Friday, 23 September 2011

September 16-22, 2011

September 16, 2011

Nick was right--parts of New Brunswick are...repetitive...but not the Fundy Shore.  Who doesn't love the world's largest Lobster (Shediac) or giant tides and beautiful sunsets in Fundy National Park.  After setting up camp there we started to bike to the beach, and then realized it was about 4 km. downhill (not much fun one the way back up). We thanked our lucky stars that we set up early and were warm and snug when it rained all night.   Did I mention that we picked up lobster for dinner?  Oh for a little more time to walk to all of the waterfalls and play golf on the park's beautiful course.   

September 17, 2011

Saturday was devoted to a lot of sightseeing.  We checked out the town of Alma (boats high and dry on the Fundy shore), Cape Enrage Lighthouse (isn't that a great name for a piece of seashore?) and Cape Hopewell Rocks (aka the Flowerpot Rocks) before moving on to "Smiley's Povincial Park" in NS (another great name).  The Rocks were amazing and took up a ton of photo footage.  And...yes, we did manage to find another camp site right next to a disgruntled two-year old again.  Note to parents--under 4's seem to need their own beds (or their own campgrounds) at night.

September 18, 2011

On our way down through Nova Scotia, we stopped to exchange our malfuctioning mattress  (bought in BC--no receipt--we were impressed) and to pick up some scallops in Digby.  After a quick viewing of Yarmouth, we moved on to Shelburne.  Such a lovely reconstructed harbour front (past movie location) with a "Whirligig Festival" wrapping up.  We were enchanted with the creativity of these constructions--everything from "Marie Antoinette loosing her head" to "moose dueling".  Wish we had arrived earlier.  We decided to camp at Thomas Raddall Provincial Park and were rewarded with one of the nicest sites yet.  It was huge, completely isolated, next to the "comfort station" and we were serenaded by coyotes during the evening.  Yeah Nova Scotia!

September 19, 2011

After a morning spent exploring the park and learning about the area's settlers, we moved on to Liverpool and the Hank Snow museum.  Liverpool is very proud of being his birthplace (or at least the town next door).  We were treated to a video, music, and viewing of Hank memorabilia and then were on our way to visit with Heiner and Alison on Second Peninsula (out of Lunenberg).  Good thing for the GPS!  We arrived in time to check out the chip trails and have happy hour before a wonderful meal and plenty of great conversation.  What a beautiful home and site--we can see why Alison and Heiner are "bicoastal" people.

September 20, 2011

Next day dawned bright and sunny--ordered up specially for a kayaking trip with Alison and Heiner.  They had arranged for us to use a neighbour's new double so off we went to spend most of the morning and afternoon paddling through the splendid waterways near Second Peninsula.  We stopped for lunch on a small island and learned about another use for thermarests.  We played in and out the surge channels and checked out some pretty incredible sea-side cottages.  It was a truly spectacular day, made even better by a feast of scallops at the boat house and more great conversation.

September 21, 2011

After another great morning spent chatting and eating, we headed off to tour through old town Lunenberg.  Thanks to our special guided tour we saw more of it than usual--including the Bluenose under reconstruction and the beautifully reconstructed "St John's" church.  Whilst eating lunch at the Lunenberg gold course, we had time to take many photos of downtown from across the water and hope to create a photomontage someday.  Tony checked out the golf course rates and was pretty tempted!  We worked off lunch with a beautiful hike along Hurtle Beach.  Tiko (their dog) especially enjoyed the swimming.  Again, a fond goodbye and big thanks to Heiner and Alison for their fabulous hospitality.  We hope one day to return this in BC!  (Oh yes--and we forgot our coats in the closet, so would be meeting with Alison in Chester next day for coffee to pick them up.)  Off we went to Graves Island Provincial Park to spend the evening watching the sunset and listen to the apple trees drop apples onto the tent tarp.

September 22, 2011

Although Thursday looked very promising as we sat in the bright sunshine drinking coffee with Alison, it soon started to look less so by afternoon.  We used up the sunshine to explore Chester and then wandered around Peggy's Cove in the fog.  After checking for new runners for Tony, we decided to grab a motel room and get some blogging done while the rain poured down.  Yes, apparently it is going to be a rainy weekend, but we will happily spend the time indoors, chatting and visiting with Judy, Cliff and family.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

September 8-15, 2011 Eastward Bound Ontario and Quebec

September 8
After leaving the Swan Lake Mosquito sanctuary, we headed off to get a coffee at Timmy's in Kirkland Lake Ontario.  I never knew what the reason for Kirkland Lake was but this became immediately obvious passing a number of operating Gold Mines coming into town and seeing at least one new pickup truck, snow mobile, boat and ATV in every driveway..pretty prosperous town.
We left our overburdened trusty steed for a much need changed of oil and headed off for a stroll.  Came across a few other interesting historical pieces describing the origin of the town.  Back at the Speedy Lube we tried to ask our Franco service guys what the 101 was like in Quebec (60 km away), but they had never been to Quebec..  We opted for this route on a chance and it turned out to be a very picturesque drive down to North Bay.  Holly our GPS pointed us down a short cut route to bypass North Bay on a secondary road to Mattawa...if we were about 500 lbs lighter it would have made a fun rally course.  This was one of the key towns for the voyageurs to take a left hand turn up the Mattawa river to reach the fur grounds.

We found a great campsite on the shores of the Ottawa river to spend the night.  Interesting to find other people travelling and to hear their stories.

September 9
We had a date to watch a pistol shooting competition that Nick was organizing the team from Land Force Western at the Connaught Range near Kanata.  They had a fun competition that afternoon which involved 2 teams of 4 personnel in a team each with 2 magazines of 5 shells shooting at a set of 12 targets (some rules about who could shoot what complicated the proceedings), but team with all plates down first won.

One of Nick's teams won overall CF position (out of ~30 teams) and placed 2nd in the International...they were happy soldiers!  We had an enjoyable evening with my Uncle Marcel and Aunt Jennette at their house in Kemptville where we were staying.

September 10, 2011
We collected Nick from his favourite pastime while in in Shirley Bay on the Ottawa river.
The big family reunion followed hosted at Uncle Mike’s house in Gatineau. We were able to visit family not seen for years, uncles. aunts, cousins, second cousins...lots of food and family photos.

September 11, 2011
Trip to Merickville in morn with Marcel and Jenne to see the historic town and the locks on the Rideau Canal...this would be a great trip to travel the whole canal system.  

Afternoon biking along the Ottawa river, with lunch in the Bytown Market and scenic sites with Nick was very enjoyable.  Intense encounter with two angry pedestrians re: bike right of ways.  A little fishing and dropping Nick off again.

September 12, 2011
It was a sad goodbye to our wonderful hosts Marcel and Jennette who gave us a whole new view of RVing.  
Off we were to Quebec City to rendevous with Carmel. We caught up on the news from Sidney. Carmel treated us to dinner and dessert in the historic city, impressing us with her with French, but nothing caught on tape!  We camped out in a motel near Montmorency Falls (higher than Niagara Falls).

September 13, 2011
Walked back to view the Falls and get a chance to try out the largest stairmaster ever!  

Forward to the Gaspe with our first stop in Restigouche, but the weather was theatening and we whimped out to find a very reasonable motel with kichenette as it was starting to rain.  We had an interesting walk through the town in the evening to see some of the historic sites.

September 14, 2011
We continued north onto the Gaspe peninsula with a side trip to the Grotto/Gorge near St. Leandre.  We were worried that this was going to turn into a survival trip as the road kept deteriorating as we travelled down the diminishing tract, but turned out to be OK.  We were rewarded with a stunning river gorge with ancient rocks.
Driving further north onto the Peninsula the coastal scenery was spectacular, with awe inspiring vistas around every corner.  

We overnighted in Gaspe as the weather was distinctly not favourable for summer camping so again opted for non-tenting accommodation.

September 15, 2011
We stopped by to see the Champlian memorial in Gaspe...quite a quotation.....
and then drove onto Perce to see the rock.  

Driving down the south shore we stopped in at the World Heratage site Miguasha to see an exhibit of extraordinary marine fossils.  We ended the day at the Restigouche Hotel in Matapedia on another rainy cold evening.  We ran into a couple from Michigan at the hotel that we had met earlier in the day at Perce and invited them up to the room have a nice chat over a glass of was a pleasant evening to meet new people.  Elaine discovered that Daphne Greig remembered this town from living in NB and going there for skiing.  Our room overlooked the confluence of the Matapedia and Restigouche rivers which are home to world class Atlantic Salmon fishing....fortunately this was off season so we could afford the room.

Monday, 12 September 2011

August 31-September 7, 2011 On the Road to the East Coast

Off we go!  Out of Tatlayoko and across Canada.  After phoning to check in with Lewis Stiles in Saskatoon, we leave Williams Lake.  Pretty uneventful getting to Blue River, except for the grey clouds that keep following us.  With the promise of rain, we decide to stay in a little chalet.  It has about as much space as the tent, but comes with internet, kids and teepees (see well-loved bear below).  We biked to the “Oldest continuously-running Grocery Store in BC”, complete with crotchety calico cat.

September 1, 2011: Blue River to Edson

Well, it didn’t rain much, but boy is it cold out!  We warmed up by biking for a couple of hours around Jasper--sneaking through the Lodge golf course to complete the loop.  loved the community garden idea--right on main street.  On to Edson and motel time (our ground sheet isn’t big enough for that kind of water).

September 2, 2011: Edson to North Battleford

Alright--let’s go stalk Nick’s new house in Edmonton.  Promising location (close to NAIT and airport), though not yet “upgraded neighbourhood” with spectacular 2-car garage.  We spent a lovely morning visiting with B and toured her family’s printing operation.  Very high-tech! We arrived in N. Battleford just in time to spend 1/2 hour in the museum pondering the prairie fall-out from the end of the buffalo.  Would it rain?  We decided to camp out anyhow and spent sunset walking Fort Battleford’s perimeter.

Our accomodation is a bit rustic, but it is a bed.

September 3, 2011: North Battleford to Saskatoon

Many photos of prairie sky and we arrive at Lewis and Marilla’s house in Saskatoon.  We expect to stay for tea/coffee as they are busy with a friend’s wedding, but end up staying with our amazing host and hostess overnight.  During that time we are treated to wonderful food, conversation and a walk through Lewis’ commuting trail.  Saskatoon is a beautiful city--especially with the riverside trails and parks.  A visit to a real “Buffalo Jump” completes this excursion. 

September 4, 2011: Saskatoon to Portage La Prairie

More lovely prairie landscape, but now it is starting to get very flat and very wet.  By fluke, we choose the right “Creekside Campground”--the other is closed due to floods for another couple of years.  This one is a seasonal refuge for people from Winnipeg.  Some of those motor homes have gardens and gazebos with them.  The water table still looks dangerously high.

September 5, 2011: Portage La Prairie to Ignace

More gorgeous skylines and old Ukrainian-Greek Orthodox Churches.  Okay tonight, we need another blanket, but not one with a “Star Wars” theme!  Warm at last, we stay in a lovely family-run campground on a lake.  It has fabulously clean showers and bathrooms.  Funny the things you notice.  The extra blanket works wondrously well.

September 6, 2011: Ignace to Geraldton

Great day spent in Fort William.  Hard to believe there is a furred animal left in Canada when you see the amount of hides that came through this place.  We have this camping thing down to a fine art and it takes no time to have tent up and dinner ready.  And--we are still warm.

September 7, 2011: Geraldton to Kirkland Lake
Saw lots of Gold mines driving through the Kirkland area, looks pretty prosperous.
What a crazy hunt for accomodation--we drove much further than we wanted to and finally found a place to stay at Swan Lake (aka mosquito swamp).  Luckily the scenery is lovely and will be even better when the fall colours are out.  Were rewarded with a great sunset.