PEI – Gables and Potatoes

 

First thing about going to PEI is the prospect of driving over the Confederation Bridge.  An engineering marvel – I couldn’t wait to see it and be able to feel like you are driving on top of the ocean.  It is fantastic.   12.9 KM (8 miles), the longest bridge over ice-covered waters in the world.  It was opened May 31, 1997.  You can get over the bridge for free but have to pay on the way out.  Cost us $65 with the truck and trailer.  Way cheaper than BC Ferries which cost us $300 when we left Vancouver Island.  (Granted the trip from Vancouver Island to the mainland is longer than 8 miles).

My first impression and what I will always remember about PEI are the colors of the fields.  Bright green grass and farmland, rolling hills, fireweed and buttercups providing more color and country roads criss-crossing the island thru small villages and towns – all with churches.  The maritime houses with tidy mowed yards that we’ve seen everywhere here on our travels.

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Colorful farm off in the distance on one of the rural roads between Charlottetown and Kinkora PEI – Aug 2017

 

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Abandoned house on a country road on PEI – Aug 2017

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One of the many cemetaries we’ve seen on our trip across Canada. This one is different because we found some surnames we recognized from Randy’s family.

You can see potato farms here and there and everyone knows how great the PEI potatoes are.  It’s a billion $ industry and a way of life since the 1700’s for the people who live here.  The colorful red dirt produces colorful potatoes as well: Russets, Whites, Reds, Yellow, and yes, Blue potatoes are all grown here.  You like Poutine?  Well it tastes better with these potatoes.. yum yum yum, my poor diet is so shot.. haha.  Then of course you have to add Lobster and Mussels to the list of diet crashers.  And just when you think it can’t get any worse someone tells you about “cow chips”.  What are they you ask?  Well they are just ripple potatoe chips dripped with chocolate.  No worries, you can try and resist, but it’s probably impossible.  Let me know how you make out!

I went on a bus tour of Cavendish Beach, Anne of Green Gables house, the village of Rustico and a preserve shop where I bought a jar of black current rhubarb jam and the diet busting “Cow Chips”.   We drove out to Basin Head Provincial Park and saw the “singing sands” beach for ourselves.  It doesn’t exactly sing, but it will squeak when you walk on it – cool spot with people jumping in to the river and then swimming thru a channel out to the beach.  Looked like fun and it was great listening to all the squeals from the kids as they played in the water.

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Anne of Green Gables property on PEI – Aug 2017

 

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Anne’s room at Anne of Green Gables house in PEI – Aug 2017

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Cavendish Beach dunes on PEI – Aug 2017

It was “welcome home” week when we were there so Charlottetown was packed.  We drove down to the Race Track / Casino / Fair and joined in the fun for the weekend.  It was hard to find parking but the atmosphere of fun and people just enjoying the Island was impressive.  It poured a ton on Saturday night and that slowed things down but people carried on.  The downtown restaurants were very busy.

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There are real crazy people inside this ride at the race track grounds in Charlottetown, PEI Aug 2017

Shediac, New Brunswick.  Just say the name Shediac and anyone who has been here will ask you:  ‘Did you go and see the big lobster there?’.

It’s pretty hard to miss – it’s HUGE, people are taking pictures of it, kids are climbing on it, it’s in the center of downtown beside the Tourist Information centre.  You can’t miss it.

  Lobster restaurants, lobster trucks, lobster stores, lobster shirts, lobster knick-knacks.  Yup, they sell everything “lobster” here.

We drove down to the pier and watched the lobster boats come in, we watched the yachts go out on a beautiful evening, people were out fishing for mackerel off the pier, or having a dinner in one of the pubs there.  Very exciting place and if you are in the area you should go to Shediac and hang out – it’s lots of fun and you won’t go home hungry!

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Shediac Yacht Club and Marina

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20 minute countdown until the Yacht club race begins.

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You go this way and I’ll go that way.

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Jockeying for position – 20 minutes until race time.

No pictures of Bass while fishing at Miramichi :-)

While driving around Miramichi we drove down to Gordon’s Wharf which was a few minutes from the Sunrise Campground where we stayed.  We saw a few guys fishing from shore and they were very open to sharing how they were fishing for bass and showed us the gear they were using as well.  The fellow said that he was there often and if we were to return the following evening he would likely be there.  We bought a few hooks and some mackerel for bait and drove down there the next night.  It was a blast – we hooked 4 fish but they all escaped being landed on the beach.  After upgrading our leaders we returned the following night to try our luck again.  This time we neglected to get more than a couple of nibbles, no fish on, no fish landed, no fish at all.  The other fellows at the beach didn’t have any luck at all either.  It was fun to chat with the locals, learn a bit about fishing and Miramichi.

I took a photo the first night of the sun setting on the beach at Gordon’s Wharf.

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Sunset over the beach at Miramichi.

 

We stayed at Sunrise Campground and this is a photo of the sunrise over Bartibog and Sheldrake Islands (I think that’s their names).

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Sunrise over the river and a couple of islands near Miramichi.

One common theme as we travel is ROAD CONSTRUCTION – every province has it, every province does it in the summer.  In Miramichi they were fixing their bridge, it is a major connector across the river and it created long lineups at certain times of the day.

 

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Road construction and bridge construction in Miramichi.

I drove up Church Street and found a Church.. haha.  I wish I would have had more time to spend time there and see more and maybe go inside and find out it’s history.  The name of the church is St. Michael’s Basillica Catholic Church.  Google says construction started in the early 1900’s and the first mass was held in the basement in 1909.

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The Church on Church Street in Miramichi.

We had a couple of thunderstorms while we were there and the wind was whipping across the river while we were fishing too.  I found this old tree opposite the golf course, you can tell it’s subject to a lot of wind by it’s crazy shape.

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Interesting windblown tree along the river in Miramichi.

 

 

 

Having an OLD day in Bathurst, New Brunswick. Aug-2017.

Bathurst is a beautiful city in New Brunswick. For some reason the day I was out shooting I only shot pictures of OLD STUFF.

Maybe it was the St. Famille Church Graveyard dating back to the 1700’s that stands on top of the hill?

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Ste Famille Church graveyard from the 1700’s at the top of the hill in Bathurst, New Brunswick.

 

Or the Old Post Office Customs Building from 1884?

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1884 Post Office and Customs Building in Bathurst.

Or the dilapidated buildings on Bridge and Joan of Arc Streets?

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Crumbling down near Bridge Street in Bathurst.

 

Or the 1836 Church with it’s red doors?

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1836 Church with red doors.

 

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1836 Church with red doors

Or the old Corvette bootlegging it on the main street downtown Bathurst?

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Old Corvette bootlegging it in Bathurst!

I can’t say for sure.  It wasn’t particularly sunny the morning I chose to go out.  I went to  Youghall Beach and walked from the launch around to the Marina and along the boardwalks of the beach there.  The mosquitoes had breakfast, lunch and dinner with me as the main entrée.  I watched people fishing and boats going out for the day.  I wandered down town around the post office and saw people going to the art market and shopping at the little shops along the streets.  I drove along bridge street and an old industrial area that’s being decommissioned and along the highway thru the marsh and bird watching sanctuary and out along a spit of land with magnificent houses.

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ok, maybe it’s not old but it was abandoned on the beach in Bathurst.

The Gaspe – Scenery? Awesome. Roads? Crap.

The Gaspe Peninsula or “Gaspésie” as it is says on the road signs is beautiful.  We travelled from Quebec City to Rimouski, around the Gaspe Peninsula to Gaspe, Perce, Bonaventure and then crossed the river in to New Brunswick.  The scenery is awesome, beautiful villages all along the coast.  As you travel you enter one village and go up over a hill and down in to another village.  Everyone takes such pride in their yards.  All the grass is mowed, yards, fences, shrubs, plants all in pristine condition.  It is so beautiful.  Gaily painted houses, out-buildings and small sheds.  The roads?  well that’s another story.  Granted we are pulling a 30ft Travel Trailer so that carries it’s own limitations.  The speed limit is 80 or 90 KM.  The Gaspe has very steep cliffs which makes for very steep roads.  You might get up to speed half way up an incline, huff and puff your way over the top and BWAM, time to slow down because the speed limit declines from 80 to 70 to 60 and finally 50km thru the village.  After clearing the village it’s back up another incline, huff and puff your way over the top and ride the brakes down to 50 and then repeat the same scenario.  This isn’t the worst part, the worst part is the condition of the roads.  Narrow, patched pot holes, dips, bumps, holes both big and small.  Towing a trailer is quite the challenge!  The best part is the road ahead of you is always clear.  Behind you is a train of frustrated travelers who are no doubt yelling thru their windshields as they stare at our Beautiful British Columbia license plate.  Sorry about that folks 🙂

Here are my photo’s from Rimouski.  Perce and Forillon National Park in Gaspe and some beach pictures from our campsite in Bonaventure, Quebec.

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Point-Au-Pere Lighthouse in Rimouski, Quebec.

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Onondaga Submarine at Point-Au-Pere in Rimouski, Quebec.

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RMS Empress of Ireland Pavillion and the Point-Au-Pere Lighthouse

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Perce Rock in the fog in Perce on the Gaspe!

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Beach side at the Marina and Campground in Bonaventure, Quebec.

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Moon rise over the beach at our campsite in Bonaventure, Quebec.

 

Rimouski – Metis sur Mer July 29-2017

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Point-Au-Pere Lighthouse in Rimouski, Quebec.

After leaving Quebec City we headed for the Gaspe Peninsula.  We are not travelling far in a day so we made plans to stay at Camping Annie at Metis Sur-Mer just outside of Rimouski, Quebec.  We were only there for a day so we drove in to Rimouski and visited Point-Au-Pere historical site.  The lighthouse is 108 feet tall and is the 2nd tallest in Canada.  The HMCS Onondaga submarine has been brought up on shore, it is the only sub open to public viewing in Canada.  We didn’t go inside as we are both a tich claustrophobic and everyone knows subs are notoriously small.  Also part of the property is a pavilion dedicated to the RMS Empress of Ireland which sank in May 1914 in the St Lawrence River in 140 feet of water.  1012 people died of the 1477 who were on board.  Next part of the journey is:  Around The Gaspe Peninsula!

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RMS Empress of Ireland Pavillion and the Point-Au-Pere Lighthouse

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Onondaga Submarine at Point-Au-Pere in Rimouski, Quebec.

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Lighthouse off in the distance at Camping Annie campground in Metis-Sur-Mer, Quebec.

Visiting Canada’s Capital – Can’t park here!

Ottawa – July 18 – 2017

Well, what do you know?  We made it to the nations capital city of Ottawa.  What a great country we live in eh!   Our campsite was in Cantley, Quebec about 30 km outside of the City.  It always amazes me how you can drive 20 minutes away from a metropolitan area and be transported to another style of living.  Away from the bustle of traffic, people everywhere, tall skyscraper buildings, the noise of the city, the hectic energy and the feel of commerce.

Cantley was small, quiet and rural.  Our campsite was set in rolling hills, surrounded by farms and a few houses scattered around the area.  My 10 words of French that I remember from 3 years of straight A’s in school 45 years ago is tres’ rusty.  Good thing that most everyone around us can speak both languages and are happy to do so.  I admire their ability to switch back and forth when needed.  They always start with Bonjour and as soon as you say Bonjour back to them they switch to English because it is readily apparent to them that I AM NOT French..  sorry Mr. French Teacher from School, my accent still sucks.. haha.

The first evening there we ventured in to town and met with my high school friend Ingrid.  She lives in Ottawa and gave us parking instructions and a tour of her downtown neighborhood.  She walks to work and her area has everything you need.  Groceries, liquor, gas station, pharmacy, restaurants, museums.  Big City Life right out your door.  I always wonder what it would be like to live in a big city, to have so much opportunity for entertainment, shopping, and professional sports teams within a reasonable distance.  I’m sure I would bust my budget quite quickly buying tickets to everything that interested me.

We took the hop-on, hop-off bus tour of the city.  It took us thru Ottawa, over to Gatineau, along the Rideau Canal,  Justin Tudeau’s residence on Sussex Street, past the RCMP Musical Ride barracks and training ground and thru the ritzy neighborhoods of the Governer General and past the foreign embassies scattered near the Parliament Buildings.   Day 3 we decided to “park” downtown near the Parliament Buildings and wander around the grounds of Parliament, and walk down to Byward Market and stroll the streets looking around.  Sounds like a plan.  We are driving our Ford F150 down busy streets, some of them under construction and it’s BUSY.  We are 2 blocks from the Parliament Buildings when we spot a parkade that is OPEN.. wahoo Yabba dabba doo – I turn off the street and BLAM, there is a yellow bar looming inches away from the windshield indicating that the height restriction for this parkade is 5’8″ or something equally ridiculous.  No way is the truck going in there.  I put the truck in reverse and can hear a car horn behind me, luckily I stopped before backing over top of them.  I open my drivers door, stand on the running board, point to the low hanging yellow barrier bar and just as I am about to say something.  A Construction Guy yells “IT WON”T FIT”.  I guess he sees this kind of action all day.  The young lady in the car behind me is now yelling (in French) to everyone around her to back up and let ME back up.  Randy is out of the truck and directing traffic and now helping me back up without hitting anything to make our great escape.  End of story – we eventually found an open parking lot (not underground) about 10 blocks away and continued with our walk about.  Here are some of my favorite shots from Ottawa:

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The Parliament Buildings, Rideau Canal Locks, the Ottawa River and Gatineau Quebec in the background.

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Parliament Buiding – Ottawa.

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Botanical Garden in Gatineau, Quebec. One of the many structures there, all made from living plants, this one was about 30 feet high.