June 23, 2017 The annual Father's Day Cruise (one week later this year) sponsored by Jack Carran of Skipper Bud's for his boating customers (past and present) is a regular event for us. Boats will gather in Winthrop Harbor, IL for the cruise to Sheboygan, WI. Judy and Lyle will be in one of two motorhomes making the trip, having left boating, but not the good friends we've made in decades on the water. Lyle's grandson's Chase and Jack joined us for part of the weekend, including sharing the "official" shirts.
July 16, 2017 Getting ready to leave for Eastern Canada trip on Tuesday. Last minute cleaning of motorhome, putting things in order at the villa in St. Joseph, MI. First stop is scheduled to be Sarnia, Ontario, just after crossing the Canadian border at Port Huron, MI. Left: Judy seems ready!
July 17, 2017 If you received an email suggesting that Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and Upstate New York were not part of the U.S., it was accidental bad writing or wishful thinking on the part of some residents of those states. Your choice.
July 18, 2017 Day One. Great weather, if you consider 93 degrees great. We're spending the night just east of Sarnia, Ontario (as you can see adjacent to a corn field) with plenty of electricity to power the air conditioners. More like Iowa in July than Canada. Crossing the border did not take long, but we went to the truck lane (wrong). Most of the questions from Customs Canada pertained to firearms--did we have any, did we ever have any, etc. We knew we were carrying more alcohol than allowed, and were truthful, but the officer didn't seem to care. The transition for our cell phones was not instant, but both phones seem to have data, phone service and texting now. The router on the motor home hasn't yet made the transition to Canada service. The drive today, including stops, border crossing, took less than six hours. Our drive tomorrow--to Niagara Falls--should be about three hours.
Judy aboard the ferry, set for a day of sightseeing.
August 1, 2017 Tuesday morning surprise: Rain!!, but its supposed to end in an hour. We'll wait. Not anxious to drive these mountain roads when wet.
We waited and had dry pavement for awhile. Crossed from the eastern part of Cabot Trail over the mountains to the western side. We had one 13% grade, which may be the steepest climb yet for us in the motor home. Traffic was light, so no big back ups as we SLOWLY climbed the curves. We are in Cape Breton National Park and surprised that the entry fees have been waived for the 150th anniversary of Canada. But they also gave us another gift--road construction, down to very narrow one lane in many places. This morning's construction stretched for miles, including one-lane roads and gravel and/or muddy surfaces. Lyle points out these "features" are on top of the steep mountain grades (up and down). Judy mentioned, at least once, how high the road was (and so were we) above the water. We made it to Cheticamp safely with a muddy badge of honor for the motor home, and managed to get some photos of the wonderful scenery--aside from construction. Did we mention construction? Right: Even the construction zones in Canada featured great scenery (through the temporary bridge).
Cheticamp is an enclave of French-speaking people, and we dutifully stopped at a French bakery to pick up a variety of baked goods. Delicious! The trip through the muddy construction zones coated the under carriage of the motor home with a quarter inch layer of what appeared to be clay. Took some time to hose it off, then we gave the rest of the coach a bath, too. Hoping tomorrow doesn't bring as much road construction.
7.19.2017 Still having sporadic issues with data receiving and transmitting via Verizon/Canada. We're at an RV park on the banks of the Welland River. The back of the RV lot along the river was a little squishy and the rear jacks of the motorhome sank into mud. Took quite a bit of coaxing to get them free. Pulled the coach to the front of the lot and all is well.
Took a cab to the Horseshoe (Canadian) Falls. Dealing with crowds, we squeezed to the rail several times for photos, stopped for refreshments and then mid-afternoon, had a late lunch or early dinner at the Queen Victoria restaurant overlooking the American falls across the Niagara River. Pretty spectacular!!
Ocean-front dinner in Ogunquit
Left: Our motor home in the "hold" of the ferry. Below: First view of Nova Scotia from the observation deck of the ferry.
August 8, 2017 Just down the road (US 1) from Scarborough is the beach town of Wells--our spot for the night. It was about a 45 minute drive through several other busy tourist towns. Wells Beach RV Resort is strategically located between a miniature golf business and a McDonalds! The park is nice, but lots of rules. We arrived before check in time and had to pay $10 extra, even though our site was available. There was also a sign stating another $10 charge for grumpy customers. Lyle came close!
We met Lyle's long-time friends Bill and Sue Bowen for dinner (right). They rent a house in Maine for a month each summer and this year had their two daughters and grandchildren there. Great catching up!
Photos at right are from Perkins Cove and ocean view at dinner, including moon rise.
August 9, 2017 After a breakfast with the Bowen clan at Congdon's Bakery and Restaurant, we hit the road. Turning west off of U.S. 1, which means we are heading toward home! Our stop tonight is at Keene, NH, but GPS tried to take us over/through a covered bridge on the way to the Ashuelot River RV park. We both spotted it in time to detour and a very kind young woman pulled up to give us directions. Much appreciated! Lyle's sense of direction is usually pretty good, but here the best he can do is up or down. Some might say that is also suspect.
August 12, 2017 About last night; We ate at the Casino Brew Pub with live music during dinner. This morning we headed west toward Monroe, MI. It should have been a four hour trip, but the GPS tried to route us around Cleveland, without good verbal instructions. "Lucille" is the name Judy gave her earlier in this trip. It was a fine time to leave us, Lucille. Lyle used Google maps on his phone to get back on track. Interstate roads in Michigan are significantly worse than in Pennsylvania and Ohio, but we arrived safely at Harbor Town RV Resort. Pretty nice place!
July 30, 2017 The lobster supper was fun, Lyle had forgotten he had to "work" for his meal. Judy chose a more traditional meal--steak. Both were good.
Our "day off" started out cloudy and cool, with substantial rains to the south. Dry for us and the sun came out for a beautiful day. Judy did four loads laundry to take advantage of facilities at the RV water, sewer and ample electricity at the RV site, Lyle cleaned parts of the coach, added coolant, cleaned the hydraulic jacks and checked the rest of the systems for departure in the morning on the Cabot Trail. After our chores, we walked down to Bras d'Or lake and enjoyed the sunshine and scenery.
July 31, 2017 On the Cabot Trail! Despite a couple of missteps (one of Lyle's and one the GPS) we finally got on this winding highway along the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The scenery grew more spectacular by the mile and the road a little more challenging. We had read and been told about the sharp turns at the base of Old Smokey. Fortunately, there was no on-coming traffic, so we used the whole road to make a couple of the turns. Our marker of safe passage is that Judy did not bend the grab bar next to her seat! Otherwise the trip to Hideaway Campground overlooking the Gulf only required alert driving. Construction in a couple of places added to the excitement. We are on limited power tonight (20 amp) instead of the preferred 50 amp. It tends to cool off here at night, but the day was sunny and warm. We hope you enjoy the photos. This area is worth a lot of superlatives!
Portland harbor by full moon
August 11, 2017 Our westward trek continued, stopping at Erie, PA for the night. The decision and stop was made before we looked at radar and saw strong thunderstorms to our west. Glad we were off the road! Most of our trip today was on interstate highways and generally smooth. Part of the trip was along the Allegheny River (below). New York state has "text stops" which are otherwise called "rest areas". Times change. Our stop is in the parking lot of a big casino. No services, but getting a spot in a decent RV park in the area was impossible. We might go into the casino (for dinner, of course)
July 26, 2017 We left Quebec City, traveling up the St. Lawrence valley with its lush farmlands and healthy crops, turning east as soon as we could avoid crossing back into the U.S. for a brief time.. Crossing back and forth seemed problematic. We're in Edmunston, New Brunswick tonight and officially in the Atlantic time zone. We're in the Riverside RV Park, a very pretty park at the side of a river! Spent the evening talking with two other RV couples, one of whom had spent time in Nova Scotia--one of our destinations. Road conditions vary from perfect to some of the roughest we've encountered. Fortunately, more of the former than the latter.
July 27,2017 Our drive across southern New Brunswick paralleled the U.S. border along the Trans-Canada highway. Most of the drive was through forests and in the company of logging trucks. We had light rain much of the way, but traffic was light. The motor home is parked in Shediac, just north of Moncton, and on the route to Prince Edward Island. We'll plan on photos again tomorrow as we cross Northumberland Strait of the Gulf of St. Lawrence to PEI.
July 28, 2017 Got an early start under cloudy skies and the threat of rain. No rain, but as you can tell from the photos Judy took from the bridge to Prince Edward Island, the threat was there. The Confederation Bridge is 8 miles long and most of it is 130 feet above the water. We decided to drive the motor home north and east to get to the Atlantic side of the island. On the way we saw many acres of potatoes and large farmsteads--suggesting that potatoes are a profitable crop. Rural churches of various denominations broke up the agricultural landscape. We drove along the coastline before heading back toward Charlottetown, our destination for the night. The last photo is our view from the motor home. Would likely be nicer in the sunshine. And warmer!
July 29, 2017 On the road by 6:30 a.m, heading toward Woods Island ferry. The Garmin GPS, which has been stellar, routed us off the main highway that went directly to the ferry and onto a country road that paralleled the main route. Lyle knew something was wrong, but "she" got us to the ferry. Driving aboard this large ship was an interesting experience, but the crew directed us. We had to leave the motor home--as did occupants of all the vehicles--for the 75 minute trip from Prince Edward Island to Nova Scotia. Smooth seas! The passenger section of the ferry featured a breakfast bar with freshly fried eggs, etc. Very good and quite reasonable.
Nova Scotia scenery is beautiful! Much of our trip to Cape Breton Island was along the sea and/or lush, green hills. There is a seaside resort feeling to the entire area, including the town of Baddeck where we stopped to walk around and have lunch. Lyle enjoyed a fresh lobster sandwich and Judy ordered fish (fresh haddock) and chips. Our roost for the next two nights is Bras d'Or RV park on the banks of this large lake (Bras d'Or). A taxi is scheduled to take us to a lobster supper tonight. Details to come.
August 5, 2017 Our second day at Bar Harbor, we made reservations for a bus tour of Acadia National Park. First, though we had a delicious lunch at Paddy's Pub--Lyle chose a warm lobster roll, Judy an Irish version of a French dip sandwich. Boarding the school bus with Roger as our guide, we stopped at key points in the park, including Cadillac Mountain. Despite heavy fog, we searched for (found and ate) wild blueberries and wild cranberries. The rugged seascape generated some of our photos today. The Wild Gardens of Acadia featured a boiling spring (water was 54 degrees, but bubbled as if it were boiling. Lyle drank from the spring, saying it was sweet and, of course, cold. Another feature of the Gardens is the Pincher Plant, considered more efficient at trapping and digesting insects than the better known Venus Fly Trap.
Perhaps the most important feature of Acadia National Park is the Jackson Laboratory, dedicated to cancer research and focusing on how plants may contribute to preventing and treating cancers.
Above: 1929 Ford parked beside an even older home in St. Andrews By The Sea.
Below: View from our ocean-front park as the evening fog rolls in.
July 22, 2017
First, the French Canadian meat pie was good. Judy described it as a hearty meal.
We pulled out around 7 a.m.heading toward Saguenay in the mountains north of Quebec City. Got into horrendous construction traffic in Quebec City--85 minute delay. It didn't help that all the highway construction workers are given a two week vacation, starting yesterday. No, they didn't open any lanes, just left. Amazing! And a few other words that don't belong here. Roads in rural Canada have been very good. Closer to the cities, such as Montreal, Toronto and Quebec, roads could use a lot of improvement. Driving in the mountains of northern Quebec is beautiful, with lots of lakes and rivers plus lush greenery. In the area just east of Montreal, the corn and soybean crops looked great. The corn appeared as tall as any we had seen in SW Michigan. Our stay for the next two nights is a busy RV park featuring Christmas in July--the second RV park we've been in recently with that celebration. Judy could not sit on Santa's lap, so she put her arm around him (not really). We definitely are in French speaking country.
A word about the RV park. It is NOT big rig friendly. We had a tough time getting in and around corners, but we're here and enjoying rustic RV living along a beautiful river.
July 23, 2017 Beautiful, sunny morning here. And 42 degrees!! Afternoon temps in the 70's--very pleasant. Lyle recorded August's To Your Health this morning, in between something in French over the camp loudspeaker and neighbors packing up from their weekend to head home. Judy spent that time putting order to the closet and bedroom drawers. We both worked on cleaning bugs off the front and grime from the back of the coach. Now, the afternoon has settled quietly at the camp. Quiet enough for a nap!
Lyle activated the propane furnace just in case it gets to the low 40's again in the morning. We leave for Quebec City in the morning which should be a three-hour ride, but that's also where we encountered such massive delays Saturday.
July 24, 2017 Ran into construction on the way to and through Quebec City, but no delays today! Rather cool and cloudy, but we're happy to be at Camping Transit, just east of the city. We'll take a ferry into Old Quebec in the morning and do the tourist things. Judy captured one of the mountain lakes on the way from Saguenay this morning. Very pretty, but would have sparkled if the sun were shining. Of course, so would we.
August 2, 2017 The good news is not a bit of road construction. The bad news is there should have been. We stayed on the Cabot Trail for about 30 miles, then veered off to the Ceilidh Trail (pronounced Kay-lee), running from Margaree Forks to Port Hastings. It celebrates Scottish heritage and music, with a lot of MacDonalds, Macleods, Campbells and the like on mailboxes along the route. Villages, such as Inverness, are right on the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Plenty of scenery, but Lyle didn't see much of it, since the highway lanes are a tad narrow. We rejoined the TransCanada highway after the Canso Causeway--stopping at a truckstop restaurant for the best breakfast we've had in a long time--bacon, sausage, ham, eggs and hashbrowns done perfectly. It fueled us for the next two hours of our day's journey to Glenholme, Nova Scotia. Photos, left and right, show the simple beauty of villages along the Ceilidh trail.
Above: Queen Anne's Lace. Left: Even the wild flowers are pretty along Cabot Trail.
Right: View from Hideaway Campground.
August 3, 2017 Most of our trip today was on the Trans Canada highway--a very good road, so it was smooth going. Getting through the town of St. Andrews-by-the-sea was a little bumpy, but the waterfront of this historic town is charming! Some of the buildings date to the late 1700s or early 1800s. Some of the stores show whimsical humor in their names!
Our roost tonight is Kiwanis Ocean Front Park. Nice views!
We walked into town for an early dinner, shopping and general sightseeing. The tide was out during much of our time in town and when the tide goes out, it really goes out. Bay of Fundy has the greatest tides in the world--about a 50 ft vertical drop! Stopped and picked up a cooked and cracked lobster for lunch tomorrow--$14 for a one and one-third pound lobster. Considered that a bargain!
Panorama of a square from the steps of the old Notre Dame church.
August 13, 2017 We stopped in Chelsea, Michigan to have breakfast with Judy's son and daughter-in-law, Craig and Beth, plus their two sons, Landen and Miles. Then on to Grand Rapids for an appointment tomorrow at Cummins to service the motor home engine and generator. Guess that means our nearly month long cruise is over. Lots of sights and lots of sites in Canada and the northeastern U.S. We enjoyed nearly all of it. The parts we didn't enjoy--such as road construction--were only temporary and, sometimes, the excuse for a glass of wine at the end of a day. Thank you for following us on another wanderlust.
August 6, 2017 Bar Harbor (pronounced bah-habbah) to Scarborough, ME (Portland). We took US 1, the scenic route, and were not disappointed. We had a couple of traffic backups and a couple of turns that were very tight for the motor home, but the quaint seaside towns were worth it. One feature of driving the region on Sunday was flea markets--dozens of them along the highway!
Above: Pincher plant with a velcro-like surface that traps, then dissolves insects.
More seagulls than we've ever seen in one place--the parking lot of the casino
August 10, 2017 From Keene, NH across the White Mountains of Vermont today. Lyle thinks they should be called the White Knuckle Mountains! What a roller coaster ride for us and the motor home. We stopped at the top of Hogback Mountain for a break and photo. Roads and terrain improved greatly when we entered New York state. Our stop tonight is the historic town of Bainbridge, NY. Historic in part because it dates back to 1786 and in part because Elmer's Glue was developed here in 1947--says so on the sign below. The Presbyterian Church here dates back to 1793.
August 4, 2017 Back in the U.S.A. We enjoyed world-class four lane highway 1 in Canada and then third-world class U.S. 1 along the down east coast in Maine. About half of the two-hour stretch was horribly rough, but the scenery--as expected--was great. Forests giving way to small villages and towns with glimpses of the ocean, bays or rivers. As in Canada, the route featured a lot of small churches, such as the one to the right.
Our spot for the next two nights is ocean front--as in twenty feet from! The photo to the lower right is the view from our RV site with what we think are the hills of Acadia National Park in the background.
We stopped for fuel just inside the U.S border and, Judy ran next door to McDonalds. Notable, because this McDonalds featured lobster rolls! Lyle had lobster roll for breakfast! This might be a day of lobster for all three meals! A bus to Bar Harbor stops at the RV park frequently. We'll be on it
Bar Harbor is a bustling seaside tourist mecca with all you would expect--except Kilwins. The village raises t-shirt shops to a new level. And, if you're keeping track, yes--Lyle had lobster for all three meals today!
Same view from our motor home. Difference between moon-lit night and a cloudy day!
Vintage library building in Ogunquit, ME
July 25, 2017 After our ferry ride across the St. Lawrence River/Seaway, we rode the funicula (incline railway) up the hill in Old Quebec, with our first stop the historic Chateau Frontenac hotel for their breakfast buffet. Very good. A tad pricey. But we were at the Frontenac!! Wandered (as in lost) to find the Basilica of Notre Dame Quebec, then hopped a double decker tour bus. Quite informative, although the photo opportunities were limited. A mid-afternoon snack at a sidewalk bistro consisted of fresh fruit with warm chocolate dipping sauce. The only fresh fruit that didn't work for dipping, in our opinion, was watermelon. We walked our way back down to the ferry, taking photos and buying t-shirts (Judy). It was a wonderful day of sightseeing in this very European city, where even some street lights are decorated with "lamp shades".
So, the Riverside RV Park really is riverside as you can see (right). That's our motor home through the trees. We had lunch at Bob's Diner in Bainbridge. Not much else here. Great burgers and friendly service. Tomorrow we travel to Erie, PA on our way back home.
Left: Flower garden in Bar Harbor's Village Green
Bayley's Campground is huge, with 750 sites, and extremely busy when we pulled in. After finding our site, we met JJ Jeffrey for a late afternoon ride to Brunswick, ME and a dinner party at the home of Bob and Linda Fuller. JJ and Lyle worked together, JJ and Bob were co-owners of radio stations. Lots of broadcast stories were shared by the guys, but the women's conversations were more diverse (as in normal). Fuller's home would be magnificent in any setting, but on the ocean it is spectacular. Dinner was gourmet by any standards, prepared mainly by Will Fuller. A wonderful evening with old and new friends!
Motorhome Experiences of Lyle Dean and Judy Lebsack
A not-so-shabby view at dinner
Civil war memorial in the town square of Bainbridge, NY.
Ship building at Bath, Maine
Ask Lyle about Lobster Benedict breakfast at Congdon's or ask Judy about her Bavarian Creme donut offered in place of toast with her meal.
July 20, 2017 This was a long day of driving--enjoying morning rush while driving through Toronto, then afternoon rush in Montreal. We won't try to compare the amount of traffic, except "stop and go" took on new meaning. Then more than an hour of heavy rain. Somehow, the sun was shining and it was dry at the RV park, Camping Alouette. Happy to here and to be off the road. This is the first RV park with its own drive-through "lavage" for motorhomes (far right). Tomorrow, we plan to visit Montreal's old city.
July 21, 2017 Took a half-hour taxi ride through heavy traffic--just to get to the metro train that would take us into Montreal! Got a day pass for the metro, which was a good deal. Our goal was the old city with its shops and restaurants. First stop: Breakfast with fresh croissants! Really good. Then, walked to the Basilica of Notre Dame. This is high tourist season in Montreal, so we waited in line for about a half hour, but the photos to the right and below show the ornate beauty of this church--the altar and organ. You don't have to be Roman Catholic (neither of us are) to appreciate it. The floral sculptures abound in the old city--one on the right was outside the Hotel de Ville.
Our find for the day was Raymond, our cab driver both directions. His English was excellent. Turns out his mother was a Sioux and his father French Canadian. His parents met in Wyoming and came back to Canada after the war. Fascinating stories, including his mother's recipe for ground corn and maple syrup coated walleye! As we headed back to the motor home, he pointed out a new bakery that featured, among other things, chocolate croissants. That was enough for Lyle to ask that he turn the cab around! Also bought a French Canadian meat pie after Raymond raved about it. We'll report later!