June 21, 2002 Friday
We left home at 10:30am and had 43728 miles. When we arrived at Arliss and Holly's place we found out their generator that was to go on the trip would not work so given we were ready to leave it was decided to get a new one and worry about fixing the other one later. Holly, Becky, and Nolan are going out with us. Holly is driving their Expedition and we will be using our F-350 and 5th wheel. We will use two meters to keep together and they will stay with us at night. We will meet Holly's parents in CT and the kids will stay there and we will go on to Cape Britton for the departure to our Dx-pedition on St. Paul Island on Saturday morning June 29th coming back on Monday July 8th.
We got things packed at Arliss and loaded to the roof and headed for Sears to get the generator. W e got it mounted and got on the way about 3 pm. We had conditions and worked Arliss on .46 FM the last time around Des Moines, IA We got to our night stop at Wal-Mart at Grinnell, Iowa about 9 pm. It was hot and humid but eventually cooled off. It was nice having the big battery bank so we could run the fans all night long full blast. We made about 347 miles today.
June 22, Saturday
We were up a little after 6 am and got headed out before 8 a.m. We tried to get diesel in Grinnell but no success so headed for I-80 We found some at the next exit and the low fuel light had been on quite awhile. It appeared we had about 4 gallons left. Diesel price was $1.29. Here in Indiana we have seen it advertised for $1.14 so that looks like the chances are good for diesel to be cheaper on this trip than any of our other trips That wouild be nice.
We are staying at Wal-Mart in Elkhart, Indiana. We have been in Wal-mart three times buying things so it is very convenient. The 374 miles today went very well and traffic was not bad at all in our lane in Chicago but the other side was moving very slowly and was at a stand still at one point. Since it went so well we have added another 60 miles to the schedule tomorrow and moving our stop from Clarion, PA to Clearfield, PA at Wal-Mart. This should put us into the CT. over night spot earlier so we can spend more time with Holly's parents who will meet us there.
The BugCatcher has higher SWR; apparently mounting the generator by the base has effected the impedance. I checked the resonance an that seems to still be right on. I tried the loading tap but that mad eit worse so given it is about 1.7 to 1 I will just leave it and use the tuner in the radio and the SGC 500 watt solid state brick seems to load fine into it.
Had trouble with Winlink until I remember my frequencies I have listed are for LSB and I was on USB so once I got on LSB things worked. It is amazing after you have not used something for a few months how things can hanpen that you just took for granted. I think every trip I have had a false start so finally getting things squared away I think. Anyway good to be sending and getting E-mail over the radio as it is our primary source of communication on the raod. For all our trips and will continue to be so! In the fall we will use the cellular telephone some from the US and also this winter from the US.
June 23, Sunday.
I ran a couple of miles last night. It was hot and humid! We all took showers and had ice cream which was great! It was really hot and sweaty when we went to bed. Fortunately it cooled off after a couple of hours. We had a good spot at Wal-Mart but it was right by the recycle bin so had clanking bottles for awhile after we went to bed but fortunately it quit.
We changed our clocks to eastern time and we were on the road by 8 am eastern. Things went good; other than for a stretch where traffic came to a stop and then it was stop and go for about six miles. Diesel was a low of $1.22 and a high of $1.38. I realized at noon it was my birthday. I was surprised how many trees and how hilly it is in PA. It is pretty and there are some very deep cuts for rivers and streams that are very spectacular! I had some trouble with the computer sending E-mail. Likely RF getting into it so I put on some ferrite core and unhooked the external keyboard and parallel printer cable since I am using USB One of those actions seems to cure the problem I finally found a station in FL that had some signal strength as it seems conditions are terrible! Holly and Edith had a birthday party for me, they got some lemon pie at Wal-Mart that was great. Looks like tonight we are off by ourselves but a lot of people drive by as a way out of the lot which really surprises me but I am sure it will quiet down as it gets dark. This Wal-Mart sets up on a high hill.
I sent out an E-mail to W3BO for an update on the trip and got some E-mails coming in. Going to do some exercising and send the birthday card to Shelby Snider.
We got here about 5 pm Eastern time. We put on about 420 miles today. We did hit one spot where traffic came to a halt and we were stop and go for about 6 miles. Lowest for diesel has ben 1.22 and highest has been 1.38. So this is very good. We should be in CT tomorrow night near Southbury off Exit 15 from I-84 at a Super K
It is much more hilly and many more trees than I expected in PA. Some really deep cuts that rivers go through that are very pretty. It would be fantastic in the fall with the leaves turning color. Toll road cost in Ohio was just under $13.00 which was about twice what I expected. They must really enforce the truck speed of 55 mph on the turnpike as rarely were any trucks going over 60 mph. In Pa on I-80 after the toll ended they were flying again!
We are about 100 miles from Canada and are staying with a ham friend in New Brunswick tomorrow night. The next night we should be on location and getting ready to go to the island.
Things have been going smoothly, nearly 2000 miles already and will be over 2400 miles to our departure site to the island.
We did have a little excitement finding a place to stay last night. KMART has a policy of letting people park but this store did not own the lot but rather the mall they were in did. Then we were at Home Depot and they said fine and I asked a policeman and he said fine but then a lady stopped by that was a local and said it was really a high crime area and she suggested we leave. She said she would not stay there and she did not want our vacation spoiled. She suggested the truck stop or rest area. We took one exit to quick a when we got back on we were by it so tried the rest area and it was just jammed with trucks so we found a Walmart thanks to some information for Holly's DAD which was a life saver at Southerton so that was just down the road. We pulled in with some other campers and had a great spot.
We were talking to the other campers and they said there were no parking signs there alos but they asked the manager and he said no problem. The were going to park at SAMS in Bangor just like us and when we got here they were already here. This is a very nice spot. Lots and lots of extra lot with no body in it so we are way off out of the way but under the lights and they have video camera survallience and taping.
We were on the road about 7:30 am. The previous evening I was able to activate my Verizon Prepaid card for another 60 days of cellular service and check to be sure I had enough credit with my long distance carrier which I did. I wanted to check since I had made a call to St. Pierre from Salem and I did not know how much that would cost.
I-95 north of Bangor, ME had low traffic and was an excellent road. It is all trees and then you see Katadin Mt. which is a part of the Appalachian Mt. Chain and White Mt. in ME. There is a spectacular turn off viewing it out over a lake. We filled up just before going into Canada. NB is pretty and we followed a river for a long ways and as in northern ME it was a bit more open with a little farming activity in the cleared spots.
We contacted Jim on 50.135 and he talked us in. We had to back up a drive way and make a sharp turn to the left. We had a great time with Jim and Melanie! They cooked us a great supper of Atlantic Salmon and steak. Jim makes wine and we had a glass of that and he showed us his wine making setup. Showed us his 3 towers, two at 100 foot and one at 150' and the ham shack, We got E-mail confirmation of our DX-pedition call CY9DH. I changed oil and loaded the new maps in my GPS and did some other chores. We had a great visit and learned a lot about Canada.
We were on the road by 8 am. We had no trouble pulling out of the yard but as in backing in without 4 x 4 it would not of been possible so there have been several times the 4 x 4 has made the difference between a major problem and no problem. We had a good drive over to Cape Britton. We stopped at the tourist information center going into Nova Scotia. We did have to go clear into Turuo to get money. The exchange rate was 1.485. We crossed the English Ferry in Cape Britton to save some time and as we had some cars behind us on the hilly, narrow Cabot Trail I pulled over to let people pass. A car pulled around us and a fellow got out and it turned out to be VE1AAO Bill Budge our host. He gave us directions to his place. We got to the park entrance and finally convinced them we did not need a permit to go to Bill's place and on up to our departure site at St. Lawrence Bay. We arrived at Bill's and got parked, again we needed the 4 x 4 to get into a rough area with bushes but it turned out to be very level and we only had to use one set of boards on the drivers side to level. I was able to get the truck off and up the hill in 4 x 4 to have it out so we could use it to haul our gear to our departure site to St. Paul. We had supper with Bill and Audrey and had a great visit with Bill telling lots of great stories about St Paul Island where his dad was the light house keeper and they lived there until about 1960 when he was a kid. He told about all the run arounds he had with the coast guard on trying to get his parents out to the island one last time and in getting the amateur radio landing permit and in getting the name of some people for his book. He had great pictures and we discussed at great length our landing options. We got settled into the 5th and Anthony, Bill's son and girl friend stopped in to see us. Bill did give us the forecast for Saturday which had NW winds which is not good. The mosquitoes were bad as it got dark.
It is nice and cool this morning and we are up and going. Bill said the WX forecast is better for St. Paul tomorrow morning. We discussed going very, very early in the dark getting to the island at first light. Audrey stopped by on her way to work and said the house is open and to go in as we needed to. Today we will get the gear out of the 5th and ready for transport to the island. We will also have to get the things out of the Expedition. We may take 3 vehicles to get the gear and 7 people to the Bay of St. Lawrence to our boat. We are to talk to Robert the Captain today to see about getting the gas and departure time. Burned out my cordless drill battery charger.
Bill said Duane wanted to go to Atlantic Cove but he would rather we go to Petries Cove and we said it was essential we go to Petries as the propagation would not be good for six and greatly effected on HF to the USA , Eu, Asia and Pacific.. This was a real concern and I believed we would get to Petries and get on the island with no problem.
We worked all day getting things ready. Around noon Bill and Holly headed for Sydney to pick up Duane WV2B and Arliss W7XU who were flying in. It seem like there were a million things to do and the list just did not seem to shrink. It seemed difficult to get organized as the packing ahead and the long trip out made it impossible to be organized like one wanted to be. Toward late afternoon Audrey said the Captain had called and if we wanted gas at the dock we needed to bring the containers we had so they could be fueled in the boat. We roped in the 31 five gallon containers and headed for the Bay of St. Lawrence. Before we left we learned Arliss had missed his plane so they would be late. Anthony, Bill's son went along with Jim VE9DH and myself as we had never been there. We found Robert the Captain and found him to very nice. We gave him a bad time about his smoking and all the gas. It obviously was a very dangerous situation if there were any flame or sparks, etc. We made arrangements to leave for the island at 3 am so it was going to be a short night.
We then headed and the crew from Sydney showed up. Arliss had also lost his luggage so it was quite a termoil! We had a great visit and supper. Don Young who had relatives that were on the island during the time people lived there was also there. We got about 2 hours of sleep and about 2 am were off for the boat about 1 hour away. It was an exciting time and the emotions ran high that we could get on the island.
We drove down to the Bay of St. Lawerence in the dark. The boat Captian Robert showed up and we began unloading. The things went into the boat amazingly fast with all the help. We all got on the boat and were off in the dark. The boat had GPS and we could see our course to the island. My prayers were answered as the Captain just could not believe how calm it was. He said it is NEVER LIKE THIS. It was starting to get light as we approached the island and Bill got the Captain to take a swing around the island so we went down the east side and seen Atlantic Cove, well first the house and light house on the south end. Bill told us the names as we went by. We definitely seen we did not want to go to Govenors Cove. We then went through the tickle and seen the north island and buildings and light house and headed south on the east side. It was perfectly calm so we know we were going to have a good landing. Now the question was fhow high would the bank be at Petries Cove. As we came into Peteries Cove we could see the bank was pretty high, probably about 30 feet but looked like we could do it. There was a rope down at what seemed the best spot. We put the dingy over the side and Bill rowed in and climbed up the bank and said it would work. The Captain got the Greyhound II very close since it was so calm so the row back and forth and eventually the rope pulling back and forth was a short trip. The dingy leaked bad so we had to dump it all the time. Edith and Holly made it to shore in good shape. Arliss and Bill were the first and unloaded the dingy. When I got in I helped Holly and Edith move things off the beach and over to the cliff to get up above.
Before we got to far we went up on Peteries point to look for the operating spot. We checked out the pond but it was to far and to tough to get to with the trees. Arliss picked out a high spot and about 200 yards below I picked out a spot for HF. We put Edith and my tent down closer to the ocean for less carrying. The operating spots were about 125 feet and 150 feet above the ocean with a great shot to the USA , Pacific, Asia and northern Europe. It was good to southern Europe and poor to Aftrica , the Atlantic and South America as that shot through the hills on the island that were quite close and high. Especially to the latter two directions.
It was a long haul and we cut a path through the first trees which made it a lot easier. It was about 3/8 of a mile and a hard climb os it was hard work! It was warm and the bugs were bad and we sweat a lot and got bit a lot. Some of the guys got tired of hauling and pretty much disappeared but Arliss, Holly, Edith and I kept at it. Jim hung in there pretty good. You could see that Bill, Arliss and I were in the best shape. Bill was a work horse until he just did not see the point of hauling things so far.
We eventually got everything there by mid-afternoon and started setting up. We got the hex beam up and the six meter beam up and tried getting on the air on HF. I ran into some difficulty. I had a little cockpit trouble in getting split figured out but that came around. I could not use rig control as the new computer did not have support for the USB to serial so had to move rig contro to the com port and the amplifier did not work. I got them on the air barefoot after what seemed like forever but likely was just 30 minutes. I operated a little that night but was very tired and had to get some sleep.
Edith was hurting!
got the 40 vertical up, tried to get the amp going based on info gotten over the air. Straightening things out. They operated 40 that night I did not operate at all Put up e-mail antenna and also helped with 2 meter antenna and put up 10 meter antenna Late in day we moved the cook tent and our sleeping tent up by the 6 meter tent and had access to the generator and could heat water with the electric pot. Edith was really hurting. We had rain and terrible wind and water got off the rain fly and into the tent and got some of our stuff wet. We tarped the tent to hold it down and keep the water out. I also put some ropes around and over to help hold it down. It is a good thing as the wind really blew toward evening.
Did get the amp going for a little while but shut it off and it would not work again. Took lots of pictures as it was a nice sunny day. Got 30 meter antenna up. Checked out new water source on the island as the other had a lot of plant coloration in it and did not look good. The water purifier was to small. We decided the only practical means was to boil it on the gas stove our use the small electic pot. The small electric pot off the generator was used a lot as the wind was very high starting the second day. At times it appeared the cook/sleeping tent was going to blow away even being tarped down Jim, Duane and Bill were doing all the operating. I did not operate at all. Moved e- Mail over by our tent which worked out great. Showed Holly how to do it and we got an E-mail off to Herb and others and got several ourselves . KB6YNO on 30 meters worked great for e-mail and Holly was able to do it in great fashon. They seemed to be doing well barefoot but I was disappointed that sometimes no one was operating.
Edith was in great pain and we got some pills from Jim and Arliss figured out what she could take. It took about a day and she got better. She was really hurting on Monday night and Tuesday. Jim and I operated in shifts and things were going well. Bill and Duane left the island when Robert came by checking has crab traps. Highlight was RTTY pileup on 15 meters was 33 khz wide. We had a good night with lots of contacts on 30 and 40 meters. My rate during the day on RTTY was good and we were off to a great start Amplifier did not work but toward evening I got a chance to do some work with it. We used it on 30 and 40 that night.
Jim and I had a good day.Highlight was pileup on 17 meters and JA;s went out of the top end of the band to work me. We still were having trouble with the amplifier. The solution seemed to not shut it off which meant gasing up the generator while it was running. At one point the amplifier would not work using the procedure of removing JP4, running it through the time sequence and then do it with JP4 hooked up. Arliss tried a new tube and no luck, we worked with the wire to the sceen on JP4 and cut out the varistor and also previously seemed like if we left the cover screws out it would work. Anyway we got it going again for which I am eternally greatful and used it for the duration of the operation. About every 24 hours the generator would shut down due to the low oil protection. At first we had to do the JP4 procedure but toward the end we did not have to do that. It may have been because the amp was on continuously and it may of been a heat related thing.
We did change the oil on Wednesday morning when the low oil protection shut down. We definitely were going to have enough gas. We did talk to Bill and Duane on 20 meters and Jim sat up a sked with Duane on the County Hunters net.
The best day for conditions, made nearly 2000 contacts and even made some on 10 and 12. Arliss had worked 4 people in Europe so that was good news but over all the conditions were terrible.on Six but the best HF day of the expedition! I operated most in the day and Jim most at night. For the complete time Jim and I kept the rig going 24 hours a day from the time we started until the time we shut down. We did our own logging on the computer.
Conditions were not as good but we still worked a lot of people. I did do some more RTTY and now were over 1000 people. The pileups were tough, sometimes it was difficult to get even one letter. Toward night you could tell it was the week end.
Worked a lot of JA's on 20 meters , tried call aseas and they were very, very bad! Worked a lot of 17 and 15 and had some success on 10 and 12.
Late in the day we received word we were going to have to leave the island at 1300z on Sunday so we started tearing down. We tore down the Hex beam and left the verticals Started tearing down in earnest at daylight. Very tired operating 40 meters. Very good signal reports. Someone mentioned there was a note on the DX spot page that W3KXR our pilot station wanted to get ahold of us. The fellow that told us put a message on the spot page where we were and W3KXR came up and passed the traffic from Robert the boat Captain who had called. We later got confirmation of this from Duane via E-mail We started packing up and tearing down at this point. Just before dark we tore down the Hex Beam. It served us well! It was a continual process of tearing things down.
We operated on 30 and 40 and after dawn we shut down and started the final tear down in earnest. It was a very big job getting everything else packed up and down to the cliff. Started raining, Holly hauled a lot of stuff, gals really, really worked. We had a lot of stuff on the beach when the boat arrived. It was great to have Bill's help in getting the heavy stuff down the cliff.
Wet going down cliff. We had to keep the boat out a little farther as there were some waves. They brought a new dingy that did not leak so bad. Jim had fixed the old one so it was a lot better. Crew on the boat really got the stuff up over the edge and into the boat in a hurry and put it down in the hatch. Edith had some trouble getting out of the small boat and into the big boat as it was quite a step up and was wet and slippery. She got by good and was not hurting from the return, tear down. She was more careful than on the landing where she was really hurting from over doing it.
Ride in rough, boat captain signed paper. Staightened things out, got Holly ready to go on Monday. Took Bill and Audrey out to supper. We found out the documentation for the landing permit had arrived but needed to be signed and returned. We though we were pretty well unpacked on Sunday.
Come Monday I realized we needed to do a lot more on getting organized and might as well get things ready for the FP trip which later proved to be smart as we just did not have time to work on this after we left Bill's We had great visits with Bill and Audrey, seen the country, ate out and had a great time. The also had us for supper every night we did not eat out.
Worked on organizing things, getting things ready for FP, had a great supper at Bill and Audrey, looked at pictures talked to Bill's friends on 20 and hiked Middle Head. Did logs for Arliss and other computer work and letter to ACOM. Got big pictures of St. Paul and one for QSL Card
Seen Bills wood working shop Bill, Arliss and I had a great visit.
Took Arliss to Airport, stopped at Walmart. It is 2 hours one way but know how to get to the ferry to Newfoundland and looked at downtown Sydney. Got home around noon and worked on the computer and got things organized for FP and sent and received a lot of e-mails. Bill was working on his rotor We took Bill and Audrey out to supper. Talked to Henry KT1J on the telephone about the ACOM amp and FP and that a couple from 9 land would be there at the same time.
Cloudy and some fog but no rain. I go our E-mail and sent a couple out while Edith got some lunch ready for our Cabot Trail trip. We headed off about 9 am and went back a couple of miles and got our park permit for the day and headed out in a counter clockwise direction. We took a different road than the Cabot Trail through Neil Harbor since we had been on this portion of the Cabot trail 4 times with the St. Paul Island trip. We also went into Dingwall. It is a scenic, rugged coast line. It would of been nicer with the sun shining and no haze. I was surprised as we left the coast line to go across the island to the other side how big the mountains were and how dense the trees were and how deep the valleys were. We kept remarking how light the traffic was. It certainly appears to be way down. We then went down the coast. We did not see any whales. At Cheticamp we seen all sorts of tourist places but not many tourists. Very, very few from the USA and from Canada it was mainly Ontario and not many o f them. We got back about 2pm. We noticed when people put our their garbage they cover it with a cloth for neatness!
The sun was shining nicely when we got back so Edith worked on waterproofing and tarping the generator and I worked on putting in the hitch, putting the masting back in the pickup, mounting the six meter halo and working on a 220 vac plug for FP. I also did some E-mail work. We had a great supper with Bill and Audrey. They certainly are wonderful people! We also got to know there friends from across the street. Bill and I took our walk on Middle Head Point where the Keltic Lodge is at. There was no one in the parking lot and we met no one on the trail. Bill said he had never seen that in July. It is always very crowed. He said he had tea and sat on the porch and watch the traffic on the Cabot Trail right in front of the house and he new everybody that went by other than a couple of cars so that agrees with what we saw that traffic is way, way down this year. Tomorrow by about 10 am we hook up and back out to head for the ferry from North Sydney to Port a Brasque. We will try and stay at the ferry parking lot tomorrow night rather than drive in the dark to get to a provincial camp ground. Hopefully by Friday night we can get in one and dump and fill up with water.
We got the permit papers signed and notorized and sent off. It cost $40, $20 for each copy for notorizing and $1.84 for mailing it. Hopefully in a few days Bill will get one of the copies back which will be our official copy replacing the interm one we had. It could be a long while before anyone else goes to the island as the permits are hard to get. They really give people the run around and are terribly slow and they are expensive.
I did listen to the Spanish tape today which was good to get back at it.
We got up and went to coffee with Bill and said good bye to Audrey. When we got back I got the copy of the Coast Guard Permit for ST. Paul and the Insurance document.
I then got the E-mail and we proceeded to get ready to go. We put the F-350 in 4 x 4 and backed out the first try. Edith and Bill stopped the traffic. We said good bye to Bill and set up schedules so we could keep in touch. They certainly were fantastic hosts and great people to know. There sure are some good people in this world. We were on the road about 10:30 am. We got to the ferry in about 2 hours. It is different than AK in that you pay at the gate like a toll road. The measured us at 50 feet which is the top end of the 40-50 feet. We waited in line, used the bathrooms, talked to the Newfoundland tourist person, got some good information and studied it. The ferry came in not to long after we got there but we did not start to load until about 1:45 PM. We left about 3 pm on scheduler and we got some good pictures and made friends with several people right away. People are very, very friendly. One lady was the wife of a truck diver from St. Johns, another was a couple from NS on vacation and the third was a couple from ON and she was from Newfoundland originally.
I was surprised at how long we could see land. The sea was pretty calm but as it went along we got a rolling motion that was making a lot of people a little sick. We got by fine. It started out sunny but got cold and rainy so after awhile we went in side. We ended up front where we could look right out over the bow on the bottom passenger level. Two decks of vehicles below that yet. I would say the boat was about 2 city blocks long. We could see the land of Newfoundland and it was getting dusk. We ended up circling around waiting for a boat to leave the dock which made us a good half hour late. We got off the boat about 10 pm which was 10:30 pm Newfoundland time as they go another ½ hours. We had called ahead from North Sydney to a campground that was called Grand Courdon. It was about 38 km north on TC # 1. We got to the camp ground about 11 pm and settled in about 11:30 as we had to dump, etc. It was rainy and cold and some wind. It is really rocky where you come in at Port Aux Brasque. Or friends from ON told us it was the worst looking spot in Newfoundland. BTW the ferry back in so we could drive ahead and off the back as we drove in from the font. I managed to get my directions straight on the crossing and kept them straight in the dark and rain getting to campground. I watch the GPS closely.
We got up about 8 am because of the long, long day yesterday. I had some trouble getting E-mail but finally got and sent via W9GSS but not a good signal. Went to 20 meters to do it. Talked to the campground people and got some suggestions and filled up with water and headed out. We made good time. Brooks Corner was a nice looking town and the scenery was the best we have seen since we got to Canada. Diesel fuel is going up in price now about .75 a liter and likely will be near 80 cents a liter, $C when we get up to the Viking site. We got to Gros Morne National Park and went to the headquarters and got it lined up for a 2 hour boat tri on Western Brook Pond and got into Berry Hill Campground. It is about a 45 minute hike into Brook Pond so we just made it. It was a very nice cruise and it is a deep fjord looking place but is fresh water so not a fjord. It is 16 km long and has very high rock sides, water falls coming down the side and some snow left on the sides. It is nearly 600 feet deep in places. It is also a nice hike in and out and looks a lot like AK or NWT or Yukon with the tundra type setting and stunted trees and bare rock mountains with stunted trees. We got back about 6 pm and got back to the 5th about 7 pm and set up the antenna. I sent and got E-mail and worked on the computer. I listened to the 6 pm 339 sked but they were very weak. I did not hear Bill VE1AAO and his group.
We got up about 6:30am and got ready to head north to try and catch the ferry to Labrador. I ran into Rocky Harbor to get diesel as we did not know if we would be able to find diesel until we got to St. Anthony. We also dumped our tanks and filled with water and were on the road about 8:30 am. It always takes longer than you think. We seen the archers which were arches cut by the sea in limestone along the shore. They were nice. As we headed north we could find no diesel. We still had about a ½ tank but we did not want to go to Labrador with a tank nearly empty. We finally found an Irving station with diesel. Of course after that we found 3 more. We got to St. Barbe with just under 1 hour to go and the ferry was there but it was no trouble to get a ticket and get on. We met a lot of nice people in the line up and on the ferry. We were watching for whales and I seen one for just a moment as it came up and went down and seen the tail. Edith seen some at a distance blowing. Then they announced there were whales on the port side so we went around and we must of seen 30 - 40 different whales. None were real close but with the binoculars it was great! When you are at St. Barbie you can see Labrador on a clear day which it was. We actually landed in Quebec and drove into Labrador. We got information at the tourist place and sent an E-mail from there to Ole and Chris that we were in Labrador since Chris needs this for Zone # 2 on 17 meters.
We got set up in Pinware River Provincial Park. They let us park in the parking lot. The mosquito's were bad. I set up the dipole and decided to put it on 17 meters for Chris right away and found I had tremendous SWR. I could not figure it out. The center on the coax connector seemed a little lose so started the generator so I could solder it. Tried two different coax's and changed the length of the antenna many times and just could not get it. I finally tried a different coax out of the 5th and it worked. I found out the coax leads to the bottom of my panel had worked lose. Really fooled me as I had used them all the time on the trip and just used them yesterday. The plate got bent on the ferry coming to Newfoundland or the ferry coming from Cape Britton to Sydney. I had straightened it some at the campground we stayed at after we got into Newfoundland.
We did get a good picture of a Moose today and also an iceberg. We were in 3 provinces today. People are really starting to notice our map on the side of the 5th as it has a lot of states and provinces filled in now. We will have to put on Quebec and Labrador tomorrow if it is dry and reasonable warm. It is 40 degrees out right now so it will be chilly tonight.
Edith discovered the shelf under the old microwave shelf had broken and a jar of jam was broken! It was quite a mess. We got it all out and cleaned up and got the shelf out. The shelf under it was also broken so fixed it first and then rebuilt the broken shelf. Fortunately we had a drill, screws and glue and was able to fix it but it took at least an hour.
I got and sent e-mail and confirmed the AC0M and N0ABE had got my message so they know we are in Labrador. I need to work him. We want to try and see some icebergs and whales and go farther up beyond the oil on the new gravel which will eventually go to Goose Bay. Not sure how we will work this out with also needing to work AC0M.
From Pinware River Provincial Park we went up the coast of Labrador to Red Bay where you will likely show the road ending. It is oil that far but there is now a new gavel road up to Charlette Town. We first went to Mary's Harbour and took a tour to Battle Harbour which for years was considered the unofficial capital of Labrador. It is now a restored fishing town. We seen lots of icebergs on the way out. Huge and right next to them. At the site we seen whales, lots of them right by the rocks. WOW ARE THE HUGE!!! I was right next to some. I got some decent pictures. It was a great tour and if you were ever to come here I would recommend you make arrangements to stay in one of the houses at Battle Harbour. It would be a great experience to come out one day, stay over night and go back around 3 pm the next day. Just ton's of history there. It was here the Perry held his press conference on making it to the North Pole. I went up the the MacCorni(spelling) towers where the message was sent to the world that Perry had made it to the North Pole and was back and did the announcement from here and in a few days held a press conference here. This was in 1909.
One the way back we seen more whales. From there we went on the Charlotte Town and actually a little beyond where the road ends but is under construction to Cartwright. Eventually it will go to Goosebay. BTW also on the boat today were 19 Dutch Airforce guys stationed at Goosebay who flew down for the tour.
We hope to come up through Quebec, up to Labrador City and over to Goosebay about the 3rd week of August.
Tomorrow we tour Red Bay one of the first whaling stations in North America and a light house and ancient burial site, have some Moose Steak and possibly head back to Newfoundland on the ferry.
The scenery here is a lot like the northern Yukon and NWT, very beautiful. I like it here a lot and the road, ie gravel was great, so much better than the trip last year!
We went to Red Bay and visited the ancient whaling sites of the Basque people. Parks Canada had found many artifacts and it was quite interesting. We also toured Saddle Island where the camps were set up. In the 1500's up to 2000 - 3000 whalers came. The main thing they wanted was oil for use in Europe for lighting lamps. They got this by heating the blubber, fat from the whales and getting oil from it. They also used a few other by products.
Before the Red Bay site opened we got some tee shirts and sweaters.
We then got the 5th ready to move and started toware the ferry. At noon we ate some Cod at a restaurant some friends we met recommended. The was a bus tour that stopped just after we got there. We found out there were four buses in the area today and the lade in the gift shop said there should be about 180 buses this year so it is a major part of their tourism. There were not many outside of tours around; however we did see several campers get of the ferry as we were leaving. When we came there were just two. We then seen the oldest grave site in North America and visited the lighthouse on the coast which is reportedly the tallest one in the Atlantic provinces. I climbed to the top. We also found out about an attempt to dig a tunnel under the Labrador Straits there. It is only 9 miles wide there. It turned into a political rip off and $29 million was squandered. There still is talk about it as Newfoundland would like to get power from Church Hill Falls in Labrador as all their electricity comes from diesel generators and is expensive and part of the year the ice prevents shipping. From there we stopped at a grocery store in Blanc Sablon Quebec which is just over the line from Labrador and where the ferry leaves from. I did get a CD that has a song called Sons of Labrador which I like.
We got some frozen fish at the ferry terminal at a stand and got our tickets and got in line. Everybody walks around, visits, does things in their vehicles while waiting in the various lanes. I did our finances on the computer. We loaded and since we have always stood or sat out on the dock we decided to sit inside right up front as they had windows that you could see out very well. We seen a few whales, a couple fairly close. We got off the ferry at St. Barbie and it was 7:50 when we hit the road which was about 20 minutes late. We wanted to make it to the Pistollet Bay Provincial park but it is about 70 miles and the road was really rough and up and down so it was getting late. Fortunately it stays light until about 9:30 pm so we made it just at dark. We seen all lot of moose, the most by far we have seen anywhere! Lots of big males with horns in the velvet. We got to the Provincial park and the ranger was out on patrol so we pulled into the day use area and I walked up toward the normal sites. I met the ranger in his pickup and he said they are full but they don't turn anybody away and as at Pinware River we could park in the day use parking lot where we were so that was great. They have laundry, water, dump and showers so a nice park. We will have to check that out tomorrow. We got set up and checked E-mail but by the time I tried to send one the band was gone and with just the vertical could not seem to find anyone on 30 meters. I got up in the morning and was able to connect with the faithful, regular KB6YNO in Maine.
Today we are going to L'Anse aux Meadows the historical Vikings site. We got up about 8 am as we have been putting in long days. We were off for L'Anse aux Meadows the Viking site about 9:30 am. We enjoyed it as it definitely is the only known, authentic Viking site in North America. I enjoyed reading the sagas, looking at the boats and seeing the ruins and the replicated houses and artifacts. We spend a big half day there and feel we really did a good job of looking it over. We then ate a fish dinner south of there and got back to Pistolet Bay Provincial park about 3 pm. We packed up, dumped and filled with water and headed for St. Anthony. We got diesel there and filled our empty propane tank and headed back down the northern pennisula. We got to Main Brook and noticed a sign for the park and went in and found a place to park for the night. We got and sent E-mail in good shape. It was a warm day and all the Newfie's were raving about how great a day it was. We seen many out swimming which does not happen to much up here as it is often cloudy, chilly and not that nice to go swimming. Of course the water is cool but the sun is warm. Tomorrow we plan on putting in a very, very big day and try to get to Norte Dame Provincial Park on TCH going east. It likely is a 250 mile day. We met two fisherman from Nova Scotia and had a nice visit with them. They said on the east coast side there was just one species of Atlantic Salmon and on the west their were three. They have been coming up for 30 years. Up until a few years Main Brook was the end of the road and it was only a cow path to St Anthony. They insisted on getting us some salmon and a little while later they came back with some salmon and a half a loaf of home made bread and invited us to call them when we got down to Halifax.
We got up early and were on the road by 7 am. After awhile we realize it was our anniversary. The road was great until we got back to the coast and Viking trail where we had been but the south bound lane was a lot more up and down than going north. We really had to slow down and still got to bucking bad a couple of times. Got down to 35 mph several times. We got diesel at Rocky Harbour. The gal said the accent was a cross of French and English and the music was a cross of folk and Keltic. Here friend which we met was on holiday to visit her boy friend but worked at Red Bay where we had just been. We heard Chris at 9 am but lost him. We heard him another time but no contact. At 12 noon we had a short contact and setup a sked at 2 pm. By then we were at Norte Dame Provincial Campground and settled in. We have a nice high spot with a great shot to the south and west. I had a great contact with Chris- S9 and got caught up on things. It appears we may be by ourselves at FP as the ham shown from nine land will be there later than us in August.
Got and sent E-mail in great shape. We will do a day trip tomorrow with the pickup and leave the 5th wheel and stay here another night. We will then head for Butter Pot Provincial and stay there several nights and do day trips out of there. From there we will go to Fortune for the FP trip and the to Argentia and take the ferry to North Sydney.
We did a day trip up the Island Road to the north past Lewisporte and on up to Twilingate. At the end of the road is a light house and look out. It is called iceberg alley but we only seen two icebergs in the distance. The island and coast scenery was nice. We seen a sign for fresh salmon for $2.99 a pound but missed it on the way back. We drove back up north of Lewisporte but they were out. We tried a McLobster at McDonalds in Lewisporte and seen where the ferry for Labrador leaves. It appears the ferry may move from here to Cartwright once the road is finished to there. It is supposed to be done by Christmas.. Tomorrow we will move to Butter Pot Provincial Park near St. John's and do day trips out of there for about 4 days until it is time to move to Fortune to get ready for the trip to Miquelon. We will likely move down a day ahead of time to check things out and do some touring in that area. We find there are Walmarts in several of the towns coming up on our route.
We got an early start for Butter Pot P:rovincial Park outside of St. John's, Very wooded along the way and got some nice pictures of places where the ocean inlets come in. We stopped at the tourist place not to far from the turn off to the Argentia ferry and they were very helpful and we got lots of literature and ideas on things to do. Go to Butter Pot and they were busy so we just pulled on in to look for a site as every place they have been has us pull in pick out a spot and go back and pay which is what we did. I walked back to pay which must be about 1 ½ and found out they do things much more by the book here and that they don't put out reserved signs but do it all at the gate so found out they were full. There had to be 50 open places but apparently they are all reserved. They also handle the reservations different. Once you are in a spot you can keep it as long as you want. They probably have some sort of limit but it must be several days at least. Anyway I managed after a good deal of talking to let us stay in the day use area and see if something would open up. On the way by to the day use area I talked to them again and he loosened up and said he would give us a permit to stay there if nothing opened up. I talked to the guys in the lot doing some work, one of which was there the first time I stopped and he said it should work to park here two nights and then after the week end something should open up and we could move. So on Sunday I will go up and see if we can get a spot. This is a good central location to do day trips out of.
On Wednesday morning we will head for the trailer park at Fortune and have Wednesday night and Thursday to get ready to go to Miquelon and maybe do some looking around. We E-mailed the campground in Fortune to be sure we can get in.
I was able to send and get e-mail. Earlier in the day there seemed to be disturbed conditions with solar noise and the band would come and go. I have a schedule with Chris at 4 pm. and have confirmation back via E-mail. I got ahold of Chris at 5 pm and also Jim K0HW was there so that was great and got a WX report from South Dakota. He had a good signal.
We headed out about 7:30 am on the Baccalieu Trail. We stopped at Dildo Bay to try and find Gerald Smith who runds the Dildo Island Charter Tours. We spotted the dock area so asked some locals and they told us where his boat was and where his house was so went and knocked on his door and found out is was to rainy for today but Monday or Tuesday would work at 1 pm. He let me use the telephone to call the ferry. Got bad news, the first ferry that had an opening out of Argentia was August 5th at 11 pm at night which really uses up to much time and would make it tough for us to see what we want to see so the only other choice is to see if we can get a reservation earlier at Channel Port Aux Basque and drive the 500 miles to get there; actually about 350 more than going back to Argentia. I called and got a reservation for August 1st at 3 pm so that saves about 4.5 days which is a lot and if we can get on the 8 am ferry that would be 5 days. That way we can spend more time touring southern Nova Scotia, NB, PEI and into Quebec and up to Labrador City and get to New England in late August.
We headed on up the pennisula but it was very rain. We did get some decent pictures and the town at the north end had rock walls to mark property lines. We headed down the east shore and it was really foggy but seen glimpes of the best scenery of the day. To bad it would not of been sun shiny! We got some fresh salmon, some tee shirts and almost got some frozen shrimp but they were out. To bad as the price was good. On the way back west of where we are camped we checked out parked RV's at exit 36 and 37 on TCH and they appeared to be fishing camps so that is a back up spot and place to make note of.
Tomorrow we head south of St. John's on that pennisula. We got the Salmon processed and I will work on my Spanish tonight. I sent and got E-mail in good shape. Travelogues are going well!
It was still foggy but the rain was gone when we got up. We headed out for the Irish Trail but decided to go to St. Johns first. We checked out Wal-Mart but it was not open so we headed for downtown St. Johns and SIGNAL HILL! As we got downtown we could see SIGNAL HILL way up high above the harbour. We drove up and I was thinking I should have my Bug Catcher so I could make a contact from SIGNAL HILL on amateur radio where Macorni copied the first trans-Atlantic signals. There is a lot of military history associated with the hill and also there was a noon hour cannon that was fired to signify 12 noon and of course the Macorni radio first. I noticed outside there was a dipole of about 160 meter length fed with open wire. I figured they must operate from there sometimes. Much to my excitement when I got inside on the second floor there was an amateur radio station set up. They said I could operate and the call was VO1AA. I made 3 contacts, to USA and one Canary Is. The band was quite disturbed! They two gals that watch over it are not hams but they take care of it all summer. In April on the Saturday closest to April 25 to commemorate International Macorni Day they use the card VO`IMD so I am going to work them this spring. I made out the QSL cards for the contact and also got a blank card. Edith also got a picture of my operating. I got a tee shirt that says Signal Hill. We got some pictures of town and the harbour as well.
We then went to the old section of town and seen the old houses and some of the churches. We then headed for Cape Spear the east most point in North America. You can see SIGNAL HILL from there.
Then we headed south on the Irish trail which goes around the pennisula south of St. John's. At Witless Bay we took a tour to Great Island where we seen Puffins, Murres, Kittiwakes and Razor Bill Auks. We then seen hump back whales and got the best views we have gotten in all our travels. I got several good pictures of their tales as they were diving up nice and close. They look great and will be great to have on the wall and to put on the web page.
We headed south and seen some nice seascape scenery and down toward the tip it really got barren, treeless and lots of rock. Very tundra like. We seen some Caribou and as we headed back up the west side we seen some whales and very pretty villages but the seascape was not as spectacular but nice. They did have some roads build across the inlets so you did not have to drive all the way around. Apparently in bad storms the spray and debri goes over the top and on the road. That must be something! When we got back to the campground they were still full so we are in the day use area another night. It is good that we went to St. John's today so we did not have to fight the traffic. By about noon the sun started shining and by mid-afternoon it was nice and bright.
Worked on our Spanish and had a great supper and worked on the computer and sent E-mail.
Tomorrow if the weather is OK we will leave mid-moring for Dildo Bay and that tour and on Tuesday we will stay here and Edith can do laundry and I can go hiking up Butter Pot Hill.
We went on the Dildo Island Trip with Gerald Smith today. We arrived early and spent some time relaxing. I made some notes about some things that would be improvements to our traveling set up and we had dinner over-looking the bay. The trip was nice and all the rest on the trip were locals so learned more about NFLD and seen some bald eagles, seen some whales and had a tour of the island and learned a lot of history about the area and had a NFL type supper and had interesting visits with the locals. They were all very nice. We had capelands which are a small fish, looked a lot like smelt, fried balony, tea, purline crackers made in Nova Scotia and were told we need to get some jam jam by the same company. We also had peppermints from the same company. The said we needed to get a NFLD JIG Dinner before we leave which are vegtables cooked with salted beef so we will check that out. It was $25 dollars each or $30 total for both of us USA $ so for and 5 hours excursion and a great meal, all you wanted to eat it was a great deal. We also had trout which had reddish meat and tasted great. We had bread toasted on the fire. Gerald also told us a lot of the archlogical finds on the island in regards to the Dorset Eskimo and more recent Indian settlements 400-500 year old and the cod fish hatchery on the island. We got back to Butterpot and had two other campers in the lot which was the first time we had any. I visited with them quite awhile. Edith said our 5th batteries were down according to the refridgerator which said low voltage and they were. I plugged in the battery bank and hooked the battery charger on them and plugged the battery charger into the inverter. Since it only charges 10 amp hours it takes a long time to charge the 200 amp hour batteries, like 33 hours or so. Apparently the 5th setting take more amperage than what I thought. There is ignition and the circuit board for the refridgerator, clock in the radio, propane leak detector and led on my DC strip but beyond that I can not think of anything but if it were to be 3 amps in 24 hours that would be 72 amp hours and in two days that would be 144 amp hours and we have been parked here since Friday afternoon so that is 3 days so it does count up. The batteries were not fully charged when we were traveling. I suppose at best we charge 3 amp hours going down the road so if we run 8 hours we only charge 24 amp hours and then unhooking we usually use the 5th batteries for the power jacks at a minimun and sometimes the slides before we get the battery bank hooked up. Anyway we are going to have to get a bigger battery charger in the 30-40 amp region and when plugged in charge the batteries or run the generator for say 3 hours and/or use the bigger 600 watt inverter hooked to the battery bank to charge them up. Hopefully the bigger charger while also have 6 volts on it for the battery in the 5th for the computer. I can carry the little battery charger for back up. Tomorrow Edith is going to do laundry and I am going to hike up Butterpot Hill. One Wednesday we are going to Fortune and got confirmation tonight for a resevation for a campground there and we can leave the 5th and F-350 there so it can be plugged in and we won't have to be concerned about the batteries in the 5th and they will be fully charged. The other nice thing is we can park on Wednesday night July 24th and stay parked for the night of July 30th when we get back from St. Pierre. We can then leave early, July 31st and go to Channal-Port Aux Basque and park in the ferry lot overnight and see if we can get on the 8 am ferry and if not we have reservations for the 4 pm one.
We got up in good time and headed out to do laundry and I am going to hike up Butterpot Hill. We found out that there were no change machines to get coins at the laundry so Edith was going to have to run to a nearby town. She dropped me off at the trail head. We each had the 440 handhelds so we could coordinate. The trail was well marked and had quite a bit of board walk through the low places and over the streams. It was pretty steep up the side of Butterpot which is baskcially a rounded mountain of rock. It was windy at the top but I had a good view and took some pictures. I was blessed because after I had taken the pictures and taken a good look around the fog started to roll in rather quickly. By the time I was ready to go back down you could not see the surrounding scenery much at all. I called Edith on the HT and found out she was just getting back from getting change and was just starting the laundry. It took me only about 40 minutes to hike to the top. I is supposedly just over 2 miles. I had not met or seen anyone but on the way I met a fellow I had met at Norte Dame CG at Signal Hill and now. He had vanity plates that made it look like he was from Hawaii but in fact he was from Ontario.
I took another trial down below that would take me to the comfort station and laundry place. When I go there Edith had made good progress and in about another 20 minutes she was done. We learned we need to always keep big supply of quarters on hand for these sort of things. We then headed back to the Jayco and decided we would pack up and go about ½ way to Fortune today as I had found an RV park called Kilmory near Swift Current south of TCH#1 about 20 km and about ½ way to Fortune. We got packed up and dumped, ran water through the stool as well as through the tank rinse and it was running real clear. We made good time and got into the campground about 3 pm and got a place but it was filling up fast. It was not real easy to back into and it certainly was not level but we finally got leve. We had electricity and water and they have a trailer dump so we turned on the electricity mode for the hot water heater so we can take hot showers. The also have an outdoor heated pool we may try. I got the antenna set up and helped Edith put up a clothes line as she had some wet clothes from this morning. She is putting away the dry ones and I am doing E-mail and the travelogue. It has turned into a nice, sunny afternoon about 65 degrees. One bad thing is the road appears to be real up and down so it is going to be slow going down to Fortune. From Fortune to Channel-Port Aux Basque it is going to be about 526 miles. and about 126 miles from Fortune to TCH #1 so about 400 miles on TCH#1.
The road to Fortune was much better than expected. Only about 20 miles down by Fortune that is not so good. From Mary's Town north is it good to Swift River. There is about a 10 miles stretch that is excellent between Mary's Town and Fortune. The camp ground here is very crowed but they do have a nice hiking trail. It will work as we won't be here that long. We got our ferry tickets and called Christina at the Maxotel and she will meet us at the ferry to get our gear to the hotel. It all should work out. We also talked to Canadian customs and I need to make a list for them. I will make a second list for French customs. We looked around Grand Bank's just up the road. We could not locate the tourist information place so asked a fellow and tried again and still could not find it and we came back by where he was and he said just a minute and he would jump in his car and lead us there. Very typical of the helpfulness and friendliness of the locals here in NFLD. We asked about the islands we could see and they were a Canadian Island and the other was Miquelon. It is quite clear today. We also talked to Walters Restaurant and tomorrow is JIG Dinner Day so we will get our JIG DINNER tomorrow noon. We also asked about Puritan Jam Jams and we now have those. They are a type of cookie and are excellent. We also got some Puritan Lemon Crackers. Back at the campground I hiked the trail and worked on the computer doing the equipment list, travelogue, banking and E-mail and took the antenna down. I will leave the campground for the schedule tonight. I will try to do E-mail late or early in the morning with the vertical. Tomorrow we will get the equipment ready for Miquelon and bring the list down to the Canadian customs.
We spent the day getting things ready for the radio trip to Miquelon. We did enjoy our JIG dinner and the Jam Jams are excellent. We are going to buy more. I am sure glad we spent the time at Bill's VE1AAO getting ready as it went well getting ready but still takes time. I did take a nice long walk. We got to bed early as we need to have things down at the boat before 7 am.
The long awaited day after months of planning has arrived. We are up at 6 am and haul things down to the ferry dock and I took the pickup back to the camp grounds and caught the ride on the shuttle bus. If we would of known I would not have needed to get a shuttle ticket as I could of just walked. It probably would be a 15-20 minute walk but that would not have been a problem. There was no problem with loading all the gear on the boat. It is amazing what went on the boat, bikes, back packs, mail, supplies for people on the island, pets and many other things. It was a nice ride out and the Captain gave some commentary and we seen some Meinke whales but did not come out of the water much. I found out which islands were what. You can see Langalade and Miquelon from Fortune. As you get south you can see St. Pierre. The trip took about 1.5 hours and we spent most of the time on the top deck. It was cloudy and a bit chilly. It is amazing how much French is spoken. It seems that a lot of people from Quebec go to St. Pierre. The camp ground at Fortune had a group in from Quebec when we arrived. We landed at St. Pierre and the customs people knew John Pierre who is a ham on St. Pierre and he works in the same building. He was not in but they just took our list and never looked at a thing. Edith said earlier when I was busy they did have a dog sniff the stuff. We got our passports stamped and the custom people helped us make arrangements to just leave the gear in the customs office which was locked and we could get it out about an hour before the boat left for Miquelon. We made some friends with a couple with two kids. They were from Alberta and they were staying in a bed and breakfast and then taking a boat to Langalade and a bus to Miquelon. That happens every day but would not work for us with all the gear we have but if you had less gear that would work fine.
We toured St. Pierre which is not real large. I walked clear up on the hill and got some nice pictures and we found the suggested tourist spots and seen a performer at DeGaul Square which was interesting. We seen the prohibtion pictures at the Hotel Robert of all the illegal liquor that was smuggled into the USA from here and seen pictures of Al Capon on the island who made a lot of his money from this operation. Later we seen the house he stayed at when he was here. The place is very French and not that much English spoken. People say it really has stayed true to France. It is highly subsidized by France with 65% of the people working for the government. It is expensive to live there but everybody seems to get by well so apparently the jobs pay well. We got some pastry that was great. Things close at 12:00 until 1:30 and some places 2:00 pm. with just a few eating places and a couple of tourist shops staying open. The tourist information place have people that speak English and are very helpful. It seemed to me they could of had things working more smoothly to capture more of the tourist money. There are all kinds of cars and pickups and diesel pickups and trucks on the island so they have ferry barges coming in all the time! The young people go to college in France or another country with high school being it in St. Pierre. The others islands the kids come to St. Pierre for high school boarding with someone. Summer homes out of town or on Langalade or Miquelon are popular. At 6:30 pm we got on the boat to Miquelon and in a hour we were there. The SPM Express really moves. Christina from the hotel showed up right on time and we were able to get all the gear into the little van. When we got to the hotel there were a whole bunch of kids on summer vacation staying at the hotel and there was a big party. They place was full but Christina said just set up things where we wanted to. When we met her at the boat she said some hams were in room 10 so I went and talked to them and found out they were there to operate the IOTA contest which was for 48 hours from 10 am local Saturday to 10 am Sunday so we worked it out where they could operate most of it and then we could operate a good deal after that. It will work OK because I want to give 6 meters a good try. We got the 6 meter beam up and the HEX beam up. Some local kids helped us with the raising of the HEX beam pole. We finished as it was getting dark. I had trouble with the amplifier on 6 meters so stayed up half the night messing with it
I got a couple of hours of sleep and was going to operate HF and started in and the people next door banged on the wall. It turns out that the walls really let the sound through so at night we had to operate RTTY or CW to keep peace and operate voice during the day and evening. I worked K1TOL on Saturday morning and that was it. I was able to get on RTTY for awhile on Saturday afternoon as Lenny VE9MY and his XYL wanted a break. It went well. When they got back I decided I needed to get the SWR down on the six meter beam as the amplifier just would not work. I got all kinds of error protection messages so was operating with 100 watts on six meters. I realized we did not have a tape measure so working on the antenna measurments, etc was going to be tough. We tried to make a ruler out of an aluminum angle we had using 11.5 inches from paper and a measure on the Leatherman Tool. Lenny seen us and he asked if we wanted a tape measure. I certainly did and so he let us use his. Everything checked out according to the manual so then checked resonance and found it was OK much higher in the band so tried lengthening the driven element but that did not help. We did tighten a clamp and that helped a little. I then tried moving the gamma match tap but that did not help so then tried shortening the driven element which is backwards but sometimes it makes the match change and that is what happened. The SWR came down so shortened it a little more and it was flat. The amp would then work which made me very happy. Later is acted up a little but not sure why it may have been a ground loop or something with the line but after that it ran perfect the rest of the time there other than the last night it tripped out a couple of times, again right at supper time so not sure if there was any connecton or not. I was able to work Tim barefoot on Saturday.
On Sunday I worked a few on meterors and had a weak sporadic e opening on Sunday and worked about 20 stations. I actually caught this opening by monitoring .125 on the other radio. We spend a lot of time calling CQ with high power. We did have some line noise to the west and it would of been better to have been in room 10 and set up behind the motel so we could point west without beaming over the motel. I am just amazed the we did not get into any of the audio stuff with the parties and music. Apparently we did not bother the cable any either. The only problem was the people next door with the walls letting everything through and lots of people riding bikes, etc so a concern about someone running into a guy wire and some vehicles driving behind the motel where they really should not of been. I got some good operating time in after the IOTA contest ended and shot up to over 500 contacts in nothing flat. Made a bunch on 17 meters in a hurry. I was able to work some on Sunday night also. We did go out to supper on Sunday night.
Monday I got to do the most HF operation yet and did well on 17 meters SSB and RTTY. Got to over 500 rtty contacts and over 1000 all together. I also did well on 40 on Monday night so ended up at over 550 RTTY and 1262 total contacts.
I got lots of congratulations on doing a good job! All the contesting over the years has paid off. It is very, very hard work and exhausting to work the big pile ups. It gets so bad transceive you have to go split or go by call areas. I hate going by call areas as you have to keep announcing what you are doing all the time. It seems like if you don't give your call constantly somebody wants you to give the call! It is amazing as there are all kinds of people calling but apparently someone tunes in, calls and gets right through and has not been there long enough to hear the call. I rarely go more than 3 contacts without giving the call and this what is your call things happens a lot. It is just unbelieveable but it happens time after time. The accents make it doubly hard to work the pile ups and the splatter is a real problem. Going split really helps but often they don't spread out enough and you hate to have them spread out to much and ruin the band for others if it takes up to much room. After things thin out a little you can have trouble with someone starting a rag chew or calling CQ. This seems impossible with the roar of the pileup but what happens is on 17 and up with the skip zones it sounds clear to them. I was amazed by the size of the pile ups. Lots of people getting to know me from CY9 and now FP. Especially know I operate RTTY and also on 6 meters!
It is working out OK with Lenny and Linda. I let them use the HEX beam and 40 meter vertical so that really helps their signal. It would be nicer if we were not there at the same time and also much nicer if people were not in the rooms next to us but thankful for no interference problems. The noise on six meters was by far the worst on the first day. Other than the problem with the amp on six meters the first day with the six meter antenna SWR the planning has went well and I have everything I need and could of left a few things home. The 220 VAC planning worked perfectly. The only screw up was I forgot to get a 12 VDC supply from Arliss so I could of been on six with 100 watts when the amp was on HF. I could monitor .125 when operating HF so it am sure I never missed anything and that is how I caught the small, weak opening on Sunday when I was on HF.
It took some messing, moving from SSB to CW to RTTY to SIX but got it down pretty well. I will have to try the PTT info that Arliss sent and maybe can get rid of the sequencer and maybe even go to VOX on SSB. The operating tables are always to high for typing on the keyboard.
The best rate is transcieve when the pileup is small enough you can quickly get a letter or two. It is amazing how hard of work it is to get s letter or two. It is not bad at all for me to remember a call but with the poor light it can be a little trouble typing in the correct letters, numbers on the computer. I am getting better at not entering to quickly until they give me a report so I can type it in. Changing it after it is entered while working the next person is tricky. The biggest problem; especially on RTTY is remembering to enter the qso before starting the info for the next qso. This is serious because you can wipe out a call in the log with no way to get it back!!
Getting good at changing the RTTY buffers on the fly. Probably the best would be CW buffers wth F keys and RTTY with mouse or vice versa. It is a pain to change the buffers when going from CW to RTTY. The CW memories in the radio work great but with the computer you can send their call so that is better.
We tore the HEX beam down just before dark and left the rest. I only worked one station on six and that was around 7 am on a meteror. Six did not treat us well at all!!!!! I guess I should be thankful for the tiny opening on Sunday. I still had lots calling on 17 when I shut down so FP would still be a good place to operate from. I was not on 15 ssb much at all. Lenny and his XYL were on some and they were on 20 a lot so I did not go to 20 SSB. I think with the amp I could of got big pile ups on 15. 10 and 12 just were not there! Chris does a great job of finding us and getting through the pile ups. Nice thrill to work him and Ole on 40 and to work Ole on 20. Also worked KB0IKW but that was it from back home. E-mail on the 40 meter vertical using the tuner for 30 meters worked fine. We got great signal reports with the HEX beam and on 40 so the set up works well looking out over the salt water to Europe.
We were up at first light and started packing stuff. We then had breakfast, the Maxotel furnished breakfast every morning which was very nice. Christina has been wonderful and the rooms have cooking things so one could get by cheap. She has showed us where stores are and tours, etc. We were going on the tour to the wildlife reserve but it got cancelled due to vandalism to the boats. A rare thing as crime is very, very low here. The kids from France are having a good time, they went horseback riding, rode bikes and had lots of parties and stayed up very late. After breakfast we got the six meter beam and vertical down and packed up. Christina brought the van around, we loaded and took some pictures and headed for the ferry. We thanked her and gave her a well deserved tip. It has been a great experience! We helped Lenny and Linda and they helped us tear down and haul things. We were on the ferry in good shape and in St. Pierre in a hour. The ticket gal could speak English so we got it set up to leave the gear on the boat while we spent about 2.5 hours lay over. We got some pastery, took a bus tour and had dinner and it was time to leave for Fortune. We had a wait while everyone went through customs as we had so much stuff. When we did get to the desk they had our slip and did not check a thing so no problems at all, just took time. Got a ride to the campgrounds, btw lost our ticket but convinced them going out and he remembered me coming back. They all knew about hams, also the custom people so that really helped. We got things to the 5th and sorted things out for the Labrador trip and got the rest put away and the station, computer, etc. set back up again in the 5th. I took a 3 mile hike and we had a great supper and I did the check book and traveloge on the computer. Will take a shower and get headed off in good time in the morning.
We said goodbye to Lenny and Linda. We got along well and I learned about some Pelican cases and a DVR thing he had and I learned more about IOTA.. He of course got a lot of ideas from us. We also had dinner at St. Pierre with a couple from Quebec so we got some good tourist info on Gaspie point from them.
I did put in my floppy drive on Miquelon and backed up to a floppy and backup up to the other computer here from the floppy.
I will have to do e-mail on the road tomorrow as we have not checked for two days and that is the longest we have went without checking for a long, long time.
We were up a little after six and were one the road by 7:20 since we had to fill with water and dump. We had trouble getting the front supply door of the 5th open. The lock was stuck. We finally got it after breaking a key but managed to get the broken part out. We lubricated it with silicone spray and I replaced the key I broke. We will have to keep some lubricant out. We may have to trade this lock with another one. I looks like something one should have along for a backup that one can change out if one starts to give trouble. I also need to get a backup water pump. It is 550 miles from Fortune to Port Aux Brasques and it took us 11 hours so we average 50 mph. We stopped twice for diesel otherwise were on the road continuously so it was a grind. We got to the ferry and found it was booked for tonight and in the morning but we decided to go in the standby line. If we get on we lose our $25.00 deposit but US money that is not very much to get across a day early and give us more time for the things we want to see in Nova Scotia and PEI. We are 9th in the standby line so it seems to me we are sure to get on tonight or in the morning. I found out they underbook some to be sure they can get the reservations on so that makes our chances quite good. There is a good line behind us so our hard traveling put us up the line a long ways. I checked my E-mail and sent out some E-mails. The connection was great. Waiting in line for the ferry is a carnival atmosphere with a live band playing with loud speakers you can hear all over. Kids are playing ball and people are visiting, eating and having a good time. Edith is taping the band.
The 12 vdc is down on the coach batteries which really has me going. I am not sure if the batteries are getting bad or if the charger in the trailer is not charging them or the charge wire back from the F-350 is not working. I will have to dig into it and see if I can figure out what is causing the problem. I am OK because I just hooked up the battery bank.
A family stopped by and were admiring our map. We have really gotten a lot of interest in it on this trip. Probably because we are getting a lot of it filled in. We have all of Canada other than PEI and Ontario and we will soon have those.
The ride over on the ferry took about 7 hours and was tough. We made it on from the standby line but that meant we were some of the last ones on the ferry so all the good seats for sleeping were gone. The benches we were on had arm rest so you just could not get comfortable. We had our pillows which helped a little. You were not supposed to sleep on the floor although many were. Neither of us got more than an hour or two of sleep. It was just to uncomfortable! It was light as we approached North Sidney and they turned the lights back up and started making announcement about 6 am.
We got off the ferry in good shape as our line was the first one on our side, bottom deck. There are 5 rows per side and thay are at least a couple of city blocks long. We were in with the semi's and other campers. We got off the ferry and up the way and pulled over and studied our map. We decided to go to Walmart in Sydney where we had been before and then to Louisbourg the old French Fort. We had to study the map awhile again at Wal Mart but we got it figured out. We did not see the turn to the Mira River Provincial Parks and in asking at the information center at Louisbourg we got a better map and directions to it. We looked at the commercial campgrounds but they were crowed so we headed back to Mira River and got parked and I did E-Mail and Edith took a nap. We then did a loop tour and we went to what I believe is the fartherest East point in Nova Scotia. In hind sight we are still on Cape Britton Island so actually the non-island fartherest north point is where you cross into Cape Brittion. Likely go with Cape Spear in Newfoundland since commercial ferry is available.
We then toured the fort for about a half day. We missed most of the 2 pm tour but took the 4 pm tour and it was excellent. The fort is huge and people know the history well and are in costumes and act it out. The french were here for about 60 years but were attacked and had to surrender to the British twice in this period because of lack of money and support from France.
We had a well, deserved good nights sleep.
I got up and checked my E-mail and seen that NA1CW would be on so left with the F-350 and set up in GN06 and then GN05 and worked him at both spots. We then headed to the east shore and down. It is the east part of Nova Scotia after you leave Cape Britton Island but is really on the southerly side of Nova Scotia next to the Atlantic Ocean. We were mostly in trees in Cape Britton and the road was bad. Very, very bumpy, holes and heaved! I would not recommend it, just not worth it. We then crossed the Cosno causeway and took the Marine Drive. It is much prettier but the road is worse. About 30 miles for our camp site at Salsman Provincial Park I accidently got over a bit to far and the passenger side of the 5th went of the pavement and there is quite a drop. Apparently when it went off and came back on we broke the rear leaf spring on that side. I Alaska the whole spring let loose on the back. Here the second from the top leaf broke and the top one bent, but held so we did not have the wheels coming together and could keep going. If it broke the wheels would come together and rub and all that would be left to try was to jack it up and wedge a wooden block in like we did in AK. We drove about 20 mph so took a long time to get to Salsman where the other park had made reservations for us. We got to Salman and found a good spot.
We had a major problem so was tied up at sked time. We broke a leaf on the leaf spring in the 5th. The roads today were very, very bad! Just full of holes, bumps, ruts. We went about 30 mph and braked when we seen bad spots but must of hit one wrong as we broke the second leaf from the top but the top one that bolts to the frame bent but held so we crawled into our camping spot which was reserved as we had read in the NS guide this Provintial park requires reservations but we find that is not true but anyway we made it to the park. The Lord really blessed us as the first guy I talked to had just changed out a spring on his trailer last week and he had a breaker bar and some tools. I am pretty familiar having watched them change it in Eagle Plains, Yukon and then in Anchorage. We have two springs with us. I tore into it once we got parked and set up. Went pretty well for awhile, when I took the last bolt off the plate held by the two U bolts it popped loose hard and fast but had my hand out of the way. If I ever do it again I need a jack under it better. I did put the jack in as I suspected there was pressure but it slipped off when it came. We had trouble getting the two end bolts out that hold it to the frame as they went tight with the axle pressure off. By that time the other fellow had been there awhile helping and I came up with taking the other tire off. We had the tailer held up with my stand jacks under the frame. Had two stand jacks, 12 ton and two jacks and lots of blocks. We were able to get them out.
We then got the used spring in, quite a battle but eventually figured out if we let the axle loose we could move things around and got everything lined up and all the nuts started. After that it was a matter of tightening things up and putting the tires back on. It took about 1.5 hours and the bugs did not get to bad. We had a who group around, all from NS who come here a lot to fish. There wives come along so they were all very, very nice. We got info on the roads and other parks and where to go! We will try and find better roads and park the 5th in Provincial camp grounds and day trip. We were planning one more day along the coast and end up around Halifax and day trip. Now I thing we will go north to the TCH and find a CG not to far off and park there.
That the Lord we had the two extra springs along and all the jacks and blocks. We are 100 miles round trip from a town of any size and getting the right spring might be tough so one might of had to wait for one to be shipped in. Standard traveling equipment is going to be a JAYCO spring and the jacks and blocks I had and a few more big sockets and a breaker bar.
Our new found friends gave us some fresh Flounder which we had for supper. It was great. They said they live about 60 miles away and a group of them come here often. There is some talk they may close this park. It is very nice and the main campground where we are are on an island. It has a boat ramp into the bay which goes to the ocean. If we could of stayed longer we could of had a big fish fry with them the next day. Great people!
I checked my E-mail and sent some.
We each took a long, nice hot shower and slept well!
We got up about 7:30 am and got packed up to go. This was one of the few times I could not get my E-mail. We said goodbye to our friends and thanked them again for there help. We stoppeonat the park office and again they were so nice and called ahead and got us reservations for Porter Lake Park near Halifax. The road was bad but not quite as bad as yesterday. We took it real easy and it took 5.5 hours to make the 130 miles so you can see we went slow. We did stop for about 30 minutes for dinner in the 5th. When we got to Porter Lake Provincial we found they were full so it is a good thing we made a reservation. Right by Halifax and on the week end it fills up!!!
We checked in, dumped, filled with water and got backed in. It was really a tough one and a fellow who is a truck driver helped me. I would of got it but he did it more quickly than I could of. We got set up. They had some boys who were nice and very curious and we showed them things. We had some nice visits with them, he now has a business with high pressure washers and goes stateside and likes Galvaston, TX. He said for hunting moose and Caribou in Newfoundland you have to have a guide. The fellows from outside bring up a deep freeze in the back of their pickup, put the meat in it and freeze it solid and then head home, plugging it in at motels or bring along a generator. It stays fine crossing on the ferry or during the day traveling. It costs about $2000.00 for a two week hunt but in the St. Vincent area you are about gurarenteed a moose. We got E-mail, had salmon for supper and did some other computer work and got ready for our two or three day trip with out tent. We will leave the 5th here rather than fight the bad roads and burn all the diesel. When we get back here we can pull north of Halifax on the good road and go to PEI and then from PEI we can head for Gaspie Point. And into Labrador. I have E-mails from Tim and Lefty showing interest in up coming grid squares. The two or three day tent trip will be a good shack down for the Labrador tent trip which would last a week.
We got a good start to the west but had real difficulty getting through Halifax. The Province map and city map on it are not very clear and there are only two bridges across the river both toll. The so called Interstates don't go all the way through and the entrances and exits are very difficult to figure out if you have not actually done them. When we got to the bridge toll booth we got in the lane and found we did not have the right change so again another reason to carry some change, especially quarters. We managed to get backed out and to the one manned booth. Boy these things have signs all over and the locals are whizzing by and you just don't have time to study things. It is tough!!!
We finally got headed west along the coast route to Peggy's Cove which was not like I pictured at all. It is an area of huge rocks. It has a nice lighthouse and a neat little cove of fishing shacks and boats and people were sitting there painting them. We got some nice shots. Headed down the road and spotted the Flight 111 memorial. It was a traffic snarl with just one way in and out and had to back up. Someone shot in right behind me and did not show up in my mirrows. They were low down and behind the box. Fortunately they honked or I would of backed into them. A close call, I have no idea why they pulled crossways right behind me but since I was backing up I am sure it would of been my fault.
We headed down the coast and seen some nice scenery. Luenburg, Charlotte Bay and Bridgeport are nice towns. Luenburg has at least a 100 stores and the fishing museum. One could spend a lot of time there but basically a tourist place with history. Liverpool and Shelburn are not bad either. We had a late dinner at Port Mouton. I had scallops and Edith had Haddock. I really liked the scallops. It is my favorite what I would call non fish seafood so far.
It was getting late so we got on Interstate to make our campground at Ellenwood. It looked like it would not be in EN73 so tried to find another and ended up on a trail but thought I could get to the road but failed. Got to where it was right close by but the trail ended so had to go back. We ended up taking some secondary oil roads, spotted a sign for Ellenwood so decided to go and if it was not in EN73 to drive to where we would be in the grid for a sked in the morning. We were blessed and it ended up being in EN73. We picked a high site and set up. Quite a job setting everything up and there was some mosquitoes of course. I did send Tim NA1CW and e-mail from the tent. Forgot my Leatherman, did not have quite the correct DC connections and was missing a piece of coax and had SWR on both 20 meters and six meters. I got 20 cured the next morning but was good enough to send and get E-mail. Don't know what I did to fix it on six other than took out a jumper which I used all the time.
I heard Tim calling me so worked him and then there was a sporadic E opening and worked about 50 people as far west as MN. Was tough in the dark with a hand mike. I used the flashlight and managed to get by but was not easy. It was hot and I sweat a lot. Edith got me some water as I could hardly spit.
We broke camp. There was a lot of stuff. Felt pretty grubby after sweating so much the night before. Slept OK but did have trouble staying on the mat and there were crushed rocks that would poke even though we had a tarp, plastic liner, tent floor and tent floor protector.
We headed for Digby and got there in pretty good shape and headed for the Digby Island and crossed on the ferry. It is a nice trip and we sked a Whale trip and then we hiked to balanced rock which was nice and ate dinner at a place by the ferry to Brier Island. I think it is the best seafood yet. I had Digby Scallops which were not deep fat fried. They are the best what I would call non fish seafood so far. They whale tour was a bust, no whales, foggy and wet from rough seas but at least no on got sick. We did see some seals quite close. We had to wait for the ferry a second time to get on. It rained really hard on the way to Digby. We headed on around the island and finally found the Annapolis Valley. It is pretty and by far the most agriculture we have seen in Canada with corn, grain, even some beans, some vegetables, alfalfa, hay, livestock beef and dairy and some orchid trees. It is a popular scenic tour for the locals. We talked to Chris and Ole mobile and got in about an hour before dark. We struggles a bit to get the roads right and missed one turn but with the GPS found our way OK. It is really tricky to get around in the Halifax area. Quite a job getting all the camping gear stored away. I got and sent E-mail and now it is raining so a lot nicer in the 5th with the rain than in a tent. We will start heading toward PEI in the morning.
It rained hard during the night and the wind blew some. We got up a little after 6 am and put on the rain gear and tore down. It rained hard at times and there was water all over. Once we got hooked up I went in the trailer and took off my wet rain suit and Edith guided me out. We made it out in one shot which surprised me as it was quite a turn. I then parked in the middle of the road while Edith got out of her wet gear. Fortunately no one came up behind to leave the CG so worked out good. We got on the road and made it through the Halifax area OK based on what we found out Sunday. It was tricky and the signs are poor. The GPS helped a lot.
We headed north for Thouro and the tidal bore. We got there in plenty of time as the bore was scheduled for 11:15 am. It actually came at 11:06. It was about 3 feet high which is more than I expected. The tide and bore gets a lot higher but being new moon the gavatational pull just was not there like a full moon or better yet a full moon with the sun also in line with the moon. It took about 50 minutes for the water to get to high tide and then it started down. It is supposed to go down in about one hour. I need to get on the Internet and learn more about tides!
We then headed for the PEI ferry and seen all the cars coming and decided the ferry must of just came in which it had. I though we were going to get right on but they took cars that came after we did so the RV line got the short end of the stick. The fellow ahead really got mad and chewed the ferry line up crew big time. They apologized and admitted they had screwed up. We had to wait 1 and ½ hours for the next ferry. It was interesting in that the RV line was first this time. We had a nice ride over and had a nice visit with a couple from PEI and got lots of good info. We also had a nice visit with a couple from Ontario. We were the second vehicle off the ferry. We stopped at the tourist information center and got a Provincial Park booklet and called Red Point and got a reservation. They were about full so it is fortunate that we did. We had tremendous rain on the way. It just poured the last 30 miles. PEI is definitely farming country and we seen lots of farms and lots of potatoes. The soil is red and it is flat to gentle rolling. Tomorrow we should get to Annie of Green Gables and have a Lobster supper. Talked to Chris and sent and got E-mail. We have full hook ups as that is all they had left.
We were up about 7 am and on the road about 8:30 am as we walked the beach, tried to get in Cabot Provincial but they were full on their reservation list. We found PEI parks have to hold back 25% for first come first serve. We headed for east point and the light house. We got lots of nice pictures as the sun was shining part of the time. We headed on around to the north side and drove through PEI National Park. The beach and surf was beautiful and got some great
pictures and also got some of the sand dunes. We went to a private campground down the road. It is about $15 US money but more than we are used to paying but we do have full hookups. It is an easy spot to get in as we could pull through but we can not make the turn to get out so will have to back up and get over farther and eventually should be able to make it. All the parks were set up for tents and small campers and our 30 foot does not fit in easy.
After we got parked and set up we took the F-350 to Cavendish and Green Gables and spent several hours touring. They have two good films, a nice interpretation center and the tour of the house and one can go through the barn. There are also two hiking trails. The people there was out of this world and we did have to fight a few rain showers. We bought some PEI tee shirts and the book Annie of Green Gables.
It was about 4 pm so we headed for the Lobster Supper at Fisherman's Wharf. It was about $20 each but we had a big lobster and a 60 foot salad bar, all the mussles you wanted and all kinds of desserts. We had great bread and clam chowder soup.
The crowd really started to build and by 5:30 there was a big waiting line. Typically the wait gets to be about 1 ½ hours around 7 pm so I would suggest doing what we did. Eat no breakfast or dinner, no snacks and show up at 4 pm. It works out great and is well worth it!
We got back to the campgrounds which is a private one and laid a tarp down under the F-350 and I changed the oil. We now have about 12,000 miles on since we left home. We are about 40 miles from the bridge, it does not cost anything to come in and $37.50 to leave on the bridge. To leave on the ferry costs more so we did it the best way and it was the closest way for us. We are not going to tour the west part of the island as folks from PEI who we visited with on the boat said it was about the same as the east and central which we have done a good job of touring. Next we head for Gaspie Point in Quebec. It will take us a day to get there.
August 8, 2002
We packed up and were able to back up in the camp ground as there was no way we could
make the turn going ahead. We pulled out between two trees and were able to swing toward the north and out the same way we entered which was the wrong way but we had no problem meeting anyone and it was only a couple of blocks and you could see who was coming. Definitely a blessing as the other way would of been very, very tough.
We headed to the bridge and seen a bit more hilly and woody part of PEI but basically the same and got some more pictures. It is amazing all the roads that are there and so many of them are oil. Some are bumpy but most are pretty good with the main ones by and large very good. We got a picture of the Confederation bridge and seen lots of places selling New Potatoes. We had to pay $43.00 with the 5th wheel but since it was free coming in this was not bad. The bridge is cheaper than the ferry so we did that right as I mentioned before. We headed up the coast of New Brunswick and were in the Acadian area right away and it stayed so all the way into Gaspie Quebec. Everybody speaks French and some speak very limited English. We stopped at the Gaspie tourist place and bought a map. We headed into Gaspie and it is like going in to a foreign country as everything is French and all the signs are in French other than the highway are bi-lingrual but of course now French is featured, not English. I wanted to get into FN78 and try and work Tim and Lefty so we pushed on and got into FN78 and started looking for a place to camp. We got to where it showed on the map and asked and a fellow who spoke very little English lead me to believe we needed to go west 10 km to a town and I went for it since the camp site on the map was approximately in that location. When we got to the town, ie a lumber mill town no signs so asked at the store and the lady spoke just a little English and got it across to me we needed to go back to the town and go left but I could not find out how far. On the way out I had knocked on a hams door but no one was home. When we came back they were home so I stopped. He spoke limited English but I pointed to my hat with the call sign and name and he was more than willing to try and help. He showed me his equipment, we exchanged cards and he said to go left and it would be 2 or 3 miles to the campground and it would be on the right. He told me about there 80 meter net. We bid him goodbye and found the campground no problem. It was tight but we managed. We studied the Quebec literature and use Map N Go and picked out some spots in and around Forllon National Park and we also got familiar with Perce where the Perce Rock is. I could not hear Tim or Lefty but got and sent E-mail and found Tim had a work conflct. I also set up a sked for in the morning.
August 9, 2002
I got up and went out to listen for Lefty and there he was on CW so I ran and got the paddle and worked him on CW. He also called me on SSB so now I just need to work Tim from FN78.
We headed out and on the way got Diesel, took pictures, seen some COD drying on racks, likely salted and got groceries at an IGA. We got to Perce and popped over a hill and there was the rock and a observation place. It is a neat site, huge rock with a hole clear through it toward the east end. There is also a small rock to the east of it. The main rock is huge and at low tide you can walk out to it. There are boat tours around it and also to a nearby island that has lots of birds on it. It was quite a tourist town with tours, hikes, food, and all kinds of places to stay and all kinds of tourist stores. There also is a train for tourists that goes around Gaspie. We headed on the the scenery get more rugged. We stopped at a park looking out over the ocean and had dinner. It was very nice and we seen some seals out in the ocean. We got to the park information place and found out the camp sites were full and got a couple of suggestions on private one. We tried on which would of been fine but it shot right into the hill side for Tim. The next one was great, looking right out over the ocean. It was $26.25 Canadian which is the most we have paid but this is tourist country. It was one where we pulled in and have to back out. In hind sight I would of backed in but to late now. Hopefully no one will park beside us but I will get the pickup in front first before they do if some one comes. I have the 6 meter beam set up on the back of the 5th and have checked direction and miles to Tim. We put up clothes line and have clothes that have been wet for a couple of days out drying. We then went to tour the park. The south loop is nice but mostly historic houses and hiking trail heads. The north side is very spectacular and has high cliffs and lots of birds and pretty surf. It was nice and we took lots of pictures. There are a couple of light houses.
We gave two young people a ride. It turns out one was from France and the other from Switzerland. They have been working in Gaspie this summer and will go back in October. When we got back I worked on the computer and Edith brought in the clothers that were dry. I will get organized for the sked by getting the CW programmed in.
The most common thing we have seen every place we have went are that people have a clothes line made out of rope and two pulleys and they can run the clothes out or in and use clothes pins and put the clothes on in one spot. Often it is high above the ground and the clothes may be put on standing on a deck, porch, balcony, e tc. Everybody seems to have one and we see no regular clothes lines at all.
There are a lot of hams along the Gaspie road. As in the rest of maritimes most have two meters and a dipole. We see very few beams. I did see what appeared to be a bob tail curtain today. If there is a beam the rotor is usually way down in the tower. The ham towers are nearly all spaulding. No ROHN towerss. A few are small towers with flat iron going around the thee sides horizontal for strength.
We ended the day visiting with a couple of full timers originally from KS. Pam and Terry. We visited with them a couple of hours , they have been on the road 3 years. We got some good ideas on touring Washington, DC, and also NY and Boston.
August 10, 2002
I got up about 5:30 to try and work Lefty and heard him right away and worked him easily. We then packed up to leave which was a big job as we had a lot of things to get ready and I needed to do E-mail. We were on the road a little after 8 am. We had pulled in front wards so was tough backing out but did it in one shoot but had to put it in 4 x 4. In the future I will just back in and if the hook ups are on the wrong side so be it. Promised Terry I would send him the Alaska travelogue.
Headed down the road and could see FN79 was going to be a problem with us being by the ocean on the northerly side and not getting a good shot to New England. Finally got to a road going south and had a place figured out to park the 5th and found out the road was washed out. I thought it was all over. Just before the end of the grid we were in a town along the ocean but there was a valley to the southwest so thought I would give it a try while Edith got us some dinner. The hill at the end of the valley was pretty big and being almost noon hour I was wondering but gave a call and Lefty came right back and worked him easily. I did not think Tim needed it so missed him as he was away to the post office. We headed on to Matane and found out the Baie Comeau ferry was booked for several days so we have to go to Godbout and drive 36 miles down to Baie Comeau but t hat is not so bad. We will have to make a reservation for the return. We went grocery shopping for the trip and got water to be ready to leave at 8 am in the morning. We went over our lists are just taking the F-350. We are going to leave the 5th in the ferry parking lot and what ever food spoils, it spoils as it would cost us $180 for a campsite for the number of days we will be gone. Hopefully there won't be any rain which will make the tent living a lot better.
August 11, 2002
We got in line for the ferry plenty early as we were not sure of the time but in fact we were correct in that Gaspie is eastern standard time. We noted the stand by line did get on. It was a nice trip over and they have reclining chairs so would not be to bad a ferry to sleep on. We went to Godbout and got off right on time and got diesel and headed south and got into FN59 and worked LEFTY AND TIM very easily and then headed north on 389. It is oil and lots of cabins for a ways but before long it gets pretty deserted. We worked Tim and Lefty at another grid. We seen a lot of Quebec Hydro roads. We left the oil at Manic 5 which is a huge dam. We did meet quite a few cars and decided to camp in FO51 which was a new grid. It was in a gravel pit and had a nice sandy area. It worked great other than it was hard packed and could not get the stakes in very well and the black flies were very bad. Sent and received E-mail from the tent in good shape. Have most of the bugs worked out but do need to have the inverter in the tent and a way to get 18 VDC into the tent or have a small six volt battery in the tent. Had trouble getting Tim's report but otherwise worked them OK. I did work a few others.
August 12, 2002
It is a chore packing everything up but did it in good shape other than the black flies got bad. I am really getting bit up on the back of my neck. All kinds of bumps. We headed of and got to FO52 and worked Tim and Lefty easy so ran down the road and worked them at FO62 and worked quite a few others. This is in zone 2 so may operate at this spot on the week end.
The last part of the road is poor and goes back and forth across the railroad tracks. Got to the Quebec open pit iron ore mine and just got on the oil and had a flat tire. We used the one we carry in the back and got on the road. We got to Labrador City and flagged a fellow down and he lead us to the Visitors Center. They were very helpful and got us lined up for the hydo tour at Church Hill Falls, told us about the Iron ore tour in Labrador City and camping places and that there is a visitors center in Goose Bay and where to get our tire fixed. It is nice to hear lots of English. The tire was shot and they thought they could get a new one but turned out they could not so we left the ruined tire. With the mix up we did not get charged a recyle fee. It was raining hard as we left north for the camp grounds. We got ahead of the rain and got in the campground as it was sprinkling. We got very wet putting up the tent but at least it did not get to wet inside. Got the other stuff up and got and sent e mail and ended up cooking in the tent which was fine but pretty gassy but made sure we had plenty of ventilation. Definitely need to be able to put the inverter in the tent to be able to charge the computer, shave, etc.
The time here is Atlantic Time. Everybody pretty well speaks English here; although there is some French in Labrador City since it is so close to Quebec.
It was a wet night and the rain kept coming back. I did work Tim about 9:30 pm and also W3EP BUT Lefty must of never got home from work so went to bed about 10:30 pm eastern time or 11:30 pm Atlantic.
August 13th 2002
I got up a little after 5 pm Eastern time and started calling Lefty about 5:30 and woke him up about 5:50 am and worked him on CW and SSB. I found out he did not need F073 or FO93 and Tim also does not need FO93 so told him about 9 am at FO73 for time and 11 am for FO83 that both of them need. Apparently Lefty worked someone in Church Hill Falls which is just barely still in FO73. Goose Bay in FO93. We got to FO73 a little early but Tim was there and we worked him easily and worked W3EP.
It took awhile to pack up and the mosquitoes were bad and the black flies not so bad. After we got all packed up we went up and each had a long, hot shower. It was a hunting camp type place but had flush toilets and the shower we real decent with lots of hot water and a grated mat to stand on to dress.
We got to Church Hill Falls about 10:30 and went by town just a little bit until we were in FO83 and went up the hill toward he dike for the Hydro and worked them both easily and worked several others..
We then were checking the town out and spotted the Black Spruce Inn and talked a fellow working on the building and I went in a looked around and looked like a hunting lodge with a big central room with sattellite TV and a large fireplace. The rooms were around the outside of this area. Bathrooms looked nice and were shared about 3 rooms per bath. We had use of the kitchen and will have a continental breakfast and they also had a wash machine and free drying so we decided to stay. We would wash up all our wet stuff, get away from the bugs and get our tent dried out which we did later in the afternoon. Meanwhile we found the Church Hill Inn which is really the town center. We got quarters for the wash machine, had dinner and waited for the tour of the Newfoundland Labrador Corporation Church Hill Falls Hydro facility. It was about a 2 ½ hour tour very well done and we got to go underground through pretty much the complete facility. It is a company town and everything in it is owed by the company although there is a convenience store and gas/convenience store that is private. Once you retire you have to move out of town. Most people work here at the job until retirement. Most of the power goes to Quebec Hydro. Apparently Newfoundland government signed a 65 year contract at a fixed price and now Quebec makes by far the most money as they sell the power for more money as inflation has set in over the years. There is talk of another facility down stream toward Goose Bay where the river flows to. We found out a lot of companies in Canada give people four or five weeks of and every 5th year they get nine weeks off. The get a lot of benefits to attract them to this isolated area. Definitely an interesting time. The other people on the tours were from Washburn and their parents from Newfoundland. We learned a lot from them.
After the tour we went to where the water exits from the hydro generation to the original Church Hill Falls River. It was not as impressive as I expected but we met some people from Maine with canoes and the said you could canoe to Goose Bay and there is one ½ mile portage by the falls. It is steep up and steep down. The water has some rough spots with rocks but most is pretty easy. The one fellow said he had done it many times.
They said to go into Maine at Jackman from Quebec City and go to the Moose Head Lake area. At Rockman for $5.00 they will give up a boat ride out to an island and we can have a picnic. There are also Moose Hunting trips Gaoenville area. They said this is the true Maine. They said most people go to Arcadia and LL Bean and think they have seen Maine.
We then went to the Black Spruce Inn, got stuff organized, washed and dried and had a great supper. We had our pork chops which were still good from coming out the freezer in the 5th on Sunday morning. They were in a dry bag with a tarp around them and then a blanket but that is still an amazing long time. What we did not eat we are freezing solid in the freezer here. It was good supper and nice to not fight the bugs. We got the tent and rain fly pretty well dried out and folded back up. I plugged the computer in a worked on the travelogue, check book on Quicken and visited with people from Goose Bay, New Foundland, New Brunswick and the owner. I plan on operating the meteror shower some tonight.if I can stay awake. We plan to go to Goose Bay look around spend the night, Wednesday night and then drive back to Labrador City on Thursday and look around a little and then on Friday go to site just into Zone 2 and set up for Friday night and Saturday. If there is a lot of interest in Zone 2 then we will operate Sunday and get up Monday morning early and head for the ferry. If not we will move it up a day.
August 14th 2002
I tried some Persieds meteor scatter for an hour and only worked one station on Sporadic E so that was a bust. Got a good nights sleep, had breakfast at the Black Spruce Inn and had a nice hot shower and shaved! We headed for Goose Bay, with all the rain the road was worse than usual with pot holes. It is a long, lonely stretch with no services but we did meet quite a few vehicles. As we got within about 50 miles of Goose Bay it got more rugged and there were a lot of decidous trees with the spruce. It would be extremely pretty in the fall. We checked out the visitors center and visited the AFB, you can go any where on the base as far as the streets are concerned and right up to the run way fence. We toured the ferry port that Lewisport serves, reserved a sit for our tent, got some tee shirts, took some pictures, checked out a sporting goods place called Northern Lights which had an AF museum and lots of stuffed animals and we checked out a fancy crafts place and Edith bought a Labrador clock. We also checked out the Canex on base. The kid at the service station where we got disel said 15,000 people live in the area. I assume that includes those on base. There are cars every where and airplanes taking off and landing all the time. We were right by where the fighter jets were taking off and doing rolls. It was neat and got some good shots. They are loud. We had a good supper, got and sent E-mail and talked to AC0M. Hopefully tomorrow we can make it back to Labrador City and do a little touring and stay over night. On Friday we will head for the site that is just in Zone 2 that we worked on the way up. We did get a good map of the stops along the road back to Baie Comeau.
August 15th 2002
Camp Ground south of Labrador City in Tent
We gpt up at 6:30 and were on the road aboujt 7:30 am. It takes about an hour to take showers, pack up the tent and gear, take down the antenna and stow all the stuff. We checked out Tim Houtons and found they have all sorts of rolls, donuts, muffins and cookies so got some rolls. We t hen headed down Hwy 500 for Labrador City. The road was a little better than going up as they had more bladed. The first part is the past for about 50 miles then t here is the worst with pot holes and then it gets better. West of Church Hill Falls is decent. Just north of Labrador City is seemed like there was a lot of loose gravel. It seemed worse than it should be so I checked the tires and I had a back one about flat. Fortunately it looked in good shape and since it had not gone right down, fast I figured there was a good chance it could be fixed. Since this was the second one we had changed in just three days it went quite quickly. At least four cars stopped to see how we were doing so that was nice. We went on into Labrador City to the same tire shop and they fixed it for $9.00 Canadian which is real reasonable. It took a little while but they seemed to be doing good work. We then ate at McDonalds, toured Washau and took some pictures of the mine and Labrador City. We then headed west of town to a campground we had seen on the way up. It is $8.00 and the sites are nice. We don't have showers or a flush toilet but the outhouses are decent. The bugs are bad but we had our bug clothes on from the start and put some deet on our hands so got by OK. I decided to not put up; the antenna since I don't have any schedules and I will get E-mail early tomorrow afternoon when I am set up with the HEX BEAM from Zone 2 about 75 miles from here. I did hook up the inverter for the laptop. It is smooth ground here so should be good sleeping.
August 16th 2002
Northern Quebec along side of road in tent
We slept in and did not get up until about 7 am and were on the road in about 45 minutes. We had about 75 miles to get to the site for ZONE 2. We spent several hours setting up and it went OK but a lot of work. It was fairly windy which was not all bad as it blew a lot of the bugs away. We set up the HEX beam, 40 meter vertical with the 25 radials and the six meter beam. We set up the IC-706 in the tent for E-mail and will use the other computer in the F-350 for logging. I took 2 of the six volt batteries off the bank and used one of them in series with the 12 vdc bank which gave me about 19 vdc which I ran a cord from into the F-350 cab and used to run the laptop in the F-350 for logging. I could also send CW with it using the Parallel port cable using Writelog. It worked great. I could of used a little long cable so that will be an improvement to make. I plugged the computer CW into the key jack on the back of the IC-746 and used the front one for the paddle. I also need to get a cable for the TNC and leave it in all the time so I can hook it up for E-mail or RTTY and have 18 vdc in the F-350 all the time for E-mail, RTTY, Map N Go, Street Atlas and the 12XL GPS.
For hot days operating out of the F-350 need some screen mesh to tape over the window so they can be down. Use duct tape or masking tape as duct tape might be real sticky. Other than these improvement the foot switch, heil head set and paddle arrangement works well sitting on the passenger side. I eventually becomes a little uncomfortable but goes pretty well.
If it is a right day one needs a hood for the laptop screen.
Got E-mail, had a great schedule with AC0M and found out Ole has back trouble and a very sore leg. I worked some six meters but at the end of the opening was really having SWR problems. I tried to isolate it and at dark had it narrowed down to the antenna of the IC-746, I decided to try the IC-706 and it did the same thing, SWR was OK on RTTY but no SSB. Really had me wondering. The only thing is that there may be a poor condition and the more steady power from RTTY conducts the the fluctuating power of SSB does not. I will have to check it out when it gets light. I thought it might be the balun.
August 17, 2002
Northern Quebec In tent along road
We got up at daylight and I tackled the six meter SWR problem and found the bolts making connection from the SO-238 to the driven elements were pretty loose. I tightened them and the problem was cured so that was easy. I got on HF and worked some people and then Edith said six was open so worked six and worked about 100 stations for the best opening of the trip. The best was MO. I then went to HF and found some interest in Zone 2. I went back to six and worked quite a few more at .157 and then went back to HF and found some interest in Zone 2 and worked several station on several bands for them and actually worked several of them on 12 and 10 meters. A few said they were looking for me based on the announcement in the DX bulletins so this is good news. I have some schedules for 40 meters for tonight. Six has went dead but there is some chance of AU tonight and sometimes on a sporadic E day it comes back toward evening. I had pretty good conditions on 15 meters and worked Chris AC0M. I am still amazed at how much easier it is to work Europe from here. We sent and got E-mail and then decided to tear down the HEX beam and at dark we will tear down six meters. I will use the 40 vertical tonight and we will tear it down in the morning and head down the road and hopefully make the 5 pm ferry. I.t has been far from a bust giving several stations ZONE 2 and working nearlyu 150 stations on six meters.
The toughest thing about the tenting has been we have stayed places without water so we are running short of water. We should have a bucket to get some creek water and we could boil it and use for bathing. We have enough for cooking and drinking but don't have extra for bathing and washing.
It works good to monitor six with one radio. One should have some antenna separation so HF does not get into six so bad.
August 18th, 2002
Matane, Quebec Ferry Yard FREE
We got up early, took down and packed up the 40 vertical and packed up the tent and gear and headed for the ferry.; We were on the road about 6:30 am. Things went well and we found the few camping sites listed on the Quebec map we purchased. It is an isolated road but we did meet people fairly often. We got some nice pictures of some rocks the had Disney characters painted on them. We reached the oil and it looked like we would be to the ferry just a little after 12 noon and then we heard a rumble and it felt like it could be a flat tire and it was. I was bummed as we have good tires, E rated and should not be having tire trouble. It turned out it was a broken blade from a sissors that pushed up into the tire. After three flats on the trip to Goose Bay and back it made on a little gun shy but apparently one was a sharp rock and the hole was to big and the tire was no good, the second was punctured by something, likely a piece of road grader blade and we got it fixed for $9.20 and this one we got fixed for $18.75 and so far both patches are holding fine. We got to the ferry about 1 pm and got in the sans reservation line which from our other experience appears to be the line for those without reservations. We checked inside and found out the ferry was booked but she said she saw us pull up and we were in the standby line and since we were number #2 in the line she said our chances were very, very good. The ferry leaves at 5 pm so we have a wait.
I got some clean clothes and electric shaver and went in the bathroom and found an outlet right by the mirror and shaved and then washed up with soap and paper towels and put on new clothes and also washed my hair. It sure felt good after not having a shower or being able to wash much for nearly 4 days. We then hooked up the inverter and typed in the paper logs into the computer. That certainly got the attention of those walking by. We met a fellow from New Brunswick who got a squirt bottle of alcohol and sprayed my bug sores. I took off my tee shirt and I really was bit up on the chest and back of my neck. We made it on the ferry easily, so that is something to know that ferry seem to always under book and so if you are early in the stand by line you just about always make it on. We had a nice ride over, was a thunder storm and some sharp lightening but the sea was not that rough. There was a movie about a time machine that was not to bad. It was in French but you could not hear the audio anyway.
We found the 5th in great shape and unload stuff inside in a hurry and went to eat. We ate at Subway. A young fellow helped us as it was French and he spoke good English. We learned a few French words from him. He enjoyed using his English. The place did come up with an English menu. We went to the park and washed out our toilet pail and headed for the 5th wheel and got most of the stuff packed away and had a nice hot shower and went to bed. The train was loud before we went to bed but shut down for the night and it was quiet all night.
August 19th 2002
Bic National Park, Bic, Quebec $15.08
We slept in to about 7:30 am. I got up and packed some stuff away that was in the box of the F-350, hooked up the 18 vdc to the computer inside. I did not have 18 vdc right away and then realized I had not turned on the 12vdc power strip. I tried to send E-mail but conditions were so bad I gave up and we went to get some things done. We went to the Ford garage and no English at first but they found a lady who could speak excellent English. They did not fix tires and did not have any Firestone tires but a fellow was there that was looking for ride and she said he would show us the tire place and we could give him a ride. It worked fine, he just pointed and did understand left and right so got us right there in no time. I thanked him and shook hands. The fellow in the tire place could speak some English and he thought they could fix it in about 20 minutes. That is when we found it was a broken blade about 4 inches long from a sissors. The technician could also speak pretty good English and he checked all the tires and pumped up a couple and did a nice job on the tire, showed me where a piece of rubber had been torn on the bead but said it would be OK and that with the patch the hole should be OK. He balanced it also. Another fellow helped up put the spare back underneath so it was not cheap at $18.75 but they did good work and got right on it. We then got water, got some rolls at Tim Hourtons and got groceries at IGA.
Back at the 5th we did the finally packing and I was able to get and send E-mail on 30 meters as I just could not get it done on 20 meters. I notified Tim and Lefty to be on the alert for FN58 and we headed out. At about 12:30 we found a spot in FN58 and worked them. Someone else was calling but they did not try hard enough and left so we packed up and headed out.
We needed diesel so pulled of but they had no diesel. I asked but they did not understand so I wrote it out and then they said 5 minutes down the road, left Hwy 132. We were on a side street but managed to get back on 132 down the street about ½ mile and found diesel. The gal inside spoke English very well but at first she said diesel and pronounced it MUCH DIFFERENT, DYE ESEL which really threw me. Anyway her English was good and I told her it was diesel in Spanish and English.
We them got into the Mc Donalds lot, it was a tight turn but we made it and met some people from Sask that also had a small trailer in the lot. It was a large McDonalds and the one girl who waited on us spoke good English so as we head south we are finding a lot more English. From there we headed south to BIC and found a national park and got into a no service site for $22.50 and also had access to the park. We checked out the park and walked to an observation area with a nice view, except the bay was at low tide. We had hamburgers for supper. I noticed the coax panel was bent, I though I scrapped when I left the McDonalds lot. Their driveway was just to steep. I am going to have to modify the plate but if I can not get more slack for the coax it is going to be very difficult.
I worked on the computer and E-mail and started Spanish tape 21/22.
August 20, 2002
Fort ? CG, Levi, Quebec $13.50
We got up when we felt like it and were still on the road by 8:30 am. It definitely changed to more farming in the valley's with wooded hills of conifers and deciduous on them with the ocean off to the west. Lots of dairy, some beef, alfalfa and small grain and a little corn. Strips of different crops and drainage ditches at regular intervals I assume to handle the run off from the hills. As we went southwest the St. Lawrence got narrower. It reaches it narrowest point at Quebec City and then widens again.
We picked up Interstate 20 which is just like I-90 and really the first time we have been on a USA type Interstate in Canada. We got to exit 337 and took it as we were looking for a municipal campground with a private one as a back up. We are going to park here and drive to the ferry, park and ride across to old Quebec City. We seen the private campground but could not find the city one. We came to another turn on HWY 132 for getting back on Interstate 20 so we knew we had went to far. We went toward the river and finally asked at a store and fortunately they could speak English and directed us back and we ended up at the private one again so we just pulled in. A lady who just spoke French was there and I figured out where we could park. It was tight and hard to get over far enough but I am getting pretty good at it and got it in the slot. I could not communicate with her about the nights and price so she found someone who was bi-lingual and found out the boss would be back tonight and we could settle up then. We told her we were going to Old Quebec and I asked the fellow about the ferry and it sounded good.
We went to the ferry, parked for $5.00 for the day and rode across for $5.00 each. We got lined up with the Old Quebec Tour for 4:00 pm and had a tourist guide. We walked around until then and then took the tour. One could certainly spend a long day here or two days easily enough but we got a good feel for it and seen most of it. We did not tour the citadal but walked all around it. We headed back, had a nice supper and looked over the Maine travel literature. Edith used the pressure cooker to cook the potatoes as they will most likely let us bring in raw potatoes. On the second batch the gasket let loose and steam poured out. Made quite a racket but we did not get burned and got it cleaned up which is no fun late at night when you are tired. We went to bed and will finish up in the morning. It looks like we will go to the Moose Lake region of Maine first which is supposed to be scenic and hopefully get back up north to Ft. Kent as the map shows a scenic road up there. Then work out of Bangor and see Acardia National Park, Desert Is and maybe Old Town Canoe and then the south west area on the way to VT.
August 21, 2002
Moose River CG Jackman, ME $19.26
Was on the road by 8 am and headed for Maine. Went down 173 along a river. Lots of farming and expecially dairy. It was a nice drive and as we approached Maine it go more wooded and hilly. We dug out our reciepts and managed to get about $13.50 USA tax refunded back for camping. Need reciepts and not credit card slips. Can also use goods but not food or eating out but have to be $50.00 each purchase and again have a receipt and not a credit card slip.
We had no problems going across the border. She did check in the 5th but really only took a little while. Maine was very wooded and we stopped at Moose River Campground which is wooded and they have a private lake. It is the site of an old saw mill and dam. I called Lily State Park but they are pretty full. If we want to try we need to be there about 10 am tomorrow morning.
I worked on the computer and Edith washed clothes. Conditions are terrible and I can not get my E-mail.
August 22, 2002
Moose River CG Jackman, ME $19.26
We went to Rockville and Greenville today which are on Moose Head Lake and took a ride on the Katahdin Converted Steamship built around 1900. It was a nice 3 hour ride on the biggest lake in Maine. We got a couple of sweat shirts and eat some Maine Lobster. On the way back we stopped at a woodworking shop. The fellow was a mail carrier from NJ and said you can't make any money here and that most of the places are summer homes or places people have retired to. He said the blue berries are ready right now. We stopped back at our campsite and paid for another night, got E-mail and had some supper and are going out on a logging road that the camp owner and woodworking fellow recommended to see moose. Also had a schedule with AC0M. Tomorrow we will head down HWY 201 and if the WX is decent for sight seeing stop at the end of the national scenic hwy portion of it and set up a base camp and tour out of there. If it is still rainy we will likely head on into Bangor to the Sam's parking lot.. We did not see any moose on the logging road. We went to bed early.
August 23, 2002
Sam's Club Bangor ME
We got up late and are finally getting caught up from pushing it on the whole trip but especially more recently on the trip to Labrador and then getting to Maine. From here on out we have nothing setting a schedule for us. We were getting ready to pack up and a ham who was in the camp ground knocked on our door and we visited for about an hour. They have relatives in MN, WI. And Alexandria, SD. They live in MA and he is retired for a couple of years but they have came to ME on vacation for a lot of years. He said the Jackman area is a great area except early in May and June and even early July the bugs can be very, very bad. He said the Ft. Kent area was pretty but no mountians and the White Mt. area is nice as well as Arcadia. We got packed up and checked out by the 11 pm deadline. We got diesel in town for !.319 which is the cheapest since we left the USA. Our ham friend also mentioned about the German Prisoner of War camps by Spencer Lake.
We headed down HWY 201 for Bangor and it is very pretty and would especially be so in the fall with the color changes. We ran into construction and what should of been a 2.5 hour trip turned into a 3.5 hour trip but we got to Sam's club where we were in June on the way up. We got a good spot off in the cornor. They are putting in gas pumps so not as much room and it was busy but no one parked near us. We got about $85.00 worth of supplies and Edith is getting them organized. I am working on the computer, fuel book and Spanish tape. I will also send and check E-mail. Tomorrow we will take a day trip, maybe a long one up to Ft. Kent.
August 24, 2002
Sam's Club, Bangor, ME
We were off by 6:30 am and got some nice shots of Mt. Katadin. It was a pretty drive up hwy 11 past the north entrance to Baxter State Park and on up to Ft. Kent. There is an Eagle Lake south of Ft. Kent that is nice. The trees open up a little and there is a little small grain, pasture and potatoes along the last part of the way. Ft. Kent is very nice, looks like some local economy and I am sure people with a decent retirement income have retired there. I have talked to a couple of hams who have retired there. We got some vegetables from a farmers market. As we headed south along the Canadian border we noticed we were in a French area. It is even a little more opened up in the forest but still lots of trees. We went south of Hougton and picked up more trees again. The river is dammed up south of there about 40 miles and there are about 9 miles of State Scenic road. We then cut across county to Hwy 6 and it did not look very prosperous and lots of trees. Hwy 6 is a good road and would be a decent way to get to NB. All day long we seen flea markets, garage and yard sales. We took Hwy 2 along the Prebrecost River down to Old Town and found the Old Town Canoe factory right off. The outlet store was open and had lots of stuff. One can get a blemished canoe for about $300 off so that is a good deal for anyone in this area. They do not have factory tours.
We then headed for the 5th, got and sent E-mail and did a little shopping at Sam's.
August 25, 2002
Sam's Club, Bangor, ME
It rained a lot during the night and was rainy and cloudy as we took off about 7:30 am for Acadia National Park. We met a stream of cars coming out but there still were a lot of people in the park. It was foggy and rainy in the park so we hurried through and will come back and headed north for Schoolic Point and found some great surf and the sun came out. The best surf we have seen anyplace in the the US and similiar to what I seen in Ghana but the sun was shining more so it was more spectacular. We ate dinner on the point and that was very nice but the surf was not a good as on the northerly side. We then went to hwy 187 and found a place putting up Blueberries and bought 10 pounds for $14.50 and got lots on nice pictures. We also got pictures of the fields of wild blueberries.
We also seen a bridge over to Seal Island and went over the bridge and got a nice picture.
Next was Hwy 189 which went up to Lubec which claims to be the most eastern city in the USA and is right by Canada, in fact there is a bridge to an International park which is near where Roosevelt wanted to generate electricity using the tide.
Next was Hwy 190 to Eastport which also claimed to be the most eastern city in the USA and it is also right by Canada. From there we headed to Calicas which is right by Canada. This is a very nice town and also has lakes around it. It is very neat and has a Walmart, McDonalds, etc. We took hwy 9 into Bangor about 90 miles and it is a great road, smooth with a passing lane. There is just a 15 miles stretch about 30 miles out of Bangor they are working on. By winter the whole road will be great and I would highly recommend it. We had lobster close to Sam's, they had a double for an extra $5.00 so I got that and Edith got a single. Got to the 5th and did e-mail and worked on the computer. Tomorrow we will do a good job at looking at Acadia, try and see the film and take a carriage ride. We will stay here tomorrow night, take care of my phone card and try and call ahead to the Maine Campground. We should be able to get a good start that way on Tuesday going on Hwy 2.
August 26th, 2002
Sam's Club, Bangor, ME
Hopefully things will be quieter during the week now that school has started here in Maine.
We got of by about 7:30 am and headed for Acadia National Park. It is a narrow, winding road most of the way and lots of traffic so it takes more than one hour. We took the loop through the park and the traffic was not bad and stopped at all the spots. We are very thankful for the bright, sunny day. We stopped at Thunder Hole and actually was some pretty good thunder sounds from the water banging in under the rocks in channel and cave back in under the rocks. We took a hour carriage ride and learned about the 57 miles and 16 bridges on the trails made by Rockerfeller which was very interesting. They were all donated to the park and in fact all the land in the park was donated. People today can no longer donate land but they can put a conservation easement on it and the park will manage the easement.
We then drove up Cadalliac Mountain which is the highest mountain right on the Atlantic Coast and it is a great view. We then viewed the film at the visitors center and on the way back stopped at Home Depot and got a second cordless drill and charger and two batteries. I burned out the other charger using the inverter so no I have a charger. I will have to see if I can get the other one fixed.
Bact at Sam's we got some supplies, I got a filter for the F-350. Have to remember it is a 2001. I put $50.00 on my cell phone and found out I was two days late so would of lost my $120 balance if it would not of been for a one time grace deal they have. I obviously have to watch that and it appears to be exactly 60 days minus one day; possibly two days. My next date is October 25, 2002. I just can not be to careful about this and I need to use some of the time down and if not on this trip then definitely on the winter trip. I also called my mom. When you use the phone card on a pay phone they take 9 minutes off the top right away.
I also called the Mount Blue State Park and they said they had room but it was first come, first serve for tomorrow. It is only about 100 miles so we should be there in good time.
August 27, 2002
Mount Blue State Park, Weld, Me $20.00
We were on the road about 8 am and headed for Mount Blue State Park. We got fuel, propane and got some air for the tires on the 5th. The road up to the Park had just been done but the state map was wrong and did not show the camp grounds down by the lake but showed up up in the other part of the park. It does not even show any park land down by the lake. Anyway we asked some kids camped in tents and they got us pointed in the right direction. We got into the CG and got a spot for two nights and were able to get drinking water and dump. The spot #104 was tight and I got it just about perfect in one shot but was concentrating on that so much I did not watch my front end a cramped it into a leaning tree which cleared the bumper and tire but bent the drivers side front fender near the top. I was able to bend it back out pretty well. I will just live with it unless I decide to trade it in then I likely would need to get it fixed.
I could not get the dipole up so let the front of the 5th down on the stand jacks and took out the block and put the wheel mount down and then ran the jacks back up and was able to mount the dipole that way. Worked pretty slick so will have to remember that. Tomorrow we will check out the national scenic highways near here and then spend another night here and then head on over into NH and the White Mountains. We will try and camp at Wal Mart.. We will need to change oil before leaving here. We also put up the tent and dried it out. Actually the tent was OK but the rain fly was soaked.
August 28, 2002
Mount Blue State Park, Weld, ME $20.00
We toured the two national scenic highways in this area. We went north on Hwy 4 to Oquossoc and then south on Hwy 17. The first 15 miles of Hwy 17 were likely the most scenic of any of the inland roads we have been on in Maine. It is mountain and lake country and there was a great turnout looking north and at least two turnouts looking south. The north one looked out over Rangeley Lake and the south on over Oquossoc Lake. At the Rangeley Lake scenic turnout we seen a very large moose quite close up but it was on the move and did not stick around at all. Down the road a ways we found a black raspberry bush and picked about a pint. Earlier on the first and second Oquossoc Lake turnout there were a lot of red raspberriers. They are past their season but we found a few. It would look like around the first part of August for them. The Black Raspberries appear to be the last couple of weeks of August into the first part of September. We drove into Weld and Edith took some pictures of a couple of houses with the barns attached and then back at camp we changed oil and I got our e-mail.
Tomorrow we will head for the White Mt. in NH. We will try and stay at the Wal Mart on past Gorham, NH.
August 29, 2002
Walmart, Gorham, VT
We were on the road about 9:00am as we did not hurry and we dumped and filled with water and got rid of our garbage, all essential items. We had a nice, leisurely trip over to NH and across the border stopped at the information center and got a new map and picked up a lot of literature. I noticed the 5th looked a little low on the passenger side so I crawled under and found the spring that we replaced with the one we got at Anchorage was bent and the third leaf down was cracked. It sure did not look like it would get us home. I prayed that we could find a shop that could replace it. We headed for Gorham and on through and not being able to read the map I did not discover right away that we must of missed it. That is when you find out how narrow the state is as we ended up about half way between Gorham and VT in no time at all. We back tracked and decided it must be north on Hwy 16 which is west of Gorham. I new it was west of Gorham with the Delorme mapping on the computer so it made sense it was north on Hwy 16. I just had not noticed that last night; although I had checked the address and that gave no clue.
Anyway we headed north and found it right away and got parked off on the side where the workers park and unhooked. We got a bit to eat and headed out to tour the north country. We got diesel for 1.369 which is the cheapest since we have gotten back in the USA. We got to Berlin and took Hwy 110 which jogs right through town and was making a corner and there was the answer to my prayer. Berlin Spring Inc. so I pulled up and went in and showed him the original Jayco broken spring and he had on for $31.50 so I asked him how much to put it on and he said total, spring and all between $100 and $125 possibly cheaper as he was figuring high to be sure. He said he had a job at 1:00 pm and then he could do it so I said we would go back to Wal Mart and get the 5th. Edith mentioned we had just came under a 10.5 foot underpass so we got directions for the truck route to miss it. We went back and got the 5th and got back to Berlin Springs and they showed us where to park. We had to wait about one hour and 15 minutes while they changed springs on a 57 Thunderbird. The fellow said it was nice to the north; especially around Dixville Notch. We pulled right across the highway and traffic had to wait while we got the 5th lined up to back in. Took me a couple of times to get lined up in front of the door but after that backed straight in over the pit on one shot.
They put in a six leaf spring so it was thicker. In the process we found out the one the Jayco dealer put on in AK was an inch to long. They made longer U bolts to accomidate having more leaves. It all went pretty smoothly. They made the U bolts. I decided to get another heavy duty spring like the one they put on and they made the U bolts for it. I also saved the old U bolts and nuts for the weak spring I have that we had put on in the Yukon. The equalizer now is centered and the 5th is noticeably higher on the passenger side. It would be nice to have four springs on like this but since it is always this one that breaks we should be OK. I do not think this one will break. We do now have a heavy duty backup for a very reasonable price. The shock reached in good shape. If we were to have more trouble I will just put these type of springs on all the way around. The neat thing about is that the total bill was $124.90 and the labor was only $43.50 so I sure am glad they did it rather than I trying to do it as it is dangerous and difficult to do. He said we would not of made it home.
We then pulled the 5th back to Wal Mart and it was starting to rain and we could not get into our original spot so we parked out in the lot and had supper. A small Class C pulled in but fortunately did not go into where we had been but a bit to the east by about 4 cars. Eventually it cleared out so we could pull ahead of the spot to get straight and the car that was next to it had moved so we backed right in. It was going to be crowed to get the F-350 in but the car belonged to one of the workers and he came and moved it which was a blessing so we were able to get leveled up and unhooked and parked alongside. We hooked the DC up from the battery bank and got the battery charger going on the coach batteries so we can leave it tomorrow so it will run the refridgerator while we are gone. It is a nice comfortable spot and tomorrow before we leave we will run the living room slide in as we are right at the end of there display area. We will just run the bedroom slide out after closing time and run it back in before they open in the morning. It is still raining pretty good. They definitely need rain here so it is good. We are studying the literature. It looks like we need to spend one day going up north and another day touring the White Mt. Then we can head for VT and Lake Champlain. We found out VT. Is liberal and really has a lot of "GAYS" especially around Burlington so since we don't approve of that we need to look at staying in NY. We will then take I 89 down to MA but on the way stop at Sam's Club or Walmart at Concord, NH and take a day trip up to the Lakes Region before going down to the CG Chris-AC0M found on the Internet that has daily bus tour stops right at the camp ground to tour Boston, Plymouth and Newport, RI. From there we can go to the south shores on the Atlantic in RI and then back north to I-90 and head west for Niagara Falls.
August 30, 2002
Moose Pound State Park, Gorham, VT $15.00
We headed for the north woods and had some problems with fog making it tough to see the scenery good for awhile but we found 6 covered bridges and drove over three of them and got good pictures. We went into VT. to get a state sign picture and found some black raspberries by one bridge and some blue berries along the road a couple of places. We went clear to the Canadian border in NH and then on the way back to Hwy 145 and at what was called Ben Young Hill we got a great view and found some blue berries. Farther down on that road was a nice falls but it has been so dry it was not even close to its potential. From there we took Hwy 26 to Dixville and the Dixville Notch and the hotel there where the first election results come in. They open the polls at midnight, all the voters vote and then they close the polls and they have been the first since 1920. It happens in the lobby of the hotel which is beautiful and the results go around the world.
It has some jagged rocky cliffs and is nice. The river flowing into Berlin is a nice canoe river. We got back to the 5th at Walmart and the manager had been getting flack from a CG owner and since they don't own the lot we had to move. The police also stopped but they were very, very nice and said it was a long running thing with this guy and the stores. Fortunately we got into Moose Pond SP no problem which on Friday of the Labor Day weekend was a concern..We will stay here tonight and tomorrow night to give us enough time to tour the White Mt. and then head for Bulington, VT. It looks like when we stay at Walmart if there are other stores where they might not own the lot we need to be sure and ask. Also if we are going to do more than just stay the night and get going right away in the morning we need to ask. Lesson learned!
We to the auto road up to the top of Mt. Washington at 6700 some feet. It goes above the timber line and has recorded 234 mph winds the highest in the world. It is quite a road, we got a CD to play on the way up and down. Unfortunately there were clouds blowing through at the top which ruined it a lot and there always is haze, pollution it seems. I though it would be OK with the rain last night but by afternoon it was there.
Had a good sked with AC0M and got some E-mail and sent a bunch. I dropped the antenna down as I only have E-mail to do and no skeds with Chris until Tuesday night.
August 31, 2002
Moose Pound State Park, Gorham, VT $15.00
We were on the road by 8 am and took the White Mountain Loop Trail which included the Kancamagus Hwy. It is nice but mostly trees but for the east coast it would be spectacular. For us it needed the foliage change to be spectacular. However the Old Man of the Mountain, the basin and the Flume is definitely worthwhile. These three are close together and I highly recommend them. The other highlight has been Mt. Washington. The Mt. Washington Hotel is quite nice looking. Toward late afternoon in the Conway area with flea markets going on with the holiday week end the traffic really got down to stop and go for several miles. It started out cloudy but got more sunny as the day went on.
September 1, 2002
Cumberland Bay State Park, Platsburg, NY $14.37
Found VT. to be lots of trees also and of course the mountains not as high and it was more opened up with clearings and a fair amount of dairy farming. Some nice rocky cliffs and the town did look a little more New England than I thought they did in ME and NH, Hwy # 2 was decent most of the way but in some areas was bumpy and narrow. The speed limit is only 50 mph. Interstate into Burlington was a nice change of pace. I am not so sure you can't see the scenery better on Interstate and the traffic sure is less of a hassle as people are always lining up behind on the slow two land roads without a passing lane..
The Lake Champlain Islands of Vt were nice. It is amazing how they got Hwy #2 across all these but really did it easily with causeways and one bridge. We then got across the end of the lake up by Canada on a bridge to NY. It took from 8 am to 12:30 pm to get to McDonalds by Interstate in NY. We then headed south to try and get into the Cumberland Bay NY State Park. About 5 miles north of here I heard a noise and felt a big drag on the pickup. I checked my side mirror and the smoke was rolling. I thou agh I lost a tire. I pulled over and the tire was fine, I thought it was the brake locked up so I unplugged them and tried it a foot or so and still a big drag so went and checked some more. Must of been blind the first time as the tires were together, rubbing. From my Yukon experience I immediately knew that meant I had broke another leaf spring, which I had!
Getting to be to experienced in these matters, HI! Got the jack out and jacked it up, wedged my big faithful block between what was left of the spring and the frame which got the tires apart about 2 inches and took off with the flashers going. Got to the park turn off and of course it was poorly signed, more accurately confusing signed and got by the corner and of course people behind so had to go on around, cross the road and go back and find a place to turn around and try again, HI! Edith is getting to handly this stuff WELL! Much to our relief they had room. At first they looked real doubtful but they though we wanted hookups. When I said we needed no hook ups they said go find a spot. We took one just inside the gate and backed it in and I walked back to pay for it so I was sure it was open, which it was. Only $13 a night, nice showers and flush toilets, water hydrants close by and right on Lake Champlian with a great sand beach. What a huge lake. About the nices park we have been in on this trip!
We got at changing the spring and all went well. Took our time and got everything loose and no pressure and took it off. Had to fight the new six leaf one a bit but with a little messing of jacking here and letting it down there, etc. got it fairly easily. Nothing even close to an accident so getting the hang of it. It takes our two 6 ton stand jacks, two hydralic jacks and lots of blocks. Fortunately have a good socket set along. Will add a long handle to break them loose but used the jack handles as extension and got them broke loose. First thing I did when I got parked was soak everything in WD-40.
Took 3 hours and had everything done and put away.
I need another favor. Please check www.sg-ent.com which is the web site for S&G Enterprises. This is what I found on the springs I purchased at Berlin Spring Inc. The spring number is LD25256L It is a six leaf spring and is about 13.5" from center to the center of the hanger hole on each side or total length of 27 inches I believe. Going by memory on the measurement but am sure of the number on the spring. See if they list any distributors as I need to get two more of these springs and change out the other two. It would be nice to pick one up here in New England so I had a spare. I do have one "light duty" spare which is the one that got us from the Yukon to Anchorage so still not on the raw edge! I have extra U bolts for that size but will need longer U bolts for the six leaf ones. I had a set that they made for me at Berlin Spring Inc. so was all set on this one!
There is no question now that I am going to get the other two leaf springs converted over to these heavier six leaf springs. The key thing about the six leaf spring is that as you reduce down between leafs the distance is only about 1.5 inches so the last leaf that hooks to the frame is only 1.5 inches where it is single. On the Jayco ones that are four leaf they are 3 to 3.5 inches that is single and that is where they break. If the last, top single one does not break then the leaf below it breaks as each one is this same 3 to 3.5 inches which just can not handle the weight. For example the previous one that broke the 3rd leaf from the top broke so then the two top leaves bent and being spring steel would not of lasted long like that before they broke.
We are going to stay here tonight, tour the Adirondicks tomorrow and stay here again tomorrow night. Then we head for the camp ground by Boston. We are close to Platsburg, NY on Lake Champlain. Send me an E-mail with what you find out. If nothing else a telephone number and I can try and call with a phone card and see what I can find out. I might be able to have one shipped UPS to the Normandy CG or some such thing.
I suppose you could have a bad attitude about this spring business but I am just so thankful for the Berlin Spring Inc. and have the extra srings and longer U bolts and not hurting the tires, and knowing how to get it jacked up and off the road. We have much to be thankful for and I am just going to get the other two changed out and that should take care of it barring dropping it in a huge hole I suppose. We will always carry an extra one.
September 2, 2002
Cumberland Bay State Park, Platsburg, NY $14.37
We were on the road about 8 am and went south on Hwy 9 and found the Ausable Chasm on the Ausable River. It is neat, very, very deep chasm with nice water falls. The bridge for hwy 9 goes over the chasm and they had walkways on both sides of the bridge so one could walk out over the chasm and look at both sides. I would say it was 300 feet down. The Ausable River comes out of the Adirondacks and goes into Lake Champlain. This was an early tourist attraction and the tourist came in large numbers as soon as the railroad opened.
From here we went into the Adirondacks and went to White Face Mt. where to Olympic ski events were held and then to Lake Placed and seen the Olympic Center and the ski jumps. From there we went to Saranoc Lake and looped back around to Plattsburgh. There are some 5000 + mountains in the one area. Lots of trees and lots of people live in the mountains. It is a lot like the Black Hills. We came back to the state park and sat on the beach of Lake Champlain most of the after oon. There are all kinds of people who come down here from Montreal, Quebec to enjoy the park. It is amazing! Lots of kite flying on the beach and watched some wind surfing and some small sail boats.
I called Normandy Farms and we can get into the no hook up area with no reservations so we will get there for tomorrow night. They have us down for the bus tour into Boston. It takes six to make the tour. They felt they could get that. If we like the tour we will try the Plymouth, Cape Code one. After that I walked the beach, a couple of miles and sat awhile and looked out over the lake. Then got E-mail and worked on the computer. We have a dump here and can get water and the same at Normandy Farms. From Normandy farms we also want to take a look at the south beaches of RI and certainly pull the 5th in RI as it is just a few miles away. It will cost us $24.00 a day so hopefully Boston the first day, go to the RI beaches on our own the second day and the Plymouth/Cape Cod tour on Friday and head out on Saturday morning. That would be four nights at $24 or $96 and the two tours would be about $270.00 or we could consider doing that on our own. From there to Niagara Falls is about 400 miles but all Interstate.
SEPTEMBER 3, 2002
Normandy Farms CG near Foxboro, MA $24.00 no hook ups but had water, shower, dump available.
We left Cumberland Bay CG at 7:30 am, we dumped, flushed with good pressure and filled with water. We took Interstate south and then went out on Crown Point to Chimmney Port for a shorter bridge. The road in VT was rough; especially through the Green Mountains. Middlebury, VT was a college town and had a lot of history. The Green Mountains were about 2500 feet high in this area but to the north they reach over 4000 feet. They have lots of hardwoods with some conifers and some rocky outcrops. The town looked quite New England again in VT. We got on the Interstate 89 and angled south east to NH and across it on I-93 and in MA got on I-495 the outside loop around Boston. I want to check the history on Crown Point and Middlebury, VT. We had trouble with the last corner to Normandy despite very good directions. It just needs a sign or a better street sign.
It is an uptown place but expensive. We are parked in the Safari no hook up area but they have nice bathrooms, showers, water nearby, dump and water filling. They also have a pool, programs and of course the reason we came tours of Boston, Plymouth/Cape Cod and Newport and we are close to RI. They have four signed up and need two more for the tour to be a go for tomorrow. We re-parked to get under some trees so we had shade to the west. We talked to NS1K who works here and he said they have enough for the Cape Code tour tomorrow so if need be we will switch to that and try Boston on Thursday or Friday and on an off day do a day trip to RI.
September 4, 2002
Normandy Farms $24.00 no hook ups but water close by, good bathhouse, dump,rec center, Internet, games, etc. Check out 2 pm
We took the tour to Boston, MA it was about $57.00 each and we seen the Boston Tea Party, USS Constitution, Bunker Hill, Copps Hill Cemetary, Old North Church, Fanueil Hall at Quincey Market, Harvard Square and Longfellows house. We seen the BIG DIG where the tranist system and roads are all going underground in downtown BOSTON and the existing roads will be torn out and turned in the Rose Kennedy Greenway.
The traffic on I-95 around Boston is terrible. A lot of the businesses that employ people are in that area so actually the traffic out of Boston is bad in the morning. The town is of course all tore up with the big dig but even without it the streets wander around in the downtown area as the water dictated they go where the land was. The buildings are old so the streets are for horses so lots of very narrow on ways, very hard to park so sure was glad we took the bus tour. It is not the place to drive even a car unless you are familiar with it!
SEPTEMBER 5, 2002
Normandy Farms $24.00 (see previous days)
Today we took the tour to Newport, RI. We enjoyed it a lot. We seen the Breakers Mansion of the VanderBilts, walked on the Cliff walk, toured Trinity Church-first steeple type church in New England and then the harbor tour and then the ocean drive tour of the mansions. Many went to RI for religious freedom. Seeing all the sailing boats redoubled my interest in sailing.
We seen where the Kennedy's were married, where Jackie grew up and the summer white house and the Eisenhower House.
On the way back the air line on the bus broke when we hit a railroad track so the pressure was down lower than what they felt was safe to transport people so they made arrangements with the KOA Campground to come and get us, drop off the KOA people and take us to Normandy Farms. The other campground cooperating is Circle Farms. Once you have some insight on Boston and the commuter trains, buses and sub-ways you could go in that way as long as you knew where it was safe.
One suggestion is to check Grey Line tours and commute to where they leave and take them say in New York, Los Angles, Washington DC, etc. Most places have some sort of tour company.
September 6, 2002
Service area on I-90 Free
We got up early and drove to Plymouth and seen Plymouth Rock and the Mayflower II replica and found the International Cranberry Center had moved after about 30 minutes of driving and asking. It said they had moved to the Eva Railroad. On the way out I spotted a sign to the Eva Railroad about 8 miles away so we ran over and found it but no center. On the way in I had seen a sign for a cranberry farm so ran in and found some guys. They did not know where the center was but told us where some harvesting of not ripe berries for white juice was going on. It was close by and we got some pictures and talked to the farmer. The berries were floating on the water and they had a crew with a long float net dragging the berries into and area where they had a suction pump the sucked up the berries and dumped then into a truck. The farmer said some people use elevators but the pump is a lot more effiecient. He said they flood the patch with about 6 inches of water and use pickers which are home made and they knock the berries loose and since they are hollow they come to the top. The bottom is sand and peat and pretty hard so they don't get stuck.
On the way out I stopped at the farm again to thank them and they showed me their pickers and also dry hand pickers, a machine to shape the dikes and also a sanding machine where they put about 1 inch of sand on the ice to get a bed for the next year. They also use herbicides to keep down the water weeds. We certainly appreciated these fellows explaining it to us. The red berry harvest season was a few days away.
We then went back to Normandy, got packed up and headed out. We drove through RI with the trailer and got about 100 miles west of Rochester on I-90. It was a long day and noisy at the service area where we slept but at least the trucks right by us were off. We now know it is OK to sleep there but we were not sure at first.
September 7, 2002
Earl Rowe Provincial Park $17.09 US money, elec, water faucets but not hooked up, showers
and flush toilets and fixed dump station.
We got through Buffalo and into Canada OK. The gal wanted to know how long we would be in Canada and got a little grumpy when I hedged and said we were going to the UP so told her I did not know but maybe 2 or 3 days. Never even looked at our ID We missed the turn to the falls and went around and tried again and seen the floral clock and kept following the signs but it was a long ways back up the river but finally got to it. We had to go by about 1 miles to park the RV but was there before 10 am so they were not charging so did not have to pay. The buses were not running yet so we walked other wise we would of had to pay if we used them as the bus use was part of the parking fee. It was a nice walk down and we got lots of pictures. We got damp from the mist but had our rain coats so did not get wet. The breeze was really coming down the valley off the falls even though there was no wind it created its own draft. We walked on down and got tickets for the Maid of the Mist which were $12.50 Canadian so very reasonable. You take an elevator down and then walk down some ramps to the boats of which there are about 3 or 4. It was nice and they get you up close to both falls.
Our friends from Washington were right. You might as well forget the AMERICAN side and just go to the Canadian side as you can see so much better. The best view is the lookout by the ticket booths for the Maid of the Mist boat ride. Just go to the right up the ramp and go up to the top look out. From there on the left you can see the American Falls and to the right the Horseshoe Falls on the Canadian side.
We then walked back up the river past the American Falls and toward the Horseshoe falls and the mist was not nearly as bad so we got some good pictures.
The right hand part of the American falls is the Bridal Vale falls. It is separated with a man made cement wall and people were out on a look out there. There is also a tour in behind the Horseshoe falls and other things to do. There are hotels and look out towers the people can stay in or go up. There are lots of flowers along the river and it is nice. If one goes to the nature area, starts with a D you could park free. There is a turn off to it between the regular parking which fills up fast and the RV required parking area and when the others become full the car area. No room for RV's at the Nature area but there are room for some cars. It appeared some locals knew about it.
From there we headed for Toronto and north for Lake Huron. We headed north before we got to Toronto on secondary roads and eventually got to the Earl Rowe Provincial park. There are a lot of oil roads and they all are pretty good. We ran into some good sized towns north of Toronto. Lots of vineyards, truck farming but also corn and soybeans, alfalfa, fruit and small grain. A few dairy farms. It looked like a lot of it was going into acreages for people.
SEPTEMBER 8, 2002
Killbear Provincial Park Ontario $17.08 US, electricity and water faucets available, dump
We left about 11 am and the traffic at first on 400 was very busy as it is the week end and there are some big towns and lots of things along the road. Once it split and 400 was off on its own it got better. We got diesel reasonable at 60.4 cents a liter and soon got on the two lane and the trraffic was not bad. There are sections of 4 lane as we went north and places where they are making it 4 lane so soon it will be 4 lane a long ways north along Lake Huron. We worked Holly easily in FN05 and then got to the CG in about 45 minutes from then. The sites are a bit tight but got a pull through right down by the lake and went swimming. The water is very clear, sat on the beach. I then looked at the battery situation but since the 12 vdc ones have posts and the 6 vdc ones do not I decided to wait. I need to try and figure out why the wire from the pickup is not getting to the battery or at least does not seem like it is. It is powering the running lights so is getting from the F-350 to the 5th. I have a sked with Holly and Nolan at 9 pm tonight and then will try and work them tomorrow.
SEPTEMBER 9, 2002
Chutes Provincial Park Ontario $17.08 US electricity, water faucets, dump
We had good traveling and found Ontario to be very pretty but a lot more people living, traveling and working that I would of ever dreamed. We got to Chutes Provincial Park and found a nice spot but because of all the people I just did E mail and set up elsewhere to work Holly. It was a bad day for E-mail, something happened and my messages did not get to Holly so ended up calling a couple of hours for nothing but eventually succeeded in keeping the record intact. There is a very nice waterfalls by the CG.
SEPTEMBER 10, 2002
STRAITS STATE PARK MICHIGAN $22 $18 plus $4 park fee, electricity, water faucet, dump
flush toilets and showers
We went over the high bridges at Saulte Ste Marie and toured the locks and also took boat tour through the locks. It was very nice and we seen our first SD car that know was actually traveling from SD. They were from Douglas County license #25. It was chilly on the boat ride but learned about the locks, also seen a great film at the Army Corp of Eng. Park. The welcome center in MI did a nice job and got lots of camping info and maps.
Since we had no dinner we went out for Pizza and had ice cream at McDonalds
SEPTEMBER 11, 2002
Bewabic State Park Michigan $14.00 camping and $4 state park fee, elec. Water faucets and dump, flush toilets
We went over the Macanac Bridge and back to the main park to Michigan. It is the longest suspension bridge in the world. We also got pictures from the lookout in the State Park. We went to a good breakfast buffet and got some groceries. We then went west on Hwy 2 and got some pictures of Lake Michigan and some sandy beaches. It was a long trip, lots of construction and traffic and towns. We barely got to the grid sked in time and I thought we would have an hour to kill. Also seen what looked like a balloon on the back of the 5th nd when I went back found it was a bulge on the edge of the tire just small than a volley ball. When I was looking at it, it blew. Really made me jump. One would not want to be close with your face as you could get seriously hurt. To my surprise it did not go flat for quite awhile so was able to drive into a lot and get turned around before changing it. First tire trouble on the 5th of the trip and this was a tire manufacture problem. I need to consider and check into 15 inch rims and tires as we seen a 5th at Chutes that had them. That way on can get E rated tires.
Had some noise and took about 45 minutes to work Arliss and Nolan but given we are at 500 miles and 4 pm in the afternoon it is amazing we are able to do it at all.
We got into the state park and managed to get up on the hill and backed in without a lot of trouble so that sure makes it nice so I don't have to leave for the sked at 9 pm. We also got pictures of the MI and WI state signs so we have that done. Still having trouble with my directions.
SEPTEMBER 12, 2002
ASHLAND CITY PARK $20.00 ELECTRIC, WATER HOOKUP, DUMP, BATHROOMS AND SHOWERS RIGHT ON LAKE SUPERIOR
We went north up to Houghton and was along Lake Superior. The Wisconsin Technical College was there and they had a some nice antenna's but nothing for six meters. We worked Holly, Arliss and Nolan from there for EN57. We then headed south and a little before we got to WI on Hwy 2 the front drivers side break was really grinding so stopped at the WI welcome center and got a map and found out there is a nice city RV park at Ashland and a Ford dealer. We got parked and I ran out to Ashland Ford and was blessed as they got me right in. Found out I really needed all four break pads and definitely needed the front two disc's turned down and did not do the back ones. I will have that checked when I get home. Really did not cost any more than what it would of at home I am sure at $257. Really blessed to get it fixed. Edith called Deloris and also Joan Stickney who has a large empty lot next to her so we will head for there and park tomorrow night. We found a spot by the baseball field to work from tonight to contact Holly, Arliss and Nolan.. This is a nice park right on Lake Superior!
SEPTEMBER 13, 2002
Free lot by Joan Stickney in Virginia, MN
We had a good drive from Ashland to Virginia. We seen lots of shipping facilities for Lake Superior at Superior, WI and Duluth, MI. Duluth is kind of hilly. North of Duluth we stopped at a rest area on Hwy 53 which is a 4 lane divided hwy and worked Holly and Nolan. We got to Virginia a little early and missed Joan's house the first time but found it the second and got permisssion for parking in the lot beside her. Actually it is owned by someone else and they have not been paying taxes on it. Joan showed up after a couple of hours and we had a nice supper and then she took us around town.
I spent over an hour trying to work W7XU but could not make it. I sent S-2 right to the end of the hour. Unfortunately she was sending Roger S2 when I quit so maybe could of made it. I sent an E-mail to try again at 7 am.
SEPTEMBER 14, 2002
Free lot by Joan Stickney in Virginia, MN
Got up a 7 am and made it quite easily with W7XU even though I was not hearing that well. Completed with N0LAN by 7:30 am and sent E-mail I was heading for EN47. I ate breakfast and left. I had to go farther south than I expected to get far enough east to get into EN47. Holly did not show up until about 10:02 but heard her instantly and it was tropo and we made all three contacts instantly. It was national forest land and lots of activity, probably bow season. I headed back for Virginia and got diesel and worked on the computer. We are going to head home on Sunday morning, likely making it to around Fargo which is 250 miles and then making the last 250 miles on Monday, getting home September 16th about 88 days on the road.
SEPTEMBER 15, 2002
FREE PARKING AT SIOUX CASINO NORTH OF WATERTOWN
ELECTRICITY, DUMP AVAILABLE
I took a picture of Joan and Edith and we headed out. It was a nice day and we went west of Virginia through the lake country. We eat at a buffet at Welch, MN and headed on for Fargo. We seen two SD cars in Western MN. We checked at Sica Hollow and found it to be buggy and the spots tight and deserted so some concern about Indians being drunk and coming in so we headed back to Interstate. In the fall during foliage change it would be a nice drive, go to Burghardts, tour the Sisseton Hills and Sica Hollow and walk the trail. We could do next fall as we should have a SD Park sticker. We then headed south and decided to see if we could park at the Sioux Casino north of Watertown. We found out we could but needed to register and we even got electricity free and they have a sewer dump. We did eat at the café but no buffet but it was reasonable enough. Tomorrow we will go to SF and get Edith's pictures started and get some groceries.
SEPTEMBER 16, 2002
GOT HOME AROUND NOON! 88 DAYS ON THE ROAD AND 16,664 MILES.