Pre-Caravan – Bar Harbor, ME
We arrived at Hadley’s Point Campground in Bar Harbor, ME on Monday, June 6th. When we left Key West in mid-March, this was our ultimate destination. We were scheduled to meet the RV Caravan with Fantasy RV Tours here to continue into the Canadian Maritime Provinces on June 9th. On Tuesday we drove to the Acadia National Park Visitor Center and then onto to the trailhead for the North Ridge Cadillac Mountain Trail. This was a neat hike, starting in pine forest and then breaking out into more open, rocky terrain. As we climbed the mountain, the scenic views of the Atlantic Ocean became more vivid. The route was marked by stone cairns and blue paint blazes on the rocks. We made it to the summit and enjoyed a colossal view, just breath taking! I love hiking in places like this! After we had taken enough pictures, we descended back to the trailhead. It was certainly a faster trip going downhill, but I wouldn’t call it easier.
It was a good thing we climbed Cadillac Mountain on Tuesday, because Wednesday was a very rainy day. However, throughout the day we would get breaks in the weather and enjoy clear skies for a short period. I was able to take advantage of this to begin washing the trailer and making sure our tire were at the proper pressure.
We join the Caravan – Bar Harbor, ME
Thursday, June 9th, we left Hadley’s Point and made the short drive to the Narrows Too Campground to join the caravan. We checked in with our Fantasy RV Tours Wagon Masters, Bill and Anne. Bill measured the combined length of our truck and trailer (important information for our two ferry crossings) and they issued us all of our paperwork, nametags and hats.
All of us (There are 25 rigs in the caravan) spent Friday making our final preparations, grocery shopping, finishing washing the trailer, and adjusted our loads.
That evening we gathered for a lobster dinner, courtesy of Fantasy RV Tours. It was a great meal and good camaraderie with our fellow travelers. A good beginning for this adventure.
St. Andrews, NB
On Saturday, June 11th, we began our journey. We crossed the border near the city of Calais, ME. We are always unsure how border crossings will go. A few of our rigs were randomly pulled over for a physical inspection, but we were fortunate to answer a few questions and be sent on our way.
Our first stop was the Kiwanis Oceanfront Campground in St. Andrews, New Brunswick (NB). As per our instructions, we called our Wagon Master on our portable radio on our way in and they met us to guide us into our site. It was an easy back in with a great view through our living room window of the Bay of Fundy. After we set up, Pat and I spent some time wandering through St. Andrews admiring the homes and shops.
That night we all gathered at Bill and Anne’s RV for a campfire and pulled pork sandwiches for dinner. Another traveler, Fred, had his guitar and the two of us entertained our fellow travelers. Several asked us how long we had been playing together, and we told them “about twenty minutes, so far!”
The next morning we had a bus tour of St. Andrews that included the gardens. The town has a unique history as a “Loyalist” town. It was largely populated after the Revolutionary War by families that were loyal to King George III and migrated across the bay from Maine to the small town of St. Andrews. This greatly expanded the population and changed the culture of the town. Many of their homes were literally rolled to the shore on logs, rolled onto barges and off-loaded in St. Andrews. Many of these homes still exist today.
The next day, Monday June 13th, we drove to Ministers Island. You can only access Ministers Island over a sand bar at low tide for 5-6 hours. The island is called Ministers Island because one of the first Anglican ministers built his home there and the name stuck. Later Charles Van Horne, the builder of the Canadian Pacific Railroad, established a summer home on the island. This “cottage” is more like a small estate. It has a two-story barn and a 50-room home. The island has been acquired by the Province of New Brunswick and is operated by The Van Horne Estate on Ministers Island Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the nature and history of the island.
St. John, NB
On Tuesday, June 14th, we departed St. Andrews and drove 72 miles to St John, NB. Here we stayed at the Rockwood Campground.
One of our goals was to kayak in the Bay of Fundy. We had kayaked in Kachemak Bay in Homer, AK, which has the second highest tidal change in the world. The Bay of Fundy has the highest and we wanted to paddle there as well. We contacted a local kayaking shop and the owner gave us some great advice as to where we would be able to launch and have a good paddle. After an afternoon of off and on rain, we launched about an hour before low tide from the Irving Nature Area. We rode the tide out, and we had a light tailwind. We explored the area below some cliffs where we compared where we were in relation to the high water marks. They were easily twenty-five feet or more above us. We turned toward the shore and felt little to no tide. I think what incoming tide we had was canceled by the headwinds. We were rained on for about ten minutes but that passed before we made it to the beach.
On Wednesday morning, when we met our bus, we were pleasantly surprised to see our same bus driver, Charles, from the tour in St. Johns. Our guide, Gary, was a native of St. John and gave us a wonderful tour of the area. We visited the Martello Tower, that was built to defend the city during the War of 1812 but it was finished until 1814, after the war. We also spent some time in the St. John City Market (making a post-COVID comeback), and the Container Village (a shopping area made from old shipping containers). Gary did a great job and was very entertaining as well as informative.
One of the interesting sites was the Reversing Falls. At low tide the St. John River flows into the Bay of Fundy and looks like a normal river. However, at high tide, the Bay is higher than the river and the flow reverses itself and runs from the Bay into the river.
That night we gathered for a campfire and “Mountain Pies” made with pie irons on the campfire. While everyone was preparing their pies I entertained them with some folk music. Everyone seemed to enjoy both the food and the music!
Hopewell Cape, NB
On Thursday, June 16th we drove to Ponderosa Pines Campground in Hopewell Cape, NB. The tidal change is even greater in this part of the Bay of Fundy and we wanted to paddle it at high tide. The Fundy National Park and Hopewell Rocks Provincial Park would not let us kayak from their parks unless we were with their guided tours, so we found a site to launch in the town of Alma. We dropped our trailer at Ponderosa Pines and backtracked to Alma. We launched about an hour before high tide. The winds were higher and we had a delightful time fighting the incoming tide and the one to two foot waves created by the headwinds as we paddled out. We paddled through a small harbor that earlier in the day had been bone dry with ships braced on cribs to keep them from rolling on their sides. We found a small channel along the shore and found shelter in the calm water. We decided we were close to the tide change and rode the rest of the high tide back to our launch point. By now the winds had increased and, at times, we were surfing on three foot waves – what a ride! After we pulled our kayaks out and loaded them back on our truck, we treated ourselves to ice cream cones at the Takeout Grill.
We drove a very bumpy road back to Ponderosa Pines (our third trip on that road in one day!) to check back in with our Wagon Masters and finish setting up.
On Friday, we drove to Hopewell Rocks Provincial Park. There we were met by a park ranger, Ada, who gave us a tour of the ocean floor. As we walked on the beach, we were told that at high tide the ocean surface would be about thirty to forty feet above us. Ada described how the seaweed we saw didn’t grow from the sand and mud but directly from the rocks on the floor. The mud flats that were farther out in the bay provide a food source for migratory Sandpipers. Clams and other such crustaceans don’t do well because the tides are so severe. We went to the visitor center where she showed us a time-lapsed video of the tide change. After that Pat and I had some lunch and went back to see the beach and saw the difference and how much faster the tide was changing here, compared to St John and Alma.
Elm River, NS
On Sunday, June 18th, we drove to Elm River to see the Tidal Bore. A tidal bore occurs when a tide rolls into a river at the head of a bay. The ocean floor becomes shallower and the sides of the river funnel the water. This creates a small (sometimes big) tidal wave that rolls upstream. After setting up our campsite, we car pooled to Truro to see the wave. Unfortunately, it was not that big and a bit of a letdown. However, it was interesting to watch one inspired soul as he used the event to surf the wave up the river.