Visiting Family in Nova Scotia

Our transportation, accommodation, food and entertainment cost so far

Aug 04 ~ Day #86
Budget to date
Spent today
Total to date
Daily average
Total
$8600
$0.00
$8009.95
$93.13
Miles by Road
Miles by Sea
Miles by Air
Miles by Train
Total Miles
11025+22=11047
4451
000
69
15567
Our transportation, accommodation, food and entertainment cost so far

Aug 07 ~ Day #89
Budget to date
Spent today
Total to date
Daily average
Total
$8900
$0.00
$8009.95
$89.99
Miles by Road
Miles by Sea
Miles by Air
Miles by Train
Total Miles
11047
4451
000
69
15567

Current Location: Halifax, NS

Visiting Family in Halifax, NS

While spending time near Peggy’s Cove we had no idea how close we actually were to Geoff’s daughter’s family. As it turned out we were only 22 miles away! Who knew?

Striking Camp in the Rain
(Wednesday, August 4)

We had planned to take a picture of the car, with the tent attached, at our lovely little campsite by the ocean but Mother Nature had other plans.

We woke up to torrential rains and hoped that we could just wait it out. Packing up a wet tent is one thing but packing up while it is still raining can be pretty miserable, as I’m sure you can imagine.

As we waited it became obvious that this was likely to be an all-day rain.

Reluctantly we resigned ourselves to the reality of having to pack up in the rain. It wasn’t fun but we got it done and arrived at J, P & K’s about 11:00am – just a short 1/2 hour drive from our campsite.

Hugs & Kisses All ‘Round

Visiting family is always wonderful and this was our first visit to their home in Nova Scotia.

Even though the rain and fog continued for the rest of the day, it didn’t dampen our spirits.

More Fog & Games
(Thursday, August 5th)

The fog continued on the second day of our visit but we had a great time catching up.

In the evening they suggested playing a video game called “Scene-It” on their X-Box 360.

We don’t really get much into video games but Vicky really enjoyed this one – a trivia game based on movies.

Sunshine & the Halifax Waterfront
(Friday, August 6th)

On Friday the clouds drifted away and the sun came out, so we decided to head to the Halifax Waterfront.

Busker Festival

There was a Busker Festival happening at the Halifax Waterfront so there were all kinds of weird and wonderful acts to see and the waterfront was very crowded.

A Wharf, Fish & Chips & Ice Cream

J & P treated us to a lovely fish & chip lunch at a favourite
restaurant of their’s that was, incidentally, on a wharf overlooking the ocean!

After walking along the waterfront for a while and popping into shops, we were also treated to ice cream at Cows.

Thanks Guys!

We then got a quick driving tour of downtown Halifax and the Citadel.

After a fabulous dinner back at home, we topped off a perfect day with a backyard campfire and roasted marshmallows.

Our Last Day
(Saturday, August 7th)

Having determined that the next leg of our trip was longer than we had actually thought, we decided we needed to leave tomorrow morning.

So, we spent time repacking and re-organizing and, later that evening, Vicky requested that we play “Scene-It” again because she enjoyed it so much the first time.

We still couldn’t beat J, P & K, but we got better scores this time the than first time we played.

Geoff’s Note
Vicky has been writing all the posts lately because I’ve been busy with other things but I need to add my thanks here.

As Vicky mentioned this is the first time we have seen my daughters new home and I’m very glad to see they are doing so well.

It was also nice to be able to spend some time with my granddaughter, something we really have not been able to do while living so far apart.

Thanks again for your hospitality and we already have our flight booked for next May.

New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine, Oh, my!

Our transportation, accommodation, food and entertainment cost so far

July 28 ~ Day #79
Budget to date
Spent today
Total to date
Daily average
Total
$7900
$93.41
$7513.60
$95.10
Miles by Road
Nautical Miles
Miles by Air
Miles by Train
Total Statute Miles
9786+285=10071
3856 [4437]
000
69
14577

Current Location: Hanover, Maine

Today’s Total Expenses: $ 93.41

Transportation: $43.50
Accommodation: $23.54
Food: $26.37

Rural America

After drying out the tent and leaving the St. Regis Campground, we continued on through New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and into Maine. You’d think that passing through so many states would mean we put on a lot of miles but we actually only traveled 285 miles.

We got to see a lot or rural America and the Northeastern States are an eclectic mix of both old and new. It’s also easy to see the effects of both current and earlier economic downturns.

We passed several large factories that have been boarded up. You can’t help but wonder what was manufactured there, where the jobs went and what impact such closures had on the local economies.

What Makes Things Popular

Another thing we noticed were old and obviously abandoned roadside stands – probably fruit and/or vegetable stands – reminiscent of the 60s and 70s.

However, just slightly down the road, in some cases, would be a more modern version that was obviously popular.

Why did the old ones fall our of favour and into disrepair? What was the impetus to build new ones? And, if it was actually the same people just modernizing, why not tear down the old stand rather than let them look so shabby?

Stony Brook Campground, Hanover, Maine

We found a campground along our route that was reasonable and clean and so stopped for the night before heading into Canada’s Maritime provinces.

Where Does the Time Go?

Even though we felt we were giving ourselves lots of time, at times it feels like we’re rushing from place to place and not really “exploring” a lot along the way.

We thought we had built in lots of “family time” as well but that often seems over too quickly. However, we need to balance such visits with not overstaying our welcome.

We all know that having visitors is wonderful but it’s also nice to get back to a regular, comfortable routine.

Northern Ontario to Duluth, Minnesota

Our transportation, accommodation, food and entertainment cost so far

July 12 ~ Day #63
Budget to date
Spent today
Total to date
Daily average
Total
$6300
$182.12
$6606.74
$104.86
Miles by Road
Nautical Miles
Miles by Air
Miles by Train
Total Statute Miles
7841+323=8164
3856 [4437]
000
69
12670

Current Location: Duluth, Minnesota

Today’s Total Expenses: $182.12

Transportation: $41.00
Accommodation: $46.93
Food: $94.19

Back on the Road

It was tough saying goodbye to my daughter and granddaughters. It was so wonderful spending time with them.

Thanks so much for letting us stay with you. We love you!

Time Zone Change

As we crossed the border from Ontario into Minnesota we went back a time zone to Central Daylight Time, gaining an hour.

The Shores of Lake Superior

This is the first time we’ve traveled the along the US shores of Lake Superior. It was lovely but certainly more populated than Canada.

I do believe, that the Canadian scenery along the shores of Lake Superior is more spectacular – more rugged – more rocks.

The US shores of Lake Superior may have more beaches, though, as we were able to see lots of beaches from the highway.

Gooseberry Falls State Park

One thing the United States does very well is to make their natural areas available to everyone, and, frequently at no charge.

We made what was meant to be a short stop at Gooseberry Falls State Park and ended up spending over an hour exploring and taking pictures.

It was a hot day and there were lots of people there enjoying the water and the hiking trails.

There were also facilities housed in a modern building and lots of information about the state park. There were even nature walks hosted by rangers – also at no charge.

Bravo to the State of Minnesota for making such a lovely spot available to all.

Groceries and Hotel

After a lovely, and not-too-long drive, we stopped to get groceries for the next few days and spent the night in a clean but reasonably priced hotel.

Dinosaurs and Hoodoos

Our transportation, accommodation, food and entertainment cost so far

June 29 ~Day #50
Budget to date
Spent today
Total to date
Daily average
Total
$5000
$197.54
$6005.76
$120.11
Miles by Road
Nautical Miles
Miles by Air
Miles by Train
Total Statute Miles
6406+518=6924
3826
000
69
11427.4

Current Location: Green Haven Sun Club, Balgonie, Saskatchewan

Rosedale Suspension Bridge
The 11 bridges road to Wayne, AB starts in Rosedale which is where you can find the Rosedale Suspension Bridge. This is a foot bridge across the Red Deer River that was used to transport the coal from the Star Coal Mine.

The Dinosaur Trail
The Tyrrell Museum is the must see highlight of Drumheller but there are many other natural attractions in the area. The information center provides a map with a circular route around the area called “The Dinosaur Trail” with all the attractions marked.

Horse Thief Canyon
The Dinosaur Trail takes you past the Tyrrell Museum and up to the top of the cliffs overlooking the Bad Lands. From the lookout you can see the Red Deer River valley where many dinosaur bones have been found.

Bleriot Ferry
You continue along the Dinosaur Trail to the Bleriot Ferry which is a small free ferry service across the river. You drive on, the ferry is cable winched across and you drive off. This is a modern version of the ferries that showed up in some of the old western movies we watched as kids.

Hoodoos
The trail loops back to Drumheller and we took highway 10 towards Rosedale again. Ten miles south of Drumheller is the official site of the Hoodoos. Hoodoos are present all over the area but the official site has a large collection in a small area. Unfortunately many moronic tourists crawling all over the area have managed to destroy in just a few years what took millions of years to form.

Believe it or not one particularly thoughtless cretin named “Dave” carved his name on the side of one just four weeks before we arrived. Because the Hoodoos are sandstone there is no way to safely repair the damage.

To prevent any further vandalism the area is be roped off and no one will be able to get too close. Thanks Dave you ruined it for everyone.

Atlas Coal Mine
A little further south on highway 10 is the Atlas Coal Mine where you can take an hour and a half guided tour. Unfortunately we were running late and still had quite a long drive to Regina which is our next stop.

Flooded Trans Canada Hwy
The Alberta Saskatchewan border area has had a lot of rain this season, far more than normal. Many towns were flooded and a portion of the Trans Canada Highway collapsed. We had heard about it on the news and were worried that we may not be able to get through. Fortunately the highway was reopened to single lane traffic just before we got there.

Green Haven Sun Club
It was getting dark when we arrived at the Green Haven Sun Club and the mosquitos were out in force. Getting the tent up while slapping away the little buggers was a miserable experience – but there was much worse to come …

100 Mile House, BC to Jasper, Alberta

Our transportation, accommodation, food and entertainment cost so far

June 22 ~Day #43
Budget to date
Spent today
Total to date
Daily average
Total
$4300
$101.40
$5368.73
$124.85
Miles by Road
Nautical Miles
Miles by Air
Miles by Train
Total Statute Miles
5557+296=5853
3826
000
69
10356.4

Location: Jasper, Alberta

Today’s Total Expenses: $101.40

Transportation: $40.00
Accommodation: $27.40
Food: $17.40
Entertainment: $16.60

Happy Birthday!

Today was my daughter’s birthday and I was afraid we might not have an Internet connection so that I could use Skype to call her and wish her a Happy Birthday.

There was supposed to be a WiFi connection at the campground we stayed in last night, but no matter what we did we just couldn’t get it to work.

But, as luck would have it, we stopped at a little market (Jim’s Food Market) in Clearwater, BC and were able to get a good enough signal so that we could call. The connection wasn’t great but we could at least hear each other most of the time even though it was a very short call.

Happy Birthday, sweetie! Love you. Hope you had a great day.

Mount Robson

Along the route to Jasper we stopped at Mount Robson. Mount Robson is 12,972 ft tall.

Note to BC Provincial Parks: I understand that Canada uses the metric system, but for most visitors 12,972 ft would seem way more impressive than the same height in meters (3954 m). All I’m suggesting is that you put BOTH measurements on the signs so people who are not familiar with the metric system don’t confuse it with feet or don’t need to do the conversion (which most of us would get wrong anyway).

Jasper National Park

We were a little taken aback at the cost to enter the park and the cost for camping, which I will cover a little later.

I will leave the rant to Geoff, who is much better at such things, but it seems to me that, being Canadian, we shouldn’t have to pay quite so much. We had planned to stay in the park longer, but not at these prices.

A senior’s day pass (good for 24 hours) into the Park was $16.60 for both of us. There is no discount for extra days and if you plan to stay a week or more, you might as well get the annual pass that is about $140, but at least it covers most Federal Parks.

Now, this does’t include the cost of camping. For a tent site with no electricity or water the cost was $27.40/night. Although there were toilets and showers, the toilets were a fair distance away – particularly for someone like me who generally needs to get up at least once a night – and the showers were way over by the entrance to the campground.

For the same amount of money, or even less, we’ve been able to stay at a reasonably nice hotel in the States.

I don’t want to sound negative but we are Canadian and pay Canadian taxes. Shouldn’t there be a different rate for taxpayers?

At the Grand Canyon, if you were a senior and a US resident or citizen, you received a significant discount for park entry fees and camping. And, although the park entry fee was $25.00, it was good for an entire week.

Wildlife Encounter

Okay, time to get more positive.

After popping into the Town of Jasper for a quick look we headed back to our campsite and actually passed three elk along the way, just grazing at the side of highway.

They didn’t seem to mind when we pulled over to video them. I guess they’re used to seeing humans around.

They are actually quite large. At first glance I thought the one I saw might actually be a moose.

So far we have seen more wildlife in the few days we’ve been in British Columbia than we saw during our two-week cruise in Alaska.