Airstream Time

Exploring North America in an Airstream

Archive for ‘September 7th, 2019’

Nova Scotia

Friday, September 6, 2019

At 9:30 the ferry docked in Nova Scotia and we lined up at the stairwell to head back to our vehicles. Turning one way on our deck, we didn’t find the truck and trailer, so we turned around and went to the other side. Once we found it, I was surprised how quickly we were off. Now, where were we going? Martha had entered Pictou Provincial park, but it took a little bit to find us. It was about a 4-hour drive, located near the ferry to Prince Edward Island.

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Overlook along TCH

Pulling into the campground, an RV pulling out waved to us, so I stopped and backed up. He said they were closing for the hurricane. Really! He was more worried about his house in Norfolk. “Norfolk, Virginia?” I asked. Small world once again.

We pulled up to the window, and sure enough, all provincial parks in Nova Scotia were closing. The storm wasn’t even coming until Saturday morning, if it comes at all. We pulled into a day use parking area, fixed lunch and explored our options. The weather report had the storm coming right over us with about 4 inches of rain and high winds.

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Caribou Monrose Provincial Park

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Caribou Monrose Provincial Park, too bad we missed it!

We considered going 3 hours into New Brunswick, but the predictions were actually worse there, the eye of the storm being less damaging. We found Peaceful River Campground a bit inland, with hookups and an open field where trees might not be a problem. We drove 30 minutes, seemingly in the middle of nowhere to find the campground.

Don checked us in. His wife was in the hospital with a gall bladder infection. This is a seasonal campground where everyone knows everyone. They had all been calling him to move their furniture inside and close their awnings. He took us to the campsite and guided us in, then started talking to the neighbors. Of course it was all about the storm. I had taken what I thought was a map of the campground, which it was, but it listed all the names of the seasonal campers. Jim and Sandra were our neighbors, but they were preparing things here before returning home to do the same at home.

Don said, “Aw hurricanes never come here. They hit the Caledonia Mountain and turn out to sea.” We talked about where we had been and going to PEI after the storm. Martha said she wasn’t taking the ferry, as it might be too rough. Don said they often close the 10-mile bridge when the winds are high. Geez! I’d rather be on a ferry!

They told us about a cute little town, Tatamagouche, where nothing has changed for 40 years. Don said the population in summer was 5,000, but in winter 110. We decided to go check it out. I was on 1/8 of a tank of gas, so I stopped on the edge of town to fill it up. People were in line, but fortunately the diesel pump was open. In Newfoundland I had to use the pin number to pump gas, but here I didn’t.

People kept lining up as an attendant talked to a guy in front of us whose license read “volunteer firefighter”. He was also filling a plastic gas can. The attendant said the grocery store running out of everything. Really?

Driving by Foodland, the parking lot was full. The little town sits on Tatamagouche Bay on the north side of Nova Scotia and faces Northumberland Straight between PEI and Nova Scotia. The little main street was busy. A brewery was filled with people on the side deck with sample flights of beer. We went in and ordered a couple of porters, which were good.

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The brewery sink!

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There were several restaurants on the street. We opted for the Chowder House Cafe. It’s a small place and was pretty full. Three young ladies were busy filling orders, running back to the kitchen and taking payments. Martha ordered a mussel appetizer and a salad. I ordered halibut with mashed potatoes and mixed vegetables. The mussels had sriracha on them, which mad them a little hot. There were also strong onions. It was good, but kind of takes away from the mussel flavor. Other than that, everything was good.

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I couldn’t help but wonder where these young ladies were from. There was Guatemalan coffee for sale in the corner, so maybe that was it. Wherever they were from, they were doing a great job.

On the way out of town we saw a sign for Creamery Street with an ice cream place on the corner. Ahhh, maybe tomorrow, if the hurricane doesn’t come. At the gas station, people were still lined up. Many were filling multiple portable gas tanks, probably for generators if the power goes out. I bet Martha a desert it would turn out to sea.

Argentia Ferry to North Sydney, Nova Scotia

Thursday, September 5, 2019

We were taking a 16-hour ferry ride over to Nova Scotia. The winds were blowing about 20 mph, and we were both a bit nervous about getting sick. It leaves at 5:00 pm and arrives at 9:00 am, so we bought a 2-bunk berth, but since there weren’t any, they gave us a 4-berth. The idea was to get some dinner and sleep through most of the trip.

We wanted to get out and do something, so Martha found a hike nearby. Argentia is a WWII US Navy base that was turned back over to Newfoundland, so there are gravel roads going everywhere. A sign pointing to a trail head took us up a narrow gravel road. One point made me grip the steering wheel and hold my breath. It was very narrow with a dropoff on the left where a creek ran under the road. I was just looking down at the creek when the right wheel went into a deep pothole. I about had a heart attack, thinking we were going over. 

We parked and walked up to find a big pond, probably used for fresh water for the base. There were several nice campsites and fire rings where people probably came to fish. A boardwalk led up the small mountain, so we followed it to a smaller gravel road winding through the woods. Blueberries lined the road, so we stopped to pick some, using my hat for a bucket. 

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Further up the road, a mountain biker passed us, saying there were lots of blueberries at the top. There were two forks in the gravel road, so we made mental notes of where to turn. After more blueberry picking, we saw a tall lookout spot at the top of the hill. 

Climbing up, we were rewarded with a wonderful view of the east side of the Burin Peninsula. Mountain islands emerged from the huge Placentia Bay in beautiful blue green waters. The sun peeked through the fog to show all the colors. 

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In the other direction we saw our huge ferry getting ready for the trip. Straight across was a huge oil project being built with hundreds of cars parked in a big lot. Obviously, our campground was busy because of these workers. I would discover this is the West White Rose project, a well head platform and piping infrastructure for offshore oil and gas industry. It is being built by Husky Energy and employs 700-800 workers.

Back at camp, we got cleaned up, hooked up and went down the hill to get in line for the ferry. They asked us if we had fruits and vegetables, which surprised us. We sat in our lane and waited for an hour before loading started. I’m always a bit nervous loading, even though I have done it many times. Keep your eye on the loader in front of you, get in your lane and never take your eyes off the loader until he tells you to stop. Then try and remember where you are. It will all look different when you come back down the stairs. What deck are you on? We were on G3. Which side, front or back?. Then you can’t see around huge tractor-trailers and campers. It would be nice if they had numbers up high from front to back, but this one didn’t. When all else fails, push the door lock on your key fob and see if you can recognize your car horn.

The strategy others followed going upstairs was to first find a prime seat in the lounge. Of course it helps if you have been on the boat before. We went to our cabin on the 8th floor first. We were surprised at how nice it was, with nice bunk beds, bathroom and shower. 

There were plenty of seats in a circular lounge with a bar, a game room and a small setup for a two-person music performance, which was quite entertaining. There were three options for dining, making it feel like a cruise ship. There was a little rocking as the ship got going, but not bad. People hit the bar pretty hard with beer the primary drink. We had dinner at the buffet, which was good, except I always eat too much at a buffet.

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We went up to the room and read books before falling asleep. In the middle of the night the waters got rough. I could hear and feel the  ship rising and crashing over big waves. We were probably in the main channel of the St. Lawrence. I dared not move, lying on my back, listening to Martha snore. By 6:00 am it became pretty calm again, so we got up, showered and went down for coffee and a muffin. We could see Nova Scotia in the distance. People-watching was entertaining. The Newfies were the ones in shorts and t-shirts.