DESTINATIONS PART 2 — Where do you want to go?

This entry is part 2 of 3 in the seriesRVers Choices

By Barry Zander, Edited by Monique Zander, the Never-Bored RVers

WHERE ARE YOU HEADING?   I know you’ve waited with bated breath for the second episode in the saga of where the hippest RVers are.  My second question posed via the Internet was “Where are you going?”  By far, the No. 1 answer was Alaska, hands-down.  My recommendation is that everyone should put the “Land of the Midnight Sun” as the mustest of the must-see places in North America.  I mentioned the beauty of the trip up and the friendliness of the people.  What you can’t grasp without being there is the immenseness (is that a word?), the variety of terrain, the diversity of animals, and the feeling of accomplishment from making the long drive.  If there were ever one place to call a trip of a lifetime, Alaska is it!

The Screech-In was an absolute highlight of our visit to the Canadian Atlantic Provinces.  Visitors toast the Province of Newfoundland/Labrador and are then subjected to the “kissing the cod” ceremony, which, along with other rituals, is what it takes to officially become a Newfie.

The Screech-In was an absolute highlight of our visit to the Canadian Atlantic Provinces. Visitors toast the Province of Newfoundland/Labrador and are then subjected to the “kissing the cod” ceremony, which, along with other rituals, is what it takes to officially become a Newfie.

Going down the list of top destinations mentioned by blog readers after Alaska, we hit 2)

It’s like walking into a postcard.  Touring Arches National Park in Southern Utah is an unforgettable experience.

It’s like walking into a postcard. Touring Arches National Park in Southern Utah is an unforgettable experience.

the Maritime Provinces of eastern Canada, 3) Yellowstone, 4) the parks of Southern Utah, tie 5) Washington State and 5) Key West, Florida.   What all these have in common is they can strain the budget. Utah being the most centrally located of the top choices, is probably the least expensive, depending on your starting point.  On an Alaskan trip and to a lesser degree Washington, it’s the cost of fuel to get there; for the Maritimes,

Key West, Florida, may be the only place in the Continental U.S. where, no matter how long you stay, you still feel like you’re on vacation.  It’s an island paradise connected to the mainland by causeways through “the Keys.”

Key West, Florida, may be the only place in the Continental U.S. where, no matter how long you stay, you still feel like you’re on vacation. It’s an island paradise connected to the mainland by causeways through “the Keys.”

the ferries and fuel; and for Key West, time, fuel and camping costs.  On the other hand, if depleting the piggybank gets you nervous, think about them as ultimate places to see.  Consider Washington and Idaho for a summer trip – beauty abounds.

This was all compiled before Monique and I went to the Atlantic Provinces of Canada in 2013.  You, the readers, had listed it as second most desired place to visit.  Now that we’ve been there, I can say New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland/Labrador and Prince Edward Island are special.  It’s not just the sights, but the people, lifestyles, history and beauty that come at you from all directions.  It’s among the top spots on my favorite places list.

5 - Final 4 Collage

As I tallied the votes, I wondered what happened to some other big-name national parks, primarily Yosemite in California.   Yosemite has, to be sure, the most spectacular variety of views of any national park we have been to (we’ve been to 46 different ones).  Our reason for avoiding one of naturalist John Muir’s favorite haunts more often is, to quote Yogi Berra, “It’s so crowded, nobody goes there anymore.”  It is the second-most popular national park (after Smoky Mountain), which accounts for lots of visitors … and that convergence of tourists also afflicts the Grand Canyon.  We’ve been told often that Yosemite is in its greatest glory in the winter when snow-covered.  We might have to park the trailer in warmer climes and four-wheel in to check it out.

If you haven’t been on “The Road to the Sun” in Glacier N.P. in Montana you’ve missed one of the best touring roads in America, but hurry.  The glaciers are melting. Acadia National Park in Maine is also considered to offer the most beautiful views of any of the parks except maybe Glacier.  It is beautiful, but we felt it is more of a park to visit because it’s symbolic of the Maine Coast.  Neither got the attention they deserve in the survey, but they are at least better known than another highly touted national park, Big Bend on the Texas-Mexico border.

The Olympic National Forest on the western peninsula of Washington State is a trip into a rainforest.  The “Evergreen State” offers some of America’s most interesting and varied scenery.

The Olympic National Forest on the western peninsula of Washington State is a trip into a rainforest. The “Evergreen State” offers some of America’s most interesting and varied scenery.

Additional recommendation:  Don’t miss the Black Hills of South Dakota.   Hugging the coastline of Lake Superior is unforgettable.  Sedona and Canyon de Chelly on the Navajo Reservation in Arizona are classics.  Cajun Country in South Louisiana and New Orleans is like visiting a different, fun country.   Another destination to consider:  we spent a week last May parked outside of Washington, D.C., taking the Metro from our campground into the city almost everyday.  We started with D.C. After Dark, enjoying a bus tour of the Capital under the lights, and then returned to visit the Smithsonian Institution, the traditional and newer monuments, memorials and sights.   I’ve been there many times before, but doing it with our home-on-wheels as our base made it even better.

There were some surprising responses to the survey, which I’ll mention in the weeks ahead.  I think for now, you’ve got enough ideas to chew on without those.  We welcome your recommendations.

From the “Never-Bored RVers,” We’ll see you on down the road.

© All photos by Barry Zander.   All rights reserved

CANADA’S ATLANTIC PROVINCES – A WRAP-UP – PART IV

This entry is part 16 of 16 in the seriesThe Canadian Atlantic Provinces

By Barry Zander, Edited by Monique Zander, the Never-Bored RVers

I’m going to wrap up this series about the Maritime plus Newfoundland-Labrador with a quick list of things that are indelibly etched in our minds.

Shuffin' Off

The poem above by David Boyd is what I consider symbolic of the way of life throughout most of these four isolated provinces that touch the Atlantic Ocean and its maritime arms.  It’s my impression that the people of this land are fighting valiantly to retain their independence and the lifestyle that has manifested for more than 400 years.  It’s a struggle.

David Boyd, the poem’s author, is a fighter – he has spent years and great energy preserving the historic fishing culture that generations in his family have enjoyed.  A tough, but very satisfying existence for the fishermen that, for many reasons, is losing out to a complex tapestry of current conditions.  David is the proprietor of the Prime Berth Heritage Centre in Twillingate, Newfoundland.  Go to the website www.primeberth.com for extensive information, more than I can explain in a blog.

TOWNS – I’m going to be brief, since I’ve written about all of these over the past four months:

A typical Newfoundland village hugging the bright blue waters

A typical Newfoundland village hugging the bright blue waters 

Twillingate, NF, was a favorite, a small town center of activity and interesting shops, plus the site of one of our favorite mini-hikes across from Peyton’s Woods RV Park.  It was also where we were introduced to Ugly Sticks, which I have written about several times.

St. John’s, NF, probably had more interesting sights than any other city.  I would call it a definite “must visit.”  (Not to be confused with St. John, NB, which was also interesting.)

Lunenburg, NS, with its seaside downtown and beautiful gardens, plus nearby beautiful Mahone Bay and the Blue Rocks.

Bonavista – Very interesting town with the St. Matthew’s Legacy, a typical Newfoundland small town with traditional structures.

Hikes — Maybe “strolls” is a better term, since we didn’t have extensive time to wander far and wide, but we did take mild excursions to immerse ourselves in the pastoral surroundings.

Cape Onion, NF. The grassy trail takes off from the historic and critically reviewed Adams House, bordering the shoreline and then ascending via wooden steps to a meadow high above the aqua-green waters pounding the rocks below.

Elliston and Spillar’s Cape, NF – We were the “early birds” arriving at the cliff across

Lighthouses -- like "exclamation marks" -- punctuate the thousands of miles of coastlines

Lighthouses — like “exclamation marks” — punctuate the thousands of miles of coastlines

from the island of puffins at Elliston, where we were treated to a show that included a puffin waddling five feet from Monique – an  absolute highlight of the entire six-month journey.  On recommendation from a tour-bus guide, we left there and went to Spillar’s Cape nearby for another puffin experience, plus a vista of better-than-postcard proportions.

A quote from a sign in a restaurant in Twillingate:  “And there you find yourself, Seemingly in the middle of nowhere, And oddly enough, It’s exactly where you want to be.”

The Louisbourg Fortress -- History where you can touch it

The Louisbourg Fortress — History where you can touch it

Events: Without a doubt, the Tattoo and Screech-In are at the top of our list, but we saw plays, and walked through museums, government buildings, forts, gardens and much, much more.

Other favorite memories – As part of a caravan, we were in different places almost every day or two, seeing different things in our own vehicle (we pull a travel trailer), in cars of newly-made-friends, on tour buses, from tour boats and a schooner, and walking.  Here are a few other topics that come to mind:

Just Another Pretty Moose

Just Another Pretty Moose

Creatures — Eagles, ospreys, moose, caribou, deer, a fox, and livestock grazing peacefully in verdant pastures.

Scenery – The Atlantic and other great waters; glacier-sculpted hills, rocks, lakes and rivers; fishing villages; icebergs (not many this summer), Jellybean houses in St. John’s, the Bay of Fundy.

Food – Lobsters, cod, haddock, salmon, crabs (depending on the seafood season), Poutine, Denair, fish & chips, Tim Horton’s bakery/coffee shops; a lot more that we either sampled or didn’t want to try.

For environmental concerns, coal mining has shut down, but a few miners are now sharing their experiences on guided mine tours.

For environmental concerns, coal mining has shut down, but a few miners are now sharing their experiences on guided mine tours.

I have to mention again that each of the Atlantic Provinces is unlike the others, except that they all have evolved around fishing and have histories that are linked with the explorations by Europeans, and therefore are somewhat similar.  Going to any and thinking you’ve seen it all is a mistake.

And finally, for the sake of those who qualified as Newfies, “Long may your big jib draw.”

From the “Never-Bored RVers,” We’ll see you on down the road.

Ah, such fond memories!

Ah, such fond memories!

© All photos by Barry Zander.   All rights reserved

MY FAVORITE PLACES – A REVIEW – PART 3

This entry is part 15 of 16 in the seriesThe Canadian Atlantic Provinces

By Barry Zander, Edited by Monique Zander, the Never-Bored RVers

Our seven-week tour of the Atlantic Provinces of Canada included so much, such variety and so many memories that, if I told you about each and every place, each would lose its significance.  Therefore, I’m going to give you a brief synopsis of a few places that, in my opinion, you won’t want to miss while you’re there.  I’m sure all of these I’ve written about in past episodes, but I’m looking back in retrospect at the ones that stand out the most in my memory.

At the sea, at the sea, at the bottom of the sea -- The Bay of Fundy provides a low-tide spectacle

At the sea, at the sea, at the bottom of the sea — The Bay of Fundy provides a low-tide spectacle

FLOWERPOTS – We were able to see many views of the world-famous Bay of Fundy – this was the “fundiest.” Located at Hopewell Cape, New Brunswick, the Hopewell Rocks, also known at “the flowerpots,” are

interesting monolithic outcroppings visible in their entirety at low tide.  Six hours later when the water rises more than 40 feet they become tiny offshore islands.  The Bay of Fundy is probably the most famous attraction of the Maritimes, but there is so much more to experience.

THE TATTOO – I was expecting an evening watching a conglomeration of bodies

The Tattoo -- SPECTACULAR!

The Tattoo — SPECTACULAR!

marching around an arena.  Nothing more.  Those expectations fell far short of the spectacular show we witnessed.  Yes, the ranks-and-files did their thing, several times, and each time was a bit of a thrill with marchers wearing traditional uniforms.  There were enjoyable circus acts; vocal numbers by rich-voiced singers (both individually and in choirs); competition among military units; performing police groups, several thousand participants, lights, noises, music, and other sensory sensations to keep everyone entertained.  Officially named the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo held annually in a modern arena in Halifax, the 2014 edition will be July 1-8.  Better get your tickets early.

Dennis is definitely enjoying the fun. That's me at right, and I'm less joyful. I think the cod, center, is taking it all in stride.

Dennis is definitely enjoying the fun. That’s me at right, and I’m less joyful. I think the cod, center, is taking it all in stride.

SCREECHING IN — If you’re a C.F.A., you will become a Newfie when you kiss the cod at a Screech In.  Our caravan of 45 people whose backgrounds span the gamut from technology to farming, all sorts of folks with different assessments of what is fun – and yet, I doubt if any of them didn’t think the Screech In was A BLAST! Giving you the specifics of the ceremony would diminish the excitement, so I’ll just say that changing from a C.F.A. (we “Come From Away”) to a Newfie (Newfoundlander) is filed in our memory banks forever.

UGLY STICK CONCERTS — As we walked into the Prime Berth Fishing Museum, I glanced at the collection of broomsticks with tin cans on top and boots at the base.  An

I wasn't prepared to see Ugly Sticks at the center of the entertainment, so I shot this scene with my IPhone camera.

I wasn’t prepared to see Ugly Sticks at the center of the entertainment, so I shot this scene with my IPhone camera.

hour later when I saw the sheer joy in Monique’s eyes as she banged out an Ugly Stick percussion accompaniment to local Bill’s guitar-playing, I suggested that we buy one.  And when fellow-traveler Ron bought one, Monique proposed that they play a concert at that evening’s Fantasy Tours caravan barbeque and potluck. That was the start of something big and spontaneous.  We took turns thumping the Ugly Sticks, with even the most laid-back of the group movin’ his feet when forced to join the music-making.

After five more members of the troupe bought Ugly Sticks, the ensemble performed several times after that, including with a band that was playing at an RV park days later on Prince Edward Island, wishing that they had discovered this homiest of rhythm instruments earlier.  The band had never heard of Ugly Sticks, but I’m certain that by now it’s part of their selection of instruments.

Elizabeth LaFort's hook rug work is a delight.

Elizabeth LaFort’s hook rug work is a delight.

THE CABOT TRAIL – This two-lane road undulates as it plies its way on Cape Breton Island, on the northeastern part of Nova Scotia.  It goes on and on, embracing the coastline for mile after mile, and cuts across the interior.  We were aboard a tour bus, appreciative that our driver was contending with the steep grades and narrow highway.  We stopped at a shop in Cheticamp, where they make and sell masks.  It was much more interesting that we expected – Monique bought two to decorate for our Mardi Gras in California celebration.  The next stop was up the road at a museum featuring hook rugs and tapestries in the Elizabeth LeFort Gallery. Impressive!  Honestly, the ride was long and the scenery repetitive, but it’s worth devoting a few miles to the historic section of the island.

I NEEDED HER! — I’ve been an Anne Murray fan since the ‘80s.  Apparently she has

A few of Anne Murray's Platinum Records - Quite a collection

A few of Anne Murray’s Platinum Records – Quite a collection

other fans, too, based on the exhibition of her numerous platinum albums, as displayed in the Anne Murray Centre in Springhill, Nova Scotia.  I was absolutely amazed realizing the scope of her success, as shown by decades in the twisting galleries.

ANOTHER TIME IN ANOTHER PLACE — A Newfoundlandism of interest:  this province, which includes Labrador, is a half-hour ahead of Atlantic Time, which is an hour ahead of Eastern Time.  What I haven’t mentioned in this synopsis is the beauty, wildlife and history elements of what we experienced.  The Atlantic Provinces are much more than attractions, as I’ll try to convey in the next edition.

From the “Never-Bored RVers,” We’ll see you on down the road.

© All photos by Barry Zander.   All rights reserved

P.E.I. – A SMALL ISLAND; A LOT TO SAY – MARITIMES PART 2

This entry is part 14 of 16 in the seriesThe Canadian Atlantic Provinces

By Barry Zander, Edited by Monique Zander, the Never-Bored RVers

While a good percentage of inhabitants of the “Atlantic Provinces” [see Barbara and Tom Palmer’s Comment below] are closing up their businesses and preparing for the winter migration to the U.S. Sunbelt states, your excitement in visiting this easternmost Canadian turf next spring and summer can be building.  After 17,050 miles of driving, it may be a while before we return, and we have several other journeys in our plans, but the call to revisit the Atlantic provinces is certainly worth considering.

I’ll write more in the future about the specific places that were the most memorable in our seven weeks of caravanning to the “Maritimes Plus One.”  I think the best service I can provide in this blog is to mention briefly what were highlights for us – adventures that will stay with us for years to come, supplemented, of course, by photographs.

What stand out in our memory about P.E.I. - the pastoral scenery

What stand out in our memory about P.E.I. – the pastoral scenery

The last province on our RV expedition was P.E.I., or as it’s known to non-locals “Prince Edward Island.”   And, let me mention at this point that each of the four Atlantic Provinces has its own history, customs, and way of life.  The fishing villages are somewhat similar in many areas, although the fishing boats aren’t necessarily the same and they are out to haul in different catches – lobster, oysters, cod, salmon, haddock, probably others I don’t remember.  And fishing seasons, as set by the Canadian government, are a bit complicated for us outsiders and vary by provinces.  What I want to emphasize is that going to New Brunswick is not the same as going to P.E.I., nor is Labrador very similar to Nova Scotia.

P.E.I. settles on our minds as luxuriant greenery, pastures, farmland, rolling hills (most of the provinces also have grassy rolling hills).   But this, the smallest of the provinces, has a serenity we appreciated more than other places.  Our caravan schedule included much ado about “Anne of Green Gables,” one of the most popular books of teenage girls for over a century.   Monique read the book prior to arriving there and passed it along to others in the coterie, all of whom seemed to enjoy it.  Monique and I visited the “Green Gables” house that was the setting for the novel and attended a play loosely based on the book in the mini-metropolis capital city of Charlottetown.  Charlottetown is a beautiful, historic place, bedecked with voluptuous hanging flower baskets.

Can you believe, I intended to wrap up this series in this blog, but I haven’t even finished with P.E.I.?   I hadn’t mentioned playing golf on one of the greenest of courses, a few hours of enjoyment much greater than the normal frustration.  I felt it was a good day on the course since I only lost one ball and had 35 putts.

Not to be forgotten from our week on Prince Edward was meeting Brian MacNaughton at

Bruce & Shirley MacNaughton Welcome Diners at P.E.I. Preserves

Bruce & Shirley MacNaughton Welcome Diners at P.E.I. Preserves

the P.E.I. Preserves Co. near Cavendish.  Soon after our tour bus pulled into the parking area, a sprightly, kilt-clan MacNaughton hopped up the steps and quickly gave us his rollicking version of his winding course from when his first restaurant failed to when he began selling jars of preserves featuring Grand Marnier, Champagne and other unique ingredients to some of the classiest stores worldwide.

A few minutes later we were enjoying one of the best meals of our caravan trek in his P.E.I. Preserves restaurant.  After dinner we sampled preserves and other treats made in that same building, and finding things we didn’t know we needed to buy in the gift shop.  If you like mussels, this is the place!

After the caravan concluded and our new friends dispersed — some north to the Gaspe Peninsula, others to Quebec and beyond, and others to the U.S.  – we spent a few days on the northwestern part of the island mainly “chillin’” and reveling in the pastoral serenity of that off-the-beaten-trail area.  Starved after driving for hours one day, we stopped at Randy’s Pizza at a remote intersection on the French-speaking Acadian region (also called Region Evangeline) and ordered a plate of “donair” to go.  We didn’t know what it was, and we’re still not sure, but it’s something like a meat pie.  Yes, we would order it again, unlike our experience with poutine in Newfoundland, which didn’t excite our palates.

The Bottle House with the Lighthouse Overlooking Egmont Bay

The Bottle House with the Lighthouse Overlooking Egmont Bay

Most notable place to us on our freelance drive was “The Bottle Houses,” a cluster of three small cottages made with bottles encrusted in mortar and built on land that includes the Cape Egmont Lighthouse.  Adding to the spectacle are the colorful gardens interwoven among the buildings.  It’s worth driving the extra miles to the town of Cape Egmont to see the creative construction by Edouard Arsenault.

A FEW P.E.I. SCENES [FROM TOP]: In anticipation of the opening of the lobster season the next day, fishing boats were lined up and loaded with traps; we entered the Acadian area, also known as the Evangeline Region; the setting for the novel “Anne of Green Gables”; our travels were punctuated with opportunities to make music with Ugly Sticks (as demonstrated by Roger, Sarah and Jean); Donair, featured at Randy’s Pizza near nowhere; and the bridge from Nova Scotia to P.E.I. is the longest span over the Atlantic Ocean.

A FEW P.E.I. SCENES [FROM TOP]: In anticipation of the opening of the lobster season the next day, fishing boats were lined up and loaded with traps; we entered the Acadian area, also known as the Evangeline Region; the setting for the novel “Anne of Green Gables”; our travels were punctuated with opportunities to make music with Ugly Sticks (as demonstrated by Roger, Sarah and Jean); Donair, featured at Randy’s Pizza near nowhere; and the bridge from Nova Scotia to P.E.I. is the longest span over the Atlantic Ocean.

I’ll save a few more memories for the days ahead.  Meantime, there are a couple of interesting comments below:

From the “Never-Bored RVers,” We’ll see you on down the road.

 

© All photos by Barry Zander.   All rights reserved

COMMENTS TO RECENT BLOGS

From Barbara and Tom Palmer (and Shelby the border terrier) — Hi Barry and Monique, We have really enjoyed your travel blog – but one thing that is driving me crazy is your inclusion of Newfoundland and Labrador as part of the Canadian Maritime provinces. We are also full-time RVers who spent the summer of 2011 in the Maritimes and Newfoundland – and rest assured, the Newfies we met did not consider themselves part of the Maritimes (New Brunswick, PEI, and Nova Scotia). Nor did the Maritimers we met consider Newfies to be part of the Maritimes.

As you undoubtedly know by now, Newfoundland was an independent country until 1949 when it confederated with Canada (with a bare majority of Newfies voting for confederation); is there any way you could work that bit of history into your future posts? We really need to give Newfoundland credit for providing space and hospitality to US forces during the second world war – the US built a number of antisubmarine and naval warfare bases (as well as the Air Force base in Gander) in Newfoundland to protect the northern Atlantic from the Germans. Also, although it’s clear to us outsiders that they really could not have survived as an independent country, many Newfies are still uneasy about being Canadians!

Sorry you had to disable the comment section in your blog – we enjoyed seeing what others had to say!  Did you kiss the cod?

Barry’s Response — I find your note absolutely amazing.  In all our pre-planning and in our three weeks in Newfoundland and Labrador, I had never heard or seen anything that explained that NF/LB are not Maritimes, so I looked it up on Wikipedia:

“The Maritime provinces, also called the Maritimes or the Canadian Maritimes, is a region of Eastern Canada consisting of three provinces, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island. On the Atlantic coast, the Maritimes are a subregion of Atlantic Canada, which also includes the northeastern province of Newfoundland & Labrador.”

There are so many highlights from our trip; we appreciated each province for its own character.  Newfoundland, the largest, probably offered more variety.  Everything you mention in your comment is true.

As for the comments, that was disabled by the Web folks to combat the incredible volume of spam coming through.  I find that use of the web more distasteful than my experience of kissing the cod!   Thanks for the geography and history lesson.

From David Harrison — I do enjoy your blogs, but after reading the comment on the “far north” region of my country, I think you should buy yourself a globe.   The Canadian Maritime provinces are on the same latitude as southern France and north-central Italy.  Do keep the blogs coming, though.

Barry’s Response – You’re also right … BUT, as mentioned, many Maritime people go south for the winter for warmth.  In France and other European nations, the south of France and Italy are destinations where travelers go to avoid the cold, dreary weather.  Latitude doesn’t seem to have much to do with climate – looking up from the lower 48, it’s still the “far north” to me.  I do appreciate you comment.

MORE ABOUT THE MARITIMES – PART I

This entry is part 13 of 16 in the seriesThe Canadian Atlantic Provinces

By Barry Zander, Edited by Monique Zander, the Never-Bored RVers

The Canadian Maritimes (a.k.a. the Atlantic Provinces) are special places.  While we still consider our Alaskan trip “The Trip of a Lifetime,” we will long cherish our seven weeks in the Maritimes.  It’s not simply that we visited so many interesting places on this trip … it was much more than that.  Yes, almost every view of the blue Atlantic and its inlets was spectacular, but even that could make one blasé after weeks of peering over stunning rocky cliffs and driving along winding seaside roadways.  No, our appreciation went much further than that to include memorable events; sampling Maritimes food; being where the earliest of American history actually happened; getting at least an introduction to and a brief understanding of the unique people who populate this far-north fishing and agricultural region; plus, we toured with people who bonded into a fun troupe of travelers.

I’ve written much about our tour in the 16 blogs posted during our 48-day caravan, but before mentioning a few places that stand out vividly in our minds, peppered with some of my opinions and editorializing, TIME OUT! After being on the road without a “bricks & mortar home” for much of the past seven years, we have returned to the little wooden mountain cabin bought a little over a year ago.  Honestly, this is our first time experiencing the rigors of moving all the necessities needed for six months on the road and having to find places in a 1,000-square-foot cabin built in 1937 without luxuries like adequate closet space.  But we know that when we head out again on our journeys through North America, it will be reversing the process.

I mention this as my excuse for taking so long to tell you more about the wonders of the Atlantic Provinces – and if you’re just tuning in, specifically we’re talking about New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and the merged province of Newfoundland-and-Labrador.

Now, on with the show! Prince Edward Island, the smallest of the provinces, claims to have 90 lighthouses.  Larger Atlantic Provinces have at least that many, so you’d think we’d get bored with seeing another along the route.  Holding true to being “the Never-Bored RVers,” we snapped photo after photo of lighthouses (also called “lights” and “heads”) almost every day of the journey.  It’s not that each is different:  mostly, they are stalwart reminders of days when men went to sea in ships without guidance systems, many never to return to their wives awaiting familiar sails on the horizon.  And I want to add that we were still drawn to the lighthouses even after having seen dozens along the Atlantic coast of the U.S. in the spring.

LIGHTING THE WAY -- Clockwise from top left, St. John's Newfoundland; Peggy's Cove; Across from the Alexander Graham Bell Museum, Nova Scotia; and Louisbourg, Nova Scotia

LIGHTING THE WAY — Clockwise from top left, St. John’s Newfoundland; Peggy’s Cove; Across from the Alexander Graham Bell Museum, Nova Scotia; and Louisbourg, Nova Scotia

It took several weeks before the significance of the history of these far-away lands became an important element of our travels.  It was honestly confusing trying to sort out all the wars and skirmishes that, as our trip continued, fell into place.  For us, it brought history to life.  The war of 1812, the French and Indian War, the American Revolution, planting of flags by the Norse, the French, the British, the Portuguese, the Scots, all on soil inhabited by native tribes for hundreds of years – I won’t say we have it all clearly in our minds, but as our travels continued, the torment inflicted on hard-laboring fishermen and farmers by one, then another, played out as a continuing drama from place to place.

Names of New World explorers whose deeds and dates we forgot as soon as our history exams were over (if not during) kept cropping up, again adding color to that thread of history.

Young John Cabot welcomes visitors to see the recreated Matthew's Legacy. More understandable history under one roof than a whole schoolhouse.

Young John Cabot welcomes visitors to see the recreated Matthew’s Legacy. More understandable history under one roof than a whole schoolhouse.

Monique, being from France, and me, a South Louisiana native, took special interest in the Acadians, the French settlers who sailed across the sea to make a new life for their families, only to have it taken away violently when the British wanted to establish a stronghold in the lucrative fishing grounds.  The French returned; they left; the Scots came … well, my abbreviated recall of all we learned (and the accuracy of it) can’t be appreciated as well by reading without walking the land.

I fear going off on a tangent – it’s all part of the Maritimes we found so special – so I’ll end this segment here, except, I have two messages to you.

1)  Now that I’m on solid ground with a comfortable working space, I will do as long-promised.  I will start posting all my past blogs from blog.RV.net, along with new writing on my website ontopoftheworld.bz.  As soon as time allows, Monique and I will begin sifting through photos from our seven years on the road to post our favorites on that site, beginning with the Maritimes.

And 2), I know that when most RVers hear the word “caravan,” they immediately think, “That’s not for me.”  Monique and I had that opinion before our Alaska trip, but the advantages made us realize we could do and see more in the Maritimes if we signed up for a second caravan.  I’ll have another blog soon to give you the plusses and minuses of going with a caravan.  I’ve never seen any articles about it, except for mine, so I think it’s worthwhile mentioning it again.

From the “Never-Bored RVers,” We’ll see you on down the road.

© All photos by Barry Zander.   All rights reserved

 

ENJOYING THE JOURNEY

This entry is part 11 of 16 in the seriesThe Canadian Atlantic Provinces

By Barry Zander, Edited by Monique Zander, the Never-Bored RVers

“Turn around.  You could have turned around at that driveway,” demanded Monique.  “I’m going to go three more miles,” I answered.  If we don’t find a campground, I’ll turn around …”  “There’s a brown sign.  Float Camp Recreation Area.  But is there camping?” asked Monique.  I lucked out.  Despite no signs anywhere indicating that this was a campground in Mark Twain National Forest in Southern

The Current River by the Float Camp -- A National Scenic Waterway

The Current River by the Float Camp — A National Scenic Waterway

Missouri, I trusted my instincts (not very reliable, I might add) and proceeded to search for a place to stop for the night.  What made it more tenuous was that, earlier in the day, I had turned off a main highway to see “The World’s Biggest Wind Chime,” which we never found.  As compatible as we are, there was a bit of friction in the air – but that’s understandable after being on the road together exactly five months and having parked for at least one night in 85 different spots!

I left off our most recent entry on this blog site mentioning that there are other places from our caravan trip to the Canadian Maritimes that I want to write about.  That’s still true, but

You don't see this on Interstates. We share the road with Amish, who cling to their heritage

You don’t see this on Interstates. We share the road with Amish, who cling to their heritage

while on the road 7 to 9 hours a day since we left Niagara Falls, New York, we keep recalling additional places worth mentioning.  We are looking for a day of rest, when we can sit back in our recliners and list those places, so I can make sense out of it all.  I will say that we are still smiling when we talk about the Tattoo, the Screech In, the Ugly Stick concerts, Spillars Cove, the north end of Prince Edward Island … oh, so many places we were exposed to over the past two months.

We are now parked in Ozark RV Park and Cabins in Mountain View, Arkansas, one of the very few places we have visited three times.  We love this area so much, we had looked for land or a bungalow here years ago, but, realizing how far we’d be from family, we went on, eventually buying a cabin in the mountains of Southern California.

What’s so special about this place?  The Ozark scenery, for one.  The friendliness of the local folks, for another.  And mostly for the music in this, the Folk Music Capital of the World.  There is music everywhere around here, year-round, including in the “pickin’ sheds” and on the Courthouse Square.  In parks and on the porches of stores and in homespun theaters.

Are we having fun yet?  You betcha! at the Jimmy Driftwood Barn

Are we having fun yet? You betcha! at the Jimmy Driftwood Barn

Sunday night was quiet after a big weekend for bikers, who showed up from miles around, so we took in the by-donation Jimmy Driftwood Barn show.  “Jimmy Driftwood was a prolific folk singer-songwriter who wrote over 6,000 songs. He gained national fame in 1959 when Johnny Horton recorded Driftwood’s song, ‘The Battle of New Orleans’,” to quote the Encyclopedia of Arkansas.

This is Americana at its best.  The cast of local musicians with varying degrees of polish sing folk songs and gospel, some from the fine grain of the past, some seemingly made up (with lots of humor) yesterday. The instrumentation makes it all the more enjoyable – for

Cloggin'

Cloggin’

Sunday’s two-hour performance, they strummed on guitars, steel guitars, mandolins, a bass fiddle, autoharps, a washtub bass and more.  Add in harmonicas and a lady who played the snare drum and washboard, and you get the gist of what we listened to.  A few times during the show, several of the musicians/singers entertained with clogging.

There’s lots of music in Mountain View, plus two other main attractions.  It’s the home of Blanchard Springs Caverns National Park, which in our opinion is the most beautiful cave of the dozen we’ve traversed.  Then there’s the Ozark Folk Center immediately next to our campground.  It’s closed on Sundays and Mondays so our timing is bad, but we’ve spent many hours there during past visits.

After hour-after-hour over the last week plying the concrete of interstate highways, where the ripening corn crop on both sides of the road becomes hypnotic, I was excited when Monique routed us back to Arkansas.  We are “journey” travelers as opposed to “destination” people, so I appreciated the chance to tackle the severely winding roads and steep hills of the Ozark Mountains, at least in few-hour intervals.  We are here for two nights, then it’s onward!

Kites a-flying

Kites a-flying somewhere over New York State

One more thing I want to mention.  The electric jack on our trailer that lifts the tongue off the hitch ball on our truck was clucking and chucking, ready to strand us.  We left Niagara Falls with the trepidation that we would have to stay hitched up for the next two weeks, when we spied a Camping World sign on a through-town highway in Hamburg, New York, just southeast of Buffalo.  An hour later we drove away with a new electric lift recommended over the six others by the parts manager (and strangely enough, it was the least expensive).  We give thanks to their efficiency and congenial spirit.

From the “Never-Bored RVers,” We’ll see you on down the road.

© All photos by Barry Zander.   All rights reserved

COMMENTS TO RECENT BLOGS

From Dan and Terry Meehan — First, we would like to compliment you on the quality and usefulness of your blog about your RV travels.  We look forward to it every day.  We should have been off to see the US in our RV by now, but a COPD diagnosis has slowed our plan.  As we get the final pieces in place, we have two topics that we have not been able to find discussed via any of the blogs we have found and are wondering if you can guide us to either:  Can you direct us to someone who is currently traveling with COPD?

BARRY’S RESPONSE – We’ve met people with this breathing problem but never gotten any names or discussed it at any length.  I open the line, via emails, to neverboredrvers@gmail.com , to anyone who can provide information.

Do you know of a mapping, suggested routes, type of site, where we could find some planned routes designed for long-timers who don’t want to deal with weather on any grand scale?

BARRY’S RESPONSE – There is usually plenty of warning before hurricanes arrive, so that shouldn’t be a problem (I lived in New Orleans most of my life, so I am practically an expert).  We’ve hit snow flurries in Austin, Texas, in September and huddled in brick bathrooms when tornados were imminent in the Plains States.  You never know.  Again, we welcome reader input.

Thanks and keep the travel commentaries coming, loved the Puffin pics from yesterday.

From David Palazzolo — I stumbled over your blog on rv.net.  I was wondering and hoping to see if you could give me any information on traveling to the Northeast, specifically Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine.  I am planning a two-week RV trip with my in-laws (both about 75 years of age).  Would like to see things that are simple but fun.

I have planned to visit Ben and Jerry’s factory, LL Bean, Norman Rockwell museum, and a train ride.  I am trying to make it a trip where my in-laws can roam and enjoy the sites.  I am interested in neat places to take them to eat (mostly Mom and Pop places, or dives that have the best food).

Would you have any info that could help me or guide me in planning this type of travel.  We like to know some things to avoid because it would be a waste of time.  Not so much in a rush, but wanted to make this a trip of a lifetime with my in-laws.  Hope to find a nice fishing spot where my and my father in law could spend a few hours.  Any input will do.  We are coming from the Cincinnati area up to Niagara Falls and then heading east.

BARRY’S REPONSE — Thanks for you note.  I like your planning.  The last blog I wrote before going into Canada was at http://blog.rv.net/2013/06/downeast-mid-coast-and-the-bold-coast/ and I wrote several before then about the areas where you are traveling.  My Internet connection is less than optimal; doing further research at this time is annoying.

We stop at state travel centers when we get there during their open hours.  Monique picks up brochures and asks questions of the staff members.  Often they have interesting suggestions that we take.

We’re currently in Mentor, Ohio, heading west, having spent the past two days at Niagara Falls (the Canadian side is much better than the American side — take the Lewiston Bridge to save time – passports required).  All the places you are planning to visit are good, although L.L.Bean was only an hour attraction.  We mostly avoid the places set up for tourists, opting for some of the less renowned places along the way.  Some are good; for some, we are ready to move on.  You never know, and then again, your interests and the interests of your in-laws may be totally different from ours.  While near Niagara, we stayed at 4-Mile Creek State Park and visited Old Fort Niagara, where we found the confusing history of the colonial era history interesting.  Take the back-road scenic byways.  The scenery is unforgettable.

I wish I could fish during our travels, but paying for a fishing license in every state gets very expensive.  I bought a rod & reel when we went to Canada — the price tag is still on it.

One specific suggestion — Campobello Island near Eastport, Maine, will certainly be of interest to you and your in-laws.  You get there through Lubec, but you need your passports to get there, since it’s in New Brunswick.  (turn off your phone — international rates apply).

Thanks for you note — we’re rushing to get through dinner and into bed for the evening.  It’s been another long day.day.

Our FAVORITE STOPS IN THE MARTIMES – PART II

This entry is part 10 of 16 in the seriesThe Canadian Atlantic Provinces

 By Barry Zander, Edited by Monique Zander, the Never-Bored RVers

Why was Monique eager to embark on this 17,050-mile tour from California to Canada’s Atlantic Provinces and back?  First, to eat lobsters and crabs.  Second, to see puffins.  Third, because it’s there, a place that we rightfully expected to be a new horizon on our seven years of RV travel.

At the Root Cellar Capital of the World

At the Root Cellar Capital of the World

We definitely did not go there because Elliston, Newfoundland, is “The Root Cellar Capital of the World,” and after seeing a few dozen root cellars, we are still not oohing and aahing, but  it’s all part of the mind-expanding reason for travel.  My impression of a root cellar is a door that comes out of a knoll, behind which are shelves.  Let’s move on.

We arose early in our Bonavista, NF, campground, gulped down our latte and headed out for nearby Elliston.  We were alone at the well-known point, a precipice across a small Atlantic flow from a rocky island, upon which were flocks of graceful birds – AND UNGRACEFUL PUFFINS.  The three purposes of our long journey had been met!

After an hour of watching the puffins and hoping they would fly over to our side of the small strait, we were joined by a busload of birders from the States, all sporting binoculars and cameras.   Among things we learned from their local tour guide was that we were sitting too close to the edge, thereby scaring away the puffins.  We also learned that the cliff upon which we perched was somewhat fragile, potentially dangerous.  We immediately moved back and became advisers to the dozens of people who joined our throng over the next hour.

Coming by for a visit

Coming by for a visit 

While all of us looked eastward at the island ahead of us awaiting the first puffin to land on our side, Gail, a member of our Fantasy RV Tours caravan, who, with husband Richard, is a professional photographer, was looking at the low hills to the south, taking pictures of the puffins 20 feet away.  We sauntered over and Monique “clacked” to get them to move in closer.  One came within six feet of us, posing for numerous pin-up shots.

Another cogent suggestion by the tour guides:  Go to Spillar’s Cove for a spectacular view.

A dramatic spire rises from the waters of Spillar's Cove

A dramatic spire rises from the waters of Spillar’s Cove

No  easy trip, but with our four-wheel drive GMC truck we were able to drive within 150 feet of water’s edge.  Awesome! Jagged rocks with a thin finger of granite rising from the aqua ocean below, white-topped waves crashing over rocks at the base.  Surrounded by formations with character … and more seabirds, including puffins.

We hiked and photographed.  And by this time, those same birders, who had hiked the 100 yards from their bus, had shown up and were seated in the grass enjoying their lunches with one of the most spectacular views imaginable.  Again, let’s move on.

In Bonavista, we toured The Matthew Legacy, a re-created 17th Century frigate, housed in a mammoth building while in dry-dock.  Along with the boat was the history of Captain/Explorer John Cabot, with docents

The St. Matthew Legacy in Dry Dock

The St. Matthew Legacy in Dry Dock

available to point out important bits of history and answer our many questions.

Millennia of wave action has created The Dungeon

Millennia of wave action has created The Dungeon

Dungeon Provincial Park was a sort of afterthought, but Wow, what a view!  Below the viewing area was a large circular abyss carved into the solid rock grassland through two passageways formed by the pounding waves of millennia.  It was a garnish for a delicious meal of sightseeing.

Twenty-one campgrounds in 48 days.  This was just one stop along the way.  With the vast number of places we ventured, it can be hard to separate and catalogue each in our minds, but the Elliston/Bonavista stop, like Twillingate, stands out.  I’ll mention a few more in the next blog.

I rarely take notes, except for specific facts that I care to remember, so how do we remember all this?   I often tell people who surmise that I’m a professional photographer that I take photographs for the memories.  Whether you have a point-and-shoot camera, a cellphone, I-pad, or an interchangeable-lens single-lens-reflex camera, the quality is always good enough to record for your lifetime memories of the places you’ve been.

When Monique and I reach the time when we no longer have the ability to travel  North America, we’ll be able to revisit the wonderful places we’ve been by looking at the photos.  And for now, we’re glad to have you along with us.

Coming in for a graceful landing

Coming in for a graceful landing

From the “Never-Bored RVers,” We’ll see you on down the road.

© All photos by Barry Zander.   All rights reserved

OUR FAVORITE STOPS IN THE MARITIMES — Part I

This entry is part 9 of 16 in the seriesThe Canadian Atlantic Provinces

By Barry Zander, Edited by Monique Zander, the Never-Bored RVers

Members of our Fantasy RV Tours caravan, who joined us from literally the four corners of the Continental U.S. and many places in between, have now split up to return home or begin another adventure. We remain on the vibrant green pastoral Prince Edward Island to see a few more things before heading westward, with our travel trailer virtually filled with a 1) wide variety of keepsakes; 2) our external hard drives brimming with photos and, 3) our heads still savoring vivid memories.

We have parked our rig for at least one night in 21 campgrounds and on one 16-hour ferry ride, and seen, I would estimate, 10,000 memorable sights. Well, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration, but 100 of those were lighthouses, another 101 were coves hugged by classic fishing villages with colorful little houses, 1,000 were beautiful ponds and lakes … need I go on?

I’ll have more about the experience as time on our trip allows – we have lots of driving ahead of us – but for now, I’m chomping at the bit to tell you about Twillingate and Bonavista, both on the “big island” of Newfoundland. And as I began to prepare this blog, I realize that just a word or two about each thing I want to write about is too long for one blog, so I’ll divide it into two, and then add some more spots after that.

We walked along the shoreline into the hills soon after arriving at Twillingate

We walked along the shoreline into the hills soon after arriving at Twillingate

We began our assault on Twillingate by wandering out of the campground, tromping across a narrow isthmus and climbing a hill bordering the Atlantic coastline. Below the cliff were a myriad of seabirds and blue-green waters at which we have marveled numerous

Cleaning the day's cod catch in their "stage"

Cleaning the day’s cod catch in their “stage”

times on this trip. On our way back “home,” we wandered into a “fishing stage,” a little shack in which seamen store some of their gear and prepare their catch of the day for selling or eating.  These rugged individuals, still wearing their typical Atlantic Ocean fishing gear, were joyfully cleaning the cod from a large bucket when Monique and I walked in, each with a camera in hand. They immediately turned the conversation to us, without stopping their work, and proved to be like everyone else we’ve met on this excursion, both friendly and interested, with a touch of joviality thrown in.

We got to know Twillingate fairly well by walking and driving around town and doing touristy things, like visiting a winery and premium chocolate outlet, finishing our stay there by attending the “All Around the Circle Dinner Theatre,” which is best described as the Newfoundland version of the old TV show “HeeHaw.” It’s local humor; yet, I think that the 42 or so of us on the caravan would describe it as very entertaining.

The Prime Berth "Stage"

The Prime Berth “Stage”

I’ve saved the best two Twillingate events for last. I was not looking forward to visiting a fish museum. After going there, I recommended it to everyone I met. The “Prime Berth Heritage Museum” is the creation of David Boyd, a life-long fisherman, a fishing guide, and a collector of memorabilia, which he explains and demonstrates, He’s also a pretty good poet (I bought his book of poetry). You’re probably still not sold on going to a fish museum, and rather than trying to sell you on it when in Newfoundland, I’ll just say, if you don’t go there, you’re missing a treat.

An enjoyable moment for Caravan members in the Fish Museum

An enjoyable moment for Caravan members in the Fish Museum

And one more thing. After hearing David’s buddy, Bill, play the ugly stick, I picked one up in the gift shop run by David’s wife and bought one for Monique. That ignited the fuse that caused the explosion that became a highlight of our journey, ugly stick concerts.

The first Ugly Sticks concert. Three more followed.

The first Ugly Sticks concert. Three more followed.

Seeing Monique with one, Ron bought one, and George, and Jean and Stephanie and Carol … well, actually, Carol bough two of them.  They played those ugly sticks that evening and at every opportunity after that, including with a band in Nova Scotia, where most of the folks had never seen one and others didn’t realize how much fun they could be. Ron suggests they apply for “America’s Got Talent.”

We capped it all off with a visit to the Long Point Lighthouse, where there’s a charge to enter and go to the top. It was there that we got to see our third iceberg of the trip, and while miles offshore, it still captured our imaginations as its two peaks disappeared into a plateau of ice. We also spotted the dorsal fins of a few humpback whales. Since we’d

An iceberg looms out in the Atlantic, soon changing into a plateau of ice

An iceberg looms out in the Atlantic, soon changing into a plateau of ice

been in dozens of lighthouse by then there was no need to look at the surrounding vistas from any higher than the cliffs on which we walked, so we took off along the bluffs in one direction, stopped to munch on fruit bars, retraced our steps and went onward to extend our hike. At every turn there was beauty in all directions. We are still cutting slices off the chunks of fudge bought there – “Buy 1 pound; get a ½ pound free.” Too good a deal to pass up, an excellent, good-tasting energy food.

We did all this and more on a three-day stopover. Multiply that by the 21 stops on our caravan tour, and you’ll get an idea of what we’ve experienced. Stay tuned for our visit to the Root Cellar Capital of the World in the next edition. Obviously we continue to be the “Never-Bored RVers,” We’ll see you on down the road.
© All photos by Barry Zander. All rights reserved

MUCH TO SAY ABOUT ST. JOHN’S, NF

This entry is part 8 of 16 in the seriesThe Canadian Atlantic Provinces

By Barry Zander, Edited by Monique Zander, the Never-Bored RVers

NO, we haven’t taken a vacation from our vacation in the Canadian Maritimes.  We’ve just been so involved with our trip that I: 1) haven’t had much time to write, and 2) we’ve seen so much worth writing about I’m developing writer’s block about where to start.

Just looking at over the center of St. John's, Newfoundland, brings a sense of excitement. It's a beautiful city with lots to do and learn.

Just looking at over the center of St. John’s, Newfoundland, brings a sense of excitement. It’s a beautiful city with lots to do and learn.

So, although it’s out of chronological order, I will mention St. John’s, Newfoundland.  So many interesting things to see and do.  I’ll start with a picture of Jellybean houses, which

Jellybean Row

Jellybean Row

remind me of Christo Art.  You remember Christo.  He’s the artist who wraps buildings and puts umbrellas along hills for miles. My Jellybean Houses photo tells the story, except to say this was an idea that the city launched in the ‘50s to brighten up their lives.

Then there’s the Veiled Virgin, the most exquisite statue I’ve ever seen.  It’s in the Convent

Incredible Sculpting

Incredible Sculpting

on the grounds of the Basilica of St. John, and open to the public during very limited hours.  It’s a sculpture by Giovanni Strazza from a single piece of marble, with the Virgin’s face behind a veil of marble so thin it’s hard to believe it’s not tulle.  You may not want to base a trip to Newfoundland on seeing that, but if your travels take you in the area, you don’t want to miss it.

Poutine, as I mentioned in an earlier blog, is

Our bucket of poutine

Our bucket of poutine

a local dish of French fries with gravy and curds.  While wandering on Water Street where the city’s classiest restaurants have long lines of tourists and locals waiting to dine, Monique and I were drawn to Smokey’s Poutinerie, which fits into the street like Spike Jones and the City Slickers playing next to the London Symphony.

Being in Newfoundland and wanting to soak up Atlantic Provinces cuisine, we looked in, then went in, then, to our surprise, we ordered one of the 20 or so versions of poutine.  We got the Philly Cheese Steak poutine, which included the basics plus meat, red peppers, onions and mushrooms.  We did this, of course, to be in a position to advise RV.com readers.  Conclusion:  we won’t do it again, but that’s our personal taste.

We spent three days in St. John’s, hardly enough time to really get to know the oldest seaport in the New World, and yet, we did the town up right.  Rather than try to relate it all, I’ll summarize a few experiences:

Geo Centre Planets - 4961The Geo Centre, a very interesting exhibit building that put us literally in contact with some of the oldest geology on Earth.  A beautiful museum that provides an excellent opportunity to  get to know rocks and how the Maritimes separated from Africa.

The stately Cabot Tower reigns over the town as did Queen Victoria year's earlier.

The stately Cabot Tower reigns over the town as did Queen Victoria year’s earlier.

The Cabot Tower, honoring the 60th anniversary of Queen Victoria’s reign, overlooks the Narrows, a passage from the Atlantic into the harbor, where German U-boats patrolled blowing up merchant vessels heading for Europe.  And across the Narrows is Cape Spear, the easternmost point in North America.

Nearby, a road passes along steep cliffs, famous for the caves where wine was stored at perfect temperatures before being exported.  Not a biggie on

One of the caves where wine was stored is sealed behind a steel door.

One of the caves where wine was stored is sealed behind a steel door.

getting to know the city, but interesting.  And leaving the Cabot Tower, we passed the visitors center, where a reenactment of military hostilities between the British and French was staged.  Lots of drums, fifes and booms.

The Rooms is a museum, whose modern exterior is out-of-place with the quaintness of the city, but inside are some excellent exhibits, all connected by an impressive three-story atrium.  The theme is the historical fishing industry of St. John’s but it goes much further.

We went out on a boat whale-hunting.  We not only didn’t harpoon any, we didn’t see any.  Captain Barry explained that the whales sense bad weather and head for deeper waters.  The bad weather arrived a few minutes later.  A few puffins and other northern birds provided some wildlife experience.

Young troops prepare for battle -- in truth, the actual soldiers were probably not any older than these young men.

Young troops prepare for battle — in truth, the actual soldiers were probably not any older than these young men.

 Two more eating opportunities.  Walking out the back door of the Geo Centre, we happened upon a small field of blueberries lining the pathway.  We munched our way back to the truck.,  The other – a stop by a recommended local fish & chips chain restaurant.  We did not find that it added to the flavor of our visit, primarily because we didn’t detect any flavor at all.  But,

Picking berries

Picking berries

they did give us a certificate commemorating our first time at the restaurant. Water Street would have been a better choice.

What have you learned here?  Don’t miss St. John’s.  I’ll have some more tips on our journey among one of North America’s most attractive and attracting lands.  As our caravan draws to a close in a few days, I can say we are finding that almost everyday brings new interest and excitement, which I will draw upon for the next few blogs in this series.

At North America's Easternmost Point

At North America’s Easternmost Point

P.S.  Before ending, I want to clarify one of my misstatements.  I assumed that all those bays, inlets, coves, fiords, etc., I wrote about earlier were salt water because they empty into the ocean or its tributaries.  I have since learned that many are fresh or brackish water.   I’ll say again the shorelines along those little villages and remote areas are some of the most enchanting scenery you’ll see anywhere.

From the “Never-Bored RVers,” We’ll see you on down the road.

NEWFOUNDLAND PART I AND LABRADOR

This entry is part 7 of 16 in the seriesThe Canadian Atlantic Provinces

By Barry Zander, Edited by Monique Zander, the Never-Bored RVers

The red building at right is a "stage." What we call piers are "flakes" up here.  Fishing villages are quaint to tourists, but it's the way of life that has been going on for 400 years for the locals.

The red building at right is a “stage.” What we call piers are “flakes” up here. Fishing villages are quaint to tourists, but it’s the way of life that has been going on for 400 years for the locals.

I wrote this at least a week ago, but haven’t been able to post it because of weak or non-existing Internet. If the Maritimes weren’t relatively remote, I don’t think it would provide the charm and sense of adventure we are experiencing.  But because of that remoteness, we are subject to the whims of the territory, which means having to endure intermittent availability of communications, the erratic level of electrical services in RV campgrounds and inconveniences of not always being able to shop for essentials.  It’s all part of the experience of being somewhat off the grid.

Now, to pick up where I left off.

I’ll begin with a comment from Terry Reed: “Labrador was sort of on my bucket list too, but I can see now that I’ve read your description, that I should lower my expectations and maybe just do more exploring in Nova Scotia.”

We have visited enumerable lighthouses during this trip, but each one has its own fascination for us. When we can't get to one, we feel like we've missed something.

We have visited enumerable lighthouses during this trip, but each one has its own fascination for us. When we can’t get to one, we feel like we’ve missed something.

My response: As for Labrador, Monique and I can understand why, from my write-up, that you may want to avoid Labrador.   We only saw a small section as part of our caravan.  We checked our map and see that the route beyond Red Bay, our most northern stop, is gravel for 338 kilometers (about 200 miles) to Cartwright, and from there it seems to be blacktop.  Maybe that’s the challenge of Labrador travel.  You might want to do more research before scratching it off your bucket list.

Terry’s comment brought up an interesting question — Why come to the Canadian Maritimes? For us and most of our Fantasy RV caravan troop taking this 48-day tour of the Atlantic Provinces, it was basically because it’s here, or really beyond everywhere else.  I asked our group for other reasons they joined this tour and got several responses.

Three said they were here to research their family heritage.  Tim is aboard because he went as far as Halifax, Nova Scotia, on an earlier trip and was interested in seeing more.  Perhaps my favorite was from Chet, who explained that he had spent his working life within four walls and he wanted to see more of the world, which he and wife Ann have

A young bull moose poses for us.

A young bull moose poses for us.

done, traveling recently to Tibet.  He likes the idea that they are in a land where there are wide-open spaces, where he can see new things and meet new people.

I like that. Why spend the time and money just to say, “I’ve been there.” Maritimes inhabitants, from what we’ve experienced, are calm.  They fish and have a highly developed sense of community.  It’s comforting to find a civilization that is willing to fight the elements and put up with a lack of shopping centers nearby to maintain their traditional lifestyle.

They know from television that there is an outside world that is different; but, at least in the coastal areas where we have been, they cling to a life that revolves around maritime occupations – oh, and, of course, tourism.  There is unmatched beauty in the blue-green waters that send powerful waves to lap upon the rocky shores.  The villages tucked along remote coves have changed little since their settlement 200 or more years ago.  Come to the Maritimes to observe, to learn, to breathe.  It’s worth the visit.

Over the past couple of weeks, the appreciation Monique and I have of the Island Province of Newfoundland has grown immeasurably.  I want to devote the next blog to some of the unforgettable highlights of our recent Atlantic Provinces travels.  Since it’s part of my somewhat offbeat writing style to enlighten blog readers with information not readily available elsewhere, I want to talk about water.  One tour guide told us you can’t be anywhere in Newfoundland further than 50-miles from saltwater.  We crossed the province a few days ago and realized that he is right.  With that in mind, I’ll inform you of where to find that saltwater.  Visitors see coves, inlets, bays, fiords, harbours, tickles, arms, bights, reaches and sounds, and they all seem to be the same thing.  And that’s not including

Moon Jellies are common this time of year.

Moon Jellies are common this time of year.

straights, and freshwater ponds and lakes that seem to make up half of the landmass here.

I’m eager to talk about some of the sights and activities we have unexpectedly enjoyed, like the fishing heritage museum and Spillar’s Cove.  We are certainly not bored these days,

From the “Never-Bored RVers,” We’ll see you on down the road.

© All photos by Barry Zander.   All rights reserved

COMMENTS FROM PREVIOUS BLOGS:

From George and Marilyn Swisher. We enjoyed so much your trip in Newfoundland and Labrador.  In 1999, we traveled with a caravan called Yankee RV tours out of Maine.  Many of things you experienced we also experienced on our caravan, such as moose stew and becoming Newfies. We drove personal cars in Labrador, and had a time element to be there since the ferry from Labrador to Newfoundland would not be available for us if we missed it for 3 days.  Thanks so much for your writings.

From Ann Crume: Barry, We will be traveling a few weeks behind you into New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. What are you using for Internet and cell phone service?  … Thanks for all the information on your blog. I’m not very good at keeping mine up-to-date.

My response: If I haven’t mentioned this before, I will say that you need to talk with your phone service carrier about their international plan, and, believe me, it can be confusing.  I have a temporary phone plan through AT&T, but had originally set up Internet service also.  I cancelled that because I didn’t want to figure out the system and I could get Internet in most Maritime towns and, at least to some degree, in campgrounds.

From Ray: I like your work in keeping us (old RVers) up to date. Thanks.