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2017 The Odyssey Part 2 – Nor by Nor’east Caravan

2017-10-03 Westbound; Bend, Oregon…

Another beautiful day in Bend; we drove to town and parked about 1/2 mile away in a lovely park:

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Walking along the river we found another dam; at one time this dam had a powerhouse or mill:

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We enjoyed another walk through downtown:

 

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We stopped in for a late lunch at Drake; they had very creative and different food;

Battered and fried portobello with beer cheese:

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Buttermilk fried chicken:

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We returned to the Villa at about 3:30; we discovered we had new Airstream neighbors; they have quit their jobs, sold their house, and are moving here.  They will be spending the winter here in Bend in their Airstream while they look for work and look to buy or build a house…

Happy Hours ensued; an an enjoyable time was had by all…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2017-09-13 Westbound; Leaving Thunder Bay!

Today is the day!  We are finally leaving Thunder Bay, a full two weeks after we arrived…

2017-09-13 Thunder Bay Leaving

Our destination today is Shorewood RV, just outside Minneapolis; we are scheduled to get out refrigerator replaced.  (You recall our refer failed in PEI about one month ago…)

It was an uneventful trip, traveling southwest from Thunder Bay, continuing southwest to Minneapolis, then west to Anoka and Shorewood RV.

We stopped about every 1 1/2 hours or so to break up the trip.  We try to walk a bit and keep out Apple watches happy.  This rest stop was about one hour south of Duluth:

2017-09-13 Minnesota Rest Stop

The truck once again performed flawlessly, and we easily rolled along.  We arrived at Shorewood RV at about 3:30, and checked in to the Service department to make sure everything was on schedule.  They told us where to park, so we pulled in and set up for the night:

2017-09-13 Shorewood RV

A few minutes later they called to tell us the refer was here and they would be picking up the Villa at 6:00 am tomorrow morning…

We have good power, good internet access, good satellite TV, and air conditioning – it is 88 degrees and very humid!  We did add a sticker to our map:

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Happy Hours ensued and an enjoyable time was had by all…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2017-08-14 Nor by Nor’east Caravan – Final Day on PEI; Farewell Banquet

We took this day to ready the Villa for travel on our own. Today is the last day of the caravan!

We began with a quick trip to the local Chevy dealer in Charlottetown; the “Check Engine” (emissions) light had come on the dash. After a quick check through their computers they determined that it was the result of a loose gas tank cap – operator error… We were in and out in 15 minutes… Airstream dealers could learn something about how Chevy service centers operate…

We cleaned the Villa and reorganized the back of the truck. Busy day all around. In mid-afternoon we took a break and went for ice cream at Cows, a PEI favorite:

2017-08-14 COWS

This evening is our “Farewell Banquet”.  It was at the Delta Hotel in downtown Charlottetown – it is a Marriott… We arrived early (duh!) and enjoyed some informal socializing as things got set up.  The food was spectacular!  Hats off to the Marriott for the spread they put out!

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I have no idea what flamingos have to do with Airstreams, but many people think they are firmly linked…

We snapped a few pix of our group…

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Our MC for the evening was Linda Belcher.  She is a real live wire and very funny person.  She goes all out to make sure she, and everyone else, is having a good time…

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After the dinner we gave out some door prizes, but mostly we took part in our own home-grown “entertainment”.

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Most of the “entertainment” was silly and hokey – we just enjoyed hanging out and showing off our talents, whether musical, dramatic, poetic, or silly.  (My contribution was a recitation of the age-old mairy fail of Rindercella…)

Of course, we had to make fun our Trevor and Gale Lake, our caravan leaders:

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And pay they tribute, as well…

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So, again, we all had a good time. Many good-byes were said. We headed back to the Villa and reflected on the end of the caravan and the beginning of our new adventure, heading west towards home…

2017-08-13 Nor by Nor’east Caravan – Quiet Day on PEI

We had a quiet Day on PEI today.  We prepared our vehicles for the return trip home, and we visited the town of Victoria.

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Victoria is a charming town on the water, just north west of Summerside.  We strolled the waterfront, and selected the Landmark Cafe for lunch.

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We sat on the porch overlooking the town…

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Lynda had a tuna steak sandwich; I had PEI mussels. We shared a bottle of wine from a local winery named Matos. We were so impressed with this wine that we set out after lunch to visit the winery.

Matos Winery & Vineyards is a family-owned and family-run business.  In 2007, after spending much time researching the growing conditions and suitability of establishing a vineyard in PEI, Jim Matos and his family purchased a 50 acre parcel of land in St. Catherines.  They applied the French concept of terroir – finding a place where the combination of soil, slope, sun exposure and the peculiar weather vagaries allow certain grape varieties to unfold their unique characteristics.  To this end, they consulted with the finest European vintners who visited PEI to provide their expertise.  We approve of their results!

We tasted and bought wine. We also bought a bottle of anisette – a licorice flavored liqueur.  We love anise, pastis, absinthe, and the like, so we thought this would be a great bottle to have.

We returned to the Villa and relaxed for the rest of the afternoon – we walked down to the water, then jumped into Happy Hours.  I pulled out my little bottle of absinthe and we taste-tasted it against the new anisette.  They are nothing alike!  Our opinions varied as to which one we liked better…  And an enjoyable time was had by all…

 

 

 

 

 

2017-08-12 Nor by Nor’east Caravan – Visiting Friends on PEI and Span of Green Cables

Today we visit friends who have a summer home here on PEI…

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But first, we join other caravanners in visiting a Windchime maker:

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For the last 20 years, Peter Baker has been making wind chimes at his studio situated atop the hills of South Granville – one of the windiest locations on Prince Edward Island.

Peter developed a taste for rural life while working in Vermont. A holiday visit to PEI with his family, in 1971, convinced him to live the rural life Island-style. In the early 1980s he began producing wind chimes with his brother. At the time, people were not familiar with them, but they soon became very popular.

Today, Baker operates his business from a converted barn not far from the old farmhouse he bought when he came to the Island, and where he still lives. In the first year of production, Baker turned out 1,000 wind chimes.

What is unique about these chimes is that they are musically tuned, in several different keys, in major and minor tones, plus the pentatonic scale. Each chime is hand built using quality components to ensure consistency in excellence of sound, durability, and appearance.  They use a galvanized stainless steel alloy, resistant to rust, with high tonal quality.  The length and diameter of each tube determines the pitch and timbre of each note; the longer and wider the bell is, the lower the note.  Each bell was tuned using a silver flute to find the perfect pitch.

My favorite was the chimes with the pentatonic scale. There are, of course, 5 notes – what equates to the black notes on the piano.  These five notes are familiar to most of us in one of two ways: It is the scale used in most Negro Spirituals – think “Amazing Grace”… These five notes are also the only notes used in the tunes produced by slot machines in casinos – this is done so that, while the tune of each machine is different, when played together they don’t clash, but make a semi-musical cacophony…

Anyhow, the last thing we need is more stuff, so we passed on buying any chimes, although many of the caravanners did.  It was quite a profitable day for the wind chime store.

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We left Island Winds as it began to rain.  We arrived at Bob and Cathy Adams’ cottage about noon:

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Bob and Cathy are Airstream friends from San Clemente, CA.  Cathy was born here on PEI, and she and Bob own this cottage, on the shores of the Northumberland Strait.  New Brunswick is across the water…

Bob and Cathy travel from San Clemente to PEI every year to visit their cottage and to repair damages that have been done over the past winter…

It is a lovely cottage; Bob and Cathy had the fireplace roaring, and it was cozy, or “forty”, inside as we caught up on news from our mutual friends.

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After a lovely lunch of lobster rolls and PEI potato salad, we relaxed, drank some wine, and relaxed some more. About 4:00 we headed out, bound for Charlottetown.

Charlottetown is a great little city – very walk-able streets and diagonal parking on most blocks.  We parked and found a little Italian bistro for dinner, then we joined the rest of the caravanners, along with about 2,000 other folks, to see, “Anne of Green Gables – The Musical”.

Anne of Green Gables is an entirely fictional creation, but her legend has been milked as assiduously as the plump cows that decorate the island’s fields. Lucy Maud Montgomery’s semi-autobiographical novel fuels an entire industry, and Anne’s curly-ginger-haired visage is adored by thousands of young women.

This is a live show; it has been running for 53 years in Charlottetown.  Just about all the creators of the show, and everyone connected with the inception of the show, are dead, but the show goes on.  Not being a fan of annoying, self-absorbed girls, Anne of Green Gables was never a big favorite of mine.  But the show was well done, the singing was good, the sets were creative and interesting, and an enjoyable time was had by all.

 

PS:  When the Confederation Bridge from PEI to New Brunswick was built (1996 – 1997) it was yet un-named.  After seeing that the steel reinforcing bars being used in the construction were encased in a green-coloured coating, locals dubbed the bridge, the “Span of Green Cables”…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2017-08-11 Nor by Nor’east Caravan – Airstreams on the Ferry!

Yes! You can take Airstreams onto a ferry:

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Our tin cans are packed into a bigger tin can like sardines!

We are traveling from Caribou, NS, to Wood Islands, Prince Edward Island.  This will be the final campground location on the caravan…

We left the campground in Baddeck, along the shores of Bras d’ Or Lake, at about 6:00 am, to catch the 8:30 am ferry.  We found a few other folks who had the same idea:

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Soon the ferry arrived:

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When the ferry arrived, and had discharged its load of cars and trucks, it started loading for the trip back to PEI. Cars first. Cars, cars, and more cars went into the ferry.  When all the cars were on board, they started loading trucks, and more trucks. Then trailers, including about 10 Airstreams.  The ferry seemed “bottomless” – it just kept loading in more vehicles. Once on board, it looked like this:

 

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Once on board we found that there is a lower deck where all the cars were parked; trailers and trucks filled the main level. Upstairs were lounges, a cafeteria, and outdoor areas to experience the fresh air.

It was a fun ferry ride. We had breakfast in the cafeteria, watched the opposite ferry pass by, and enjoyed time with friends.

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2017-08-11 PEI Ferry 06

When the ferry landed at Wood Islands, PEI, we were one of the first off. We had researched the area before hand, and we knew there was a Visitors Center where we could gather information on the island.  Others had the same idea… (Maybe because there is a Provincial liquor store there as well…):

2017-08-11 Visitors Center

Our campground is on the northern end of PEI, just north of Charlottetown; Wood Islands in on the south end. However, we were too early to arrive at the campground, lest we annoy the parking crew.  So we just headed south, not knowing (and not caring) where we were going; it was beautiful!

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And when you wander around an unknown area, pulling your Airstream trailer, this is what you find:

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We found a winery!  Rossignol Winery… Of course, it was a beautiful place, right on the ocean:

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We parked the rig and went inside to taste what we could taste:

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We only tasted the wines made from grapes; it wasn’t bad.  We also tasted their Creme d’ Cassis, a black current wine (or liqueur) ; it was great!  We bought a few bottles to supplement our “cellar”.  We also admired the various sand sculptures on the property:

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Moving on, we continued around the southern end of the island.  We finally stopped for lunch in the town of Montague; Windows on the Water was a delightful spot to enjoy the early afternoon.

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The town of Montague is located on the water, and once was a lively port city…

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After killing enough time, we headed north towards Charlottetown, and to our campground a few miles north of there.  We settled in and readied ourselves for happy hours…

That evening, we joined two other California caravanners – Larry and Kathy plus Phil and Donna – in a bizarre game called Joker.  It is an Airstream tradition.  It is basically Parcheesi, but playing cards are used in lieu of a spinner or dice, making it even quirkier. Since I despise games of chance, I try to avoid Joker at all costs, but Larry and Kathy had done us many favors, so Lynda volunteered us to play with them…

Boys won. I pulled the winning card.  An enjoyable time was had by all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2017-08-10 Nor by Nor’east Caravan – More Lobster!

Today we had another day on our own; we spent the day planning the remainder of the trip and enjoyed some quiet time.  We need to rest up, because tonight is: More Lobster!

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Once the caravan ends (in five days) we have about 2 months to get home; we will travel back through Canada, through New Brunswick and Ontario, stopping off to see the 1000 Islands; we will stop at CanAm RV in London, ON, then meet up with the McAnoys and see our Grandchildren on Boblo Island, located between Lake Huron and Lake Erie. After that interlude, we head north, over the top of Lake Huron and Lake Superior, through Thunder Bay, and back into the USA in Minnesota, all by September 1… After that, we’ll go through Wisconsin, Minnesota, and South Dakota, checking out all the Frank Lloyd Wright and Laura Ingalls Wilder sites we can manage.

But tonight we have a dinner at St. Ann’s Lobster Galley. This is a very nice restaurant set on a lovely lake.  Once again we enjoyed time eating together; meals like this create opportunities to get to know the other caravanners and enjoy a stress-free time together.

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We had a Drivers Meeting to discuss our last travel day within the caravan; tomorrow we take a ferry from Caribou, NS to Wood Islands, Prince Edward Island…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2017-08-09 Nor by Nor’east Caravan – North and East coasts of Cape Breton Island

This was a free day to explore Cape Breton on our own.

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Specifically, we were going to explore the Cabot Trail, a highway and scenic roadway that forms a loop around the northern tip of the island, passing along and through the scenic Cape Breton Highlands.  It is named after the explorer John Cabot who supposedly landed in Atlantic Canada in 1497, although most historians agree his landfall likely took place in Newfoundland. Construction of the initial route was completed in 1932.

The northern section of the Cabot Trail passes through Cape Breton Highlands National Park.  The western and eastern sections follow the rugged coastline, providing spectacular views of the ocean.  The southwestern section passes through the Margaree River valley before passing along Bras d’Or Lake.

We headed north from the campground.  We traveled through beautiful, seemingly empty countryside.  After about 30 miles or so we came to the Larch Wood Enterprises, Inc. factory and showroom:

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They produce beautiful cutting boards and other wood products.  After hearing their story and seeing their work, we had to buy just one…

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Moving on, we continued north, and traveled along the beautiful shoreline…

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At another stop, we found a rocky bluff:

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These folks were sitting on the furthest rock; now they are trying to figure out how to get back up:

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After this much beauty we had to stop for lunch; we were in the town of Cheticamp; we stopped at the Happy Clam:

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Driving back south we had more vistas of the rugged coast and grassy knolls:

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We stopped to inspect the beach a little closer; the weather was warm and sunny, and Lynda declares that the water is relatively warm:

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We stopped in the town of Inverness (to get some espresso to keep us awake after lunch…); we walked from the town down to the water; again, we are astounded at the open space surrounding such beautiful oceanfront property:

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There was a nice boardwalk to protect the fragile dunes, grasses, and wildflowers:

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There was even an oceanfront golf course:

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Walking along the golf course we came to some houses that looked strikingly similar to Shobac and the “Sliding Down House” we saw south of Halifax:

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It turned out that they were quite different; we also discovered that they part of a condominium development of vacation homes as part of the golf course and country club:

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Of course, not all the houses in the neighborhood are this nice:

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Our final destination of the day was a tour and tasting at the Glenora Distillery:

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They produce a single malt whisky which would be called Scotch if it were produced in Scotland.  They make their whisky using traditional methods and only three ingredients: barley, yeast, and water.  They claim it is the quality of the water on the property that produces the fine quality whisky.

As we waited for the tour we wandered over to the on-site inn and pub, and enjoyed another ceilidg.  These things are everywhere – they take their Gaelic music seriously here…

I was looking forward to finding a great whisky at a reasonable price.  I was disappointed on both counts…

We returned to the Villa in time for happy hours:

2017-08-07 Baddeck Happy Hours

That evening, all the caravanners gathered in the Rec Room for an ice cream social. An enjoyable time was had by all…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2017-08-08 Nor by Nor’east Caravan – Alexander Graham Bell and the Gaelic College

Today we learned about Alexander Graham Bell and his life in the town of Baddeck.

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We visited the Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site in Baddeck, which commemorates the genius and compassion of renowned inventor Alexander Graham Bell.  Exhibits here show how he and his associates achieved Canada’s first powered flight with their airplane Silver Dart, produced the world’s fastest boat, advanced recording technology, designed giant kites and, of course, invented the telephone. Original artifacts, films, and family photographs highlight his scientific and humanitarian work.  Situated adjacent to downtown Baddeck, with a superb view of the Bras d’Or Lake, the Site overlooks Bell’s summer home, Beinn Bhreagh, still privately owned by his descendants.

Alexander Graham Bell (March 3, 1847 – August 2, 1922) was a Scottish-born scientist, inventor, engineer, and innovator who is credited with patenting the first practical telephone.

Bell’s father, grandfather, and brother had all been associated with work on elocution and speech and both his mother and wife were deaf, profoundly influencing Bell’s life’s work.  His research on hearing and speech further led him to experiment with hearing devices which eventually culminated in Bell being awarded the first U.S. patent for the telephone in 1876.  Bell considered his most famous invention an intrusion on his real work as a scientist and refused to have a telephone in his study.

Many other inventions marked Bell’s later life, including groundbreaking work in optical telecommunicationshydrofoils, and aeronautics.  Although Bell was not one of the 33 founders of the National Geographic Society, he had a strong influence on the magazine while serving as the second president from January 7, 1898, until 1903.

After he gained wealth and fame through the invention of the telephone, Bell and his wife lived in Washington, D.C.  In 1885 the Bells vacationed on Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia, spending time right here in the small village of Baddeck.  Returning in 1886, Bell started building a summer retreat on a point across from Baddeck, overlooking Bras d’Or Lake.  By 1889, a large house, christened The Lodge was completed and two years later, a larger complex of buildings, including a new laboratory, were begun that the Bells would name Beinn Bhreagh (Gaelic: beautiful mountain) after Bell’s ancestral Scottish highlands. Bell also built the Bell Boatyard on the estate, employing up to 40 people building experimental craft as well as wartime lifeboats and workboats for the Royal Canadian Navy and pleasure craft for the Bell family.  He was an enthusiastic boater, and Bell and his family sailed or rowed a long series of vessels on Bras d’Or Lake. 

Until the end of his life, Bell and his family would alternate between their two homes, but Beinn Bhreagh would, over the next 30 years, become more than a summer home as Bell became so absorbed in his experiments that his annual stays lengthened. Both Bell and his wife became immersed in the Baddeck community and were accepted by the villagers as “one of their own”.  The Bells were still in residence at Beinn Bhreagh when the Halifax Explosion occurred on December 6, 1917 (see my blog dated 8/1/17).  Bell and his wife mobilized the community to help victims in Halifax.

I had read a lot as a child about Alexander Graham Bell, but most of the books I read stopped at the invention of the telephone.  Today we learned about the hydrofoil boats and airplanes he was working on throughout his life.  He loved triangles and tetrahedrons, so these are represented in the architecture of the Museum.

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After we finished enjoying the museum we drove a few miles south to the Royal Cape Breton Gaelic College (in Scottish Gaelic: Colaisde Rìoghail na Gàidhlig).  It is a non-profit educational institution located in the community of St. Ann’s, along the Cabot Trail. Founded in 1938, its focus has been on the perpetuation of Highland Scottish Gaelic culture.

We went for a lunch time ceilidh (pronounced,”Kalie”).  A ceilidh is a social event at which there is Scottish or Irish folk music and singing, traditional dancing, and storytelling.  The college also has lots of public programs; Lynda spent time learning about the Gaelic language. I considered sticking needles in my eyes to avoid going to this presentation, but instead I escaped to the exhibit hall and spent time learning of the Gaelic culture and history.   Then on to lunch and the ceilidh. (By the way, if anyone reading this is considering naming their precious baby girl Ceilidh, be aware that once she is in school she will be forever known as “See-Lid”…)

We enjoyed the music. It was similar to what we heard at the Louisbourg Playhouse and still a lot of fun.

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2017-08-08 Gailic College Ceilidh 01

This evening, back at the campground, it started raining. And raining hard.  Some of the caravanners gathered in the Rec Room for games.  Several folks played Mexican Train dominoes; I joined in a rousing game of Spoons, except that we didn’t have spoons, only knives… Hilarity (and torn table clothes and other things) ensued…

2017-08-08 Baddeck Game Night 01

An enjoyable time was had by all…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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