We are camped near Weymouth and on our way here we visited the oldest Acadian cemetery, a simple little thing with wooden crosses and about 20 graves.
We moved on from our campground to a lighthouse parking lot out on the edge of the Peninsula with the sea either side of us, our previous location was getting ready for a large party right beside us so we figured it was time to move on.
Saturday, July 23
After we had explored Digby we went out onto the Peninsula called Long Island and drove South to we reached the city of Tiverton when we would have to take the 1st of 2 ferrys to carry on to what was reputed to be a remarkable Peninsula but I’m afraid the thought of 2 ferrys there and 2 ferrys back and with the waiting time and added that it looked like we are driving on to fog and overcast weather I decided to leave that for another day and we wanted back towards the wildly advertised campground at Whale Cove.
For the campground was about 3 or 4 km from the coast so any thought of being able to see a whale from there was just a pipe dream and on out to the coast to coast that was well past its use by date with one it to still desperately holding on to whatever they have we passed what must’ve been perhaps a 12 bedroom house with what looked like a billiard table still in the billiard room, the grass was still being cut but the house had that nobody lives here anymore, all the incredible locations for seaside views and looks like a lot of the houses are abandoned. Of course just as you’re thinking this to be a nice place to shift to you look at the massive piles of firewood outside every house that tells you “yes….. It gets slightly cold here!
In fact I don’t think I’ve been anywhere in the world have seen so many apparent abandoned houses, houses that the weather has stripped the paint off back to the wood, and of course probably one in 5 or more have a for sale sign in front of the property.
I was under the impression that the reason we elected governments were for cases like this were at the whole province is in decline they should make it attractive through taxation and investment credits for large manufacturing companies to set up in the area to employ people. Having thought of that why doesn’t our worthy NZ government do that in our depressed areas in New Zealand.
So we set our GPS back to the mainland and the city of Annapolis and we ended up back in the village of Digby evidently there are 2 Annapolis, one by that name and one called Annapolis Royal which seemed to be the centre of Acadian culture with a large Acadian University with a massive parking area and a suburb called Wolfville. Evidently in 1755 the British that were escaping the American Revolution took over this area and forced thousands of Acadian’s to move on. It was of course not as simple as that and today perhaps the international court at Hague would have been come involved of it happened in this century. But then it was a much simpler world back then!
We passed by some very magnificent churches today of all denominations and one that claimed to be the largest wooden church in the world, was certainly massive and big.
We were getting lost as to whether Park for the night and we came across our old friends at Walmart that and spite of on the GPS saying overnight parking not allowed it was so we joined the 6 other motorhomes there for the night
Sunday, July 24
Back we went over some of the route we did last night to a national historical site called Grand Pre, the building and grounds we did not get a chance to go through yesterday.
Was on, North, till we reached the town of Truro and Parrsboro where the great Fundy tides sweep into the Minas Basin which is famous as the home for the world’s highest tides which reach over 15 m in height, would not like to think what would happen if an earthquake happened around the time of a high tide!
We carried on route 104 which happened to be a toll road and after giving the man $5.50 we found a quiet parking spot where we are for the night.
Monday, July 25
We carried on driving towards the American border around the Bay of Fundy and stopped off to see the Hopewell Rocks and photographed them with the tide out amongst the scores of other tourists and camera fanatics that made it looked like a camera club day out. Luda met her 2nd family of Russian speaking tourists, th3ey are travelling in a hired RV about the same size ours and were being charged for the use of their generator at $2 an hour.
Later as we are going through Alma we found they were selling lobsters to be eaten their restaurant or taken away. Luda went in and saw a large table stacked with cooked lobsters surrounded by ice and remembering the size of the lobsters in Kaikoura and their price thought that the lobsters here for $25 for a big one at least one kilo was pretty good value.
Again we were experiencing houses that were apparently abandoned, lots of houses for sale, and signs that the paintwork may not be standing up to the makers advertising.
Had an interesting email from a friend that still has a pro colour lab in the states looking for business and he has looked at my book “the final proof” and would like me to get a price for printing them in China, is looking at a few pages of advertising in the book and using them as a giveaway to new clients, an interesting wrinkle!
Tuesday, July 26
Our destination for today was to be on the Canadian side of the border, to use all of our small change on petrol, and Luda made sure that all the food that was going to be confiscated at the border, was cooked, so I have put weight on, on this trip you know who to blame!
From the motorway we saw a large sign talking about St Andrews and how it was one of the oldest resorts on the coast so we thought it was worth a visit and it was a delightful little town, extremely photogenic, packed with tourists, is interesting how all of the restaurants in these spots are packed with clients, but I suppose if you travel by car and not an RV, you have to eat somewhere.
It is also close to this summer home of the American president Franklin DD Roosevelt, who has a 34 room cottage on the 2800 acre island close to this town. Of course being on the Bay of Fundy it is also subject to the interesting tides which evidently are not as high as further up the Bay.
We are back in America and they did not take all of our uncooked food like the last three times…
We crossed over to America at 8:30 a.m. and were immediately given a bonus hour making at 7:30 a.m. Going through border control we were expecting to have all that uncooked vegetables, fruit and meat confiscated like previous occasions at the Canadian border, and coming from New Zealand with strict border controls we totally understand and agree with the principles, however on this occasion the border officer was not interested in any food that we had which contrasts dramatically to the last crossing where they took away a1/8th of piece of lemon there we had in our fridge.
We 1st headed towards Eastport a delightful little fishing village out on the Peninsula and then we drove around the coast hugging the Peninsula and stopping to photograph the sea views whenever they became available.
I guess in Canada I got tuned in to looking for abandoned buildings and houses as I find there are probably just as many the side of the border as on the other and the paint also has not fared any better.
Thursday 28 July
We left the truck parking spot at the petrol station and drove into Ellsworth after driving around the Acadia National Park, once we got into the Park we took an interesting Road then we saw the sign barring RVs and trailers, I’m sure when they were talking of RVs they were thinking of the 40 foot monsters not the little ones we have but we followed the signs went into the information centre and found there was a bus going round and a few minutes and the occupants would see all sorts of fantastic things, according to the lady behind the desk, so we bought Luda a ticket and I decided to stay behind and the woman could not understand this but when Luda returned a proved to be a good decision.
She did however see some small whales frolicking a little bit out to see so the tour was not a dead loss. We then went into Ellsworth and then on out to Bass harbour and the lighthouse was out on the Peninsula, we ignored the no RVs sign and drove through to the end to find it was packed with cars, we did manage to do a U-turn and went back to a side Road and left Luda to walk to the lighthouse for the photograph and then walk up the side Road to where the motorhome was parked.
We decided at this point to see if we could find a campground and we went to the closest one on the GPS and we were told that there was nothing for the next few weeks so back out on the Road and the nose to tail traffic all the way back into Ellsworth and I think that cured us going out on the Peninsula which is supposed to get 5 million tourists a year.
So we ended up back at Walmart where we can pick our parking spot and were not parked within arms reach of another RV like in a campground.
Friday, July 29
We decided to get away from the coast and the 5 million tourists coming here every year but before we went we thought we’d check with the campground just outside town to see if they had any space for tonight, yes they had one space, it was fully serviced, it was only $80, so I thanked them and drove on.
When we looked at our map of Maine all of the population and roads seem to be in the South that state, as you go North the roads disappear and Lakes appear and I assume swamps and forests takeover but we decided to head up Highway 15 to Moosehead Lake and the guidebook told us there are 3 times as many Moose in this area as there were people but that did not help with any sightings.
As we drive North it becomes obviously sparsely populated which is obvious when one goes through small towns and villages that looked like the slowly trying to die and I only wish we had time to stop and photographed some of the incredible old houses which have been abandoned and some that you have to into the bush to see, it looks like the bush is taking over and as moved into the environment of the house, but I guess all that falls under the heading of progress and the move to the cities.
Saturday, July 30
Today we drove up the left-hand side of Moosehead Lake and looking at the map one could imagine one would have a good view of the Lake all the way but the actual fact we had a good view of the forest that was between us and the Lake with occasional glimpses of the Lake. We then left the Lake and headed towards Jackman passing more Lakes on our travels and then took Highway 201 South on what was spoken of as a picturesque drive and the part that was beside the river was quite interesting and we saw several groups of what I assume would be teenagers floating down the river on rubber rafts or inner tubes.
The River used to be a major highway between Canada and the St Lawrence and looking at the map and seeing how sparse the roads are one can quite well understand that, in fact the Road we are travelling down on is called the old Canada Road and a lot of the businesses one sees along the Road were originally established because of this reason, which unfortunately for some it is now history.
Some of the time it was forest either side of the road, and the roads were not well maintained and made the earthquake damaged roads of Christchurch seem like highways.
We then drove left into the Franklin area to a town called Bingham we were found a location for tonight.
Sunday 31st July
We drove towards the New Hampshire border in the most direct route which looked like a expanded W on the map passing by lakes and rivers and all the time driving through forests which would look absolutely marvellous once Autumn arrives. Today being Sunday there are a lot of motorbikes out with the majority of the riders enjoying the fresh air massaging their hair and that there were any riders with helmets we assumed they were a Canadians, as their law makes the wearing of helmets mandatory.
We are continually being warned that the area we are driving through is extremely dangerous with Moose - car collisions in fact it is deemed a high collision area and we assume that our motorhome is too big for the Moose to challenge but then we read that the moose’s sight is limited to about 20 feet so our report reads no Moose sightings today.
All of the scenic viewpoints today were packed with cars doing their Sunday drive, but we did manage to pull into one that had space for our motorhome and there were viewings for 3 different waterfalls which joined our collection of lighthouses.
A lot of the countryside we drive through has got some magnificent big houses and then we come to the town all the village which is full of empty shops which I assume is the result of several things one being the drift to the cities, two being the modern motor vehicle that makes distance disappear, Three being a large department stores selling goods at a lesser price that the country stores probably buy the same goods and probably other reasons under the names of progress, but I certainly do not like the result of what I see on a daily basis.
One can certainly work out where some of the early settlers came from passing through this area as yesterday we passed by Moscow, tomorrow Mexico, Madrid, Hanover which is quite a change from the mainly English names we have been seeing.
We parked in the car Park in the middle of a state forest.
Monday, August 1
Today we left Maine and crossed over the border into New Hampshire and almost immediately we felt the scenery changed, still a lot of houses for sale but were having to look harder for abandoned houses.
Was still driving through reasoning dense forests often beside Lakes for some considerable distance not quite as many houses inside the forest and maybe that is just the road that we are on. It started raining fairly heavy in the afternoon so that prevented us stopping at the picturesque state parks that we passed and we went on to the city of Littleton where we spent the night hoping for a fine day tomorrow.
Tuesday, August 2
We got our wish for a fine day so headed down Highway 3 to the 1st off exit 34B to what they called Old Man of the Mount then the trout filled Profile Lake and finally back to exit 34 A to the Flume of Franconia Notch State Park, this was formed, so I’ve been told, not from a reliable witness, 200 million years ago and it is a narrow chasm whose granite walls tower more than 27 m above the Boardwalk.
We drove from Lincoln along the Kancamagus Highway to Conway, one of the must do, during the autumn tonings and drove on South passed packed scenic viewpoints towards Wolfboro where we found a parking spot for the night.
Wednesday, August 3
We drove south a little bit to Alton and then plotted a straight line to Burlington which proved to be anything but straight taking us through the mountains and forests and villages. Again we had plenty of warnings of Moose crossing the Road but all we saw was a Brown mink going for its life across the Road and a young black bear heading into the forest probably back to Mumma.
We are still seeing abandoned houses, which we were not aware of in any other country, but rationalising it out Europe is over civilised and overpopulated for at least 1000 years in this country is still finding its feet particularly with so much land available and with changes in direction of life over the last 50 to 100 years, particularly in this country people have to move to where the action is.
We got to Burlington and whilst our GPS said parking was available at this location it turned out to be incorrect so we went on another 30 miles to St Albans where we had a good nights rest.
Thursday August 4
This morning the gas water heater would not work, and we assumed we needed the propane refilled, this was done, and still would not work, so we fiddled with the controls and then it decided to work, we then decided to drive north to Lake Champlain and across over the bridge to Grand Isle where we visited Isle la Motte which is famous for its statue of a French explorer which we could not find and we did see the signpost to the shrine of St Andrew but the shingle Road stopped us from being virtuous in visiting the shrine..
After having lunch on the island we decided do a shortcut to New York State by using the ferry from Gordon Landing to Plattsburgh. Once on the other side we discovered we had done a lot of this area on our way North so are now carefully planning our route over an unexplored area. Passing South we recognised the name of Ausable Point campground so we pulled in there again for the night.
Friday, August 5
On this day next month I returned to New Zealand and we decided to go South and do the Blue Ridge Parkway and then probably another suggested drive to take us into the South where we will do a very hot drive all the way across to Tucson, but time will tell.
Today we took Highway 22 South which took was beside the Lake, the River, the canal? However the whole thing was called Lake Champlain irrespective of what I saw out of my drivers window. We passed by many locks which I assume were for the canal and we’s found some bridges across to Vermont that we didn’t know there were, okay Luda has just told me she knew!
Some of the town’s we passed through today looked a little bit more prosperous and I can only assume having New York within driving distance does no harm. The whole area that we drove through today appeared to be the site of many battles throughout the 1800s a lot of the houses had dates on them going back to that era. One particular village had large banners on each Telegraph pole with a picture of a person who had participated in the military and they called their town the town of heroes which was a marvellous Memorial to those that served their country.
Saturday, August 6
We drove scenic Highway number 5 towards Utica traveling alongside the Erie canal and all of the locks involved. Going through one part which was forest we saw in the middle of nowhere a very large American flag and a few paces away from it a very large sign saying “God bless America” I guess these are the sentiments of most of the leaders of most of the countries in the world that they would like God to bless their country but they are not quite as forward as the people of this country and perhaps there is a message there somewhere.
We saw our 1st Russian Orthodox Church today, established by Russians that arrived in this area probably around the time of Lenin or in the troubles preceding that time and we had a nice chat to the Priest and his Bulgarian wife and the Deacon of the church who was introduced to the church from his Methodist background by the girl he married and the subsequent marriage in the church followed up by religious studies. Evidently on the route we are travelling will see a lot of more of these churches due to the large number of Russians that settled around the Pennsylvania New York border.
As we left the church the priest pointed out the front driver’s side tire was showing canvas so obviously we were meant to stop and within the next 5 miles we had a replacement.
Sunday, August 7
Today we carried on our drive south this time towards Pennsylvania on the Road seemed to take us along the New York Pennsylvania border for some time 1 minute being in Pennsylvania the next minute in New York, but finally we got far enough across for that to be no doubt about this time we saw our 2nd Russian Orthodox Church but did not stop and drove on to Mansfield where we found a car Park for the night.
Monday, August 8
Route 6 took us along the top of Pennsylvania very close to the New York border and was called the timber, oil, and coal country drive. We did a side trip up a narrow road through the forest to a lookout over what they called the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania and then it was through a small town of Galeton that once upon a time was home to the world’s largest sawmills, that of course is all gone now along with the trees that they stripped and have replaced with conifers.
Next stop was the Kinzua viaduct which had the claim of being the world’s highest viaduct when it was built in 1882 but evidently a tornado recently smashed most of it to pieces and there was just a small piece left which they built a viewing platform to look out over the magnificent view.
Today we saw no warning signs of Deer or Moose so was a surprise without warning a very young deer jumped out onto the Road looked startled when it saw us and did a nice sidestep to get out of our way, another decided to cross the Road in front of us about 100 feet away and then later we saw 2 deer that had not been as lucky lying on the side of the road.
Later on route 6 they were repairing a bridge so they had closed the road at that point so after discussion with a local we took a side Road for local use only which eventually took us back to route 6 but not before it passed a farm of bison of which Luda did several portraits!
We saw no signs of coal but we did see to oil wells with their pumps working and we went through one town that looked like it had an oil refinery but again most of the shops and most of the towns had many empty windows.
We found parking for the night in a town called Warren.
Tuesday, August 9
I asked a young guy what made this area special and he said oh “the dam” and he was referring to the Kinzua dam which was up in the Allegheny National reserve area so that was our 1st stop and then we took the scenic drive south again to the outskirts of Pittsburgh city and I finally discovered what qualifies as a scenic Road versus an ordinary Road, a scenic Road is through the trees with occasional glimpses of a Lake if there is one AND a normal Road goes through the villages and towns seeing how people live on what sort housing they have.