Friday, August 29, 2008

The Vikings Have Landed! The Vikings Have Landed!

Leif Eriksson.


The Vikings in North America BEFORE Christopher Columbus.

Facts. Just dry facts that have been rattling around in my brain for years, ever since I had to learn them in a long ago history class.

But they are dry facts no more.

The reason? A very special place in northern Newfoundland on the tip of the province's Great Northern Peninsula: L'Anse aux Meadows. It was - and still is - a very small fishing village. But it is also home to a 1,000 year old Viking settlement that many archaeologists believe is Leif Eriksson's Vinland.

The discovery of this settlement was a long time in the making. It started with the Viking sagas, tales of adventure that were passed from generation to generation in the oral storytelling tradition of the Vikings, until they were finally written down in the 13th century. Two of the sagas (the Greenland Saga and Erik's Saga) tell the story of Leif Eriksson and Vinland.

Based on information in these sagas, many folks over many years have tried to find Vinland. Most agreed that it was somewhere between Labrador and New England, but no evidence of a settlement was ever found.

Until 1960, when a Norwegian historian and explorer named Helge Ingstad met a L'Anse aux Meadows fisherman named George Decker.

Ingstad had been on a quest to find the Vinland of the Viking sagas and his research had led him to Newfoundland. He arrived in L'Anse aux Meadows by boat as it was not accessible by road at that time. He met George Decker, a local fisherman, and asked him if there were any unusual terrain features nearby, specifically any low ridges or mounds (in Norway, Greenland and Iceland, those kinds of features would sometimes prove to be the overgrown remains of Viking longhouse walls).

Much to Ingstad's delight, Decker said yes and led him to some low grassy mounds. The locals had thought them to be old Indian burial grounds, but Helge Ingstad believed otherwise.

The following year, Ingstad and his wife, archaeologist Anne Stine, returned to begin an exploratory excavation. They found enough to encourage them to keep digging: a fireplace with flat rocks, a cooking pit and an ember pit, all similar to archaeological discoveries that had been made in Greenland and Norway. They returned the following year with a group of American, Canadian and Scandinavian archaeologists and began a full excavation.

The low grassy mounds, restored to their pre-1960 condition
(after several years of archaeological excavation).

Over the next two years, the team unearthed the foundations of eight buildings. One of these buildings clearly indicated to the archaeologists that the Vikings had once lived at L'Anse aux Meadows: a smithy, used to process iron (in the case of L'Anse aux Meadows, bog iron). The Vikings were known to have smelted bog iron, but it was not known to the native people of Newfoundland.

In addition, many artifacts were uncovered, among them an Icelandic stone lamp and a bronze ring-headed pin of the type used by the Vikings to fasten their cloaks.

The bronze ring-headed pin

One of the most important discoveries at L'Anse aux Meadows was a tiny stone wheel called a spindle whorl. It would once have been used as the flywheel of a handheld spindle, a simple tool for spinning wool. Near the spindle whorl, a small whetstone was found. Near the whetstone was a small pair of scissors and some bone needles. All of these were traditionally part of a Viking woman's sewing kit. This was not only further proof that the settlers at L'Anse aux Meadows were Viking; it also meant there had been women in Vinland, just as the sagas had stated.

The spindle whorl

Carbon-14 testing of charcoal from several hearths dated to approximately 1,000 A.D. So it was time to rewrite the history books...Christopher Columbus was 500 years late to the party!

But the Viking sagas indicate that Vinland was inhabited for less than ten years, and archaeologists agree.

So what happened to our fearless Vikings? Why didn't they hang around long enough to be able to lay full claim to the European discovery of North America?

A possible answer can be found in the sagas. They tell of fierce conflict with the native people of the area. The Vikings at L'Anse aux Meadows were, by all accounts, not the warriors of other Viking legends, but farmers and fishermen. They were outnumbered and outfought and possibly felt that Vinland simply wasn't worth the effort. So they packed up virtually all of their belongings and sailed home to Greenland.

Over the next one thousand years, the Viking longhouses crumbled and were overgrown with grasses and wildflowers. They remained hidden until a tenacious Norwegian, with the help of a Newfoundland fisherman, would recognize those low grassy mounds for what they truly were: evidence of a Viking presence in North America more than 500 years before the 1492 voyage of Christopher Columbus. And the means by which to convert dry facts into fascinating history. :-D

To be fair, I do feel compelled to add that while historians are unanimous in their opinion that L'Anse aux Meadows is undisputedly a 1,000 year old Viking settlement, they remain divided over whether or not it is, indeed, the legendary Vinland of the Viking sagas. Many historians believe L'Anse aux Meadows was not a permanent settlement, but was merely a base camp from which the Vikings explored the entire Atlantic coast of Canada. That entire coast, they believe, is the true Vinland.

A reconstructed longhouse, based on the archaeology at L'Anse aux Meadows

Sitting in Leif Eriksson's Longhouse

I found a Viking!

--- Barbara (currently in Louisbourg, Nova Scotia)
Day 81
Total miles: 8,043

Joy, Pure Joy!

It was difficult to tell who was feeling the most joy.

Was it Art, who was happily taking photos of one of nature's most amazing acrobatic displays?

Or was it Barbara, who was in complete and utter awe over what we were witnessing?

Or was it the humpback whale, the source of Art and Barbara's joy, who was launching its 50 foot, 79,000 pound body completely out of the sea and into the air, flippers spread wide, in what we were convinced was total joyous abandon?

Not once.

Not even twice.

How about 30 times?

Joy! Pure Joy!

We were on a whale watching trip out of St. Anthony, Newfoundland. The skipper of the boat had gotten word that there was a particularly playful humpback whale right outside the entrance to St. Anthony Bay. So there we headed and were treated to a most incredible show. Even the skipper, who has been taking folks out whale watching since 1997, said he's never seen such an extended display of breaching by a humpback whale.

It is now my pleasure to share the joy...

50 feet and 79,000 pounds of playfulness!

Whale researchers do not know for certain why humpbacks breach. It's probable that it's a form of communication. But when you watch a humpback breaching, over and over and over again, I defy anyone to not feel the joy!

Humpback whales migrate between northern summer feeding grounds and southern winter breeding and calving grounds. The humpbacks we watched on this day in Newfoundland will be heading to Caribbean waters in the fall.

This humpback whale was slapping its tail against the water repeatedly in what is known as a tail lob.

How close were we? Close enough to smell this magnificent creature's fishy breath when he would exhale!

Joy, Pure Joy!

--- Barbara (currently in Louisbourg, Nova Scotia)
Day 81
Total miles: 8,043

A Geography Refresher

Art just blogged about our boat tour of the Trout River Pond in Gros Morne National Park which is in Newfoundland. We thought this might be a good time to take a moment to look at that Atlantic Provinces map again so that you can see exactly where we were.

The Atlantic Provinces

We had been advised by local folks that due to its more northerly location, it would be a good idea to explore the province of Newfoundland and Labrador sooner, rather than later. So we drove directly from New Brunswick to the eastern end of Nova Scotia's Cape Breton Island. There we took a ferry over to Newfoundland and began our 12-day adventure in Newfoundland and Labrador.

The island of Newfoundland offered much more than we had anticipated and so we opted to only explore its Great Northern Peninsula. Now we have a reason to one day return!

Below is a map of just Newfoundland that shows the areas we explored and that we'll be blogging about. For those of you reading this blog who hope to one day travel here, make certain you have plenty of time. Beautiful scenery, fascinating history, charming little fishing villages, very friendly folks...Newfoundland has it all!

We now return you to your regularly scheduled (but just a couple of weeks behind) travel blog.

--- Barbara (currently in Louisbourg, Nova Scotia)
Day 81
Total miles: 8,043

Gros Morne Tablelands

In Gros Morne National Park in Newfoundland, one can see a geological rarity, the Gros Morne Tablelands. Here an ophiolite sequence is exposed. This is a slab of ocean floor that has been jammed up onto the North American continent. These rocks are normally found between the floor of the ocean and the earth's mantle which underlays the crust typically about 3 miles beneath the ocean floor.

These rocks can be seen be seen by taking a boat tour on a lake called the Trout River Pond. (Newfoundlanders call virtually all of their lakes "ponds")

Because of the chemical composition, few plants will grow on the rocks of the Tablelands.

These are "pillow basalts" that form underwater when magma oozes up onto the sea floor at a tectonic "spreading center" where new sea floor is being created.

These rocks are from the Mohorovičić discontinuity (commonly called the "Moho"). This is the area where the bottom of the Earth's crust rests on the underlying mantle .

This area is definite "must see" for anyone with an interest in geology.

Tidal "Bore"

When the Bay of Fundy tide comes in, it flows into the Petitcodiac River. As the tide flows into the increasingly shallow and narrow confines of the river channel, a wavefront can form as the water piles up. This is called a "tidal bore". It used to be that by the time the tidal bore reached the city of Moncton, New Brunswick it would be a fairly sizeable wave. But changes in the river bottom have caused the bore to be much smaller.

But since we were in Moncton, we decided to wait for the next tidal bore. Even though it started raining, we decided to stick it out. As you can see from the picture, the event was rather anti-climatic (a real "bore").

Friday, August 15, 2008

Fundy Tides and the Hopewell Rocks

After Saint John we went to Fundy National Park in New Brunswick and spent a couple of days. This is a good base to explore the tides in the Bay of Fundy. Due to unique geographical conditions, the tides in the Bay of Fundy are the largest in the world. Much of the extremes in tides in the bay is due to the fact that the time it takes water to flow into or out of the bay is close to the time interval between tides. This harmonic situation causes the water to slosh back and forth in the bay. As the water flows into the bay, the narrowing, shallow ends of the bay amplify the tidal change. At the head of the bay the tide can change by over 50 feet!

Here is the harbor in the village of Alma, right next to Fundy National Park. The same location was photographed near low and then near high tide, just over six hours apart.

Another part of the Alma harbor, taken at both low and high tide.

We also visited a famous area called the Hopewell Rocks. Here the movement of the water due to the tides has caused interesting rock formations to erode from the cliffs. At low tide you can walk around the rocks "on the bottom of the ocean".

Here is view of all the rocks and visitors "from sea floor level" and the usual picture to prove that we were actually there.

Here is a view of the Hopewell Rocks from the top of the access stairs near low tide and again near high tide.

Making Lemonade in Saint John

We were planning to drive from Saint Andrews over to a Chocolate Festival in Saint Stephen. As we started to leave Saint Andrews, I noticed a small "clunk" when we hit a bump while turning. There had been a discussion on the Yahoo LD list about rubber bushings on Bilstein shocks deteriorating and causing such a sound. So we pulled off and I found the top bushing on the front passenger side shock to be in bad shape with the top of the shock loose. We were able to find a local auto repair shop to look at it. He had an old bushing in his "parts bin" that he was able to use to fix the passenger side. He checked the driver side bushing and indicated that it was already cracked and should be fixed. He recommended a suspension shop in Saint John, New Brunswick that would have the tools and experience to address the problem. There went the Chocolate Festival! We headed off to Saint John and checked into an RV park. I was able to schedule an appointment for the next morning, so we had the rest of the day to kill.

In the spirit of the old saying "When life hands you lemons, make lemonade," we decided to take in some of what Saint John had to offer. We had been reading about the famous "Reversing Falls" in Saint John. Where the Saint John River reaches the Bay of Fundy, it goes through a narrows with a rock ledge. Because of the 40 foot tidal change at Saint John, at low tide the river rushes through the narrows and over the ridge forming significant rapids. At high tide, the bay rises to a level about 14 feet higher than the river level above the narrows during low tide, causing the river to reverse twice a day and flow inland until the tide drops again.

Here is what the Reversing Falls area looks like during high tide with the river flowing backwards.

For dinner we went to eat at Billy's Seafood at the Old City Market. The Old City Market, which dates back to 1785, is in a large old building housing vendors selling a variety of goods. The main market itself was just closing as we arrived, so we decided we would come back the next day.

Billy's Seafood was open later, and is noted for their seafood. So we proceeded to sample one of the things we had come for, LOBSTER! (It tasted as good as it looks!)

The next morning we dropped the LD off at the suspension shop and headed off in the Jeep. Since it was near low tide, we first headed over to see the Reversing Falls near low tide.

Here is what the Reversing Falls area looks like during low tide with the river flowing through the rapids.

Next we went back to the Old City Market to wander around and check out the vendors' wares. We had just about finished looking when we got a call on our cell phone that the rig was ready to go. So we went back, paid, hooked up the Jeep, and headed back on the road feeling that we had actually had a very nice visit to Saint John.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Thar Be Whales!

After Fredericton, we took some back country roads to St. Andrews-by-the-Sea, a charming little fishing village on the Passamaquoddy Bay where one could shop (we did), one could dine on lobster (we did), and one could whale watch. We did!

Below, a photo journal of our whale watching adventure...

The Jolly Breeze
When we found out that she was one of our choices for whale watching excursions in St. Andrews, well, there was no question! This photo is from the Jolly Breeze website because it's pretty challenging to get a photo of the boat you're on from the boat you're on!

The harbor of St. Andrews-by-the-Sea

A Finback Whale
These are thrilling whales to see because they reach up to 90 feet in length (the Jolly Breeze is 72 feet long). They are, however, rather elusive and only show their backs (and the fin for which they are named) while surfacing and diving.

Thar She Blows (if you look carefully)

More Marine Mammals in Passamaquoddy Bay

--- Barbara (currently in North Sydney, Nova Scotia)
Day 63
Total miles: 6,723

More Genealogical Gold

After our memorable time in Caraquet, Art and I headed a little further down the Acadian Coastal Drive and then picked up the Miramichi River Route. We had a date to keep with the New Brunswick Provincial Archives in Fredericton.

As stated on their website, "The Provincial Archives of New Brunswick collects, preserves, and makes available for research, documents and records bearing upon the history of New Brunswick."

In other words, it's a gold mine of information for genealogists. And once again, we hit pay dirt. We didn't actually find what we had primarily been looking for - where my great great great great grandfather Samuel Upton and his son John were buried - but what we did find was so gratifying that I just couldn't be too disappointed. And we had another serendipitous encounter that was the proverbial icing on the cake.

First, a wee bit of background: I knew that Samuel Upton had moved to New Brunswick from Salem, Massachusetts in the 1760s. And I knew he and his son John were both buried in New Brunswick. Somewhere.

But during the course of this trip, before visiting the Provincial Archives, I had also learned the following: Samuel had received a land grant from King George III of England in 1765 for 500 acres of land in what was then Nova Scotia, but is now Maugerville, New Brunswick (this part of Nova Scotia then became the province of New Brunswick in 1784). After the Acadians were driven out of Nova Scotia, the British wanted to make certain there was a strong British presence in the area and the awarding of land grants was the result.

That was pretty exciting to find out because that meant there might be a paper trail.

And sure enough, there was. At the Provincial Archives, we actually found the land grant. We were also able to see a copy of the original map that showed the land grants and where they were located. And there was Samuel's name, written on the map, showing where his 500 acres were.

We knew that it would be difficult, 243 years later, to find the actual land. We had no idea what might be out there. Housing developments? Office complexes? Shopping malls? But we had to at least try.

So we drove from Fredericton to Maguerville, only about 15 miles away. We could tell from the old map that Samuel's land fronted on the St. John River and then went back from there...waaay back. For five miles. All the land grants awarded at that time in that area were long and skinny strips. Art and I figured it was so everyone would have access to the river, which was the main transportation route back then.

Surprisingly - and pleasantly so - there were no housing developments or office complexes or shopping malls. There were a few homes, a few farms, a few green stands, an old gas station and lots of land. But where had Samuel lived? In present time, there is a public road that parallels the St. John River, so we knew we were at least driving over a tiny piece of what would have been his land, but we just couldn't tell which plot would have been his. We decided we had best just be content knowing we were in the area.

We had not been able to find out at the Provincial Archives where either Samuel or John were buried, but as we passed an old church in Maguerville on our way back to Fredericton, we decided to stop and just poke around the cemetery at the church. No Uptons. We climbed back into the Jeep and were just starting to pull back onto the road, when another car drove into the tiny church's parking area. A woman got out of the car and started walking towards the church. On a whim, I hopped out of the Jeep, mainly to ask her if she happened to know if this particular church might have any records of burials. Both Art and I now know from experience that not all burials are marked with headstones, but churches and cemeteries always seem to have recorded all burials.

The woman said she knew that the Provincial Archives would have this particular church's records because it's such an historical church (established in 1763). Phooey. We had not thought to check into church records when we were at the Archives that morning.

She then asked who we were looking for. When I mentioned Samuel's name, she said "I don't know if he's buried here or not, but I live on what was Samuel Upton's land grant."


She had some things to do at the church, but she gave us directions to her house and permission to take a photo. This may sound corny, but standing there, looking at land that was owned and farmed by my great great great great grandfather, well, all those "greats" just evaporated and I wouldn't have been surprised to see him walk out of the woods. It was a very special moment.

This wonderful woman we met at the church also told us about a man living in the area...a 91-year old gent who turned out to be my fifth cousin! We actually got to visit him for a bit. He was quite amused by our "accents".

So even though our visit to the Provincial Archives did not give us exactly what we were looking for, I think it did give us what this particular Upton was REALLY looking for...a connection.

And we will be heading back to Fredericton sometime next month, on our way to Maine. We plan to make another visit to the Provincial Archives to check out those church records.

I'll find you yet, Samuel Upton!

This church was established in 1763 and we believe it is the one Samuel would have belonged was literally a stone's throw from his land.

Samuel, are you there?

The part of Samuel Upton's land grant that was near the St. John River.

--- Barbara (currently in North Sydney, Nova Scotia)
Day 63
Total miles: 6,723

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Time Traveling in New Brunswick

They've done a very clever thing here in New Brunswick. The tourism powers-that-be have designed five scenic drives that encompass the main parts of the province. A well-designed map and guide book, with each drive marked in a different color, is available at every provincial information center and every stop of interest to tourists. The guide book also lists all the many and various attractions in New Brunswick, color-coded to show which scenic drive each of the attractions is nearest to. In addition, it also lists campgrounds, and has color-coded them, as well. It's been incredibly useful to us as we decide how best to make use of our time here in New Brunswick.

I've added a few places to the map to reflect our travels

Our first drive was the Appalachian Range Route. I'm embarrassed to admit this, but I had always assumed (mistakenly, it turns out) that the Appalachians were mainly in the Eastern United States, basically Kentucky and Tennessee. I think I watched too much TV as a kid. I now have learned that the Appalachians begin in Newfoundland and extend roughly 1,500 miles down into southeastern Canada and then south-westward into the United States, ending in central Alabama (with foothills in northeastern Mississippi).

The drive was very pretty, as it wound up and down and through the Appalachians, but my, there were a lot of trees. And not much else. Beyond the trees, there were lakes and rivers, beckoning to canoeists and kayakers, of which we are neither. Maybe in our next lifetime. There were also lots of logging trucks on the road, so it wasn't as relaxing a drive as it might have been.

Truthfully, there was nothing to distinguish this road from any other very pretty forested road in the United States, and we were hankering for something uniquely New Brunswickian.

Our wish was granted in Caraquet.

Caraquet, New Brunswick is on the Acadian Coast, right on the Chaleur Bay. It is home to approximately 4,500 Acadians and is where you will find the Village Historique Acadien. Acadian? Art and I had heard the word before, and we knew there was some connection between the Acadians and the Cajuns in Louisiana. But that was it. So when we arrived in New Brunswick and discovered how many Acadians live here (roughly 30% of the province's population!), we then wanted to learn all we could about these folks. That's what traveling does to a person.

Briefly (I'll try, really I will!), we have now learned that the Acadians were among the very earliest of European settlers here in North America, settling in Nova Scotia in the early 1600s (New Brunswick was part of Nova Scotia in those days...we'll tackle that history lesson in a future blog update ;-D ).

I cannot tell the Acadian's story any better than the following, which is from the website of the Village Historique Acadien:

"Our history does not date from ancient times, as that of certain peoples whose origins are lost in the mists of time. The birth of the Acadian people can be determined very precisely to the first half of the 17th century, as pioneers, coming mainly from the western provinces of France, but also from the Basque country, from Flanders and elsewhere. They established themselves on the shore of what they called the Baie Française, now the Bay of Fundy, and formed the first white community in North America. Peaceful, living in harmony with the native populations who were their neighbours, they gave their new country the name Acadie, which is still printed indelibly in our hearts."

The Acadians, who after only a few generations had developed their own culture and regarded themselves as a distinct people, soon found their beloved Acadia at the center of a continuous string of wars, wars fought between the English and the French over the possession of the Acadian homeland. In 1755, Acadians who refused to swear an oath of loyalty to the British crown were deported from their own lands.

Often at the point of a bayonet, Acadians were forced to board ships that would carry them away from their homeland, and in the process, many families were separated. Expelled Acadians dispersed to France or French-controlled Canada. Some went to the lower British colonies (and eventually made their way to Louisiana where they became known as Cajuns). Others fled deeper into Nova Scotia.

One hundred and fifty years of establishing themselves and their very unique culture, and in 1755, it was all gone. But was it?

Fortunately, Acadia was alive and well in exile.

So when the Acadians began to return, they brought their culture and traditions back with them. They were not allowed to live in their former settlements, but still they were able to not only start anew, but also thrive...a proud and resilient people who now comprise nearly one third of the population of New Brunswick.

After learning about the Acadians, we then decided to try a bit of time traveling. We visited the Village Historique Acadien, in Caraquet. The village recreates the Acadians' second settlement period, in the late 1700s and the 1800s. There are more than 40 restored buildings, staffed with bilingual interpreters in period dress who bring the Acadian customs and traditional trades to life.

Here are a few of the photos we took at the Village. We really did feel as if we had gone back in time. It was a very special visit and in finding the Acadians, we also knew we had found something "uniquely New Brunswickian."

We were treated to demonstrations of both yarn and thread spinning.

Colors for dyeing the yarn were obtained both locally (spruce bark, onion skins, roots, flowers, ferns) and were also imported (indigo from a plant from India, red from both a flower from France and an insect from Mexico).

Possibly the most important man in town.

The Proud Printer

Just Because

I may be of British and Polish descent, but I still wish to say:

Viva L'Acadie!

--- Barbara (currently in Pictou, Nova Scotia...yes, we are THAT behind on our blog!)
Day 61
Total miles: 6,553

Monday, August 4, 2008

This Time, It IS the Destination!

There is a familiar saying: "It's the journey, not the destination."

Normally, I would agree. But when you have nourished for years a dream to travel to Canada's Maritime Provinces and you finally realize it, when you finally step out of the motorhome and onto the soil of New Brunswick for the very first time, you cannot help but look at each other and say "Hot damn! We're in the Maritimes! We're really here!"

And so we are. A dream come true, to be sure.

But we had hoped to be sharing this dream, this adventure, with our dear friends Di and Bob. Life, however, got in the way (as it is often wont to do), and so they needed to stay home. We miss them very much and think of them daily as we begin our exploration of these lands. And so this dream-come-true is going to do shall also serve as a scouting trip for when Di and Bob are ready to make this journey. Di, I've already started the "Best Places to Find Chocolate" list...and boy, do I have a restaurant for you! La Chocolatiere in Caraquet, New Brunswick. Ooh-la-la!

It occurs to me that a little geography lesson might be helpful (for me, especially) before we begin our journey through what I have now learned are the Atlantic Provinces, not merely the Maritime Provinces. I have been inadvertently doing a disservice to Newfoundland and Labrador. Here's why:

There are four Canadian provinces known as the Atlantic Provinces (or Atlantic Canada): New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and the province of Newfoundland and Labrador (yep, it's one province). Art and I plan to explore as much of each of the four provinces as we can.

Here's a little map to help you (and me) out.

Now here is where it gets interesting. The Maritime Provinces are a subgroup of the Atlantic Provinces and consist of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island only. The province of Newfoundland and Labrador is not included.

"Why not?" you might ask (me, too).

Turns out there are several reasons. One is because of the cultural similarities shared by New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island (which Art and I will be writing about as we travel through each province). Those cultural similarities exist, in part, because the Maritimes were and still are home to the native Mi'kmaq and Maliseet people. In addition, the Maritimes have an extensive shared history of both French and English settlement that dates back to the 1600s. Another reason is that even though the province of Newfoundland and Labrador is located on the Atlantic coast, the Gulf of Saint Lawrence physically separates it from the Maritimes. Finally, the province of Newfoundland and Labrador did not join Canada until 1949, roughly 80 years after the other three provinces.

But from what we gather, the good folks of Newfoundland and Labrador mind not a whit that they are not part of the Maritime Provinces. They take great pride in their own incredibly rich and unique culture, their vibrant traditions, and their colorful history, which includes a Viking settlement that predates Christopher Columbus by 500 years! You can bet that my own Viking is really looking forward to our time there.

So, Atlantic Provinces, here we come!

--- Barbara
Day 56 (currently in Saint Andrews-by-the-Sea, New Brunswick)
Total miles: 6,156

Sunday, August 3, 2008


First, a message from your bloggers...

We just wanted to point out (in case you hadn't noticed ;-D ), that we're several days behind on updating our blog. So the actual date of each blog posting has been after (sometimes well after) the event we're blogging about.

There are several reasons for this. Firstly, we like to camp as much as possible in Canada's beautiful provincial parks, only camping at RV parks when we need to do laundry or need an Internet connection (which the provincial parks do not have). Also, there is this...we need to stay in the rig long enough to actually write the blog updates! But there is so much to see and do here, so we find ourselves actually forsaking our computers for the wonders of Canada.

However, we are currently in Saint Andrews-by-the-Sea and will be spending several days here. We are in an RV campground right on Passamaquoddy Bay...we have laundry, we have wifi and we have rain. So we may actually catch up. But there is also whale watching. And museums. And walks along the bay. And a chocolate festival in nearby St. Stephen. Hmmm...

Anyway, back to the blog.


The word "serendipity" is defined by the American Heritage Dictionary as the making of a desirable discovery by accident.

We had a serendipitous encounter with a fellow camper while at the Jordan Valley Campground in Jordan, Ontario. While discussing the various wineries in the area, he just happened to mention what he called a "Mennonite deli" not too far from the campground. He was pretty enthusiastic about it and we thought, okay, if we're anywhere near it, we might drop in. The next day, right around lunch, we thought about the deli and decided to give it a try.

The deli is actually called The Good Sheperd's Farm and will be a stop on this trip that we will always remember with great fondness.

As soon as anyone walks into the shop, they are warmly greeted by France and Denise, the proprietors and some of the kindest and warmest and most down-to-earth folks you will ever meet. Within moments, everyone in the room is chatting with each other and France is busy feeding everybody generous samples of their cheeses and sausages.

There is something in the air in that shop. It is not a mere is an experience.

The Good Shepherd's Farm

Our hosts, Denise and France

The wonderful wood-burning stove where France cooked up sausages for his customers to try. A bunch of those sausages are now securely tucked into our RV freezer.

Next up: We reach the Maritime Provinces!

--- Barbara
Day 55 (currently in Saint Andrews-by-the-Sea, New Brunswick)
Total miles: 6,156