|A slow start to our trip up the Eastern Shore - Thursday, July 31
We got Athena off to Halifax Airport on Tuesday, and then spent the rest of the day and yesterday doing chores and getting this journal caught up. Today we had planned to spend some time in Halifax, but we have changed our minds and decided to move north.
Halifax is an old and venerable city, with a colorful and sometimes tragic history. It has close ties to the United States and we don’t want to miss it, but even with two months left in Canada, there is just too much to do. We are already feeling time pressure, so we have decided to go to Newfoundland and Labrador as soon as possible, and leave everything else until we return to the mainland. We’re going to postpone seeing Halifax until we get back, and spend the next week seeing the east end of Nova Scotia and Cape Breton Island on the way to our date with the ferry August 7th.
As we were disconnecting and getting ready to leave the campground, however, we suddenly saw a number of RVs of various types backed up and blocking the campground road. A lot of the owners were out of their rigs and milling around, so I walked up to see what was going on.
For the past several days there has been a large caravan of Military RVer’s here, and today they were scheduled to leave, but on the way out one of the biggest rigs got too close to a building and ran a corner of the roof into his side panel. He was stuck there on the building, blocking the road and sealing up the campground. One of the couples in the group has an Aspect, and they’d stopped by to talk to us on several occasions. I saw them waiting in the line so I went up to say hello.
A lot of people were standing around by this time, and a lot of them looked like hard core military people. They were already frustrated, so I couldn’t resist kidding them a little. I said, “This kind of thing never happened when I was in the military. I was only a sergeant, but I knew enough not to run a truck into a building!” Some of them laughed, and others just glared at me - so of course I had to make it worse. I said, “Don’t you have a Seabee in the group?”
One angry guy growled at me, “We’re not using CB’s - we’re communicating with walkie talkies!” So I laughed and said, “No - Seabee - as in a Navy Engineer. Someone with brains enough to get you out of this mess.” He turned a couple of shades redder and walked away.
By this time the park staff had someone on the roof, cutting back the corner with a chainsaw. They finally got the guy loose and cleared the road. A man walking back to his rig shook his head and said to me, “You might have known it - the guy driving that thing was an officer!” I said, “Yeah - probably the Navy Captain who brought his submarine up under the fishing boat! I hear he’s retired now.”
The fun was over so we got on the road and headed east. It took us through the outskirts of Halifax, and we could see the city in the distance. Our destination is a section of the coast called the Eastern Shore. It’s a road that winds along the Atlantic coast of eastern Nova Scotia and takes you out to Cape Breton Island. Soon we were out of the urban area and driving a road that was often bumpy and rough, but was also devoid of much traffic.
Where Prince Edward Island is fairly flat, Nova Scotia is hilly and more rugged. Here there are few farms, and the landscape is wooded with pines and low growing shrub. The ocean and rivers have carved hundreds of bays into the shoreline, making places where fishermen can keep their boats in protected harbors and still have access to the sea. The water in these bays is flat today, and when we can see the ocean in the distance it is fairly flat today too. The day is overcast and looks like it might rain, but there is not much breeze to stir the waters.
We stopped for lunch at a place on the Salmon River called the Lobster Shack. The owners are Acadian and a lot of French was being spoken. The food was good and occasionally we could recognize a word or two. (I’ve seen enough bilingual signs now to know that la plage is ‘the beach.’)
We continued along the Eastern Shore for the rest of the afternoon, eventually logging 228 miles which is a long day’s drive on surface roads in an RV. Along the way we stopped at an Information Center in Sheet Harbor, where we walked along their rocky falls and learned about their lumber and paper industries.
At Country Harbor the river is so wide they have a ferry to cross it, but having missed the ferry we skirted the ferry by heading inland to a place where there was a bridge. This side trip let us see some of the interior country we would have missed otherwise.
We finally made it to Cape Canso, and to a historic little fishing village of the same name. We found a campground that has only a few spaces, but was mostly empty. By this time it was after 6:00 and the office was closed, but you just pick a spot and set up, and they come to collect the $20.00 when they get around to it. We picked a site 40 feet from the water, and an hour later a very nice man came by to register us and collect the fees. I’d seen him earlier in a wet suit swimming around in the water of the marina. He said he was looking for squid but hadn’t seen any tonight. He said they come right up and look at you, which he said makes it fun to go swimming with them.
We put up our antenna and to our surprise we got fairly decent reception on a couple of channels. We watched the finale of Last Comic Standing, and then turned in and got a good night’s sleep. The breeze off the Atlantic was fresh and nice, blowing gently through our bedroom window.