Mary Beth Writes

Hi! Len and I returned home at 1:30AM from our 15-day road trip through eastern Canada and Maine and more.  

In case you ever wondered, you CAN go to the “Glazed and Confused” donut shop in Syracuse, NY at 9 in the morning, peruse the  Erie Canal museum https://eriecanalmuseum.org/ and then drive back in Waukesha - all in one 16-hour day. We are generally closer to interesting places than we know.

But I get ahead of myself.

I am going to post small pieces over the next few days about our vacation. I meant to do this while on was on the trip but mostly my laptop sat in its padded bag and by the time I could have used it, I was asleep on whatever motel bed was my nirvana that night.

Our basic itinerary was honed over nearly a year of documentary-watching after the evening news, Internet rambling, atlas drooling, and a whole lot of talking.  (We liked this dorky and interesting series of documentaries about Canadian rivers: https://www.tvpassport.com/series/great-canadian-rivers/39893)

We would drive to Eastern Canada to see and hike the wilderness beauty of Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. Then we would drive back home via Quebec and Montreal, enjoying the history and city life of those old and classy cities.

That was the Plan… until Hurricane Dorian unfurled its last hurrah over Nova Scotia and Newfoundland.

Yes, if you have been reading me a long time, Len and I and our kids DID go to a Florida Keys resort one August. When they evacuated us because of an imminent hurricane, we drove to Orlando, which ended up being in the precise path of that storm.  Remind me to look up those old columns. 

So plans had to change and, in short, this is where we went.

We drove the first day to Sault Ste Marie (7 hours, 415 miles). Next day we drove to Manitoulin Island and then on to Sudbury. (6 hours, 325 miles).  We spent the best part of that next morning with a friend of Len’s from his college newspaper days. Hi Mick!  After that we ate Trans-Canada 17 to Rivière du Loup for 2 days, 12 hours, and 687 miles. 

It was becoming apparent that no one knew exactly what Dorian was going to do, but it was clear the storm was going to do something, so we slowed down to explore the Peninsula of Gaspe for a day or two.

Gaspe was gorgeous.  You’ll like our photos from that part of the trip.

We were driving down the east side of the peninsula, still thinking that if we poked around a little more, we could drive to Nova Scotia in a day or two. While we were hoping, it started to rain so hard our car hydroplaned on that lonesome highway cut through an endless New Brunswick forest; no signs of civilization anywhere except Moose-warning signs. Windshield wipers going full blast couldn’t keep up with the sheeting rain. I said I thought we should stop at the nearest place with a motel. Len agreed and that freaked me out the most. Nothing daunts Len and here he was, agreeing that we should stop driving in the middle of the afternoon.

We pulled up next to a Tim Horton’s (you don’t even have to go in, you just have to park close); via their WiFi we found a place in Bathurst 20 miles down the road and that is where we stayed that night.

Next day we drove from Bathurst to Monckton. (2 hours, 137 miles – you can tell we are slowing down…)

What a cool town! We saw a Tidal Bore! There will be pix. The next morning the CBC news was spouting this; Nova Scotia has a population of 500,000 people and 400,000 of them were without power. They were pretty sure they would get a lot of the damage taken care and power restored in the next 3 to 5 days.  And oh yeah, Dorian was battering the west coast of Newfoundland right then. The west coast is where we had planned to go. 

So we changed plans.  We would leave Canada, drive to Acadia National Park in Maine, and then come home via Revolutionary War battle sites in New York State. As well as Schoharie Crossing, an Erie Canal museum in Fort Hunter, NY. I had just listened to a Ben Franklin’s World podcast about it! Karma!

The smart museum person in the tiny Schoharie museum (Hi, Dave!) talked to Len and I for nearly an hour.  That was amazing. And then he suggested the Glazed and Confused doughnuts as well as the much bigger, slicker Erie Canal museum in Syracuse .. and that is what we did.

Are you ready? These will be small postings about some of our adventures with some of our photos. 

Comments

It is good to have you both back in one piece my friends...

Good to be here...

Whenever I think of Canada, I think of my Grands. They lived in Canada for three years - Scott was an expat for US Steel, and when they told me they were moving, I’m sure you could hear me crying all the way to Wisconsin. Anyway, that’s not the main part that I remember. Those two children could belt out Oh Canada with the best of em. If I close my eyes, I can still hear them. Those small little people ( age 3 and 4 when they left) knew Oh Canada before they knew the Star Spangled Banner.

And all the rest of their lives, when they hear the song, they are going to have such startling, little kid feelings!

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The Erie Canal; Means and Dreams

This photo is from Schoharie Crossing State Historical Site. The crumbling infrastructure is the oldest part of the Erie Canal -where it crossed Schoharie Creek. 

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Crown Point, Ticonderoga, and Saratoga

Not everyone wants to see where the American Revolutionary War got up and got going - but we did.

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The summer after college I worked in my family’s printing business, trying to earn and save enough to move out. To where I was not sure, but somewhere!

"The best laid schemes o' Mice an' Men, Gang aft agley..."

Thank you, Robert Burns, for that title. 

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

Gaspé Peninsula & MB's Big Hike to See Gannets

Like I wrote previously, our plan was to turn to the right at the bottom left hand side of the map (see below) and drive east to Nova Scotia and then shoot up to the 7-hour ferry that would schlep us to Newfoundland.

Following the St. Lawrence River: “Further up and further in.”

We drove right past Montreal and Quebec.  We really “should” have turned off the Trans-Canada and gone into these cities to see historical sites I have been reading about for years.  Except, well, neither of us wanted to ‘do a city’ yet.  We love city life, but cities don’t kindle imagination the same way as the surprise of smaller towns and the beauteous unrolling of fields and woods, river and sky outside out car windows.  I bet people who live in rural areas like to take their breaks in a city when they get the chance…

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