Sunday, August 14, 2016

Maritime Vacation Part 6

  After leaving Lee we stayed on SR 6 until we picked up the I95 south, through Bangor and on to the town of Palmyra where we decided to camp for the night. Maine seems to go on forever and we were still in the Maine Highlands region, land of moose and bear hunting, fishing and water sport. The campground was attached to a golf course so we knew it would be quiet, and it was. There was a swimming pool we had to ourselves, trails for bike riding and the largest cedar trees we had ever seen. So far the hot weather had followed us almost every day of our trip. Could we make it last one more day before heading home?

Palmyra Camping Resort, Palmyra, Maine
We decided we would stay in Maine one more day to take advantage of the customs allowance at the border so we looked for another campground as close to home as we could, stumbling upon a shaded spot a few hours from home in Solon. We had passed through there on our way to Nova Scotia a few weeks back. The roads were as bad or worse than we had remembered and it was a relief to finally pull into the campground. The 201A takes the award for the worst stretch of highway in the USA in my vote so beware. The Evergreens campground was right on the Kennebec River, the longest in Maine and perfect for rafting or canoeing. It was dry and full of fallen needles from the towering pine trees all about. People were starting off from the bridge close by and could go all the way to Portland from here if they wished. We biked into the little village of Solon, ten minutes away, for ice cream and beer, the old buildings looking the way they have for 100 years or more. Where we stayed Benedict Arnold and his troops camped nearby in 1775 on the way up the Kennebec River to the Battle of Quebec. Here also between 1820 and 1860 the US Route 201 served as the primary link between Lower Canada and Maine. So much history so close to home!

Kennebec River from our campsite

me and Ben, Kennebec River, Solon, Maine

Selfie#10, Evergreens Campground, Solon, Maine

Selfie #11, Evergreens Campground, Solon, Maine

Solon Hotel, circa 1870

view of campsite from bridge

 We left the next morning before anyone else seemed to be up and finished the last 2 hours to home, the temperatures steadily falling as we got closer to the Quebec/Maine border. Thunderstorms were fast approaching as we stopped one last time for a selfie along the beautiful Chain of Ponds and then before we knew it we were home. Another great trip in the books with many good memories....gws

Selfie # 12, Chain of Ponds, Maine

15 minutes to Quebec!

Maritime Vacation Part 5

Confederation Bridge, New Brunswick side, looking north to PEI

It was the first time we had crossed on the Confederation Bridge, it having been built after we had left Nova Scotia. It was completed in 1997 at a cost of over a billion dollars, spanning the Northumberland Strait for 12.9 kilometers and is the longest in the world crossing ice-covered water. We stopped at the first exit, the Cape Jourimain Nature Centre for a picnic lunch but the wind blowing off the strait was too strong to fire up our portable propane stove outside. The wind turbine above us whirred constantly as we stayed inside the camper and ate.

Cape Jourimain Nature Centre, NB
 We headed south on the Trans-Canada back to St John and found a campground just 5 minutes from the city centre, Rockwood Park. St John was as scruffy looking and rundown as I remembered it from the early 70s when I spent a summer there doing a ship's refit in the St John Drydocks. It was much cooler and still windy but after setting up our camper we took our bicycles out and headed downtown to do a bit of sightseeing and shopping.

Rockwood Campground, St John, New Brunswick

Day of Mourning Monument, St John, NB

carved moose with hockey stick, St John, NB

Marie and St John skyline

Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception
typical St John architecture, sometimes called Eclectic High Victorian
 After leaving St John the next morning we crossed back into the USA in Maine, it now being the 4th of August and time to start thinking of returning home to water the flowers and check two weeks of accumulated mail. Once we started to go inland the temperatures soared and we were soon back in the 30s' We went a different route west this time, following SR6 in Penobscot County for the first time through typical central Maine scenery - lake after lake and winding hilly roads. We stopped in the small town of Lee for the night at what would turn out to be one of the friendliest places we had camped yet - the Sleeping Bear campground. The hosts, Keith and Nancy, made us very welcome in their small, cozy setting in the Lincoln Lakes area. The bathrooms were as advertised immaculate, the campgrounds very well managed. Keith volunteered to bring a canoe for us in his truck down to Silver Lake, a short bike ride away. The lake was crystal clear, clean and warm and we spent more than two hours canoeing and swimming there in the hot sun. This was one place we would certainly return to! gws

Silver Lake, Lee, Maine


Selfie #9, Silver Lake, Maine

Sleeping Bear Campground, Lee, Maine

Maritime Vacation Part 4

Selfie #7, Cows Ice Cream, Charlottetown, PEI

Route 1A to Charlottetown was typical Island landscape - dairy farms, potato fields and always the red cliffs off in the distance over the Northumberland Strait, the result of a high content of iron oxide in the earth. PEI is often called the Garden of  the Gulf as well as the Birthplace of Confederation but most visitors come to hear and visit the site of  Lucy Maud Montgomery fictitious tale of Anne of Green Gables. After a few hours in the capital Charlottetown we were pleasantly surprised by the low key atmosphere and friendly people we met.  I had been here once before when the Queen visited in the summer of 1973, part of the Naval Honour Guard from HMCS Saguenay. Marie and I stopped by the Confederation Center of the Arts to listen to a distinctly Canadian group of young singers extolling the beauty and history of Canada, window shopped and wandered about the downtown taking pictures before getting back on the road to head west to Summerside.

Scenes from Charlottetown, PEI
Summerside, at the entrance to Bedeque Bay, seemed a shadow of its former self since the closing of the Air Force base in 1991 but I was told the former military site is now home to Vector Aerospace and several other aerospace companies. We had lunch on the waterfront on the wharf, a lobster roll and local beer then stopped for the night at Linkletter Provincial Park on the Strait. The next morning we were up early, returning east to Borden-Carleton to take the bridge over to the mainland and New Brunswick. The peace and tranquility of PEI we would remember for a long time.   gws

Ben running around at low tide, Linkletter Provincial Park, PEI

Selfie #8, Linkletter Provincial Park, PEI

leaving PEI, Confederation Bridge

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Maritime Vacation Part 3

Selfie #5, Ferry terminal to PEI, Caribou, NS
 The morning of August 1st dawned sunny and warm as we drove the few kilometers from Caribou-Monroe Islands park to the ferry terminal. We had all decided to go over to the Island together and spend a few days exploring before heading back to Quebec. It had been over 20 years since Phil and I had taken the ferry and driven to Summerside for a hockey tournament. In those days the Air Force Base there was still in operation and the Confederation Bridge linking PEI and New Brunswick had yet to be built. We hadn't any reservations so it was a 50/50 chance or less we were told as we lined up in the camper lane. Phil was in the car lane and had no problem getting aboard.
The five or so trucks and campers in front of us slowly made there way on but we were stopped and told ...maybe. Finally after another ten minute wait we were waved forward, the second to last vehicle to make it, and squeezed into the very back of the ferry!  Phew!


waiting, waiting

there goes Phil!


me and William, leaving NS

The ferry ride on the MV Confederation was fairly short at 75 minutes and relaxing. It was 22km across the Strait to Woods Island, time enough for me to check onboard with the very helpful tourist agent who helped me book a campsite not far from where we disembarked. It was a pretty drive through the low rolling fields of vegetables and potatoes to Belfast Highland Greens & Lord Selkirk Campground on the red cliffs of Orwell Bay. We were almost on top of the first green and close to the Golf Clubhouse, a ten minute walk to the mudflats of the bay. The campground had two pools and a great playing area with swings Amy and William took to at once. Unfortunately Phil made the decision to head back to Montreal the second day and we both felt awfully lonely that night....The next day we planned to drive into Charlottetown, do some sightseeing and look for another campground before taking the Bridge over to NB.   gws

our campsite near the golf greens

Selfie #6, Orwell Bay, PEI




sunset over the campground and Orwell Bay, PEI