June 16th & 17th, 2018 – Newfoundland – Canada

We have been doing some driving trying to get from Shediac, New Brunswick to Sydney, Nova Scotia to take the ferry to Newfoundland.  We made one stop at Sugar Moon Farm which makes maple syrup.  We got an interesting tour about how the syrup is made and got to taste their syrup.  We also learned that Aunt Jemima is sugar and chemicals – no maple.  We are now proud owners of their very tasty syrup.  Steve, Laurie, and Leslie ate in the restaurant (Don had lunch in the camper with Merlin as it was 75 degrees – also he did not want pancakes.).  Leslie got pancakes, with maple sugar pecans, maple whipped cream and of course tons of maple syrup.  Laurie got hers with fresh blueberries, maple whipped cream and maple syrup.  Steve just got plain pancakes but with lots of syrup and maple baked beans.  Anyone hungry?

We took a long ferry ride to Newfoundland.  We had to be there at 10 to check in for a 12 departure.  We were on the water about 6 hours.  We lost a half hour today – we have never been in a time zone that was just 30 minutes different from the last one.  The ferry had very comfortable seats and the ride was very smooth.  Leslie spent at least half the time sitting in the kennel with Merlin  He was the only dog there (thank goodness) and did not think much of being in a cage in a strange place.  So, we are here and ready for our Newfoundland adventure.










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June 15th, 2018 – Village Acadien Historique – New Brunswick – Canada

We skipped a day on the posts because we only want to show sunny days.  Not really, it is just that we had a big driving day and our only stop was a shopping stop in an agate store (but it was a cloudy, rainy day.)  We were very happy to get to New Brunswick where the signs are in French and English and more people speak English.  We were doing pretty well with the French, but things are much easier now.

We stopped at Village Acadien Historique which is an historical reconstruction that portrays the way of life of Acadiens between 1770 and 1949.  It was probably one of the best historical villages we have ever seen. They have more than 40 buildings and they are staffed by interpreters in period costume.  The interpreters shared history, customs and showed us how many things were made, such as brooms, cloth and food.

Acadia was a colony of New France that included parts of eastern Quebec, the Maritime provinces, and modern-day Maine.  The first capital of Acadia, established in 1605, was Port-Royal. A British force from Virginia attacked and burned down the town in 1613, but it was later rebuilt nearby, where it remained the longest serving capital of French Acadia until the British siege in 1710.  In seventy-four years there were six colonial wars, in which English and later British interests tried to capture Acadia.  While Acadia was officially conquered in 1710 during Queen Anne’s War, present-day New Brunswick and much of Maine remained contested territory.

A lot of the history in the village we visited was around the Great Deportation  which was the forced removal by the British of the Acadian people from the present day Canadian Maritime provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.  The Expulsion (1755–1764) occurred during the French and Indian War and was part of the British military campaign against New France.  The British first deported Acadians to the Thirteen Colonies, and after 1758 transported additional Acadians to Britain and France.  In all, of the 14,100 Acadians in the region, approximately 11,500 Acadians were deported (a census of 1764 indicates that 2,600 Acadians remained in the colony, presumably having eluded capture).  The result of the Deportation was the devastation of both a primarily civilian population and the economy of the region. Thousands of Acadiens died in the expulsions, mainly from diseases and drowning when ships were lost. On July 11, 1764, the British government passed an order-in-council to permit Acadians to legally return to British territories, provided that they take an unqualified oath of allegiance.

Today the largest population of Acadiens are located in Louisiana, they are known as Cajuns (the English (mis)pronunciation of ‘Cadians).  It seems that many of the Acadiens that were relocated to France, eventually went to Louisiana because it had been colonized by the French and they had family there.  Others went there because the Spanish government was making it beneficial to relocate there (France ceded that area to Spain in 1762).










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June 13th, 2018 – Perce Rock & Bonaventure Island – Quebec – Canada

Today we did one of the most awesome things we have ever done.  We went to the Bonaventure Island off the coast of the Gaspe Peninsula.  Over 200,000 birds come here in the spring and summer to nest, and over 100,000 of them are northern gannets.  It was a very windy day which made for an interesting boat ride out there.  The boat took us around Percé Rock (pictures 4 – 5) and around Bonaventure Island before dropping us off.  Pictures 6 – 7 show all of the gannets that are nesting on the cliffs.  We took a 45 minute hike up to the top of the cliff (Don had to rest on a bench) and were able to get up close and personal with the ones that nest on the plateau.  The 9th and 10th pictures show a very small portion of the ones that were on top.

They were still mating and making nests.  Some of the birds had already laid eggs.  It was very cool to watch their behavior.  They seemed oblivious to us.  The males would land with beaks full of nesting materials and then strut around like “Look what I have.” and either some other males would come steal it, or females would gather around.  Many of the couples would touch beaks, preen each other and put their heads together in a ritual dance.  We got that on video.  They also were tremendously noisy.

The other pictures are from Percé, a cute little village that gets a lot of visitors due to its location near Bonaventure Island and Percé Rock (French for”pierced rock”).  It is one of the world’s largest natural arches  located in water and is considered a geologically and historically rich natural icon of  Quebec.  














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June 12th, 2018 – Gaspe Peninsula – Quebec – Canada

We got a late start to the day because we had to wait on a vet appointment for Merlin.  Nothing wrong, just normal stuff.  It was kind of a gray day anyway.  We drove to the tip of the Gaspe Peninsula today.  We did not eat here, but were amused by the PFK which we assume in Poule Frit Kentucky.   We did manage to stop by a couple of lighthouses.  The red one is LaMatre Lighthouse which was built in 1906 and is still operational.  We ended the day in Perce (next to the last picture) and right before we turned to the campground, Don had to pull off to get the picture of the boats.





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June 11th, 2018 – Gaspe Peninsula – Quebec – Canada

We drove further on to the Gaspe peninsula today. Our first stop was for cheese.  There are a lot of fromageries in Quebec, but Don managed to find the very best ones.  Totally delicious.  We try to break up our longer drives, so we stopped at Point-au-Pere lighthouse.  The original plan was to just stop for a picture, but there were so many interesting things there, we stopped for a while.

Our first stop was a self guided tour of the Canadian Forces Oberon-class submarine HMCS Onondaga.  It is the only submarine in Canada that is available for tours.  It had an audio tour that explained the lifestyle of the submariners that was pretty interesting.  It was very cramped in there and Leslie and Laurie decided they could never serve on a sub.

Our next stop was the ‘Empress of Ireland Pavilion’ which displays artifacts from the wreckage of the ocean liner RMS Empress of Ireland.  The Empress of Ireland sank near the mouth of the Saint Lawrence River following a collision in thick fog with the Norwegian collier SS Storstad in the early hours of 29 May 1914.  Although the ship was equipped with watertight compartments, and in the aftermath of the Titanic disaster two years earlier, carried more than enough lifeboats for all onboard, she sank in only 14 minutes. Of the 1,477 people on board, 1,012 died, making it the worst peacetime maritime disaster in Canadian history.

The Empress of Ireland made the voyage from Liverpool, England to Quebec City (and vice versa) with only 4 days on the ocean.  She had just begun her 96th voyage when she sank.  It was very sad, but we learned some interesting things.  One of the most unbelieveable ones is there was a man who worked in the boiler room of the Empress of Ireland who survived the wreck even though the boiler room took a direct hit.  He also worked in the boiler room on the Titanic and survived, and after changing his name to get a job in the boiler room on the Lusitania, he survived that wreck also.  We were not sure if he was lucky or unlucky.

The last thing we did was climb to the top of the lighthouse.  It is the second tallest lighthouse in Canada, but it is no longer operational.  There were 112 steps and 2 ladders.  The lighthouse keeper would have walked up and down those stairs a minimum of 4 times a day.  He also had to clean the glass from the outside, as well as, replace the glass panes.  We are glad we did not have that job.  We ended the day with beautiful camp sites on the Gulf of St. Lawrence and a seafood meal at the campground restaurant – Restaurant Capitane Homard (9th picture).








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June 10th, 2018 – Quebec City – Canada

Our amazing weather continues.  We took the ferry over to Quebec City and had a great time walking around the extremely cute historical part of town.  It is one of Don and Leslie’s favorite places in Canada.  The 5th picture shows the Château Frontenac which is one of Canada’a grand railway hotels and is operated as Fairmont Le Château Frontenac.  Prior to the building of the hotel, the site was occupied by the Chateau Haldimand, residence of the British colonial governors of Lower Canada and Quebec.  The hotel is generally recognized as the most photographed hotel in the world, largely for its prominence in the skyline of Quebec City.  

We took a walking tour that Don had found on-line.  We got off to a slow start as Leslie and Laurie saw stores.  The first one had some beautiful wood pieces and they offered us a tour of the studio.  Steve is an amateur wood carver, so we had to do that.  Leslie was in love with an absolutely beautiful piece that cost $1,500.  Unfortunately, or fortunately, she determined there was no where to put it in her house, so it is still in the store.  The 14th and 15th pictures show the inside of the Cathedral-Basilica of Notre-Dame de Québec.  We had a delicious lunch at an outdoor patio (13th picture) and really enjoyed looking at the beautiful city.  Laurie fell in love with Quebec City and is ready to come back and spend a few days here.









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June 9th, 2018 – Quebec – 2018

On the way to Quebec City we stopped by Fromagerie du Presbytere, a place purported to have the best cheese in Canada.  It is certainly located off the beaten path and at one point, we came to a dirt road (both of us driving RVs) that we debated if the cheese was worth going down the road.  We decided it was and we were right.  After several samples, we purchase our cheese and went back to the highway by another route.  We made it out of Montreal without getting poutine, so we stopped at Cassa Croute Chez Micheline, a very small outdoor restaurant which we would never have found without the internet.  There were all kinds of people in line or waiting for food, so we felt like we had made a wise choice.  Don and Steve enjoyed the traditional poutine (2nd picture).

We parked one of the RVs in the parking lot of a mini mall and took one RV to Montmorency Falls.  The waterfalls are 272 feet tall, 99 feet higher than Niagra Falls.  The girls took the cable car to the top, while the boys took the stairs.  Leslie and Laurie were seriously considering doing the zip line across the falls, but then it looked like there might have been an issue with it (next to the last picture) and they were kind of talked out of it.  In the end, we think that the person that was out there hanging was one of the workers on a break.  That or they were practicing in case someone got stuck.  Anyway, next zipline we see…..  On the way back to get the other RV, we determined that we were not entirely sure where we left it (so many roads, so many French names).  Luckily, Laurie had left her cell phone in the RV and we were able to use the Find My Friends app to find it.  Technology is great!








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January 8th, 2018 – Montreal – Canada

We started the day at Saint Joseph’s Oratory of Mount Royal (pictures 1 – 3).  In 1904, Saint Andre Bessette began the construction of St. Joseph, a small chapel on the slopes of Mont Royal near Notre Dame College.  In 1924, the construction of the basilica was started.  It was completed in 1967 and is now Canada’s largest church.  The basilica is dedicated to Saint Joseph, to whom Brother André credited all his reported miracles. These were mostly related to some kind of healing power, and many pilgrims (handicapped, blind, ill, etc.) poured into his Basilica, including numerous non-Catholics. On display in the basilica is a wall covered with thousands of crutches from those who came to the basilica and were purportedly healed. Pope John Paul II deemed the miracles to be authentic and beatified Brother André in 1982. In October 2010, Pope Benedict XVI  canonized the saint.  We were lucky, someone was practicing the organ when we visited so we got to hear the beautiful music.

Our visit there was cut short by a call from doggy day care.  It seems that they felt Merlin was missing us too much and we had to come pick him up.  Luckily, our plans for the day were to walk around Old Town Montreal so Merlin could come with us.  We had lunch at the Atwater Market (pictures 4 – 6) and then visited Notre-Dame Basilica (pictures 14 – 18).Built in the Gothic Revival style, the church is highly decorated. The vaults are coloured deep blue and decorated with golden stars, and the rest of the sanctuary  is decorated in blues, azures, reds, purples, silver, and gold. It is filled with hundreds of intricate wooden carvings and several religious statues. Unusual for a church, the stained glass windows along the walls of the sanctuary do not depict biblical scenes, but rather scenes from the religious history of Montreal. After the church visit, we spent the rest of the afternoon taking in the sites of the historical district on a beautiful afternoon.











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June 7th, 2018 – Montreal – Canada

We met up with our friends Steve and Laurie in New York and crossed the border into Canada today.  It is a good thing it is light so long up here because we were able to make the most of our time today.  We spent some time in the Botanical Gardens enjoying the beautiful flowers.  It did take us over an hour to figure out the map, but we finally did and were able to find some of the specific gardens we wanted to see.

We stopped by the Jean Talon Market which we ultimately did not really see much of because we stopped at Juliette et Chocolat first.   We had delicious crepes and the girls indulged in dessert while the boys ran and bought vegetables from the market before it closed.  Leslie had sort of a sundae made up of homemade caramel sauce, whipped cream and brownies.  It came with a cup of dark hot chocolate which was unbelievably rich.  Laurie had layers of dark chocolate mousse, cocoa ganache and caramel sauce covered with dark chocolate brownie chunks.  Totally delicious.  We are liking Canada so far.












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June 1st – 3rd – Kansas City, Missouri

We stopped in Kansas City to spend the weekend with our son Matthew and his girlfriend Nora.  Don taught them how to make spaetzle and Chicken Paprikash  (one of Matthew’s favorite childhood meals). A little wine and beer helped the cooks out.  We took a very nice hike in a park near their house.  Matthew took one for the team by going first and clearing out all the spider webs.  We spent a lot of time playing cards and games which is one of our favorite things to do.  We had another cooking experience, figuring out how to grill salmon on a plank.  It was fantastic so we must have done it right!  After church we went to Donutology, a place where you can create your own mini donuts.  They were delicious and only little donuts so they were not too much since we split them (we will not mention the larger donuts we ate while we were waiting for them to make the baby ones.)





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