Land Sailing – Adventuring Across Canada and the US in Roo our 24' RV!

Farewell to Florida Fun

And so exactly two months (Nov 22-Jan 22) we have left the snowbird state.  An article we read states that Canadian snowbirds spend 5 billion dollars in Florida each season, so we have done our miniscule (in comparison) share.  And we get it… sparkling waters, sunny skies, gorgeous weather, throw in stunning birds, cute manatees, alligators and everglades and you can see why.

We covered 7008km and travelled the complete coastline from Jacksonville on the Atlantic down to Key West and back along the Gulf and across the “Forgotten Coast” and Emerald Coast on the Panhandle.  Throw in a few inland adventures to Osceola State Park, the Everglades and Blue Spring State Park and we feel we have seen most of what Florida has to offer.

And of course the other fantastic highlight has been the folks we have been able to reconnect with along the way – making it a sweet deal for sure.

  • Dave & Alex in Jacksonsvillepooh
  • Scott, Paula & Kathy in St. Augustinepaula-kathy
  • Willie & Bev in Clearwaterpc103403
  • Ron & Judy in Hernando Beach20161219_162158
  • Ann and Roxy at Cape Canaveralann-and-roxy
  • Reid & Kathy – St. Augustine to Tampap1033496
  • Childhood Neighborhood Friend….. Kelly & Mary in West Palm Beachp1013453
  • Teresa – Tampa to Pensacoladsc_1083

 

Who would have thought that Roo can do company?  All in a 24’ RV?  We had a fun filled, laugh out loud, never a dull moment adventure with Reid and Kathy from December 26-January 8.  We covered a lot of territory and started work on our next adventure – finding the perfect catamaran for four!

A quick change over day and Teresa arrived for a visit January 10-21.  We were able to pack it all in and had many memorable, mermaid-type moments and firsts – alligators in the wild and snorkeling with the manatees.  Awesome fun!

So with many stops, pictures and moments we will sign off with just a taste of our favorites:

FAVORITE:

Campground        Fort de Soto State Park, Sarasota

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Beach                     the white, squeaky sands and quietness of St. Joesph State Park on the Panhandle

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Happy hour          Key West all the way baby – Sunset Pier and Sloppy Joes on Duvall Street

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Experience           manatee moments at Blue Spring State Park

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City                         St. Augustine – the historic Spanish Fort, Christmas lights, National Cemetery,

Anastasia State Park & Beach

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Distillery/Winery     Siesta Key Distillery – BEST coconut rum EVER!  (made with lots of real coconut)

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Get Away                Cocoa Beach where we indulge in a bargain, off season resort on the beach

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Sunset                    Turtle Beach Campground – times two!

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Seafood                  White gulf shrimp and cheap tuna steaks

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One time event        watching a satellite launch at Cape Canaveral from our campsite dock

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Roo’s favorite           four new rear tires

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And off we go… headed west and north to HOME!  We have to be back by March 27 for health insurance so we are savoring the last of our journey.  New Orleans here we come!!!

BARRIER ISLANDS AND BEYOND!

It has been yet another month of km’s, reunions and amazing places.  We have been following the Atlantic Coast and a chain of stunning jewels – Barrier Island after island.  Most of our month has been laid back beach towns with Charleston and Savannah as our only big city adventures.

NORTH CAROLINA

OBX (the Outer Banks, North Carolina) and the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, provided images reminiscent of our Caribbean adventures with endless white sand beaches and seashore.  We wandered the fitting and grandiose monument at Kitty Hawk, the birth place of aviation, where the Wright Brothers ended the impossible; toured yet more lighthouses and lifesaving stations; and enjoyed beach combing at low tides. Pea Island, Ocracoke, the Crystal Coast including Carolina and Kure beaches and Cape Fear continued our love affair with the sea.

missed these pelicans

missed these pelicans

a ferry from Okracoke

a ferry from Ocracoke

AIA only recently re-opened all the way south - still lots of clean up to do

AIA only recently re-opened all the way south – still lots of clean up to do

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Cape Hatteras Lighthouse – 1870

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Bodie Island Lighthouse – 1872

sunrise over the seashore on Okracoke Island

sunrise over the seashore on Ocracoke Island

how can you not love those colors - Cape Hatteras National Seashore

how can you not love those colors – Cape Hatteras National Seashore

dunes, and more dunes

dunes, and more dunes

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at Kitty Hawk

replica of the Wright brothers groundbreaking plane

replica of the Wright brothers groundbreaking plane

SOUTH CAROLINA

From the peace and quiet to the chaos and development at Myrtle Beach – wow – it was a little overwhelming.  And then,  in Charleston we had a fantastic visit with David and Libby. Love the sounds, smells and tastes of the south.  We did some great adventuring and sampling of southern hospitality….loving those rich and delicious tasty treats – “she crab soup, po’boys,  shrimp and grits, fried green tomatoes Benne wafers and even a cheesy southern take on mac ‘n cheese! YUM!

Mrytle Beach

Myrtle Beach

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into Charleston

into Charleston

a great time catching up on land with cruising friends from Peregrine!

a great time catching up on land with cruising friends from Peregrine!

Circular Church - 1682

Circular Church – 1681

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David provides a great walking tour of downtown Charleston

David (and Brody) provides a great walking tour of downtown Charleston

historic homes abound

historic homes abound

fell in love with those "live oaks" and spanish moss

fell in love with those “live oaks” and spanish moss

it ain't easy be green

it ain’t easy be green

finding our way around Charles Town Landing with David and Libby

finding our way around Charles Town Landing with David and Libby

all in a row

all in a row

Brody claims his innocence... "I didn't eat the pound of bacon!"

Brody claims his innocence… “I didn’t eat the pound of bacon!”

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Fort Moultrie – a series of 4 forts built on this location beginning ni 1776 to defend Charleston

sunrise at the City Marina

sunrise at the City Marina

a pineapple fountain

a pineapple fountain

Another beach break as we explore the Beaufort, Port Royal and Hilton Head areas.  Evidence of Hurricane Matthew’s damage is everywhere as folks clean up, more trees come down and parks make repairs to facilities.

unknown graves from the Civil war at the National Cemetery in Beaufort

unknown graves from the Civil war at the National Cemetery in Beaufort

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Hunting Isle - more hurrican damage

Hunting Isle – more hurricane damage

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boats out of their element – evidence of Matthew’s fury

GEORGIA

Historic Savannah on the waterfront is another southern gem that gets a two thumbs up.  We then decide on an inland stop to do some chilling and planning.  Perhaps there isn’t much sympathy out there but it does become a little exhausting with the day to day planning – picking routes, destinations,  tour highlights, finding reasonable campgrounds etc etc.  And so with a great State Park not far away we head to Altamaha State Park for four days where we plan, sort, clean and take part in a Park Clean Up day too.

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historic train station now an impressive Visitor Centre, Museum and RV Parking!!

how's that for a City Hall?

how’s that for a City Hall?

Forsyth Park

Forsyth Park

and churches

and churches

gorgeous historic buildings

gorgeous historic buildings

a planned city - historic downtown is only 1 mile by 1 mile with squares (green spaces with monuments) every 2 blocks!

a planned city – historic downtown is only 1 mile by 1 mile with 22 surviving squares (green spaces with monuments) and a park

The Waving Girl

The Waving Girl- early 20th Century – city light tender’s sister waved at every ship entering

"Rainbow Row" - reminds us of Jellybean Row in St John's, Nfld

“Rainbow Row” – reminds us of Jellybean Row in St John’s, Nfld

boat tour anyone?

boat tour anyone?

"A World Apart" - WWI memorial on the waterfront

“A World Apart” – WWI memorial on the waterfront

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Altamaha State Park

After a brief recharge we head back to coastal area of Brunswick and the islands…. St Simon`s, where Roo stumbles into a PGA event as we try and find the Àvenue of 190 year oaks`  we are gently guided back out of the area!  Jekyll Island, a previously privately owned island developed as an exclusive `hunting club`by the likes of the Goodyear, JP Morgan, Pulitzer and Rockefeller.   The island was sold in 1947 to the state of Georgia for use as a state park.  While wandering and chatting with locals` they insist that `Driftwood Beach` on the northern tip of the island is a `must see.. and wow, was it!  Cumberland Island National Seashore, our next stop proves to be equally stunning with wild horses, old ruins and endless beach.  The coastal perimeter of Georgia is short (perhaps little over 120 miles) so onto….

 

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Glen becomes an Amazing Race contestant on Driftwood Beach

Glen becomes an Amazing Race contestant on Driftwood Beach

The Jekyll Island Club

The Jekyll Island Club

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Fort Frederica – really a fortress – as in encompassed a British military town from 1736-1942

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Wow, windward on Cumberland Island

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1884 Dungeness ruins

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these little guys scurrying about scared me several times as I envisioned perhaps an alligator in the bush

Cumberland Island from the ferry

Cumberland Island from the ferry

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St Mary’s – ferry boarding for Cumberland Island National Seashore

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wild horses amongst the tumbling ruins

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and hanging out on the beaches too

FLORIDA

We make a brief stop in Jacksonville in order to hook up with Dave and Alex.  We spend a great afternoon and evening of fun as they celebrate being back on the water again.   With Thanksgiving coming up it becomes challenging to find a campground so we once more head inland to Osceola National Forest where we find a hidden gem with a lake, great trails and a beautiful park.  I find some great trail runs but feel a little leary what with hunting season, alligators and snakes… don`t think my bear spray works for any of those.

more of the Civil War history near Osceola National Forest – would love to see the reenactment in February

St. Augustine, the oldest city in Florida has amazing history, charm and incredible Christmas spirit.  We are also lucky enough to make yet more cruiser reunions with Paula & Scott and Kathy!!  What fun!

St Augustine, America's First Colony - established 1565 by Pedro Menendez de Aviles

St Augustine, America’s First Colony – established 1565 by Pedro Menendez de Aviles

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Castillo de San Marcos – built 1672-1695

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structure is very similar in layout to the Citadel in Halifax

 

Bridge of Lions

Bridge of Lions

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Florida’s oldest documented dwelling – early 1700’s – but not the guy in front

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another National Cemetery – always a stop for pause and reflection

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with Paula & Scott and Kathy – such fun

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the one time Hotel Alcazar

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Cathedral Basilica St Augustine

St Photios Greek Shrine-a memorial to the first Greek settlers in America

St Photios Greek Shrine-a memorial to the first Greek settlers in America

only 219 steps to the view

only 219 steps to the view

the light house

the light house

St Augustine Beach

St Augustine Beach

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now those are some serious Christmas lights

Daytona Beach and Cocoa Beach provide more days of fun in the sun.  The weather is remarkably hot and sunny – just as we are hearing tales of cold spells and snow back in Canada….ahhhhh.   And the beauty of social media, we find out another great friend, Ann is in the area so we are able to spend an afternoon catching up with her and Roxy (missing Darrell though).

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with Ann and Roxy!!

And currently we are at Titusville , a mere 8 km from the Kennedy Space Centre where we anxiously await the evening launch.  Apparently we can take our chairs to the pier at the campground and will have a great show from there.  Tomorrow we will actually tour the Centre.  We have heard it is an amazing facility with days worth of adventuring possible.  But we will try and sneak it into one.
From here we are heading over to the gulf coast and hope to see PEI friends Willie and Bev before heading to Atlanta for Christmas and Reid & Kath`s arrival!  Woo hoo!

(MN, NH, DE, MA, RI, VT, NY, PA, NJ, MD, DC, VA, NC…not including the fly-in trip to NV)

Rolling, Rolling, keep those wheels rolling…..

No grass is growing under our chassis as we continue to motor our way through this great big land.  We have adventured, explored, hiked, reunited, visited and learned a tonne of American history, geography and politics too!

PENNSYLVANIA

Pennsylvania was a bit of everything.  We found some fabulous parks – state and national to hike, bike and explore.  The beginning of the fall colours made hiking even more stunning …. a boulder field  was a first.  Delaware Gap Park (which includes parts of the Appalachian Trail) was fantastic.  We found endless waterfalls, rock climbs, bike paths for my “new to me” bike and also the beginning of chillier temperatures.

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waterfalls….

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careful Glen…. these reminded us of the tsunami evacuation signs in the BVI’s

 

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more hikes, more waterfalls

And after several days of the outdoors we were recharged and ready to tackle a “big city”…the city of Love…..

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Philadelphia!

We found an “interesting” campground opportunity right in the city that we took advantage of.  It was an easy 10 minute bus ride to downtown.  We spend 10 hours following in the steps of history.  Wow!!!!  “Independence National Park” where so much Colonial and Revolutionary history is preserved, was a walking history lesson.  To meander through the very streets where Americans began their quest for freedom and Independence certainly provided food for thought.  And the very building, complete with desk and chair where Thomas Jefferson’s draft of the “Declaration of Independence and Constitution” was enacted is mind boggling.  Of course, the Liberty Bell of 1753 was worth another moment of pondering.  And so we walked and walked and walked….

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the Liberty Bell…crack and all

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amazing new buildings…

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nestled next to historic ones…. City Hall

but a trip to Philly would be incomplete, we had heard, without a “cheese steak sandwich”.  And so, Reading Terminal Market provided the ideal place to explore and for Glen to try out this ‘delicacy”!!!!   Let’s just say he didn’t need dinner that night!

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DELAWARE

Not sure this state should count in our numbers as it was a brief stop – one night!  Literally we drove, walked the beach slept, bought cheap booze (apparently the only nearby state without tax) and left for Maryland.

MARYLAND

AHhh, for us it was getting back to the land of sea and sailboats once more that felt great.   A night in a beautiful State Park provided a hike through swampy bits and a chance to chill for a bit.  Annapolis was next in line.  And how fantastic to be able to catch up with cruising buddies, Donna and Kirk and the gorgeous Sadie Mae!  We found the best campground right outside their front door in a lovely neighborhood within walking distance to downtown.  Initially we had planned on crashing for a night… well five days later we finally pulled out.  We had so much fun catching up and sharing stories, birthday celebrations, dogs, grandchildren and Canadian Thanksgiving.  Somehow my camera never really made it out and so these precious moments were “photo-less”.  A few days at the boat show reminded us that this land travel was temporary and we really belong and feel most at home on the sea…..  soon come.

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now that’s a LOT of boats!

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downtown historic Annapolis

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a birthday celebration in combination with a wine, reggae festival…rain, what rain?

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checking out the latest new gadgets at the boat show

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touring the Naval Academy grounds … wow, 16000 applicants a year for 1200 spots!

Our last night in Annapolis was another highlight as we hooked up with another long lost cruising buddy Tim, and his heart melting pal, Mac the silver lab.  So much fun to catch up, share stories, adventures and pieces of our lives.  It really made us reflect once more on the incredible world of cruising and how friends are made from all over the world and it doesn’t matter how long or how far away, you always feel an incredible welcome and connection.

DC

And so we made our next base, Greenbelt National Park, Maryland.  This was a great park that we were able to base ourselves from to explore the capital city.  We spent four days wandering throughout this city of history and politics.  Majestic building, endless memorials and incredible museums.

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the Capitol building

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Korean War Memorial

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the Lincoln Memorial

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the Washington Monument

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Whitehouse…where we watched the departure, arrival and departure of the presidential helicopter(s)

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Roosevelt Memorial

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Thomas Jefferson Memorial

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World War II Memorial

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Vietnam Memorial

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Martin Luther King Memorial

And a trip to the Arlington Cemetery was sobering and shocking.  To see the rows and rows of endless markers certainly makes one pause, reflect and wonder at the nature of humankind and the cost of freedom.

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a touching tribute at the hourly changing of the guard at the Tombstone of the Unknown Soldier.

Our DC excursion had a brief interruption for a side trip to Las Vegas to see Jimmy Buffet.  AND the surprise of a lifetime, really!   It was a surreal moment to turn around when Rob tapped me on the shoulder……. Reid & Kath in their crazy wanderlust moment had booked last minute flights and tickets to hook up with us!!!!!  It was crazy!!!!  And every time I think of it, my heart warms and overflows with love.

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with Rob, Chuk and Val at the tailgate party at the Flamingo

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and then…. Reid & Kath arrive!

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Parrotheads ready for fun

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VIRGINIA

Gorgeous fall colors met us as soon as we crossed into this State.  Four days of hiking in Shenandoah National Park.  The sun shone but the temperatures continued to drop and we needed our heater every morning and evening!  (Thinking of you Tim and your story as we watched the campers shiver around the fire!)

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Black Rock Summit

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beautiful fall colors as we hiked up and up

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And with a forecast of ugly weather for a day we made a detour to go underground and see the spectacular limestone cave formations at the Shenandoah Caverns.

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can you see the bacon?

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some crazy lighting turns these 4 inches of water in to the “rainbow lake” formation

Norfolk

Glen’s list included spending time here to see the largest naval base in the US.  And wow, was it amazing.  We found a great boat trip that allowed us front row seats as we toured down the row of mind boggling navy vessels.  The narrator was extremely knowledgeable and provided a detailed description of each.  It really provides an overwhelming sense of awe.  Scary to think of these ships being put to use.

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these copters were obviously involved in some serious SEAL team training as they flew back and forth – often with tethers hanging

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one of the two Navy Hospital ships -a  600 bed floating hospital.

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over 1.5 miles of Navy ships……

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supply ships

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our escort as we made our way down the channel

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Nimitz class aircraft carrier

After Las Vegas we both ended up fighting nasty colds and so we found a great State park to hang out for a few days where we were able to do some walks, but mainly rest.  We did a little bit of exploring… through some trails that had lots of windfall and damage thanks to Matthew and Nicole.

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NORTH CAROLINA

OBX (the Outer Banks)

This area deserves more time to summarize…..and this blog is getting way too long… so for now… Roo continues to travel south and west….destination Florida sometime in December.

And so it has been quite a while since our last update… sorry for the delay and worry as we have started receiving calls as to our whereabouts and howabouts!

 

We have gone south, north, west, south and east again since our last update for many reasons.  Our first adventure south took us to Maine and the adventure filled exploration of Acadia National Park.  We did some great hiking and exploring here before making it the big city of Boston.  We spent a very full day walking what felt like the entire city.  Surprised by the very costly admission fees we did a lot of looking from the street.  We then made our way south to the home of the “rich and famous” in the Cape Cod area.  We didn’t do the full tour to Martha’s Vineyard but certainly had a taste hitting all the other coastal stops.  Provincetown, a highlight, was certainly a colorful, vibrant and fun-filled village.

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hiking in Acadia National Park, Maine

 

Ba Ha Ba (Barr Harbour that is)

Ba Ha Ba (Barr Harbour that is)

 

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Cheers!!!

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following the Freedom Trail

Rhode Island made the list in order to hook up with our inspiring friend, Kathy.  What a great reunion as we caught up and tried to keep up with all of her adventuring over the past year and plans for this year.  Kathy continues to amaze us with her strength, .

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Provincetown, Cape Cod

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Newport, Rhode Island

And then we fell into a funk … well ok, I did.  Where to go, what to do?  The ‘glamour’ of the USA had started to dim already.  Promises of easy boon docking, cheap food and touring just didn’t come to be.  With toll roads looming on the I-90 we shifted plans to head north first and then I threw in, “why not head to Ottawa to see Doug and Wendy?”…. and that was it…. After two days of driving I enjoyed a much needed recharge connecting with friends and a few days off of planning!

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Wash Toss Tourney at the Ball Party!

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Mini Golf – FINALLY

We received even more blessings after a message from our caretaker at home that a tree had fallen on our place after a rambunctious wind storm.  And we send big bouquets to our amazing community at home and Wayne for dealing with the tree and providing assurance that all is well in the forest.

 

From Ottawa it was an easy hop to Toronto where the greatly anticipated “Cruisers’ Reunion” took place.  This fantastic event, hosted by Gwen and Guillaume was so special.  Who would have ever thought that so many of us would be able to gather together to relive and celebrate our times down south?   What was to be a one or two day event gradually morphed into a 5+ day occasion including local touring,  adventuring, eating, game playing and lots and lots of laughter and love.  Special doesn’t even begin to describe this time.

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the crazy gang – together again!

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missing our Aussie buds!

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yikes, this is COLD!

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tour guide Gwen hands out our VIP medals!

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sillies

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wasn’t that a party – a great meeting of the OCDC (displaced cruisers)

 

A day in Toronto to see the iconic sites and FINALLY meet  Doug and Wendy’s ‘wondergirl’, Jess!  And finally we threw off the bowlines, I mean rolled down GG’s driveway,  and headed to the Niagara Falls area.  We relaxed, explored and recovered here for a couple of days awaiting mail from home.  And then we crossed the border once more…..farewell Canada and winter!   We look forward to discovering the backroads and some big cities as we make our way south for the winter.

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CN Tower

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out and about in downtown Toronto

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a view from the tower

As the calendar flips to October my heart is heavy …”they” say grief comes and goes like waves in a storm and mine are feeling a little like Tropical Storm Matthew right now.  Memories and emotions are crashing around as I approach the one year anniversary of my mom’s passing.  Most days I can smile at a memory but there are others when I just wish I had another moment to share my adventures with her and to return ‘home’.   Author Alexander Levy, captures the feeling:

“Parents provide a unique spot on this planet, which is called “home”, where we can return, if we need to, to be loved and to feel that we belong.  This spot, in the parent’s heart and in our mind, has existed since the beginning of our lives, and it has flourished in shared ancestry with roots stretching back to the beginning of our time.  This spot cannot be imitated.  It cannot be recreated.  After parents die, it’s gone.”

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Sunset over Lake Ontario, SandHill Park

Our visits to these Maritime Provinces were split into two between our Newfoundland adventures so it is hard getting our head around where we have been and what we have done!

Before heading south we have looked back in our log, scratched our heads and come up with our highlights…mostly a pictorial journey…

NEW BRUNSWICK

The coastal road and our first lobster stops – this is where we fell in love with Atlantic lobster – yum, yum and yum.  Caraquet for an interactive visit to learn of the Acadian history followed by  a remote drive out to the tip of Miscou Island was fascinating and stunning.

can't get enough of that....

can’t get enough of that….

Acadian Village, Caraquet

Acadian Village, Caraquet

pumping gas

pumping gas old style

Miscou Island lighthouse

Miscou Island lighthouse

The city of Moncton was very cool where we saw the infamous “tidal bore” and our first exposure to the amazing tides on the Bay of Fundy.  Of course we stopped at “Magnetic Hill”.  This optical illusion boggles your mind – it truly appears and feels as if you are coasting uphill!

watching the surfers ride the Tidal Bore, Moncton

watching the surfers ride the Tidal Bore, Moncton

Magnetic Hill - coasting uphill - this driver in front of us was having a hard time driving a straight line

Magnetic Hill – coasting uphill – this driver in front of us was having a hard time driving a straight line

Our tidal infatuation continued as we traveled to Cape Enrage and to the incredible “Hopewell Rocks”.  Truly beyond words – we spent the entire day there so we could experience it all – low to high – a 40’ difference!!!!! It is amazing to see and phenomenal to witness the power of the sea.

Hopewell Rocks - high tide

Hopewell Rocks – high tide

Low Tide

Low Tide

moonscape as the water and river beds empty

moonscape as the water and river beds empty

Back to the coast for the Shediac Lobster Festival – could not get enough of this tasty treat from the sea!  Cap Pele, just south, was a stunning, white sand, dune enclosed beach where we felt quite tropical and spent one of our 4 beach days this summer!

Shediac Lobster Festival

Shediac Lobster Festival

the beach on Cap Pele

the beach on Cap Pele

Our return to New Brunswick saw us exploring the capital city of Fredericton.

Fredericton Legislature

Fredericton Legislature

City Hall in the Garrison district, downtown Fredericton

City Hall in the Garrison district, downtown Fredericton

We finished our New Brunswick experience on the south coast  with stops at the delightful “St Andrews By the Sea” and St Stephens.

St Andrews By the Sea

St Andrews By the Sea

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with lots of history to the 1800's

with lots of history to the 1800’s

a lovely seaside town

a lovely seaside town

At St. Andrews we made a trip to Minister’s Island.  This island is so fascinating.  It is accessible for 6 hours at low tide otherwise the passage is 14’ under water.  Roo made the trip across and we spent a couple of hours exploring the buildings and hiking the island.

The island was purchased in 1790 by Reverend Andrews for 250 pounds sterling.  It wasn’t until 1891 that Sir William Van Horne (from Montreal) purchased a large parcel to build a summer residence.  Van Horne was a genius of a man – the Manager of the CPR – responsible for the completion of the railway, ahead of schedule and under budget.  He also built and owned the rail line in Cuba.  He was an accomplished painter, violin player and had numerous other talents.

crossing the sea floor to Minsiter's Island

crossing the sea floor to Minsiter’s Island

this timid little guy came to say hello on the island

this timid little guy came to say hello on the island

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the Bath house – this 2 storey structure provided a panorama view for Sir William to paint from and change rooms below for a dip in the sea. The sand dug to build this structure created an 8 x8′ tidal pool that filled every 6 hours, heated and then filter out again! Ingenious for the time.

Sir William (black beard next to Santa Clause) driving the last spike at Craigellache (near our home in BC)

Sir William (black beard next to Santa Clause) driving the last spike at Craigellachie (which is near our home in BC)

Hovencoven Manor - Sir William Van Horne's summer residence

Hovencoven Manor – Sir William Van Horne’s summer residence

St Stephens

St Stephens

NOVA SCOTIA

Loved this province and the best part was spending time with the locals, Dave & Alex.  We met them at another great Bay of Fundy park, Five Islands, and again as excellent tour guides in their stomping grounds, Halifax.

hooking up with our buds

hooking up with our buds

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at low tide…

Five Islands Provincial Park, Bay of Fundy

Five Islands Provincial Park, Bay of Fundy as seen from the hiking trails

Cape Breton was a hiking delight as we explored the Cabot Trail and the Highlands National Park.

downtown Sydney

downtown Sydney

Freshwater Lake

Freshwater Lake

morning hike past Ingonish beach

morning hike past Ingonish beach

Franey hike, Cape Breton Highlands

Franey hike, Cape Breton Highlands

Amazing history of the fortress at Louisburg

Amazing history at the fortress at Louisburg

Miner's Museum, Glace Bay

Miner’s Museum, Glace Bay

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Halifax Adventures

 

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FINALLY…..bagpipes in the Maritimes – downtown Halifax

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the iconic WAVE on the waterfront in Halifax

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Dave provides some “gunner” tips for Glen

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Alex and I practice our Eagle poses on the waterfront where group yoga classes are held – we were just early (or perhaps late)

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don’t you love the drunken light post?

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an awesome hike to Lawrencetown on the “Salt March Trail”

We continued on the coastal route with stops at the iconic “Peggy’s Cove, Lunenburg, Shelburne, Digby, Annapolis Royal and then Truro where we bid farewell to this lovely province.

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the village of Peggy’s Cove

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the lighthouse with a few of the 3 bus loads at iconic Peggy’s Cove

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the Annapolis Valley

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the tide arrives at Cape Split – an amazing 14 km hike

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Fort Anne

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Downtown Digby – how did we know our visit coincided with 3000 bikers arriving for the Wharf Rat Rally?

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the lighthouse in Leif Erikson Park, Yarmouth

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iconic (check your dimes) Bluenose II

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Mahone Bay

 

And so, after 10 ½ weeks we are bidding farewell to these beautiful provinces!   We have decided we could easily become “Maritimers”!!!

18, 239 km since leaving home….we have seen so much of Canada and yet, like many of our travels afar, we have only touched the surface of this magnificent country.  We certainly have a list of places we want to return to and sites still to see.  However, for now…. we turn south for 10 days to visit coastal Maine down to Boston and then we return to Niagara Falls and Toronto.  We bypassed this area on the way knowing we wanted to visit when good friends, Gwen & Guillaume aboard Slow Waltz made it back from the Caribbean.

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Wow, what a journey.  This island, this Rock, this most easterly province has warmed and welcomed us, inspired and awed us, and combined with the friendly folk, stole our hearts.  We understand why Newfoundlanders always find their way back home.  Each town, village or out port celebrate their “Welcome Home Year” and they come, to celebrate and revel in the love of their birthplace and we get it.  There is just “something” amidst the coastal air, stunning scenery and tough environment that brings together each community.  Newfoundlanders are filled with pride and LOVE to share their island with you.  Whether it is just to chat, offer directions, a hand or a fish and they are never in a hurry or rush to do so…perhaps this appeals to us so much because of its similarity to the Caribbean lifestyle.  And we were so blessed to spend time in Springdale, where the transplanted Scottish Albertans landed and where we were able to share and spend time in their beautiful community.
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And yet another reason that our time on this island was so special was crossing paths (unexpectedly) not once, twice but three times with good friends Dave & Alex.  What fun to explore,  adventure and play together.

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And so with so many memories to share I have tried to condense it (a tad) but this will be a lengthy read …..

ICONIC IMAGES

ICEBERGS – yes, we saw some – well officially they were growlers and bergy bits but ìcebergs to us.  Impressive and beautiful…we still have some iceberg ice in our freezer that we break out for special occasions.

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These iconic images are just a taste of what we found endearing:

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  1. Mummers – a Christmas-time house visiting practice involving masked mimes
  2. In these winds the wash dries in but minutes – what we used to refer to as the “Dominica flag” now also know as wash day in Newfoundland. It seems to be a coordinated weekly event here.
  3. Road side garden plots – why toil in the soil and try and dig out a level, rock free plot on your own land – Newfoundlanders take advantage of the tilling already done by road crews. These isolated, sometimes fenced, others not plots are tended and no one touches another’s garden.  (unlike my childhood memories of fence hopping and garden raiding!)
  4. Lighthouses, lighthouses, lighthouses… with 29,000km of coastline there is a need for a LOT of these. We saw and toured many, learning of the lives of past light keepers and their families in these harsh and isolated environments before the age of automation.
  5. See 3. Above – but think wood!  Locals cut and haul wood out in the winter on their snow mobiles and pile it by the roadside.  Come spring they cut it to 8’ lengths and often pile these teepee style to dry.  Later in the summer, they are further cut, stacked and stored ready for transporting to their homes
  6. to be split in preparation for winter. Again, no one would ever think of touching a log that was not theirs!
  7. Jelly Bean Row – these colorful homes run rampart in down town St John’s and surrounding enviros. They appear as numerous crafty knick knack souvenirs in the form of glass sun catchers, mail boxes, post cards, etc etc
  8. Musicality must run in their veins. There is never a shortage of music in the form of kitchen parties, festivals, plays and impromptu garden parties.  We were lucky to take in the Twillingate Fish, Fun and Folk Festival where we heard mandolins, violins, accordions, the “foot” and other assorted rhythmic instruments – as well as great vocals and humorous local folk songs and melodies.

HISTORY

What a history to tell… from the Norse exploration in 1000AD, Beothuk and Mi’’kmaq populations  to 1497 and John Cabot’s landing and fast forward to 1949 when Newfoundland joined Canada there is a lot to learn.

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CRITTERS, CRITTERS EVERYWHERE

With more moose than humans per square km we were glad not to report a close encounter.  Whales, whales everywhere we went… their  spouting, hunting and fin slapping never lost its ability to stop us in our tracks.  Our first puffin sighting was funny – these amazingly small birds were not at all what I expected and so much fun to watch fly – a mix between a humming bird and a drunken bumble bee.  And don’t get me started on the fish fare….. cod, so much yummy, delicious cod, lobsters, mussels…. we were in ‘season’ enough to hit them all  many times !

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HIKING GALORE

We officially wore out our shoes which necessitated a stop in Corner Brook to replace them.  I think we lost track of trails, km, views, vistas and moments of awe.  We left Gros Morne National Park on a high with sore feet, sweaty clothes, a feeling of accomplishment and anticipating a few days off to rest our feet!

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GEOLOGY

Geology to boggle the mind and tickle those memories of earth science classes…..fjords, colliding tectonic plates, geologic era divisions, metamorphoses “rusting’ of mantle rock, fossils, erosion, weathering, collapsing….. Newfoundland, the ROCK!

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VISTAS

With each climb we were rewarded with stunning views.  Whether it was a bite, a tickle, cape, brook, pond, fjord, river, lake… by the end we were finally to make sense of the terminology.

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In talking with a fellow traveller (at the laundromat) we tried to articulate the feelings for this island.  We discussed and agreed that yes, British Columbia is also a wondrous place – the Rockies, the Kootenays and the Coastal Range, the interior plains and orchards, Vancouver, Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands….. but yet there is something different.  I think it comes down to two things:

1) the geographical size – being able to drive from east to west Newfoundland in a little over 6 hours as compared to 12hr plus a ferry ride; and perhaps because of the isolation of an island this lends itself to

2) the immense pride and sense of community that exists in all of the villages and even in the big cities on this island.  Perhaps the historical need of relying on one another in harsh winter conditions was the origin of this but it lives on today.  And with this pride comes a love of sharing it all – nobody is a stranger just a friend waiting to be made.

So having been screeched in – that is kissed the cod (and a puffin’s arse) and downed the screeche we leave the island as official Newfoundlanders and have toured east to west and central to north….

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On our last day we find a remote and simple campground and with bright sunny skies and an unusual sandy beach we wash our toes one last time and we bid farewell … with a yearning to return sometime and a desire to share our wonder of this island so that others may be tempted to experience this wondrous place.
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And so our journey to PEI has come and gone.  This beautiful, little island lived up to and exceeded all our expectations.  It was a joy to explore as we excitedly poured over the maps realizing the scale of 2cm= 5km instead of the 2cm = 20km that we had last been using in the ‘big’ provinces.  And so, we were determined to see it all…and in talking with locals on our last night they agree we had covered most of the island and more than some islanders themselves had seen.

PEI will be fondly remembered as the island of friendly folk and lots of music.  We were blessed to hook up with Pat & Marilyn’s kin in Darnley.  Willie and Beverly provided more than a home away from home; they encompassed us as family.  A great ‘campground’, stunning beach and card games…lots and lots of card games – so much fun!

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with our great new friends, Willie, Beverly and Arlene

We experienced lots of island flavor with numerous music events.  An oldtime Bluegrass Festival in the Acadian community of Evangeline; a country music festival in the ever popular and trendy beach community at Cavendish; a local Ceilidh (kitchen party) in Stanhope; and a talented, local folk singer, Lennie Gallant, at a craft brewery in Charlottetown.

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great tunes at the Bluegrass Festival

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phenomenal talent at the kitchen party

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before the rains at the Country fest

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in the midst of the rain and cold….waiting for Dean Brody and Kenny Chesney

In addition to music we visited many of the touristy stops – the Potato Museum, Avonlea, of course, and lighthouses too numerous to mention.  Other days we just meandered, stopping wherever we felt the urge, interacting with locals and fellow travelers alike.

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at Avonlea Village

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look at this potato!!!!

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at the western cape

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supper’s on

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Eastern Cape – we got our tip to tip certificate

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Darnley beach

Charlottetown was another highlight wandering the streets and taking in the history around us was aided by the awesome “Confederation hosts”.  The noon show put on by the Young Confederation Players was spectacular.  A humorous, thought-provoking, poignant, and reflective look at what it means and is to be a Canadian.   Our travels  have given us such a new awareness and appreciation for this vast country!

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these great characters wandered all about the town

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this high energy performance was brilliant

PEI… we will return.

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love these red sand shores

field, after field, after field of potatoes!

field, after field, after field of potatoes!

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beautiful sunset at Cedar Dunes Provincial Park

A relatively brief taste of Nova Scotia has us excited to explore more soon.  AND a bonus reunion with Dave & Alex at Five Islands Provincial Park was sooo much fun!!!!!!

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But now, the “Rock” – Newfoundland !!!

in line early for the ferry

in line early for the ferry

some serious planning begins on the ferry

some serious planning begins onboard

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Together with Flat Stanley we hook up with these special folks in Springdale as our “springboard” to Newfoundland Adventures.

 

 

 

 

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