The Eastern Provinces Tour

Way back in the summer of 199? My friends Steve & Tom and I got together for The Eastern Provinces Tour. I was living on the west (wrong) coast at the time and had flown back for a vacation. Tom had flown in from Deutschland a day or two earlier. I took a red-eye flight from SFO to ATL to BOS. We hung out for a few hours and I napped. Later that day a bunch of people we had all worked with at Siemens Medical in Danvers MA showed up for a party. You know how these things go, well past midnight.

After such a long night we were all a little slow getting up in the morning. It was much later in the day when we rendezvoused with my cousin who would ferry me to Cow Hampshire to surprise my parents with a visit. After I'd spent a few days with my parents my friends picked me up and we took off north to Quebec. We came across a recently deceased moose and mangled car in route. We found a motel a few miles outside of the walled city.

Day two of the adventure had us cruising the old fortifications of, and having lunch in, Quebec. I picked up a "they killed Kenny" t-shirt. We spent that night in St. Anne Des Monts on the St. Lawrence River. The fog and wetness prompted us to use a motel again. It was about 11pm when we had had dinner. The diner-like-thing across the bridge had no English speaking staff. We order "Hot Chicken" not really knowing what to expect. We found out that "Hot Chicken" meant a chicken sandwich with partially heated gravy and unheated peas tossed on top. We were not impressed!

Day three, we had made plans to hike Mont Jaques-Cartier in Parc de la Gaspesie. We had to stop for me to pick up some sneakers. When we got to the "feature" we found that it was closed. There is a 2 mile shuttle to the trail head and it wasn't running. No one was around and the fog shrouded the mountain. We didn't hike & instead booked on toward the southern coast to the Gaspe Peninsula. We ended the day somewhere before we got to Prince Edward Isle, again in a motel.

The next morning we crossed over to PEI on the Confederation Bridge. Check out http://www.confederationbridge.com/en/index.php. We cruised across the island and took a one hour ferry back to the mainland. We hauled-ass over to North Sydney to catch the 11:30pm ferry to Newfoundland. We slept in some little bunks for an extra $13, don't bother too much noise from infants and other peoples flatulence. The ferry landed around 6:30AM. We didn't sleep well that night.

Day five, we hauled ass again to get to Gros Morne National Park (http://www.pc.gc.ca/eng/pn-np/nl/grosmorne/index.aspx). It was the second of three Unesco World Heritage sites on the trip, the first being the Historic District of Old Québec, L'Anse aux Meadows the third. The reason for being there was to take the boat ride through the fjords. When we arrived we were already too late for the ride. The sun was shining for the first time since we started. Tom was snoozing in the back seat. Steve & I decided to push on towards L'Anse aux Meadows on the northern tip of the island. We arrived around 8 pm to see icebergs. We found a B&B to spend the night. The hostess served rum over chopped iceberg, the ice makes cracking sounds as the ice melts & the compressed gasses try to escape. The next morning we had breakfast and hit the attraction: a re-creation of, and museum about, an early Viking settlement about 400 years before Columbus.

We headed back towards Gros Morne that afternoon stopping in Port au Choix. There was an ancient burial ground and archaeological evidence of three distinct cultures. We had dinner around 10pm where I recharged my camcorder battery. We camped that night, our 2nd and last night on the island. We awoke to rain.

We hung out under an awning waiting for the rain to stop. While we were waiting a native came by & we chatted for about an hour. The rain finally tapered to a gentle mist so we pack the wet stuff into dry bags and drove off. A few hours later we turned onto the Caribou Trail. Supposedly caribou are often sited along this route.

Thirty miles later still no caribou. We stop to relieve ourselves and realize the sun is almost out and that there is no rain and a warm breeze. We hauled out all of a wet stuff and spread it around to let it dry. A while later we're on the road south again. We hit the southern shore and took the "Rose Blanche Lighthouse Sceneic Drive". It was visually very interesting. There were a mess of small lakes and ponds & the road was up and down hills so that one never knew whether it was a the ocean or a lake. The ride back to Port aux Basques was totally fogged out. We spent another night in a motel before taking the 6 hour ferry ride back to the mainland the next morning at 11:30 AM.

In the crossing we saw whales spouting and even a fluke. They were very far off. I would not call it a good sighting. That night we got almost to the Bay of Fundy. We stayed in another motel. We drove around trying to find the bay. The roads weren't well marked. We found the bay but well after the exciting in rush of water. We found place and pulled over to watch the tide go out at a rate of about 1 foot every 5 minutes. It's truly amazing to watch. Steve took a dip & I went skinny dipping on a private beach around far side of a major rock outcropping. We spent the last night a little inside Canada and crossed back into the US at Calais ME, the next morning. We stopped at the Portsmouth Brewery in NH & were back to Steve's in Beverly MA, by 8pm.