Not a very interesting day today, but the weather was hot and sunny, which made it very pleasant. We spent the day on the US side getting stocked up with some fresh foods and lots of drinks (in anticipation of a few merry evenings with Ivor and Alison), some new trainers for Michael, a swimming costume for me (reduced from $78 - $10) etc!
It can actually be remarkably boring wandering around the shops when you don't have the space to buy much and when you actually don't need it! I was looking at all sorts of magazine covers purporting to have solutions to myriad things like stress, improving your life, being happier, having hairstyles of the stars, the latest fashions etc. and I realised none of that was interesting right now either.
We crossed the border into Canada with no problems (as usual). The officer was very friendly and asked us, if we had the time, to please complete a questionnaire on our visit to Canada. We passed by London and a host of other towns with names from home. We found a terrific service centre (Canadian rest area) for the night. It had a huge picnic area with a 600m loop drive with parking places dotted along it with tables, bins etc. It was deserted, so we got to have a good night's sleep.
I was awake before 07h00. I think I was thinking about Al & Ivor arriving. I left Michael in bed and went for a wander down to the pond and the neighbouring farmer's fields. The grass was still sopping wet with dew and there was a soft mist lying over the hills.
I went back to Nyathi and read for a bit and then went for a rather boring run around the 'circuit', eight times was all I could muster the enthusiasm for! We spent quite a while rearranging things in the cabin area so there was more space for Al, Ivor and their luggage. I also tossed out lots of food items that looked decidedly dodgy, as well as amalgamating the kitchen utensils and pot box into one (oh, what an exciting life I lead)!
We left at 12h50 to fetch Ivor from the airport at 14h35. After a small scenic detour we still arrived five minutes early. Michael and I took it in turns to drive around and around and around the airport loop road, while the other waited in the arrivals area. Ivor appeared (looking all very business-like in his suit) at 15h15. It was so great to see him again. We went and loitered in a shopping centre parking lot while waiting for Al's plane to arrive at 16h30. We collected her without a problem and I am sure she was delighted with the subtle gesture of Ivor and I waving our bright welcome leis to catch her attention!
We drove to Ivor's aunt and uncle's stunning apartment in downtown Toronto. After a tremendous amount of effort on their part, they had arranged for us to park Nyathi overnight in their apartment building's loading bay. We spent a wonderful evening with them eating, drinking and talking about all sorts of different subjects. Ivor and Alison slept on the beds, feeling rather exhausted after their flights and Michael and I made a makeshift bed on the floor. Ivor supplied us with ear plugs - which came in handy, although the snoring wasn't too bad...
Sunday - We had a relaxed start to the morning. I got a wonderful birthday present of Sanctuary Spa goodies from Ivor and Al - I am going to be smelling beautiful now... We all had lovely hot showers and sat in the living room chatting. I had delicious cereal with summer fruits and Una gave us lots of fruit and delicious cookies to take with us. We drove down towards the waterfront in Toronto and parked Nyathi in a shady street, where parking payment only started at 13h00 (not that we remembered to come back and pay and ended up getting a fine)! We wandered down to the waterfront and sat and watched the ferries going to Wards Island. We walked up Bay Street past the Old City Hall to the Eaton Centre.
We had lunch and a few drinks, walked about the shopping centre for a bit and then went to the CN Tower. It was shrouded in cloud earlier in the day, but cleared later, however, the queues were incredibly long and we agreed it didn't seem worth the time waiting.
We took a few pictures, though I think Ivor wasn't sure of how to get the best picture of his subject...
We drove up to Carriage Hills Resort in Horseshoe Valley near Barrie. The check in was very slow, but we felt better when they gave us some delicious chocolates as an arrival gift! The apartment is very pleasant and we spent the evening relaxing and chatting. Michael and I tried out the big jacuzzi bath in our bathroom, which was great.
Monday - I went for a run (and a walk up the very steep hill), while Ivor and Al went for a walk down to the Horseshoe Resort and Michael tried to connect to the internet. We drove in to Barrie to do some shopping, which turned out to be a lot more difficult than we'd thought, because all the grocery shops were closed for Labour Day. We went to Wendy's for lunch and then wandered up to McDonalds to get 2 hot fudge sundaes for $2 - delicious! The boys wanted doughnuts and Ivor was craving fresh, hot coffee so we went to Tim Horton's too.
Al and I played tennis in the afternoon while Ivor gave Michael a good run around on the squash court. We went in the fantastic hot tub and enjoyed the powerful massaging jets. In the evening we had a belated celebration of my birthday and drank lots of beer and wine and played Uno (or Ugo as Ivor liked to call it). A fair amount of cheating went on, which I have to admit, the guys were better at than we were. The guys also challenged each other to an interesting version of air hockey.
Tuesday - unsurprisingly, we had a late start to the morning. I went for a run and then we had delicious toasted bagels and boiled eggs for breakfast. Michael sat out in Nyathi (in the car park) for ages, as he managed to get internet connection. The weather was looking pretty miserable so we decided to drive down to Niagara Falls for the afternoon. The frustrating thing was as we were about to leave the weather started clearing, but when we got down to the falls it was grey and raining.
The falls were impressive, enhanced by the clear green colour crashing over the precipice. we have decided that they rank third in the list of major falls we have visited (behind Iguazu in Argentina and Victoria in Zimbabwe).
There were loads of tourists of all different nationalities decked out in blue or yellow ponchos, depending on whether they had been on the Maids of the Mist down below on the water, or in the underground tunnels behind the falls, which is what we chose to do (for Cd$10 each). It was extremely windy and wet at the viewing point next to the falls, some 38m below the rim of the gorge.
The tunnels which went behind the falls had two viewing points. They weren't particularly pre-possessing, but it gave us a good feel for just how much water was pouring down and how it all gets whipped about the place as it crashes downwards.
We spent a while in the souvenir shop looking at the amazing pictures of the falls in winter and some incredible pictures of feats performed by daring (or stupid) people throughout the ages. Al and I took great delight in trying out some bear and beaver binoculars...
En route home we stopped at Tim Hortons and I had a toasted bagel and soup, while the others opted for chilli and a doughnut. By the time we got back home the guys were feeling lazy, but Al and I went for a quick walk just to stretch our legs.
Wednesday - I went for a run first thing. Chef Al made me crepes for breakfast - delicious! Michael and I went to a hard-sell presentation by the resort owners, but got Cd$100 to spend at the resort for our time, so not bad for 1.5 hours of 'work'. Then we went canoeing for the afternoon from Epping to Heathcote. We went up stream for a while first and the riverside scenery was stunning.
Ivor spotted a snapping turtle basking on a log, so we paddled a bit closer to try and getter a better look.
It simply sat there and didn't move. We continued upstream and Ivor (surprise surprise) started a water splashing fight and I stood no chance being down stream of his thrashing oar and was sopping wet and very cold! Still, revenge is best served cold and sometimes you don't even have to do anything but watch.
We saw a number of herons, Pied Kingfishers and other birds, we saw a beaver's telltale v-mark in the water, but not the actual animal. We got to the shallow rapids downstream and the guys in their infinite wisdom decided it really wasn't necessary to carry the canoes around or walk them through, but that we could just negotiate them... and this was where revenge was served. Ivor and Al paddled confidently down and got stuck in the shallows, before we knew it their canoe had capsized and Ivor was standing chest deep in water. We safely took the left channel through the rapid and Michael and I pulled our canoe onto shore and then rushed across to help the others.
The canoe was acting as a massive funnel catching all the water it could, making it extremely difficult to lift up, even with all of us putting all our weight behind it. After some thought and a whole lot of muscle the guys safely retrieved the canoe. Ivor was wet though, my trousers were soaked up to the thighs, in fact we were all cold and wet, but Ivor had borne the brunt of the cold and wet (hee hee).
Thankfully there bag didn't get too wet and our canoe had the food in it, so we didn't have to resort to soggy sandwiches. We stopped for lunch and realised we were all famished after wolfing down a loaf of bread with ham, cheese, salad and crisps, plus chocolates for dessert.
The remainder of the journey was less eventful, although we saw more herons and also had a close encounter with some very curious shire horses who came down to the water to say hello.
Al spotted a beaver up on the bank, but it was camera shy and made sure it kept out of sight of our lenses. We tied the canoes together for a while and had a sociable canoe for a while. The boys however, insisted on rowing us into the bank, weeds, anything to make mischief. All in all it was a fantastic afternoon, but I am sure I am going to discover (in the next few days) that I have muscles I never even knew existed.
Thursday - We all played squash this morning which was great. Al and I sat up in the viewing gallery bouncing about on balls trying our best to distract the boys below! Afterwards we went to the Crazy Horse Saloon (at Horseshoe Resort) and I had a shandy, while the other enjoyed pints of Stella Artois!
We had a lazy afternoon. We sat in the sun and ate steamed corn for lunch and then spent ages soaking in the jacuzzi tub in our bathroom, with beers and ice cream cocktails on hand. It was a bit of a squeeze, but we didn't particularly care.
In the evening the others had a drink-induced cat nap and I went down to the gym for a run to work the Kahlua cocktails out of my system. Al made chilli con carne for dinner and then the two of us watched TV and sat and chatted for ages about all sorts of different things.
Friday - Ivor and Al went for an adventurous bike ride first thing, while Michael downloaded new drivers for the mouse onto the computer and I went to a step class down at Horseshoe. I did some squash practise afterwards, but disappointingly could not get into the spa for the massage I wanted.
When I got back to the apartment I made Michael and I crepes for brunch. Then all four of us went to Wasaga Beach for the afternoon. It is on Georgian Bay and the views were very pretty. There was a slight breeze blowing so we found a secluded spot and spent the afternoon soaking up the sun, sleeping, reading and Ivor and Al were brave enough to go for a swim and of course they ended up having a water fight.
Michael and I went for a walk along the beach, but all we got wet was our feet. It was a very pleasant afternoon, which we didn't want to end!
In the evening Ivor and Al treated us to dinner at the West Grill (at Horseshoe Resort). Our waitress, Lisa, was excellent and the food was very good. Al and I had a lovely bottle of Chilean wine (after tasting the Canadian wine and deciding it definitely wasn't for us), so both felt nicely mellow by the end of the evening.
Saturday - In the morning everyone did some packing. Then we all went to play tennis. It was great fun. We played singles for the first hour and then doubles after that. It was hot and sunny and terrific to be outdoors. We went back up to Carriage Hills and had a swim in the heated outdoor pool. We played about with pool noodles (with Ivor doing shark imitations) and relaxed for a while which was great. Then we had a bit of a mad rush getting ready to take Ivor and Al down to the airport in Toronto.
We got there with just the right timing and dropped off Al and then Ivor. It was sad to say goodbye. We can't believe our week with them has gone by so fast! It has been absolutely fantastic and Al summed it up perfectly with some apt drawings in our 'guest book'.
When Michael and I got back to the apartment we had missed a call from Karen in Australia. I phoned her back and we had a fantastic long chat! I put on the chicken casserole to cook and then Michael and I had a jacuzzi bath and just relaxed. We ate dinner like sloths in front of the TV and went to bed at midnight.
Tomorrow we are starting the 1500km journey to Fredericton in New Brunswick, where we will meet up with Gordon Hagar and his wife, Shelley and son, Darren. (Gordon is a Canadian Army officer whom we met in Rwanda when we did our Africa trip in 1995).
We spent 1.5 hours packing up the apartment and drove down to Horseshoe Resort to check out. Our bill for drinks at the Crazy Horse Saloon had been increased from Cd$48 to Cd$58! When I asked to see the signed bill the chap went away and came back saying he couldn't find it, so I paid Cd$48. I wonder how many people they catch out like that - we think that the bar waitress added a gratuity to the bill - damn cheek!
We went for a soak in the hot tub and pummelled our bodies with the powerful hot jets of water. We had a shower and drove toward Orillia on Lake Simcoe. We could hear a tinny sound and stopped to check what it was. Michael rattled the exhaust and we were both pretty sure that was the noise. I had a good sleep in the passenger seat and then it was Michael's turn. The scenery was lovely with lots of natural walls of granite rock, ponds, swamps and lakes. We drove through a delightful town called Perth. It had lots of lovely buildings, a beautiful river running through it and some nice looking restaurants - it somehow had a decidedly British feel to it.
We decided to drive on to Smith's Falls and then look for a place to camp. Our drive was cut short when I heard what sounded like a hissing noise from under the bonnet and then a whine - of course I pulled over immediately and then Nyathi just stalled. Why? Why? And it always seems to happen when I am driving!
Michael pretty quickly determined it was the alternator, which is particularly annoying as we paid $200 in San Francisco to have it completely overhauled. After a short while a fellow Land Rover enthusiast, Pat, pulled over to offer his help. He kindly towed us with his Suzuki Vitara to a campground in the centre of Smith's Falls. He gave us his business card and told us where he lived and said we should call him if we needed any further assistance.
I went for a walk to see if we could check in, but the office was closed for the night, along with the supply of keys for the showers and toilets. We set up camp overlooking the Rideau Canal in the shade of a tree. Lots of other campers came across to say hello and find out about Nyathi and where we were from etc. Our neighbours (Robert and Nicole from Quebec) kindly shared their bathroom keys with us so Michael got to have a good scrub after taking the alternator out. One of the other campers (Lorne Stewart) told Michael about an alternator repair shop in town which apparently does very good work. He offered to drive us there tomorrow.
I set about making dinner, which we ate at the picnic bench next to the canal, although the mosquitoes also thought it was feast time for them! We watched Volcano a little later and then collapsed into bed.
We both slept really well, but it was cool out this morning and neither of us felt like getting up. Lorne came along and took Michael to the alternator workshop and I went for a run along the canal path. I could smell the chocolate from the Hershey Factory, it was wonderful. When I got back to camp Michael and Lorne arrived shortly afterwards. The guys at the workshop say the unit looks pretty badly damaged and they weren't sure if they could repair it, so told us to get back to them at about 14h00. In the meanwhile I read brochures about visiting the surrounding area and Ottawa and Michael had a nap. Then I convinced him to cycle with me down to the Hershey Factory.
First of all we had to do some seat adjustments and we stupidly dismantled something which didn't need to be, but it was spring loaded and took us a while to put back together again! Eventually we rode to the factory and did a self-guided tour looked down through the glass panels at the production lines below. It is not nearly as professionally done as Cadbury's World in Birmingham, but then there's not entrance fee either. We bought some factory rejects of Oh Henry! bars (which take us back to our days spent with the Canadian UN forces in Rwanda in 1995).
We rode to the alternator workshop and discovered our unit was not only irreparable, but that they could see no evidence of the $200 overhaul which we paid RiteWay in San Francisco to do! Nevertheless, they think they have found an alternative replacement (used in Ford tractors) and a new one is being sent tomorrow morning, so we'll simply have to wait and see if that works.
We went to Tim Hortons for lunch and I spent the afternoon updating the website and I phone Ashley back home. Pat stopped by to see how things were going and we also met a guy called Michael who stopped by on his motorbike to find out more about what we were doing. He invited us for a home-cooked dinner to his house in Perth and came back at 19h00 to fetch us. Unfortunately his wife Angela had a bad migraine so he asked if eating out in Perth was alright with us. However, just 5km outside of Smiths Falls his car started giving trouble and wouldn't change gears so we turned around and came back to have dinner in Smiths Falls (where variety was somewhat limited). Nevertheless, Michael treated us to a lovely meal and we thoroughly enjoyed the evening with him. Once again, we cannot believe how generous the people we meet can be!
I phoned the alternator workshop at 08h30 and the new one was ready an waiting for us! Lorne came down and offered Michael a lift again, so the two of them went off while I went for a run. The running route is very pleasant along the canal, locks and waterfalls. In fact in the one section the water overflow is so powerful that you get sprayed when you pass by.
When I got back Michael was sitting - rather unenthusiastically - in the cab playing solitaire as he really did not feel like putting the new alternator in! I went for a shower and when I came back he was in his overalls doing the dirty work. Thankfully, it all fitted well and Nyathi started up without a problem. Michael also sorted out the air compressor and hose and then went for a shower. I rode down to the market and got some fresh salad stuff and food for the road.
I made an enormous salad for lunch and then we set off for Ottawa. We spent the late afternoon wandering about the city. Ottawa is beautiful. We loved the mix of old stately buildings, with modern office towers. The Chateau Laurier Hotel and Contemporary Photographic Gallery overlook the series of locks on the Rideau Canal which takes boat down into the sparkling blue bay below. Having the canal flowing through the city gives it a wonderful summer feeling and there are walking and cycling paths along its banks. In the winter the canal turns to ice and becomes a 7km-long ice skating rink, along which many people skate to work!
The parliament buildings were very impressive with vast manicured lawns and gothic style architecture. We could have gone on a free tour inside the buildings, but chose instead to wander about outside where it was warm and sunny. We were there just before sunset which gave everything a lovely glow. We discovered there is a colony of stray cats which has its home behind the parliament buildings. There is an outdoor enclosure with lots of cat boxes and someone feeds the cats (and by default the squirrels, racoons and other little creatures in the area) and ensures they are in good health. The cats live there year round, even surviving the harsh winters and the state gives $6,000 to the little project - we thought it was very nice!
We drove up into Quebec and stopped at a little diner to eat. It was so strange to speak French again and to see everything written in French too. My French is appalling now, having had no real practice since we were in Africa! My brains continues to think of Spanish words and in short - it's not good! We sent a few emails from the restaurant parking lot as we managed to find a wireless connection and then we drove on to La Chute, where we parked for the night next to a big Maxi supermarket, along with a few other RVs.
Our sleep was interrupted by noisy reversing trucks and kids on skate boards - so we were both feeling tired this morning. However, a little shopping made me feel better, especially as I came out armed with fresh hot French bread and brie cheese, along with some Krispy Creme doughnuts for Michael! We ate breakfast in the cab, it was delicious and reminded me of travelling in the motor caravan in France.
Next stop was Montreal. It has a very strong French feel, from the city layout and architecture, to the relaxed driving and parking/stopping attitude. We drove past the Basilique Notre-Dame, which was interesting, but I didn't think particularly impressive from the outside (perhaps the one in Paris just overshadows it too much). The inside is apparently stunning, but we chose to stop at the Chapelle Notre-Dame instead, which was lovely. Set among the old cobbled streets with tall spires and complete with a gold statue adorning the front.
While we were parked near the chapel, Nyathi attracted lots of attention, we spoke to a Frenchman who had lived in Mali and there were lots of people standing next to her to have their photographs taken. We met a lovely, interesting couple (Beth and Ken) from Chicago. They have just embarked on a 2 - 3 year sailing trip taking them all the way to Australia. We chatted for ages and swapped notes. We are hoping we might be able to meet up with them in Boston, MA. They are also keeping a website of their travels on their 60ft sloop, Eagle's Wings.
We drove along the waterfront felt an even keener sense of 'Frenchness' with all the side walk cafes. We took a circuitous route to drive over the Jacques-Cartier bridge and onwards toward Quebec. The scenery was mostly farmlands along with the strong smell of freshly spread muck! We arrived on the south side of the river from Quebec just at peak hour and after some deliberation, decided to stay on the south, drive through Levis and stop for an early night at the rest area near Riviere du Loup. When we got there, the area on our side of the motorway was closed (of course no indication of this being the case at the rest area 50km earlier)! Anyway, we simply took the next off ramp and went back a few kilometres to camp at the rest area on the westbound side. It was lovely. There was a loop road which led through the forest, so we found a quiet little spot. The signs said no caravans and no pitching of tents, so we thought 'hey, we don't fit any of those categories - we're fine'.
We phoned Gordon to make arrangements for meeting up tomorrow and then I made bangers and rice with broccoli for dinner and we watched the DVD of The Day After - rather depressing, but interesting and thought provoking.
Thursday - We slept well in our perfect little camping spot. Nobody bothered us and in the morning all we heard were the squirrels chattering. I went for a run around the loop road and down into the forest (which was a bit muddy, but cooler out of the sun). Michael phoned his brother and got some hot water ready for me. I had a great bush shower and made us a big salad for brunch.
We drove down alongside the Saint John River for miles and miles, right down to Fredericton. We parked at Walmart and I called Gordon to let us know we had arrived. He was there to collect us shortly afterwards and he still looked the same. We met Gordon Hagar in Kigali, Rwanda in 1995 when we did our first trip up through Africa. We broke the crankshaft in our Bedford truck and discovered afterward that our engine block was slightly twisted - something nobody could ever have diagnosed (was that meant to make us feel better?) Anyway, after lots of traipsing about in search of an engine and some time of engineering help, the Canadian's came to the rescue through Bob Lanteigne (known fondly as Papa Mzungu by all the local orphans) who took us under his wing and arranged for us to stay at the logistics base and they helped us get a re-bored engine block, which is where we met Gordon and the rest, as they say, is history...
We drove to The Hagar's house where we met his wife Shelley and son Darren for the first time. Needless to say they made us feel right at home, despite having other guests from their church arriving on Saturday too. We didn't stop talking, except to eat the delicious dinner of ham, cheesy potatoes and salads, followed by hot apple pie with ice cream.
Friday - Gord and Shelley snuck off quietly to work and Michael and I slept in. We spent the morning making good use of the excellent wireless internet connection. I did loads of research on shipping from the US east coast to a variety of destinations, but honestly, still felt none the wiser at the end of it all - it really is a slog!
We went for a lovely long ride along the riverside bike path into town. There are some gorgeous homes along the river and a few of them have big osprey nesting poles in their gardens. The city still has a home-town feel to it, which we really liked. There is a jazz and blues festival in town this weekend and we got to see one of the performers doing a free open-air concert next to the city hall. After cycling for a bit downtown we rode across the river on the pedestrian/cyclists bridge and got a lovely view of the churches and city. In total we rode over 16km, which was longer than we thought and we only got home at 16h15 and the others were already home!
We had a barbeque for dinner which was great and then Gord took us for a tour of Camp Gagetown, where he is currently based. It was much bigger than I had anticipated and looks well organised. He was telling us that it is deliberately spread out to avoid the risk of too many people being taken out in one hit.
Saturday - We had miserable weather all day today. Still, I can't complain. I spent the majority of the day in my pajamas! I sat at the dining room table trying to find out information about driving across Myanmar - all I've found out so far is that it can't be done! Apparently a German couple spent 2 months in Delhi petitioning the Myanmar government to give them permission to drive across in their Land Rover and they finally one, however, that was travelling west to east, according to our info so far, it's travelling east to west which is more problematic! Shelley made me one of the best hot chocolates I have ever had (I'm not sure whether it was her special frothing machine or the shot of Baileys that made the difference)!
Michael and Gord went to Canadian Tyre to do some boys' shopping. Although the name dosen't imply it, the store is filled with all sorts of interesting stuff from automotive parts of all kinds to gardening and hardware. They also went to the local Canadian Superstore (Atlantic Super Save) and bought lots of Cadbury's chocolate!
We had a hearty stew for dinner and then spent the evening chatting again.
Sunday - Gord went off to play the pipes at a welcome home parade in town. Shelley and Darren went to church. I rode my bike down to the riverside path and went for a run and Michael was doing something (I'm not sure what) on the computer. The weather got progressively more miserable as the day went on and we spent the afternoon inside with all of us doing odd jobs and then having a delicious dinner of roast pork.
Monday - The weather was brighter today - which was great, however, our confession is we didn't make the most of it. We both got caught up in doing trip research, emails etc. In the early evening we gave the 'tour' of Nyathi and a few of the neighbours came across to say hello and have a look see.
We had pizza and salad for dinner and then Shelley had to go and do some reports for her students. A little later, Scott and Sarah (Gord and Shelley's next door neighbours) came over to join us for a bottle of South African Buitenverwachting dessert wine we had got way back in October last year. We had a lovely time chatting, drinking and eating chocolate!
Tuesday - I went for a ride and run fairly early in the morning and we has delicious hot toast , butter and soft-boiled eggs for brunch. Yet again, we spent 'surfing' the net (it makes it sound fun, but sometimes it frustrates the hell out of me). I did lots of laundry too.
In the evening we had a variety of tasty leftovers for dinner (including my favourite cheesy potato and ham combo). Then for a change, we got to watch somebody else to an oil and filter change. Gord took his car down to the base 'garage' where you can hire a working bay and lift you car up to work underneath etc. Then he dropped us off at the sports centre to play squash and he went to pipe band practice. Embarrassingly both Michael and I managed to break a squash racket (and we didn't even hit the wall - just the ball). Well - they're bound to remember us now. We walked over to the drill hall to meet Gordon and then we went back home to see Shelley.
We got up just before 07h00 to say goodbye to the working folk. It was sad to be leaving and we certainly will miss the great food, superb company and the excellent internet facilities (thanks to The Hagar's neighbours).
We got a bit lost leaving Fredericton, but feel we have to blame it fairly and squarely on the poor directional signage (it didn't help that the GPS software has little useful info for Canada, particularly this far east). Nevertheless, we enjoyed the scenic route and headed for Moncton. We stopped to buy some fresh food stuff and poor Michael ended up talking to people for ages out in the car park, while I did the shopping.
We found a lovely little remote spot to camp for the night just behind the flood banks of the river leading out into the Bay of Fundy. There were loads of mosquitoes, so we stayed in the cab most of the night, but we were glad to have peace and quiet.
It took me almost three hours to fall asleep last night - that is unheard of for me! My head was spinning with hundreds of thoughts about shipping, flights, visas, you name it and no matter how much I tried to think of mind-clearing scenes like crashing oceans it just didn't work.
I got up to have a pee at just before 01h00 in the rain and then crawled back into bed. The clouds had cleared by this morning and despite the cold wind, it was pleasant. We made our way south to Hopewell Cape to see the Hopewell Rocks ($7 per person). The low tide was at 14h10 and we arrived at about 09h30. We spent a wonderful morning walking along the cliff top trail and then went down to the ocean floor below. The Hopewell Rocks are carved by the ocean and stand tall and proud when the tide goes out. Today, there was a tidal difference of almost twelve metres!
They call the carved edifices flowerpots as they still have vegetation growing on top. We had a lovely picnic on the beach, although it was rather cold and we both resorted to wearing our beanies. We walked along the edge of the water and the mud was incredibly tacky and accumulated under our boots, making them very heavy.
We saw some strange line of what looked like big pieces of wood protruding from the ground in the distance so we walked along to see what they were. Apparently they were a type of fence (un aboiteau), which the French immigrants used, to help keep the water in the crop fields and which had a little one way gate which allowed the fields to drain, but did not let salt water in. We walked round the far side of the bay to the mud flats and saw millions of tiny snails worming their way through the mud. No wonder it's a popular bird feeding ground. It was quite remarkable to see the distance the tide had gone out across the flats, as these two photos attest below.
When we climbed back up to the cliff top we saw that the park had ingeniously provided benches surrounding a covered drainage area, along with boot scrubbers and water hoses to clean of you shoes - we were most impressed! We really enjoyed our day wandering about at our leisure, clambering over the rocks - it was great.
We took the back roads to our next stop which was Cape Enrage - so called for the treacherous tidal waters. There was a lovely lighthouse on the edge of the cliff which we went to look at. But the wind was bitter, so we didn't linger long!
We found a fantastic campsite along a bumpy dirt track in the forest just outside Fundy National park. So we had lovely hot bush baths and climbed into bed feeling refreshed.