Who’s Caedyn? She is my great niece and she’s turning one.
Geordie is now five.
I’ve now moved into the Central Time Zone and into Wisconsin.
I think Wisconsin is the only place I’ve ever seen “Dinner/Supper Clubs.” You don’t have to join to go. Maybe in the past, they were restaurants with a big band and dance floor. On a Wikipedia page on Supper Clubs, they seem to come from the days of the Speakeasies and the Prohibition. Al Capone did have a hideout up here in Wisconsin. It would also figure that a Wisconsinite opened the first Supper Club in Beverly Hills.
Another thing you see are “Taverns,” not bars or pubs. I think taverns are a Midwest name. There were taverns where I grew up in Chicago.
I had been staying in Diamond Lake RV Park near Marinette, but now I’m in a Forest Service campground on Boulder Lake near Mountain, Wi.
I was having trouble calling out at Diamond Lake to get a new camp. Also, my emails seem to land on “deaf ears.”
One major thing to note about camping in a Forest Service campground in the woods, solar panels need sun to charge batteries. I was lucky to find a not overly heavy canopy overhead. Another negative is cloud cover. Yesterday was a solid grey cover and any electric use may not be recovered by the limited solar gain.
Today, I think we’ll have sunshine but Sunday cloudy again.
I’m also limited in cell coverage, so this post will be without photos because of the long download times.
I heard from the Diamond Lake Park owner that this summer was an especially wet summer. He mentioned about 30 inches in one month. I’m sure those in the West would love to have a summer with 30 inches, but maybe not in one month.
Hopefully today I can find a spot for Geordie to get out to swim in Boulder Lake. He wasn’t allowed to swim in the last lake.
I’m a temporary “Yooper,” aka Upper Peninsula Michigander.
The trip up from West Branch, Mi was longer than expected. As I hitched up, I found my tongue jack (the part that raises and lowered the hitching part to the truck hitch) had failed. I knew the day was coming. Since last spring, the hitch was missing through a cog in the mechanics. Then, it started missing two cogs. When I hitched up that day, I could lower the jack but not raise it.
I called, in panic, some RV shops to the North. On the drive to one, I saw a sign for a Camping World. If you’ve been reading long enough, you know I’ve sworn off Camping World, but when I saw the sign I knew they would have a better chance of having a tongue jack. I drove in and asked about it being put on, and I got the reply I knew I’d get. “At least a week and a half out.” Then the salesman said, “It’s and easy swap out, you can do it yourself.” So, I bought an electric tongue jack and when I got to the campground in St. Ignace, I proceeded to replace it. It was a breeze. Luckily, I had the right socket, but I had to borrow a crimper from the campground to connect some wires together. I tested the light then raised the tongue off the hitch, no more cranking for me.
I’ve crossed the Mackinac Bridge before, and it’s always an amazing sight from on top. You can see the ferries heading to Mackinac Island, folks parasailing behind boats, and of course the sailboats.
St. Ignace is the first town on the U.P. and it feels touristy. The ferries leave from town, and the parasailing boats are ready for tourists at the harbor. It’s not a big town, but has quite a few motels and campgrounds. The big draw to the area is heading over on the ferries to Mackinac Island. The island is actually our second National Park, in 1875, after Yellowstone. The island is car-free, and the only way around is on bicycle or horse drawn carriage. As with most National Parks in the early years, railroad magnates built a hotel as destination resort. So it is with Mackinac Island. The Grand Hotel is the place to stay. Soon, business owners were building “cottages” on the island for family get-aways in the summer. From what I’ve heard, it sounds Disney-like. Maybe someday I’ll go over.
Being back in the Midwest is giving me a constant buzzing in my ears. It could also be the cicadas are all about. It’s been a long time since I’ve heard those loud buzzing insects. There is no other sound like it. It starts off low, then gets louder, then low again and stops. Then another cicada starts up. In the end, it’s a drone of buzzing in your head until nightfall.
On Thursday I moved near Rapid River, Mi which is just north of Escabana. Rain started as I left St Ignace and is due most of the weekend.
One thing I’ve noticed being in the East is, I don’t sleep as well in the higher overnight lows. Most nights, it never really gets below about 65º. Living in the West the temperatures often drop in the low 60’s and even lower in the mountains. I am definitely a low temp sleeper. With the rains here in the U.P., we’re due for overnight lows in the 40’s. My kind of sleeping weather!
I drove through the border again, and this time I learned I had to declare the fruits, veg, and meat I had on board.
The guard sent me to another lane and I went inside for the agriculture inspector. He took the keys and checked the trailer. Less than ten minutes later I was on the road.
I spent one night in Lapeer, Mich. and now I’m up in West Branch, Mi.
On the way up, I took a second to comprehend a gas sign and the price of $2.34. I had to remember the US sells gallons and it wasn’t the liter price.
I found a really nice RV park in West Branch. Loranger Pines RV Park has wonderful red pine trees with lots of space between sites. There is a train track next to it but the train only comes through about two to three times a day. Otherwise it’s a quiet park.
Also on the topic of noise. Many RVers find using ear plugs in parks helps when they find loud neighbors. I often use them. The KOA near Toronto was right next to the highway and I used ear plugs at night to sleep. Also the white noise of the A/C can help.
I can’t wait to find some quiet boondock camps and move back to the wide open spaces of the West!
I took Geordie over to East Tawas this morning, and we walked around. I let him swim in Lake Huron for the first time. He’s stacking up the lakes and oceans on his swim chart.
Haven’t really taken any photos just yet. I’ve just been on the move so much. Besides, Michigan red pines don’t make for interesting shots.
There is a town in Quebec that was named after a distant cousin. The Lac Brome area is made up of seven villages and one is Knowlton. The Honorable Paul Holland Knowlton came to Canada from Vermont. My fifth great grandfather, Decon Ezekiel, had a brother, Luke, that married a Sarah Holland. I don’t have all the information at hand but Paul Holland Knowlton is related.
My fourth great grandfather Ezekiel had ten children. The youngest five move to Canada. My third great grandfather, Asaph, lived north of the town of Knowlton in So. Stukely (Stukely Sud). They lived long enough in So. Stukely to have a few children then moved to Iowa.
The Brome County museum in Knowlton, Qc is very extensive. Paul Holland Knowlton’s home was moved from what is now the golf course and was restored to the original log home. The timber size is impressive for a log home. The town had a children’s home where orphans and street kids from England were sent and families took them in. Some were adopted by their host families. Many had rough lives in the homes and others ran away. The children were often put on farms so the kids had to do farm work. The museum had a half dozen or more biographies of the children. Some of the boys went into the military in WWI. Which brings me to the military room of the museum. The prize exhibit is the Fokker DVII biplane from WWI. It is one of less than a handful of Fokkers with the original fabric covering. For more information http://www.bromemuseum.com
I spent a couple of nights near Peterborough, On. I’ve wanted to go to the Canadian Canoe Museum since I found the museum book in the Durango, Co Library. It is an impressive collection. They cover the kayaks of the arctic to the dugout canoes of the Pacific Northwest. Of course, the birchbark canoes from the interior to the east coast, and also the elm bark canoe. There was also a replica of a Hudson’s Bay outpost. Any one need “Hudson’s Bay Blended Scotch”?
I’ve moved on to the west side of Toronto. This post is late is because my computer was infected with mallware. I received a notice that my Adobe flash player was out of date, I pressed update and all of a sudden I got about three programs added to my computer. One was a windows search page, I work on a Mac. Such a pain this last week. I found an Apple store southwest of Toronto. I went down the day I got to camp and found the store packed. I managed to get an appointment an hour and 20 minutes later. I walked the mall. I went back in only to find it was going to be about another 45 minutes. Nothing to do but wait. I waited longer than it took to fix my computer. Either way I’m back to normal.
By the way, in Canada, the mall is far from dying out. The parking lot was full and there were lots folks walking with bags.
I went to the Hockey Hall of Fame yesterday in Toronto. It was a longer drive in than expected. Once there I saw the jersey’s of some of my favorite players, Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita from the Chicago Blackhawks and Sidney Crosby’s from the Pittsburg Penguins. To top it off, the Stanley Cup was on display. The folks in line for picutes were putting their hands on the cup, and if you’ve ever seen the last few games and the cup, there is a minder of the cup and he wears white gloves. I learned there are three Stanley Cups. The one in the hall is a copy.
Going into the city also reminded me why I don’t visit cities often. They are very loud and congested with people and traffic.
I’m also going to head back to the states. I’ve started to get a bit claustrophobic living in RV parks. I need a good state park or forest campground with lots of trees in between!
All of a sudden I’m surrounded by french speakers. I say, “Hello” and they say, “Bon jour.”
No signs have english just french, and I guess what is meant.
This is the point my sister is yelling, “You should learn french,” but how often would I use it out in the woods of Oregon?
So, as you might have guessed, I’m in Québec, Canada. All of it is a culture shock. I find the grocery stores have huge selections of fromage (cheese) from all over the world.
I stayed three days near the town of Montmagny on the southside of the St Lawrence Seaway. On Tuesday I took a drive south towards Québec City. I wanted to take some photos but the cloud cover was horrible. In the evening I checked the weather and we were under a “squall watch,” a first for me. The radar had a line of storms heading south. It was all for nothing. A few showers and a couple of claps of thunder, no big deal. I was hoping for a good old fashion “gully washer.”
I’ve mentioned before that all the parks I’ve been in, have seasonal sites. I’ve been thinking about it and I’m looking differently at it. This is just like their place in the woods or the resort they go to year after year.
Many of us in the states like to travel around and see new places, but some have cabins on the lake, or others have the timeshare in Key West. Canadians go to the campground to their RV.
The campground lots at Montmagny were well manicured. Lots of lawn ornaments, fireplaces or pits, and flowers. Many also have a room built onto the side of their RV and lots have porches or patios. They visit with other folks or have dinner out. This campground even had a petanque league.
So, at first I thought it strange to park an RV nearly permanently, but there is also something nice about weekends and summers at the campground.
I came across a funny town name just as I came into Quebec from New Brunswick. Saint Louis du Ha! Ha!, Qc. I kid you not. It’s the only town on the planet with two exclamation points in its title!! According to Atlas Obscure the double ha-ha is a french word meaning unexpected obstacle or path ending. The obstacle is a lake for St. Louis du Ha! Ha!
So next time your at an obstacle you can call out “We’re at a ha-ha.”
Yesterday I drove a long day, for me, down to Waterloo, Qc. I’m just west of the area called Sud Stukley where my twice great-grandfather moved from Massachusetts. My great-grandfather was born there. Then the whole family moved to Iowa.
Again I’m without photos today. Nothing these days jumps out to me. Next week, I promise.
Lastly, a shout out to my brother on his birthday, and another to my sister for her birthday just two days ago.
The area on the Northside of Nova Scotia, where it links with New Brunswick, is called the Sunrise Trail. This area also looks north to Prince Edward Island (PEI). The towns have fantastic names. Pugwash, Tatamagouche, Tidnish, Antigonish, and where I stayed Pictou. Just saying those names is fun.
Pictou is famous for the harbor where ships carrying Scottish families seeking a new life dropped them in the new land. A ship by the name of The Hector was the first ship that carried the Scots and brought them to Pictou.
Back in 1992, I learned of The Hector and I found that the historians were building a new Hector ship by the same methods used back when the original was built. It was completed some years ago and is moored in the bay. There is a museum on the Hector Quay that describes the voyage for those Scots and what they found in their new home.
Pictou is also the place to catch the ferry to PEI. It was once the only way to get to PEI until they built the Confederation Bridge between New Brunswick and PEI.
I’m sure many of my female readers or parents know of PEI from the Anne of Green Gables books. I went up to PEI my last trip here and searched out the area where the stories were set. Why would a guy head up there? I have a niece that was completely obsessed with Anne. She even looked a bit like her. (Yes, I was happily subjected to the show) I came to photograph the area and I even picked up a straw hat for my niece. From those photographs, I made her a poster combining them in a frame.
I didn’t go up this trip, but if you ever head that way the PEI National Park has a spectacular seashore and is the place to camp. Miles of beaches line the North shore. Sea breezes and gentle waves will settle into your bones and your memories of a hectic life will fade away.
It rained most days I was in Pictou and the one it didn’t I went up to Outer Caribou Island without my camera. From there I could see the ferry and a slim PEI to the North.
Canada Day was subdued with the rain, except for the folks in the campground that lit a few fireworks. They were a bit loud for Geordie and he hid under the table. Thankfully they only lasted about ten minutes. I heard a few other dogs bark, annoyed by the loud noise in the campground.
I’ve now nearly traveled the length of New Brunswick. I’m in the far Northwest corner for the next few days. I’m camped just south of Edmundston. I’m nearly a stones-throw from the US border and almost into Quebec. I arrived just in time for the first round of showers over the next three days, lucky me!
Prior, I camped near Fredericton. It’s a change not to have the sea within sight. Up here it’s just trees and more trees.
I don’t have any photos this post. My computer keeps telling me its “full!” I bought a new hard drive to back-up my photos so I should be able to upload photos next week. You didn’t want to see the boring endless forest anyway!
I took a drive last Saturday to the end of the road. If you’ve ever thought of heading to Cape Breton you’ve probably heard of Meat Cove, yes, that’s the name. There is a campground at the end of the road, but it’s only for tents and maybe vans, as it’s a bit tight for anything else, though they do have cabins. Oh, did I mention the cliff? Your at the edge of the world and down is the sea. There is a nice arial video at their website. http://meatcovecampground.ca
You have to want to go to Meat Cove, because it’s way up there and some of the way is on dirt roads. Many do it as a day drive like I did. Its sort of one those “notch on the belt” drives. I’ve got to say its beautiful up there.
If you come this way to Dingwall, you’ll be at the top of Cape Breton Highlands National Park. There are many hiking trails to take. I thought in the past there was backpacking, but I didn’t find anything on the website. This is a very thickly treed area and finding a camp might be tough.
If you lean to the pampered vacation, there is Keltic Lodge http://kelticlodge.ca outside of Ingonish. They have a golf course, spa amenities, lodge, cabins, and restaurants. This is on par with the great lodges of the US National Parks.
The town of Dingwall is on Aspy Bay. John Cabot was sent by Henry the VII to look for a western route to Asia. He landed in Aspy Bay after landing on Newfoundland.
Another history lesson about Aspy Bay is, this is where the TransAtlantic telegraph cable made landfall onto the mainland of North America.
I made my way to the western side of the island. Many seaside campgrounds are on this side. I stayed at Sunset Campground in Port Hood and there is a public beach just across the road. If I didn’t know better this could be California…without the crowds!
As I’ve wandered around Cape Breton, I’ve seen real estate signs. I looked a couple up just for the fun of it. Near Port Hood there were two parcels next to each other. One was about nine acres the other twelve. Both are C$19,000 which comes in under $15k US. I really seriously thought about buying one. Then that little voice in my ear told me about the drive it would take to get back here, and the fact that family lives in California. Still, it’s an interesting idea to own property in such a beautiful location.
More reality hit me when I went to the Co-op food store in Port Hood. They are really the only place to get food staples on Cape Breton. I was out of peanut butter and found only the smooth style and they contained hydrogenated oils. I’m thinking again about the land. If I can’t get healthy peanut butter I’ll pass on living here.
I left the island on Wednesday and found a camp in Pictou (pick-toe). I was lucky to find any campsite, as tomorrow is the 150th anniversary of Canada. There are flags all over the country and at every store, flags, t-shirts, bags, and hats emblazoned with “Canada 150.”
While I celebrate Canada Day, I wish you all a happy 4th in the states, eh?
Over the last weekend, I spent three nights near Truro. It rained one of those days. One day I wandered Truro and found Dalhousie University.
I can’t say much about this town. It is just a town. I did find a dog park on Sunday and took the Geordie over and he had a blast with the other dogs. I attempted to keep him out of the pond, but alas he’s a water dog.
On Monday I headed northeast and found myself on the island. Cape Breton to be more accurate. I found I went through one of the sides of the Bermuda Triangle. The weather changed to a sweltering 75% humidity and 85º! What the heck? It’s supposed to be cool up this far north. Well, I guess I’ll work on my Cape Breton tan!
I found a campsite at Glenview Campground in Whycocomagh. This was an “ok” place to stay, for doing a couple of day trips.
I did find a “must-go-to” shop in Whycocomagh. If you’re coming this way, stop at the “Farmer’s Daughter.” You’ll be able to pick up on a whole lot of dinner items. I found tubs of soups and I picked up a fish chowder. They also had shepherds pie, and lasagnes in the frozen foods case. Most would serve three to four. There were fresh baked breads and pies. Cookies! Oh the cookies! Great place to fill the freezer, for suppers to come as you venture further into Cape Breton.
On Tuesday I went to Baddeck and my all-time-favorite museum. (I was here in 1992) The Alexander Graham Bell Museum is one of those museums where you learn things, even as an adult. Pa Bell was more than the inventor of the telephone. After the telephone was created all sorts of items came out of his mind. Bell bought property across the bay from Baddeck, because it reminded him of Scotland. It is still owned by the family. He came up here to invent in peace. He was part of a team that made the Silver Dart the first airplane to fly in Canada. He designed ailerons for that plane. He took what he knew from flight and saw a use of those wings for boats to fly on water with a hydrofoil design and often tested them in the bay. He set a world speed record with hydrofoil boat, HD-4.
Bell made a metal detector. It was something he’d learned from the electricity from his telephone. He tested it by finding the bullets still in Civil War Vets, but when he used it on President Garfield after he was shot, he failed.
Bell was one of the founders of the National Geographic Society.
One thing I’ll note. I was extremely impressed with the museum back in 1992, this time, not so much. I think they’ve shrunk the exhibits down. Still, no matter what the museum left out, this was a brilliant man.
Cape Breton is also home to The Gaelic College near St Ann’s. The college started with the premise of saving of Celtic culture. Some of the courses you can take are in music, gaelic language, dance, and the arts, such as weaving.
Since this is “New Scotland”, you’ll also notice that some of the signs are in gaelic.
If you know some Celtic music, you may have heard of fiddler Natalie McMaster. She is a Cape Breton born and bred and comes from musical family. She has taught fiddle classes at Gaelic College in the past.
I left Whycocomagh and now I’m near the end of the island. I’m near the town of Dingwall in a great campground. Hideaway Campground and Oyster Market is near the end of Shore Road. The views are spectacular. As in their name, they sell oysters in the campground along with lobsters. You can eat in or take them back to camp. I had lobster last night for dinner.
Driving further down Shore Road get’s choked off but you can find parking on the grass sides. Walk a little further down the road finds you at a picturesque beach. No hoards of people down there. I took Geordie down last evening and we had the place to ourselves. The water dog knew what we came for, no directions needed.
Last Friday, I rolled into Hunt’s Point in the rain.
Saturday, I woke to brilliant sunshine, and after coffee and a bowl of cereal, I was on the road. I went down to the town of Shelburne. In the past history, the town filled during the Revolution with England’s Loyalists from the colonies.
Further back in time, an English Captain sailed with his family to the new world escaping the religious tyrany. He died on the voyage and the ship stopped in Nova Scotia. He was buried in Shelburne County. That Captain and his family were the first of my family in this new land. The rough estimated date of death are 1632-34. The rest of the family continued the voyage to Ipswich, Massachusetts, and so the branches of the family stems from there.
No one has yet found the grave marker that a surveyor found and noted. Yet still we look, but it may be a mystery for years to come. Just one faded, weather worn headstone.
As we headed back, I took Geordie for a walk in the Kejimkujik National Park seaside adjunct. The trail lead to the sea and had a nice beach at the end and I let him swim.
The main park is inland and has lakes, campgrounds, and plenty of trees. It’s also a dark sky preserve, so the night skies must be spectacular. More info here.
On Monday, I went up to Lunenburg and Mahone Bay and a little beyond.
Lunenburg is a Unesco heritage site for the preserved example of a British colonial grid streets. I found many beautiful old homes and shops being refurbished all in bright colors.
Lunenburg is also a well know film set for many TV shows and movies.
Run Stranger Run
Jesse Stone TV movie series
Haven TV series
Lunenburg I found is a lot like a mini San Francisco, with it’s hills down to the docks. On the other side is a back bay.
Further east, is Mahone Bay. The harbor side skyline is well known for the three churches seen from the bay. I found this a more tourist friendly town. The main street has nice shops and restaurants. I found two unique shops here. A potter that creates custom plates, and a pewter shop with everything from Christmas ornaments, jewelry, and tankards.
While these towns are photogenic, I wandered further onto the backroads and found an amazing discovery. I found little bays in the in the rocky shore and it seemed an idyllic place. I’ve found it on the map as Stonehurst East. The bays could easily be swum across. There are great little houses on either side. Docks and boathouses with lobster traps ready for sea wait in the cove.
On Tuesday the temperatures rocketed, like in the states, to a high of 87º. Not wanting to submit Geordie to hot rides playing tourist, we went to the beach. I was very surprised to find an amazing beach just down the road. In fact there are two. I went to Carter Beach near Port Moulton and nearer to the campsite is Summerville Provincial Beach Park. I wasn’t the only one with the idea of basking in the sun. Geordie got a lot of swim time with me throwing sticks out into the water. He was a happy, tired pup when we got back.
Wednesday I took a short trip, with the cooler temps to Liverpool. Yes, the river in town is the Mersey River. I don’t think the Beatles have been here. It is near the little town of Brooklyn where a young man was born and grew into a country music legend. Hank Snow was soon a Grand Ole Opry regular. There is a small museum in Liverpool with lots of memorabilia and two of his Cadillacs.
I leave Fisherman’s Cove RV Park today. This is a nice little park. Nice hosts and a good spot in-between the towns I visited.
I’m off to Truro today for a couple of nights then heading to Cape Breton a few days later.
Thanks for reading, and I’ll leave you with Canadian Hank Snow singing one of his famous songs.
Back in Digby, I took a walk with Geordie out of the campground. I found Lupines everywhere along the path. Purple was the most dominate color, but various pinks and white Lupines showed up as well.
I wanted to take the drive to Digby Necks but it’s an all-day trek. The day I had planned turned out to be foggy. It’s a long peninsula jutting out into the Bay of Fundy and the Bay of Maine. The drive is nearly two hours one way. There is a ferry to the first island, Long Island. Drive a bit further and another ferry takes you to Brier Island.
I ate a few scallops while I was here. Oh, they were good. I also found a fish monger and bought some and some haddock bits. I think some stir-fries are in the future, along with a soup or two.
Digby isn’t the typical tourist town. There are about six seafood restaurants, and a couple of tourist shops, but for the most part it’s a normal town. There is a boat works that right on Water Street, a bank, the tourist information building, but none of the t-shirt, candy, or kitsch of other tourist towns.
I drove up to the town of Annapolis Royal. It was a colonial capital before the founding of Halifax. There is a walking tour showing the houses, post office, and bank many dating back to the 1700 and 1800’s.
I took a trip to the ferry dock where you can hop on in Digby and cross to St. Johns, New Brunswick. It eliminates the drive up and over like I did, but it’ll cost you. On the web page, Campers, motorhomes, and vehicles with tow cost $9.00 a foot. It takes just over two hours to make the crossing. You can also catch a ferry in Portland, Maine. A vehicle towed like mine cost from $338- 450 depending on season. In just five and a half hours you can be in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. All kinds of amenities are on board, restaurant, coffee shop, kennel, movie theater, and gift shop. See their website https://www.ferries.ca for more information.
Its also possible to take a ferry to Newfoundland from Sidney, up on Cape Breton.
I also took a drive over to Point Prim Lighthouse. It sits at the head of the Digby Gut, the opening to the harbor. One of the first lighthouse keepers there developed the foghorn. No Leghorn needed! The last keeper left in 1987, when they automated the lighthouse.
Seen: On a signboard at a community hall “Hawaiian Dance Party.” I wonder how that got to Nova Scotia. Do you imagine its hula dancing?
I stayed three nights near Yarmouth, NS and did little touring. I was feeling a bit stuff and so I stuck around camp.
Today I woke to rain. I debated whether to leave. I had reservations at a campground near Liverpool, NS and went back and forth and ended up just packing up and hitting the road. Blasts of rain and wind hit me from all sides. The roads had more than a few puddles and I could feel the slip. I finally made it to Fisherman’s Cove CG in Hunt’s Point south of Liverpool. I’ll be here for a week to tour both north and south of camp. Today though, is and indoor day to dry off!