A Cajun Christmas In New Orleans

NOLA Panorama

NOLA Panorama

We’ve been wanting to spend time time in New Orleans ever since we hit the road. This year (2016) we finally got here. Another sticker for the RV map. That only leaves 3 states in the lower 48 we haven’t camped in West VA, Ohio and Connecticut). We chose Bayou Segnette SP on what is referred to as the westbank area. Good choice as it has large sites, free wifi, free laundry and is only a 10 minute drive to the Algiers Point ferry to downtown New Orleans. The parking for all day was $5 and senior rate on the ferry is $1 each way. If you are lucky you might even get serenaded by the calliope from the Steamboat Natchez.

Steamboat Natchez In The Fog

Steamboat Natchez In The Fog

We spent the first day with friend and fellow volunteer from Red Rock Lakes, Marilyn, touring two of the six sites that are part of Jean Lafitte NHP. The first was Chalmette Battlefield (site of the 1814 Battle of New Orleans) and the other in Thibodaux, LA at the Acadian Culture Center. We arrived in Thibodaux just in time for a Ranger led walking tour of town covering history and architecture of the area. If you enjoy discovering the small towns and hidden gems of our country, don’t miss this walk. We saw original Acadian homes, Victorian homes, Art & Craft homes, Beau Arts buildings and even one of only two Second French Empire homes in Louisiana. We also learned about the Louisiana seal which depicts a pelican with 3 chicks ripping her own flesh to feed them. This was created based upon what the first governor thinks he saw. Truth, per the Ranger, is that pelicans never have more than two chicks and usually only one survives, no bird would rip itself to feed young and that until the late 20th century the seal also showed blood droplets. The Center hosts free events such as a Cajun music night and a local dialect of French discussion group to preserve the language. At one time it was illegal to speak the Acadian language. We ended the day with a meal at Fremin’s, once a pharmacy cum restaurant. Oh, those smoked oysters and gumbo!

Seal Of Louisiana

Seal Of Louisiana

Chalmette VC and The Battle Of New Orleans

Chalmette VC and The Battle Of New Orleans

Malus-Beauregard House

Malus-Beauregard House

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Victorian Home In Thibodeaux

Victorian Home In Thibodaux

Second Empire French Home

Second Empire French Home

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thibodeaux Cemetery

Thibodaux Cemetery

Day two was a walking marathon through the French Quarter. We started at the Old Mint, the only mint to have coined currency for both the US and the Confederacy. Currently it is also being used as the Visitor Center for the New Orleans Jazz NHP. Then we walked and photographed ourselves silly on the fabulous architecture and seasonal decorations. We returned to the Jazz park for a Ranger led walk on music and cuisine. If America is the melting pot of the world then surely New Orleans is the epicenter. We knew about the Spanish, the French, the Acadians, the Caribbean influence but Canary Island Islenos … we had no idea. We were still able to catch half of the free jazz concert by the NPS Arrowhead band too. Starving we stopped for a muffuletta and jambalaya.

Bourbon Street

Bourbon Street

The French Market

The French Market

Shabby Chic

Shabby Chic

The Cornstalk Hotel

The Cornstalk Hotel

Mardi Gras Beads On Balcony

Mardi Gras Beads On Balcony

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

muffuleta-sign

Landmark Eatery

OMG! The Food!

OMG! The Food!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Orleans Architecture

New Orleans Architecture

French Quarter Scene

French Quarter Scene

All That Jazz!

All That Jazz!

 

New Orleans From The Ferry At Sunset

New Orleans From The Ferry At Sunset

Being in a vibrant city at holiday time is special. We loved the decorations, the lights at The Oaks and most of all the Cajun custom of guiding Papa Noel with bonfires along the levees. Steve has put together a video of these events and our visit to Garvan Woodland Gardens in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Enjoy!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone!

 

 

 

 

Where Next #7?

After a wonderful time at Petrified Forest National Park it’s time to hit the road again. Full time RVers can’t stay still long. When the need to get moving strikes we call it a case of “hitch itch”. So where do we go from here? We’ll be driving more than 2200 miles over the next three and a half months.

Google Earth, RV, travel

Our Route February-May 2015

It is too early to begin heading north so we will spend February in Arizona seeing the Verde Valley/Sedona area, Tucson and Lake Havasu. Then on to Las Vegas and the Lake Mead Recreation Area for a visit with a kayaking friend from North Carolina.  We plan to see one of several Cirque de Soleil shows playing in LV.  On to Death Valley NP and three weeks in the central valley of California. Using this area as our base we will explore Sequoia, Kings Canyon and Yosemite National Parks, Fresno and perhaps Monterrey. By the end of March we hope to finally camp along the Pacific coast. April will see us exploring the Oregon coast, Portland and the lower Columbia River region. By early May we should arrive in the Seattle area to spend time with relatives. Meandering along the Olympic Peninsula to Port Townsend we will take a ferry to Whidbey Island. At Anacortes we catch the ferry over to San Juan Island for our next volunteer stint at San Juan Island National Historic Park from late May until after Labor Day.

After traveling through Nevada, California, Oregon and Washington we will only have seven states we have not yet visited with the RV. Our map is filling up! So come along and see what lies ahead for the DreamChaser and the three of us.

Up, Up and Away: The Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta 2014

Fiesta Balloon

Fiesta Balloon

Festivals are one of the activities we enjoy as we travel along in our RV. The Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta held every October is one of the largest balloon gatherings in the world. It had been on our Bucket List for a long time. Finally we were here. They do have RV sites in a field adjacent to the Fiesta but they are rather close together. If you’ve read our blog before then you know being crammed in is not our style. We chose to stay about 30 minutes north at Cochiti Lake in the electric and water loop. The park is located on land owned by the Cochiti Pueblo and the lake is a Corps of Engineers project.  It was a very easy commute to the Fiesta Park down I-25.

Keeping Track Of Steve

Keeping Track Of Steve

Coffee Now!

Coffee Now!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Balloon Truck Logo

Balloon Truck Logo

 

 

Another Balloon Truck Logo

Another Balloon Truck Logo

 

Balloon Crew Humor

Balloon Crew Humor

Another Day Begins

Another Day Begins

The Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta is one of the few balloon festivals that allow spectators to mingle with participants on the field throughout the event. This allows you to watch and ask questions. We talked with pilots, crews and chase teams and learned from them. Most hot air balloons are made in Brazil. The simplest balloons cost $25,000-50,000 while the special shape balloons are well over $100,000. Each balloon team is assigned a spot on the field marked with a letter and number. The field is huge. Steve paced it off and we estimated it was four football fields wide by twelve football field long. The reason the festival is held here at this time of year is the appearance of favorable winds which allow them to fly “the box”. They generally launch and fly south at one altitude then with a blast of the burner increase altitude and fly north back to the starting area where they come back to the original altitude. Repeating this cycle allows them to stay aloft for a long time. Each balloon waits for directions from the “Zebra” overseeing their launch. These are the launch directors wearing black and white shirts. They are responsible for keeping the balloons safely separated in the air. Not an easy task when you have over 300 balloons aloft! Hot air balloons must have an inside temperature one hundred degrees higher than the outside temperature to launch. That’s one reason they fly early in the day or towards evening. The chase teams follow the balloons when they begin final decent. Pilots try not to fly too far north of the field as this could cause them to land on an Indian Reservation. Chase teams are not allowed to enter reservation property without a native guide. Waiting for a guide when a balloon does come down on a reservation can add hours to the recovery time. The entire festival is dependent on volunteers and is so well organized that you are unaware of the complexity involved.

Balloon Pilot

Balloon Pilot

The Hot Air Balloon Museum

The Hot Air Balloon Museum

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Carnival Atmosphere

A Carnival Atmosphere

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta, hot air balloon

The Dawn Patrol

A few things we learned from our first visit to the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta are:

1) Plan on attending for the entire festival as cancellations due to high winds or inclement weather mean on average 6 out of 10 events will go as planned. We came for 5 days and both evening glow and farewell mass ascension events were cancelled. Not that we need an excuse to return but when we come back….

A Favorite Of The Fiesta -  The Kissing Bees

A Favorite Of The Fiesta –
The Kissing Bees

2) If you can arrive for morning events by 5am and afternoon events by 4pm then there is ample parking ($10) at Fiesta Park. Otherwise plan on using free satellite parking and the shuttle.

Early Liftoff

Early Liftoff

3) The online ticket purchasing site is a bit confusing for first time users. We had purchased specific tickets but with hindsight if you are attending multiple events the package of 5 general admission tickets would work better. Also in the future we will plan on one event each day as there is little going on mid day.

Early Morning Play

Early Morning Play

Bubble Fun

Bubble Fun

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Balloon Fiesta Museum is well worth a visit and is open year round. The festival also provides free activities for kids (of all ages), the Woodcarvers Championships, an information tent run by NASA and a variety of street performers. As we were leaving one day we stopped at a ventriloquist. He (the puppet) started talking to me. As I stepped up to have my picture taken he “jumped” and screamed as if I’d “goosed” him which, of course, made me laugh just as Steve snapped the picture!

She Did WHAT?

She Did WHAT?

4) Plan to dress in layers including hats, gloves etc. as it is quite cold both early and late in the day but warms quickly so you’ll be shedding and lugging the extra clothes. Wear comfortable shoes as you’ll be walking miles by the time you finish wandering from place to place. You won’t care though as you’ll feel like a kid in a candy store.

5) Bring your own food if possible. There are numerous food outlets but the cost is very high for what you get and in our opinion not all that great. There are tons of souvenir booths too but again we felt $35 for a T-shirt was a bit much.

Balloons Everywhere!

Balloons Everywhere!

There is no way we could give you the true experience of being here. We’ll try our best via a 16 minute video. This is one festival you need to see.

Beware Of Pirates

Beware Of Pirates

Puff The Magic Dragon

Puff The Magic Dragon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Humpty Dumpty Sat On A Wall .....

Humpty Dumpty Sat On A Wall …..

 

 

Ribbitt!

Ribbitt!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now On With The Show!

Now On With The Show!

Glacier National Park – Sculpted By Ice

Montana, Glacier National Park, waterfalls

Arrowhead Fal

We settled in for a long drive of about six hours from east of Butte, Montana to Big Creek Campground in the Flathead National Forest near the west entrance to Glacier National Park. Montana is a big state and distances on a map can be very deceiving. We chose to stay at the National Forest rather than at a campground in the park as we are on the upper limit for the park campgrounds. After looking at the sites later we were very glad we made that decision. Our site at Big Creek was large, wooded, private and offered lots of free firewood. The only downside was a two mile stretch of very rough road. Later we found another way in that while longer only had a short stretch of rough road. We are still dry camping but came in with a full tank of water. Good thing as the water connection was a long way from the trailer. The campground is along Big Creek, a major tributary of the Flathead River. The Flathead is a National Wild and Scenic River. The whole area is a fisherman’s and rafter’s dream.

Glacier National Park, Going-To-The -Sun Road

Along The Going-To-The-Sun Road

Glacier NP is half of what is called the Glacier-Waterton International Peace Park. This is the only park in the world dedicated to long standing peace between two countries. We didn’t get to Waterton this time but “when we come back… Glacier NP has been on my bucket list longer than I care to admit. I wasn’t disappointed. While I haven’t been to Machu Pichu (not yet anyway!) this is what I imagine it will look like. At over a million acres this is a huge park. There is only one road running through the park from east to west, The Going-To-The-Sun Road. It is 50 miles of the most gorgeous scenery we’ve seen since the Beartooth Highway. Completed in 1932 it is considered an engineering marvel and is a Civil Engineering National Landmark. On average it opens about mid June and is passable until mid or late September. This year it had opened only to be closed again by 2′ of snow, the same snow storm on June 17 that gave us a dusting at Red Rock Lakes NWR. The park averages 25′ of snow a year so plowing the GTTS is difficult and dangerous. Just east of the high point at Logan Pass drifts can be 80′ deep!

The drive , if you don’t stop, would take about an hour and a half. So for us, it was an all day trip on day one and about 3 hours on subsequent drives. From an area called The Loop to Rising Sun the road is cut into overhanging rock on one side and a low (18″) guardrail overlooking a steep (1,000-2,000′) valley on the other. I felt so small and insignificant in this vast wilderness. So you tend to crowd the middle line. We didn’t think about pulling in our mirrors and there was no warning sign. On the way back to camp we clipped mirrors with another truck and the driver’s side mirror shattered. From then on we pulled mirrors in! A bit like closing the barn door after the horse is out! Fortunately we were able to get repairs made in Whitefish about 20 miles away.

forest fire, black and white photography, Glacier NP

Silent Sentinels From Fires In 2003

wildflowers

Fireweed In Bloom

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

glaciers, lakes, Montana

Glacier Blue

mountain stream, photography

Soft Water

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

wildflowers

Late Summer Wildflowers At Glacier

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Black Bear

Our Only Bear

View Looking Up Lunch Creek

View Looking Up Lunch Creek

We’d expected gorgeous scenery but we weren’t expecting so many fabulous waterfalls. Lunch Creek is a favorite stopping spot both for a hike uphill to the falls and for sitting, wading and picnicking. Day two we had planned to take a boat ride on St. Mary’s Lake to other falls and go on a Ranger led hike. I say planned because after we got there and got unpacked, Steve couldn’t find the car keys. He tore the truck apart. Realizing we were not going to make the trip today, I changed reservations to the next day. He was going crazy and still not finding the keys when I returned. I started looking too. I went through my purse and…you guessed it, there they were. I don’t remember picking them up but obviously I did thinking they were my set. You know your husband loves you if ……. I do love her EVEN when she does things like this!

waterfalls

Swiftcurrent Falls

So what to do the rest of the day? We drove over to another area that is not on the GTTS Road called Many Glacier. Glacier NP is not named for the glaciers that used to be there but for the action of the glaciers on the landscape. As of now, it is expected that all of the glaciers will have melted by 2030. A glacier by definition must be 25 acres in area, 100 feet deep and be moving. We spent time along rushing streams, took photos along Swiftcurrent Creek and walked part of the Ptarmigan Trail. We’d started too late to get all the way to Iceberg Lake but met several people who were on their way back. All said it was well worth the hike. Another thing for when we come back. By the time we got to the truck it was dinner time and we still had a two hour drive back. It was getting dark and rainy. So we grabbed pizza to go and took the “long” way around rather than drive the GTTS in the dark and fog. We kept saying “bet this is beautiful if we could see it!” Opal was very glad to see us after 12 hours in the trailer. They keep telling me how beautiful it is but all I see is the inside of the trailer.”

Scenery In Many Glacier Area

Scenery In Many Glacier Area

Steve On The Ptarmigan Trail

Steve On The Ptarmigan Trail

 

Glacier National Park, photography

Against The Wind

We made the drive back to St. Mary’s Lake on Friday and took the 2pm boat trip. A ranger was on board and explained a lot of park history. We especially liked learning about the early period when the railroad had built an exclusive resort on the lake.  We cruised by Little Goose Island. There is an overlook for the island on the GTTS that is the most photographed place in Glacier NP. We tried to get sunset pictures after the cruise but Mother Nature only gave us thick clouds and no sun. After docking we took a 3 mile hike to two waterfalls; Barring Falls and St. Mary’s Falls. The scenery from the trail was spectacular! On the ride back we saw Triple Divide Peak. This is only one of two places in North America where water flows in three directions: to the Mississippi on the east, to the Pacific via the Columbia River on the west and to Hudson’s Bay to the north.

boat, St. Mary's Lake

Cruise Aboard The Little Chief

cruise, St. Mary's Lake

Beautiful Day On The Water

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Barring Falls

Barring Falls

waterfall

St. Mary’s Falls

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glacier NP, boat ride, St. Mary's Lake

Approaching Little Goose Island

Ranger Talks About Medicinal Use Of Plants

Ranger Talks About Medicinal Use Of Plants

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

triple divide

Triple Divide Peak

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

hike

View From Waterfall Hike

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We finally got to Logan Pass for the much heralded hike to Hidden Lake. Believe them when they say that the parking lot fills early. When we arrived at 9:45 we got one of the last parking spots. After that, getting a spot is like going to the mall the week before Christmas. Logan Pass is the highest point on the GTTs road. If you do no other hike, plan on this one. It’s about 3 miles to the Hidden Lake Overlook and 7 to the lake roundtrip. The scenery, the wildflowers and most of all the symbol of Glacier itself, the mountain goats make it very special. I only wish the guy that made the boardwalk had thought about people with short legs when he built the steps! At about 8,000 feet it was much colder. I was glad I had a pair of fingerless mittens in my camera bag.  Just when we reached Hidden Lake a few raindrops fell. We didn’t stay long as we could see the storm coming. About halfway down it really began raining and sleeting. Sleet doesn’t feel good on a bald head! Steve cut a black plastic trash bag and slid it over himself and his camera. Fine except that it was so tight he couldn’t move his arms. If he’d fallen he’d probably kept bouncing all the way to the bottom! My jacket was water resistant but by the time I got to the Visitor Center I was soaked through to the skin and very, very cold. I made a quick stop at the bathroom and when I came out the sun was shinning. People just arriving looked at me like I’d just gone overboard and been rescued. It was a long, cold ride back to the trailer.

Logan Pass, wildflowers

Wildflowers At Logan Pass

 

 

hiking, Glacier NP, landscape

Hiking To Hidden Lake

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

mountain goat

Ahhhhhhh!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Columbian ground squirrel, wildlife, Montana

Time For A Snack

nature, mountain goats, Logan Pass

Three Mountain Goats Along A stream

hike, Logan Pass, Hidden Lake

Hidden Lake Overlook

We’d hoped to do some kayaking but by the time we finished sightseeing and hiking the weather had become overcast and rainy with a “winter comes early” feel to the air. Guess we will just have to come back! We did drive up to one of the smaller lakes on the west side called Bowman Lake. The access is good until you start up toward the campground. This is suitable only for tents and truck campers. A rough, narrow dirt road but worth the effort as the lake is gorgeous. The rocks just below the water at the lake’s edge have so many colors. On the way back we stopped at the Polebridge Mercantile, a general store/bakery. We loaded up with cinnamon huckleberry bread (made great french toast), huckleberry bear claws and eclairs. Polebridge was one of the first commercial enterprises near Glacier NP. It still has cabins and a bar/restaurant with local musicians. A few buildings are from the original homestead.

Bowman Lake, Glacier NP

Bowman Lake

Color Under The Surface

Color Under The Surface

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Delicious Bakery!

Delicious Bakery!

 

 

 

 

 

 

These pictures barely do this park justice. You really need to come see for yourself. Have we just found a new favorite national park?

Make That Two For The Road

RV, fulltimers, travel,

Chari And Steve’s Travels For Year Two On The Road

WOW!!  Can it really be two years since we pulled out of our driveway in Charlotte, NC leaving life as we’d known it for a modern day Travels With Charlie or in our case Opal? The answer is yes. We have 65,500 miles on the truck to prove it. In 2014 we stayed in 39 campgrounds and travelled 33,500 miles with about 30% of the time pulling the trailer. If you want to look at the map above in full screen just double click over the picture.

The Gypsy And The Vagabond

The Vagabond And The Gypsy

We made our first international trip to the Canadian Maritime Provinces. Chari has learned to hook up and disengage the truck and trailer. As of last week she now has driven interstates, backroads and into a truck stop. Learning to back into a campsite is a goal for year three. Real women drive RVs! After eighteen months of being east of the Mississippi River we’ve now crossed over to explore the west for a few years.

We’ve also experienced the down side of mechanical failure and accidents. Even this hasn’t caused us to question our decision to continue the RV lifestyle. We love it. We’ve seen and done so much only to discover we’ve barely scratched the surface.

We are officially SoDaks now, that’s residents of South Dakota. This is one of the most popular states for full timers to use for residency.

Most of all we hope you’ve enjoyed traveling with us. What will Year Three bring our way? You’ll just have to pack your virtual bags and come along.

And now we return you to your regularly scheduled blog…

blog, travel, RV, explore

We’ve Come A Long Way, Baby!
(Year 1 Yellow and Year 2 Red)

Two Gems In Montreal: Rio Tinto Alcan and Jardin Botanique

For web Montreal pano

Here goes another attempt at keeping up with our “on the move” lifestyle. We’ll try to fill in the gaps as we can. We have five days in Montreal and so far the weather has been warm and sunny with just a tinge of Fall that says “enjoy it, it won’t last”.

One of our ongoing challenges when we visit a city is to find outdoor parking so our truck with the boats on top will fit. We’d planned on taking the train into town then catching the Metro but when we got to the station the times for mid-day trains weren’t good. So we headed to the park that was used for the Olympics, now home to the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium, Biosphere, Incline Tower and Sports Centre. Good parking found.

We spent the first afternoon at the Planetarium taking in two shows. At the first one we were on the floor in bean bags (Adirondack style seating also available) for an impressive light show and in very comfortable theatre style seats for the second show, a more traditional constellation journey. The new Planetarium is about a year old and full of exhibits for kids of all ages, even those in their second childhood. One exhibit showed a piece of stone estimated to be 4.28 billion years old. This rock is from the oldest geological formation ever discovered, the Nuvvuagittuq volcanic and sedimentary formation on the eastern shore of Hudson’s Bay in Quebec Province

geology, planetarium, Montreal

Oldest Rock On Earth

planetarium

Planetarium Exhibits

We considered riding the cable car up the Incline Tower for a panoramic view of Montreal until we heard the price. At $22.50 each it seemed a bit high. We had so much more to explore. Maybe next visit.

We returned to the same place and parked for our visit to the Jardin Botanique across the way. Due to construction we had to wind our way along a path following signs to the garden. With a bit of clairvoyance I said “I hope there are good signs coming back.” It was about a half mile walk to the gardens. We’d purchased tickets the day before along with our Planetarium ones so we didn’t have to stand in line. It seemed like the whole city was out enjoying the beautiful day.

This Botanical Garden is HUGE. How far we walked is only a guess but we estimate at least five miles in the garden alone.

Sometimes I’m amazed at our luck. We choose a location and arrive to find that a very special event is occurring. On our visit to the garden we found not one but two special events: Montreal Mosaicultures Internationales 2013 and the Magic of Lanterns. Referred to simply as MMI 2013 on the signs the Mosaicultures exhibition was to end in three days. It is an international show of 40 topiary sculptures scattered throughout the garden. This year’s theme was Land of Hope. The exhibition has been held in Montreal three times since 2000 and also in China and Japan. The last exhibition was in 2009. The topiaries range in size from three to over forty feet. While the large sculptures are very impressive our favorite was one of the smallest. It was a driftwood sculpture of a horse and colt called Hope (colt) and Odyssey (mother horse) by a British sculptress. She collects driftwood for her sculptures and does not alter the pieces. She then painstakingly intertwines them to get just the right fit. Look closely at the ear on Odyssey to see how she made a protrusion look just right.  According to the explanatory sign it took her months to collect just the right pieces.  another very impressive display was the Bird of Paradise Tree that towered over a reflecting pool and people below. The sign said there were eight different birds displayed: Hooded Grebe, Black-fronted Piping-Guan, Green Peafowl, Bali Myna, Fuertes’s Parrot, Indian Vulture, Ouvea Parakeet and Gunnison Sage Grouse. How many can you find? Remember the picture can be enlarged to full screen by clicking over it. Click again for a further enlargement you may need to see the birds in detail.

Montreal, garden, topiary

Birds Of Paradise Mosaic

The other event was the Jardin Botanique’s annual (September) display of traditional Chinese lanterns in their exquisite Chinese garden. Each year the Jardin chooses a theme and designs the displays during the winter months. Then the lanterns are fabricated in China and arrive by June. It takes about three months for the staff to set up the displays. Be prepared for crowds with everyone jostling for photo ops. Optimistically, I’d taken my tripod for the longer night time exposures. Forget that! All I did was lug it around all day and never took it out of the bag. It is well worth the time and crowds to see this display. It’s one of the most beautiful sights we’ve ever seen at a botanical garden. 

Chinese garden, Montreal

Building At The Chinese Garden

We thought the best way to share our experience would be with a video set to music. We used the following songs and artists: “Going Out Of My Head” by Smokey Robinson, “The Rain, The Park and Other Things” by The Cowsills, “Dance Into The Light” by Phil Collins and “You Light Up My Life” by LeAnn Rimes. The following movie can be viewed full screen by clicking on it. Remember to allow it to fully upload before viewing for best results. To view in full screen click on the diagonal arrow in the lower right-hand corner of the movie box.

After all day on our feet we were more than ready to get back to the car. We came out of the garden at a different entrance and started walking. We needed to go all the way around the Olympic Park to get to our parking lot. We walked, and walked, and walked for at least two miles navigating only by landmarks through empty terraces, stairways and sidewalks. Not the brightest bulbs in the pack, eh? We were never so glad to see signs pointing to the Planetarium! Finally our truck with boats appeared. Steve said “Well at least you didn’t have on a long skirt and high heels this time” referring to our walk in the dark back to camp July 2012.

There is enough to do in Montreal for six trips but we’re glad we chose to visit the Jardin Botanique on this visit. We hope you enjoyed the tour with us. Our next post will be about Old Montreal.

The Highs And Lows At Hopewell Rocks

Hopewell Rocks Header

(Chari) The first time I heard about the Bay of Fundy was when I was ten years old and read about it in National Geographic. I guess I started my Bucket List then. I wanted to see these almost fifty foot tides for myself.

In 2004 I finally traveled to New Brunswick, PEI and Nova Scotia for the first time. I not only saw the tides but kayaked for the first time at age 57. Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? (Opal here… Don’t get any ideas, Mom!) When I learned that you could kayak at Hopewell Rocks so you could be in both the highest and lowest tides in the same day I knew I had to return to do it. One item off the Bucket List and another one on the list. So that’s why my list never gets any shorter?

(Steve) My first trip to Nova Scotia was in 1997. I saw the tides from the Nova Scotia side and never went to New Brunswick. When Chari told me about Hopewell Rocks, I also put it on my Bucket List.

One of the first things we did at Fundy was to check the tide tables. If possible we wanted to kayak and walk on the ocean floor the same day. The weekend in the middle of our visit would be perfect. We called Baymount Outdoor Adventures to schedule for Saturday. Don’t worry if you visit when the tides aren’t available during daylight hours in the same day. Your ticket to the park is good for two days.

On Friday afternoon we received a call that high winds were predicted and the Saturday trip was cancelled. We rescheduled for Sunday morning. A twenty minute walk is required to reach the outfitter so it wasn’t feasible to use our own boats. We used their tandem kayaks. We’d be on the water an hour before the highest tide and return at maximum tide. A change of over 8 feet in an hour. The day we paddled the total tide change was 46 feet. When you watch the video we put together take special note of where the water is at the viewing platform while we were kayaking and again when we walked on the ocean floor later.

We had 3 hours between returning to shore and when access to the beach opened. During that time we had a picnic lunch and took a hike.

This trip was a highlight in our time in the Maritimes and contributed to 2013 being the best summer we ever had.

Enjoy the show! Popcorn sold separately.