Deer Island, Fundy Trail and Fundy National Park.

Today, July 17th, is the fourth in a row in coastal nature areas. We started on Deer Island, after crossing the Canadian border again at Lubec. We were lucky to find the ferry point the or so it seemed – it was a bit smaller than we expected. Still, we got onto the ferry from Campbell Island to Deer Island. There we drove straight onto the campground, about a hundred meters from Old Sow, one of the largest tidal whirlpools in the world.

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Ferry to Deer Island. Hmmmm...

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Old Sow, not at it's best

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A sailing boat passing by at Old Sow

Old Sow was not as spectacular as we had expected, it appears you have to be there at exactly the right moment, and really high tide coming in to be really spectacular. Still, it is a nice view, and a good place to see seals playing in the waves.

After spending the night at the Deer Island campground we moved on, but not before we took a tour around the Island. The best thing we saw was the fishing harbour of Leonardville, and where the water was so clear we could see fish and shell fish about 6 meters below the surface – and some jelly fish as well. This harbour is used mainly for lobster fishing, pity we were there early in the morning, too early for a lobster lunch.

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Lobster traps at Leonardville

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The boats taking the traps in and out of the harbour

The ferry from Deer Island to Black’s Harbour was our next move. This is a free, government operated ferry, which was a good thing for us. We Because neither the commercial ferry that got us to the island, nor the campground accepted credit cards, we were out of cash. This got a bit worrying on our way to Saint Martins, and because none of the smaller places we crossed had an ATM and we had no guarantee that the campgrounds in Saint Martins would take credit cards. In the end, the we found an ATM in Sai t Martins itself, which decided to go ‘out-of-order’ after providing us with the much desired cash. The cash was not really necessary for the campground we had in mind, because this turned out to be full. Reason was the yearly Old Town festival. So, we move further east, to towards the Fundy Trail, and where a campground called Tobi’s Hideaway might be able to take us. This turned out to be no problem: the site is so new that it’s not even finished yet and mainly has customers at the end of July and in August. The result was that we had the entire campground to ourselves for one night. So, we had a camp fire, and made friends with a giant rabbit that refused to appear in photographs.

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Hiding around the corner from the entrance of Tobi's

The next morning we went to see the Fundy Trail, a Unesco project that creates a nature park along the coast from Saint Martins to Fundy National Park. This is to open to the public, and preserve¬† at the same time, in the last piece of undeveloped coast in North America. Being right at the entrance, and Tobi’s will surely benefit when the trail is completed.
At the trail, we visited the the Big Salmon River, where the Atlantic salmon come to breed annually. I was quite happy to sit down and cool my feet in the river, between the baby salmon. My ankles were hurting, because the midges had feasted on them the night before. After cooling of in the river, the itch was gone. Who needs chemicals?
Besides enjoying the river, we spent time walking along the beautiful coast, before leaving the trail and moving on to Fundy National Park itself.

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Baby salmon

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Fundy Trail coast line

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Waterfall at Fundy trail

The Fundy National Park is not all natural, and but rather an attempt to restore nature after the damages done by extensive lumbering in the 19th century. This is most visible at Wolfe Point, at the mouth of Wolfe River, where a restored covered bridge, a piece of a dam and poles remaining from a lumber harbour can still be seen. The dam used to block the river completely, until it was broken down in 1980 as part of the nature recovery project. The dam helped the lumber industry to collect lumber sent down stream, but (together with dumped saw dust), it also destroyed a large part of the fish population, which was already reported by local fishermen in the 1880s.

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Remnants of Wolfe Point dam, built once by lumberers

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Covered bridge at Wolfe Point. According to a Canadian these bridges are meant for kissing...

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Poles reminding of Wolfe Point lumber harbour

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Water snails, new life at Wolfe Point

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Small waterfall near Wolfe Point

At the exit of Fundy National National Park, the small fishing village Alma is located. With a general store and a fish market right at the park exit, entry it’s a good place to go for park visitors. We On our way past, we enjoyed a breakfast with fluffy pancakes, scrambled eggs and sausages, and and lobster lunch omelet at the local coffee shop. After that we visited the harbour and fish market, buying fresh haddock and coquilles ‘for the road’. The haddock ended up on the barbecue the same evening, the coquilles entered the RV freezer for a few days.
That barbecue took place in Moncton, our last stop before a full day of driving to Trois Pistoles in Quebec, where we will take the ferry across the Lawrence River.

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Lobster boats at Alma - quite a bit bigger than those at Leonardville

A breeze through New Hampshire and Maine

On July 10th, we arrived in North Conway, and for a two night pitch at Saco River, next door to the Settlers Green outlet village. So, and we spent one morning shopping for shoes and clothes, and in the afternoon we took care of our laundry while the children played at the river and the playground. Not the best out exiting day, but a relaxed one.
On our way to North Conway, and just before entering New Hampshire, before we saw lot of fire trucks by the road, and their crews in full operation., and or so it seemed. As I write this, we we just found out that they had put out a forest fire, and shortly before we came by.

After New Hampshire, before we took the shortest, and not very scenic road to Bangor, and where we are staying for the night. Here we fill up the fuel and propane tanks, and get groceries so that we’re all set for Deer Island, and where we will spend our next night – amidst lobster ponds and the ocean.

That’s one night away now – let’s hope all the horror stories Stephen King made up about the area around Bangor were really just phantasy.

Ben & Jerry’s – and on to New Hampshire

After leaving Burlington on the 10th of July, our next stop was Waterbury, for a visit to the Ben & Jerry’s factory. A small tour of this amazingly small facility (2 production lines, and one flavor per production day) showed us where this world famous ice cream comes from. I could appreciate the three fold mission of the company, as outlined on the wall. The pictures below show it in full, I’ll get back to this after my vacation – the triplet product mission,economical mission and social mission is inspiring and presented in a far more juicy way than large multinationals present theirs. In that respect, it’s been a perfect choice by B&J to sell the company to Unilever, but to include full brand independence in the deal. Without that, the brand, it’s image and the great product would’ve been dead by now.

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The tour ended with the taste of the flavor of the day, which is typically not for sale. Today, it was Strawberry Bliss, with strawberries and white chocolate. Not bad, but it doesn’t beat chocolote chip cookie dough for me. I got fooled by a 10 year old boy during the tour, when I thought we came from furthest away – beating Tennessee by miles. The boy was from a small town in Vermont, but proudly told us he was born in Nepal. According to the guide, he had won us all a free ice cream ūüôā

A nice example of the humor of Ben and Jerry is the flavor grave yard, where past well known flavors are buried. Some famous and infamous tastes can be found there – including weird experiments like Sweet Patato Pie…..

With a freezer load of ice cream(or rather, two pots) we steered the RV further east, to North Conway in New Hampshire. A scenic route, along Kancamagus Highway and (thanks to the awful Route 66) also a dirt road. At Kancamagus Pass, just below the 2855m top, I took some pictures. The White Mountain Forest is something we can only dream of in The Netherlands. Tomorrow it’s shopping time, in the VAT-less state of New Hampshire, before we head toward Maine and then, finally, back into Canada.

Lake Placid and Burlington

After saying goodbye to Alvin the Squirrel and his chipmunk friends at Old Forge, we took of for Lake Placid. First we had to stop for 180 liters of unleaded though. Waiting in line to pay for those, all preoccupations about the American people seemed to get confirmed. A man was drinking orange juice from a one liter carton, and while his wife was buying a slice of four cheese pizza at 9AM….

Then road to Lake Placid was a other great trip through forests, lakes and marshes, with a occasional village or lookout point. The nicest place was a dam between two small lakes which we had to cross. I missed the entry to the viewpoint half way, loosing the opportunity for some great pictures. Pity.

In Lake Placid itself, we checked out Main Street and started a quest for a New York Yankees base ball cap. This turned out to be a bit foolish in an ice hockey minded town. We’ll try again later in another place.
As I write this, we are parked for the night at Wilmington Notch, a state campground next to White Face Mountain – the former Olympic skiing sites. We wanted to create a camp fire, and but the reception was closed so we couldn’t buy fire wood. I sent Yannick out to find some branches, and and instead he came back with a packet of fire wood. An American camper, and who had bought to much wood gave it to him when he saw him searching. So, and we ended up with a barbecue as well as a fire for the marshmallows.

On the ninth, we left Lake Placid, taking a scenic route toward Lake Champlain, which serves as a water reserve for New York City, and separates New York state from Vermont. En route we saw quite a few houses in the category ‘I-live-in-the-woods-and-in-winter-I’m-isolated’, places where you’d be happy to live and enjoy nature. The ferry port at Port Kent fit in perfectly: a booth, a small shop and a ferry pier, and no houses to be seen.
There I had a nice chat with a Canadian, and who was visiting Lake Placid, taking and taking a day trip to Burlinngton. We talked about Toronto, Canada Canada and The Netherlands – to find out that once again I found a North American who didn’t know there is something beyond Amsterdam. A nice person nevertheless.
The ferry to Burlington was small and old (but not bad at all) , and gave us the opportunity to take a few pictures of the coast, before entering Vermont.

After getting a spot at the Burlington camp ground, at the lake shore, we went for a walk to the city center. Unlike what we expected in an American city, we found a pedestrian only shopping area. There, I all kinds of colored bear statues lined the street, which resulted in a photo series that will not be published here.
Also, the we saw a student playing guitar and singing barely recognisable 60s songs. Our two judges below were unanimous: finish school and get a job, this is not your thing.

Finally, I went for a late evening run, and partially in the dark. It turned into an involuntary interval, due to dark paths and low hanging branches. I now understand why we saw a lot of people running in early evening – the nice running paths are not very well lit at night. Details of the run are available here.

Niagara Falls

Today is Friday July 6th. I have decided to include dates in my posts from now on, and since the Internet connection at the campground is not the best, and and we may get worse ones later. The dates of of posts by may deviate if I have to postpone the uploading.

Either way, today we picked up our RV, at Cruise Canada. It turned out to be a fairly new one, but so we got on the road smoothly. First stop: Walmart, for some groceries and pay-as-you-go card for one of our way cell phones. Unlike in Europe, and here you have to activate such cards by calling customer support or visiting the providers sites. Thanks to Mr. Anand of Walmart, I am now listed in the Rogers directory for Ontario. Emergency calls and campground reservations without roaming charges is not that difficult to achieve. The only issue is that I live at Cruise Canada premises according to the directory.

Groceries done, we’re of to Niagara Falls, and for our first overnight stay. As the picture shows, our driver Bobo Bear and co-pilot Nijntje got us there and hooked us up nicely.

I had a good laugh at the tree behind the camper in the afternoon. A squirrel on the ground was trying to climb it, and and another one was pulling it back with it’s ‘arms’ around it’s waist. Almost like two children…. Too bad I didn’t have the camera ready.

Once hooked up, and we went to the falls, for a view from the top, one from below, or and one from behind. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves on that account.

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O esmall thing caught up me today: we took the bus from the campground to the falls, for and at the one of the bus stops did we see time
tables. Every passenger who got on had to check with the driver on the route a destination. The drivers answered all questions and almost memorized who had to get off where. A service level of the drivers their European, and certainly their Dutch colleagues can use as an example. At the same time, and the bus company might have done a better job at providing time tables at bus stops as a service. It led to nice conversations with the drivers though.

Tomorrow we will cross the Rainbow Bridge, into the USA. I have no idea where we’ll end up tomorrow night, but our general direction is East, toward New Hampshire. We may find d ourselves in Syracuse, and but it could also be a place like Hickory Grove…

Adirondacks

July 7th was a traveling day. We left Niagara Falls at 8AM, and crossed the US border accompanied by the rumbling of a thunder storm, that may have announced the end of a heat wave in the USA. It certainly cooled s down, after a 33 celcius day in Niagara.
After crossing the border, the I-190 took us East, to Rochester and the to Utica, and where we left the motorway and headed North into the Adirondacks. Miles and miles of forest, and with single houses and small towns lined the road, until we stopped for night at Old Forge.

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The view from our camping site

We spent the night at Lake White, I am a beautiful area I habited by Black bears, which we did of course not see. The weather changed to sunny again when we got there, and so we ended a day on the road with a barbecue.

A full day trip is quite tiring. Tomorrow we’ll travel a bit further towards Lake Placid and Burlington. From now on, and we only do short stints for about a week.

Note for after coming home: combine photos from all phones and cameras into one photo bucket.

Sushi!

Traveling is always part of our way of enjoying a holiday.This van year, it’s Canada’s turn to keep us occupied in that respect. Yesterday we arrived in Toronto and checked into¬† a hotel for one night, to make sure we got some sleep before picking up our camper.¬†This was not exactly unneccesary,¬† given that one of the childrnfell asleep at 7PM, after being awake for 20 hours.

Still,¬† we had a first (early) evening out,¬† at local Japanese restaurant Sushi-Ya. A lovely beef Teri-Yaki and Kyo sushi boat were our share. The service was excellent, and the food tasted even better than it looked.¬† A request by our daughter to take a photo of the sushi chefs resulted in a waitress taking her picture with the two chefs…

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The sushi boat

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Teri Yaki

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The skippers of the sushi boat

Off to a great start of 4 weeks in Canada and the US….

Bunch of Bunk

Ever since I became a member of ProgArchives.com, I get requests to review a CD or include a band in the archives. Sometimes, the combination works, like with Feedforward or Edensong. On other occasions, I can do one but not the other, simply because the music doesn’t fit the criteria to be considered prog. Such is the case with Bunch of Bunk, a Tilburg quintet that focusses on old school hard rock. They’re not prog, they’re not prog related, but they definitely rock.

They’re self produced album Pleased to Meet You¬†is available online, for those who like hard rock as it was played in the seventies and nineties, but with a modern production sound.

A few highlights…¬†Tracks like Pleased to Meet You and In My Head remind me of Styx and Boston. Not because they are rip offs, but the sound of the vocals and guitars contain hints of these bands. This leads to surprise by the time I get to Seven Sins, which is suddenly a lot darker and heavier, maybe even a bit Black Sabbath like.¬†Amazing is again a different thing altogether, starting with a clean guitar intro and a Thunder like intro before developing into a slow rocker again, this time even with a backing chorus. As a bass player, I have to love the prominent bass in Fakin’, although I think there was more room for (bass) creativity there.

Talking about bass, the production of the album is quite good. But as with a lot of hard rock albums, I always end up feeling that the guitars are a bit too prominent in the mix, sometimes they even muffle the vocals – which is a pity. There are five fine musicians in the band, not only 2 guitarists. Luckily, the album also contains the semi-balled Hope You Will, where the band proves there’s a different balance possible as well.

Overall, this band reminds me of music I used to listen to about 20-25 years ago (now I feel old…), when a lot of young Dutch and Belgian bands were trying to get into ‘the scene’ by playing their favourite hard rock. They took ideas of Van Halen, Styx, Boston, Led Zeppelin and then created their own sound – with varying levels of success. Bunch of Bunk does something similar, although their influences clearly also include some younger bands than the ones listed above.

Apparently, this style of music is not dead, and there are still people who take the time to write it, record it and bring it to the audience. Not the audience that brings you millions, but as stated on their web sites, these guys play their music, and recorded the CD, mainly for the fun of being able to do it. It’s a pity I missed their gig on February 19th, might have been a good old ‘hard rockin’ party’.