Fully loaded van…. still in the driveway. We impressed ourselves with how well we packed for the trip. Seven people in the van, over two weeks on the road, and room to spare! It was a huge help that Graeme’s uncle offered us a roof box the night before we left. (I was going to use Rubbermaid bins.) And we decided not to bring bikes. There were times where it would have been nice for the big boys to have theirs, but we survived without them. Dad, the trip inspired lots of ideas about that trailer you are going to build me for camping/road trips! We also left the jogger at home and opted for the backpack carrier only.
The first couple of days of traveling were interesting. Noah’s seat was in between Zach and Gabe and he took to slugging them with a fist and immediately pretending to be sleeping. Thankfully, this behaviour ended and they really settled into the long hours of driving. (I should mention that the punching ended when I threatened to get out some rope and tie his hands so that I could pull the rope tight whenever he punched someone.)
In Algonquin Park we took pictures of people taking pictures of moose. The moose had attracted quite a crowd and, to us, it was a little funny.
First morning bannock in the new cast iron dutch oven. Mmmmmm…. yum.
Night two we hit a town in Quebec to visit our first au pair, Annie! We met her Mom, Dad, brother and her rabbit, Lily. Now whenever we say anything about Annie, Noah says, “Annie’s bunny?” We were going to camp out in the backyard, but it had poured the entire day and they generously offered that we set up camp in the house with our mattresses and sleeping bags.
The boys after a picnic on the St. Lawrence. It was the first taste of “ocean” – salt water, tides, different creatures….
Mommy and her boys after waking up at Le Bic National Park, Quebec.
I’m terrible at remembering names of places (and many other things), but this was in a little town along the St. Lawrence. Magali had been there when she traveled with her parents so we were watching for it. All of the sculptures supposedly represent people from the village. The south shore of the St. Lawrence was beautiful. I think one day Graeme and I might have to go back and do a bike trip along there.
The big excitement at Kouchibouguac National Park, New Brunswick was really being at the ocean. It was a gorgeous day to play on the beach where the boys collected all sorts of crab parts. We swam. It was the only time I was hot enough to go right into the cold Atlantic waters. I was a little worried I was going to dive right into a jellyfish. Graeme helped me spot out a clear area and I took a quick dive under.
Gabe models his fingerless mitts that I had just completed for him. I followed with a pair for Zach.
A fossil at the Joggins Fossil Cliffs. It was a neat place to see for the cliffs, Fundy Bay, the ocean, etc. but Zach and I were both a little disappointed with the minimal fossils. We find more fossils in our backyard here, albeit, fossils from a different life zone.
(I think this is about where we lost one of Noah’s crocs.)
A kindly lady offered to take a picture of our crew at the Halifax Harbour. She snapped three shots in succession and promptly asked us for money for “city clean-up”. Yah, right! It was hard to say no after she just took pictures for us, but I had to wonder if it was going to provide her next pack of cigarettes, one of which was hanging out of her mouth already. There were no shortage of characters at the harbour.
Including these ones! This lineup of kids eating fish and chips attracted a lot of attention from passerbys. Some of the kids even said they saw other people taking pictures of them.
At a park near the harbour Noah had had enough. Magali probably had too!
Daryl had an audience while putting lobsters in the pot. They were delicious!
I think especially of my grandma when I look at this shot. She made sure we were forewarned about rogue waves at Peggy’s Cove. Graeme and Daryl and Magali took the kids (except for Gabe) to Peggy’s Cove one afternoon. Robyn and I stayed home with Gabe and a few other little ones. Gabe had woken up that morning throwing up. Thankfully, by afternoon he was seeming back to normal and nobody else got sick.
We celebrated a birthday!
And then our wonderful husband’s offered to clean up after dinner and put kids to bed so that Robyn and I (and Magali) could go to Peggy’s Cove. I was happy that I got the chance to see Canada’s most photographed location. It was really beautiful, and I could definitely see how careless onlookers could be swept away by the waves. They were broiling and churning in some places and it seems impossible to predict which ones are going to be the big ones.
We had great weather while we were on Cape Breton Island, where we camped three nights. One day we hiked the Skyline Trail, which was well worth it.
We saw this bull moose with velveted antlers. He clearly did not mind all the people stopping to take his picture.
We packed in a lunch and stopped at this spot to eat it before trekking back out.
Noah and Ben were both pretty tuckered out by the end of our hike.
The next day we went on a whale watching boat. It was awesome. We saw pilot, minke, and fin whales. It was SO exciting to see whales – and so close up. The fin whales were gigantic! Maybe this is how the people looking at the moose in Algonquin felt. It was very cool! Zach was shouting out what type of whale was surfacing before the guide. The captain told him to come back in a few years for a job. Gabe was probably the better spotter, but Zach new what types they were without ever having seen them (in real life) before. Maybe they can start a whale tour business together some day.
Afterwards, on the nearby beach Magali and I told Noah we were writing his name in stones. He insisted we write “Mimo” so we wrote both and here Noah is waving “hello” to Mimo for a picture. Mimoza, this one is for you! He still sings his “Mimo come back” song, and randomly asks, “Where’s Mimo?”
For our last evening in Cape Breton we picked up some fresh haddock and fried it up along with some potatoes and fresh yellow beans. It was incredible. The fish was so, so good. (Robyn and Daryl… there is a seafood restaurant and shop on the south side of Cheticamp… mabye it’s called “Seafood Stop” (?) …. get your fish there and have a fish fry. It’s well worth it!)
That’s all for this post. The PEI, New Brunswick, Maine, New Hamshire, Vermont, New York portion will be in another post…… maybe tonight. Maybe tomorrow.