Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Day 41, August 6, 2007

Day 41, Monday, August 6, 2007.
We got away fairly early today. On our way out of town we stopped at the lighthouse across from the Fortress of Louisbourg. This is the site of the second lighthouse built in North America. The one currently standing is the third in this location. The first burned down 2 years after it was built. Hard to believe looking at the harbour that at times there were up to 175 ships at anchor in the harbour. The fog horn was going when we arrived. Although it wasn’t too bad behind it they had a warning sign saying not to go past the sign without ear protection. We left there and drove into Sydney and Tim Horton’s was right on the way, we had seen it coming into town so drove right to it and luckily lots of parking which isn’t always the case. We are off. The road up to getting on #4 and a ways out of Sydney was good but then it got rough, narrow and rocky (as in rocking and rolling), although the sign said 80 k, I couldn’t get past 65-70 most of the time. Not a road I would recommend to anyone other than in a car. I would say the same for the west side of the Cabot Trail. I’ve talked to other people who traveled it years ago and they said it was a better drive then, you could see the water from most of the road but now the trees have grown up and not much to see and some very steep climbs. The East side was better and of course the Fortress of Louisbourg. A few other things I would like to have seen including the Miner’s Museum but we were too early leaving, running out of time and the girls had seen enough of museums. We did have a close call, I was motoring along and either I wasn’t paying attention or the guy’s brake lights weren’t working or he made a quick decision to make a left hand turn, but lucky there was a good shoulder on the road other wise I would have had an extra set of wheels and second smaller motor under us. Knock wood but the close calls have been non existent. We had a bit of a start coming around a corner, big semi coming at us, narrow road, low shoulder, and branches on a low tree on our side of the road. How accidents happen, every thing hit at once, I moved over for the truck caught the low shoulder, branches hit the motorhome and even small they make a heck of a racket, the m/h lurches to the right side and everyone is moaning. Not close, not a problem but sometimes catches you off guard and startles you. We didn’t make it into New Brunswick today but are about 20 miles from the border. We found a nice campsite in Amherst, Nova Scotia called Loch Lomond Park. We settled in for the night. I BBQed zucchini and steak for Willa and Tegan and lamb chops for me. The mosquitoes weren’t too bad. We cleaned up and I thought I would put out the bug zapper that Pat Pelletier at the office was determined I would buy. Not too bad at the start but as the evening progressed I looked at the window beside me and there must have been 10 mosquitoes on the screen then I looked at the bug zapper and there must have been 500 or more buzzing around the zapper, literally a cloud, it was absolutely mind boggling. I still had to go out and clean up the BBQ. Luckily the bugs were more interested in it than me and I was able to sneak out and do some clean up. Thank you Pat. I don’t think this is going to be the worst of them but up to now just hasn’t been a problem. The weather was good all day then started to cool in the late afternoon and we ended up with a little rain in the late evening but by that time we were all snuggled into the motor home, fed, watered and watching a little TV and Tegan was on internet to her friends. Will do the Hopewell Rocks and Fundy Park tomorrow..

Day 40, August 5, 2007

Day 40, Sunday, August 5, 2007.
Everyone was up early and showered by 8:00 am. The campsite we are staying in, Point of View Suite and RV Park in Louisbourg, Nova Scotia, has a $3.99 breakfast starting at 8:00 am. We were over there by 8:30 had our breakfast and were heading over to catch the bus to Fortress Louisbourg. The bus runs every 15 minutes from the visitor centre to the Fortress, starting at 9:00 am and we wanted to catch the first bus and we did. Just as a point of interest it is Fortress Louisbourg and not Fort Louisbourg. A Fort is strictly military where a Fortress is military and a town or city. The restoration of the Fortress began in the late 1930’s. A lot of the coal mines were being shut down and the miners out of jobs. So $35,000,000 grant was made for the restoration of Fortress Louisbourg. The miners were trained to do the work on the restoration in the skill that would have been used at the time the Fortress was built in the early 1700’s. When the restoration began there was nothing but rubble left. Most of the stone had been taken away to build churches and other buildings as far away as Halifax and I think they mentioned Montreal. We were in the Fortress by 9:30 am and explored until 11:00 am when the tour started. The tour guide we had was very knowledgeable in the life of the Fortress in the 1700’s and the history that went with the building. He knew the owner’s and little thing that went on in there lives at that time. We had lunch in the poor peoples restaurant. They have 3 classes of restaurants, low class where you are given a spoon and a pewter bowl, the second class where you have a fork and spoon and better dishes. Finally the upper class where you receive a spoon, fork, and a knife. We ate soup, bread and I had the fish of the day. But a very simple meal. A comment was asked why no knives and apparently in the 1700’s most of the low and second class people would have carried their own knives. One of the best Fortress displays we have seen. We enjoyed Fort Henry but it was military where with Louisbourg it also had the town life in it. We did a lot of walking during the day and then didn’t see all the buildings. All were well done and everyone was in period dress. This is another Parks Canada asset. We didn’t leave until almost 5:00 pm. The Fortress closes at 5:30. We spent almost 8 hours at the Fortress plus had to walk back to the motor home which was another 1/2 to 1 mile. We were tired. I bought a pair of Croc shoes and wore them all day and no sore feet or legs, I am quite impressed with them. About 12:00 midnight we had a good thunder storm and rain. Not a heavy rain but it went on for 30-60 minutes. Little bit of sprinkle in the morning. We used umbrellas to walk to the bus but didn’t need them the rest of the day. It cost us just over $40.00 dollars for the day plus our meal which was reasonably priced. We had supper at the campsite restaurant which was a Buffet for $19.00 each. They had mussels, halibut, fish chowder, and a light salad bar and desert which I didn’t think was too bad and only 200 feet from the campsite. Well that pretty well sums up the day. A good day but tiring. We will turn toward home tomorrow. We wanted to see more of Nova Scotia but just not enough time, so that will have to be another time plus we would like to see Newfoundland. We have a number of places to visit on the way home too, so it’s not like it is a mad dash but we are going to have to have longer days than when we started off. Well that’s it for today, good night all.

Day 39, August 4, 2007

Day 39, Saturday, August 4, 2007.
We sure had a heavy rain last night, but I guess I told you about it already. When we got up in the morning the sun was shining and not a cloud in the sky. We had our breakfast and we were off. We climbed to about 1480 feet over the drive on the Cabot Trail. Some of the hills are very steep. You don’t climb as high on the Cabot Trail as in the Rocky Mountains but the climbs are steeper in most cases. We puttered along stopping at viewing pull offs and gift stores. Lots of gift stores along the way. One we stopped off at was a leather store. Very interesting, some of the stuff he had there. Very renowned leather smith. He is world famous for his replica water buckets that were used to fight fires before fire engines and departments. They are very well made and expensive also, running in the neighbourhood of $500-600.00 each. Plus he makes the replica powder carriers that were used to carry gun powder from the powder magazine to the cannons. Very well done and also not cheap. For one movie, he was asked to make these water buckets for a scene. I can’t remember the name of the movie but apparently Russell Crowe was in it. Also according to a write up I read PM Mulroney gave a gift to George Bush Senior of one of his replica water buckets. Amazing what you find in these little shops along the road. We picked up speed in the afternoon with the idea of going to Fort Louisbourg which is located close to Louisbourg, Nova Scotia, still on Cape Breton Island. We arrived around 3:00-4:00 pm. We found a campsite right in town and walking distance to the bus that takes you to Fort Louisbourg. We will do the Fort in the morning. Once we were all set up we unloaded the bikes and rode into town. There is a Crab Fest going on and we thought we would partake of some of the crab. However, they were sold out of crab and we weren’t interested in the beer garden or hot dogs or hamburgers. So we looked for a restaurant that served Sea food. We asked a couple of locals and they recommended the Lobster Kettle and so will we from now on. The best sea food chowder I have tasted. I had a Snow Crab dinner and with the salad bar was only $21.00. Willa had the salad bar and some fish and Tegan had a big bowl of sea food chowder. For an appetizer we had fresh steamed mussels and again very good. An appetizer order of steamed mussels is one pound of mussels (and shells) for $5.95. I could make a meal out of a couple of pounds of them with no trouble. Willa and Tegan both help me eat them. Willa says she can’t believe she is eating mussels and enjoying them. We rode our bikes back home (the motor home has now become home and all three of us are using this term). Tegan found an internet connection and spent an hour on the computer. I read my book and relaxed. Willa walked around the campsite and found out you can see Fort Louisbourg from the campsite. All and all we had a real good day and the driving wasn’t bad at all but very slow road very windy, narrow and even some hair pin turns that I haven’t seen for a while. (Now a twist in the English language). We also had a good head wind most of the time so it was very WINDY. Still having a problem with the power on the top end of the motor home. I’ve talked to a couple of mechanics about the high pressure reading on the oil pressure gage but I will call Fred Key at the shop in Abbotsford to see if he can give me some advice. Tried a couple of times, but I think he may be away. I know they close the shop for a few weeks every summer so may have to wait. Until he is back or it breaks down and we have to go to a shop here or some where. Generally the motor home is running well. Some minor things but it is a lot of miles to put on in a short period of time. We have covered very close to 5000 miles so far about 10-12,000 miles by the time we are done unless we cut some of the trip short because we are spending too much time in individual spots. Better to see one spot well than two spots briefly. Well good night again. I’ll let you know how the Fort goes.

Day 38, August 3, 2007

Day 38, Friday, August 3, 2007
I was a bad boy last night, I stayed up and watched a movie. Willa didn’t go to bed early either and Tegan was on the Internet until almost midnight when we all went to bed. So we were all a little tired this morning so didn’t rush to get away. We were on the road by 11:15 am and our destination is the Cabot Trail on Cape Breton Island. We have about 40 miles to cover before the road starts and we have decided to 1) go clockwise around the trail, 2) start with Ceilidh Trail which is on the west coast. This is where all the fiddlers come from and they have a lot of entertainment up and down this trail. We stopped at the Celtic Music Interpreting Centre in Judique N.S. The Centre has a history of the Celtic Music given by a young gal who also showed us how the different beats of the music was incorporated into the different songs. Then she showed us some of the steps in their dancing. From there a display area gave you more of the history and the Celtic people involved. This is where Natalie MacIsaac comes from and the other famous MacIssac, Ashley. From their we puttered our way up the Island stopping at different pull offs or driving through some of the towns. At about 4:30 we stopped for supper at Cheticamp one of the larger towns at a restaurant called “All A Board”. I had a lobster dinner, Willa and Tegan each had sea food chowder and they shared a lobster and for an appetizer we shared a pound of mussels done in wine sauce, they were so good as was the rest of the meal. We paid our fees in the Cape Breton Highlands National Park and proceeded to look for a campsite. The site we found was just a small one with only about 10 camping spaces. We pulled in and got settled for the night. Willa did some work on the computer and Tegan practiced her Clarinet and I read. All of a sudden there was lightning, thunder and the rain started, it just absolutely poured. I went out to check something and even with an umbrella I got soaked. The rain was good, it cooled off the evening. I decided to take the motor home as opposed to renting a car. The roads were steep in a couple of places but nothing we haven’t been on in BC. Let’s see what tomorrow brings.