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Friday, August 31, 2018

Duffing at St. Stephen Golf Club

Today was forecast to be nice, but a little cooler than recent days.  While we had planned to go kayaking, we couldn't find a really good lake or bay to explore.  So we decided to do what we've been talking about doing for weeks:  we're going golfing!

We have Sunday bags and basic set of clubs each, and we've golfed maybe once a year or so since we started RV'ing.  But it's so seldom that we really don't have a chance to improve our game.  This fact makes it harder for us to decide to play a round.   We know we won't be up to snuff, and we don't want to slow up all the other golfers.

The local public course, however, was just the ticket for us, because it seems to boast lots of retired locals, many of whom don't seem to golf much better than we do.  This was all the encouragement we needed.

Here's Kathy, eagerly addressing her ball on the first tee:

David addressed his ball, too:

Kathy loved her pink golf ball, but she lost it in a water hazard around midway through our round.  She dug into her bag and found these peppy little "Flying Ladies" -- Thing 1 and Thing 2!  These became her lucky golf balls for the rest of the round.

We were hoping for some birdies, but this is the only birdie we got:

Only in Canada must a golfer look out for bears while aiming for the green.

Results:  Kathy got the only par of the day, a par 3 on the 18th hole!  Otherwise, we shot over par on every hole.  Our scores?  Kathy shot mmmppphhh and David shot $%#^&&*.  We were within three strokes of each other, and it was uncanny how often our shots were exactly the same distance.  Ultimately, thanks to her par on 18 and David's game collapsing on the last holes, Kathy whomped David by 3 strokes.

Nothing salves golf wounds like a stop at the 19th Hole.  We found our golfer respite at 5 Kings Pub in St. Stephen.  The beer was good, if not memorable.  We each enjoyed a seafood meal, and finished off our visit to town by visiting the local lighthouse.

Now we're planning a campfire dinner tonight before we move tomorrow up to Bathhurst, New Brunswick.


Thursday, August 30, 2018


Hi Blog!

If you've watch the PSB special on the Roosevelts, then you know that Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his family spent the summer months on Campobello Island. Located at the entrance to Passamaquoddy Bay within the Bay of Fundy, Campobello is actually in New Brunswick, Canada.

The Roosevelt Campobello International Park preserves the house and surrounding landscape of the summer retreat of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Eleanor Roosevelt and their family. It is located on the southern tip of Campobello Island, and is connected to the mainland by the Roosevelt Memorial Bridge, at Lubec, Maine in the United States.

On Thursday, August 30, 2018, we drove over to Campobello from Oak Bay, New Brunswick. We had to cross the border into Maine and then cross it again when we drove onto Campobello Island. After watching a great video on the life and times of FDR at Campobello, we got our first look at the "cottage."

Here in August 1921, 39-year-old Roosevelt, who would go on to become the 32nd President of the United States, fell ill and was diagnosed with polio. FDR was no longer able to stay at the "beloved island", but he sailed there in 1933 and visited briefly in 1936 and 1939. Eleanor Roosevelt loved the cool summer weather and visited many times with her children and friends. While the cottage was finely decorated, it never had electricity the entire time the Roosevelts owned it.

After her death in 1962, the family deeded the property to the governments of the U.S. and Canada. In 1964, they created the 2,800-acre International Park. The cottage and surrounding area are owned and administered by the Roosevelt Campobello International Park Commission, created by international treaty signed by Governor General Georges Vanier, Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson, and President Lyndon B. Johnson on January 22, 1964. The park was established on July 7, 1964. Both countries provide financial support to the park. It is an affiliated area of Parks Canada and of the U.S. National Park Service.

Many of the furnishings and artifacts where donated by the Roosevelt family. While the table was set for 8, it was not uncommon to have as many as 14 for dinner. Eleanor loved to invite the neighbors over.

The cottage was actually a wedding present from FDR's mom, Sara Delano Roosevelt. She owned the property next door. When her neighbor, Mrs. Kuhn, passed, she mentioned in her will that Sara had the right to purchase the property. She did and gave it to Franklin and Eleanor. They went on to expand the property to add a number of additional rooms, including this room for their two boys.

While the cottage doesn't appear that large from the outside, when you go upstairs and see the entire length of the building, it seems pretty impressive.

We loved the craftsmanship. They just don't make 'em like this anymore.

We finished our tour, with a walk out the back deck. From here, we could see all the way to the beach and dock. Across the bay is Eastport, Maine.

After the tour, we decided to walk down to the beach and dock. The view back up to the cottage was impressive. We did look for whales in the bay, but with low tide the chances were not very good that we would spot one.

When we first arrived, we had asked one of the Park Rangers for a lunch suggestion. She mentioned The Pier on the Waterfront in Wilson's Beach. We both decided on the seafood chowder and were not disappointed. After lunch, we decided to hunt down a couple lighthouses. The first one, Head Harbour Lightstation is located at the very northern tip of the island. While it is open for tours, you must arrive at low tide or there is no way to reach it. If you look closely, you will see that the stairs leading to the lighthouse are under water!

While we were disappointed we couldn't reach the lighthouse, we had fun watching the the incoming and outgoing tides do battle.

We drove back across the island to visit a lighthouse we first saw when we crossed over the Roosevelt Bridge. The Mulholland Point Lighthouse was built in 1883 and overlooks the Lubec Narrows.

The Mulholland Point Lighthouse is a wooden octagonal tower standing 44 feet. The light was decommissioned in 1963 and deeded to the Roosevelt Campobellt International Park. There is a small building onsite which houses nature displays. The naturalist at the sight came out and helped us spot the different seals in the area. Apparently, seals love to people watch. If you talk really loud, they poke there heads out of the water to listen. Who knew!

This small bridge is all the separates Canada from the U.S. The Franklin Delano Roosevelt Bridge connects Lubec, Main to Campobello Island, New Brunswick. It is the only road connection. If you want to get back to Canada without crossing the U.S. border, you have to take a ferry.

Since we had to drive back through the U.S. to get back to Canada, we decided to take advantage of the situation by stopping at the bank, Walmart and the Post Office. With our chores done and dusted, we gladly headed back into Canada so we could relax and enjoy our Happy Hour in Oak Bay.

Eddie and George Rock On at Oak Bay, New Brunswick

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

St. Martins: Sea Caves and More

One of Bay of Fundy's more popular attractions is the Sea Caves at the Village of St. Martins.  At low tide, you can walk across the open beach and explore the rocks and caves. They are made of sandstone, which, in some layers, has become a conglomerate with a wide variety of older rocks and stones embedded in them.

We had to set our alarm for 5:30 am in order to get to St. Martins by 8:30 am for the low tide.  It was a 2 hour drive, but worth it.

Here was our first view of one of the Sea Caves:

The view from inside the cave, back across the stony beach to the Village of St. Martins was almost as interesting:

At low tide, the beach stretches perhaps 200 yards out beyond high tide line.  Near the caves, the sandy mud eroding from the cliffs in which the caves are carved make for mucky walking in places, and rockweed has found its grip in crevices of larger boulders where the sandy mud has created a type of soil:

We found two caves immediately, but had to walk around a point to get to this formation.  It was lucky that we tried at low tide, because, within a half hour or so, the path we took was becoming inundated with the incoming tide.

Here is a view from inside the little valley of caves shown two photos above:

Websites and signs at the beach carry warnings about watching the incoming Bay of Fundy tides, because they can trap hikers in caves, on rocks, or back in what we've called the little valley of caves.  Interestingly, at the head of the valley, we spotted a knotted rope that undoubtedly is used for escaping the rising tide, or climbing down to enjoy the sheltered beach at high tide, or both.  Below, David demonstrates the proper method of escaping high tide by knotted rope:

While David was climbing for his life, Kathy was busy scrutinizing the walls of the caves to examine what types of stones are embedded in the sandstone.  It marvelled us to realize that the stones Kathy was pulling out of the sandstone matrix haven't seen the light of day for millions of years!

Having reached and explored the furthest caves, we worked our way back to the beginning of our hike, getting another view of one of the caves:

To reach the caves, we had to wade across small streams that fanned out across and through the stony beach.  We walked down to water's edge, where Kathy started rockhounding.  David, on the other hand, stood at the outlet of the stream to watch a mini tidal bore work its way upstream as the incoming Bay of Fundy tide forced its will on the current of the little stream.  He also experimented with standing at timing the approach of the incoming tide, amazed that, in the space perhaps 5 minutes, the water crept about 5 feet up the beach.

Driving back into the Village of St. Martins, we observed the local fishing boats still stranded in the sandy mud with the incoming tide not having reached them yet:

St. Martins boasts a lighthouse reconstructed in the center of town and developed into a beautiful little landscaped park.

The village park was bookended by -- not one, but -- two old covered bridges crossing the Irish River, which flows down into the village.  Here is the upstream bridge --

-- and this is the downstream bridge.  It's partly obscured by a modern, metal bridge that take the vehicular traffic because the covered bridge has deteriorated to the point that it will not support the weight of cars and trucks:

Driving back the 2 hours from St. Martins to our campground in Oak Bay, we passed the time doing some research for a lunch spot and were reminded that St. John boasts a feature called the Reversing Falls, where the current of the St. John's River meets the tidal bore and forms whirlpools and rapids, whose shape and location change as the tide flows in and out.  At low tide, the rapids flow downstream; at high tide, the rapids are reversed and flow upstream.  Here's a view of the whirlpools as they circled and passed the clifftop restaurant where we had lunch:

Another chance discovery on our drive was Oven Head Salmon Smokers, where we bought the tastiest smoked salmon pate, as well as salmon tails and fillets, all smoked by the "cold smoke" method, whereby the brined salmon is cured -- not cooked -- at 68F for 35 hours over smoking maplewood chips.  As we got out of the car, we could smell that luxurious aroma of smoked salmon wrapping itself around the little shop.  This made us hungry, and you know what happens when you shop for food when you're hungry...

Monday, August 27, 2018

Paddling the Fundy Highlands

Hi Blog!
Monday, August 27, 2018, was our last full day in Fundy National Park. We started our day with a coffee walk down to Alma to check out the low tide. As many times as we have seen the tides come and go in the Bay of Fundy, it is still weird to see the boats at the dock sitting on the ground.
Fundy National Park covers two different ecoregions. The coastal zone and the northern uplands forest. As you head inland from the coast, you are soon surrounded by a mixed-wood forest which contains sugar and red maple, white and red spruce and balsam fir trees. The park has adopted the expression "Salt and Fir" which was used to describe the people of this area who earned their living from the sea and forest. Don't you just want to know what is just around that bend!

As with most of our stays, there is more here to do than we have time to do them. We also learned that there is more to Fundy National Park than just the access to the Bay of Fundy. The park covers over 80 square miles from the rugged coastline to the Canadian Highlands. After two days of exploring the coast, we decided to head up into highlands and paddle Bennett Lake.

After putting in, we begin our exploration. Just past the boat launch is a small beach and swimming area. The far end of the beach seems to be reserved for puppies!
The park has at least 100 resident moose. As we paddled around the quiet coves, we were on the lookout for signs of moose.
This little guy was so well camouflaged that we almost missed him.
However, it was hard to miss these brightly colored flowers reflecting in the still water.
We floated slowly by this beaver lodge not wanting to disturb their afternoon siesta.
Sorry, Dave. I really, really thought this was a moose! Surely you can see it back there in woods.
After mistaking a log for a moose, we knew it was time for lunch. We found a nice little island in the middle of lake and proceeded to picnic.

After lunch, it wasn't just the beavers who were enjoying their siesta!
Bennett Lake is only about two miles around. We were surprised to see a second beaver lodge.
Most of the time, when we come across wildlife, the camera never seems to be ready. We got lucky this time.
You may think by these photos that we had the lake to ourselves. Oh contraire! The Park Services offers canoe, kayak and paddle board rentals. By the time we launched, there were dozens of watercraft plying the shores. Luckily, the lake was large enough we didn't bump into each other.
This was the third beaver lodge we found. However, upon closer inspection, we realized that this lodge was probably vacant for several years which could explain why there were two others on the far side of the lake.
We found a number of these yellow lily flowers. This was our best shot.
As you know, Kathy has been collecting Parks Canada Red Chairs. In all our collecting, this is the first time we paddled to a red chair location.
Tomorrow we head south to Oak Bay, New Brunswick which will put us close to the border with Maine. We are hoping to get over to Campobello Island. Stay tuned.