Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Nova Scotia

We awoke to a beautiful morning.  The sun was rising over the clear water across from our tent.  We took our morning slowly, having some coffee and planning our day.  We were to head towards the ferry that would ship us from Wood Islands to Nova Scotia after a quick trip to the legislative building for, what else, a few pix of the dogs.

The dampness of the night also kept us from heading out quickly.  The rain fly of the tent was dripping wet and being under the shade of the trees had kept it from drying.  We detached the top and moved it over towards a tree which was in the early morning sun.  We each took a shower in not the most cleanest of bathrooms, but it sufficed.

I continued to shake the rain fly trying to quicken the pace of the drying and eventually was satisfied with it's state and folded it up.  The tent, kitchen, food and bedding were all packed and then the dogs, always anxious about the start of day, jumped in the car.

Back down to Charlottetown we drove, found a Doris Day spot at the Legislature Building and walked towards the entrance.  It was a Monday morning and the area was busy with pedestrians and workers around the building.  I entered the building to see some of the grandeur which I hoped PEI would offer.

It was a simple building with plain white walls.  There was some ornamentation, but not too much.  The picture below did show some former time when the people provided the glam.

The dogs had gotten used to me taking them one by one to take their portrait with the buildings.  I must say, BJ does not seem to appreciate it much anymore.  Alas, the life of a TravelingDog!
We were right on time to catch the Northumberland Ferry to Nova Scotia.  I tend to not make reservations for these journeys as we never really know when we would needing them due to complications or changes on the road.  To date, I have never been let down.  We were roughly within the first 10 cars to arrive and only had to wait about 45 minutes before boarding.  Time for another dog walk and to check out the terminal.  Not much to see, BTW.

We were directed onto the ferry and led to the first spot which meant we would be the first to get off.  Score!  We grabbed our items which we would use for our 70 minute journey to Caribou.  Camera, check.  Computer, check (had to check the budget).  Cribbage board & cards, check.  "Be good boys!" Check!

We headed up to the deck, found some roomy seats on the ferry and settled in.  We each took turns checking out the different levels and taking snapshots of the areas surrounding us.  We moved our seats to get some breakfast and before we knew it, we were in Nova Scotia.

There was no real agenda and when we got off the ferry we just drove south towards Truro.  Our intention was to check out Halifax and head towards Digby to take the next ferry back to New Brunswick.

We stopped at the Glooscap First Nation to get some gas and to check out their museum & store.  I still had my mother's $100 canadian bill for my 2013 moccasins.  I found a great pair along with some additional soap with fragrances of cedar and sweetgrass.  This could actually be called the Soap Tour considering how much we now had in  our car. 

Behind the museum and store stood this amazing, tall statue of Glooscap, the first human.  I mean TALL!  He stands at 40' along the roadway for all to see.

Next, we headed towards Halifax, the capitol of Nova Scotia.  We had a little bit of trouble finding the Legislative building as it was not called by that name.  It was named Province House we learned.  It is situated on a busy street in the downtown area by the coast.

The day was Monday and also a holiday.  Different provinces call this holiday different names.  Nova Scotia calls the first day of August Natal Day.  Basically, everyone wanted a holiday in August so they made the Civic Holiday.  Gotta love Canada!

It was also the day of the Halifax International Busker Festival.  We found this out by trying to find the information area and landing ourselves in the middle of it.  It was quite the experience walking through the jugglers, mimes and other oddities.  I got the information I needed and we quickly left the area.  It truly can be difficult when you have two dogs traveling with you.  They define what can be done and what can't.

We found Province House a few streets away.  It was behind a tall black iron fence.  Tom decided to stay in the car, sort of over the whole capitol thing.  I took my trusty camera and took a few shots inside and out.

One spot that I did want to see as well was Peggy's Cove.  Not that far from Halifax, we arrived on the rocky shore within a 1/2 hour.  It is one of the most popular spots to see in Nova Scotia.  That was proven when we tried to find parking.  The lot was packed with cars and busses.

People were crawling over all of the paths and smooth rocks.  There was no chance of a lone lighthouse on an outcropping like we had in Manistique.

It was a nice stop and after stopping in the gift shop we headed back onto the road.  First traveling down the coastal road and then heading inland as the winding road was going to take a very long time to get anywhere.

The drive was picturesque, traveling through small towns and wooded areas.  We eventually made it to the Western side of the island and that's were we stopped for a bit.  We had to.  We were driving without a destination which annoys me to no end.  We were going to camp overnight but the day was closing around us.  We were not sure about the ferry and if they had room or not.  We new there was one at 8 in the morning.  I saw a phone booth (how odd to see them) and stopped the car.

After a fairly quick call, a decision was made.  We would head to Digby and catch the ferry in the morning.  As we approached the small coastal town, the sun was just about to set and it was going to be a beautiful sunset.  Tom spotted a sign for a reserve right before the town, so I figured we would get some petro and then watch the day turn to night.

I didn't know that the reserve was 10 miles down the road.  I also didn't know that there were two gas stations and, with the first one unattended, we headed to the second one.  Another 10 miles down the road, except this one dirt and gravel.  We never did find the second one.  Turn back around, another 10 miles.  Gas up and then another 10 miles back to the main road.  Needless to say, no sunset for the TravelingDogs.

We searched for a place to stay.  There was one that was listed right by the ferry, but we never did find that one.  It was very dark when we finally found a small motel called the Siesta Motel.  We checked in with the older woman at the desk and settled in for the night.  Well, I did.  Tom headed out to try and find some food to bring back to the room.  He did, although the pizza was nothing to write on a postcard.  Canadians sure don't know how to make my kind of pizza.

The following day we planned on taking the ferry and it would also be the start home.  We were the furthest East we could go.  Now it's time to start heading West.  Actually South and then West.  But home was coming.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

An IPA in PEI!

Getting up on Sunday morning was easy.  Going to say goodbye to Listuguj and my family, not so much.  Granted, we would see them again soon enough, but still...

It was early once again.  I slept through some partying indians trouncing past Betty's cabin, but I heard nothing.  Tom heard them and, I guess, my deep slumber too.  (so he says)

The rain had stopped and it was time to repack the car from the day before.  Tom had pulled the blankets out of the car the night before and hung them by the fire to dry.  Over the course of the night they dried nicely.  Everything was warm to the touch and it was a shame that we couldn't nuzzle the material before we layered them back into the back seat.

Once the back of the car was back in it's original traveling mode, we headed back down the dirt road and out of The Woods.  Past the river and the lake we drove.  The sky matching my mood as I was sad to be leaving the res.

We stopped at Betty's house and hid her keys and a small gift as a thank you in the grill on her porch.  It was still too early to wake up the house.  I would text her later and let her know.

We then headed to my family's hotel.  The cabin had no plumbing, so we took full advantage of the hotel's amenities, including the breakfast buffet and free newspaper.  For me, there's nothing better than a Sunday crossword.  The family was all up and doing their packing.  Emma was still not doing any better with her wrist.

My mother slipped me $100 for a pair of moccasins.  It has become a ritual, whether I go to Pow Wow or not, to receive a new pair every year.  I tend to wear them often while on vacation or even just walking down the streets of Los Osos.  They wear out within one year and she has been sending me a pair in the mail for the past five years.

We all said our goodbyes, knowing that we would be seeing each other within the week.  And then, we were off, heading further East towards Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island via New Brunswick.  We hugged the coast of Chaleu Bay for a while and talked about our next few weeks of travel ahead of us.  We had been this way before, passing Dalhousie and Bathurst, but neither of us had been to PEI.

Our first destination for the was to be the Olivier Soapery by Bouctouche, NB.  We had been there a number of years ago and maybe bought a bar of soap or two.  This time, it was soap for everyone as gifts.  Tom in foreign country likes to spend money on things.

The soapery was smaller than I remembered but they were still doing there presentations to anyone coming into the store.  The hows and whys of soap making.  They even showed how to wash yourself. A great option, especially if you utilized their open air showers in the back of the store.

A happy presenter at Olivier

We didn't stay to long.  The sun had been poking out all morning and by the time we got to Olivier it was pretty warm and bright.  We had to park under the lone tree with a parking space to keep the dogs from being affected by the heat.

It was getting near lunch and I was on the prowl for some road side poutine.  We were fortunate to find a small stand located by the water that sold poutine and lobster rolls.  Eating these lobster rolls started a craving that I had not had in years.  I wanted more.  Northeastern lobsters are the tastiest.  Just a little mayo, butter on a hot dog bun.  YUMmy!  I took a few shots of the surrounding area before we left, seen below.

Having happy bellies and a destination in mind, we continued down the road towards Cape Tormentine and the eight mile Confederation Bridge that would take us over the bay to PEI.  What a score when, after I thought I had to pay a toll, there was none.  What a non-score when we landed onto PEI and found one large tourist area waiting for us.

It was one of those make believe towns meant to remind you of years gone by except that the buildings were cookie cutter stores with no sense of design or style.  The parking lots were packed and people were coming and going.  Luckily, it was very warm outside, and with no trees in sight, we had to make this quick.  I wanted a map.  Tom had to pee.  He took care of his business while I waited...waited...waited to take care of mine.  After no line movement at the tourism center, we were off, taking our chances.  It was just an island, right?

BuddyJack TravelingDog

Luther TravelingDog

PEI is divided into three distinct areas.  Our first intention was to travel the perimeter of the entire province, but through a few wrong turns we found ourselves circling the center section.  It was too bad, for the most native area was the western area.

I don't know if it would have been much different than what we were seeing.  "Oh look.  A potato farm!"  Then again...and again...and again.  We learned that PEI supplies 25% of Canada with their potatoes.  Now we know how.  Farm after farm after farm.  Occasionally, even though we were on an island, we saw water.  Waaay over there!

It was a beautiful day.  The sun was out and after getting past some of the major areas, we were traveling at a leisurely pace.  We passed many family friendly destinations such as water parks and miniature golf.  They even have the Anne of Green Gables home on one of their Provincial Parks.

To make the full circle, we found a campground 15 minutes outside of Charlottetown, the capital of PEI.  I chose it mostly for the Be Cool words on the sign.  I figured, we're cool.  Why not.

We're Cool!

There was nice young hippy chick at the desk.  Bon Jour.  Looking for a place to camp.  Bingo!  Spot right on the lake, covered by trees.  It was perfect.  We set up our tent, still a bit damp from the rains the nights before.  The dogs just watched as we lugged out the chairs and boxes of food and kitchen.  They barely glanced up as Tom filled the mattress and put it in the tent.  A dog's life?  I want one.

I wanted to head into Charlottetown to check out the capitol.  We drove down and looked for an ale house which I had read about in one of the guides I didn't have to wait for back upon our arrival.  We found it and then found a place to park (under a tree for the dogs, again).

We entered through the rear door into The Gahan House and found a 45 minute wait.  We headed over to the bar and had some of their fine crafted ale.  Actually it was an IPA in PEI.

I went outside to have a cigarette and found a bustling area including a duo performing some music, lots of people eating at outdoor cafes and, hopefully as an end cap, a non silver clad church.

I went back inside and we were sat at our table.  We didn't have any potatoes with our meal, but we had something better.  When in PEI, let's have some PEI mussels.  They were delish!

We walked through town, realizing quickly that we very close to the Legislative building.  It was the first time that we had seen one at night as we always traveled by day.  The streets were still very active and as we walked block by block more of the city had expressed herself to us.  She was very beautiful and cosmopolitan but with a quaint accent.

Legislative Building of PEI

We found a small pub on the second floor of an obscure building.  It was recommended by one of my guides.  We went up the stairs and were asked to pay a cover charge.   For what?  They were going to have some bands playing.  We scoffed at the cover charge and got a discounted rate as we were not planning on staying long.

We walked in and found a very small pub with maybe seating for 24.  We bellied up and had one of their brews.  It was not too busy and then was really not busy when the band started.  Not that they were bad but because they made up the remaining patrons in the room.

Tom found the music more on the college level.  I liked it, but it was time to get back to the dogs and then to our campsite for bed.  When we got back, we found some of our food was scavenged by an animal of some sort.  An empty package over here and then over there.  Oops.

We put the food back into the car and headed to bed.  First we had to get rid of the bed hogs.  Fairly easy task.  We knew they would be back, but until then...


Saturday, September 14, 2013

Pow Wow 2013

Surprisingly, I slept well in that hammock.  Well, pretty well.  It got a little chilly and the sleeping bag was not set up perfectly.  All in all though, it was better than sleeping in a wet tent.

I did get up very early and proceeded to stir the house up.  First the dogs and then Tom.  The fire was still warm form the night before and, once awake, Tom added some more wood.  Coffee time and then a drive down to the lake for the TravelingDogs.

Betty's Cabin

The clouds were still in the air, but there were pockets of blue sky.  It was a great morning for a swim and Luther & BuddyJack completely agreed as the ball was tossed in the water.

The Lake in The Woods

Luther & BuddyJack, or Nessies?

We headed down to Pow Wow grounds to get some coffee and muffins in the big tent.  It was still early, but the traditional fire was still burning kept watch by a few folks over night.  Quite a feat considering the rain the night before.  Vendors had started to arrive and we spent a bit of time musing over their wares.  I was specifically looking for a ribbon shirt, a traditional native shirt worn during celebrations.  A fine example is the one being worn below.

As the morning progressed, more and more people arrived in full regalia.  The joy in the air and on the Pow Wow grounds was felt.  My family made their way down as well.  They made their way to the Elders Tent located right next to the dancing area.  A few more relatives from the states made it for the weekend including my great aunts Stella and Evi.  It has been many many years since seeing them.

Ribbon Dancers posing before the Pow Wow

Drummers drumming

I went back to looking for a ribbon shirt and was torn between two vendors who had them for sale.    They were different in materials and styles.  In fact one of the vendors had two very different materials.  One was a cotton and the other a very heavy sateen.  I decided on one of their cotton ones, a blue shirt with white ribbons with two feather insignias.

I went back to our tent to check on the rain water from the night before.  Tom joined me a few minutes later and we sopped up the water using a few towels and a blanket.  It worked pretty well and we laid the wet materials along the fence behind the tent to dry.  I changed into my new shirt and headed back to the Pow Wow which would be having it's official start within the hour.

The area getting very busy.  As I walked around, there were many Miqm'ak people preparing for the start.  The drummers were practicing their beats and the dancers were dancing to them.

I love this boys rapt attention to this older dancer.

First Dance?
Practicing his Dance

And another with the moves

The start of the Pow Wow begins with the Grand Entry, led off with the flags of our nations.  All of the dancers also go into the circle following the flag holders and dance around the flag pole.  The Grand Entry and the first three dances are sacred and not to be photographed or recorded.

Preparing the Flags

Chief Vicair welcoming to the Pow Wow

This was our 21st Pow Wow in Listuguj.  I have been coming since the second year.  I found it odd that I never met my Chief before.  Really, I never met our current one either.  I thought it would be great to introduce myself.  After he did his welcome and thank you to the crowd, I snagged for a hello and a selfie.

The Chief & Me!

The picture below, Tom took.  It is of me and Betty, our savior from the day before due to her cabin.

Betty & Me

The day continued with more family time and food.  The family was coming and going from the Elders tent.  All of them interested in one thing or another.  It was definitely all about the family that day.  The food part was also big.  We all individually like certain foods.  Naresh wants an Indian Taco.  My mother wants her strawberry shortcake.  Me, I love poutine.

Naresh, Li'l Naresh & Emma (in her sling)

Karen and her Funny Glasses

Danny & Autie

See Below...
Multiple Choice...Elders, Handicap, Dancers or Drummers

Taking a Break

Tom & Naresh

It was a great day but, towards the West, the sky was darkening again.  We wondered if the weather would hold off until the end of the day, but we were not that lucky.  Fairly quickly, the clouds unleashed their contents.  The announcement was made that they would continue the Pow Wow under the big tent within a short bit.  My family scattered to their respective cars and we headed to our tent.  Tom remembered about the dogs and the car windows so he headed up to the church parking lot to take get them and the car.  I took a look at the air mattress and my first thought was that BuddyJack would come in the tent and jump on it thus puncturing it.  We had nothing dry to cover it so I went back to one of the vendors that was selling blankets.  I had been looking at them all day and figured it was a great excuse to get one.

Purchase made, I ran back to the tent and began to prepare for the dogs.  The wind had picked up again and along with it, the tent collapsing.  I really thought we had the cords tight enough, but I guess not.  Tom pulled up as I was trying to secure the tent again.  It was very frustrating.  We finally decided to strike the tent instead of fighting with it.  Tom backed the car up to it and piece by piece was loaded our campsite into the car, in most inappropriate areas.  Times like this the tube on the roof would have been so much better.  The last thing to do was to fold the tent, never fun in the rain.  When we were done, we were both pretty wet.  Of course the dogs were happy as ever as they were dry and comfy in the backseat.  Lucky Dogs!

We crossed the bridge and went to my folk's hotel to chill out for a while.  The plan was to head to a relatives house to celebrate my aunt's birthday.  We had the chance to change into some dry clothing and hang with the family.  Even the dogs came in for a bit.  Naresh surprised us with a blanket that I had been looking at.  It was our Christmas present, early.  Sweet!

We headed over to the party, finally.  My mother thought she knew where it was, but was wrong.  We ended up calling my cousin Kevin for help.  He came to us and we each followed him to the right house.  All the same people that we shared the day with were there with some additional folk too.  We had a little food and then the cake was brought out for Auntie.

Evie and Friend

Happy Birthday, Auntie!

While at the house, we also ran into an old friend.  A few years back, a few dogs came to visit our campsite before being run off by the police.  I wrote about it here.  The dog may not remember us, but we did.  He is a great dog.  We took out Lu & BJ to see if they remembered, but they were more excited to simply get out of the car than about a dog they played a few years ago.

An Old Friend

It was time to say goodbye to the extended family.  Lots of hugs.  We headed back towards the hotel and hung out some more.  Naresh was thinking about playing some poker at the local casino.  I never knew he was as good as my family told me.  I guess he's done quite well in tournaments.

Li'l Naresh, Evie & Emma

It was a long day and it was time for us to head back to the cabin.  We planned to meet the family in the morning and crossed over to the Eastern time zone again.  I set up the hammock with my new blanket and worked out the kinks of a sleeping bag.  The rain continued, lulling me to sleep, I was out.