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2017-09-18 Westbound; Through Wyoming and into Montana…

Long travel day today…

2017-09-18 Map Wyoming

We left Crooked Creek RV Park at about 8:00 am, in the very, very cold… We traveled north through Hill City, then Deadwood; we turned west and crossed over into Wyoming.

The drive was easy, uneventful, and a little boring…

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Then we turned towards the north and on the horizon we could see snow-capped mountains, off to the west:

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As we continued north, towards Montana, we saw more…

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The actual views were better than these photos show…

We crossed over into Montana:

2017-09-18 Map Montana

And we headed into Billings, MT.  We stopped of at Costco to stock up on Kirkland Vita Rain bottled water (fake Vitamin Water, with even fewer vitamins than real Vitamin Water…) We have been looking for these since New Brunswick and Nova Scotia – none of the Costcos we found carried it.  I have had to substitute real Vitamin Water, and it is a poor substitute…

So we happily checked into the RV park; again we were exhausted – it was a long day… almost 400 miles, almost double of our preferred pace.  But there was no reason to stop any sooner; tomorrow we move to Bozeman.

Happy hours ensued, and an enjoyable time was had by all…

 

 

 

 

 

 

2017-08-16 Westbound, on our own…

We left Jellystone Park before it was light. We love traveling this way – just not every day…  After an hour or so we stopped at our first ever Tim Horton’s.  As we pulled around to the back we saw Linda and Gerry Belcher’s Airstream Interstate:

2017-08-16 Info Center - Belchers

We pulled in next to them.  It appears that they were asleep – all windows shades were drawn…

We had a quick “breakfast”, then pulled out onto the road. No sign of life from the Belchers… (Later we had a text message from them that they were awake, making coffee, but did not see us parked next to them…)

A few miles down the road we spotted a WalMart off the road, with three Airstreams parked for the night; we learned later that it was the three Kentuckians – Westheimer, Virgin, and Lanford.

Later that morning we saw Ed and Abby Krissman again.  This time at a gas station. We said a quick, “Hi”; they were were headed into New York, and they had left Tom Jones behind as they dropped down into Maine.  There was also a Visitors Center that had some problems with its question mark…

2017-08-16 Info Center

So we caravanners keep spreading out all over the country; one group took the ferry from Nova Scotia to Newfoundland…!

By early afternoon we had crossed over into Quebec, and were approaching Quebec City. We stopped in at the Levis/Quebec City KOA and parked for the night…

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We have booked a shuttle to take us into the Old City tomorrow, and we settled down for a nice quiet Happy Hour on our own…

PS: There are three other Airstreams in this park. We hope to meet them tomorrow…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2017-08-15 Nor by Nor’east Caravan is Over! Back on our own…

The caravan is over – we packed up this morning, said our last good-byes, and headed out of the RV park.

We leave PEI via the Confederation Bridge, locally named Span of Green Cables… Then our plans are to travel west, through New Brunswick, then north to Quebec;  once in Quebec, we head southwest to Quebec City, Montreal, the 1000 Islands, and towards London, Ontario.  There we visit CanAm RV to have new rock guards installed, and to check out our non-functioning refrigerator.  From there we go to Boblo Island, on the far western edge of Ontario – there we will reunite with our grandchildren:

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PEI is beautiful – not much wilderness, but lots of farmland…

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The trip over the bridge (the longest bridge in the world going over waters that freeze…), across the Northumberland Strait, was uneventful; even paying the toll was easy. Then we were on to New Brunswick.  Just over the bridge we were joined in our travels with two other Airstreams – that of Tom Jones and Ed Krisman.  They had left the RV park ahead of us, but apparently they had stopped for something or other.  We convoyed along for awhile, then parted ways as we stopped for fuel.

We reached our destination – Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park – in Woodstock, NB.

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Obviously, this is a kid and family oriented park, with miniature golf, playgrounds, pools, jumping things, a small water slide area, and all sorts of planned activities put on by the park.  They put us into a site at the rear, away from most of the activities.  We settled into the Villa, and enjoyed a peaceful evening alone.

About 9:00 pm, long after we were in bed, (it was almost dark!) we heard the camp PA system announce that it was time for the “Bedtime Story with Benny the Beaver”, obviously a popular activity. But then they added that there was a thunder storm warning being issued.  So I got up and disconnected our electrical power just to be safe. It was just as well – we plan to leave before first light in the morning…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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”…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2017-08-10 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…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2017-07-31 Nor by Nor’east Caravan – Leaving New Brunswick and on to Nova Scotia

We left early, along with Trevor and Gale, our leaders, and Skip and Kathy, our other parking crew members. It was a relatively long drive – about 3 1/2 hours. But the road was smooth and we discovered some of the beauty of Nova Scotia. We are staying about 15 miles outside of Halifax, which will give us a base from which to explore the mainland of Nova Scotia.

About 1/4 mile from the entrance to the campground we approached a flagger, stopping traffic.  We sat for 20 minutes, while opposing traffic came through. They were repaving this 2 lane road, and so we waited… Taking advantage of this long wait, Kathy went back to the Airstream to avail herself of the sanitary facilities. When she exited the trailer, she opened the door and just about knocked over a guy on a moped, curb-sneaking along the right side of the road.  While he didn’t hit the door, he had to take evasive action and a string of French swear words emanated from the mouth of this very irritated man…

Upon arrival at the campground the manager showed the three of us where to park. He also wanted to assign all of the other sites as well. The park is a little oddly laid out (aren’t they all?) In any case, our work was limited.  Skip and Trevor stayed back among our allotted sites, whilst I stayed by the office, passing out campground information and telling each Airstreamer what to expect when the manager led them back to their site.

The first caravanners pulled in about 1/2 hour later than we expected because, duh! they were sitting in the stopped traffic out front. By the time the last folks arrived their wait had been over 45 minutes… Anyway, in the mean time, Lynda didn’t really have any assigned duties, and all I had to do in between arrivals of Airstreams was to sit in the shade and watch the 3 teenage girls in the pool across the way…

That evening we had a tourism meeting, explaining our options for exploring the area, and we again hosted Happy Hours, with about 15 people attending.  Several folks drove into Halifax to see the Tall Ships up close… Tomorrow we take a bus tour around the area.

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2017-07-30 Nor by Nor’east Caravan – Free day in Moncton, New Brunswick

After our exhausting day at Hopewell Rocks yesterday, today we rest.  We did some reading and writing, and I think I even took a nap.

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We did go to a Super WalMart. I had never been in one of these before… As odd as that is, don’t forget that we are in Canada. We will be in Canada for another 5-6 weeks, so we better get used to it!

Shopping was fun, because we didn’t have any idea what they had, and we were not very picky about what we bought. We needed a few staples, but after that, we were able to buy whatever looked good and would fit into the Villa.

We did “host” Happy Hours:  We would invite people to our campsite for Happy Hours, then tell them, “Bring your own chair, bring your own food, to share, and bring your own drink.  We’ll do the rest.”  We do this almost every night.  Sometimes one person will show up, sometimes more. Once, I told 2 people, and 35 people showed up! It doesn’t matter, we all have a good time.

 

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We had a drivers’ meeting to learn of tomorrow’s route into Nova Scotia. This will be a new experience for us: we are part of the parking crew.  We leave first in the morning, get to the campground early, and arrange where everyone will park, then we direct them to their spots.  How hard can this be?

So after the meeting we grabbed our bright orange vests and a pair of walkie-talkies, and retired to the Villa. Another uneventful day on our Odyssey.

 

 

 

2017-07-28 Nor by Nor’east Caravan – Leaving Campobello Island; Two border crossings, and into New Brunswick

We began our travels off the island by crossing the FDR bridge, towards Maine.  As we waited at Customs, we admired the lovely views:

 

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It took quite some time to get through Customs back into the USA.  First of all, this is a tiny station, normally only serving this tiny island; also, because 25 Airstreams began streaming across the bridge starting at about 9:00… Each trailer was inspected – we had not seen this in our three previous border crossings; apparently they are looking for either animals or people – they opened all the larger cupboards and closets. They also checked the refrigerator, probably for fresh meat or produce.  In any case, they let us back into the USA and we were on our way.

We drove generally north, to the Canadian border, and went through Canadian Customs; similar to our last experience, they seemed mostly concerned with things that we might be bringing into Canada and leaving there.  Again, I refrained from mentioning the contents of our holding tanks, which we intended to empty at the first opportunity…

Moncton, New Brunswick, is a relatively large town; its claim to fame is that it is the largest city near the Hopewell Rocks, the best place to experience the extreme tides of the Bay of Fundy. (More on this tomorrow…)

So we settled into Campers City RV Resort in Moncton, NB, and readied ourselves for the coming days:

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First order of business was to go to Costco and restock the wine and liquor cabinet, since the Canadian Government frowns greatly upon bringing vast quantities of wine and liquor into Canada from the USA.  Also, I live on 5-8 bottles per day of Kirkland Vita-Rain water (fake vitamin water that has even fewer vitamins than real Vitamin Water…).  And we needed plain Kirkland water for coffee and such.  Plus, my daily diet consists mainly of Pure Protein Bars, available only at Costco.

The Costco was only 1.2 miles away; we gleefully set out for our shopping spree.

WORST COSTCO EVER!

First of all, it was backwards… But I could deal with that. But:  NO WATER!  How can Costco NOT have 2-3 aisles of water?  This Costco had NO WATER. No plain water; no sparkling wter; no Gator-Ade; no Vita Rain water.  Nothing!  Next insult?  NO ALCOHOL!!!  No Makers Mark, no wine, nothing. Apparently the Canadian Government thinks only the Canadian Government is capable of selling wine and liquor…

Fortunately for me, we did find my protein bars, so we stocked up on them; we are spending the next 5 weeks in Canada: who knows when we will be able to buy them again…?

In any case, we returned to the campground woebegone and wretched. Our spirits picked up a bit as we set about to arrange happy hour: table clothes on the picnic table, chairs, food, wine, etc.  All set; then:  RAIN!  Giant Rain!  Pouring Rain!  We had checked with Steve Jobs and he had promised: NO RAIN!

We scrambled about, and pulled what we could inside.  And we waited. As they say in these foreign parts, “If you don’t like the weather, wait 10 minutes…”. So, after 10 minutes the rain stopped, and we restarted… Happy hours ensued, and an enjoyable time was had by all…

 

As is our custom, here are our GREAT grandchildren…

Erin, Roisin, and George, looking on…

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Ian, and his dad, Kevin:

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2017-07-26 Nor by Nor’east Caravan – Travel day to Campobello

Today is our last day in Maine. We are moving once again, this time into New Brunswick, Canada, specifically to Campobello Island, the summer home of Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

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We left the campground in Trenton about 10:00 am, and headed north on highway 1, a small, 2-lane road that leads further and further away from civilization. Finally, after about 2 ½ hours we turned east and drove through the town of Lubec, which claims to be the easternmost city in the USA. Who am I to argue?

We went through customs, with our experience being similar to crossing the border in Niagara Falls, which we did back on June 24.   Once onto the island we found our campground and settled in.

Campobello Island is located at the entrance to Passamaquoddy Bay, adjacent to the entrance to Cobscook Bay, and within the Bay of Fundy. The island has no road connection to the rest of Canada; the bridge we drove over connects it to Lubec, in Maine. Reaching mainland Canada by car without crossing an international border is possible only during the summer season and requires two separate ferry trips, the first to nearby Deer Island, then from Deer Island to L’Etete.

Measuring 8.7 miles long and about 3.1 miles wide, it has an area of 15.3 sq miles; the island’s permanent population in 2011 was 925.

Campobello has always relied heavily on fishing as the mainstay of the island economy; however, the Passamaquoddy Bay region’s potential for tourism was discovered during the 1880s at about the same time as The Algonquin resort was built at nearby St. Andrews and the resort communities of Bar Harbor and Newport were beginning to develop. Campobello Island became home to a similar, although much smaller and more exclusive, development following the acquisition of some island properties by several private American investors. A luxurious resort hotel was built and the island became a popular summer colony for wealthy Canadians and Americans, many of whom built grand estates there.

Included in this group were Sara Delano and her husband James Roosevelt Sr. from New York City. Sara Delano had a number of Delano cousins living in Maine, and Campobello offered a beautiful summer retreat where their family members could easily visit.  From 1883 onward, the Roosevelt family made Campobello Island their summer home.  Their son Franklin D. Roosevelt would spend his summers on Campobello at the family home from the age of one until, as an adult, he “acquired” his own property — a 34-room “cottage” — which he used as a summer retreat until 1939.  It is next door to Sara and James Roosevelt cottage.  You might wonder why he chose to live next door to his mother?  Simple:  She bought the house and gave it to him.

It was at Campobello, in August 1921, that the future president fell ill and was diagnosed with polio, which resulted in his total and permanent paralysis from the waist down. Roosevelt did strive to regain use of his legs but never again stood or walked unassisted.

During the 20th century, the island’s prosperity from its wealthy visitors declined with the change in lifestyles brought on by a new mobility afforded by automobiles, airplanes, and air conditioning in large inland cities. Nonetheless, for President Roosevelt, the tranquility was exactly what he and his family cherished, and the property remained in their hands until 1952 when it was sold by Elliott Roosevelt (Franklin and Eleanor’s fourth child). Elliott decided to sell the house after his mother, Eleanor, had sold it to him. Elliott sold it to Victor Hammer and his brother Armand Hammer of Boston and they owned it up until 1963. However, they said Eleanor was always welcome to come whenever she pleased, and her last visit was in 1962 to attend the opening of the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Bridge connecting Campobello Island to Lubec, Maine. In 1962 the brothers tried to sell it but got no takers; (The were asking $50,000 for it, fully furnished with all the Roosevelt furniture…) they subsequently donated the cottage to the U.S. and Canadian governments in 1963 as an international park. The Roosevelt Campobello International Park is the only one of its kind because it is run by both the Canadian and American governments, the park being located in Canadian territory. The park is now equally staffed by both Americans and Canadians.

In 1960, motion-picture producer Dore Schary and director Vincent J. Donehue made the film Sunrise at Campobello, based on Schary’s Tony Award winning Broadway play of the same name. Starring Ralph Bellamy as Franklin D. Roosevelt, the film covers the years 1921 to 1924 at Campobello Island and events leading up to Roosevelt’s nomination as the Democratic Party’s candidate for president.

So now you know more about Campobello than most Americans do.  (If people DO know about Roosevelt’s time here, they are always surprised to find out that it is in Canada…)

We went for a walk and found a nearby beach on the bay.  The land mass you see in the background is Grand Manat Island; Nova Scotia is beyond that, across the widest part of the Bay of Fundy…

 

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Some folks have asked for a better picture of the Squarestream on this caravan; here it is:

2017-07-26 Campobello - Squarestream

This is a 1989 32′ Airstream Land Yacht. It is aluminum skinned, but instead of rivets they used high-strength epoxy to attach the skins to the frames. It resulted in a much more rigid unit. However, they were not popular with the traditionalists, so the series was dropped a few years later.

And, as is our custom, here are pictures of our grandchildren, as they learn all about water balloons……

2017-07-26 George

2017-07-26 Ian and Roisin

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