Yeah!!!! We are back in the States

We came to the border crossing and out comes a male border patrol who looked somewhat grumpy and he was walking toward us, if you could call it walking.  It appeared like thumping to us.  He looked upset.  He wanted us to back up and try to go through the RV lane.  Who is he kidding, that lane was all the way to the left. Mind you, about 1/4 mile before the crossing there was a sign with the following pictures in this order:  arrow to the left – which we assumed meant return to Canada; a picture of a car; then a picture of a truck.  There were no pictures of anything else, so where would you go if you had an RV with a 13’6″ clearance. We assumed and followed the picture of the truck.  When we passed those signs, we began bearing to the right and it was only when we came within yards of the crossing booths that we saw a sign for the RV lane all the way to the left. (Pretty stupid if you ask me).  I thought about telling him, but didn’t.  I really wanted to come back to the USA. The lady border patrol, who actually took care of us, was actually very nice.  We apologized for using the incorrect lane to which she responded, no problem it happens all the time.  I wonder why they don’t fix the signage.  I guess it’s better to harass people than to correct a situation.  The male border patrol asked us for the keys to our unit and went for a search.  He found only 1 pepper and some strawberries in the fridge, which we should not have brought across the border, but chose not to seize anything.  On to the US we went.

We arrived at Pumpkin Patch RV Resort in Hermon, Maine which is a small town on the outskirts of Bangor.  We ran into the two couples, which we had previously met a Hubbards Beach in Nova Scotia.  Remember the two guys who were drinking wine and were trying to tell John how to back up?  Well, we had dinner with them and had a really good time.

Today, we drove to another small town on the coast known as Brooksville.  We met with a lovely, lovely couple, Joe and Norma Adam who have been married 59 years.  They summer in Brooksville and winter in Maryland.  Norma grew up in Brooksville, obviously knows everyone and is related to most everyone except some of the newcomers.  These newcomers have been around for only 20 years.  They own a little less than an acre, she is the gardener and he built all the furniture in their home. Frankly, his furniture is better built than some I’ve seen in some fancy stores and her gardening skills are amazing.  She grows vegetables, flowers and shrubs that I’ve never seen in my life. They are one of the most active young seniors I have ever had the pleasure to meet. 

Joe used to work in John’s local in Miami as the training director. He was the person who was in charge of accepting John into the local’s apprenticeship school. He later worked for the UA International Union as the Director of Safety and Health.  We had lunch with them and they took us to a really nice road diner, owned by one of Norma’s relatives, since there are no other culinary choices around for miles.  Joe drove us there and, trust me, he drove like a bat out of hell on these curvy roads. The diner is located on a very pretty lake and the haddock sandwiches were amazing.

When we returned to the unit, we took Jackson to an off leash park and he had a great afternoon as well.  He got so dirty that I would not let him in the unit without a bath.  He reminded me of a typical little boy who goes out to play and returns home filthy.

Tomorrow we ride bikes, then pack and Thursday we will be off to Portland for another conference that John has been assigned to. Jackson will be staying at an excellently rated kennel, here in Bangor.  We will be leaving the unit in this campground until we return on Sunday.

More to come… stay with us.

John was bitten by a dog

We woke up yesterday morning and all was great.  Shortly thereafter the entire campground lost power.  Oh well, just a small set back, we chose not to turn on the generator as we hoped the power would return shortly.  Since I couldn’t brew coffee, we decided to feed and take Jackson for a long walk until the power got restored.

The night before we had met an older couple with a dog they claimed was a great dane mixed with boxer.  I wasn’t really sure as it looked more like a pitbull/boxer mix, but who I am to say.  I can’t usually tell what breeds humans are, let alone dogs. In the morning the couple meets up with us and their dog, Sherman, starts playing with Jackson.  

A little later, an 8 month old adorable yellow lab and his owners walk by and John asked if their dog, Maggie, was friendly and whether Jackson could play with her.  They were playing really well together.  Well for some unknown reason, Sherman just decided to attack Maggie and went right for her throat, dragging his owner on the ground for about 10 feet.  He would not release his jaw and it was awful to watch.

I was so incredibly grateful that Jackson steered as far away from the encounter as possible, thank goodness.  John yelled for me to immediately take him into the unit as we had no idea who would be next and knew he would not survive this type of attack.

Unfortunately, John happened to be right between Maggie and Sherman at the time and Sherman’s mom asked him to help her so he felt like he had to help separate the dogs. Not a good idea for any normal human to do, but consider this, you are talking about John.

Both sets of owners were all tangled up with the dogs and their leashes. Blood was spurting everywhere. Finally, the dogs are separated thank goodness, when suddenly, b because the owners could not handle Sherman, he slipped off his leash collar and he went directly for Maggie this time attacking her from the back and biting her back hind leg. Another neighbor who was coming to render aid, was wearing some mean looking steel toe boots and kicked Sherman hard enough in his special place to get his attention, at which time he dislodged and was able to get secured again.

I had never seen anything like this before and was scared for all the humans involved as they all got bitten.

John’s hand immediately became swollen so I knew we had to go to the hospital.

I drove John and Maggie’s owners, Chris and Sharon, to the nearest hospital, about 18 km or give or take 20 minutes away. Chris and Sharon had their camping neighbors, whom they had just met the night before, take Maggie to a vet about an hour away because they needed help themselves. Sharon was seated in the front seat, which in hindsight was perhaps not a very good idea, because she was hyperventilating, and I wasn’t sure whether she was really hurt and whether she was going into shock.  I really couldn’t see much blood on her, but boy was she losing it. Her husband, Chris, who had his left hand sliced between the thumb and index finger all the way to wrist was in the backseat with John trying to calm her down. Nothing was working.  I just knew that she had to try to keep calm.  So I asked her, are you hurt or just nervous?  Leave it to me to be insensitive!  She said she was okay just very nervous.  I was getting nervous myself and decided to start talking to her. As all Cubans do, I start talking with my hands and let go of the steering wheel, to which both men started yelling at me “keep your hands on the wheel”.  So I then turned to Sharon and told her, listen you have to breathe.  So I’ll breathe with you.  I remembered my Lamaze classes with Ashley.  Gee that was over 23 years ago, so I knew I was really, really rusty, but there we went.  Hee, hee, hee, whoooo or something like that for quite a long while.  It if didn’t calm her, it sure calmed me.  

John ended up having 10 puncture wounds just above his right wrist with two of them pretty deep.  Eight hundred dollars later, he got a good cleaning, some polysporin, a bandage, a tetanus shot, and a prescription for antibiotics for yet another $40.00.  All this for being a good samaritan and saving a sweet dog’s life.  

During the evening we built a beautiful bonfire and Maggie’s parents came over along with the neighbor with the steel boots, Paul, and his wife, Sue.  John, of course, had to ask what type of kick did he use.  Was it a soccer kick or a football kick, which broke the ice.  We ended up having a wonderfully fun, night with the moon reflecting on the water and the five islands on the background.  This is truly a beautiful place.

What do you think, enough excitement for the day?  We were hoping to travel to a place called the Rocks, which is where the tidal bore can be seen, but we will have to do it another time. It will be an opportunity to return.

Tomorrow back to the states we return.

Bay of Fundy, Nova Scotia

We arrived at our campground near Parrsboro, Nova Scotia and got a premier spot, right on the edge of the Bay.  For those who do not know, the Bay of Fundy is the only place in the world where the tides range 40-50 feet each day.  It’s an unbelievable sight to see and experience.  We are staying at a place called Five Islands Campground because the view is literally of 5 islands on the bay.

When we arrived, the tide was out, so all we saw was endless mud almost reaching the 5 islands you see just below.  We hurried up with the set up of the unit and all of the yucky, necessary requirements, fed Jackson and then….. all three of us actually went walking on the bottom of the ocean.  Yep, John and I felt like little kids. I usually don’t like walking on mud, but this was definitely an exception. Jackson was in doggy heaven, sniffing away.

Being of Florida, as you know, our tides do not exceed 2-4 feet, so seeing tides rise to 40 – 50 feet is nothing but amazing.

View from our campsite – tide in

It takes about 6 hours 13 minutes for the tide to roll in and it is just incredible how fast and steady it returns.

Pictures to be posted next

Yesterday we drove to Peggy’s Cove

Peggy’s Cove is a short drive away from Hubbard’s Beach, where we are staying.  The day started out drizzly and foggy and we really hoped that it would clear up, but as life has it, it did not and on we went.

These are some of the views along the way

When we arrived at Peggy’s Cove, it was still foggy but what we saw was yet another beautiful fishing village with a lighthouse planted on massive granite boulders, scattered about as if they were pebbles, created ages ago by retreating glaciers.

Tomorrow we leave this beautiful area and head toward the Bay of Fundy.  

On our way to Lunenburg

On our way to Lunenburg, we drove through yet another small town, Mahone Bay.  Mahone Bay is a beautiful town.  Its crown jewel is the line of three elegant churches along its sheltered harbor – St. John’s Lutheran Church (1903); St. James Anglican Church (1887); and Trinity United Church (1861). It was sunny on our way to Lunenburg and then all downhill from there.

     On our way back, it was very foggy and rainy, but you could still see the three churches lining the waterfront.

We continued on to Lunenburg regardless of the rain and when we arrived, we were in awe at how picturesque the little town actually is.  Note the waterfront is lined with red wooden warehouses and colorful heritage homes.

Arriving at Hubbard’s Beach

We arrived in Hubbard’s Beach Campground and immediately realized that the site was going to be really tight to get into.  When you camp in campgrounds the people around you are usually very helpful.  The people here were no exception.  I usually get out of the truck and immediately survey the area and then start giving John directions on how to back up.  Well, two gentlemen, both holding glasses of wine, decided that both were going to also give John directions.  John now has three people telling him what to do.  He tried backing up into the site three times, each unsucessfully.  As most of you know, I am not the most tactful person around and I was getting frustrated.  I understand that people just want to be helpful, so I tried my best and yelled at John.  “Hey, focus.  You need to listen to only one person, so figure out which person you are going to listen to and follow their instructions. Just tell me who you are going to listen to so I don’t have to worry about it.   Just remember, happy wife, happy life!”

I hadn’t realized that most of the campers were watching us pull in, first because we have a really big unit, and second because the site we were assigned to go into was really tight. After hearing what I told John, the neighbors were cheering me on.  ie. you go girl, etc.  I was so embarassed.  

Funny,  he decided to listen to me and backed the unit in on the very next try.

Tomorrow we drive to Lunenberg.  Can’t wait.  I’ve been told it’s a beautiful maritime town.

We arrived in Dartmouth with Jackson in Tow – Thank goodness

When we left Camden ME, John wanted to help me and raised the TV antenna.  Because we usually have our own chores, what he forgot to do was to clip the colored clip to the antenna handle so that I would know the antenna was raised. Needless to say, when it was time to pack up, since I didn’t see the colored clip attached to the antenna, I assumed that we had been on cable during the week and didn’t touch the antenna.  You guessed it, the antenna wrapped itself around a tree branch and the poor thing was never the same. Two hours into the ride, John asked me if I had lowered the antenna and of course I had not, so we pulled off the side of the road, I climbed on the roof where sure enough, it had a very nice green wig all around it.  I removed the branches, physically lowered the antenna and drove on.  When we arrived at the next campground, the antenna, poor thing, could not get up on its own, but with my help from the top of the roof, I lifted it to life again and we were able to watch the only 2 channels available, 1 fuzzy at best. Canadian TV stations are not so good.  BTW:  The weather forecasters are really far off the mark, but I guess they are in the states as well.  The news are rather simple and usually very oriented to more hometown events.  But still, it is TV and John enjoys using the clicker (the remote)  even if for only two channels.  

We drove to Dartmouth, across the river from Halifax, as we had made an appointment for the antenna to be repaired and for them to install the backup camera that had yet to be properly installed since we got the unit.  The backup camera was kind of a sore subject which is why I had not brought it up.

As you probably know, John purchased our unit and checked off every possible available option.  The backup camera was one of those options.  Our dealer installed the camera but told us that because our unit was so large we needed a booster that had been ordered and it would be mailed to us as soon as they received it. We gave them our son’s address in Charleston so they could mail the booster there.  We arrived and left Charleston and no booster was ever received.  Days later a neighbor contacted us to tell us that a package had been delivered to our home and it was sitting in our front porch.  He was kind enough to mail it to us and we received it while we were in Pennsylvania.  What we got though was not a “booster” but a computer board for all our slides and jacks. Huh?  So we the dealer yet again and another “booster” was ordered.  This one was never mailed to us because again it was the wrong part.  On the third attempt, they mailed us something that looked like an antenna, but it did not connect to the part that the dealer tech said it would. After several calls back and forth, managers, part department managers, want to be managers, etc., we were told to trouble shoot it.  John even called the manufacturer to inquire as to what part exactly should be ordered.  That is when we learned that they do not make a booster.  When we contacted the dealer with this information, we were asked to trouble shoot the antenna we received to what had been installed.  To which I blew my second Cuban gasket and asked them why I should have to climb the roof, possibly fall, incur broken bones at best, to trouble shoot something they should have installed to begin with and that was already paid for.  Low and behold, they told us to go ahead and go to a repair place and have them install it and send them the bill, which we will gladly do.

We dropped the unit off in Dartmouth and drove into Halifax with Jackson in tow.  We walked the wharf and had a delicious lunch, ran some errands and when we returned to pick up the unit, both antennas were working and we were happy campers again.

Off to Hubbards Beach we go.

Jackson Lost in the Wild…Almost

For those who have been following us, you know that we are in Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia.  We have no cell service but depending on which campground we are in, internet may or may not be available.

So, having said that, we can’t use Jackson’s tracker because we get texts whenever he is out of the designated zone.  As a result, we try to be very careful to have him on leash.

We decided to travel to Iona, a small highland village close to the campground.

Upon arriving at the little village, we see a school with a beautiful view as a background and knowing that Jackson need to be releaved, we parked and let him out.  John saw that the school ground was fenced, and although I had mentioned to him that the fence did not surround the entire property, he felt that Jackson would just run around and come right back.

Well, Jackson did run around and ran some more, and some more and then disappeared in the woods behind the school. We went after him calling his name over and over for an hour or more but could not hear not see Jackson.  He was not barking, as he was not really after anything specific.  He was just running and sniffing.  

We started to get really concerned and were starting to talk about options when John decided he would drive up the road a bit.  The roads here are difficult to maneuver so he ended driving about a mile up the road before he was able to turn around.  In the meantime, I’m deep in the woods calling his name and getting terribly upset.

John returned and parked his truck in a different location and then walked back to the woods to continue calling for Jackson to come back.  Out of nowhere, Jackson runs up to him, looks at him straight in the eye and keeps running toward the playground, which was about 10 feet from where he had originally parked the truck.  

We were obviously both pretty upset and as you can imagine, I was angry.  Let’s hope this does not happen again.


Rough day today.  We leave for Halifax tomorrow.

Our view from the KOA Campground in Cape Breton Island

During our stay at Cape Breton, we camped at the KOA in North Sidney.  This is the largest campground in the northernmost area of Cape Breton Island.   While we were in Quechee, VT we had met a work camper who strongly suggested that if we were able to stay at the KOA in North Sidney, we should request the upper tier.

We did and we got it.  When we arrived however, no one had prepared us for how tight the area was to back into. You can see from the photo how narrow the road up the mountain was.  John did a beautiful job backing the unit in and surprisingly it did not take many attempts.

We were not disappointed.  The views were wonderful.

Whale Watching in Pleasant Bay

Today we decided to go whale watching on the northeastern corner of Nova Scotia in a very small town, Pleasant Bay.  As everyone knows, no one can guarantee see a whale as they are not on a schedule.  We drove about 2 1/2 hours, we boarded a zodiac raft and motored out of the bay into the Atlantic Ocean.  We had not been there but a short time and saw a pod of about 12-15 pilot whales.  They quickly began swimming all around us and playing with each other.  It was amazing to see these huge whales, usually about 20 feet long, dive in, swim and play around our raft.  It actually is very exciting.  We also had the opportunity to view several gray seals, also swimming and looking at us, probably wondering if we have nothing better to do.

Pilot whales are approximately 15 – 20 feet in length, followed in size only by Orkas.

Sea caves

Gray seals

Jackson stayed in the unit today and by the looks of it, he too apparently had an excellent time.  The owners of the campground took him out for several walks during the day, or shall I say Jackson walked the owners several times.   However, it must have been enjoyable for both as they  commented on what a good and quiet boy he was.