We left Campobello Island by 9AM to allow time for two border crossings. The first one at Lubec, Maine took about 15 minutes as they decided to search the trailer. We had to pull off the road and open the slides so the agent could look around. We learned that citrus fruits are not allowed to come into the USA. Steve wondered why. Where do they grow oranges in Canada? I replied (be prepared it’s a Chari joke ahead), “That’s how they make frozen orange juice!” The agent told us when we come back from Canada this Fall to make sure we do not bring any fresh vegetables or fruits with us. He said the US agents are very strict about this. He went on to tell us that even if something is purchased in the USA and taken into Canada the product then is considered to be Canadian. We drove on down ME 189 to US 1 north to the Calais/St. Stephens crossing. We entered Canada after showing our passports, Opal’s papers and answering a few questions. The trip continued for the next 4 hours along Canada 1to NB 114 and on into Fundy National Park. Canadian National Parks charge a daily entrance fee. Since we’d be here for two months it was a no brainer to buy the yearly Discovery Pass that gives you free entry into any park or historical site with an admission charge. There was a senior discount of $10 for each of us. The break-even point for buying the pass is staying at a national park for seven days and or visiting seven sites. We are staying at the only campground in the park that offers RV hookups. That is Chignecto campground. Our site is a very private and wooded site with water and electric (30 amp). There are a few full hookup sites in the park. After setting up we just relaxed and enjoyed a warm but comfortable evening.
The next day we spent time at the Visitors Center, bought our hat pins and picked-up a free Canadian Parks Passport Book for the Maritime Region. There is a different book for each region. Needing our mail forwarded to Canada means a bit more planning than usual as we need to allow time for it to pass through Customs. We’ll use UPS next day delivery and allow a day or two extra just to be sure it will arrive before we leave. The Park Visitors Centre at Fundy will accept mail. We also registered for a photo safari with the leading park photographer, Brian Townsend, for the following day.
Not being sure how my ankle would deal with a hike we opted to do a short, easy walk to the Wolfe’s Point Covered Bridge. The tide was at its low point then and the bay was empty. We plan to return for a sunset photo and higher tide if timing cooperates. The covered bridge was built in 1992 using traditional techniques creating a lovely spot. Then we made a trip into Alma, the only town nearby to check on times for a coastal kayak trip. With a few hours left we took advantage of the “heated” saltwater pool in the park. Fundy NP offers as much nature and solitude as you want or the more modern resort amenities of a swimming pool and golf course. The scenery is exquisite wherever you go here.
July 17th dawned a postcard day with brilliant blue skies. It was a made to order day for our fourth wedding anniversary. We’ve certainly packed a lot into four years! No time to waste, we needed to be at the workshop by 9am. The photo safari was attended by seven people and ran about four hours in length. Unlike most of his groups this one was composed of serious amateurs with digital SLR cameras. The first half was spent on camera basics. Regardless of how long you’ve been photographing a review of basics can always teach you something. This was no exception. Brian Townsend has been living in Alma and photographing the area for over thirty years. He took us to three locations in the area where we practiced framing a shot and picking appropriate foreground elements.
When the workshop ended it was lunchtime. We asked Brian for suggestions on where to find a good lobster roll and chose one. That was our “anniversary dinner”. After tending to Opal we headed out on a scenic drive along NB 915 to find Mary’s Point Shorebird Reserve. Along the way we stopped at Cape Enrage for some evening photos. We had some difficulty finding St. Mary’s Point and when we did there wasn’t a bird to be found. This is the major stop for Sandpiper migration, which usually peaks the last week in July through the first week of August. We knew we were a bit premature but hoped there would be some early arrivals. Later in the week we did see some small flocks at Hopewell Rocks. They stop here to feed on mud shrimp and gain weight. Then they fly non-stop to South America. With no birds around Opal was able to have off leash beach time.
Mostly we drove backroads as my ankle persisted in being painful and swelling. In fact it would take almost three months before it was healed. I’m still thankful I didn’t break it. On a drive to Sussex, about 40 miles away, we could have taken major roads but … we didn’t. We turned off on a dirt road that made the trip longer but a lot more interesting. We found a remote campsite that would be great but there’s no way we’d bring the trailer down this road. At one point in our exploration we turned to follow a sign saying covered bridge. We never did see another sign or a bridge and gave up when the “road” began to look like an ATV trail. Some places had been clear cut and were rather ugly while others were in bloom and beautiful. We came upon an old church with a graveyard listing the original settlers in the area. In Sussex we stopped at the Visitors Center to ask about some covered bridges in the area. This town is known for murals on buildings but we didn’t have time for the tour. Is this where we say “when we come back”…?
Even on the road there is the “to do” list of laundry, grocery shopping and cleaning house so a few days were spent on chores too. The evenings were mild and bug free so we enjoyed sitting outside with a campfire. With wooded sites we don’t get TV reception on our satellite but fortunately we do have a lot of prerecorded shows to watch. Our mail came through to the Visitors Center just fine so we had a few Netflix to watch as well. The park WiFi is slow, available only at the camp office and you are limited to about 15 minutes every 24 hours. We shouldn’t complain, as it is free. We did find a better WiFi at the local pizza place in Alma. While many RVers don’t consider Canada “foreign travel” navigating the where to find this or that, different currency (i.e. coins for $1 and $2, no pennies etc.) and getting mail through customs quickly is a learning curve. So far, so good. Our next post will be about doing one of our Bucket List items.