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0807 Dart
Dart resting comfortably on the couch after our long trip. He slept well after this shot.

On our second day heading back to Florida from Pittsburgh, I woke up feeling like we had the day off from driving.  As I thought about, I realized that we did not travel two days in a row in the motor home except for the first two days of the trip.  It was nice always being able to spend the next day recovering from a long day of driving.

After Regis took a stroll through the last campground of the trip, he came back to tell me he saw Skeletor.  Does anyone remember Skeletor?

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This was in our campground in South Carolina. Regis says it’s Skeletor.

The campground in Virginia had a bowling alley, batting cages, a miniature golf course, and they delivered pizzas.  You never know what you’re going to find!

It’s a bit warm in Florida, but it is good to be back home.  I think Dart is very happy to be back.

0807 Dart and Giraffe
Someone told me that my last picture of the giraffe did not make it clear how big it is. Therefore, I am including this picture of Dart with the GIraffe.

Pittsburgh

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Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Dart was in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  Specifically, he was on Mount Washington (formerly known as Coal Hill).

We had a great time visiting family for a couple days.

We have been feeling like yo’s yo’s since we left New York.  We’ve been traveling through the Appalachian Mountain Range as we drove through Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and now Virginia.  Up and down, up and down, up and down.  There aren’t too many flat spots to be seen.  The scenery has been beautiful.

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Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Back in the USA!

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View from the picnic table in our campsite in New York. Those are mountains in the distance and a small lake about mid-picture.

We are back!  The first thing I did was turn on the data to my cell phone.  The world is now at my finger tips! Then, we drove to a truck stop, pulled into the truck gas pump, and filled up both tanks.  Aaah.

The weather is wonderful.  It’s somewhat tempting to hang out in New York until the temperature drops in Florida, but I miss home and my friends and I’m looking forward to getting back.

We have some random thoughts we want to post.  We missed these in our last posts.

When we were standing in the parking lot at Peggy’s Cove, Dart started growling and barking at a tiger that was painted on a nearby RV.  He never did calm down around the tiger.  I guess he’s not fond of tigers.

When we were in Riviere-du-Loup and returning from an evening stroll along the water, a 14,000 volt fuse blew on the power pole near us.  It was very loud and scared the heck out of Dart.  These types of fuses are made with an explosive powder inside and when overheated explode to break the connection.  The volume of this explosion is louder than a shotgun but slightly quieter than the percussion explosions of a fireworks display.  I’m surprised Dart let me walk him by the water again the next morning.

While in Riviere-du-Loup, we attempted to do a hike through a marsh.  What were we thinking?  We were looking for birds, instead we found more insects in one section of trail than all the flying insects we have ever seen in our entire life.  They looked like mosquitos but they did not land on us.  If they did, our bones and skin would be lying on the trail.  I returned to the car, but Regis was so fascinated by seeing so many insects at the same time, he risked his life by staying longer to observe the phenomenon.

Regis noticed that we have not stayed in a single campground where someone’s car alarm didn’t go off.  Now, every time we arrive in a campground, he waits for it.  As soon as it happens, he yells.  This is another thing Dart does not appreciate.

Our last campground in Canada required us to wear wrist bands.  I do not like wrist bands.  I hated it.  I was happy to cut it off the morning we left.   This campground had some highlights and some downers.  Let’s start with the bad stuff.  We have been camping all of our lives and never had someone’s campfire seriously interfere with our experience.  Our neighbors built a campfire one night that was very smoky.  The smoke filled our RV.  If Regis had not removed the batteries to the smoke alarm, it would have gone off.  We had to close all the windows.  (The batteries we removed because the smoke alarm keeps going off when we cook.)  The next night, the other neighbors built a campfire and smoldered it for a long time with something other than wood.  Regis thinks it was cardboard.  Whatever it was, it smelled awful and made me nauseous.  I could even taste it, which is weird.  Two nights in a row we had bad campfire experiences with our neighbors but haven’t had that happen to us in too many years to count.

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The oldest bridge in Ontario.

The good part of our stay was that one night someone walked to the edge of the campground and started playing bagpipes.  It was awesome.  It’s the first time I saw someone play bagpipes that wasn’t wearing a kilt.  The next night, a camping neighbor started playing the guitar and singing.  I loved it.

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Yard art on a trip through Leeds and the Thousand Islands in Canada.

We loved our trip through Canada.  It is a great country with wonderful people.  But, we are happy to return to the U.S.  In a future trip, we plan to go to Banff and Jasper National Parks.

Regis went grocery stopping after we set up our campsite in the U.S.  He said he knew he was back in the U.S. because there was 50 feet of mustard choices in the grocery store.  (Yes, he exaggerated, but you get the point.)

We are staying where we are staying because I plan to visit April the Giraffe and her baby and friends.  If you don’t know who she is, where have you been?  Google it!

 

Dart – The Attractor

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St. John, New Brunswick

We are camped in St. John, so we spent the day mostly in the city.  I wanted to get my hair cut.  I tried to get it cut in Nova Scotia, but the only local hair salon said they didn’t take walk-ins and couldn’t fit me in.  I looked up local hair salons in St. John and we went to the city so I could give it a try as soon as they opened.  The first salon said they don’t take walk-ins and couldn’t fit me in.  If I hadn’t already had similar problems in the US, I would have take it personally.

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Volley ball on the beach in St. John, New Brunswick.

We started off to the second choice but had no idea  where Union street was. Regis noticed a WIFI antenna on a street pole. Out came the cell phone, open the WIFI hot spot finder app, and boom found an open WIFI. Good job city of Saint John! Free WIFI in the down town area. Next was a talk with google maps and we were off to the next hair salon place. A block this way, two that way another block to the right and ta-da! BUT looks like the hair salon has been over run by the BREW PUB next door! Not a bad use of the space, but no hair cutting getting done there.

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Fish and chips and local brews at a restaurant in St. John, New Brunswick.

We started walking around the city and came upon another hair salon.  They said they could accommodate me in an hour and a half.  I was happy with that.  But, we walked around the block and I was able to find someone willing to take me right away.  I went to get my haircut and Regis let the other salon know I wasn’t coming back.  Then, he went across the street to sit out of the sun waiting for me.  He noticed someone on an electric wheelchair at the back end of a parking lot. After giving Dart some water, he noticed she had crossed the parking lot, maybe to get a closer look at Dart. Regis crossed back to the parking lot and started chatting with Donna.

After several minutes of chit chat, a second wheel chair person arrived, Brian. Soon there were three “scooter”  people, Donna, Brian, and Barb approached and Regis began a lively conversation, while I was getting my hair cut.  When I came out, I found Regis and Dart camped out with a lady in an electric wheel chair in a deep political conversation.  Others joined before I left.  They were an entertaining and delightful group who gave us some good information on what streets to visit to see good architecture.

Regis is a great fan of what I call “creepy” architecture.  It isn’t always dark and gloomy, but often is.  Anyway, he was happy to see it.

We went to the downtown area with lots of restaurants with outside dining and found they are pet friendly.  We were able to have lunch outside with Dart at the table.  They provide a bowl and water.  We had the bowl, so we just needed the water.  The weather was astonishing and the food was wonderful.  So were the local brews!

After we left, we visited the “reversing falls”.  The St. Johns River flows into the Bay of Fundy here.  The St. Johns river maintains it’s height, but the tidal Bay of Fundy waters change by at least 24 feet between tides.  We arrived about two hours before the lowest tide.  Click here for a short video.  High tide was at dark, so we couldn’t get back to see how it works when the tide is higher than the river.

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Reversing falls in S.t John, New Brunswick.

Regis has been fascinated with watching the ship activity in St. John from the overlook at our campground.  Tonight, we both grabbed a glass of wine to go sit at the overlook and watch tugboats, ships, etc.  There was also a local ball game visible from the overlook.  When Regis took to cheering at the game, Dart was not pleased.  I left with Dart to go back to the quiet of the RV.  Regis says the red team was decimating the black team.

 

Encounter with a Groundhog (Marmot)

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Groundhog in New Brunswick, Canada.  This doesn’t look like the groundhogs I am familiar with but my research on the internet indicates this is a groundhog and groundhogs are in the marmot family.  

I wish I hadn’t said anything negative about our Halifax area campground.  We arrived in our new campground this afternoon.  Although the park is nice, the campground is not very nice.  The bad news is that this is the worst campsite we have ever had.  The good news is that it has decent WIFI access that we can get inside the RV.  This is a first on this trip!!  The other good news is that there is an overlook a short distance from our campsite with views of St. John.  The bad news is that it is so foggy, I can’t see anything.

We had some nice wildlife encounters today.  As we were leaving our campsite this morning, we came across a doe with her two fawns.  When we arrived in our new campground, we took a walk through the park in which it is located.  We saw a pair of Hairy Woodpeckers.  We haven’t see Hairy Woodpeckers in years.  We saw a couple of bucks.  And we encountered a groundhog on the trail.  Dart went nuts because he thought it was a squirrel.  The groundhog paid him no mind.

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Doe and two fawns in the woods in Nova Scotia.
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Hairy Woodpecker in New Brunswick, Canada.
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Buck in New Brunswick, Canada.
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Buck in New Brunswick, Canada.

Dart is one of those dogs that doesn’t bother with most animals.  When we encounter rabbits or chipmunks, he doesn’t care.  For the first 5 years of Dart’s life, Regis encouraged him to chase squirrels.  (There was never a danger of him catching one even though he is very fast.)  Dart loves to chase squirrels.  We encountered lots of these little reddish squirrels that are not much bigger than chipmunks at many of the campgrounds.  In fact, a pair of them may have been stashing things in the RV at the last campsite.  Dart does not consider them squirrels and pays no attention to them.  At our current campsite, we encountered a gray squirrel at the beginning of our walk and that got Dart going.  He was on high alert.  Then, when he saw the groundhog, he was convinced it was a squirrel and wanted desperately to be freed for the chase.

 

Middle Head

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Guillemot with a snack.

We took a hike Wednesday that turned out to be one of our favorite hikes.  It wasn’t very long, only 2.4 miles round trip.  The hike was to Middle Head at Igonish, Nova Scotia.  There were fantastic water views and wildlife.  We saw lots of Northern Gannets fishing.  We see them in Florida in the winter and I’m pretty sure I recognized one of the Gannets from Florida.  Seriously, when watching the Gannets in Florida they are way out over the water and even with binoculars they can be hard to see.  Here, we saw them fishing right along the coast line.  There was lots of splashing as they torpedoed into the water to fish.  We stayed a long time to watch them.

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Northern Gannet just before it enters into the water.

When we got to the end of the headland, we saw a seal in the water and a colony of nesting birds.  They were primarily Great Black-backed Gulls with a few Guillemots mixed in.  At first, we didn’t notice all the young because they blend in with the rocks so well.  We soon realized what we were seeing and stayed for a long time watching the activity.  Dart rested in shady areas while we soaked in the scenery and the wildlife activity.

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Hike to Middle Head in Nova Scotia.
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Hike to Middle Head in Nova Scotia. Dart found the only shade at the headland.

We enjoyed the hike so much that we returned the next day but went later in the day.  There was not as much Gannet activity and we didn’t any seals.  But, we saw a whale and my best guess is that it was a Minke whale.  We spent a lot of time watching the gulls and Guillemots.

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Great Black-backed Gull with young.

The hike starts close to the Keltic Lodge in Cape Breton National Park.  This Lodge has the most incredible views.  There is a restaurant and a golf course.  There are lots of Canada red Adirondack chairs to sit in and enjoy the view.  And, there is this incredible hike to enjoy close to your lodgings.  If I wasn’t traveling in an RV, I would fly into Halifax, rent a car, and come here to the Keltic Lodge and just chill for however long I could.

Canada has this thing going on where they have red Adirondack chairs sprinkled throughout the country.  They are located in incredible places and you are welcome to sit down in these chairs and enjoy the view.  I think it is a pretty cool idea.  We’ve seen quite a few of these chairs on our trip but the ones located at the Keltic Lodge are the most inviting we have seen.  I could spend a whole day sitting in one of those chairs.

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Red Adirondack chairs that Canada invites you to sit in and enjoy the view. These are placed at the Keltic Lodge. The far mountain has a ski slope. If I skied that in the winter, I would crash because I was too busy looking out over the ocean.