Baddeck, Nova Scotia

Images from the entire trip are here, from this post here.

Baddeck is the “Beginning and End” of the Cabot Trail. We took the southern route in the coach, avoiding the two large mountains and extra 100 miles going the northern and much prettier route. We set up camp in Baddeck Cabots Trail Campground, a former KOA , with pleasant people and very nice facilities. We set a new record for shortest day’s drive, 55 miles. We set up, had lunch and went off to see what we could find. One of the objectives was to see the Perlman’s house on the Cabot Trail. For those who don’t know, we have friends from Rochester who prefer that there second home not move about, so they built a house up here. The report is it is gorgeous, both the house and the setting. I would show you David’s pictures, but I can’t find them on line at the moment (see two pictures in the posting above). We had been given the access code to get in and tour the house, but the batteries in the lock failed. I called David and he answered and told us how to get in anyhow. While talking to David I mentioned that I could probably fix the lock and he told me I could find the batteries in the top drawer to the left of the large cabinet upon entering the kitchen and that a large white notebook containing instructions for all aspects of operating the house could be found in the bottom of that large cabinet. It was so. Took me three passes through the book to find the necessary brochure because it was on the second or third page and I went by it too fast.

While driving there we had stopped at a gallery along the road “Iron Art and Photography” and met the photographer whose name is Carol. We spent some time and had a nice conversation. We had taken the “shorter” road up though Englishtown and took the cable ferry across to the Cabot Trail. We stopped by the Puffin tour boat in English town just to see what it was about and decided to take the tour in the morning. We worked our way back to the campsite and made dinner on board.

On Tuesday we got up sort of early and drove out to Englishtown to take the boat ride to Bird Islands, Puffins guaranteed. Well we did see two puffins floating on the water in the distance. The breeding season had ended the week before. When the season is in swing there are thousands of them lining the shore and in the water. We saw one bald eagle and when Donelda, our guide, tossed a fish for it, it dove on it and plucked it out of the water right in front of us. The picture is off center and blurred, but it is posted, see above. On the return to shore we set out over the ferry again and turned north to get to a restaurant called the Clucking Hen. It was very nice, the best we had on the Baddeck side of Cape Breton Island. We visited several galleries along the road and found one leather crafter where I bought a couple of belts I needed. We returned to the coach and had a late dinner on board.

Wednesday was dedicated to a complete circuit of the Cabot Trail. This is one of the premier scenic drives on the continent. We deviated to the north at Neil’s Harbor and took the lesser road along the shore. This took us through White Point and Dingwall, small communities that depend on the sea for a living. As we drove through Dingwall, I noticed that the GPS indicated that the road we were on continued back around to the Cabot Trail, time to find out how good this software is. I set a destination as back on the trail where this road seemed to come out. As we proceeded the road condition deteriorated from dirt to double track (one track for each side of the car) and became so narrow that the RAV barely fit though the brush. We came to a fork and Melanie (the GPS has a female voice, now renamed Germaine) said to take the left, I did and we found ourselves on the floor of a limestone quarry. There seemed to be a track that concurred with the route Melanie was touting so we continued on eventually into the back of the Victoria Recreation Center parking area which lead out on to the Trail.

Nothing could phase us now so we headed for Meat Cove, this is way out of the way and is and out and back over miles of paved road and 7 kilometers of dirt. We pressed on, stopping at a small Provincial Picnic Park for a picnic lunch we were carrying. We resumed our trek and arrived in Meat Cove as expected. The road just ends and there is some parking on the road, otherwise it is necessary to pay $2 for parking space in the campground. We wandered about a bit remembering a high viewpoint that did not seem evident. Looking up at a passing eagle we saw people on a headland above us. Having the trail head pointed out to us we set out on a fifteen minute very strenuous climb to the head land where we could look out over the entire area. We climbed down and resumed our circuit.

We were looking for one more hike, somehow we missed the turn and continued on a bit to a grand overlook. As we pulled in I noted that we were next to two other cars with NY license plates. While getting our bearing a gentleman approached and asked what part of Monroe County we were from as we both had bought our cars from Hoselton. We did a double take and realized that we were talking to Joyce and Robert Herman. It turned out further that they had just been visiting mutual friends in Cape Cod, the Tuckers, and had also stopped to see the Perlman’s house. We were unable to get together for dinner as our schedules just did not work. We will have to try in Rochester. We had dinner at Lynnwood Inn, better we should have eaten elsewhere.

Today , Thursday, we got up and did a lot of stuff around the coach all morning. After lunch we set out to mail a bill (how archaic) and go for a hike to be followed by some shopping, mostly for food. We drove out to Uisge Bahn Falls (Ush kah Bahn) Park and took a 2 ½ hour hike before returning to Baddeck. I stopped at the Alexander Graham Bell Museum to replace my old hat, but they were out of stock. We bought supplies as we will be dry camping in Fundy National Park in NB tomorrow and Saturday, the reward for failure to plan ahead. Still don’t know where we will be Labor Day. Maybe NB and maybe Maine.

You will know almost as soon as we do.

New Brunswick to Cheticamp Nova Scotia

For images of the entire trip click here For images from just this post click here

Nova Scotia, we still are not sure when we were here last. We were tenting and staying in B & B’s. The car was my Jeep and it had a car phone, some time after ’94 but not much after. We crossed from New Brunswick with the thought of going straight through to Cheticamp, the western entrance to Cape Breton National Highlands Park where Cheticamp Campground was to be our initial base of touring. The advisor at the Visitor Center said it was another 7 hours, and we had already been on the road for 4 hours. We reset our sights for Thursday night on Pictou, another 2 hours up the road. We found our way to Harbour Light Campground just outside of town. The facilities were complete and the WiFi was mostly high speed. The place was “comfortable” not particularly neat but well kept. The entrance was scary, sort of like falling off a cliff as we came off the highway. Once we leveled out it was fine. Getting out was easier.

We toured Pictou and remembered touring it on our first trip and not being particularly impressed. It is a fishing town and its big claim to tourist fame is the PEI Ferry landing. After walking the waterfront and visiting a couple of galleries we stopped to share a kiddy size Wild Blueberry Ice Cream dish. That was indeed the highlight of the day. We returned to Gee 2 for dinner and our various projects. We befriended the RVers on either side of us. One couple was celebrating their 50th Anniversary and the others were of similar or somewhat younger vintage. They were both full timers, having no home but there very nice 40 foot Diesel Pushers. We parted in the morning headed our individual directions Cape Breton. I expect we may run into them out here, although they are working around from the Baddeck side first.

It started to rain lightly as we drove and continued to do so on and off most of the way. As we finished setting up in the drizzle I put up the awning to provide us some dry space outdoors, but the wind kicked up so I stowed the awning and it really started to rain hard as I closed the door. We decided to sit tight. Have dinner on board and get some projects completed. We had a lot of phone calls all day starting with an early call from Yechiel to say that he had resubmitted his paper for publication on deadline just minutes before. We looked a the clock and realized it was 6:15 AM in LA where he lives and he had been up all night finishing the rewrite. Ten hours later he called to say the publisher had accepted it as is (a bit too long) for publication. We all will sleep better tonight. He needs to have this in line to be published for his tenure review.

The trip continues to be enjoyable, the views are glorious and the people friendly. I am sorry to disappoint those who are used to the “Perils of Paul(ine)” in these journals, but we are getting better at it and the coach is well broken in and behaving fine. How’s that for putting the evil eye on myself?

It is Sunday evening as I write. It has rained on and off for the past two days while we have been here. Yesterday we went to the laundromat for some excitement and clean clothes. Most of the people in the Cheticamp Laundromat were tourists. We all got talking and we somehow got talking the most to Roberta and Isaac Hantman. We parted after agreeing not to go to lunch together. We met again at the Coop Food Market and we invited them back to the coach to eat their lunch and continue talking. We got to the coach and the gnats and other small flying things were so pervasive we could not stand outside. As such things seem to happen we took a nice long hike from the coach away from the insects up to some salmon pools (fishing sites) and continued talking.

On the way back they said there was a French Arcadian Music Review they were planning on going to. Carol and I thought that was a capital idea and agreed to join them for dinner before the review. As we waited for the show to start, it became clear that the four of us might well be the only non French speakers in the arena. The entire review with a couple of minor exceptions was in French. Fortunately most of the action was broad and clear Gisele the husband could not be bothered with the music and dancing in his living room. How he was able to avoid foot tapping, or other reaction to the very lively music and step dancing I will never know. He even participated in two square dances, without missing a beat or a turn while appearing to be totally disinterested. That was the action, the rest was great music, dancing and singing. A special guest fiddler showed up and performed at the intermission. How he was able to get the music he did out of his electrified fiddle with his clearly self taught approach I will never know. He clenched the neck in his left hand in a manner that did not permit him to move up the neck and he held the bow several inches up from the frog. The fiddle was perpendicular to the ground and the bow seemed to go up and down. It was a painful sight, but the sound was grand.

After the review was over and the bows were taken, the fiddler came back on stage and began to perform again. The cast began to reappear in street clothes and took turns step dancing to the music for the fun of it. It was a sight to see them dancing in thong sandals and sneakers, but it did not seem to limit them in the least. During the performance we were seated in front of the hostess of the B and B where the Hantmans were staying. After the show she invited us to join them for breakfast as her guest. We accepted with alacrity. The breakfast was delightful, French toast with home made syrop (French spelling). We parted from the Hantmans once again and set off to pack up lunch and get out on the trail. We took our time making several stops along the way until we came to Skyline trail head. This was promised to be at 2 to 3 hour hike. We took three and a half hours, but that included a a couple of stops to stare at a moose and her calf alongside the trail and other stops, especially at the headland where a boardwalk has been built to protect the environment. This overlooks the road and the Gulf of St Lawrence. While there we had another unplanned stop as we ran into the Hantmans again, they were returning from the headland as we were still on our way out. We parted, again. It was worth the trek and then some. We took the back trail of the loop which was much less well manicured than the trail out. This took a bit longer as the trail was rough and muddy in places not to mention 50% longer. We are moving to Baddeck tomorrow. I hope we will have internet service so I can post this, otherwise it will just keep getting longer.

We have not made plans for the Labor Day weekend (or is that Labour Day up here in Canada). We may end up dry camping whether we chose or not.

Travel to New Brunswick and Nova Scotia

To see family images for this posting click here.
For pictures from the entire trip here and from this post after leaving NJ here.

The title sort of says it all. This trip began with a plan to visit a nephew and his wife and three children in New Jersey. We studied the map, a relatively futile endeavor as we have stared at it so long for so many trips it is unlikely we will find any real surprises, looking for just that sort of serendipitous surprise. Well from NJ you can go south, not in the summer again, especially with hurricane season looking to spoil any such plans. You could go west, but why go west when we have just come so far east, besides, how far west can you go in three weeks and see or do anything. TN and KS did not appeal at this time. Ah, there is always North. We adore Maine and we have not been in NB and NS for so long it seemed like a good idea. All good ideas have problems, this one had us south and west of New York – the city. Getting around/past NYC is definitely a problem. I rerouted the trip several times, the last being as we were getting ready to roll. The Tappan Zee Bridge and 684 to 84 it was to be.

But I get ahead of myself (did I steal that line from someone? Maybe myself). The first stop after 6 hours of driving was Fla-Net RV Park in Flanders, NJ. I promised them a good writeup because they had been written up as terrible a couple of years ago. We were in section P which is for families with children and those who don’t mind them. As we had Josh, our 15+ year old grandson with us we had little choice. It is farthest from the mall and Chili’s both of which border the park. It is very near the exit which does not seem to make for a lot of traffic, at least this August. The internal roads are pretty poor, but it appears that work is being done and some of the bumps and rocks are a result of the general improvement in progress. Our area was well maintained grass and far quieter than we had been lead to expect. Minimal traffic noise, actually surprising anyplace in New Jersey, a far away train, no planes overhead and the people were quiet. I cannot comment on the shower/toilet facilities as we prefer to use our on board shower and toilet. It is why we are self contained.

Friday night, shortly after arrival we had Shabbat dinner on the coach and set off for Temple Hatikvah where Moshe Rudin, Carol’s nephew, officiates. It was a surprisingly short five minute drive from the RV Park. We enjoyed the service and the participation and met everyone present at the oneg following the service. Moshe and family, Joyce, Yonaton, Shimrit and Sophie came back to the RV Park to hang out and add to the dinner they had had to rush to get there on time. Carol cooked up a storm and they ate, not nearly as much as Carol would have liked.

Saturday morning found me retracing the previous night’s track to the Temple where the service was under way as I arrived. There was a scant minyan that grew as time passed. After receiving an aliyah (a call to pray before the reading of a portion of the day’s readings), I assumed I had been honored more than sufficiently as a guest of the Rabbi and sat back to relax. Moshe had something else in store that even he was not aware of until just before time for him to speak about the meaning of the days portion, Shoftim, justice (The portion Yechiel read for his bar mitzvah). As he began to speak he mentioned that I was a member of the board of the American Jewish Joint Distribution committee ( Would I come up and tell the congregation something about the history of the organization and what it does. Fortunately I have heard the short version of the speech many times and given it myself several times.

We went back to Joyce and Moshe’s home for Shabbat dinner and play and in my case a bit of a nap in the middle of the chaos. Late afternoon the action began to resume and we set off for a play in the park. It was community theater production of Thoroughly Modern Millie a big musical and I was in dread of what we would be subjected to. What a surprise, after a nice diner dinner we settled into our lawn chairs for what turned out to be a fantastic production of the play. So much so, that I still do not believe that the performers had day jobs. I could have been convinced that this was a Broadway production. We had an hour drive back to the RV Park and we were very tired when we arrived after 12:30 AM.

Sunday morning we had breakfast, just Josh and us and then we drove to their house in West Orange for a day of adventures. The weather had squashed the original plan to go tubing in the Delaware Water Gap, it was sunny but too cool for some adults. We went instead to Glenmont the home that Thomas A. Edison maintained for his second wife and their three children. Following that tour we went back to Moshe and Joyce’s for lunch and then off to the birth home of Grover Cleveland, 22nd and 24th President of the United States. We returned to the house and played some more before we had to return to the coach for a light dinner, just the three of us, and to prepare for Josh’s departure in the morning. By 10 AM Rebecca had arrived to pick up Josh and we began our long pull that will eventually bring us to Nova Scotia.

Miraculously we encountered minimal traffic on I 287 over the TZ Bridge up I 684 to I 84. I will not say we were unscathed. The roads are beyond terrible. I had to get up to reclose doors and drawers and to rescue other items that were being hurled about as we careened from pothole to divot to broken roadway for over 100 miles. I fear that much more of that kind of road will significantly shorten the life of my coach. I suspect Alaska will not be as bad. When we arrived at the LL Bean store in Freeport, Maine we had to be careful as we opened cabinets and drawers as we had no idea what kind of mess to expect or what would fall on our heads if it was an overhead cabinet. We settled in to a parking lot with several other RVs and went off to shop and have a lobster dinner (for me). I have bought a replacement for HAL. The computer takes too much of a beating on the dashboard being on all the time and we cannot move it to the car conveniently. So after a lot of research I bought the Garmin Nuvi 350. We have been using it and I like it a lot. It will take some getting used to and the DeLorme mapping software on the big laptop screen has its advantages for planning a route, but the little Garmin is really great for on the road directions once the route is set.

The next morning, Tuesday the 21st we drove up I 95 to Bangor and then took 9 to Calais where we crossed into to Canada two hours later we were in St Martin’s NB at the Century Farm Campground. We liked it so much we decided to stay an extra day and tour the Fundy Trail and relax. Tomorrow on to Nova Scotia.