Back in the USA

The Ceilidh (pronounced Kay-Lee) last night was great. There is incredible talent in the Maritimes, and I listened to some last night. The hall was packed, the primary singer Prendergast was great, his sin Sean Prendergast was even better, and there was a guest filler, 16 year old Cailyn MacAulay. There was an intermission where they served blueberry tea and oat cake cookies. The cookies were home made by the mom and grandmother of the Prendergast’s, and were a combination of Walkers short bread and a really good oatmeal cookie. The party ended at about 10:00PM. By the time I returned to the campsite and got settled it was 11PM. Sleep finally arrived sometime around midnight. There went the early start.

The early start was also complicated by a funny sound apparently coming from the right front of the RV. I figured that the best solution was to pull a tire and take a look. It was fortunate that I was off to a late start as no one want to be awoken by the sound of an impact wrench. (Thank you Pete and Betsy for the impact wrench. Doesn’t everyone travel with one?) I couldn’t detect any problem. The rotor turned fine; there was no grinding of the bearing detected. Just because, I lubricated the front shroud for the strut, in case it was wearing, and making the noise. The tires for the RV must be getting heavier with every mile I put on them, because that tire was heavy that morning.

All finished, I said goodbye to the neighbors. The closest was from Quebec. In our short conversation, I mentioned that Canada seemed to be much more expensive now, than last time I was here, even with the exchange rate taken into consideration. He explained that unemployment is under 3%. The lifeguard job, at the beach around the corner, was paying $23 an hour, and they were unable to fill the needed positions. He stated that it was a case of people offering enough money to fill positions and as a result the prices of everything are out of sight. It made me think of what offering a $15 an hour wage to everyone? A Canadian result? Time will tell.

The trip back across PEI was through some areas I hadn’t traveled before. It was as beautiful as before, rolling hills, hay and potato fields, trees on the ridgelines, pretty houses and flower filled yards. Absolutely one of the prettiest places I’ve ever been. Honestly, there wasn’t one spot where I thought there could be some work. One unpainted large Catholic Church on the top of a hill needed some help, but it looked amazing. I wandered over to the Confederation Bridge where the toll was $47 Canadian.

New Brunswick was as boring the second time, as it was the first. I found myself nodding off, which is no good. No rest stops, no Tim Horton’s, not nothing but trees. Pretty trees, easy to paint trees, but nothing. I have a good audio book, so I started it, and things were much better. There are some dangers to driving for eight hours by yourself with little stimulation. I try to be very careful, and if I’m tired I’ve found a nice little 20 minute nap takes care of everything.
Before I knew it, I was at the St Croix River and the border. We are not anywhere near as friendly as the Canadians when it comes to entry. There are cameras everywhere. There had to be five or six for every entry point. I suddenly realized that I had my dash cam running in violation for the “No Photography, No Video, blah blah blah”. I turned it off. The agent seemed like a nice guy. Where were you? How long were you there? Did you bring anything you purchased in Canada to the US? I mentioned some wiskey I purchased. He was unconcerned. Have any fruit? Well, I had a bowl of grapes sitting in the passenger seat. That caught his attention. Into the vehicle he came, looked around, examined the refrigerator, and located the illegal Mexican immigrant. My grapes.

I purchased the grapes in my local Shop Rite before I left. Frankly, they were looking a little sad. They were from Mexico. Who looks at the country of origin of grapes this time of year? Mexico, really? What’s wrong with Central Valley California grapes?
He said “Their were being seized”. I said “I’ll eat some before they’re seized”. He said “There already seized, you can’t touch them”. He took them and trashed them. I understand the legal principal. He actually was very nice and informative. Meats can come in, lamb and goat, no. As long as the produce is in it’s original container or has its country of origin on the sticker, and it’s from the US or Canada, you’re fine. I’m really glad that he missed the Israeli carrots. They’re really good.

Well if you slept through the border crossing, you would be able to tell that you were back in the United States. They paved the roads in Maine with left over potholes from NY and NJ. When I finally stopped for fuel, the rear of the coach looked like two four year olds were playing rough house back there. Everything loose was on the floor. All the cushions were bounced off the dinette. It’s the first time that’s ever happened.

Fuel. Oh yes, Maine near the border apparently has the same approach as New Brunswick. One fuel station every 40 miles whether you need it or not. Apparently I missed the only prior fuel station between Otis, Maine, where I found fuel, and the border. I saw the place that allegedly sold fuel. I saw their the campground and motel, buy apparently missed any sign or pump. All good, I got fuel.

There have been changes in the last four years. The traffic leading out of Bar Harbor area at around 5:15 PM is positively New Jersey like. Bumper to bumper traffic. The new construction to the north of town was incredible. The place appeared packed with restaurants, people, traffic, motels, condos, and shops. What a contrast to PEI. What a mess. I grew up in Southampton, of the Hampton’s, so I know what a summer town in the summer can be. These guys just about have the Hampton’s beat. There are more roads in or out of Bar Harbor, but the Hampton’s don’t have cruise ships dropping a couple of extra people off.

On the way to the Blackwoods Campground, I passed the sign prohibiting trailers and RV’s of any size from driving to the top of Cadillac Mountain. I read about the ban. I was hoping that there was a size restriction as opposed to ALL RV’s. I’m not sure what’s really going on, on the enforcement side, but if I had a class B size RV, I’d be really mad as opposed to being disappointed. If people can’t drive their RV, and get stuck, or hit something, address the issue on the enforcement side. I’ve been to the top, and down again, of Cadillac Mountain with no difficulty. Now I’m in a position where I would have to rent a car to get to the top (the view is spectacular) to see either the sunset or the sunrise. Overall, you’re screwed. No service at dawn or dusk. No shuttle service. From a fiscal standpoint, it makes sense. Limit access, limit enforcement load, don’t increase enforcement (it was almost non-existent to start), and there are too many people in this vicinity anyway. RV’ers bring their own food and accommodations, as opposed to using the local accommodations, so from one viewpoint it makes perfect sense.

Blackwoods hasn’t changed since Louise and I first came here with the girls in the 90’s. The site I have is a really uneven site. It’s off by two feet in elevation in just 24’ across the drive. It’s a pull through site, which makes getting in and out, really easy, but the front wheels are waaaaay off the ground. I reheated my lemon chicken before generator hours were over, saw another View across a couple of sites, walked over, and left my card. It looked like everyone was off having fun with grandkids. Any hope of completing the blog went away, as there was no cell service at the camp ground. I made a fire, had a cigar and a sip or two of wiskey and then off to bed. It’s warm. 81 degrees. low humidity. Thank God for the fans.