November – Arizona — April – Campbell River
We are hiding out in AZ.. escaping the wet winter weather from the coast of BC. Here’s a few photo’s from the winter. I find that I’ve been drawn to create more black and white desaturated photo’s on this trip. Is it because I miss the blue and greens of home? Is it because there’s so many shades of brown down here? Whatever the reason.. here they are!
We’ve been in the desert now since Christmas. We’ve been in Mesa where we visited my Uncle Al and Aunt Jean. We travelled on freeways and other state roads and seen roadrunners, coyotes, and a bobcat. Different types of cactus appear as you go up in elevation and disappear and change as you descend.
There are mountains here, more than you would expect. They have cool names: The Superstition Mountains (Mesa), Picacho Mountain (Casa Grande), Black Mountains (Oatman) and the Chocolate Mountains (Parker). There are 194 mountain ranges in the state. There are lakes created by dams along the Colorado and Salt Rivers. We’ve seen boats in marina’s along the lakes and rivers and we know there are places to fish in the summer here.
We haven’t done a huge number of tourist attractions (and there are many here). I guess we are kind of “touristed out” after all our travelling. We have been to Oatman and seen the burro’s, taken the Dolly boat ride on Canyon Lake, driven to Tortilla Flats and saw the fountain shoot over 500feet in Fountain Hills, and visited The Pima Air & Space Museum all while in Arizona. There is lots to do here and it sure is nice to be warm and dry. I miss the green and blues of Campbell River, but I don’t miss the grey winter rain. We will be home on Vancouver Island in 30 days. Hard to believe our circle is almost complete!
First stop was Biloxi, Mississippi. It is a beautiful small city that has been hit hard by Hurricane Katrina and is still recovering. I saw lots of damaged piers and empty lots along the sea shore and beach highway. I found The Old Brick House and gravitated towards this MASSIVE oak tree in the back yard. It was amazing. Majestic. Historic in it’s own way. How old it must be. Who used you for shade? Who climbed on you? What conversations took place under your limbs, leaves and branches?
I parked down by the Visitors Centre, walked the beach, strolled thru Lighthouse Park and listened to the kids playing on the swings. Watched the traffic on the Beach Highway negotiate around the Lighthouse that was there long before the road was built.
We visited Carlsbad Caverns more than 20 years ago and we were so impressed by it that we decided to stop in for another visit on this trip. When we walked in I was impressed and in awe all over again. It is amazing, beautiful, the size of the caverns, the different formations, your eyes travel around, up and over. You have to go there, you just have to add it to your list of things to see if you are in that corner of New Mexico. You won’t be disappointed.
The Memorials were impressive: The FDR Memorial, The Jefferson Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial, Martin Luther King Jr Memorial, The Vietnam Memorial Wall, The Korean War Memorial and on and on.
Our favorite was Franklin D Roosevelt’s. It’s located next to the Jefferson Memorial and near Martin Luther King Jr’s memorial as well. FDR’s memorial has no stairs and is wheelchair accessible as you would assume it should be. It is a large open space with statues of him, his wife Eleanor and their dog, a Scottish terrior named Fala.
New York City is HUGE! It’s MASSIVE! It’s just like you would imagine after seeing it on TV and reading about it. I discovered quite quickly that it is impossible to capture New York City in a photograph or many photographs. How can you capture what your eye can see, in a picture?
It’s a city of Squares & Circles and much more:
Times Square and Union Square (which aren’t really square in shape), the Memorial Pools at the 911 Memorial (which are squares). Madison Square Garden – is a round arena with a rectangle for a rink. You get the idea of what I’m saying. Columbus Circle, traffic circles, archways and angles of the World Trade Centre and Brookfield Place on Vesey Street. I will include a few pictures that I took that show the complex shapes and overall feel of how BIG the City really is. I would go back any time and see, walk, eat and be entertained. What a great City!
Every Canadian hockey fan knows that Sidney Crosby hails from Cole Harbour which is in the suburbs of Halifax. It’s NOT Halifax as he pointed out when asked where he was “from”. Halifax Harbour is a mix of industry, business and tourism. Cruise ships, tug boats, freighters, yachts, marinas, museums, restaurants, bars, shopping. A boardwalk stretches between Pier 21 and Casino Nova Scotia. It’s 4km (about 10 blocks) of people watching, water watching, beverage drinking and food eating fun!
Parking was NOT fun. One way streets. Construction everywhere. People everywhere. Narrow Streets. Finally after driving around for about 3 circles of the harbour I figured out how to enter a parking lot and gladly paid the daily fee of $16 for a few hours of harbour fun.
Speaking of parking: We drove out to Peggy’s Cove (40KM from Halifax). The most photographed lighthouse in the universe. You know what that means? It means there’s a kabillion people flocking to a small piece of rock to take a photo of themselves, their family, their friends, the lighthouse, the rocks, and the birds. So when a kabillion people show up and there are only 300 parking spots there is a problem. We couldn’t get within a mile of the place so settled for a drive around and left it at that. Very scenic coastline and well worth taking the circle drive from Halifax.
We visited the Halifax Public Gardens. Free entry and it’s close to The Citadel so you can see both places and only pay for one parking space.. haha.
After leaving Baddeck and the Cabot Trail we moved location to the Arm of Gold Campground just outside of Sydney, Nova Scotia. The distance between Baddeck and Sydney is about 70KM.. haha… not a very long drive but we wanted to be near the city and check it out without driving back and forth to Baddeck.
We drove downtown, saw the giant fiddle at the Cruise Ship Terminal and watched people fish for mackerel off the pier there. A fellow who fishes there all the time let a young oriental girl reel in the mackerel and then they left it on the pier while we watched a otter come up and whisk it away right in front of everyone. The joy she exhibited while reeling in the fish, the amazement as a little critter scurried from behind the wall and grabbed the fresh catch and then ran off to feed his family was something that she and her friends will never forget. What a simple gesture that meant so much.
We drove out to Glace Bay and toured the Coal Mine and went on a tour beneath the sea in a coal tunnel. It was dark, wet, and cramped. I never want to go see that again. I have such admiration for the men who made their living this way. What a horrible job they had, with poor working conditions and low wages.
We drove out to The Fortress of Louisbourg and wandered the grounds and the buildings. It was free admission because of Canada’s 150th Birthday. The Fort was founded by the French in 1713 and partial reconstruction began in the 1960’s and 1970’s. The project employed coal miners and they used some of the original stonework. I love walking back in time and imagining how the people lived, worked and survived the elements 300 years ago. They were tough, hardworking, resilient people.
oooo… ahh.. you’re going to the Maritimes? you’ve GOT to go on the Cabot Trail.
It rained, it was cloudy, it was windy and then it rained a bit more. But we have decided not to let the rain get us down and really all you have to do to carry on with your activities is to wear a different coat.. right?
We leave Baddeck for a drive along the Cabot Trail. We strike off down the highway and randomly choose an exit to begin our circle of the Cabot Trail. We (of course) went too far and have no idea exactly where we are and none of the brochures mention that you will need to take a cable ferry (which we have somehow driven directly to). We reverse direction, head back on the highway, drive for a wee bit and take another exit that will take us along the Cabot.
We drive thru windy narrow roads which are lumpy bumpy and under road construction, it’s also windy and cloudy but hasn’t rained YET. The road is nicely banked with sharp corners and would be awesome to navigate on a motorcycle. We didn’t find the scenery that inspiring but continued our drive toward the beaches that were mentioned as well as the areas for watching whales. Another hour of trees, grass, some water scenery and threatening clouds and that was it for us. We turn around and head back to Baddeck and because we didn’t want to go back thru the road construction we turned down a different road and sure enough – We are on the opposite side of the Cable Ferry. We’ve driven around and around and are right back where we started a couple of hours ago.
Would I recommend The Cabot Trail to other travelers if asked? Yes I would.
Did I think The Cabot Trail was fabulous? No I didn’t.
Was it the road construction? Or was it the lack of spectacular scenery? Or was it because we wandered around a tad? Or was it just the crappy weather? You’ll have to go there yourself and form your own opinion me thinks!