Tristan’s Trip Report – Week 4

Atlantic Canada Roadtrip Route

July 18th, 2016 (Day 22)

From: Cornwall/Charlottetown, PEI
To: Cornwall/Charlottetown, PEI
Activities: Exploring Charlottetown, The Gahan House, PEI Brewing Co.
Stayed: Kampgrounds of America, Deluxe Cabin

Today we explored Charlottetown, and to do so we planned on eating and drinking our way through town.

BREAKING NEWS: Not Jane, but about Jane.

She had another rough start when we got into Charlottetown. She puttered, and muttered, and then got feisty with high revs, but I decided to be patient with her and let her have it out. So she calmed down, and then… the engine light went off. Ran like Forrest Gump for the rest of the day.

After checking out the splendid Victoria Park boardwalk, we headed off to Water Prince Corner Shop for some seafood. Arienne had the oysters and I had the fish and chips. Guess which one looks better in picture?


We met up with our old friend Jenn (she’s not old, we’ve just known her a long time), which is awesome because this is now the second time that we have run into her while on a big trip. We also met up with her in Guangzhou, China when we were doing our epic 8-month backpacking tour in 2011. Jenn brought us along the Charlottetown boardwalk and told us, “you are going to have to take a picture on this pier, because it’s 2016”. I didn’t understand what the significance of the year was… and then I did.

Prince Edward island 2016

After enjoying a tasty Gahan craft beer at The Gahan House, Arienne wanted to go to the “other craft brewery”, PEI Brewing Co, which was a 30 minute walk away. An incredulous Jenn couldn’t believe we wanted to walk 30 minutes just for a craft beer, but after a little convincing, off we went. 25 minutes later, we strolled into the beautiful PEI Brewing Co and found out that they brew… Gahan craft beer. We had a good laugh and then some good beer.

After stopping for some COWS ice cream, we ate dinner with Jenn and spent the evening catching up over a glass of white wine. I had a headache the next morning.

Total Kilometre Count: 3,719km


 

July 19, 2016 (Day 23)

From: Cornwall/Charlottetown, PEI
To: Cornwall/Charlottetown, PEI
Activities: Road trip to the East Point, Greenwich Beach, Basin Head Beach
Stayed: Kampgrounds of America, Deluxe Cabin

We drove out to the East Point of PEI today. Jane (the car), behaved like nothing happened the previous couple days. She reminds of a fussy child, one who throws a fit-for-a-queen tantrum in the mall then happily sings “Old MacDonald” on the drive home.

We hit up Greenwich Beach, stopped for lunch, drove to the lighthouse at the eastern point of the island, hit up Basin Head Beach, and drove home.

Arienne will now present you with a photo from one of the beaches, whichever one looks better. Drum roll please…

Beaches in PEI
Basin Head Beach

Oh, one thing about Basin Head Beach. It is known as having “the singing sands” which is this funny little phenomenon where when you walk in the sand, it squeaks beneath your feet. So of course, Arienne broke out the camera and had it following behind my feet trying to hear the sand singing. Turns out that the singing sands won’t sing for me. Everyone else on the beach was having a laugh every time they walked, but apparently the sands couldn’t save a song for Tristan :(

Total Kilometre Count: 3,989km


 

Atlantic Canada Roadtrip Route

July 20, 2016 (Day 24)

From: Cornwall/Charlottetown, PEI
To: Caribou Munroe’s Provincial Park, Nova Scotia
Activities: Biking Confederation Trail, Ferry to Nova Scotia, Camping
Stayed: Caribou Munroe’s Provincial Park, Camping

Today was the day we left Prince Edward Island.

We began by driving out to the Georgetown area so we could bike the Confederation Trail. Well, by we, I mean Arienne could bike the confederation trail. As Arienne is the (very pretty) face of the website, producer, and owner, and pretty much the whole sh-bang, from time to time she needs someone to help document stuff. So while Arienne rode her bike on the Confederation Trail, I chased her with the drone. Nothing like a flying lawn-mower nipping at your heels to give you inspiration to peddle harder. Sounds like a pretty cool idea I should market to spin-classes.

Cycling Confederation Trail PEI
An aerial shot of Arienne cycling Confederation Trail.

When we finished with the bike, we said our goodbyes to PEI and tucked Jane, who was being particularly fussy again, onto the Wood Islands ferry to Pictou, Nova Scotia. When we rolled off the ferry, we made an immediate left and found ourselves in Caribou Monroe’s Provincial Park, our campground for the evening. While Arienne loaded up firewood, I sat and brooded over what to do about this car that continued to give me a hard time. Alas, Jane wasn’t the biggest pain-in-the-ass in the park that night.

Wood Islands Ferry
On board the ferry with Nova Scotia in our sights.

Have you ever seen the Simpson’s episode where Bart is going to camp and is handed an instructional booklet called “Don’t Do what Donny Don’t Does”? It is a simple booklet with a maniacal child named Donny Don’t who does really bad things with camp gear. Well, Donny Don’t and his Trumplings were camping next to us. Mommy Don’t decided to leave the raging camp fire (don’t!) unattended with Donny and Co. Donny asked if his Trumplings wanted to see a fire rocket (don’t!). Donny got the matches (don’t Donny!), then got the bug spray (don’t Donny, please). Donny wasn’t pleased with the first fireball. Donny swore. He needed more flammables. Arienne and I looked on, measuring our will to test a child who now wielded a hatchet. I thought of making a run for it but became despondent when I realized the car might not even start. Donny’s mother came back and settled him down, but he and his Trumplings managed to keep us up most of the night, fighting over which one was going get to burn our tent to the ground. When Donny was done, the birds took over. It was 5am.

Total Kilometre Count: 4,133km


 

July 21st, 2016 (Day 25)

From: Caribou Monroe’s Provincial Park, N.S.
To: Blomidon Provincial Park
Activities: Driving, Hiking Cape Split
Stayed: Blomidon Provincial Park, Camping

We got the hell out of Caribou Monroe’s Provincial Park and holed up in a Tim Horton’s reconsidering our plan to have children.

Next, we headed out towards Blomidon Provincial Park, stopping on the way for groceries and to eat at the very cool “The Noodle Guy” in Canning. Big shout out to “The Noodle Guy” for being a great restaurant with excellent homemade pasta, gourmet recipes, and affordable prices.


Want to mention how great the Nova Scotia Provincial Parks are. Very well run. They have extremely reasonable rates, and so far we have been blown away by the quality of their sites and their customer service. We really liked Blomidon when Jane struggled her way up into it. It boasted incredible views of the stunning inlet and countryside below and was a great jumping off point for hiking the Cape Split trail, which is a short 20-minute drive away.

We had arrived at Blomidon after 5pm and debated whether or not to try to do the Cape Split trail. Trail maps said it would be a 4-hour hike, round trip, culminating in a stunning view of the Bay of Fundy from atop the cape. We knew that the potential sunset photos would be worth it, but worried about such a long hike and a return trip that would most likely be in the dark. Well, we set up our tent in a hurry, skipped dinner (genius!), and headed for the cape.

It was foolish, it was reckless, it was dangerous. It was almost worth it. We crushed the uphill hike in 75-minutes. When we came to the clearing on the tip of the cape, we were met with gusting winds that would have wiped Donny Don’t clear off the cliff. I’ve heard stories about people who go that little bit too far for the perfect selfie and wind up dead. Well, the potential for that was very strong on the cape, not to mention how cold it was, so we snapped a few “safe” pics and headed back.


We got back to camp and ate dinner around 10pm. Fortunately for us, I was the only obnoxious child in this park.

Total Kilometre Count: 4,437km


 

July 22nd, 2016 (Day 26)

From: Blomidon Provincial Park, N.S.
To: Annapolis Royal, N.S.
Activities: Driving, Car Repairs
Stayed: Granvalley B&B

Slept in. Broke Camp. Timmie Ho’s for brunch. Free wifi, no plugs. Meh.

We hit the frog-and-toad aiming for Paradise. No seriously, my friend Heath moved there from T.O. and I wanted to stop in to say hello. We high-tailed it out there, and actually passed it to check into our B&B first. Granvalley B&B is the name of the place, and if you haven’t stayed there, you should… provided, you know, you’re in the area.

Anyways, I left Arienne at the B&B so she could do some work while I booked it back to Paradise. I had a huge laugh seeing my city-buddy riding his little lawnmower tractor, feeding his horses, and bringing me up to speed on his new rural life. If you ever want a sobering-up from the drunken-stupor that is the Toronto or Vancouver housing market, look at some of the prices of homes in Nova Scotia. And yes, there are jobs out here.

Rural Nova Scotia
500 square feet for $400,000 in Toronto or all this and more for under $100,000?!

“Oil change Tristan?” Yes please! “Check your engine light reading with my scope?” That would be awesome! “Change your engine air filter?” Heath, you’re the best!

Bottle of Golden Wedding Heath? “Aww, Tristan, you shouldn’t have!”

You’re right Heath, I shouldn’t have. That stuff is garbage. But, it’s your garbage buddy. And I know it’s your favourite.

Booked it back to the B&B with a pretty good idea what is wrong with Jane (the Civic). Slept quite a bit easier, granted, I was in a bed for the first time in a couple of nights.

Total Kilometre Count: 4,656km


 

July 23rd, 2016 (Day 27)

From: Annapolis Royal, N.S.
To: Caledonia, N.S.
Activities: Working on Jane, Exploring Port Royal, Exploring Fort-Anne
Stayed: Art of Germany B&B

Woke up, did some reading, watched some how-to videos. Marched outside. Popped Jane’s hood. Scalpel… I mean ratchet. Pulled out the suspect part. I had read that before replacing the part, I should try cleaning her up, and reinserting her. Well that’s what I did. Started Jane up. Engine light off. Temperature gauge functioning. YES!!!!! I was so excited, I texted my family back home. I FIXED THE CAR!

We drove up the road a few minutes to Port-Royal, which is a reconstruction of the habitation constructed by the first year-round French settlers in Canada in 1605. Checking out the building reminded me a lot of our visit to the Acadian Village in New Brunswick, except this experience brought us back 250 years earlier. Walking around the building, I really got a sense of how difficult life must have been and have much work it must have taken the first French settlers to live in such a foreign land. Though it only took about an hour to explore the habitation, the quality and authenticity of the structure, not to mention the excellent guide book make it a must see in Nova Scotia.

Canadian National Historic Sites
The reconstructed Habitation of Port Royal.

Going hand in hand with a visit to Port Royal is exploring Fort-Anne which became it’s contemporary as European interest in the area expanded. The history of Fort Anne tells the tale of the local Acadians living in an area hotly contested by the French and English. Even when the English took control of the fort, they intermarried with the local Acadians and learned to coexist in a respectful manner, despite the French ancestry of the Acadians. The fort still maintains the oldest National Historic Site in Canada, a gun powder building built in 1708. I totally geeked out on history all day today.

While driving out to our next B&B, the temperature gauge stopped functioning and the car had trouble starting. Apparently, I didn’t fix the car… yet!

Total Kilometre Count: 4,793km


 

July 24th, 2016 (Day 28)

From: Caledonia, N.S.
To: Caledonia, N.S.
Activities: Exploring Kejimkujik National Park, Hiking, Canoeing
Stayed: Art of Germany, B&B

Today’s trip report is brought to you by the proper pronunciation of Kejimkujik.

Woke up to a delicious breakfast and quickly headed off to Kejimkujik (lovingly called Keji by the locals) National Park.

We started our exploration walking out to Mill’s Falls, and then moved on to hiking the Hemlocks and Hardwoods trail. This trail boasts an extremely old and rare section of forest made up of enormous Hemlock trees, one of which is believed to be over 400 years old. You can see in the photo below, that the trail through the hemlock trees has been raised using a wooden boardwalk in order to make sure that people don’t step on the roots, damaging the tress.

Kejimkujik National Park and National Historic Site
Arienne looking up at a Hemlock tree believed to be over 275 years old.

After having lunch at Kedge beach (which has incredibly warm water to swim in), we went over to Jake’s Landing to do some river canoeing. Nothing like getting back to nature with a gentle canoe ride up/down stream, checking out frogs and lily pads, kingfishers and ducks, and the mystical drunk couple, swearing at each other over broken cigarettes amongst their empty beer bottles as they teetered their way out of a canoe they should never have gotten into. Is that the park warden coming? Ahh nature.

Canoeing in Kejimkujik National Park
Showing off the canoeing skills.

One thing about traveling is the people you meet. Young people doing their gap-year backpacking tour in Europe or Asia will regale you with stories of all the wicked-cool people they met at their hostel and how it brought their trip to life. Arienne and I have passed that time in our life, but will still tell you that one of the best things about traveling is the people you meet.

We have stayed at the Art of Germany B&B for two nights now, and have been hosted by Silvia and Dirk, two of the kindest, most hard working people you could ever meet. When she found out we didn’t know what we were going to do for lunch, Silvia mentioned her packed lunch deal where for a very small price she brown paper bags a lunch for you for your day in Keji. She reminded us that she offers a cooked dinner (which we took) since there are very few places to eat in Caledonia, especially on a Sunday night. My goodness, that woman should open a restaurant. Incredible schnitzel, spaetzel, carrots (boiled with maple syrup) and salad with three kinds of homemade dressing. Honestly, the best meal I’ve had on the whole trip.

Finished the night by writing this report, and getting the whole trip report ready for you to read.

Total Kilometre Count: 4,864km


Coming up for week 5: Nova Scotia’s South Shores, Lunenburg, Peggy’s Cove, and Halifax!

Missed any of Tristan’s previous trip reports? Check them out here: