Thursday, 17 July 2014

Beginning Year 2: The Maritimes

Year 2 begins with a hop across Quebec on hwy 40,
Eastbound -Yes, there are some good roads in Quebec.
to Quebec City, crossing to Hwy 20
A beautiful bridge across the St. Lawrence River
 and into New Brunswick and Nova Scotia to Newfoundland. We left Montreal planning to get as far as Edmunston, but made it only to the Walmart in Riviere du Loup before we decided to call it a day. We rounded a corner and saw one Class A RV in the lot, so we figured it was OK to stay there. As the full parking lot came into view, there were about 17 other RV’s of various sizes parked for the night. 

Walmart - some of the 21 RV's

Our spot!

By the time we called it a night, there were 21 RV’s parked in the lot. We even got good wifi as a walmart guest right near the edge of the lot!

The last section of the Quebec highway is under massive construction as they build a divided highway. Luckily, since we were travelling midweek, it was not a problem for us.
The New Brunswick highway was as good as we remembered from our trip to PEI a few years ago! The moose fences line long sections of the highway. We stopped at longest covered bridge in Heartland, 

Heartland Covered Bridge- we didn't try it with the trailer
and at the Covered Bridge Potato Chip factory.

Outstanding Chips (or crisps)
They were so good we bought a couple of bags. 

That night, we found another Walmart in Fredericton. There are actually two, but the first is in the middle of the city, on Regent St., on the south side of the river and in a busy mall. We headed over the bridge to the second, holding our breath. But it is in a fairly new area, with a huge parking lot, and we were given the OK to stay. There were only 3 or 4 of us and it was really quiet. Unfortunately though, we were too far away to use the wifi. 

Fredericton's Walmart on Two Nations Crossing
 On our drive from Fredericton to Moncton, I saw a moose standing by the fence in the CFB Gagetown area. We had arrange to meet fellow Airstreamers, that we had met in Ottawa, at Campers City RV Resort in Moncton. It was close to the city, but was rather expensive. The campground is a large, grassy field, and sites are narrow, so RV’s are really close together. The washrooms by the pool were very clean, but not very large. In the other washroom, the showers were 25 cents for 5 minutes. We didn’t get wifi as it was $6.00 per day, and our friends couldn’t get on. However, we spent several hours talking. They had just spent a month in Newfoundland and she wrote excellent notes, and of course, that is our destination. John got info on roads and driving, I got hints on places to see, campground 
recommendations and where to see the best icebergs.
I had been telling John about the lupins growing all along the roadside and in the ditches in the Maritimes. They were out in all their beauty. 

The lupins were beautiful

Many grew wild along the side of the road
There were sometimes just a few, and sometimes fields between the lanes of the divided highway and beside it.

Our next stop was a few days in Halifax. We chose to stay at an RV Park on the Bedford side of Halifax, Woodland RV Park. Folks were really friendly and helpful. Sites were set in a wooded area with trees in between. The washroom was breezy as the gables were open to the outside, which was fine in the hot weather we had, but would be a concern if it were cooler.

We spent a couple of days walking around Halifax. We drove in, and parked by the Children’s Hospital. The first day we walked along the waterfront. At the west end is a farmers’ market. There were only a few booths open, but one had delicious fresh lobster rolls, another had excellent lattes and a third had gelato- pina colada and ginger vanilla. Yum! 

Along the harbour there is a boardwalk
At the SE end, just before the entrance to the Harbourwalk -"The Emigrant"

from the Cunard docks and Farmers’ market to the Naval docks. It is beautiful, with interpretive panels along the way describing the points of interest and historical events. We walked and walked, rested and watched the activity in the harbour,

Lighthouse on St George's Island

 In 1755 Acadians were imprisoned on St. George's Island

A Unique tour boat- the Theodore Too

A ship from the naval yard, NW of the Harbourwalk

then walked some more.

There are several ships. We toured the HMCS Sackville, a Corvette- the ship used to escort convoys during the Battle of the Atlantic. It is the last of the 122 built in Canada during WWII. 

HMCS Sackville, Corvette #122
But we were too late to tour the frigate, Halifax, that day.
In one area, there are a group of little kiosks selling souvenirs or various types of food, even beaver tails. We had excellent fish and chips from The Battered Fish.

Kiosks seen from the river.
We passed the Dartmouth ferry docks and decided to take a ride. We could get a transfer, ride over, and return on the same boat. We just had to get off, go through the gate and get back on. Since it was really hot, this was a nice breezy break from walking.

Dartmouth from the ferry

Halifax from the ferry

We still had to walk back to where we had parked the car – several blocks up the hill

Looking up to the Clock Tower

a street with lots of outdoor patios and pubs

and many blocks back to the Public Gardens, 

Public Gardens, a great spot to relax before the drive back to Bedford

and Victoria Gardens area.

The next day was Canada Day. Everybody was in red and white, except us. I chose turquoise, so John could find me, and he had on bright yellow. It wasn’t too patriotic, but made locating each other much easier. We spent the morning and early afternoon at the citadel.

Practising for the ceremony

The Parade Ground on Canada Day

We watched the parade and the ceremonies from the ramparts. We walked down to the waterfront and back to the Battered Fish. John added delicious seafood chowder to his lunch. We toured the frigate, Halifax.
The frigate, Halifax
John's guns have become larger!
It was fascinating. There were lots of navy personnel with interesting information, and to answer questions. 

The waterfront was crowded with red and white, so it was interesting people watching. It was particularly fun watching the children play in the splash pad.

It was really hot, and tthe kids had a wonderful time

It was a bit foggy and overcast as we headed east. However, it was not long before we were into another hot day. Thank goodness for air conditioning in the car. We drove over the Canso Causeway,

The end of the Causeway
and took the south route along the Bras D’Or Lakes shoreline to Louisbourg. Roads were generally good, but there were some rough patches. As we drove towards Louisbourg, we saw what looked like a mountain ahead. It was FOG. The temperature dropped from 25 degrees C to 15 degrees in a couple of kilometers. We pulled into the Riverdale RV Park, unhitched, and headed to the Lobster Kettle for something to eat. The RV park is grass in the middle, and level gravel pads on the edge. We backed in at the end, with a brook behind and bushes to the side – lovely site, but bad choice.

lots of black flies- larger than Ontario black flies, but just as nasty!
There were lots of very annoying black flies. The washrooms were the nicest we have seen, rivalling those at Picacho Peak in Arizona. But,
make sure you have gas and groceries before you get to Louisbourg. There are no gas stations in town and only 2 small convenience stores.


Fortress Louisbourg is amazing. It is not a fort, but a fortified town, much of it restored to the year 1744. There are people throughout the town dressed and in character. You meet soldiers of all ranks, sailors, servants, serving waitresses in the restaurants, bakers, children, 

The girls off for a game of hide and seek
and a variety of citizens.

We drove to the Visitors’ Centre, and a large shuttle bus took us to the fortress. The first home is outside the walls. Many of those who worked in the fortress, fishermen or those who supplied food, lived in homes around the outside.

The first house was kind of a tavern for fishermen and a home

Inside- one large room and a bedroom
The sentry at the gate challenges those who wish to enter. 

2 soldiers on the drawbridge

There are 2 information centres, which are hotspots, inside the fortress. On their website there is an app you can download for your smart phone. One section takes you on a walk of the restored sections of the town, with interesting information about buildings and the people. Another one takes you through the unrestored section through the remains of the original 18th century town.

Your first view of the town, after entering the gates

Houses are built in a square, with back yards in the centre

one street- the merchant's restaurant is the first building

3 different types of construction- stone, wood and a type of plaster and wood

We had lunch in the smaller of the two restaurants. We got one utensil- a large spoon, and a napkin to tie around our necks to keep our clothes clean. John had very good fish soup and soldiers’ bread with beer. I had French toast, homemade bread with cinnamon on top, with hot rum punch – hot water, 1 oz of rum, brown sugar and lime juice.

They have done an outstanding job restoring the homes, even the governor’s quarters,

The Governor's quarters: with a chapel, dining and meeting rooms, his soldiers quarters and his private quarters

Governor's bedroom

the shops, the storage facilities,

Storage building
and bakery and forge. One of the buildings is an exhibit illustrating the various types of construction. Some are set up with the furniture that would have been in the home. Others were displays of paintings depicting life in and around the fortress and its history, and artifacts from owners of various homes.

We watched the punishment of a women who “stole for her children”,

Her charges are read, and insults are hurled at her by the citizens, as she pleads her case

and the firing of the Cannon (supposedly at sunset).
Readying the cannon

Then we drove to Kennington Cove where Wolfe landed in 1745 for a siege on the fort.

Kennington Cove

Each day we watched the progress of the first hurricane of the year, Arthur, as it progressed up the east coast, wondering how it would affect our journey. We left Louisbourg in, you guessed it, FOG,
John wanted to take one more walk along the original battlements
and drove to Sydney, in the warm sun. We got notices that our ferry departure had been moved up an hour, then a second to say it had been moved up again. This meant our 11:45pm ferry, was now leaving at 9:45pm. They wanted to get as many crossings as possible before Arthur ‘hit’.

A few of hours later, watching our ferry dock in N.Sydney.
Actually, they began to load at 8pm and we were away by 9 (9:30 in Newfoundland). We had booked a cabin as it was originally an overnight ride. We got a couple of hours sleep. But, we got in at 3am, and were off by 3:30am in Port au Basques, in the pitch black. We had been warned about the moose on the road, who like to just wander in front of the cars at night- and no moose fences on the way to Doyles -  and about the winds at Wreckhouse. So we bedded down in our trailer in the Visitors’ Centre parking lot until morning.

At the Visitors' Centre in Channel-Port au Basque

Now we are in Newfoundland...

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