The Bill and Kit 2010 Fall Vacation-Issue #7

 Bill and Kit’s 2010 Fall Vacation Adventure


Latitude: Wherever ••• Longitude: Who Cares


The Bill and Kit 2010 Fall Vacation-Issue #7

  Saturday, October 16, 2010:  After a restful night we woke to partly cloudy skies with temperatures in the mid 40’s.  As Kit prepared breakfast I walked around the Birch Point Campground facility.  We were the only campers in the place although a few of their cabins were occupied. 


 As Kathy mentioned we had camped here about 25 years ago when we met up with a group of Navy folks and in fact a few of them we are still in contact with.  I found the campsite we occupied back then and it still basically looked the same.  The owner is a local guy and has owned the campground for many years.  His goal is to keep the place friendly, the prices low and the facility rustic…..all benefits in my book.  Speaking of prices, he said to just settle up when we pulled out and at this time of the year he only charges $20.00 a night.  Now that is a bargain!

 After an enjoyable breakfast, where I learned the phrase Mon nez est formé comme un beignet de gelée, we decided to head out and explore the border town of Houlton.  Of course we decided to take the back road and of course it was dirt, and of course it was muddy.  But at least we weren’t dragging the trailer along and we did enjoy the beautiful countryside.

Arriving in Houlton we parked in the downtown area called Market Square.  The buildings are mostly brick with ornate and complicated work around the windows and along the roofline.  The story goes that the big city of Bangor to the south had hired a talented group of brick masons from Italy to build their municipal buildings.  Well the little town of Houlton got wind of it and enticed the brick artists to stop by on their way back home and construct some buildings for them as well.


 After some shopping we explored the Gateway Crossing bridge and riverfront park.


The bridge spans the Meduxnekeag River which was named by the Wabanaki Indians and means “The Place Where Our Moccasins Wear Out”.  The park has a lighted trail that leads down stream enhancing access to the river and allowing further exploration of this beautiful area.


 Now I know some folks from Houlton and they are proud to call themselves Mainers…..however it should be noted that the town was founded by one Joseph Houlton back in 1814 and he was a Massachusetts native, so………

K it and I were fortunate to happen upon a moose and the mighty beast was kind enough to stand around while we snapped a few pictures.


Leaving Houlton we headed north up US-1 through the towns of Mars Hill, Fort Fairfield, and Presque Isle.  Along the way we noticed a large Border Patrol station which is pretty typical for an area so close to a foreign country.  However there was a dozen of the ubiquitous white and green border patrol SUV’s in the parking lot.  I guess they will be ready if those illegal’s from Mexico figure out how to sneak into Atlantic Canada by way of the Atlantic Ocean.

When I was in the Navy I had an office in Presque Isle and it appeared the town had changed very little in the past 25 years.  We walked the three block downtown area stopping in a few shops.  I also peeked into the Northeastland Hotel where I used to stay and found it a bit fancier than I remember.  Nearing “grey hair dinner time” (about 1500) we stopped for an enjoyable meal at The Governor’s Restaurant.  No, not Mama Baldacci’s…..that’s in Bangor.

North of Presque Isle we came across this rather unusual road sign.  As a way of explanation an Olympic Biathlete Training Center is near by.  Yep, those are wheels on the tip and tails of those skies.  Gotta train all year long and the month of July and August has some pretty poor snow conditions.

Returning to Birch Point we retired early in order to make a morning Alpine Start for a long anticipated trek to the North Country.

Sunday, October 17, 2010:  Departed at 0900 and jumped on ME-159 through Patten, Shin Pond Village, T6R6, and on into Matagamon where we entered the northern Gate to Baxter State Park.

So what’s T6R6?  Well it’s the geographic position of an area based on a north/south, east west, grid system.  This numbering convention is used throughout the US but most areas have developed names for the various counties and towns that reside in the designated area.  However in Maine a lot of areas are unincorporated and largely unpopulated so no one bothered.  There are many T#R# areas identified on maps of northern Maine.

Baxter State Park is a unique wilderness area and one of the favorite places of Maine people.  It was founded when a former governor, Percival Baxter, systematically bought up parcels from loggers and Indian tribes during the middle part of the last century.  A total of 314 square miles were then deeded to the people of Maine to remain for their enjoyment.  The park is managed by an entity separated from the federal, state and local governmental control.  Percival Baxter further decreed that this new park would remain basically forever wild with minimal human fiddling.

The tote road that connects the northern part of the park with the more visited southern part is a sixty mile one lane dirt strip with a speed limit of 20 MPH.

Less than 6 miles from the Matagamon Gate we rounded a bend and came face to face with a pair of moose.  The cow sauntered a short way into the woods but the bull stood it’s ground as I slowed to a stop and grabbed my camera. 

The standoff lasted for a number of minutes before the fella apparently got bored and went into the woods as well.  It’s always exciting to see wildlife in northern Maine but spotting a moose is the ultimate thrill.  Oh by the way, Kit corrected me…..I guess the proper pronunciation is “a pair of Meese”.

Coincidentally our friend Dave was in a different part of northern Maine today and due to his superior scouting and photography skills was able to capture the moose photo’s that are now posted on his website:  Check them out!

We stopped at Ledge Falls to stretch our legs and enjoy the view. 

The skies were clouding up and I was concerned that when we neared Mount Kathadin the tallest mountain in Maine would be obscured.  Pulling into Stump Pond (can you guess why it’s called that?) we took the short hike to the pond where traditionally I have had a good view of the mountain.

Not today!  According to the ranger there is snow at the summit and all trails leading to the peak are closed due to snow and ice.  Baxter Peak at 5,268 feet is the highest point on Mount Kathadin and the northern terminus for the 2,180 mile Appalachian Trail.  Any north bound through hikers still out there are gonna be pretty upset.  Speaking of AT through hikers there is a camping area reserved just for them within the park and the Baxter State Park Authority prides itself in never turning away an AT through hiker as they near the end of their six month long hike. 

After a very enjoyable and relaxing 6 hours exploring this Maine jewel we exited the park by the southern Togue Pond gate.  Looking out the back window we could still see that the summit was hidden in the clouds.

Traveling south on the Golden Road we made our way into the paper mill town of Millinocket. 

Since it was near dinner time we decided to eat at the new place in town called Pelletier Loggers Family Restaurant.  The Pelletier brothers have been a fixture in the Maine woods for many years, cutting trees and hauling logs for the local paper industry.  About three years ago the TV folks from Discovery Channel contacted the brothers about making a reality show called American Loggers.  Well the show was a hit and the brothers decided to put their new found income into a very nice restaurant.

The place serves incredible food and is full of old photos and logging equipment.  Check it out at:

Monday, October 18, 2010:  Left Island Falls around 1100 and made our way south.  We had a lunch engagement with our oldest grandson who is a freshman at the University of Maine in Orono.  He intelligently chose to meet up with us at Dysarts south of Bangor.  Since it is a truck stop there was plenty of room for our truck and trailer but our poor rig did feel a bit intimidated by the big boys.

We had a great meal and of course, a great time catching up with Joe and his activities at Orono.  He is a fine young man and has a very mature attitude about college and his future.  And, by the way, he recently completed all his requirements for the Boy Scout Eagle Rank!

We are equally proud of our other four grandchildren as well and intend to brag on them in a future journal.

Kit’s Corner:  I am not sure about the meese thing.  I vaguely remember something about this in high school.  Other than our trip to Island Falls 25 years ago and one more trip to Fundy Park in the late 70’s with the kids, I had never spent any time in Northern Maine.  It was great to have a glimpse of some of the towns I’ve often heard about.  I’m looking forward to spending more time up that way in the future.  Also loved Baxter State Park, I had never been there, either.  Of course, the highlight of this trip for me was spending some QT with our grandson Joe and learning about his new experiences at UMO!  We are both very proud of him, and especially proud of him completing his Eagle Scout requirements recently!  Now, to start planning the next trip J

We arrived home around 1900 and backed the trailer into the driveway.  After we take care of a few cleaning chores and buy some tires we will put the RV to bed until January 2011.

See Ya Then!

Love, Dad/Bill/Poppy and Mom/Kit/Guma

The Bill and Kit 2010 Fall Vacation-Issue #6

Bill and Kit’s 2010 Fall Vacation Adventure


Latitude: Wherever ••• Longitude: Who Cares


 The Bill and Kit 2010 Fall Vacation-Issue #6

 Tuesday, October 12, 2010 (yep…..we are still on the Cabot Trail):  At one of the last overlooks in Cape Breton Highlands National Park we noticed folks were intently staring at the far hillside where there was a black bear was leisurely enjoying lunch in a berry patch.  Using our binoculars we spent a few moments watching the cute critter which appeared to be an adult.  The bear was too far away for me to get a photo but we enjoyed the experience anyway. 

 Leaving the park we pulled into the French Canadian town of Cheticamp.  A restaurant had been recommended to us by a long time citizen of the village we met earlier in the day.  The Acadian Restaurant featured authentic French Acadian fare served by authentically costumed wait staff.  It was obvious our fellow diners were from the area by the preponderance of French being spoken.  We had an excellent meal of Fish Cakes followed by Butterscotch Pie.

 After the meal we took advantage of the attached museum to learn more of the area.  Leaving the restaurant and walking back to the truck we enjoyed this beautiful sunset.


  Wednesday, October 13, 2010:  Since it is Wednesday, please indulge me while I send a yell out to my OGBC homecronies who are at this moment probably sipping coffee at Brunswick, Maine’s Jen’s Diner and solving the problems of the world.  Hey guys!

 Canadian currency is kinda like US currency and the exchange rate is pert near 1:1.  However their one dollar is actually a coin and they call it a “Loonie” because it has a loon embossed on the back.  They also have a two dollar coin with a bear image on it but it’s not called a “Beary”…’s called a “Toonie”.  Got that?!?!  I was originally confronted with this jargon during the ill-fated “Great Laundry Disaster” of a few days ago.  The owner of the campground, when asked about how the washers and dryers were operated, said; “You’ll need a few loonies”.  I nodded and smiled…..and back away…..very slowly.  The whole Loonie, Toonie thing seems a bit comical to me (pun intended). 


 Today we decided to take a lazy morning and then head out in the early afternoon for a town called Mabou.  The road we drove traveled through the interior of Cape Breton and passed small farming village’s nestled in pastoral valleys.  The area reminded us both of Vermont. 

Arriving in the Mabou we walked the small downtown area and came upon The Gaelic Historical Society.  Since there were lights on we decided to investigate only to discover we walked into a book launching and author reception.  The host was very accommodating of our blunder and introduced us to the author and a few local dignitaries.  We were surprised to discover when talking to the book author that he was a professor at the University of New Hampshire and lived in Kittery, Maine.  The title of the book is “In the Blood” and is a historical perspective of the area.

We traveled to this quaint little town to visit a place we had heard about back home.  The Red Shoe Pub is an authentic village watering hole populated by local characters and features some interesting tavern fare. 


 Since I needed to up my fiber for the day I ordered the house special which contained an abundant amount of barley, malt, hops and water.  It tasted so good…..I had another.  Kit decided on the fish chowder and for desert we shared warm gingerbread with rum butterscotch topping.  It was the kind of place that you felt like just hanging out and visiting with the varied folks that wandered in.

 Coincidentally this is the season on Cape Breton for the annual music and cultural festival known as Celtic Colours.  The week long, island wide festival features the finest in local and international Celtic talent.  We had heard of the festival right before we left home and thought we would be able to take in a few shows.  However, our first priority on this trip was to see the natural beauty of the area and as we discovered most of the performances were sold out months in advance anyway.  People travel to the area to enjoy the Celtic Colours events from all over North America and the world.  We intend to return in the future with a better plan to enjoy this incredible opportunity.   Check it out at:

Thursday, October 14, 2010:  This morning we head out.  As I was having breakfast I noticed that the cereal box we had purchased locally had two front panels printed on opposite sides of the box, one in English and one in French.  Then it dawned on me that this would be an easy way to learn French while sitting at the table having breakfast.  So far my French vocabulary consists of the phrase: céréales de son raison.

We hit the road at 1000 under sunny skies and seasonal temperatures taking the back road (surprise!) to Port Hastings which is the gateway to Cape Breton.  We were soon on a dirt road and slowly made our way up and over Marble Mountain where the path turned to pavement again.  Soon we were skirting the Bras d’Or Lake and came to this view.


Following the road down to the little village of Dundee we came upon some neat old wooden boats that were in remarkable shape and appeared to be used regularly.  This one was pulled right up to the owners shore side home.


 In Port Hastings we pulled into a parking area near the Canso Causeway where we took a break for lunch.  Cape Breton is an island that is separated from the rest of Nova Scotia by the Strait of Cansco which connects the Atlantic Ocean to the Gulf of Saint Lawrence.  It is artificially connected to the mainland of Nova Scotia by the 4,544 foot Canso Causeway.  In order to accommodate ship traffic, a canal was built bisecting the causeway.  However the tidal currents are so strong that a series of locks had to be designed and built to allow ships to navigate against the flow.

  Back on “The Mainland” of Nova Scotia, which is actually an island as well, we decided to make better time by utilizing TCH-104.  At one of our gas and comfort station stops Kit discovered a “plumbing problem” with the trailers facilities.  Not sure what was going on we decided to lay over in the town of Antigonish and stay at Whiddens Campground which is the nice campground we stayed during our transit north.  After setting up the camper for the night I began pulling out the tool box and my assortment of repair parts.  Kit decided to help by bringing me a 12 inch stick she had found laying on the ground.  I gently asked her if she would rather walk the short distance into town and do some shopping while I investigated this casualty and formulated a plan for its repair.  Well…..after futzing around with various tools and implements I decided a stick might just do the trick after all.  It worked…..please don’t breathe a word of this to Kit.  My pride and manhood are at stake.

Friday, October 15, 2010:  With a fully functioning trailer we hit the road at 1030 under cloudy skies.  Stopping for fuel and to fill a depleted propane tank we continued on TCH-104 toward New Brunswick.  While pulling off the highway to find a spot to stop for a break I noticed a large tour bus disgorging folks about our age into a large complex called Masstown Market.  So we sidled up next to the bus and went in for a look see.  After 90 minutes we left with full stomachs and heavy shopping bags…..I’ll let Kit describe the place as she explored every square inch.

Kit:  This place turned out to be a goldmine!  Since we were hungry when we went in the door, we quickly discovered the business contained a cafeteria style restaurant.  Since all the “blue hairs” from the bus were eating there, we decided to have lunch, as well.  Next was a tour through the gift shop.  Lots of nice stuff to look at but we didn’t buy anything.  Next was the grocery store.  In addition to all the standard things, dairy, pasta, soup, etc. they had the very best selection of produce I have ever seen.  And to cap it all off there was an incredible bakery featuring fresh from the oven breads, rolls and desserts.  We bought a few items to augment our provisions then continued our trek along TCH-104 towards Maine.   

Crossed over into New Brunswick at 1430 in a steady rain and increasing winds.  We thought about finding shelter but we were both alert and anxious to get back to the states so we motored on while listening to the Canadian Broadcasting Network.  The wind gusts were strong and had an adverse effect on the truck and trailer.  We slowed our speed in order to better manage the buffeting and ensure safe traveling.                                        

At 1900 we crossed the border into Houlton, Maine and regained that hour we lost a few weeks back.  It was raining hard, the skies and streets were dark and we were getting tired.  As we neared the campground we had selected there was a sign that said Closed for the Season.  Drat!  Heading further south on I-95 we hoped that the only other campground in these parts that was listed to be open actually would be.  After getting lost in the dark and then having to back out of a driveway into the main road we finally arrived at Birch Point Campground located on Pleasant Lake in the town of Island Falls.  This was one long day! 

Kit’s Corner:  Good thing I had a phone number for an additional campground.  I called and fortunately, they had space for us.  Turns out, we were the only campers there!  And, we had stayed in this campground before, about 25 years ago!  Who knew we would ever make it back there!!!!

 The next few days we explore “The County” and Eastern Maine…..Stay tuned.

Love, Dad/Bill/Poppy and Mom/Kit/Guma

The Bill and Kit 2010 Fall Vacation-Issue #5

Bill and Kit’s 2010 Fall Vacation Adventure


Latitude: Wherever ••• Longitude: Who Cares


The Bill and Kit 2010 Fall Vacation-Issue #5



 It is said that one picture is worth a thousand words.  So enjoy the following twelve thousand word description of our journey around the Cabot Trail.



Kit’s Corner: Traveling the Cabot Trail is incredibly beautiful!  Each bend we drove on and each scenic look out area we stopped at was prettier than the previous one.  Since I had never even heard of the Cabot Trail prior to this trip, I was amazed at how lovely it was, especially during the autumn. 


Love, Dad/Bill/Poppy and Mom/Kit/Guma

The Bill and Kit 2010 Fall Vacation-Issue #4

Bill and Kit’s 2010 Fall Vacation Adventure


Latitude: Wherever ••• Longitude: Who Cares


The Bill and Kit 2010 Fall Vacation-Issue #4

 Sunday, October 10, 2010:  Up early and on the road to Nova Scotia.  The weather is overcast with a light wind and the current temperature is 7 degrees.  That’s funny… only feels like 45 degrees or so.  We must be getting used to the cooler temperatures.

 We drove up NB 114 through the town of Beaver Brook to Hopewell Cape where the famous “flower pot” rocks reside.  Since we had walked among them on a previous trip and since it was high tide and we can’t hold our breath very long we didn’t pay to go into Hopewell Rocks National Park.  However here is a picture of the rocks captured from the internet.


  We soon came upon a sign “Tidal Bore Park”, so had to investigate.  A tidal bore is when the fast rising tide in the Bay of Fundy rushes up a river, in this case the Petitcodiac and creates a standing wave that travels upstream.  However this only happens at select times of the day and when we drove by the area it looked like a lazy river.  Wonder if the park sign was misspelled?  The river however was a rich chocolate brown color due to the churning of the water during the tidal bore’s advance.

 Pulling into the city of Moncton we stopped for fuel and then hopped on the Trans Canada Highway (TCH)-2 headed for Nova Scotia.  The TCH is similar to our Interstate Highway system and although we prefer to stick to the back roads sometime we don’t have a choice.

 Entering the province of Nova Scotia under sunny skies we stopped at the very nice visitor’s center for maps and information.  They even had internet capable computers set up for travelers use.  So as Kit checked e-mail and Facebook I gathered the information on where to go and what to see.

Tired of the TCH we decided to take the coastal route NS-6 toward Pugwash through Malagash and on into Tatamagouche where we jumped on NS-104 toward Antigonish.  Yep…..we learned to pronounce all those town names. 

Since it was nearing 1700 we decided to remain in town for the night.  We pulled into Whiddens Campground, a nice family run park in the center of the village.

Monday, October 11, 2010:  On the road at 1030 and drove through Antigoish which was a pretty little town with a traditional downtown area full of shops, offices and restaurants.  We will likely stop there on our return trip and spend some time oz’ing around.  We then jumped on the Sunrise Trail (NS-6) heading East.

After our conversations with the nice folks at the Visitors Center yesterday we decided the town of Baddeck would be a nice and convenient home base for our exploring this part of Nova Scotia.

We crossed over the causeway onto Cape Breton around midday and drove through many picturesque villages amongst the rolling hills.

Arriving at Baddeck we decided to stay at the Baddeck Cabot Trail Campground which coincidentally was right on the world renowned Cabot Trail.  The campground was very nice and clean and run by an interesting couple originally from Bavaria by way of British Columbia. 


We selected a nice site and then I disconnected the truck, leveled and stabilized the trailer, connected all the utilities and proceeded to start the laundry in the campgrounds nice facility.  Yep… know what came next.  Miss Kit proceeded to inform me that the laundry was her domain and that I should—– BACK OFF!  I guess I didn’t help matters by saying, “why don’t you change out of your cranky pants so I can wash them as well?”  It’s amazing how a plastic laundry basket can be hurled across a Laundromat and strike my noggin with such force.

In order to regain some peace and prevent me from having to sleep with one eye open I suggested we go into the town of Baddeck to do some shopping and have a meal.  After a few gift shops Kit said I could go off on my own so I went to the waterfront and shot a few pictures.



Rejoining, we had a nice meal in a small restaurant called the “Yellow Cello”.  Continuing our walk we came to this interesting building which housed the town’s Interpretive Center which was unfortunately closed for the evening.


 Tuesday, October 12, 2010:  Woke to sunny skies, puffy white clouds and light winds.  Perfect to drive the 185 mile Cabot Trail loop up and around the Cape Breton Highlands.  Funny thing is that the trail built in 1932 was named for explorer John Cabot who was thought to first view the area in 1497.  It was only recently learned that he actually made landfall in Newfoundland.

 We left the campground at 0830, stopped in town for some fuel and headed up the western side of the cape to allow driving on the portion of the road that was closest to the guardrails.  Unfortunately that put Kit closer to the precipice than I which I was reminded of often.  The rugged coastline and close proximity of the trail to the cliffs provided spectacular views.

 Just north of Wreck Cove we noticed a few cars pulled over at a turnout and the occupants had cameras and binoculars trained on the ocean.  So naturally we joined the herd and what did we see?


 The picture isn’t very good but that is indeed an American Bald Eagle!  Or probably more accurately a North American Bald Eagle.   He was sitting on the rocks pretty as you please and appeared to be posing for us.  After a few minutes the majestic bird spread its wings and took flight circling over the blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean.

 Before I close this issue I wanted to note that there are “pointy roads” in Nova Scotia as well.  This one was right before entering Cape Breton Highlands National Park which the Cabot Trail traverses through as it makes its journey up the western shore around the northern tip and down the eastern shore.


Kit’s Corner:  As far as “the laundry”, he is no longer allowed to touch it, especially while traveling!  At home, he can do it all.  On the road, he turns into a “laundry zealot” and proceeds to wreak havoc with all of our clothes.  Other than this minor issue, he’s a GREAT traveling companion and we certainly enjoy each other’s company.  J

Stay tuned for the next issue…..Adventures on the Cabot Trail.

Love, Dad/Bill/Poppy and Mom/Kit/Guma

The Bill and Kit 2010 Fall Vacation-Issue #3

 Bill and Kit’s 2010 Fall Vacation Adventure


Latitude: Wherever ••• Longitude: Who Cares


The Bill and Kit 2010 Fall Vacation-Issue #3

 Disclaimer-We are keeping a travel journal for our enjoyment in later years and to share our life on the road with family and friends.  If this is of no interest to you please feel free to delete without reading.  You will not hurt our feelings.  We are giving these travel notes wide distribution so we do not inadvertently leave anyone out.  Also please feel free to forward these journals on as you wish.

Friday, October 08, 2010:   Bill was up early and out patrolling the beach.  It was a brisk and sunny day with unlimited visibility.  I could even “see Alaska from my”…..well actually it was Nova Scotia across the bay but pretty impressive none the less.  Especially being illuminated by the rising sun as it was.

 I brought my kite along and was able to get in some flying time.  However with the sun rising in the east and the winds from the west the “wind envelope” was such that I had to squint into the sun.  After a few minutes I had all these dark blue lines in my vision due to tracking the kite as it arced in front of the sun.  It was pretty disorienting so I had to land and pack the kite away.  I bet Timothy Leary would have enjoyed the visual effect however.

The beach is made up of different sizes of material depending where in the tidal zone you happen to be.  Toward the water it is all fine sand followed by coarse sand, pebbles, stones and then rocks.  Walking along the strip made of pebbles caused each foot step to emit a squeaking sound, similar to the sound of walking on new fallen dry snow.  If I was wearing corduroy trousers I could have performed as a one man band.

The ill fated Scallop Dragger was visible due to the extreme low tide so I meandered down the beach to get a photo.  By the time I arrived at the location it was gone!  No, actually I guess I timed the tide right as I was able to take a photo of it.  Another couple of hours and the poor vessel will be under 30 feet of water however.  The photo is a grainy due to the distance and the limitations of my snapshot quality camera.

  At 1100 we broke camp and headed east.  On the way out of town we stopped at the village harbor so I could snap some photos in better sunlight. 


  As I was doing the shutterbug thing, Kit walked the area and met a Philadelphia expatriate by the name of Jim.  He retired early from Sun Oil to pursue his passion for art in Saint Martin.  He and his partner Kathi are incredible artists and also run a unique Bed and Breakfast in the village that features miniature horses.  Below is a photo of the two of them in their retail shop.  As you can see he has a sense of humor and a zest for life.  We had a great time getting to know them and sharing stories.  Check out their work at and if you’re in the area their B&B looks interesting at .


 Here is a sample of their work: 

After selecting a couple of prints to purchase we took to the road on NB-111 toward Sussex.  Leaving the village we came to this picturesque covered bridge which crosses the Salmon River.


 It was a pretty drive along the coast passing through some quaint villages.  We turned the radio to a French folk station and enjoyed the music…..and even some of the lyrics. 

As in most every other place we have traveled there are even “pointy roads” in New Brunswick as well. 


 Keeping to our philosophy of traveling the back roads we dropped down to NB-31 toward Alma and Fundy National Park.  The pavement soon turned to dirt then the dirt turned to ruts and the road narrowed to one lane for many miles.  We crept along at about 7 miles an hour and hoped our decision to purchase a heavy duty truck and trailer was going to pay dividends and get us through.  There were a few shallow water crossings so the truck and trailer got a nice coat of mud.  In addition the trailer received some battle scars from the limbs intruding into the roadway.

Well after our “shortcut” that probably took an additional two hours over the highway route we arrived at the intersection of NB-114 which we followed into the Park.  The park was nice but a little too developed for our liking.  There was a golf course, swimming pool, a hotel, and many full hook-up RV sites in three separate campgrounds.  In addition to paying an entrance fee the camp sites were a bit pricy.  We decided to stay anyway so we could more fully explore the park and surrounding area.

I took a walk into the town of Alma to stretch my legs and to snap a few photos of the harbor at low tide.  On the way back a brief shower developed and just as quick it cleared again leaving a nice rainbow.  Actually it was a double rainbow but the second one is faint and hard to see in the below photo.

Saturday, October 09, 2010:  Woke at 0600 to an outside temperature of 38 degrees and 53 degrees in the trailer…..turned on the furnace and in no time we were warm and cozy.  There seems to be a lot of activity in the National Park for this time of year as one of the campgrounds was nearly full.  Then we discovered it is Canadian Thanksgiving weekend.  Of course back home this weekend is the Columbus Day holiday.  Not sure how that all computes?

Bill bellied up to the bar and made breakfast while Kit was entertained by daughter Suzie’s daily Facebook posts.  As a special treat we had some of Bev’s homemade jam that we brought along.  Thanks, Bev (and Jeff who I think actually made the delicious jam-Kit).

After our morning routine (which is everything but routine!) we decided to unhitch the trailer and explore some of the National Park and surrounding area. 

First we drove out to Point Wolfe for a look around.

 Then over to Herring Cove for a walk around.

Then, to an overlook to just “sit and stare”.  (Don’t we all need a little “sit’n’stare” time?-Kit)

Leaving the park we drove up NB 915 to Cape Enrage where the Canadian Coast Guard keeps a lighthouse.

Returning to Alma mid afternoon we stopped at a local favorite called The Harbor View Café and had an incredible fresh seafood dinner.

Needing to walk off the gluttony, Kit went to browse the shops and Bill returned to the waterfront to photograph the same view from yesterday only at high tide.  The tide in this portion of the bay averages 40 feet and is kind of startling to see.  The maximum tidal range ever recorded in the Bay of Fundy was seventy feet!

Todays high tide:

Yesterdays low tide:

So what causes this extreme tidal range?  Well it all has to do with the fact that the Bay of Fundy is shallow and funnel shaped so natural influences are magnified.  It is important to know that all vessels create “displacement” which is the volume of water displaced by the mass of the vessel.  When the fishing boats are in port the combined displacement causes the water level to rise.  Kind of like when Jeannie drops too many ice cubes into her Appletini glass and it overflows the rim.  Then when the boats put to sea for the day the water naturally drops.  So, what about the boats that are sitting in the mud, you ask?  Well…..they belong to the captains that overslept.  You can thank me later for the above bit of wisdom.

I did notice that all the boats had very large rub-rails and as they bobbed in the water against the mooring pilings there was this squeaking sound from each that was at different pitches and intensities.  It was kind of eerie to stand on the pier surrounded by all these boats and listen to the sounds. 

In addition if you look closely at the boats at low tide you will notice cradles made of wood or aluminum that the boats rest upon.  It appears that the boats rise and fall with the tide throughout the day with no crew monitoring or handling of lines.  Pretty amazing how these folks have adapted to an extreme natural phenomenon.

At the waterfront park there was a memorial to Alma’s favorite daughter, Molly Kool.  Now with a name like that you just know that she was destined for greatness.  In 1939 Molly was the second women in the world to be licensed as a ship captain.  She went on to command her 70 foot engine and sail powered scow for many years.  Molly passed away last year at the age of 93 at her retirement home in Bangor, Maine.

Kit’s Corner:  My favorite place so far has been St. Martins.  The Bay of Fundy and the town of Alma is quite nice, also.  Just to set the record straight, we did NOT eat all that food at one sitting.  We brought half of it back to camp and ate it later that evening.  Oh, and some of these dirt roads we’ve happened upon, well, the latches on the cabinets in the trailer are beginning to loosen up….along with the rocks in a certain someone’s head…..  Need I say more?

Heading to Nova Scotia in the morning (hey…..that might be a neat title for a sea faring song!),

Love, Dad/Bill/Poppy and Mom/Kit/Guma

The Bill and Kit 2010 Fall Vacation-Issue #2

Bill and Kit’s 2010 Fall Vacation Adventure


Latitude: Wherever ••• Longitude: Who Cares


The Bill and Kit 2010 Fall Vacation-Issue #2

 Disclaimer-We are keeping a travel journal for our enjoyment in later years and to share our life on the road with family and friends. If this is of no interest to you please feel free to delete without reading. You will not hurt our feelings. We are giving these travel notes wide distribution so we do not inadvertently leave anyone out. Also please feel free to forward these journals on as you wish.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010: Underway at 1020 under overcast skies and the temperatures near 60. Stopped to visit at the Great Pond Lodge to visit with the staff and thank them for a great stay. Great Pond Outdoor Recreation Center has in addition to campsites, a lodge, Cabins, and Yurts. What’s a yurt? Here’s one:

They are made of expandable wood lattice and waterproof fabric with a dome skylight at the peak. They are surprisingly roomy and have all the comforts of home.

On the way down to the Airline we came across a fawn that was having breakfast in an overgrown graveyard. It spooked and bolted into the woods as we trundled past.

Jumped on US-9E toward Calais where we stopped at “The Wall Mart”…..just in case there are no stores in Canada. Kit shopped while Bill took walking laps around the parking lot.

We crossed the St. Croix River into Canada at 1345…..

…..opps, it is now 1445; what the heck! Atlantic Time Zone!!!  Just got into this country and already we are an hour behind our very rigid itinerary. Guess we will have to step on it!  Fortunatly the speed limit sign read 110…..tried to get to 110 but I was flying past other travelers so I decided to just go with the flow of traffic.

It took us only 45 seconds to clear customs…..after waiting 15 minutes in line. All and all, not bad. We stopped at the visitor center to pick up information, maps, brochures and an English to Canadian Translation Dictionary.

Took NB-1 to NB-111 toward St. Martins. Roads a bit rough but we’ve seen worse… least it was paved.

Stopped for fuel at an Irving station. I needed gas but all they had was petrol…..hope it doesn’t damage my engine. However it was only was only 97 cents! WOW….I love Canada. What the heck!! What’s a liter? Drat!

Pulled into the pretty coastal town of Saint Martin about 1630. Decided to stay in the only campground open this time of year, The Seaside Tent and Trailer Park. It is owned by a very nice local couple by the name of Mike and Gwen who we hit it off with right away. They proceeded to tell us all about their town of 380 souls and what to see and do. We had a nice site with a view of the ocean…..if you looked over (and overlooked) the cemetery next door. Those dead folks had the best view.

The cemetery was the only one in town and was the final resting place for the various ship captains, masters, ship wrights and seaman from the area. There were grave sites from the 1700’s that were etched with nautical scenes. It was pretty fascinating.

A very short walk to the end of the campground there was access to a very nice 2 mile beach that fronts the village of Saint Martin. Well…’s more of a beach at low tide.

Thursday, October 07, 2010: Woke early after a very restful sleep. I took a walk on the beach while Kit spent another hour checking her eyelids for holes. There is a Scallop Dragger out of Digby, Nava Scotia that went aground down the beach a few nights ago. Mike tells me it began taking on water so the crew steered for shore. The good news is that they successfully grounded the vessel and all 3 crew members safely abandoned ship. The bad news is that this was during low tide which in these parts is 33 feet below high tide. So the dragger sits, full of silt and underwater for about 20 hours a day. The owners have abandoned all salvage rights so it will quietly rust in place. At this tide I could barely see the mast and part of the deck.

So what does a 33 foot tide look like? Well here is a shot of Saint Martin Harbor taken at the two tide extremes:

We originally were only going to just stay overnight but the campground was so nice, the area had so much to see and the local folks were so friendly we decided to stay another day.

So Kit walked down the main drag to explore and ended up at the library. Bill returned to the shore where he walked all two miles of the sandy beach and there was a lot more beach to walk thanks to the low tide. Picked up some sea shells, a few pieces of drift wood and some pretty rocks. Gotta love the pretty rocks…..the cheapest souvenirs.

Since I had plenty of beach and since the wind was blowing strong I brought my kite out to play. Actually I have acquired two kites over the past year; a quad line performance stunt kite and a two line parafoil power kite. It was this last kite I chose to fly today. I was having a blast as the high wind made the kite really fly and the pull was strong enough to drag me across the sand. A couple of times I had to dump some wind before I literally left the ground.

Putting the kite away I went hunting for Kit when I came upon the village museum. They weren’t open but as I was looking in the window the curator drove by, stopped and offered to open the museum for me. I gladly accepted and received a guided tour of the collection. They even have an impressive presentation on the new Canadian Frigate that the company I just retired from is supporting. In addition they had an extensive display of maritime history chronicling the some 500 sailing ships that were made in the village over the years.

In addition there was an impressive display of early women’s underpants.

Leaving the Quaco Maritime and Underwear Museum we decided to drive “The Fundy Trail” which meanders along the highlands east of town. They road was steep and serpentine but very well maintained. Of course we have Mr. Bill along as usual. He will keep us safe from peril and from the dastardly deeds of Mr. Hand. However about Lucy…..notice the GPS screen? The little blue truck icon isn’t on a road…..Yikes.

Driving along ‘The Fundy Trail” we stopped often to look around and snap a few pictures. It was a crummy day and was spitting some rain but the views were fantastic anyway.

Took a break at the visitors’ center for a snack and to learn about this engineering feat. The road was originally put in by the Pejepscot Paper Company to access logs that had been cut on the highlands and floated down the Salmon River. When the paper company abandoned the area the province of New Brunswick restored and improved the trail. The locals brag that “The Fundy Trail” rivals “The Cabot Trail” up on Cape Breton. Kit and I took a walking trail down to the suspension bridge that crosses the Salmon River. The span swings and bounces as you make your way across the swiftly flowing river.

Back in Saint Martin we stopped for a bowl of great seafood chowder and to await low tide so I could walk out on the bay floor and see the sea caves.

Oh…..and if your like me and often wonder where Chia Pet’s come from. I found the Matriarch…The Chia Pet mother:

Kit’s Corner: OK, is there anyone out there who might like to take my spot for a few days? His “corny” humor, along with his “strict adherence” to schedule occasionally gets tiring. Seriously, we are having a great time. At least we can make decisions “on the fly” since we aren’t tied to a set schedule. Loved St. Martins! A beautiful little village, very nice local folks and the BEST seafood chowder ever!!!

Heading for Fundy National Park in the morning…..stay tuned.

Love, Dad/Bill/Poppy and Mom/Kit/Guma

Bill and Kit’s 2010 Fall Vacation Journal, Issue #1

Bill and Kit’s 2010 Fall Vacation Adventure

 Latitude: Wherever ••• Longitude: Who Cares


The Bill and Kit 2010 Fall Vacation-Issue #1

 Disclaimer-We are keeping a travel journal for our enjoyment in later years and to share our life on the road with family and friends. If this is of no interest to you please feel free to delete without reading. You will not hurt our feelings. We are giving these travel notes wide distribution so we do not inadvertently leave anyone out. Also please feel free to forward these journals on as you wish.

 Monday, October 04, 2010: Yep…..the crazy kids are at it again; off on an adventure that has no specific destination, no specific timetable, no specific agenda and very little prior planning.

 Left the driveway at 1030 and headed up US Highway One toward Downeast Maine and points beyond. Our original intention was to head northwest into Canada, navigate around the Great Lakes and drop down into Minnesota by way of Duluth. Since most of our plans are, in reality, just something to deviate from we felt perfectly OK with heading in the exact opposite direction. Besides they are already experiencing “freeze warnings” in Min-a-so-ta.

So about that title…..why would a couple of retirees need a vacation anyway? Funny you should ask; being retired isn’t all fun and games, well actually it is but it is also a lot of work. So even retirees have to get out of the daily grind and recharge their batteries. And remember our batteries are not nearly as efficient as they used to be. At our age we contain a lot of lead and acid and not the new fangled lithium.

We decided to head up the coast or as Maine folks phrase it “upta downeast”. Why is it called downeast if it lies up to the northeast? Well it has something to do with the prevailing winds during the days of sailing commerce. The merchant schooners would sail downwind traveling northeast up the coast of Maine…..they sailed downeast.

So off we went up US-1 through Bath, Wiscasset, Newcastle, and Waldoboro. At this point we took the US-90 shortcut through Warren to Rockport. Back on US-1 we traveled through Camden and Lincolnville Beach where we took our first break. Back under way we moved through Ducktrap, Northport and Belfast where we stopped at The Hannaford. After filling our cupboards we once again headed north on US-1 through Searsport, Stockton Springs, Bucksport and Ellsworth where we moved to US-180 north around Graham Lake to US-9 (Better known as the Airline…..not sure why it’s called that but I bet Randy will know). Traveled US-9 East where we turned North again on Great Pond Road. After 7 miles of backwoods travel we arrived around 1500 at Great Pond Outdoor Recreation Center, a military R&R facility.

This was a travel day to get to where our vacation really starts. We didn’t do any sightseeing today as the coast of Maine from Bath to Bar Harbor has been heavily explored by us over the years. Beyond that point however we rarely venture…..this trip is to rectify that.

Campground was mostly empty so we had our pick of sites. Decided on Site #12 as it was private and right across the road from the lake.



 As you may be able to tell the leaves are beginning to change in these parts. Some of them are in the middle of that change such as the Maple leaves below.


 Now a question for our nature wiz friends. And for our other friends as well… know…..the ones who don’t wiz in nature. Here it is; how can you tell from the photo above if this is a shot taken in the fall when the leaves turn from green to red or…..was the photo taken in the spring when they turn from red back to green?

 Say goodnight, Bill.

 Tuesday, October 5, 2010: Decided to explore the coast of Maine above Ellsworth today. The weather was clear and mild….a perfect Indian Summer day in Maine. We headed toward Winter Harbor and Schoodic Point. Coming to a nice view of a harbor with a lighthouse in the distance we stopped to take a photo.

  As we stood enjoying the scenery another couple drove up to do the same. In taking to Skip and Jo we discovered they were retired Navy as well and the guy had the same job that I did. In fact it is likely our path’s crossed at some point. They are full time RV’r traveling in a 40 foot fifth wheel hauled by a Freightliner truck. The car they were driving is stored on the Freightliner when they are traveling. We exchanged contact information with them and hope to connect up in Arizona next winter…..after all there are lots of “sea stories” that are waiting to be told.

Back unerway and rounding a bend in the road we came upon this interesting sight.


And you thought sardines were small…..not in Maine they’re not! The fisherman’s no shrimp either. Sorry about the seafood metaphor.

 We also noticed a number of cemeteries right along the coast overlooking the ocean. These folks sure know how to honor their dead. Folks who probably couldn’t afford a place with an ocean view during their lifetime now enjoy this multi-million dollar view for eternity…..go figure?!?!

 On Schoodic Point lies the “other” Acadia National Park. It is wilder than and not as touristy as the main park over on Mount Dessert Island and some believe this side is much nicer.

Enjoyed walking among the rocks and peeking into the tide pools. Also had to dodge a few low flying and well fed seagulls.

Stopped for lunch at a nice little café in Winter Harbor and walked the two block downtown area. Noticed an older fellow with a Navy ball cap so, of course I had to investigate. Come to find out he was one of the last Commanding Officers of the local Navy Communication Station before it closed in 2002. He was an interesting gentleman and I learned quite a bit about the area from him.

Leaving Schoodic Point we journeyed east to Jonesport and Beals Island. Both are authentic Downeast fishing villages and neither looked to be set up to attract very many tourists. Most likely the way Southern Maine used to be. The following photo shows Jonesport as viewed from Beals.


Leaving Jonesport we came upon the National Sardine Museum.


It had already closed but did notice that befitting the collection the building was quite small……but I bet they could pack 500 tourists in the thing.

  Returning to Great Pond we passed through the village of Cherryfield, The Blueberry Capital of the World. Not sure why the towns not called Blueberryfield…..Randy can you field this one as well?

The village was surrounded by Blueberry Barrens most of which belonged to some guy by the name of Wyman. Interspersed amongst the mile after mile of fields were large storage barns with hundreds of small migrant worker cottages in back. Not much going on in the fields this time of year but I bet a few months ago this place was hopping.

Here is a picture of a typical blueberry field.

  Traveling back to camp up Great Pond Road a large bird swooped down from behind us and flew about 20 feet in front of the windshield before veering off. The white tail and white head of an American Bald Eagle was unmistakable. It was an exciting sight, even more so in that it was Kit’s first eagle sighting. A perfect end to a perfect day.

 Tomorrow we head for Canada….eh.

 Kit’s Corner: So far, the trip has gone well. We had seen Schoodic Point many years ago but it was nice to see it again. We always wanted to check out Great Pond, formerly Dow Pines. It’s a very nice campground with a great lodge to hang out in. The park is actually open year round. The highlight of the day was seeing the Bald Eagle! It was huge and just a few short feet in front of the truck. The second best thing of the day was meeting Skip & Jo, the full timers. They have a place in Quartzite, AZ. We hope to see them again after the holidays.

Love, Dad/Bill/Poppy and Mom/Kit/Guma