Thursday, August 7, 2008

Maritime Trip, Day 8 - Fisherman's Cove & Barnacle Bill and Friends

We (except Kyle) woke up really early this morning. Sandra heard a dripping sound in the room we are staying in at Colin and Sherri's place. It was coming from the ceiling and turned out to be the sink in the bathroom above. After Handyman Colin repaired the plumbing, we all left for Fisherman's Cove.

On the way down, we passed "John's Lunch" diner. Colin noticed it first and said he heard they had the best seafood. Coincidentally, I had also been told before we left that I had to stop there for lunch. So, that's what we did!

The verdict? We all agreed that it was the best fish and chips! We ordered the 2 piece fish and chips. It's a good thing we didn't get the 3 piece because the portions were quite large.

After lunch, we headed to Fisherman's Cove and walked around. It's very touristy and not what you might think of as a functional fishing village. Regardless, it was a good visit and we came home with 5 fresh lobsters to cook for tonight's supper. Mine has a few barnacles on it, so I named it "Barnacle Bill" (what an imagination I have)

The truck behaved perfect for the drive too, so we're feeling a little more comfortable about the trip to Hopewell Rocks and then Edmundston for our 1 night stay before hitting the road for the last leg home.

Our kids are hoping that the rain holds off this afternoon so they can get a ride on Colin's horses. We're also hoping for no rain so we can boil the lobster over Colin's "redneck" firepit. :)
Zemanta Pixie

Maritime Trip, Day 7 - A day at the beach, and truck problems

(For Wednesday, August 6th)

Today was a day at the beach with Colin, Sherri, and their two dogs, Burrito and Taco. Although it was cloudy, there were sunny patches, so we took our chances. We went to Rissers Beach, which was down near Bridgeport. I can't recall the last time that I went to a beach on the ocean and it was beautiful. I loved the sound of the waves and the fine white sand. The kids had a lot of fun.

On the drive back (which was a couple of hours) we had a moment of panic. We were about 30 minutes away from arriving back at Colin and Sherri's place, driving along the highway, when the truck started to vibrate when accelerating. We had 2-way radios with us, so we asked Colin to pull over at the next off ramp. Something didn't sound right with the engine -- it appeared to be misfiring. Not a good thing when you have over 1000kms to drive home in a couple of days. There were no warning lights on the dash, so we were puzzled. We shut the engine off for 5 minutes to let it rest. When it started again, everything seemed fine. We got back onto the highway, made a quick stop at the ASS (Atlantic SuperStore), and arrived back at Colin and Sherri's house without any further problems. We're taking a trip downtown today (Thursday) to the Fisherman's Cove, so we'll see how it goes and keep our fingers crossed.

We're definitely not going to get to PEI this year. :( The truck scare pretty much sealed that decision. Even if it hadn't, I don't think we'd have time to really enjoy it. We'll stop at Hopewell Rocks on the way to Edmundston, stay a night there as planned, and then continue home on Saturday morning.
Zemanta Pixie

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Maritime Trip, Day 6 - Peggy's Cove & Lunenburg

The weather looked not bad, so we decided to visit Peggy's Cove today!

The drive along the coast was awesome! Very hilly and windy too. We arrived at Peggy's Cove and parked at the information office. It's free to park there, but you'll end up walking to the lighthouse. It's worth it though, just for the scenery. If you plan on eating at Peggy's Cove, you could pay the $5 parking fee nearer the lighthouse because it seems they'll give you a $5 coupon to use at the restaurant. Nothing wrong with breaking even.

The view from the rocks is too cool. Lots of tourists, but it wasn't terribly crowded. We even saw a seal bobbing not too far off shore, and a dolphins off in the distance.

While we were there, we had to go looking for a geocache! :) It was quite a trek along the rocks, but the kids enjoyed stopping and looking for sea life in the shallow pools on the rocks. As we got near the geocache, we saw another family where the cache should be. I could tell they were geocachers because their young son was holding a GPS. We stayed back to let them find it and re-hide it before going for it. As my kids rifled through the cache contents, the other family's son was watching us from a distance. We ran into them later and the father asked us if we were geacachers. I told him we were and asked them where they were from. They said "Ottawa" (or more specifically, Stittsville). What a small world. Then we ran into another Ontario family in the parking lot and stopped to chat with them. The big Sens sticker on the rear windshield attracts a lot of attention! :)

After leaving Peggy's Cove, we stopped at the Swissair memorial along the highway. It's a very nice spot for such a sad and unfortunate accident.

We continued on to Mahone Bay. We didn't really see much, other than driving through it -- with a quick stop at the candy store for my wife and kids. It would have been nice to stay longer, but our goal was Lunenburg and the Blue Nose II. I think the family was a little tired after the long drive and lengthy walk along the rocks at Peggy's Cove.

Finally, we made it to Lunenburg and the Blue Nose II was tied up at the pier. This place must be hell in the winter time. Some of the streets are steeper than I've ever seen! I swear the one we drove down must have been close to 45 degrees. We parked down near the Blue Nose II, which cost us $3. It was free to get on the Blue Nose II (free is good!) We could only walk around the deck, which didn't take very long. The crew were working while people toured, doing painting and other maintenance.

After a stop at the Halifax Store for souvenirs, and grabbing some fries to go, we headed back to Colin and Sherri's.

For supper, we went out for pizza at Uniacke Pizza -- yum!

Later in the evening, before hittin the sack, Colin and I went outside and stared at the sky. They were clear and the stars were awesome. The more we stared, the more stars we saw.

We're not sure if we'll make it to PEI this year. Since it wasn't part of our original plans, time is going to be too tight. Plus, we still want to visit Hopewell Rocks on the way back.
Zemanta Pixie

Maritime Trip - Day 5, Halifax

(For August 4th, 2008)

The weather wasn't looking very promising, so we decided to stick to downtown activities -- mostly indoors.

First up was the Maritime Museum. I don't think Kaitlyn enjoyed it as much as Kyle. Lots of ships and related stuff that bored her.

Then we took a short walk down to the pier to grab some food. We had lobster on a bun. Not bad, but mine was really slim on the lobster. :( We got rained on while waiting in line for our food too.

Back at the truck, munching on our lunch, the rain eased up and the skies no longer looked threatening, so we decided to head to the Citadel.

Our timing couldn't have been better. We were just in time for a guided tour AND to see the rifle practice, which only happens once a day. After the tour, and the rifle practice, we walked along the wall perimeter of the fort and got some pretty cool shots of Halifax.

Sandra said the Citadel was much more enjoyable than she thought it would be, and the kids seem to really enjoy it as well.

That pretty much wrapped up our day!
Zemanta Pixie

Monday, August 4, 2008

Maritime Trip - Day 4, Mount Uniacke, BBQ, & Beer

(For Sunday, August 3rd)

Not a very busy day today.

We drove to Halifax and walked along the pier. I really wanted to see the HMCS Sackville. When I was in the Navy, I spent a couple of days on that ship chipping rust, in its early days of restoration.

It's a lot smaller inside than I remember it. I know that back then it had been modified for use by the Sea Cadets, but has now been restored to its former glory.

We had planned on going to the Maritime museum as well, but time was running short. A friend that I hadn't seen in 18 years was coming over to Colin and Sherri's place for a BBQ at around 3:00pm. Rather than rush through the museum, we grabbed a bite to eat at Wendy's, and then headed back.

Around 4pm-ish, Darren arrived, along with his girlfriend Paula, his daughter, her son and daughter and a friend. Colin's horses were a big hit and he got some free labour from Darren's daughter and Paula's son. They wanted to shovel horse poop from the stalls.

It rained lightly on and off, unfortunately, but I think everyone still enjoyed themselves. Burgers were eaten, and beer was drunken!

After Darren and his troops left, Colin, Sherri and I sat around Colin's home-built fire drum and continued to drink until the wee hours of the morning. By the time we hit the sack, we were soaked from the rain.

I'm not sure what's on the agenda for today. The weather doesn't look too bad. Cloudy with sunny breaks and a chance of rain. I think we're going to head back downtown and visit the museum.
Zemanta Pixie

Maritime Trip - Day 3, Saint John to Digby

(For Saturday, August 2nd)

We got up early at the hotel, thanks to the alarm and a wake up call. :) Within the hour we were packed, checked out of the hotel and loaded into the truck... and on our way to the Ferry. It was recommended that we get there an hour before sailing, which meant 8:00am. We arrived just a little after that.

There were quite a few cars and trucks ahead of us, but the guys directing the cars into the ferry had us moving between the different line ups, trying to get the best fit into the ferry. We ended up driving straight to the back of the ship, which meant we would be one of the first out once it arrived in Digby!

Once we were aboard, we went and got some breakfast -- eggs, sausage, toast, home fries and coffee! Yum!

After breakfast, we made our way up to the deck to look for whales. We didn't have much luck. The seats in the lounges were all taken too, many by people lying across two or three seats. For half the trip we sat or stood outside. I didn't mind much because I was hoping to see whales. :)

Half way across, the kids managed to scooped 3 seats, so they sat inside with Sandra.

As we approached Digby, we spotted some harbour porpoises. People were saying they were dolphins, and I suppose they could have been, but since it was in the harbour, I'd put my bet on the porpoises.

The drive from Digby to Mount Uniacke was nice. I wanted to drive past the decomissioned CFB Cornwallis to see what it's like now, compared to what it was like back in the mid 80's when I was in the Navy. The tank and plane are still outside, across the street, but the font gate has been completely rebuilt and is now and RCMP office.

We continued on to Mount Uniacke and arrived at Colin and Sherri's place at around 3:30pm.

Zemanta Pixie

Friday, August 1, 2008

Maritime Trip - Day 2, Saint John, New Brunswick

The day started off with Sandra waking up before the rest of us, going out and coming back with Timmy's Coffee! YUM! The weather was gloomy, rainy, and of course, wet. The weather forecast even said showers with a chance of thunder showers. It wasn't looking like it was going to be a nice day to go anywhere.

Thankfully, that didn't turn out to be the case! It was cloudy for most of the day, but didn't rain again and was warm. The sunny breaks were very welcome too!

We started off with a quick trip to Zellers so Sandra could buy a bathing suit so we could go swimming in the hotel pool later in the evening.

We then went to Fort Howe. The place was deserted, which made it a little more enjoyable. Plus, it was free, and free is good when you're doing the tourist thing. :) There wasn't too much to see, but it's supposed to have the best view of the city and the view was pretty good.

Next, we were off to the Cherrybrook Zoo. It's very much like the Papanack Zoo in Cumberland, but with a much better layout. (Compared to the last time I went to Papanack years ago) They even have a section with animal statues representing specied that have become extinct. As we walked around, we could hear a roaring every once in a while. I was pretty sure it was the lions or the tiger, but Sandra had to ask one of the employees. He confirmed that it was indeed the lions. He said they're very loud, and even more so when he's working in the building at their pen. It was kinda spooky.

After a quick lunch at the mall, we went to The Reversing Falls. We got there at around 1:30pm, which turned out to be "High Slack". That's the only time that boats can travel from the bay and up the Saint John River, or vice versa. While we were there, Kaitlyn and I walked up to the park near it to find a small geocache. We found it quickly.

Back to the hotel we went to drop off the truck and then we were off to the New Brunswick Museum since it was a short walk from the hotel. Unfortunately, we got there at around 4:00pm, an hour before closing, so we kinda rushed through the exhibits. We were also told that taking photographs was not allowed. That kinda sucked. Half way through, Sandra asked one of the employees why that was. She said that we could in fact take pictures, but without a flash. Apparently camera flashes affects the artifacts. We didn't bother anyway. It was pretty cool though, especially the whale bones and fossils.

After the museum, we walked up to the Loyalist Burial Grounds. Again, free. :) It seems like somewhat of a teenager hangout too. We walked around and read a bunch of grave markers. From the looks of them, they were at one time all knocked over and some broken since they are now sitting on concrete blocks and some are held up with metal bars. Many are very difficult to read, having endured hundreds of years.

Before heading back to the hotel, we stopped at the Marketplace. Lots of fruits, veggies, meats, fish, and assorted craft stuff all in an open covered market. Boring for me, but Sandra wanted to see it.

As it was nearing low tide time for the Bay of Fundy, we headed back to the hotel to get the truck and drive back to the Reversing Falls to see the effects of low tide and the Saint John River. That was pretty cool. Rapids and whirlpools forming and disappearing.

Back again to the hotel and we went down to the mall beneath it to get some supper at the food court.

We wrapped up our day with a swim in the hotel's pool and a good 10 minute soak in the heated whirlpool. Soooo relaxing!

I have to say that today really made me hate our car GPS even more. It's so damned slow in updating as you drive and doesn't accurately indicate how far you are from the streets you're supposed to turn on, so I ended up missing many turns because you think it's the next street. I drove around more of Saint John than I wanted to. On streets like they have here in Saint John, you really need a fast GPS.

Again, I have to say that the people here are awesome. Drivers stop and let you pull out in front of them. People are friendly everywhere you go. They don't give you a fake smile and greeting like many do back in Ottawa.

Tomorrow, we hit the road once again. We'll be waking up early so we can arrive at the Princess of Acadia Ferry Terminal for 8:00am, an hour before sailing. Three hours or so later, we'll be in Digby and on our our way to friends in Mount Uniacke! The weather forecast once again doesn't look promising. Hopefully we luck out and get a day at least as nice as today. We're really hoping to spot some whales during our sail across the Bay of Fundy!