Sunday, September 25, 2016

Freeport/Durham ME


Thursday (Sept 8) to Thursday (Sept 15):

Not much to report on this week. We stayed at the Freeport/Durham KOA for the time we had to wait for the slide motor to be shipped to the repair shop. The campground was OK, like most KOA parks designed more for family activities. The park is in the process of closing down for the season so a lot of work was being done by the employees in preparation for winter.


While we were there we drove over to Portland ME one day. We walked a 4 mile trail that goes along the Back Cove which is a small shallow bay. We also did some shopping and Connie got a haircut at Ulta’s.


We went to Freeport ME one day and visited the flagship store for L.L. Bean’s. Lots and lots of winter clothing for sale in the store. They also have a bike/water/ski store in a separate building along with having an outlet store. There is a small group of outlet stores located across the street from the main L.L. Bean location as well as a number of restaurants in Freeport.

We found a short paved rails to trails pathway in Brunswick ME. We biked this trail a couple of times during the week. At the parking lot for the bike path there was a place to put our inflatable kayak in the river and we did this one day after eating a picnic lunch.


On Thursday morning we left out early to get to Mountain Road RV to have our slide motor replaced. They were able to get this done in short order. We also had them look at the ABS system since we have had the amber warning light come on and off the last time we had driven The Duchess. They could not find anything wrong and thought it might be the sensors getting some dirt/dust on them since we have been staying in campgrounds with unpaved roads. We picked up a few RV items in their small store and also learned how to use the keypad on the outside of our door to lock the motorhome up when we leave.

We called The Bluffs campground, our next stop, to see if they had a site available for Thursday night since we already were staying with them from Friday (9/16) to Monday (9/26). They did have a site and we made the 3 hour drive from Mountain Road RV to Freedom NH where the campground is located. We got set up in our site (MA-05) which is located “up the hill” in an area called The Bluffs. The Bluffs is a 55+ section of the park for adults who are age 55 or older.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Bar Harbor, Maine


Thursday (September 1):

We packed up the Duchess and headed south from Saint John, NB towards the US border in Calais, Maine. As I mentioned before when we headed into Canada this section of highway is one of the nicest we ever driven on. The weather was clear and sunny and there was very little traffic on the highway as we travelled along.

We pulled up to the border crossing just as the guards were doing a shift change. Once we pulled up to the gate we were asked: (1) how many people on board, (2) was there anything on board that we did not enter Canada with and (3) did we have any animals. The border guard did come into the RV and did a quick walk through although he did not asked us to open anything. We ended up having a nice conversation with him since his dad owned a motorhome and travelled to Florida each winter in it. We could have kept all of our fruits and vegetables along with Connie’s herbs if we had only known what kind of questions/search we would be subject to.

We continued south and then east in Maine to make it to our next campground: Hadley’s Point Campground. We pulled into the campground and were assigned to Site A-2. We have 50 amp electric and water but no sewer hookups. If we want to pay $12 they will pump out our tanks during the week. We checked on the showers here at the campground: they were nice but there was a charge to use them.



Friday (September 2):

Today we decided to visit Bar Harbor. There is a free shuttle bus that runs from several of the campgrounds on this side of the island to Bar Harbor and from there you can take other free shuttles to different parts of Mount Desert Island. Bar Harbor is a tourist town with all of the trappings: lots of t-shirts/trinket shops, restaurants that charge a lot for a meal and arts/craft stores. Most days there are least one cruise ship docked in the harbor with several thousand passengers and crew that visit Bar Harbor. We walked around town for several hours, ate lunch and wandered through the shops.



We took a “historic” walking tour of the town, got lost and then found our back to the main part of the village.


We visited the tasting room for the Atlantic Brewing Company located next to the Village Green in the middle of Bar Harbor. We tasted several of their brews which were “OK” in our opinion, but not that great.


Saturday – Sunday (September 3-4):

With it being the Labor Day weekend, we decided to take easy in the campground and not venture into either Bar Harbor or Acadia National Park. We met one of our neighbors, George and Susan Viscarelli, who are from Maine and are headed towards Canada. We thoroughly enjoyed visiting with them and especially the fact they allowed us to join them at their evening campfires.They are both retired and travel in a 30 foot Copper Creek 5th wheel.


Monday (September 5):

We decided to venture out today to visit the other side of the Mount Desert Island. There are several other small villages on the island that we ended up driving through: Bernard, Bass Harbor, Northeast Harbor and Southwest Harbor. The village have lots of very large houses (some would call them mansions) that are mostly hidden behind fences and hedges. We also drove on Sebastian Drive which runs along the Somes Sound Fjord which is the only fjord in the lower 48 states. The small villages are nice but they are not as picturesque as the one we visited in Canada. There is a natural sea wall that we visited as well as we drove around.


After finishing our drive around the western side of the island we drove up to the top of Cadillac Mountain. This is the tallest point in this part of the USA and from the top you have a 360 degree view of the island. We were lucky with only some fog and haze in the air when we visited the mountain. The views are spectacular and would be even more so on a completely clear day. The photos we took did not do it justice.



We stopped by the grocery store to pick up a few items before returning to the campground.

Tuesday (September 6):

We had met another one of our neighbors over the weekend, Randy and Sue Ann Creamer, who were from Ohio. They were going kayaking today with some friends of theirs who are also staying here in the campground, Tim and Carol, on Long Pond. We asked if we could join them and they said: sure, the more the merrier. After a late breakfast we headed over to Long Pond where we launched our Sea Eagle inflatable kayak. Tim & Carol had brought their own kayaks while Randy & Sue Ann rented one from the shop across the street from the launch point at the north end of the pond (they call it a pond but it’s really a small lake). We paddled around the pond for about 3.5 hours before the wind started to pick up and all of us were ready to come in. While we were on the water an eagle flew across the pond in front of us (we didn’t have our camera out at the time). There were a couple of loons on the water that seemed to follow us for a while. As we headed to shore low clouds started to roll in over the hills surrounding the pond.


At the end of a long day on the water all of us decided to eat Maine lobsters at Thurston’s Lobster Shop located in Bernard on the other side of the island from our campground. This is the place recommended to us by several people here in Bar Harbor as the place to eat lobster. We ordered our soft shell lobsters (Connie and mine were just over two pounds each) at the counter, found a place to sit down and read the flyer telling us how to eat a lobster. Our lobster arrived a few minutes later and Tim gave us a step by step instruction to get the meat out of the lobster. There is not any way to eat lobster without getting it all over yourself. The lobster was great and we enjoyed the conversations at dinner.


Wednesday (September 7):

Today we decided to go into Bar Harbor to do some last minute Christmas gift shopping (actually Connie was shopping while I enjoyed the nice weather in the Village Green). After we finished shopping and have a quick picnic lunch in the Bar Harbor Village Green we were off to do some bike riding on the carriage trails in Acadia National Park. After going to a couple of parking area that were full we ended up at the Visitor’s Center and started on the trails at that point. The carriage trails are a holdover from the days before there were cars on the island and have been converted into hiking/biking trails. The trails are nice and wide with enough room for hikers/bikers going in both directions. We did a trail that took us around Eagle Lake. This trail was either going up or down an incline and we had to get off our bikes a couple of times on the longer uphill sections of the trail.


After finishing up our ride we came back to campground and started packing up for our departure south to get our slide looked at tomorrow. We had left the kayak and other gear out in the sun to let it dry during the day.


Thursday (September 8):

Since we not in any rush to leave the campground (checkout time was 11 AM) we took our time getting ready to leave. Connie cleaned inside the motorhome while I did some outside cleaning. We emptied our black/grey water tanks at the dump station in the campground before heading to Mountain Road RV in Sabattus ME which is northwest of Portland. We stopped at a rest area to eat lunch and arrived at Mountain Road RV around 3:00 PM. The battery on the Jeep had discharged during our trip due to a problem with the automatic locking system, so we had to put the charger on the battery to be able to start the Jeep. The owner of the shop came out and diagnosed our slide problem: the motor that moves the paddle arm back and forth has broken. A new one was ordered and we will be back here next Thursday to have it installed. Since there was no reason for us to stay overnight at the shop we got a recommendation from them for campgrounds close to them. We ended up at the Freeport/Durham KOA which is about 20 minutes away from the shop. We got set up in the campground where we will be for the next week.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Saint John, NB


Thursday (Aug 25):

We arrived at the Rockwood Park Campground which is located on the top of a hill overlooking the city of Saint John. We were assigned to Site 86 which is in an area that looks like a big parking lot. We have full hook-ups but only 30 amp electric here in the park. The campground has a number of sites that overlook the city, but they are for much smaller RV’s. Rockwood Park is a 686 acre public park that has miles of hiking/biking trails, several small lakes and a golf course. Once we got set up we walked around the park before calling it a day.



Friday (Aug 26):

On Friday we visited the “reversing falls” on the Saint John River. This is an area where the river narrows before it going in the bay. During high tides the river reverses direction due to the strength of the tides and flows upstream for a short period of time. The high tides were early in the morning and at sunset today, so we did not actually see any “reversing falls”.



For there we visited “uptown” Saint John. It is the downtown area of the city, but is called uptown because you had to walk uphill from the harbour to the city. As with most cities parking is the hard to find in the central part of the town. We managed to find a city parking lot with a space available and began our walking tour of uptown Saint John. Saint John is one of the oldest towns in North America but most of the town was destroyed during a major fire that occurred in 1877. So with the exception of a few building (mainly churches), the architecture is “Victorian” of the mid to late 19th century rather than an earlier time. There is a walk around park of the harbour and a large shopping mall/office complex located on the waterfront.

Sain John Harbour 2Saint John Harbour 1


20160826_122856King Square Pavilion

After walking around for a couple of hours, we stopped in at Bigtides which is a local microbrewery. We did a sample tasting of four of their beers and like the “stout” the best of the four. We then went around the block to Churchill’s Pub where we ate lunch. Connie had the mussels while I had fish & chips. They were OK but we have had better fare in Canada. There are several cruise lines that dock for the day in Saint John and there is a tourist industry that has developed to serve the passengers on these cruise ships. The day we were there a cruise ship from the Norwegian Cruise Lines was in port and everyone assumed we were cruise passengers (they kept wishing us a good cruise).

St. John, New Brunswick, Canada
Bigtide Brewing Co
8-26-16St. John, New Brunswick, Canada
Bigtide Brewing Co

After finishing our lunch we took another short walking tour of the Victorian houses located in the uptown area. There are a number of beautiful houses and also quite a few that are in need of maintenance.


Saturday (Aug 27):

Today we were going to visit the town of Rothesay located a few miles up the Saint John River to see the dragon boat races at a Chinese Festival. We drove to the designated parking area to catch the shuttle bus to the festival, but once we arrived we found that the races had been cancelled. It was too windy and the waves were getting in the boats as they tried to hold the first race, so they called it all off. We walked around for a few minutes, listened to some live music before getting back on the shuttle bus to return to where we had parked. We did end up doing some grocery shopping before returning to the campground.

Sunday (Aug 28):

Today we drove south for a few miles to visit the New River Beach. We stopped at the Lepreau Falls where the river drops about 20 feet over the falls. The area below the falls was used during the 1920-1933 period as a place for bootleggers to load flat bottom barges with alcohol to be taken out to sea and be loaded onto bigger ships for transport (illegally) into the USA during prohibition.


We parked the Jeep and made our way down to the beach. This is a sand covered beach in a cove that is about 0.5 mile in length. There is a long way from the “shore” to the water at low tide due to the large difference in tides here in the Bay of Fundy. We did stick our feet in the water, but did not go any further than that. As with most of the beaches we have seen in Canada, people visit the beach but vey few get in the water. Even though the beach is located in a provincial park, there were a number of large homes located along the shoreline.




Monday (Aug 29):

This was a “down” day for us. We took it easy in the campground and in the afternoon did some shopping in the “Eastside” area of Saint John.

Tuesday (Aug 30):

Today we drove to the Fredericton which is the capital city for the province of New Brunswick. It is located about 1.25 hours away from Saint John, away from the coast on the Saint John River. It was established by the British as a military site in the 1760’s. In 1783 about 2,000 Loyalists, American colonists who remained loyal to the King of England, left their homes and relocated in what is now Fredericton. The town was named after one of King George III sons, Frederic and later became the capital city. A large portion of the downtown business district burned in a series of fires in the late 19th century, so most of the original frame wooden buildings no longer exist. Here is a photo of the oldest wooden business structure in the business district.


We visited the Visitor’s Center located in City Hall to get some information about the city. They also gave us a “free parking” pass good for three days at any of the public parking spaces in the city. We got our bikes out and rode along a trail that follows along the Saint John River.


We stopped at the Government House Mansion that was once home to the Governor General of New Brunswick when Canada was still a colony of Great Britain.



After finishing our bike ride we had lunch at Isaac’s Way which is a local farm to market restaurant located in a building that used to be home to the courthouse in Fredericton. We got a table on the patio out back with a view of the river and sampled some of the local brews with our lunch.


After lunch we joined a small group (there were 6 of us) for a guided walking tour of the downtown area. We stopped at what remains of the British military compound where soldiers and officer lived full time. There was never a fort built in Fredericton but is was what we would call today a small military base.



We also stopped at several other historic buildings along the streets of downtown Fredericton. The city being the capital houses many of the provincial government functions in this part of the city.


Lord Beaverbrook, William Maxwell "Max" Aitken, was a Canadian businessman who was knighted in the early 20th century. He made lots of money, ran several business and served in the legislature. He built several building downtown including a theater for his wife. He also donated money to numerous causes including a world class art museum in Fredericton.


After finishing our walking tour we visited the Christ Church Cathedral. There are a number of stories about this cathedral including how it came to be. To build a cathedral in the British Empire a city had to have a population of 10,000 and be granted approval by the British monarchy. When the Bishop of New Brunswick want to build this cathedral the town of Fredericton had less than 5,000 inhabitants. However because the Bishop “knew” the right people close to Queen Victoria, a charter was granted for the cathedral and Fredericton was approved as a “royal city”. The bishop wanted to build the cathedral where the existing Anglican parish church was located, so he bought another site for the parish church and started building the cathedral in 1845. It took eight years for the construction. They ran out of money before they finished so several parts of the cathedral were not completed as planned. The Bishop and the architect fought and the architect never sat foot in the cathedral. In the early 20th century a lightning strike caused a fire that destroyed a portion of the cathedral. The insurance money along with local contributions allowed the cathedral to finally be completed as planned and how it remains today. Even though it is the “Cathedral Church” for Fredericton it is not the Anglican parish church which is called Christ Church as well. There is a lot of confusion because some events (weddings/funerals/etc.) are held at Christ Church and others at Christ Church Cathedral and people are always showing up at the wrong one. It is a beautiful structure with a large pipe organ and many stained glass windows. The guide who lead the tour also told us several other interesting tales about the church including one about it being haunted by the wife of the Bishop who had the church built.




Connie will miss these warning signs we saw across Canada (but we never did see any moose).

20160830_102504Moose Warning Sign Canada (2)Moose Warning Sign Canada


Wednesday (Aug 31):

Today we had a light rain in the morning followed by heavy fog in the afternoon. By early evening you could not see more than 50 feet in any direction due to the fog. We did laundry, cleaned the Duchess inside and out and got ready for our return across the border tomorrow. We threw out a few items of produce along with Connie’s basil, thyme and sage plants since we are not suppose to take any of these back into the states.