Sunday, July 9, 2023

*END* of Nfld trip, wrapup

Saying bye to PEI once again

We really enjoyed our trip to Newfoundland, seeing more icebergs and whales than we ever have before. Cathie's finger injury seems to be coming along well, hopefully will "just" be the 6-8 weeks of keeping the support on before the recovery is complete (although some physio may be needed after that). 

We enjoyed our short PEI visit as usual. One day Pat, Nancy and Cathie went on a bit of a tour downtown, and had a good look at this amazing creation on display at Confederation Landing on the Charlottetown waterfront. This is the Canada Tree, and has been in storage for 20 years. It's on display from June 28 - July 16, 2023,  as part of the 150th anniversary of PEI.

It's kind of like a totem pole, being hollow inside, with many carvings on the outside. Much Canadiana is incorporated into the carving:

One evening the Bluenose slipped quietly into Charlottetown Harbour,  maybe needing shelter for the night while in transit elsewhere:

The PEI weather was erratic, and the plants should not need watering anytime soon. This ditch beside our van parking spot is normally dry this time of year:

On Monday afternoon the 4 of us attended a musical play put on at Holland College, Anne and Gilbert. This is part of the ongoing story of Anne of Green Gables, when she and Gilbert finally got together:


We reluctantly left PEI Wednesday morning, July 5, expecting to take several days to come home via the US. The trip always takes longer than the Trans Canada Highway through New Brunswick, Quebec and Ontario, but we prefer the US route overall.

Wednesday July 5:

We expected to make it to St Stephen New Brunswick today and stay there overnight. Even with a short detour to Blacks Harbour NB so Cathie could pop in to a yarn supply shop she likes, Cricket Cove, we still got to St Stephen in early afternoon. The weather was hot and muggy, and once we stop we have no AC to keep us cool for camping, so we pressed on, crossing into the US about 2:30. 

The weather worsened, cloudy and rain with thunder and lightning, but didn't cool off. So we kept going through Bangor Maine, and on to a nice Walmart in Skowhegan ME. It even had a tree-lined parking lot with some shade.

Thursday July 6

After a good night at Walmart we headed out fairly early. We planned to get to a L L Beans store in West Lebanon NH today, and did. It was a similar route to our way east, but we did get on I90 for the second half of the drive today. 

The Beans store is in a plaza along with other stores. This is not the principal Bean store, which is a huge multi-building site in Freeport ME. The West Lebanon store is much smaller but still has a good selection of Bean's items, is much easier to navigate, and there is no sales tax in NH.

One of the other stores is a Woodfire Pizza place, where we had a good lunch a number of years ago. Still good today:

After a good browse at Beans, and a couple of small purchases, we pressed on. Like yesterday it was still hot and humid, so once again we drove further than we expected, and ended up in Molly Stark State Park, a small Vermont camping park. Very threatening skies, and the park ranger came around warning campers about reported hail in the area, and to get things put away. Luckily no hail, but more rain and thunderstorms. The camp showers were very welcome before the rains came.

Friday July 7

We decided to try for home today, if we could get across the border by early afternoon. Heading out about 6:20 we got to I90 about 9, and cruised from there. 

I90 is pretty straight, even for a turnpike, and avoids most cities and towns. Coming east we had reluctantly used I90 from Buffalo to Troy, and still didn't know what the toll had cost us then. Today we decided we didn't care, it was hot and humid again, not nice camping weather, and we wanted to get home. 

I90 toll note: after we got home we found we could access a NY web site, find out what our toll bill was, and pay it online. On the way east it was $31 US for 300 miles/ 480 km, which seemed pretty reasonable as it likely saved us several hours driving. There are no toll booths now, detectors pick up our license plate and NY will send us a bill eventually, even to Canada. It's cheaper to pay the bill proactively though. If travelling toll roads frequently it's likely worth buying a pass, I think it was called EZ-pass, good in some 13 states. We found the road signs on I90 did very little to explain any of this process, they mostly just threatened dire consequences if you didn't pay your toll.

Anyway, we made it to the border by 1:15, and after a short delay were on our way home in Canada. It's great to be away, and always nice to get home (even if there is a lot of unpacking and cleanup!). 

Sunday, July 2, 2023

Leaving Newfoundland, and Canada Day evening on PEI

Fireworks warmup from some residents across the bay in PEI

Friday Jun 30

After a quiet night boondocking in Port Aux Basques, we were up early and heading for a nearby breakfast stop. The ferry check-in process went smoothly as it usually does, and we pulled away pretty much at the scheduled 11:45 Nfld time.

It was pretty foggy early on:

Looking out a rear window from our lounge seats


But mostly cleared up later on:

A sister ship on its way


We had to wait about 10 minutes when docking, as the above ship hadn't left yet. Our crossing took only about 6 hours, faster than expected, so the other ferry was still in the dock when we arrived. Otherwise the crossing was uneventful, which is good! We were unloaded by 6:30 ADT (Nova Scotia time, 1/2 hour less than Nfld time).

Because of the ferry timing, we simply "checked in" at a Sydney Walmart for the night.



Saturday July 1

We expected to get a campsite for the night somewhere Saturday, and get to PEI on Sunday. We forgot about this being a Saturday night of a long summer weekend, but were reminded when we couldn't find an available campsite. Since we didn't fancy roughing it for a third night in a row, we decided to press on to our personal boondock space in Stratford PEI, at Nancy and Pat's place. Nancy is Cathie's sister.  Nancy and Pat were out visiting when we arrived, as expected, but returned in the early evening.

Each year on July 1, Charlottetown celebrates with a day of activities, topped off by a fireworks show at dusk. We got a fine view across the water to Charlottetown where the fireworks are based:

Quite a crowd gathers, just down the road from N&P's place

Lots of families here with their kids, watching across Charlottetown harbour

Here's a 1-minute video clip of some of the main event fireworks:


We expect to be here until we start heading home Wednesday morning.