I guess you could call it a vacation from being on vacation!
We have many good memories of our time in the Canadian Maritime Provinces this summer. There are two things I want to make note of for anyone who might be planning on going there in the future.
First is telephone and internet access. In the States we have an excellent, unlimited data plan from Verizon. It is expensive, but we have pretty good connections wherever we go. We do not use campground WiFi. Because Verizon has no towers in Canada, Craig looked into getting a plan from Rogers, one of the Canadian companies, but discovered the cost of pay-in-advance plans was prohibitive, and because we did not have a Canadian address we could not get a regular plan. He settled on an Canada and Mexico Add-on to our Verizon plan that gave us 200 calls and 1 gigabyte per month and cost $25+tax. We were able to have a working phone and limited use of Google Maps and Google Search. Wifi at most parks was minimal at best. But there are always Tim Horton Coffee shops and other open-WiFi locations!
The second is crossing the boarder.
I mentioned this in a Facebook post, but since it might be of interest to those who have never crossed into Canada, I am writing about it in a blog post as well.
Some crossing points are busy, some are not. That is something that you should be prepared for so that if you are stuck in a long wait line you don't get frustrated.
We have crossed a total of six times, and all went smoothly except for the last. Typically we pulled up to the window, showed passports and driver's licenses, answered a few questions, and we were on our way. I had read the web pages about what is prohibited so we knew what not to have in the coach, including firewood, guns, plants, fresh fruit, or more than four bottles of liquor. The information about groceries is a little confusing, so my approach has been to limit shopping before a crossing.
Last week we crossed back into the USA at Madawaska. We had no wait, with only one car ahead when we pulled up to the customs booth, but after answering the usual questions we were asked to pull over to the side and go inside the office.
The Alfa was searched by an agent, and after about fifteen minutes she came in carrying a single orange bell pepper from our refrigerator.
The interesting thing was I got to keep a head of lettuce, an onion and some limp celery and scallions.
We were asked about meat, but they did not confiscate the one-pound package of frozen hamburger nor the frozen scallops and cod filets.
So after signing a "declaration of abandonment" for the pepper, we were free to continue into the USA. I wonder if we were searched because we had gone into and out of Canada at different places twice in a few month period. Who knows?
We spent several quiet days at three Maine campgrounds, just relaxing. We went on a couple of nice walks, spent a rainy day planning future routes, and when in Bangor went to an afternoon movie.
I sometimes kid Craig that our travels are really "all about the food"! We have had some spectacular fresh seafood this month, both at restaurants and at home, after buying the catch of the day at local fish markets. We also had some interesting local grub, Donairs and Poutine.
My favorite, of course is the lobster. I am particularly fond of lobster rolls because they are so much easier than tackling a full steamed lobster in its shell!
A lobster roll is a generous amount of cooked fresh lobster, sometimes with drawn butter, sometimes with a little mayo and celery, stuffed into a soft bun.
|Happy driver munching on lobster roll as we left Maine!
|Evening at high tide on the waterway across from our campsite at Cape Ann, in Gloucester MA