A Plethora of Presidents

Martha 2

Somehow I expected something fancier

Did you know George Washington had wooden teeth? Learn this and many other fun facts when The Meandering Maloney’s go to Washington.

But first we have to finish with Cape Cod, home of the famous houses, rolling dunes, impossibly twee towns, expensive real estate, and the Kennedy’s.

Pickle jar

Never, ever, wear white after Labour Day

Along the Cape, the salty sea air is laced with the smell of money. Old money. Big money. Homeowners give a shout out to the season with fall decorative displays that would not look out of place in the windows of Macy’s. Not the Dollar Store displays and misshapen gourds I’ve been known to throw together before a dinner party, but Martha Stewart dioramas. Life-size straw-stuffed figures perched on hay bales with massive, perfectly round pumpkins and gourds surrounding them, all tastefully arranged to induce maximum decorating envy.

Barbie collection

For some Cape Codder’s it’s all about messing with your neighbours Barbies (or is that Bahbee)

Martha’s Vineyard is a must stop, even though it requires leaving the truck behind for a ferry crossing. The name is ingrained in the plebian mind as a place where the really rich and famous buy houses and hobnob with other rich and famous people. Tennis anyone? How about an afternoon of sailing on my 100 ft. mahogany sloop. We plebes take the ferry over, sans truck. Surprise, surprise, La Dog is welcome aboard, though putting a leg up on the ferry railing to let other snooty pooches know you’re around is discouraged.

Dog on ferry

Always the gentleman, The Dog refrains from sniffing butt while boarding

How many gift shops can be crammed into a two-hour visit? Answer: ten, with a stop for fudge. It still leaves time for a stroll past waterfront mansions set so far from the street we can barely see the crews of gardeners tending the manicured lawns. We dip our toes in the water by the yacht club before heading back to the ferry. After our brush with wealth, we leave Martha’s with wallets only lightened by the price of New York style pizza slices. Even Cape Codders know who makes the best pizza.

NY skyline 2

A view of the NY skyline from the turnpike will have to do this time

Back to George and those wooden teeth. Our original plan included a stop in New York, where RVers put down across the water in Jersey on sites without sewer hookups for $U.S 80. A ferry takes them into Manhattan past the Statue of Liberty. Since this is a trip without a plan, we blasted past New York with a fond wave at the distant new World Trade Centre, promising to come back another time.

Navigating the Big Apple’s freeways is like playing bumper cars for keeps. Leave a sensible 20-foot between you and the vehicle in front and a car, truck or transport will swerve past your bumper to fill the gap. Moving over four lanes to get to your exit while pulling a 10,000-pound fifth wheel dwarfs any fairground ride you’ve ever taken on the excitement meter.

We enter the Jersey Turnpike on the advice of Gertrude, who tells us it’s the fastest route to Washington but fails to inform us about the modern day highwaymen along the way. The roadside robbers disguise themselves as toll-booth attendants who cheerfully (Who am I kidding. They’re not cheerful; they live in Jersey for gawd’s sake.) demand money at frequent intervals. Stand and deliver, driver from B.C.

Leaving Foxwoods down to Washington DC night tour 070

They missed the sign about rights to your first born

The Dude literally sputtered at the end of the Turnpike when the booth bandit demanded $U.S. 42.50. After quickly calculating the risks of blowing through the booth and the high-speed freeway chase that would follow, the Dude grudgingly handed over a wad of the now spittle-soaked money we didn’t spend in Martha’s. The fact we were the only RV on the turnpike should have been the first clue.

Cherryhill Park outside Washington is the gold standard by which all other parks will be measured. If they don’t have it, it doesn’t exist. You need transportation, they’ve got it. Worried about getting around in Washington, they have an orientation session with all the stuff you need to know and stuff you didn’t know you needed to know. Need tickets for anything remotely touristy, they’ve got it. Need to eat, hey, they’ve got a reasonably priced restaurant on site that has ice cream. Feel like staying in and watching a movie. No problem. They deliver delicious pizza to your RV’s doorstep. Need clean clothes; they’ve got a laundromat the size of an airport hangar.

Campground office

Note the giant Bald eagle to the right, in case you didn’t realize you were officially in the United States

Finishing the orientation session, we spontaneously purchase a night bus tour leaving in half an hour. The free shuttle bus to town is driven by a guy we’ll call Bunk, after the character in The Wire. Those who know The Dude might recall his love affair with the HBO series. He’ll even lend you the DVD’s so you can join the club. But I digress. Bunk the driver is a former basketball player, good enough to get a full ride to university. We’re his only passengers and he’s happy to share stories of his youth, the subsequent addition of the 50 or so pounds that forced him to switch from basketball player to coach of his kids’ teams and the reality of daily life in Washington, a city that cheerfully supports losing sports teams because politics is the real blood sport.

Arlington cemetary

Arlington Cemetery by night

Washington by night is surreal. The softly lit city looks all warm and fuzzy from the safety of the open-air double-decker. Iconic landmarks like the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial literally glow in the dark. We were advised at the-campground-that-has-everything to bring flashlights for walking around the areas like the Vietnam wall and the Martin Luther King monument.

Shortview Lincoln memorial

It is even more impressive in person, now if only all those pesky tourists weren’t in the way

The Lincoln memorial is astounding. A marvelous sculpture that rivals Michelangelo’s David for its exquisite detail, it commands the viewer’s attention from its colonnaded perch overlooking the national mall. Lincoln beats out David for his historical significance and the fact the sculptor kept his pants on.

The White House appears mundane in comparison. After a lifetime of viewing the presidential residence in the context of life-changing historical events, it seems much smaller in reality, like revisiting an old house that looms large in childhood memory. More interesting was the make-shift structure of an enterprising protester at the edge of the park across the street. A quick perusal of his placards reveals his general dissatisfaction with Keystone, GMO’s, Nuclear weapons and Justin Biebers new hairstyle.

whitehouse & protest signs

A tale of two houses

Mount Vernon, the historic plantation home of George and Martha Washington, is mecca to patriotic Americans and a must-see tourist stop. The man with wooden teeth is a study in contrasts. A fearless soldier who defied great odds in leading his bedraggled troops against the British, he was foremost a businessman and farmer who preferred life at the plantation to the corridors of power in Washington. He kept slaves and buried them in unmarked graves in a wooded area far from the house but was a benevolent slave-owner who decreed in his will that upon his death all his slaves would become free. Most stayed on to work his farms, of which he owned five, and his distillery and mills.

George Washington farm

Recreating the past at Mount Vernon, shameful parts and all

Perhaps the biggest surprise of our Washington stay was the city’s affordability. Penny-pinching RVers can get around on the impressive transit system, visit all the free war memorials, of which there are too many for a country that purports itself to be a peace-loving nation, and occupy themselves from morning to night without breaking the bank. Public buildings around the National Mall even encourage tourists to eat in their inexpensive cafeterias.

Smithsonian African Elephant

Wanna see this at the Natural History Museum…it’s free

Assorted missiles

How about a couple of Cold War missiles….also free

Lady liberty

Prefer a little culture in your museums….free

Air & Space

How about the history of flying anyone?….you got it…free

All the Smithsonian’s are free. Gratis. I say all the Smithsonian’s, because although it is one institution the bulk of its exhibitions are spread around the National Mall in 11 locations, each with a different theme. There are 19 locations in all, 17 of them in Washington. The bigger ones, like the Museum of Natural History and the Air and Space Museum, are so comprehensive a full day of gawking doesn’t do them justice. We spent a half-hour in the American History Museum playing the Price is Right at one of the interactive displays in the pop culture section. Overpowering, awe-inspiring, stupefying, whatever superlative you choose won’t be overstating the Smithsonian experience.


Leave it to Bill to have the weirdest portrait

The multi-level National Portrait Gallery was of particular interest, despite our limited knowledge and interest in art. The Presidential Gallery pays tribute to every U.S. president, from multi-portrait displays of Washington and Lincoln to a modest portrait of disgraced Richard “I am not a crook’ Nixon. Bill Clinton takes up an entire wall in a connect-the-dots modernistic interpretation of the man ‘who did not have sexual relations with that woman.’ Other rooms off the tiled hallways that are themselves works of art, house portraits of famous Americans from Elizabeth Taylor to the writer William Faulkner, from Einstein to Marilyn Monroe. Katherine Hepburn’s display includes her four Best Actress Oscars.

Washington monument

The iconic Washington monument as seen from the World War I & II monuments, which are just down from the Lincoln memorial and across from the Vietnam War memorial and they’re all fantastic, wear good shoes when visiting

With heads filled to bursting with information and a better understanding of what it means to be an American, we point the Mean Machine south, to the place where the first shot was fired in the bloody war that almost ended the American dream. (Yes, there is a Civil War memorial in Washington but in these politically correct times it is now called The War Between the States.)


And finally what’s a visit to Washington without a bit of democratic protest by a guy who clearly didn’t get the Labour Day memo about wearing white

Next: On to Charleston to experience southern hospitality and our first taste of grits.

The Dame goes stalking

No Parking ever!

You really don’t want to park in front of this guys house

I blame it on L-Pooh. She the companion of my misspent teens, who upon our first meeting in the back seat of a car driving aimlessly around the small town I grew up in, announced she felt sick and proceeded to puke on my lap. We’ve been best pals ever since.

From Canada to Maine & thru Boston 089

The goofy fan photo is for my own files, you’ll have to make do with the bats on his gate

She also introduced me to Stephen King, who keeps a gothic house with bat-winged gates in Bangor, Maine. Literary snobs will sniff and shake their heads but let me tell ya, the guy’s got a way with words. Lots of words. He’s incredibly prolific and with six months of writing a blog under my belt, I have new appreciation for the work involved. He’s scared the crap out of me more times than I can count. I spent the night after reading Pet Semetary with all the lights in my apartment ablaze and still shudder when I see cherubic blond toddlers.

Bangor church

Just read Revival by Mr. King so had to include a picture of this vaguely creepy Bangor church

Is it still called stalking if you don’t meet the subject of the stalk, er, visit? His house is everything I hoped but alas, the King has left the building. Apparently he and Tabitha head south for the winter so I stand for a picture, Stephen King hard cover in hand, with The Dog by my side, smiling a foolish fan smile in front of the house. It was so worth it L-Pooh.

Cruise ship Bar Harbour

Look Ma, a smiling cruise ship in Bar Harbour

If Bangor is a blue collar town, Bar Harbour is its white collar alter ego. About an hour outside of Bangor, Bar Harbour, or Bah Hahbah to the locals, is upscale quaint. We arrive in town to discover the cruise ship fleet has disgorged its human cargo at the pier. The streets are flooded with LL Bean-wearing tourists, credit cards in hand, snatching up authentic “made in China” Bah Hahbah paraphernalia.

The Hahbah and town are lovely but less attractive when the streets are overrun by tourists shopping for that perfect tacky souvenir. Tourist towns (yes that includes Penticton) exude a kind of sadness when the season ends. It’s like the post New Year’s Eve party clean-up — a great time was had by all, but hey, who put a cigarette butt in the punch bowl.


A selection of seasonal lawn ornaments to spice up the neighbourhood

With home and native land in the rear view mirror, we play that Canadian game of gas price comparison. You know the one, where you look at the posted gas rate and mutter and curse as you convert gallons to litres and U.S. $ to Cdn $ and figure out our southern neighbours pay around sixty cents a litre. Even with the yucky exchange rate (good timing Meanderers) it’s a win win.

Fall Colours

The fall colours in all their glory

Leaving the explosion of Maine’s fall colours behind, we head for the Kennedy’s stomping grounds on old Cape Cod. For getting from point A to point B quickly, there is nothing like the mighty interstate highways. Picture the Trans-Canada on steroids, cutting through major centres with ten lane choices and exit and entry ramps spewing traffic on and off.

Boston traffic

The picture doesn’t quite capture the circle of hell that is Friday traffic through the Boston area

Now picture the Meanderers pulling their 10,000 pound home through Boston and environs at rush hour on a Friday, the Dude’s white-knuckles gleaming as the Dame provides running commentary on signage and lane changes, while GPS Gertrude’s robotic voice adds 30 minutes to our travel time at regular intervals. To say Boston area traffic is bad is like saying Charlie Sheen enjoys a cocktail or two.

Our route takes us through the centre of Boston, where we wistfully note landmarks in the skyline from a previous visit before plunging into a multi-laned tunnel through which traffic is proceeding at less than a walking pace, mile after dark mile. Please, dear Lord, don’t let there be a terrorist attack now. We emerge from the darkness 45 minutes later, having covered about eight miles, into an endless stream of honking horns, lane-switching, crawling traffic that continues all the way to the Cape.


We know how you feel Tom

Traffic is so bad on the Cape drivers are encouraged to use the break down lanes on the side to bypass traffic and get to their exits. Apparently breaking down is verboten during rush hour.

We arrive in darkness, after a stop at Mickey D’s for sustenance, to find the campground office closed. Luckily we phoned ahead and the thoughtful site managers have taped an envelope on the office door with a gate pass and instructions to get to our site. The Dude is catatonic from the drive, PTDD, post traumatic driving disorder.

Yellow slicker dex

A warm welcome and rain slickers await all of the Meanderers in Cape Cod

Now we’ve all heard the tale of Plymouth Rock, the pilgrims cross the ocean, land at the rock and voila America is born. Without them there would be no Black Friday shopping folks. Think about it.

The truth is less romantic. The Pilgrims landed at Provincetown on the tip of the Cape, stayed for about five weeks before finding its swamps and dunes less than hospitable, and headed across the bay for Plymouth.

Oysters 1

Drinking and eating lots and lots of oysters, what could possibly go wrong (note the skull & crossbones warning)

Having recently finished a book about the Pilgrims’ journey and subsequent travails, the Dude is eager (for those who know the Dude, mildly interested would be a better choice of words) to visit Provincetown down the road. We have arrived during what is apparently festival weekend on the Cape. An Oyster festival is in progress in Wellfleet, a tiny town of narrow winding streets and lanes, lush gardens and a mix of permanent and “from away” residents. (From away is a term we learn applies to anybody not here for at least two hundred years).

Who knew oysters were so popular. Our campground hostess advises that the little festival started years ago with a few people from town getting together to shuck oysters, drink beer and trade tales about the big one that got away (which would make sense if oysters could actually move, but I digress).

Restaurant row

If oysters aren’t your thing, there’s always fried dough, fried scallops, and pretty well anything you can think of….fried

The festival is now the equivalent of a large outdoor concert with foodies from all over Massachusetts and nearby states descending on the area to slurp oysters, wear knitted watch caps and watch competitive oyster shucking on the main stage.
But today it’s all about Provincetown. Sand dunes, dotted with scrubby pine trees, surround the town encroaching on the highway. Get rid of the townsfolk and the sand would take over the town in short order. I think I know why the Pilgrims left for Plymouth.

Road disappears

Sand meets road…Sand wins

On this weekend, women have taken over the town. A lot of women with short hair, sturdy boots and t-shirts emblazoned with city logos. Some travel in packs of five or six but most walk, arms linked, window shopping along the street. We have arrived during Women’s Week, one of the largest lesbian festivals in the USA. The mood is festive and P-Town (as it is called) is bursting at the seams with raucous lesbians bellied up to the bars at every drinking establishment in town, of which there are many. We spend the afternoon perusing the shops before The Dude, intimidated by the estrogen levels, suggests we push on to find a quieter place to eat drink and be merry.

Halloween ghoul

A patriotic ghoul guards the entrance to the bar

Combine Women’s Week and Wellsfleet’s Oyster Festival on a small coastal highway and you have a recipe for traffic gridlock on the Cape’s main thoroughfare. If this is what it’s like in the Fall summer must be a masochist’s wet dream. After quick deke off the highway along country lanes so narrow two vehicles cannot pass, we spot a restaurant and pull our diesel beast into the parking lot.

Runway on sand

Provincetown adds a landing strip to the beach

The candy cotton pink exterior and signage advising us we are at a Boulangerie/Bistro do not tell the whole story. The place is packed with festival-goers hoping to avoid the traffic. The owner sniffs haughtily in a French accent when informed we don’ have reservations before scuttling up a tiny table near the bar. The Dude begins to have misgivings even before we open the bistro menu expecting to find café prices. “Tabernac,” is all he can get out when he sees the full-on French menu with the various bits and bobs of animal parts the French love to eat and the accompanying prices, which he immediately begins converting to Canadian money.

Taking pity on the Dude’s glazed look the server brings him a biere and reading glasses before advising us of the fixed prix menu, which is the life preserver the Dude is looking for to avoid melting our credit card or having to head out in the gridlock awaiting us. Sometimes you gotta listen to your inner Pilgrim.

Headstand in Bangor park

A final farewell to Bangor Maine, the home of Stephen King and aspiring gymnasts from around the world

Next…Nice to meet you, Mr. President

True North strong and free

Second batch new camera 068

A glorious post-snow day in Alberta

We knew that Hell had surely frozen over when we awoke at a St. Albert campsite to six inches of snow after a May blizzard and news that the NDP had defeated the long-reigning provincial Conservatives, a historic first in the province of pickup trucks and baseball caps. A fitting beginning to our long strange trip across ‘the true north strong and free.’

Ottawa war museum & downtown 076

There’s a new sheriff in town

We watched the federal Liberal landslide online on old Cape Cod, an hour’s drive from Provincetown where the Mayflower deposited the Pilgrims on a crisp fall day in 1622. Contrary to the myth, North America’s first European settlers did not step from their boats onto Plymouth Rock but instead moved across the bay to that location after their first landfall at the tip of the Cape proved inhospitable.

One can’t help but wonder what they would make of the continent in the 21st Century. Driving across Canada leaves this traveller with one enduring question. What the hell happened? Or perhaps better stated: How the hell could it have happened?

To call the formation of this nation unlikely goes way beyond understatement. Canada’s existence is nothing short of miraculous, with a huge capital M and ten exclamation points.

The diversity and vastness of its geographical setting is jaw-dropping. No amount of map gazing can prepare one for the experience of driving from the deserts of southern B.C. through spectacular mountain passes and across plains that stretch to infinity on all sides, over the rocky Canadian Shield past lakes too numerous to count before arriving at lakes too huge to contemplate, then alongside a river stretching from the heart of the continent to a basin too wide to see land on the other side.
Considering oneself as a part owner of this huge swath of the globe, and therefore its caretaker, is humbling in the extreme and the responsibility would be overwhelming and frightening were it not for the presence throughout of those who share the burden.

Quebec city walking tour 109

The two solitudes

While a country is defined geographically by its borders, a nation owes its identity to its people. And what a stalwart bunch we Canadians are. Canada is what happens when the world’s risk-takers are bound together under a government that not only allows but encourages their individuality and independence in pursuit of a better life.
And make no mistake, every person who left home and hearth behind for the uncertainty and inevitable hardship of settling in a new place with an uncertain future, and this includes First Nation peoples who came before the rest, is a risk taker of the highest order.

To see their accomplishments, and those of the ancestors who share their bloodline, to witness their cultures flourish and their religions on display in cathedrals, temples and domed churches, was to see the potential of the human race come to fruition in a setting befitting of our ancestors ingenuity, courage and optimism.

From the canals that harnessed the rivers providing water for the orchards and vineyards of the South Okanagan, to the roads through B.C.’s impossibly steep mountain passes, past Alberta’s derricks and gas wells that sustain our energy and the vast wheat farms of Saskatchewan and Manitoba that feed the world, to the transportation hub that became Winnipeg and the canal systems and locks of Ontario and Quebec that linked rivers and lakes to provide the country’s first highway from the Maritime provinces that built the ships and fishing boats, it’s one hell of a sightseeing trip.

What a great country.

The Dude and the Dame

Dr. Doom and a fond farewell

Future Inn

Clean sheets, water pressure and Movies on Demand, am I in heaven?

You don’t realize how much you miss having space until you haven’t had it for five months. Even the Dog is impressed as he saunters through the lobby of the Future Hotel in Halifax to our first floor room.

Leaving the Grey Ghost in Phil’s hands involved stuffing various clothes and sundries into cloth shopping bags. Suitcases are a moot point when your house travels with you. We bring to mind the Beverly Hillbillies on vacation, dog bed draped over shopping bags with clothes spilling out, as we wheel the luggage rack through the lobby.

Halifax harbour

Back to Halifax, as least the weather is good

We rationalize the Grey Ghost’s troubles as a mini-vacation from our vacation, a few days in a nice hotel room, sight-seeing around the area and back on the road.
The Dog and I renew our love affair with Point Pleasant Park and The Dude renews his love affair with the poker game at the Halifax casino.

And then Phil called.

Phil is what we’ve come to view as a typical Nova Scotian, friendly, plain-spoken with a gift for the gab, in this case a point by point breakdown on the abysmal state of the underside of our fifth wheel and a less than heartening overview of the state of repair. He’s like a cheerful Dr. Doom, happy to find his opinion of the motorhome industry has been verified. The three days has suddenly turned into a week and even that is tentative.

Stanfield factory

When in Truro be sure to stock up on underwear, lots of underwear, just ask the Dude

We head for Truro to further explore the Bay of Fundy. The motel is a step down from Halifax, but we invested in a twenty dollar rolling tote bag from Canadian Tire so we can look fancy rolling up to the our room, which is sparkling clean with a typical motel configuration and a door that opens out into a parking lot.

Truro is in mourning for a female police officer recently murdered in Halifax. A memorial in front of the police office affords family members, other officers and members of the public a place to pay their respects. It puts our recent inconvenience in perspective.

The Fundy Tides are the draw in Truro. Tourists are directed to the Salmon River at the edge of town to view the tidal bore that occurs twice a day. It’s like watching a tide come in on a river that has been drained of water. Unfortunately we have come at a time when the tides are at their lowest level. Curses batman!

A hidden gem is Victoria Park. The Dude will confirm the grass in the park is perfect for napping and the other two members of the Meanderers that the park has great trails, two waterfalls and a plethora of butt-busting stairs.

Victoria park Truro

Truro’s Victoria part, this is the flat part before the stairs from hell

Though we don’t know it, our visit to the Minas Basin and the Five Islands area will be historic. A quaint lighthouse sits near the cliff on the basin’s edge, surrounded by fields of wildflowers. The tide is out when we arrive and we spot tiny bumps in the distance on the panorama of red sand. Binoculars reveal the bumps to be ATVs, parked while the drivers/oyster men dig in the sand. The sea arch, a large hole through one of the rock faces that comprise the Five Islands, is a famous area landmark. Er, let me re-frame that, the sea arch was a key landmark. Last week the arch collapsed. Not to worry, I’ve got some of the last pictures of it.

Minas basin

See that hole in the rock, it’s now just a pile of rubble.

Another call from Phil and more bad news, the axles need replacing. After sourcing every parts outlet in his 30-year repertoire, he locates them in Quebec but it will take time to have them shipped.

We’ve worn out our welcome in Truro and decide to head back to Halifax where we book at the Chebucto Inn. The reviews are mostly positive, though the surrounding area is given a less than glowing review. It could be charitably called industrial chic. The rooms are clean, food in the restaurant is good, and the surrounding area is a blend of condos, industry and Tim Horton’s. Have I mentioned that Tim Horton’s is a plague on the restaurant business? They are everywhere, like a donut and coffee-selling version of Walmart.

New and old Halifax

Halifax downtown, history meets condo hell

The days are spent walking the streets and along the city’s waterfront. I take the opportunity to visit a salon and shop at the Halifax mall as we wait for Phil to call.
When he does call it’s to inform us that despite his explicit instructions and measurements to suppliers, they managed to screw things up. He has to turn down other business while the Grey Ghost takes up his shop space. He’s makes a reference to the Grey Ghost as the trailer from hell.

The Dog at Pleasant park

The Dog is a poser at Pleasant Park

Finally the wait is over and we pick up the Ghost with its new shiny axles, brakes, bearings and assorted paraphernalia, which Phil feels the need to explain in detail. Coffers somewhat depleted, we head for Fundy’s western shoreline, the money shot featured in brochures – New Brunswick’s Hopewell Rocks.

Grey Ghost’s tribulations are forgotten as we watch billions of gallons of seawater cover the sand in a ritual that is as old as the earth, rising 48 feet up the rock faces in the space of a few hours. Back at the almost empty campground, where we are parked on the ocean’s edge, we view a blood red full moon eclipse while sipping Bailey’s and hot chocolate.


Moon gazing on the Bay of Fundy

The lovely languid days of Fall have begun and as promised the east coast is a landscape of burnished red, orange and gold trees. The scenic Okanagan landscape has nothing on this area when it comes to Autumn colours. We spend a couple of days in St. John before finishing up the Canadian portion of our trip in the resort town of St. Andrews. Famous resort area is code for “seriously rich folks summered here”.

One of them was Sir William Van Horne, who oversaw the construction of Canada’s railroad way back when and is among the bearded men in waistcoats in the iconic famous Last Spike picture. Not content with building a railroad from coast to coast he turned his attention to his country estate on Minister’s Island, which is only accessible by road when the tide is out. To get to it we must drive “across the ocean floor.”

Cape Ediate stairs to Fundy

The high and low tide warning signs at Cape Enrage between Moncton & St. John

His family summered on the island, travelling from their Montreal home to the island mansion, where they entertained the era’s swells with sumptuous dinners followed by brandy and billiards. A Renaissance man whose landscape paintings decorate the mansion, Van Horne was a successful farmer, growing crops and raising prize-winning livestock on the self-sustaining estate. Or rather, overseeing the people who did the actual work. And he did it all without putting his head to the pillow for more than four hours a night. An antithesis to the Dude, he viewed sleep as a time-wasting bad habit.

Buffalo head Ministers Island

What is it with rich guys like Van Horne and their need to mount animals on their mantles, compensating much?

Thanksgiving at the Algonquin hotel was a trip back in time — elaborate table settings, beautifully embossed china, discreet décor, attentive waiters. I have decided yet again that I am meant to be rich. Make it so, Jeeves.

St. John Trinity

St. John NB great site for Halloween shenanigans

We are eager to begin the U.S. portion of our trip before the weather changes and the exchange rate gets any worse. For a political junkie like me, with our Canadian election season ending and the American one rolling into high gear, this is going to be fun!

Maybe we’ll see Trump or Hillary somewhere during our travels.

Hopewell Before

Hopewell Rocks, what we call the “real” Bay of Fundy. In a before shot

Hopewell after

Hopewell Rocks, an hour later, the tourists who made it up the stairs have quite the tale to tell

Next…Paging Stephen King