BLAM – The Sound Heard in Virginia when a Winnebago Fuse Blows

 

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This puppy is the REAL Hushpuppy! June 21, the first day of summer, summer solstice, the longest day of the year WAS the longest day of the year. It ended in Fort Mill South Carolina in a Comfort Inn. I surrendered to the Winnebago in Mount Airy North Carolina, just down the mountain from the Blue Ridge Parkway. When the coach battery went out, I gave up. We’re heading home six days early and we have our appointment already made at the RV dealership. Thank God for an extended warranty. The Fuse warranty expired in April.

Where did we leave this epic journey? In Charlottesville after visiting the home of a conflicted statesman.

We left Charlottesville and headed to Natural Bridge in Lexington Virginia. Why is it called “Natural Bridge”? Here’s why:

This is a natural limestone formation. At one time, Tom Jefferson owned this puppy too. How do you own something like this? Just by buying the property I guess. Jefferson died in debt, buying stuff just ‘cause he liked it.

It was incredible. We went into the visitor’s center, bought two $8 round trip tour tickets. I went back to the RV to feed the dogs and Mac took the first shift to see the bridge. As soon as he headed down, a huge thunderstorm broke loose. So, when I went down, no one was there. That’s how I got these pics with no other folks in the frame.

 

We headed to the Natural Bridge KOA and that’s when I got the “brilliant” idea to take our deposit on an RV site and upgrade to a cabin with AC. We parked the RV in a site close by and spent the night in a luxury cabin with a double and bunk beds.

Trooper and Mac decided to try the top bunk and while I was going to the “john”, Trooper decided to leap from the heights. Unfortunately, no video of that feat.60C5B416-540C-4299-B271-20AD56035831.jpeg

We resorted to an age old Bikulege family tradition of ham sandwiches and Mac roughed it by inventing a tooth floss chandelier.

But we were cool……..so cool…….damned cool in our KOA cabin with our crippled Winnebago parked out front.

Anyway, after we headed out of the KOA making sure all were on board (ha, ha KOA jokesters), we headed south on the Blue Ridge Parkway on the first day of summer and it really was a beautiful drive. That cabin was looking pretty good to Toby.

We were on our way to Fancy Gap Virginia and decided to make a quick stop in Mount Airy…real home of Andy Griffith.

That’s when the coach batteries quit working and I told the “Sheriff” that I give up, we need to head home…

So, we made it to the Comfort Inn at Carowinds in Fort Mill South Carolina by 7 PM on the longest day of the year. Martin at the front desk took pity on us and waived the $50 pet fee. I watched two movies on ShowTime as the sun set on a raucous pool crowd. Today we head back to our lowcountry. On Monday, the Hushpuppy heads to the shop.

 

PROLOGUE:  When we were parked outside our cabin in Lexington, I spoke with my brother Stan who gave me the title “BLAM” for this post. He made an interesting suggestion that could have been a possibility. He said that maybe what Mac and I should have done back on Loft Mountain was paid off Jaepaer, the Appalachian Trail hiker, to set the Hushpuppy on fire and just keep hiking up the trail.

What sound does a Winnebago blowing a transfer switch and then going up in flames make?

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I’ll end it here for now. Until next time, I wish you happy trails and ham sandwiches. And thanks for reading…

 

Mixed Feelings for a Complex Man

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Karen, the tour guide for the 9:15 AM group visiting Monticello called Thomas Jefferson a complex man – over and over and over again. She did this mostly because the man responsible for one of the most magnificent pieces of human writing, the Declaration of Independence, built his beloved home on top of Monticello mountain on the backs of “enslaved workers.” That was another term Karen used over and over and over again – enslaved workers, not slaves.

It was incredible to walk on the same grounds as our nations third president. Jefferson called Monticello his “essay in architecture.” It took forty years to build. He started when he was 25 years old and when he completed his public life around age 65, he occupied the home full-time. I’m sure I don’t have all of this exactly correct but this is what I recall from today’s tour.

There is a shuttle that takes you up to the house. I rode up and walked down. There are about 25 folks in each group. My tour group was pretty tame. Mac took the afternoon shift and went up for the 2:15 PM tour. It got up to 99F in Charlottesville today. Hot.

No pictures inside the house. I was able to capture a couple of shots from the outside looking in…as close as I could get to anything.

Jefferson was quite a guy, a complex guy. He had souvenirs in the front entrance from the Lewis and Clark expedition. His heroes were John Locke, Francis Bacon, and Isaac Newton. He was the founder of the University of Virginia. He wrote The Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, a forerunner to our first amendment for religious freedom in the Bill of Rights. He sold his first library to the Library of Congress soon realizing, “I cannot live without books” in a letter he wrote to John Adams and began his second collection.

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In 2012, the Smithsonian Institution and the Thomas Jefferson Foundation held a major exhibit at the National Museum of American History titled: Slavery at Jefferson’s Monticello:  The Paradox of Liberty. In essence, I came away from Monticello believing Jefferson is indeed a paradox. Not the best businessman, but a visionary, a radical, the man who grew our country via the Louisiana Purchase and who believed “that all men are created equal” but one who did not have “any immediate solution to the problem” of slavery.

The contrasts in the man are evident in the Jefferson and African-American cemeteries:

They are evident in the abodes of owner and owned:

The work got done in the cellars of Monticello, in long hallways where enslaved workers walked and produced. I touched a wall and wondered what sounds had echoed there over two hundred years ago.

Jefferson’s gardens were a masterpiece. In 1854, Jefferson wrote:

I have often thought that if heaven had given me choice of my position and calling, it should have been on a rich spot of earth, well watered, and near a good market for the productions of the garden. No occupation is so delightful as the culture of the earth, and no culture comparable to that of the garden.

The gardens were my favorite space on the grounds.

In the middle of the garden is a small structure where I imagine Jefferson went to consider life. I’m sure his worries about family, money, politics, education, religion and even the weather match some of the concerns of twenty-first century life. The more things change…

I’ve wanted to see this landmark for a long time and not sure why. I’m fascinated by people who think and who dream, by people who create. I’m grateful for those who carved out my freedom and I’m saddened by the enslavement of any human being. Finally, I realize that each one of us is a melding of our best and worst selves. It’s a daily struggle.

As I walked down the mountain, I landed back at the shuttle stand where the statue of Jefferson greets each new guest. A young lady named Emily asked if I wanted a picture with Jefferson as she witnessed my ‘selfie struggle’. I said sure and then I said, “…but I have mixed feelings about this guy” as I put my hand in his cast iron hand. She said that was a good way to put it and she shared my feelings.

Tom was a complex guy but he got one thing very, very correct – equality, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Tie that up with a bow made of loving God, neighbor, our enemies, and self, and I think I have the makings of a mini-declaration. A trip to Monticello prompts one to think about these things. It was a good day.

Down from the Skyline – The Misadventures of the Hushpuppy

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So, how to begin this tale…

Mac, Toby, Trooper and I left Beaufort on June 10. We followed Interstate 95 North and got off at South of the Border in Dillon, South Carolina, just a few miles south of my alma mater, St. Andrews Presbyterian College. Today, St. Andrews is a university and trust me, that is a stretch!

That’s my old dorm room with a hole in the window.  Goose poop all over campus. As a matter of fact, the place has completely gone to poop. No reunions there. No Mike Cross at Farrago either for anyone that will understand what I’m talking about.3BA6BCCC-69C6-44B3-A85A-FB534C72725A

It once was a fine place…it seems like a long time ago.

We set up camp in Oasis of North Carolina Campground. Another misnomer. The campground was a haven for pipeline workers. The best part of the campground was meeting Gus. Gus = Oasis

We took this route north because an old chemistry professor of mine had contacted me about 1.5 years ago asking me to visit her in Southern Pines. There was no time to visit in 2016. There was only time for work, my Mom, Mac, the dogs and family. We made the stop but Dr. Knight had passed away in May, 2017. I left the orchid I’d purchased with a neighbor who cared for her and we headed north to Smith Mountain Lake. I suspect I will not pass in this direction again. Sometimes looking forward is the best way to remember the past.

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These guys were holed up in a dead tree trunk at Smith Mountain Lake campground. Baby vultures. I was on a walk to the lake and saw a cool, dead tree.  Don’t ask.  I like dead trees. So I thought I’d check out the tree, looked inside and saw these guys. They made a strange guttural sound to warn me away. That was enough. I imagined the mom swooping down from a tree and latching onto my head. Didn’t happen. An amazing and surprising find.

Next stop was Front Royal, the starting point of the Skyline Drive in Virginia. That’s when the “real fun” started. My MacAir laptop crashed (working from an iPad and SO glad I decided to bring it!). Then, the transfer switch in the Hushpuppy burned. No power. We are running off of our coach battery and propane. We can use the generator but trying to avoid this. So far, we are managing but it was a bit hairy. I am learning what “dry camping” means in an RV. And I know that Apple products can catch a virus. Both things happened on June 13. So – what do you do when the Hushpuppy is disabled? You go to a lodge!!

Big Meadow was our next planned stop – to camp – but we took advantage of the Big Meadow Lodge for a one night stay to regroup and recharge. A hot shower and a king size bed made everything better.  Off to the campground!

No electric, water or sewage hookups in the campgrounds in Shenandoah National Park and that’s okay, especially when you are in a crippled camper. Just keep learning.  Just keep moving forward. The nights have been cool and propane is keeping the fridge cold. It’s really beautiful country. Saw a few of these guys too…

I got up before dawn on Father’s Day and walked to the Big Meadow for the sunrise. So glad I did…

After the sun was up, my phone started with texts from Stan and Stacie sharing loving thoughts about our Dad and one another. When you no longer have your parents, who best to hold on to than your brother and sister? I am the luckiest big sister in the whole world! (Okay, Nat, maybe you too!……and then there’s the “little sister” – Lea! And then there’s Lauren, Dani, Janie, Darci, Audrey…Paula! Tons of great sisters in the world!) The thing is that I have so many loving people to hold on to…but I sure did miss the man who taught me all about camping as the sun rose over the Big Meadow. Thanks for sending me Dad’s picture Stan…

Off to Loft Mountain Campground after a few more miles on the Skyline.

We scored THE most sought after campsite on Loft Mountain – A59… Here’s the view:

Here’s the campsite:

Here’s a hiker – Jaepaer – who is doing the entire Appalachian Trail and sat with us awhile, had 2 bottles of water, a Fresca, and an ice cream Bunny treat…

And this was the sunset from A59…

So, it’s June 18. We’re in a Fairfield Inn in Charlottesville. Tomorrow, we’ll take turns touring Monticello and then we’ll head south on the Blue Ridge Parkway on Wednesday.

It’s been an adventure and I do miss everyone. Thought about that quite a bit this evening as I walked to the Food Lion next door to the hotel to stock up. Sometimes, you just miss the familiar.

Things started out “crappy” on this adventure and there’s still time for another challenge but tonight, my legs are shaved, I had a fresh salad for dinner, Mac is safe and sound after a few biking escapades, the dog’s Steeler’s blanket is washed and smelling a whole lot better, Toby’s had his fluids and the bug bites are starting to heal. It’s all good. A little bit of faith goes a long way. Love to everyone. A big hug to a special someone from all of us…

P.S. – And here’s a fun mountain game…Find the Beagle!  Can you see him? 🙂

If the next few campgrounds are WiFi limited, this may be the one and only blog. Stay tuned!

Signs

They’re everywhere!  Everywhere!  In the “True North”, signs are a bit different than what I am used to seeing in the lowcountry of South Carolina – bear warnings, moose crossings and information on the endangered plover population.

Because we are RVers, we have directions to “our level of camping”, orders from management on what NOT to flush and the potential to join a group of escapees.

In the last few days, we set up camp for a one-night stay in Petawawa Ontario.  My sister-in-law Erin advised us to be certain we weren’t in “Petaweewee.”  Humor at the expense of First Nation peoples.  LOL

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And what’s THIS sign about?  Do camp parents offer beers to camping kids?  Or is that just a small man with a fetish for tall alcoholic women?

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This is Jack Schrader.  We met him in the parking lot of the Giant Tiger, a Canadian store combining Walmart groceries and Dollar General merchandise.  In Pembroke Ontario this fellow stopped to chat, recommend a good sandwich shop and point us in the direction of a “chip trailer.”  This part of Canada is overflowing with French fry vendor trucks and those fries are some kind of good.  Jack reads the New Yorker, values the relationship between the USA and Canada, and wonders what is next for our countries, together.  He used to work for a Crown Corporation, a company run by the Canadian government making isotopes for U.S. medical companies out of uranium shipped north from the Savannah River Plant.  Small world – Clemson, Aiken, Pembroke Ontario.  Jack, french fries, Tigers.  The New Yorker.  Friendship.

Signs help me find libraries and post offices…

receive good advice at gas station bathrooms and oyster bars…

guide us through entry ways and exits…

with warnings of falling rock, steep slopes, and knowing “You are Here”….

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Even brown paper bags manufactured in the USA by Novolex are signs that Big Stan dominates the Canadian marketplace!

The signs I crave most are the ones you cannot read, are not obvious, hidden signs that you need to be quiet to hear and aware to see.  The smile from a passing woman who cannot speak English.  A wave from a little girl driving a miniature Jeep along the uneven, packed dirt roads of a campground, blonde curls poking from under her bike helmet.  Big waves from a big man making a full turn in church as his sign of peace to everyone before communion.  Little boys wild with joy over their catch of the day, their lone “river fish” in a cooler, species unidentifiable, the harvest from a long afternoon fishing from a dock on the Ottawa River.

There are the signs from God and His friends with a sense of humor…IMG_2309

handcrafted signs in silent monasteries where only five Filipino nuns reside…IMG_0878

signs of eastern and western religions, the Buddha and God and carrying our yoke.

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During our stretches of drive time on Trans Canadian highways, we listen to podcasts – Ted Talks, This American Life, The Moth, and the Writers’ Almanac among others.  During a Ted Talk on “Shifting Time”, Dr. Laura Carstensen, founding director of the Stanford Center on Longevity, talked about people becoming happier as they age, even in the face of health challenges, the mechanical wearing down of the body.  She talked about poignancy.  I know the word but was unsure of its definition.

Poignancy – noun – the quality of evoking a keen sense of sadness or regret.

In these days of travel, quiet, recollection, newness, adjustment, the signs around the experiences bring poignancy to the journey.  I see Art in Mac.  I see my father on the dock with the young fisherboys, talking about pickerel and walleye, baiting his hook with a worm.  I see my mother at the kitchen table when I peel a banana or tear a piece of donut and give it to Trooper.  I see my brother in the rush hour of mornings and in the green Canadian fields , my sister in the hands of a young Acadian girl holding white yarn, my nieces and nephews in the children and young adults moving past and around me, in their smiles, their delights and in their energy.  And there are the signs of God in the obvious and in the mysterious.

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Signs:  sight, sound, silence, sickness, safety, surrender and sorrow.  Look for them.  It may take a lifetime to discover our answers.  Maybe an eternity.

Sometimes, the answers are in the happenstance exits to witness the silliness of the World’s Biggest Axe….IMG_2159

The signs are there.  There are answers.

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All we need to do is ask for help.

Leaving Things Behind

 My Lulu Burgess sweatshirt.  The Cabot Trail.  A career.  Loved ones.

I lost my sweatshirt.  I didn’t want to get it dirty after just laundering it, so I took it off and hung it on the handlebars of my bike while I was emptying the black and grey water tanks.  My bike is mounted to the back of the Winnebago.  I drove away from site 48 in Dingwall’s Hideaway Campground forgetting the dangling pale, blue hoodie.  I remembered it at 3 A.M. the next day when I was chilled in the RV.  I like sleeping in it with the hood over my head.  I asked Mac for it after one of his early morning “tee-tees” (as Diana would say) and he said, “It’s not hanging up.”  Later, when I told him what happened, he remarked, “Oh well” in an unremarkable way and I appreciated the response versus what I may have said.  Something like, “You dumb*!#.”  I won the sweatshirt at a Christmas giveaway from Nan Sutton, owner of Lulu’s, my fav Beaufort Bay Street shop.  Visiting Nan and Lulu’s at Christmas with Mom was an annual event.  Now, I kind of understand how apparel gets orphaned on streets and sidewalks.  Dumb*!#’s like me.  There are bigger things to consider.

Losing the only sweatshirt I packed for this Canadian trek causes me to ponder loss.  These days, many things cause me to think about loss.  Mac and I finished the Cabot Trail closing a six year wait to get here.  We didn’t stop at every overlook but we inhaled the beauty at every twist in the road.  Capturing surprise and wonder in every iPhone photo – not happening.

I’ve met other newly retired folks on this journey like the fellow in the campground laundromat who asked me, “What’s next?” in the same way my brother Stan asks me the question but not with the same intention.  Laundry-boy is heading to Thailand, Rome, Barcelona, and then the USA.  He and his wife sold their house.  I shared that we did not sell our home.  I am a bit risk adverse.  And when I think about what’s next, it isn’t a travel brochure or a litany of destinations.  One day at a time.  Discernment after career.  Hoping for that Wow! moment.  Didn’t find it doing laundry and I am having flashbacks of my sweatshirt. 😦

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This morning, I met Glenn, 58, retired two and one-half years from jobs as a lobsterman and Fortress security guard.  He was catching mackerel after mackerel in the Louisbourg Harbor on Walmart lures that cost about $3CAN made out of a hook, sparkling shredded plastic and clear tubing.  The weight on his line is a piston with hooks a fishing buddy made.  He uses the fish as lobster bait and gives some to a friend for coyote traps.

Glenn’s doctor told him “shift-work takes ten years off of your life” so he at fifty-five, he “walked out the door.”  Too many changes at work.  “Changes are good sometimes, sometimes not” he says.  Mentioned earlier, Glenn worked at the Louisbourg Fortress.

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We visited the historic site, a reconstructed archeological masterpiece replete with costumed staff and period furnishings.

Mac found the best looking soldier on the grounds to befriend.  Nice musket.

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Underneath loss is joy waiting to be found.  Between layers of wondering and wandering are second chances.  At a secluded Dingwall beach Mac discovered, I dove into a bone-chilling ocean.  In a tiny Nova Scotia hamlet, I met Superwoman.  On bike ride at dawn, white wings lift to heaven.  And somewhere in Nova Scotia, a stranger wears a pale blue hoodie from Lulu’s.  Let go.

Finding the Red Chair and Other Nova Scotia Gems

Mac and I made it to the red chair on the Acadian Trail, a challenge put forth by the Cape Breton National Park keeping the promise of a “majestic view.”  I hiked the 5.1 miles once…Mac did it three or four times.  A steep climb up and a cooling hike down into a shady forest lined by Robert Brook.

Friends along the way…

Mac wrote a poem for me while I was on my trek entitled, “Vivian on the Acadian Trail.”

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Pretty amazing, right?  Look out Robert Frost!  BTW:  brees = breeze  🙂  Canadian spelling.

So what are we learning?  Cheticamp is known for her hookers – as in rug hookers.

Gaelic and French take turns with English-speaking folks on this island.  Mass on Saturday night at St. Pierre was in French.  The homily was very deep.

Atlantic salmon fishing in Nova Scotia is some of the best in the world – was some of the best in the world.  Now fishing is catch and release due to dwindling numbers and overfishing in Greenland and other salmon pathways.  Bernadine Marple gave us a guided tour of the fish museum.  She said she could tell I was in sales.  Would bet I was good at it.  (Found Colgate’s Softsoap(R) in the bathroom – yay!)  That’s me holding a swordfish nose.  Mac indulged me with this visit.

Another great stop at Cape Breton Clay.  Met Bell Fraser and her dog Ryder.  Beautiful woman who gave me great advice.  When we talked about art, pottery, dogs and writing, she asked me what I studied and I gave her the diverse and schizophrenic list, she told me to “own” my knowledge.  She’s right.  Everyone is right with this piece of advice.

After a mountain bike ride to the Salmon Pools…(a black fly was trying to bite me in the selfie.  Mac later informed me that only the female flies bite)…

Mac baked potatoes in the fire and we had one of our best low-cal meals yet!

Trooper has been having fun with a baby squirrel in the tree behind the Winnebago…

Toby remains laid back…IMG_1145

I’ve had two great rides on the Vespa up the Cabot Trail to the Grande Falaise (big cliff)…

and we leave tomorrow for Dingwall (northern tip of the island) leaving Parka, the national park mascot behind…IMG_1696

More serious thoughts are brewing but for now, happy with nature and life and one another.

P.S.  Here’s some moose poop for you!

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Dunvegan – Cheticamp – Cape Breton National Park

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The journey…music, water, mountains and lobstermen.  We are in Cheticamp, in Cape Breton Highlands National Park for five nights.  This will probably be our longest camping stay.  It is the destination.

Mac hiked the Acadian Trail this morning (I cannot download his pics – technologically challenged) and I hiked to a salmon pool with about fifteen other campers, some from the U.S.A. (Bethesda and Watsonville, IL) and of course, Canadians!

Scott (pronounced “scoot” in Canada-speak – I’m exaggerating – kinda) led the hike.

Some important things I learned:

  • “Don’t mess with moose.”
  • Hide behind a tree if charged by a male moose.
  • If you spot a bear, act like a fool – scream, jump around and the bear will “probably” run away.  Hmmm….
  • The beech scale bug is infecting American beech trees in the park resulting in dwindling numbers and allowing for the sugar maple to flourish.
  • Sugar maples germinate quickly and then “wait to grow.”  Trees waiting to grow.  So many lessons there.  Waiting for growth.  Waiting.  Young sugar maples will wait as long as two years for the right time to stretch upward.
  • Cape Breton is Americans most favorite park to visit.  (Did I get that right?  Over Yellowstone?  I don’t think I was listening.)
  • Rivers and streams “braid” just like the essays I like to write – twisting, turning, taking detours.
  • I miss my mother in this world.  It dawned on me, again, as I walked the trail with strangers and could not share the journey with her.  I wondered if I am missed, out of touch by phone and with spotty, spotty internet.  Interesting how our ego takes us back to self.
  • I shared the walk back with Brian, a retired postman from Illinois and his dog Syd.  Brian raises homing pigeons, has been retired fifteen years, uses a noise machine when he camps at rest stops and at Walmart(s) and has had both of his knees replaced.   Brian also crafts his own beer and has fifty-one beer shirts.  He advised that Indian beers (as in India, not First Peoples Canadian Indians) are really “hoppy” because back in the day, the British needed to preserve their pale ales for the long sea journeys and used hops to make that work.  I would have enjoyed my solitude on the walk back to camp but decided to try to be a bit more friendly as a communal camper.  It all works.

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I had one very moody evening when Mac and I couldn’t level out the Hushpuppy on a hill in Dunvegan at MacLeod’s Beach Campsite (left below).  Instead of a view of the Gulf of St. Lawrence from the hilltop, we had a fabulous view of the bath/shower/*!#*house.  Lots of traffic, lots of folks cutting close by our campsite (#39) to the point one woman said she thought about “stopping to chat” and then her cell phone rang and she kept walking up the hill after her shower – Thank you Canadian Bell Telephone!

But here is the lesson.  The showers were free unlike other campgrounds with tons of hot water.  If you had to go #2, it was a short walk. Garbage drop off was close by and if you get up off of your butt (Vivian!) and quit sulking, look what was just a few hundred yards away…

Plus, maybe the woman passing by had an interesting story or needed to share.  There aren’t enough hours left to waste.  I cannot forget.  There aren’t enough hours.

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Hyclass Camping in Havre Boucher, NS

Yep, living the life in Nova Scotia.  That’s Brook in B12.  We camped beside his family in B13 in the Hyclass Campground.  (The irony should not be lost on anyone!)  Brook is a lobster fishermen and a big fan of Trailer Park Boys – filmed right down the road in Bible Hill (more irony!)

Actually, Canada Day was rainy but fun ending in fireworks over St. George’s Bay.

The internet connection is slow in high class campgrounds, so we’ll post more at our next stop on our jaunt to Cape Breton National Park.  We’ve been eating well, resting, writing and we are tied 2-2 in backgammon.  All is well.

Also, a small tribute to Irene.  Trooper loves these:

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BTW, the best thing about Hyclass living…the sunsets.

See you down the road!

Behind on blogging :-( …

Will try to blog more soon.  Just a snapshot…

We’ve been to Maine:  Pemaquid Point:

We have been “urban camping” in Shediac, home of the world’s largest lobster and “Washer” tournaments – you throw “washers” the size of hockey pucks in three holes for points – a version of the U.S. corn hole bean bag game:

We arrived here after an incredible journey along the Fundy Trail – so beautiful.  I told Mac that it was so quiet there that “the silence hurts your ears.”  So blessed to witness the beauty of Canada and creation.

Off to Nova Scotia this morning……Havre du Boucher…..3.5 hour drive.   Probably 5 hours in the Hushpuppy counting lunch, gas, and dog walking stops!

By the way – It’s Canada Day here today!  JULY 1 – the 150th birthday of Canada – parties and fireworks.  Fun time to be here, but it’s drizzling.

Au revoir!