Friday, 31 July 2009
Day 46 July 31 Ramsey, IL to Murray KY
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The photo shows the huge oak trees at Ramsey State Park. We gave Maine the award for the Worst Roads. The best road was the Trans-Canada Highway in New Brunswick. 

Today was our last day. We had the View washed and waxed in Paducah. At the shed in Murray, we packed just about everything into the car, cleaned the motorhome inside, and headed for the boat at Kenlake Marina for the weekend. 

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Posted on 07/31/2009 3:55 PM by Bob Duthie
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Thursday, 30 July 2009
Day 44 July 29 Brainerd, MN to Oakdale, WI
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We have gone full circle back to the campsite in Oakdale, WI we stayed at on Day 34. It is 302 miles from Brainerd. There were no photos taken today of any interest; an out of focus large buffalo herd on a hill beside the Interstate and a really green colored river with green scum on the shore. Accordingly, today's photo is the rainbow at the golf club in the downpour last evening.
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Posted on 07/30/2009 1:48 AM by Bob Duthie
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Thursday, 30 July 2009
Day 45 July 30 Oakdale, WI to Ramsey, IL
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We covered 390 miles today. Tomorrow it is just 215 miles to Murray KY where we put the View away in the "barn" probably until early 2010. We woke to rain and got soaked putting away the power cable and water hose and doing a "dump".  The rain continued all morning. Driving was nothing but rain, fog and a lot of trucks (see photo).

Our route took us east to Madison, WI and then due south through Rockford and Decatur. Tonight, our last night on the View, we are in Ramsey State Park among huge oak trees.  No satellite tonight and only 1 TV station.  However, we have 2 bars on Verizon. So far in 46 days there has only been one place where we had no Verizon Internet Service and that was Acadia National Park in Maine. I would also give Maine the award for the"Worst Roads" in all the states/provinces we have travelled.

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Posted on 07/30/2009 11:35 PM by Bob Duthie
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Tuesday, 28 July 2009
Day 42 July 27 Woodbury, MN to Brainerd, MN
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We drove 140 miles to the log home of our Nortel friends, Gary and Susan, near Brainerd. The house is on the Gull River which drains Gull Lake and empties into the Mississippi River at Crow Wing State Park. The photo shows the Gull River just below the log home. This area is a popular vacation spot and there are several resorts dating back to the early 20th century.
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Posted on 07/28/2009 3:56 AM by Bob Duthie
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Tuesday, 28 July 2009
Day 43 July 28 Brainerd, MN
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This was a relaxing day. I worked at the computer and then sorted slides while Mavis went into town with Susan. When Gary got home we trucked two kayaks to the Gull River dam and then paddled back to the house (see photo). It was beautiful and so quiet on the river. There was a strong current and we covered about 2.5 miles in less than 45 minutes. Tonight we went to the upscale Madden's Classic golf club for dinner. We made a good decision deciding to sit inside.  Within minutes there was a high wind and downpour that completely soaked all the outside dinners.  An intense rainbow stayed up for 15 minutes after the storm. Tomorrow we start heading for home.
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Posted on 07/28/2009 10:29 PM by Bob Duthie
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Sunday, 26 July 2009
Day 41 July 26 Woodbury, MN
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The girls went to Cirque du Soleil under the Grand Chapiteau (tent) in St. Paul. The boys all went to the soccer game in Lakeport. Mark's team lost 7 to 1. They might have done better if it had rained like yesterday. We flew the kite from Cape Hatteras yesterday in the big field behind the house (see photo). It needs a lot of wind but puts on quite a show once it's in the air.  Tomorrow we head for the home of Nortel friends in Brainerd, MN.
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Posted on 07/26/2009 10:27 PM by Bob Duthie
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Saturday, 25 July 2009
Day 40 July 25 Woodbury, MN
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The day started out well with breakfast at the Not Justa Café in Bayport, about 16 miles east. I had one of the "Messes" which included hash browns, bacon, scrambled eggs, and cheese all mixed up. The place was packed as always. Our 6 year old grandson, Michael, had the 12" chocolate chip pancake with sausages and ate all but part of the pancake.

The next event was our 12 year old, Mark's soccer game in Lakeport, about 40 minutes south. Mark's team is in the state finals. About half way through the game the rain started and came down hard. Up went the umbrellas and people put their chairs over their heads. The puppy in the photo was well protected under an umbrella. It didn't hurt the game much and our team won. The prize for winning was to be in another game tomorrow.

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Posted on 07/25/2009 10:44 PM by Bob Duthie
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Friday, 24 July 2009
Day 38 July 23 Forest City, IA Winnebago Grand National Rally
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This was the last day of the Rally. Mavis took a class on convection microwaves and I learned about boondocking. This is about camping in your motor home with no access to power, water or sewer. There were long discussions on solar power, and conserving water. The most unique idea was using a macerator and pump to empty your holding tanks into a bladder located in your towed vehicle. I made one more round of the motorhomes on display and am disappointed that there is no new motorhome that I just really have to get.

Tonight the final entertainment was a 20 person big band music team that played and danced. The aerial photo shows the scope of this event with our location highlighted. The Winnebago factories are at the top. The seminar tents, trade show exhibits, food buildings, and amphitheater is in the lower right.

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Posted on 07/24/2009 3:57 AM by Bob Duthie
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Friday, 24 July 2009
Day 39 July 24 Forest City, IA to Woodbury, MN
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The RVs left the park in a very orderly fashion. A mile north is another park with 10 dump stations. Most of us headed there and dumped the holding tanks after 5 days. Driving north to the Twin Cities the sky was threatening (see photo). We missed all the storms but St Paul was hammered with golf ball sized hail stones. The rental car people said a number of their cars were damaged. We stopped at Ikea for lunch and got some great new no-slip shelf liners and a $5 blanket. We had dinner at a Woodbury restaurant with the four grandchildren and our son and daughter in-law. Tonight we are camped at Lake Elmo County Park which has really nice large sites with power. It is completely full.
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Posted on 07/24/2009 10:38 PM by Bob Duthie
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Wednesday, 22 July 2009
Day 36 July 21 Forest City, IA Winnebago Grand National Rally
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I finished the second half of the RV Driving Safety course this morning. It was well worth the time spend. Did you know that in the event of a blow-out you should press the accelerator and not the brakes?  Did you know that the date of manufacture is on the sidewalls of your tires?

If you buy a new RV, it may have sat for 2 years, the chassis is still a year older, so the tires could be 3 years old.  The life of a tire is 5-6 years so you are not getting the bargain you may have thought you were getting.

After the course I attended the Forest City Rotary Club meeting and met a former CEO of Winnebago. The speaker was from an Iowa shortline railway company which bought an abandoned railway line 10 years ago and is now growing at 25% per year carrying corn, ethanol and windmill generator parts. They have 21 engines and trains with 5 engines and  as many as 140 cars long. They make up the trains which are then handed over to Union Pacific that that hauls the ethanol to Los Angeles. 

After Rotary I studied various new motor home configurations and concluded there is not any significant advantage to the new ones that would justify switching. In the afternoon each of the state groups had parties along the road. The sky was unusual and  bands entertained from trailers (see photo).

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Posted on 07/22/2009 12:18 AM by Bob Duthie
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Wednesday, 22 July 2009
Day 37 July 22 Forest City, IA Winnebago Grand National Rally
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We both took the friends and family CPR course this morning, then toured the cabinet making plant after lunch. There have been so many cut backs that there wasn't a lot going on the plant, but there was a high degree of automation and emphasis on quality.

Our site has power but no water or sewer. It was time to fill up the water tank. Seven of us got together and strung our hoses together until we could reach the spigot at the end of our row. Then each of us filled up and got our hoses back. Tonight there was a wine and cheese party, car parade/show of antiques and corvettes (see photo), followed by a comedian/singer from Nashville, a huge bonfire, and a marshmallow roast.

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Posted on 07/22/2009 10:10 PM by Bob Duthie
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Tuesday, 21 July 2009
Day 35 July 20 Forest City, IA - Winnebago Grand National Rally
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I attended the first session of the RV Driving Safety course today.  The instructor is a retired state trooper with 37 years experience. He is doing a great job, and I learned a lot. Such as the 5 tests you will be given if you are stopped for suspected DUI.  We had homework to do investigating our tires and measuring the View. There is another 3 hour session tomorrow. After that I'll have lunch with the Forest City Rotary Club.

This afternoon we had another party with our pod and then got together with 3 other pods. These are really our kind of folks and we are having a great time. Its amazing how many people are boaters or are thinking about getting a boat. One of the exhibits is this photo of a hydraulic contraption for putting your Gold Wings on a truck. You then tow this behind your 40 foot long motor home. Tonight a 7 man band from Nashville, The Challengers, entertained us with a lot of 50's and 60's songs.

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Posted on 07/21/2009 2:53 AM by Bob Duthie
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Sunday, 19 July 2009
Day 34 July 19 Oakdale, WI to Forest City, IA
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We are now at the Winnebago Grand National Rally. There are over 1,200 motorhomes and 2,600 attendees. The rally is superbly organized. On arrival you check in and escorted to your site. There is power but no water. We are in the View/Navion section in a pod with 3 other Views.

It didn't take long after arrival before we were all in a ring with wine and cheese. One couple has been living full time in a 40 ft motorhome for 15 years. They have rented in Australia and New Zealand. They just downsized to a Winnebago like ours last week and drove here directly. Another in our group is an engineer and worked for 3M. A third works for the Nolin Milling company which manufactures and maintains the world's largest inventory of grain spouts. This is important stuff to know if you have a farm with a silo. Tonight they had the grand opening with singing, a parade, and a few short speeches from local dignitaries and the Winnebago CEO.

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Posted on 07/19/2009 10:56 PM by Bob Duthie
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Saturday, 18 July 2009
Day 33 July 17 Sturgeon Falls, ON to Manistique, MI
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About all we did today was drive 359 miles and go through US Immigration & Customs. We crossed into the USA at Sault St Marie. Mavis was prepared with a long written list of provisions but the officer didn't even ask about meat, fruits, and vegetables.. We were delayed about 20 minutes.

Tonight we are at a unique campground on the north shore of Lake Michigan (see photo) called Driftwood Shores Resort and RV Park at Manistique. We have power and water plus our own swing set, a long bench to sit and watch the water, a fireplace, and a picnic table; all this for just $27.50.. For a Friday night there are not very many campers in this beautiful spot.

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Posted on 07/18/2009 12:25 AM by Bob Duthie
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Saturday, 18 July 2009
Day 34 July 18 Manistique, MI to Oakdale, WI
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Another long day driving 304 miles. The route took us south beside Lake Michigan's Green Bay, then southwest across Wisconsin. It was almost all 2 lane roads at 55 mph and the View achieved 19.6 mpg. 

Central time starts when you cross the Menominee River into Wisconsin. Menominee MI is on one side and Marinette WI on the other. Talk about confusing since it all looks like one town. We were particularly impressed with the prosperous look of Marinette (see photo).

There are a lot of older aluminum cruisers with the Marinette name. Now I know where the name came from.  Tomorrow we have just a couple of hundred miles to reach Forest City IA, the site of the Winnebago Grand National Rally and the Winnebago factory. We expect to stay there all week.

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Posted on 07/18/2009 10:17 PM by Bob Duthie
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Thursday, 16 July 2009
Day 31 July 15 Voyageur Provincial Park, ON to Ottawa, ON
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It was a short drive to Ottawa from the campsite but made longer by wrong turns that took us through some lovely Ontario farm country.

In Ottawa I went looking for the Rideau Canal to see if there were any Great Loopers tied up to the lock walls, but couldn't find the canal in the maize of streets downtown.

We passed by the National Gallery's, Maman, a 30-foot spider sculpture at the Gallery's Plaza. The gargantuan bronze spider, by Louise Bourgeois, weighs 18,000 lbs and carries a sac of 20 pure white marble eggs under her belly. Spiders, with their ability to fabricate complex and calculated webs, serve as a natural metaphor for creativity. This artist intended this sculpture to be an ode to the artist's mother, who was a restorer of tapestries. (Thanks to the CanadaCool website for this description as we had no idea what we were looking at when Mavis took the photo out the window of the View.) 

The rest of the day was spent visiting Nortel friends and getting the latest news on the plight of the employees and retirees.

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Posted on 07/16/2009 11:49 AM by Bob Duthie
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Thursday, 16 July 2009
Day 32 July 16 Ottawa, ON to Sturgeon Falls, ON
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Last night we stayed with Nortel friends, John & Yolanda, in their driveway. They have a very interesting home in Ottawa. Many of the details are Frank Lloyd Wright. The photo taken out the kitchen window shows the unique eave troughs which are hung below the eaves. John is working with a group of former executives to save Nortel so we had lots to talk about.

Today we repeated the same route we took a year ago on our way to Vancouver Island. The road must have taken a real pounding last winter as it was pretty rough for much of the 259 miles.

Tonight we are at a small campground with lots of permanent trailers. It is right on Lake Nipissing.

Tomorrow we cross the border at Sault Ste Marie and will be back in the USA.

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Posted on 07/16/2009 10:37 PM by Bob Duthie
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Tuesday, 14 July 2009
Day 30 July 14 Grand Falls NB to Voyageur Provincial Park, ON
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We set two records today; one for the longest distance traveled in one day 420 miles, (9.25 hours) and the second for having to fill up twice with diesel in one day. Traffic through Montreal was very heavy and as always the roads were under construction in the city. There wasn't a picture worth putting on the blog from today so I'll show a photo of the main street in Grand Falls, NB. I suppose I could set a third record for the shortest blog entry yet this trip.
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Posted on 07/14/2009 10:48 PM by Bob Duthie
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Monday, 13 July 2009
Day 28 July 12 Argentia to North Sydney, NS
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The ferry left Argentia at 11:15 PM. It seems it is behind schedule as only 3 of the 4 engines are working. A part that never breaks in the almost new Caterpillar MaK engine broke. Since there was no spare, they have to wait for the replacement part to come from Germany. Since this part never breaks they probably have to wait for the replacement to be manufactured as well.

I have been following our speed and position on the GPS. We set out at 20.4 mph (about 2 mph less than with all 4 engines going) but 2/3 of the way across we slowed down to 17.5 mph so we will be even later arriving. Hopefully we can make it to Truro before darkness.  The weather today has been clear and sunny at about 60 degrees. Winds are 10 to 15 mph from the southwest. The waves are 2-3 ft.

The photo was taken out the window of the View as the MV Joseph & Clara Smallwood arrived in Argentia. Joey Smallwood was Premier of Newfoundland at the time of Confederation in 1949. He was the politician behind the controversial Resettlement. The ferry got in at 4:15PM. We were underway at 4:30PM Newfee time and we made it to a campground just past Truro by 8:40PM ADT.

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Posted on 07/13/2009 12:20 AM by Bob Duthie
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Monday, 13 July 2009
Day 29 July 13 Truro, NS to Grand Falls, NB
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We have been running over the due time for the View's 30,000 mile oil change. The job needs to be done at a dealer. We got lucky today and found a Dodge Sprinter dealer in Moncton, NB that would do the job. We were in and out in a couple of hours, so we are still on schedule.  The rest of the day was spent on the Trans Canada on a beautiful new 4 lane limited access highway. Like most interstates it is not very interesting. The highlight was a side trip to see the World's Longest Covered Bridge at Harford, NB. (see photo).

We stopped briefly in Grand Falls. The main street is very wide and has a park running down the middle, something like Belle Meade Blvd in Nashville. There really is a large water fall and and impressive gorge.. Tonight we are in a very French campground called "Paradis de la P'tite Montagne" which I translate as Little Mountain Paradise. We are just a few miles from the Quebec border.

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Posted on 07/13/2009 11:32 PM by Bob Duthie
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Saturday, 11 July 2009
Day 26 July 10 St John's, Bay Bulls, Cape Spear
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The St John's East Rotary Club met this morning 7:30AM at the Sheraton Hotel. It was the classiest setting I have seen yet for a Rotary Club. They served a terrific breakfast with 3 kinds of eggs, breads, etc. I didn't see any cod tongues on toast.

We then headed for Witless Bay but found the whale watching boats leave from Bay Bulls. We did see a couple of humpback whales but found the puffins on Gull Island were the most interesting. (see photo that Mavis took). The puffins are very unique birds. Check out Google for all the details.

We also had a good time talking to a family of native Newfoundlanders on the boat. They come out every year to see the whales. The man lives in St John's and is an account manager for Blackberry and travels to Knoxville, TN several times a year. Another couple from Oakville near Toronto, asked all kinds of questions about the View. We invited them to tour and they were really impressed until the door handle fell off the bathroom door. I have wondered for long time where the set screw I found a year ago on the floor came from. Now I know, but can't find where I put the set screw.

Next we drove to Cape Spear, and stood on the most easterly point in North America at Longitude 52 degrees, 37 minutes, 14.7 seconds according to my GPS. Cape Spear has a restored 1839 lighthouse and also a large gun emplacement that was built for World War II to defend the St John's harbour.  As the wind was blowing nicely, we decided to try out the kite we bought at Cape Hatteras. As soon as I got it up in the air the park commissionaire came over and said that kite flying was not allowed. If the string were to break it might get caught in a jet on the approach for a landing at the St John's airport. Hardly likely given that kites don't fly if the string breaks; however, it was time to head back to town. We got a call from Marina-Atlantic that our ferry trip tomorrow was being delayed about 6 hours. I'll have to re-plan the trip from Sidney to Ottawa.

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Posted on 07/11/2009 1:31 AM by Bob Duthie
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Saturday, 11 July 2009
Day 27 July 11 St John's to Argentia, NL
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This is our last day on the Island. We did some shopping at the Newfoundland Costco where prices seemed to be 50% to 100% higher than on the mainland. The only bargains were the iPods which sell for the same price in Canadian $ as US$.

Our next stop was the Railway Coastal Museum. It does a good job of explaining how the railway got started (to develop the interior) and why it no longer exists (lost too much money), paved over by the Trans Canada Highway. We drove to Placentia, a town dating back to the 1600's, near the ferry docks at Argentia. We wandered about the town. At the O'Reilly House Museum we learned about the Resettlement. Newfoundland was developed by cod fishing. There were hundreds of tiny fishing outports only connected by the sea. In 1949 the Government decided that to provide education, healthcare, and social services at less cost, the people would have to move to a small number of consolidated towns. Many homes were floated across the water or dragged on the ice in winter to new locations. The museum had a nice model showing how this was done (see photo). If you saw the movie, the Shipping News, you may remember the house being dragged across the ice. They didn't make that idea up for the movie, it really happened. 

After the museum visit we had dinner at Belles Restaurant and had seafood platters. Our last meal in Newfoundland was a first with COD TONGUES (see next entry). They are quite good; sort of salty with a unique texture.

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Posted on 07/11/2009 10:14 PM by Bob Duthie
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Saturday, 11 July 2009
Day 27 July 11 Cod Tongues Extra
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There is a cod tongue in the center and another lower right.
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Posted on 07/11/2009 10:17 PM by Bob Duthie
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Thursday, 9 July 2009
Day 25 July 9 Terra Nova NP to St. John's, NL
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It's 158 miles from the park to St. John's via the Trans Canada Highway also known here as TCH. In most places the road is built very high, perhaps 8 feet above the ground. The ground is very marshy like tundra so it takes a lot of gravel and sand for support so the road will not heave in the winter. However, the downside is anyone going off the shoulder will just roll over into the deep ditch. The occasional cross marking the spot where someone went off is proof there is a problem. The only places we saw guard rails were when the ditch was as high as the trees. Another problem is sign placement. They had to build a platform for every sign (see photo).  If there is equipment on a pole they build a wooden bridge so the maintenance people can get to the equipment.  There is very little traffic overall on the TCH. I did a 20 minute survey and counted 102 vehicles going the other way; 13% were large trucks/RVs and 87% cars and small trucks.

So far we have filled up with diesel 4 times. Low sulphur diesel does not appear to be available anywhere. This means people with diesel engines built after 2006 cannot tour Newfoundland at the present time or risk expensive repairs. 

In the 60's and 70's I helped design a computer controlled telephone exchange for small towns at GTE Automatic Electric. It was reported last year at the GTE Reunion that there was still one working in Witless Bay, NL. After several calls to various area managers and engineers at Bell Aliant I learned that all central offices in Newfoundland were converted to digital switches in the 90's. We will still go to Witless Bay even if I can't see my old system

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Posted on 07/09/2009 8:46 PM by Bob Duthie
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Wednesday, 8 July 2009
Day 24 July 8 Twillingate to Terra Nova National Park
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Mavis decided that today was cleaning day so I had to make myself scarce. I used the time to climb a 200 ft high headland near the RV Park. Then we drove out to the Long Point Lighthouse at Devils Cove Head which offers spectacular views from a height of 330 feet.  The view over the cliffs looks a lot like California in the Carmel area. We then returned to Durrell to see the icebergs once last time and to see how much change had occurred over the past 20 hours. Today's photo tells the story. The top photo is July 7th and the bottom is July 8.

At noon we said goodbye to Twillingate and headed for St. John's with an overnight stop at Terra Nova NP. It's the first National Park to offer electricity. It's a very large campsite with 371 sites, all in the woods. There are trails along the Newman Sound but little else to do. There is supposed to be an Outdoor Theater with an event tonight but after walking around for 45 minutes I could not find it. All the maps we were given show trails leading to it but don't show where the Theater actually is. It could be a couple of miles away. We should get to St John's around noon tomorrow.

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Posted on 07/08/2009 10:51 PM by Bob Duthie
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Wednesday, 8 July 2009
Day 23 July 7 Twillingate, NL, Extra Photo
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The spectacular view from the Durrell Museum.
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Posted on 07/08/2009 1:16 AM by Bob Duthie
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Tuesday, 7 July 2009
Day 23 July 7 Twillingate, NL
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We made the right decision yesterday to come to this village, it is the most scenic place yet and the real Newfoundland. I also learned that yesterday's weather was a true Northeaster with winds of 35 knots. The claim that this is the Iceberg Capital of the World was fulfilled. It turns out that there are more icebergs here this month than they have seen in years. I took the tour boat out to get close (see photo) I took over 100 photos of the icebergs from the boat. There were about 5 large ones. The storm yesterday broke up some of the biggest that were grounded in a cove.

On returning from the boat tour we drove to the Durrell Museum which is on a high hill overlooking the harbor. Crowds of people were coming there to see the icebergs (see extra photo). This evening we had fish and chips for dinner (fresh caught cod and home made chips) and saw the Split Pea performance of mostly newfee music. At intermission they serve tea and toutons. Toutons are a kind of fried bread dough with jam.

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Posted on 07/07/2009 9:08 PM by Bob Duthie
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Monday, 6 July 2009
Day 23 July 6 Gros Morne NP to Twillingate, NL
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The weather today was the worst ever in the View. Rain, fog, high winds, and a temperature that started at 43 and is now 39 degrees F in Twillingate (twillin-gate) With the weather so poor, I couldn't face an extra 420 miles (round trip) of driving to St Anthony to see the authenticated place where the Vikings first landed in North America. Instead we just drove all day east 275 miles to Twillingate. We'll stay here two nights so we can see the folk band, Split Peas, perform tomorrow night at the Touton House.

From the little we have seen so far, Twillingate is one of more prosperous towns in Newfoundland. All the others are very poor. It is also promoted as the Iceberg Capital of the World. I learned a new nautical term today "tickle". It's the channel between two islands. This whole part of Newfoundland used to be isolated fishing villages on islands. Causeways were built joining the larger islands so the area became much more accessible. The Shoal Tickle Bridge connects the north and south islands of Twillingate. Today's photo through the windshield captures the weather, the islands, and quaint buildings. If you enlarge the photo you can see the "Moose Soup" sign.

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Posted on 07/06/2009 10:02 PM by Bob Duthie
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Sunday, 5 July 2009
Day 22 July 5 Codroy, NL to Gros Morne National Park
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We drove 194 miles to Green Point Campground in Gros Morne NP. It was raining all morning and the temperature dropped to 54 degrees F. Gros Morne is best known for its wilderness and spectacular mountain views.

We stopped at Lobster Cove Head and toured the lighthouse (see photo). At Green Point the campground is beside the Gulf of St Lawrence behind a rocky beach. The fishing village of Green Point was taken over by the Parks Service in the 1980's. People received enough payment for their homes so they could build a new house in Rocky Point. The fishermen were able to retain their licenses and allowed to continue fishing from their former homes for $1 per year. Today there are only two fishermen left. They use outboard powered, home made, wooden boats that slide down a wooden track to the water.

There are some interesting rocky cliffs along the shore which are used as geological age markers. The layers of rock were laid down over 540 million years and then up-ended 90 degrees so that all the layers for 545 million years can be seen. The layers are full of fossils and are used to date fossils from other locations.

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Posted on 07/05/2009 11:51 PM by Bob Duthie
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Saturday, 4 July 2009
Day 19 July 2 Acadia National Park, ME to Port Medway, NS
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The KOA Campground turned out to be excellent and had the cleanest and best equipped laundry yet. It also had a guy who rents a space and steams fresh caught live lobster and corn on the cob for about $20 each. We went for it and had an excellent dinner.

This morning we were second behind a tour bus on the high speed catamaran ferry to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. The ferry cruises at 55 mph and is powered by four 6,500 horsepower jet pumps. That's 26,000 HP in total. It was built of aluminum in Australia. The jets are 22 feet high and the wake was so long it disappeared into the fog ½ mile behind us. (see photo).  

From Yarmouth we drove across the southern part of Nova Scotia to Port Medway. This is a very small town. Once a boat building and fishing town with  a population of 3,000 it is now a retirement and fishing town with 200 people.  We visited with Nortel friends, Jane and Colin. We had a four course gourmet dinner prepared by Colin and drank too much wine. The View was parked near the house and had a magnificent view of the long Port Medway bay.

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Posted on 07/04/2009 12:26 AM by Bob Duthie
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Saturday, 4 July 2009
Day 20 July 3 Port Medway, NS to North Sidney, NS
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Colin and Jane's Cape Cod style home was built in 1834 on a pioneer farm (see photo). The stone wall was built about 1790 from rocks on the fields when the farm was started. The chestnut trees are probably just as old.

After breakfast with toasted home-made bread we were on our way 350 miles to North Sidney to catch the ferry to Newfoundland tomorrow. We had a late lunch at Mother Webb's. Highly recommended by Colin and Jane, this is a steak and hamburger joint beside the main road. We were not disappointed. The food was great and the service hard to beat.  

Crossing into Cape Breton we stopped at the Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Park in Baddeck. We were last here in 1965. The exhibits were expanded in 1978 with the addition of a full scale replica of AGB's hydrofoil. It must be close to 50 feet long. We finally got to the RV Park at 7:00PM

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Posted on 07/04/2009 12:29 AM by Bob Duthie
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Saturday, 4 July 2009
Day 21 July 4 North Sidney to Codroy, Newfoundland
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Up early we arrived at the Marine Atlantic ferry dock at 6:45AM only to wait till 9:15 to board the ferry as it was running behind schedule. Built in 1986 the MV Caribou was named after the original S.S. Caribou ferry that was sunk by a torpedo from the German Submarine U69 on October 13, 1942 with a loss of 136 lives. There were 101 survivors. The ship was the largest ferry in Canada when built.

It was a "bank weather day" (as on the Grand Banks; that's Newfee for damp thick fog) with for the entire 100 miles.  We had a very nice cabin with 4 bunks, power for the computer, and a complete head. The GPS showed our average speed was 23 mph and I was able to predict our arrival time within 5 minutes of the captain's estimate.

While the rest of the ship was pretty worn out, the cabin was first class. Arriving at Channel-Port Au Basque it is like a different world. There are no trees, just barren rocks with a few small homes perched in high places. Heading north there are strange mountains everywhere with views of the sea.  Codroy is 24 miles from the ferry dock and just a very small village with a good campground.  There is one bar cell phone service so the Internet is really slow.

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Posted on 07/04/2009 9:48 PM by Bob Duthie
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Wednesday, 1 July 2009
Day 16 June 29 Freeport, ME to Acadia National Park, ME
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Fog and rain would describe the weather for the day. There was only one place where the fog cleared up for a few miles. I selected US-1 which took us around the coast of Penobscot Bay.  There were numerous beautiful historic towns all along the route.

We stopped in Rockland and toured the Farnsworth Art Museum which is near where the Wyeths spent their summers. As we drove down the main street the 3 way EAT sign (left side of street in photo) caught our attention. It is on top of the museum. It was designed by artist Robert Indiana (the LOVE letters sculpture) for the 1964 World's Fair in New York. Each letter has a set of lights which pulsate in a simple pattern. At the Worlds Fair so many people thought there was a restaurant under the sculpture that the lights were turned off and never turned on again until now. It was moved to Rockland in 2009 for the Robert Indiana and the Star of Hope exhibition. We had a lobster roll for lunch.

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Posted on 07/01/2009 11:06 PM by Bob Duthie
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Wednesday, 1 July 2009
Day 17 June 30 Acadia National Park, ME
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Today the weather forecasts were completely wrong. Instead of rain, we had sun; instead of 70's we had 60's. Acadia is on an island called Mt Desert Island. There are free propane buses sponsored by L.L. Bean that take you all over the island. We took advantage and went to Sand Beach. We then hiked high along the coast on granite cliffs beside scraggly pitch pines to the Thunder Hole.

The number one cause of accidents is falls on the rocks here. It's not hard to see why in this photo. The cliffs drop off 300 ft or so. Thunder Hole is a narrow channel in the rocks where the swells come into a chamber and compress the air with a bang like thunder.  Another bus picked us up at Thunder Hole and took us back to the campground.  The new hiking boots worked beautifully.

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Posted on 07/01/2009 11:14 PM by Bob Duthie
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Wednesday, 1 July 2009
Day 16 Extra
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At Searsport we stopped at the Bluejacket Shipcrafters Model factory. It has been in business since 1905 and manufactures model kits sold through catalogs for about $250 each. Assembled and finished they are $2,500-$8,000. They also reluctantly offer a few finished sailboat models made in China for $250. I think when I get old I will build one of their kits. We got lost in Bar Harbor and finally arrived at the Blackwoods Campground at 5:00PM.

There is no cell phone service at all here. We are roughing it with no power or water at the site.

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Posted on 07/01/2009 11:11 PM by Bob Duthie
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Wednesday, 1 July 2009
Day 18 July 1 Acadia National Park, ME
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As I had only booked the Park campsite for 2 days we moved to a KOA closer to the Yarmouth Ferry. We parked in downtown Bar Harbor and saw the sights (see photo). Lobster is big here and just about every boat in the harbor is a lobster boat.

I found out at the Visitors Bureau that the Bar Harbor Rotary Club was meeting at noon. It seemed like a good idea to do a make-up so at 11:30 I left Mavis in town and headed north to an assisted living center where the meeting was being held. The address was not in the GPS so I had to use dead reckoning. Mt Desert Island has the worst road direction signs I have ever seen. The roads are narrow so you have to go along way to get turned around. They often wait until you make a turn before a sign tells you what road you are now on. The locals say to just go to Hulls Cove and turn left. There are no signs in Hulls Cove. I drove for an hour and a half before finally finding the meeting. Lunch was over and the club was planning their big July 4th event. I did get a flag to prove I made it to the meeting.  It took about 10 minutes to get back to Bar Harbor where I picked up Mavis.

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Posted on 07/01/2009 11:16 PM by Bob Duthie
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