Airstream Time

Exploring North America in an Airstream

Posts from the ‘Nova Scotia’ category

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.

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.

Move to Battery Provincial Park

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Poor Martha was tired from the long trip yesterday, but we have a 3.5 hour drive to get closer to the Ferry to the 11:45 Newfoundland tomorrow. Still groggy with Jet-lag, Martha went for a walk around the park. After I straightened up and got ready to travel, I walked down to the point. 

Grand Lake is quite pretty. A person on a paddle board was getting their exercise this morning. It is so quiet and peaceful in Laurie Provincial Park, and they keep it very nice. Still, I marvel at humans who will throw their trash over the fence in a place so pretty. 

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l hooked up while Martha took a shower. Seeing the campground host doing his morning surveillance walk, I went over to thank him for the great care they take of this park. He said they are all volunteers, and they love it. “You must be from the States”, he said. Asking why, he said, “Because you have an Airstream”.

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Stopping along the Trans-Canada Highway for a break, where you can gas up, visit the information centre (a cubbyhole), get lunch and an ice cream.

It’s a pretty drive to Battery Provincial Park, but we had both had enough by the time we got there. Driving in, there were picnic tables near the water and up the hill in the shade, all perfectly-kept. this is a lock system where boats can enter the huge lake, Bras d’Or. 

You always wonder about the next campground, especially when the last one was so nice. We entered the little office and checked in with Jerry. With a cheery face, he excused himself and went out on the back porch. He returned to finish checking us in. I had chosen site #4 from the internet, but you never know what it is really like. Jerry suggested driving around the loop, pointing out site 34, saying it was higher with a better view. Then he said he would be right back. 

Martha asked what he was doing, and he said, “Cooking trout”. He came back into the tiny office with a plateful of grilled trout. then he said, “Take one” , offering us a plate. are you kidding me?!! A friend of his stepped out of a room in the back and said he would bring more. 

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A couple walked in to register and looked at us devouring this delicious trout. Perhaps our luck has turned. Never, never, never have I walked into a campground office and met anyone like Jerry – soft-spoken, understated and with a face like Santa. He changed our mood instantly. 

Jerry was busy registering the new guests, giving them similar options. Martha walked behind the desk to return the plate when Jerry said, “Can you turn them?” She went out the screen door and I quickly followed. There was a gas grill on a small deck. He had a cast iron skillet with butter with two trout cooking. Martha flipped them. As we walked back through, with a smile Jerry said, “Thanks”.

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He was still talking to the new guests when we waved and said thanks. As I got outside I knew that just wasn’t enough, so I turned around and loudly said, “I love you Jerry!” A voice returns from behind the screen door, “You’re not too bad yourself”.

We passed site $4, which was OK, but a bit crowded. All the sites have a view of the water as you climb the hill, but as he said, site #34 was better, so that’s where we went, calling the office after we got set up. A lady answered and was a bit confused. I could hear Jerry in the background telling her it was OK. 

It started to rain as we set up, but we got some lunch and settled in. We drove into the little town and picked up a few things including a cooked lobster. Sadly, lobster season is now over, so we wanted one while we could get it. It was $21. A man in line behind us said you can get them off the boat for $7. We felt like stupid touristas, but then he said, “It will be good though”.

We had a nice dinner of lobster, baked potatoes and peas and reviewed the route for tomorrow. We did NOT want to miss that ferry, as we were booked in campgrounds for the next month. It rained hard all night with no leaks 😊

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Martha Arrives

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Martha is coming tonight at 11:45. She left specific instructions that everything had to be clean. I checked off the list: The truck is clean and the trailer has been washed. Despite the accident, all other systems seem to be working. I have patched the roof, and hopefully stopped the leak. I had done the laundry and put clean sheets on the beds.

I straightened up inside, swept and washed the bathroom and dusted. Next on the list was to repair the injured WeBoost antenna. I have found it essential for cell phone reception. It gives you one more bar of reception, which is often just enough to get things done. The accident knocked it backward, and it was laying flat on the roof. Backing up to the front of the trailer as close as possible, the truck stuck out in the road. Sorry, but there was no other way to do this. Fortunately, cars could get by and no RVs had to pass. 

Cleaning all the roof cement that held it on was the toughest part. I had bought a plastic scraper at the hardware store so I wouldn’t scratch the aluminum, but it wasn’t very efficient. Finally I climbed down and got a knife out of the truck, and that helped a lot. Industrial Strength Velcro is my best friend. I have many uses for it. I put it over anything inside the trailer that bounces around during travel. Now I would attempt to hold the antenna with it. Finally I was satisfied with the job. The cable to it is big, so that went a long way in keeping it on the roof.

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After lunch I took a little break and walked around the campground a bit. It is a very pretty place on Grande Lake. Not a big provincial park, it very nicely laid out, well-spaced and the staff does a great job. The bathrooms and showers are clean, modern and some of the best I have seen. It has also been a great spot to recover and get things done.

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While I worked all day, looking out at these beautiful flowers and forest helped.

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Poor Martha had a 7-hour layover in Newark. She called and said her flight was delayed a half hour. The ferry to Newfoundland is scheduled for day after tomorrow, so there was a bit of wiggle room, but the schedule was to move to Battery Provincial Park tomorrow, which is only an hour from the ferry.

I got in a pretty good sleep, setting the alarm for 11:15. I hate to wake people in the campground driving out, but that’s just the way it is. I was glad to see Martha. We were both tired and a bit grumpy, but a new adventure now begins.

Laurie Provincial Park

Sunday, July 14, 2014

I showered early, but you can’t make all the noise it takes to hook up too early in the morning. It was Sunday, and people were on vacation, so I defrosted and cleaned the refrigerator. I probably made too much noise as there was a tent right behind me, but the fridge looked good. 

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It was a 3.5-hour drive to Laurie Provincial Park, not far from Halifax International Airport. A big semi-covered bridge leads into the park. I stopped and examined it – a 21 ton limit (good) and a 15 ft clearance (good). There are no attendants at the office, so I drove through to a gate. They had given me an access code, but I had to go into the trailer and get it off my computer. 

I found my site and started backing in. There is always something you can back into, so I got out to take a good look. A gentleman was walking over from his site next door and asked, “Can I help?” “Yes, thank you. Don’t let me hit the picnic table.” It was on my right side and I was backing left, so I could not see it in my mirror. I could see it on my backup camera on the trailer, but I was using the truck mirrors. He guided me perfectly, and I thanked him.

 

I was here to recoup and do a bunch of errands and projects before Martha arrives on Tuesday night. It felt good to be in a provincial park. I walked down to an overlook, which was very pretty. Walking back, I chatted with a couple. They asked if I was from Texas and where I was going. Telling them we were headed for two months in Newfoundland, the lady practically jumped up and down for joy! She was 37 years in Newfoundland, born and raised in Gander, where the planes landed during 911. She asked if I had read the book. I told her I would. She said we would have time to get to know it a bit in two months. “Drive down all the side roads”, she said. “Talk to everyone”. They were both very proud and excited for us. I went back and fixed dinner, a lamb curry.

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