement letting us know we'd be docking in 30 minutes.   We got up at the second call and waited for the announcement that it was time to head to the vehicle decks.

Newfoundland has its own time zone which is 1/2 hour later than Nova Scotia (1.5 hrs later than NY)

We drove off the ship at about 0415 or so into a dark night.    

We rarely do any night driving in the bus these days and upon leaving the bright vehicle deck of the ship I learned that my GPS and iPad (which I have setup to show additional engine gauges) were stuck on day mode and the brightness from both were blinding in the dark night.   

The rain-wet roads, and these devices shining straight into my eyes, made it almost impossible to drive.    I found a place to pull over where I could get them sorted, and soon we were back on the road into the quickly gathering morning light.

It was shaping up to be a beautiful sunrise...

Our first Newfoundland Morning

With our early arrival, and 4 1/2 hour drive to our destination, we would be getting to our next stop way to early to check in,  so we decided to pull over at a good spot about 12 miles from the terminal.    We went back to bed and slept till about 930.

I'm now writing this from Gros Morne National Park.   The Berry Hill Campground.    Just outside of Rocky Harbor, Newfoundland.

We've been here 5 nights already and have already experienced a bunch of stuff including a 500+ mile round trip road adventure, an overnight stay in a rustic lodge, iceberg sightings, stage shows, lobster, mussels, cod, and more.   All compressed into this short time frame. 

But all of that will have to wait for the next update - its time for breakfast.

Till then - greetings from "The Rock" and happy summer solstice!

Tuesday, June 4, 2024

Acadia National Park

 Our 9 nights in Lake George complete, and business concluded, we are off again on new adventures.   I'm writing this from Bar Harbor, Maine.   Tomorrow we cross into Canada and begin the Canadian portion of our summer adventures.

The map below shows our route from Lake George, NY thru the Green Mountains of Vt, across New Hampshire, and north thru Maine.

Trip Map - Albany NY to Acadia NP Maine

Since our last post and prior to leaving, I visited with my staff from my old job.   The dogs came along and had about 10,000 sq feet of carpeted office to run around.    We had lunch in the conference room and while there the girls ran around and around having a ball 

Dogs gone Wild - Conference Room Edition

I also installed a new Microwave/Convention Oven in the bus as the old one was getting a bit wonky and I did not want to wait for it to crap out at the worst time.

Kate was visiting with friends and getting that 90lb behemoth up into place by myself,  while stretching across a kitchen counter took a bit of ingenuity.   I used the packing box and leveling pads to assist me in my endeavours.   I really should have taken some photos because it was quite a process.

Mounted and in place

On the way to Maine we took US route 4 thru Vermont.  This is mostly two-lane winding its way thru the mountains and passes thru some scenic towns.  Most notably is Woodstock, Vt.    A super quaint town with gorgeous architecture.     Below we passed by the town square (Saturday morning) as they were preparing for some sort of farmers market or town fair.    You can get a glimpse of some of the architecture looking thru the trees at the home in the distance

Woodstock, Vt Village Square
8.5 hrs after leaving Lake George we were settling into our next stop for 4-nights, the Hadleys Point RV park about 5 miles from Bar Harbor.

Hadley's Point RV Park Site #D-51

Kate decided to test drive the new convection oven.    She had some Baked Ziti that needed to be cooked so she set the preheat to 375°.   What she did not do is look inside first, and left the plastic dish cover inside.    So when she opened up the door to put the Ziti in, she found the strange looking item below.

Elephant Condom?

Our first full day in Maine (Sunday) saw us grabbing a reservation (timed entry) for the road to the top of Cadillac Mountain.   We've been here a couple of times before but never tire of the view.

Cadillac Mountain Acadia NP

We are now taking Annie & Phoebe in the footsteps of all the places that Gracie and Lucy had roamed.  Two new dogs to show the world too.    And lots of potential photoshoots.     Their darker colors make photographing them more challenging.   Especially Annie

Cadillac Mountain Acadia NP
Acadia, unlike many US National Parks, is pretty dog friendly.   We took the mutts on the summit loop trail which goes around the top of the mountain grabbing views in all directions.

Cadillac Mountain Acadia NP

Later, after driving to Walmart to obtain a new food cover for the microwave, we stopped and bought some fresh cooked lobster meat from which I made some lobster salad for dinner.

Lobster Salad Prep

Lobster Salad

Monday we set aside for more hikes.    One thing we'd never gotten to experience was a walk on the historic Carriage Roads that wind all over the park.

The short story:  John D Rockefeller jr wanted to keep cars off of Mt Desert Island.   Unsuccessful in that pursuit, between about 1920 and 1940 he built about 50 miles of professionally designed roads that would take in all the views on the island, but would also exclude motorized vehicles.

You can google it or click on the link above for more info about these wonderful roads.

Carriage Road - Bubble Pond Bridge  Acadia NP

The Carriage Road network includes 16 locally quarried granite block bridges, and 2 gatehouses.

Carriage Road along Bubble Pond Acadia NP

Our first Carriage Road walk of the day was a couple of miles on and out and back stroll along Bubble Pond. 

Bubble Pond Acadia NP

Along the way we saw a mother Loon and her newborns swimming along the shore.

Bubble Pond Bridge Acadia NP

Bubble Pond Bridge built 1928  Acadia NP

After our trip on the Bubble Pond road, we set off on the Park Road to see the sights.

Kate & I met 36 years ago today

The Park Road looped back around to Jordan Pond...   And another chance to stroll a carriage road

First however we walked the grounds around the Jordan Pond House.
The JPH has been serving afternoon tea on the grounds since the 1800's. 

Jordan Pond House Lawn

Jordan Pond House Acadia NP

The Jordan Pond House is situated in the heart of the Carriage Road Network, and several of the roads intersect right here.      Each numbered signpost has the names of the roads pointing in the proper direction.   The number on the signpost is noted on the maps so you can easily determine where you are. 

Carriage Road Intersection #16  Acadia NP

The two gatehouses were located where the Carriage roads intersected with the Automobile road network.   A gate was controlled by a gatekeeper who would open the gates to permit the carriages to pass thru.

In the photo below you can see a hole in the center tower.   A bell would hang there and be rung anytime someone needed the gates opened.

The Jordan Pond Gate with Gatekeepers residence in the background

There is a road outside the gate.   The carriage road crosses the road here and there is another gate on the other side of the road next to the gatekeepers house.

The map below shows the Carriage Road network, with all the numbered sign posts etc.

Carriage Road Map (Courtesy Acadia NP)

Tomorrow we are off to St Johns New Brunswick.   

Our dog International Health Certificates needed for our return to the US are done and I'm just waiting for the Vet to email them to me so that I can print them out.

Its time to add another country to Annie & Phoebes list.
They've had a pretty good run in their short lives thus far.
Annie was 16 months old 2 days ago, and Phoebe will be 1 year old in 4 days.      

So far their tally is:

Annie:   7 Countries  22 States  
Phoebe:  4 Countries  22 States

Tomorrow the Country tally will be 8 and 4 respectively.

Next stop - Canada.