Walter and Sara On the road to who knows where
Sunday August 13th found us at Campers Haven just outside of Yarmouth Nova Scotia. It rained in the morning and then we had fog for much of the rest of the day. I did laundry and discovered that the WiFi worked pretty well at the laundry room since the antenna was on the roof there. Walter enjoyed a complete down day and gobbled up a book. We also decided that Walter’s sebaceous cyst wasn’t healing like we thought it should and that he needed to see a doctor again. Since there’s a high speed ferry from Yarmouth to Portland Maine (fast but not cheap) we made a reservation for the Tuesday morning ferry (8:30 am) and then got a reservation at Wassamki Springs Campground outside of Portland for three nights, hoping that would give us enough time to get the situation handled.

Monday August 14th, we went into Yarmouth and got our hair cut! This is always an interesting crap shoot and Walter got a very nice haircut and mine is okay but not great but at least I can see out from behind my bangs again. Next we checked out the ferry dock for the next day and then took the drive out to Cape Forchu where the Apple Core Lighthouse holds sway.

Cape Forchu Lighthouse Walter Cooke

There’s been a lighthouse here since 1840. The current lighthouse, which is concrete, was built in 1962. The building to the left of it is the old lighthouse keeper’s duplex. It now houses and museum and they were doing work on its exterior during our visit. There were lots of wild roses (Rosa virginiana) in bloom.

wild rose (Rosa virginiana)

And they had huge rose hips ripening on the bushes.

Rose hip wild rose

The lighthouse sits on a little point of land with False Bay to the north

False Bay Yarmouth NS

And lots of cool surf.

Surf on rocks False Bay NS

We walked the path around the lighthouse and realized that there was a trail down below where we could enjoy the nice weather. There was Seaside Goldenrod (Solidago semipervirens) in bloom here and along the roads too.    

Seaside Goldenrod (Solidago semipervirens)

There were several white wild rose bushes too.

White wild rose (Rosa virginiana)

And here and there we saw New York Asters (Symphyotrichum novi-belgii).  

New York Asters (Symphyotrichum novi-belgii)

The tide was out a ways revealing rocks covered with rockweed—a major sea crop here. They harvest it in the summer and sell it to be processed into alginates which are used in cosmetics and as stabilizers and thickeners in foods like ice cream and chocolate milk and into kelp meal which is used as a fertilizer (a great source of micronutrients for your garden).

Rockweed Cape Forchu NS

The surf on the south side of the cape was great too.

Surf on rocks Cape Forchu NS

We sat on a nice bench and enjoyed the sea breezes, the sun and surf.

Surf on rocks Cape Forchu NS  
And got a great view of the lighthouse from this side too.

Cape Forchu Lighthouse NS

We enjoyed this little hike even if they did name it Leif Erickson Trail in hopes of drawing a bit of attention to it when there is no link to the explorer here really.

There are some huge tide pools that form among the big rocks in places it’s hard to imagine water collecting.
Cape Forchu tidepool

On our way back to the truck I got a shot of one of the sailboats that was motoring by—this one with a bit of sail up.

Sailboat headed to Yarmouth NS

We found a nice bench overlooking the water for our lunch where we could watch the Semipalmated Plovers sitting on the rocks.  

Sempalmated Plovers

Every once in a while, some of them would take off and wheel around over the rocks.

Sempalmated Plovers

Having finished our lunch we headed back towards town past the little sandy beach on the cape which was full of people who had parked their cars all along the edge of the road. It was only about 68 but humid which makes it feel warmer.

Cape Forchu beach NS

Further along we stopped so I could get a shot of Bug Light on Bunker Island near the mouth of the harbor.

Bug Light Yarmouth Bay NS

Here’s a close up shot of the little lighthouse.

Bug Light Bunker Island NS

The next morning, Tuesday August 15th, we awoke at 6 am (ugh) and finished breaking camp (we’d done some of it the night before) so that we could be at the ferry terminal for check-in by 7:00 am. We checked in and then moved on to the pre-boarding inspection. We’ve crossed the border between Canada and the US many times (especially that year we went to Alaska) and for the first time ever they told us we couldn’t bring ANY fruits or vegetables from Canada back into the US. So I went into the trailer with the inspector and gave her a big paper grocery bag full of veggies and bananas. The good news is that they decided to ignore the meat we had in the freezer because fresh meat was on the no no list too!

We ate breakfast while we waited to board. They boarded all the cars first and then put the couple of RV’s and vans on and we were last. That’s because when you get to Portland you get to back off! And they are kind enough to put the big vehicles last to make the back up process as short as possible.

This ferry is a high speed catamaran that holds up to 200 vehicles and lots of passengers. Normally the 200 mile trip to Portland takes about 5 1/2 hours. But they were having a bit of trouble with one of the engines so they expected the trip to take between 6 and 6 1/2 hours. We pulled out on time and I went out on the side deck to take a few pictures. Here’s a a shot of the Bug Light as we made our way out of the Yarmouth Harbor.    

Bug Light from CAT Ferry

We passed right on through that little gap to the right and got a close up view of the shore.

Yarmouth Bay mouth

And then motored on by the Cape Forchu Lighthouse.  

Cape Forchu Lighthouse

I got a nice panorama shot of the cape as we went on by.

Cape Forchu NS

Then we settled in to pass the time until we arrived in Portland. The seas were a bit rougher than our trip from Newfoundland and the little kid behind us threw up. But things smoothed out in time. They played a Smurf movie on the TV screens which I mostly ignored and then showed a bad Sci-Fi movie about robots that was so dark and the sound so bad neither of us could figure it out which was no doubt all to the good. In between the movies they showed the news and we learned that someone had discovered a scorpion in a bag of bananas they had bought at the Costco in Halifax. Bingo. That must have been why they decided we couldn’t bring any fresh produce back from Nova Scotia.

We ate the lunch that we’d brought and at long last Portland’s harbor came into view. To the north there’s an old lighthouse that looks like it’s either stone or brick.

Portland Maine Harbor

Here’s a close up shot—I don’t know what caused the black staining.

Portland ME north Lighthouse

To the south there’s a newer looking lighthouse.

Portland Maine south lighthouse

There was a very nice sailing ship out cruising the harbor.

Sailing ship Portland Maine harbor

We arrived a little after 1 pm local time having picked up an hour going from Atlantic Time to Eastern Time. Walter backed off the ferry like the pro he is and we followed Carmine’s directions to Wassamki Springs Campground on the west side of Portland in Scarborough, Maine. This place wasn’t cheap but we had discovered that camping in Maine isn’t cheap back in June so we weren’t surprised. Our waterfront water and electric spot was $52.97 a night (tax included) after a 10% discount for being Good Sam members. We set up camp and then discovered that we’d put the trailer in site B-2 when we belonged in B-1. So we had to reconnect the the trailer (at least we hadn’t put the stabilizers up) and move it over one spot. See what happens when you get up too early?

The view from the spot was lovely. Here’s our view from our back windows taken the next morning when it was pretty and sunny.

Wassamki Springs campsite view

Our regular US cell phones worked here and we checked our messages and after 2 months there was one robo call hang up and that was it. Whoo Hoo! We hadn’t missed a thing. There was cable TV here with LOTS of stations. We had had no cable TV at any park in Canada so this was a big treat. The WiFi worked okay when we arrived in early afternoon but by evening it was a goner and it rarely worked while we were there. But our hot spot worked find so all was good. Walter had asked about immediate care places while we were checking in and looked up the one they suggested on the internet. It was just up the road so off we went.

They took Walter pretty quickly and the doctor informed us that the antibiotics had done their job by reducing the swelling and softening up the cyst and that she could drain it for him if he’d like. He said yes so that’s what was done. She thought that he probably wouldn’t need another round of antibiotics but gave him a prescription in case it really hadn’t cleared all the way up. If it flares up again then we can have the prescription filled. We were out of there by a little after 5 and I decided I could make dinner using what was in the freezer so we put off going to the grocery store until the next day.

His Medicare and Blue Cross Blue Shield medi-gap pays for all the charges on visits like this so it was worth it both in terms of peace of mind (since we didn’t know if there was something really serious going on) and in terms of dealing with unknown costs for us to have taken the trip on the ferry back to the states.

Wednesday August 16th was ‘one of those days’. When I was making our grocery list I noticed a puddle by the kitchen sink. Oh oh. On closer inspection we discovered that the pea trap under the since was leaking. Maybe it just needed to be tightened up? No, nothing that easy. The flange on one of the plastic pieces had broken. Now working under any sink is not an easy thing. But working under a trailer sink is even more fun—just less space. We set off to the local Lowe’s thinking all we’d need was a new washer thingie. Nope. A washer was not going to replace that broken piece. We needed to re-plumb it. Oh goodie. So we went home and looked at it again, and made measurements and I found us a local Ace Hardware to try. They are really better places for repairs than Lowe’s where they tend to sell stuff for all-new installations. Sure enough when we talked to the plumbing guy at the Ace he had just what we needed and if it didn’t work we could bring back the pieces we’d bought.

We stopped at the local Hannaford grocery store (they’re very nice high end stores and this one was really nice) and did our grocery shopping and then went home and did the plumbing repair. And it WORKED! Whoo Hoo! We had however spent most of the day dealing with it but hey it was fixed.

We also managed to make plans for the next 6 days of traveling (two places in upstate Vermont) and I ordered our mail forwarded for the first time in 2 months. So we really did have a pretty good day even if a great deal of it was spent on the floor in front of the sink.

Thursday August 17th, we drove into Portland and went to the Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s. After 2 months in Canada it was time to stock up again before we hit the road wandering again.

Friday August 18th, we awoke to rain. It let up some while we broke camp thank goodness. Then as we headed northwest out of Maine it began to pour. It rained hard for about an hour and then let up as we headed across New Hampshire and up I-93. By the time we crossed over into Vermont it had stopped entirely. So it was dry when we arrived at Moose River Campground in Saint Johnsbury, VT. We had a 3-night reservation for a full hook up site here. They honored our Good Sam membership for one night but Friday and Saturday night was full price. So we paid an average of $38.19 per night. We got into the back up site without a problem and got set up without getting wet—tada! The WiFi here worked wonderfully and the Cable TV was really good too. It stayed cloudy and rained off and on for the rest of the afternoon as we got up to date on the internet and Walter had fun channel-surfing.

Saturday August 19th, it was hot and humid. We’d talked about taking a hike in nearby St. Johnsbury Forest but by 11 am it was already 83 with a heat index of 87—too hot to be outside. So we stayed inside and I did the monumental chore of scrubbing our floor. It may not be many square feet but it has so many little nooks and crannies and tight spots that it has to be done on your hands and knees. I always consider it a major victory if I manage to get it done without kicking the bucket over!

I also spent some time starting to plan a possible route for us for the next 6 weeks (from here to Jackson Center Ohio via Canada. Labor Day is coming up (the last hurrah of summer) so we need to figure out where we’ll be so we can find some place to stay. No clarity yet, but we’ve made some progress.

It was sunny and cooler on Sunday August 20th. I did the laundry and while I was waiting took a stroll down to the Moose River.

Moose River St. Johnsbury VT

If you plan ahead you can get a spot overlooking the river here. And during the week, they usually have some of them open. We were just grateful to get a spot at all this past weekend.

There are moose carvings all over the park.

Moose carving Moose River Campground VT

And this big guy greets you as you come into the drive.

Moose carving Moose River Campground VT

It was still a bit muggy so after lunch we decided we’d just take a drive. We drove into St. Johnsbury and then followed Highway 5 north through the farmland and little towns of the area until we reached Crystal Lake just south of Barton.

Crystal Lake VT

There were lots of nice summer cottages both along the lakeshore and along the road. And there was a big patch of Spotted Touch-me-not (Impatiens capensis) in bloom in the verge.  

Spotted Touch-me-not (Impatiens capensis)

Along with tons of goldenrod. I’m not sure if this is Canadian Goldenrod or one of the 20 other goldenrods that grow in the area! I just know it lines the roads everywhere at this point in the summer along with Queen Anne’s Lace.


At Barton we caught I-91 south back to St. Johnsbury. It’s a lovely drive. In fact, it was prettier than the blue highways because you can see the surrounding hills/mountains.