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July 1, 2019 Moncton, NB 5,261 kms from home

Another day and we woke up in another Walmart parking lot. While it is not our usual nor our preferred campground, we have saved over $600 so far this trip which is enough to cover the cost of all the seafood we’ll buy, or enough gas to go about 1,500 kms. Today is Canada day and Walmart is closed and except for the 4 RVs, the parking lot is empty.

There is a parade today at 1:00 and the local park has a zip line, so we set off to find them. We toured the entire town and outskirts and gave up on the parade idea before finding the park with the zip line. The park was open but not so the zip line. It is pretty small and not very steep so it is just as well that it was closed. In our tour we stopped by the dominant church, Saint Michael’s Basilica. Very neat large building with a couple of supporting buildings nearby; perhaps a Nunnery, hospital, orphanage, or school.

Since we couldn’t find anything to do and it was a gloomy day, we decided to start out towards our next goal, Prince Edward Island. Moncton is only a few kms off our course and the casino there welcomes RVers (for up to 7 days!) and has cheap food so we arrived late in the afternoon and registered with the desk. There is an attached hotel and the outside looks nautical with a lighthouse towering over everything. The place is apparently about 10 years old. The RV parking section is in back with 40’+ long, and about 18’ wide spots on a reasonably level lot. Very thoughtful.

We played, of course, and as often happens, I lost my budget and Tess won. At least I am consistent!

There’s lots to see and do here in Moncton so we’ll stay a few days.

July 2, 2019 Moncton, NB 5,261 kms from home

The weather improved today; we woke to high overcast with patches of pale blue and the sun trying to peek through. There are about a dozen RVs her in the parking lot, a mix of trailers and motorhomes. One guy in an old class C has a generator that sounds like an old lawn mower that is usually running but he is far enough away that it isn’t too annoying.

Looking at the tourism stuff for the area, there are lots of things I am interested in, so I went off to see them. My first stop was Colpitts Settlement, home of the Colpitts branch of my Harrison tree. Thomas Colpitts (c1650-unkn) was my 7x gt grandfather. His grandson (and my 1st cousin, 7x removed) settled here in New Brunswick in 1783 with his wife and 7 children after an earlier visit alone. I did explore the area when we were here 14 years ago but thought it worth another visit. I found the Colpitts Settlement Cemetery and photographed all 67 headstones with the name Colpitts on it. I did the same at the Middlesex County Cemetery.

There was a roadside sign indicating another cemetery and a roadway lead to a house. I went and spoke to the very friendly woman at the house. She told me this was one of the original homesteads and in fact, her small barn was the original house on the farm. The cemetery turns out to be one I already saw last trip. She married a Colpitts and I mentioned why I was interested, she said she had a folder with a bunch of unsorted information in it. We sat down and went through it. Much of it I had or was just personal correspondence but there was a good number of newspaper obituaries. I took photos of them all as they are usually a good source. I’ll have lots of work to do over the winter!

My next stop was the Maritime Motorsports Hall of Fame. This was a well done little museum dealing with local auto racers and personalities with several interesting cars. Of course, its always good to chat with fellow car guys. My last stop was the NB Railway Museum. They had the usual collection of unrestored and worn out pullman cars, maintenance equipment and so on. They also have 2 diesel and one oil fired steam locomotives. I climbed in and around all of them. The local model railroad club had a small display and the main barn was an excellent display of railroad memorabilia and artifacts.

Tess stayed at the casino since I had the car. She was very happy to tell me that she went to play her favourite machine and on her very first spin won a nice even $5,000. Good for her.

July 3, 2019 Moncton, NB 5,261 kms from home

We continued our exploration of the area today by heading down to the Bay of Fundy, past Hopewell Rocks to Cape Enrage. There is a lighthouse, walking paths, a staircase down the cliff to a fossil bed, and a zip line and rappelling feature. Tess is ready to try a zipline but unhappily the person is off sick today. Our admission fee lets us come back for another day so we’ll call tomorrow to see if she can go.

Our next stop was the little lobster fishing community of Alma. Tess bought more seafood, of course, and in one of the stores they had a large 4 metre by 2 metre tank full of live lobster and almost as many cooked ones. There were a couple of blue ones and an orange one in the live tank. And the biggest lobster I have ever seen. He would be able to pinch off my hand at the wrist. Very active and I’m sure he gave me the evil eye.

We got back home to an increasingly busy casino parking lot, including a 5th wheel immediately beside us while there were several sites not beside a generator exhaust pipe. Every time I ran the generator their CO detector would go off. Serves them right.

We went for cheap beer and chicken wings after dinner and got home at midnight.

July 4, 2019 Moncton, NB 5,261 kms from home

It was a hot one today! Humidex at 36 and no clouds to provide any relief. And it is supposed to be like this for the next few days, broken up by evening thunder showers which will be a big relief.

I went to see the tidal bore downtown. It is a surge of ocean water coming up the Petitcodiac River from the Bay of Fundy. The wave is maybe 2 feet high and today there was a guy on a surfboard riding the front of the wave. He went for at least a kilometer, waving to the crowd of tourists there to see it. It was all over in 5 minutes.

Next stop was Walmart to replace my clip-on sunglasses I managed to lose the other day. Then it was off to check out a dump station a fellow casino camper found. It was there as promised so I drove Seven down to dump our full tanks and refill fresh water. I made a point of going into the business to say thank you. We are good for up to a week now.

Today is beef tenderloin and lobster tail day at the casino buffet. For $23 including tax we had the best buffet meal I think we have ever had. The beef was tender and perfectly done and most other dishes were excellent. Especially the honey glazed corn bread. They even had Nanaimo bars for dessert! Tess thought she had died and gone to heaven – all the lobster she can eat. And eat she did – 5 tails, a tenderloin, fish and lots more. She got her money’s worth!

July 5, 2019 Moncton, NB 5,261 kms from home

Wow, it is hot! Humidex is over 40! Until noon it was perfect to sit outside in the shade. There was a breeze blowing while we watched most of the RVs depart. By noon we had to go inside while the generator kept the roof air conditioners running nicely.

In the early afternoon Tess went in to play and perhaps eat while Camper and I went downtown to see some cars. I had to carry him across the intersections because the black roadway is too hot for his feet. He got lots of love from the kids, dog owners and other dogs. He was very good with them all. After 90 minutes we had seen all that I wanted, and we were both melting so we came home. I did buy a T-shirt though.

Even though today is crab buffet day, I am not going to eat there. I am a bit off with mild stomach cramps and nausea, so I’ll pass. Camper and I will stay home and let the A/C keep us comfortable. There is a street dance with live music tonight, but I will stay home.

I want to be near 100% for the show and shine in the park tomorrow. They are now saying there will be over 2,000 cars there. Wow!

July 6, 2019 Moncton, NB 5,261 kms from home

Today was car show day and I headed to Centennial Park at noon. I’m not sure there were 2,000 cars but there were a lot of them. I spent several hours roaming around and saw lots of cool cars. Well worth the sweating temperature and humidity. By the time I got back home I was beat, so Camper and I had a nice nap.

When we got up, Tess was gone to the casino, so I went to find her. She was at one of her favourite machines and had won yet another jackpot. I’m surprised they haven’t kicked us out yet. I can’t win at slots, so I came home. Camper and I watched some TV and chilled until Tess got back.

The fridge was showing a “no co” message which means no cooling. The burner is out and everything is getting warm in there. I got out the manual and followed the procedure to clear the trouble codes and reset the board and it started right up. Whew! I did have to dump the milk which had curdled but most other stuff will be OK.

July 7, 2019 Moncton, NB 5,261 kms from home

While we were getting ready to go, our next door camper was polishing a new generation red Corvette Sting Ray. Yesterday he was polishing a red 1932 Ford Hi-Boy. I went to talk to him and he said he traded his Ford for it but was a little worried about how he was going to tell his wife. I sat in it and it fits me very well but it can’t be towed behind the RV so I’m not interested. Ha ha.

The weather today was a great relief after several days of it feeling like it was nearly 40 degrees. It seemed circumstances conspired to keep us from doing anything productive. I wanted to get a haircut and Tess had shopping to do at Walmart. We set off on our day’s adventure and while we were in Walmart, the power went out. They chased everyone out of the store and we decide to go to the Walmart in next door Dieppe. No power there either.

No power means no traffic lights, no haircut, no eating out. We headed home and eventually returned to the land of electricity. It was mid-afternoon and we were starving so hit the A&W at the Petro-Can station for fast food and a box of milk.  

Camper and I went for a few walks and just hung out reading for the afternoon. Tess won another $1K jackpot of course. Back on the road tomorrow.

July 8, 2019 Shediac, NB 5,369 kms from home

We hit the road at the usual time and the first stop was Costco to top up the gas tank. All those hours of running the generator to power the A/C for a week burned at least 50 litres. From there is was 45 minutes to Bouctouche for the lobster festival. Or so I thought. I somehow mixed up the cities in my brain because the lobster festival is being held in Shediac.

We disconnected and drove around Bouctouche and then drove the 20 minutes back down the same highway to Shediac. We found a spot in a downtown RV park for 5 days at the usual $41 rate for full services. I dropped Tess off downtown and Camper and I went back to get Seven. Once we were all set up, including cutting off another leaking section of hose, Tess was ready to come home.

There’s lots to see here before the festival starts on Wednesday. We learned that the lobster eating contest is at 7pm daily so we will be there for that! There are souvenirs to buy too.

It felt hotter than the 27C official temperature as it is still humid for us. Temps are predicted to be around 25 for the week with no rain so it will be pleasant.

July 9, 2019 Shediac, NB 5,369 kms from home

Wishing Star is a medium sized commercial RV park with the best (oceanside) sites occupied by seasonal renters. Those ones even have poured concrete or brick patios with railings and wooden steps going down to the ocean. The rest of us get a wide, level grassy site with a picnic table. The parking pad is gravel and there is 30-amp power, water, sewer and an open Wi-Fi system that works occasionally. For the first time this trip I set up the satellite dish. This time I remembered to reset the virtual switch to nil before acquiring the satellites. It worked first time. Setups for the rest of the trip will be plug and play.

After Camper’s walk, Tess went to the “World’s Largest Lobster” store across the street from the RV park. She roamed around the western part of town and enjoyed the time by herself. Later, we went to see where the festival is going to be held and the parking situation which Is good. We went for a drive east of town through a couple of small villages. A beautiful semi-waterfront home had a lobster pot on the deck so I stopped and asked the owner where she got it.

We got the same, non-specific answers as we have had before – find one on the beach or on a wharf. She did suggest we go to Pointe du Chene as there were boats, restaurants, and souvenir shops there. We did go after stopping at DQ for a treat. It was very busy and even charged $3 per car admission. The money goes to the repair and maintenance fund, so we didn’t mind. There are lots of boats including a couple of big Fisheries Dept patrol boats.

In one of the shops we finally found the perfect lobster pot. Wood with intact webbing, and the built-in flat sandstone rocks were still there. It was $30 tax in but is exactly what she wants so Tess bought it. I’ll find a place for it in a basement storage compartment tomorrow.

July 10, 2019 Shediac, NB 5,369 kms from home

A nice not-too-hot day with a breeze so it was perfect We didn’t do anything all day except for a trip to the grocery store. The evening was more eventful. The Shediac Lobsterfest started today so of course, we were there. There is a small midway with the usual rides and carney booths. There was stuff for kids such as a magician and face painting. There was live music and cold beer in the tent and at 7:00pm, Tess was front and centre. Of course.

Since Tess knew she could take home anything she didn’t eat, she didn’t eat much. She came home with a lot!

July 11, 2019 Shediac, NB 5,369 kms from home

We started the day with great plans but as usual, they fell through because, well, stuff happens. That pesky water supply line in the wet bay is leaking again so I decided to seek expert advice and parts at the local RV service place. They sold me a piece of PEX (plastic) hose and some fittings. Back home and a half hour later I have a drip free water supply system. Finally! Hopefully this is a permanent fix.

As we were leaving to go to the lobster festival, our neighbour called me over. They had found the tow bar pin I lost the other day. That makes the one I bought at the RV service place a spare. Glad to have good neighbours.

So we went to the festival because I had reluctantly agreed to enter the lobster eating contest. Since I don’t like lobster much and the losers get to keep what they don’t eat, Tess figured she would get another 3 lobsters for the $10 admission fee. We got there 15 minutes before the contest, but parking was a challenge. By the time we walked to the entrance and saw the lineup to get into the grounds, it was obvious we weren’t going to make it in time for me to enter the contest.

So, what to do? Shediac is only 20 minutes from the casino in Moncton; closer than the St Albert casino is from home. Away we went. Tess gave me $100 for the blackjack table. I was holding my own for about an hour. In the meantime, Tess went to her bank of favourite machines and hit for another $1,000+ jackpot. Good grief!

We left at 10pm and got home to a happy dog.

July 12, 2019 Shediac, NB 5,369 kms from home

Tess was reading the festival planner and we decided to stay another 2 days so we can attend the closing ceremonies and the lobster dinner that is included in the ticket price. I’ll re-register tomorrow. Tess spent the day doing a walkabout all over town. She was gone for hours. Camper and I stayed home, did chores and worked on all that Colpitts data I collected two weeks ago.

We tried again to get me into the lobster eating contest. We got there in time and because of the rain, there weren’t as many people in the big tent. The MC recognised us by name (!) and said that all the spots were taken but he would put me down as the first alternate in case someone doesn’t show. Since everyone showed, I didn’t get to participate. I have mixed feelings; I really didn’t want to do it but I did promise Tess I would. Oh well.

We enjoyed the live music before the contest but afterwards there was a paid admission band. Since we really didn’t want to stay much longer anyway, we opted to head home.

July 13, 2019 Shediac, NB 5,369 kms from home

Things are getting routine here so it is nearly time to hit the road again. The gloomy weather isn’t helping. I spent several hours working on the new Colpitts obituaries for the family tree. As usual in any RV park, RVs come and go every day. Here 5th wheel trailers are very popular. What surprises me though is the number of Class As over 40 feet long. Looking out the front window as I type this, I can see 6, all of them not more than a few years old. Most have NB plates so there is some money here.

In the afternoon we went back to Moncton, stopping at a garage sale and checking out an old mid-60s Mercury Comet convertible. Before heading in for the crab buffet at the casino, we swung through the back RV lot and weren’t surprised to see about 30 rigs there. Some people had their awnings and lawn chairs out as before. Except for pavement on the ground, it could be any overflow camping lot in a regular campground.

We stayed several hours after our early dinner. I lost and Tess won as usual.

July 14, 2019 Shediac, NB 5,369 kms from home

Other than having to be in Halifax on July 24 to see Arlene we don’t have any need to be anywhere so we decided to head to PEI tomorrow for a week or so. Confederation bridge is only 45 minutes away.

Today is the last day of the Shediac Lobster Festival and we went to the closing ceremonies. There was 10 minutes of talking and thank-yous then they served – what else – a lobster dinner to the 350 or so people there. We sat with a very friendly local family who have been coming for 50 years and 3 generations. They served lobster, potato salad, coleslaw, a bun and her bun. I think she came out the winner of that exchange.

When we got home, I took Camper for his walk. We met a couple from Quebec with a cute Shitsu-Yorkie mix. They are on their maiden big trip in their 2005 40’ Fleetwood Revolution. While chatting it started to rain so we ran for home. The skies opened up and the thunder crashed and in a half hour the rainbow was in the sky and TV reception returned.

Back on the road tomorrow.

July 15, 2019 Summerside, PEI 5,483 kms from home

Another day, another province. We packed up and hit the road about 11:30am and headed south, then east and over the 13 km long Confederation Bridge to PEI. This is only our second (and probably last) time over this bridge. It is still a neat experience; it must be quite something in the dead of winter with icebergs and blowing snow.

Not far from Summerside is Linkletter Provincial Park and we showed up unannounced, as usual. They had one site for us with power and water. It is about 100 metres from the ocean and we can see the bridge in the distance. We booked 4 nights so we can see the northern part of the island. We’ll stay nearer the ferry terminal to explore the southern half after this.

There is supposed to be Wi-Fi but there’s no signal at our site during the day but I managed to log on for a bit in the evening. At least the bills are paid and emails up to date.

As usual on a travel day, we didn’t do much other than visit with our new neighbours and walk the dog. We finally got the BBQ out and cooked up some burgers. I think it has been weeks and I was starting to go through withdrawal!

July 16, 2019 Summerside, PEI 5,483 kms from home

We woke to sunny skies, high tide and the usual sounds of a busy campground: kids playing, a lawn mower, dogs, birds, etc. By 10am several new campers had arrived. We were lucky to get the last serviced site big enough to hold us, as we often are it seems.

The plan was to explore the northern third of the Island today. We set off along the north coastal drive. The roads are generally good although the drivers here are poor. Red lights and lines on the road are merely suggestions and nobody signals anything. Pretty much the opposite of Quebec. Except the stop sign part.

We didn’t really have a goal in mind other than perhaps Tignish at the northern tip of the Island. We got less than half way there. There were beaches, poissonnaries, a lighthouse converted to an Inn, and other things to distract us. The red soil is caused by iron oxide in the soil and is very distinctive. There are literally km after km of potatoes with the occasional grain or hay field for variety. It was a pretty drive.

We stopped in Summerside to look for an oil change place for Seven. I found on and have an appointment for Friday when we are moving to the central part of PEI. This will be Seven’s first “professional” servicing as I have always done it before.

Along the way we stopped for seafood, of course. Tess bought fresh off the boat today cod, quahogs, mussels and so on. We ate some of the cod for dinner and it was wonderful. The freezer is about 90% full so she is going to have to be selective about what she keeps now.

While Tess was cooking all her seafood, Camper and I went for a walk. We met lots of little dogs and their owners. The only people farther from home were a couple and their 2 Schnauzers from Oregon who are planning to go to Newfoundland and then Labrador and returning through Quebec along the north shore of the St Lawrence ion their Sprinter chassis class C. Now that would be an adventure!

The wind picked up to about 60 kph and blew steadily all night. I had to close the awning and the roof vents because they were all rattling but we slept really well.

July 17, 2019 Summerside, PEI 5,483 kms from home

We decided to go to Charlottetown today. Along the way we saw a sign advertising lighthouses for sale so we stopped. A retired gent builds a variety of sizes in his shop out of plywood and solid wood, nicely painted and they have either a plug-in or solar light. The quality was excellent and the price reasonable so we ordered one for pick up on Friday when we will be by on our way south. It can live in Toad beside the lobster trap until we get home in September.

There are about 80,000 people in greater Charlottetown and it feel like a regular city with all the usual stores and services. That’s about half the total provincial population. We checked out Walmart and they have an area for RVs with several rigs parked there. We’ll probably stay here a night or two on our way south to catch the ferry to Nova Scotia.

Traffic was all snarled up because of an apartment block fire. The news later said there were no injuries, but the fairly new building looks like a total loss. There’s now a bunch of seniors looking for a place to live. We stopped at the casino and surprisingly, they have table games so I played a set and got my chip. I lost my budgeted amount and as usual, Tess won. She even gave me an extra day’s budget which I managed not to lose and eventually gave her back her ‘loan’ plus half my blackjack loss.

On the way back home the rain shower turned into a downpour. There was water standing on the highway and traffic slowed down to avoid hydroplaning. The sunset was truly amazing: the sun was brilliant red and as it set, it looked huge. Like a rising harvest moon, it looked several times its usual size. It didn’t look like earth.

July 18, 2019 Summerside, PEI 5,483 kms from home

Other than drive a few minutes up to road to a strawberry farm, we sat at home in the sunshine and didn’t do anything except read and nap. A lazy day.

July 19, 2019 Summerside, PEI 5,483 kms from home

We were on out way at an early for us 10:15am. After dumping tanks we went to the truck repair shop in Summerside and had Seven serviced. While that was being done we went back to the lighthouse maker’s place and bought not one but two 24” high solar powered lighthouses; one for us and one for friends. After lunch at A&W, we picked up Seven and headed south.

The drive to Charlottetown was a short 66kms as this is a small island. We settled in at a friendly Walmart. There were only 3 others here when we pulled in at 3:00 pm and about 15 by bedtime. Camper and I stayed home and relaxed while Tess went shopping at the local mall and went to play for a while.

It cooled off nicely once the sun went down and we slept well.

July 19, 2019 Charlottetown, PEI 5,549 kms from home

We were on out way at an early for us 10:15am. After dumping tanks we went to the truck repair shop in Summerside and had Seven serviced. While that was being done we went back to the lighthouse maker’s place and bought not one but two 24” high solar powered lighthouses; one for us and one for friends. After lunch at A&W, we picked up Seven and headed south.

The drive to Charlottetown was a short 66kms as this is a small island. We settled in at a friendly Walmart. There were only 3 others here when we pulled in at 3:00 pm and about 15 by bedtime. Camper and I stayed home and relaxed while Tess went shopping at the local mall and went to play for a while.

It cooled off nicely once the sun went down and we slept well.

July 20, 2019 Parrsbobo, NS 5,863 kms from home

We looked at the map and decided to take the ferry to Nova Scotia because it would cost less than the bridge factoring in the higher ferry fare and the extra gas we would burn if we took the bridge. It was a pretty one hour drive to the campground we planned to stay at but they were full tonight. OK, we’ll take the ferry to the mainland and find something there. At the ferry we faced a 3 hour wait for a sailing with room for us. Maybe.

We decided to return to the bridge crossing and find a campground once we crossed into Nova Scotia. We wound up driving for over 4 hours today. Far more than planned but not a big deal.

At the NS tourism place I stocked up on maps and the usual info booklets and then got on the phone to find a place to stay. The third call was successful and we struck out for Parrsboro, about an hour away. When we leave for Halifax in a couple of days, we will only have a 2 hour drive. We settled into our site which has an amazing view of the ocean with only one RV between us and the water. Since each site is on a bench, we can see the water over the next door RV.

The campground is owned and operated by the town and is clean and tidy although the Wi-Fi doesn’t reach our site well enough to actually get on line. Perhaps I can from the kitchen or laundry areas. Tomorrow we’ll explore the town and area.

July 21, 2019 Parrsboro, NS 5,749 kms from home

It actually started out as a nice day and by early afternoon it was starting to spit. By mid-afternoon there was a torrential downpour, lightning, and wind. The wipers couldn’t keep up and there was water running down the roads. We explored the area around Parrsboro and I toured FOCUS – Fundy Oceanic Current something or other. They do research around underwater electricity generation harnessing the 18 kph currents in the Bay of Fundy. To me it seems like a good theory but I don’t see it being economically feasible. The investors seem to agree because it is in receivership.

We spent some time on the wharf and talked to a local lobsterman. He and his crew of two run 600 lobster traps. It takes 3 days to remove the lobsters and re-bait all the traps. They had a bunch of lobsters in a big plastic crate and had come ashore for more bait. They use some kind of 2-3 lb fish as bait and they loaded three full crates of bait so their bait to lobster ratio isn’t very good. Tough way to earn a living.

We stopped at Tim’s because Tess was in the mood for Timbits! First time for everything. When we got home, the rain runoff had carved deep trenches in the roads. There were a few more dumps of rain and wind gusts but by 8pm things had settled down and the fog and mist had receded so we could see the ocean.

Tomorrow we should be in Dartmouth/Halifax where we’ll stay for a week or so.  

July 22, 2019 Dartmouth NS 5,939 kms from home

We hit the road at the usual time and headed towards Halifax along Hwy 2. This is an often rough, narrow and twisting secondary highway along the Bay of Fundy shoreline before it turns inland. The tide was out and the water was more than a km from the high water mark in many places. Very neat to see.

We went down a side road that looked paved but after a few dozen metres, wasn’t. When I found a turn around spot, I dropped the car and did a 180. We left Seven there and went exploring in Toad. There is a trail system at Thomas’ Cove that loops along the shoreline. I walked down it exactly 100 steps and stood near the high-water mark looking way out across a km of red mud. It would be interesting to sit there for several hours to watch a 54+ foot tide come in but we don’t have that kind of time.

At Truro, Hwy 2 turned into a primary highway: Smooth, divided and 100 kph speed limit. We poked along at 90 of course and in due course came to Dartmouth. The GPS brought us to Shubie Park campground right in the city. They had only a 50 amp plus water pull thru site so that’s what we took. It is expensive at $60 per night. In fact, this is the most expensive place we have ever stayed.

I am arranging to meet up with Arlene and Dave for a visit to catch up on the past bunch of years since we have seen either of them. Dave lives in Halifax and Arlene in Florida.

Once rush hour traffic had cleared, we decided to head to the senior’s day buffet at the local casino. $7 each for all we can eat is too good a deal to pass up. Parking here is pay by the hour but if you gamble a little with your club card in the machine, parking is free. We got free parking!

July 23, 2019 Dartmouth NS 5,939 kms from home

We woke to an overcast day with light showers but by the time we had our act together and were ready to head out, it was a decent day. We went to the waterfront today and started out by picking up our tickets for the 90 minute harbour tour aboard the tall ship Silva.

We walked to Murphy’s Restaurant and fish & chips and a lobster roll platter along with a cold beer. The food was excellent. We were on a covered patio on the pier. There were fat pigeons roaming the wooden plank floor looking for crumbs and the ceiling was retracted canvas which they closed when rain threatened.

The Silva is an old converted motor/sail powered small freighter. It has quite a history, even being salvaged off the bottom at one time. She felt very sturdy under power and under sail. Once away from the wharf, we raised sails including a couple of jibs. And by we, I mean Tess and I helped hoist the sails. We toured the harbour and heard stories of Halifax and the Silva. I was able to contribute the story of my cousin Norman Harrison’s death aboard the Titanic. The rain held off, but it was chilly out on the water and we snuggled under a blanket provided by the crew.

Back on land, we continued to wander along the harbourfront boardwalk. This is a real tourist area and there are lots of little eateries and shops. Naturally we ate again; I had a beaver tail and Tess had a churro while we wandered along. We restrained ourselves well and only bought one trinket, a colourful little crab with spring loaded legs which will live on Toad’s dashboard like the lobster on the dash of Tess’ car. She promptly named him “Crabby”, of course.

As it neared dark and it finally started to actually rain rather than just spit, we drove down to the casino to check out their daily buffet. I was still full but by 8:30 Tess was ready to eat again so she did. I played the machines without success and was feeling down. Tess was up a little and told me I was doing it wrong. I know that! She said just pick a machine that you think is going to pay and play until it does. Well, duh! She said watch and learn. She walked up to a seemingly random machine, put in $20 and in 5 minutes cashed out $70. She walked up to another one, put in $20 and cashed out $55 and then she says “See? Like that.” She is the slot whisperer.

We came home in a steady rain with a little mist. There was lots of glare from streetlights and traffic making the road lines invisible. Luckily traffic was light, so I didn’t piss anyone off by being in the wrong lane. I did miss one turn but nagging Nancy recalculated and got us back on track quickly. There’s no way we would be able to find our way around here without the GPS. There are so many lakes and harbour arms that nothing is in a straight line from where you are. Those same things make it a pretty city though.

July 24, 2019 Dartmouth NS 5,939 kms from home

Today was pretty much a do-nothing day. A trip to Sobeys and Walmart and then back home. I tried to find a groomer to give Camper a haircut this week but no luck. He’ll have to put up with being hot for a while longer. The temperature is fine but the humidity is 82% so it still feels sticky.

While walking Camper I spent some time chatting with a fellow in the campground from Germany. He and his wife have been on the road for a year touring Canada, the US and parts of Mexico in their big 4x4 expedition vehicle. They have also done Alaska, Iceland, and Europe with their next hope is to do Africa. Good for them! Interestingly, Germany is 5,400 kms from here while Morinville is only 4,500 kms so they  are only a little farther away from home than we are. We just took a roundabout route and covered 6,000 kms to get here.

Our next door neighbour came over for an intro to MS Word because she liked what I had done with my journal. She and her husband are from Kamloops and are visiting their son and granddaughter who live here in the Halifax area.

Camper and I explored a bit of Shubie Park and it is much bigger than I thought. There are walking trails, a beach with a lifeguard, an off-leash area with a dog beach, a canal, locks, and more. We’ll have to find the time to explore further.

July 25, 2019 Dartmouth NS 5,939 kms from home

Neighbours on both sides of us were gone by 8:30 and other campers were leaving most of the morning. We spent the morning getting ready for company. In the afternoon Arlene Cooper from Florida came by. She is here visiting her family. Arlene and her husband Tom were part of our gang of WCB friends back in the 1980s.

We last saw her and Tom about 20 years ago at their home in Naples, Florida. Arlene and Tess have lots in common and always got along well. She is less than two years from retirement, and they are planning to buy a 50’ or so sailboat to live aboard for the last year of work then literally sail away into retirement. Good for them.

A short while later, Dave Avery came by. Dave and his now ex-wife Marie were also part of that same group of WC friends. We haven’t seen Dave in at least 30 years. He lives here in the Halifax area. We still share common interests including computers and motorcycles and would no doubt still be friends if he hadn’t moved back here.  

Dave is also retiring in the next year or so and perhaps we will see him on his motorcycle at our place one of these years. The visit was welcome but too short.

July 26, 2019 Dartmouth NS 5,939 kms from home

I had planned to go through the Pier 21 Immigration Museum today but it didn’t happen. It took longer than usual to get going in the morning and we made a detour to make sure we can get Seven in and out of the local propane place. We did eventually get downtown and I dropped the car and Tess off and walked to the museum. It was farther away than I estimated, the waterfront was crowded with tourists because there were two cruise ships in port. I got there at 4:30, an hour before closing time. I didn’t go in, but did read about the place. It operated in the mid 20th century, well after my ancestors came to Canada and so doesn’t have any direct relevance to me. I decided to skip it completely.

The cruise ship Queen Mary 2 was tied up along side the museum. The other cruise ship in port was the Queen Elizabeth. Both ships are owned by the Cunard Line, same as the Oriana that my paternal grandfather took on his around the world cruise when I was a kid. Both ships left port at the same time in the early evening. They sailed deeper into the outer harbour, turned around each other in their own length, and sailed away. This is a rare event and the fire boat provided an escort along with the Coast Guard, police and a host of private craft. Wow!

The big ships and all the extra people along the boardwalk made for an interesting walk to the museum and back. There were a lot more private boats and several yachts moored along the route than the other day. Sizes ranged from 18’ to at least 200’ including the prettiest sailboat I have ever seen. She was from the Cayman Islands and I estimate her at 130 feet long.

We went to the casino for dinner because on Friday and Saturday nights their $9.99 buffet is prime rib and lobster. It runs 4-10 pm and by 4:15, the lineup was 4 hours long! We ate in the Chinese restaurant and had a great meal while watching the comings and goings in the busy harbour. Because it was Friday night, it wasn’t possible to get to the card tables, so I played the slots. After 2 hours I was down only $20 which is excellent for me.

We got home at 10:00 and shortly after 11:00 my long walk had caught up with me and it was bed time.

July 27, 2019 Dartmouth NS 5,939 kms from home

I am getting itchy to get back on the road. One more day and we’ll start towards Cape Breton Island. To prepare for a travel day tomorrow, we did pretty much nothing today. Camper got his walks around the campground, I played with Gypsy across the street, and we relaxed, read and vegged out. We did go for an hour long walk past the beach and along the canal but that’s it.

July 28, 2019 Port Hawkesbury NS 6,254 kms from home

We packed up everything, returned the 50 amp adapter and keycard to the office and got our deposit back and dumped tanks before heading to the propane place. It took 60 litres which is the capacity of the tank, we were empty. It has been a month since we filled up when we were in Quebec so that’s pretty good.

We are in no rush and puttered along the Eastern Shore Highway 7. The road needs some work as do all the secondary roads in the Atlantic provinces. It was a pretty drive though. We stopped for lunch in Sheet Harbour and saw a nice little riverside park with tables, stairs down to the river and a small waterfall. Just before we crossed onto Cape Breton Island we fuelled up at an Irving gas bar and used the coupon I got from the ferry booth the other day. It saved us 5 cents per litre on the first 75. Every little bit helps.

We pulled back onto the highway and onto the causeway. The traffic light just before the bridge turned red so of course, I stopped. Then arms came down to block the road and the bridge rotated 90 degrees to allow a fishing boat to pass right in front of us. Traffic was lined up over a kilometre in the 10 minutes or so the bridge was open.

We continued a few kms along Hwy 104 to a friendly Walmart parking lot. As always, we are not alone although this is not one of the busier stores. We covered a decent distance today (for us) so a free night’s rest is welcome. Tomorrow will get us to the Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site.

July 29, 2019 Albert Bridge, NS 6,254 kms from home

A milestone of sorts today: we drove to the easternmost bit of road that Seven will see on this trip, although we will take Toad farther east when we drive Cabot Trail. After this, it is all westward until we get home in September.

It is now official: Nova Scotia has the worst secondary highways in the country! As usual, I chose a secondary highway near the coast instead of the primary highway inland. These secondary roads in Nova Scotia are all poorly maintained with narrow lanes and no shoulder. There are lots of frost heaves and potholes. See my July 22 comments on Hwy 2. Well, Hwy 247 between St Peters and Marion Bridge is worse. The pavement at the edge has crumbled away so it is impossible to stay on the road in our lane because Seven is wider than the pavement in our lane.  There were more patched and unpatched holes than there was virgin pavement. We were down to 40 kph in some sections. If I was a Nova Scotian, I would be embarrassed.

We did eventually arrive at our campground near the Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site. I was a little surprised nothing had fallen off Seven. The campground attendant said we would need most of the day to see the fortress so we will go tomorrow.

We settled into our site at quite a large park. There are 211 campsites on a three-pointed chunk of land extending into the Mira River. There are walking trails, beaches and playgrounds. This is the top ranked Provincial Park campground in Nova Scotia and very well maintained.

July 30, 2019 Albert Bridge, NS 6,254 kms from home

Today was explore the Fortress day. It is 35 kms from Sydney and located on a point of land allowing complete control of the entrance to Louisbourg Harbour. We arrived at the reception building at 11:00, paid our reasonable $15 entry fee and rode the bus to the actual Fortress. This is not the place for a history lesson but in brief, about 20 of the original structures have been rebuilt as they were in 1754.

This was a federal government make work project to give Cape Breton coal miners new skills and new jobs. It took nearly 20 years to do and includes barracks, residences, the King’s (of France) Bastion, warehouses, shops, in inn, eatery, bakery, the Engineer’s residence and much more. They recreated construction techniques, period costumes for the interpreters and actors, and except for the subtle smoke detectors and sprinkler systems, looks just as it did some 270 years ago. Tax money well spent.

There are actors in every building to explain what we were looking at. Furnishings and accessories looked like museum the pieces they are. There were several activities during the day. Soldiers lead by fife and drums, musket and rifle firing and the most impressive, cannon firing. They use a 1.5 lb charge for the demonstration and it was very, very loud with lots of smoke and a distinctive smell and I felt the concussive force even when standing 50 metres to the rear and side of the muzzle. I can only imagine the sound and effect of a full 9 lb charge used to hurl cannonballs at the English.

On the way back home we toured the town of Louisbourg and drove out to see the site of the first lighthouse in Canada on the shore of the cape on the other side of the harbour. We got home about 5:30 tired out from the day. After dinner, Camper and I went for a walk and were talking to a neighbour. He apologized for the state of their roads and claimed the route we travelled to get here had been repaved only a few years ago. I have my doubts that a properly prepared and paved road could degrade so quickly but that’s his story.

July 31, 2019 Albert Bridge, NS 6,254 kms from home

Happy 66th birthday to me. I heard from Mom, Todd, Ann, Mark, Kim, Mel, and more. That’s nice.

We got underway at the usual time and got to Arm of Gold Campground only to find they had no sites available because a caravan was coming. That’s only the second time in 70 days we have been turned away. That’s a pretty good track record. I checked the tourism book and called the River Ryan Campground and they had room so away we went. It took about 20 minutes to get here and we got full hookups and an oceanfront site. Wow!

We went to a pizza joint with good reviews, but it was a dingy carryout only place, so I passed. We went to the casino but they don’t serve pizza and nothing else on the menu struck my fancy. After losing $20 in a slot I left Tess there and went to Boston Pizza. I figured I knew what to expect but I was wrong. I ate half of my disappointing pizza and brought the rest home. Maybe it will taste better tomorrow.

Camper and I visited the neighbours and met some new dogs. The family next door is local and the woman across the street is from California. She and her dog are travelling alone in her MB Sprinter based class B. Around 10pm Tess texted so I went to pick her up. No big wins this time but she had fun.

July, 2019

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