171 days in North America Part 2 (Quebec, Maritime’s and on to Virginia)

We spent a lovely thanksgiving in Canada with Debbie’s family. I ate a delicious turkey dinner. We also had time to visit Cape Pelee and Niagara Falls. From there we drove to Quebec City. Quebec was brilliant although crowded as a couple of cruise ships were in town. After spending a couple of days exploring the city we then drove around the Gaspe Peninsula. The weather was not kind to us though and it was wet and cold. The peninsula alongside the Lawrence River had some great coastal scenery.

We then spent a few weeks in the Maritime covering New Brunswick, Prince Edward island and Nova Scotia. We had a great time exploring the area even though the weather was a bit cold and wet. Seeing the tidal bore in Moncton, Confederation Bridge over to PEI and the scenery around Nova Scotia were all highlights.

After Canada we drove quickly down the East coast via Calais in Maine to Boston. Debbie and I then took the car and visited Boston, Salem and Mystic in Connecticut. We also visited a civil war battlefield near Washington before heading to Virginia.

We were in Virginia for a couple of weeks due to a mechanical problem with the RV. Happily, there was plenty to see in the area and we visited Jamestown, Yorktown and Williamsburg.

Our next part of the route took us down to Florida through the Carolina’s and Georgia.

Quebec City

After a few weeks in Ontario visiting relatives and seeing Niagara Falls we headed for Quebec via Brighton.

Quebec is the largest province in Canada with around 8 million people. It is a french speaking province with Quebec City the capital. The British and French fought a seven war which the British won with the capture of Quebec City in 1759. Quebec City is the only walled city north of Mexico thanks to the foresight of a Governor in the 1800s. We stayed a couple of days outside of Quebec city at a campground which was about to close for the season.

An interesting historical fact about Quebec City is that the English General Wolfe only just won the battle. After a two month-long siege Wolfe he went downstream with his army and came up behind the French to defeat them. The battle lasted only 15 minutes and both the french general Montcalm and Wolfe were mortally wounded. As a result of the victory the British took control of Quebec. Quebec has retained its french heritage and culture.

Quebec City was brilliant and we did a city tour with a guide learning a bit more about the history of Quebec. The walls and fortifications of the city are still intact with the citadel overlooking the Lawrence River a great spot for views of the city and river. We also visited a food market and bought some lovely cheese, sausages and port.

Nederlands Vertaling

Na een paar weken in Ontario bezoeken van familieleden en het zien van de Niagara Falls gingen we voor Quebec via Brighton .

Quebec is de grootste provincie van Canada met ongeveer 8 miljoen mensen. Het is een Franstalige provincie met Quebec City de hoofdstad. De Britten en de Fransen vochten een zeven oorlog die de Britten won met de vangst van Quebec City in 1759. Quebec City is de enige ommuurde stad ten noorden van Mexico dankzij de vooruitziende blik van een president in de jaren 1800 . We verbleven een paar dagen buiten Quebec stad op een camping die over te sluiten voor het seizoen was .

Een interessante historische feiten over Quebec City is dat het Engels General Wolfe nog maar net de strijd gewonnen . Na een twee maanden durende belegering Wolfe ging hij stroomafwaarts met zijn leger en kwam achter de Fransen om ze te verslaan . De strijd duurde slechts 15 minuten en zowel de Franse generaal Montcalm en Wolfe werd dodelijk gewond . Als gevolg van de overwinning van de Britten nam de controle van Quebec . Quebec heeft zijn Franse erfgoed en cultuur behouden.

Quebec City was briljant en we deden een rondleiding door de stad met een gids het leren een beetje meer over de geschiedenis van Quebec . De muren en vestingwerken van de stad zijn nog steeds intact met de citadel met uitzicht op de rivier de Lawrence een geweldige plek voor het uitzicht over de stad en de rivier . Ook bezochten we een markt voor levensmiddelen en kocht een aantal prachtige kaas , worst en de haven .

The Awesome Niagara Falls

When I was growing up one of the natural wonders of the world I saw in pictures and television was Niagara Falls. The facts about Niagara falls are that the Canadian Horseshoe Falls drops an average of 57 metres (188 ft.) into the Lower Niagara River. The height of the American Falls ranges between 21 to 34 metres (70-110 ft). Each day around 168,000 cubic metres (6 million cubic ft.) of water go over the falls every minute during the daytime. So when we got to Ontario I decided to go and see the falls for myself. We stayed with some of Debbie’s lovely relatives and I stayed overnight in London, Ontario before taking a greyhound bus via Toronto to Niagara Falls. On arrival I met Ian an Australian I knew from my London Youth Hostel days who married Jo a Canadian and ended up living in Niagara Falls. What are the odds? He gave me a quick drive by of the falls and the township before we headed back to his place for a few beers before going out for dinner. It was great to catch up and the next day Jo dropped me off in Niagara Falls township. I then purchased a ticket on the now renamed Maid of the Mist operated by a company called Hornblower. Apparently after decades of monopoly the Maid of the Mist company lost the Canadian franchise and so now only the US side has boats with that name. The cost of the cruise was C$19.95 and if you get there before 10.30am it is C$17.95 and takes around 30-40 minutes. The boat takes you up to the Horse Shoe falls.

I was lucky with the weather enjoying the boat ride up the falls, views from the cliff and wandering up the tacky Clifton Road and a questionable sign over Burger King.

Badly positioned sign

Badly positioned sign

Later that day Ian picked me up and we went for a drive to see more of the surrounding area and then visited the oldest pub in Canada and several craft breweries before having a great dinner at Angelo’s in Niagara Falls, highly recommended if you are ever there. All in all it was great to see Niagara Falls and the difference between the USA and Canadian side with the Canadian side for several miles managed by the Canadian National Park and quite pretty compared with the US side.

Travelling in the Maritime’s in Autumn

What are the Maritime’s

The Maritime’s are three Eastern provinces in Canada on the Atlantic coast. They are Prince Edward Island (PEI), New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. We arrived in New Brunswick after leaving Quebec on October 27th and spent 10 days exploring them. The scenery and seafood in the Maritime’s is famous through Canada and during the summer months they get lots of visitors from all over the world.

New Brunswick

Our first stop was Cap Pele where we stayed at the only RV resort still open, Silver Sands. We were the only visitors there and the owner was closing up at the end of the week so were fortunate the resort was still open. The cost per night for the four of us was $35 and we stayed 3 nights. We first visited Moncton where we saw the famous tidal bore and were lucky to see a surfer on it. Afterwards we visited a local museum about the Arcadians. In the 1700’s Nova Scotia was first settled by the French and called Arcadia. When the British took over many French settlers were deported unless they signed an oath of allegiance to England. In recent years there has been a resurgence of Arcadian culture. After Moncton we briefly visited Sheliac where I had my photo taken with the largest lobster in Canada.

Prince Edward Island (PEI)

The next day we visited PEI via the 15 km 1997 Confederation Bridge an impressive bit of engineering kit. There is a toll for cars coming back of C$45. We were extremely lucky with a beautiful autumn day of sunshine. As we had limited time we only visited capital Charlottetown and were lucky to visit Founders Hall on the last day it was open for the season and learnt about how Canada came into being.

The first meeting to discuss confederation could have gone either way with no confederation. However, all the politicians hit it off with lots of parties and agreement that led eventually to the creation of Canada. It was by no means a smooth ride with PEI not joining till they got into financial trouble building a railway several years later. The house where they met, Province House is still there and was open to the public. It is due to close later this year for five years of renovation so we were lucky to see where the Confederation of Canada was born. I also enjoyed a PEI lobster lunch.

Nova Scotia

The next day we left for Nova Scotia and drove to a campground just out of Truro which is the centre of Nova Scotia. We left Debbie’s folks and took the car to explore the South shore of the island heading for Lunenburg. The drive was lovely along the coast in autumnal sunshine. Lunenburg was a bit of a disappointment and we both preferred Malone Bay. Eventually we ended up staying at a Days Inn in Bridgewater for C$105. The next day was pouring with rain so we ended up driving through to Yarmouth with a few stops along the way to enjoy the scenery. Stayed at the Lake lawn motel in Yarmouth ($C100) and enjoyed the best breakfast I have had so far in Canada. The second day there was still rain with not many photo opportunities o the Bay of Fundy. We ended up staying at a wonderful Bed and Breakfast in Middleton for C$65.

The third day we drove back to the campground with a stop to visit the Grand Pre site where French settlers lived. Grand Pre was where an early example of ethnic cleansing took place. The British took control of Arcadia and renamed the island Nova Scotia. The majority of french settlers were deported unless they signed an oath of allegiance to the British. The visitor centre was closed but it was nice to walk around and see the statutes and gardens.

A big disappointment was visiting the Home of Ice Hockey in Windsor which was closed and looked decrepit. Surprised as it looks like no financial support is given to the attraction by any of the franchises or national hockey organisation.

On our last day in the Maritime’s we visited Halifax and Peggy’s Cove Lighthouse. The lighthouse was excellent with some great views. It was a great drive along the coast back to Halifax where we enjoyed a walk along the waterfront and visited the citadel overlooking the city. I again had lobster but it was not as delicious as the one on PEI. All in all we had a great time exploring the maritime’s and would like to come back and see it again in warmer weather.

Week 15 – Back to Canada and the ‘rellies’ – Canadian Thanksgiving!

Week 15 – Back to Canada and the ‘rellies’ – Canadian Thanksgiving!

Our trip up Canada and a lovely thanksgiving

52 Weeks

‘A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.’ – Lao Tsu

[So,how this works is each week I will write to someone on my list, picked randomly and I will post it online on this blog – just in case the letter doesn’t reach it’s destination.  The letter includes a card with a random quote, which I hope you will enjoy (at the top of this blog page.)]
Wow is it autumn here – beautiful weather.

Autumn Leaves Autumn Leaves

It’s been just gorgeous this week. It’s, also, our return to Canada, just in time for a huge family meal for the Canadian Thanksgiving.
Firstly, this week we left the gorgeous state of Wisconson to then end up in Michigan. Our first night was at a campsite right next to Lake Michigan

Lake Michigan Lake Michigan

which made it easy for us to head over to Mackinac Island –…

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Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump visit

Visiting Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump Site

On our way from Calgary Lethbridge a few days ago we visited the World Heritage Site Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump. The site opened in 1987 and the interpretative Centre is built into a cliff. The site is located 18 km from Fort Macleod near the foothills of the Rockies and where the Great Plains meet. The Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump site is one of the few places where you can visit to see how Indians before the horses killed buffalo. At this site the Blackfoot used a runner to lure the buffalo over the cliff edge to their death. At the bottom of the cliff the Blackfoot would butcher the bison for food and other uses. Apparently the site got its name from a Blackfoot who wanted to see the buffalo fall so he hid under an overhang to watch the buffalo fall and ended up being crushed to death.

IMG_2924

I liked how the centre blended into the landscape. The displays throughout the centre are excellent and some are interactive such as guessing where a bone belongs on a buffalo skeleton. It was a shame that the cafe was windowless and that they had not built it with views of the prairie. To tour the interpretative centre you start at the top and walk along the cliff along a paved pave a few hundred metres to see where the buffalo runner lured them to their deaths. Surprisingly, the cliff is not that high so afterwards injured buffalo had to be killed.

There also is a gravel path below where you can visit the foot of the cliff. After viewing where the buffalo fell you return to the centre and walk down several levels of different displays. The displays tell you more about the history of the Blackfoot, the hunt and the uses of buffalo parts by the Blackfoot and other native tribes. The exhibition ends with information about the demise of the buffalo and the archeological work around the area. Hard to believe there were once 60 million buffalo roaming around in North America 150 years ago and now there are only 500,000.

The site is open all year-long from 9-5pm and cost $11 per adult. It is well worth a visit and do go and see the movie first about how the Blackfoot would lure the buffalo to the cliff edge and to their deaths.

Lethbridge, Alberta Canada

The Unexpected

In all things in life you should expect the unexpected. Journeys especially throw up obstacles and challenges. One of those challenges has occurred with our journey grounding to a halt in Lethbridge. Yesterday the RV had to go into the garage for some repairs. Happily the parts needed to fix it arrived today so we should, fingers crossed, be up and running towards Yellowstone tomorrow morning. After leaving Calgary, we noticed the RV was not running well, so after arriving at the Lethbridge Bridgeview RV Campground a decision to see a mechanic was made. The next day due to having to get parts to fix the beast we had to find a place for the night which could also accommodate Mikey the cat.

Airbnb to the rescue

We have used Airbnb both as travellers and hosts for a couple of years and we managed to find a place in Lethbridge which could accommodate all four of us plus Mikey. Thank you Amber and Evan we had a great stay downstairs and enjoyed the conversation and beers. Mikey, also, has now seen the biggest dog in the world to him with your lovely friendly Great Dane and he met his match in cuteness with your cat Penny.

What to do in Lethbridge?

Our mechanical problem meant an unexpected stay in sunny Lethbridge. The city is one of the warmest in Canada and receives 2400 hours of sunshine a year. Due to warm winds or Chinooks, Lethbridge, as many parts of Southern Alberta, can have quite mild winters. There, also, is plenty to do in Lethbridge. The city is home to the longest and highest trestle bridge of its kind in the world. The bridge was built in 1909 and is 96 metres high and 1.6 km long. Under the bridge is the Lethbridge river valley covering an area of 1,600 hectares of different parks and reserves. There, also, are the Helen Schuler Nature Centre, Galt Museum and Fort Whoop-Up.

Helen Schuler Nature Centre

Today I visited the recently refurbished Helen Schuler Nature Centre. Its staff and volunteers have a wonderful facility with a rooftop garden overlooking the Lethbridge Nature Reserve. I enjoyed feeding the Great Western Toad and seeing Peg Leg – a Crow injured as a baby and living at the centre since 1991. I never knew Crow’s in captivity can live up to 60 years! The Reserve was lovely to walk around with its Cottonwood trees and Oldman River. The Centre is open most days except Monday and admission is by donation. Their website is: http://www.lethbridge.ca/hsnc
The valley used to have several coal mines and it is amazing to see how in a few decades nature can recover and thrive.

Hopefully tomorrow we will be crossing the US border and heading to Yellowstone Park.