30 Aug 2010

Back in the US!

Posted by Sam

August 30, 2010

Dear friends,

We be in Maine now, still having the time of our lives, but I have to go back and fill in some Digby gaps. It took us longer than we realized to get from Petit Cap, New Brunswick, to the coast of Nova Scotia, along the Bay of Fundy. There are not a lot of roads, and even the good ones aren’t very good, so you have to go to Halifax, way down at the south edge of NS and then turn due north and go all the way back up to the north edge and turn left. I don’t know why we chose to stay in Digby; almost all we have to go on is the RV Directory, Woodall’s. But once again, we intuitively made a great choice.

By this time our travels were hampered by a bad sprain on my right ankle. Same ankle I have introduced to a hole in the ground at least three times in the last 30 years. This time I took a header off the bakery porch in Petit Cap. I went home and iced it off and on for about six hours and then, because it seemed not TOO bad, I proceeded to walk on it for a couple of days. Mistake. I hurt my elbow and jammed my shoulder during the same fall, so have been very sore.

Anyway, Digby is the scallop capitol of the world. And Nova Scotia is the blueberry capital. Who knew? Continuing my study of the Acadians, I learned that when the eight years of deportation and exile were over, many Acadians came back to Nova Scotia. Their land, however, had been sold to others and all that was allowed them was property along the Bay of Fundy, a rocky, hostile area of huge tides. They made it work, of course, and the red, white and blue flag with a gold star is evident everywhere.

Nova Scotia towns have a gaiety about them that we didn’t see in New Brunswick. The whole area is alive with goldenrod, and flowers abound. I couldn’t quite figure how this cold country could host such an array of flowers that grow so well in the Willamette Valley, but Dave looked it up, and we found that we are right on the 45th parallel here, so it is more temperate than we thought. Little town such as Annapolis Royal have window boxes and hanging baskets on every building. The day we visited they were having a town picnic and everyone was out and about. A bowl of fresh dog water sat in front of every business downtown, and the local artist’s group was painting. There were painters everywhere, and folks watching them. At 6 PM that night the paintings were auctioned off. What fun!

The area maintains a close relationship with the Mi’kmaq Indians. This was a tribe which helped the Acadians hide from the British and fought with the French. Mi’kmaq legends are woven into local lore and their art is evident.

We tried the local cuisine; Dave enjoyed the old Acadian Rappie Pie, a potato dish in which all the starch and water are squeezed out of the shredded potatoes, and it is baked with chicken. I tried the Dulse, a seaweed collected from the beaches, washed (one hopes) and dried. It resembles very thin shoe leather and tastes exactly like what you would expect beach flotsam to taste like! We found packages of french cigarettes with not just a warning, but a color photo of diseased gums and rotting teeth on the outside of the package! wuh! The one attorney we spotted on Digby’s main street is James L Outhouse (or maybe it’s Ooot-hooose). As my mother would say, “it’s the children who suffer.”

We have had fantastic weather this whole trip. It rained the day we took the Acadian Princess Ferry from Digby to St. John, New Brunswick. Heading for Damariscotta, Maine, we finally laid over just outside Bangor and made it to Damariscotta the next day. The rains quit then, and we have had an idyllic few days here on the Maine seacoast. Idyllic probably doesn’t do our time justice, sounds too tame. Idyllic is sitting around on the deck in a cool breeze. We did that too, but overall, we ate (lobster, ribs, haddock to die for), drank, talked, laughed, almost constantly for two and a half days, courtesy of our dear friends, Dan and Carol Perry. The Perrys live in McLean, VA, but have this 15 room “cabin” on Round Pond. In between the eating and drinking events, they showed us the local sights. It is such a truly beautiful area and these people are such wonderfully generous and smart and funny hosts. Dan worked at the Bend Bulletin years ago and Carol taught at Bear Creek Elementary; we are so lucky to be able to maintain their friendship.

We are staying at the Lake Pemaquid RV Camp, I’m trying to stay off my foot for a couple of days. It is getting better. I bought a cheap cane; by the time it breaks I won’t need it.

We leave in a couple of days for Gloucester, Massachusetts. We’ll be there for almost a week, through the Labor Day weekend. I thought we might have to reserve a spot in northern Maine or stay in the Wal-Mart parking lot, Labor Day is so huge on the east coast. We are keeping our fingers crossed that Hurricane Earl doesn’t hit the New England coast. Or the North Carolina Coast!

Love to all,
Sam and Dave

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