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.


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