Thursday, June 26, 2008


So finally, I present Day 7. Our final traverse over the northern coastline of Nova Scotia. Though pretty dreary looking, it was in the high-50's and plenty warm for we who live in Humboldt. We were driving the Fundy shore through dozens of Acadian communities. Where English was the common language up until now, with French subtitles, we were entering into a land of predominantly French signs. Even the credit card machine we were handed spoke French, with an "English Language" button to press to make sure you were paying for the right stuff.
Lobster and scallop boats as well as this little dingy, could be found tethered on long lines to allow them to drop to the low tide levels without being suspended like a pinata.
I was as entranced with piles of lobster traps as I am with crab pots. The shapes and colors, especially if joined by coils of brightly-colored nylon rope, make for interesting pictures. However, the old wooden lobster traps were even better. Much to her dismay, Gloria realized that, yes, apparently Mom DOES need another picture of lobster traps.
We got to Yarmouth (Yer-muth in the local lingo) in time for a great lunch at Rudder's, a local brewery. We highly recommend the Yarmouth Town Brown and local Digby scallops. Damn I'll miss them scallops. Unfortunately, the fog had rolled in quite happily and engulfed anything that would have passed as scenery from the stern of our outgoing ferry. We loaded the rental car in the hold and joined a platoon of passengers on The Cat. There wasn't much to see due to the fog except the wake she put out and it was a beaut. She cranked along at 35 knots which is about 41 mph. We were told she could fill an Olympic-sized pool in 33 seconds. Mark thought briefly of water skiing. It was a five-and-a-half hour cruise. There were several areas with movie screens. I'm not sure what clown planned the screening of old Gilligan's Island episodes -- seemed a little warped. We found that the real party was in the lounge where a bunch of leather-clad bikers were desperately trying to be noticed all the while complaining that people treat them differently. Rebels they were, smoking their cigars on the aft-deck while standing next to the no-smoking signs and a dozen people who squeezed on to the lone outside vista point to enjoy the ocean air. Geez. Musta been Americans. They eventually provided the entertainment as we were leaving the ship and they had to negotiate the slippery deck with a little hooch under their hineys. The first four hours or more of the ferry ride into Portland, Maine were socked in...fog so thick that a deck of cards or novel were your only entertainment. As we approached Portland, however, the fog began to thin. We started taking more frequent trips to the rear deck to see if anything were visible. Soon, lobster floats appeared as we followed the trap lines of the fleet. Then....oh my....a lighthouse appears. The stone Ram Island Ledge Light. The sun on the lantern was perfect. I was content. Then we came across the Portland Head Light which was the one other light I was hoping to drive to. The signal every four seconds. This was a MUCH better view. Nice, huh?

We got into Portland about 8:30 but spent an hour sitting in the customs line waiting for one of the aforementioned bikers to have his bike emptied. If I had to guess, he made one smart-ass comment too many to the customs guys. That's right up there with throwin' sass at the IRS man. Geez people! Got some fast food to eat in our motel room. Hit the hay to head to Boston in the morning for the trip home.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


Five Islands Lighthouse; Economy, Nova Scotia.Mark and Glo practicing their rock-skipping skills ... again.
I'm not sure I can do justice to the area we drove on this day.... The weather was warm, maybe a little muggy. We came off of Prince Edward Island and back into New Brunswick, picked up a proper map at the Visitor Center and headed into (or is that on to) Nova Scotia. We wound our way around some back highways with only a few bad turns. Canada, as with Maine, is not big on signage. We would be driving along, lazily watching for a turn off, then realize we had somehow gone too far. We had the GPS with us but, since her charging dock was permanently mounted in Mark's truck, we used her only when necessary to save the battery. We started calling her Victoria after Gloria switched the GPS language to British. She was only of marginal help and would really piss us off when she would be directing us along, we'd turn where we thought we were supposed to, she would pause and in her snippy British tone ....."recalculating".... dammit! We did manage to find our way to the coast and, while eating lunch spotted a sign to a lighthouse so drove out to find yet another tiny navigational lighthouse, one of many we found along the coast. Not fabulous towers but tiny little workhorses, utilized for years by local fisherman. We continued along that coastline, deciding to get as far as we could that night in order to have a more leisurely drive into Yarmouth for the ferry on Saturday. We pulled into tiny Digby late, around ten, and had to make due with a tragically outdated little motel room for the night. Wood-paneling and Herculon furniture - does that conjure up an image for you? Not our favorite night but was marginally better than sleeping in the car. Barely.

Monday, June 23, 2008


This seems like a good time to bring up some of the things we love about our neighbors to the north. Monica can tell that we picked up the use of "as well" instead of "too" from her Canadian punk boys that passed through our home. It makes us smile as well when we hear them talk aboot anything on the news. We try and emulate their hard "r"s and references to paasta as opposed to our "paw stah" and always order "pop" so we don't stand out when ordering a meal. I really love the fact that, at least in the area we were in, the Canadians have it all over the U.S. when it comes to disposal. It's become common to have the notes in the room asking that you consider reusing linens if you're staying more than one night but this goes further. I think every motel we stayed in had a separate waste can for recyclables and those with in-house "continental breakfast" had special waste cans for not only recyclables but COMPOST as well. Even on the street. Check this out the trash cans on the street on Prince Edward Island. Most of the motels have also gone to shampoo, soap and lotion dispensers in the rooms. Soap and lotion at the sink. Shampoo and shower soap in the shower. None of those damned plastic bottles to land in the landfill. And Mark's beard was very soft after using the shampoo.

THINGS WE DIDN'T LIKE: No butt gaskets. That's right.. no "sanitary seat covers" in most any public washroom area of the three provinces we were in. That may be fine with you guys but it's a deal breakers for many of us girls. Ew!

DAY FIVE: Girls Just Wanna Have Fun-dy

We headed around the Bay of Fundy, still on the New Brunswick side. It's so hard to explain what is so interesting up here since we witness tidal changes daily on Humboldt Bay. Due to the location of the Bay of Fundy, the moon and the general shape of the bay, the funneling affect makes for tides that are HUGE (25 feet or more) as well as quick (that 25 foot change in 6 hours.) Normally a picture of a cove at low tide, mud flats exposed, would be simply unattractive. But to see half the bay exposed, with boats laying on their sides, knowing that in a few hours, they will be afloat is interesting if not exactly attractive. The Hopewell Rocks flowerpots, are formed by the large and constant tidal flows. We were allowed down to the sand three hours before and three hours after the low tide then a crew was sent down to fetch errant tourists who might be caught in the tide as it flowed in. The beach itself was icky.... smooshy red mud that liked to suck the shoes right off your feet and the rocks were nothing you'd want to collect. Photos taken by others showed kayakers in this cove, paddling near the "hips" of these rocks. Unfortunately, we were not there for the high tide. This time of the year, the highs were falling either in the wee-dark hours or into the dark evening so we mostly only caught the "slack" tides in the middle.

We checked the map on the way north and realized we were awfully close to Prince Edward Island, home of Anne of Green Gables. This is the 100th anniversary year of the story's publication but we really didn't have a schedule that would permit a lengthy stay on the north side of the island. Mark, however, wanted to cross the Confederation Bridge to PEI; nothing my Mark loves more than an 8-mile drive over water, yes siree. He saw this story on Modern Marvels, you see. So we found a brewery (always a goal) and had dinner and spent the night on the Island, just to say we did. In the morning, I asked around about a good beach and was directed to several but none were MY idea of a nice beach. Red sand (looks a lot like decomposed granite) with a smattering of mussel shells. I'm fairly certain there are nice beaches on the north side but that will have to wait for a later trip. The Island's red soil, plowed for crops, was distinctive against the backdrop of Northumberland Straight. We coughed up the $41.50 to cross back over to the mainland. Don't get me wrong, it's a great to cross over but comin' back will cost ya; one of those aforementioned lowlights. It WAS cheaper than a ferry ride but, then again, we weren't planning on going in the first place.

DAY FOUR: I Saw the Light.....

We're BACK. I thought I'd bore you all to tears with more trip stuff. Day-by-day highlights. Maybe a few lowlights. A highlight was our fun visit with old friend, Velynda and a great but messy lob-stah din-nah... Check out those babies.
Day Four: We headed north from Bar Harbor with plans to see West Quoddy Light. I've always loved lighthouses but realize my family doesn't want to stop at EVERY light out there. This was a biggee -- the easternmost land point in the U.S. and the only one I knew we had to see. She was a red-striped beauty. As we walked around the museum on-site, I saw photos of another light ... a white tower with a red cross on the side. I was told that the East Quoddy Light was only a few miles away but required crossing a border into New Brunswick and the Roosevelt Campobello International Park. We HAD to go. We were told that we would only be able to access the light itself at low tide. We drove out to the point. We saw the stairs leading up to the rock but....ummmm....where the HELL is the lighthouse?! We could hear it but saw nuthin'. Pea soup, as they say. The tide in this shot is about halfway in (or halfway out...). Trust me. I'm sure it was there. We saw photos where it was accessible and there are apparently a lot more stairs below the water level. I was a bit disappointed but got over it. What can ya do? We headed back to the States then continued our drive, crossing over into New Brunswick at Saint John for the night. Visited the Saint John City Market in the morning for fun. It was early but most of the vendors were up selling their, meat, cheeses, veggies (some I didn't recognize). It was not a huge place so we headed out of Saint John and towards the Bay of Fundy that day.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Please Come To Boston

We were welcomed into Boston with a bit of drizzle but since temps were in the mid-50's, it felt a bit like home. We strolled to the Wonderland Station and caught the 'T', Boston's uber-awesome subway, to Fanueil Hall and the Quincy Market. Nothing like a bit of food and touristy shopping to get a trip off to a fab start. Pastries. Hot dogs. Chowdah. Sam Adams. Glo didn't even mind when we drug her along most of the Freedom Trail. Even checking out the graves of Paul Revere and Sam Adams wasn't too bad. By the time we walked (and walked and walked), had a bit of a nosh in the North End (Little Italy of Boston), our "dawgs"relished the ride back on the T. Gotta love the Boston talk and with the Celtics playing, it was crazy with all the "wearin' of the green" around.
Last night, we arrived late into Southwest Harbor Maine and looked up a friend from Santa Cruz who called just after we left to say she'd be in Eureka this week. What are the chances?! Luckily, she's home until Thursday so we got the local tour of "the island" including "Bah Habah" (the would be Bar Harbor if you don't speak Maine) and she fixed us up an absolutely awesome Lobstah Boil... Great fun...great visiting. Blueberry Ale. Very awesome. However, I'm back at the motel doing a load of laundry so my suitcase doesn't smell of the lobster juice that dripped and ran down my arms.
Tomorrow, we continue north to catch the ferry over to Nova Scotia. Hopefully, a computer will be available to catch up.

Friday, June 13, 2008


The birds have flown (see previous blog) and so will we. We are heading out on a wondrous road trip but one to which we must fly.

We all knew that last summer's road trip a la Griswold would likely be the last with Hope since her grown-up status has her juggling school and job. As we discussed options with Glo, nothing we suggested seemed to inspire her. "I want to go someplace Boston". When Mark and I made our first east coast trek three years ago, we traveled north from Virginia, ending in Boston. We planned to continue that trip eventually so....why not now?

This will be Miss Glo's first flight so she's extra excited. We will fly in and out of Boston and will hopefully show her some tangible bits of history. TRY to excite her a bit about seeing places she had only been bored by in history classes. Beyond Boston, we will venture over coastal Maine, New Hampshire and into Nova Scotia where we will (hopefully) witness the great tidal exchange of the Bay of Fundy. I fully intend to walk on the ocean floor at low tide, mud squooshing between my toes. We have no schedule. No real timeline. A true road trip.


To the melancholy sound of bagpipes, we pushed another flock of fledglings from the nest today. Bagpipes can rip at the heartstrings, the sound of funerals...for cops, firefighters and soldiers. Public servants called to different duties. Today's bagpipes, however, were happy. The cadence directing the marching in and marching out, accompanied by the sound of nervous stomachs and cheering families. With basic training under their belts, we sent them off to make their way. Some to agencies where they will continue their training. Others will not enter law enforcement but will still somehow use the training they gained over the past 23 least we hope they will.

We hope to see them again. They will return for continuing training. Or drop us a note to catch us up on their progress. Their lives. We will miss them all. And in just three weeks, the nest will again be feathered in preparation for another flock. Another group to prepare for the world that will demand their help and seldom appreciate it.

Thursday, June 5, 2008


So what am I bid for this really awesome New Kids on the Block memorabilia? Two posters (one is a magazine pullout with Madonna on the B-side). Trading cards. Check out the HUGE button. Books with more behind-the-scenes photos. Oh! My! Gawd!

Don't tell Monica. She probably doesn't know her really cool mom stashed her schwag. Don't try and get this stuff for cheap...I'm hangin' tough!

Lest anyone think that I have a thing for the New Kids, this was inspired by these two recent bloggers: Monica dreams of Joey & Sandi gushes about Donny.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


The day...the week called for a walk on the beach. I felt like a stretch so bypassed my regular haunts of King Salmon and headed out Hookton Road to the South Spit. There were few people around: a lone surf fisherman, some guys cutting firewood. The sun was high. The wind was whipping the waves around. It felt glorious to run (not miles but mere fractions of a mile) just to do it. Some stretching. A little yoga just because I could. Made going back to the hectic office more palatable. Two more weeks before the fledglings leave the nest and anxiety reigns supreme.

Our north coast beaches are beautiful but offer a dearth of treasures to soothe a beachcomber like me. No scattered shells. Agates if you know what you're looking for. King Salmon offers up the microscopic variety that I collect in jars -- eensy tiny snails....sand dollars the size of a collar button. Hookton Road on the south jetty goes to the other extreme.....driftwood of grand proportions in grander quantities. A wonderful serpent-shaped piece presented itself (it's in here somewhere) and I began to haul it up the sand. Then remembered I have a small car and groceries to fit in....but brought it home anyway. It is in my garden along with the bowling balls and concrete turtles.