Eagle, Nova Scotia, 2016

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Back in the USA

We hopped along the Southern Shore and Annapolis Valley in Nova Scotia, staying a few days at each of four parks. All of them had very poor or almost nonexistent WiFi connections. I am so far behind in posting, that I have decided to defer writing about this part of our travels until sometime in the future when I have more time. Perhaps I will do a "back in time" post or two when we are wintering at Jojoba Hills.

For now, Craig wanted to post the following: 

[From Craig] Our last stop in Nova Scotia was at the Five Islands Ocean Resort. The main things of interest there are the five islands close to the north shore of the Minas Basin, a branch of the Bay of Fundy, and the tides which are the biggest in the world.  (Why do I remember learning that the biggest tides were in Scotland as a child?)

So I spent two days taking pictures of the islands and the tides.  Here are two panoramas put together with Photoshop, each spanning about 180 degrees, a half-circle.

The lower image (of low tide) needs a bit of explanation.  The Minas Basin is still visible as the little blue horizontal strip in the middle of the picture.  The white areas that are closer, have no depth but are reflective water films on top of the muddy ocean floor.  I tried to walk to Moose Island, the big one in the center.  But the mud kept trying to take my shoes off, so I turned back about 2% of the way there.

Longtime readers may remember that we visited Key West in December 2014.  At the time, I took this picture of Merikay at the south end of US Highway 1.  

Somehow it didn't make it into the blog at the time, but I've remembered it as part of a fun memory.

Today (Sunday August 21 2016) we re-entered the US after six weeks in Canada's maritime provinces: New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia.  

Since we were in northern Maine, I persuaded Merikay to take a short detour to the north end of US Highway 1 in Fort Kent, Maine.  We found that there was no corresponding sign marking the end (or start) of US 1, but the Fort Kent police dispatcher suggested this sign as the best one available.

So now we have visited both ends of our country's "first highway".

Do you like adventures like this?

Friday, August 5, 2016

Lunenburg, Nova Scotia

Up until now, in the Maritime Provinces, I have not had problems getting a space in an RV park, for as long as we wanted, by calling only a day or two ahead. Up until now. We had heard several recommendations for a stop in the little coastal town of Lunenburg which is not far from Halifax. So, while visiting the Halifax area I called ahead. We wanted four nights, but were lucky to get two. It seems there was going to be a big Folk Music Festival starting on the next weekend.

Please use the right lane
In Lunenburg we visited the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic.  As we entered there was a "Meet a Lobster" program.  We learned how to tell a boy lobster from a girl lobster, and several other interesting things about these tasty crustaceans.

Cod fishing built the wealth of the area and the equipment and history of the industry was well displayed.

There are two ships that belong to the Museum on display in the harbour. One was a fishing boat that we were able to board and explore.

The other was a replica of the Bluenose II, a fishing schooner that has quite a history and has been on the Canadian dime.

It is a beautiful ship, and takes passengers out for a sail.

Our friends, Jan and Jim, had also given us a heads up about a community produced musical production called "Glimpses" that had shows, in the Fisheries Museum 100 seat theatre, on Tuesdays and Thursdays. 

It has been running for nine seasons, and was a true delight. It tells the story of Lunenburg in song and dance.  All the music is original, well-paced and delightful. I'm so glad we didn't miss it!

On Wednesday we went on a guided walking tour. We got there a bit early, and so explored the old cemetery adjacent to the meeting place.

We didn't do a complete search, but this was the oldest, almost readable, stone we could find: 1770 - 1779.

The tour started at the Academy. It was once the public school building. Our guide, who appeared to be in her late 40's, said that she had gone to school there as a child. It is now under restoration.  

Our tour took us down through the historic district and we learned much about the archeticture styles and the people who lived in the town of Lunenburg over the centuries.

Our guide was 8th-generation on her mother's side. At one point we crossed paths with a rather feisty old lady. Our guide knew her and greeted her with the question of did she remember our guide's mother? They had gone to school together. "Of course, of course, but did our guide know about the house across the way"? 

She told the group she wanted to make sure these young people were getting the stories right!

Lots of pride in the town!

On our walk we went into two beautiful churches in town, and walked by a couple of others. As with many communities, their history is told in reference to the churches.

All in all our brief visit to this wonderful little town was very pleasant. I wish we could have stayed longer. 

I end this post with a picture of one of the shoreline views. The tide is low and patches of seaweed are exposed. This area is called the Blue Rocks. The rocks are in fact more gray than blue and are slate.

We have moved down along the coast about 80 miles, near Lockport. We will be here five nights and I'm looking forward to some nice walks along some of the coastal overlooks.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Meeting New Friends on the Road

As we were getting settled at Wayside Campground outside of Halifax on Friday, we noticed the coach next to us had a US sticker map that was more full than ours, and also had South Dakota license plates.  Aha!  They must be full-timers.

On Saturday we watched, and when they got back from their day's adventure, I went out to say "hi" while the husband, Jim, was setting up their grill. 

Jan and Jim
A conversation quickly took hold, and soon Craig was out and Jim's wife, Jan, joined in.

Realizing they still had not cooked their dinner, I asked if they would like to join us for a campfire later. 

Although we don't have campfires very often, the evening was quite nice and company is always good.

They have been on the road just a little longer than we have and enjoy the life much the same. We shared stories and things we have learned along the way. They went to Alaska last year, and since that is on our wish list, their experiences were very interesting to us. 

Darkness settled over us, and as the last log was added to the fire I was startled to see a very large meteor flash across the sky. The evening ended with smiles and "see you tomorrows." We each had our own plans for the day.

The next day, Jan brought over one of their contact cards and told me there was a free outdoor Cèilidh, a musical gathering, that evening in a nearby town that they were going to. 

Yes! Sounded like fun, so we decided to follow them there so we could all sit together. We had tried to attend a one a week before, but it was an indoor event and was sold out.

Apparently, a Cèilidh can be many things. Traditionally they are held in a church or town hall and include folk music and story telling. In modern times they have also come to include an event like we went to. It was an annual, local celebration of "Natal Day", Halifax's birthday! It involved several bands playing a variety of popular music, plus fireworks and a fund raising BBQ.

Quite a crowd gathered on a hillside overlooking a cove and marina. Jim and Jan said that the flyer they saw had suggested bringing lawn chairs, so we did.

The bands started playing around six in the evening. The air was warm, the scene was beautiful. As more and more boats came in the sky began to color.

All sunsets are beautiful.

As time passed, the colors became more and more intense. The vibrance of the image above has not been adjusted!

What a fantastic setting! 

You may notice the keyboard player is glowing red. He was in the direct line of a red stage light, and indeed appeared that color!

Once darkness descended, the music ended and there was a nice fireworks display. The entire evening was one of those little treasures we have been lucky enough to come across. 

I am writing this on Monday afternoon. Our new friends have left, and the spot next to us is empty. They are heading up to Baddock where we were last week. Tomorrow we will be going to Lunenburg, where they had just been. 

We will keep in touch on Facebook.  I love modern technology! Who knows if or when we will cross paths again, but it is really nice to meet new friends, and know they are out on the road as well.

Happy Trails Jan and Jim!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Survey of Ability to Comment on RV Blogs

[From Craig]  In the last few weeks, we've noticed that Blogger doesn't offer the ability to comment on some of our favorite blogs.  So I've been doing some research.

We first noticed this problem on Pursuit Of Idle Pleasures.  Last night I looked at that site with all of the browsers we have.  Since we used to have our own commercial web site, we have almost all available browsers.  

I found that POIP did not offer the ability to comment on any of the following Mac OS X browsers: Safari, Chrome, Firefox, Opera, SeaMonkey, and iCab.

Then I flipped my computer over to being a Windows 10 machine, and found that POIP did not offer the ability to comment on any of the following browsers: Internet Explorer, Edge, Chrome, Firefox, and Opera.  Finally I tried Safari, to which Blogger served POIP's front page WITH the ability to comment.  Then I went back to try Edge and Chrome again, and both now also offered the ability to comment.  Somewhere something had changed.  Very confusing!

Today I surveyed how many blogs are affected by this problem.  My sample includes all of the "favorite" blogs on our blog site, that have posted within the last 2 months.  The problem affected 4 of 41 sites:

Blog Name Comments?
Da Girls RV N
Phannie and Mae N
Pursuit Of Idle Pleasures N
The MoHo and Other Traveling Tales N
Adventures With Dear Miss Mermaid Child Of The Planet Y
Desert Diva Y
Down the Road Y
Erik's RV Blog Y
Flamingo on a Stick Y
Geeky Explorers Y
How to Love Where You Are and Eat Where the Locals Eat!! Y
It's About Time Y
Just Wanderin' Y
Land Cruising Adventure Y
Life's Little Adventures Y
Me and My Dog ...and My RV Y
On the Road Abode: Trading a zip code for a toad Y
On the Road Again Y
On the Road of Retirement Y
Our Awesome Travels Y
Owens on the Road Y
R Sanity RV Adventures Y
RV Days with Jessica and Harry Y
RV Khronicles of Kevelyn Y
RV SHRINK, Common Sense Peddler Y
RVing: The USA is our BIG Backyard Y
The Good Luck Duck Y
The Odd Essay Y
The Roadrunner Chronicles Y
The Wandering Camels Y
Travel Bug Y
Travel With The Bayfield Bunch Y
Traveling with the Longdogs Y
Walkabout with wheels Y
We are............Seeing The USA Y
What's up with Susan and Company Y
Wheeling It Y
Where's Eldo? Y

An interesting sidelight is that the 4 sites that don't always offer the ability to comment, happen to be 4 of our best friends in the RV world.  Seems like the best way to avoid the problem is to stay away from us.  :-)

I worked in the computer and software fields for 48 years, and have no patience with trying to correspond with Google (which owns Blogger) about this problem.  If anyone else does, send them the table above. Or perhaps all-seeing Google will notice this by themselves. In any case, I hope they can explain and solve it.  My guess is that the 4 sites with the problem have implemented their comments differently than the other 37.  

Data provided.  Craig over and out.

Louisbourg, Nova Scotia

Before I get into my usual "what we did..." I have to include a picture of this interesting rig we saw in the campground:

I wonder how they get in? 

On Tuesday we woke to a raging rain storm, so just stayed in bed almost all morning.  It continued to rain most of the day, but we didn't really mind. We both have books we are enjoying.

It was sunny again on Wednesday, so we went to Louisbourg, another of the "must see" places in northeastern Nova Scotia.  In the early period of Canadian History there was a fishing town and then a fort there, that changed hands between the French and English several times before it was eventually abandoned. 

In the 1960's, all that was left were a series of stone foundations, but because it had been an important location, there was recorded documentation of who, when, and what had been there. At that time, due to the closing of the local mines, there were many unemployed but skilled workmen who needed jobs. 

The Canadian government sponsored a retraining program that taught carpentry and stonework to the miners. Using the techniques of the 1700s they reconstructed the fort and part of the town.

Wool lady
It is now a National Historic site, and is staffed by costumed docents playing the parts of residents and soldiers.

As we walked from building to building, home to home, the residents told us a bit about their lives and their history.

This was a very large kitchen in the spacious harbor master's home. The cook told us about the foods and how they were prepared. No potatoes or tomatoes were eaten because they thought they were poisonous. Almost everything except fish and a few garden vegetables had to be shipped from France or England, depending on who was in control at the time.

Three to a bed, twenty four to a room, a soldier's lot was not so good, but we were told that for most it was a better life than they had had before on the streets of Paris.

The men pooled their rations and cooked them together in a communal pot. Fish head soup was often the base.

One of the events for a small extra cost, was a tasting of the rum typical of the time. We were taken in a group to an upper tavern room where we learned about the rum trade, and the importance it had in the lives of the troops.

We tasted both the strong rum that a soldier would drink and a rum-punch that was consumed by the officers' wives in the afternoon.

By the end of the day we were a bit hungry because I didn't bring our usual lunch. The tavern restaurant was closing for the day, but we were able to get bread and soup next door. It was very authentic. I asked for some ice for my water, and was reminded that there was no ice for the common folk in the 1700s!

We enjoyed the day very much. We are so lucky to be able to go to so many of these places on our own time. 

Friday we hit the road again and head toward Halifax. We were lucky to get a spot for this weekend because it is Halifax's birthday. (Probably of the city rather than of the 2nd Earl of Halifax, for whom the city is named.) The park we are staying at normally gives a Passport America discount, but not on holiday weekends. I have reserved for our usual four day stop. I hope they have decent WiFi!

Monday, July 25, 2016


In Baddock, Nova Scotia, Adventures East Campground had super slow internet and no satellite reception. But the beautiful coastal views and being able to go see puffins and eagles made it all quite bearable.

We have seen whales and lots of seals in California, but we have never seen puffins. When we were in Maine, we inquired about a wildlife boat tour that promised puffin viewing, and were told it was too late in the season to see any.

However, we were excited to learn that puffins were still around Nova Scotia, and that we could see them from a boat tour that left from St. Ann’s Bay.  

The Donelda Puffin boat tour was advertised in a promotional booklet I picked up at the Visitors' Desk on the ferry over. We called ahead, and were told that yes, there were puffins still on and about Bird Island. The tour cost was reasonable, about $38+tax USD each, for seniors.

Although it had rained during the night, Saturday dawned with only a bit of overcast, and by mid-day the sun was burning off the surface fog.

The boat seemed old but well painted. The 24 or so seats were pretty full.  After a cloudy start, the sun came out in full force, and the 40 minute ride out to Bird Island was smooth.

Our guide Donelda began by talking about the birds we would see.

Suddenly she stopped, and said to look out to the left because an eagle was coming to catch a fish.

What? How did she know this? Well, it turned out that the eagles knew the tour boat, and knew she would toss out fish for them to catch!

Going in for the catch:
taken with Merikay's point and shoot Sony RX-100,

Away he goes with lunch in talon: taken with Craig's Nikon D3 and Tamron 28-300mm lens.

He caught it, and soon there were three other eagles coming for a free lunch as well. Wow, I was so excited. They were so close we could see every feather. 

We passed a lot of really interesting rocky shores.

Once out at the Bird Islands we saw lots of different kinds of sea birds and seals. 

Puffins are very small, quick birds. We saw some in their hole-in-the-cliff nests, but without a monster telephoto lens it was impossible to capture decent pictures.

There were many of them bobbing around in the water like little black rubber duckies, or zipping away in flight. The above two images are the only ones we took that were worth sharing. 

But pictures or not, the experience of seeing them was wonderful!

There were many other birds on the Bird Islands. But again,  although we were close enough to see them, we were too far away for really good photos.

Nesting Gulls

Two Razorbills in their nest

Cormorant sentry

There were also many eagles on the island. Our guide did not seem to like the eagles here, because she said they were preying on the young of the other species. 

Some of the seals seemed interested in our boat, while others were just lying around on the shore rocks.

As we drift in and out of gift shops I always look at the socks on sale. It has been awhile since I have seen any that made me happy!

Puffins and lobsters, how good is that!

We met two other Alfa-owner couples in Baddock, but we left the morning after they arrived.

We are now 60 miles southwest in Linwood Harbour Campground. Happily we have good Wifi and full hookups, but despite a treeless location, our Direct TV cannot pick up a signal.

And cool breezes are blowing in the windows.  

[From Craig] The satellite TV situation is interesting for a techie like me.  DirecTV worked in New Brunswick and on Prince Edward Island.  In our last campground near Baddeck Nova Scotia, the dish simply couldn't see the DirecTV satellites at 99, 101, and 103 degrees west.  Today in Linwood (60 miles SW), the dish pretty much completed acquiring the 3 satellites, but the DirecTV receiver had problems receiving most channels within a few seconds.  I hope that we will receive DirecTV again at our next stop near Halifax.  I'll let you know.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Ad Hoc Alfa Gathering in Baddock, Nova Scotia

We came home on Saturday and discovered two other Alfas had come to the same park.  

Dick and Trisha Albritton and their friends the Sims are also touring Cape Brenton.