2020 The Covid Diaries - Nova Scotia and New Brunswick
You may have heard of the great pandemic back in 2020? I'm here to tell you that it really messed with our travel plans for 2020, but in the end, we still managed to have a lovely ramble about our beloved "Atlantic Bubble".
Caroline pulling into Peggy's Cove Nova Scotia
The revised plan called for a week of riding in Nova Scotia followed by a day off on the island, then we would do some travelling in New Brunswick. Fourteen days of fun.
Day 1 - 16 Aug - Charlottetown PE to Blomidon NS - Drive 336 mi, 7 hours, 9 minutes
Charlottetown PE to Blomidon NS
We opted to leave on Sunday morning, and that really took the pressure off, for I had been laid off by my employer so had all the time in the world to prepare for the ride, but Caroline needed a day to sort out her load, so when Sunday morning rolled around we were both eager to get going.
The Confederation Bridge
The line up at the Confederation bridge and the New Brunswick COVID checkpoint was minimal. Is it a sign of the times when an emergency measure becomes a routine?
They let us in! The fools!
We started out by heading along a route we've done as a day trip in the past, but hadn't been able to get to this year due to the travel restrictions, Advocate Harbour Nova Scotia. I like to avoid the highway and amble on down past Amherst then cross the Trans Canada and head to Joggins on the Bay of Fundy, then ride along the coast up through East Apple Creek and over to Advocate Harbour, then stop at one of our favourite places for lunch, the Wild Caraway restaurant in Advocate itself.
Advocate Harbour NS
Just outside of Joggins, the old bridge is now gone, and the road was rerouted closer inland to make a much smaller bridge, but the "Old Branch Road" remains, and the view is spectacular.
The view from Old Branch Shulie Road, Joggins NS
The view from Old Branch Shulie Road, Joggins NS
The view from Old Branch Shulie Road, Joggins NS
Yep, kinda busted up a bit. Pick your line and maybe reduce your speed.
Shulie road can be ridden by anyone that knows how to slow down a bit and avoid potholes.
The Shulie Road NS 209 from Joggins to Apple River is not in the best of shape
The one and only gas station in the town looks like it was playing host to a bunch of Sunday drivers, a car club, and I couldn't help but admire some of the classic cars on display.
The rolls at the Wild Caraway are fantastic, and I could have stuffed myself with their signature caraway and dulse (seaweed) rolls with butter and called it a meal. We couldn't resist the dessert on the menu, sticky date pudding with some ice cream! It was fabulous. We have been eating there for three riding seasons and have never been disappointed with the food they serve.
Sticky date pudding with ice cream... Mmmmm!
Caroline used to dread the hair pin corners of the Parrsboro side of Advocate Harbour, and she would warn me that I'd pretty much be on my own until she was happier with the road, but after all that time we had spent riding on Cape Breton Island, the only limiting factor she found today was the low foot pegs on her Honda Shadow, and her average speed was fantastic and didn't slow me down much at all. In fact, I pulled over to wait for her after I ripped through a lovely bit of road with some awesome chicanes, but no sooner did I get my kickstand down, when she appeared at the crest of the hill, and I had to pull in behind her. :)
We skipped on through Parrsboro on Route 2, headed for Truro eventually, but as we passed through Five Islands NS, I saw a farm that advertised fresh wild blueberries, and on previous trips I'd been leaning more towards buying fruit desserts instead of processed foods, so while Caroline waited for me in the church parking lot, I raced back and did a tight turn up their steep gravel driveway to buy a lovely pint of blueberries and a small back of blueberry granola. Seven dollars worth of lovely food, but I was a bit concerned about how much abuse in my top box that the berries could handle.
Tonight's dessert, a pint of wild blueberries courtesy of the Yorke Family Farm Lower Five Islands on the Glooscap Trail.
Flashbacks to a trip through Nova Scotia three years ago, when my sister gave me some fresh apricots to haul along with me, and by Annapolis Royal, they were apricot jam!
I need not have worried though, for the berries survived well in their cardboard pint box, inside a plastic bag.
We wanted to stay along the coast, but had no real reason to visit Truro, other than to top off our tanks again, but you have to be on the highway to cross over the Salmon river to the East, so we hopped onto the Trans Canada and then off again, and retraced a route that would take us across the Shubenacadie river. Just to the south of Truro is South Maitland NS, where you follow 236 until it joins up with 215, but we hit a wee traffic snarl as the bridge was reduced to a single lane while the concrete deck was being refitted, and I was able to snap a pic of the Shubenacadie River at low tide as we crossed over.
The Shubenacadie River looking south
There is a side cut that I wanted to show Caroline, as it leads to a wonderfully scenic spot viewable from Burntcoat road. What I didn't know is that Burncoat Park at low tide is spectacular and it would have been a great place to stop and get pictures. Yet another reason why we will have to go back there someday. :)
Burntcoat Road North of NS 215
The lighting isn't perfect, I should use a foreground flash next time. I love this shot.
The view from the 215 is pretty amazing at times, and one such scene is shown below. I had to U-Turn for this one, and I feel it was well worth it.
Looking north along the TennyCape River at low tide
I wanted to show Caroline Walton lighthouse, and we pulled into it at around 1700 hrs. Caroline wandered and took lots of photos while I captured a few that I'd not done three years previously, including this one, a shot of the rocky coastline, the very reason for the lighthouse.
The view along the Walton River, Lorne Smith Road Walton Lighthouse
It was getting late, and we were getting a bit edgy as the traffic got worse as we neared the Saint Croix River near Sweets Corner NS, and when I went under the highway overpass expecting to see "Wolfville" on one of the signs, I was pretty pissed when all they said was Yarmouth and Halifax... I wasn't sure which we would need, and indecision forced us to turn into a parking lot, then once we had clarified that we would need the "Yarmouth" direction (North on the NS 101), we headed back out into traffic, jumped onto the highway with our goal being a grocery and fuel stop in Wolfville, then a poke up to the Blomidon Lookoff, followed by locating a convenient campsite at Blomidon Provincial Park.
We still have a ways to go
If the travel time is an hour, you are going to need to add traffic, grocery and fuel stop, plus the photos at the top of the look off. It was 1800 when we fueled up in Wolfville, and we did our first "Six O'clock Charlie" where our routine is to:
Fuel the bikes
Purchase Four litres of water
A wee container of milk for morning tea
A dessert (a couple of chocolate bars)
Anything else that struck our fancy
Pancetta for our Ramen
This was to be our first real taste of shopping in Nova Scotia during the pandemic. We'd done it before, but this time Caroline and I both went into the store for the wander around. The store was clearly enforcing their rules, and we had to wait to enter once some other customers departed the store, and wear our masks, and sanitize upon entry. Ah COVID. We did find some whipping cream for the berries, and some pancetta that would be added into our ramen at supper tonight.
Up at the Lookoff, we were treated to a bit of an early sunset.
Caroline took a number of shots with her camera, so I opted to get a wee video to show the scale and panoramic views of the area. It's depth of soil, and location mean that it is one of Nova Scotia's most productive cultivated land areas, and is the site of many of the vineyards of Atlantic Canada.
We left the look off and headed back down the ridge onto Pereau road, where I had to stop and get a few photos as Caroline patiently waited for me. I should have stopped a couple of more times near Delhaven, as the view lit by the setting sun was spectacular! It was the golden hour, but we were in a bit of a hurry to make sure we made it to the campground in time. It happens on every trip, and I think of the photos as "the ones that got away". :)
A harbour along the Minas Basin near Delhaven NS
It really is a beautiful area, and I hope that Caroline and I can return next year just to explore the area and enjoy the roads. My Grandmother Jennie Corkham-Kierstead (Corkum) was born 50 km away in Harbourville NS, and I've still distant relatives in the area.
Looking North from Pereau Road to White Water, Blomidon Provincial Park Nova Scotia
We rolled up to the park office later than I would have liked, about 1945 or 7:45pm for those who are challenged by the 24 hour clock. And after Caroline booked us a campsite, we hastened on down the road and began to pitch our tent as the sun began to set. The view was spectacular, and as they have closed every second campsite for social distancing, our neighbours were not to be seen unless you looked carefully.
Caroline loves that I do the cooking while we are these trips, and I like doing it as well, for I'm forever watching YouTube channels like Kent Survival, or Nova Scotia's own Mark Young at Shunpyke Bushcraft and Vek0 who cooks everything from scratch over a fire somewhere in Northern Europe I believe, so I like to think that I've prepared myself mentally to boil the water and insert the ramen. While I'm preparing our culinary repast, Caroline graciously blows up my air mattress, pillow and lays out my sleeping gear before joining me at the picnic table.
This run I'd chosen to use a butane can setup with a butane to lindal valve adapter to my D-Power gas stove. It's not as easy to hide away as my SVEA123R, but it is extremely simple to use, has a great flame output, lowers the centre of gravity by being quite low to the table (have you tried stirring the contents of a pot perched atop the MSR Pocket Rocket 2?) , works quite well in winds up to a fresh breeze in strength, and boasts a wicked simmer. Boil times for 500ml are in the four to six minute range if protected from the wind. The pot is one that I purchased late in 2019 as I found that I needed to boil at least 1.5 litres of water in the morning for Caroline and I for her coffee, and my tea and oatmeal. It is also big enough to cook for two, possibly three people in. An MSR Alpine Stowaway aka Seagull. I love the robust pot with a locking lid, as you can stuff quite a lot of gear into the pot, lock it, toss it into your case, beat the tar out of it, then use it directly over a fire or stove to make dinner. If you are running solo, let me recommend the 775ml as it does a pack of ramen perfectly, and is big enough to fry an egg or two if you are careful. This is this is the largest 1.6L size, and I'll pack the stove, the windscreen (low) and my silicone Fido bowl into it after each meal. Love it.
MSR Alpine Stowaway aka Seagull
The menu tonight was going to be dead simple, Nong Shim Pork Noodle Ramen, two packages, some freshly cut onion, a bit of garlic flakes from PEI's Eureka Garlic, and that pancetta we bought in Wolfville.
Okay, it was the first trial of the Nongshim Pork Noodle ramen, and that stuff is fragrant (stinky) but tasted fantastic! Their Kim Chi is out of this world and sets a new standard for Caroline and I when considering a campsite or even a supper meal at home. It was now full dark, and the best part of the meal was tossing the berries into a fido bowl and hauling out our the whipping cream to seal the deal. We went turn for turn with our spoons and left no survivors! Sadly we couldn't let the remaining whipped cream go to waste as we were without refrigeration and were forced to do mouth mix after mouth mix until nothing was left. Caroline rocks! :D
The park has exterior washup sinks at the showers, so we washed up everything with some soap and water, performed our ablutions for the evening, and by that time is was full dark and time to crawl into our tents and see how loud loud the neighbourhood was going to be.
Day 2 - 17 Aug - Blomidon NS to Middleton NS - 80 Kilometres - 2 hours
We awoke to the sound of rain hitting the fly of the tent, and after Caroline and I had sensed the rain tapering off, we scuttled out of our tents and off for a shower before suspending my brand new 3ul tarp that I had intended to set up as a dining fly over our table to keep the worst of the rain off of us while we sat and made breakfast, all the while looking at the gloomy forecast and shivering in the unseasonably cold, chill air.
The rain turns momentarily into fog
I love that early morning smile.
The tarp went up, all thirteen dollars of it, but I did have to shell out for some money for "Adjustable Camping Tent Nails Windproof Rope with Storage Bag Set Tent Build Accessories Canopy Fixed Rod Steel Nail Fitting". Hahaha. AliExpress, all in, an investment of about twenty dollars, but Caroline has been hauling it for almost a year now, and I've never needed it for a wet meal. I was secretly a bit happy to put theory to the test and try out the "Windproof rope", hahaha. It worked a treat, and we fastened it to the pine trees and moved the picnic table and the bikes to support the tarp overhead.
Rain drops aren't falling on my bread, they're not falling...
Well the forecast was not looking good, and with a daytime high of only 16 C recorded inland at Kentville, it was a cold morning, and we put on some extra layers. Caroline was discouraged as we'd spent a great deal of time riding in the cold and wet when returning from our two week trip to visit family in Ontario. We started examining our options for staying in the park another night, or riding out to Yarmouth as planned and looking for a site closer to Halifax, where I would need to be for I had a Zoom meeting for a job interview, and had made arrangements with a friend to drop in and use his backyard wifi to make it happen. Thanks Danny!
I've been carrying a hoodie, and today it comes in very useful!
We are in the Kentville area on this map. or that is the closest weather station to us.
We could stay at the park another night, but we only had until 1300 checkout, but then we would need to pack our tents up and shift everything to a the new camp site, so if we were going to pack up, why not just pack up and keep riding that day along our track. Caroline had burned up the weak LTE signal to find a motel that would allow us to dry out and stay nice and comfy overnight just up in Middleton NS, a distance of only about 80 km, but in the cold, wet rain it was a bit too far at the moment. I'm channeling a ride we did from Quebec City up to Chicoutimi that was crazy wet and cold in September of last year, and I found myself in enjoyable agreement with how cozy it would be to camp out with a roof over our heads for a night. Lol.
Before we knew it, it was twelve and time for lunch with some more fresh onion and some Nong Shim Pork Noodle ramen. This stuff is good, but for whatever reason, it has this unsavoury odour. I may need to forget about that before I buy more of it. Try their Kim Chi as it is out of this world and sets a new standard for ramen. That Pork Noodle was so stinky that it flavoured our silicone bowls. It wasn't so bad for me in the following days as I use it every morning for Apples and Cinnamon Oatmeal, but Caroline won't touch that flavour again as it took much of a week before her bowl smelt free of it and "neutral".
Nong Shim Pork Noodle Soup for lunch!
Wouldn't you know it, halfway along on our ride to Middleton, we left the rain behind us and even found the roads were drying up ahead of us, but now we had a booked and paid for room waiting ahead of us... so after a fairly short ride we arrived at the motel and collected the keys for our room, off loaded the bikes and exclaimed at how early in the day our ride had ended, and how this sunny spot must be in the eye of the storm, it will come back with a vengeance, you just wait and see!
Our suite at the Fundy Spray Motel Surprisingly decent for the price, and with a kitchen
Right, it was early, and we wanted to do a bit of shopping and lay in some wobbly pops and perhaps a bit of junk food, and while Caroline shopped in the grocery store for morning breakfast that was going to be fresh eggs, with milk for tea and some ice cream bars for dessert that she liked. Salted Caramel something or others iirc. I headed over to King Size Pizza and collected the order for Panzerotto that I'd called in to them about 30 minutes ago from the comfort of our motel suite at the Fundy Spray Motel. We had more than enough food to wait out the storm of doom, and I made sure my motorcycle was visible from the window. And with fresh, hot pizza, and an armful of junk food and breakfast bits, we got stuck into our Panzerotti. Fantastic! Best (only) panzerotti I've had on the East coast, and I'd ordered enough for three people thinking that they might be on the small side, so it was two Donair, and one Pizza, but the donair panzerotti defeated us, and we put combined the leftovers, ate our ice cream bars, drank a bit of cider, while Caroline really enjoyed some new to her Smirnoff cranberry lime vodka soda. They were good, and so refreshing to have all the flavour with none of that pop skull sugar that guarantees a diabetic high for me complete with a hangover. Anyhow, we watched a bit of television but it was probably around 2130 when we opted for bed and reading.
Day 3 - 18 Aug - Middleton NS to Shelburne NS - 300km - 6 hours
Middleton NS to Islands Provincial Park NS
I had a good sleep, and for once got a bit of a sleep in instead of waking up at 0500, so after a shower, we loaded the bikes up with our gear, and...
Sat around awhile and chatted away with some of the locals who were renting an apartment beside the motel, one of whom had dropped on over to to say good morning and check out our rides.
The bikes are loaded and we're minutes away from mentally preparing ourselves
Yeah, we are not going to get set any long distance records, but we are so easy going that just meandering along is part of the adventure, and I love being with someone who can put up with my "like a leaf blowing in the wind, I never know which way I will get blown" attitude. That's a lie, I can become Mr. Cranky Pants with the best of them, but allow my my delusions, it keeps the rest of you safe. We did have a long chat with Dave about bikes and Ontario where he had been living for a while before moving back to Middleton where his Dad and Mom were. Caroline and I were grateful that we could hand him our ice cream and eggs so they wouldn't go to waste, as neither of us had any appetite but for tea and coffee that we'd made and enjoyed an hour ago. Dave took the eggs over to his apartment and announced to his two guests that scrambled eggs were on the menu, so we felt good about our impromptu gifting. And with that, we waved goodbye and set off along NS 1 bound for Annapolis Royal NS and hopefully somewhere near Halifax as I was going to need to prepare for that interview.
This is where the new editing features of blogger crapped out on me and I'm considering recovering ten years plus of content and saving it on another platform. **sigh
No rain gear needed at all for today, but it was not the hot riding weather we had experienced in Cape Breton a couple of weeks ago, in fact, it was darn near perfect, and with the sun shining over us, our rain gear was packed away where it ought to be. Next stop, Digby Nova Scotia, home of the Wharf Rat Rally!
Wharf Rat Rally Digby Nova Scotia
COVID put the stopper on this year's fun, but it should be back next year in full force.
The cenotaph Downtown Digby Nova Scotia
Caroline wanted to visit one of the stores and look at possible gifts for her mother's birthday, which set me at large for a few minutes to look over the town Cenotaph and the cannon located there.
Caroline had also picked us up a coffee and pastry to share, so we sat out by the water front and sipped the coffee and enjoyed the moment, before launching back into tourist mode and taking more photos.
Each of the local industries of digby is represented on the boat, with wood carvings representing the trades and industries.
A very nice view, and the harbour isn't so bad either
This building opposite us looks so old, I wondered what it's history might have been.
Office space for lease. Stilts?
I could see a rich history of the sea here. Digby has a what appears to be a well protected harbour along the shores of Fundy Bay.
It was time for lunch, and we still had lots of panzerotto left from last night, so we made a meal of our last bits of donair and pepperoni panzerotti while sitting on a bench at The Annapolis Basin Look Off Provincial Park just down the road from Digby proper. With all this COVID closures, finding a washroom was getting harder to do, but this one had a space rocket that we could use if necessary.
Getting back on the bikes meant that we were going to have to retrace our steps back out to NS 101 South East that would take us into Yarmouth where I wanted to share the beauty of the Cape Forchu Lighthouse that would be a highlight of our afternoon. One day I want to skip the Acadian coast and try the 340 through the interior, as my friend Zac assures me that it has more to offer than the 101 and can be quite entertaining in spots. After having ridden the 101 twice now, I'm ready for something new, but not this trip, not yet.
On our way out of town, I spotted a wee farmers market, that is if you call one pickup truck selling fresh produce a market. Fresh Peaches drew me in like a magnet and I'm sorry to say Caroline had to find a spot to turn round and come back as she still hates U-Turns with a passion.
Yarmouth, 77km thataway!
Those peaches were ripe, juicy and completely unfit for travel on a motorcycle, so we bought a small amount and enjoyed them right there in the parking lot, but a bit of water was needed to wash up. In fact, we only wanted a few so the lady gave them to us for free, rather than charge for a pint or basket. Caroline picked out a few harder wearing vegetables for our supper that night, and that made us both feel better that not only did we get a treat, but supported local business at the same time. Thanks! I can still taste those so sweet peaches!
For a while NS 101 is the only game in town if you are heading South West along the coast, and you will drive through a few small towns along the way, then when the highway crosses the Sissiboo River you can exit the 101 in favour of the older NS 1 that follows the coast and winds through all the small towns on the Evangeline Trail that we were hoping to see.
Tam & Mary overlooking Barn Pool as seen from the Fort Point Road North Weymoth NS along the Evangeline Trail
Guess how well Caroline can execute a U-Turn when there is fudge involved? As we passed through North Weymouth and followed the Sissiboo River south, we happened across this very innovative commercial enterprise of Sharon's. There is a cash box in the cooler for change, and Caroline bought enough to share with me.
4827 Nova Scotia Trunk 1
Weymouth, Nova Scotia
44.4202222,-65.9963137 <--- These GPS coordinates will put you right into her driveway. :)
Worth the stop, believe me. She had peanut butter chocolate in the cooler that day, and it was wonderful! Caroline gave it her "Mmmmm" of a approval.
Sharon's Fudge Weymouth NS
Can you see the smile?
That was the last picture I took before we hit Cape Forchu, although if you want to see a wee bit more of the Acadian Shore then have a look at my trip along these roads in 2017 The Lighthouse Route in Nova Scotia
Yarmouth Bar road
While the skies were overcast, they weren't foggy as I'd experienced with my last ride through here, so I was pleased when I found "The Rockin' Rock" from that earlier trip. It's just a rock on the shore line of Cape Forchu, but I like it well enough to stop and photograph it.
The Rock (They made a movie about this!)
Definitely a rock I think, but I could be wrong
There was a mini home on the way to the Cape lighthouse, and I stopped to get a couple of photos of it, as it looked like a pretty cool concept, and this was the first one I've seen with a semi permanence about it, the other's having been trailers of one sort or another.
We sighted the lighthouse with it's distinctive apple core shape, but with more vehicles in the parking lot than we were expecting, so contented ourselves with a walk out of doors admiring the unique rock features of the cape.
Looking East across Yarmouth Sound towards Sunday Point
Yarmouth Sound as seen from Cape Forchu
Looking South from Cape Forchu
There is a well defined path system across the cape, most of it is wheelchair accessible, and there is a whale skeleton on the gravel. I took this one for reference and scale, as well as some close ups.
I really have to thank Stephen for donating the bones to the township who chose this spot to display them. It's the first time I was able to appreciate the size and power of these creatures!
High tide ad winds create these small pools in the rocks. I call it a mini fjord.
Cape Forchu Couplie!
Sometimes you turn to another view to find beauty around you. With a fog that was blowing in from the ocean, it was rather easy to look closer ashore and spot some of the beauty right in front of us, such as the wild roses that grow here and there along the shoreline.
A view more familiar to the sailors
Looking North along the shore of Cape Forchu
Snack time closeup!
Caroline had picked up a yoghurt tube or something, and was going to enjoy it right there in the parking lot in front of everyone! I pretended I didn't know her and may have placed a call to the authorities. EDITOR'S NOTE: She corrected me, she'd been stealing a drink out of my camel back when I snapped that. oops!
It was 1540 in the afternoon, so time to hop back on the bikes and make tracks back out to the Lighthouse Route and the town of Yarmouth proper.
We didn't get too far, before we opted to stop at False Harbour beach while back tracking out of Cape Forchu.
Ooh! Caroline brings out the big guns for some shots! False Harbour NS
The view to the right of Outer False Harbour, Nova Scotia
False Harbour Beach Cape Forchu, Nova Scotia
Wild roses, my Caroline and those in front of you.
Rose hips and beaches
Darned light is backlighting her!
I was trying to get some shots of Yarmouth Bar here. I found some of the scenery beautiful
Is this a tidal pool? It has a beauty of its own
I wonder if they prefer the catamaran hull? I haven't seen many fishing boats like this in my travels.
There is a "Lost to the Sea Memorial - Overton" worth pulling over to view, as it shares some of the history of the area, and a great view of Bunker Island to the East.
The landscape is dotted with tidal pools, streams and marshy grassland, home to so many birds that are now oblivious to car and motorcycle traffic. I should have taken a few pictures, can you believe that? Next time. :)
Yarmouth was a town you hear of so many times when people talk of Nova Scotia, so I was expecting something quite a bit larger than a town of over 7,000 souls. It's there, a destination for so long for most of your day, then you ride into the outskirts, the older downtown and commercial/industrial area, and boom you are right back out of Yarmouth and heading East on the Lighthouse Route, bound for a campsite somewhere.
Lest We Forget
Église catholique Sainte-Anne Catholic Church
We honestly had no idea where we were going to spend the night tonight, but as we progressed south East on NS 3 the Lighthouse Route, we were getting a bit more fatigued and looking for a satisfactory end to our day's ride. Last time I was here, I stayed beside some lobster traps in a mown field belonging to my hosts, Frank and Kathy who chatted with me about my trip. Now that was a wonderful experience, but Caroline and I were going to stay at a campground, with showers and washrooms, that was the deal I make with Caroline for these rides. No pooping in the woods. There is a whole new level of luxury when I travel with this girl. (I'm half joking. She always adds value to our rides.) That means I pulled out my GPS and began looking for campsites while Caroline did the same on her phone. I knew there was an Esso up ahead, as I'd taken a photo there three years ago that I loved, and was hoping to recreate with Caroline.
Looking south from the Lighthouse Route NS 3 A brook leading to Pubnico Harbour Nova Scotia
Caroline on her 2004 Honda Shadow
The Lighthouse Route One of my favourite signed trails in all of the East Coast
While wandering, we saw signs for a campground here and there, that precisely aligned with our goal of calling it a day and getting off of our bikes for the day. The Islands Provincial Park was a short ride further ahead, but again we found that we needed to reserve and pay for the site online, and while I was content to ride in and "steal" a spot for the night and fessing up to it online and paying for it from the comfort of our campfire, Caroline held me in check and did it all right and proper, but she did allow me to go scout the park while she waited for the staff to return from supper. :P I had to really convince her to ride round the gate and take the short cut, but eventually we pulled up to our site. It was perched up on a hill a bit, but with a nice view across the water, and again, COVID was helping us as the campground was only lightly populated and we could swing a cat almost anywhere we chose.
Now we could erect our tents in the family campground, then with some empty side cases, ride back into town to shop for the evening where I managed to find some No Boats on Sunday apple cider, one of my absolute favourite tipples out here, or anywhere for that matter. It's a crisp, dry cider that goes down well when cold.
My view from the picnic table.
You know, for the life of me I can't remember what we had that evening, but I know we had picked up four litres of water and some dessert. Caroline had her fireball for dessert.
Is that a butterfly?! Is it a bird? A plane!?
The maple trees are trying to use my girlfriend as potting soil!
The lights of Shelburne Nova Scotia
And that about all she wrote for today. Join us tomorrow for Lunenburg!
Day 4 - 19 Aug - Shelburne NS to Peggy's Cove NS
Drive 226 km, 3 hours, 5 minutes
Shelburne NS to Peggy's Cove NS
Do you get the feeling you know exactly what I'm going to have for breakfast again this morning? If you guessed milk tea with instant apples and cinnamon oatmeal you'd win a prize.
Boiling the water for breakfast.
It was a chill, foggy morning today.
Coffee and candy sticks Caroline?! I'm surprised at you!
Yeah, but they did away with the name "cigarette" on the box and replaced it with "sticks" so the famous Popeye brand that I loved as a kid were Candy Sticks with no ties to the tobacco industry. Still yummy, and I had some with my breakfast that morning.
Who needs caffeine this morning? I do! Is it going to kick in? Please?!
Time to get the gear packed away. I have a footprint for each of my tents, and I found that when it becomes wet or soiled, the best method is to trifold the tent on top, then tri fold the footprint over top of the tent body itself. The loose pine needles here needed to be wiped away as I did it.
The Alps Mountaineering Chaos 3
What I failed to show is me folding the rain fly in on itself until it fits nicely on top of the inner tent body. If it's dry it goes inside with the tent package, if wet, it will stay on the outside of the footprint.
The rain fly is damp, so it's going to be rolled in on top of the footprint.
When it's ready to roll, I toss the tent pole bag in, then roll the tent and all around the tent poles.
The whole package, wet or dry, now gets stuffing into my 20 litre PVC canoe bag where it will stay very dry or very wet depending on the weather you experienced that night. Hopefully it will be a dry one tonight.
Suzi still rides with me in spirit.
I've a passenger this morning
There is nothing to do but gear up now...
It was foggier around Shelburne, enough to make us don our rain jackets, but later in the morning we rode out of the fog, into another overcast day. We followed 3 south
Shelburne County Rail Trail as seen from The Lighthouse Route Nova Scotia
Part of Lockeport Harbour NS
Bridge jumping is the fashion. Bridge over the Medway (possibly?)
Caroline wanted to ride out to Bell Island which was a one way there and back, but I found it absolutely fascinating as I'd skipped this bit. We spent a good portion of the ride on one causeway after another that linked the small islands together that formed Crescent Beach, George, Bush, Jenkins, Bell, and finally, LeHave island itself.
White sea foam on the shore line
The fog was still with us
Crescent Beach Road LaHave Nova Scotia
LaHave has a rich history, and is one of the earliest settlements in Canada by the colonial French, at the LaHave colony established in 1632.
The view over the LaHave River towards Riverport (Kraut Point) NS
So a tiny bit of back story, and unfortunately also a look back into the real world for a minute or two. I'm an desk side support technician, and when COVID hit the company I worked for used me to issue every portable asset we had in Charlottetown out to our depots in Montreal and Toronto before being sent to work from home as a remote technical expert with the RTAC group. Suffice to say, I solved an awful lot of troubles for folks here there and everywhere, in fact I worked so hard that I along with a few other techs on the East Coast were declared surplus, and laid off, then two weeks later given our walking papers. I had a job interview coming up this afternoon that I planned to take at my colleagues house to make use of his internet (that's you Danny boy!), but I wasn't going to make it, and Caroline and I found ourselves coming into Lunenburg Nova Scotia. Three years ago I'd missed the turn into downtown and sailed right on past on NS 332 then turned north onto NS 3. Yeah, totally boned it, and still had no clue why everyone thought Lunenburg such a gem, having seen none of the good bits! so I was quite happy when we arrived on the outskirts in plenty of time to enjoy lunch before the telephone interview.
On Route 3 there was a popular little stop, Alex's Chill & Grill, and I really didn't want to try to find parking the downtown area, so we pulled into the parking lot and Caroline got out her trip advisor to find out it was very highly rated, so we lined up outside to place our order. And waited a healthy chunk of time too. Wow, it was a bit of a wait but well worth it.
They even cut them in half for us!
Caroline ordered the Deluxe Caesar & Cheese while I opted for the Great Canadian Burger. These guys are good at what they do, and I will be back. I had half of Caroline's and half of mine, and loved it all. The fries we shared. That was a solid little feed, and worth going back for.
It was an Ontario time meeting, so had another forty five minutes to kill, and tossed our gear back on and headed into town to find a good spot to park and do the interview. Caroline was extremely helpful, and loaned me her bluetooth headset, so I was able to do the Q&A for the interviewers as well as treating them to short facetime of the harbour area (and a tractor trailer backing up to make a turn on the narrow streets, sorry gents!)
I was a Sea Cadet when younger, and spent a lot of time learning some old skills from an old sailor that used to be in the Royal Navy and taught us ropework. We got the chance to walk into a chandlers shop and I loved every minute of it, trying to soak it all in, the Nova Scotia Sea School operating out of the rear of the building, and engaged in bringing a jolly boat down, and the mast, sails and oars for it down out of the third floor storage room. It was like stepping back in time a couple hundred years.
Handsomely now lads! Handsomely!
A wooden sailing vessel tied to the pier
Today I learned this is a pier. :)
I never did get that job, but I rather enjoyed the experience, and it gave me some good practice for the next of many interviews before I got hired on in a new support role.
180 Bluenose Drive Lunenburg Nova Scotia
The streets of Lunenburg are steeply inclined down to the water front, and one member of the party has no like for stopping on hills. I'm glad there were no kids around to hear the blue words being flung about. :)
We wanted to see what the coast had in store, so headed out onto Blue Rocks Road, and found ourselves in Blue Rocks Nova Scotia, but that is where the road died out, and began to look a whole lot like a private access road, so we turned back and retraced most of our route back down the road
She's dead Jim Mud Cove the view from Stonehurst Rd, Lunenburg, NS
Back out onto 3 and from there, our destination was Peggy's Cove, so we still have a few miles to go yet...
That fog rolled back in on us for a bit, but we had hopes for a sunny afternoon. And it was just a fog bank. No worries, in and out the other side.
The traffic into Peggy's Cove was lighter than I was expecting but we were still caught behind a number of vehicles, so when we passed the Wayside Camping Park midway to the famous cove and lighthouse, we pulled in to secure a spot for the night. After setting up our tents, we decided we'd prefer to move to the other side of the road into some shade as it was quite a bit warmer than we'd experienced this week, and things were beginning to get a bit unpleasant in all that riding gear.
13 minutes away
It was so nice to unload our gear into our tents and ride with light bikes 12 kilometres down the road to see the two major attractions if you are in the area, The Swissair Memorial Site at Peggy's Cove, and the lighthouse itself, but the scenery in and out on that twisting and winding road is spectacular in and of itself provided you aren't staring at the arse end of an RV with Florida plates. Lol. We had lady luck with us, and I was able to stop and get these pictures of Middle Point Cove off of NS 333
Middle Point Cove Indian Harbour Nova Scotia
Middle Point Cove
Middle Point Cove
I wish the sun had been in a better position for these, maybe next year. (I said that three years ago when I rode right past this shot then too...)
The Swiss Air SR 111 memorial site up and to the right
You can see Peggy's Cove from the Whalesback site of the memorial for SR 111
Whalesback looking toward the setting sun Saint Margarets Bay Atlantic Ocean
Looking across Saint Margarets Bay towards Southwest Cove NS
Peggy's Cove and Peggy's Point in view
It was time to head over to Peggy's Cove and see how heavy the traffic was today. Three years ago, there had been about a kilometer of parked cars out on NS 333 and tons of foot traffic and a stream of cars angling to get closer to the iconic lighthouse. This year around five pm it was a relative ghost town! We were able to park and choose our own spot right up in the parking lot itself. The Sou’Wester Gift & Restaurant was open and doing a light COVID business, but we didn't want to have any part of increasing our exposure so opted to remain outside enjoying the view. Dad keeps saying I've been to Peggy's Cove before, but in his mind he was still a young thirty four year old, father to a girl and two boys, and I was holding on to one of his fingers with my whole four year old hand. So I think this could count as my first time at Peggy's Cove, as I have no memory of ever having been there before.
Caroline has been here with her parents as well, but it was still pretty new to the pair of us.
Peggy's Point Lighthouse
Hair by Arai and Gmax
My favourite picture :)
You I Crush! Crush! Crush!
The Atlantic Ocean beating against the rocks at Peggy's Point Peggy's Cove Nova Scotia
The view North, Peggy's Cove to the right, D'Aubin's Cove and Cranberry Cove in the distance.
It looks empty, but I'm pretty good at waiting for the right moment to filter people out of the frame. I guess there were about ten or fifteen other tourists here on a Wednesday evening in mid August.
Caroline graciously waited for me while I scooted on down the road and snapped a shot of Peggy's Cove Sol
Peggys Cove Soi The view south of Prospect Road NS 333
It was time to stock up for supper, which we did at the local grocery store called the Whale's Back where there was a feature of local sweet corn that Caroline and I couldn't pass up, as well as the liquor store, so not only did we get some vegetables to accompany dinner like an onion, some corn, and of course four litres of water, but something to help us sleep that night. Caroline chose some "Perfect Storm" rum and ginger beer cocktail in a can. It was memorable, and good, oh so very good that we love the stuff and drink our dark rum with ginger beer at home.
We trucked it back to camp at Wayside Campground and set up for a late evening supper, which started out around 1900 which is kinda late for us...
Tonight's menu was going to be kimchi ramen (Nongshim brand), fresh onion, Bacon Spam, and sweet corn with desi (butter) ghee. Ghee is a fantastic butter substitute for camping as it is essentially clarified butter, but instead of having the solids completely removed, the Ghee process leaves some behind which add and mature the flavour. Best of all it can be stored without refrigeration for weeks, and tonight we used it as a direct replacement for butter on our corn, along with salt and pepper.
Caroline even saved some crunchy bits for the top Bam! a la Jake Piralta
The Belle of this ball was the sweet corn. Mmmmm!
Once the corn husks and detritus from our supper was cleaned up, we headed down to have a shower and perform our ablutions before bed. It was warm enough to sleep on top of the sleeping bag, but I managed alright, thanks for asking...
See you in the morning...
Day 5 - 20 Aug - Peggys Cove NS to Murphy's Cove NS
Drive 108 mi, 2 hours, 45 minutes
Peggys Cove NS to Murphy's Cove NS
Now we are in the morning sun... You can't win. :)
While we were enjoying a very lazy start to our day, we got into a conversation with a fellow camper, one from just up the hill in her trailer, so a regular.
She paints rocks and leaves them for people around Halifax and area for people to delight in and pass on. She asked Caroline to choose one and gift the other on, and I was a bit disappointed to be honest, for they were mini works of art, and I could imagine them lying on a shelf as a conversation piece or even better, with a magnet glued onto the back and stuck onto the fridge door.
On the reverse was a message of Hope on the dragonfly. I was just taken with how lovely a gesture it was, and very much enjoyed receiving the rock from her as a gift. Sadly we had nothing to reciprocate with, but such is life. Savour the experience, and do something to pay it forward.
It was 10:30 and we hadn't finished packing up that morning, as we had a short haul to Halifax to meet up with my friends from CGI that I used to work with (Was it only last month?!), and was going to meet up with Danny, Kate and Brendon for lunch in Dartmouth, then head to Danny's place and check out his garage projects. He's got a fantastic mind, and conceives of all manner of projects, from a pipe bender and welder for bash guards for his beloved Toyota Truck, to a laser engraver powered with Arduino's down in his basement. Definitely more of the Brain type, while I think if I try hard, I could be a stand in for Binky one day. Anyhow, time to check out and scoot!
The Campground has a great sense of humour and loves dogs almost as much as I do.
We were on our way, and headed back out past Peggy's Cove and the Soi, and on onto NS 3 and out to the York Redoubt National Historic site that I hoped Caroline would enjoy. Have you ever driven in Halifax? No? Toronto had Governor John Graves Simcoe who was a surveyor, so consequently has many straight as an arrow roads that take you from here to there, and apart from the traffic, it's a fairly direct route unless you are following a water course or valley. Not Halifax, it's a biker's delight with twists and turns along with all sorts of elevation changes... All of this leads to us getting a wee bit turned around when the GPS and Google Maps told us to make all sorts of quick lefts and rights, and I think we made it up as we went along, for we ended up off the beaten path and down a hill where the residents have four hooves and a devil may care attitude about road crossings.
Not only did we see wildlife, but I think we spotted an old VW van chugging along behind us trying to make it to the top of this hill, the poor wee beastie!
York Redoubt was the heart of the defences protecting the outer harbour approaches to Halifax. Begun in 1793, it was enlarged by the Duke of Kent who constructed a Martello tower here in 1798. The redoubt became an essential link in the communications system protecting the city against surprise attack. Its strategic importance was such that it was rebuilt in the 1860s and 1880s to mount more powerful guis. In the twentieth century York Redoubt became the tactical command centre for all harbour defences. It remained active until 1956.
La redoute York fut au coeur des ouvrages défensilis. etablis pour protéger les approches extérieures du port d'Halifax. Sa construction débuta en 1793. En 1798, de duc d' York l'agrandit et y ajouta une tour Martello. La redoute devint un chainon important du réseau de communications qui protégeait la ville contre les attaques-surprises. Son importance stratégique était telle qu'elle fut reconstruite dans les années 1860 et 1880 pour loger des canons plus puissants. Au XXe stècle, elle devint le centre de commandement tactique de tous les ouvrages de défense du port. Elle servit Jusqu'en 1956.
Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Commission des lieux et monumments historiques du Canada.
Government of Canada & Gouvernement du canada.
I've read so many novels of the Napoleonic wars, and as a Canadian take great pride in our role of supporting the Crown to defeat an enemy of the common wealth, Nazi Germany and it's Axis allies. This is a memorial and monument to that great age of black powder and fighting sail, then as a British colonial possession, the second as a vital link in the supply line for a world at war in Europe, Africa and perhaps even the Pacific.
The remains of the original Martello Tower.
Bring a container if the berries are ripe. They grow on the slopes of the redoubt.
I added some incredible aerial drone footage shot by Scotia Skyview.
Time keeps on slippin', slippin', slippin'
Into the future
That's how it feels when I try to get caught up. We forgot what traffic is like in the big city, and while I have ridden in heavy traffic and quite enjoy the freedom of a motorbike to slip in and exploit opportunities with ease, Caroline tends to be more cautious and courteous to other drivers. There was a poll that I started, "Voted most likely to get a ticket..." I won it, and I won "Voted most likely to have a get off..." Yeah. But it took us a while to find our stride and make it into Dartmouth through the Halifax lunchtime traffic. Who knew that having only two bridges was going to be such a PITA?! Every single resident, that's who.
Danny was sitting in the summer sun waiting for us in the parking lot, and Kate arrived shortly afterwards, but sadly Brendan was unable to make it, most likely due to the fact that he was on vacation and had turned off his phone and email. That may have played a small part in it.
Dan the Man!
The plan was to head to Habaneros Modern Taco Bar for lunch, a choice made for us by Dan and Kate that Caroline was extremely happy with, and while we were abit COVID conscience as always, headed in to queue up for our tacos.
The CGI IS/IT gang -1
V for Victory!
OMG these things were good! Without question the best taco I have ever had! Pork Carnita Tacos with Pico de Gallo
I think we might have talked quite a bit about work and left Caroline to eat in relative peace, provided she could ignore "domain trust" and "McAfee Endpoint" and other phrases that rule our lives. Sorta pay back if you ask me, right Caroline? Are you "triggered"? (inside joke, take a drink) ;) Sorry darling. I promise to be more inclusive next time we meet for awesome tacos.
The gift of goodness... Moose meat!
Kate had a gift for Danny and I, a jar of her Auntie's preserved Moose Meat that had been shot up near Burnt Church New Brunswick if I have the story straight. I had no idea what we were going to do with it at the time, but thought it a lovely gift (like an idiot, thought about how long a glass jar was going to last in my luggage.) I got that sorted out by stuffing it into a pair of socks and into my laundry bag in my motorcycle side case. That was simple solution to a problem that at the time was a real head scratcher. Duh!
Kate had to scoot back to something she called w-e-r-c or something, anyhow, that left us in Danny's hands as we followed him back to his place through the traffic. It wasn't as bad as getting onto that bridge to cross the Halifax Harbour.
Danny has a long term project to get this plated and back onto the road. I love it. I started on a 50cc Honda Monkey bike back when I was 16.
I finally got to see the scooter that he was restoring! He got it rolling again and said just running it down the street to test the brakes and wheel bearings had huge grin factor. I don't doubt that at all. I used to have the 50cc Monkey bike back when I was a kid.
His boys are getting old enough to appreciate camping and fishing with their dad, and as Dan is a four wheel nut, he thought "how cool would it be if I made a "tent" for the boys on the bed of my truck?" Now he can wake up early, head down to the lake and do a bit of fishing while they play in the back of the truck, or do an overnight with them. The door latch was a 3D print and can be opened on the inside as well.
It's still an awkward feeling visiting during COVID, and we spent most of our time in Dan's company and in the garage and deck, then headed out without ever seeing his wife other than behind a door and a mask. It's a mad world to live in at the moment, but Caroline and I are trying to muddle our way through it safely.
And Dan, if you read this, thanks again for the tour and the offer of wifi for that job interview. I really appreciate it!
These pictures are making me want tacos again, and moose meat.
Leaving Danny's we picked up Portland Street which was the NS 207 that was going to take us North East along the Eastern Passage of Nova Scotia and then we would end up on Nova Scotia Trunk 7. This afternoon it was light traffic, and we now had no deadlines! Freedom! We just had to follow a few cars out of the big city, then hit our own stride as they turned off here and there.
It's a relief when you know you are heading in the right direction. Left turn, Clyde! And onto Marine Drive
When you hit Upper Lawrencetown, you feel as if the city of Halifax and Dartmouth never existed. We were twisting and turning on 207 following the coast when we hit upon Stoney Beach right next to the Lawrencetown Beach Provincial Park, but this was where the surfers and kite surfers came to play.
I think Lawrencetown Lake isn't a fresh water lake, and the tidal bore is a nice little spot for the surfers and kite surfers to gather to enjoy their sport. I can say it's pretty nifty for the spectators as well!
It was 1645 and time to hit the road again, our destination Murphy's Camping on the Ocean where I'd stayed three years ago. It was only about an hour away from us, and we stopped for a full tank of gas, water and food before arriving.
Actually, a bit of a fun fact. in 2017 I'd done a Turkey Day ride for fall colours and shared a wild camp site with a fellow traveler, Trevor, on a wee spit of land in East Ship Harbour Nova Scotia. Trevor has walked off to get some water from the "lake" on the other side of the road to boil our eggs in. One of my eggs had cracked and split open, and as wonderfully salted yet we'd added no salt to the water! "Trevor, is that lake salty?"
"Well perhaps it's a bit brackish, Ron."
"It's salty, in fact I think I've boiled my eggs in the Atlantic Ocean."
Hahahaha! Anyhow, it was neat to be able to point that site out to Caroline who was less than enthused at my stories of "pooping at the low tide line". Not for her, so we didn't even pause for me to have a quick nostalgic poop. **Sigh
At Murphy's they must not have thought much of Caroline's abilities to ride, for they offered us a spot up top packed in amongst all the RVs when we wanted a more private and secluded spot for just us and the mosquitoes. They had just the thing, but managed to work Caroline up about how difficult it was to get her bike out to the site, although I suppose they had more experience with expensive Harley Davidson riders with zero off road experience and slightly more than that on road. Caroline rode her Shadow up and down and into the campsite, where the only task I was given was to push her backwards when she bade me to, as the rocks under the tires were acting as wheel chocks.
The Nova Scotia air force was happy to greet us, and I wonder again aloud, "What did they eat before we got here?!" as they buzzed around and drew the odd blood sample now and then. Ouch! Slap! I call the place "Murphy's Mosquitoes on the Ocean", but I'll be back. I love the views and the staff are very welcoming.
We'd had a big lunch, and Caroline was that eager to get stuck into the moose meat, all we had were a few rolls and some ghee left over from yesterday, but after our big lunch, that was more than enough and we heated up the moose meat so kindly given to us that very day by Kate and enjoyed her Aunt's culinary skill, meat with onion in a rich gravy. OMG, so delicious!
Burnt Church moose meat
CGI had given me a Social Committee gift of a utensil set at work, and I'd passed it on to Caroline who was tickled with it. Thanks Diane! I got a kiss out of the deal! She's got her GSI KFS in it, along with a paring knife, and a couple sets of chopsticks that she enjoys using here and there. That's my spoon in the frying pan. I can't wait to get stuck in!
Day 6 - 21 Aug - Murphy's Cove NS Canso NS
Drive 193 mi, 4 hours, 41 minutes
Murphy's Cove NS Canso NS
Another relatively short day of riding, but we planned to visit Sherbrooke Village if it was open, although I had no idea this morning where we would be laying our heads that night.
Looking south at the Tickles Murphy's Camping on the Ocean Murphy Cove, Nova Scotia
Gazing at the Tickle Islands across the Murphy's pier.
Something tells me we aren't the only riders on the road today...
Coastal 7 is a blast in this area, although it's the only game in town, so yes, the speed limit will change and you may have to pass a car or truck or two, but it's a fun run North towards Sheet Harbour.
There aren't too many gas stations out this way, so fill up in Musquodoboit Harbour, and perhaps again in Sheet Harbour, as the next stop is Sherbrooke for gas, and it was iffy last time we were out that way. It's not a terribly well populated coast line, you see. It's not as bad as I make it out to be, but Caroline's Honda was a wee tank, and she's always happier when it's half full as opposed to half empty, so all you need is to mindful and top off once in a while. The Versys is better, 325 doing riding like this, but once the gauge gets to about 1/3 full I too live in a tiny bit of fear until it says full again.
When you arrive in Sheet Harbour, there is a bridge across the West River, and immediately to your right will be the town museum and information stop. It's a lovely reminder of why and how this area was settled.
Sheet Harbour Visitor Information Centre West River Falls Boardwalk
The following pictures were taken off of the West River bridge.
The area does have a great history, and I encourage anyone to drop into the museum and learn more of how Canadians made this country of ours. The sawmills that worked in the area are pretty impressive in and of themselves, SheetHarbour.ca History
I really do love Marine Drive, and this section wound it's way through towns that existed because of the saw mills, the gold mines and the fishing in the area. Clearly those industries were on the decline, and some of the towns seem to be fighting for life.
I think she's not going to work the sea again. Hawbolt Cove Marie Joseph, Nova Scotia
I've stopped and taken pictures of this boat in the past, but couldn't help but warn Caroline that I was doing a U-Turn to get a few more for this year's album.
The former Canadian Coast Guard Ship "Sir Charles Tupper" a Canadian Coast Guard ice-strengthened buoy tender that served from 1959 to 1998
"MARIE JOSEPH – The long and fateful sojourn of MV Caruso, beached below the highway outside this tiny St. Mary’s community, is coming to an end one way or the other.
In a statement to The Journal, the Canadian Coast Guard says, “On January 25, 2021, personnel from the Coast Guard’s Environmental Response branch mobilized to Marie Joseph, Nova Scotia, to conduct bulk pollution removal operations on the MV Caruso,” adding: “Coast Guard is developing a permanent solution to the threat of pollution posed by the vessel.”
According to Lloyd Hines, MLA for Guysborough-Eastern Shore-Tracadie and Minister of Transportation and Active Transit (formerly Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal), the Coast Guard’s remediation is a “preliminary step to removing the vessel,” adding: “They came in with hazmat suits. It wasn’t like they were hiding.”
Municipality of the District of St. Mary’s Chief Administrative Officer Marvin MacDonald confirmed that the Coast Guard notified his office in advance and that the move has been in the works for some time. “They told us they were coming to the area to remove fluids,” he says. “It is my understanding that they’ve had a file on Caruso for a while.”
I wanted to take Caroline for lunch to the Sherbrooke Village Inn, as well as see if the smokehouse across the road from the Inn was still closed, and sadly it was. I recalled they did smoked salmon, and Caroline loves it, but neither was open for business, the Inn closed due to COVID I think, the smoke house for lack of business. Sad really.
There was a spot for lunch in the Village of Sherbrooke itself, Beanie's Bistro, although I was expecting more of a coffee house then a lunch room, and I was very pleased to be wrong! They were only serving meals outside, and the seating was full, so I expected Caroline and I would be sitting in the grass in front of the lovely flower gardens outside of the Bistro, but a table freed up and we would be able to eat our lunch on the porch. We were seated and waited upon immediately by the nicest staff.
Caroline ordered the Chicken provolone panini and I wanted the Pulled Pork Burger, but we decided to share, so asked our server to cut them in half, but he bowed out gracefully and offered us a knife to do the deed ourselves when the food arrived. I cut my burger in half and slid a part of it to Caroline while she reciprocated with her chicken sandwich. She made the burger vanish while I was eating the chips on my plate.
“Were you that hungry?” I asked?
She replied “No, but I wanted it gone before you tried your half and asked for it back!”
The burger was amazing, and local beef I will assume, as the flavour of the beef portion was outstanding! The cook had topped the chicken with sautéed spinach, and it was inspired! The flavour of the spinach so nicely completed the chicken and cheese!
Pulled Pork Burger
Chicken Provolone Panini
It was a lovely repast prior to our visit to the historic village. I gave it a five star review on google maps and am looking forward to trying Beanie's again for the great food and service.
Is this cool or what?!
There was a neat old van parked just down the street, and after lunch I couldn't help but snap a shot of it. Maybe Shaggy and Scooby were in the back?
With lunch out of the way, and no set schedule we wanted to visit the Sherbrooke Village, part of the Nova Scotia Museum. While it is on Main Street, you have circle around into their parking lot on 3 Street, where they also have their administration building and public restrooms. We parked out motorcycles and shed our gear, but made sure to have our hats as it was a lovely summer's day, and we paid our $19.95 admission for adults but if they really knew me they would have only charged Caroline the $7.95 for me, and right there was the village blacksmith shop!
Joe McLane Blacksmith Sherbrooke Village Nova Scotia
Joe McLane Blacksmith Each building here has quite the story, and we started with a walk through the gift shop, then on to the blacksmith shop. The blacksmith was working on some curtain tie backs and finials for one of the more affluent members of the community.
This is an example of the work he is capable of doing twisting and hammering wrought iron into a decorative and functional piece
Today you can get this highly functional mass produced piece for $3.28 at your local hardware store. I don't think it has nearly as much character, do you?
The post office is located right beside the town journal and printing press, and we got treated to a number of bills that would have been relevant in the mid 1800s as shown here.
McAmes' Mail Coach
"McAmes’ Mail coach left Antigonish for Sherbrooke and
wine harbour after the arrival of the mail from cape Breton on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, returning same
History and Development of Sherbrooke, Nova Scotia A). https://sherbrookevillage.novascotia.ca/sites/default/files/inline/documents/history_of_sherbrooke_village.pdf.
We had a wonderful time touring the village, and in fact, I had to apologize to Caroline and promise a return visit to let her do some of the talking, as I may have monopolized the conversation with the re-enactors in the village. Sorry!
It was about 1530 when we left Sherbrooke Village bound for Canso, and I think it was going to be another couple of hours before pitching a tent, so we were in no hurry and I wanted to show Caroline Marine drive and the coastline out that way.
Two and a quarter hours... Right, google has never been on a ride with us.
We're on the road to nowhere...
Just outside of Port Hilford on NS 211 Marine Drive, we came across a roadside vegetable market, and I thought we had done so well with the blueberries a few days ago, that adding some fresh veg to our diet couldn't go amiss, could it?
It truly is a small world, as we found they were selling garlic, and where had they purchased their seed garlic from? None other than our famous Prince Edward Island grower of garlic, Eureka Garlic of Norboro PE
They had some lovely garlic scapes, some carrots and other vegetables, and the lady selling us the vegetables, when we offered to pay for them, insisted on making up for our small order by adding a few other things to go with us, so while we couldn't take an entire bunch of carrots, she added in a few other bits here and there so Caroline and I were all smiles when we left with our farm market bag of goodies.
Garlic Forgotten Shore Farm
1630... And did I mention we were two hours away from Canso? Hahaha. We needed to get that ferry at Country Harbour. And go!!!
211 Marine Drive
Free Ride!!! Whoot!
Did you pay the ferryman? Nope! Country Harbour Ferry, Nova Scotia
Looking north up country harbour Country Harbour
The road is rougher, but Marine Drive north of Sherbrooke is a bit of magic. It winds it's way close to the shore, hitting every small village and hamlet on it's way towards Nova Scotia's most Eastern mainland town, Canso.
In 2017 I passed this very old building that looked completely out of place in this community, a brick and granite ediface that would not have looked out of place in an older section of downtown Toronto, and at the time I had no idea what it was doing out here in Guysborough.
This aging cable building, now a historic site, received the first distress call from Titanic in 1912
Despite 10 years of community efforts to save the building, a historic transatlantic cable station near Canso, N.S., was torn down Tuesday.
The Hazel Hill Commercial Cable station was built in 1884 at a time when subsea cable was the exciting new way to communicate quickly. It served as a relay station for telegraph messages between Europe and North America.
Some key messages passed through Hazel Hill, including news of the sinking of the Titanic and the stock market crash of 1929.
I think the building should have been preserved by our government, but that is another story.
Hazel Hill is just outside of Canso proper, and it wasn't long before we found that we were going to need to do our shopping at the local Bond and Harts Market, as it really which had a pretty decent selection of goods, and as I recall, Caroline and I had a nice wee sack of goodies for dessert before swinging our legs back onto our bikes.
The old post Office Canso Nova Scotia
...Where Caroline located a campsite for us, but back out the way we had come, at the Seabreeze Campground and Cottages. It was about 12 km away, and Caroline was pretty sure we could get there by another route, but I was quite happy to trust my GPS for this once and just stay on the road until we saws signs for it on NS 16. I was a lot happier now. While not dark, the sky was darkening and it was growing cooler.
We chose a site based on the map, and chose a tent site the furthest away from the rather large group of seasonal cottages and RV sites. It's a family campground for sure, with a large playground and swing sets, along with community centre etc.
Fox Island as seen from Indian Cove Fox Island Main Road Eastern Shore Nova Scotia
Indian Cove Looking west along the shore of Fox Bay
Well, the tent sites were pretty close together, and Caroline and I were going to have some trouble painting within the lines when we park the bikes, and erect our two tents. And, it was starting to spit a bit. Nothing horrible, but I was happy that we had a bit of shelter in the pine tree where we could get our meal prep underway, and get something hot for supper.
Eating under a tree
That Stanely adventure frying pan is getting a workout!
The thought was to saute the vegetables in some canola oil that I pack along in my kitchen, so Caroline chopped and peeled while I got the stove and frying pan going. There wasn't going to be much tonight, as we were going to add a sausage that Caroline had packed all the way from PEI with her, and tonight was THE night to use it up. I think a chorizo of some sort?
I can't wait to get stuck in!
This is another one of my favourite meals of our travels together. Local ingredients cooked up at the campsite. The flavours were excellent, and if I made a change, it would be to use a fresh sausage or cutlet instead of dry cured. The salad greens were a bit bitter, and we discovered a use case for bringing a vinaigrette with us on these trips. :)
So good I can almost taste this picture.
That knife is an Opinel #8 Carbone (high carbon steel), and ships with a razor edge that needs almost nothing. I bought it on sale at MEC.ca, and I guess they were dumping their stock as they no longer sell them. I soaked it in mineral oil to waterproof the handle, and with it's thin blade it makes the perfect camp kitchen paring knife. I suppose the smarter choice would have been to buy stainless steel, but then there must have been a reason why my grandfather preferred a sharp carbon steel axe... Takes an edge and holds it.
Dessert. I threatened to post this one if she didn't smile. Mouthful of chocolate. :)
Site number 8 and wee bit of 7 too. ;)
Fox Island as seen from our camp site.
Sunset was a bit anticlimactic, I was hoping for something more, but it was beautiful. The drizzle that was with us most of the way through supper had tapered off, and we were treated to the sound of campground residents celebrating and playing cards nearby in the community center. The sound of that screen door with its wooden frame smacking home was a harbinger of things to come.
Sunset over my tent Alps Mountaineering Chaos 3 Canso Nova Scotia
Music, singing, that door swinging. OMG, what have we done?! It seemed to be forever, but the folks left for their beds around eleven that night, and I was finally able to get some sleep. Hahaha. Next time I may grab a set of ear plugs, in fact I should replace the foam pair I carry in my shave kit. Note to self.
Good night from my tent next to the Atlantic Ocean. :)
Day 7 - 22 Aug - Canso NS to Linwood NS
Drive 114 km, 1 hour, 32 minutes
Canso NS to Linwood NS
We had a very short run today, but for now, it was time to wake up to a beautiful sunrise over Fox Island and get some tea and oatmeal going.
Sunrise over Fox Bay Canso Nova Scotia
It's almost all over now...
I was amply rewarded for any lack of sleep I may have suffered by waking up early in my tent as the preceding pictures will show. Wow!
Time for breakfast, and we all know what that is. Altogether now!
Tea and oatmeal!
Breakfast of Champions!
That is a a collapsible silicone dog food bowl that I've been using since the spring of 2019 when I bought two of them from AliExpress.com for Caroline and I. The good... It folds down, and has a nice rigid lip so you can hold hot contents in it. The bad? It can retain the smell of your last meal for a bit too long. We had these Nongshim "Pork Noodle" ramen that tasted lovely but were oh so stinky, and for a week the bowls smelled, well, downright nasty. My bowl usually smells of apples and cinnamon, for that's what I feed myself each morning. Instant oatmeal Super Grains apple and cinnamon oatmeal from Quaker Oats. (Apparently this is only sold in Canada...). They are a decent size, and great for larger soups and bowls of Ramen and moose meat. :)
We didn't have far to go today, so when the option to put away a damp tent arose, we opted to let them dry out while enjoying a shower at the campground.
Gypsies - Everything packed onto the bikes but our towels and riding gear.
We didn't actually hit the road until about 1030 that morning. It's lovely when there is no push on.
Indian Cove in the morning light Never get off the bike!
We had enjoyed the experience and our hosts so much that we were looking forward to spending the coming weekend with the boys and staying in one place for a full day! Crazy, right?
Well, you have to ride if you want to get there, although we only had about an hour and a half to get there, so we felt no sense of urgency at all. Just the way I like it.
The blue skies, the bright light, and those roads, sometimes hugging the coast, sometimes inland.
I enjoyed following Caroline through this stretch, with Cape Breton Island visible just visible on the other side of the strait of Canso, that narrow body of water that puts the "Island" in the Cape Breton.
You could see the built up areas of the island, and understand why Hawkesbury was a "Port", passing the pulp mill, the gypsum processing plant, and other areas that I gawked at as we road by.
There was a bakery we stopped at in Guysborough proper, where we bought some cookies for later that night, and outside was parked a burgundy convertible that looked amazing. In fact, I regretted not stopping for a picture moments after leaving it, and I told Caroline I was going back. I had to, it was a Mustang in the colour and year that was pretty much my dream car for years and years when I was a kid.
The strait of Canso
That car was beautiful, but I'd left Caroline sitting waiting for me on the roadside so I scooted off and caught up with her for the next phase of the ride, which was coming into Auld's Cove from the quarry side of the hill, and joining the traffic coming off the causeway and into mainland Nova Scotia. But first, the stretch from Boylston through to Sand Point is fun, scenic and all too short.
St. Francis Harbour Nova Scotia as seen from Marine Drive NS Route 344
We rode right past Hyclass Campground as we were going to fuel up the bikes and pick up some supplies for our next couple of days staying at the campground. There is a Petro Canada station in Monastery NS right on the Sunrise trail NS 4 that sells a mix of things, plus we'd be able to get a six pack of cider or some fireball for Caroline, but we had passed some signs for a restaurant called "Big Mama's" that had taken over the old post office in town, so it we thought it a great idea to try them out as it was lunch time, and a warm day. They had a picnic table out front, so we ordered some Poutine and a slice of pizza, and promised to share with each other. The food was okay, I think Caroline got the better part of the deal, as the slice was a bit indifferent, and all they had left was a cheese pizza slice. What I enjoyed about it most was sitting at the picnic table with Caroline and just being in the moment with her. It's a great memory, solid brick and aluminium of the federally constructed post office now converted into a restaurant, with my girlfriend sharing our lunch. Yeah, life is good.
Big Mama's Poutine Monastery Nova Scotia
Caroline and I had stayed at Hyclass and really enjoyed talking with our hosts Valerie and Dave. We were able to get our old campsite back, but couldn't get an adjacent spot for the boys as a small family had rented the spot beside us. Ah well, you can't have it all. Dave is an outspoken Honda fanboy as well, so I was going to have to listen to Caroline and Dave telling all their Honda stories ad infinitum, but I jest. Valerie and Dave are just so easy to talk to, and it was nice picking up where we left off. We ordered a big tub of firewood and arranged to have it dropped off later that evening at site 6 that we had chosen. I was looking forward to the spectacular sunsets over Linwood Harbour.
We headed down and got set up at our camp site, then Caroline suggested we finally climb into that swimming gear that we've carried for ages and had a grand old splash at the beach until it seemed everyone was wandering off back to their campsites. That was a lovely swim. Hey! The boys had finally finished their trip from Taco Bell in Truro and had joined us at the campsite! That had become a bit of a joke with us, as they seemed more interested in Tacos, Arby's and a pawn shop, it was going to be cool to see some new faces around the campfire to be sure.
The boys showed up with a fully packed car or in this case, "purse" for Caroline had made her son a huge list of stuff to bring with him in the car, up to and including a portable bbq. There was a lot of things requested, and the boys were packing bedding and sheets from home, sort of piled and stuffed into the back seat of the car. It looked like they'd driven across the country rather than from the Island! I'm so used to having to conserve space and cram that seeing that load of gear was a bit of culture shock. :) Shamus had bought a tent for D'Anyil and himself, and they had that up and pegged down before too long, around quarter to six that evening.
Camping, gotta love it!
Dinner was done, and as it was burgers the clean up was fairly simple. Caroline's portable BBQ and my butane stove that she'd given me for a birthday gift a couple of years back once she figured out how much of a stove nut I am.
Butane canister stove
These things are great for car camping and even dorm rooms, provided you have some air flow into the room, easy to load, light and manage the flame, but depressingly heavy. Did I mention that it came in the car? Lol.
Around 2000 that evening the sun started to set, and Valerie had recommended this site as having a great view of the sunset. It was marvelous!
The beach at Hyclass Campground by sunset (and moonlight)
I'd been watching some YouTube videos for campfire recipes, and one that I'd seen done a couple of times looked so very simple that I'd made arrangements for the "necessaries" to be added to the list of food that Shamus had packed along. All the fixings for Campfire Banana Boats
Campfire Banana Boats
Ingredients: 2 bananas 1/2 chocolate bar per banana or 1/4 cup chocolate chips split between two marshmallow
Optional: nuts or trail mix if desired cinnamon toast crunch peanut butter
Directions: Preheat the campfire to coals :) (did you know that if you can hold the back of your hand over the flames for about three seconds that is roughly 350 degrees F?)
Slit a pocket into the banana lengthwise. Slide in bits of chocolate and marshmallow until the slit is crammed full. Wrap well with a couple layers of foil, making a pouch. The top of the pouch will be a handle for lifting out of the fire. Cook them in the coals of the fire for five minutes, turning them once so they will be evenly cooked both sides.
At the ten minute mark, the chocolate and marshmallow should have melted into the cooked banana, and you can handle them carefully, scooping out the banana with a spoon.
These are so very good, you will wonder why you never make them at home. One recipe I saw recommends crushed cereal like graham or cinnamon toast crunch. :)
I'd made a couple of extra's but everyone was full, so I wandered over to our neighbours site and offered them our two extra for his two boys, to which he agreed. Later on he called out his thanks and said the boys loved them as did he. :)
I'd downed a bottle or two of cider at this point, and was quite happy to call it an early night and lay my head down for a wee bit. And that is when the lights went out...
Day 8 - 23 Aug - Linwood NS - Hyclass Campground
Canoeing around Linwood Harbour
It was another beautiful day in Nova Scotia, and once we had a lovely breakfast orchestrated by Caroline out of the way, in which the boys learned to love the bag of No Frills hashbrowns and bacon, in fact, it later became known as the bag of smokey bacon goodness iirc.
That was filling and took a while to clean up and we learned that tea towels should have been on that list of goods, but we made do with our small moto version, a washcloth that did duty as a dish towel.
What do you do to while away the time? Rent a canoe of course! So it was off to see Dave & Valerie in the office and rent a canoe for an hour or two. They keep the boats locked up at the stage, so all you have to do is haul the paddles, life jacket and emergency boat kit down to the dock, unlock and launch your canoe, then try to recall the last time you piloted a canoe, which would have been fourteen years ago in Bracebridge Ontario along the Muskoka River for a few days when working there with Bell Canada quite some time ago. Were my skills still up to it? I have to admit I've gained a bit of weight since then, and more when COVID sent everyone home to practice their baking skills. Mine was the perfect Yorkshire Pudding. :)
No worries, so long as I very gingerly got into the stern, settled down then waited while my co-conspirator climbed into the bow of the canoe. And we were off! No worries, all those years of paddling in Richmond Hill's Lake Wilcox, and further afield once Dad and Mom bought a cabin up near Emsdale Ontario came flooding back and I was J stroking with the best of them in no time. I've never done this on the ocean, and was a bit apprehensive about tides and such like. I have a healthy fear of being blown out to sea and ending up needing a no doubt expensive rescue from the North Atlantic Ocean or the Labrador Sea. No sir! Not on my watch! I'd run a trim craft and hang any mutinous dog out of hand to keep the others in line! Caroline was just happy to be on the water, and was very helpful taking suggestions from me as to which side of the canoe to paddle. It's tough as there was a breeze pressing us into shore, so I needed her to paddle on one side so I could expend more effort paddling vice steering. If you've ever done it, then you know what I mean. :)
Right where the boat launches there is a wee protected pond where we could play and explore, and I have a weakness for loving how close to the shore you can push a decent canoe. Six to eight inches of water is all you need, and less if it's a kayak. We puttered around for a bit, then left the pond to head out into the Harbour proper and hug the coast for a bit until we got the feel for the wind pressure and rollers.
The boat launch
The tide was coming in, and the wind was coming out of the North West. It was easy enough just to pick a direction and stroke our way to it. I think the most danger we were in would be to burn to a crisp, with my fishbelly white complexion that would be a tragedy so Caroline and I had liberally applied lotion. I offered to get some hard to reach places for Caroline but she had graciously declined the offer.
I can't tell you how many times I've been out on the water in a small boat as a kid, and now to be in the canoe with someone you love makes it just about perfect. And it was... almost.
Captain Ron and his best mate or is that first mate?
Caroline took a bunch of these shots from her seat up in the bow, so she gets credit for a bunch of them. :)
That there is the Sunrise Trail
This is the closest we headed south, and you can see the Sunrise Trail in the distance. We jumped across to the other shoreline and headed North again.
Cormorants on the rocks Little Island Linwood Harbour NS
At least I think it was little island. It was a little pile of rocks in the middle of the harbour that would have ruined any mariners day if they met with them by accident.
Now if you look back at that map of the harbour, look at the arrow that heads from the left side of Big Island and lands on that huge bar across of the mouth of the harbour. It's almost tall enough to stop storms from washing right across it, but not quite. We grounded the canoe on the ocean worn rocks of the beach, and Caroline decided she'd had enough of canoeing and wanted to stretch her legs for a bit. Have you ever watched Apocalypse Now (1979)? Chef gets off the boat in search of some mangoes in the jungle and nearly gets mauled by a tiger. He rushes back and throws himself on board while the suddenly aroused boat crew treat it like a surprise attack and fire blindly into the jungle as they slip lines and power away from the bank into the middle of the river while Clean rakes the jungle with long bursts from M60 machine gun mount on the patrol boat. All while Chef yells manically "Never get off the boat!"
Never get off the boat.
Ab-so-fric-king-lute-ly. Never get off the bike, I mean boat.
Boat I mean.
Never get off the boat!
There she goes!
Is she waiting for me?!
The mainland is that a way!
I wished her well, and said I'd be waiting her for her. All the while thinking "Look at how long that beach is! She's really cashing in on all that treadmill time she's been racking up. Me, I can rack the Yorkshire puddings time and time again. More if there's a bit of lovely onion gravy to go with. She's a goer that girl, set off to walk around the entire bar. I figured that was going to be more like a two kilometer walk that felt like twelve once that loose stone shifted in and out from under foot.
I got bored.
Somewhat bored Tidal bore?
bored This space for rent
Maybe I should have gone with her?
Seriously? "I'll just wait here." Darn it! I can't relax enough not to be bored once I've finished taking the pictures I wanted to. This whole waiting bit is a bit stupid. I had no idea what she was getting into. "I'll get into the canoe and paddle solo up this side to cut down the distance she has to walk 'round." Paddling a canoe solo wasn't too hard, but it had a been awhile, and I was fighting the offshore breeze a lot more than I expected and on a day like today, I could only imagine what it would be like if the winds were blowing a stiff breeze! When you get up near McCalls Cove, the high bar drops away to a bar of rock and sand the the high tide was flowing over in rivulets, and I could see that if I kept going, it would be easier just to ground, then drag the boat across to the ocean side, where the incoming tide would work to our advantage and push us right back down the beach and into that wee tidal bore in the neck. I had a plan! But no Caroline and as you know...
"No plan survives contact with the enemy."
As it transpired, Caroline was finding the going bit rougher than she had imagined, and may have regretting getting off the boat herself. Fortunately for us, she opted to shortcut her walk, cut across the bar and head back to where she has assumed I was waiting for her. As soon as her head cleared the tall waving grass in the dune like centre of the bar, she spotted me, and I spotted her, and we were rejoined to the joyous calls of gulls and cormorants. I was a lot happier, I won't lie to you. In all truth, it was a bit like twisting the throttle and leaving Caroline way back there. I mean way way back there. I can do it for a while, but then I get anxious and have to see her headlight, then I can go repeat the cycle. It's not her, I need adult supervision as I'm sure you will agree. :D I'd managed to cut down her walk, so she was feeling grateful and I was feeling relieved. Let's adventure again!!!
The tide was rushing in stronger, it was almost like shooting a rapids.
"Hey honey, wanna drag this canoe into the North Atlantic Ocean and run the tidal bore back into the harbour?"
You see that? I love this girl! We dragged the canoe across, then paddled our way into the tidal bore. Our joy was curtailed a touch, as there was a power boat headed straight for us at full tilt, obviously aiming for the neck to get out of the harbour, but in my estimation his wake was going to give us a good swamping if he kept that speed up. Damn it! He kept coming on, then chopped his throttle down to nothing and idled past us before throttling up, a perfect display of courtesy that also told me he new how to handle that boat. He'd chopped his wake perfectly timed so that it just rocked the canoe.
Now we were paddling straight back to the campground tired, happy, paddling with the incoming tide and running before the wind.
We were on the home stretch.
I think we still had another 45 minutes left on the rental, and Caroline wanted to see if Shamus and D'Anyil wanted to have a go before turning in the paddles and lifejackets. I was pretty happy to call it a day at that point, and was quite content to trade places and jackets with Shamus as D'Anyil took Carolines spot.
With them off paddling about, Caroline and I decided to go for another dip, but as it was noon on Sunday, the bulk of the campers must be packing up or already on their way home.
One last dip
A pet friendly place
Ahoy there! What ship and wither bound?
Shamus and D'Anyil were enjoying their cruise, and I was out and about with my camera while swimming, so got a couple of good shots of the fun.
The paddles and lifejackets returned, it was time to think about supper. We'd gone all out tonight and were going to have barbequed SPAM with ramen noodles.
Barbequed SPAM and Nongshim Ramen Darn this is good!
That MSR Stowaway pot is brilliant for the two of us.
That sky is just beautiful tonight. It's a treat to be here with Caroline and her son, and I'm just soaking it in.
Sunset over Linwood Harbour Nova Scotia As seen from Hyclass Campground tent site #6
It's time to crack them open.
And it's all but done
This was our last night in the campground. Tomorrow would be breakfast, pack up and heading for the ferry while the boys headed back to Taco Bell in Truro before heading back to the island. We burnt the fire until the last stick of wood, then headed off for bed.
Day 9 - 24 Aug - Linwood NS to Charlottetown PE
Drive 196 km, 3 hours, 29 minutes
Linwood NS to Charlottetown PE Drive 196 km, 3 hours, 29 minutes
I think the adults might have been to bed first. I sorta took this to show up a couple of campers who shall remain nameless, but today I'm thinking about how much Caroline and I now take for granted after two seasons of camping together. Done like dinner, we just needed to see to breakfast, help the boys clean up and pack up, then we could be on our way home.
A photographer gets labeled, with words like "Lazy" and "Good for nothing" I prefer to think of myself of a historian, a chronicaller, a story teller Yep, Lazy fits too.
We had to use up the last of the meat and eggs for breakfast, so it was a bit of a smorgasbord as we emptied the cooler and flushed the ice water out. We ate breakfast in a similar manner, then waited for the hot equipment to cool so I could wash it out with suds and water followed up with paper towel.
I think this is the canvas dance.
Watching them fold the tent immediately reminded me of the my time in the army working at base supply CFP Borden with Beau Wilson. Folding and packing, unpacking, folding canvas that the reserves borrow from stores every year for their summer training camps. Mounds of it! Oceans of it! Beau and I had climbed and sailed it all, do that canvas dance. Hahaha.
That was fun. We were already making plans for a redo next year. "The Taco Bell Tour". :)
We wished them well, Caroline would be back in the driveway with Shamus later that afternoon.
Linwood Harbour Nova Scotia As seen from NS Route 4 The Sunrise Trail
What can I say, but our ride home was not without adventure, far from it. Misadventure some would call it.
Could that be a Honda Shadow?
Do I get my phone call? "Ron! I took one for the team!"
The highway was under construction, and we hit a merge lane that wasn't marked as they'd taken down or covered over the signs during realignment, and the cars got confused about the merge up ahead, and one drive was poised to merge too early, so Caroline sped up to make room, and bam! The officer kindly lowered the ticket at the scene, but now Caroline had "Performance Award" all of her very own, and it was the topic of conversation for muce of the following week. Who am I trying to kid?! Ask her about riding faster than the speed limit!
That did slow us down, and we limped into Pictou, and I was happy to think I could peruse the piles of seconds at the Grohmann knives factory, but alas! They are closed on Mondays as they run the shop on Saturday for the tourists. Durn it!
Grohmann Knives factory outlet Pictou Nova Scotia
Caroline was looking for a place to eat on trip advisor and came up with a Syrian food shop that had a strange address, that was in a parking lot reached from Caladh Avenue.
Anyhow, we ordered too much, then thought it best to perhaps eat it on the ferry as we were pressed for time now.
Lane 4... and onto the ferry where we opted to sit on the deck outside and enjoy the shade.
Waiting in line to be vetted
Caroline sacrificed me to the line up, thinking if I caught the COVID, she might still be able to escape me. I got us our pink slips as returning residents, and headed back to rejoin her on the deck.
Yes, I'm this much fun to be with.
While we weren't the first off today, most of the crowd got shunted into the testing and screening lot while our pink passes were accepted and we grinned as we shot off onto the TCH bound for Charlottetown! Or so I thought.
Caroline reminded me of lunch, so we pulled over into the parking lot of the Wood Islands Visitor information center where we coopted an entire picnic table to stuff ourselves.
I haven't had stuffed grape leaves in ages!
Not bad. I won't go out of my way to stop there again, but it was a nice change.
Caroline and I parted ways in Charlottetown, I to my fortress of solitude and her to home with Shamus.
Tomorrow was our down day, rest, relaxation and laundry, then we head over to New Brunswick the day after. Hooray! See you then!
Day 10 - 25 Aug - R&R plus laundry day
Oil change! New rear tire!
Caroline had a mission for me, drop off her Shadow for maintenance, but she would have Shamus run her over later on that day.
Mission accomplished, plus I got some hideously expensive chain wax! In fact, I now buy it online because I cannot afford the Honda mark up on Maxima chain wax.
Rest & Relaxation got turned into "Hurry & Scurry". I think I opted to take a wee nap that turned into a killer nap, and that had me doing laundry quite late into the evening. I had everything repacked and ready to go for next day, where we were due to meet up with Caroline's Aunt Mary and Uncle Carl in Dieppe New Brunswick for breakfast. It was going to be an early start.
Part 2 - New Brunswick!!!
Day 11 - 26 Aug - Charlottetown PE to Kingston NB
Drive 300 km, 3 hours, 33 minutes
Charlottetown PE to Kingston NB Drive 300 km, 3 hours, 33 minutes
I set off extra early this morning, collected Caroline at her home in Tryon, then we headed for the Confederation Bridge on a pretty straight forward ride to her Uncle Carl's place in Dieppe NB.
I did take a wee break for a picture in Murray Corner New Brunswick, right on the 955
Scott Brook As seen from NS 955 Murray Corner New Brunswick
The last time we had visited, we had camped out on their back lawn as Caroline's Aunt Pauline had been visiting up from North Carolina at the time, and there was no spare room. No tents this time, it was just going to be a lovely, lazy meal and chat.
Mary hosted a lovely wee breakfast
Carl's great grand daughter had been telling her great grandpa all about one of the shows she watches on Netflix, and Carl asked if Caroline and I could set it up on his television so he could watch the show along with her. After about an hour of recovering email accounts and passwords we were done and ready to hit the road.
Caroline, Mary and Carl
Carl's well decorated wood shop
After our visit, we were going to head further down the road to Kingston NB where we were going to spend the night with my Aunt Sue, and Uncle Ken. We took for the highway for the first part, then hopped off the Trans Canada near Sussex and onto NB 121 that follows the Kennebecasis River right into Hampton itself where my father Emerson had been born back in 1936 in the two story farmhouse on Dutch Point Road which is now the Maranatha Seventh Day Adventist church following the death of my grandmother as she willed the land to the church.
There is a market at the corner of Pickwauket Road and Main Street Hampton, NB 121 called Kredl's Corner Market that I've been going to since Rob Harris of CMG led us there in 2014 on a Dawn to Dusk rally. It was a lunch stop on the route, but quite special to me as my father had fished off the bridge just up the street here, and has memories of lumbering with his Dad off of Pickwauket road back in the forties and fifties while growing up. Anyhow, my Aunt Sue and Uncle Ken used to work in the bakery for Kredl's and have now both retired. Caroline was using the restroom while I was sitting on the bike.
An older gentleman was waiting for his wife in the car next to me, and we began chatting about who and where, and it turns out I'd run into my cousin Robert Scribner, the day before his 80th birthday! It's a small world, but when you hare in New Brunswick in Hampton, you are only 30 kilometres from where James and five brothers - namely Benjamin, Isaiah, Luke, Hezekiah and Johnston Kierstead - came to St. John, New Brunswick in 1783 as United Empire Loyalists and settled in this area. My ancestor Benjamin and his wife Jemima have a grave marker on Kierstead Mountain to the Northeast of us.
My cousin Robert S.
Here it was past four, so the thought of having a very late lunch was a very powerful motivator, so Caroline and I ordered some food to share, a chicken sandwich and some of Kredl's signature poutine that was lovely.
They also had some very unique artwork for sale that I thought my father would rather enjoy as he was in the habit of welding old wrenches into garden art flowers.
Time to get rolling again.
Unbeknownst to us, they were chip sealing a stretch of road which involves spraying tar onto the road then covering it with small limestone chips, which meant that Caroline and I had to make a detour off of the direct route to Aunt Sue's place in Kingston, and North out to the Saint John River on NB 850 where we swung into their place from the north instead of the usual route. It was highly entertaining at the time.
Hamilton Brook Saint John River As seen from NB 850
Belleisle Bay (and the Kingston Creek) Saint Johns River New Brunswick as seen from NB 850
We pulled into Sue & Ken's driveway in time to unload some of our gear onto the porch, and greet our hosts for the night.
Ken and Sue
We moved our stuff from the porch into the hall, and found ourselves seated to a plate of this wonderful coffee cake with a cup of tea, some bread and butter and a generous helping of blueberry pie to round out the evening.
I had dreams of meeting up with my New Brunswick cousins Gillian and Becca, but it appeared that Gillian might be in Hawaii and Becca was now living in Fredericton with her boyfriend as the Algonquin Resort hotel in Saint Andrews New Brunswick had reduced staff and laid her off due to COVID. I knew what that felt like.
Ken and Sue used to make the best sourdough bread I've ever had, and he had a loaf of a wonderful artisanal white bread with grains, flax and sunflower seeds iirc. To top that off, once Caroline and I had finished raving over it, he produced a recipe that he shared with us. His dirty little secret was out! The recipe is a fabulous no knead bread that is so easy to put together that I can do it myself. His one caution was that too many additions like seeds can cut the strands of gluten as they form and make the loaf quite dense, so we'd have to work that out but to start with a 1/4 cup or so.
Note: Caroline has been making this for a couple of years now, using a cast iron dutch oven preheated in the stove to trap moisture from the bread as it bakes. She's using regular cheddar along with black pepper or without if the loaf is being served to the kids.
Cheddar and Everything spice bread
We talked and talked about baking, science fiction, herbs, deer and anything else that struck our fancy, wishing our hosts a pleasant sleep, we headed on upstairs to sleep in my cousin Becca's old room. Fortunately she had moved out some time ago. :)
Not only can you cook your dinner on it, it heats the house and your shower
When my Uncle Lyndon moved out to New Brunswick from Windsor Ontario where he was born, he built his own house and bakery here, and my father recalls helping him do it. "Lyndon was sleeping with his tools." It's quite an amazing place, and the stove you see here is responsible for not only heating supper, but the hot water that circulates through the house and keeps
Day 12 - 27 Aug - Kingston NB to Saint Stephen NB
Drive 200 km, 2 hours, 51 minutes
Kingston NB to Saint Stephen NB
In the morning we showered up and joined Ken and Sue for a small breakfast where Ken smiled, and handed us a loaf of bread still warm in the bag and wished us well for the ride. Fantastic! Discrete COVID hugs all around and we headed off to the NB 845 to catch the ferry at Harding's Point and over the Saint John River into Grand Bay-Westfield where I waved hello to my friend Zac's empty driveway. (It's a habit)
Our goal was going to Saint Andrews New Brunswick today and too see as much coastline as we could, then head north toward McAdam New Brunswick. I wasn't sure if we were going to make it, but then there was no rush as we didn't really have to be back until late Sunday night as Caroline had to return to work in the morning, and I had to... return to being an unemployed bum. **Sigh
We pretty much had to take the highway out to the NB 790 takes you through Musquash and out to Chance Harbour on the Bay of Fundy.
Musquash selfie! Excuse the thumb please!
Near the West Branch Musquash River Musquash New Brunswick
Right on NB 790 45.149739, -66.365189
It looks the Rubbles and the Flintstones are visiting. These cars are true works of art! Caroline and I have been down this road before, and I was looking forward to mixing it up a bit and instead of going out to Chance Harbour, we'd head to Cranberry Head to see what was about.
Panoramic view of Cranberry Head Chance Harbour New Brunswick as seen from Cranberry Head Road
Caroline and I have been out to the wharf at Chance Harbour, but this was my first trip out to Cranberry Head and I loved the scenery!
Caroline at Cranberry Head Chance Harbour New Brunswick
I can now see the need for extra lighting on a bright day. **Sigh
We took the 175 as far was possible, which follows the coast, and iirc it's the old Trans Canada Highway that got divorced when they built the new freeway. The speeds increased, but the scenery changed as you no longer went through the smaller villages and hamlets that lined the road. We headed south off of Route 1 towards Saint Andrews and got into the town proper.
My cousin Becca was laid off from the Algonquin Resort due to COVID, but while in the area I wanted Caroline to see this landmark of a building and resort. The history of the resort is pretty amazing and shows how the wealthy influenced the railroad, and how the railroads made one wealthy. Check out the link in the caption below.
I know that this is only a small town, but this is the first time I'd seen a sign like this, and as it's an older pump with no means available to pay outside, I reluctantly went inside to pay for our fuel. What else am I going to do? I don't like going in as much as they don't want me going in.
It's not "pay at the pump".
I saw an antique car just off of Water Street, and stopped to get a couple of photos of it.
At the end of Water street is the Kiwanis Campground, and further on there are a few spots where you can park and enjoy the scenery. We stopped briefly to take some photos of Passamaquoddy Bay.
Passamaquoddy Bay Saint Andrews New Brunswick
Passamaquoddy Bay and Navy Island Saint Andrews New Brunswick
On our way north again, we took Bar Road out to see Minister's Island that Ken and Sue had told Caroline and I about last night that was only approachable by land at low tide, when the roadway was uncovered and you could drive across the gravel bar and onto the "island" itself. I was interested in seeing this marvel in person.
In 1777 the island took on a new identity as Loyalists from the United States moved north to escape the American Revolutionary War and settled what is now Saint Andrews in 1783. "Ministers Island" is named for Parson Andrews who began a ministry in the area after settling on the island in 1790.
In 1791, the island was sold to the Town's minister, the Reverend Samuel Andrews, for whom the island was later named. Though Andrews built a small stone cottage on the island, still standing today, by 1798 he had put the property up for sale once again. There were, however, apparently no takers, as the island was still in his possession upon his death in 1818. The land was passed on to his son Elisha Andrews, St. Andrew's Sheriff, then to Elisha's son Marshall, and finally to Marshall's son Edwin. Edwin and Marshall Andrews lived on the island until 1891, at which point it was sold to Sir William Van Horne~https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ministers_Island
Steeped in colonial era history, then 100 years later, a sought after vacation destination, and today much the same, A resort town.
The gravel bar at low tide Minister's Island as seen from Bar Road
We left a lot to do next year, visit the island and explore it before the tides comes in! We still had to find a place to pitch our tent for the night, and it was getting time to movie on.
As we headed East on Bar Road back out to the main road, I spotted some deer running across a mowed lawn. Anytime I see deer close to the road I go into high alert having met one by accident back in 2007 on the highway. Thankfully these kept to the greener side, and I was able to admire their fleetness of foot.
Bambino and mother
More than just one!
We made good time staying on NB 170 and arrived in Saint Stephen although Caroline had to wait by the roadside while I snapped a couple of pictures of the rapids at Dennis Stream just off the 170.
That bridge was made in 1949 One of the oldest I've seen these days
Dennis Stream near the old SPCA building Saint Stephen New Brunswick as seen from NB 170
Clearly things were drying up in the summer heat around here.
Dennis Stream Saint Stephen New Brunswick
Hey! Guess what else is in Saint Stephen!?
The Ganong warehouse on Chocolate Road Saint Stephen New Brunswick
The Kierstead family have some Ganong's in the family tree, not the owners of all this chocolate unfortunately. lol. I love reading the history of the Ganong concern in Canada, and I've added yet another wiki link above. :)
It was near supper time, and Caroline and I were tired. I needed a coffee, and a bit of something, and that seduced Caroline into ordering a meal with me, so we enjoyed our second meal in Carman's Diner since last year's trip to Ontario, but I was in much better spirits as the clutch cable on my bike was still in one piece as opposed to last year when I'd limped in here to dry out and destress. This evening was a step forward for sure!
The lovely Caroline, patiently waiting for her coffee
Hot Roast beast with fries and gravy
For a girl who wasn't that hungry, she enjoyed her half of my sandwich and fries, then ably assisted me eating half a lemon meringue pie.
That was a good meal. The only part I don't understand is the boiled peas... It turns out there is a good answer for that in history as well. Dried peas keep well. Terribly well. Keep them dry, keep them vermin free, and they last forever. Toss them in water to soak, boil them next day and serve. Carrots need a sand bin in the root cellar, but peas can be stacked in bags, buckets and barrels. Lol. I'm not a huge fan of boiled peas unless they are fresh.
I had honestly thought that we would have been in the McAdam area for camping today, but that didn't happen, and Caroline found us a site just down the road at Oak Bay Campground, as we'd ridden right past it, and we were just at that time when all we wanted to do was call it a day and relax a bit. Back up the road was a gas station and convenience store, the Red Rooster where we bought some water and snacks, then we trundled off down the road to the campground to register for the night. Midweek camping rocks, and we had our pick of sites to choose, and I'd asked the girl which site she would recommend for a sunset and she said it would be 11 most likely, platforms right near the water.
Oak Bay with Spoon Island in the distance Looking South-East from the campground
There was a low tide spit of land that seemed pretty popular as a play spot, with some locals enjoying a boat ride around the calm bay while their truck and trailer was parked on the gravel beach. But as the tied turned and came in, that beach was growing ever smaller! It was like watching Chitty Chitty Bang Bang when the Baron made his first attempt to capture the car. The tide crept up while they played, and as this was off the Bay of Fundy, you could almost see it climb higher until they called it quits and all made it safely away before the Baron and his henchmen could get close enough to be a threat.
I was half disappointed. And there was no sight of the Baron at all!
Ah well, once the family and their gear was gone, the sun began to fade, the spit became a bar, then partly submerged, changing the landscape more than I had expected.
The wooden platform was new to us, but I can see why you would need them for campsites with little soil, lots of rock and poor runoff. We needed to get both tents up and onto the platform, so this was going to be a bit strange. Staking in the skirt was impossible, so we made sure our guy ropes were as secure as possible. There was no rain forecast, but the temperature was going to drop a bit tonight.
FIRE!!! The perfect excuse.
Caroline got right into things and decided we needed a fire with all the softwood we'd bought for the night, and I was looking forward to the campfire. She's pretty and handy to have around. <-- See what I did there?
That wood was not terribly dry, we had no axe to make kindling and my liquid boyscout was running low (Methyl Hydrate), but I'd plenty of hand sanitizer that I wasn't using as Caroline always seemed to have some to hand, so I donated mine in the cause of fire, and coaxed a bit of paper from my gear to contribute as well. I know the alcohol helped, but it burned off so quickly that we needed to start it again after finding some smaller pine branches and sticks.
Now that's a fire!
Between the two of us, we could burn rocks. ;)
Sunset over Oak Bay and Spoon Island Saint Stephen New Brunswick
It was magic watching the sun fade away leaving a bright moon in it's stead. Absolutely wonderful and peaceful. Caroline likes an early bed and left me to watch the fire to "beat you to sleep before you start snoring" but I don't snore, do I?
And the final logs are on, and it's dying down now.
Fire takes forever to burn down when you are watching and hoping for it. Hahaha.
Whoah! It's time to don my hoodie for the first time since packing it this trip! I'm glad I have it, but the fire is now so low that I can't get close enough to stay warm. **Sigh. Not much longer now...
Day 13 - 28 Aug - Saint Stephen NB to Fredericton NB
Drive 311 km, 3 hours, 52 minutes
Saint Stephen NB to Fredericton NB
I did not sleep well, I did not sleep well at all. Middle of the night I had to take a walk down to the washrooms which we had a key for but it's an experience I'd happily forego. Once back int he tent, I had trouble getting comfortable again, but on time dozed off to awaken once more around six in the morning, and I thought I'd love to get some pictures of the sunrise from the campsite.
Dawn over Oak Bay
Brrrr! It was still chilly this morning, and I need to get a good cuppa inside of me.
0700 Spoon Island on Oak Bay
Caroline wasn't up, and as she was enjoying a sleep in, I opted to curl back up under my sleeping bag as well. It was sure to be warmer there than out here!
Yep, did I mention that our sleeping bags only work down to 10C? Lol. We get a lot of use out of them, and they can unzip completely into a quilt like blanket, for really hot camping. Thankfully we would be up and moving soon.
Caroline started moving and I joined her at the showers where she won the hygiene race being more practiced at it than I,but if you want to know what I think, I think she cuts corners to win at any cost! Aks me about Scrabble!
Jenga with bathrooms
My partner in crime, wide awake, mostly rinsed off and slightly moist, all ready to go.
Ah bread, the stuff of life. Tea for me, coffee for her, and part of a heel each to start our day. If we don't get going it's going to be our lunch right here.
I wanted to show Caroline a good time, so we headed North through Honeydale on the NB 755 and later jumped onto the NB 630 to McAdam where it always seem to be under construction. And for good reason as that road is not always in the best of condition.
And they work on this every year or so it seems, section by section NB 630 north towards McAdam NB
630 runs parallel with the United States and Canadian border. So close in fact, that I was notified by Canada that I needed to self-isolate when back in Canada. Well I have news for you, I'm as sick now as I was last week, last year for that matter. :P
McAdam is a an old railroad town, and in the center of it stands the McAdam Railway station and hotel that have been around for over 100 years. Today it was a tourist destination, that was largely closed due to COVID, so while Caroline waited in the shade, I took some photos of it that I may have missed my first time through in 2017.
McAdam station is a former railway station that dominates the village of McAdam, New Brunswick, Canada. The station is the largest passenger station in the province but since the December 17, 1994, abandonment of Via Rail's Atlantic passenger train, it no longer sees rail service and is partially used as a museum.
Just back down the road a piece I'd seen an access road to the siding and headed back to collect a few more photos.
It was easy to see the timber and ore flowing through this junction, at least seen in my mind's eye
Looking North East up the track Maximus Zoomis
The station and siding were part of the museum now, and you could imagine the industry that surrounded this town at the turn of the century. In fact I think the railroad dated back to 1860 if I recall correctly.
We needed gas as this next section between McAdam to Hartland was going to be a long one, and I wanted to stick my head into The Gun Dealer right beside the pumps in McAdam. It boasts to be Atlantic Canada's largest firearms store, and from the inside, it certainly seems that way. If you let on to the staff that you are from Prince Edward Island, they point up to the stuffed and mounted game that decorates the periphery of the store, and picked out a savage looking wolverine. "That comes from Prince Edward Island as well."
The Gun Dealer McAdam New Brunswick
Big spender that I am, I browsed the store and made one purchase, a wee Browning stamped lock back folder with a pocket clip and a 2.5in blade. A pocket knife, probably made in China and branded Browning, but for $19 dollars I felt it worth the money.
I can't recall what Caroline walked out with, but I was thankful it was not the Realtree Camo with the pink Browning buck stamped on the front. lol.
Not quite back on the bikes, as we were going to hit the grocery store and buy some lunch to save a bit of money and have a wee picnic lunch today. Ham and Havarti slices with some chocolate for dessert, coupled with Uncle Ken's loaf of bread, I think this was going to be a nice lunch, now all we needed to do was get back onto the bikes and head for Hartland New Brunswick and the world's longest covered bridge.
Less than a couple of hours later we found ourselves at King's Landing New Brunswick where the museum community was indeed open, but the parking lot was much busier than we had expected, and watching a family disgorge from a mini van made us rethink our decision to visit the park this afternoon, and instead we moved over to one of the shaded picnic tables in the rest area and opted to have our lunch there, then head on to Hartland via the river road as opposed to the highway.
Caroline had the idea of grilling the bread and contents, turning ham and cheese into a delight!
Grilled Cheese n Ham sandwiches!
We were using the last of our desi ghee in place of the butter, with a bit of canola oil to stretch things, and Caroline did a fantastic job of cooking them, as I would have offered up burnt sacrifices, burnt on one side, perfectly done on the other.
She's like Captain America with a shield of Vibranium, although in her case Stainlessium Steelium, the baser metal, but highly effective in preventing hot grease and gaseous super heated water vapour from harming humans I see her in bustier with a mini skirt, I think she would look fabulous
Darn it, copyright infringement.
Ah well, she's my lunch super hero. This is one of my favourite meals of the trip, and the most memorable certainly. I find it funny the emphasis that gets put on some memories well after the fact.
With lunch cleaned up and packed away, we set out on the Trans Canada then onto NB 165 and NB 103 along the Saint John River until we got to Hartland NB, but let me tell you first that Google Maps shows 57min if you take the highway from Kings Landing to the bridge. It seemed to take us twice as long by the river roads, due to traffic, and road rage (mine) made it seem three times as long. **Sigh I'm okay when I'm out front, but hate following slow, weak drivers, and they must have been out in droves today. Flocks, gaggles. Like geese, but I was the Corgi trying to herd them along to market.
NB 103 had some nice construction on it, and if you kept your speed down, you didn't lose the arse end of the bike as often...
NB 103, under construction.
We crossed the river on the Grafton bridge, which put us on 105 North, and we pulled in to take some photos of the iconic bridge.
Before the bridge, the only way to cross the Saint John River was by ferry. Plans and specifications of the bridge began in 1898 and the bridge was constructed in 1901 by the Hartland Bridge Company. On May 13, 1901, Dr. Estey was the first person to cross the bridge before its scheduled opening, because he had to respond to an emergency call. Workers placed planks on the bridge so he could drive across the bridge. It was finally inaugurated by Justice McKeowan on July 4, 1901 before a crowd of 2,000 people. It was funded by tolls until it was purchased by the provincial government on May 1, 1906. The bridge was not originally built covered.
That really is some impressive construction, and I wonder how many forests were felled to keep this bridge running and open over the past 119 years spanning this river.
It was later than I had expected, and we needed to boot down south along the river, so we headed along the NB 105 South, following the Saint John river shoreline. It's a beautiful ride, and something that is incredible when the leaves start to turn, but for today we just enjoyed the ride.
"The World's Largest Axe. This giant axe symbolizes the importance of the forest industry, past, present and future, to the Town of Nackawic and the Province of New Brunswick. 1991."
We also made a shopping trip into the Nackawic SaveEasy and bought some things for supper that evening at the campground.
Speaking of which, where were we going to stay? It was getting near six, but there was a few campsites this side of Fredericton, including a provincial park that I'd stayed at with my father years ago when just a wee sprog, way back in the seventies.
Looking Soouth along the Saint John river from NB 105
only about 40km away
You pretty much leave the pavement behind when you role into Mactaquac Provincial Park. It was busy today, but there were still a large number of tent sites available back away from the water. We chose one, paid for it, then headed out to the campsite to find them all very small and quite close in comparison to the others we'd stayed in over the past couple of weeks.
Caroline preferred the other side of the road, so we carried our partially erected tents over (only after she'd cleared it with the office) and set about getting our tents pitched and supper started.
We had come up with the idea of pairing the last half loaf with some sauteed vegetables and strips of steak to make some wonderful steak sandwiches, on what was looking like the last night of our trip.
You can just see my GSI Outdoors "spice rack". Small double ended containers for salt and pepper, and four other spices or herbs of your choice. I selected some cumin to go with the salt and peppered steak for tonight, and sprinkled a bit of garlic powder on the bread, melted a part the stick of butter we had purchased into the frying pan, and got things going.
All my favourite burners were in play, so I pulled out my backup stove that I bought, one for Caroline and one for myself so we could each do a brew up if we woke up before the other, or got seperated for some reason. They won't ship gas cartridges to the island, so I had to pick these up in Oshawa in 2019 when we visited the Sail store. Two 110gr iso butane cartridges, and a couple of wee stoves I'd sourced on AliExpress that cost $7.95 each if memory serves. They are reminiscent of the "BRS 3000" titanium stoves, but these are heavier brass and steel models. They are quite efficient when protected from the wind, although we only use them once or twice a season. Brewing up some hot water for dessert, Coffee Crisp Hot chocolate! Oh yeah, we travel in style!
Deconstructed steak sandwich
Dinner was lovely, and there was nothing really for us to do but I was looking around and turning a old boyhood memory into something. Dad took the three boys overnight camping with the van and trailer that we'd hauled our rowboat on all the way from Ontario to New Brunswick. He took us to a campsite down near the water, put up this old canvas tent that I was surprised we even had, and I can close my eyes and smell that manky old thing. When bushcrafters get nostalgic for all canvas tents I cringe and think about that smell and moths and then laugh. The rowboat went into Saint John river, and Dad took the helm, with the 3 horsepower Johnson on the back of the 10 foot aluminium rowboat, with Shaun sitting up in the front holding onto the bow line, slapping it on the deck with excitement, Rich and I sharing the middle seat, and Dad sitting side saddle on the rear bench nursing the rich lean mixture. I recall that engine vibrating so much that the rich knob would rotate out of position, as a wee trickle of gasoline seeped out of it's opening in the cover. Dad tied a rag around it with a single knot, and tightened the knot to prevent it from changing from where he had set it. Man did I love the water! Dad tired of it, and after some fruitless fishing, retired back to the beach, wheree he seemed to think that I was mature enough to operate the boat myself, provided I stayed far away from the dam on the other side of the manmade lake. Whoopee! Twelve years old and I was a captain of my own vessel, or almost. Captain of a hired vessel!
Captain Ron! Martin Short is playing the part of my brother Rich
Hahaha! I must have bored Richard horribly as I went around and around in the area described by Dad. Lol. Of course I got as close to the dam as I was allowed, I'm a boy, aren't I?
Dad fed us and we climbed into the tent, all of us on a foam mattress that we were used to seeing in the van, in those old cotton flannel sleeping bags. You know the ones. Late that night it started to rain, the water dripped through some holes in the ceiling, but that wasn't the worst of it, water bouncing off of your nose at midnight, no sir! The water was rolling downhill, and as the rain progressed, it flowed under the walls and skirt of the tent right into my sleeping bag where I lay half on and half off the foam. Then I could feel it seeping up through the foam into the sleeping bag, soaking my underwear then on my skin. Cold water. Sleep was impossible and I will never forget that night, as one of the worst I've ever spent camping in my life. When I smell mildewed canvas I am instantly transported through time and space back into that young Captain Ron thinking I'd peed my bed in a dream. lol. Thankfully I also remember that rite of passage when I left the role of Mate and became Master and Captain of the rowboat.
Wow. Good times to be had on the East Coast to be sure. Lol. It didn't rain on us that night.
Day 14 - 29 Aug - Fredericton NB to Charlottetown PE
Fredericton NB to Charlottetown PE
Ha! Why do you need a knife to get a knife out of it's packaging?
Another day, but our last one in tents as we planned to be home this evening. Late last night in my tent I could hear the trash pandas having a good go down the road at our neighbours site where they had been enjoying some late night pizza and perhaps left it out along with their coolers, as I clearly heard the slosh of ice and the tumbling of a cooler in the darkness, sounding rather closer at night than it had during the day. Our neighbours were also a bit mad that their picnic table had been so thoroughly ransacked by the masked fiends, but inwardly I was very happy that our site was still in good order. Lol.
I wasn't the only one looking for breakfast this morning...
Time to take the tents down after our showers, but we each wanted a change of socks inside the tent as the ground felt dirty and gritty with loose pine needles, you know that little beggars that ride with you all day long clinging to the bottom of your feet or socks? Yeah. Now you see what is happening.
I should also mention that after eight years of abuse, one of the tent poles of the Alps Lynx 2 let go. I had a tent repair kit, and Caroline a roll of Gorilla tape. Temporary fix until we run out of tape. Lol.
Eight years of abuse later...
Split tent pole
I can fix this. I'll dremel off the end of it, then make the role a couple of inches shorter. It can wait until the snow flies I think.
I'm pretty proud of being with Caroline. The next site over had left a trash bag at some point, and the racoons had opened it up and spread it around a bit over the site. Caroline didn't want anyone thinking that we had made that mess, so cleaned it up and added my normal pile of our trash. No matter where we stay, we never leave our trash behind on a site. It goes into a trash receptacle or gets sorted into recycling and waste. She's pretty awesome.
Another late start, but it's quality smiles not quantity of miles, right? We headed back out onto NB 105 headed towards Fredericton, and I'd managed to get a hold of one of my family members that was living in Fredericton, not bad, although I still haven't seen Gillian since she was a kid and I had no grey in my beard. lol. Becca was expecting us and forewarned that it was going to be sometime between second breakfast and tea.
NB 105 needs some TLC at some point. You find yourself riding on patches on top of patches on top of the original asphalt. Lol. Keep the suspension set to soft and compliant. Caroline would let out an "Ooofff!" every one in awhile to let me know that a bump was coming up.
New Brunswick Route 105
Still, it's one of my favourite roads to ride when in New Brunswick.
We had been chatting on Messenger with Becca and Gillian, and that bad excuse I refer to? It was her honeymoon in Hawaii. lol.
Luckily my cousin Becca is a friend to all and was interested in meeting the girl who voluntarily followed me around. I think she wanted to know if Caroline was entertained, or part of the entertainment. I like to think a bit of both. She's my Sideshow Bob. Highly intelligent and I'm slightly beneath her usual high standards, but I pay well. (And the food is first class!)
Becca and her partner Tim were up for a visit, but warned us that the place had a lived look as they were prepping it for listing as they would be moving to Saint John soon once that house had closed, and add to that, there were a few kids underfoot. And one of them loved motorcycles more than I do! Brilliant! We would get a biscuit and a cup of coffee while trying to beat the rain that was forecast.
The smile! The helmet can't contain it!
Becca made us feel right at home, with some lovely coffee and a biscuit while the rest of the gang played video games and Becca got introduced to my lovely lady. Short, sweet wonderful and back on the road again after wishing them a fare thee well. All before lunch.
We only had another 3 hours and 40 minutes to go if we were taking the super slab, but that's super boring and Caroline wanted to stay off the highway if possible, so we opted to stay on NB 105 and head South East until we hit NB 10 that would take us up and over Kierstead Mountain. :)
We did stop in Jemseg at Turner's One Stop where we shared something to eat for lunch, but for the life of me I can't recall what it was.
Selfie on my mountain! Deep in the heart of New Brunswick
I posted this on facebook and got in so much grief about it that I had to promise to get Caroline's picture under her sign one day, so it's off to Cape Breton we are bound at some point.
NB 10 South West I think
Well shoot! We ended up hitting the highway for a bit then pulled off into Sussex where I got turned around a bit and Caroline got frustrated. She hates U Turns at the best of times, and Garmin and I were not having relationship problems. Garmin wasn't speaking to me, and I had led us into an industrial park where we could see our goal, the highway, but couldn't quite get their from here. I was tired and wanted a bit of a rest, so asked Caroline if she could work her magic on Trip Advisor so we wouldn't end up dining "al fresco" at the local Big K restaurant in Salisbury, right off the Trans Canada. In spite of their tasty lemon merengue pies...
And she did. There was a place called the Gasthof Old Bavarian Restaurant supposedly only about twenty minutes away up in the hills of Knightville.
I entered the destination into my Garmin and Caroline's big mistake was trusting me to lead the way straight there.
17 minutes, see?
Naw, why take the easy way when we can have an adventure!?
Garmin really wasn't speaking to me at all, or rather, it was having problems reacting to all the little inputs I oudl need to get me across to the other side of the the highway, or so I thought. You see, I confused the 890 with the 880 and sure it was about 10 km's back up number 10 where we had just come from. I pictured us riding north up 880 from Berwick then sliding south a touch to the restaurant. Easy peasey. Except we were not on the 880, and twenty minutes in and Garmin was still telling me to take goat paths south up into the hills. Seriously the hills aren't that big, but when the soil in that area washes away, it leave rocks and stones undercut, so maybe I could have made it on the Versys standing on my pegs in the morning, but here at the end of our day I was having doubts, and no way was I going to ask Caroline to off road it and hill climb with me. Bad enough that Garmin was telling me how to fix things, now I'd put us onto a gravel road, but Caroline's temper was fraying as she was getting bounced around and hangry. Shoot, I was ready to turn off the comms myself and just stop and destress for a minutes as well. Anyhow, Caroline pulled her cell and used Google Maps to find that we were now less than five minutes away as Garmin had been working hard to redeem herself as a useful tool after suggesting all those goat paths through the hills where the Kierstead family had been living and farming in Studholm Parish since 1783. It's too bad they weren't road builders as well, eh? ;)
We'd made it to Carsonville road, and with a slight turn to the left, and a turn to the right then another sorta right, we were onto Knightville road through Mount Pisgah, and at the foot of the Restaurant and the farm that support it with meat and dairy. Hallelujah! Now I just had to convince Caroline to talk to me again, and we'd be golden.
Right at the foot is the Adolf Butcher shop that make many of the wurst that will end up on your plate.
From the outside it looked interesting, but nothing really exciting, until we opened the doors. I felt as if I'd stepped off the street and straight into a restaurant in Erding Germany where I'd motorcycle toured the Alps in 2012 before moving to Prince Edward Island. The sites and smells were exciting, and we got to ogle a bit while waiting for a table, it was that full.
That is Erdinger Weissbier Tastes just the same here or in the brauhaus that I toured
I never would have thought this place existed, and am so glad that I ate here.
Caroline shared everything with me, and I really was enjoying it.
Soup and three kinds of wurst!
Finally the food was gone, the bill paid, the parking lot clearing out of the supper crowd, and we needed to get our rain gear on as that front had finally caught up to us. It was just after five, and we had another 230 km and two and a half hours to go. In the rain, the riding was okay.
And that was how the journey ended. Riding in the rain, playing with the leading edge of it, riding out, riding back in. Refueling, crossing the bridge, and heading back into town to unload our bikes and give them a rest as we both had work on Monday. It was so good to be home again, but I was already missing the campsite routine. There is always next year to look forward to.
Thanks for following along with us on this one. Maybe when COVID isn't a thing anymore we can expand our horizons and go a bit further, but for now, I really enjoyed the experience.
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