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.
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.
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