Road Trip! Halfway between the Equator and the North Pole

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September 26th 2019
Published: September 27th 2019
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Day 6-7:

Yea! We are headed out on our own for a 2-day road trip. A big circle starting in Halifax, Nova Scotia, up through Prince Edward Island, down into New Brunswick and back to Halifax.

The day started out cloudy, rainy, with fog on the bays. Turned out the private limo from the Westin to the airport was $10 less than a cab so, no decision here. Eli, our driver is 52, lived in Halifax his whole life, and regaled us with a lot of history of the area. As we passed an unusually large IKEA, Eli gave us his opinion of our President and his hopes that he will be out and this "craziness" will end soon. The airport is about 30 minutes north of downtown Halifax. The roads all over Canada are wonderful and these provinces are no exception. Most of the signs are the same as the USA, except many are in French and English and in Fresno we rarely see a "Moose Crossing" sign ;-)

Getting the car at the airport was great. They actually brought the car to us. No walking long distances in some gigantic parking structure. There it was right outside the door, a Nissan SUV. Thank you, Costco for the discount reservation and thank you Alamo for the service!

We plugged in "Rhonda" (as in Help, Help Me Rhonda) our trusty GPS and we headed for the ferry at Picton, Nova Scotia, about 2 hours away. We pass farms, and more farms, and more farms. The land is rolling and green, orange, yellow and red with turning trees and golden farm fields in-between. As we pass through the town of Stewiacke we see a sign that says, "Halfway between the Equator and the North Pole". Now that's interesting!

We already had reservations for the ferry so quickly got in line 16, left the car and headed into the cafe for a cup of coffee. It was chilly and still rainy on and off. As we pulled the car onto the upper deck, we found ourselves the first car in the front of the ferry. So, Cope parked, put on the parking brake and we got out, walked back to the middle of the ferry to climb the stairs to the upper passenger deck. The ferry's upper deck was filled with cars while the lower deck carried busses, motor homes, and trucks loaded with timber, a crane and other large vehicles.

The crossing to Prince Edward Island (PEI) took 75 minutes. Unfortunately, it was fog all the way so nothing for us to see. Jean read her book and Cope wandered around the ferry. Once off, we headed west along the coast through... you guessed it... farms, and more farms on our way to Charlottetown, named after Queen Charlotte, wife of King George the III. But first, a stop at the Pt. Prim lighthouse. We, not the lighthouse itself, as we've seen a lot of lighthouses... but the "shack" just down the road from it. We have been told that the place to get amazing lobster roll and fish chowder is "The Chowder House" at the lighthouse. We detour off the main road and head out to Pt. Prim, about a 10-minute detour. As we turn off, 2 other cars are following us, also from the ferry and we make a little train heading for the coast. We park in the muddy parking lot and walk over, there's a sign sending us to the "deck" at the end of the building, to enter. Inside is small with about 8 tables, 6 were already full. A big guy in warm flannel, comes to us smiling and asks if we have a reservation. A reservation? Really? UH...NO. He says no problem and seats us ;-) Ok, folks, the likelihood you will be at Pt. Prim is extremely small, however, should that happen, know... this will be THE MOST AMAZING fish chowder and lobster roll you will ever have. So worth the small detour. We devoured every bite.

Back out into the rainy day we return to Trans-Canada 1 continuing on to Charlottetown. We arrived in Charlottetown, a pretty big town for this area, and drive around a little to see the beautiful churches and neighborhoods. We stop downtown and go into a couple of book stores and generally people watch as Holland America's Zandaam is in port today. We say good-bye to Charlottetown as we have 3 hours more driving today to get to Moncton, New Brunswick. We head 30 miles west to the Confederation Bridge which will take us from PEI to New Brunswick. Thank goodness you can pay with a credit card to cross the bridge as the toll is $47.75 per car! Ouch. The Confederation Bridge was built in 1997, is 8 miles long and is the world's longest bridge over ice covered water. After the bridge we once again pass............farms and more farms ;-) until we reach Moncton. This is just an overnight stop for us as our real goal of this road trip is to see the amazing high and low tides of the Bay of Fundy tomorrow.

Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men...

Next morning, we are off to Hopewell Rocks at the Bay of Fundy. It is about an hour's drive. When we arrive, it is still a little rainy and misting. We pay our senior entrance fee of $8 plus $2 for a golf cart shuttle ride to the look out. Finally, we have arrived at one of Jean’s “bucket list " places. She has wanted to see the bay and tides for 40 years. We have planned it to arrive at high tide and then plan to come back in the afternoon at 3 to see the rocks and ocean floor totally uncovered and walk on the floor. It is so beautiful, and because it is shoulder season and most everything tourist-wise closes down by October 15th there are not a lot of people here. There is a wonderful interpretive center with an even more amazing gift shop. Generally, we are not much into gift shops but this one is an exception with local artisans displaying pottery, jewelry, clothing, painting... it was really special. Yes, we spent a few dollars here ;-)

Ok, so having seen the high tide we now take the advice of a Hopewell Rocks Interpretive Guide and head down the coast towards, St. John to have lunch in a small village of 200 called Alma. Once again, we have a wonderful lunch, Fish and Chips and Fish Chowder, visit with the locals, go to the bakery (of course), get some gas and head back to see the low tide at Hopewell and walk on the ocean floor. A few miles out of town we slow down as a fire rescue car pulls out onto the road in front of us. He's in a hurry. We continue to look at the turning leaves and meander our way back towards Hopewell...and then... we stop! There are about 20 cars in front of us stopped and something has happened around the curve of the road. We can't see. After a little while people begin getting out of their cars and walking up the road to see what happened. Awhile later, many are returning to their cars and turning around on the road and heading back toward Alma. Finally, since Jean is driving, she gets out to talk to a woman in the car behind us. She is a local and has been talking with someone on the phone. There is a car wreck and it is so bad they have called for the "Jaws of Life". It will take at least an hour just to get the equipment here. She says the only way to go is to turn around and backtrack to Alma then go through the Bay of Fundy National Park, head up to Trans-Canada 1 and back into Moncton. We are so sorry for those in the wreck and it is clear now that we will not be seeing the low tide at Hopewell. So... we take her advice, turn around and head back to Alma. In Alma, just to make sure we're headed in the right direction, we stop at a little general store, where the ladies are VERY helpful and give us good directions and even tell us what to say so we don't have to pay the fee to go through the national park.

The Bay of Fundy National Park is stunning with the bay water and turning leaves. So... we missed the low tide adventure but got another beautiful one. Just after leaving the park we run into road construction. We are pretty sure that every road in Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and Quebec is under construction! LOL Heading back east we are in Halifax, at our hotel by 7 pm.

A great 2-day road trip.

Tomorrow: Peggy's Cove

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