Friday, May 26, 2017

Back in Ontario

I've gotten a little behind as we've spend so much time driving in the past few days. We made it back to the Midland area and will be here for at least a few weeks. It's not as much fun travelling when the goal is to just put in the miles but we did manage to enjoy the last few days. We stopped back in and spent the night in Montebello where we had stayed a month ago where we had woken up to water surrounding the bus. It turns out we had been very lucky! The waters continued to rise so much after we left that our bus where we had parked that night would have been entirely covered. Now the waters were receded leaving a giant mess to be cleaned up. In Montebello we took the dogs for a walk through Manoir Papineau National Historic Site. The grounds were beautiful and filled with forest trails unfortunately they were also filled with blood sucking mosquitoes that couldn't get enough of me! It wasn't too bad as long as we kept moving but the second I stopped for anything the mosquitoes were biting. The estate was impressive and had a three hundred year old oak tree that was so old that they had added a few supports to help the largest limbs stay up (a technique successfully used in Europe to keep old trees alive). They had also taken twenty of its acorns and planted them all over the east coast but so far only one has taken. We made a very brief stop in Ottawa and ended up in Arnprior for a night before driving through Algonquin Park. We saw a moose! A cute little guy that wasn't even scared off when our dogs started barking like crazy. Actually I was surprised that Melkie didn't seem bothered (on the AT he chased a moose), Cooper was the noisy one. Anyway, we pulled into town late last night and will regroup and make sure the bus is ready for the west coast.

Monday, May 22, 2017

I love Gaspe!

Again we woke up early, Michael actually woke up and saw the sunrise. It was nice having use of the deck this morning. I shook out our blankets and mats and hung them over the side of the deck for a bit while I got our little house clean. Soon we were rolling down the coast again. Almost as soon as we were on the road Michael spotted two bald eagles but by the time I had the camera ready they were too far away and there was nowhere to turn around. We stopped at a rest area for a mid morning break up on a cliff top that had a path down to the beach. So down to the beach we went and we found a pillar of rock in the water that had been water worn with a honeycomb pattern. It has been so nice to go for a walk in a new place to explore each day! We took our time along the beach before heading up the steep path up the side of the cliff. Back on the bus we had something to eat before rolling down the road. There have been windmills everywhere out east but today we noticed even more of them as well as this tall, round looking thing that we couldn't identify. As we got closer we realized that it belonged with the wind farm but we still couldn't figure it out. It turned out to be the worlds tallest vertical axis wind turbine. We drove right up to it and there were signs suggesting that we could tour the place but there was no one in sight. It was still cool to see and think about ways of adding wind power in everyday life. Most of the interesting places we have found we have just happened across as we have driven by. Today was full of these places! We drove by this really cool house that had tile pictures cemented into it and then we noticed the "people" coming out of the sea. We quickly turned around and found ourselves at a restaurant/hostel/ art centre. The place was amazing! The artist had used driftwood and covered it with cement to look like people. There were lots of them! He had placed them to look like they were coming out of the water in a procession and had continued the procession down a path across his property. It was a neat idea I'm glad we stopped! The landscape was changing again and as we approached Bic National Park (really a provincial park) we noticed the funky shapes mountains and the cool rocky islands in the water. We pulled into the park but with it being the long weekend it was busy so we moved on. The road took us away from the water so we turned down a quiet road that took us up over a mountain and then down the other side with crazy hairpin turns on a deteriorating road . By the time we reached the water the road was so narrow I worried about oncoming traffic. We had found the equivalent to our cottage country. Lots of nice cottages way too close together. We made it back over the mountain safely and believe it or not we ended up in a Walmart parking lot along with eight over RV's for the night. I much prefer finding a secluded spot with a nice view but I have to admit that especially when entering a town we aren't familiar with it is nice to know that we can stay at a Walmart. In tonight's case it was starting to get dark and I didn't want Michael to have to search for a place in the dark. Good night World!

A Perfect Day


Gaspe

It was so early when we woke up this morning. The sun was shining and we pulled away a good hour earlier than our usual. Everything was perfect about today! It was hard to know where to look or to try to take it all in as we drove along. Everything was so beautiful and around every curve in the road was a new amazing sight to take in. We stopped so many times along the way. There were really funky looking islands that had high cliffs but were completely flat on top with green grass growing only on the top. It looked like the perfect golfing green. There were tiny villages is the coves with small little houses painted in all different colours and always a big church by the water. The mini Appalachians were the background to everything well almost everything, the gulf of St. Lawrence was on one side and spread out as far as you could see. Michael kept thinking it was the ocean. After several stops to take pictures of lighthouses and islands and mountains and pretty little towns we made it to the end of the Gaspe peninsula and stopped at Forillon National Park. Wait, I'm forgetting stuff already! The drive had tighter hairpin turns than the Cabot trail and at times I was hanging on to the poles on the bus telling Michael to go slow (even though he already had the bus in the lowest gear). The mountains were amazing and it was really windy. Michael pointed out a waterfall high on one of the mountains except that it didn't look like a waterfall at all! It looked like smoke coming out of a chimney! He was right though it was a waterfall and the wind was blowing all of the water up into the sky! I couldn't believe it! Anyway, we arrived at the park and took the dogs down to the beach. There was a really nice boardwalk but we could explore more on the sandy shore. The shoreline was covered in driftwood of all shapes and of course crab shells, clam shells and lots of seaweed. The dogs loved it! After our walk we drove further into the park and found tons of porquipines! Never together but we probably saw six within minutes of one another. Most were eating the clover but one was high up in a tree looking precariously like he was about to fall. I'm glad the dogs were in the bus! There are so many good hiking trails here! This is another place we will definitely come back to explore! We continued around the peninsula stopping often to take pictures or get a closer view of something. The day just flew by and soon we were looking for a place to park for the night. We found another village park! This one has little decks that you pull right up to so tonight it looks like we have a deck overlooking water attached to the bus! Good night from a beautiful spot along Gaspe peninsula!

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Miguasha


Quebec!

Because we woke up in a town, we started our day with a few chores before driving away. The next big town was about an hour away and I was driving. Even though I was on a main highway the drive was incredible! Rolling hills mixed in with funky shapes little mountains mostly covered in birch and pine. There was every shade of Green imaginable! As we approached Cambellton (the last big town in New Brunswick) I regretted driving. The view of the town along the waterfront surrounded by mountains was amazing and I had nowhere to stop to take a picture. I eventually parked in town along the waterfront and we had our second coffees and took the dogs for a walk along a perfectly groomed waterfront path. Michael made a friend with a local before we headed back to the bus to move on. Next stop Quebec! We crossed the bridge into Quebec and found ourselves on the perfect road to see water and hills. Soon we arrived at Miguasha National Park )it's not really a national park but in Quebec provincial parks are called national parks. This park is unique in that they have found some amazing fossils here and are continuing to find even more! We went to the museum first and watched a short movie about their latest find before touring through the displays. The exhibits were amazing and we couldn't wait to go out to the beach and cliffs to see what we could find. At first we only found the most common fossils the ones that indicate weather patterns or the direction of the waves but soon we came across several large rocks that had multiple wood and plant fossils in them. We also found a giant skeleton of we what we aren't sure. After playing on the beach I headed back up to the bus to make dinner while Michael continued playing palaeontology down below. He arrived just as dinner was ready and soon we were on the road again. I thought we were heading into no mans land and was totally surprised by the constant little hamlets and tiny villages along the coast. We stopped to take pictures several times before deciding to stop for the night. We started looking for a place in Paspebiac. There was a huge fishing port there so we headed in that direction and found an empty campground right next to it. There was no one around, it was kind of creepy and it totally smelled like rotten fish. Not staying! On our way out Michael noticed the date on a cool looking building (1767) down at the harbour. Cool! We drove through several small hamlets before pulling into a town park. Every little community here has a park for visitors. This one was exceptional! It had showers as well! Needless to say we quickly decided to stay here tonight and we are both clean! Good night world!

Friday, May 19, 2017

Miramichi and Bathurst 

I woke up to the sounds of the birds as the sun was just starting to rise. It was so gorgeous outside that even though I was still sleepy I got up and sat out on the rocks by the water for awhile. When I went back to the bus I expected Michael to be up but even the dogs were still sound asleep. I climbed back into bed and stole an extra hour of sleep before finally sitting up and having coffee in bed with a view of the the waters edge. As I cleaned up Michael took the dogs out along the beach and then we were off up the road to find a nice hiking trail. We stopped at one that looked promising alongside a river. At first we stuck to the wide trail that I'm sure was the designated one us tourists were supposed to use. The smell of the pines put a smile on my face immediately and Melkie raced ahead happy to be on an adventure again. We were a little disappointed when the trail didn't follow the river like we had thought as so we turned around to head down the trail in the opposite direction. This time the trail stayed too close to the road for comfort but I had spotted a narrow pine needle path (the kind that I like best) and soon we were racing down the path towards the river. The dogs were in heaven and were soon both swimming around. As we followed the narrow trail it took us out to a grassy area and within seconds Michael had found a tick on him. We turned around but it was too late, for the rest of the day we kept finding ticks. We spray our dogs with a natural tick deterrent but one of the disadvantages of this is that instead of the ticks latching onto the dogs, they use our dogs as carriers and end up crawling on us. It is gross but I've dealt with worse on the Appalachian Trail. Michael on the other hand has not ever had to deal with this and is totally creeped out by the nasty little bugs. It's hard not to laugh at him shaking everything out and checking some part of his body every couple of minutes like he has fleas or something. Anyway, we piled back on the bus and made one last stop in the park for Michael to try his hand at fishing again. He didn't catch anything but it gave me a chance to get a few things done on the bus before continuing along the coast to Miramichi. By chance we found the entrance to Middle Island Historical Park and decided to check it out. Not knowing any of the history of the place as we drove up it just looked like the perfect island park with lots of paths, perfect for taking the dogs for a walk. It turns out that this island was used as a detainment camp for some of the Irish immigrants fleeing from the potato famine in the 1840's. Sometimes there was so much sickness on the ships that captains would look for the closest port to let people off at. This is how the Irish ended up on Middle Island sick and badly in need of help. They had to stay on the island until they were healthy enough to leave. The park displayed information about specific incidents and of a doctor who went to help on the island and ended up getting sick and dying there. Today Miramichi is proud of its Irish heritage and its water tower claims that it is "Canada's Irish Capitol." I enjoyed stopping at the park but I feel like the historical facts presented were a little white washed compared to what the reality probably was (we looked up a few things online as we left Miramichi and found a few different historical facts). Maybe the story about all those families being forced out of their homes back at Kouchibouguac is making me question the information displayed at the park today. I was questioning things a little more as we picked up a hitchhiker on our way to Bathurst who told us about Brunswick Mines and what happened after the mines closed. I can't verify his story because I couldn't find anything online to back it up but that doesn't mean that what he told us isn't true. He said that after the mine closed someone who was into garbage disposal bought the mine and used it to store garbage. He warned us not to drink the water as it is contaminated. The mine closed in 2013, you would think that by now people would know better than to throw garbage into a mineshaft, wouldn't you? Anyway the drive to Bathurst was nice (I was driving) and although there were still hills they are more rounded out with more flat sections than we have seen in days. The trees don't grow quite as tall and there were huge sections of forest that entirely consisted of birch trees. I have never seen so many birch in the same place in all my life! It was pretty! As we dropped off our guest, he told us where we could park for the night and his suggestion was great! Bathurst is the last big town we will be in for awhile and maybe we should have taken advantage of the restaurants or the laundromat (we decided we didn't want our clothes washed in potentially contaminated water) but instead we went for a long walk along the waterfront through the good and bad parts of town and made it back to the bus in time to beat the amazing wind/rain and thunderstorm that hit. As we are updating our journals now lightning is lighting up the sky. Good night World!