VIA Rail Canada: “The Canadian”

Thanks for all the great comments on Part One of my rail journey through Canada. I hope you enjoy the second half as much as I did. If I had to choose one or the other, well, for a train lover, Part Two is the “real deal.”

While the Rocky Mountaineer was everything I hoped it would be, from stunning scenery to pampered luxury, let’s face it, it is a tourist attraction. While I wasn’t sure what to expect from the next leg of my journey on VIA Canada’s “The Canadian” I was pretty certain it would feel a lot more like an authentic train journey offering the true Continue reading

Canada’s Rocky Mountaineer: First Passage to the West

Last October, I finally reached that long awaited “Medicare Milestone.” Since it was a significant birthday for me, I wanted to commemorate it in a special way. But the blog typically runs behind, and I ran out of time to document my celebration before I jumped on the plane bound for my Dragoman tour through Sudan and Ethiopia last December. After that, I never seemed to get the blog caught back up.

So now that I have all this spare time on my hands, freed up by lack of travel planning, I am going back to recreate the narrative and share the photos on how I celebrated my Continue reading

Maritime Wrap-up: New Brunswick

So at last….it’s finally here. After thirty blog posts of my summer travels up, down and around the Atlantic side of Canada, this is my last installment…My final stop before crossing the border into Calais, Maine.

Of all four provinces visited this summer, I spent the least amount of time in New Brunswick. I feel like I slighted it in my haste. But have no regrets, for in doing so I dedicating the most time to Newfoundland. Although filled with beautiful spots, New Brunswick didn’t feel all that different than Maine. Continue reading

Maritime Wrap-up: Prince Edward Island

As I see it, there are four areas of interest in visiting Prince Edward Island. First, they are known the world over for their mussels…any seafood restaurant or raw bar worth its seasoning will at some point feature “PEI Mussels” on the chalkboard as a special of the day. The second reason is for the long expanse of beautiful red sand beaches, some of which make up PEI’s one and only National Park. The third reason to visit is if you have an odd curiosity about potato farming, as PEI produces 25% of Canada’s potatoes. And the fourth reason would be “All things Anne.” For those who may not know (myself included up until now) the 1908 novel, Anne of Green Gables, which sold 50 million copies was based on Prince Edward Island. A large museum complex bears the title. I had mild curiosity, but no one attraction was calling to me. Okay, well, maybe the mussels. Continue reading

Maritime Wrap-up: Nova Scotia

I guess it’s a “given” that leaving a place like Newfoundland is certain to bring on a bad case of ennui. After a month of glorious solitude, scenic coastal roads, and serendipitous encounters with wildlife on “The Rock,” Nova Scotia didn’t really stand a chance. Like going on an arranged date with a preppy, plaid-clad provincial boy after a painful break-up with that long-haired “bad boy” from summer vacation. Continue reading

Things We’ll Never See Unless We Walk to Them

There are two ferry options to leave Newfoundland returning to Nova Scotia.  The first is the “short ferry,” a six hour passage into Port Aux Basque on the western side, back the way I came.  Then there is the “long ferry” that leaves from the eastern side of the island.  I have decided to take the long ferry back for several reasons.  I don’t want to backtrack on the Trans Canada Highway, driving the same interior road again.   And I really enjoyed the six hour passage coming over.  I wasn’t ready to get off the ship.  It’s rare for me to get to “ride” versus “drive,” and I enjoyed watching the ocean roll by from the comfort of my reclining seat.  But most importantly, returning via the long ferry will allow me to continue on down around the Avalon Peninsula a bit further. Continue reading

Mistaken Point…A Mistake?

Moving south along the Avalon Peninsula, I want to visit Newfoundland’s newest UNESCO World Heritage Site, the ecological reserve at Mistaken Point. This landmark got its ominous name from sailors who mistook the southernmost point for having rounded the point of Cape Race on their way into the port of St John’s, but instead slammed into treacherous rocks. There are some 50 shipwrecks still preserved in the icy waters off the shore of Mistaken Point.

But Mistaken Point now has new notoriety, Continue reading

Why Not More Picnics?

I’m up early from my boondocking spot at Cape Spear, because I want to be among the first to see the sun rise at 5:35am on the furthest eastern point on the continent.  But long before my alarm beeps to life, I wake to the long and low moan of the fog horn, warning of low visibility.   It’s like trying to see the sunrise with a white blanket over my head.   Oh, well, my consolation prize was getting to spend the night beneath another lighthouse. Continue reading

St. John’s – Jellybeans and Other Sweet Treats

Driving toward St John’s, Newfoundland’s capital city on the Avalon Peninsula, is a bit of culture shock.  It’s been three weeks since I’ve seen any semblance of “traffic,” so to roll up to the first stop light in so many days just seems odd, if not downright intimidating.  I’m eager to tour the city, but going from night after night of freedom in  remote boondocking spots to a crowded RV Park is tough to swallow, in spite of my desire to see the sights.

According to wikipedia, “Of major Canadian cities, St. John’s is the foggiest (124 days), windiest (15.1 mph) average speed), and cloudiest (1,497 hours of sunshine.) Precipitation is frequent and often heavy, falling year round.”   So I feel fortunate Continue reading