We left Fredericton in beautiful sunshine. By the time we got to Saint John it was foggy, cloudy and drizzly (not to mention a lot cooler)! Rockwood RV Park is run by the Saint John Horticultural Society. The park itself is huge and is one of the largest in North America. The RV Park is mostly gravel with no trees to speak of (just what we like - great for the satellite). There are yellow lines painted on the gravel to separate the sites!
The first afternoon we drove to St. Martin's thinking we might spend a few days there. The RV parks are not really worth the back-track with the coach so we will stay in Saint John for a few more days. We had been to St. Martin's last year while on the cruise so if some of the covered bridge pictures look familiar - they are!
On the 23rd we let Berta (our GPS) get us lost. This is how we find our way around most cities. We discovered Fort Howe which is a reproduction of a blockhouse which was originally built in 1777 at the mouth of the harbour. The fort and much of Saint John was destroyed by fire in 1877. The blockhouse was designated as a National Historic Park in 1914 (the first in Canada) and designated as a National Historic Monument in 1929. Larry contacted Charlene (www.bayoffundytaxitour.com) who had taken us around Saint John for 5 hours when were here on the cruise. On the 24th, we went for coffee with her and then she drove us around a bit more - stopping at the Moosehead Brewery for a photo with the moose, telling us about a haunted house that we passed and also stopping at the Reversing Falls. It was great to see her and if anyone wants a tour of Saint John and area while they are here let us know (in case the website doesn't work).
On the 25th we went to the Carleton Martello Tower. It is the oldest building in Saint John, built between 1812 and 1815. It is one of nine surviving Martello Towers in Canada and 200 in the world. It has very thick walls and a centre pillar which supports the arched brick roof. The cement structure on top was built during World War II. It never actually saw any action but was used for several different purposes over the years. In the afternoon we got new neighbours. Joan and Eric are from Michigan and will be in Yuma at the same park at the same time we will. The weather has improved again and we spent time with them outside - warm, no wind and no bugs!
On the 26th we drove into Saint John to see the cruise ship Enchantment of the Seas in port. Then we went out the west side of Saint John and ended up going to Hardings Point to see the campground that was our second choice for this area. It is at the end of a five minute cable ferry ride (where the coach would have bottomed out). We continued along the road past it and ended up at the Summerville ferry which came out at the back of Rockwood Park! It was a gorgeous day so it was a nice little drive. The ferries were both free.
On the 27th we drove the 90km to St. Andrews by the Sea. Another fabulous day! The Kiwanis Oceanfront Campground is at the point of land at the southern end of St. Andrews. We had a fantastic oceanfront site with an incredible view. Joan and Eric followed us here from Rockwood and are going to stay one night. The four of us drove into the little town and stopped at the Fairmont Algonquin Hotel. A nice old hotel built in 1889 by a group of wealthy American businessmen. Eric is into geo-caching and while looking for a cache in the forest next to the hotel, he came out with an armload of cut firewood for our campfire! Other people in the park had new puppies - 5 week old mini dachshunds. They have five adult dogs and four puppies on board their little Class C. They are show dogs so we suppose that justifies it. Yikes!
After dinner we had a campfire with Joan and Eric to burn our firewood supply which we can't take across the border. Jim and Sharon from the other side of us came over too - they are from Tacoma Washington and are heading south the next day. On the other side of them are Joyce and Ray who are from northwest Ontario and are contemplating moving to Victoria where one of their sons lives. They're going to give us the remainder of their firewood when they leave on Thursday. What a nice evening - because it's so dark on this point of land the stars were amazing. Both Dippers and the Milky Way were so clear.
On the 28th we went into St. Stephen's to check out the accessibility of the border crossing. We will take the new one a bit further along the highway because there's more room. While in St. Stephens we discovered the Ganong Chocolate factory which began in 1873 and is still going strong today. It employs over 400 people from in and around the St. Stephens area. They also still today, hand-dip certain chocolates and put the chocolate swirls on by hand. We were able to see this labour intensive work at the museum (which also had unlimited chocolate samples). Then we went into the chocolate store and Larry discovered the "Roman Nougat" bar made by Ganong which he hadn't seen since the 60's. Larry told the lady in the store that he used to get these bars in Saskatchewan in the 60's and the lady was surprised as she thought they were only sold in the Maritimes. We stopped at the St. Croix Island International Historic Site which is in the bay between Maine and St. Andrews Point. It was settled in 1604 by Samuel de Champlain. Larry calls him "Sammy D". Then coming into town we stopped at the Blockhouse which, like Fort Howe in Saint John, was built just after the War of 1812. Another glorious day!
On the 29th Maureen walked into town to the weekly Thursday Farmers' Market. It was a little market with nice produce (which we couldn't buy because we're crossing the border soon) and local crafts. Maureen had to send a message to Larry to come over because one lady had Girl Guide "Mint" Cookies and we're down to one box! We also bought some homemade jams and cranberry sauce. Then Larry took our finds back to the RV and Maureen continued her walk around town and back to the park. She found some nice photo ops as well as a very old Loyalist cemetery. We then drove back to the market for lunch (Larry - wood-fired pizza and Maureen - Pad Thai). The clouds were starting to come in and it was cooling off a bit. It rained through the evening and part of the night. But when we got up the sun was chasing away the clouds and it was very nice. We drove into St. Stephens again to do some banking (the last BMO before the border). We stopped at the St. Andrews Aquarium on the way back. They are under construction but it's going to be very nice. They had a father/son harbour seal team and a huge 10 kg lobster which had been caught at Shediac (not the same one we saw there a few weeks back - this one has been at the aquarium since 2008.
We've met some wonderful people on our Canadian journey. We've seen a lot of old churches/buildings, a lot of cemeteries and a lot of potholes. Our US adventure begins October 1. By the next entry we will be in Washington DC (1 night Bangor, ME; 1 night Salisbury, MA; 1 night at Walmart in Newburgh, NY; 4 nights in Clarksboro, NJ - at least that's the plan).
Total mileage from Vernon BC to Maine Border - 11629 kilometres (7226 miles)
The Best (and Worst) of Canada
Best Roads - Newfoundland
Worst Roads - Moose Jaw to Regina, and downtown Saint John NB
Worst Road Construction - Montreal, Saint John
Best Value - Parks Canada Discovery Pass
Worst Value - Magnetic Hill, NB
Best Recycling - Nova Scotia
Nicest People - Newfoundland
Best Ferries - Marine Atlantic - Blue Puttees
Best Town - Shediac, NB or St. Andrews, NB
Best Meal - Sandwiches at Schwartz's Deli in Montreal
Best Campsite - Kiwanis Oceanfront, St. Andrews, NB
Worst Campsite - Riverbend, Okotoks, AB
Unfriendliest Campsite - Loch Lomond, Amherst, NS
Best Royal Canadian Legion - Vernon, BC and Florence, NS
Worst Cellular/Wifi - Manitoba border to Thunder Bay
Worst Bugs - Grand Codroy RV, Newfoundland
Steepest Hills - Gaspe Peninsula
Most Unkept Town - Estevan, Saskatchewan