Friday, August 31, 2018

Monday August 31, 1998 - Nova Scotia


Wolfville - warm and sunny.

In the morning I had another scone and devonshire cream at the Tea Room, and bought a raincoat, rainhat and housecoat, as well as some postcards and a copy of David's book on whale watching. Geoff and RL gave me a large discount but I still spent close to $300. When I left I drove down the west coast. I did not go to Lake Ainslie but was wondering if I should have.

After leaving Cape Breton I stopped in Antigonish to see if I could get on the internet but the library there was closed on Mondays. On a whim I stopped in Mt. Denson to see if Dennis was home, and he was. He was just preparing supper and invited me in. I was able to check email on his computer.

Dennis had had an angina attack in Toronto last winter which was a bit of a scare for him. Since then he has become a vegetarian and has lost some 20 lbs of excess weight. He also had done some thinking about lifestyle and how he got to where he was. He also asked a few personal questions which kind of put me on the defensive, I was kind of glad to leave.

I arrived at Fritz and Carolyn's place late. They were still up and I told them all the news from Geoff and RL, including about the new puppy. Carolyn had visited RL just before I did so they were pretty up-to-date except about the puppy. Carolyn had planned to stay at Geoff and RL's until I arrived there, but ended up leaving early to meet their daughter Erica in PEI. Erica had gone skydiving while I was away and they had a video of her jump.

While I was at Dennis's, I read email from Isaac who was writing to say that he was in PEI now and would be staying there until Thursday. I thought he was going to be there until Sunday or Monday and I was thinking of maybe visiting him there but if he's leaving earlier, then that will be difficult. I would have to leave here on Wednesday if I want to see him in PEI.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Sunday August 30, 1998 - Nova Scotia


Margaree Harbour - sunny.

David was feeling sick in the morning Eventually we got up and went for coffee in Cheticamp. He wanted to be at work by noon to clean up since it was his last day there before going to Ingonish to pick up his kids. We said good bye, I did a bit of shopping in Cheticamp and then returned to Margaree Harbour. I stayed a while at the Schooner Village Tea Room and then went back to RL's house to shower and pack up to leave the next day. Geoff and RL had a new puppy, Rowan. Yohan didn't like the puppy, he pooped and peed in their house and snapped at Rowan. Ceilidh rushed in to chase Yohan off. We had dinner and watched TV.

David called and spoke to Geoff, asking him to give me directions to his friend Ken's house on Lake Ainslie. I think the idea is for me to stop by there on my way back to Wolfville tomorrow. Geoff didn't think I should go there since Ken had recently split with his wife and was either depressed or depressing, or both.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Animal Control Bylaw

I'm slowly getting to the end of the 1998 road trip chronicle, there are only a couple of weeks' entries left and most of them are short. I am quite frankly bored with the process and looking forward to the end. The journey itself was wonderful but the writing about it is not. Oh well, nearly done!!

Last week my dog crossed the street in front of my house by herself, I did not see her go. She likes to sit on the front porch in the early morning and watch the world go by, and then she goes down behind a bush and sleeps in the grass until it is time for her morning walk. But last week was a little cooler than usual and I guess she was feeling a little friskier than usual so she crossed the road. There's a fire hydrant there that passing dogs leave little urine posts at, I guess she was checking the mail.

Anyway as luck would have it a young woman who is terrified of dogs was walking by and encountered my dog. I did not see what happened but the net result is that the young woman complained vigourously to my neighbour and then later to the animal control officer (for brevity, 'aco' from here on out). My neighbour relayed the complaint to me, it was mostly about how dogs ought not to be allowed to run loose.

A couple of days ago the aco came by but Hapi and I were at the dog park so she left a note saying that my dog had been seen running loose and engaging in "annoying behaviour" and I should call her immediately. Which I did. It wasn't her actual phone number, so I had to leave a number for her to call me back. Which she did.

First I got the lecture about keeping my dog under control at all times (and have I read the dog bylaw?), and then about having my dog licensed (which she is, I duly gave the aco my dog's license number), and finally about her aggressive behaviour (and have I read the dog bylaw?). If I had been on the ball I would have asked what specifically my dog's "aggressive behaviour" was but I was not.

The aco said, She was barking?

I said, She's a malamute, she doesn't bark. Then I said, Have you met my dog? Do you even know what you are talking about?

She said, No but I would like to, are you home during the day?

I said, You'd have to call, we are in and out.

So she told me that she was giving me a warning, that she was writing up the complaint and it would be filed against my dog's name, and if there was another complaint, it would get serious. She didn't specify, other than to say, Have you read the dog bylaw?

So after the conversation I read the dog bylaw. I had read it before and it is not pleasant reading but I thought I better touch all bases. I read the damn thing.

If there is a bylaw more draconian and punitive, I don't know what it would be. Lots of references to "seize and destroy". Basically the aco has the authority to seize and destroy any dog she deems dangerous, without notifying the owner. "Dangerous" is defined as meaning among other things, capable of aggressive behaviour. No proof of actual behaviour is required, and there is certainly no recourse or appeal process.

I went down town and visited the post office and several stores, ran into lots of people I know and repeated the gist of the conversation. Without exception the reaction was, This dog? Are you sure they know what they are talking about? One merchant offered to start a petition if necessary, and admonished me never to read bylaws, it would utterly destroy my faith in humanity. Got that right.

I understand that in this world animals do not have rights, or nothing compared to human rights. But if you were to take the dog bylaw and substitute the word "Jew" or "Indian" for the word "dog" you would get an inkling of my terrified reaction to reading the bylaw. Our town bylaw was derived from the county bylaw which I also read and it is even worse. Among other things it doesn't say "seize and destroy", it says "kill on sight".

I know dogs don't have human rights, I know we humans run this world and we dictate how all other creatures shall be treated. Consider faith in humanity destroyed. How can we talk about saving endangered species when we can't even get it right with our pets?

The clincher for all this is that the contract for animal control bylaw enforcement in this county is held by the SPCA. The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Faith in humanity dead as a doornail.

Saturday August 29, 1998 - Nova Scotia


Grand Etang - cloudy, then sunny.

David was supposed to go to work but decided not to go until 6.00pm and hoped I would spend Saturday night with him after that. We went into Cheticamp for coffee and bought some beer and wine. I paid for it because David didn't have any money. We spent the afternoon drinking, telling stories and just sitting out on the deck. We checked out a hovercraft while in Cheticamp; they are trying to set up a regular service to Iles Madeleine. David wanted to leave copies of Shunpiker, the magazine that carries his articles, on the boat for passengers.

We had dinner in Cheticamp and just before 6.00pm David went back to the Park to do his show. I returned to Geoff and RL's in Margaree Harbour to spend the evening. When they went to bed I returned to the cabin on the coast. However, the woman was borrowing the cabin from the owner had returned, David and I visited with her for awhile and then went to David's house in Grand Etang. We were both very tired due to not much sleep the night before.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Friday August 28, 1998 - Nova Scotia


Grand Etang - sunny.

Geoff and RL got up and left early to work at Schooner Village, I got up later and had a shower and then the last of my yogurt and granola for breakfast. Then I drove to Schooner Village and had a second breakfast of scone and devonshire cream and jam and coffee. Again, RL and I yakked about this that and t'other thing in the kitchen.

In the afternoon I drove up the coast to see Gampo Abbey, the Buddhist monastery, and to drop in at the Cape Breton Highlands National Park to see if David was around. That's where he worked in the summertime, and I didn't know if Myrtle had contacted him or not. At the Park office I was told that he had checked in but wasn't around right now; I thought I'd come back later to try again.

I continued up the coast to the Abbey which is about as far north as you can go on the west coast of Cape Breton. I turned off the Cabot Trail at Pleasant Bay onto the Red River road to Gampo Abbey. My Wolfville friend Carolyn had visited there and highly recommended it, but RL told me that if they were on retreat at the Abbey they wouldn't accept visitors.


It was a nice drive to get there along a dirt road up the coast, and when I arrived at the gate to the property there was a sign saying that public tours were conducted at 3.00pm. I arrived at 3.25pm and saw a few people working outside the main building, and a large bull moose calmy eating tree leaves at the edge of the front yard. I asked a woman inside the front door of the main building about the tour, and she went to find someone to escort me. But she didn't find anyone and suggested I look around on my own. I got the impression that didn't mean inside.

I looked around the grounds a bit. There was a meditation space on a grass-topped cliff overlooking the ocean, and near where the bull moose had been (he was gone now) a sign saying "bonsai". I walked in the direction that the sign pointed and came upon a fox who was startled by my arrival and hissed and growled as he ran past me. Scared both of us.

I was expecting to come upon a bonsai garden but it was actually just a working area with a few small trees being "bonsai-ed". When I cam out, the fox was sitting at the top of the path watching me. He trotted off up the road and sat down again facing me and scratched his ear. Since my truck was parked in that direction I continued to walk toward the fox; it got up and moved a little further along and sat down again. Eventually it trotted off into the woods. It was about the same size as Yohan, very skinny with a big bushy tail. As I drove away from the Abbey I saw a cow moose on the side of the road by an upturned dory.

I returned to the Park office to see if I could catch David, he still wasn't there. I went to look in the bookstore and a few minutes later the woman at the office called out to me that David was back. He was just on his way out of the building so I went out to meet him. I don't think he recognized me at first, then he did and seemed happy to see me. Since the last time I saw him he has cut his hair and grown a beard so he looks a bit like a bald Papa Hemingway.

David invited me to have dinner with him at a nearby restaurant. After dinner and a beer he collected a few things from the office and we drove to a cabin on the shore that he had helped to build and had the occasional use of. It was small but quite handsome, with lots of windows and a small sleeping loft. It was set in a field overlooking a stoney beach with the highlands behind it. The windows faced the ocean and it had a big mermaid painted on its roof.


David invited me to spend the night but first he had to go back to the park to put on an evening show for the campers, I agreed and drove back to Margarell Harbour to tell Geoff and RL what I was up to. As it turned out they were in Cheticamp, which I had just driven through, doing some shopping, so I hung out at the Schooner with Myrtle awaiting their return. When I saw Geoff and RL's car crossing the Margaree Harbour bridge I followed them home and told them about my meeting with David. They thought that was fine but not to talk too much about it with Myrtle since they thought it best not to feed the local gossip mill.


I picked up a couple of things and returned to the cabin and David and I had a nice time.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Thursday August 27, 1998 - Nova Scotia


Margaree Harbour - sunny.

I had breakfast in the little picnic park on the Margaree River. It was very quiet, very pretty. The weather was clear and I had a chance to dry out and wash up after last night's rain in Newfoundland. Then I drove to the Schooner Village run by my friends Geoff and RL in Margaree Harbour. They were in the Tea Room when I arrived. I spent the next couple of hours hanging out in the kitchen with RL while she baked. We had huge veggie sandwiches and tea for lunch, I could hardly get my sandwich into my mouth it was so big. RL and I went home to their place mid-afternoon and then I went to the Margaree Forks library to check email. It is a small library with 3 computers and no signup list or time limits. There was lots of email for me and I spent a couple of hours catching up and replying. At closing time I returned to Geoff and RL's place. Their dog Ceilidh got along fine with Yohan but their cats were cautious. They gave me their son Andrew's old room to stay in next to the loft library.

The bridge across the Margaret River and Schooner Village at the far end
We went back to the Schooner for supper and I said Hi to Myrtle who remembered me from the last time I visited. Myrtle offered to call another old friend of mine at home to tell him I was around, but I said I'd contact him myself. David is someone I met when I was a student at Acadia University, we were both "mature students". We went our separate ways and I hadn't had any contact with him until just a couple of years ago on my last visit to Margaret Harbour. That was a pleasant surprise at the time.

After supper we drove to Inverness for Alice's Ceilidh, the last one of the season. It was all kids playing and dancing, and they were very good. Some Americans from Oregon also got up and played some folk-y music which was kind of weird; Geoff didn't like it at all. I enjoyed the music and dancing and just the general ambience of it all. The hall was packed, mostly local people. Alice does this as a fundraiser. She had us all up singing the Cape breton Gaelic anthem at the beginning. Geoff instructed me that I could tap my feet but not clap, except when the fiddle goes from a strathspey to a reel to a jig. But I could never tell when the switches came, except when Geoff would start clapping. It ended around 9.30 or 10.00pm and we drove back to Margaree Harbour and to bed.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Wednesday August 26, 1998 - Newfoundland


Margaree River - rainy and windy.

I woke up early and after breakfast I drove back toward Western Brook Pond to get a photo, then on toward the ferry back to Cape Breton. I stopped at Rocky Harbour and the little town on the peninsula to see if I could get photos of the Tablelands.


It was cloudy and I drove south it got windy and rainy. I stopped in Corner Brook for cash and at a campground whose name I forget just to see what it was like. It's the campground where the highway turns east toward St. John's. There's a mountain there you can climb and a"pond". Large campground and very nice with lots of private sites many of which are right by the pond.


The weather got worse. Just before Port aux Basques I turned off for Cape Ray and parked in a little picnic area by a beach. It was quite windy but not raining when I stopped. However it soon started to rain while I was making supper. Everything got wet. I couldn't put up my tarp because of the wind. I made rice and vegetables and as soon as I could I got back in the truck to the ferry. I ate my dinner in the truck waiting for the ferry.

I boarded the ferry and left Port aux Basques at 5.00pm. The ferry had a lounge with a band playing and a TV with a couple of crappy movies. I read for a long time (Fall On Your Knees by Ann-Marie MacDonald), then wandered around the ferry for a while. I was very tired. Finally I snuck down to the car deck and climbed into the back of my truck to get an hour of sleep before we arrived in NOrth Sydney. The door on the ferry jammed in North Sydney so it was a good 15 minutes before they could let anyone off. I got gas for the truck and just started driving toward Margaree Harbour. I had no idea where I would stop to sleep, but halfway up the Margaree Valley there was a very nice provincial picnic park on the river, so I stopped there. Got to bed at 1.30am.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Tuesday August 25, 1998 - Labrador


Green Point - sunny and windy, cloudy later.

It rained all night long. I kept waking up and hearing it. Around 5.00am it let up and I opened the windows a crack. At 7.30 I woke to a clear blue sky and sunshine. But the black flies were so thick outside I had to dig out my bug net to wear while getting breakfast. Even so I got several bites on my face and ankles, and the bites on my face raised great red bruises but only itched a little bit.

Red Bay harbour
After eating I went to the Red Bay Visitors' Centre at 9.00am to see an hour long film about the raising of a Basque ship called the San Juan from the Red Bay harbour, and about the excavation of the Basque tryworks and cooperage on Saddle Island at the mouth of the harbour. In the Red Bay cemetery they found skeletons and clothing dating from the seventeenth century. They would have been the Basque whalers. These whalers came over from Europe every summer to catch whales and render their blubber down to oil that would be shipped back to Europe in the fall. The whalers did not overwinter, but they stayed in the Red Bay area for the whaling season. The San Juan was a ship that was intended to return to Europe full of whale oil, but it got caught in a storm and sank. The work of raising it was complicated; they had to dismantle the ship so that it could be reassembled elsewhere, and they had to preserve the wood as soon as it came out of the water so that it didn't disintegrate. The beaches of Red Bay are littered with bits of red tile that had been brought over from Europe to roof the tryworks and temporary housing.

Normally there would be boat tours of the island but the sea was too rough to cross this day. I walked around the town to get some photos and while walking on the beach I met a local man and stopped to chat. Turned out he had a shed full of collected red tiles from off the beach which he sold to tourists; I went back to his shed and bought a tiny tile, about an inch square, from him. Also a a wooden needle used for making fishing nets and a slice of whale rib bone. The needle looks like a flat shuttle used for weaving.

In Labrador they stack firewood in huge tipi-like piles
Komatiks (dog sleds) are left by the side of the road until needed in the winter
Barrens
Since I intended to return to Newfoundland that day, I set out to catch the ferry. I stopped several times to take photos and as a result I was running quite late. Towards the end I was driving 120 kph on a 70 kph road. I even passed a cop at that speed.

I got to the ferry at exactly 2.45pm and there were two buses still waiting to board. The lady said at the ferry terminal entrance said I had time to buy a ticket so off I went to the ticket booth and then returned to board after the buses. I had to back onto the ferry, and was told that I would be the first car to get off the ferry so I needed to be back at my car in time for that.

A young man from Ontario that I had met earlier in Red Bay said he saw whales spouting. We went out on deck and I saw one whale spouting, many dolphins and one puffin, possibly more. A family I met on the Port aux Basques ferry a few days ago were also on the Labrador ferry yesterday and this ferry today. They are originally from Ontario (the mother actually from Manitoba) but now live in Halifax. The oldest boy, Jesse, did a project on Newfoundland for school this past year and was very excited to actually be in Newfoundland now. Their next stop was l'Anse aux Meadows. It was funny to keep running into them (I saw them in Red Bay too) but I don't expect to see them again. The kids liked Yohan.

I was short of cash when I got off the ferry because I paid my ferry fare in cash, so I bought gas on my credit card, filling up in Port au Choix and taking some photos.




I drove straight to Green Point campground in Gros Morne after that. It was already getting dark when I got there, I took the site next to the one I had before and went straight to bed.

I tried to photograph Western Brook Pond, the fjord I mentioned a few days ago, but it was too dark

Friday, August 24, 2018

Monday August 24, 1998 - Labrador

The ferry to Labrador
Red Bay - cloudy and windy with fog and rain.

I went back to l'Anse aux Meadows to buy a postcard. While there I overheard a man asking about Anne Proulx's house; it turns out that she owns two houses on a bay below the Valhalla B&B, which is where she stayed while she was writing The Shipping News. I saw the houses as I left l'Anse aux Meadows, also the replica Viking ship at Noddy Bay. Oh yes, yesterday I bought a little carving from Stagehead Carvers near there.

I went into St Anthony again for ice and gas, then decided that I would try to catch the Labrador ferry after all. I drove the brand new highway to Main Brook and then across the peninsula and back up to St Barbe.

Roadside vegetable gardens
The new highway was so new it was not yet on the map, nevertheless there were garden patches along side it. This is a feature I've noticed all over the west coast, little garden patches along the highway. They belong to local residents, I suppose being located along a highway makes them easy to access if you don't have a back yard suitable for gardening. It was funny to see gardens along a road that wasn't even mapped yet.

On the road to St Barbe I saw a moose but I did not want to stop to take a photo for fear of missing the ferry. I barely made it to the ferry line-up in time, but the ferry was late so I waited half an hour to board. It was a very rough crossing. I started to write my journal but after a couple of paragraphs felt too seasick to continue. It was cold and rainy outside so I lay down for the rest of the trip.

To get off the ferry you had to turn your car around and drive off the same end that you drove on. The ferry to Labrador actually goes to Blanc Sablon in Quebec, right next to the border to Labrador. Blanc Sablon was completely fogged in, as was the rest of that coast. I drove toward Red Bay in Labrador, the end of the road in that direction. I occasionally caught glimpses of the scenery but was mostly driving in fog. I thought I was on Newfoundland & Labrador time, but it turns out that this part of the coast is on Quebec time, an hour and a half behind. I had thought I had to be back at the ferry to return to St Barbe at 1.15pm, but by Newfoundland time that was actually 2.45pm, giving me a little extra time provided I didn't change my clock.

I drove all the way to Red Bay in hopes that the Basque Whaling Station exhibit would still be open, but it closed 15 minutes before I got there. There was a van of eight women from Maine who were at Red Bay too, they had come on the same ferry and were planning to leave first thing in the morning, too early to see the exhibits. They were following an itinerary that one of the women had put together based on brochures from various tour companies she had written to. They booked lodgings and ate at restaurants cited by those companies, visiting the same sites of interest.

Since it was wet and miserable I bought fish and chips at the one restaurant in town, next to the Red Bay Visitors' Centre. Rather than drive 30 km back to the Pinware River campground, I asked the woman running the restaurant if there was any place nearby to camp overnight. She suggested that I just park anywhere in town. Red Bay is a pretty small town that seemed kind of haphazardly laid out, although by now it was dark so maybe it actually was less haphazard than it seemed. I drove around looking for an out of the way place to park and finally settled on a spot close to the main road. The roads there were hilly and sandy and I was concerned that if I got too far off the main road a sandy side road might wash out in the rain that night and I would be stuck.

I stayed up long enough to feed Yohan and write a couple of pages in my journal. There were lots of mosquitoes and it continued to pour rain. Two locals drove by several times and finally stopped to talk to me. I was afraid I was parked in their driveway and they were coming to tell me to move along. But while they did live down that road they did not mind me parking there at all, they were just concerned because it was a poor night to be out camping. I told them I was okay, I just wanted to get in out of the rain and go to bed. I assured them I'd be okay and so they drove home.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Sunday August 23, 1998 - Newfoundland


Pistolet Bay - sunny and clear.

I woke to a clear morning quite early and made breakfast over a fire which started much quicker than the night before. I had a nice hot shower at the comfort station and then drove around the shore through Onion Cove and Raleigh toward l'Anse aux Meadows.

I visited the Norse viking settlement site. The settlement has been recreated and there is also a little museum of artifacts and explanations of the site. I watched a very good film about the discovery of the site by a Norwegian couple, Helge and Anne Ingstad. 


In the recreated settlement site itself several local people played the original Viking inhabitants. One woman was a domestic slave and a man was the "captain". There were buildings partially dug into the ground and covered with sod roofs. The roof in the main building was high enough to stand up in comfortable but apparently the roof would have been much lower in the original building for ease of building and to conserve heat. The captain played a Norse board game with a young woman and the "slave" woman demonstrated one-needle knitting. She maintained quite a quick-witted humourous patter, answering questions about lifestyle and making jokes about everything.

Yohan inside the sod house
While I was there I met a fireman from Richmond BC who was travelling with his two daughters. He said that his wife worked for an airline and he used her flying dscount to visit a different province or territory each year with the two girls. One year they went to Nunavut and were billeted with local people on their stay there. This year was Newfoundland and Labrador. Lucky kids! He said he was spending their inheritance, I said these trips were their inheritance.

After visiting the Viking site I went on to St. Anthony and out to Fishing Point where there is a view of Iceberg Alley, but there are no icebergs there at this time of year. June and July are supposed to be the good viewing months.

In St. Anthony I visited the Grenfell Centre and the Grenfell home, both of which were very interesting. Dr. Wilfred Grenfell  came to St. Anthony early in the 20th century as a missionary, but quickly became almost exclusively a doctor because of the great need. He started an orphanage and a handicraft industry co-op where hooked rugs, parkas and so forth were made. The parkas were made of "grenfell cloth", which is water-resistant but not waterproof. he wrote several books about his experiences in this part of the world. 

I toured the house that he lived in. In his bedroom there was one of his books by the bedside, I sat down to read part of it, in particular a harrowing story about being stuck on an ice pan overnight in the winter. He had gone to see someone who was ill and was returning to St Anthony on the sea ice in the evening. His dogsled went through the ice. he and the dogs managed to get out of the water, but they were stuck on an ice pan out at sea. It's a moving story, I was quite rivetted by it. Obviously he survived, but he had to kill one or more of his dogs to do it. He loved the dogs, it was not an easy thing to do.

Grenfell made a film about the Mission hospital and orphanage to show to Americans to raise funds for his work. While he made it as a movie, he usually presented it as a slide show. I watched the film at the Grenfell Centre, it is quite funny and obviously deliberately so, to appeal to his intended audience.

After St. Anthony I returned to Pistolet Bay for a second night. Again the fire took a long time to get started but I eventually got dinner and went to bed. It was a clear starry night so I expected it to be cold but in fact it was quite warm, probably due to clouding over later in the night.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Saturday August 22, 1998 - Newfoundland


Pistolet Bay - rainy, cloudy.

I didn't know if I wanted to stay at Green Point another day, but in the morning it was cloudy and a bit rainy so I decided to head up the coast towards l'Anse aux Meadows. The couple from Ontario had recommended the boat trip up the Western Brook Pond, a steep-sided fjord, instead of going to Labrador, so I was thinking about that, but only if the weather was good. I passed the Western Brook and it was cloudy and rainy. I could see the entrance to the fjord (it is actually quite a ways in from the coast), with steep cliffs on either side cut into the Long Range Mountains. I continued on, the weather didn't seem good enough to make the trip.


I turned off at Port au Choix which has an Archaic Maritime Indian burial ground and a Dorset Eskimo site, as well as a current archaeological dig for an Archaic Indian habitation site. The Dorset Eskimo site is on a trail along the coast through arctic alpine "gardens"—orange lichen on grey basalt rocks, juniper, wild flowers, dwarf birch—many different textures of green. The site is in a grassy meadow.


I was at the meadow, but since I didn't know what I was looking for, I didn't see the house sites, which apparently were rock circles. I couldn't see the burial site either, but I got a quick tour of the dig directed by Priscilla Renouf of Memorial University of Newfoundland. It's in someone's backyard and so far they've found some arrowheads and fire hearth sites. Also a more recent piece of pottery.


I continued on up the coast and iadvertently ended up in the 5.00pm ferry for Labrador line up at St Barbe. Since I had previously decided not to go to Labrador I turned around to get out of the line up and out of town. I sort of regretted it, but decided that I didn't really have time for it with the ferry schedule being what it was.

I got into Pistolet Bay around 6.30 or 7.00pm, another tuckamore campground on the edge of a bog. I found a fairly private site and split some firewood with the good splitting ax at the camp firewood pile. This is the first provincial campground I've been in since BC that provides free firewood. They also have a "comfort station" with showers and washing machines. The firewood was wet so it took a long time to get a good fire going and cook dinner. It was dark before I finished and quite cold.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Friday August 21, 1998 - Newfoundland


Green Point - sunny and warm.

The Trout River campground was OK but I didn't like it so much.

Tablelands seen from a distance
I decided to go on the 10.00am Tablelands guided walk. I was a bit late getting there but it was very interesting. The Tablelands are flat-topped mountains of yellow rock and hardly any vegetation. Across the road are mountains of grey rock and lots of vegetation; it's quite startling.


Our guide, Fred, told us that the yellow rock is actually rust, the rocks are peridotite and something else derived from the Earth's mantle. They were thrust up by tectonic forces when the North American and European plates first collided to form the Appalachian Mountains. There are remains of the mantle all along the Appalachians, but only here are they so extensive and undisturbed by human habitation.

Fred pointed out interesting plants such as dwarf "bonsai" birch trees, insectivorous pitcher plants, butterwort, a rare plant that makes its own compost, and another plant whose name I forget that accumulates heavey metals in its leaves. He showed us a mysterious colony of leeches in a stream with no known source of blood meals, and an old growth stand of larches and juniper over 300 years old and a half meter tall at best.

Fred pointed out one tiny tree and said, "This is larch, or tamarack or hackmatack, which we in Newfoundland call juniper," and then another tree and said, "And this is juniper, which we in Newfoundland call juniper." He showed us calcium springs and a place by a waterfall where new rock is being formed: travertine. Only 5 minutes old.

5 minute old travertine
Yohan kept up with the walk pretty well but at one point he slipped on a muddy path into a hole and didn't want to go any further.

I got back to my campsite just after noon and packed up to continue northward, to try my luck in another campground in the park. The scenery was beautiful and the weather great.


I eventually arrived at the Green Point campground right on the ocean shore facing westward. I found a really nice campsite in the "tuckamore" with a path down to the beach. I talked to a man at the next site and another couple, all from Ontario. This campground is uncrowded and quiet.


Yohan and I walked a trail through meadows and tuckamore along the beach. We came to a stream which Yohan would not cross, he waited for me there while I continued on a ways.

Yohan wouldn't cross the water
Later when I put him to bed I saw that his paws were red and raw. I collected driftwood from the beach for a cook fire and later after dark took a rug out onto a nearby meadow to lie down and watch the stars coming out. The sound of the breakers on the beach is soothing. It's a rocky beach with lots of driftwood and old lobster traps.


Monday, August 20, 2018

Thursday August 20, 1998 - Newfoundland

Trout River Pond
Trout River - clear and sunny, then clouding over and rainy

I got up early, around 5.20am Nova Scotia time (5.50am Newfoundland time) to get ready to debark. I spent a few minutes in the onboard museum reading excerpts from a diary of a family in which several generations worked on the ferry and kept notes. Once off the ferry I made breakfast for Yohan and me at the Visitors' Centre just outside Port aux Basques. There are no trees for miles, I suspect long since cut down for firewood.

I drove up the west coast and turned off on the road to Shallop Cove to follow the shore to Stephenville and then out on the Port au Port Peninsula. I took the backroad around Port au Port Bay to Lourdes and then turned around and went back. It is a very poor road, hilly, windy and not a lot to see. The weather was alternately rainy and sunny.

Getting back on the main road I drove into Corner Brook to get some cash and gas. It is the biggest town on this coast, a regular city centre. After leaving Corner Brook I continued on to Red Deer and then turned off on the road to Gros Morne (rt. 430). I reached Gros Morne around 3.30 or 4.00 pm.

On the advice of the Visitor Centre I decided to stay at the Trout River Pond campground. It took an hour to get there and it was rainy most of the time. The campground is set on a hill above the Pond, looking down the Trout River valley behind the Tablelands. Yohan and I walked down to the Pond, saw moose and bear tracks and a bog moose poop. "Ponds" here are lakes anywhere else. The Trout River Pond is actually two ponds, the campground being on the lower one. It is quite a spectacular view down the valley.

I went to bed early because of the rain.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Wednesday August 19, 1998 - Nova Scotia

Petite Riviere - cool and cloudy, clearing later.



I got up early, around 8 am but everyone else slept in. The morning was peaceful, you could hear the ocean waves on the rocky beach in one direction and cows mooing in the other. We watched the loons out on the water. This is such a nice spot. The cabin was built in several stages as the family expanded. It's funny carpentry and not well laid out, but it's comfortable.



I hung around until 2 in the afternoon and then headed out to the ferry terminal in North Sydney. I stopped to withdraw cashe and buy dog food and gas, but otherwise drove straight through. I boarded the ferry to Port aux Basques just before midnight.



Yohan had to stay in the truck but I had booked a berth in a dormitory, which was a large room with 50 or so bunk beds. Each bunk had a narrow vinyl covered mattress, a pillow and a small grey wool blanket. I used my down sleeping bag and went right to sleep after trading bunks with a woman whose family was spread around the dormitory in several bunks.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Tuesday August 18, 1998 - Nova Scotia

Petite Riviere - cool and cloudy.

We all slept in until the vegetable lady came at 11.30 am. She delivers fresh veggies, preserves and baked goods to the local cottages every Tuesday. I spent the day making oat cakes, vegetable buns, rice and veggies for my next upcoming trip to Newfoundland. Carolyn rented two movies that have seen before but liked: Mother and Rainmaker. We went to the Green Bay canteen for a supper of Digby clams and fish and chips. We were going to walk but the dogs were following us so we ended up driving. Carolyn's sister's cat Buttons showed up, her sister had forgotten to take the cat home with her. I fed the cat some of Yohan's food. I tried to call Sam again but I was 15 minutes too late, he had already left for Katimavik.

Today was the most rain Nova Scotia has gotten since the spring, almost an inch fell.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Monday August 17, 1998 - Nova Scotia

Petite Riviere - sunny hot and humid, then clouding over and raining.

The plan is to go spend some time on the South Shore at Carolyn's family's cottage, but first I have to get the oxygen sensor installed at Kelly's. I took the truck in early and went across the road to have breakfast at Stirling's while I waited. Sometime after 9 am the job was completed but shortly after driving away the Check Engine light came on again so I drove back to the garage. This time they said it was a manifold air temperature sensor, and nobody around had one available. So I drove back to Fritz and Carolyn's and started phoning around to see if the part I needed was available in Halifax. There was one at a dealership on Bedford Highway. I drove to Halifax, got the part for $50, and then set out to Bridgewater in hopes that I could find someone who could install it there.

In Bridgewater I drove across town to a GM dealership, but they sent me back to Bob's Shell, who in turn sent me to Jerry's Petrocan on the same road as the GM dealership. Fortunately Jerry was not busy and could install the sensor. He charged me $8.

With that taken care of I headed to Petite Riviere and the cabin on Green Bay. I think I arrived there around 2 pm. Carolyn was already there and we just spent the rest of the afternoon sitting on the deck or walking on the beach. We had pitas and beer for lunch. Later we walked into the Petite general store with the dogs to get a movie. On the way back it started to rain. We had a late supper, pork chops, veggies and salad, and watched the movie. I forget what it was called but it was sappy. I tried phoning Sam but he wasn't home so I went to bed. It was still raining.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Sunday August 16, 1998 - Nova Scotia


Wolfville - humid, sunny and hot.

In the morning I had breakfast with Mel and we chatted. On my way back to the Valley I stopped for gas and saw that my gas mileage was way down. When I got back to the Valley I stopped at Kelly's Irving in Grand Pré and arranged to bring the truck in first thing Monday for a new oxygen sensor. Got back to Fritz and Carolyn's, did some laundry and packing, and watched a video, Eve's Bayou and then parts of a second video, Bonfire of the Vanities. They were both good. Carolyn went to a concert with her sister and I took Yohan for a walk on the dikes. Later, like around midnight, we visited Carolyn's sister and her husband for a brandy. They live in Harry How's old place, just down the road from my old place.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Saturday August 15, 1998 - Nova Scotia

Halifax - humid, sunny and hot.

More puttering. I bought dogfood at Cornwallis Vets in Kentville and drove back through New Minas. Carolyn and I had a late lunch at the Ivy Deck Bistro. It was very good--chicken panini and salad and cheesecake—but it left me still hungry.

I drove to Halifax to visit a friend, Mel. Mel is restoring her several-hundred-year-old house in downtown Halifax. While she finished sanding her floor and cleaning up I wandered around Barrington and Spring Garden Road. We went for beer and pub food for supper at a place on Spring Garden Road, then met a friend of hers at another pub. We walked there and back, getting back to Mel's place just after midnight. I stayed over, having left Yohan in Wolfville.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Friday August 14, 1998 - Nova Scotia


Wolfville - humid, sunny and warm.

I was supposed to meet a friend, Carol for coffee in the morning but we didn't really connect till 12.45 pm. I sat around with her for awhile at the Coffee Merchant and then I puttered through the afternoon. I was going to go up on the North Mountain but I got an email from Sam about money problems that I thought I should phone him about.

Wolfville reservoir
Took Yohan for a walk around the Reservoir, then into town via the dikes. He's doing pretty well.

In the evening I went with Carolyn back to the Coffee Merchant to hear a group of women who were singing there.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Thursday August 13, 1998 - Nova Scotia


Wolfville - sunny and cool.

I booked some time on the public library computer for 11.00 am and then went for a drive just because I was feeling restless. I booked a ferry trip to Newfoundland for next week, August 19, and returning on August 27. I had thought I would go to Port aux Basques and return from Argentia, with the intention of visiting both the west coast and St. John's. But a friend advised me to just do one or the other and his opinion was to skip St. John's. So I booked the return trip out of Port aux Basques with the intention of just staying on the west coast of Newfoundland. And it seems like it is a lot easier to change a ferry booking here than on the west coast, so I could return earlier if I wanted to.

I drove down to the South Shore to visit Peter and Barbara who live just outside of Mahone Bay. They weren't home but instead there was a young fellow with no hair and a nose ring who said that Barbara was at work at the Lunenburg Public Library. I drove down toward Lunenburg but turned off just before at Second Peninsula. About 3.5 km in there is a provincial picnic park, with a stoney beach and picnic tables in the woods. There was only one other car there. I decided to stop awhile and ended up spending several hours there: tidying the truck, having a cup of tea, sitting on the beach, lying in the grass. Made me realize how much I like being on the road, camping in the woods.


Around 5 pm I left the picnic park and continued down the peninsula road. I saw Peter on his bike. I stopped and met him at the beach that Barbara and I had spent time at the last time I visited them, a few years ago. We chatted and went for a swim, he invited me back to their house for supper. Peter biked home and I drove, but I stopped in Mahone Bay to buy dogfood. We ended up arriving at their house at the same time. Barbara arrived home from work a little while later. We drank beer and ate a nice supper and reminisced about the old days living in the Valley. I left their place sometime after 10 pm and drove back to Wolfville.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Wednesday August 12, 1998 - Nova Scotia

Wolfville - cool and wet.

It rained all night and was cool, cloudy and windy all day. I visited Ladny and JP again and then went to Stirlings for lunch with Lin. Marge and Ralph are gone but the place is the same, even the same menu. After lunch we went back to Lin's place in Gaspereau and listened to a hilarious recorded conversation on their answering machine, between Peter and his boss Helen at CBC. Aunah came by with her son Alex. Lin's kids Ariel and Yvan are tall and skinny.

Got caught up on lots of gossip: Kate's death, Bob and Carmen's split-up, etc. Lin said not much has changed, which is probably true. In some ways I haven't changed either, I feel thrown back into old feelings I thought I had left behind when I left here. But no, they are still there, waiting under the surface. But I think my view of the place has changed.

In the evening Carolyn and I played scrabble with another friend, Karen, who came to visit. Fritz and I talked about the old days and about Heather Holmes thesis' about alternative community based on interviews she did with Wenega members.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Tuesday August 11, 1998 - Nova Scotia

Wolfville - cloudy, hot and windy.

I phoned a couple of friends, Judy and Ladny. I went over to visit Ladny and JP for a bit and then went for a beer with Judy. She filled me in on her brother's adventures in Victoria BC. I called another friend Lin and arranged to meet her tomorrow. She told me that a mutual friend Gaby is now living in Castlegar.

Towards evening it started to rain and the temperature dropped noticeably.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Monday August 10, 1998 - Nova Scotia

Wolfville - sunny and hot.

Today I was downtown and met a few people I remembered from when I used to live here. I took the truck to Kelly's Garage in Grand Pré to get an oil change to check out a vibration in the truck since I left Edmonton. It turns out that one of the front tires was shredding. I bought a new tire down the road at Avon Discount Tires and they put it on at Kelly's. It seemed like it took hours, it probably did. Yohan and I just sat there, too hot to move. I forgot his water bowl there and when I went back at 6.00 pm to see if it was still there, they met me at the door with it.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Sunday August 9, 1998 - Nova Scotia


Wolfville - sunny and hot.

Fritz went up the North Mountain to Baxter's Harbour with his friend James. Later Carolyn and I did the same thing. We stopped at their house in the Harbour for water and conversation, and then walked to Mike and Ruth's, the clearing where my old house used to be, and the old garden house. We looked at herbs in the garden out front. It was a really nice day, way too hot in the Valley and some warm in the Harbour. For local farmers this weather is too hot and dry.

Fritz and James left before we did and were going to start a chicken barbecue back at the house in town. Carolyn and I got home later and Fritz had made vegetable and potato salads. Kurt (their son) started the barbecue and I did the chicken. Careolyn rented a movie, Good Will Hunting, which eventually she and I watched. James went home and Fritz went back to the Harbour to watch the sun set with their daughter Erica.

It was nice being on the land in the Harbour, frustrating not remembering plant names. My old house location looks very bare, even the birches that were around the house are gone. The fire took it all. The house burned down five years ago but I had not lived there in a very long time, so the feelings of loss are long since abated. It's too bad but oh well.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Saturday August 8, 1998 - Nova Scotia

Wolfville - sunny and hot.

Today I pretty much just hung out at the house. Fritz went off to play war games at Jungle and Angie's and Carolyn and I eventually went to the Co-op grocery store. We got ice cream cones at Elderkin's and walked around downtown after 5.00 pm. I did some laundry and unpacked the truck a bit, but mostly I spent the day laying about.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Friday August 7, 1998 - Nova Scotia

On a PEI clay road
Wolfville - sunny and warm.

Today was a kind of mixed up day. Cindy had to go to town in the morning and no one knew when Karl would arrive home. As it turned out Karl couldn't get in until late so Cindy decided to come home instead of waiting for him in Charlottetown. Cindy's oldest son Justin had left two trout on the counter for me. Nicholas showed me how to clean them, he did one and I did the other. Later Justin woke up and I asked him about fish flies and so forth (he makes his own). He said there were lots of fish and he really "hammered" them, but only caught two little ones. After looking in cookbooks, which weren't much help, I finally floured and fried them with lemon juice. After picking out the backbone and ribs they weren't bad.

Harris church

Another church

PEI potato field
When Cindy got home we went through her garden and she picked some stuff for me, cucumbers, cabbage, beets and broccoli. I eventually packed up and left the farm around 3.00 pm. I didn't take the ferry because there were line-ups for that, instead I took the coast road to the bridge and got there around 5.00 pm. I took a few photos of churches and red clay roads along the way.

Across the bridge there was a short trip through New Brunswick to the border of Nova Scotia. In Nova Scotia I took the coast road through Spring Hill, Parrsboro and Bass River (where they make Bass River chairs) because I had never been in that part of the province before. In Parrsboro there was a little geological/dinosaur museum and the Kipawo, the old steamship that used to run through the Minas Basin between Kingsport, Parrsboro and Wolfville (Ki-Pa-Wo). Jack Sheriff of Wolfville mounted a big fundraising campaign to bring the old boat back to Wolfville; he envisaged using it as a kind of floating theatre in the tiny Wolfville Harbour. However, one thing and another, it ended up in Parrsboro. It looked terrible, all covered up in tarps, but apparently they are using it for theatrical productions.

Just outside of Truro I called Fritz and Carolyn who I will be staying with and they recommended coming through the Rawden Hills, Highway 236 via Maitland and Kennetcook. Which I did, arriving in Wolfville around 10.30 pm. Fritz stayed up a bit after I arrived there, Carolyn and I were up till 2.00 am.