Shoestringing Sea To Sea – Canada 17

Well, we have had a few experiences since my last posting. Never a dull moment it seems, but at least we are still laughing. Here’s what the “3 stooges” have been up to lately.

Friday, August 3:

Today turned out to be a scorcher – the first really hot day we’ve had and one that reminded me that I really don’t takethe heat too well. We started off at the village of Avonlea, a recreated townsite representing some of the key buildingsfrom the “Anne” series. Although we found it to be a bit of a “money grab”, it was quite well done. There were actors in the buildings and on the streets, and little vignettes from the book were presented at intervals throughout the day -Matthew at the train, meeting Marilla, green hair, and so on. Massey and I had a glass of raspberry cordial (“I like drinksthat are red”, said Anne), toured the buildings (some of which were authentic from Lucy Maud Montgomery’s time),enjoyed a few of the skits, and then decided to continue on to other sites in Cavendish.

We then went to the Green Gables National Park, featuring the home owned by some elderly relatives of L.M Montgomery which apparently inspired her first book in the series, “Anne of Green Gables”. The house does look justas you’d imagine; however, we decided to view it from the outside only. I had already seen the inside on a previousCBSC trip, and Massey was feeling a little “Anne’d out” by this time, so we thought we’d save our money, head for thebeach and have a picnic lunch. But here, we had a bit of a surprise as we found all roads to Cavendish beach to beblocked by Parks Canada and the only way to gain entry was through a fee of $13.50. Somehow, this seemed to encapsulate our whole experience at Cavendish. Everything seemed to commercial and “touristy”. There is “AnneShirley” this and “Shining Waters” that, and “Windy Poplars” something else.

As we headed for Confederation Bridge, we reflected on our impressions of PEI. While one cannot deny its manicuredloveliness, we generally found it’s people to be less welcoming than those we encountered in Newfoundland. More often than not, those we met in the service industry seemed to be somewhat blase (can’t find the accent onMassey’s laptop) and tired of dealing with all these “pesky tourists”, while Newfoundlanders, in our experience, seemed genuinely delighted to have visitors come to their province.

We crossed the Confederation Bridge (or Fixed Link as I tend to think of it, as I recall a tour we took while it was beingbuilt when I was at a CBSC meeting in PEI about 12 years ago) at about 5 pm into New Brunswick. The trip is 12.9 kmlong and took us about 10 minutes. It consists of a one-lane highway with high cement barriers on either side toblock the often strong wind gusts from the Northumberland Strait. As our car is fairly low to the ground, we couldn’tsee much more than the horizon and a strip of grey water from time to time; those driving a truck or camper wouldcertainly have a much more expansive view. From our perspective, we certainly hope the talk of building a bridgefrom the Mainland to Vancouver Island never becomes a reality. Maybe that’s why PE Islanders seem blase!

Okay, until now, our day seems pretty uneventful. So we decide to look for a campsite, get a good rest and head onto Halifax tomorrow. Before long we were into Nova Scotia, passing Amherst where Jost Wineries is located. I’m really hoping we’ll be able to buy Jost back home. It’s the featured wine at Rita’s Tea Room and is really very good.We noticed a campsite sign at Springhill, so decided to turn in. Driving through town, we noticed the Dr. Carsonand Marion Murray Community Centre and the Anne Murray Centre, and finally realized that this is Anne Murray’shome town. By this time, it was after 6 so the Anne Murray Centre was closed, but we thought we’d like to come backto go through it. The sign on the door said it is a non-profit organization and supported by Anne Murray as away to support economic development in the community in the aftermath of several mine disasters and fires since1958.

So here’s where it starts to get weird. We can’t seem to find the campsite anywhere, despite driving for about anhour through the town and following directions from two different people we stop to ask. While the locals seem tothink there is a campground in the area, it doesn’t seem to exist. Finally we decide we’d better move on, so we droveuntil we found another campsite sign. This time, one did exist, but it was full. But the owner said there was another one just over the hill. Again, we looked for it in vain, even stopping for more directions and still ending up in a deserted lane in rural Nova Scotia with no idea where we were and the fog getting thicker and thicker.

Thank goodness for Gertie. Somehow she got us out of the twilight zone and into Halifax. Thinking we’d do our firstovernighter at a Walmart, we plugged in the address and Gertie got us there. But – just our luck – we picked the onlyWalmart in Halifax that was no longer in business. So we kept looking and finally found another one that alreadyhad a few trucks and campers settled in for the night. We had heard that Walmart is “camper friendly”, but this isthe first time we’ve actually tried it out. At this point we didn’t have a lot of options, so we made a quick trip to a neighbouring A & W to use the facilities (and for Massey to get some fries), and resigned ourself to a fitful night. But the damp heavy fog surrounded us like a thick blanket, muffling the sounds of the city around us. Weslept like logs.

Posted from Canada:

posted Saturday August 2007

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