Mary Beth Writes

Thank you, Robert Burns, for that title. 

We were driving from Gaspé to the next town when this happened.

What you are seeing is Tim Horton’s; famous Canadian purveyor of coffee, donuts and a whole bunch of other treats and sandwiches. They also offer free WIFI so we stopped by Tim Horton’s most afternoons to use their Internet to figure out what motel we would be stopping at that evening.

Which is what we are doing in the photo. The rain you see is an outer band of Hurricane Dorian. Dorian was no longer something to wonder about. Dorian had become a sheeting downpour that was causing our car to hydroplane on an empty highway somewhere in New Brunswick. It was time to find a motel and hunker down. We were not in the hurricane but we were a mere 300 miles from the middle of it, and it was a doozy. Twenty miles from this Tim Horton’s was Bathurst and yes, they had a room for us.

We soon learned that Nova Scotia has a population of 500,000 people - and 400,000 of them lost power that night. Including the entire city of Halifax. It would take days for the “normal” to come back on.

We spent the next morning at a small nature preserve on the bay by Bathurst.

The path we followed down to the bay.

This is their salt marsh, where fresh water from the river flows outward, and saltwater from the bay flows inward. Salt marshes are among the most fragile ecologies on earth due to global warming and rising sea levels.

 Isn’t this beautiful? It’s a collage of leaves and sticks that puddled together the day before in the torrential rain.

We drove onwards to Moncton, New Brunswick. Our next motel had electricity although about half of Moncton was still in the dark, with non-working stop-and-go lights. Our motel’s ‘free WIFI’ didn’t work that night because too much infrastructure had been damaged.  

We went into the city for dinner. Afterwards we walked to the Petitcodiac River to see Moncton’s Tidal Bore. A Tidal Bore, for those of us who don’t live with tides, is the lead wave that arrives on a river or bay, herald of the incoming tide.  In Moncton it isn’t huge, but it still impressed our midwestern hearts.

If you are curious, here is a YouTube video that shows it more clearly. https://youtu.be/8R6Ipsl2VJ0

Next morning, we visited Hopewell Rocks along the Bay of Fundy, at the southern end of New Brunswick.

This pup was hot. 

By the end of that afternoon we exited Canada, with regret. We are not sure if or when we will ever get back. It was so beautiful, although we might take a plane or train if we try it again. And NOT in August or September, hurricane time… That lesson is learned.

 …

We have heard all our lives that Maine’s Acadia National Park is spectacular. We don’t disagree, but we didn’t love being there.

It was a Monday well into September. Where did all those people come from?  The place was so jam-packed we could barely park our little car. We drove to the top of Cadillac Mountain, saw the stunning scenery, but could only pull into a handicapped parking slot. Len jumped out, took some photos, then we drove back down that mountains, bumper to bumper with RV’s and tour busses.  Not our favorite day. 

This photo is from the handicapped parking slot on the top of Cadillac Mountain!  And yes, that is a cruise ship down there.  Either a regularly scheduled tour, or maybe a ship diverted from the hurricane.

We thought we could take a hike, but I wasn’t up to negotiating uneven slabs of rocks for two miles, so we went back to the car. (Lesson learned from you, Bob N.) 

Not sure if this was a Maine or Canadian cormorant, but isn’t it elegant?

This was our favorite part of Acadia. See that tiny person in the middle of the picture?  (Looks like a rock.) That’s Len looking for starfish. He didn’t find any, but we sure did see snails! And I collected dozens of empty snail shells, all so tiny they fit in one jean’s pocket.

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Leonard's picture

If you have been a long-time reader of Mary Beth, you know that this is the SECOND vacation that's been rearranged by a hurricane. Kurt Vonnegut said that unexpected travel is like dancing lessons from God.

Gorgeous! Thank you for taking us along this memorable dance!

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Making Memories?

This morning the Washington Post has an article about how we make memories. Interestingly, just because we say we are “making memories” doesn’t mean we are. Most little kids will not start making many memories until they are around age 8. Memories get stuck in our mind if they involve several senses and we are going slow enough to pay attention. If one WANTS to remember something, stop paying attention to everything else that is going on, focus in on the thing you care about using more than one sense. Recall it again later. Deep sleep on it overnight and good luck with that.

Three Things & One Announcement 7/16/2021

Thinking Outside the Box: 

Len once told me this WWII story. The first generation of bomber raids from England to Germany resulted in a terrifying number of bomber planes being shot down. Experts carefully examined the returning planes to create detailed reports of the bullet holes as they tried to understand how to reinforce the planes to make them safer.

Three Things 7/7/2021

Israel’s Health Ministry this week announced that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine — one of the world’s most effective shots — was offering only 64 percent protection against infection and symptomatic illness caused by the delta variant.

The vaccine was still highly effective at preventing severe illness and death, the ministry said.

(I read this in the Washington Post, though it’s other places also.)

7/5/2021 Three Things (Don’t miss Highland Mitzi)

Last year was the Covid quarantine so most of us didn’t do very much over the 4th of July holiday.

This year, with half Americans now vaccinated there’s more freedom to do things and be with people.

Three Things (Well, Four) 7/1/2021

Bill Cosby is out of prison on a technicality. The judge said 40-year-old Britney Spear still can’t run her own life. Yesterday 88-year-old war criminal* Donald Rumsfeld died comfortably in his bed.

My gut is twisting. How are you? Power, injustice, and money still row the boat that we’re all on. This nation is playing whack-a-mole with justice, hope, and human rights. It feels ominous. I thought I would just mention this in case you thought it was just you that felt assaulted this morning.

Nope.

Three Things 6/23/2021

Almost two years ago I went to a local optical store for an eye exam. The nice optician said I had a cataract and he could refer me to a specialist. He also said I could wait but if it got worse, I should see to it (hah, see to it…).

I have considered my looming doom several times a week since. Low grade anxiety. Don’t you love it?

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