07 August 1999

Trip home

I'm up and out. Basically an uneventful trip home. Well, except for one thing...

I got a tad confused in the Toronto airport. I needed to retrieve my luggage for going through customs (same as in Montreal) but it wasn't at all clear where/how I was supposed to manage that. I ended up in the main baggage claim area with no return access to the airport proper. I tried. A guard stopped me. However, he did get me pointed to another (cleverly concealed behind an unmarked, opaque door) way to where I needed to be.

This whole luggage/customs thing is a royal pain... I don't know why we have to claim and recheck luggage when they don't even look at it. Besides, if it was ok when we checked it and no one but the airline has handled it, why go through all this rigmarole?? Hmph! Tirade mode off...

06 August 1999

Peggy's Cove - Citadel - Knitting

I got up and got K to the airport around 7. Then I came back to the hotel to shower and organize my day. I ate the last butter tart and a banana. (I've been sampling butter tarts all across Nova Scotia and haven't found one better than the ones Jean served us.)

I decided to head to Peggy's Cove. It was still early but I figured that by the time I got there, things would start to be open.

I had no trouble getting there. After I got on 333, the road became narrow and windy. It was slow going but a pleasant drive. I was sort of puzzled by signs I kept seeing though..."Caution: Sanding only next __ kilometers" The only thing I could figure out was that it meant the shoulder wasn't paved for a bit. However the spots were all nice granite gravel rock rather than sand so it must just be an expression.

At Peggy's Cove I had breakfast at the Sou'wester by the lighthouse. Only a couple tables were occupied and I had a seat by one of the big picture windows looking out over the rocky point, lighthouse and cove. By the time I finished and perused the items in the gift shop, the drippy mist that I drove to Peggy's Cove in had given way to full-fledged fog. I wandered out to the lighthouse (now a post office...the only PO in a lighthouse in Canada). I saw a mink scooting around in the seaweed and surf down below where I'd parked myself to watch the wave crash through the fog. I also saw a fissure in the rock that had lots of dew-jeweled spider webs sparkling in the morning light.

I walked up the road to the other end of PC, checking out the shops and studios along the way. There weren't a lot of them. The whole town has, according to the sign at the entrance, a population of 60.

At the far end (near the entrance to the town...I drove through the whole town to the Sou'wester where I started) is the Fisherman's Memorial. There was an artist (painter, photographer, sculptor) who lived in PC and started this memorial sculpture in the granite face near his house. The project was expected to take 10 years to complete but he died after 6. His ashes are interred in the sculpture itself, behind a small plaque. There is one character in the memorial that is the Peggy the place is named after. The rest are supposedly other members of the community.

The story goes that Peggy was rescued from a shipwreck in the bay. She fell in love with a resident and stayed. I'm not sure how the place ended up being named after her...

By 10:30, the place was crawling with tourists...tour buses loaded with loud-talking old people in Bermuda shorts and southern accents. Bleah... I headed back.

I noticed another puzzling sign on the way back. A number of places (usually little restaurants or bars) advertised "donairs". I have no idea what a donair is but they're 3 for $6 in town.
I stopped at a gas station and got $5 gas, a bottle of pop and my bumper fixed. Last night when K and I pulled out of the parking spot I heard a nasty noise. We got out to check and discovered that when I backed into the spot, I backed over a short piece of PVC pipe sticking up out of the ground. It was just tall enough so that it didn't catch on the car when I was backing it (K wasn't in the car at the time) but when we both got in the car to pull out, the extra weight dropped the edge of the bumper below the top of the pipe. It was one of those plastic bumpers so it just pulled the little pins out that hold it in place. I tried to pop the pins back in while the car was being gassed up but wasn't strong enough. The gas station attendant (full service stations still exist here!) did it for me. Yay!!!

Back in Halifax, I pulled into a shopping center 'cause I saw a Wal-Mart sign and I needed some packing tape to finish taping up my package to ship home. I also seem to have lost my little suitcase locks somewhere along the way so I picked up another one of those.

'course, while I was there, I had to wander through the yarn section... and Lo! they had the same yarn I didn't get quite enough of when I was in York, NE last month. I picked up another blue ball and an olive while I was at it.

At the front door, I asked someone about a PO so I could mail off my packages and she directed me to a Mailboxes Etc. I got everything shipped of for $38 CA and discovered that I probably wouldn't have been charged duty on the stuff the 1st time if I'd filled out the customs form a little differently. Live and learn...

I continued on to the Citadel -- only taking about 6-7 wrong turns. Navigating and driving at the same time doesn't always work so well... Between the rotaries and angled and/or one-way streets, nothing went where I expected it to.

I finally got to the Citadel and spent a couple hours walking around. It's extremely well done. There are lots of people "in character" to answer your questions and provide a backdrop to the whole experience.

I left the Citadel and decided to head to Dartmouth to see if I could find the knitting place. Couldn't. I tried to call from a Starbucks/bookshop and left a message. I got some completely unintelligible directions from one of the Starbucks employees who had more facial piercings than I've seen on about any one person before. (I tried not to get distracted by the way the stud in her tongue clicked against her teeth when she talked...) I tried to follow her directions and somehow ended up on the freeway. I decided "Phooey!" and went back to the hotel. I emptied out the car and repacked all my stuff for the trip home.

I called Lucy (the knit contact) and got the details (including hopefully better directions...) to the knit gathering scheduled for 7:00. I had a little time to kill so I decided to head out that way and stop for supper and gas somewhere along the way.

I left a little before 6. The directions were good, I'm sure, but the problem I've had all along in Halifax is that the main roads aren't marked. All the little cross streets will have street signs but the main roads rarely do so I can never figure out whether or not I'm on the road I think (or hope!) I am. I mentioned it to Lucy when I got there and she admitted that it is a real problem and it's not just me...

In my blunderings around, I stopped and got $5 in gas and there was a little shipping mall with a Subway. I figured that would do for supper. Right next to the Subway, however was a pizza place that had donairs so I decided to see what those were .

I went in to ask and the guy said, "You've never had one?!?" As if I'd said I've never had air before. He started to describe one and said, "You want to try a small one?" I said sure. He asked if I like onion and tomato (sounds ok so far!). I got a can of soda out of the cooler and sat down to wait for it.

Lucky thing I got a "small"... It was huge! A whole plateful. It was kind of like a gyros except the seasoning in the sauce was different. The bread-y stuff underneath was thinner than a pita and pretty oily. I ate the top...meat, onion, tomato and sauce but passed on the bread part. It was ok. Not something I'd order a lot but at least now I know what they are. Donairs, butter tarts and poutine...my new food experiences for this trip.

I found the Neatby household and met the family. Husband John (a tugboat ... captain? I'm a little unclear about exactly what he does but he occasionally gets calls in the wee hours to pull some ship that was silly enough to ground itself free) and their 3 kids (2 girls and a boy). They're originally from England...moved here about 8 years ago.

The rest of the knitters (4) arrived later. Until then I looked through all the wonderful knit stuff Lucy had designed and was completely wowed. She showed me her studio and we talked about where the designs came from and how she goes about getting them from her head/needles into a computer program that can print out the patterns that other people can follow. It's an amazing process.

We all knit and chatted and sipped tea and nibbled white chocolate sheep until almost 10 when I just had to leave. I got a picture of the gang modeling Lucy's creations. I left a quote book for Lucy and signed her guest book (she collects knitters from around the world practically...) then toddled on.

I dropped the car at the airport and shuttled back to the hotel. It's 11:30 now and I gotta go to bed...

05 August 1999

Heading to Halifax

I got up before 6 (had to pee really bad...) and started our last morning in the woods.

I made my whole wheat pancakes for breakfast and chopped up some bing cherries I'd dehydrated to mix in the batter. Very tasty! We also ate the last of the plums and had tea/coffee.

We started breaking camp and I tried to give the rest of our camp fuel (more than 3/4 of a gallon, I expect) to the people next to us (opposite side from the radio jerks) but they use propane.

I poured all the fuel out of the stove and back into the can then lit the stove to burn it dry (that sucker burned for a good 20 minutes after that..) while we finished breaking camp.

I went to the washroom before hitting the road and ran into Cathy and Mary also on their way. I asked them if they wanted the fuel but they didn't want to take on any more "stuff"...I can relate. The were still planning to meet us at SoHo though. That should be fun!

For some reason, from the very first meeting, they (especially Cathy) remind me of someone I know...I can't think who but there's a sort of comfort and sense of familiarity with them, even though we hardly know them.

We finished breaking camp and hit the road just before 9. Later than we intended but we keep having conversations with fellow travelers about travels and homes.

Somewhere on highway 105, we passed this absolutely incredible rock face reflected in a small pool. The water was an almost perfect mirror and the sunlight, green and water made such a magical combo that I stopped, pulled a u-ey and went back.

We snapped some pictures and were headed back to the car when Keenan called me over to where he was standing. The side of the road dropped away to a steep ditch that had small scrubby trees growing in it. The tops of the trees didn't come much above the roadbed. In any case, draped over one of the branches of one of the trees in a small patch of sun was a small brown snake. Dunno what kind it was...it was brown of various shades with a lengthwise striping pattern. We didn't bother it and it didn't bother us. If it weren't for Keenan's eagle-eyes, though, I'd have never seen it.

We got back in the car and continued toward Halifax with no further adventures.

We stopped for lunch at Mother Webb's somewhere along the way and I can't say I'd ever go back. The AC was going full blast which was both noisy and freezing. I had to go back out to the car to get a jacket. And the music playing reminded me (rather painfully) of the radio jerks.

I had a burger (ok, but nothing to rave about). K had a hot chicken sandwich without the gravy and was really not happy with the whole experience. The waitress (a middle-aged woman who has probably been waitressing her whole life) seemed completely confused by his order and the concept of making changes/substitutions to what was on the menu. Luckily, it will be easy to never go back...

We arrived at the hotel in Halifax mid-afternoonish, checked in and showered. I called David at work while K had a beer at the bar in the hotel. Then we headed into Halifax proper to do some sightseeing.

We found the Fairview Cemetery and the Titanic gravesite. It wasn't at all what I expected. The stones all looked brand new, shiny surfaced with bright white paint in the incised letters. (I think they've been touched up since the movie came out...)

There are 4 arced rows of stones. The placard displayed there said that someone was hired to design the whole thing to fit into that particular spot of the cemetery. Most of the stones are all identical in size and shape...maybe knee-high, black granite rectangles polished smooth. The top of the rectangle is angled down and that's where all the writing is. Many don't have names, just "Died April 15, 1912" and a number...the number assigned to the body as it was found. A few places had larger, more elaborate stones. The shipping line bought the generic stones and any family/survivors that wanted something more paid for it themselves.

There was one obelisk-shaped stone that was dedicated to the memory of the "unknown child". According to the placard, the body of a 2-year old child was among the first found. The rescue crew was so touched by this small body that they arranged for the stone and held a memorial service. About 2 years ago, the body was identified as being the youngest of the Paulsen children. There is a family stone for the Paulsens...mother and 4 children...directly behind the Unknown Child stone. The Paulsen stone is much like the generic stones except that it says "Paulsen" on the diagonal face and the mother's name and children's names/ages are written on the front face.

There was also a J Dawson stone that wouldn't have meant anything to me except I'd read somewhere that the Leonardo DiCaprio role in the movie Titanic was a character named Jack Dawson. Supposedly, there is almost always at least one bunch of flowers in front of this stone, left by some teenage girl. Today, there were glads. Some of the other stones had flowers too, including the Unknown Child stone.

On the way back to the car, we wandered among the other stones and wondered at the stories they told. There were a number of stones originating from the 1917 explosion that destroyed a big chunk of Halifax. A munitions ship was in the harbor and for some reason blew up.

I saw one family stone that had a father and mother and 2 children. I was intrigued because "Nell" was listed as having been born in 1976 and there was no death date. If she still is actually alive, she'd be 124.
Another stone listed a father, mother and their 2 sons. The father and sons all died at sea in separate instances within 3 years. The loss that woman endured in such a short time...

We got back in the car and started heading more or less in the direction of the SoHo Kitchen. On the way, we found The Citadel and drove around it. It costs $6 to get it and was about to close in 45 minutes or so, so we passed. But I think I may have to check it out tomorrow.

With K to navigate and read the map (I don't think I could have done it without him...), we managed to find our way to downtown Halifax. The hills and houses reminded me of a cross between San Francisco and Seattle. It was actually kind of pretty until we got closer to downtown. As we were rolling into the downtown area, I was looking at all the people, traffic, bars, lights, etc and thinking, "This is horrible! I want to be back on the island, paddling in the bay, walking through trees and dunes with not another soul in sight. Bleah!!!"

Just as I was thinking all this, Keenan said, "Wow! Look at all the people and bars and life! What a great little downtown area. Isn't this fun?!?" with more animation and excitement than I'd seen all week.


We found SoHo and a great parking spot right across the street. We popped into the restaurant to say "Hi!" to Chalmers and meet the other people in his group. We reserved a table for 4 and then walked to the waterfront area to check out the buskers festival that was going on. The whole boardwalk area was covered with buskers hawking their wares, whether they were music, sword swallowing or trinkets of various sorts.

There was a big sailing ship moored along the dock called the Blue Nose. Apparently, it's available for 2-hour cruises that sounded really cool but we didn't have time right then and I doubt I'll have time tomorrow. We boarded it and wandered through, though.

We didn't have time to check out much of it but I did hear an Ecuadorian group playing their native music and liked it so much that I bought one of their CDs. I seem to be collecting music this trip...

On the way back to SoHo, we ran into Cathy and Mary and walked the rest of the way to the restaurant together.

SoHo Kitchen is a kitschy-cool place. Gregor told us it was fast becoming "the" cool (fashionable and trendy) place to be. I normally hate "trendy" but I loved the atmosphere at SoHo. And the food was to die for!

The Chalmers Doane Trio is (and I gather always has been) 4 people: Chalmers (on uke, clarinet, trombone, xylophone and whatever else needs to be played), Sue (bass cello), Steve (guitar and banjo) and another guy we didn't meet who played drums.

It was great music and the food was extremely good (have I mentioned that??). K and Cathy had the salmon special. I tasted it and we all agreed that it was far and away the best salmon we'd ever tasted. I had the Greek Shrimp that was also wonderful. Mary had the lamb chop special and said it was very good too.

It was a lovely, wonderful evening. The perfect cap to our trip. We said goodbye to Chalmers and "the girls" as Keenan kept calling them, then we headed for our hotel.

K heads out early tomorrow and I will play the day by feel. Cathy and Mary mentioned going to Peggy's Cove. A co-worker of mine recommended going there, but I thought it was too far away. Cathy said it's only about 1/2 an hour or so. I'd like to do the Citadel. I definitely want to do the knitterly gathering in the evening. I also need to mail my packages home and at the tail end of the day, return the rental car and make sure I'm all ready to fly home the next day. It'll be a full day!

04 August 1999

Paddling on Queen Ann's Bay

Up at 7. I made that orange/cranberry/bulgar stuff for breakfast. We had to take a ferry (75 cents) to get to the other side of the bay. I'm not sure what the story is with this ferry... they built a causeway for the road most of the way across the bay but the last 3 car lengths or so is a cable ferry. Maybe it's for boat access to the bay??

We found the kayak place, North River Kayaking and met Gregor (our guide) and the Gillims. We're dropping the Gillims at our lunch stop (where they will camp for the night). The rest of the day will be just Gregor and K and me.

Just after putting boat to water, I saw an eel in the shallows around the dock. There were lots of jellies. Gregor says the purple ones are Lion's Mane and the clear ones are Moon Jellies.

We paddled down the North River to the ruins of an abandoned lumber mill at the mouth. Just out from the ruins were old dock pilings with a cormorant perched on the top of each one.

We paddled past several-hundred-foot cliffs until we came to rocky, narrow beach where we stopped for lunch. There's a fresh stream waterfall running down the rock back and into the salt bay.

We had lunch then left the Gillims to paddle back the way we came.

Since we were ahead of schedule and making good time, Gregor took us over to a lighthouse on the other side of the river. It's not functioning...now people stay there on a sort of B & B arrangement. Gregor said that the woman currently staying there, paddled with him yesterday. We waved and exchanged shouted greetings.

On the way back to the dock, we met Angelo and some other kayakers. We also discovered that Gregor knows the Doanes. Chalmers taught his mother Jeannie to play uke and she's been teaching others. He grew up in Truro and knew the Doane kids...Melanie anyway. Small world! [ ps ... Later, when I told Jean about this, she said that Gregor's last name is Wilson and Jeannie was Chalmers first girlfriend (which she suspects Gregor never knew).]

When we got back, we chatted with Gregor a bit and talked barter. K and I wanted NRK caps and were wanting to trade one of my quote books and an Arizona t-shirt for them. We had to wait for Angelo to get back and say yea or nay. He was enthusiastic. I also bought one of his CDs ($15) too.

We listened to the CD on the way back to Englishtown. I like it but wouldn't listen to it all the time. We had to wait for the second ferry. The ferry holds 12 cars...we were the 11th car on the second ferry.

When we got back to camp, the radio-jerks next door were still there...dammit.

We took showers and did a load of laundry. I had a nasty headache (dehydration, I expect) so I took some ibuprofen and lots of water.
We were going to go to Baddeck for a lobster supper but when we called, found that they would have closed by the time we got there and the suppers were more than we really wanted to pay anyway so I made tortellini instead.
The radio-jerks left (briefly) then came back and loaded even more obnoxious music than they had been playing. At least my headache has dimmed or I'd be really grumpy.

After supper, we decided to take a walk and see if the radio jerks were as loud as we think or if it's just because we're right next to them. We walked all the way past the back of the campground and you could still hear it plainly. We'd decided to go speak to the manager about it and were discussing it when we passed another campsite with 2 women headed toward the road we were on. One apparently heard our discussion and made a comment about the music so we stopped to chat.

We really hit it off and, while chatting, the music stopped and stayed off!!! Hallelujah! But we stayed chatting with Cathy and Mary until full dark. We invited them to the SoHo Kitchen to hear Chalmers tomorrow night...sounds like they may make it.

We headed back to our (blissfully!) quiet campsite and slept soundly all night.

03 August 1999

Arrival at Englishtown

I woke up at 4 am. Too soon to get up. I woke again and thought it was quarter to 7 and that, if I went back to sleep, I wouldn't wake up at 7. I looked again and it was quarter to 6 so I went back to sleep. Woke at 7 (for real!) and got up.

We had breakfast (cheese on bagels and tea/coffee), broke camp and headed out around 8. Bought gas in Charlottetown (.529/litre) then headed for the Wood Islands ferry. We got there at 9:45, in time for the 10:00 ferry. We had no problem getting on and settled in for the 75 minute ride to Caribou. At Caribou, we took highway 104 to 106 and 105 to Englishtown on Cape Breton.

We checked into the Englishtown Ridge Campground and got a pretty decent site toward the back, surrounded by trees. The front part of this place is much more "urban" than I like...RVs side-by-side (almost within reach-out-and-touch distance); a swimming pool filled with splashing noisy kids; a bar/rec center with the usual blaring TV, yelling kids, blow dryers, etc Bleah.... Back where we're camping, there aren't RVs and there are a lot more trees but the urban-jerks still abound. The people in the spot next to ours seem to feel it's their duty to FILL the campground with the sound of their music. K and I have to shout to each other across our picnic table to be heard. Quiet hours don't start until midnight...this could get interesting...

Tried to call the kayak guy again and got his machine. I left a message and will try again later.

We walked down the steep drive to the highway and mailed some postcards at the post office next door. Then we crossed the road and walked along the shore of St Anne's Bay. The view is incredible! I can see why it was called New Scotland...it certainly looks like any pictures I've ever seen of Scotland.

I found a great piece of driftwood along the shore...it's about the size and shape of a letter-opener and the top looks like a little guy in a boat. Too cool! I also picked up some purple shell pieces that should be gorgeous when polished up.

Just after 5, the sun started to poke holes in the clouds. All day, there have been big cotton-ball clouds everywhere with brief periods of sun. When it's cloudy, it's cool and seems a lot later. When the sun comes out, it's dazzling!

There were some "cobblestone jellies" on this beach too, but the beach here is pretty much cobblestone to begin with so they don't stand out as much. We hiked back up to the campground.

I went back down again later to watch the sky, light, and shadow play on the bay. I sat through a brief shower that started on the far side of the bay and gradually rolled its way to my side of the bay and over me. Without a single person or manmade object in view, it was the most peaceful, relaxing time of the whole trip.

Went back to camp and had supper. Then the camp owner came to tell us that Angelo called. Our kayaking trip is still on!!
As the day is winding down, someone is playing bagpipes in the front part of the campground. They started with Amazing Grace and moved into jigs. The place has completely filled up. The rain showers quiet things down but in between, they rev up again. The people next to us are still playing their music loudly enough that even with earplugs in, I can recognize the songs playing. I hate public campgrounds...

02 August 1999

Exploring PEI

I woke up around 7...this seems to be a bit of a pattern... I got up and made tea. K got up shortly after that and we made breakfast of peanut butter and honey sandwiches, more of those great little plums we bought, and tea/coffee.

We tidied camp a bit then headed out to do some hiking. Our first stop was Brackley Beach just to see what it looked like. From the parking lot, you take a trail through the big dunes that cut off the view of the water. On the water side of the dunes, there is a beach area, roped off for lifeguard coverage (when the guards are on duty). We didn't hang around.

The first hike was Bubbling Spring and Farmland trails. Not far from the trailhead is Stanhope cemetery. This cemetery was started by the original settlers. The oldest (readable) stone is for Elizabeth Boyver (or Bovyer...) who died in 1811. All of the stones that are still standing have broken off but generally, the top portion is lying right behind the bottom portion so that if it's still readable, it's all there. Most of the stones were either missing completely or unreadable though.
The spring trail winds through pine and birch forests, stopping occasionally at viewpoints overlooking ponds or bays. Eventually we came to the spring itself. There was a man with a couple dogs (which had been playing in the spring) that had muddied up the water but in a few moments the silt settled and you could actually see the water lifting the silt at various points along the bottom in tiny little water volcanoes.

The whole trail makes a big sort of figure-8 shape and when the trails cross they change. Since we started on the spring trail, when we crossed we were on the Farmland trail. This section of trail was mostly farmland that had belonged to the Acadian and Scottish settlers. Where the woods have reclaimed the fields, the trees are mostly white spruce instead of the birch/pine that we saw on the earlier trail.

The Rushes & Reeds trail is very short but includes a lookout tower over a pond and a boardwalk out onto a barachois pond. A barachois pond is a pond that was originally a salt-water bay but as it silts-in it becomes cut off from the salt water, eventually becoming fresh-water, and finally dying as it completely silts in. There were some fantastic reflections on the pond surface of the sky/clouds/trees. Awesome!

The drive through the park is very nice. It sort of splits the spit of land between the Gulf of St Lawrence (on the north) and various bays on the south. There are a lot of bikers and roller-bladers on the wide, paved shoulders along the roadway.
We left the far end of the national park and took the 10-minute drive into Charlottetown for supplies, to mail some postcards, for K to get some CA money, and eat lunch.

In Charlottetown, I called the kayak guy. Or tried to. I used the 888- number and it rang forever before someone answered. I think I woke them up... He groggily took a message. Angelo (kayak guy) got married yesterday and apparently it was quite a party...I'll call again when we get to Baddeck.
We stopped at an IGA to get K's 1st roll of film developed (1-hour). He had to make sure he had a good Bay of Fundy/tide picture for his travel journal.

We ate a sort of greasy-spoon cafe for lunch because it had a sign advertising "lobster roll special" and it sounded "Maritime-y". Turns out that lobster roll in this instance means "frozen, canned lobster with mayo on a hamburger bun." Bleah... I had the "Little John Club" sandwich instead and it was very good. I also bought a couple butter tarts on the way out for later.

We went back to the park via Cavendish to see what the other side of the park looks like. Mostly... a lot more people. I think we definitely picked the right side of the park to camp in. The campground here is much less treed and a lot more RVed.
We wanted to go back to the beach near our campground at low tide to get a picture of the "cobblestone jellies" but couldn't remember what time of day we were there. We thought it was around 6 but must have been much earlier because we got there at 6:30 or so and the tide had already come in.

We had a shower then supper. I made southwestern chicken soup. It was very good but, I thought, a little too salty. I don't remember it being that way when I've made it before...

We started breaking down camp to simplify things for our morning pack-out. Another short walk and then it was bedtime. 9:30.

01 August 1999

Prince Edward Island

I got up about 7. Keenan was still asleep. I went out to the cliff to watch the river. The tide was just past full and receding. There was just a bit of fog hanging in the bend of the river on the shady side opposite me but the sun was bright above/through it. The sun was shining (the first fog-free morning!!) on the cliff-face and I could really see the colors and rocks for the first time. I took a few pictures of that then wandered around the property to get pictures of the music house, our cottage and the car. I didn't get the golf course or tennis courts as there just wasn't a good vantage point for them.
I did some packing until about 8 or so when K got up. We finished packing and neatening the cottage in just a few minutes and went to the big house for breakfast. We had a "Santa Claus melon" with our breakfast that was wonderful! The outside of the melon is kind of striped like a gourd or watermelon. It's shaped sort of like a blunt football. The flesh is pale green, like a honeydew but much more flavorful than any honeydew I ever tasted. Good stuff!

We cleaned up breakfast, said our goodbyes and hit the road around 9:30.

We headed out across the big bridge where we watched the tide a couple days before, skirted Truro on a sort of back highway through dairy lands, then onto the main highway for a bit. We got off at an interchange along the way to stop at a local market. We got some wonderful plums, bread, cheese, a tomato, peanut butter and a bag of Cape Cod potato chips. I'm generally not a big potato chip fan but we bought several more bags of these chips before the trip was done. I'm a convert!!

We made really good time from there to Oxford (via a $3 toll road), where we turned of to take a coastal scenic road toward the Confederation Bridge. It's a toll bridge but only from the PEI side...which we found out later is $37 CA (!). We wound our way across PEI to PEI National Park and the Rustico Island campground where we had reservations for the next two days ($15 per night plus a $7 registration fee).

Its a very nice campground...heavily treed and low visibility of other campsites. It sprinkled occasionally as we were setting up camp but it waited until we were done to really rain for a few minutes. We ate lunch (cheese and tomato sandwiches) snug and dry under our tarp...which I was really glad I went to the trouble to get here.

We went for a walk in the rain out to the end of the peninsula and along the beach. It rained off and on but wasn't cold.

When we got to the beach, there were all these large (some, dinner-plate size), smooth, dark, round stones on the shore. I started toward the water using the big round stones like stepping stones when I discovered that they weren't stones at all...they were jellyfish left stranded by the tide. Most were a beautiful amethyst color although some were clear and uncolored except for some whitish innards you could see. We flipped some over to check for tentacles and to confirm if they really were jellyfish. They were. Some were pretty disgusting...looking like afterbirth...others were actually very pretty. There were tons of them all up and down the shore.

We walked along the shore until it looked like it was getting too rocky to be worth the trouble. We turned back and returned to camp. We sat at our picnic table writing out postcards and hanging out. We could hear the roar of moto-cross cars coming across the channel...I hope that doesn't go on too long...

There are lots of bike and sailboards on the other cars in the campground. And we saw lots of sail boarding as we were driving to the campground. There was a sing up at the front of the ground that said there was no vacancy. When I made the reservation a couple weeks ago, I got one of the last couple sites available, so I imagine it is pretty full. I don't know if all the sites are reservation only or if they hold a certain number of them for walk-ins. In any case, the campground doesn't feel crowded, even if it is full.

I made sun-dried tomato/parmesan pasta with dried mushrooms and zucchini for supper. It was way tasty! I though it had just a touch too much dried red pepper but K thought it was fine as-is.

We went for a walk after supper into the twilight and found an old, long-unused outdoor amphitheatre. It was a very nice walk. Then we took showers and went for a little drive to scope out the rest of the park and find the trailheads for our hiking adventures tomorrow.

We went to bed around 10 and chatted a while before sleeping the night through.