Days 74 - 76 (September 1st - 3rd) St Martins, NB
We left Holden at 8:10 am heading for our crossing into Canada at St Stephens, New Brunswick. We knew when we got there we would be in Atlantic Daylight Savings time which meant we would lose another hour. Our destination for the day was St Martins, 193 miles from Holden.
The 91 mile drive on Maine highway 9 from Holden to St Stephens was mainly two lane with rolling hills and a few steep grades. The weather was good so we made good time.
When we got to the border we had a choice: we could go through the newer commercial crossing center or continue into Calais, Maine and use the older crossing center. We chose to bypass the new commercial center for two reasons: 1) Last summer in British Columbia we mistakenly entered the commercial truck lane and were stopped for an hour while the agents searched through the trailer and truck; and 2) the older center was closer to the Scotia Bank in Saint Stephen where we needed to stop and get some Canadian money. So, we decided to go through the old crossing center.
The guard at the gate asked us the routine questions: had we been in Canada before, where we were going, how long we were planning to stay, did we have fire arms, tobacco, drugs, etc. Then she gave us back our passports with a yellow card, told us to park in the marked area, take the card and passports into the building and give them to a guard at the counter.
We waited while two guards thoroughly searched both the truck and trailer. This was the third time in all our border crossings that we were searched; this time we had a lot of things to put back together when they finished. I guess we look like smugglers or something. After 50 minutes we were able to continue our trip.
We stopped at the Scotia Bank in Saint Stephens and obtained some Canadian money from the ATM. Then we got on the new four lane divided highway and headed to St John, New Brunswick where we wanted to see the Reversing Falls on the St John River. Fortunately we had to pass through St John enroute to St Martins.
We stopped at the St John Visitor Center and were given instructions how to avoid the traffic backed up for construction on the bridge when we returned to the freeway. There was a large parking lot near the bridge where we had no difficulty parking with the trailer.
We got to the Reversing Falls just before the peak of high tide and were able to capture some of the Bay of Fundy’s power as it surged up the St John River.
We returned to the freeway and headed for the exit to St Martins. We took the exit for St Martins expecting two lane highway but we had expressway until we passed the St John Airport.
When we arrived at our trailer park, we registered and did the minimum to get the trailer set up; it was after 3 pm and we hadn’t eaten lunch. The lady at the St John Visitor Center had told Maryann about a restaurant they liked to go to in St Martins; so we left the trailer, went there and had a bowl of their “World Famous” seafood chowder.
The restaurant, The Caves, overlooked sea caves that are a famous feature. When we arrived there were five tour buses in the parking lot to see the sea caves. When we got into the restaurant we realized that many of the people from the buses were also eating there. (We had seen a huge cruise ship at St John and it appeared that the people on the buses were from that ship.) We were able to get our chowder and a table and although we felt we had eaten better chowder, we enjoyed our meal.
Maryann took some images of the sea caves before and after we ate, and even in that short time, you could see the change in the level of the tide. People were able to walk out to the sea caves by the time we finished.
At the St John Visitor Center Maryann had also learned about the “Fundy Trail”: a road along the coast that starts near the sea caves, a short distance from St Martins. This 10 mile road and hiking trail follows the coast north toward the Fundy Canadian National Park and is the last large stretch of undeveloped shoreline between Florida and Labrador. By 2018 they hope to have the road and trail completed to the Fundy NP.
On Wednesday we drove north along the Fundy Trail early in the morning, enjoyed the minimal traffic and the numerous overlooks. A covered bridge and the St Martins harbor were also documented in our images showing differences between high and low tide.
On Thursday we drove south from St Martins to a lighthouse. The tide was out and it was interesting to see large areas of exposed rock, some at the base of the cliff were covered in sea grass. Maryann was also able to get a picture of a flower pot in the distance (Flower pots are free standing spires along the edge of the coast). We spent the rest of the day working on the journal and reading.
Friday September 4th, we travel 168 miles to Five Islands, Nova Scotia; also located on an arm of the Bay of Fundy.