Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Headed for the "Rock"

Sept 24th

The Light House at Canso
A Ship Loading Crushed Rock at Canso
Up and had breakfast at our motel, then headed toward Sydney, but Lo and Behold as we were crossing the Canso Causeway Denice spotted what she thought was a "Tall Sailing Ship" way down the Canso Strait. We just crossed the Strait and then stopped at an info place and asked if they knew if any tall ships were scheduled to stop here. None were but we decided to go back to where the bridge crosses the Canal through the causeway. Once there and with the help of telephoto lenses on our cameras were able to see that in fact there was was a very large sailing vessel headed toward us.

As we were in no real hurry to get to Sydney as it is only a 2 1/2 hour drive we decided to wait awhile and see what the ship actually was. WE had to wait a couple of hours, but finally it was close enough that we could clearly see her drop her sails and turn toward the locks in the causeway canal. We watched her navigate through, and the highway and rail bridge turn vertical to the canal to allow her passage.

Traffic on both sides of the bridge backed up several miles during the 20 minutes it took for the ship to pass through. We found that an interesting event for today, then headed on down the road along Bras d'Or Lake. Nice leisure drive with great scenery! Colors on the trees are starting to change. Another week or so, and they should be real good. We pulled over in one spot where an eagle was flying by, and he honored us by landing in a tree right in front of us.

We were able to get some great shots of him! We arrived in North Sydney by 2:30PM. This is where the ferry leaves from tomorrow morning. We checked into the North Star Inn right adjacent to the Ferry terminal. At present two Ferry's are waiting in Queue at the docks.

At 5:00PM we went down to Rollie's Beachside Restaurant at the advice of the desk clerk at the North Star. She said tonight was 2 for 1 steak night, there would be some music and we could enjoy a little Ceilidh!! (this is pronounced Kaylee - and is a Scottish Party) She was not misinformed!
We did have a 2 for 1 steak dinner with a 16 oz steak, but the nice waitress allowed us to have one steak and the other to have a large portion of haddock, and we could share. The meal was excellent, the music great, the Kieth beer fine, and the caramel ginger spice cake delicious. While we ate we watched a ferry dock and unload. Another Great Day!!
Sept 23rd
Traveled from Shediac to Ault Cove on Canso Strait in Nova Scotia with the Jeep only. Left Shediac on highway 15 to Port Elgin, then highway 16 to Sackville, then #2 from there to the Canso Strait. Trip was rather uneventful with only stopping at the info Booth at the entry into Nova Scotia.

Just prior to the Canso Causeway found a nice motel right on the water with a restaurant included. We checked in and then took a few photos, then went for supper,

Denice had a Halibut Steak, me a Spicey Fish Hotpot. Both were good, but I'm not sure that I would choose mine over a prime Alberta Steak.
Sept 22nd
Today we took a tour to PEI, across the Confederation Bridge. Had lunch over there and then returned for $42.50 to cross the bridge.

PEI is smart as they do not charge to get on to the island but sure sock it to you to get off. We just went over and had lunch, and then returned to New Brunswick. It was still early so we decided to take a run down to the Hopewell rocks the other side of Moncton and then maybe Cape Enrage. We were at this cape about 10 years ago and remembered to light house in the fog and then the neat beach below the cliffs with course gravel "tumbled" with the endless waves, making them all like gem stones. When we got to Hopewell rocks decided to by-pass them and continue on to Cape Enrage first. We drove for about 10 miles, and then were concerned about how far it was to the Cape, so I stopped at a little store and asked. They said another 20 minutes, but since our time was running short we turned back and went to Hopewell. Even as it was we were only able to spend 3/4 of an hour there before closure at 5:00PM. It is quite a walk to the cliff edge, but there is as golf cart type shuttle for $1.50/person each way. We decided to take it in the interest of time. The girl at the ticket booth charged those just in front of us, but when we paid the entry fee she waived the shuttle charge, with a smile and a wink, and gave us the shuttle tickets. Not sure why we were so gifted, but we graciously accepted. Must be our good looks!!

So we made a flying trip down for some good photos. I ran down the stairs for some beach shots and Denice stayed on top. The tide was out. back up the stairs, and back onto the shuttle and back to the jeep. Returned through Moncton and back to Shediac to ELTORO.
Sept 21st

Shediac's "largest Lobster"
Purlee Beach at Shediac
Well, here we go with those plans "Cast in Jello" again. It was to travel to Sydney, NS with ELTORO from here in Shediac. Travel time was two days to get there. Then, we had found an RV Park that would store the motorhome in a non hook up area for $10/night or if we stayed a couple of nights would only charge $5/nights. We would then take the jeep across to Newfoundland and stay in B&B's or motels for about a week, before returning to the main land. Well, today we were discussing our plans and Denice comes up with this idea. "Why are we taking ELTORO all the way to Sydney, storing it there, and then returning all the way back here, a total driving distance of 600 miles on the motor home". I guess I had never thought of it that way, but she does have a point. She does occasionally come up with some good ones you know!! So now here are the new plans. The park we are in here will match the cost of the one in Sidney, so we will leave ELTORO here for $5/night while we are gone. We will just take the jeep from here Thursday after getting ELTORO settled in. Then we will get to Sidney Friday night, stay in a motel, be at the ferry terminal at 10:00AM to catch the one to Port aux Basque at 11:30AM. Its already reserved for about $140 for 2 seniors and the jeep. Once on Newfoundland we will tour as much as we can see, but have to return to Port aux Basque for the return trip on Oct 2nd. The ferry from Argenta to Sydney shuts down on Sept 25th, and only one operates during the winter months. We did have the option of reversing and catching the last ferry to Argenta on the 25th, but decided not to. After returning to Sydney we will drive back to Shediac, stay one more night and the head south toward warmer climes.
Sept 20th
On the road for fairly uneventful day. Left Point A la-Croix about 9:00AM, and crossed over the bridge over Chaleur Bay into Campbellton, NB. There is a bit of a snag there as just after you cross the bridge if you do not take the first ramp to the right you cross under a railroad bridge with a height of only 3.7 meters. Convert that to feet and it is only 12 feet and 2 inches. My motor home is 12 feet high to the top of the air conditioning units, so I would only have 2" of clearance. Too close for me!! Luckily we had been over to Campbellton in the jeep a couple of days ago so we new about the subway pass. I'm surprised that there is not a whole pile of RV air conditioner units beside the road near this pass as its on a fairly main thorough fare.We did a circle route to by-pass this and then back onto Highway 11 to Dalhousie, Bathhurst, MIramachi, and finally into Shediac. Found the Ocean Surf Trailer Paark and checked in , and set up. Went down town to get a few supplies at "No Frills". Grabbed a hamburger on the way home and then settled in for the evening. Looked like a great sunset, so I went over to Parlee Beach, but the sunset sort of fizzled out.

Did get a couple of OK ones at the marina with a lighthouse in the forground.
Sept 19th
Get ready to move day. Spent a good share of the up dating my blog, Finding our next RV Park and reserving same, and planning Newfoundland Trip. With the help of Nova Scotia Tourist information on a website chat with a nice person by the name of Meaghan. Here is the gist of our conversation:
Meaghan R: Thank you for visiting NovaScotia.com, how may I help you today?
Meaghan R: Are you still there? If you are having difficulty, please contact us by phone. You can contact us toll-free in North America at 1-800-565-0000, or in the U.K at 00-800-1565-0000. If you are outside of these regions, our local number is 902-425-5781.
Dennis Lang: Good Afternoon. My question is, "in a few days we are going to be in the Sydney area, and are planning on taking the ferry to Newfoundland, but leave our 35 ft motorhome somwhere near the ferry terminal. Is there a RV park that has storage for up to 10 days while we are away?
Meaghan R: Just one moment and I will check for you
Dennis Lang: OK Thanks
Meaghan R: There is a campground near by called Arm of Gold Trailer Park. They are the only ones that are close-ish by that may offer that. Their website is www.armofgoldcamp.com and their phone number is 866-736-6516
Dennis Lang: Thank you very much Meaghan. I will call them. Do you know how soon we need to reserve on the ferry before departure?
Meaghan R: I would say as soon as possible. It can be a very busy ferry so just to be safe I would say at least a few days in advance
Dennis Lang: Thanks again for your help. Have a GREAT Day

We remember that when we were here 10 years ago that the Maritimes Info was Great, and today was no exception. I like doing that kind of business on the web as you have a copy of your conversation to review at your leisure.
We then reserved a site in Shediac for two nights at the Ocean Surf Trailer Park

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Lets's go to Gaspe

Sept 18th
Day started with Coffee, Juice, a fruit bowl, and Waffles at 7:30AM at Gite A' Abri du Vent. Then down Town to catch the first Boat tour around "The Rock" and Boneventure Island. We were blessed with another great sunny morning, and calm waters so had a good one hour tour. Went right up to the big hole through the Rock, and then around the back.

Although we got lots of good pictures, we are always amazed at the rudeness of other passengers vieing for the best spot to take pictures from. Seems nothing is sacred, and they seem to have no qualms about just forcing their way in front of you. Well, I have got just about as abrupt as them, so when I am first on the boat, as this morning, I just grab hold of the outside rail and stand my ground!!! Seems some nationalitiies are worse than others, but I'm not pointing fingers. Then we left the Rock and sailed around Bonaventure Island. This Island is well known for its population of gannets and grey seals.
All along its verticle rock walls and rugged coast there are lots of these seals (fuches in french, and this kind of shocked Denice). Then as we came around the south end of the Island, every ledge, and every crook and cranny was occupied by gannets.

For those that aren't familiar with the gannet, they are large black and white birds, adults having yellow heads, with long pointed wings and long bills. Northern gannets are the largest seabirds in the North Atlantic, with a wingspan of up to 2 metres. Gannets hunt fish by diving from a height into the sea and pursuing their prey underwater. Gannets have a number of adaptations which enable them to do this: they have no external nostrils, they have air sacs in their face and chest under their skin which act like bubble wrapping, cushioning the impact with the water, and their eyes are positioned far enough forward on their face to give them binocular vision, allowing them to judge distances accurately. Gannets can dive from a height of 30 m, achieving speeds of 100 km/h as they strike the water, enabling them to catch fish much deeper than most airborne birds. There were thousands of them. I.m not sure if this is the only island that they migrate to, but there sure were lots. We could have stopped on the Island for a 2.3km walk to get personal with them, and then 2.3 km back, but in the interest of time decided to b-pass that.

From Perce we then traavelled on up to Gaspe, a distance of about 60 km and a futher 20 km to Forillion National Park. This is a Canadian National Park. In the Park we made a quick tour, taking in the main highlights. One of them was the Cap Bon Ami. Here I must tell you that in Quebec they are not shy about making steep highway grades, some up to 20%. Not a great place for motorhomes, but we just had the jeep, so we were OK. Well, on the way to this view point we ascended at about 50km one of these steep grades of 17% to reach an inverted "V" summit and then suddenly switched to a 17% down grade, so fast that we seem to be just falling. Denice's only comment was, "Holy Shit". But once there it was worth it, A great view point looking out into the Gulf.
The retrun trip was not so thrilling as we knew what was coming. From there we went another few miles up to Cap-des Rosiers light house, the highest in Canada at 285 feet, built out of white limestone, and still operational today.

A great picture! Then time was against us we had decidd to return to ELTORO, way back at Point A la-Croix a distance of a couple hundred miles. We had taken in all the points of interest on the way up yesterday, so we just boogied, and made it home by 7:00PM, just before dark. Another Great Day!
Sept 17th
Left ELTORO at the RV Park and headed east along the Gulf toward Gaspe. I had no idea this was such a populated coast line. It is almost continual urban communities all the way.
You hardly leave one town until you are in another. The towns are very narrow with only a couple of streets on each side of the main thoroughfare highway 132.

A Museum dedicated to the Cod Fishing Industry along the wayThe building is supposedly one of the largest of its kind in Canada with Hand Hewn Timbers and 5 floors high!!
When we stopped to visit this site we found parking around behind in the staff parking and sort of came in the back door. We toured all the buildings, but the last was the blacksmith shop where the old blacksmith would make you a square nail.

When we went in he asked where our tag was that indicated that we had paid our entry fee, and we had none. Now of coarse Denice was was unaware to this point that there was even a fee to be paid. I had been thinking that it was funny if there was no charge, but instead of just quietly sneaking away and returning to the Jeep, Old Honest Denice made it an issue to ensure we had paid our $12 dues.
Surprisingly speeds are not too slow, with most of the route at 90 Kph. Some short areas where traffic is congested is at 70kph, After starting at 9:00AM, and stopping for several photo ops we finally arrived at Perce Rock at about 3:00PM.

Over the last several days while in Quebec we have seen many signs advertising "Gites". Gite this and Gite that, and of course with our knowledge of French we knew not what that was, so finally I had to "Google" it. It means "shelter" in the broadest description, but is used for almost all French "Bed and Breakfast" sites. So since we had left ELTORO behind for one night we reserved at Gite A' Abri du vent, a 4 star "Bed and Breakfast" in Perce. We found the place and checked in. Them, little English, us French non existant. Lots of hand signals, and we got along just fine. Thier house is just up above Perce Rock, and today was glorious sunshine, so we got lots of great shots of the rock. Dinner down town at another non English speaking restaurant. I had the Fish and Chips, Denice, Seafood Soup.
Sept 16th

Went down to the "Battle of Restigouch" National Park today. This was the site of the last Naval Battle between the English and French.
(Copied from Wikipedia)
In September 1759 Quebec had fallen to the British, but French forces still remained in New France in large numbers. Several appeals to the French government for reinforcements met with indifference or neglect, partly because the French navy had been smashed at the Battle of Quiberon Bay in November 1759. On April 10, 1760, the frigate Le Machault under Lieutenant Francois La Giraudais sailed from Bordeaux with 5 merchant ships carrying 2,000 casks of provisions and 400 troops. Francois-Gabriel D'Angeac commanded reinforcement troops because of his familiarity with the area.
Things did not go well for the flotilla on the outward journey. On April 11, they were forced to disperse in order to run the British blockade off France. Two merchant vessels were seized, and two weeks later another ran aground in the Azores. The three remaining vessels rendezvoused in the Gulf of St. Lawrence on May 15, only to find that a British fleet had already arrived in Quebec. Seeking a safe harbour, they sailed for Chaleur Bay and anchored in the estuary of the Restigouche River near the Mi'kmaq settlement of Listuguj on May 18. Here they enlisted the help of the locals and some Acadien refugees in exchange for feeding and arming them. In the meantime, a force of Royal Navy ships under Captain John Byron sailed from Louisbourg to intercept the French flotilla. They arrived in Chaleur Bay on June 22, blockading any attempt by La Giraudais to escape. He responded by sailing further upriver where the deeper draft British ships would have difficulty following. There he turned Le Machault broadside, scuttled some schooners as a barrier and placed a battery of cannon ashore to strengthen his position.
Despite La Giraudais' positioning, Byron was able to negotiate the shallower waters and on July 3, confronted the French defensive line. At close range and in calm winds, the battle commenced. Despite being outgunned, the French inflicted heavy damage on the British before Byron succeeded in silencing the shore batteries. Le Machault and the merchant ships Bienfaisant and Marquis-de-Malauze then withdrew further upriver with the British in pursuit. For the next several days the two forces engaged in a running battle, but La Giraudais recognized that he could not win a battle of attrition and on July 8 he had Le Machault and Bienfaisant scuttled to prevent the capture of their cargo (the Marquis-de-Malauze was spared due to the prisoners that it contained in its hold). The remaining French force then withdrew to the shore and the safety of Listuguj while Byron returned to Louisbourg.

Well done historic site with a great collection of artifacts and even parts of the Hull, stern, and anchor are on display. They avised us that being tourists we had to go down the highway 20 miles and see Accueil Miguasha: In English this is Maguasa National Park. An interesting side line about this name. It is called a National Park, but that is only a Quebec National Park, not Canadian. When Quebec was determined to become a soveriegn nation of her own in about the 50's or 60's they decided to have their own National Park, and so the name has just remained as a "National Park."
It is located at the western end of the Baie-des-Chaleurs along the northern shore of the Ristigouche River, Miguasha owes its red colouring to the rocks of the Bonaventure rock formation. But the area is most famous for another series of rocks – the Escuminac Formation – which lies under the Bonaventure Formation at beach level. For more than 125 years, the Escuminac Formation has garnered worldwide acclaim among paleontologists. Thousands of beautifully preserved fossils have been extracted from the Escuminac cliffs, mainly of fish that lived 380 million years ago during the Devonian Period.

For more go to http://www.miguasha.ca/mig-en/index.php
On the way home stopped at a family owned Soap Factory. The soap is mae rif=ght there in the barn. The unique characteristic is it is made from Goats Milk. We (Denice) did but some while I petted the goats.

Sept 15th
More wet weather so we are just stalled for a few days until it clears. We're in a nice small RV park just inside Quebec across from Campbelton, New Brunswick. Went across the bridge to Campbelton for groceries today, then planned to see a small National Park that is here called The Battle of the Restigouch, but after coming home and storing the groceries we just settled in and stayed the remainder of the day.
Sept 14th
Wet weather so we are just sitting and enjoying ourselves - INSIDE - today
I am fighting a cold so just enjoying doing nothing
Sept 13th
On the road by 9:00AM. We would not have minded staying another day, but we had checked the weather and today looked better than the next few days. Showers and rain are forcast for all of this week. When we left, it was in between a couple of showers, but as soon as we were on the road it started again. Not too bad, but just slightly miserable. We stayed on Highway 20 for a while but then it narrowed to only two lanes on Secondary 132. Sometimes we were right on the banks of the St Lawrence,others behind a ridge away from the river. We by-passed Rimouski. It seems like a fairly large town right on the St Lawrence, and from what we could see appeared to be a rather nice place. We did pass through several small touristy towns, but it appeared, at least from whenI filled with gas, that English was not their forte. At Mont-Joli we left the riverand headed, still on 132, across the Gaspe Peninsula, to Chaleur Bay, but still part of the Bay of St Lawrence. It was about 100 miles across the peninsula, but was a nice change from the riverside. Good scenery was all along the way with fairly hilly topo. Leaves are noticeably starting to change colors, heralding the change of seasons, and nights now have a slight nip in the air. at 2:00p we reached our destination of Camping La Maison Verte Du Parc Gaspasien at Point-A-la-Croix, QC. When i had reserved, the lady I spoke to spoke no english, and had to get her husband to speak to me. So when I checked in no one was in the office and the directions were to just find a spot and park, and make payment later when the owners returned. We chose site #14, but found no WIFI, so moved closer to the office into site #8 where WIFI was better. Must be a low power WIFI Router! We got set up and relaxed the remainder of the day.
We are going to reserve here for four days. For the trip to Perce Rock, we will just drive up with the jeep, a distance of about 150 miles, and spend a night in a motel, rather than take the Motor Home, then have to back track to here anyway.
Sept 12th
Left Quebec City and followed TC 20 along the St Lawrence to Riviere Du Loup and into the RV Park. A nice place with a Kids Christmas Castle just across the street. Pretty neat!! Took some good photos.
Then took a little drive around town and down the road a few miles in the afternoon, and then out to St Huberts for chicken for dinner.
Found a Miniture Village.

And a Indian Head on the beach