Archive for August, 2007

Here’s To Song

Thursday, August 30th, 2007

Written by Allister MacGillivray
Cabot Trail Music
Admin by Morning Music, Ltd.
As performed by The Split Peas

Music (mp3) – caution 1 mb

——

The candle flickers towards its last,
Our time together’s ended;
The evening spent so swiftly passed,
No richer way to spend it.
Before we head our separate ways,
I’d like in truthfulness to say:
You’ve made this day a special day,
With songs and kindness splendid.

Chorus:
Here’s to song, here’s to time;
Here’s to both with friends of mine;
Here’s to friends who raise their voices high,
Kings have riches widely lain,
Lords have land, but then again,
We have friends and song no wealth can buy.

We each a different road must go,
To mountains, sea and city;
The hour has come to say adieus,
And all the more’s the pity.
But first unite in hand and heart,
And sing a chorus ere we part;
For every end leads to a start,
We need not break so sadly.

And tell our paths in future cross,
May blessings kindly greet you;
Until that time, I must, alas,
Only in memory meet you.
Often I will sit and stare,
And think upon this moment rare;
The company beyond compare,
For now, farewell and thank you.

Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada

Thursday, August 30th, 2007

Anne Murray CenterWe left early for our 187 mile drive to Saint John, New Brunswick, as Melitta and I did not stop a month before in Springhill, Nova Scotia, at the Anne Murray Center.  Springhill was the birthplace and home of singer Anne Murray.  The Center is a wonderful tribute to Anne.  The city and Nova Scotia is very proud of her accomplishments.

Inside Martello TowerThe next day, a bus pick us up for a tour of Reserving Falls, the city of Saint John, Martello Tower, and back to Reversing Falls to see the water flowing in the reverse direction!

The Reversing Falls is a unique phenomenon caused by the tremendous tide in the Bay of Fundy – the Reverse Fallshighest tides in the world.  The bay’s tidal action is affected by the funnel shape of the bay and by the moon’s phases. It is recommended to view the Falls twice – near low tide and near high tide.  Ships are only allowed to enter/leave the harbour during four 20 minute periods each 24 hours due to the extreme currents in the bay.

Farewell dinner

In the evening, we had our Adventure Caravan Farewell Dinner at a restaurant near the Reversing Falls.  We concluded with sharing the most memorable and funniest experiences we each had on the caravan.

The next day, we departed individually to various destinations, but most of us went to the Pumpkin Patch RV Park near Bangor, Maine — 72 miles to the border and and additional 105 miles to Bangor.

Please visit our Photo Gallery for more photos.

Debert (Truro), Nova Scotia, Canada

Tuesday, August 28th, 2007

Our trip to the Truro, Nova Scotia, was our longest caravan day of 234 miles.  We have actually weaved through Truro three times — on the way to Nova Scotia near the start of our caravan, from Halifax to Cape Breton at the Northern end of Nova Scotia, and on the way back to New Brunswick near the end of the caravan.

Nova Scotia Museum of IndustryThis time we stopped at the Nova Scotia Museum of Industry in Stellarton, Nova Scotia.  This 1.5+ hour stop was well worth it with its many hands-on exhibits and examples of Nova Scotia’s contribution to the world’s industrial development.  The town had extensive coal mines which were eventually closed down, partly to its many mining accidents — shown on the second floor exhibit. 

Steel ingot and moldUpon arrival at the Elm River Park, we were greeted by the owner in his car and lead to our RV sites while he gave us a narration on the CB radio of the park’s facilities.  Our wagonmaster had a "parking" vacation today!  But they got busy with a surprise Ice Cream Social.  I prepared a few batches of Banana Foster sauce.  This would be just a one night stopover on our way to Saint John, New Brunswick.

Check out our Photo Gallery for more photos.

Louisbourg, Nova Scotia, Canada

Monday, August 27th, 2007

Our visit to Louisbourg, Nova Scotia, started out at 4:15 a.m. with 26 mile RV Caravan from Grand Codroy, Newfoundland, to Port aux Basque, Newfoundland, were we boarded the one hour late ferry and departed around 9 a.m.  This is the shorter (time wise) of the two ferries – about 5.5 hours (compared to our 14 hour crossing three weeks earlier to Newfoundland).  We arrived in North Sydney, Nova Scotia, proceeded 36 miles to the nice city waterfront RV Park in Louisbourg, Nova Scotia.  We received a great welcome by the park staff composed of Mary and several local students.

The next day we went to the Fortress of Louisbourg.  This is a very well done reconstruction of the original French fort and town.  The time is the summer of 1744.  Although only about 20 percent of the original buildings are recreated, one gets a very thorough impression of the period and its inhabitants.  "Men, women and children enact the range of society from the leisure activities of the rich to the hard physical labour of the poor." 

Lace Making at Louisbourg NSFrom the visitors center, we were transported by bus over to the site where we were met by our guide.  He took us on a 75 minute waling tour into and through the town.  His knowledge of the history and customs were almost overwhelming.  After the guided tour, we were free to explore the many buildings and structures.  The costumed interpreters were helpful and knowledgeable.  We went to lunch at a common mans restaurant where the only utensil was a pewter spoon. 

Herb, Melitta & 4 pounds of crabAfter visiting the fortress, we returned to the campground and many of us made a side trip to the lighthouse.  Some people picked up crab at a packing house a block down the boardwalk. 

Happy Hour found many of us lined up on the boardwalk next to the bay.  The weather was simply wonderful – comfortable temperatures and sunshine. 

Lyrics and Laughter

In the evening, we had a brief drivers meeting, and then walked a 1/2 block to the Louisbourg Playhouse, where we were treated to a delightful musical and comedic performance called "Lyrics & Laughter" – such a wonderful performance by a young group of performers.

Check out our Photo Gallery for more photos.

Grand Codroy, Newfoundland, Canada

Sunday, August 26th, 2007

Grand Codroy RV Park in Doyles, NFLD

We travelled 144 miles to Grand Codroy RV Camping in Doyles, NFLD (located in center-left of picture).  Corner Brook, the second largest town in Newfoundland, services the western side of Newfoundland and Labrador.  It was located on our route, just 30 miles from our departure point in Deer Lkae.  Almost all the RVs stopped there to visit Wal-Mart, Canadian Tire (like a Home Depot), Dominion (groceries), Staples, and McDonalds, for a hour or two.

In camp, we had a 5 p.m. Happy Hour, and a 6 p.m. Pot Luck, where we used up the items which we could not take across the USA border next week. 

This stop positions us for an early morning departure on a ferry that returns us to Nova Scotia tomorrow.

View all the photos of Western Newfoundland in our Photo Gallery.

Deer Lake, Newfoundland, Canada

Friday, August 24th, 2007

Butterfly at InsectariumAfter returning from Labrador by ferry and walking a short distance back to our RVs, most of us departed within a half hour for our 184 mile scenic but cloudy trip to Deer Lake (Gateway to the North RV Park).  A fascinating Newfoundland Insectarium awaited us across the street — probably the best butterfly facility we have been to. It also included honey bees, a theater with many educational videos that a person could spend a day watching, and a spider exhibit on the third floor. 

View of second floor from third floor

The building was an old dairy barn that was some 40 years old.  After it was purchased nine years ago by the present owner, it was beautifully remodeled for his hobby, at an expense of one million dollars.  He so enjoys what he is doing!  His wife runs the gift shop.  He invited the group over at 6:30 p.m. for a special talk on honey bees. 

My, what a social structure bees have.  Worker bees (only female, and making up 99% of the hive’s population) have a variety of Honey Bee exhibitresponsibilities that automatically change to over their 35 day lifespan – Cleaning and warming; Feeding older larvae; Feeding younger larvae; Producing wax, building combs, transporting food; Guarding the hive entrance; Visiting flowers, collecting pollen and nectar.   A few male drones, developed from unfertilized eggs, fly out of the hive every morning to "The Club" where they meet and wait with bees from other hives for a new Queen bee to fly through for fertilization — the lucky (or unlucky) drones, that fertilize the Queen, die.  The Queen is fertilized for life — several years of life.  She has attendant workers which tend to her every need.  Check out the closeup of the bees — the queen has a white dot on its back and is attended by by several workers (center of red circle).. 

Bees that fly out of the hive for pollen and nectar, are greeted by guards at the hive’s entrance to make sure that they are not being invaded by bees from other hives.  I better stop now about the bees, but this was the only thing we did on this one night stay.  Well worth the stop.  Check out our Photo Gallery.

St Barbe, NFLD and L’Anse Aux Clair, Labrador, Canada

Thursday, August 23rd, 2007

Ferry to LabradorToday, we departed St Anthony late for a short 70 mile trip to a no-hookup parking facility (St Barbe RV Center) in preparation for our trip to Labrador the next morning. What started as a gloomy day turned out to be a "Large" day with a clear blue sky.

We rolled out of the sack at 6 a.m., departing the RV at 7 a.m. for a short walk to the ferry "Apollo".  Sailing was at 8 a.m. to cross the Belle Isle Straight.  It was a foggy day, but clearing off and on.  We saw several dolphins and seabirds during our 1.5 hour crossing. The Point Amour Lighthouse in Labradorferry which was loaded with some cars through its bow, back in at the dock in Quebec (just a couple of miles from Labrador) to unload.  Our bus that was waiting for us, backed onto the ferry to unload some other overnight visitors, then picked us up for a tour up the road with a northerly 52 mile ride to the end of the asphalt in Red Bay NFLD.

We visited 125 foot Cape Amour Lighthouse – the tallest in eastern Canada – as verified by the many steps we had to climb to reach its top.  The lighthouse has been in use for almost 150 years to help guide ships through the Belle Isle Straights.  The British ship, Raleigh, was not so lucky in 1922, as its captain decided to venture toward the shore for salmon fishing and wrecked his ship — bummer. 

After an excellent lunch at Red Bay, we visited the museum of Basque whaling operations which took place Cut-away section of whaling shipfrom the early 1,500’s to about 1600.  There were nice displays of ships, whaling and barrel making (for whale oil).

We returned to L’Anse Aux Clair (five miles from the ferry) and checked in at the Northern Light Inn, had a very good dinner, and took advantage of the bath tubs in our rooms before retiring for the evening,  We woke early for a buffet breakfast at 5:45 a.m.  The tour bus driver picked us up at 7 a.m. and returned us to the ferry at Blanc Sablon, Quebec, for return to our RVs in St Barbe, NFLD.

St Anthony, Newfoundland, Canada

Tuesday, August 21st, 2007

Reconstructed Sod Norse HomeWe travelled 211 miles along the St Lawrence Sea Way on route 430 (the Viking Trail) to the Triple Falls RV Park located a few miles south of Saint Anthony, Newfoundland.  The road appeared to have more sections resurfaced than was reported in previous years.  Eight of us had Canadian Chinese food for dinner at a restaurant operated by Chinese.  The lemon chicken, Mongolian beef and orange chicken were very different from what we are familiar with on the west coast!

Inside a sod Norse homeThe first stop the next day was L’Anse aux Meadows, The reconstructions of three Norse buildings are the focal point of this archaeological site, the earliest known European settlement in the New World. The archaeological remains at the site were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978. Exhibits highlight the Viking lifestyle, artifacts, and the archaeological discovery of the site.

Period character who demonstrated making yarn from woolNext stop was Norstead, a re-enactment of a Viking village.  We saw the ship builder, blacksmith, church and chieftain’s hall.  But I found the above Norse buildings more fascinating.

Our evening trip to a Viking Feast near the St Anthony Lighthouse brought an additional surprise in the setting sun — a late season iceberg along "iceberg alley", about four to five miles off shore.  Late season IcebergIt was beautiful with the setting sun on it.  At the viking feast, in a sod covered building, we learned a lesson in Viking court and law.  Poor Nancy was found guilt on their 42nd wedding anniversary, of a charge reported by another caravan member … but her sentence was shared with with her husband.  Good fun.

Please check out the Photo Gallery (click here)

Rocky Harbour, Newfoundland, Canada

Sunday, August 19th, 2007

Lobster Cove Head Lighthouse

We drove 120 miles to the Gros Morne RV Park in Rocky Harbour, NFLD, adjacent to the Gros Morne National Park.  After getting setup for three nights, we drove through the small town to Lobster Cove Head Lighthouse that has marked the marine approach to Rocky Harbour and the entrance of Bonne Bay since 1897. The light is still run by the Canadian Coast Guard. View from Lobster Cove Head to Rocky HarbourIt is now automated, but the lightkeeper’s house is open as a park interpretive exhibit. The exhibit interprets how people have lived along this coast and harvested the sea for more than 4,000 years.

We started at a 5 p.m. happy hour back at camp, and ended up at a wonderful impromptu potluck dinner for eight. 

View from Woody Point visitor centerThe next morning, we all took the pedestrian ferry across the bay to Woody Point, a beautiful and historic town located in the heart of Gros Morne National Park, in Newfoundland Canada. The Town of Woody Point encompasses three areas, Curzon village, Woody Point and Winterhouse Brook. It has a total population of 400 residents. It would have been a 50+ mile trip by car.  Woody Point HarbourA school bus took us up the hillside to visit a beautiful Canadian Historical Center and return us to town for lunch at various restaurants before we caught the 1:15 p.m. return ferry, just missing the big downpour of rain.  We ended the afternoon with Adventure Carivan provining hot apple cider or chocolate with rum in the gazebo with a hot fire in the stove.

Sunday morning, Bill provided a non-denominational service in the park’s gazebo around a hot stove for a dozen of us.  Later, the weather was disappointing, but some folks braved what turned out to be a beautiful 3/4 mile hike to the Etang Western Brook Pond and the 2.5 hour boat trip up what was like a fresh water Fjord.

In the evening we had a Newfie Jiggs Dinner at the RV Park’s restaurant.  This is really a dinner of salt beef (corn beef), cabbage, carrots, turnip and potatoes (root crops are the main staple because they grow easily on the island and can be stored in a root cellar). Islands consumed a lot of salt beef and salt cod because Newfies had to preserve foods to last out the long winters.  Not my favorite!

Springdale, Newfoundland, Canada

Sunday, August 19th, 2007

George Huxter Memorial ParkWe travelled 156 miles, taking 3.5 hours, from Twillingate to Springdale’s George Huxter Memorial Park (previously called Springdale RV Park.  The park is operated by the town of Springdale which is taking a very active role in promoting tourism.  They extended the back side of the park with one large gravel parking area, designed for caravans, with posts each four 30 amp outlet and one small water line with one spigot. It was best used to fill the fresh water tanks. No sewer, so we all used the RV holding tanks for the two days we were there.  Herb’s Datastorm satellite connection with WiFi provided connections for 18 computers in the caravan group (satellite 91 provided a strong 70 signal).  The city plans to add WiFi to the park in 2008.

Springdale HarbourAt 2:30 p.m. we all departed by bus to tour the small town for a couple of hours.  We returned to the park for happy hour, before the bus took us to a beautiful Riverwood Inn for a wonderful dinner, fun entertainment and a "Screeching" ceremony.  The city mayor spoke and ate dinner with us.  ‘Screeching" someone visiting Newfoundland for the first time is a longtime custom of many older bars in Newfoundland, in which the person is to drink a shot glass filled with Screech, kiss a codfish on the mouth, and recite a Newfoundland saying. Since they did not have Herb kissing a Smoked Kippercod available, we each had to kiss a smoked capelin (a species of smelt), followed by a small shot of Screech Rum.  We had to set down our shot glass upside done on a paper towel, and then discovered that if any Screech dripped onto the towel, we were required to drink another shot of Screech — that was fine with me, especially after kissing the capelin!  We earned our "The Royal Order of Newfoundland Screechers" certificates.

Dock pier at Kings Point

The bus returned us to the park.  The next morning the bus took us to a local restaurant for steamed mussels, soup and dessert, followed by a 32 mile trip to the 800′ Rattling Brook Falls, and Kings Point Pottery.