Travels with Barrie and Val - The Big U Turn, Part 3

Saturday, September 22 - Monday, October 1st

Well. We're still here in Indian Harbor, which is actually 3 k from Peggy's Cove. The weather has improved and we have decided to stay until this Tuesday, October 2nd so that we can take a trip over towards Annapolis Royal. We were going to stay there in an rv park, but decided against it as the trip from there to St Andrews in N.B. would be a longer trip.

We haven't been doing too much since the 21st. Mostly hanging around this area. We have to get it out of our head that we are not on a continuous vacation. This is our lifestyle for the next year or so. So we try and live as if we were in our own house, which we really are; and take the odd trip to see a few places. One thing about rving that we have found out pretty quickly. The longer one stays in a campground, the cheaper it is. So we were on a weekly rate of about $17.50 a night until last Friday, the 28th. But now we have decided to stay until Tuesday, we are up to about $20.00 a night. But this is a pretty good rate. At St Andrews, the campground will probably be around $30.00 a night with taxes. And since we don't want to spend a whole week there, we can't get the cheaper rate. Most campgrounds give you a free night if you stay for a week. Pay for six and stay seven nights.

I am now officially retired as of Friday, the 28th. A nice feeling. Another thing I did today was cancel my AOL account. Which leaves us with no internet access from our laptop. But I will now be using my hotmail account,, which I started using yesterday. Hopefully, all of you received reports one and two. It just means that when we want to access hotmail and the internet, we will have to do it through libraries and schools. But for text ony email, I will be signing up later on today with PocketMail. For those of you who are not familiar with this system, a quick explanation. PocketMail works with a Sharp organizer that has a built in analog modem that can be used with a regular phone or, with a cell phone. This means that we can keep up to date with our emails on a daily basis. But it also means that anyone who wants to send us an email on our PocketMail address has to follow certain rules. Which are:

1. Limited to a page and a half for an email. Including the address portion.
2. No attachments of any kind.
3. No fancy stuff like pictures or other type of imbedded files.

If you follow those rules, I will receive the email. But I suspect that if you don't you may get a return email saying it can't be delivered.

Tuesday, October 2nd - Monday, October 8th

Well. We decided not to go to Annapolis Royal. Another time perhaps. Today we go to St Andrews by the Sea in New Brunswick (NB). We left around 9 a.m. When we got around Moncton, the winds were really strong but the Airstream handled it really well. No swaying at all. Unlike our experience on our way over from Cape Breton to Halifax when I forgot to tighten up one of the sway bars! And it was really windy there as well. That was an experience I learned a lot from. Always double check your trailer and hitch before leaving the campground. Leaving that experience aside, we arrived in St Andrews around 5 p.m. at the Kiwanis Ocean Side Campground. This campground is right at the eastern end of St Andrews and right on the sea. It's actually in the town. A really nice site. We decided to stay for a week so we paid for six nights and got one free. About $27 a night plus taxes.

I was really impressed with St Andrews. It's such a pretty town. Half the houses are over 100 years old. Apparently, the Loyalists in the States, took their houses apart, moved to St Andrews and re-assembled them there. So when one walks around the town, there are a lot of New England style homes still in excellent condition.

During our stay, I convinced Val that she should join me on my daily walk. We walked from one end of the town to the other. Then, the next thing I know, Val is walking beside me and the next thing is she's falling down. Well, we ended up at the emgergency department of the local hosptial in St Stephens, which is about 25 minutes away. It turned out that the ligament tore away from the ankle bone and took a bone chip with it. No cast, but Val was immobile for a few days.

After getting over Val's experience, the next day, we checked our Pocketmail on the public phone at the campground and then went to the library to check our Hotmail. But that wasn't so great as they only give you 15 minutes. We had noticed and internet café in town, so we decided to use that. The cost was $2.00 for 20 minutes. Not too bad.

What did we do in St Andrews. Well, we basically just hung around town. Of course, we had a couple of restaurant meals on the waterfront. They were great! When Thanksgiving came along, we booked a table at the Algonguin Hotel in St Andrews. It was a great meal. Non of this nouveau cuisine stuff with big spaces on the plate! They weren't huge portions, but they were quite ample. The hotel had changed since we were last there in 1981. They added another wing in 1993. And it's air-conditioned! Roger take note!

Tuesday, October 9th - Friday, October 12th

Well, it was time to start heading back to Ottawa via Montreal. We started out at 8:05 am Atlantic Standard Time, 9:05 Ottawa EST. The Windstar performed well, handling all the hills really well. We got to Quebec City around 5 pm and we decided, (I decided) to continue on to Montreal and save ourselves and overnight stop. Well, I hadn't pulled the Airstream at night or in rain. Of course, it started getting dark and it started raining around St Hyacinthe. Val wasn't happy! She had wanted to stop overnight in Quebec City. She was right! We finally got to the campground at St Phillip de la Prairie on the South Shore at about 8:20 pm. Over 12 hours on the road. In a car, I have done that many times, but when pulling a trailer, there's the added strain (read stress) of having to concentrate even more. I won't be doing that again.

We spent the next couple of days visiting my mother and her husband. We went to lunch at Ben's in down town Montreal. Ben's is a landmark site and has been there for decades. They are known for their smoked meat, which is fabulous. But Montreal sure has changed since I grew up there. The downtown core is really looking good, with many new office buildings. Parking lots where I used to park just aren't there anymore. As a result, after dropping my mother and Ernier and Val off at Ben's, it took me 20 minutes to finally find a parking spot about three blocks west and two blocks south. About a 15 minute walk. Next time I'll take a cab!

Friday, October 12th - Tuesday, October 23rd

After saying goodbye to my mother and Ernie, we left the South Shore headed for Ottawa. It was a good trip. We went across the Mercier Bridge and picked up highway 20, then up highway 13 to highway 40 which is the Trans Canada. We followed that into Ontario onto the 417. I had made arrangements with the Goodyear truck centre on Star Top road to change five of my trailer tires. The was a "voluntary" recall of the Goodyear Marathon tires. Some of the tires had shattered on some trailers, and on one occasion, had the destroyed one of the trailers holding talks. So I headed straight for the Goodyear centre on Star Top and they changed all five tires with the new "upgraded" tires. It only cost me $421. But I didn't want to start out on this long journey worrying about my tires possibily destroying themselves. Especially in some of the hotter environments of the US south.

After the tires were changed, we headed for our campground on highway 31 south in Greely. Of course, it had to start raining, and I took the Anderson road exit off the 417 which was a mistake as we had to go along a dirt (read muddy) road for about a kilometre to get to Bank St. (highway 31). The trailer was absolutely filthy.

We spent the next week and a half visiting the kids and friends. I also called in to work (read ex-work) to pick up mail. Of course, while I was there, we managed a couple of pub lunches at the Heart & Crown and (Dam. I hate it when I can't remember the name of a pub!!!!) another pub just down the street. A very pleasant time was had by all.

On Thursday, October 18th, I took the Windstar in for it's 50,000 k check-up and also to have them check a clicking noise in the front end. To make a long story short, they had to change the power steering rack and of course, they had to get it in from Toronto. Delaying our departure on the Sunday.

Tuesday, October 23rd - Thursday, October 25th

The part came in on the Monday. On the Tuesday we left Ottawa and headed for Iroquois to meet Bill Proctor. Bill has been full-timing since 1995 and spends his summers in a campground near the Iroquois locks and then heads for Arizona around the beginning of November. We had told Bill that we would overnight at Iroquois so he could see the Airstream and to say hello since we hadn't seen Bill and Doreen since last year. Bill bought a 1976 MCI bus last year and has been working on converting it into an rv bus. So we were really interested in seeing how they were progressing. So when we got there, Bill took us out to the bus. They have made considerable progress but they still have a lot of inside work to do. Bill has installed a new holding tank, replaced the air-conditioner with a heat pump, installed a large generator and a number of other things that I could never dream of doing. He hopes to have it ready for next year to go south with.

We left Bill and Doreen the Wednesday and travelled down to London to the Airstream dealer, Can-Am Trailer Sales. We arrived there about 4 pm and set up the trailer in their front court so that they could work on it the next morning. I had a wheel that had been locking up and the tv aerial was unusable after being fixed two or three times before. The next day, Thursday, the items above were worked on and fixed. We picked up a few supplies in the store, had one of the propane tanks filled, and we were on our way at 1:15 pm.

We headed east down the 401 for Milton, where we planned to stay until the following Tuesday before heading down into the States. We have some friends in Oakville who were keen to meet up and also wanted to see the Airstream. Unfortunately, the were very high winds, gusting up to 95 kph, and I was a little skeptical about driving in such conditions. But once we got on the 401, we found that the winds were coming from the west and were giving us a nice tail wind. So we had virtually no cross winds to deal with. If we had, it would have been a different story. Airstreams are the best trailer to tow, but even their aero-dynamic shape would have trouble dealing with 95 kph cross winds.

We arrived in Milton at the Milton Heights Campground and found that they were almost fully booked! But we got a site and un-hooked and set up the satellite and got a signal almost instantaneously. I'm getting good at this. But we'll see how difficult it is to get a signal down in the States. When I was in the office in Ottawa, I managed to find a site called Canadian satellite reception in the United States, I will use their settings to get my azimuth and angle of degress for the dish. I'll let you know how I do in the next report.

We had just set up when Val said that half the lights in the Airstream do not work, and the refrigerator and the radio are not working either. Boy oh boy!! (Try and imagine some stronger language and you'll be dead on!) We checked the breaker switches on the Airstream and also on the outside post where the power comes from. But they were all ok. But we switched them off and on just to be sure. No good! God bless cell phones!! I got on the cell and phoned Can-An. By this time it is 6 pm. I got hold of Kirk Thompson, one of the brother who are co-owners. I explained the problem and after trying a couple of things, Kirk said he would get hold of one of his techs who lives in Brantford, about 25 minutes away. I told him that it could wait until the morning as both our furnaces were working, the tv/satellite was working and that we would ok until the am. So he agreed that a tech would come out to us in the am.

Val had said earlier the she thought that whoever had worked on the tv aerial must have screwed down into a wire and caused a short. As it turned out the next day, truer words were never spoken. That is exactly what the tech surmised. He managed track down a couple of wires that got 90% of everything to work, but we still have a light by the door that doesn't work. He thought that the best thing to do was for us to go back to Can-Am,(Doesn't this sound familiar?? Report 1???) on the Tuesday when our time is up here at the campground. So that's what we are going to do. It will probably delay our departure into the States by a day, but what the hell. I'm retired!!!!!

I'll leave this report here and continue on with this little episode in report number 4. Stay tuned!!!

Barrie and Val on the roam

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© 2001 George McKeever / Laurenzerberg IceWorks / Last Updated November 29, 2001

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