Log 1

Greetings, family, friends, and interested parties -

Lac-MeganticHere's the first installment in the Maritimes trip log. Having planned this trip with Richard, with the intention of traveling together if his health held, it was with some sadness that I departed Connecticut on July 26, and Vermont July 27 knowing I'd be doing it on my own, missing his presence.

I got a slow start, not having figured out that the reason no one could put propane in the camper was that it was already full – last I knew, it was empty! Oh, well. On up I-91, north to Rte 320, where I crossed into NH and continued north. A nap and a lot of driving later, I ended up at the SE corner of Lac-Megantic at a small family oriented campground. Not much English spoken here, but we communicated well enough for me to end up in a campsite. I walked the area, ate dinner, took a shower (wash house has rather attractive pic of back of man looking out a window – in the buff) - and hit the sack. 233 miles

Which came first?Wednesday, July 28, started the day at 6:30 with a paddle across and up the lake, and back; lots of a variety of boats, but only the trolling fishermen out at that hour. It was a beautiful morning. And kayaking was a good way to start the day. By 9:30 I'd eaten and loaded and was ready to pull out, heading up the lake. I found a Wal-Mart in St Georges to pick up missing and forgotten stuff, most notably a battery charger; I have the cables, but the charger must still be on the dining table. I ate lunch at the first rest stop on C-20, east of Quebec City, and continued east along the St Lawrence. It started raining – and sometimes pouring! about Riviere du Loup; I stopped at the info center at L'Isle Vert in light sprinkles, camera in hand, and while I was inside it poured! I ended up at a small municipal campground, with wifi, even, in St Fabien; I got into a site (the place was filling up fast, too) and was looking at how to level the camper, when a pickup camper came in next to me. They, being taller., were having trouble fitting so I offered to switch – using sign language, as my French wasn't up to the job. The Roadtrek fit quite nicely into their space – and it was level! And they squeezed under the trees where I had been without having to break them all. And, as soon as we were in, the rain stopped. 281 miles

Thursday, July 29. Rimouski museum and lightAfter checking e-mail and loading the kayak, I started out at 6:30. On to Rimouski, where I stopped at the marine museum complex. striped rock Baie-des-SablesLOTS of stuff – including what seems to be an unofficial campground – navigation buoys mark the entrance to the parking lot, wind turbine and oil tanks, a museum (closed) honoring the wreck of the Empress of Ireland liner, lighthouse, submarine Onandaga, playground – and wind. Lots of wind. Probably blowing 30, whitecaps everywhere. On to Baie de Sables, where I stopped at a rest area for brunch about 10; too windy to eat at the tables, though. There were interesting red/green stripey rocks, but nothing in the tidal pools I looked in. Light Cap-MadeleineThere was a yellow beach flower new to me. A wind farm, 6 – 12 turbines at a time, stretched from there to Les Boules. Stops at Cap - Chat (more turbines), La Martre (red lighthouse), Gaspe viewMont St Pierre (definitely blown out, and no NH pilots in evidence), Cap – Madeleine (lighthouse), Cap – Barre, overlooking Grande – Vallee (add accents as appropriate; don't know how to find them on the computer), and around the Gaspe headed SE. By then it was about 15:00. Two more stops at lighthouses and a stop to refuel, and at 18:15 I rolled into the Petit – Gaspe campground area of Forillon National Park. It was wooded, and level, and I went for a walk; beach, church, amphitheater, recreation hall, for about an hour before going back to take the kayak out and have supper. 285 miles

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Log 2

Friday, 7/30: Up about 6, cleaned and puttered until living quarters Baie d'Escuminac and Roadtrekwere more livable. Pleasantly cool, about 65 with more clouds than sum. Rolled out about 8, stopping first at Petit Gaspe beach – Baie d'Escuminac rocksconsidered kayaking, but the wind picked up in the short time I was there, so I ate breakfast instead. Only one sailboat in this beautiful bay. Driving on, still in Forillon, I stopped at every interpretive area culminating in the 5k round trip walk out to thelighthouse. I'm glad I got there early – I was the only one parked in the parking area when I arrived – and when I returned to the camper, there were 35 – 40 vehicles! Parking lot completely full with parking along the road on both sides making a narrow roadway. And I'm glad I stopped at Grande Grave (small harbor with whale watch, scuba, kayaking expeditions going out of there) as there'scertainly no reasonable parking there now! Forillon, view from pathPulling out of the park I continued along the coast, stopping overlooking the NW basin (Riviere Dartmouth for lunch and a map check. Forillon seagull

As I moved around the coast, stopping for scenic overlooks, and sometimes just scenery, it rained for about 2 hours, sometimes with fog. Much as I like lighthouses, I skipped those not easy to get to; they just weren't worth it with the weather conditions. I ended up at Escuminac by turning where the sign in the highway indicated camping on a river. River? Bay? Sea? This seems to be where Baie d'Escuminac becomes Baie des Chalours, near Parc National de Miguasha. Very quiet, with well spaced wooded sites, mostly cliff along the water except for one beach access. This was a day of heartache, sadness and grief, deeply missing Richard. Just kept moving... 218 miles

Saturday, 7/31: I awoke and lay in bed listening to what sounded like osprey, but walked down to the shore and couldn't see or hear them. Wind turbines – about 50 – line the ridge to NE. Onward to Rte 132, and into New Miscou bog trailBrunswick at 9:40 – only it was 10:40, with the time change. Stopped at the info center. Cap-Lumiere lightBack on the road I tried to find the Dalhousie farmers market with directions from the welcome center; found only beach and boardwalk so ate breakfast and walked a bit. Went back to town to their visitor center and got better directions, and found myself some fresh veggies, and was back on the road about 11:30. Or was it 12:30? In any case, it was 15:30 when I found myself at the end of the road (Rte 113) at the Miscou lighthouse.Ice cream was required...

After stops at all interpretive sites (lighthouse, church, birds, bog) I headed south again. 45% of Miscou Island is (protected) peat bogs! I did see peat being harvested nearer Shippagan. I stopped for fuel in Inkerman. I missed Rte 117 out of Miramichi, so had a long boring stretch of Rte 11.I made my way out to Cap – Lumiere, and found a campground across the road from the lighthouse – which was too obstructed by wires for a good photo. It was dusk when I pulled in, about 20:30. 351 mile day.

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Log 3

Confederation BridgeStarting where I left off, with dawn... Lorenzo Lobster greets touristsOn Monday, August 2: Out of the campground about 7:30, and over the Confederation Bridge and into Prince Edward Island welcome center at 8.Checked e-mail and wrote down directions to Quakers on PEI – and CAN”T FIND CAMERA!! I really wanted to get a pic of Lorenzo!I had it yesterday – I remember using it to take a pic of the Confederation Bridge; what did I do with it?? Disaster! Can't do a road trip without a camera! Grumble Grumble...

On to Summerside and their Bay walk, very nice boardwalk with lookouts, and lots of people walking it and beautiful views. And I tried but just couldn't do it without a camera, so walked across the street to Staples and bought one. I spent a couple of hours along the 6k boardwalk, although Summerside Bay walk viewI drove from part to part as well as walking some, learning how the camera works. West Point harborThen on to Abram Village, and a nice local craft coop with great yarn, past the road to Justine's where I'll be spending a night or two, out to West Point, both harbor and lighthouse (which is also an inn, and a crowded beach), and on up the west coast (more wind turbines) as far as Miminegash, where I turned around and went back to the road to Justine's. I was met at her driveway by 3 huge barking – and very friendly! Beasts, very happy to see me, and then Justine, who'd been out feeding chickens. I parked behind the house, and we shared food and chatted until about midnight, when I went out and went to sleep with about half a moon shining in the window. 149 miles

Tuesday, August 3:I spent the morning with Justine, chatting and then touring: crafts coop, woolen mill (bought yarn), folk art studio and museum, then to lunch at a local place, and back to the house about 13:30. At about 14:00 I took off exploring on my own with the camper. West Point LightWind turbiines, North Cape PEII went through O'Leary, but didn't see the quilt shop/fabric store, and on to Miminegash where I'd turned around yesterday. Then more slowly up the coast to North Cape, going through Norway with its wind farm. North Cape is a wind demonstration area, and there were at least a dozen different styles of wind turbines, as well as an info center and shop, walking trails, and of course a lighthouse. I walked some, and hung out on the cliffs watching the people and the water. Then headed south again, missing the turn in Alberton and finding the nice little harbor of Northport; continuing on, I found a nice kayak launch – but the kayak was back on Justine's lawn. Oh, well. Refueled in Alberton on the way back to the house, where I cooked us supper, and again we chatted until nearly midnight, and bed. 100 miles

Wednesday, August 4: Spent the morning hanging out, showering, knitting, walking with Justine and dogs. In the afternoon we took Justine's car touring the north coast, from Malpeque Bay east, mostly stopping for art studios and craft shops. And one of the shops had Wendy Oftedahl (and daughter Emily), from New England Yearly Meeting in it!! I was so surprised to be greeted by her; they've moved up to PEI and she's working in violence prevention there. We had lunch (I had an excellent seafood chowder) at an upscale but very quiet restaurant. We found the rug hooking shop just as they were closing; they have beautiful yarns, especially for lace and sock knitting: angora, silks, fine wools, etc. but I resisted. On to Lobie and Marilyn's house, where they were throwing a party to celebrate their anniversary. It was a big party, and many had already left; live band, iron bathtub recycled for a BBQ grill, food – but no plates and forks, by the time we arrived, although we were able to get cups. So finger food it was. We were home shortly before midnight, and sat out watching the starts, hoping for northern lights, but they didn't appear. I did see one shooting star after I went to bed, though.

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Log 4

Thursday, 8/5: Dog Beach RocksI can't get a return ferry from Isle de la Madeleine, so that part of the trip will Nina on Dog Beach rockshave to wait for another time. Oh, well. With not driving the Roadtrek, I had to plug it in for the first time this trip. The morning was spent mostly knitting, then we hopped in the car and went to meet Justine's horses, and pick up Annie and her daughter Nina to run errands, and go to “Dog Beach” at/near Cape Wolfe. I hadn't registered that we were going to the beach, so didn't have bathing suit; sat, walked the length of the beach, picked up sea glass, etc. Nina looked like a little cave girl in her leopard print bathing suit and her long hair streaming in the wind. Home again, and the usual late supper, knitting and chatting, and out to the camper to bed.

Friday, 8/6: Another slow morning; I baked bread, and then we packed a picnic lunch with the fresh bread and went to Dog Beach – with the dogs, this time. It was a perfect beach day, sunny and warm, nice sandy bottom, and the water here is much warmer than what I'm used to on the New England coast. It was wonderful. The dogs – Mae, Kya and Lucy – had a great time, and we went home pretty tired. We picked up Annie and Nina in the evening to go to the Tyne Valley Oyster Festival. The big attraction, besides the competition to find the Canadian Champion oyster shucker, was the endless supply of oysters, wasted on me as they were raw. The seafood chowder competition was good though; one picked up little cups of each of four chowders, and had to vote on them. I had to go back to make sure #4 was really as good as I thought; it was, creamy, good texture, lots of seafood along with not too much potato, not too salty with excellent balance of flavors. I asked how many times one could vote, and was told as many times as we wanted to – so #4 got four votes from me. But we didn't stick around to see if it won; it was getting very late, and they were only half way through the shucking contest, and we were tired. We were home about 23:00 or so.

Saturday, 8/7: North Point Light and cyclistsAgain, a slow start. I got the camper filled with water, cleaned out, loaded the kayak, wound up the extension cord, etc., PEI churchchecked e-mail one more time (and tried but failed to print out the next knitting pattern), ate a more than adequate lunch with Justine before rolling out. Went first to Mi'kmaq reserve on Lennox Is. In Malpeque Bay (where all those oysters are farmed) to visit the craft shop. Then to Rte 2 to make some time – but I got distracted by “pottery and weaving” signs. Went through Breadalbane and off among the hills, one false stop before finding Malcolm and Catherine's really good stuff.Bought a mug; I'd admired but resisted his work at Lennox Is. Couldn't pass it up a second time!

Then through the hills to Hunter River and NE to the coast, overlapping some of what we'd done Wednesday before getting into new territory. PEI docksI was held up for a while by a nasty accident, head on? With smashed truck in the ditch, fire engines and ambulances. Rte 6 to Rte 2 to Rte 16, where I started overtaking cyclists. We all ended up at East Point Light. They'd apparently gone end to end of PEI in one day, raising money for hungry children. And some of the riders were children, although I can't imagine the one with training wheels did the entire route! PEI sunsetAfter walking around a bit, back to Rte 16, now headed SW. South Lake (really a bay with a barrier of sand dunes) looked enticing, but by now it was 19:30. Through Souris, on Rte 310 for more sea views – and the first really spectacular sunset of the trip, back to 16 at Dundas, and eventually to Brudenell River Provincial Park to camp for the night; on site at 21:30!! well after dark. Didn't get milage for the day.

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Log 5

Sunday, August 8: By 8:30 I had showered (wonderful plentiful hot water), wandered the Cape Bear Lightshore a bit, dumped sewage and cleaned up, eaten, and changed into good clothes.Continuing down the coast, I got as far as Panmure Island, where I walked the beach, and took a bunch of photos. This is a good place to come back to – great sand beach with photogenic lighthouse at the north end, provincial park with camping, kayak access. It was hard to tear myself away, but I wanted to get to worship with the PEI group, so briskly set off back to Rte 4 and 3 to Capr Jourimaine, NBCharlottetown, out the other side on Rte 1, and to Daphne Davey's house on Rte 9 around Long Creek. There were three of us for worship – same as the Sackville, NB group, followed by food and chat until Daphne had to go to work shortly before 14:00.

Back to C'town and out the other side, heading for the south coast this time. Stopped at Pt. Prim; what a name! Rocks extend far out and were showing at low tide. On through Wood Islands, where I didn't take the ferry, and Cape Bear, where I stopped at a lighthouse precariously close to the cliffs;Murray River Harbour it will be moved after the tourists leave. And took the dirt road a ways along Murray Head. Back to Rte 18 and Murray Harbor, and stop for pics at Murray River. Then, with the day getting late, Rte 24 to Rte 3 to C'town and Rte 1 again (stop for ice cream, stop for fuel) and on for a detour through Victoria (cute, but no place to park), back to Rte 1, and then Rte 10 for the scenery to the Confederation Bridge. Brief stop at the welcome center for a pic of the lobster I didn't have a camera for the first time, and back into New Brunswick. Stopped at the closed welcome center to walk the trails of Cape Jourimain about 7:15, and returned to Murray Beach Park for another night – and, not being a three day weekend this time, it was much more open! Still quiet, too. 491 miles for two days.

Monday, August 9: Up and out as soon as decently possible to get the kayak inside after hearing raindrops.Northport beach tree Finish dressing and on the road at 7:20, after securing loose stuff. First stop: New Brunswick welcome center at Cape Jourimain – and they had my camera!! Panmure Island beachSo I haven't lost the first week of the trip in pictures. Of course, I can't find the USB cable to download them... Then on to Nova Scotia, crossing at Amherst and with a long stop at the welcome center, taking pics, gathering maps and stuff, made ferry reservations for Newfoundland, bacon pancakes for breakfast. Departed about 10 – and stopped almost immediately after for blueberries.And going through town, stopped at the library for e-mail, and a grocery for milk and cheese. Out of town, up Rte 366, looping around through Tidnish and back through Tidnish Bridge, trying to find the trail to the pedestrian swinging bridge, tried dirt road, and back to bridge for pics and to visit gallery (bought a GBH), but there is no place to park the rig to get to the pedestrian bridge. Oh, well.

Next stop: beach at Northport, ate lunch and walked the beach. On the road about 14:00, back to Rte 6 and in to Pugwash. Tidnish BridgeFirst place the bilinguality has been English and Gaelic, on all public signage. Stopped at the park for photos, including herons – there are GBHs everywhere here, sometimes by the dozens, in the shallow water of low tides. Circled through town and back to Rte 6, through Wallace with its small harbor, Tatamagouche (larger harbor and more herons), Pugwash lightRiver John with a farm with sheep, and some beautiful hand dyed yarn, but I resisted.On to Pictou, where I drove around in a couple of circles before I figured out how to get out of there on Rte 104. At one point, thinking I smelled propane, I stopped and checked knobs and valves – but it turned out it was the pulp plant across the bay.

Off the big highway to get on Rte 6, and suddenly it was very hilly and twisty. Rte 245, cruising along with glimpses of NorthumberlandPEI Point Prim light  Strait, and up 337 to Cape George and most scenic setting for a lighthouse yet. Pics don't do it justice – would have to be from the sea, I think.Through Ballentyne's Cove, down in to Antigonish, and found the Wal-Mart, my first time in the WallyWorld RV Park. And the rigs are rolling in, everything from a fellow sleeping in his car, to huge things with their living quarters bumped out; there ended up being at least a dozen. The advantage: I was able to walk in and pick up groceries; the disadvantage: I wasn't able to pull the kayak out, and had to work around it to cook and sleep. But they are thoughtful enough to turn off the parking lot lights around the perimeter where we were all parked at about 22:30. 255 miles.

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Log 6

Tuesday, August 10: Rtes 4 & 104 to the Canso Causeway and Cape Breton, and the usual stop at the welcome center at about 8:10. Cape Breton Highlands Nat PkPicked up hints and stuff, checked e-mail, and back on the road at 8:50. Up Rte 19, stopping at the first roadside overlook for breakfast, and Judique to admire the marsh with several more Judique marshherons, and an incoming tide. Port Hood, with fishing harbor sheltered by island. Over a dirt road to Mabou; Mabou River looks like great kayaking. And a stop to refuel. The Inverness Arts Center was closed, but had an interesting sculpture outside. Hazy, hazy weather – could see foggy stuff from up on the hill; doesn't make for great photos. Stopped at Whale Cove, on 219, parked between NH and CT cars! Nice beach and bluffs with kite flying.

Back to 19, and south a bit to Margaree Harbor Craft and Gift for post cards and ice cream. Stopped atWhale Cove pullout just beyond Margaree, and walked across to a gallery of primitive and fantasy art, oils and pastels, and oils with quilting, and some folk art wooden stuff, went back to the camper and ate my sandwich looking over the sea. Some of Joe's scarecrowsAnd then just up the road, Joe's scarecrows – about 100 of them! Then a stop at Chiticamp at the Culture Center, to see hooked rug demo; these are the most densely hooked rugs I've ever seen, with the work done with sport weight 2-ply wool and a small hook on burlap. On into the National Park at 15:00, and find myself 1000' above Fishing Cove, then Pleasant Bay, and over the plateau to Cape North. Did the “coastal loop” and back at “Top of the Island”. I'd looked forward to stopping at Wildfire Pottery, 1000' above Fishing Covebut they were closed when I got there, although their hours thought they'd be open.

I took Rte 312 and the Englishtown ferry, which travels on a cable across the channel. Baddeck BayThen Baddeck Bay – lots of sailboats! - at 19:30. Another stop to feed the camper fuel... and back to Rte 105, SW around St. Patrick's Channel, and back roads from exit 4 through Estmore on Rte 223, which took me all the way NE again to North Sydney and the ferry terminal, arriving shortly after 22:00. Ate a sandwich, repacked the fridge, packed what I might need for 6 hours on the ferry. There was a fellow playing guitar sitting on the car next to me, a car with rack on the open back hatch draped with towels, and definitely not quiet – things beep backing up, diesel trucks running, dog barking, sounded like there was an unhappy cow for a while... I seem to have rated this lane with the dual tires. 352 miles

Wednesday, August 11: So, we were loaded by about 2:30 for a 3AM departure. I knit a couple of rows, slept for a couple of hours in one of the reclining seats, awoke with the dawn. Walking out looking for fresh air, I missed a great photo op, not carrying my camera – the Canadian flag flying out against the pink/purple dawn sky. The sea is very smooth, with gentle swells. The “sun deck” has nothing to sit on, or I'd have stayed out... So I went and found myself a table and wrote up trip logs on the computer through last Sunday before we docked.

With coastal fog, we couldn't see land until we were entering the harbor. We offloaded about 10:30, and exiting the terminal area puts you on Rte 1, the TCH – first place I've seen the Trans Canada Highway referred to by its initials. NE on the TCH, with the first stop, of course! being the welcome center for a better map and info. And breakfast, and a few pics. I pulled out around noon. This is a land of rock and water; most land has a thin covering of stunted spruce, tamarack and birch, or is grassy. It seems impervious, or the water table is very close to the surface – there are ponds and lakes and puddles everywhere, which become streams and brooks and creeks and rivers. I stopped to nap a little further up the road.

Back in motion, I took only one side road, Rte 405 through St Fintan's, St David's, Jeffrey's, Robinson's and back to the highway. It was exceedingly frustrating – there are no shoulders on the roads, and no place to pull off for great photos; that road goes along the coast and crosses a few rocky, shallow rivers on their way to the sea, and the blue water and the green hills and the rocks and rocks and rocks... Blow Me Down ProvFurther on I could see rain falling on some hills, and sun on others – and there was no safe way to stop for a picture. Off on Rte 450 at Corner Brook, a very winding, bumpy, slow road out to Blow Me Down Provincial Park. Along the way I noted small boats hauled up on wooden rails, mostly painted what the ranger called “Lark Harbor dory orange,” the better to be seen in the fog. Being self-contained, I have a spot in the beachfront parking lot! On site about 17:00, with only one other camper there (there ended up being 4). Loons calling, and the almost completely cloudy sky started to clear in time for an OK sunset. 175 miles + 100 or so on the ferry.

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