Friday, June 28, 2013

Rain, Green Gables, and Jelly

Travel Day 15 -- KOA Cornwall/Charlottetown,PE (46.213056, -63.186944)

Rain was on the menu all day today. Although it was a good day to stay inside, you can't afford to do that when your caravan will be stopped here for only a day or two. If you want to see anything, you have to get out every day no matter the weather. So today we went sightseeing to the north shore of PEI.

Our first stop was at Prince Edward Island Preserve Company in New Glasgow.

We spent a couple hours here tasting our way through the wide assortment of Hot Sauce, Preserves, Fruit Sauces and Syrups, BBQ Sauces, Salsas, Cranberry Sauce, and Spices.

Their products are available in several different sizes and gift box combinations. As a bonus they ship anywhere in North America for $10. We put together three assortments of 125ml jars for Tricia, Amy, and Naomi, and then bought some for us.

I took this quote from their website
We love good tasting food, good caring people and Prince Edward Island. We have made it our mission to produce or purvey good tasting food; making sure that the highest quality farm gate produce and ingredients are used. Food was the beginning but we have grown to include a wide range of services including restaurant, gift shop, and gardens.

On to Green Gables Heritage Place in Cavendish.

Michelle has been anticipating this stop since before the caravan started. This is the home of L.M. Montgomery, author of Anne of Green Gables. Michelle enjoyed our visit here and I learned a lot.

Anne of Green Gables is a bestselling 1908 novel by Canadian author Lucy Maud Montgomery. Written as fiction for readers of all ages, the literary classic has been considered a children's novel since the mid-twentieth century. It recounts the adventures of Anne Shirley, a young orphan girl mistakenly sent to Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert, a middle-aged brother and sister who have a farm on Prince Edward Island and who had intended to adopt a boy to help them. The novel recounts how Anne makes her way with the Cuthberts, in school and within the town.Wikipedia

The story has of course been made into several films

We left Heritage Place and moved on to Avonlea Village a short distance down the road. This is a commercial theme park with a significant entrance fee. The parking lot was empty and it was raining hard, so we decided to press on.

The tourism industry on PEI has divided the island into four regions and laid out several coastal drives as a good way to see the island and everything it has to offer.

After Green Gables, we tried to do the "Points East Costal Drive" to East Point Lighthouse. This drive takes you around the perimeter of region 4. We made it to Prince Edward Island National Park -- in the US it probably would be designated a national seashore.

We soon decided East Point Lighthouse was too far and the rain was making the day miserable. After a short distance along the northern shore of the island, we gave up, turned around, and headed back to the campground where we settled for late lunch/early dinner at the China King Buffet in Cornwall. Nothing here to write about, so I won't.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

A Day Long History Lesson

Travel Day 14 -- KOA Cornwall/Charlottetown,PE (46.213056, -63.186944)

Spent the day in Charlottetown

Charlottetown is both the largest city on and the provincial capital of Prince Edward Island, and the county seat of Queens County. Named after Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, queen consort of the United Kingdom, Charlottetown was first incorporated as a town in 1855 and designated as a city in 1885. It was most famously the site of the Charlottetown Conference in 1864, the first gathering of Canadian and Maritime statesmen to debate the proposed Maritime Union and the more persuasive British North American Union, now known as Canadian Confederation. From this, the city adopted its motto "Cunabula Foederis"--"Birthplace of Confederation". (Wikipedia)

Our first stop was Founders Hall , probably the Canadian equivalent of our Independence Hall in Philadelphia. If you think we were drawn here by patriotism and love of freedom you would be wrong. Nope. Admission to Founders Hall was covered by our Park Pass so it was free.

It was a good first stop. The Provincial Visitor's Center is located in Founders Hall. Staffed with very competent personnel, they gave us excellent advice on what to see on PEI and how to get there.

We spent a couple hours here basically learning about the founding of Canada. The Charlottetown Conference held here in September 1864 was a central event in that process. Again from Wikipedia

The 1864 Quebec Conference and Charlottetown Conference laid out the framework for uniting British colonies in North America into a federation. They had been adopted by the majority of the provinces of Canada and became the basis for the London Conference of 1866, which led to the formation of the Dominion of Canada on July 1, 1867. The term dominion was chosen to indicate Canada's status as a self-governing colony of the British Empire, the first time it was used about a country. With the coming into force of the British North America Act (enacted by the British Parliament), the Province of Canada, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia became a federated kingdom in its own right. Newfoundland did not join Canada until 1949 (after WWII)

Group lunch at Peake's Quay Restaurant and Bar. Michelle had scallops, I had Salmon. This was another of our prepaid events. So far today we haven't spent a dime.

However we ended that streak on the way back to the campground. Under the evil influence of Carole and Nelson Hommel, we were forced to stop at Cow's Creamery.

Cow's Creamery makes ice cream they call SuperPremium for three reasons: High Butterfat Content (16%), Minimum Air, Finest Ingredients.

They also conduct tours of the factory, at the end of which you get a small free sample of ice cream and cheese. We couldn't stand just a small free sample. After the tour we all had a substantial serving. Not free but very good.

A big lunch and a late dessert of ice cream quelled the need for any supper. Back at the campground, we dressed for our evening at the theater.

Tonight we attended a performance of Evangeline at the Homburg Theater of the Confederation Centre of the Arts. Evangeline is a powerful love story based on Longfellow's famed heroine Evangeline who becomes separated from her betrothed, Gabriel, during the expulsion of the Acadians. This sweeping adventure weaves villains and heroes, history and culture, and the strength of human spirit - all framed by the lively traditional music and dance of the Acadian, Maritime and Cajun cultures.

Photo from Evangeline Website
Photo from Evangeline Website
In the written program, Ted Dykstra the creator and co-director pens this:

I was forty years old when I first heard of the poem Evangeline by American Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. It was a revelation for so many reasons. One of them was that the story is beautiful , a love that would not die beating at its centre. Another was of course the story of Acadia and its people. I was astounded to learn of this piece of Canadian history and also a little angry that I had never learned it in school. ... Here am I, a first–generation Dutch Canadian from Northern Alberta, telling a 250–year–old tale of French people from the Maritimes, written by an English American 150 years ago....
I share Dykstra's emotion about not learning things in school. In reflection, it seem that the history we learned was about heroes with very little about the plight of people caught in the currents of history. This story brings to mind others like the Trail of Tears with the single theme "Those who have the power and the money want the land, those who have the land must leave."

I knew nothing of the history of the Acadian people (click Acadian History). To me they were a group that started somewhere in the north atlantic then went to Louisiana where they invented spicy food. Shame on me. I hope I will learn more during this caravan.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Charlottetown—Our First Stop on PEI

Travel Day 13 -- KOA Cornwall/Charlottetown,PE (46.213056, -63.186944)

This morning was more rain, heavy at times. So packing up was sloppy. We're getting used to that. Our trio moved out at 0930 ADT for the 180 mile trip northeast to Charlottetown, PEI. Six hours including a lunch stop at Tim Horton's in Salisbury, NB was a pretty good time. Our excitement for the day was crossing Confederation Bridge. Man! That is one hell of a bridge.

Confederation Bridge Northbound toward PEI

Exiting the bridge put us on Prince Edward Island, the "Gentle Island"

Our KOA is in Cornwall, just across the West River from Charlottetown, and we arrived here at 1530 ADT.

The rain had stopped but cold, windy, dampness with heavy skies persisted. Our camping area here is interesting. It is a big field with the hookups in the trees behind the sites. There are no boundary markers and no gravel pads. As you can see, everyone had to back in around the perimeter of the field. I think they intend this to be sites for large groups like us. Other parts of the campground have more conventional campsites. For us there are no pull–through spaces so the parking committee had a grand time getting everyone backed in.

Thanks for these pictures Trish

At our social hour and information meeting, snacks were plentiful and filling, so we let that suffice for dinner.

Here are some words on the provincial flag of Prince Edward Island. The design is modeled after the coat of arms in rectangular shape and is bordered on the three sides away from the mast by alternative bands of red and white. The English heraldic lion appears both on the Coat of Arms of Prince Edward and the Duke of Kent, for whom the province is named, and on that of King Edward VII himself. The large oak tree on the right represents Egland, while the three saplings stand for the three counties in the province which have existed since 1767 (Kings, Prince, Queens). All rise from the same foundation, as both Britain and the province are islands.

A Bridge Worth A Story

Abegweit Passage of Northumberland Strait (46.199795, -63.766816)

The Confederation Bridge (French: Pont de la Confédération) is a bridge spanning the Abegweit Passage of Northumberland Strait, linking Prince Edward Island with mainland New Brunswick, Canada. It was commonly referred to as the "Fixed Link" by residents of Prince Edward Island prior to its official naming. Construction took place from the autumn of 1993 to the spring of 1997, costing C$1.3 billion. The 12.9-kilometre (8 mi) long bridge opened on 31 May 1997.

The following are highlights from an extensive article about the bridge on Wikipedia.

The bridge is a two-lane highway toll bridge that carries the Trans-Canada Highway between Borden-Carleton, Prince Edward Island (at Route 1) and Cape Jourimain, New Brunswick (at Route 16). It is a multi-span beam bridge with a post-tensioned concrete box girder structure. Most of the curved bridge is 40 metres (131 ft) above water, and it contains a 60 m (197 ft) high navigation span to permit ship traffic. The bridge rests on 62 piers, of which the 44 main piers are 250 m (820 ft) apart. The bridge is 11 m (36 ft) wide. The speed limit on the bridge is 80 kilometres per hour (50 mph). It takes about 12 minutes to cross the bridge.

The construction, which was carried out by a construction joint venture of Ballast Nedam, GTMI (Canada), Northern Construction and Straight Crossing Inc., started in the fall of 1993, beginning with preparation of staging facilities. Bridge components were built year-round from 1994 to summer of 1996, and placement of components began in fall 1994 until fall 1996. Approach roads, toll plazas and final work on the structure continued until the spring of 1997, at an estimated total cost of $1 billion.

All bridge components were constructed on land, in purpose-built staging yards located on the shoreline at Amherst Head, fronting on Borden Harbour just east of the town and ferry docks, and an inland facility located at Bayfield, New Brunswick. The Amherst Head staging facility was where all large components were built, including the pier bases, ice shields, main spans, and drop-in spans. The Bayfield facility was used to construct components for the near-shore bridges which were linked using a launching truss extending over shallow waters almost 2 km (1.2 mi) from the New Brunswick shore, and .5 km (0.3 mi) from the Prince Edward Island shore.

Since the Island-coined nickname "Fixed Link" was not considered appropriate, and the federal government-coined project name "Northumberland Strait Crossing Project" was deemed awkward, there was a need for a formal name for the structure. Throughout construction, the federal government received suggestions for names and on September 27, 1996, the name "Confederation Bridge" was chosen.

This name is not without controversy. However, at a time when national unity had just been challenged in the razor-thin results of the 1995 Quebec referendum, the federal government opted for a bilingually appropriate and nationally accepted, politically correct name for Canada's longest bridge connecting the mainland portion of the country to the province where the first meetings at the Charlottetown Conference in September 1864 led to the Confederation of British North America.

Learn More
There is a lot more information about the technical aspects of construction as well as the financial, political, and economic impact of the bridge available on the web. Start with Wikipedia

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Fundy Trail

Travel Day 12 -- Century Farm Family Campground, St Martins, NB, CA (45.351482, -65.544069)

Today began with a pancake breakfast in the campground rec hall hosted by Byard & Linda Moran the owners of the campground. They even provided a Fiddler for breakfast entertainment.

Rec Hall at Century Farms Family Campground

Our adventure today was to drive the Fundy Trail Parkway with Bob Hamilton and Mary Clapsaddle. We had a good time and the following paragraphs and pictures taken directly from the brochure and website explains it much better than I can.

The Fundy Trail opens up previously unreachable areas of the Bay of Fundy coastline and panoramic views. The 16 km (10 miles) trail begins just outside St. Martins, New Brunswick (45.420339, -65.406011).

The New Brunswick Bay of Fundy Coastline

The Fundy Trail is a wheelchair-friendly coastal access network which includes a low-speed auto parkway with scenic lookouts, a pedestrian/bicycle trail, footpaths to beaches and river estuaries, and an Interpretive Centre. The Fundy Trail Parkway is operated by a non-profit organization.

Observation Decks are frequent along the Fundy Trail

Visitors can choose to drive on the paved auto parkway hugging the coastal cliffs or hike or bike the trails, which connect to paths and stairways down to pristine beaches with tumbling waterfalls, Pre-Cambrian rocks and towering 150m to 250m cliffs at water's edge.

Kiakers observe one of the many interesting
rock formations along the coastline

The Fundy Trail hosts visitors who come by car, bike, tour bus or on foot to view the natural, unspoiled beauty of the Bay of Fundy coast and, at the Interpretive Centre at Big Salmon River, learn about the history of what was once a vibrant fishing, logging and shipbuilding community.

Wildlife, marine and plant life can be sighted in their natural habitat along the auto parkway and bicycle/footpaths as well as from the lookouts and observation decks.

A high point of the trail is the suspension bridge over Big Salmon River. We had to check it out.

Suspension Bridge over Salmon River
Picture taken from adjacent highway bridge

Our route home took us back to the Caves Restaurant for lunch. Michelle and I split a Fish & Chips lunch. I don't remember what Mary and Bob had, but I do remember we all had some of that ice cream that we didn't get last night.

Michelle took the truck to town for our first fill-up in Canada. She returned with a glazed look. The gas pump of course was counting in Canadian dollars and metering in liters. So the final total was very confusing and very expensive. The price worked out to be about $6 per gallon.

At the campground, I took care of a couple chores. I finished putting the shower back together and sealed the seams with a clear silicone caulking. I also dumped the black and gray tanks, anticipating tomorrow's travel.

I want the silicone to have time to harden, so tonight I took my shower in the campground shower. Then to bed thinking about our second "wagon train" adventure tomorrow.

There's A Lot of Water Here

Travel Day 12 -- Century Farm Family Campground, St Martins, NB, CA (45.351482, -65.544069)

The Bay of Fundy (French: Baie de Fundy) is a bay on the Atlantic coast of North America, on the northeast end of the Gulf of Maine between the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, with a small portion touching the U.S. state of Maine. Some sources believe the name "Fundy" is a corruption of the French word "Fendu", meaning "split", while others believe it comes from the Portuguese fondo, meaning "funnel".

Nova Scotia is separated from the mainland by the Bay of Fundy and the Gulf of St Lawrence. Nova Scotia is connected to the mainland by a small strip of land that separates the Bay of Fundy from the Gulf of St Lawrence. A good California earthquake could make Nova Scotia an island and merge the Bay of Fundy and the Gulf of St Lawrence.

The Bay of Fundy is known for having the highest tidal range in the world. The Guinness Book of World Records (1975) declared that Burntcoat Head, Nova Scotia (45.310873, -63.807406) has the highest tides in the world with a tidal range of 55.8 ft (17 meters). Whether the name means "split" or "funnel", one can intuitively understand what happens when the Atlantic Ocean tries to push itself into the small space known as The Bay of Fundy.

Alma, New Brunswick at high and low tide (from Wikipedia)

The tides in the Bay of Fundy are semidiurnal. Semidiurnal tides have two highs and two lows each day. The height that the water rises and falls to each day during these tides are about equal. There are approximately six hours and thirteen minutes between each high and low tide. Thus the water rises and falls a total of 223.2 ft (55.8 x 4) per day. That equates to 9.3 feet per hour. That is fast enough to see and certainly fast enough to trap the unwary.

Turbulance produced as a rising tide meets
the downstream flow of a river (from Trish Davis)

As the tide rises and falls it produces tidal currents that push water in or suck water out of fresh water estuaries making rivers actually flow backwards. At high and low tide, the tidal current speed is zero as the water reverses direction. Tidal currents reach maximum speed sometime between high and low tide (not necessarily half way) and produce great turbulence at the mouth of coastal estuaries. Sport fishermen seek out times of greatest tidal current because the turbulence overcomes the ability of bait fish to escape predator fish. Predator fish go into a feeding frenzy in this turbulence. Tidal current data is usually provided as part of the tide tables widely available at marinas, fishing outfitters, and Harbor Master's offices in fishing communities.

Like I said "There's a Lot of Water Here" ... and it moves around a lot.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Showers-Inside and Outside

Travel Day 11 -- Century Farm Family Campground, St Martins, NB, CA (45.351482, -65.544069)

Today was our first full day in Canada and the weather was dreary with rain on and off well into the afternoon.

A couple days ago I noticed the carpet in the storage compartment of our Cougar was wet. Since we have had so much rain, I didn't pay much attention thinking quite possibly it got wet while I had the door open. However this morning I decided it was too wet for too long so it was time to investigate. I found water dripping from the floor above, above and behind some water lines -- not from the pipes but from the floor. This meant the floor under the shower was wet either from a leak in the water pipes or the floor drain. Neither possibility gave me a good feeling. A leak in the floor drain would mean tearing out the whole shower; a major job that could not be done while we are on the road. Hoping that it was the water supply pipes or fittings, I started by removing the faucet fixture from the wall and turned on the water. Bingo! Mystery solved immediately. A small section of plastic pipe joins the hot and cold faucets to the flexible pipe to the shower head. That little pipe was split and leaking. I realized right away what had happened. Last winter when we left California, I drained all tanks, all lines, and the water heater. But I did not blow out the lines. The shower faucets were in the OFF position, so that small section of plastic pipe was full of trapped water. It cracked sometime during the next three months of winter in Ohio.

Saint John is a major city not far from St Martins so Michelle and I took off in search of an RV store and hopefully a replacement part for the shower. We took the shower fixture with us. No luck. While out we stopped for lunch at Holly's Restaurant, in Hampton, New Brunswick. Over a grilled ham & cheese sandwich and sweet potato soup with curry, which I found to be quite good, we discussed our situation and course of action. Michelle had a Greek Flipwhich.

We gave up looking for a replacement part and turned our attention to finding a repair solution. On the advice from a gentleman in the plumbing department of a local hardware store we settled on super glue and "Magic Wrap" rubber tape. Back at the campground, I repaired the pipe and decided to let it sit overnight before reassembling the faucet.

I learned two things today. First make sure to drain and blow all water lines with faucets open when winterizing. The second was a bit of Maritime trivia. The city in New Brunswick where we went today is Saint John. "Saint" is spelled out, never abbreviated. John is singular, never an apostrophe and never an 's'. The city in Newfoundland where we will be in a few weeks is St. John's. Saint is always abbreviated 'St' and John's always has the apostrophe and the s. So we have:
Saint John, New Brunswick
St. John's, Newfoundland

The Brits celebrate late afternoon with tea. Our custom is Happy Hour. This afternoon a few of us congregated with our lawn chairs and liquid libations for an impromptu Happy Hour. Soon there was a couple more; then a few more. It didn't take long for the crowd to grow to almost the entire caravan.

Dinner tonight was one of our prepaid events and was at the Caves Restaurant, St Martins, New Brunswick, Canada. Michelle and I had the Fish & Chips dinner.

One could also have, as an extra, a bowl of their "World Famous" Clam Chowder. Soup and chowder are among my favorite foods so I didn't miss the opportunity. It was delicious but since I had never heard of it, I will record "World Famous" as hype. There was also a great selection of ice cream which was very good and very expensive.

The sea caves at St Martin are billed as a local tourist attraction so after dinner many of us roamed the shore and looked at the caves. The tide was out, the beach of stones was walkable, and the caves were completely out of water. The tides in the Bay of Fundy have been carving these caves for several million years and have done quite a job. They still have several million years more to go.

Thanks to Trish Davis for these pictures of the cave and beach at low tide....

.... here is the same spot at high tide

A little tidbit about our location. Century Farm Family Campground is located on the original grant of land issued to Mathias Moran in 1783, and the property has been in the Moran Family since then. The property presently consists of 100 acres of forest land and 25 acres of agriculture land. The homestead was built in 1850 by James H. Moran who hired many of the carpenters that worked at the ship building trade. The ceilings were painted by artists from Italy brought over on the sailing ships that were built in the shipyards located near the beach adjacent to the campground. Over 500 sailing ships were built in this area in the 1800's. The campground is operated now by Byard & Linda Moran. Their family home stands directly across the street from the campground entrance. If it could talk, what would the old house say about the history that has unfolded here?