John & Brenda's Excellent Tour travel blog

Sunrise over Hulls Cove, Maine

Wake from the Cat with Bar Harbor in the distance

In the customs line in Yarmaouth with the Cat behind us

Lobster boats in Cape St. Mary

Mavillette Beach on the Bay of Fundy

July 2

We were up and moving at 5:00 am to make our scheduled ferry departure, the earliest we've gotten up on this whole trip. We wondered how we ever got up this early, day in and day out before retiring. It gives us renewed respect (sympathy?) for our still-working friends and family. The temperature was a chilly 13°C, the coldest we've had since Oregon in February.

At the ferry terminal, we were among the first to load in the unique hull of the Cat. As you enter through the rear doors, you drive the full length of the ferry and then make a u-turn and end up facing the open rear doors. We marvelled at the driving skills of a fellow driving a 40-foot diesel motor home as he made the turn seamlessly and parked near us. He and his wife were from Lake Charles, Louisiana and we ended up sitting beside them on the passenger deck where Brenda conducted their personal interview.

As we were among the first to board, I had grabbed great seats with a table in the stern lounge. It wasn't apparent until we were well underway that we were right beside the door to the rear deck, the only exterior passenger access and the prime destination for smokers. The sliding door was in constant motion and only effectively closed for a portion of the time, exposing us to a continuous brisk breeze. It made our decision to wear shorts an error in hindsight.

The Cat has several different lounges with movies and a small casino of slot machines, all intended to make the 3-hour 100-mile journey go quickly. We spent most of our time reading and chatting with the Louisiana couple. It turned out he was retired from Bellsouth and thoroughly enjoying their retirement as we are. Brenda commented later that, with their motor home and lifestyle, they were like a mirror image of our friends, the Bertwells.

Flash: I can now return to Canadian/English spelling of neighbour, harbour, centre, theatre, etc. after feeling schizophrenic over spelling conventions between the US spelling and our more civilized way over the last 4 months

Brenda had spent a lot of time preparing our customs declaration from the bulging envelopes of receipts we had accumulated. Her total was just under the $750 CDN limit and I was over $1,000, so we figured that we would be sent in to pay duty and taxes. Not so, as we were pleasantly welcomed back to Canada in Yarmouth and waved through customs, thanks to Brenda's thoroughness.

We had a gorgeous drive up Highway 1 on the Bay of Fundy side of Nova Scotia toward Digby. Everybody had flags out after Canada Day, along with Acadian flags from the prevalent French heritage of the Evangeline Trail. Finding no Subways in the small shore towns, we located a small diner/grocery store in a small town near Cape St. Mary for lunch.

While we were eating, a guy sat down beside us, eating an ice cream sundae. With the ease of a native Nova Scotian, he started telling us his life story and that of the surrounding communities. He gave us some great tips for side trips along our route to see the best scenery highlights of lighthouses, beaches and buildings. His main business was boat building and he was excited to learn that was brother-in-law Ron's trade. He hoped we could return with Ron and Anne-Marie so he could discuss techniques with him.

We found a nice motel in Digby for the night, albeit lacking in Internet and fitness facilities. We quickly found that everything was closed for the Canada Day long weekend...most importantly, the monopolistic government liquor stores. Fortunately, the motel restaurant offered us room service delivery of a litre of the local plonk at a thrifty $25.

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