Saturday, August 8, 2015

Canada! Part 1

 Oh, Canada! We have come back!

The first thing we did after we crossed the border was to check on converting currency. Glad we did, because the 'Royal Bank' couldn't or wouldn't cash our check or use our VISA debit card. They did convert the cash we had to Canadian, so we had some time. Next stop, a bigger town. Three banks, same problem. OH OH! What should we do? Have someone send us money through Western Union? Maybe Wal-Mart, with cash back? No luck. I decided to check the web for a Pulse or VISA local terminal, and found that the gas station had an ATM that would help. Whew, that was a relief!
Free to roam without money problems we headed up toward the NB/Ontario border, and followed up to the Acadian peninsula. It is kind of like VERY north Louisiana, without the alligators, and prettier. There are mosquitoes, though. It is very pretty, and we enjoyed the drive. Most everything is in French, then English, which was a bit of a problem, but we managed. I don't understand how anyone could live in a bilingual area for any length of time without picking up some of the language. I don't mean speaking, but just understanding what is going on. I picked up a bit of French, but couldn't hold any sort of conversation. [sorry Madam Lavender from High School French].
Our first night was spent at Sugar Loaf Mountain in New Brunswick.

We decided to walk to the top of it. It was a hike STRAIGHT UP the 'mountain' at a very steep grade. The view was awesome, but it was humbling to see people pass us up two or three times doing the circuit more than once. And, for all of you thinking that it was a high mountain, the elevation was about 900 feet. Not nose-bleed category.

The Acadian peninsula was pretty, and we visited an old church with an outdoor sanctuary.
As Justin Wilson said, the people wouldn't swear allegiance to the King, they would only swear AT him, so some landed in Louisiana, and some landed in NW New Brunswick. You can decide who you think were the lucky ones. (hint – think both winter and summer)
     We had reservations at Parlee Beach Provincial Park for the weekend, so we could attend the Maritime Mega Moncton geocaching event. Over 400 people attended, and they were very friendly. We were able to meet some local cachers that we had been in contact with via e-mail. A good time was had by all. The campground we stayed at wasn't the best, but it was convenient, and we only used it to sleep. People were packed in like sardines.
While in Moncton, we were able to see a tidal bore. It wasn't very big, but it was impressive. The tide makes the water flow upriver, forming a small wave. Surfers like to try to 'ride the wave'. If you look closely at the picture, you will see at least one.

 Another attraction in the area was the world's largest lobster.  Who could resist stopping by?

      There is a National Park -Kouchibouguac -not far from Moncton that we had to pass up to get to the event, so we decided to return for a day and see what it was like. It was nice and quiet. We got in some nice hiking, and walked the beach as the sun was setting. A very relaxing day. It was New Brunswick Day, so most everything was closed, except some gas stations and fast food places. It is a civic holiday, but not related to anything that we could determine – just a day off.

Next stop, Prince Edward Island. The Confederation Bridge crosses the Northumberland Strait. . . 8 miles long.  It is free to cross over to the island, but they make you pay to get off!
PEI end of the Confederation Bridge

We stayed at Prince Edward Island National Park, and set out to explore the island. It is a very rural island for the most part, with some small towns (they call them cities). Lots of potato fields in bloom! Kris got tired of seeing them pretty quickly. There is a lot of coastline, and we pretty much followed the North, West and East coasts. There is a wind farm on the North Cape with an interpretive center, but they wanted too much money to go 'Interpret' wind energy in the indoor exhibits, so we walked the trails to see it in action.

This is as far as you can go.

There was also a nature trail, so we got a nice hike in there, too. Jacques Cartier Provincial park was our home for the night, and we could see his statue from our campsite. PEI knows how to treat Senior Citizens! We got the discount at their parks! It rained a bit, but the upside was a pretty rainbow.
We got a discount at the Canadian National Potato Museum, too. It was the kind of quirky place we like to go. The exhibits were good, but video circa 1985 kind of dated it. They had poutine (french fries and cheese curds covered with gravy), so we had some. It sounds kind of weird, but it is delicious!

Yummy poutine!

At "Bud the Spud"

A local geocacher was hosting an Event at his house, welcoming some Americans back to the island. We stopped by, too, and were inducted as Honorary Prince Edward Islanders.  The induction ceremony involved a shot of potato vodka and raw oysters and kissing Mr. Potato Head.

Since we are ending our PEI jaunt on the east coast, close to Nova Scotia, we decided to cross by ferry to save time, rather than drive back and use the bridge. We have reservations to take the ferry to Newfoundland next Thursday, so we will poke abound Nova Scotia before that. I'm sure we can find something to do!

I'll add photos in a day or two. (NOTE:  photos added on 8.16.15

Kris here:
PEI is all about farming (mostly potatoes) and fishing (lobster, clams, oysters).  We made dinner last night with locally-grown wax beans and potatoes.  The landscape is primarily rolling farmland of red dirt with patches of trees.  And, you are rarely more than 10 miles from the sea (Gulf of St. Lawrence) and beaches.   As Brian mentioned above, we did enjoy some poutine.  We tried it years ago when we were up in the Montreal area with the kids.  Everyone loved it so we make it at home, or at least a close approximation of it.  We like the uncrowded areas of the island and chose to skip the Green Gables/Avonlea/Anne/L. M. Montgomery attractions.  I tried reading "Anne of Green Gables" as a kid and just couldn't get into it.  Weather has been enjoyable - shorts during the day, light jacket in the morning until things warm up.  A little light rain now and then, but nothing like the torrential downpours back home.  We are looking forward to Nova Scotia and Newfoundland soon.


  1. Uncrowded? No stop/go traffic? Plenty of places to park? Sounds like one of those old movies we watch on Netflix. Y'all are dong the timewarp.