Same Political Crap, Different Country

Rideau Canal

Rideau Canal, Ottawa

Day 100        September 17, 2014

Montreal, Quebec  to  Ottawa, Ontario

Canada

When we saw the awful rush hour traffic heading into Montreal in the morning, we made the last-minute decision to not go back into the city. Instead, we pointed the Space Shuttle west, and drove to Ottawa.

We hadn’t heard much of anything about Ottawa, but we figured since it is the capital of all of Canada, we were obligated to stop there. Passing it by would be like driving by Washington DC and not stopping.

Ottawa turned out to be a fantastic city! The only disappointment was finding out that the Royal Canadian Mint had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with Junior Mints! WTF? Completely misleading.

Ottawa

Ottawa

The US Embassy building

The cool and hip US Embassy building

The US Embassy building

The US Embassy building

Locks on the Rideau Canal. Downtown Ottawa

Locks on the Rideau Canal. Downtown Ottawa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rideau Canal

Rideau Canal

The back of some fancy hotel

The back of a fancy hotel. Looks almost like Parliament!

The Canadian Parliament buildings were pretty cool, as was the fact that we walked right into a political rally on the front steps. The Ukrainian President was speaking at the rally, and from what we could figure out, he was asking the Canadians for weapons and money. So, what’s new? Same old political bull shit so matter where you go!

Some action on the front steps of Parliament!

Parliament!

Political rally in front of Parliament

Political rally in front of Parliament

The flag of Ukraine

The flag of Ukraine

Parliament

Parliament

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Parliament

Parliament

Parliament

Strolling by Parliament

IMG_6179

Parliament. This old stuff is quite pretty!

Due to the political rally on the front steps, the Parliament building was closed for tours. That’d have to wait until the next day.

At the recommendation of a local Ottawanonian, we completed our day with dinner at The Black-Thorn Cafe. Delicious beers and food!

Libations @ The Black-Thorn Cafe

Libations @ The Black-Thorn Cafe

The Black-Thorn Cafe

The Black-Thorn Cafe

It had started raining, so after dinner we took just a short stroll around the neighborhood, and then drove off to find a campground for the night.

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Another Day, Another Brewery? Maybe, Maybe Not!

Following Mark and Dax on the hike up to Signal Hill

Following Mark and Dax on the hike up to Signal Hill

Day 88     September 5, 2014

St. John’s, Newfoundland

Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada

Since arriving in St. John’s the day before, we’d already sampled some local Quidi Vidi beers. However, we hadn’t yet actually visited the nearby village of Quidi Vidi, or the Quidi Vidi Brewing Company. That was Priority #1.

Had we been warned, we’d have parked outside of the little village and walked the rest of the way. But, we hadn’t been warned, and we drove right into the village. Not so smart. The streets were super narrow, winding, and hilly. A test of our driving skills and of our patience. We almost got stuck at the end of a street with almost no way to turn around….almost.

Quidi Vidi

Quidi Vidi

Quidi Vidi

Quidi Vidi

Quidi Vidi

Quidi Vidi

We checked out the Quidi Vidi brewery, hoping to get a tour and have lunch. Unfortunately though, they don’t serve food. Even though it’d mean missing the brewery tour, we were way too hungry to stick around, so we moved on.

We found lunch and beers at the Inn of Olde. And by “lunch,” I mean, soup, ‘cause that’s all they served. Not one of our finer meals, but you couldn’t beat the atmosphere. This place was kind of a trippy pub with all kinds of crazy crap and memorabilia hanging  on every square inch of the ceiling and walls.

Inn of Olde

Inn of Olde

Inn of Olde

Front door to Inn of Olde

Mark & his beer @ Inn of Olde

Mark  @ Inn of Olde

Inn of Olde

Inn of Olde

Inn of Olde

Inn of Olde

Old church that's now a private residence. Quidi Vidi

Old church that’s now a private residence. Quidi Vidi

After a good walk-a-bout the village, and satisfied that we’d “done” Quidi Vidi, we left and drove to the Johnson Geo Centre. The Geo Centre was a cool place. It’s basically a museum built underground, dedicated to geology. Hard to believe, since I almost failed geology 101 in college, but, I loved this place! There were movies, and interactive exhibits, and, just fun shit!

Johnson Geo Centre

Johnson Geo Centre

When the centre closed for the day, we retrieved the pups from the space shuttle, and went for a little walk across the street. But first we had to pose the pups in front of the big dog statues in front of the Geo Centre. One of the statues was a Newfoundland dog, and the other statue was a Labrador Retriever. We hadn’t thought about this before, but this far away Province had two namesake dogs! Impressive!

The Newfie, the Lab, the Trixie, and the Dax

The Newfie, the Lab, the Trixie, and the Dax

What started out as a short dog walk, turned into an epic hike. We had inadvertently found ourselves on this cool hiking path that wound around a little village by the harbor, around the sometimes precarious hillside, and all the way up the backside and up to Signal Hill. It was magnificent!!

Beginning of our epic hike

Beginning of our epic hike

On the hike up to Signal Hill

On the hike up to Signal Hill

On the hike up to Signal Hill

On the hike up to Signal Hill

On the hike up to Signal Hill

On the hike up to Signal Hill

On the hike up to Signal Hill

On the hike up to Signal Hill

Following Mark and Dax on the hike up to Signal Hill

Following Mark and Dax on the hike up to Signal Hill

Looking back at the path we'd hiked up on.

Looking back at the path we’d hiked up on.

We finished off the day with dinner at Tavola, on Water Street. Sweet potato soup, salad, ravioli, and some sissy pink lemonade spritzers that were oh so delicious! Great end to a great day!

Raviolis @ Tavola

Ravioli @ Tavola

Pink Lemonade Spritzers. Not just for sissies!

Pink Lemonade Spritzers. Not just for sissies!

Cape Breton: Booze, Beer, Beauty (And Fiddlers!)

@ Inverness Campground

@ Inverness Campground

Day 75   August 23, 2014    Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Canada

Another day, another morning dog walk. It rained like cats and dogs in the middle of the night, but the morning was sunny and beautiful. Perfect celestial timing.

@ Hyclass Campground

@ Hyclass Campground

We got an unusually early start on the drive up to Cape Breton. Good thing, ‘cause we arrived in Judique at the Celtic Music Interpretive Center just in time for the lunch time Ceilidh.

Celtic Music Interpretive Center

Celtic Music Interpretive Center

If you’re a fan of traditional music, this place is a “must” on your travels. We ate lunch while listening to the local, but world-class fiddle/piano duo, spent a good amount of time in the museum learning about the local music and musicians, took a mini video celtic dance lesson, bought celtic bracelets, and bought some amazing cd’s by Cape Breton musicians (world-famous Natalie MacMaster, and a group called Coig).

A typical Cape Breton combo...fiddle & piano.

A typical Cape Breton combo…fiddle & piano.

Lunch. Fish tacos. Note to self...when you're not in California, do not order fish tacos. Other folks just don't know how to do them right.

Lunch. Fish tacos. Note to self…when you’re not in California, do not order fish tacos. Other folks just don’t know how to do them right.

Fun facts about Cape Breton fiddle music!

Fun facts about Cape Breton fiddle music!

Our dance teacher. We were rockin' it!

Our dance teacher. We were rockin’ it!

Post-lunch hike with the doggies

Post-lunch hike with the doggies

Post-lunch hike with the doggies

Post-lunch hike with the doggies

Post-lunch hike with the doggies

Post-lunch hike with the doggies

Post-lunch hike with the Mark & the doggies

Post-lunch hike with the Mark & the doggies

On the drive north, we took a side road, which turned out to be a whole other adventure. The pavement eventually ended and we were stuck on a long, windy rough dirt and gravel road as it started to downpour. At some point, we decided we were too far in to turn back, so we just kept going.

Stuck on the long, winding, rough road

Stuck on the long, winding, rough road

Fiona stops to pose for a portrait

Fiona stops to pose for a portrait

The reward was beautiful views

The reward was beautiful views

Eventually we met up with the main paved road, and made our way to Mabou and to the famous Red Shoe Pub. We’d already eaten lunch at the Celtic Music Interpretive Center, but we ate lunch again anyway because we’d heard so much about this place. The extra calories were worth it, as we had what may have been the best meal so far on the whole trip! This place is famous for it’s live local music too, but unfortunately for us, that all takes place in the evenings. Food, beer, and ambience would have to do.

The Red Shoe Pub, in Mabou

The Red Shoe Pub, in Mabou

The Red Shoe Pub, in Mabou

The Red Shoe Pub, in Mabou

The Red Shoe Pub, in Mabou

The Red Shoe Pub, in Mabou

Great food!

Great food!

Great beer!

Great beer!

Now you know, we’re not afraid to eat two lunches in one day. Well, we’re also not afraid to drink at more than one sitting in a day. And so, up the road a bit, we had to make a stop at the Glenora Distillery in Glenville. Glenora Distillers is one of only two single malt Scottish-style distilleries in all of Canada. We got the tour. We got the free samples. We were happy!

Glenora Disillery

Glenora Disillery

Glenora Disillery. They claim it's that pristine water running through the property that makes their potion so magical.

Glenora Disillery. They claim it’s that pristine water running through the property that makes their potion so magical.

Glenora Disillery

Glenora Disillery

Glenora Disillery

Glenora Disillery

@ Glenora Disillery. Sampling more product...priceless, but not free!

@ Glenora Disillery. Sampling more product…priceless, but not free!

$25 CDN for this little baby

$25 CDN for this little baby

We stopped for the night up the road in Inverness, at the Inverness Campground. The campground was on the most gorgeous site, perched up on the gorgeous ocean bluffs. We hiked down to the beach with the dogs and let them have a much-needed off-leash run. OMG!! You’ve never seen such joy! Running, digging in the sand…doggie heaven! A great ending to a great day.

@ Inverness Campground

@ Inverness Campground

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

@ Inverness Campground

@ Inverness Campground

Trixie & Dax running wild on the beach @ The beach @ @ Inverness Campground

Trixie & Dax running wild on the beach @ Inverness Campground

 

 

 

 

The beach @ @ Inverness Campground

The beach @ @ Inverness Campground

Trixie & Dax running faster than the speed of light!

Trixie & Dax running faster than the speed of light!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dax

Dax

Trixie

Trixie

One Perfect Day In Nova Scotia…Nude Beaches, Ice Cream & Beer! Part 1

Peggy's Cove

Peggy’s Cove

Day 72    August 20   Part 1    Nova Scotia, Canada

Prior to checking out of The Ovens campground near Lunenburg, we took a hike along the coastal path. It was a nice easy hike, and we were rewarded with great views of the rocky coastline, the caves (the “ovens”), and the crystal clear water.

Our campsite @ The Ovens

Our campsite @ The Ovens

@ The Ovens

@ The Ovens

On the hiking trail @ The Ovens

On the hiking trail @ The Ovens

@ The Ovens

@ The Ovens

@ The Ovens

@ The Ovens

Mark, going downstairs @ The Ovens

Mark, going downstairs @ The Ovens

Cool geology @ The Ovens

Cool geology @ The Ovens

@ The Ovens

@ The Ovens

@ The Ovens

@ The Ovens

@ The Ovens

@ The Ovens

Nice campground pool @ The Ovens

Nice campground pool @ The Ovens

Dog-tired after her hike with us @ The Ovens

Trixie. Dog-tired after her hike with us @ The Ovens

When we left the campground, we were drawn to follow the road sign that clearly stated “No Exit.”  Ends up there was no exit, but there was more beauty, nice houses, and a nude beach (or so said the sign!). We turned around when the pavement ended, and headed back on the main road.

On the dead end road. Cute mailbox.

On the dead end road. Cute mailbox.

And here it is...the nude beach?!! Canadians are funny!

And here it is…the nude beach?!! Canadians are funny! Sign says, “Nude Beach, No Photography”

Our next planned stop would be in this very cool little fishing town, Chester. But, we discovered that in tiny, narrow little Chester, there is no place to park an RV, so we just kept on driving right on out of Chester.

Look what we found on our way out of Chester! An old Airstream trailer that’d been turned into a fish and chips food truck! Of course, we stopped and had fish and chips. And we bought some strawberries from the mother & daughter that were selling fruit and veggies out of the back of their car.

Fish and Chips from a cool old Airstream.

Fish and Chips from a cool old Airstream.

Fish and Chips from a cool old Airstream.

Fish and Chips from a cool old Airstream.

Mark, ordering lunch.

Mark, ordering lunch.

Fruit, veggie, and flower stand next to the fish and chips trailer.

Fruit, veggie, and flower stand next to the fish and chips trailer.

Back on the road, we made our way towards Peggy’s Cove. On the way to Peggy’s Cove, we discovered the most amazing memorial site for the crash of Swissair Flight 111.

Swissair Flight 111 crashed off the coast of Peggy’s Cove on September 2, 1998. This was probably the most beautiful and profound memorial I’ve ever seen, paying tribute not only to those who perished in the crash, but to the local residents who welcomed and housed the victims’ families during the recovery effort.

The crash site memorial grounds

The crash site memorial grounds

The crash site memorial

The crash site memorial

The crash site memorial grounds

The crash site memorial grounds

The crash site memorial grounds

The crash site memorial grounds

The crash site memorial grounds

The crash site memorial grounds

Onward, to Peggy’s Cove. Peggy’s Cove turned out to be both beautiful, and completely overrun by tourists. Still, I’d recommend stopping there to have a look around. And the crowds did thin out later in the day, which was nice.

We had a climb on the rocks by the lighthouse, and then walked around to look in some of the art galleries. I bought a cool necklace at one of the little galleries, made special by the fact that I actually got to meet the artist that made it.

Peggy's Cove

Peggy’s Cove

Peggy's Cove

Peggy’s Cove

Peggy's Cove

Peggy’s Cove

Art gallery where I bought my necklace

Art gallery where I bought my necklace

Mark, as a pirate, @ Peggy's Cove

Mark, as a pirate, @ Peggy’s Cove

Peggy's Cove

Peggy’s Cove

Peggy's Cove

Peggy’s Cove

Peggy's Cove

Peggy’s Cove

Peggy's Cove

Peggy’s Cove

Peggy's Cove

Peggy’s Cove

There is one more compelling reason to visit Peggy’s Cove….the ice cream at Dee Dee’s. It’s just a little walk-up shop, serving deliciousness! I got a two-scooper….one scoop of Haskap (a local berry), and one scoop of spicy Mexican Chocolate. Probably the best ice cream I’ve ever had!

Since we knew it would be impossible to top the ice cream experience at Peggy’s Cove, we left town. Next stop, Halifax, the capitol of Nova Scotia.

How I Prevented The American vs Canadian War

Mark, getting a few last shots off before the rain started

Mark,  rockin’ the Modern Times Beer sweatshirt as we head to Nova Scotia

Day 70    August 18    Prince Edward Island to Nova Scotia, Canada

What a mess!! We did it again. Left our chairs and stuff outside all night. And it rained. Once again, everything was soaked. Still, such beginners!!!

Spent the morning doing laundry. Almost got in a fight with a French Canadian dude who was pissed that I was using both of the washing machines. In the name of international relations, I acquiesced and crammed all of my laundry into one machine….the ultimate sacrifice. War was averted. You Canadians can thank me by sending me Canadian swag.

With everything clean, and dry, we set off for the ferry terminal, and caught the ferry to Nova Scotia. Turned out it was a good day to travel, as it ended up raining most of the day.

Low tide at the PEI ferry terminal

Low tide at the PEI ferry terminal

In line to catch the ferry to Nova Scotia

In line to catch the ferry to Nova Scotia

The space shuttle, all tucked in on the ferry to Nova Scotia

The space shuttle, all tucked in on the ferry to Nova Scotia

Last look at PEI

Last look at PEI

 

 

 

The ferry boat...

The ferry boat…

Goodbye, PEI

Goodbye, PEI

Goodbye, PEI

Goodbye, PEI

Ahoy...thar's Nova Scotia

Ahoy…thar’s Nova Scotia

Mark, getting a few last shots off before the rain started

Mark, capturing the first site of Nova Scotia

Once we landed in Pictou, Nova Scotia, we headed south. When the rain finally stopped, we paused for a couple photo ops in Mahone Bay, and then made our way to Lunenburg for the night.

Crossing the bridge to Halifax.

Crossing the bridge to Halifax.

Mahone Bay

Mahone Bay

We stayed at the Lunenburg Board of Trade Campground, which was not so much a campground as it was a gravel parking lot. However, the upside was two-fold. First, the “campground” was virtually right in Lunenburg, so, location, location, location! Second, we met a hilarious couple, Steve and Janet, from Toronto who were in Lunenburg for a wedding. Steve and Janet invited us over to their motorhome for dinner. Not only did they provide the best burgers I’ve ever had, but they also provided non-stop pee-in-your-pants humor all evening long! They were funny as hell, and we had a great time!

Good Thing Our Brains Are Attached…..Things We Left Behind

@ East Point Lighthouse

What is this sign trying to tell me? @ East Point Lighthouse

Day 68   August 16   Prince Edward Island, Canada

Neither of us are usually super scatter-brained, but apparently the potential is there. Seems we left a few things behind in Canada. First we left behind, at a campground, our floor mat. And today, we drove off without our bike lock. What would be next…our brains? I guess it wouldn’t be a great loss, since we didn’t seem to be using them all the time anyways.

We enjoyed a nice morning/afternoon walk-a-bout in Charlottetown, PEI. There’s lots to do and see around this quaint small city. We visited, and by “visited” I mean “walked past” some interesting shops and restaurants, churches, art galleries, and stuff like that. When you’re visiting a city or town with your dogs in tow, often times, you just have to enjoy “walking past” stuff.

Art Gallery in Charlottetown, PEI

Art Gallery in Charlottetown, PEI

Art Gallery in Charlottetown, PEI

Charlottetown, PEI

Art Gallery in Charlottetown, PEI

Charlottetown, PEI

Charlottetown

Downtown Charlottetown

Charlottetown

Charlottetown

Charlottetown

Charlottetown

Pho Hung, in Charlottetown.  Perhaps the cousin of Low Hung.

Pho Hung, in Charlottetown. Perhaps the cousin of Low Hung.

Charlottetown

Charlottetown

A big Basilica in Charlottetown

A big Basilica in Charlottetown

Charlottetown

Celebrating 150 years of Confederation in Charlottetown, the birthplace of Canada.

After grabbing some fish and chips for lunch, which I must say, was the best fish and chips I’ve ever had (Not saying much, since I only eat fish and chips about once every 10 years or so. However, it was super tasty!!), we headed up Route 2 to explore the sites along the East Coastal Drive.

Lunch stop in Charlottetown

Lunch stop in Charlottetown

Obligatory cool church and graveyard on the East Coastal Drive.

Obligatory cool church and graveyard on the East Coastal Drive.

The hi-light of the day had to be discovering Greenwich National Park. (This is also the place where we ditched…uh, forgot/left behind, our bike lock).We took a little hike, and then returned to the space shuttle to grab our bikes and ride down to the beach, to the Greenwich Dunes. The scenery was gorgeous!

Hiking instructions at Greenwich National Park

Hiking instructions at Greenwich National Park

Greenwich National Park

Greenwich National Park

Greenwich National Park

Greenwich National Park

Greenwich National Park

Greenwich National Park

Greenwich National Park

Greenwich National Park

Greenwich National Park

Greenwich National Park

Greenwich National Park

Greenwich National Park

Greenwich National Park

Greenwich National Park

Greenwich National Park

Greenwich National Park

Greenwich National Park

Greenwich National Park

Look that way......

Look that way……

Portrait of our shoes

Portrait of our shoes

And we reached the ocean. Greenwich National Park

And we reached the ocean. Greenwich National Park

Greenwich National Park

Greenwich National Park

Man (Mark) and bike. Greenwich National Park

Man (Mark) and bike. Greenwich National Park

Greenwich National Park

Greenwich National Park

Greenwich National Park

Greenwich National Park

Next stop…the end of the world. We knew it, ‘cause the sign said so. East Point Lighthouse. This place had it all….great views, funny signs, gift shop with good music cd’s, and a cafe with delicious ice cream.

Roadside scenery on the East Coastal Drive

Roadside scenery on the East Coastal Drive

Roadside scenery on the East Coastal Drive

Roadside scenery on the East Coastal Drive

Roadside scenery on the East Coastal Drive

Roadside scenery on the East Coastal Drive

Roadside scenery on the East Coastal Drive

Roadside scenery on the East Coastal Drive

End of The World @ East Point Lighthouse

End of The World @ East Point Lighthouse

East Point Lighthouse

East Point Lighthouse

East Point Lighthouse

East Point Lighthouse

East Point Lighthouse

East Point Lighthouse

Great view of the super red rocky coast  @ East Point Lighthouse

Great view of the super red rocky coast @ East Point Lighthouse

End of the road @ East Point Lighthouse

End of the road @ East Point Lighthouse

@ East Point Lighthouse

I guess this means “caution” @ East Point Lighthouse

Continuing on the East Coastal Drive, we stopped for dinner at the Blue Fin, in Souris. The meal started out wonderfully, with an order of mussels, and seafood chowder. And the meal ended bizarrely, as we sampled a side order of Poutine.

Mark had insisted we give this national dish a second chance, so, we did. It was just as awful the second time. Poutine…..French Fries, covered in cheese and gravy…yuck!! I fail to see the appeal of this food.  How and why is this the national dish of Canada? Come on Canada, I know you can do better than this!

Souris

Souris

Dinner time in Souris

Dinner time in Souris

Old church in Souris

Old church in Souris

After dinner, awesome sunset in Souris

After dinner, awesome sunset in Souris

We stopped for the night at Red Point Provincial Park Campground. Really nice campground, with ocean views! Hard to beat! Loving life!

Clean Underwear, Lobster & Ice Cream!

Bar Harbor Lobster Pound

Bar Harbor Lobster Pound

Day 62     August 10

August 10th was a slow day. We did laundry, hung out at the pool while waiting for our laundry, sorted laundry and put laundry away. We also walked the dogs and cooked lunch. Like I said, it was a slow day.

Mark's magical lunch concoction

Mark’s magical lunch concoction

Soaking in the sun while waiting for our laundry

Soaking in the sun while waiting for our laundry

August 10th was also a delightful day for food. We hung low and cooked up a nice lunch for ourselves at our campsite. But dinner time was another story. We walked across the street to the Bar Harbor Lobster Pound and got us a feast!

Bar Harbor Lobster Pound

Bar Harbor Lobster Pound

Them lobsters are in there somewheres!

Them lobsters are in there somewheres!

Lobster roll, crab cakes, corn on the cob, cole slaw, and two pieces of blueberry pie! And then for dessert (gasp!!), we walked down the street and got us a couple of ginormous ice ream cones, each with double scoops.

Too full to do anything else this evening, we relaxed around our campfire and played music. A perfect lazy day!

Our beautiful campfire

Our beautiful campfire