Tuesday, September 6, 2016

*END* of East trip, Aug/Sep 2016

Homeward bound today, we left our Lancaster ON camp at 7:10 for a Denny’s breakfast to start the nice sunny day. Breakfast was good, although we made the mistake of having coffee with it. The coffee wasn’t as good as ours, and it was $2.85 per cup! Don’t do that again.

It was up to 20C by 9am. We exited from Hwy 401 at exit 440 on Hwy 35/115 and over to Orillia via Hwy 12. This is a pleasant drive, and bypasses all of the “Metro Toronto” area. Up to 28.5C at noon.

We stopped at the Cabella’s store in Barrie, as I had seen an ad while in PEI for some hiking shoes on sale that sounded good (they are). We also found a basic fire ring for our outdoor firepit.

Along the way home we stopped at an A&W for takeout burgers, and reached home about 5:10 pm, vowing to NEVER go through Quebec again! (until next time, likely). 

Today's route:

Monday, September 5, 2016

We were quite comfortable overnight, and as an added bonus, the washrooms in the nearby Visitors Center were open when we checked them in the lovely early morning.

Our lovely overnite camp spot

The bridge from PEI to New Brunswick

At 6:50 am we were crossing the bridge back to New Bunswick, $46 toll. The toll is only paid when leaving PEI.

We were heading for an overnight in Les Jardins park, our traditional stopover park, near the New Brunswick / Quebec border. Not to be this time – when we got there, Les Jardins was closing for the season, not even allowing primitive camping! We had stayed there a number of times in the fall, so it never occurred to us this would happen. We were really thrown for a loop.

We decided to find a stop in Quebec along Hwy 132, but it was so busy on this Labour Day Monday we decided we could make it to Ontario in decent time, so just got back on the highway and headed southwest.

All was going well until we started to get within range of Montreal, when we encountered a massive traffic slowdown. Labour Day traffic we assumed, but as we finally exited, before reaching hwy 30, we could see it was all due to an accident at an overpass.

After navigating through urban areas east of Montreal, we did finally get back on to #30 southbound, and got to Glengarry Park in Lancaster after dark, about 9:30 pm. It was a very long and tiring day, partly our own fault of course for skipping through Quebec.

Today's route:

Sunday, September 4, 2016

...and even more Charlottetown touring, and dinner at Kurt's

A lazy start to a lovely day. About 11 Pat dropped the 3 of us in downtown C’town on his way in to work for a bit. It was a really nice day for a browse at the market, set up along the streets in the core.

We 3 had a good walk, then met up with Pat at Peakes Quay for lunch:

We all walked around the marina some more. Cath and I each got a pair of Crocs at a season-end sale, and watched the Harbour Hippo tour boat haul itself out of the water.

Then we headed home for a relaxing couple of hours before heading out to Kurt’s house for a corn boil.

This is an annual event for Kurt, he invites some of his neighbors etc, and we were lucky enough to be here for it this year. An added surprise attraction was a birthday cake for Gord.

We enjoyed seeing a heron in the shallows in front of Kurt’s place:

We headed out about 7:15 to an overnight boondock in Borden, with a great view of the bridge to New Brunswick.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

More touring, and a sail around Charlottetown Harbour

Another lovely day. Nan and Cath went for a long walk to their library and Stratford Market. They were able to take mostly paths and avoid the busy roads.

After lunch the 4 of us went out to nearby Tea Hill, where Pat flew his drone for a bit:

Then back home for afternoon Tea again.

In late afternoon we went in to the main Charlottetown marina for a sail around the harbour on Kurt’s Saga 36 ft sailboat. Kurt is Pat’s brother, does charters on his boat for the summer crowds, and traditionally treats us to a sail when we visit. Just 6 of us on today’s cruise.

Unlike some sails we’ve had there, it was quite breezy today. No problem for Kurt, but kinda exciting for some of us landlubbers. 

Cath even got to steer, sort of:

As often happens Kurt let me steer the boat, under close supervision of course. Does Kurt look nervous? I don’t think so, but I sure was at times:

After a pretty exciting 2 hr sail, we berthed the boat at the marina, tucked in to the snacks, and had a good visit.

In the evening we “traded” a couple of shows we each like. We watched an episode of one the Martels like, called Plebs. Then we watched an episode of one of our favorites, The Detectorists.

It got down to 6C overnight, cool enough to plug in the electric heater for a while in the morning.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Touring around PEI

Overcast and windy this morning, 15C. We got to play tourist for the day, as Nancy and Pat were both at work.

We left the house about 10:00, heading out North Rustico way. Cath enjoyed a browse at the Woolen Sweater Co. The North Rustico harbour is quite sheltered so was calm, but the open water was really churning. 

We stopped in at the Kensington bakery for a few necessities, then checked out a house I had seen advertised. It seemed like a good fairly modern 2-storey house on the outskirts of Kensington, for $147,900. The location accounted for the low price though, as it was on a busy main highway right near a roundabout.

Another Atlantic Superstore grocery got some business from us, including some more St Mary’s smoked salmon, gotta love that stuff! We made some lunch and ate it in their scenic parking lot this time. It had turned sunny by now, and was up to 16C at 1pm.

Once back home, Nancy took the three of us in their car to pick up Pat from work, then the 4 of us went to Cedar’s Eatery for a Lebanese style meal, very good. Later on at home we watched a movie (?) before heading out to the van for the night.

Here’s some of the local riff-raff at Cedar’s:

Thursday, September 1, 2016

A day around Charlottetown PEI

The ladies headed in to Charlottetown today, stopping first at Timothy’s for morning coffee. Fittingly, Nancy’s son Tim works there so had a bit of a visit. Cath and Nancy browsed around several lovely little independent downtown shops, enjoying it while buying little.

Pondering Confederation

Nancy treated the two of them to lunch at Peake’s Wharf, an upstairs restaurant overlooking the main harbour and marina. Good food, good day, 22C and sunny. Meanwhile I was all on my own, so got to browse more interesting places like Princess Auto and the new Canadian Tire. :-) We had afternoon tea on the veranda again when we all got home.

On their way home, Nan and Cath invited 4 lobsters to a surf & turf supper with corn and Caesar salad, so good. The lobsters likely didn't enjoy it as much as we did. Then another evening for Cath and Nan on the veranda visiting. It poured rain overnight again.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Cabot Beach PP to Stratford PEI

We’re heading to Stratford today to camp at Cathie's sister Nancy's driveway for a few nights. Off to a good start, sunny and 18C at 8:30. We worked our way over to Cavendish via Stanley Bridge on a National Park  section that was free today.

We had a real nice drive along that parkway until we would have had to pay to continue. Since they couldn’t sell us a season’s pass dated in September, we declined to enter. It was still a lovely drive, some through an area we hadn’t been for a number of years, and a gorgeous day.

At the Charlottetown Walmart Gord went in to get something or other. Cath stayed at the van and made lunch, which we ate at the van in Walmart’s lovely lot.

Then we headed in to have tea and a visit with Nancy on their veranda, and a good supper later on. It poured rain overnight, a good time for that.

Today's route:

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Day trip around PEI

We were off for some PEI touring by 9am today, sunny and windy 16C. First stop was at an Artisan Basket Weaving Co-op west of Summerside, near Richmond; a lovely stop. We watched a woman weaving a basket, and of course she made it look so easy.

Cath finally chose a small square basket made from split ash and bark, and a handwoven dish cloth for Janine.

Then we carried on up #2 to Bloomfield for a visit to MacAusland’s Woolen Mill. It’s an old place, well-known in knitting circles. We spent some time watching the yarn process. The machinery likely dates back many decades. Really noisy in here.

The place has a large wholesale and mail-order business, but isn’t really set up for retail on-site. Our neighbor Janine had a large order in to them about the same time we visited.

On the way back down #2 we stopped in to the Potato Museum at O’Leary. It looked like it would be interesting to potato farmers, but we didn’t think it was worth $9 each for us to do the full tour.

It’s been a beautiful day today, warming up to 20C. We went out #12 to Green Park, which has Yeo House and Shipbuilding Museum. Cathie wasn't much interested in shipbuilding so I went solo, although it turned out that Cathie would have enjoyed the Yeo House part. Yeo was the name of the builder family. In the shipbuilding museum there are a number of artifacts, old photos and info about local shipbuilding in days gone by.

The house was interesting too. I had a nice guided tour from one of the ladies at the house. There were several women there, dressed in period costumes.

This old chair was upholstered with horsehair, and looked in amazing condition:

A woman had been sitting here spinning shortly before the picture was taken:

From there we worked our way down #12 along the Grand River inlet, a lovely drive on a gorgeous day. We stopped at Belmont Prov Park, a free day-use park, and made some tea, just enjoying the day and the views:

On the way back to our site we stopped at the Malpeque Oyster Bar for ½ lb of fresh haddock, and ½ lb of twisted smoked salmon, kind of a salmon jerky. We had these for supper at our site, watching the waves and the gorgeous sunset.

Note – Uncle Ben’s Express Rice is really handy for easy rice-based dishes when camping.

Today's route:

Monday, August 29, 2016

Battery Park NS to Cabot Beach Park PEI

Accompanied by a few raindrops we broke camp and headed out in good time, 17C. In Port Hawksbury we stopped at an Atlantic Superstore and managed to find some more St Mary’s smoked salmon, not quite as good as it was right from the St Mary’s store but still tasty.

Then we just headed west across the Canso Causeway and on to #104 to Amherst where we stopped for fuel. Neither of us were hungry today, so just coffee and fig bars for breakfast on the go.

Once we crossed the bridge and got to PEI we had a mediocre lunch in Gateway Village – chowder with too many potatoes for Gord, and haddock with too many so-so chips for Cath. The quality certainly didn’t justify the prices. It’s so disappointing to see Gateway going downhill like this. There really wasn’t much choice of eateries either. Is Gateway Village shutting down already after the busy summer?

It was time to replenish the cash reserves, so we stopped in at an RBC in Summerside. Cath got a wash and cut at a nearby First Choice, no waiting today.

We decided to stay a couple of nights at Cabot Beach Prov Park. before heading in to Stratford. The sites were really nice, with water view and electricity.

We were buffeted by wind and rain the first night, but were treated to some great sky vistas the second evening:

Today's route:

Sunday, August 28, 2016

A day around Battery Park, Cape Breton NS

It was a clear 14C at 7:30, was chilly enough during the night that we got out the extra blanket. There’s no electric hookups here, but we can manage to stay quite warm enough in the van without overnight heat unless it gets down to freezing. We’re going to have a lazy morning today and stay here again tonight.

After we were camped we realized that part of what we thought was our site was actually a trail from down the hill up to our level. Since our next-door neighbors left early we moved to their site for tonight.

Battery Park has quite a history, and a well-kept lighthouse at the entrance:

Once we got going we took a drive down around Isle Madame, which has a few nice water views.

On the way back Cath got dropped off at the Christmas Shop in St Peters:

While Gord went and got some fresh haddock to have with salad for lunch at the campsite, very good. Of course, Cath wasn’t empty-handed on her exit from the Christmas store.

It was such a nice day that we mostly lazed around the campground for the afternoon.

Today's approximate route:

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Salsman PP to Cape Breton NS

We woke to a nice sunny morning in this gem of a campground, 20C at 7:15. When we left, we continued to follow #316. It’s designated a Marine Drive, fairly rough road surface but gorgeous views.

We stopped and took some pictures around Coddles Harbour and Tor Bay Provincial Park (day use). Here’s a “normal” picture:

And here is a picture taken with the camera in one of its “artsy” settings. It’s the same vantage point, but the pictures look quite different:

We headed on out #16 to Canso, and had a late breakfast overlooking the harbour. We saw 6 of the large modern windmills around Canso. Like a lot of Nova Scotia and unlike Newfoundland, we rarely saw a vegetable garden.

Then we went on across the Canso Causeway, heading for a nearby area of Cape Breton we’d not seen much of before. Since we had planned to take the ferry over to PEI rather than the bridge, we stopped at the Causeway tourist info to see if the ferry had recovered from earlier outages. Not really, it sounded like it would take us at least 3 hours including the wait times, or we could take a nighttime run. Neither option appealed, so we decided to head for the PEI Bridge instead when the time came. Not a real pretty day now, overcast with intermittent drizzle.

When we got to Battery Prov park at 12:45 though, it was up to 23C and sunny. Quite windy, hopefully the clouds and rain are being pushed out of the area. We took site #34 for 2 nights.

Our lunch was real “gourmet”, with St Mary’s smoked salmon, cheddar pretzel bits, ½ apple each and a ginger beer. Yummy!

After lunch it was time for laundry. Nearby St Peters has a nice laundromat, MUCH better than the one we used in Wolfville. Then it was out to Big Pond and a visit to Rita’s Tea Room, 22C and sunny.

Sorry for the flares on the above 2 pics, the lens had a nasty fingerprint we didn't spot until later on.

The Battery park has good washrooms (right across the road from our site), really deluxe with showers and actual flush toilets. We really lazed around with a campfire until almost 10.

Our site was way up on a hill with a good sky view, many stars on this clear night. No traffic noise, we even heard loons periodically calling from the lake far below.

Today's route: