Ground Control To Major Tom

Throughout our overlandish odyssey, Betty & I have often camped in spots with little or no light pollution, allowing us to

Preparing to launch.

marvel at the heavens above. We have been thrilled to sit in the warm sun under bright blue skies, and to watch the moon and countless stars at night. Prior posts have captured the transition from day to night, as the sun dips over the horizon. It’s a fabulous perspective on the world around us.

Apparently, the Kennedy Space Center Vehicle Assembly Building is the largest one storey building by volume. Each star on the flag is 6′ across, and each stripe is wide enough to drive a bus down (if gravity wasn’t an issue. lol)

But this week Betty & I enjoyed another perspective. We vicariously experienced the universe as seen through the eyes of astronauts like Chris Hadfield and Roberta Bondar. As we toured the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, we were able to get up close and personal with the various rockets and space craft used to move beyond the earth’s gravity into the vast worlds above. While we watched the “Journey To Space 3D” in the IMAX theatre, the “Journey to Mars: Explorers Wanted”, and travelled beyond the gates by bus to the Apollo/Saturn V Center, I couldn’t help but hum the David Bowie tune – ”Space Oddity” –  immortalized by Chris Hadfield on his space flight:

Ground Control (maybe called Launch Control) is the low windowed building on the left, next to the Vehicle Assembly Building where a rocket is under construction. Once the rocket is launched, responsibility transfers to Mission Control in Houston, Texas.

“Ground Control to Major Tom
Ground Control to Major Tom
Take your protein pills and put your helmet on

Ground Control to Major Tom
Commencing countdown, engines on
Check ignition and may God’s love be with you…”

The original Launch Control – not a mock-up.
Bet wonders what Bruce Cockburn would do if he had a rocket launcher. (BTW, still can’t get some pics to face north. Gravity has no pull on Bet.)
Bet joins a rocket man in a space capsule.
That’s a lot of thrust…
Bet stands next to a part of the Apollo/Saturn V space craft.
It takes an oversized flatbed to move those space craft to the launch site, 3 miles away.
A view of the launch pad, from the Apollo/Saturn V centre.
Same view, zoomed in a little. A Delta IV rocket was scheduled to launch the day after our visit.
VIP launch viewing stands at Kennedy Space Center. Launches can also be seen from Titusville & the Manatee Hammock campground, where we stayed.
Our site (#76) at Brevard County’s Manatee Hammock campground in Titusville, Florida. In the background is the gathering spot at water’s edge, for watching missile launches.
Is that Elton John’s Rocketman?
…the rocket’s red glare…
This baby will out-maneuver the Hummer in your garage any day!
The alligator in this ditch adds another level of security to the Kennedy Space Center.

The pics on this post capture a little of what we saw last week. Perfectionist tendencies would require me to accurately caption what you are seeing, but that would require a little more research, as I’m still a bit vague about the up close difference in appearance between a rocket, a space ship and a missile, all of which we saw. Lol.

“This is Major Tom to Ground Control
I’m stepping through the door
And I’m floating in a most peculiar way
And the stars look very different today

For here
Am I sitting in a tin can
Far above the world
Planet Earth is blue
And there’s nothing I can do…”

Hope you can appreciate your perspective on planet earth, wherever you find yourself this week!


Our current campsite is nestled in the trees at Tiger Bay State Forest, a short drive west of Daytona Beach.
Our site (#4) is one of only six in the Bennett Field Campground. Each site is approx. an acre in size!
Booked & paid for on-line through “Reserve America”, our beautiful, peaceful site included a good quality picnic table, fire pit, and bbq, for approx. $9./night!

Sailing Into Big Lagoon

Betty adds Arkansas to our sticker map.

As Betty & I continue our overlandish odyssey, we capture images along the way – either on our phones or through my Nikon – that help to tell the story of our adventure. But we see far more on our journey than we record, and we post only a fraction of the sights captured. Sometimes, the story tells itself when we download the pictures, and sometimes we need to weave a thread that ties it together. This post is more of the latter, capturing random images from the past week.

One of our levellers began to bleed red fluid when we arrived in Russellville, Arkansas.
We called the Hose Doctor, and he performed surgery on our ailing Boy – from his modified ambulance – getting us back on the road with a new hydraulic hose to our leveller..
Our nice site at Buccaneer State Park in Mississippi was a short hour’s drive from New Orleans, Louisiana.
Gavin gets in on the action, adding Louisiana to our sticker map.
Through much of Mississippi, Route 90 follows the Gulf shoreline, with many miles of well-groomed white sand near the roadside.
We passed at least 9 casinos near Biloxi, Mississippi. This one sports a huge guitar on its front.
Betty & Charlie take a break on the beach near Biloxi.
Our add-a-room gets added at our Big Lagoon  State Park campsite by Gulf Breeze, Florida..
Betty strolls the squeaky sand along the Gulf Shores, at the Alabama – Florida border.
We had a great beach day in early January, near Pensacola, Florida.

We are thankful for the marvels of modern technology that allow us to share our travels with you. As we explore the state of Florida, and travel back up the east coast, Betty & I hope we can continue to transmit images that capture the epic nature of this marvelous adventure.


Fantastic Florida helps to fill out our sticker map.

100, 11, 10, 01

#1: A curve-billed thrasher chirps in a yucca as the sun sets over Oliver Lee State Park in New Mexico.

The title of this post is written in a series of ones and zeros, which I believe is appropriate for a digital form of communication. LOL. For those of us who don’t speak digital, the “100” identifies this as the 100th post to this blog! WOW, Betty & I had no idea that we could, or would, do this! The “11” reflects that we have now been blogging (or whatever this is called…) for the past 11 months. The “10” represents the top 10 pictures taken with my new Nikon digital camera on our overlandish odyssey; and the “01” is my personal favourite post to date.

#2: The moon rises through the clouds over Shelburne, Nova Scotia on our first night at The Islands Provincial Park.

The history and intent for this blog are reflected in the March 28/18 post: “By The Time I Get To Phoenix”, so I won’t repeat all that now.  It has turned out to be a fun form of communication – from the perspective of the writer. Since we didn’t set it up as an interactive medium, we don’t really know how, or even if, it is received – with the exception of a few brief notes of appreciation from family and friends.  Maybe it’s possible to track the number of visits to our site (I think those who blog for a living do that.) but we have no idea whether we have an audience of one or one hundred. (That’s 01 or 100 in digital code. LOL)

#3: I think it’s hard to take a bad picture of the Grand Canyon. The sun glistens off the many layers of rock in the foreground.

Betty & I are regularly meeting locals and fellow travellers on our adventures. Depending on how those interactions go, we sometimes pass on a “business card” printed at Staples, showing our web site, along with our e-mail addresses. Maybe they get tossed. Maybe they get filed. Maybe they get forgotten. Or maybe some folks vicariously follow along on our journey.  Whatever – as mentioned, from a writer’s perspective, this has turned out to be an easy and fun exercise, so I guess we may continue as long as our odyssey progresses – God willing & the creek don’t rise, as they say!

#4: We passed this old abandoned fishing boat along Marine Drive in Nova Scotia. The colouring made it look more like a painting, rather than a photograph.

From the literally thousands of pictures taken so far (I’m glad they are digital and didn’t need to be mailed in for processing, like back in the day. We would have been long broke before our trip was over, if we had to pay for that! LOL), I thought we could somewhat arbitrarily choose a top ten for this post. I say this tentatively as I have not yet taken any photography classes, and

#5: I love the way the sun adds an appropriate halo around Betty’s head in this unusual adobe structure at our campsite south of Sante Fe, New Mexico. (She’s an angel, of course!)

there are still lots of buttons on my Nikon that I have never used, and don’t know what they’re for. The pictures simply appeal to us on a visceral level, evoking special memories from our journey to date.

In all cases, the pictures are chosen for their artistic content (however amateurish it might be), rather than as an accurate representation of a geographic location. Maybe not surprisingly, sunsets were captured in many of the pictures making the shortlist, and we were tempted to just make it the top 10 sunsets of our trip. LOL.

#6: Fog shrouds the base of these towers near the beach on South Padre Island, Texas.

Because the task of reducing down to only 10 was almost impossible, we include at the end of this post about 22 honourable mentions, hoping that doesn’t cause your data to go over limit. LOL.

#7: An awfully big (LOL) cactus stands guard beside our motorhome near Tucson, Arizona.

Finally, the one favourite post:  As suggested, writing this has been a fairly effortless free flow of fluffy thoughts, just as they float through and out of my furry brain. My earliest posts reflect the angst of selling our home and getting rid of our possessions. Maybe it was the therapeutic writing process that got me going, and led us to this 100th post.  In any event, decluttering involved disposing of items that had remained in our home following the passing of our parents.

#8: A happy Charlie says “I have the stick!” at Kakabeka Falls near Thunder Bay, Ontario.

One of the items that could neither be passed on to our kids and grandkids, nor donated to charity, was a stack of my father’s handkerchiefs.  The Dec. 7/17 post: “A Hankering For Hankies?” is a very short reflection on my dear dad. It only tangentially refers to our imminent travels, but for me still rates as number 1 in this little digital memory box.

#9: Almost every night provided a magnificent sunset over the mountains at Quartzsite, Arizona.

Best wishes to any and all who read all the ones and zeros that form these simple words, and see these pictures that don’t do justice to the magnificence of the lands we are seeing, and the wonderful people – both new and renewed acquaintances, Betty & I are meeting on the road.


#10: Silver car, white sand, blue sky at White Sands National Monument in New Mexico.

Honourable mentions:

As the sun sets over the Bay of Fundy – the end of another great day in Nova Scotia!
A  colourful Sante Fe, New Mexico storefront.
The Painted Desert, near Flagstaff, Arizona
A peaceful Boondockers site in Wallace, Nova Scotia
Another great sunset at Cabot Beach Provincial Park on beautiful PEI.
And another spectacular Quartzsite, Arizona sunset
Perce Rock from a distance, as we travel back to our campsite at Camping Prevel.
A double rainbow appears over our campsite in Quartzsite, Arizona
No two great sunsets are alike at Quartzsite, so it’s hard to choose the best…
A picturesque road through Ile d’Orleans, near Quebec City.
Either the roads are built close to the homes, or the homes are built close to the roads. In any event, there are lots of cyclists to add to the tight quarters on the roads near Quebec City, as seen through the windshield of our motorhome.
Weeds grow through the pavement at the side door of this once-beautiful Saint John, New Brunswick church. This almost made it into our top 10.
We love this pic of Peter & Janet on Manitoulin Island, Ontario. It captures a special moment.
The boardwalk leading to the beach at our campground on South Padre Island has been immortalized in this wine label. LOL
A beautiful flower grows above this yucca near Port Isabel, Texas
The dramatic Grand Canyon, Arizona.
Cactus stand against the sky at sunset near Tucson, Arizona.
The sun casts shadows across the rows of grapes at a winery near Quebec City.
This pic, taken through the window of a covered bridge in New Brunswick, hasn’t been posted before. I didn’t realize, until I was about to crop it, that Olivia had left a message for me on the right side pole. LOL
Another sunset over our motorhome at our campsite on Gaspesie, Quebec.
The mighty fine Cabot Trail, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia
Finally, the end of our post from Prince Edward Island. LOL

Quintessential PEI Too

Dramatic red cliffs border much of PEI

Betty convinced me to start a new post of PEI pics, rather than add to our previous post, as not everyone would scroll to the bottom to see the additions.

From Panmure Island Provincial Park we travelled the coastal road to the eastern tip of the province, appropriately called East Point. Unfortunately, much of this scenic road is in fairly poor condition, and is not actually following the coastline.

Taking the plunge at Basin Head

The heatwave has continued, so young people gathered on many bridges we crossed, jumping into the cooling waters below. The most popular spot for this was Basin Head Provincial Park, where the wharfs border a deep channel, providing a safe (lifeguarded) location for young and older to plunge into the salty waters below a footbridge.

Three at a time…
Here they go!
Should have posted a video…
A popular way to cool off as the heat wave continues















Our campsite at Linkletter includes about 120′ of waterfront, and is about 120′ deep.

From East Point we travelled cross-country to Linkletter Provincial Park, just west of Summerside, PEI’s second largest city. At our huge campsite Betty & I can see the Confederation Bridge in the distance, and watch the tides ebb and flo.

Today we took a day trip to the North Cape, the most northwesterly point of PEI. On our way we stopped at The Canadian Potato Museum for some great fries and loaded potato skins, and took a tour through the Stompin’ Tom Centre in Skinners Pond.

Our tranquil setting at Linkletter Provincial Park, with the Confederation Bridge in the distance.
Making a pilgrimage to the Canadian Potato Museum (LOL)
So many potato choices on PEI!
Remembering Canadian Country Music Legend Stompin’ Tom Connors
The actual one-room schoolhouse in Skinners Pond where Stompin’ Tom went to school.
The lighthouse at North Cape, PEI’s most northwesterly point
Visiting the East Point Lighthouse
Green topped red cliff & beach at Basin Head
The popular Singing Sands beach at Basin Head, PEI
Aiming for a sore back…
Îles de la Madeleine ferry passes Basin Head, PEI
Loading the lobster traps in Summerside
Betty & Charlie take a stroll at North Cape, PEI
Looking toward our Linkletter campsite at low tide
The specks in the distance are Betty & Charlie walking in the Northumberland Strait at low tide. They went further out, but the pic doesn’t even show them as specks…
The tide at our LInkletter campsite is either part way in or part way out…
Almost high tide, as the sun begins to set at Linkletter Provincial Park
Our unserviced campsite (#68) runs from the post to the water. Our solar system has contributed to a very comfortable stay.
Chocolate-covered potato chips from Cows. Betty says “What could be better!” LOL

In the end Betty & I spent almost two weeks on Prince Edward Island, which was longer than we originally intended. It is a very rural, tranquil island, where the favourite saying, at least from young people, was “no worries!”. PEI is a great place to relax and unwind, whether for a few days, a few weeks, or longer. We certainly enjoyed this restful stay, and look forward to future visits.


Adventures In Paradise

A Pastoral PEI Field of Dreams

The visual image that most often comes to mind when thinking about Prince Edward Island is that perfect pastoral setting, where there are beautiful shades of green everywhere – even on the gables – and everyone is kind. OK, that might be a bit of an exaggeration, but after spending a day here, it’s not too far off!

Driving down the New Brunswick coast

From Shediac we drove down the New Brunswick coast until the Confederation Bridge came into view. I think it was a pipe dream for many years to establish a fixed link between PEI and the rest of Canada, (sorry Newfoundland), but at some point someone had the vision and ability to make it happen. It is quite

Crossing the Northumberland Strait

the experience to drive the 12.9 km (8 miles) from one end of the bridge to the other, rising 60 meters above sea level to allow ocean-going vessels to pass.

Once on the island, it was not long before we reached our first

Our Boondockers Welcome spot in Bedeque, PEI

Boondockers Welcome spot. True to our expectations, it was a very pastoral setting, as reflected in the attached pics. For most of our stay, we couldn’t confirm that our hosts were kind, because they weren’t there! They texted us a picture of their property and welcomed us to stay, even though they were rv-ing in Ontario at the time. While we had an address, there was no number at the entrance to the property. We drove in, set up, and had an ongoing laugh that maybe we had set up on one of their neighbour’s farms, and they were just too polite to tell us to leave! Does that remind anyone of European Vacation? LOL.

As it turned out, Heath came by as we were preparing to leave, and yes, he was as kind and generous as our preconceived notion of a PEI resident. Yea Heath!

Huge, fresh lobster roll & the best PEI fries ever! Expect more on the spuds in a future post…

Betty & I spent our first day exploring much of the western end of the island. After stopping in Summerside for a huge fresh lobster roll with fries, we visited a series of buildings made of glass bottles (I should have known there was another use for all of those empty wine bottles!) before

99 bottles of beer in the wall…

carrying out a search for a brewery that was a possible Harvest Host site. Is there a theme starting here? LOL. As with the Boondockers Welcome site, there was no road sign leading to the brewery, so we explored a number of red dirt paths that barely accommodated the Smart, and would have been far too much for

The red road less travelled

the old Boy. It took Betty’s mind back to the many Sunday afternoon drives with her family, when her father was most happy to see grass between the two wheel tracks in the isolated lanes. So that’s where Bet’s adventurous spirit comes from!!

In the end, we booked into Cabot Beach Provincial Park on the north shore, and spent a very enjoyable day today relaxing on the beach. Our campsite is amazing, with ocean

The view from our porch

views out our windows, and a vast cliffed seascape by our patio. We’ll have another day here before heading to the Charlottetown area, passing Cavendish and Anne’s green place along the way. It may be too soon to declare that Prince Edward

The view out our bedroom window
Approaching the beach at Cabot Beach Provincial Park

Island is the perfect pastoral province, with only warm, welcoming residents, but we’re off to a great start in this adventure in paradise!


As the heatwave continues, a break at the Cabot Beach
A day in paradise at a beautiful PEI beach (facing east)
Facing west on the Cabot Beach beach
Positioning a Pretty, Practically Perfect Petite Province – PEI. (with LOTS of Potatoes)

Happy Canada Day!

Happy Canada Day from hot & steamy McRae Point Provincial Park, near Orillia, Ontario.  Temp is 87f and climbing! 

Happy Canada Day!
Our campsite at McRae
Preparing to host family & friends
Rob, Heather, Bill, Betty, Deb & Graham share a laugh
Max & Teo cool off
Amy, Betty, Heather & Deb at the lake. (Bet, Heather & Deb went to high school together.)
Our beautiful niece, Amy, with her wonderful partner, Brian, visited us at the beach on Canada Day