Back in the USA!

Looks peaceful doesn’t it? Well it definitely was NOT! All night long trucks rushed by on the highway, trains passed on the rails, and a constant low rumbling sound came from the nearby lumber mill we somehow missed seeing on the way in…aargh. The Grand Riviere Campground in St. Leonard, New Brunswick gets our award for worst place we had to camp on this entire trip. To top it all off, Al had a cold shower in the morning.

Unbeknownst to us, the border crossing here in St. Leonard, New Brunswick is no longer in operation, so we had to drive back down to Grand Falls to enter back into the USA.

U.S. Customs & Immigration had us pull over for a “baggage check.” We had to wait inside, behind double locked doors, while they went through haRVy. It felt a bit too much like prison to me…I even had to ask to get the bathroom unlocked. In the end, I just had to cut open one tomato and two peppers to make sure there were no bugs inside. The officer then proceeded to ask me all sorts of questions about haRVy. The interest in our vehicle is continuous. You can’t own one of these if you don’t want to show it to people.

We headed south on Route 1A to Caribou, Maine where we had lunch next to the river. Proceeding further we were treated to more brilliant foliage all around, as far as we could see. This is beautiful country here with lots of farms and farm stands with fresh produce – yippee!

We stopped in Presque Isle to provision and then ended our day parked at the boat launch ramp at Pleasant Lake in Island Falls, Maine. Took a walk around the area and made it back to haRVy for dinner just as it began to rain (again).

Mostly cloudy and cool. Rain at night. St. Leonard, New Brunswick to Island Falls, Maine. 129 miles

Last day in Canada…?

Sunrise from campsite

We reluctantly left our cozy riverside campsite to head a bit further north to Grand Falls, New Brunswick. The main attraction there is a gorge that was formed naturally by giant (grand) falls that are now damned to produce electrical power. Luckily they opened the flood gates before our arrival today so we got to witness quite a show. The lady at the visitor center said it had been dry all summer, right up until this morning!

We took a hike downstream alongside the gorge and it is quite impressive.

Our campground tonight is a few more miles north in St. Leonard. We chose it because it is open, has showers, and is near a border crossing into Maine, near Caribou. We are not exactly sure why, but we both sort of want to visit that town, after which we will seriously begin our southerly trek home.

Our nearly three months in Canada has provided a lifetime of memories. I am happy I decided to keep a blog of our trip as without it everything would just be a blur. Now we can look back and remember our adventure more clearly.

Sunny and warm! Wicklow – St. Leaonard, New Brunswick. 66 miles

Hangin’ low in Wicklow

 

 

 

Sunrise from haRVy’s bedroom

This morning was so sunny and calm (once the fog lifted) that we decided to stay put in our beautiful free campsite on the St. John River in Wicklow, New Brunswick. We spent a few hours leisurely paddling our kayaks and ate a picnic lunch at a private grassy airfield we found along the shore.

The rest of the afternoon was spent puttering about, which is the closest to “doing nothing” either of us can manage. We soaked up the warmth and sunshine and even got to wear our shorts, sandals, and sunscreen again!

A much needed shave underway

This evening after dinner Al stood watch with his camera for the beavers that he was determined to video tape. He did succeed, but since it was so dark out it looks more like one of those movies people show to “prove” the existence of the Loch Ness Monster or Big Foot. He also took some still photos of another beautiful moonrise over the river.

 

It felt really good to NOT drive anywhere for a change and I thoroughly enjoyed watching the ever changing natural scene in front of us. We had contact with just one human being today and that was very brief.

Gloriously sunny and warm. Wicklow, New Brunswick. ZERO miles

More colors than a rainbow

The Miramichi River Valley is the fly fishing capital of New Brunswick and they were lined up on the river this morning.

WOW was the word of the day with phenomenal foliage all along this route displaying more hues and tones than I’ve ever seen. We decided it was like “Vermont on steroids.” The colors drape the rolling hills as far as the eye can see with farms dotting some of the hillsides and the wide blue river running through it all. I hope some of my photos can do it justice.

A small roadside sign directed us to a small covered bridge while another led us to a long suspension foot bridge originally erected in 1938. Traveling relatively slow as we are allows such mini-excursions, which really add to the experience. The suspension bridge was actually a bit hard to find, but when we did we decided it was a nice lunch spot too. We went out onto the bridge but did not cross it entirely as it felt a little too scary with the wind blowing and the river rushing by below.

Lunchtime view

Our intended campground near Fredericton was so disappointing that we redirected ourselves (northerly again!) up the St. John River Valley. This time the campground we drove to, advertised as being open until October 15, was closed. Luckily, we found an even better private spot right on the river just down the road.

Mother Nature put on another fine show tonight with sunset rays upon colorful foliage, beavers busily swimming back and forth, and a beautiful moon rise reflecting on the calm river surface. We feel extremely grateful to be having such rare experiences.

Some sun, some showers, cool. Blackville to Wicklow, New Brunswick. 177 miles

Fall foliage found

The weather was quite violent last night with gusty winds and heavy rains, which kept me awake much of the night. My mind was working overtime creating all sorts of unlikely scenarios like the tide rising to abnormal heights and washing us away due to the full moon and substantial rain. Yeah, right…

Last night’s campsite was in a very nice waterfront campground, but other than taking showers, using their WiFi and dumping out, we were unable to enjoy the location as it was still very wet this morning. Did I mention that we were one of two campers here? Except for all the closed campgrounds, attractions, and restaurants (and NO ice cream!), this is a great time to travel.

We headed back out the peninsula via the northern coast route. All the French we’ve observed put me in the mood for a croissant and we lucked out in finding a lovely little Boulangerie, “Grains de Folie” where we enjoyed chicken salad on croissant and cappuccinos for lunch. Between the ambiance set by the café and all the French being spoken around us, it felt just a little like being in Paris.

Today we found peak fall foliage colors near Bathurst, our northernmost destination in New Brunswick. Unfortunately, the rain prevented me from taking photos today. At that point we turned south to cross the middle of the province. If we could drive slow enough, we could keep these beautiful hues within view all the way home.

By the end of the day we were in fly fishing country along the Miramichi River. Since there would be no more ocean view camp sites for a while, Al was determined to get us a place near the river. He took a chance just south of Blackville by driving down Cains River Road where we found a parking spot next to the Upper Blackville Bridge. We had a nice quiet night in this spot that is obviously used for river access by the fisher folk.

No photos today due to the rain…sorry, especially after teasing you with today’s title. Will make up for it tomorrow.

Mostly rainy and cool. Miscou Island to Blackville, New Brunswick. 175 miles

The last point

Our surrounding view this morning was so peaceful and beautiful we just sat and watched it change as the morning progressed. What a lucky find this place was!

We headed into nearby Miramichi for provisions, diesel fuel, and to do laundry. Then we decided to drive around just one more peninsula before heading back across New Brunswick to Maine. I don’t know how many points of land we’ve driven out to on this trip, but it must be dozens and the northern tip of Miscou Island is likely to be our last. So far, the Acadian Peninsula has been more settled than we expected, but it is interesting, particularly because it is so French. Virtually all the signs are in French only and many of the folks we’ve met don’t speak English.

Tonight we are, once again, camped just a few feet from the ocean. No sunset or full moon though, as it was raining.

Cool, cloudy with intermittent showers. 133 miles

Another spectacular view

Today we rode our bikes in the opposite direction and hiked a boardwalk trail through a large bog area where more eagles flew overhead. We also saw a small black bear, luckily he was a safe distance away.

Lunchtime view from bench along trail

Later we drove a bit further north towards Miramichi. As they day drew to a close we tried another “end of the road” venture in search of a waterfront boondocking spot. We were richly rewarded with a 270-degree dinner view, plus an amazing full moon rise at sunset. We must be doing something right!

Click on this shot to see our full dinner view from haRVy’s settee

Sunny and cool. 65 miles