Thursday, February 20, 2014

Cross Canada Trip - 2014 - Whole Trip

Cross Canada - 2014

Here are all the posts from our Summer 2014 Cross Canada Trip.  These posts were originally published in our  "Canada with Mike and Penny Blog" which I have now incorporated into this "Chuckling Chimes Travel Blog." I added photos in February 2015. Some are a bit slow to load.

Saturday, September 20, 2014                                                  


  Home Again from Cross-Canada Trip 2014

We got home on Monday September 15 - just as we had planned and I am catching up using my home computer which is soooo much easier than using my smart phone! Typos happen but not to practically every word.

On Friday morning we woke up in Cypress Hills to snow everywhere. The truck and trailer and picnic table were covered. We were alone at the end of our campground loop and felt as if we were arctic (or maybe antarctic) explorers. However the sun was shining and the sky clear blue. Mike swept the snow and cracked off the ice off the truck. Before breakfast was finished a big RV came into our magical white campground.  The people stopped and asked, "When did this happen?" They had come down from Medicine Hat - 70 km away where there was no sign of snow! Our attempt to avoid the snow on the Rockies had backfired! The Cypress Hills are a bit higher than the surrounding prairie plateau - actually more than 1200 metres abiove sea level - so they were the only other place to have got the snow that was causing so much trouble in Calgary. Looking back, our night in the snow was an exotic Canadian adventure on our trip from sea to shining sea.

The Alberta 511 Report said that the Crowsnest pass was clear and dry. Sure enough, after we passed some amazing black cattle dotted against the white snowy fields, the snow slowly disappeared along the road out of Cypress Hills.. Driving towards the foothills at Fort MacLeod, a white band of snow stretched across the horizon. Dark blue peaks wavered above. The sky was blue  We have driven towards the foothills a few times before and it is always amazing - but we've never seen anything as glorious as this September snowfall on the east side of the Rockies.

We got as far as Yahk Provincial Park that night. It is a very pretty park in Kootenays with lovely campsites and no fear of flooding or bugs but - like most BC provincial parks - it lacks amenities found in most provincial and national parks in the rest of Canada. There is no cell reception, the toilets are "pits," there are no showers, no full hookups, no electrical hookups, and not even a sani-dump. The attendant was charming and we only paid the seniors rate of $8.00 - so we were happy for the night. But sani-dumps are essential RVing. I picked up a copy of a BC parks brochure and found Yahk was typical. Only the largest and most popular BC parks (like Manning and Moyie Lake) have the amenities we had come to expect in parks all across the rest of the country. We are good at "dry camping" and our solar panels provide all the electricity we need but we do need a sani-dump about every 4 nights. Luckily we found a municipal one further down the road.

The next day (Saturday) we drove to Oliver where we spent 2 days with Marilyn and Jim, Pete and Barb. We felt to so welcomed home and we spent the time swimming, playing bocchi ball, canoeing, eating and chatting. There was lots of news to catch up on and it was a very fun time.

Sunday we got to North Van and stayed the night in Rob and Josie's back yard. It was terrific to see everyone there. Monday I had my 3 appointments at St Paul's Hospital (Providence).
  • Ears - yes the tube had fallen out in Gros Morne and was stuck in my ear canal. It was all cleaned out (ouch), the tubes removed (ouch), and my hearing improved a lot. 
  • Sinuses - something not nice was growing  and it was blasted out (ouch). 10 weeks was a bit too long to go without my sinuses being checked. 
  • Asthma - Sue did some tests which I hope help determine what needs to be done when I go back in a couple of weeks.
We got to Horseshoe Bay in time for the 5 o'clock (approximately) ferry and luckily met up with Elspeth and the boys in the parking lot. They were waiting to go home to the Sunshine Coast at the same time we were waiting to go home to Nanaimo.   When we got home - everything looked great. The grass had hardly grown despite not being mowed all summer but the tomatoes and and grapes were really successful.

At that moment - the different ways we approach lawns in Canada seemed significant. Here on the west side of the Rockies lawns turn yellow in the summer and don't need mowing. They are lovely and green in the winter when we get rain.  In the East (Manitoba eastward) vast green lawns are the favourtie form of summer garden. They stretch for acres around the houses and are mowed ceaselessly by people on giant riding mowers. BUT they are never watered. (We never saw a single garden sprinkler east of Saskatchewan.) That is because it rains in the east - all summer long. At least it did this year!
Penny Grant No comments:

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Snow Day is snowing in Cypress Hills - the Alberta part near Medicine Hat.  We are here because we are trying to avoid the snow in Lethbridge and Waterton National Park. Clearly not a good strategy.  (If you are like me you have no idea where Medicine Hat or Lethbridge are.  Both are east of Calgary and Medicine Hat is east of Lethbridge where " accu weather " says it is just cloudy not having flurries.)  The weather all around southern Alberta is supposed to clear up tomorrow - accu weather again. So if we aren't snowed in here we will head west again tomorrow. The good news - the back window hasn't leaked!
Listening to the teacher strike news and sending hopeful wishes to all teachers parents and students. Josie and Elspeth' s links are always so informative. If things are not sorted out when we get home next week we will be available to protest, babysit, teach something to someone, or whatever...
Penny Grant No comments:

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Indian Head - Day 62 Cross-Canada Trip - 2014


Tonight we are at a private campground in Indian Head a few km east of Regina.  Our excitement for the day was warning lights going on in the truck re. the ABS brakes. We stopped and called the Nissan help line. They said it would be wise to go to a dealer so, even though the lights went off, we went to the Nissan dealer in Brandon. The tech guy did some tests and said it was likely caused by the weight of the trailer - which seems odd since there have been no warning lights for the thousands of km we have towed the trailer until now. Not much we could do so we went on our way and assume all is well as there are no other symptoms. The town of Indian Head is the place where they shot the TV series, Little Mosque on the Prairie. It is about 40 km south of Q'appelle where we had planned to stay. We picked this spot because it has electricity. It has been so cold recently. It is going to go down to 0' tonight and all the puddles in the campground will freeze. We have electricity here and have our heater plugged in so we are fine. There has been some snow in Calgary and more predicted for tomorrow but it should improve in a day or two. I guess the cold weather is the result of one of those arctic outflows which are now more extreme because of climate change.  BTW what do you think about the Franklin ship discovery? Wouldn't have happened if the sea ice wasn't melting - causing unexpected arctic outflows, icy weather and harm to crops around here. Hmm.. Better stop and go to bed before it really gets cold. Good luck to teachers parents and students re mandatory arbitration.
Penny Grant No comments:

Monday, September 8, 2014


We left lovely Quetico Provincial. Park this morning and drove and drove and drove all the way to Winnipeg. Along the way we saw red maples and yellow aspins among the evergreen trees. This changed to farm country around Port Frances which is right on the US border near the grand portsge. Then back to Canadian shield, -rocks lakes and evergreens  - as we by-passed Kenora. It is truly one enormous Japanese garden - so beautiful.  We crossed the middle of Canada longitudinally before getting to Winnipeg. We are camped at Birds Hill a bit north of the city. This is as far from St John's as Ireland is. The temperature will drop down to 7' tonight and be even colder tomorrow when we get to the Regina area. This is due to an unusual arctic outflow. Hopefully no snow.  We have been keeping up on the news of the teachers strike and our latest conclusion is that actually a fight about Charter Rights - ie the right of people to have their legally negotiated union rights against the rights of the state to make legislstion and policy. The Charter is intended to protect individuals from state oppression - so this is history in the making. At least thats our latest idea.
Penny Grant No comments:

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Quetico Provincial Park


We are now west of Thunder Bay on the way to St Francis, Kenora and Winnipeg tomorrow. We are now in Central Time so have an extra hour. This is a great canoeing area of Ontario and Mike is launching the canoe  for a quick paddle before dinner. They had an inch of snow in the park last night but it is 24' now - no breeze. Should be a nice change from driving driving driving.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Near Sudbury

Today we drove through Ottawa and saw the Parliament Buildings and the Rideau Canal. We drove all day along the Ottawa River and related waterways with Quebec still in sight. We shopped in North Bay on Lake Nippissing. The forecast for Sudbury was heavy thunderstorms and even possible tornadoes. Fortunately we have only found a very wet - partly flooded campground so we didn't get to test our window repairs yet. The lake water was pouring into the play ground like the tides in the Bay of Fundy.  Tomorrow Lake Superior Prov Pk which looks really wonderful.

Penny Grant No comments:

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Near Ottawa

We left the KOA at St Nicholas on the south shore of the St Lawrence and took the scenic but slow route east along the St Lawrence. As we arrived at Sorel-Tracy, we realized we had no idea where William Grant was burird but really wantef to find his gravestone. The god said there are lots of churches in the town. We switched the gps to look for cemeteries and  headed for Christ Church Anglican cemetrry which wss near a fitness club but not a church.  Luckily it was the right one. We found William Grant's headstone based on the photo on Anitas website. We took some photos and Mike sent a spot. Yippee we found it under am apple tree. The same graveyard had many Tuckers buried there too. After a quick lunch we caught the ferry which crosses the river there and drove and drove until we found the rv park we had reserved for tonight. It is almost full with seasonals but hardly  anyone is here. However we were welcomed to Quebec by a friendly man who said he stays here in the summer and then goes to Florida in the winter. The moon is shining brightly and it is time for bed.
Penny Grant No comments:

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Fixing back window in Levis, PQ

Here we are in Levis Quebec getting the rear window in the Escape repaired. When Mike backed into my bike hanging in the carport and broke the window we had it repaired at Apple Glass in Nanaimo but it appears the glass they used was too thin for the gasket to seal properly. Last night during a heavy shower about a cup of water seeped in - based on what we wrang out of towel used to sop it up. The cushions were wet and it was tres humide. The technician here is going to use sealant to fix it properly.
We were trying to add up the number of km we have taken our Escape. Definitely 18,000 on the 4 month Mexico trip and 16.000 on this trip. Plus a few thousand to Yellow Knife, a few to Winnipeg and a few to Idaho - twice - also a couple of other trips to California and the Grand Canyon - twice. Phew - a lot of km! Things have broken - brakes on the Yellow Knife trio and a hole in the fibreglass plus broken fridge door on the Winnipeg trip-  but we always fix them. Our Escape is 9 years old but as good as new - sans duct tape.
Penny Grant No comments:

Tuesday, September 2, 2014


Yesterday we drove from Bay of Fundy  in eastern New Brunswick to Edmunston in the west - almost on the Quebec border. It was foggy and rainy a lot of the way. The countryside was pretty with rolling tree covered hills and lakes and rivers. Everything is still green but it must be spectacular in the fall. We visited the very lovely Jardin Botanical near Edmunston. A highlight was meeting a young fellow in our campground who had cycled all the way from Prince Rupert and was going to Halifax. Very impressive. Very long way.
Today we drove to our KOA which is across the St Lawrence River from Quebec City. The weather on the way here was horrendous. At one point it was raining so hard we could barely see the road in front of us. Some cars pulled over but a couple of big trucks passed us at high speed with lights flashing. It was really awful. We had big rainstorms on the way to Yellow Knife but without the traffic.  Driving back and forth over Pont Quebec was also pretty wild. The turns come pretty fast and the GPS gave  a lot of badly timed instructions so we made about 5 wrong turns in a row - all at top speed. Our gas was low. A couple more mistakes and we would have run out! 
We had a great walk around the Old City and it did not rain while we were there. But back at the trailer it came down in torrents and water seeped in the back window despite the duct tape. In fact Mike sopped up a cup full from the window ledge during the heaviest part if the "shower."  Fortunately we have electricity so are drying the cushions with the hair dryer. We have had a lot of annoying moisture on this trio. It seems like it has either been wet and hot  (called humid or Ontario weather) or wet and cold (called wintery).
Tomorrow we plan to visit the city again (despite showers in the forecast) then on to Ottawa the next day. We will likely stop in Sorrel to visit William Grant of Trois Rivieres' gravesite.
Good luck to all teachers, students and parents. The treachers strike sounds like all out war from here. Christy does not seem to realize that all kids need an excellent education if we are going to be able to deal with all the problems that lie ahead.  Yeh teachers. Hang in, everyone.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Fundy -day 2

We spent our second day at Fundy National Park checking out the low and high tide and walking a very rooty trail out to Matthews Head. The tide was low at about 10 am and we walked about one km out to the waters edge at Alma Beach. Around 4:15 the tide was all the way up the beach. The fish  boats which had been high and dry were afloat. According to the Tide Tables there was about a 7 metre change - so nothing like the 50 ft tides which are possible. The reason the tides are so extreme here is the tidal bore - where the flow of the rivers reverses as the tide goes up and is added to the height of the regular high tide.  Of course the highest tides occur everywhere when the sun and moon are lined up at full moon or new moon and both pull the tide simultaneously (so called spring tides.) Tomorroe we drive across New Brunswick to Edmunston. Then on to Quebec City the next day.
Penny Grant No comments:

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Bay of Fundy

When we got to the KOA in  Charlottetown on Thursday it was pouring with rain and our part of the campground was practically empty. On Friday it filled up with hundreds of people - all out to celebrate the end of summer and the Labour Day Weekend. Lots of people were staying in tents. I couldn't figure out why the were hovering around our power post. It turned out they were chargjng their cell  phones. Two ipads were actually sitting there plugged in when we left this morning. Camping has changed! Lots of campers seem to come out with just a tent, an electric kettle, a toaster and a cell phone. Oh yes - and some bring hair dryers! But they all like campfires.
We drove a few km north of Charlottetown and crossed the 10 km Confederation Bridge. It is really amazing especially when you thimk that only 140,000 people actually live in all of PEI.  It sways and rolls during winter storms but was very pleasant today despite the strong winds.

We drove through rural New Brunswick on a very bumpy road, through Moncton and then south to the  Bay of Fundy National Park.  The park is at the head of the bay so it is a good place to see the.immense tides. The tides are 50 ft high at the head of the bay - though only about a metre at the mouth. The tides in PEI and Nfld were hardly noticeable.

At the entrance to the park is the village of Alma where we bought some fresh baked bread and a cooked lobster -  bright red and very tasty. I put a photo of this amazing meal on Instagram. After dinner we went to a concert in the open air theatre in the park. It was the last show of the season. Summer is nearly over here and you can see that some of the trees are beginning to change colour.
The maritimes are really a wonderful part of Canada. Too bad it takes about 10 days to drive here.
Penny Grant No comments:

Friday, August 29, 2014

1864 Convention

Today we went to downtown Charlottetown and toured Founders Hall, visited the Confederation Zone, and went on a walking tour if the downtown with one of the Confederation Players. He turned out to be the actor who had tsken an early mornimg walk with the Premiers thst day and he was photographed (in costume) with them by the CBC and Globe and Mail.

He told us that he had also poured the ice on Christy's head as part of ALS awareness campaign.  We thought all you teachers, students and parents might have liked to shake his hand! Which we did at the end of the tour. It was an excellent tour and we now underdtand wjy PEI did not join Confederation in 1867 (they thought they were better off on their own) and why they did in 1873 (they were in debt for the railroad and the wooden ship building industry had foundered. ) Did you kmow that when Jacques Cartier discovered PEI it wss covered with giant red oaks which is what they later used to build ships. Now there dont seem to be any tall trees. Also PEI is actually a sandbar left behind after the glaciers scoured down the Nfld and Nova Scotia Appalachian Mountains. It is eroding away by about a metre every year - more when there is a bad storm. This is our last night in PEI. Tomorrow we go to the Bay of Fundy. Happy Labour Day weekend.
Penny Grant No comments:

Thursday, August 28, 2014


We made it to Charlottetown today. On the way we stopped in Summerside to visit a museum about thr 1864 Charlottetown Convention. It focused on what was going on the rest of the world - unification in Germany and Italy, the Impressionists, etc. Something that surprised us - we should have known was that PE I did not join Confederation in 1867. PEI was doing very well on its own at the time and only joined on 1873 after BC and Manitoba. The reason for joining - the railway was in debt and Canada bailed them out. We are staying at a KOA near Charlottetown. But then everywhere in PEI is near Charlottetown because it is such a small province - half the size of Vancouver Island. There was a huge downpour when we arrived. I think they call it a shower because it is like being in the shower. We got the oil changed in the truck at the Nissan dealer and then walked around the historical downtown.

We did't see Christy. Tomorrow we will tour more thoroughly. Good luck teachers, students and parents.
Penny Grant No comments:

Wednesday, August 27, 2014


Tonight we went out to the North Cape for dinner. I wanted to try lobster and we wanted to see the furthest north west point of PEI. Dinner was ok. I had a lobster roll which is a bun with lettuce and cold lobster - tasted a lot like crab. Mayonnaise was optional. The restaurant was quiet until a large crowd of at least 30 people came in. Our waitress said they were politicians. We thought it might be the premiers who are having  their annual conference in PEI and we were looking for Christy but the only person we recognized was Peter Mackay who we later discovered is here to give some money for a youth employment program.  Our dinner was thirty dollars each - their banquet must have been at least a thousand plus the bus from New Glasgow etc etc. Hmm... Well maybe we will see Christy in Charlottetown tomorrow.  Sunset at the cape was besutiful.

Penny Grant No comments:


This trip scross Canads has been am camping trip or RVing to be more precise.  It has brought many experiences. Today it is definitely bugs. I have concluded that the worst bugs you meet while camping in Canada are little black flies. To the uninitiated they look like miniature house flies but they are truly evil and their bite can last a week. If they get in your hair you are really in trouble. Mosquitoes are everywhere and can bite through your clothes but the  bite only lasts an hour or two. Then there are small floating bugs which probably bite but seem less determined. Regular flies are also.nasty and they are here in Jacque Cartier provincial park. Fortunately it is breezy right now so they are mostly blowing away. The trailer is usually pretty bug free but occasionally we have a bug massacre to keep it that way. Any bug that leaves s red mark when you swot it not your friend.  Off is pretty effective. Never go camping in Canada without it. Or Afterbite in case you get a false sense of security.
When I first posted this blog I picked up my bottle of G and found a fly swimming in it. I poured it out and the fly partially recovered and was staggering around until I finished it and several others off with a piece of paper towel. Next to Off, paper towel is a camper's best friend.
Penny Grant No comments:

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Hot Day in PEI


What s hot day - over 40' and very humid. Time to go wading in the cool blue Gulf of St Lawrence now that it is cool enough to leave the dog in the truck. While other parks allow dogs on the beach, the PEI national park does not. We had hoped to ride our bikes on the flat paved trail but it was even too hot for that. This is why we are buying a new trailer with aircon.
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We are in our tenth province for this trip - P E I. The sun is shining and the beaches, the fields and the ground everywhere is the famous red colour There are still small patches of boreal forest but the island is mainly  meadows and cultivated fields - potatoes, corn, some kind of grain. So far we have not seen any towns. We are in the Pei National Park which is only 25 minutes from Charlottetown. Yesterday we toured the east side and after arriving st our campsite we did a very short bike  ride and went "swimming " which here means standing waist deep in the water because the beaches are so flat. We are trying to get back our energy for the push home so are having good long sleeps.
Penny Grant No comments:

Sunday, August 24, 2014


We left Mira River for the trip to the Caribou -Wood Island ferry which good to P E I. We could not get a spot at the provincial park since this is the last weekend before the Labour Day weekend and it was full. So we stayed in a private campground called Harbour Lights. It was full of seasonal and permanent trailers many with permanent decks and gardens. The owner was friendly asking if I was a retired school teacher. We drove back to Pictou to see the Hector a replica of the small rotting ship on which 200 Scotts immigrated to Canada in 1773. Among them were some Grants. Great display of the terrible conditions the endured  in the storm tossed Atlantic stuffed into small bunks in the hold. Pictou calls itself the beginning of Nova Dctia because these were the first Scottish settlers to arrive. Today it is sunny for the first in weeks and we are hoping to warm up and dry out in P.E I. Thinking of Marilyn who was bitten by a dog. Get better fast.
Penny Grant No comments:

Saturday, August 23, 2014


Yesterday we drove from the Cape Breton Highlands to Louisbourg. It is also on Cape Breton Island but further south.

It is truly an amazing historic site with many many stone buildings, battlements cannons and actors to demonstrate life there in 1744 when the French were in possession.  Louisbourg was started  in 1713 as a fishing village and became a French Fort in 1720, It was captured by the Americans then the French and then the English.  It traded with Europe  and the East Indies - cod for rum. Our guide told us that about half the soldiers died of dysentary  and one in six of alcohol poisoning. We could easily spend a week there but will make do with reading. Check out Stewart Mclennan' amazing amazing book online. We're on to Pictou today and the ferry to Pei tomorrow. We are dodging showers.
Penny Grant No comments:

Friday, August 22, 2014

Cape Breton

We are right now "driving!  down the famous Cabot Trail. Actually we are in a lineup waiting to get through some construction. Yesterday we drove  right around from the Atlantic side to the Gulf of st Lawrence and visited Chetucamp. We walked a few short trails and saw the astonishing pink rocky capes and pink sand beaches not to mention 350 year old sugar maples,  boardwalked bog,  green plateaus  and rain filled green valleys.  Now we are going to Louisbourg by way of the Englishman ferry - a five minute crossing.
Penny Grant No comments:

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Ferry leaving

Yesterday we drove across  the island to be ready to catch the ferry back to Nova Scotia. The last part of the trip was really windy and the rain came down in torrents. There were signs that the wind reached 200 km. The back window of the trailer leaked a lot of water and one seat - our bed- was soaked. We taped up the window with duct tape and were able to dry the seat by taking off the cover and hanging it over the furnace. Meanwhile rain continued to torrent down. By dark  there was lightening and thunder in every direction. Our campsite was close to  a  river which ran into the nearby ocean bay. When we stayed here Aug 1 the river was dry. Not last night. At 4 am Mike got worried we would be washed out to sea so went outside and set up the trailer for a quick exit. Fortunately the river stayed within its banks and we drove to Port aux Basque before breakfast.  The ship is now departing and good weather is predicted for the next week. But we are rolling a bit. Goodbye   Newfoundland.

Penny Grant No comments:

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Newfoundland facts

St John's is the same distance from Vancouver as it is from Rome or Mexico City. It is as close to Ireland as it is to Winnipeg. It is further south than Vancouver or Victoria although everyone seems to think it is in the arctic. The western coast belonged to France until 1904. St Pierre  and Miquelon are just a few miles off the south coast and belong to France. The cod were reduced to 1% of their original biomass by Canadian draggers and will likely never return. Labrador was proclaimed part of the Dominion of Newfoundland by Britain in 1937 and Newfoundland confederated with Canada with Labrador attached.  Moose were introduced and there are now about five moose per sq. km. Whoo I thought it was a long trip home. Tomorrow we drive to Port aux Basque and catch the ferry to Nova Scotia the next day.
Penny Grant No comments:

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Terra Nova Park

We came to Terra Nova National Park yesterday. It is near the Bonavista Peninsula and not too far from Gander - where the airport  is. I always thought  Gander was really remote and it is. But thousands of tourists are flying in to see Twillngate so the area is changing. Terra Nova Nova is a lovely  park. Everyone here is from Newfoundland  not from "away." We met our neighbours and they told us they were playing in the Folk Festival that is on this weekend - so we had to go. It was real fun. All the musicians were local and some were very good. Lexy behaved herself most of the time.  The sky was actually clear for the first time in awhile but it got pretty cold. It's going down to 10' tonight.

One of the interesting things about this park is the moose who are eating the undergrowth and are a real problem. Moose were introduced  into Newfoundland in 1904 and have taken over since  the extinction of the Newfoundland wolf. Did you know that fireweed is a circumpolar  plant.

 It grows all along the road here. We'll stay here tomorrow then head for Port aux Basque and the ferry.
Penny Grant No comments:

Friday, August 15, 2014

St John's

Yesterday was one of 'those' days. We spent  8 long hours in Emergency waiting to find out in the end that my ear was ok. This was good news but what a waste of time!
Today was one of those other days. Everything was perfect. We spent the morning visiting Cape Spear which is the most easterly point in north America - only 3000 km from Ireland. In the afternoon we toured Signal Hill and the really fabulous Geo Centre which is a lot like Science World but with an emphasis on the geology of Newfoundland. Before driving back to Butter Pot Provincial Park we picked uo some fish and chips - tasty. We even had showers and are snug and warm in the trailer despite the fog-drizzle outside.

We were thinking of Brendan on his birthday and hope he had a great day.
Connectivity comes and goes in this campsite so probably this won't go til tomorrow. Tomorrow  we going up to Terra Nova National Park and hope to see some of Bonavista - beautiful view.
Penny Grant No comments:

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

St John's almost

What a long day! We woke  up st 6:30 and were on our way from Gros Morne by 8. We drove through Deer Lake where there is major airport and then followed T C H across Newfoundland. We made a side trip to the small village of Roberts Arm. Why? Rob had told us that in creating the decorative wall showing Canadian place names for the Ottawa Airport he had suggested Roberts Arm. Seeing it was so nearby we had to see it.

It has a lake monster called Cressie and seems to be a typical small Newfoundland  town of which there are hundreds. We had lunch in the trailer near Bishop's Falls. We are staying in Butter Pot provincial park about 20 minutes from St John's. We just realized that it is very popular with locals  - a busy spot despite the drizzle.  Generators, etc. RVing across Canada is not for the faint of heart. The countryside is low hills, stunted trees, bogs, ponds and fens and not for away coves and lighthouses and the Atlantic  Ocean. My ear is feeling odd. Either a bug has flown in or the tube has fallen part way out. Doesn't hurt but is a bit worrying. Tomorrow we will take the truck in for a tune-up, buy some groceries and see the sights.
Penny Grant No comments:

Monday, August 11, 2014

Western Brook Pond

Our main activity on Saturday was to visit the Gros Morne info centre and then to take a 2 hours cruise on fresh water fiord called Western Brook Pond - deep into the Long Range Mountains. These mountains are the northern end of the Appalachians. Yesterday we did a tour of the Tablelands which are an actual exposed piece of the esrth's mantle - the hot moving rock below the crust.  Newfoundland is an incredible geological treasure and it was here that plate tectonics were first confirmed as being more than just a theory. The history is amazing too. Compared to the maritime archaic and paleoeskimos, James Cook just arrived  and did his charting yesterday. We are sending this from the Gros Morne info centre as connectivity seems to have evaporated at the campsite. Tomorrow we make the 10 hrs trek to St Johns.
Penny Grant No comments:

Friday, August 8, 2014

Gros Morne

Gros Morne means the big drab. Big as in gros and mournful as in Morne. It id known for being rainy and it looks S if we will have rain while we are here. Today we drove more then 300 km from the northern peninsula.  We stopped to lot at thrombolites at flowers cove. Their are flat rounded rocks formed bg colonies of microbes during the cambrian. It was wet and windy. We stopped gore lunch at s national Historic site either an making display of the humons who have lived here for the past 5000 years. Later we stopped to look at some amazing fossils. When we arrived at Berry Hill the rain had just started and we had a huge downpour while setting up the trailer. We read about the depletion of the cod in the 1980s - the government's fault for not listening to local fishermen. It is possible that the cod will never recover  though it may be replaced by crab and lobster. Its hard to really say much on this blog because I am doing it on my phone - but we are seeing and learning so much that we would otherwise never recover known about.
Penny Grant No comments:

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Moose and iceberg

Today we slept in a bit. Mike put up our rain/ mosquitoe shelter and we did our bands. After lunch  we drove to St Anthony and were lucky enough to amazing iceberg  in the bay. Apparently this is as far south as most icebergs get in August. They often run aground on the shore and melt away - so you usually don't see them further south at this time of year. Icebergs take 2 years to get here from Greenland.  On the way to St Anthony we had another treat. We saw a moose - just before it disappeared into the tuckamore. Mike was reading a book about the norse sagas today and found a reference in it to a book written by John.  I don't know if John has been here. I think he would enjoy it especially since Tuckers from Dorset were among the early settlers. I even saw a Tucker Road.

The iceberg  was so wonderful - it glowed white and turquoise even though it was a cold dark day - it  almost  seemed unreal. Tomorrow we go south again to Gros Morne.
Penny Grant No comments:

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

L'anse aux meadows


We are standing on a hill overlooking the first known liking settlement in north America where I have good connectivity. We had a great visit and learned how the vikings went to Iceland then greenland and ultimately vinland - only part of which was here in Newfoundland.
Penny Grant No comments:

Monday, August 4, 2014

One less tooth

Mike's dental appointment resulted in the efficient removal of his tooth. Thank goodness he is now repaired and ready to carry on. Everyone here was friendly  and helpful. Corner Brook has a big pulp mill so not different from Nanaimo. Visited James Cook monument and put the picture on Instagram. Tomorrow St Anthony and the vikings.
PS Mike's heart rate is 45 much to the amazement of the nurse yesterday.
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Sunday, August 3, 2014

Corner Brook

We drove up to Corner Brook partly because the campsite at barachois pond as very smokey (bad for Asthma) but mainly because Mike's teeth are pretty bad. Two are broken - one with a jagged  point - and his cheek  is swollen. We spent  a few hours in Emergency and the doctor eventually saw him and gave him antibiotics and told him to go to a dentist immediately. We have the name of clinic which has  a reputation for being helpful and will be on their  doorstep at 8:30 tomorrow  - which thankfully is not a stat  holiday in Newfoundland. We have are staying at the kinsmens park not far from town. Wish us luck.
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Saturday, August 2, 2014


Not a very touristy spot sitting outside Walmart on an old airforce base - but a good place to get remedies for Mike's broken tooth. It is unusually hot and muggy  for Newfoundland - especially  unexpected for those of us from 'away.'  Everyone is very friendly and the scenery on the way up here was spectacular.

The ferry trip to Nfld was very calm and pleasant. On the way we heard from John that Shino has had her baby Her name is Emma.

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Nfld ferry

We are waiting in the lineup for the ferry to Nfld. We arrived very early and are hoping to board soon. The trip should take 6 hours but it seems to take about 2 hours to load and another 2 hours to unload. We are leaving Lexy in the truck because the whole crate thing seemed to be for walkons and she will be more comfortable in the truck.  Once on board we are not allowed to go back to the car deck. The foot passengers have to be driven on in a bus. This is definitely not  B C Ferries.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Day 22


Great day today cycling canoeing and walking on the beach. Kouchibouguac is a wonderful park  Tomorrow Sidney
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Monday, July 28, 2014

Two Days in Gaspe

Tonight is our third night in Forillon national park on the Gaspe Peninsula in eastern Quebec.

This is a beautiful park with many nice walks, good campsites with showers and laundry and even swimming pool and cafeteria. It is surrounded on three sides by the Gulf of st Lawrence. Yesterday we cleaned the trailer, did our bands and walked to  the remains of the former  fishing village which was appropriated to form the park after the end of the cod fishery

Today we walked to the lighthhouse  at lands end. It was sunny yesterday but foggy today so no view at the lighthouse. Lots of other walkers - many Japanese -all of us politely saying bonjour to each  other. Tomorrow we will be in New  Brunswick - the only officially  bilingual province.
We just had a small thunderstorm but now all is quiet so going to bed early in preparation for Atlantic Time.
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Friday, July 25, 2014

Waiting for ferry

We are at les Escoumins on through north shore of the st Lawrence waiting for the ferry. We left Albanel about 8  but our route ran parallel with Sageunay Ford so we did not see it until we stopped briefly in Tadoussac - very busy and touristy with lots of whale watching tourists - sort of like Tofino.  Tonight we camp on a beach on the south shore.
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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Albanel - day 15

We are set up in the big municipal campground at Albanel north Lac St Jean at the north end of Saguenay. It is very nice and very full. Good thing we reserved.  Today there is big rock concert festival quite near the campsite but no sound so far. We are muddling along with our peu de francais and say everything first in English and then in what  we think is the French. Seems to work do far.  There are its of cycle trails in the area and a Boni Choix next door. We did a dump at the vidange  (dump station). The weather  is cloudy but pleasant.  Now time we need to check out what is going on.
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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A lovely day

Today we slept in. We spent the whole morning  fixing the fridge door with epoxy and duct tape. Just like in Winnipeg  the plastic around the hinge was breaking away. Hopefully this will last. We cannot  store anything on the door. In the afternoon we did a 10k bike ride on  a lovely trail piste through the forest.  Now time for salmon burgers.

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Opimiska PQ

Today we drove from Esker lakes provincial park in north eastern Ontario to what is called northern Quebec (du  nord). It is actually only about as far north as Campbell River but the main inhabited part of Quebec is south of 49.  The country is boreal forest and there  is a lovely lake here called lac Opemiska.  The campground is private and is.full of rvs. This is the construction holiday in Quebec so it is very busy. Most rvs  seem to be here for the whole season but the most people are not here.  Also very hot 33'. I am very aware of not knowing much francais  but will  keep trying.  Tortillas for dinner. Hope it cools down. Hard to imagine cariboo crossing the frozen lake.
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Monday, July 21, 2014


Last connectivity for today like Yellowknife but without the lake.
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Saturday, July 19, 2014

90 ' Longitude

We just passed the 90' longitude - that is about  34' from nanaimo or almost 10%  of the earth's circumference up here  at about 50 '. North. We are in the real boreal forest which is also known as taiga and covers 60% of Canada. Tundra is in the  north. On to Thunder Bay and historic Fort William.

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Friday, July 18, 2014

Near Thunder Bay

Today is Friday July 18. We are set up in fishing camp west of Thunder Bay.  Yesterday we were at Birds Hill near Winnipeg. The day before in Lundbreck Falls near Crows Nest. As expected this has been hard going. We are more than halfway  across the country and now are in eastern time. We have had a few minor problem with things breaking on the trailer so Mike has spent his resting time doing repairs - just like home. Now we know why we are getting a new trailer.
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Wednesday, July 16, 2014


We made it all the way to Fort  Qu'appelle  where  there is a great provincial  park called Echo Valley.  We are going to take a walk once Mike  has fixed the  window blind. Yesterday the propane cover blew off so will fix that soon. All is well with us Blind fixed - let's go.
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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Day 7 Lndbreck Falls

I am writing this on my phone using my Rogers card. After a great  time in Manning park

and lovely visit in Oliver we are did our first long drive today. We followed the Crows Nest Highway all the way to Alberta. The scenery was great. We had a huge storm in Fernie but now we are in the montane. Very peaceful. Tomorrow on to Saskatchewan.
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Monday, July 7, 2014

July 7 - One day to pack

Tomorrow is our day to pack for our cross-Canada trip. We have done pretty much everything we need to do to get ready to go - including creating, what I call, the "Perfect List." This is a spread sheet that has everything on it that I think we need to take. It comes form many other spreadsheets I have made over the years. However, seeing what Mike put in the back of the truck today, I realize that my list is not quite as perfect as I thought. I forgot to include the mosquito/rain shelter, the emergency rations kit, and even the bikes and canoe. Tomorrow we have to collect everything up and put it all somewhere in the trailer, the truck box and the truck.

We have now made reservations everywhere we plan to stay - mainly through websites - plus a few phone calls. It is all on another spreadsheet colour coded by province. We are mostly staying in provincial and national parks plus a few private campgrounds including two KOAs. Parcs Nationale in Quebec do not allow dogs - so we had to work around that.

Today we finalized two ferry trips - one from Nova Scotia to PEI and one across the St Lawrence River near the Saguenay River. We had already booked from Nova Scotia to Newfoundland and were not too worried about the shorter routes. We were surprised when we found the first two ferry routes across the river that we tried to reserve were already fully booked for the day we needed to cross. Apparently the last two weeks of July are when Quebecers take their vacations. (I'm sure the person on the phone said they all liked to go on their "constructions" together - but I guess my understanding of the French Canadian accent isn't quite as good as I thought. We finally were able to reserve a ferry plus a private campground on the south shore - right on the beach. That will be better than staying at WalMart in Matane. 

We also got new sym cards (and phone numbers) for our smart phones so that they will work right across the country. I will tether my computers to my cell phones to write the blog and we can both get internet connection through our cell phones that way. Rogers does not have much coverage in Saskatchewan or back East - so we need to be able to use Telus.  Mike is still having a problem getting his phone to unlock so that he can put the new card in. Very frustrating but hopefully will be fixed by Rogers tomorrow.

The only other major thing lacking is an antibiotic prescription I'm supposed to take if my asthma doesn't improve. My asthma is actually really very good right now - and I have my two main prescriptions - so I'm trying not to worry about it too much.  Every Canadian should drive across Canada at least once in their lives - so we're off on Wednesday regardless.
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Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Getting Ready

Today we figured out that my old computer can work in the trailer. I can charge the battery through the inverter in the starboard forward locker. I can connect to the hotspot on Mike's phone through my computer's wifi. This means that I can go online with my computer and write my blog wherever we have cell coverage. The next challenge is to comfortably use the keyboard on the computer. Need more cushions and better light - with the front flap open.If we don't have cell coverage I can still draft my blog in word and upload it later. So all things being equal - this should all work. Blogging is a good way to let others know where ,you are, describe the events in a positive way and have a diary afterwards.

In the meantime we have completely roughed out our trip and have made reservations at almost every place we plan to stay. Some places do not take reservations after Sept 1 - so should be quiet and lots of room. We only have to phone and confirm one last spot in Sudbury. Mike started all this by using his Trip Planner to decide on the route and stops. He is still perfecting the route and I am making a spreadsheet and keeping a binder with the reservations in it. Lots of hard work but we are making progress and learning a lot just by planning.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Going to Newfoundland!

We are going to go to Newfoundland this summer! We are leaving home on July 9. After a couple of days in North Vancouver and a couple more days in Manning Park, we will start our trip. We need to be back in Vancouver on September 15 for an appointment - so we have about 2 months - 63 days to be precise. We will take our Escape trailer and our cocker spaniel, Lexy. Our plan is to cross the country in about 11 days and then spend a month visiting the sites, taking walks and bike rides, and going out in our canoe in beautiful Newfoundland. All this is possible because, thanks to Dr. Dorscheid my asthma is stable and thanks to Dr Javer and his fellow Saad my sinuses are in good shape. Take a look at Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism to see what lies ahead.

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