Friday, September 30, 2016

Cape Breton and back to Fundy

Our next stop in our Canadian Maritimes journey was Cape Breton National Park.
We stayed in the Broad Cove Campground which is just
north of Ingonish Beach on the eastern coast of the cape.

The rainy drive up on the Cabot Trail to Ingonish was interesting.
Alternating stretches of straight and very winding roads was mixed
with a couple of very steep grades that took us up into the clouds.

One of the grades was so steep that it was 1st and 2nd gear up the hill.

We did not get any pictures of our campsite.
We were hunkered down the first day in a driving rain and then
once the clouds parted we were out exploring and I just forgot.

Here is a view out the front window of the bus from the GoPro.
It gives you a decent overview of the place.
Broad Cove Campground Cape Breton National Park
The campground was sparsely populated and I was able to select a site where
I could get a view of the satellites.
A change of locals to Brattleboro VT allowed me to receive the 119° spotbeam and
their CBS station which was carrying the Bronco/Bengals game on sunday.

All sites in our loop were 50amp Full hookups, and about 75% long pull thrus.
Our site was #55

We'd not been hooked up to water or sewer for 5 days so we took advantage
of all the utility connections, hooked up,  and ran the washer/dryer and took long long showers
with no concerns about water useage.

Saturday Morning we hit to road in the pickup to explore the cape.
We took the Cabot Trail north from our camp and then west over the interior highlands,
and eventually south into Cheticamp on the west coast.

The Cabot Trail is world famous for it's scenery.
There are numerous stops along the way to take in the vistas.
Driving the Cape counter clockwise would be the logical choice if you were going one-way
since the pull-offs would be on your side and no crossing of traffic would be necessary.

The road ribbons and snakes its way thru both mountains, forests, and sea-scapes.

About 65 miles later we stopped at St Pierre's Catholic Church in Cheticamp.
This area of the cape is mostly French speaking Acadians.

The Parish was founded in 1785 and the present church constructed in 1893.
It is one of a few stone churches, and certainly the largest, on the Cape.
It is oriented east to west like many in the region and its silver painted steeple is similiar
to Acadian Catholic churches over in Acadian New Brunswick.

The beautiful interior is Baroque in style.

A view from the second level by the organ.

After visiting St Pierre's we made a u-turn and headed back to Broad Cove.
Headed in the opposite direction always gives you a completely different view.

Along the way we stopped at the Rusty Anchor in Pleasant Bay for lunch.
My lobster and scallop stuffed wrap was fresh and delicious.
After lunch it was back east over the highlands to the east shore and home.

Here is a drivelapse from the Broad Cove Campground on the east side of
the cape - to St Pierre's Church in Cheticamp on the west side.
It covers about 70 miles in 4 minutes and crosses up and over the central highlands enroute.

We left Broad Cove on a mixed weather morning and headed south.
Our destination was Five Islands, Nova Scotia on the west shore of the Bay of Fundy.

We had originally planned on staying at the Provincial Park but our weather report was
dismal - calling for several days of cold weather and rain.
The provincial park has no utilities.
It would have been a couple of days with poor solar output and the heater running
so we opted for the RV Park right down the road and on the water.

Our site at Five Islands Ocean Resort.
I think "Resort" is a much overused word in the RV Park business, but the
park had a great view with full hookups so it fit our needs.

My 50amp connection had an open ground so I plugged into 30amp.
After fully hooking up and dumping tanks at Cape Breton, 
we were back to just using the electric hookup.

The view out the front window at sunset our first night.

Sunrise the next morning...
The tide has already started to come in, but at low tide the ocean floor is exposed
for 2 miles all the way out to the island in the distance.

The water has returned...  in more ways than one.
Shortly after this picture was taken (by the GoPro) the rains began
and continued all day.

And here is a 1 1/2 minute timelapse of the tide coming in.   Most of the water arrives
in the last 30 seconds.   Also notice the guy next door.  His satellite dish is looking for 
satellites and gives up....  then starts again.

We spent the rainy day inside.  I was working and Kate enjoying the down day.

Our next stop is Fundy National Park in New Brunswick.
We are in the Chignecto campground site #A2
A super long pull thru with FHU and 50amp.
And again - I am able to shoot between the trees and grab the 119° satellite.

Fundy NP Chignecto Campground site A2
We are enjoying the start of fall here in Canada.   It looks to be a very pretty one
this year because already many trees are showing vibrant hues.

The colors, plus the pines.   
Many of the trees here are the species that people buy at Christmastime,
 and its fun to drive thru vast forests of Christmas trees.
It must be something when covered with a fresh blanket of snow.

A housekeeping item - please remember:

1)      You can click on pictures to enlarge them.

2)    On the upper right of the blog you can click on the map to see where we are and have been.
Look for:   "where are we today?"

Once in the map you can click on "Tales from the Highway"  then "adjustments" to
select a time range - that way you can see a map of the whole trip or longer.

The photo below shows where to click when in the map.

Hopewell Rocks

The final subject of this post will be Hopewell Rocks.
A well know tourist destination about 40km north of FNP,
its is truly a worthwhile visit.

$10 admission buys you two days admittance to walk the trails that stretch along the
top of the cliffs for about a mile, and lead to several overlooks and eventually to
a platform with stairs that lead down to the seabed.

Our timing was fortunate in that we would be able to see high water and low water
in a single visit.   We arrived about noon which was 30 min past high tide.

From the platform near high tide.

The first 3 hours of the tide change exposes the shoreside formations and makes the seabed
accessible.   In 3 short hours the tide has receded about 15'.

The same view 3hrs later

We descended the stairs and spent an hour or so walking down the beach into
the next cove.   In that time the water continued to move further away from shore and by the time
we left it was about 600' further out.

By this time it was close to 4pm and we headed back to home.

We stopped again at the Alma Harbor.
We had taken a picture of the boats in the harbor at high tide and I now
wanted to get one a low tide.

Can you tell which is high, and which is low tide?

Our next and final stop in Canada will be Saint John New Brunswick.
It is a short 90 minute drive from here and we will spend two nights.

After that, it's back into the states and 4 nights at a KOA on the water in Bar Harbor, ME.

Then.....  it's time to hit the pavement for Miami to meet our Swiss friends,
Marcel & Michaela who are flying in for 9 days and we will spend time with them
there and in the Keys.

Pines to Palms.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

The Fortress of Louisbourg

Every once in a while we visit somewhere that is just really special.
It might be the beauty of the place...
It might be the history....
It could be some other quality that sets it apart.

The Fortress of Louisbourg is one of those places that we will remember as we
move ahead and travel onward..

First the history...

In the mid 1700's England and France were engaged
in a struggle for control of North America.

The 13 Colonies of the United States were firmly in British Control, but north of the colonies,
what would eventually become  Canada was a region of mixed British and mostly French influence
and both sides struggled to gain the upper hand.

Louisbourg was a city on the coast of Nova Scotia that had become a center
for the lucrative Cod fishery.
Control of this area was vital to France's control of Canada
and the Fortress was built around the town - the walls stretching over 2 1/2 miles.

The fortress construction took place over a period of 25 years.
At the time it was the most expensive and strongest fortification in the new world.
King Louis of France once joked that so much money has been spent there that
he should be able to see the fort from Versailles.

The town thrived within its walls and all seemed fine.

The history of Canada however is the history of the eventual defeat of the French
 and Lousibourg was a key component of that eventual defeat.  

Its position provided control of both the St Lawrence Seaway and
the rich fishery of the Grand Banks.

After several sieges over the years the British eventually conquered
Louisbourg and destroyed the fortifications and the town.

Fast forward to the 1960's
The Canadian Government decided to undertake an enormous reconstruction project
and bring back a piece of their history.

Archeologists, historians, craftsman...
All were gathered for this project that so far has lasted over 5 decades.

From our home at the Cabot Trail KOA it was about an hour and 20 minute drive to Louisbourg.

Arriving at the visitors center. 

Parks Canada - Fortress of Louisbourg Visitor Center
Our Parks Canada Annual Pass that we purchased in Banff last May once again
allowed us to enter for free.

The 2016 Pass is valid for TWO YEARS rather than the normal one year
 in celebration of Canada's 150 year anniversary of Confederation.

Our visits throughout Canada have already paid off the pass and we still have 20 months left!

The Fortress is seen in the distance from the Visitors Center.
Busses take you on a drive of perhaps 5 miles to the Fortress.

Fortress of Louisbourg from a distance

 The Kings Bastion.  One of 5  that surrounded the town.
It contained barracks, Armories, the Governors residence, Chapel, & Kitchens

The outer walls had cannons mounted.

Kings Bastion Fortress of Louisbourg
 Looking inside the Bastion towards the ramparts where the cannon were placed.

Inside the courtyard looking at the ramparts.

The Chapel inside the Kings Bastion.
Chapel   Fortress of Louisbourg
 One of the barracks.
Here the soldiers slept, cooked, ate, and played.
It was their entire world.

Soldiers Barracks - Fortress of Louisbourg
One of the bunks. 

Contained within the Kings Bastion was also the Governors quarters.
Here is the Governors dining room.

The governor also had a slightly better sleeping arrangement than the rank and file.

Governors Bedroom Fortress of Louisbourg
This room was where the town council would meet.
Matters ranging from Municipal governance to judiciary took place here.

The fortress was not just a fort - but a city where people worked and played.
The fortress surrounded and protected the town.

Some village scenes below.

A person in period dress crosses a back yard 

Buildings along the waterfront.

The main street. 

Its important to note that the town had been destroyed but the French left
exacting details of the construction of the town and fortress.

Those plans, in conjunction with detailed archeological excavations, allowed the Canadian
Government to reconstruct the town to exacting details.

Minute details such as hinges and doorknobs were all painstakingly
recreated in the rebuilding of the fortress.

Those period furnishings that could not be found were recreated by craftsman.
The work that has gone into recreating this place over the past 50 years
is truly impressive.

This area had a large coal mining population that had dwindled with the fortunes of coal,
so the Canadian government retrained many of them in the skills required of an 18th century craftsman to reconstruct the fortress and town.

The cost to do so must be enormous.

Kudos to you Canada for your commitment to preserving your past!
Well done!

To this day only about 25% of the Fortress and town have been rebuilt,
but it is enough for you to be transported back in time and to see what a real
18th century village would have looked like.

While visiting we stopped at a pub for some lunch and again it was as if we
were transported back in time.
Waitresses in period costume served fare that would have been typical of the time.

A bib made of linen was wrapped around my neck and our entire meal was
eaten with a pewter spoon.
The meal was quite good and reasonably priced.

I think my checking my iPhone for work related emails might have been a bit out
of character but other than that, it was a step back in time.

Cabot Trail KOA

We stayed at the Cabot Trail KOA for 2 nights due to location.
There are a couple of other campground within 10 or 15 miles that would also 
most likely have been fine.

Typical KOA spaces.   We had a 30amp full hookup - again only hooked up
the electric as we will have FHU at our next stop too.
The power worked fine and the hosts were friendly and led us to our site.
Traveling east on TC-105 you come down a steep grade just before the park.

Our view thru the windshield was across Bras d' Orr Lake.
We did not have satellite due to the mountain behind the coach was blocking.

We are not in Cape Breton National Park up on the north west corner of
the Province.   We are staying in the Broad Creek Campground and there are only a few other
people here in the campground.

It's full hookup / 50amp service so we are running appliances with wild abandon.
I selected this site (#55) with surgical precision to allow me to catch the satellites thru the trees.

I then switched from NYC locals to Brattleboro VT since the Broncos would be on CBS
in that market Sunday, and their CBS station is on the 119° spotbeam which reaches up to here.
Finding a CBS station on the 119° was critical because the 110° spotbeams do not make it
this far north in this location.

I could have simply stayed on NYC locals and watched their game but
its all about getting it the way I want it.

Its been raining hard all day so its Cozy time in the Bus.
Saturday morning however has dawned clear and cool - a great day to drive the Cabot Trail.

More from Cape Breton next time.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Peggys Cove and Halifax Nova Scotia

Monday morning dawned foggy and with a steady rain.
Having anticipated the rain we put plan B into effect which was to head to Halifax
for the day instead of Lunenburg since the Halifax itinerary would 
expose us to less of the elements.

Enroute to Halifax we detoured towards Peggys Cove.
Our first stop was the SwissAir Flight 111 Memorial.

SwissAir Flight 111 was a scheduled flight from NYC to Geneva.
Nicknamed the UN Shuttle due to the large number of UN personel who took this flight,
the flight experienced an inflight fire and crashed while trying to land about 5 miles
off of Peggys Cove in Sept 1998 resulting in the loss of all 229 people on board.

The view of the memorial as you walk the trail.

The Memorial

SwissAir Flight 111 Memorial
Many fisherman from Peggys Cove and surrounding harbors participated in the initial
rescue effort and the tragedy had a profound impact on the local communities.

Looking out to sea towards where the flight went down. 

Leaving the memorial, the somber weather matched our mood.
Our next stop was the iconic Peggys Cove.
One of the most picturesque fishing villages along the Nova Scotia Coast.

Peggys Cove Nova Scotia

Peggys Cove Nova Scotia
A lighthouse marks the rocks at the head of land. 

Peggys Cove Lighthouse
Staying with the somber visitations of the day, our next stop was the Fairview Cemetery in Halifax.   It was here that 120 of the victims of the Titanic found their final resting place.

Halifax was a key port in laying the new telegraph lines from North America to Europe,
and the fleet of Telegraph ships were based here.

When the Titanic sunk, the White Star Line chartered the Telegraph ship 
ss Mackay Bennet to immediately steam to the wreck site 
to try and retrieve as many bodies as possible.

Within about a week the ship had recovered about 190 bodies while another 116 were
too badly decomposed or without any identification so they were wrapped and buried at sea.

 120 of the Titanics deceased were burried at Fairview Cemetery.

The White Star Line purchased the plot below for the graves.
The headstones are arranged to form a bow of a ship.

Each body was given a number and a simple headstone.
Some family then placed larger headstones.
As bodies were later identified, the name was added to the stones.

When body #4 - a young baby boy was recovered, and no family stepped forward to
identify him - the crew of the Mackay Bennet stepped forward to provide him with
a more fitting headstone.

It was not till 2008 that the Canadian Armed forces were able to positively
identify him thru DNA as Sidney Goodwin - aged 19 months.
The reason no one had stepped forward was that his entire family
(8 total) had perished in the disaster and were never recovered.

Another interesting headstone is that of body # 239 Ernest Freeman.
Listed as a deck steward, he served as secretary to
White Star Chairman J Bruce Ismay during the voyage.
Ismay - who survived to his eternal shame -  paid to have this stone erected.

Below - the stone of Alma Paulson.

Her husband, Nils, was a miner in Sweden who emigrated to the US before his family.

After obtaining a job as a Tram Conductor in Chicago Nils finally saved enough to pay
for his family to join him and booked passage.

His wife and all 4 children perished that cold April night.

Below - a stone of an unknown.

We had hoped to visit the Halifax Maritime Museum but we ran out of time.
The Museum has an exhibit on the Titanic including information about
the recovery efforts but this will have to wait for another day.

Our day concluded, we returned to the bus for the night.

Tuesday was our final day at Graves Island Provincial Park and we decided
to spend an afternoon visiting Lunenburg, an easy 30 minute drive from the park.

In our travels, we love to visit churches to see the different styles and in Lunenburg
St Andrews Anglican Church was a worthwhile stop.
It is the second oldest church of English Origin in Canada and traces its roots
back to the 1700's
St Andrews Lunenburg
It was built in the "Carpenter Gothic" style, and is a stunning example of the
woodworkers art.

Destroyed by a fire in 2001 it was painstakingly restored in a 4 year project

Above the altar the ceiling had stars painted on the ceiling.
During the rebuilding, the stars needed to be recreated and when researching the exact pattern,
they learned that the original stars had been painted on the ceiling to show exactly what the
night sky in Lunenburg would have looked like on Dec 24  AD1.   The night before
Christ was born.

Some other views around town.

We eventually made it down to the docks.
Strolled thru the Museum and walked the piers.

The Lunenburg Academy Occupies the high spot in town at the top of Gallows Hill.
It can be seen from miles around and is the only surviving 19th century
Academy Building left in Canada.

Leaving town I had forgotten to get a picture of a "Lunenburg Bump"
An architectural feature prominent on many homes in town, this extension above
the entryway can be found in many shapes.   Round, Square, Hexagonal.

Our short stay in the Halifax area has now come to a close as time
pressures are going to move us on.

Next stop will be Cape Breton which is from where I am finishing
this post that I began 2 days ago.