Thursday, June 28, 2012

Prince Edward Island, Canada

100_3033PEI is by far Canada’s smallest Province both in land size and population.  On the other hand, it is Canada’s most densely populated one.  We had been thinking we would take the motor home over to the island and camp for a few days.  Instead we chose to make one gigantic daytrip out of it.  In hindsight, we think we made the right decision.  There is only one way to drive to the island, the Confederation Bridge.  It is 8 miles long and it about 130 feet above the ocean over most of its length, but it does rise to 200 feet above the water in one section to facilitate shipping.  The day we went, it was raining and the wind was blowing hard.  Cross winds to the bridge were at 20 to 30 miles an hour.  Our car was repeatedly buffeted by the winds going over and  coming back.  I don’t do well at heights in the motor home, such as when crossing bridges.  With a bridge of 8 miles, single lane each way, only a modest shoulder, and with high cross winds that would really have buffeted the motor home, I would have been on the floor the whole way and even that wouldn’t have been enough.  By the way, the toll on this one topped that of the Tappan Zee bridge back in New York.  The one way toll for the Confederation Bridge was $44.25 for just the car.  If we had crossed with the motor home towing the car, the total would have been $66.  But then the bridge cost more than one billion dollars to build.

100_3066What is PEI about other than tourism?  Agriculture and aquaculture.  You don’t usually think about an island for its farming – they are often rocky and mountainous.  PEI has some hills, but it is the potato capitol of Canada.  There are fields after fields of potatoes.  The aquaculture?  It’s mussel farming.  The bays and coves of the island are full of mussel farms.  The mussels are grown in long bags suspended in the water with buoys so that the mussels don’t feed off the bottom and other critters don’t feed on the mussels.  They also raise clams and oysters, but PEI is really known for its mussels.  Shown below is a “field” of mussels marked by its buoys.  Also shown is Gary’s lunch – steamed mussels, clams, quahogs, and oysters.  I don’t know how he can eat that stuff.  And then he bought two pounds of mussels to steam back at the motor home for dinner the next day.  They cost $1.50 a pound.


We also found that our online guide to offbeat tourist attractions also covers Canada.  We took in a group of three buildings made out of bottles.  Why did someone make some little buildings out of up to 10,000 bottles each?  We never did quite get the answer to that one – maybe to get into Roadsideamerica. 

We also saw the house that inspired the Anne of Green Gables series of books.  We spent a little time in Charlottetown, the capital of PEI, but the rains rolled back in and it was just too miserable to get out and see very much of it.  We headed back over the eight-mile-long bridge and back to the motor home – a day of nearly 300 miles of traveling.  It was a long day, but I still am glad we didn’t navigate the high winds blowing across that bridge in the motor home.


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

More Bay of Fundy

100_2982We moved on up from St John to Moncton, New Brunswick.  From there we spent another day exploring the Bay of Fundy.  We drove down to the Hopewell Rocks.  These rock formations are along the shore line of Hopewell Cape.  We arrived in the mid morning at low tide.  Then, you can walk among the rocks along the shoreline when later in the day it will be covered with the ocean.   The rocks themselves are quite unique in that they are not solid rock, but rather are sedimentary rocks and  other material that are compressed into rock formations.

After walking the sea floor, we drove on down to Fundy National Park for a few hours before returning to Hopewell for high tide.  This National Park is a preserve for Acadian forest, the forest region of the very Northeast of the United States and the Maritime Provinces of Canada.  The trees are a mix pine, fir, birch, and spruce.  We hiked to a nice waterfall,  We also stopped right outside the park at a bakery someone had recommended to us where we purchase their sticky buns.  It was a nice tasty change of pace from our seafood tour.


Back at Hopewell Rocks, we observed the area at high tide, which was about 40 feet above the level of the earlier low tide.


Tuesday, June 26, 2012


2012-06-23_19-42-06_437Our friends in Maine told us that at certain times of the year McDonalds in the area sell lobster rolls.  We didn’t see any sign of it during our stay and we weren’t sure they were not pulling our legs anyway.  But sure enough, up here in New Brunswick we passed by a McDonald’s and there on the sign was McLobster.  We tried one out.  Although adequate, it just didn’t compare with ones we had in Maine.

Monday, June 25, 2012

A River That Flows Upstream?

100_2949We have moved north from Maine into New Brunswick, Canada.  Our border crossing was fairly uneventful.  There were no other vehicles at the crossing throughout the short period of time we were there.  The Canadian Customs Officer could have charged us some duty based on some of the things we are carrying, but declined to do so upon hearing our story of full timing and figuring that everything was for our personal consumption and not for commerce.  Thanks!

NB 038Our first stop was at the seaport city of St John on the Bay of Fundy.  The bay is famous for the height of its tides  The bay is basically a “box canyon”.  As I have read, it seems there are three factor at work here that make for the highest tides in the world.  First, it seems that within the tidal flows of the oceans, there is a very strong flow that comes off the Indian Ocean, around the Horn of Africa, and straight up the Atlantic toward the Bay of Fundy.  The Bay itself narrows and the sea floor in the bay is v-shaped.  Finally, the push and pull of the sun and moon are particularly strong in this area.  All of these factors combine to create a tremendous swell of water into the bay that has nowhere to go but up and out wherever it can. The low to high tide change can be over 50 feet in parts of the bay.  In Saint John, we were seeing about 20 to 25 feet of tide change (compared with maybe 3 to 5 that we saw in Myrtle Beach).  But with this much tidal force, the ocean pushes in through the mouths of rivers and actually pushes the water back.  The St John River is the major river of New Brunswick, draining more territory by far than any other river in the Province.  But even with this mass of fresh water moving out to sea, the tidal forces are so great that the ocean pushes the river back upstream.

In St John, there is an area of the river where there were once waterfalls in ancient times.  Today, there are just some rapids.  At low tide the water flows through these rapids downstream and out to the ocean.  But at high tide, the water is flowing upstream creating rapids going the other way up the river.  The water wasn’t just barely flowing upstream, it was roaring upstream. The level of the river is affected as far as 80 miles upstream.   Between the high and low tides, there are slack tides during which the river is basically at a standstill.

100_2934As the sea water rolled back upstream, we saw some seals in the river.  They were cuties playing out there.

We truly felt we were watching one of the true phenomenons of nature!  And if we figure how to post a video, our report will be even more impressive.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Acadia National Park

100_2824Acadia was the second national park we have visited during our full-timing adventures (Great Smoky Mountains was the first). Unfortunately, there aren’t many national parks on the east coast, but we sure visited a spectacular one here in Maine. Acadia was the first national park east of the Mississippi. It is located mainly on Mount Desert Island where the largest city is Bar Harbor. The area was another playground of the rich and famous in the late 1800s and early 1900s, just as Newport, Rhode Island was where we visited a couple weeks ago. It was a summer playground for the Rockefellers, Vanderbilts, Astors, Morgans, and Fords. But they and many others left quite the legacy as most all of the land was donated by such private individuals for the national park. John D Rockefeller, Jr. was 100_2820very instrumental in prevailing on other land owners to donate for the park. And he also donated the nearly 50 miles of carriage roads of the park. He had carriage roads on his home estate near New York City and had similar ones built on Mount Desert Island, in part to try to limit the use of cars on the island. Today, cars are still prohibited on the carriage roads and they can only be used for hiking, biking, horses and cross country skiing. There are 17 granite bridges on the carriage roads and along many areas of the carriage roads there are large granite blocks along the edges.   We enjoyed two bike roads on the carriage roads, one around beautiful Eagle Lake and the other around some smaller lakes where there were beaver lodges.  We hiked several trials, one up to the top of a granite ridge where you could see how ancient glaciers had deposited boulders on top of the ridge and had traveled with such huge force that it had scored the granite rock.

100_2855The island and the park contains many granite peaks. The valleys of the park were shaped by glacial flows leaving behind huge boulders and many lakes.  The granite is so hard that even the waves of the ocean can’t break it down into sandy beaches.  There is only one small sandy beach on the islands and its sand comes from the erosion of shells.

We met up with our friends from Florida again and went to the restaurant overlooking Jordan Pond for an iconic ice cream filled popover topped with hot fudge.  We had to walk that one off on one of the carriage roads (well at least we tried).


Thursday, June 21, 2012

Pollen, Pollen, Pollen

Wow, what is up this year with all the tree pollen.  Is this just an east coast thing or is everyone experiencing much higher levels of pollen this year?  It started while we still were in Florida and we have been moving north with it ever since.  I think we are stuck right in the peak season of it every time we move a bit farther north.  Why am I writing about it?  Well, we had to take a good part of two days to clean all of the yellowish green stuff off our vehicles.  Not every campground will let you wash your vehicles.  Our campground in Maine allowed it with a bit of an extra charge so we just had to get the majority of this greenish yellow stuff off the motor home especially.  We were afraid it was going to stain the awning fabrics.  When we were near Boston, we would pass this black car each day that was sitting under a bunch of trees in an individual’s lot.  It was a black car, but you could hardly tell it through the thick yellow layer of pollen.  Gary says his eyes are far more irritated than usual and I think I have some allergic reaction to it as well.  Maybe it has to do with the mild Winter, but whatever caused it, we hope it will stop falling at least before the plant pollens take over.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Visiting With Florida Friends………In Maine

100_2732One of the many nice things of the RV park we stayed in this past Winter in Florida was that we were surrounded by so many experienced RVers.  It seemed everyone there had years and years of RVing under their belts.  We received lots of advice for this year of travel.  When we mentioned that would be heading through Maine this year, someone noted that a couple just a few sites from us works at Acadia National Park in the Summer.  So what better source could there be to get advice for that part of our travels.   Well, it wasn’t just that they had worked there – that had worked there ten of the last twelve years.   They were happy to give us campground recommendations, advice on the route, and encouraged us to contact them when we arrived.  Well, that is just what we did.  Here we are with our friends from Florida, Charley and Dorothy.

100_2749-001They day we got in, we met up with Charlie and Dorothy for dinner at a wonderful restaurant they recommended,  And what did we have for dinner – Lobster of course.  In this case it was “Lazy Man’s Lobster”  meaning they already had extracted the meat from the lobster and served it up in a dish of garlic butter.  The next day, they took us on an introductory driving tour of the Acadia National Park and the Island that houses it, Mount Desert Island, and its major town  of Bar Harbor.  Charley missed his calling.  He should be giving history and nature tours of the Island.  We stopped for lunch at our first “lobster pound”.  There are many lobster pounds in this area.  It is basically a lobster shack, just a small building with live tanks for the lobsters and other shell fish in a streaming tank, and picnic tables.  And after a lobster dinner, what did the two women of our group have for lunch – lobster of course.  And this time it was whole lobster in the shell.

100_2730We met up with Charley and Dorothy again a couple of days later for dinner with them and several of their workkamping  colleagues who all have sites in a small campground behind the national park headquarters.  And what did, Dorothy, the tiniest member of the group have for dinner?  Yes, lobster again and this time the lobster roll we reported on in a couple of our earlier posts.

So, what does Acadia Park look like.  Here is just a little taste of what the shoreline looks like.  There are mountains, one over 1,500 feet high, the tallest ocean side mountain north of Brazil.  There are lakes, trees, carriage roads, animals and birds.  We are still working on our exploration and will have more to tell soon,

We will meet up at least one more time with Charley and Dorothy for, you guessed it, some more lobster.  By the way, they have been full timing in motor homes for 15 years now. 

Monday, June 11, 2012

Southern Maine

100_2663We have been in Maine for the last week.  We rolled out of Foxboro, MA mid morning, took the outer beltway, and avoided any serious Boston traffic.  We passed through New Hampshire and were welcomed by a “Live Free or Die” sign at the border.  We passed into Maine and spent our first week in Maine in the southeastern costal region.  We were camped near the town of Saco.  We are still a bit ahead of prime season and were able to use our Passport America half off camping card for all our nights.  Saco was a very central location for exploring Portland, Kennebunkport, and the beach town of Old Orchard Beach.

100_2678In Portland, we took in another minor league baseball game.  The Portland Seadogs are the AA affiliate of the Boston Red Sox.  We like minor league baseball as it is a lot cheaper and the games are usually a lot more fun with fan activities between every inning.  The stadium has its own version of the “green monster”  a high wall in left field because of a short left field foul line.  We were lucky on tickets again as we were in the front row behind the home team’s dugout.  I had another ball tossed to me by one of the coaches which I gave to a young boy who was thrilled to receive it,  We also explored the downtown and wharf front areas of Portland and continued our seafood tour with some Lobster risotto for me and Lobster macaroni and cheese for Gary.

100_2709Kennebunkport is the home of George Herbert Walker Bush or Bush 41.  His home on a fabulous property on its own peninsula into the ocean.  There are a lot of other very upscale properties on the Kennebunkport waterfront, but it is not nearly as pretentious as Newport, RI. We had a very nice leisurely round of par 3 golf at a very short course of holes only 30 to 80 yards long.  Gary had some blackened haddock tacos with fresh avocado slices that were fantastic.  I had a crab salad/havarti cheese sandwich.  Our seafood tour only seems to be getting better.

100_2684Old Orchard Beach is a classic throwback Atlantic Ocean beachfront town.  It has an old beachfront amusement park and a pier full of tacky touristy stores and bars.  The beach there is a sandy one several miles long.  This part of Maine has some longer sandy beaches compared with the very craggy coastline on up the coast.  Gary actually dove into the ocean, just to say he had been in the Atlantic in Maine.  At least he got out before he turned blue. He also 100_2702had another chance to try out his metal detector, but the bounty of drink can tabs and bottle caps was disappointing. The seafood tour also continued.  We went to a little sandwich shop that once was featured in the Travel Channel’s show, Man Versus Food.  Adam Richman had taken on the “Manimal” eating challenge.  And in this battle of man versus food, man was the winner.  But we weren’t about to take on the Manimal challenge.  I had my best lobster roll yet.  Gary had deep fried lobster roll, very interesting, but the deep frying took away from that delicate lobster taste. They were both very good sandwiches though and very reasonable as well.  Just take a look at all of that lobster in the roll.

From here we are headed to the Bar Harbor area and Acadia National Park.  It is nice now to be away from the big cities.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Trailer Park Lounge and Grill?

100_5375As long as we are posting funny pictures (well, at least funny to us), here is one we snapped on a street in New York City – The Trailer Park Lounge and Grill.  We especially liked the plastic pink flamingos. Note that it says it is open all year.  We didn’t take the time to go in, but we did have a good chuckle at their store front.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Prestigious Law Firm In Cambridge, Mass


100_5536Just a quick post about something we forgot to include in our prior posts about the Boston area.  While we were in Cambridge near the campus of Harvard University, we happened upon a prestigious law firm.  We were able to get a picture of of one of their windows showing the roster of illustrious partners of this firm – Dewey, Cheetham, and Howe

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Boston and Rhode Island

100_5483Boston was perhaps our favorite major city of our east coast tour. Its historical charm blends well with its modern financial district.  Our campground here was in the suburb of Foxboro, where the New England Patriots play football.   It was the most expensive campground we have stayed in yet even after a bunch of discounts, but then everything is expensive in this area.  The campground really was a destination in and of itself with four pools, hot tubs, saunas, workout room, fishing pond, etc. 

100_5548We utilized public transportation again taking trains, trolleys, subways, and buses.  We had heard the horror stories of driving in Boston and  didn’t want any part of it.  The people here were very helpful.  It seemed every time we pulled out a map someone stopped to ask if he/she could help us find something,  We walked the Freedom Trail and took in such historical sites as the Old North Church – one if by land, two if by sea, Paul Revere’s home, Bunker Hill, and the USS Constitution – Old Ironsides.

100_5534We visited our second Presidential Library.  This time the JFK Library after having visited the Clinton one in Arkansas.  We wasted way too much time taking in the Samuel Adams brewery one afternoon.  We also went to Cambridge and strolled around Harvard and Harvard Square.  We finally had a bit of the seafood part of our “cities and seafood” tour.  I had some lobster bisque and nice piece of haddock and Gary had some Boston clam chowder and a lobster roll (chunky lobster salad on a hoagie bun).  We are really looking to forward to the seafood in Maine where we are headed next.


100_2656We drove down the east side of Narragansett Bay and then back up the west side and thereby took in nearly the entire state of Rhode Island – well almost. On the east side we toured Newport. It is known for its mansions which were “cottages” for the wealthy of the late 1800s, but Newport also contains many colonial buildings. From Newport we drove into Providence and had dinner in Rhode Island’s capital city.

We had generally dreary weather for our week in the Boston area.  We had intended to spend a day a beach down on Cape Cod but we never got there as the weather turned too cold and wet for us to make that trip.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Fenway Park and Cheers

100_5436We keep  track of our Detroit Tigers and were aware that they still would be playing in Boston when we arrived in that area.  We found some tickets off of Craigslist and went to the final game of the series.  Gary was really excited to go to Fenway.  There are only two really classic old ballparks left in Major League Baseball.  One is Wrigley Field in Chicago where Gary saw his first ever pro game exactly 50 years ago.  The other is Fenway Park with its classic “green 100_5437monster” left field wall. It could not have been much better.  The rain held off.  It was a good pitching matchup between Josh Beckett and Max Scherzer.  The lead see sawed back and forth.  And the Tigers won the game – their only win of the four-game series.  Fenway is a mix of a classic old park supplemented with some very modern technology such as two huge high-definition LED video boards.

Before the game, we had a bite to eat at that place that for years told us, “everybody knows your name"”.  Yes, we went to the location that inspired Cheers.  The exterior of the property as exactly as used to be shown on the TV program.  The inside is not exactly the same and all the shots from the bar were actually on a sound stage anyway.  Naturally, they have a large gift shop with all kinds of Cheers trinkets and trash.  But it was a fun place with lots of tourists cycling through including other Tiger fans going to the game.



Friday, June 1, 2012

A Visit With A Former Boss

100_5417-001In all my many years with Ford Motor Company, I always had nice bosses – very smart and professional people who always treated me with respect and appreciation.  As we were in the Boston area, I knew that my next-to-last boss with Ford, Dennis Ross,  was now a senior executive with State Street Bank in Boston.  We were able to secure a short meeting with him in his office.  It was very nice to see him.  He was I think genuinely and keenly interested in what we are up to in this full timing life.  Gary also knows Dennis from his days at Ford and he asked us a bunch of questions about our lifestyle and we had a good laugh during many of them.  It was fun to catch up about family, friends, and colleagues and we were very glad he was in and was able to share some time with us.  We meet tons of new people as we travel about, but it is especially nice to see some people whom we have known for years.