Fall In New England

Driving past a charming shopping district in Newport, Rhode Island.

Ok, technically fall doesn’t start until tomorrow. But after a long hot summer, where the heat wave seemed to continuously roll over us wherever we went, Betty & I are enjoying what we have been aiming for on our overlandish odyssey – daytime temperatures around 21c/71f.  We are neither bundling up to stay warm, or drenched in sweat and exhausted from the heat. Not that we were complaining about the heat. During many beach breaks this summer, I checked pictures on my phone of prior winter snow drifts back home that needed to be cleared from sidewalks or driveways in order to maintain mobility. Just seeing all that snow was enough to keep me cool. LOL.

The gates, trees, and gardens around the summer “cottages” in Newport, RI were just as interesting as the homes themselves.

Temperatures at night are now dropping, and we are starting to see the reds, oranges, and yellows appearing among the greens of the robust New England trees. It’s not full-blown autumn colours yet, but it’s definitely headed in that direction! For us, it means that we can leave the air conditioners off at night, and sleep in our cozy bed with the windows open – a cool breeze wafting through the nearby foliage.

Adding a bunch of cute little states to our map.

New England is an historic, picturesque and geographically small area of north eastern America. It is well worth the visit, as we add states number 12 (Maine), 13 (New Hampshire), 14 (Vermont), 15 (Massachusetts), 16 (Connecticut) and 17 (Rhode Island) to our list of those visited on this adventure.

The lake at Loon’s Haven Park provided a mirror image of the tree-lined shore: a very restful spot.

After leaving Camden Hills State Park, it was our intent to camp at Sebago Lake State Park, near Naples, Maine and the New Hampshire border. That was another of the parks we used to visit so many decades ago. But on arrival, the park ranger informed us that dogs are not allowed in the park (such a surprise to reject our Charlie without first meeting him! LOL), so we enjoyed a pleasant night at nearby Loon’s Haven Park instead. And yes, there were loons on the lake, reminding Betty of her friend Laurie’s remarkable loon calls back in Manitoba. LOL.

Our campsite at Quechee State Park in Vermont was surrounded by beautiful tall trees.

While we spent much of the next few days in New Hampshire, our actual campsite was across another state border, among the tall trees of Vermont’s Quechee State Park.

From Quechee we travelled south, through Massachusetts, to West Hartford, Connecticut, to visit one of my old high school friends. In high school, Doug was a popular drummer in a band, and I acted as his roadie, setting up his drums at most gigs.  It was great to re-connect and spend an evening with Doug.  Both of us agreed that the reunion was far to short, and we hope to see each other again during future travels.

Our current site at the popular Fishermens Memorial State Park in Rhode Island.

We are currently in Rhode Island’s well manicured Fishermens Memorial State Park, preparing to head out to Cape Cod, Massachusetts.  Today we drove through the local community of Narragansett, and across a couple of bridges to the affluent city of Newport, Rhode Island. Along Bellevue Ave. are mile after mile of mansions, some now open to the

We passed by this home on Bellevue Ave. in Newport, since the gates were closed.

public. Since we had Charlie with us, we didn’t stop in to see the Vanderbilts at “The Breakers” – their summer cottage, or any of the other local inhabitants, before heading down the coast. Well, maybe next time. LOL.

Driving under the Narragansett Information Center, on the coast of Rhode Island, America’s “Ocean State”.

BTW, while hurricane Florence was devastating to parts of North & South Carolina, it provided only a light rain and no wind to our location further up the coast. Since the hurricane, many of the campgrounds on our route have already re-opened, and last night we were able to secure reservations at a Cape Hatteras National Seashore campground – one of the prime destinations for this portion of our overlandish odyssey.

Gavin visits a summer home on Bellvue Ave. in Newport, Rhode Island.

The summer heat may be over in the northern U.S. and Canada, but as we venture down the east coast, we hope to remain as close to our current ideal temperature (21c/71f) as possible, keeping our fingers crossed that any future hurricanes stay away from the coastline. The advantage for us is we have wheels under our home, so we can keep our eye on the weather and head the other way, if necessary. Best wishes to all for a pleasant fall season, whether in New England or elsewhere!


Camden Hills State Park!

The campground entrance is just north of downtown Camden, on the shore of Penobscot Bay.

Camden Hills State Park – the name alone carries something of a mythical quality for me. My first camping experience was here 60 years ago. I learned to swim in the nearby fresh water of Lake Megunticook. I caught my first fish (flounder) in Camden harbor. My first hike – “mountain climbing” – was to Maiden’s Leap (now known as Maiden Cliff), at the top of Mt. Megunticook.  So many memorable firsts!

Now on our overlandish odyssey, Betty & I are here again, reliving some of our own memories from prior visits during our 44 years of marriage. As mentioned in one of our first blog posts, we came to Camden over 40 years ago with our best friends, Ken and Wendy, in their big old Cadillac Fleetwood towing a small tent trailer from Toronto. The weather at the time wasn’t the greatest, but we thoroughly enjoyed each other’s company as we sailed the sea on a brief windjammer cruise; tried to order the right wine in an upscale restaurant, and engaged in all the other expected touristy things.

Our campsite (#1) looked much as it did 60 years ago, except now with electricity & water.

With the exception of added electricity and water at many of the sites, Camden Hills State Park is much the same as we experienced it decades ago.  It was established in the 1930s and still maintains all of its natural features (meaning they didn’t clear-cut and commercialize it. LOL). While the number of campsites is relatively small (around 100 sites), the park is actually 5,700 acres, including several mountain tops that provide panoramic views of the Camden area.

Beginning our hike up the highest mainland mountain on the Atlantic coast.

Betty & I attempted the hike up Mt. Megunticook, expecting it to be shorter and easier than I remembered. Well, it was not, and after climbing half way realized our bodies were not quite as nimble as they were many decades ago! Neither of us is a quitter, but we recognized our limitations on this one, and returned to our campsite, retrieving our car for a pleasant drive up Mt. Battie instead.

The view of Camden harbour, from the peak of Mount Battie.

The town of Camden is an extremely photogenic seaside community, serving as the backdrop for movies such as Carousel and Peyton Place. The sheltered harbor is full of sailboats, and the streets are lined with 19thcentury character homes, inns, and quaint shops. Camden refers to itself as the Jewel of the Coast, and it certainly is a beautiful seaport.

Camden’s main street, surprisingly much as I remember it. (The cars are a little newer. LOL)

Tomorrow we will head to New Hampshire and Vermont, away from the path of hurricane Florence. We are already starting to see the fall colours appear on some of the many trees we pass, and expect to see more as the overnight temperatures begin to drop. To the list of firsts recorded above, we can now add Maine as the first state visited on this leg of our overlandish adventure!


The small Atlantic beach in Camden where I experienced floating in salt water for the first time.
Almost half way to the 1380′ summit of Mt. Megunticook.
The unconquered Mt. Megunticook (pictured from the summit of Mt. Battie) awaits our return. We will prevail!
We have seen licence plates from all over, here in Camden, including one from a state named after our granddaughter! What a peach! LOL.
One of the many character homes, inns, and B&Bs overlooking the Camden harbour.
Betty adds Maine, our first U.S. state following our tour of maritime provinces.


The Ups & Downs of Fundy Fun Days

Hopewell Rocks at low tide

Coming from Winnipeg, where the Red River fluctuates annually with the melting snow and ice breakup, it’s fascinating to see the radical daily fluctuations in water levels in the Bay of Fundy.  With the highest tides in the world, the water in the bay – with a shoreline of 174 miles – can rise up to 16 meters (53 feet) over the course of 6 hours!  That’s about the height of a 5 storey building! Roughly twice every 24 hour period, the water level rises and falls dramatically.

It’s just difficult to capture the full effect of these fluctuations with a still camera, unless I were to set up time lapse photography & post the results

Getting the picture at Hopewell Rocks

on this blog. True confession: I also know that my Nikon shoots videos, but haven’t figured out how to use it yet, and I’m concerned about the amount of data that takes. As I wrote this, I received a message from Telus that our monthly allotment of shared data is 90% used up, so that is another reason to be cautious…

The Smart is on the left in the distance, about to back up the Magnetic Hill, in neutral!

Anyway, back to the main focus of this post.  Betty & I have spent the past week visiting the New Brunswick side of the Bay of Fundy, from the Magnetic Hill in Moncton, to Fundy National Park near Alma, to the Reversing Falls in Saint John, to New River Beach Provincial Park, approximately an hour away from the U.S. border.  Tomorrow we cross the border into Maine, so this will be our last post from New Brunswick – and from Canada – for awhile!


Betty & the Smart back up the Magnetic Hill, with the car in neutral.



Betty at the top (or is it the bottom?) of the Magnetic Hill near Moncton, New Brunswick.
Betty & I had a seafood lunch on the floor of the Atlantic Ocean. A half hour later, the spot where we were sitting was submerged…










More strange shapes at low tide at Hopewell Rocks








The Smart, about to enter one of New Brunswick’s 58 iconic covered bridges.


About to cross a covered bridge at Fundy National Park.






Fishing boats stranded at low tide in Alma, New Brunswick.




Higher tide, or whatever floats their boats. LOL

This eastern Canadian leg of our overlandish odyssey has been a real treat! Betty & I have thoroughly enjoyed what the right half of our fair country has to offer, and realize that three months isn’t near enough time to get the full effect.  While we look forward to exploring the left half of our vast nation in future, we leave the east coast with a desire to return, both to visit favorite spots from this adventure, and to explore the many communities and regions missed this time. As we witness the ebb and flow of great oceans, we recognize the ebbs and flows of our lives as well, and hope that a future tide will lift our boat to these shores once again!


Detailed dormers on an historic Saint John home, featured in their Victorian Stroll.
The elegant gothic arches of the long-abandoned Centenary Methodist Church in Saint John, NB.
Weeds grow through the pavement at the side door of this once-beautiful Saint John church.
A broad expanse of fine sand can be found at New River Beach Provincial Park.
Betty & I found the perfect table for brunch, as we watched the Saint John river flowing backwards at high tide.
A few hours later, the river is flowing in the opposite direction!
The Sawmill Creek covered bridge, built in 1908.
On the rocks at Hopewell. We hope all is well with you also! Cheers!

Coastal Trail Tales

The colourful, famous harbour at Peggy’s Cove.

Wow, what a ride! We are now back in New Brunswick, after completing a full figure 8 around the adjoining province of Nova Scotia. Previous posts have highlighted the Cabot Trail and some of the other fascinating features under our fun firmament along Ceilidh Trail, Marine Drive, Bras d’Or Lake Scenic Drive, Fleur-de-lis Trail, and Marconi Trail. We also drove the Sunrise Trail, the Lighthouse Route, the Evangeline Trail, and the Glooscap Trail.  To record all our tales from these coastal trails would require a book – not just a simple blog post – so I’ll just touch on a few spots that were not previously mentioned:

A Seafoam Lavender Company field, Northumberland Strait, NS on the Sunrise Trail.

As previously noted, along Marine Drive we had shaken loose one of the hydraulic reservoirs connected to an automatic leveler. I had bolted it back in place, but the leveler didn’t work. After a nice stay with Bridgewater Boondockers Welcome hosts Angela & Raymond, we stopped in at Bluenose RV, to see if they could fix our problem on short notice. They graciously agreed to take a look, but when I pushed the button, the leveler worked! It has worked fine ever since, both individually and in concert with the other 3 levelers . Bluenose RV refused to accept any payment for their time, and we were back on the Lighthouse Route.

Our next intended stop was Rissers Beach Provincial Park near Lunenburg,

Daytime, relatively high tide view of Shelburne from our campsite at The Islands.

but since the summer heat wave continued, the popular park was full and we were referred on to Thomas Raddall Provincial Park, further down the coastal road.

From Thomas Raddall we travelled the short distance to The Islands Provincial Park at Shelburne, NS. Our campsite (#54) had amazing

The moon rises through the clouds on our first night at The Islands. (Is my photography improving with practice? LOL)

views across the channel to the historic town, both day and night, and at both high and low tides. From the dozens of pics taken, we are including just three, with many more saved for future reference.

Betty & I attended a unique Sunday evening drive-in church service at Shelburne, where a couple and their elderly mom in the truck next to us

Betty’s eyes light up as she examines the colourful wool at Becky’s Knit & Yarn.

extolled the virtues of their home community: Lockport. So the next day we went exploring and found one of the most amazing Nova Scotia beaches, with a wide swath of fine-grained sand. Before leaving, Betty’s eye caught a sign for “Becky’s Knit & Yarn Shop”, so we spent another hour while Betty and the owner spun a yarn about knitting. LOL.

An historic Yarmouth home with an unusually large cupola?

At the end of the Lighthouse Route and beginning of the Evangeline Trail we toured the town of Yarmouth, noting all of the beautifully restored houses in their historic homes district. The Cape Forchu Lightstation marks the most westerly tip of the province, and was worth the trip to feel the crisp salty air and witness the powerful surf crashing against the rocky Atlantic coast.

The Evangeline Trail took us up the Annapolis Valley past a number of historic churches, two of which are pictured here.  Our stop for the night

Interior of the St. Bernard church.

was intended to be a quiet former visitor centre in Digby, but as previously noted, the incessant roar of motorcycles at the “wharf rat rally” made Digby anything but quiet!  Instead, we drove on the Waterville, where we stayed at a quiet Harvest Host location: Reimer Gardens.

Reimer Gardens, our Harvest Host in Waterville, Nova Scotia where we enjoyed a zucchini & basket of fresh blueberries.

Next came the Glooscap Trail, which led us to the most amazing campground in Parrsboro, Nova Scotia! For $30./night, Betty & I found

At our Diamond Shores campsite near Parrsboro, Nova Scotia.

ourselves in a full-service campsite right on the banks of Minas Basin in the Bay of Fundy. The Diamond Shores Campground is a small park with a loyal customer base. It does little or no advertising, and we were lucky to find it by stopping in at the Parrsboro Information Centre, when we found our intended destination campground to be full.

Fishermen cross the ocean floor in front of our Parrsboro area campsite at low tide.

Betty & I were directed to a tiny campsite, only inches away from our Saskatchewan and New Brunswick neighbours. We couldn’t help but meet them when we were that close, but it turned out everyone was enjoying the fabulous views as the Bay of Fundy continuously drained and filled from low to high tides.  Since there was no room for picnic tables between

Fireworks at Diamond Shores Campground.

RVs, the tables were lined up in front, allowing everyone to better connect with their new neighbours.  As we sat outside on Saturday evening, looking over the bay, we were treated to a number of bright and colourful fireworks displays on the beach, drawing wows and applause from the gathered community.

After church in Parrsboro on Sunday morning, Betty & I returned to an end-of-season celebration at the Diamond Shores Campground. All the tables had been placed in a circle in the field behind the RVs, and the campground owners were serving up a huge free lunch for all

Five Islands are visible from our Parrsboro area campsite at low tide. If our grandkids were here, Georgia would be climbing one of them; Isabella would be painting an image of them; and James would be replicating them in Mindcraft. LOL

the campers. Because we were literally the latecomers to the party, I was surprised when the owners insisted that we join in, and refused to accept a donation for the meal. They had collected all the refundable recyclables over the season, and said it was enough to cover the cost of showing their appreciation for their campers. We were extremely lucky to be there at the right time! What a nice group in a great spot!

Well, I see this post is now over 900 words, and I’ve been trying for a limit of about 600. There are many more tales to be told about Nova Scotia trails, but I’ll end this one with the old salutation from cowboys Roy Rogers and Dale Evans: “Happy trails to you, until we meet again!


Spinning a yarn in Lockport, Nova Scotia. Oh, the tales to be told!
Visiting the Cape Forchu Lightstation at Nova Scotia’s most westerly point.
An historic Yarmouth home, now a b & b.
A full moon rises over Shelburne, Nova Scotia on a clear summer night.
Site #54 at The Islands Provincial Park, Shelburne.



A side view of the dramatic St. Bernard Church, built by parishioners over a 32 year period.
Outside view of Sainte Marie church, built in 1905
The ornate interior of Sainte Marie church
Tide almost in at our Diamond Shores campsite
Same view as pic to left, as Betty & Charlie walk on the ocean floor.
Almost high tide as five Islands are visible from our Parrsboro area campsite.
The same view at low tide.
View from our motorhome at the Parrsboro area campsite.
As the sun sets over the Bay of Fundy – the end of another great day in Nova Scotia!








Directional Navigation

I’ve always thought I should send this little anecdote to Reader’s Digest, to include on one of their humour pages, or – as is often the case – as a filler at the bottom of an article. Just haven’t got around to it yet, but thought I’d add it to the blog as a travel-related story:

A couple of years ago Betty & I visited Oak Hammock Marsh, just north of Winnipeg, Manitoba, during the annual migration of Canada geese. We were fascinated by how they managed to find their way back each year, over tremendous distances, to the same patch of pond. I mused aloud that maybe they Googled it. But Betty corrected me, noting: “No, they gaggled it!” LOL


Waves and Waves

Atlantic power at Peggy’s Cove

For the past week Betty & I have been following the scenic coastal roads down the Eastern Shore and South Shore of Nova Scotia. As noted in a prior post, the Atlantic coastline is getting more and more rugged as the waves crash in on the rocky shores. Coming from the flat prairies, this energetic ocean action is a wondrous  sight to behold!

At the same time, this maritime coastal area is quite sparsely populated, which is a good thing for these slow-moving gawking tourists. As we pass the small hamlets and infrequent vehicles, the inhabitants regularly give us a wave – a sign of a warm welcome to their little piece of

Betty catches a wave at Peggy’s Cove, and she’s sittin’ on top of the world.

paradise. In some rural Canadian communities, the wave goes out to those you know, as you recognize them in passing. But in this part of Nova Scotia, it seems like everyone gets treated like family: A great gesture!

It’s so fun to see the waves and waves as our adventure unfolds on the road!

Enjoying gentle wave action at Thomas Raddall Provincial Park

Throughout our travels, it has been my custom to give a wave to other Class A motorhomes passing in the opposite direction. Betty says it’s elitist that I don’t also wave to Class B & C motorhomes, but you have to draw the line somewhere, or else we’d be waving to everyone on the road! From time to time I’ve tried waving to motorhomes from our Smart car, but for some reason they don’t even seem to see me! LOL

Lockport beach during the continued heat wave.

I’ve always been fascinated by the greeting of fellow motorcycle riders, as they lower an extended left hand in passing on the road. This seems to be a common recognition of their fraternity, except today as we passed through Digby, Nova Scotia. We thought we’d find a quiet spot for the night

Block after block of motorcycles line the streets in Digby, Nova Scotia today for the Wharf Rat Rally.

there, but didn’t realize that the city was hosting the “wharf rat rally”, the Canadian version of the Sturgis, South Dakota rally. There were literally thousands of motorcycles up and down the streets, and on every artery leading to the coastal town: Way too many to acknowledge each other with that wave of recognition!

From Nova Scotia Betty and I will be looping around the Bay of Fundy, heading down the New Brunswick coast to Maine and the New England states beyond. Our travels south on this trip are intended to take us to the great wave action on the Outer Banks at Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.

A quiet sea and almost deserted beach at Lockport, N.S.

Along the way we’ll pass through or near Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, to name a few of the east coast’s urban areas. Given the value of the warm waves exchanged in Nova Scotia, maybe we should extend the practice to those areas as well?  As an avowed monarchist, all I can say is: “If the Queen can do it, why shouldn’t we?” LOL


Powerful waves crash against the smooth rocks at Peggy’s Cove.
Charlie leaves a note in the sand.
Betty waves as she watches the waves at Cape Forchu Lightstation, the most westerly point in Nova Scotia.

Eating On The Road

Dinner at our campsite in Shediac, New Brunswick

No, I’m not talking about dining on road kill, although Betty & I have seen our fair share of squished skunks, run-over raccoons, slimed squirrels, and other unidentifiable flattened furry things between Winnipeg and the east coast. I’m referring to what and how we eat as we travel the continent on our overlandish odyssey (oh oh!). BTW, oh oh is what the furry friends all said just before they got lost between the headlights…

All things potato, at PEI’s Canadian Potato Museum

I’ve been somewhat ambivalent about addressing this topic in our blog. On the one hand it seems rather narcissistic to post one’s meals on Facebook, or any other public medium. But on the other hand there are now dozens of television shows highlighting food and how it can be cooked. It’s a somewhat different experience gathering supplies and preparing meals on the road, so we thought our family and other readers might be interested in what’s cookin’ on our travels.

Sharky’s Seafood, Summerside, PEI

First, I guess it’s not uncommon for travellers like us to eat out more often. We hear and read about great restaurants across the continent where “you gotta eat”, and we do like to try local fare prepared well by local chefs. As an aside, Betty & I have had few regrets in our adventures, but we did miss out on visiting a restaurant in Souris, Prince Edward Island, owned and operated by one of Canada’s celebrity chefs, Michael Smith. It was too early in the day when we passed through Souris, and we weren’t sure the chef would be in if we waited on a possible reservation. Well, we’ll just have to better plan for that on another trip!

Huge, fresh lobster roll & the best PEI fries ever, as take out at Sharky’s in Summerside!

Each province so far has had notable restaurants, but three PEI locations stand out for great seafood: Clam Diggers in Cardigan had great muscles and seafood chowder; Sharky’s Seafood in Summerside had fabulous lobster rolls & fries, and was worth the return trip for a mixed seafood platter that was more than enough for Betty & me to share; and of course

New Glasgow’s Lobster Supper.

the New Glasgow Lobster Supper, served up with enough fresh bread, salads and dessert to keep you going for a week. Honourable mention must also go to the Canadian Potato Museum for their french fries & stuffed potato skins. (I would expect our daughter, Lisa, to put this as number one on the list. LOL)

Unlike dinners prepared in our bricks ‘n sticks kitchen – especially after a full reno adding a 4’ x 8’ granite island – storage, prep and serving space in our motorhome is decidedly

Direct from the farm, on the side of the road in PEI

less. OK, it also needs to be noted in this blog post that I’m talking mainly in the third person, as I am not usually the first person to prepare and serve our delicious meals. LOL. While limited storage is a negative, it also forces/allows us to stop more often for local fresh produce at roadside stands, fish markets, bakeries, butcher shops, and buy whatever else is in season, or a local specialty.

Fresh catch at Dartmouth’s Sobeys. (Antigonish Sobeys display was even nicer!)

With much of this trip in the maritime provinces, a lot of our current menu is fresh seafood based. Usually locals tell us about the best outlets to pick up today’s catch, but yesterday’s lunch came from a different source: Sobeys. We had stopped in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia to pick up some basics, and got into a conversation with a staff member about our travels, and their large fresh catch section. When we mentioned our inability to cook lobster in our motorhome, he offered to pick out a couple of live lobsters from their tank and steam them for us while we waited. Betty & I had purchased the

Sobey’s staff steams our spectacular lunch

necessary hardware for shell cracking and meat removal in PEI, so we ended up having a great lunch, right in the Sobeys parking lot!

As mentioned in a previous post, our solar system has allowed us to use all of our electrical outlets as we travel, and some of our best

Dinner on the road.

meals have been clam and seafood chowders, slow-cooked while driving down the road, and ready to eat when we stopped for the day. Yum!

While seafood has been our main focus, we have also enjoyed the lamb sausage from Lismore Sheep Farm on the Northumberland Strait

A “before” pic of our Lismore Sheep Farm lamb sausage. Betty says: “That’s just baa, baa, baaaad!”

in Nova Scotia. Of course from time to time I have to bbq a rib eye & prosciutto-wrapped asparagus, but lately we’ve been topping the steak with crab or lobster, for a surf ‘n turf presentation – because we can… This forces us to open both red & white wines to pair with the meal, but we’re never driving after that meal. LOL

Anyway, a lot more could be said

Picking potatoes at a roadside stand on PEI

about good food, and the many delicious dishes we’ve sampled on our adventures. While we were on Manitoulin Island we saw many signs warning of deer crossings, and were informed that some didn’t make it across. Apparently it is not uncommon for locals to quickly harvest the road kill for a number of hearty meals. Betty & I have not ventured that far on our travels to date, but who knows what we’ll end up eating on the road.


One great lobster.
Two great lunch lobsters freshly cooked by Sobeys.
Betty flexing her muscles. Delicious little treats!

Nova Scotia Provincial Parks

The eastern Nova Scotia coastline is getting more rugged, with greater wave action along the way.

When Betty & I left Whycocomagh Provincial Park, near Baddeck, Nova Scotia, we weren’t sure how far we would make it on our next day’s drive. Each of our maps is set to a significantly different scale, so some apparently lengthy journeys take no time at all, while other drives – particularly along the scenic routes – take far longer as the road dips and dives, twists and turns, and bumps at slow speeds through many tiny hamlets on our path.

Hadleyville: Home of the Hadleys, Carters, and McKays. All worth knowing!

Our wonderful next-door neighbours in Calgary – the Hadleys – originally came from Hadleyville, Nova Scotia, along the eastern shore, not far from Cape Breton Island, so we thought it only appropriate to take the scenic Marine Drive through the community that brought them together so many years ago. Unfortunately, the road was in very poor condition with no pull-off large enough to handle our motorhome and tow vehicle while we stirred it up with the local Hadleys, Carters, and McKays. We can hear our old neighbours breathing a sigh of relief that we didn’t stop to participate in the tradition of buttering the noses of anyone having a birthday that day! LOL.

The redeeming feature on this lonely, bumpy (one of our automatic leveler

Our site, surrounded by water on 3 sides, at Salsman Provincial Park. Staff brought a load of firewood right to our site, as Betty had Charlie in the Smart when she registered.

controllers got knocked loose along the way!), twisty road is that it leads to some very beautiful underused provincial parks. Our first night after Cape Breton was spent at site 18 in Salsman Provincial Park, Goldboro, Nova Scotia. As with many of the province’s provincial parks, there were no serviced sites available. But because of our solar system

Betty enjoys the view from our campsite.

and large storage tanks, we were able to fully enjoy a private site on a small peninsula, providing dramatic water views on three sides.  It was a quiet spot to listen for the loons while we watched the shooting stars in an area not subject to light pollution.

Betty & I are now in site 11 at

Site 11 at Porter’s Lake Provincial Park, surrounded by berry bushes and wild roses.

Porter’s Lake Provincial Park near Halifax. The few serviced sites in the park are full, but many of the unserviced sites are empty, with a large selection from which to choose. Attached are some pics of this nice site.

Our campfire area, with lake beyond, at Porter’s Lake Provincial Park

We hope to spend at least another week in Nova Scotia, and have noted two Harvest Host sites, and two Boondockers Welcome sites, but we expect that much of our time will be spent in Nova Scotia’s apparently underutilized, beautiful, but somewhat remote provincial parks. We’ll keep you posted…


Ecum Secum, one of the many “blink & you miss it” hamlets along Marine Drive. This one is regularly mentioned on the local weather forecast. LOL
An old fishing boat (#5687) that has seen better days…
Another view of our site 18 at Salsman Provincial Park, looking away from the picnic table & bench
Betty adds Nova Scotia to our map.

Remembering Donald & David

As Betty & I drive from our campsite at Whycocomagh Provincial Park to Baddeck, Nova Scotia, I can’t help but think back to an interesting encounter in the early 1990’s.  David Milgaard had recently been released from Manitoba’s Stony Mountain Penitentiary, after serving 23 years in federal prison for a murder that he did not commit. The John Howard Society of Canada was holding its Annual Meeting in Baddeck, and I arranged for David to be flown in as guest speaker.

Donald Marshall Jr. had similarly been wrongfully convicted of murder, with a high profile 1990 royal commission producing 82 recommendations for fundamental changes to the justice process. It turned out that Donald, who was originally from the Membertou Reserve in Sydney, Nova Scotia, was living just down the road from Baddeck.  David and Donald had never met, but each was familiar with the other’s case due to national – and some international – attention.

Donald (known as Junior to his family and friends) graciously agreed to pick up David and me at our hotel in Baddeck, and drive us back to his home on St. Patrick’s Channel. That night Donald’s family gathered at his home to recognize his brother’s birthday, and we were invited to stay for a traditional Mi’kmaq celebration. David and I ended up spending the night, with Donald and David sharing many heavy conversations about their injustice experiences.  It was a most unique encounter, and I have always been glad to have played a role in their meeting, and to have shared the many learnings from their life stories.

It has now been a quarter century since that get-together, but my thoughts go back to that time as we journey the TransCanada Highway from Whycocomagh to Baddeck. With the help of the Association In Defense of the Wrongly Convicted, Donald and David played a significant role in addressing the plight of those in prison for crimes they did not commit. Donald passed away in 2009, and David continues to encourage others from his home in Calgary, Alberta. A big “miigwetch” to them both!

Discovering Cape Breton Island

They say John Cabot discovered Cape Breton Island in June 1497, but I am here to record that Betty, Graham, Charlie & Gavin discovered the island in August 2018. This is a brief pictorial rendering of what we found yesterday.

First, we established a new base of operations at Whycocomagh Provincial Park. The park is strategically located, enabling us to conquer the whole island with few retreats, just forward movements.
We sent Gavin to act as lookout on the top of this adjacent peak. Unfortunately he left the camera behind, so we don’t have pictures to prove it…
We were warned by local inhabitants that we would need to increase our strength in order to conquer the island. Here is Betty working on her muscles. LOL
We encountered this ship just off the coast of Baddeck. I’m pretty sure one of those is a flag of surrender. (Likely one of the big white ones. LOL)
As with many of our major offensives, Betty said “We’ll cross that bridge when we get to it!”
Apparently word got out of our imminent arrival. Here are 2 ferry loads of inhabitants trying to make their escape to Newfoundland & Labrador from the Sydney harbour.
They say an army marches on its stomach. Here local fishermen prepare the many lobster traps required to sustain our forward movement.
One of the many lighthouses, marking our way down the island’s Atlantic coast.
The formidable Gavin is obviously undeterred by the treacherous coastline.
Graham captures an image of Betty capturing a high point of land near the Fortress of Louisbourg.
Finally, the target of our offensive: The Fortress of Louisbourg, built by the French between 1720 & 1740. It was originally captured by British colonists in 1745, and would have succumbed to a similar defeat in 2018. However, I don’t think dogs are allowed. Sorry Charlie!
For $7. our little troop was able to commandeer this ship for a sail across St. Patrick’s Channel to the Reddoch Retreat.
What do you mean “Reddoch Retreat”? This band of desperados doesn’t know the meaning of surrender! LOL

Ok, that was yesterday. Most of our future troop movements are a secret (even to us), but we’ll keep you posted if you have the necessary security clearance to receive our updates.