Saturday, September 24, 2011

Final Post: Maine to Prescott

We have been home in Prescott for two weeks and I have finally found time to finish off the RV trip with the last blog. There has been a blurry of activity since we got home between unpacking the rig, laundry, our house sitters moving out, moving things around in the house, seeing friends, and going to activities in town. It has been a busy two weeks. Dean has already started on a remodeling project.

At the end of the last blog we were in Maine and heading for Kansas. We traveled fairly fast – covering 8 states in 3 days. Dean drove 6 to 8 hours per day. We stayed at his daughter’s house for 6 days visiting with Stephanie, her husband Lorin, and the two grandkids, Lane and Landon. On Monday of our visit we had lunch with the boys at their school. On Tuesday we drove to the Kansas City area and visited with Dean’s other daughter, Suzanne, and her family: husband Jason and grandkids Ethan and Parker. Parker (age 3) was much more talkative now than she was when we saw her at age 1 and a half.

After visiting with the kids we went to Dean’s brother’s farm in Allen, Kansas, and spent 5 days with brother, Tom, wife, Barb, and Dean’s mom who turned 90 this year. Then we were off to Oklahoma to see my brother Stan and his wife Becky and my stepmother Doloris. We stayed 4 days in Oklahoma and then started moving west to Arizona. The first night we boondocked at a very nice Elks Lodge in Tucumcari, NM and then the next day (Sept 10) we drove to Prescott.

It was a great trip. We were gone 270 days, passed thru 24 states (25 if you count 5 miles in West Virginia) and 5 Canadian Provinces. We put close to 13,000 miles on the motorhome and 7000 miles on the car. The highest price for gas was around $5.50. We averaged around $3.40 per night for camping fees and didn’t pay any camping fees in Canada. We stayed at National Parks, Elks, store parking lots, Harvest Hosts, Day’s End boondocking spots, and even driveways of locals. We stayed at 4 Passport America Private parks and one private park, which turned out to be our most expensive at $23 per night. We had summer in Florida at the Everglades in March and winter in Newfoundland in July. We saw an assortment of wildlife from alligators to whales. We traveled 11 weeks with Ron and Bernita Poutney, whom we thoroughly enjoyed, and besides seeing a few relatives, the rest of the time it was just Dean, Chica, and I. We saw a lot of this country and Canada. It will be a trip we will always remember.

Monday, August 22, 2011


Our last night in Canada was at Blacks Harbor. We left Friday morning and crossed the border around 8 AM. They took Dean's firewood and some fruit. We got to Shelley and Lon's in Brewer, Maine, around 10:30. I immediately took Chica to the groomers - after 5 months she really needed grooming. That evening we went to Jon and Ellen's camp for dinner. They have a lovely place on Lake Lucerne.

On Saturday the Maniack group went to Bar Harbor and had a birthday picnic for Ellen's cousin, Lynn. Chica is very happy now that she is back with her buddy, Yetti.
The picnic was actually at Thompson Island, not far from Arcadia National Park. It was a beautiful day for a picnic.
That night a group of us went to Bar Harbor and did a sunset cruise on the Windjammer schooner. It was a fun cruise but the weather (fog) made for a dismal sunset.
But we had a great time anyway - snacks, drinks, entertainmentand new friends. We didn't let a little fog hamper our spirits.
Chica even got to go. She has become quite the adventuring dog.
Saturday was laundry and house cleaning day. Then we went back to Jon and Ellen's for dinner. Today the group met at Lonnie and Shelley's and I cooked cod for everyone. And we had PEI raspberries and ice cream. Tomorrow we are saying goodbye to Maine and heading West. We should be in Kansas within 4 - 5 days.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

PEI - West Side

Here we are in Blacks Harbor, New Brunswick, and our last stop in Canada. Tomorrow we will be back in Maine and the good old USA.

We left the east side of PEI and drove through the Green Gables area on our way to the west side. This is the commercial area of PEI. I have never read the books but I wanted to stop, especially since our admission was covered on our discovery pass. It is a beautiful park with great RV day parking. We walked through the barn, house and then down lover’s lane (hand-in-hand). It was lightly raining. I bought the first edition of the book so I can kind of know what this popularity is all about.

We stayed at another Harvest Host – Montrose gardens – on the west side of the island near Alberton, PEI. This is a vegetable and dairy farm owned by Ivan and Theresa Hardy. They were wonderful hosts. We bought some veggies and blueberries from their very busy stand. We parked next to the barn and the first night we watched them milk their 35 cows. It brought back memories for both Dean and I since we were raised on farms in the Midwest.

Wednesday, we took a drive on the west coast and saw the North Cape (lighthouse and wind generator farm) and the West point (lighthouse turned into hotel and restaurant and a beautiful provincial park).

In O’Leary we toured the potato museum. I never knew so much about potatoes. In PEI there are over 85 different varieties grown. We stopped on the way back to the rig and bought some quahogs (like a clam) and had them for lunch. PEI is an island of farms and gardens. There are only around 150,000 people and most of the island is farm communities. The Hardy’s gave us some canned veggies along with the produce that we bought from the stand. Dean helped pick yellow beans with the pickers who get paid by the pound. He gave his pickings to the pickers and they in turn gave us a huge bag of clams. Fresh seafood and fresh veggies – what a treat! We were told not to expect too much from PEI but we thoroughly enjoyed our 6 days.

Today we took the Confederation bridge to New Brunswick. It is 8 miles and about 12 minutes and two lane. It cost us $57. It is a beautiful bridge.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Prince Edward Island

Here we are in Prince Edward Island. We came across from Nova Scotia on the ferry at Pictou. The ferry is free going to the island. You only pay when you leave – maybe we shouldn’t leave. We are really enjoying ourselves here – warm weather, beautiful scenery, great food, and lovely people.

The ferry ride is about an hour. Chica got to go on deck. It was a beautiful crossing. We arrived at PEI and stayed the first night at the visitors center, less than 4 miles from the ferry terminal.

The next day we went to our fifth Harvest Host of this year – Shepard’s farm outside of Mt. Stewart. Steve and Cindy Cousins and family run the farm and they have chickens, sheep, cows, pigs, geese, along with crops of raspberries, black currants, potatoes and more. We picked raspberries the first and second day we were there. What a treat. And Chica even made a new friend.

On Sunday Dean, Chica, and I drove the East shore drive. We took a hike at the National Park at Greenwich. Their claim to fame is a boardwalk going across the marsh to the beach.

Then we went on to the East Point lighthouse, which, of course, is the farthest east point on the island.

We made a stop at Basin Head Provincial Park to hear the singing sands. The sands were not singing today because they have had too much wet weather – the silicone in the sand has not dried out enough for the sand to sing. But it was a real pretty park and since it was Sunday there were a lot of people enjoying the wonderful weather.

On Monday, Dean and I went into Charlottetown, the biggest city on the island. We walked around the downtown, along the boardwalk, and watched as the military band and color guard participated in the inaugural of the new lieutenant governor.

One of PEI’s specialties is chocolate covered potato chips. We tried them – not great. But we did go to the Cow Creamery and took the tour and had their ice cream. The tour was not worth the $6 each but the ice cream certainly was worth every penny. This ice cream has been voted the number one ice cream in the world. Very good!

I took a short bike ride along the Confederation trail around Mt. Stewart. PEI has miles and miles of bike trails going all the way across the island. Along the way I spotted a fox. This picture is blown up a lot.

Dean helped Steve and his kids with the black currant harvest. There is always help needed on a farm. We both picked raspberries to help them out.

Tomorrow we leave for the other side of the island and another Harvest Host.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Cabot and CeilidhTrail

The Cabot Trail was beautiful. We arrived in North Sydney after taking the 15 hour ferry from Newfoundland on Sunday.

Our first stop was the Alexander Graham Bell Museum in Baddeck. The museum was just OK (not great) and we learned a lot about the inventions of Bell. There was a kite display and one of the kites was made of a paper bag from Coffeyville, Kansas (Dean has relatives there). The town of Baddeck is lovely. It must be the B&B capitol of Nova Scotia. There were many beautiful old homes restored into lodging.

Our first stop was at Indian Brook (not much of a town) where we stayed at an abandoned RV park located on the coast line, very quiet and scenic. The next day we did the first big hill (we drove separate) and then stayed at Neil’s Harbor. We boondocked at the Chowder House with a great view of the rugged coastline. The view was a little obstructed because of the wind and rain. We ate lunch and dinner at the Chowder House: good food and cheap prices!

Chowder House and our rig in parking lot.

The next day was another big hill in the northern part of Cape Breton Highlands National Park and then we stayed at Pleasant Bay. During the day we toured the Whale Interpretive center which was very interesting. We parked by the marina and watched the whale watching boats come in and out. Since we have a marine radio now, we listened to see if they were spotting any whales. When we heard that there were about 3 pods around I got my warm clothes together and went to the marina. I took a zodiac ride which was a great way to see whales. We followed a pod for about an hour. I wish my pictures were better because the whales were right next to the boat.

Parking spot at Pleasant Harbor
Marina with four whale watching enterprises at Pleasant Bay
My whale pictures

The zodiac I went out on and the passengers coming ashore.

Views of Cabot Trail

Day three on the Cabot trail and we went over another big hill – MacKensie Mt. I drove separate the entire 3 days that we did the trail and we are glad because our transmission would not have taken these grades. We stopped in at Cheticamp and I went to the Hooked Rug Musuem. Cheticamp is the Hooked Rug Capitol of the World. After Cheticamp we came across Joe's Scarecrow farm. We drove on to find a boondocking spot but three of the Days End spots were no longer available. We left the Cabot Trail and arrived in Mabou. We got permission to stay in the city parking lot so we could go to the Red Shoe Pub for music and dinner. The music was good but the dinner was not very good and pricey. Tonight we are at Judique at the Celtic Music Interpretive Center. We listened to a fiddler at lunch and we are going to the evening performance. Tomorrow leave Cape Breton Island and return to the mainland of Nova Scotia.