Airstream Time

Exploring North America in an Airstream

Posts from the ‘Campgrounds’ category

Drive Bangor to Fahnestock State Park, NY

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

I95 in northern Maine is very pretty, but it gains traffic as you get closer to Portland. Then it gets very busy. 295 – terrible. 84 through Connecticut – terrible, with potholes and heavy, crazy traffic – a country gone mad! We thought this direction over to I81 would be better than I95, but I will never drive these roads again. The only good thing is that the entire system is being worked on, which it sorely needs.

We stayed at very nice Fahnestock State Park, which looks like it has a lot to offer – lakes and trails and a nice beach on the lake. Natural rock formations make for private alcoves for campsites. We had a whole loop to ourselves. Campgrounds are funny things. At then end of a long day of driving, all I wanted was a safe place to camp to relax and get a good night’s sleep. Although the campsites were marked well, they weren’t your typical back-in or pull-through sites. Having the whole loop to ourselves, I just pulled up the side beside a picnic table. Another camper pulled in behind us. The lady came out and Martha walked up to talk to her. They didn’t know how to park either. After setting up, Martha went over to see how they did in the next loop down, which they had all to themselves.

I was really too tired and emotionally spent from yesterday’s events to join in, listening from the top of a little hill. As they talked and laughed, I went down. They were a very nice couple from Ontario, just starting a trip touring the US northeast. Martha made some suggestions of places to visit and camp and said we had been in Newfoundland. The wife had been there, but the husband had not. He asked if I liked it. I told him how much I loved it and encouraged him to go. I should have given him a card for the blog, as it would give him more information.

Back at the trailer another camper pulled in. It was a car pulling a small teardrop camper. A middle-aged couple from NYC was on their first camping trip. They had just bought the camper, but couldn’t get it inspected in the city. Since the cost was only $7, $6 of which goes to the state, no one wants to do inspections. They had found a place nearby to do the inspection, and turned it into their first camping adventure. Of Oriental descent, the man asked if we had the whole family in that big Airstream. “Just the two of you?! So you have water and a a bathroom in there? We will go park closer to the restroom, because we don’t have water or a bathroom.” We told them if there was anything they needed, to come knock on the door.

The next morning Martha took a shower and saw the Oriental couple, asking how their first night was. Apparently it all went fine. Since we weren’t sure how to get back out of the campground, I drove up to the road. Seeing the wife walking down the road, I stopped, rolling down the window. Now look, we’re in the woods in a strange place. Women don’t like men in big pickup trucks stopping to talk to them, so this delicate, little lady was understandably hesitant. I quickly asked how their first night camping was. “Oh, I saw your wife earlier”, now recognizing the truck. “It went fine, and we slept well, thank you.” I continued to the main road. We had come in on a parkway where trailers are not allowed, so I wanted to make sure we had access to a state road. Driving back down, I saw the husband loading the car, so I stopped and asked how it went. “I had trouble unhooking the trailer. I almost come to get your help, but finally I figured it out. You have kitchen in your camper? And a big bed in the back goes crosswise?” “Yes, a kitchen and table, but two twin beds in back”, I said. “Ooooh, this is not good”, he said with concern. I laughed and told him he is much younger. He laughed and said, “Well not so much.”

After hooking up, we went over the hill to say goodbye to the Ontario couple. He came out sipping his coffee with the excited look of being on a new adventure on a beautiful day. We wished each other well and safe travels.

One Day in Bangor

Monday, September 16, 2019

I got to Northern Light Walk-In Care at 7:40 and registered at 7:45. I wanted a Lyme’s Disease test since I had been having some weird symptoms over the last two and a half months. My friend, Pam, had recommended this clinic, so I felt confident it was a good place, and if anyone knows Lyme’s Disease, Maine should.

Deb checked me in, weighed me, took my blood pressure and said Rebecca would be in shortly. Soon Rebecca came in and introduced herself. She is a lovely, young lady with a beautiful smile. A physician’s assistant, she asked why I was here and what the symptoms were. Then she listened to my heart and breathing and asked some more questions. How do you feel? Fine. Anyone in your family have autoimmune problems? Huh? Yes, mother had Lupus. Then a bunch more questions, seemingly unrelated to Lyme’s.

Then she asked if she could take an EKG. OK. “Then I will show you a bunch of Lyme’s rashes on the computer.” Deb came back in and did the EKG. She had been off last week, and they spent it in Bar Harbor. She looked at the results and took them to Rebecca, who returned in a few minutes. Showing me the chart, she said, “You are in Atrial Fibrulation”, describing the appearance. “I know you came for a Lyme test, but this is more important. I want you to go to the emergency room.” OK.

After some discussion about taking an ambulance, I thanked her for her very thorough exam and history and asked if she could do the Lyme test before I go. “They can do it at the ER.” Looking at me with a wrinkled brow, she escorted me to the door with address and directions to Northern Light Hospital, 11 minutes away. She had called ahead, so they knew I was coming.

I guess I could have had a massive stroke on the way, and it didn’t help that Google Maps wasn’t talking to me, or that it was rush hour. I parked in the emergency room parking lot and walked in. They took me right in and hooked me up to an EKG. Technology! It said A-fib right on the screen.  I texted Martha that I was in the ER and what I was there for.

Dr. Melia came in, took a quick history. “So you came in because of chest pain?” “No, I went to Walk-In for a Lyme’s test.” He ordered a chest x-ray, and a nice lady came to get me. Starting to walk down the hall, Dr. Melia said, “He shouldn’t be walking.” Geez! I never did find out if anything showed up on the x-rays.

A pretty, young nurse, Paige, came in and started asking a bunch of questions when a physician’s assistant came in, introduced himself and started asking questions. “Do you have a cough? How long have you been feeling lethargic?” “I don’t feel lethargic. I came in for a Lyme test.” Then he left, apparently in the wrong room. The ER was very busy this morning. Paige said she liked it this way. “Makes the day go faster.” She usually works three 12-hour shifts, but was on the “Princess Shift” to day, an 8-hour day. I asked if she was a runner, as she looked athletic and had on running shoes. She said no, but gets up at 4:30 every morning, goes to the gym and does sprints and lifts weights.

A lady came in and put an IV drip in my right arm, and another drew blood from the other arm. I asked what they were going to run. Blood studies and I think it was troponin to see if I was having a heart attack. And a Lyme test – good:}

Paige came in every 15 minutes to check the vitals and gave me a dose of Cardizem. The doctor came in quickly and said they would keep me overnight, but it would take a while to get a room. Once admitted, they would run an echocardiogram, and cardiologists would decide if I should be shocked back into proper rhythm. Great.

Martha came in, of course distressed. After signing up for another night at the campground, she had Uber’d to the hospital.  “Couldn’t we just go home and do this? What’s the hospital rated?” Looking on my phone, I said “2.5”. I had decided not to get checked in St. John’s, Newfoundland because they were rated 2.5, and Lyme’s doesn’t happen there much. “What is UVA rated?” she asked. “2.5”, I found. Looking at the monitor, she said, “You are still in A-fib.” I couldn’t see, as it was behind me. We sat and waited for an hour or more.  While watching the monitor Martha said the A-Fib indicator had gone away.  Paige came in and confirmed I was no longer in A-fib and she did a great job of explaining in simple terms what A-fib is.  After a while Martha went back to camp. She would do some grocery shopping (we had tossed all the vegetables and fruits when we crossed the border), and surely she would relax better there. 

Long waits. The first heart attack test came back negative, so they took another sample. About 2:00 a physician’s assistant, David, came in, asked some questions. He was the first to ask if I had cancer. Then he said the Lyme’s was positive, which I thought was very good news, explaining some of these weird symptoms. Then he said the medication had reversed the A-fib, also good news. He said if the second troponin test was negative, they could release me, and I could have the echocardiogram done at home. They could also keep me and do it here, but it would be tomorrow as they had quite a few heart attack patients today. Sounds great. I opted to go home.

By 3:00, Dr. Melia came back in to give me some instructions. He was retired Navy and was last stationed in Norfolk. Another doctor came in to tell me all about Lyme’s Disease. The positive test didn’t mean I had Lyme’s disease. If it had been negative, it would mean I didn’t have it. But he said I have all the right symptoms of a bite, a rash and wandering pains. Apparently, many people don’t know they have been bitten and don’t have a rash. It is a tiny tick and it takes a few days to transfer the bacteria that causes all the trouble. Once the tick has fed, it drops off, never to be seen again. All this makes diagnosis difficult unless you find the tick and have the classic target rash.

Dr. Melia wrote two prescriptions for me, Cardiazem and two weeks of Doxycycline. Paige unhooked me and gave me all the paperwork to take to my doctor. I got dressed, texted Martha, and headed for the pharmacy.

Waiting for the prescription to be filled, I reflected on this 2.5-rated hospital. This morning I had been to their walk-in clinic where I saw two outstanding people, Deb and Rebecca. At some other location, I might have just gotten what I asked for, a Lyme test. You won’t find a better person or physician’s assistant than Rebecca Rider. At the ER, they took me right in. I saw an excellent nurse, a Lyme’s doctor, an excellent ER doctor and two physician’s assistants. Not usually doing Lyme’s in the ER, they had done mine. I don’t know how many rooms they have, but I know they had people with a lot more serious problems. I give them top ratings.

Exploring Western Prince Edward Island

Friday, September 13, 2019

We drove the Lighthouse Trail on western Prince Edward Island. We found Belmont Provincial Park to be closed, but parked outside and walked around the pretty, little park. It looks like a nice beach or picnic area for summer. A house nearby was running a generator on the front porch five days after Dorian. The banks along the beach had been washed away, but not badly. 

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I love exploring, driving down gravel roads or paved. In many of the bays we found mussel farms. Green Park Provincial Park was also closed, with trees still blocking the road.

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We stopped at Tyne Valley Cafe for a tea. The owner, Carol, told us about this cute town, where an oyster farmer has an outlet across the street, and his wife runs a hamburger place on the corner. There is also a craft brewery nearby. Beautiful Trout River flows through town. Later I would learn the valley was named after the River Tyne in England. Martha got an Earl Gray Bravo tea and a bread pudding, while I got Black Dragon Pearls tea, which was very good. I couldn’t resist trying chili with a poached egg, asking for a half portion. 

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At 10:30 the restaurant was quiet, so Carol had time to tell us how she and her husband decided to move here four years ago from Montreal. They bought the house next door and this place, both requiring a lot of work, but she has enjoyed it and the community. With here British accent and easy smile, it was great hearing her stories. But soon the place got hopping. By the time we left, the place was pretty full. 

Driving around the northern coast, then switching to the southern coast, the farms were still the most impressive. I would like to have explored the northern part as well as the center along Rt 2, but time has run out.

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We had not had mussels on PEI, so we went into Summerside to find them. We went to the Breakwater Restaurant and had an appetizer of mussels, which were just OK. Then we went to 511 West, which is a nice, little restaurant in a hockey arena. It was Friday night and they were hopping, so we sat at the bar and had a small order of fish and chips and a cup of fish chowder. This is the place to go in Summerside. 

Next stop, Holman’s Ice Cream Parlor, which was also busy on a chilly evening. It is in a beautiful, old house with a lovely yard. I have never eaten ice cream by a campfire, a new experience. 

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I hate to leave, but tomorrow we start the trip home. 

Move toWest-End PEI

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

In a driving rain that made rivers of highway ruts, we made our way to the southwest side of Prince Edward Island. We stopped at Summerside Visitor’s Center to see if any campgrounds are open. A very nice man, whose name I’ve lost, called and reserved a spot for us at Linkletter Provincial Park facing Northumberland Straight. Then he gave us all kinds of local information, like where the best ice cream was, historical sites and places to ride our bikes. He gave us a list of events that were going on, including a documentary film tonight on Gordon Lightfoot.

We checked in at the campground and pulled into a nice site while it still rained hard. We decided to just relax the rest of the afternoon and go the Gordon Lightfoot film at 6:30. People pulled in all afternoon. There really are no other provincial parks open. It is possibly the only one open on the island. Private campgrounds may be open, but this end of the island got hit harder than the rest. A big tree rested on a work shed in the campground, somehow avoiding damage. 

Here we were hunkered down with the heat on, while one couple went for a jog, splashing right through mud-puddles. A couple of people were doing laundry. Several were walking along the shore. 

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We ate a light dinner, then went into town to the movie theater. It was a bit difficult to find the Lightfoot presentation, but we paid and went in. At 6:10 the good seats were taken, so we sat on the second row and waited. Gordon Lightfoot has always been one of my favorites, and I really enjoyed the show. At 80 years old, it was great to hear him comment on his songs and their inspirations. Of course Canadians are very proud of him, but it was impressive the renowned singers and groups who sang his songs. He held Bob Dylan in high esteem and they were good friends. He went to music school and wrote all of his music, note by note on well-preserved notebooks. I’ve added a couple of CD’s to my collection, and will listen with more appreciation.

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Points East, Prince Edward Island

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

We went down to North Lake Harbor, declared the tuna fishing capital of the world, probably by Tony’s Tuna Fishing. He exports to Japan and China. We stopped at North Lake Fisheries store/restaurant, where Tony’s wife, a trained chef, features rice bowls. Martha bought 3/4 pound of tuna and ¾ pound of cod. Mussels are still the deal though. We stopped at a roadside cooler with farm eggs on the honor system.

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Going down the south shore, we went to Singing Sand Beach, which is gorgeous. At low tide with calm seas of Northumberland Straight, we walked for about two hours. Two walkers stopped to chat. They were from Vancouver, but have a cabin on an island in a big lake in northern Ontario, where they spend most summers. We traded stories of where we had been and done. They biked the Confederation Trail for three days with a tour. Their butts had enough. It is a rails-to-trails, and goes mostly through central PEI in the woods. The section between St. Peters Bay and Morell was the prettiest because it was along the coast.

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We went to the Lobster Shack for a lobster roll and chips, then went to St. Peters to bike the trail. The first part was totally washed out, so we rode around it. Others had said there were downed trees along the way. Early on, someone had cut a lot of trees away, but as we went on, we had to dismount, walk under and around a number of trees. 2k from Morell, I said that was enough. 

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Someone did a heck of a job cutting trees back in this section, especially considering all the damage done on the island

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Back at camp we cooked tuna on the Cobb grill and corn and green beans from the farm on Nova Scotia. It was all quite good.

Prince Edward Island

Monday, September 9, 2019

Sitting in Peaceful River Campground in Nova Scotia, we tried to evaluate our options to visit Prince Edward Island. Hurricane Dorian has knocked out power for 80% of Nova Scotia and probably PEI. We knew the provincial and national parks were closed until further notice, but we are here and didn’t know when we might be back this way.

We called the ferry for an 11:15 ferry, but the only ones that take trailers are the 8:00 and 5:00. After some debate about whether to go or not, we decided to drive. It was a calm, beautiful day, so hopefully the 12 km bridge would be open.

We packed up and walked over to say goodbye to Ralph and Mary, but they weren’t there. No one was at the office either. Someone said they went to pick up Don’s wife at the hospital. We left a note thanking them for their great hospitality in the middle of a hurricane.

It was about a 2-hr drive to the bridge, but longer because the GMC GPS took us down some crazy roads ……AGAIN! Trees were still down and crews were working hard to clear them. We stopped at a gas station to refill and eat lunch, but it was without power. We had a half tank, so we were OK, but a couple with a European license tag came up to ask if the pumps were working. They had an eighth of a tank left. Lots of cars, RV’s and tractor-trailers came in and left. Back on the road, I searched diesel gas stations on the truck GPS, one thing it does well. There were 3 stations in 15 km in Amherst. Fortunately they had both power and fuel.

Finally at the bridge, all the traffic was coming off the island and not much going on. We guessed they had been unable to leave until today, since the bridge had been closed due to high winds. I’m not crazy about driving across bridges, especially high ones, but this one is OK. It is nicely paved and the lanes are generous with paved shoulders. With no one behind me, I could take my time, going the speed limit of 80 km/hr. The water of Northumberland Straight was a beautiful blue with Prince Edward Island in the distance.

On the other side, we stopped at the visitor’s center. People were lined up at the desk with very patient attendants rebooking or trying to find places for people to stay. Once we got to the young attendant, she showed us a website by the power company. Little green triangles covered the island, indicating power outages. I think the visitor’s center might have been working off a generator as only some of the lights weren’t on. 

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The National Park campground was closed for the season, and all the provincial parks were closed until further notice. Stores and restaurants all around the visitor’s center were closed. She suggested a couple of private campgrounds that were open. When we thought we were taking the ferry across, I had contacted a campground on the east end, Points East Campground. Tanya said they had power, water and vacancies. I messaged her we were on our way, maybe arriving about 5:00, and she said “Great”. We might as well start east and work our way off the island, but that meant another two hours of driving.

We set the Garmin GPS for the campground and headed out. Traveling the TCH at 90 km/hr was easy going until it told us to turn left. As we turned, the road was blocked by a downed tree and crews cleaning it up. A big SUV pulled up next to me with his window down, so I rolled mine down. He was a policeman. “Welcome to PEI”, he said with a big smile on his face. “Following your GPS was ya?” I nodded with a grin. “Well turn around and get back on the TCH.” That brought me laughs several times during the rest of the drive – “Following your GPS was ya?” Damned things drive me crazy, yet couldn’t manage without them.

It’s a beautiful drive across the middle of PEI. Albemarle County, where we live,  was once pretty with beautiful farms, but PEI is much prettier. Beautiful farms with green grass, grain fields, corn, gorgeous hay and straw fields border the road as far as you can see on rolling hillsides. You could spend your day just taking pictures.

When we came to the turn to the campground, the road was blocked with a sign saying “Bridge Out”. We were sitting there in the middle of the road pondering the options when a lady in a pickup said we could get to the campground. “It’s just a short bridge.” Now what that meant, I have no idea, but we turned, and sure enough came to the campground. Tanya met us and checked us in, giving us lots of options for campsites and local information. She told us about the docks down the road, where a tuna fisherman has a small, very good restaurant. There is a man up the road who sells farm eggs. There is a view of North Lake at the bottom of the hill. The trans-Canada trail runs the length of the island, which is a rails-to-trails here.

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We settled in, built a fire to grill scallops and corn. I said hi to our neighbor, a young man in his late 20’s I guessed. Chris came over to chat. He is a plumber from Ontario on holiday, telling us his adventures of finding this place. He, his father and brothers are going tuna fishing tomorrow. A bit later we went over to say hi to his wife, Debbie. She was cooking mussels on a Coleman gas stove, while Chris was boiling water on another gas stove. Music was playing from a boom box in an entertainment center on the side of the trailer. They bought three cooked lobsters at the docks. They were in holding tanks, but when the docks lost power, they had to cook them. What a feast!

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Pictou, Nova Scotia

Sunday, September 8, 2019

The morning after Dorian passed, it was windy, but the skies were clearing. Looking around the campground, damages were minimal. There was a nearby tree that split at the top and the playground equipment got knocked over. The campground was without power, but otherwise it fared well. 

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We had to manage our leaking roof with two pots, towels and a sheet. We cleaned everything up and dressed the picnic table with wet towels, cushions and the sheet. The wind would now help dry them out. We opened up the trailer to let it breathe and dry.

I went down to Ralph’s trailer to thank him for checking on us yesterday. His wife, Mary, came to the door. Ralph had gone to their house to check on things. I thanked her for the wonderful pie and showed her the picture of our breakfast this morning – bacon, eggs and apple pie. This was a great apple pie, not too sweet and chock-full of apples.

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We drove to Pictou to explore and maybe take a hike. We saw a sign for a farm market and followed it to Lakenman’s Farm. It looked like an honor system to leave a list of purchases and pay, but soon Susan came out to greet us. They were out of power, and the storm damaged a lot of the crops. They had gotten a lot of things in the day before the storm. We bought a bunch of corn to give our campground hosts, along with some flowers for Don’s wife. We also got some fruit chutney, tomatoes and lettuce. We talked about the storm and going to PEI. Susan recommended taking the ferry. Her husband was up on the roof fixing the satellite dish. Apparently there was a big ballgame on today.

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We cruised through Pictou where there was a fair amount of traffic for a small town. Some places had power, while others didn’t. We drove to Smith Rock Chalets to take a hike before lunch. As we walked the narrow path up a hill, there was more and more downfall until we came onto four big trees crossing the trail. We couldn’t get through and returned to the chalets and walked around.

Going back to Pictou, we found Stone Soup Cafe, a small restaurant that had people waiting in the hall. We talked to a traveling couple from England. They were out of gas and the stations were either out of power or out of gas. We remembered how everyone was filling up before the storm. Soon they were called in for a table. A lady walked in and ordered take-out. Then a local couple came in.

We were called in for a table of four, so we invited the couple to join us. They were Ralph and Claire and were from a small town near New Glasgow. They have a cottage on the water on Caribou Island, and were on their way to check on it. They hadn’t lost power, but many of their neighbors had. 80% of the Nova Scotia is without power. They first tried to go to Tim Hortons, but it didn’t have power, then another restaurant without power before coming here. They ordered seafood chowder, saying it was good, but not as good as Clair makes. Martha got a lobster roll that she was going to share with me, but I only got one bite. I had fish and chips, but salad instead of the chips. It was all good. We enjoyed talking with this nice couple, who met when they both worked for a newspaper. Their 57th anniversary was coming up. They took a cruise for their 50th, so I asked what they would do for their 60th. Clair said they should take another cruise for their 57th. “Why wait?”, she said.

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On the way home, I spotted a sign for ice cream and zipped into Deb’s Hidden Cafe. She had power and was the only one there, complaining she couldn’t find help. I got a cup of chocolate and cherry ice cream. She said she was busy making jams, today’s being plum with rum. She must have had 50 different ones, but I got rhubarb. She said, “All those flavors and you picked rhubarb!?”

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Back at camp, we paid for another night and gave the flowers to Don for his wife. She was to have surgery this afternoon. We gave him a dozen ears of corn then returned to the trailer. I was taking in our previously wet stuff when Ralph came up. “Shall we get up on the roof and fix the leaks?” I didn’t know what else we could do, but we could give it a try. We went to get his ladder and some Pro RV roof caulk. 

I got up on the roof and Ralph came up the ladder. The second type of tape I used was separating in a few places, especially around the antenna. We lifted the tape, put caulk under it, then pressed it back down. We did the same to several other areas. What a guy, this Ralph!

As we were having cocktails, there was a knock on the door. It was Ralph’s son, Quentin, with a bag of fresh scallops. Martha told him about the corn we had taken Don. He said they had already cooked it :} He wanted to see my truck tool box, so I opened it and showed him. He really liked it, took some mental notes. He had thought about a veterinarian’s box, but they cost about $9,000. 

I wrote a very nice review of the campground on Google. 

Hurricane Dorian

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Wunderground showed Hurricane Dorian on track to come right over us with winds to 60 mph and a lot of rain. We had a couple of hours before it started, so we showered and did laundry in the nice Peaceful River Campground. Don came by to say he was going to the hospital to see his wife and would be back by 12:00. 

By 9:00 it started raining with some wind, and it built up all day. By mid-afternoon it was blowing and raining hard. If this is 60mph, I don’t want to be in 160mph winds. Later I would learn it was equivalent to a category 2 with 90mph winds. Ralph, the campground owner’s father, stopped by to see if we were OK, then asked if we wanted a couple of pieces of apple pie his wife had baked. Well sure! “Anything else you need?” We asked if he had orange juice, and he did. In short order he drove his car right up to the trailer, bringing apple pie and orange juice. He saw our two leaks with pots underneath and said, “We’ll fix those tomorrow. I have some good stuff that will work.”

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We spent the day reading books and checking the weather. Martha watched a movie. We are plugged into power, but it went out about mid-day. Fortunately, the batteries were fully-charged, and I was amazed to see we were getting a little solar (1-2 amps) during this storm. The danger with a trailer in a storm is a tree coming down. We were in a good spot clear of trees and power lines. We were lucky to be pointed into the wind. There was no doubt – I owe Martha desert.

Chance Cove’s Coastal Trail

Monday, September 2, 2019

On Madeline’s recommendation, as well as All Trails’ 5 star rating, we took a short drive to Chance Cove to hike the Coastal Trail. It seems like every cove we visit is beautiful. There are similarities, yet differences. We watched as fishermen cleaned their catch on the docks. On a holiday weekend, lots of trucks were parked at the dock. They had their own barachois (lagoon), bordered by a rocky or sand barrier to the sea.

It’s a big parking lot at the trailhead, but there was not the usual sign. Later we would find it at the driveway entrance. We asked three ladies where it goes and how long it is. They had shirts for Iceberg Beer and Dildo beer, so Martha was interested. She had just bought Iceberg Beer and liked it. The ladies said, “You MUST go to Dildo!”

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The trail winds through the woods for 20 minutes. It is well-maintained with walkways and signs. I tried to imagine who would do all this work. As we came out into the open where a pretty peninsula stretched out into the bay, we stopped to talk to a man, a woman and two teenage girls. While Martha talked to the woman, I talked to the man. One of the advertisements for Newfoundland said to stop and listen to the stories Newfoundlanders tell, and we have learned to do that. They were from town. “Chance Cove?” I asked. “No, St. John’s”, he said. Commenting that it was a lovely day, he said, “Every day’s a lovely day, if you put your feet on the ground”. 

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I guessed his age to be 59 or 60. He was a postal worker, but recently began forgetting his regular boxes. Since his mother and two brothers suffer from dementia, he went to get checked, and sure enough, he has it. A handsome, healthy man, it is sad. But they were enjoying a nice hike on a beautiful day. 

They went on, and we walked out the little peninsula and met another couple. The man asked if we would like our picture taken, so we did. Then we began talking. Quite a character, he asked where we had been, suggesting all kinds of things we had missed. He suggested taking the ferry over to PEI, then drive the length and drive off when we were done. 

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Funny how these things go. We kept bumping into these two couples along the trail, and would see the first couple again in Dildo. Winding up and around the cliff, signs pointed to several gorgeous beaches with crystal clear water. Several small islands lent character to the beaches, one having caves running through them. It was a bright, sunny, warm day. Several people went into the water for a swim. I mean it looks like a South Pacific beach, but I’m quite sure the water is cold. The second couple we talked to climbed down the rope to the beach. He was a scuba diver and wasted no time shedding clothes and going for a swim. I was surprised his pretty Newfoundland/Labrador retriever didn’t go in with him. He had told us he does the Polar Bear Plunge in St. John’s when it was -12C, so this is nothing. 

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I think there were three of these gorgeous beaches before looping around for the return. We have hiked some spectacular hikes, and I would add this one to the favorites list. 

Bellevue Beach Campground

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Before leaving Frenchman’s Cove Provincial Park, we took a little walk over to the golf course that is such a big attraction here. This is a very nice park with a great staff, and now I see the biggest attraction – this very nice golf course.

Driving back up the Burin peninsula is so pretty, with its alpine lakes, hills, trees combined with open grasslands that appear to be manageable to travel by foot or horseback. It’s Labour Day weekend in Canada, so we saw cars parked along the highway, or by a bridge or gravel road. Some might be picking blackberries, some were likely fishing while some were 4-wheeling with their ATVs.

We pulled over next to a bridge and down a short gravel road beside a pretty stream. A big camper was parked there, but its truck was gone. We ate our lunch by that pretty stream. Surely there were fish if this guy camped here. 

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It was early afternoon when we pulled into Bellevue Beach Campground. We knew nothing about it, except it wasn’t a provincial park, our usual preference. Being a holiday weekend, it was packed. Every site was taken, and then there were visitors with extra cars and trucks. The sites weren’t well-marked, so I was stopped, looking to see if I was in the right place. A man jumped up and pointed, visually asking if this was our spot. I nodded, and he quickly moved his truck.

It was a tight fit. Kids were riding their bikes. People were walking down the gravel road, and Beatles music played from a boom box next to our site. I started to back in, but got out to see where two little kids were on my right front where the front of the truck will swing. They waved and then moved their bikes. The man who moved his truck came up asking if I would like some help. Yes I would, thank you. As I backed in, it looked like the right, front of the truck might clip a trailer parked across the driveway. I was in the spot, but crooked, crowding the site next to me. The guy with the truck suggested pulling forward across the drive. I did, but I told him I was worried about clipping the trailer. He stood on that corner, directing me until I was perfectly straight, then gave me the thumbs up. The owner of the trailer looked relieved. 

The Beetles player site welcomed us, asking where we were from. Five of them were sitting in a circle, enjoying a perfect day at the beach, sipping beer and soaking up the sun. They were from St. John’s and came for the long weekend. Still hooked up, I glanced around at the rocky beach. People were swimming, walking the beach, while behind us a baseball game was going on in a nice, grassy field. 

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Finally, we got set up and took a walk up the beach, then up to a grassy area on the hill. Martha pointed out the whole field was wild strawberries. They are an early season berry and were no more. We saw that it was a natural barachois that probably was breached at high tide. To the north were big, dramatic cliffs. A day use area bordered this beach.

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Back at our site, Martha went next door to ask about hiking trails and where the showers were. I was sitting inside and noticed the husband was packing up. He was the one who guided me into our site. “Was it something I said?” I asked through the screen. “No, it’s where you’re from”, he said with a smile. We talked through the screen for quite a while. They are from Cupid, next to Brigus, 50 minutes away, and were leaving to go see their children and grandchildren in Alberta in a few days. They planned to stay longer, but got to thinking about all the things they needed to do. He was recovering from esophageal cancer, and was doing well, but still didn’t have his energy. He talked about where we might go in our last few days here. They go to Venice, Florida in the winter, usually flying, but now considered driving down. They have a friend who goes to Bradenton Beach, where they also visit.

I gave him my card and told him to come see us in Charlottesville on his way down. Then he invited us in for a drink. They had just bought this 25’ trailer, and it was quite spacious inside with all kinds of storage. His wife Madeline had been giving Martha all the scoop on where to hike tomorrow. We had a nice, long visit. Funny how you just hit it off with people sometimes. Next door was quite a party. Paul said he couldn’t leave until they finished up. It was a group from nearby Dildo. They invited 25 friends with a big buffet dinner while their husbands played music. It made for nice background music. Finally, they finished playing, so we let Paul and Madeline get packed up.

We fixed a nice dinner backed right up to the beach, watching everyone enjoying the holiday weekend.