Friday, 19 August 2016
Another Ferry Boondoggle
After our visit to Port Medway we were scheduled to take the 11:00 AM ferry across the Bay of Fundy from Digby to St John. You are required to arrive one hour before sailing or loose your reservation. Hwy 8 was the most direct route and would take about two hours travel time. Unfortunately, the smoke from a forest fire had closed the route. Hwy 10 became the preferred route. The GPS was set to find Digby, at exit 13 the GPS said to turn here and head east. It said to turn one exit too soon. Away we went and eventually found ourselves on Hwy 8 assuming we had passed the blocked road. We were horrified to find the road blocked and we had to backtrack a considerable distance to get to Hwy 10. Nearing Hwy 101 the limited access road to Digby at 9:45 AM there was still 45 miles to go. At that point we knew we could not arrive by 10:00 AM. We called Bay Ferries and asked what we should do. They said to come on but we would have to go in the standby line and they could not guarantee we would get on board. The other option was to wait for the 5:30 PM ferry which we would be on for sure. The 5:30 PM ferry would arrive at 7:45 PM. I decided to cancel the ferry, get a $240 refund, and drive some 304 miles around the Bay of Fundy. We took one shortcut on Hwy 14 which avoiding having to go to Halifax. We arrived in St. John at 5:02 PM before the 5:30 ferry even left Digby. We continue to drive another 70 miles to St Stephen, NB and crossed the border to Calais ME where we are parked at the Calais Motor Inn. The trip was not as much fun as the ferry however we saved time and money. I estimate we spent $58 on gas, and $5.25 on tolls saving overall $175.
After Calais we headed east on US-2 through the beautiful mountains of Maine, and New Hampshire. To avoid Montreal traffic we rounded the north end of Lake Champlain within a mile of Canada and headed west on US-11 only find the road closed because a bridge was out. It was a long detour that eventually took us to Massena. The road there opened up to a beautiful 4 lane highway but there was a stop light every 1/4 mile and they were almost always red. Apparently you are better off going through town. We visited friends in Brockville, ON where we used to live. In Dundas ON we picked up the last of the stuff from my sisters estate. We crossed the boarder to the USA on the Bluewater Bridge at Port Huron. At the Customs & Immigration we were behind a car that was ordered to the office after much discussion between the customs officer and the driver. The officer put a magnetic box on top of the car which I assume tracks the car if the driver tries to escape. Now it was our turn. The officer asked if I was carrying anything and I said "some stuff from my sister's estate". He seemed to be worn out and not the least bit interested in the "stuff" and immediately said go ahead. So much for the beautiful work the law office had done to document everything for customs. We will attend a wedding in St Joseph MI tomorrow and expect to be back in Nashville on Monday.
Posted on 08/19/2016 3:21 PM by Bob Duthie
Friday, 12 August 2016
Sixth and Final Day on Magdalen Islands
Posted on 08/12/2016 1:29 PM by Bob Duthie
Wednesday, 10 August 2016
Fifth Day on Magdalen Islands
Entry Island Cruise
We checked out of the Gross-Cap campground and headed for the Excursions terminal. We paid for our tickets and boarded the boat for Entry Island at 10:00 AM. The boat is about 40 feet long and made of fiberglass. The captain and cruise guide spoke good English and were very nice to us. The captain even helped us get the Trend parked on the dock. Entry Island is 10 miles from the Cap Aux Meules port. We left port at 10:00AM and headed south. The seas were 2-3 ft and the ride was comfortable. The greatest water depth is 55 ft deep but there are many shoals and reefs in the area. Over the years 100's of ships have floundered coming to the Magdalen Islands. Coming in to the harbor and Entry Island is very tricky with strong winds and the need for sharp turns to get into the dock. The harbor is protected with the concrete jacks.
Entry Island Hike
Our first stop was the Chez Brian Josie restaurant where we were too late for breakfast. I settled for a western sandwich and Mavis had fish & ships. We had a great conversation with the staff and locals who were especially interested in the US political scene. The most focal man was born on Entry Island but spent years on the mainland and in the USA. He is now back living on the island and imported a hovercraft from Germany. The thing to do on the island is to climb Big Hill. It is the highest point in the Magdalens at 581 feet. You walk up hill about 1.5 miles to get to the base of the hill. Then it is very steep and while not so bad to climb up it is a real challenge to come back down. Several people on the boat went to the top but we stayed at the base. There is an electric fence that keeps the cows from getting to the village and a step stile to safely cross the live wires. On the way to Big Hill you pass by a beautiful old Anglican Church.
The wind was really blowing on the way back and our tour boat bounced around quite a bit. Our cruise guide was amazing at being able to give her presentation without losing her balance or hanging on to anything. We spent the night at the Barachois campground in Fatima where we had a great view of the surf and sunset.
Posted on 08/10/2016 7:14 PM by Bob Duthie
Monday, 8 August 2016
Fourth Day on Magdalen Islands
Posted on 08/08/2016 7:03 AM by Bob Duthie
Sunday, 7 August 2016
Third Day on Magdalen Islands
Posted on 08/07/2016 11:49 AM by Bob Duthie
Friday, 5 August 2016
Magdalen Islands Arrival
The Ferry Ride
The departure at 2:00AM didn't happen due to some kind of engine problem. We finally left at 4:00AM after 14 hours in the parking lot listening to the racket from the transport trucks. We watched a long DVD movie and then tried to sleep with little success. I used my hand held GPS to measure our speed and see our position on its chart plotter. I could tell the captain was trying to make-up for lost time as we were making 20 mph. As soon as the ship left Souris they turned off the cabin lights we had to search for seats that had enough light so we could read and a window ledge for the GPS so it could see the satellites. Mavis makes fun of me for reading the kids book "Anne of Green Gables" but it is quite interesting. The sun came up at 5:00. By 6:00 we could see ahead the first of the Magdalens, Ile de EntrÃ©e (Entry Island). It is a rocky island with high cliffs and is not connected to the other islands. The ship's cafeteria opened at 7:00 AM and served disapointing coffee with bacon and eggs. We docked at 8:00AM and drove to our camp site, Parc de Gros-Cap. It is on a peninsula with water on three sides. There are few trees on the island and the wind blows all day long. I clocked it this morning at 15.8 mph.
Parc de Gros-Cap
We managed to sleep for about 1.5 hours and then walked all around the very scenic campsite. This place is very popular with kite boarders since there is always wind and the water is shallow. In the photo our unit is 4th from the right. Our site faces west and the kite boarding area. At one point I counted 13 kites. The black semi-circles are the kites and the splash in the water is the rider and board. The park warden at Greenwich National Park told us the island is just like PEI but flatter with no trees. He is wrong there are trees but they are stunted from the wind. The red cliffs are sandstone and everywhere.
Posted on 08/05/2016 11:44 AM by Bob Duthie
Wednesday, 3 August 2016
Prince Edward Island (PEI)
We arrived on the Island after driving 4.5 days and 1,900 miles. The first challenge was to find the Cornwall/Charlottetown KOA. The address was in the GPS but not the name. There were 3 listings with same address and the one I picked was on a dirt road and no KOA in sight. I called them on the phone and after much discussion I was told they were another hour and half drive away. The next mistake I made was to arrive on Civic Holiday so the park was jammed with RVs and kids. They did have the space I had booked.
St. Stephen, NB
Much of the drive here was on I-80. It is in beautiful condition and easy to drive with its 65 mph speed limit. I was also amazed at how few cars exceeded the speed limit. From Scranton to Maine you are on 81, 84, 295 around Boston, and then 95 through Maine. Of course 295 was bumper to bumper for at least an hour. We crossed the border at St. Stephen, NB. My father lived here while in high school. My grandfather was the Bank of Montreal manager and the family lived in the upstairs rooms of the home on the right. My father was a friend of Whidden Ganong who ran a famous chocolate company named after his father which is still going strong under David Ganong. The building on the left. We had a tour of a museum there with all the free candy you can eat.
Touring the Island
After doing the laundry in downtown Charlottetown we had fish and chips at the Brit Fish & Chips Restaurant. If you order one fish you get two large strips not one. They were very good but too much to eat. From downtown we drove north to the #1 attraction in the province, the House of Green Gables. It became famous because of a novel with the same name written by a young girl, Maud Montgomery, in 1908. It is well worth a visit to learn about life in the early 20th century. We cancelled our second day at the KOA and stayed in a beautiful town park at St. Peter's. Today, we went a short distance to Greenwich National Park and learned in the interpretive center that 12,000 years ago this area was covered by ice as in the photo. PEI was not an island but connected to the mainland. As the ice melted the water level rose and PEI became an island. Then we walked 4.5 km (2.7 miles) round trip to the sand dunes and beach on the Gulf of St. Lawrence. There is a very long floating board walk on the way to the beach.
Its 85 miles by water to the Maggies (local term for Magdalen Islands). We are now in the parking lot for the ferry which leaves at 2:00 AM and arrives at 8:00 AM.
Posted on 08/03/2016 7:59 PM by Bob Duthie