Sunday, August 31, 2008

In search of wi-fi

Today we decided we needed some down time to take care of stuff. Mar worked on her laptop, paying bills and doing some schoolwork, while Bernie baked up a storm. She made beer bread and muffins to last us for days. This took pretty much all day.

When we were ready to go we headed east on 15 towards Bouctouche. Once we got there we checked the town for a place to park with access to wi-fi. It seemed pretty hard to find so we decided to ask around.

We asked in several establishments and each time the reply was something like: "The what? You want to do what? The Internet? We are not allowed to do that here." It felt like we were in the twilight zone. Finally at a gas station, the attendant thought that the visitor center might have wi-fi. We had seen the visitor center while driving around so we went back there.

We found a good place to park for the night in their parking lot once we tested to make sure their wi-fi was working. By then it was pretty late so we decided to have a light meal. We heated up the homemade sloppy joes that Aunt Evelyn had given us to take with us when we visited her. They were delicious, thank you Aunt Evelyn, you saved the day … or night!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Beavers hills and magnetic tails

Today we decided to go to Magnetic Hill just outside of Moncton. However, we don’t always go directly to our destination. On the way there, we saw a Salvation Army thrift store having a back to school sale so we decided to stop. When we left there we headed towards Magnetic Hill.

But we didn't get too far. We saw a gas station with water hookups so we stopped to fill up our water tank, and we also needed to buy milk. This gallon of milk is not in a container or bottle, it’s in a bag. A plastic bag, the milk is actually in a bag. Pretty weird.

With our milk in a bag and our fresh water tank full, we hit the road again headed towards Magnetic Hill. But … we saw a liquor store and since we needed beer for the beer bread mix we just bought, we decided to stop in because in Canada, the only place where you can buy liquor or “alcool” is in a liquor store (see pic), they don’t sell it anywhere else. When we came out of the liquor store, we saw a meat store right next door so we went in. This was a real butcher and we bought a couple of pinwheels for dinner. The butcher had this huge thing of meat hanging in the fridge window to cure (see pic).

Next we finally headed for Magnetic Hill. Unfortunately we missed it and kept driving. We saw the sign for the Magnetic Hill Winery and kept going that way hoping to find Magnetic Hill. Instead we found The Prayer Garden. This was a very lovely and peaceful place. The garden has the stations of the cross, each a few feet apart, and at each station is a bench where you can sit to meditate or pray. There is a big beautiful hill covered in colorful flowers and the aroma was absolutely wonderful.

We then turned around and found Magnetic Hill. First we went to the hill and tried it backwards and forwards. It worked both ways, it was equally impressive. Really fun but a little weird to be going uphill backwards in neutral.

Then we went to the Wharf Village next door. Most of the stores were closed by the time we got there but the Beavers’ Tails shop was still open. We had seen them in Montreal but didn’t get to try one so we were extra happy to get one here.

We ordered a chocolate and peanut butter beaver tail, which is a fried piece of flat dough stretched so it looks like a beaver’s tail. Then they load it with all kinds of yummy stuff. The most popular is the cinnamon and sugar beaver’s tail. Mar doesn't like cinnamon, so we picked the next best, chocolate (see pic).

Then we decided to find a laundromat and Mar did the laundry while Bernie fixed dinner. Bernie pulled out the grill and cooked up some fried potatoes and the pinwheels we got at the butcher. They were really good. Then we found a Staples to park for the night, and use their wi-fi before going to bed. Goodnight.

Friday, August 29, 2008

The Bore

Today we awoke to loud noises all around us at the exhibition grounds. There were people putting up tents, getting old fashioned wagons ready, and putting rides together. And on this fairgrounds there is a Tim Horton’s coffee shop. They are everywhere you go here, we saw some in Montreal too, and they seem to always be very busy.

When we were ready we headed for Moncton, going east on highway 2, it is the next big town, about two hours away.

The difference in the New Brunswick landscape is very noticeable. There are pine trees with branches that droop down. There are some with branches that go up. It also seems more rocky and sandy everywhere. There are not that many houses along the way. Even in towns it seems that where one house was built then a few more followed. The houses and buildings are few and far in between, after each small grouping, you can go for several more miles without seeing any. But in the actual cities, both in Moncton and Fredericton, the buildings downtown seem pretty new, not old fashioned at all. The homes themselves don’t seem much different at least from the outside. The colors are about the same palette as in New England. There is the cape cod style and the bungle and clap board. Many of the houses have the same type of front doors.

The people here are very friendly and love to talk. Strangers have given us advise on just about everything and always want to know where we are from. Last night we were waiting at a corner and an older man walked right up to Bella and asked where we were from, called his wife over, and they both just started talking to us, they were so nice. It was them who gave us directions to the fairgrounds.

In Moncton we drove around doing some exploring and made our first stop at The Bore. Bernie’s mom had said that we should take a look at it. The Bore is basically a dry river for 12 hours, it is a big void where there is no water until the tide comes back in. Then amazingly in about an hour it fills up again for another 12 hours. It used to be that it filled up to several feet high. But they built a causeway and now it only gets to a couple feet high and the wave is more of a ripple. This is salt water, it comes all the way from the Bay of Fundy, which is pretty amazing.

The place to watch The Bore is at this little cute park we found on Main Street, with bleachers facing the river for watching The Bore. The park has beautiful landscaping and lots of flowers. There is also a magnificent monument to the first mayor of Moncton, the monument is a fountain in the abstract shape of a ship (see pic).

We had some time before the next tide so we decided to do some more exploring. We went to The Crystal Palace, an indoor fair with lots of rides for children. It was cool. There is even a roller coaster inside.

Then we went to the Chapters Bookstore next door. We went to the travel section to look at books about Canada. We actually learned a lot and found some new things we’d like to go see.

We left the bookstore and went back to The Bore. It was cold and difficult to see in the dark, so we didn’t wait for the tide to fully come in. We then headed to Staples to use their wi-fi and stay the night in their parking lot. Tomorrow is a new day and there is so much to see and so many new places to explore.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

A note to our dedicated readers

Because of the extra cost of using our phones and internet service while in Canada, we will get a little behind in our blogging and emails.

We will attempt to find free wi-fi while we're there to try to keep up. If that doesn't work, we promise to update you as soon as we get back.

We will not be taking any ferries (too expensive) so we plan to drive through New Brunswick, to Prince Edwards Island, and then on to Halifax, Nova Scotia. We don't know how long we'll be gone, but figure at least a week to ten days, or so. Who knows?

We are going where the road takes us and we'll get there when we get there.

We'll see you when we get back !!!

We are now in Canada

Today in Houlton ME we got ready to go. We filled the fresh water tank, we dumped, we got gas, we got groceries, we got bottled water, we got rid of our trash, we did our dishes, we cleaned Bella, and we got an oil change. We were now ready for a foreign country.

We drove three miles north on I-95 to the border, where the nice attendant asked us just a few questions, glanced at our passports, and sent us on our way.

Our first stop in New Brunswick was the visitor center, where we picked up maps and tons of good info, and they gave us a couple of beautiful apples too. The green stuff on the roof of the visitor center is grass. Luscious green grass on top of the roof! (see pic)

We also picked up a bookmark with a very handy conversion chart, so now we have a better idea of how much a liter is, and a kilometer, and celsius degrees, and all that good stuff.

Then we drove about an hour and stopped in the first big town, Fredericton. We drove around downtown and saw the end of a procession of bag pipers. After taking a look around town, we stopped for the night at the fairgrounds or as they call it here, the exhibition grounds. It seems there is a big event coming up this weekend, so there is quite a bit of activity with vehicles entering and leaving constantly. Needless to say, the place is quite noisy.

But we found we could connect to the town's free wi-fi, Fredericton is the first Canadian city to offer city wide free wi-fi and it works really well too.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The menu planner

We needed some staples, just two or three things. Since we were parked at Walmart, Bernie went in to get them. She came back with a cart full of food. She got inspired and decided on some simple menus we could have while in Canada. She plans to prepare some dinners and then all we have to do is just heat them up.

We left Mexico ME and headed for Houlton ME, where we plan to cross the border to New Brunswick, Canada. According to our GPS, we would be on I-95 in no time. Next thing we know we are driving and driving and driving. Finally we pulled over and checked both the online map and our road atlas. We figured out a very simple route that took us to I-95 in about twenty minutes. This was so frustrating. Our GPS has been nothing but trouble up here in the northeast. It worked fine in the south but now we are tempted to throw her out the window and run her over a few times!

After wasting all that time driving around in circles, we decided we just wanted to get to Houlton without any stops or any more delays, so Bernie made dinner while Mar drove, so we could keep going. Then Bernie went ahead and prepared a few more meals for us to have ready to eat in Canada. All while driving down I-95. That’s how inspired she was by the grocery trip this morning.

We finally made it to Houlton about 10:30ish pm and found the Walmart to settle in for the night.

Tomorrow we shall be in Canada!!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


It got really cold last night and we were freezing! So today we broke down and decided we can’t wait any longer. We found the local thrift shop and found some good deals on some warm clothing. No more freezing in our motorhome.

Then we had to go back to the laundromat to do one more load of laundry. Because, of course, you cant wear clothes you buy without washing them first. Ask Bernie. And now our new clothes smell so good.

Then we decided to go to find the store called Sugar Hill Sampler because we saw an ad for their beer bread. We love beer bread, it is really good and really easy to make. On the way there we saw Polly's Pancakes Parlor. Bernie wanted to stop but they were already closed. Bummer.

Then we decided it was time to leave NH and headed out to ME. Our next stop is Canada, we are going to Nova Scotia. We put in the address for the border crossing in ME in our trusty GPS and headed out. Next thing we knew we were driving around in circles and wasting time.

Then our GPS did the unthinkable and sent us down a dead end road. It was a dark, narrow road with big steel drums blocking the way. Not good. We were frazzled and upset. Finally we just stopped for the night at the Walmart in Mexico, ME.

We can just hope that tomorrow will be a better day to get to where we’re going.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Fridge less

First on the agenda today was the Flume Gorge. We had to backtrack a couple of miles because Bernie, the navigator, missed it on the map yesterday. The Flume is a beautiful example of what mother nature can do. As gorgeous as this place is, it is definitely not recommend for anyone who is not physically active, or anyone who is not at least moderately active … or anyone who sits in an rv all day … like some people who shall remain nameless ...

You start with a 10 minute hike uphill just to get to the base. We took the (optional) bus there just to save some walking. Once there, there is another short hike to get to the Flume, and then there are the stairs. You climb stair after stair, going up and up, with rushing water only a few feet away. You can turn around and see how far you have gone and then look up and see how far you have to go. At each bend is another fantastic view, the rocks, the water, the unique vegetation, the sky, the fresh smell in the air…

Once at the top we took a few minutes to look around and enjoy the waterfall before heading back down. Even being careful it is so steep that we slid a few times. It is a thirty minute walk back down to where the bus picks you up again (optional bus ride, you can hike back, we took the bus :-)

And we had to pay for all this walking! We actually bought a discount pass that included the Flume and the funicular we rode to the top of Cannon Mountain yesterday.

When we got back to the parking lot we discovered our refrigerator was not working. We figured it must not have been working for some time because nothing was cold at all. Not another problem!

Bernie tried everything she could think of to fix it but couldn't figure it out. We decided to go to the nearest town hoping to find some help. But there are no big towns around here. We saw mostly just hotels and restaurants, and most were closed. We were driving around Twin Mountain and we were told that to find a refrigeration person, we would have to go to Littleton. So off we went.

Once in Littleton, a very cute town, we asked around and couldn’t find anyone to help. By this time some of our food had gone bad and our patience was wearing thin. Bernie decided to try again and somehow she got it working again. The problem seems to be related to our newly acquired inverter. It’s a good thing Bernie kept trying. Yeah Bernie!

In the area we saw a laundromat and a Walmart so we decided to stay in Littleton and get our laundry done. Afterwards, we parked at the Walmart for the night.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The face on the mountain

We decided to leave today. It was hard to go because Andy and his family have been so wonderful to us and their place is so beautiful … but the road was calling and we had to follow.

We had such a spectacular day today. Leaving Lincoln, we drove north on 93 in the White Mountains. The views were incredible. First we went to The Basin. The water was crystal clear and absolutely freezing. As we walked along Bernie did her investigating, going in and out of the water. Then the water called to Mar too and even she had to try it out. Everyone who was there just had to stick at least one foot in, the place was so beautiful and the water so tempting. We saw a large group of Orthodox Jewish people of all ages having a grand time in the water, that was awesome.

Then we drove to Cannon Mountain to ride the funicular which takes you from 2000 feet up to 4180 feet. When you get to the top you hike to the observation deck where you can see not only NH but also all the way to Canada, Vermont and Maine. That was beautiful … it was also VERY cold up there!

After that, a little farther down the mountain, we went to the observation point for where The Old Man in the Mountain used to be. The place is Profile Lake and it is absolutely gorgeous and so peaceful. The water is very shallow and crystal clear. We sat down on the huge rocks next to the water, to watch the scenery and some guys who were there fly fishing. The sun was on its way down so it was too cold to put our feet in the water by then.

When we left there we headed out to find a place to get propane. On the way we also got to see the Indian Head, another face on another mountain, this one really does look like the profile of a Native American face with a Mohawk.

Then we found a place to get propane and afterwards landed on a dirt road in the woods to park for the night. This “road” is the parking lot for the trail that goes up the Indian Head mountain. We are hoping this will be a quiet place in the morning so we can get some sleep, and Bernie is hoping to at least see a bear.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

A river runs through it

Today was a gorgeous day and a day of rest for us. Andy's place is beautiful and peaceful, much better than any campground. In the afternoon we got out the lounge chairs and just relaxed in the shade of a huge apple tree in the yard, admiring the view, the open fields, and the mountain ranges. It was so peaceful that Bernie decided to take a nap.

Andy’s best friend and his wife came over for a bbq. They invited us to join them. Everything was delicious, veggie salad, fruit salad, chicken and burgers and corn on the cob.

After dinner we went out to their huge yard and walked and talked. We saw their beautiful and plentiful garden, from which we’ve had veggies two days in a row now.

Then we decided to go explore and take a walk to the river through the woods. We saw birds, flowers, and bear tracks. We picked blueberries and blackberries along the way. We eventually made it to this gorgeous river with huge rocks. The mosquitoes were sooo bad here, no amount of bug spray would keep them away, so we high tailed it back to the house.

We visited for a little while with Andy and his wife and friends, and then headed in to take showers and rest for the night.