Misc Liisa

Random musings

Archive for showers

Day 17- Another Ferry, More Angst and What to Do

We were up early the next morning and ready to get our $1/3 minute showers, which pretty much sucked in the weird 50’s style bathhouses with the strange art on the walls framed with branches and the stalls that had doors that only went down to your knees. I am fairly certain that at this rate I will never get my legs shaved properly again. After our quick showers, we went back and made some omelettes. Camp omelettes always taste pretty great and these made up for a lot of misery since we also had some cinnamon roles left.

Of course cooking a multistage breakfast cost us time getting the food cooked and the dishes washed before we could pack up and get out of camp and threw us off schedule. It irks Tom to no end that between showers and breakfast and cleanup and packup it takes about 2 hours to pull things together to get going in the morning. That is unless we compromise breakfast or don’t really clean, both of which you pay for later.

We got out of the campground about 15 minutes later than we planned, but still with plenty of time to get to the ferry and get in line. We ran into yet more construction, but made it there without any problems and were placed near the front of the camper line to get on board. Tom was really befuddled about why they only charge for the ferry going the other way. You pay for “round-trip” if you go from PEI to Nova Scotia, but you pay nothing going from Nova Scotia to PEI. It had cost us $250 for the passage on the ferry to Nova Scotia from New Brunswick, so I was grateful for getting a break on this leg of the journey.

While I ran over to use the bathroom, a guy from PEI came over to ask Tom about the Silver Shadow. By this point, Tom is thinking he should be charging $5 for tours. The guy turned out to own a B&B on PEI and told us that he loved the island because of all the farms. He said he’d been to Cape Breton for a wedding and wasn’t sure how people could live there since there was nowhere to have a farm.

This started a series of negative conversations. First, Tom is certain that we won’t get on the ferry. Even though we’re in line and it looks like it’s not that crowded. Then, he starts in with the “What will we do on PEI? Why are we going there?” It had become pretty clear that he didn’t want to go to the island, but the sites were booked and I think you can always find something interesting to see and do and everyone I’d mentioned PEI to said “oh, you’ll love it there!”

We ended up on the ferry with no issues and got Tenzin settled in the car and us settled in the lounge. Tom saw another porpoise out the window. This ferry prides itself on having a Cows ice cream store. It’s supposed to be some fantastic ice cream and there was a line out the door the entire time of the crossing. We headed to the cafeteria to grab some lunch and found people ordering poutine- which is french fried, coated in gravy with cheese melted on top and looked to me like a cholesterol nightmare. We ended up ordering some pizza and beef stew and a green slushie- weird combo, but it was pretty good.

When we got to PEI, we started driving toward the campground. The guy was right, it was dotted with farms. Tom thought it looked a lot like the midwest US, but I didn’t think so. The midwest has mostly sold out to factory farming and these were still small family farms. This one cows and that one potatoes and the next one with corn. Some had pretty victorian farmhouses and others very standard ranch houses. We were both disappointed that the architecture in Canada wasn’t any more unique.

We found that PEI grows new potatoes in the red clay-filled soil there that they are very proud of. Nearly every farm had a little stand out at the road where you could get a bag of potatoes and leave some money. They grown nearly 1/3 of all the potatoes for Canada on this little island and they serve potatoes with nearly everything. For a foodie, it was an interesting place because they were so agriculturally self-sustaining.

We got to Twin Shores Campground and found that it was the biggest campground we’d ever been in with more than 650 sites on both sides of a road and from one bay to another. I had asked for a spot in the trees and their sites were literally surrounded  by evergreens with very tight and angled entrances. Our first attempt at parking the camper wasn’t successful and Tom was nervous about the fact that people were watching from campers on either side of us. He insisted I drive back around and I had that one fleeting moment of being so annoyed with his snippishness that I considered leaving and leaving him behind. But instead I went back and we tried again and again and eventually got the camper to a good enough spot that we could move it by hand.

Tom went for a run to try to reduce his tension and I set up camp and walked the dog while he was away. When he got back, we went for a walk on the beach of red sand. It was pretty, but Tenzin snuffled a bit in the sand and ended up with sand in his bad eye. We got back to camp and cleaned it out. Tom grabbed a 25 cent/5 minute shower and put on his Oscar the Grouch shirt as a warning that he still wasn’t feeling too good about being at PEI. I told him maybe he needed to wear it for a few days.

We got a fire going with some difficulty (more damp wood) and made fire pie pizzas and strawberry rhubarb pies for dinner. The people on either side of us had kids and popup trailers and with the amount of music and noise, we were starting to really understand why we’d never had children. I can’t imagine why nature would make the voices of little children so shrill and squeaky. A camper about 3 sites down from us had some serious country music blaring and I’m not sure what exactly an Ontario based camper has in common with the beer/tight jeans/out of work lyrics he was listening to besides his truck, but he definitely felt the need to share his musical interest.

We were pretty happy to get to bed once things quieted down and wondered at the noises outside the camper that night. I thought maybe some of the cheeky red squirrels were into something and drifted off to sleep hoping the next day would be more pleasant.

Pics from today are here- http://bit.ly/bEaiZg

Day 16- Separate Ways Down The Other Side

The plan for today is that Tom will get ready and help me pack in and hitch the trailer and then he will leave camp on his bike and I will drive the car and trailer with the dog.We figured that by this point I’d be sufficiently well versed in maneuvering the camper by myself (I’ve driven the whole way so far and have now gotten the trailer parked into 8 different sites).

We got everything packed in and ready to go pretty easily. We took the usual picture of Tom before his ride that we always take- the one I’ll show the police if he goes missing đŸ˜¦Â  He was planning to take a side trip off the Cabot Trail and we figured we might meet up in Ingonish or likely a bit farther south from there. We planned to meet in the parking lot of a glass studio, one where from the satellite image it looked like we’d have space to park the trailer and get it turned around. We checked our phones to make sure we could make calls to each other in case he needed me.

He took off first and I followed a few minutes later and then passed him on the road. I stopped at a shop and we crossed paths again so that I could see that he nixed the side trip. I enjoyed stopping at various look-offs along the way and taking pics, but I had to choose carefully to make sure I could get the car and trailer in and out without needing any spotting. I got myself into a jam at one place I turned into when I realized that there wasn’t enough space to make the turning circle. But I did find space to park and it was a beautiful spot. So I hung around and waited it out until the car that I needed to be out of the way to make the circle left.

I found few shops along the way that had the parking situation I needed, so I mostly stopped at look-offs and beaches. They were gorgeous. This whole side of the island is full of large pink granite rocks tumbling down to the ocean and the water was a glorious blue color. Tenzin was happy to nap in the passenger’s seat. I missed the turn off to a beach and pulled into the next drive and got the trailer a little stuck. I was patiently working to get it turned around when a guy ran over and asked about the trailer and offered to spot me. He was really helpful and I was able to get turned around in about 4 moves rather than 14. The beach at North Ingonish that I went back to was well worth it.

People chatter a lot about the teardrop trailer. “Oh, look at it!” “It’s so cute” “It’s so tiny” They chatter even more when it appears that a woman is alone with it. But they come over to talk a little less, which was nice. I just got to overhear their conversations. And I was pretty proud that I was doing well driving alone. I had been worrying about how to get through this section of the journey for weeks and it was going just fine.

After pouring the sand from my shoes into a bag to take home, I headed off again to be sure I’d be in place at the glass shop on time. There was an outrageous amount of construction going on and the roads were terrible around it. It made me worry for Tom. These Canadians are very serious about road work and we had run into quite a lot of roads that were in the middle of construction along the way. From there I headed up a mountain and then down tiny curving roads that were extremely steep. I had been passing and catching up to 3 cyclists most of the morning but hadn’t seen Tom since he didn’t make that turn. I was very worried about him riding down these hills. There was a ditch that was at least 6 feet deep and walled with the granite of the mountain on one side and the cliff off the mountain with a guardrail on the other. There wasn’t much room for error. I was thankful for the Continuous Variable Transmission of the Subaru and the paddle shifters that let me manually shift into lower gears down hills.

Once past the mountain, I spotted a gift shop that had adequate parking and I pulled in and parked and switched out of my sunglasses. Suddenly, Tom came riding over. Apparently he was sitting on a guardrail just past the shop and he thought I had spotted him and was stopping to pick him up. Happy coincidence. He decided he’d had enough cycling after the scariness of that mountain and while I checked out the shop he got cleaned up and changed (the teardrop is a decent portable changing room).

We drove on to where we were supposed to meet and found that the glass shop was beautiful, but it felt too risky to buy anything that we’d have to transport so much further. There was a cute restaurant across the way and we stopped for lunch and then at another pewter shop, where I finally found a couple of charms (the purpose of my gift shop searching is to find interesting charms for a bracelet).

We continued to drive through more construction the rest of the day and eventually got to Hyclass Campground. We felt like we were getting this camp setup thing down to a science and were up and ready to go in no time. The site was nice and wooded, but Tom was really annoyed that 1- they charged us $10 for a bucket of wood that was obviously more than anyone could use in one night and 2- their showers were $1 for 3 minutes, which forces you to spend $2 to get 6 minutes. Plus it was one of the more expensive camps we’d been at in Canada.

We checked out the beach there (small, rocky, a group that seemed to have rented the whole thing).   There was a kid at the beach that wanted me to go out in the water to get back his ball. Clearly he had been told not to go in the water and they had convinced him that the little snails on the rocks were leaches that would bite. I had on leather shoes, but did manage to finally get the ball close enough to reach out and grab so I could help him.

It wasn’t until later that we realized the wood was wet and it took forever and a lot of firestarters to get a decent fire going. Tom was still stuck on the fact that most campgrounds as part of their camp cleanup recycle whatever wood you haven’t used and put it back into their next pile to sell to the next camper. But this campground was so clearly ripping you off with this (a bundle of wood is usually $4-$5) and the wood was wet. He was determined to burn as much as possible and we sat by the fire for quite a while once I got it going.

We decided to cook in the fire and baked potatoes wrapped in foil. Add that to some spiced black beans and cheddar and you have a camp meal that Tom calls “Mash” and declared to be “very good.” Another successful simple camp meal.

We tried to reserve a spot on the ferry to PEI for the next day, but their website sucks. It has options for specifying that you have a vehicle that is 21-30 ft. long, but then it can’t book a reservation. It doesn’t error and there is no info saying you can’t make a reservation, it just gets stuck. This made Tom nervous that we’d have to leave really early to get there and make sure to get on the boat. I wasn’t so nervous because there were lots of ferries each day and we had no time obligation on the other side.

Once we got settled into the Shadow that night, we watched the last episode of Better Off Ted that we had on the iPad. This was going to be a problem. We’d gotten used to the 22 minutes of TV before bed, but the other shows I had on the pad weren’t things Tom liked. But since we had so little connectivity, there wasn’t a chance to load anything new to watch. Besides, Tom is very picky about TV shows. They have to have no laugh track, something funny, but not too weird, preferably some science fiction element and no law, medicine, or police action. Oh, and he hates most sitcoms. So these days when I can find something he will tolerate, we like to buy a whole season or two and watch an episode a night until it runs out. I wasn’t sure how we would get through the next several days and get home.

Pics from today are here- http://bit.ly/aiU2Ym