Friday, March 6, 2015

Summer of '79 - Part 4

Leaving Quebec and crossing into New Brunswick at Campbellton I must have been in a bigger hurry since I'm not recalling very much about the trip south from there.  Looking back, my hunch is that the rich and wonderful time that I'd been fortunate enough to spend with the Quebecois found me in a reflective-put-on-some-miles mood.

I believe that I remember going through Bathurst.  Looking at the map now, 30+ years after the fact, I should have turned left off of Highway 8 and stuck with Highway 11.....but I know that did not happen.  An Internet search tells me that Miscou Island would have been a place I'd have enjoyed.  It would have taken a cable ferry to get there at the time though when I go next time, I'll ride across a bridge instead....... almost a shame because I like ferries.  It was a summer with lots of ferry time and one more would not have been a hardship.  :)

Time spent at Kouchibouguac N.P. is a memory much clearer.  A fantastic coastline and a great campsite.

There were some fun and interesting campers nearby, campfires quite possibly among the best I've ever known.  One of those interesting folks was Darla.  On the Interesting Scale, she scored as near the top and possibly moved that bar further than anyone else I've ever met.  She was very casually on her way to lles-de-la-Madeleine, invited me to join her there so I eventually did.  Before making my way back to Quebec once again, I'd be spending time at one of my favorite places of all time, Prince Edward Island.

I zipped down to Cape Tormentine which pre-Confederation Bridge was a very busy place.  Apparently now that the ferries no longer run, everything around the Cape has grown quieter.  Here an interesting commentary on the changes resulting from the ferry being replaced by The Bridge.  As Mr. MacDougall writes, "....time for reflection...." was something I enjoyed as a tourist without a plan.  The 'new' bridge only made sense for those that mattered.  As excited as I was to make the island, time was not an issue in my case.

This was to be my first ferry excursion that summer, the first of many.  My '79 GS850 Suzuki spent a lot of time bobbing along the seas.  I learned a new Conversion Factor....1 hour = 20 miles and it was math I made use of the rest of the summer.  In fact a couple of years later, it was an accurate equation on my trip from Holyhead to Dublin as well.  For all of the hours (miles) spent on the big boats those traveling years, my only trip with discomfort was the trip back from Ireland to Liverpool.  Another time, trip and blog post.

P.E.I. oh my.

It just may have been how the stars lined up, my attitude at the time, the friends I met and made, the countryside, the beauty, the Blue Herron capital of North was an overflowing bucket.  As an old farm kid, I found the farmers' mix of lobster fishing and farming as enterprises fascinating.  Next to machine sheds sat stacks of lobster pots, an extremely rare combination in southern Minnesota.

My campsite,  surrounded by harmless wild roses, a few of the most relaxing mornings that I still remember.

Bert and Loraine from Kamloops were there, recently retired.  They told the kids back in B.C....."come get your stuff, we're selling the house and heading east in the R.V...."  The wine was good, the lobsters better and the visit from their west coast daughter Carol maybe the best.

 I circled the island those days and as excited as I was to board the ferry at Souris for lles-de-la-Madeleine, leaving PEI almost hurt.

Boarding the ferry at Souris, I very accidentally met and rode over to the Quebec island of sand with Darla.  I expected to meet her once there, we had an arranged meeting place but no synchronized watches and was actually shocked that we were going over at the same time.  Catching on to the system, the long lines to board the ferries did not apply to we riders....front of the line I went.  There are numerous corners to anchor a motorcycle on the ferry boats, so preference (plus lots of potential frustration prevented) is granted.  The 5 hour (~100 mile) crossing went almost too quickly, both of us reconnecting with many tales to tell.

I have no shareable photos of my days on Madeleine and I'm more disappointed about that than you can imagine.  Lots of memories and images in my my head of a very sleepy, desolate place dominated by sand and sandy roads connecting harbors.  It was my first time to set foot in a Youth Hostel and most likely, my last.  I remember the entire island as a step back in time, certainly a place where time ran at some percentage less than 100.  Searching through Internet links now tells me that most everything is busier on the Quebec island these days than it was back then.  I believe I'll stick with the way I remember it.  Being there was about as foreign a place as I've ever been and that made it intoxicating.  Time certainly ran at far less than 100% for me while there.

I would go back though and just may prove myself wrong next's happened before.

One more 5 hour (~100 mile) sea-faring trip back to Souris, this time solo, a few more hours on/through P.E.I. and then the next 45 minute (~15 miles) ferry ride back to the SE corner of New Brunswick.  From there, the conquering of my next Canadian Province, Nova Scotia.


  1. You really kept the old brochures and receipts? I like your travel conversion factor back then...
    Isn't it great to travel back in time every now and then? The sunset picture with the bike is marvellous!

    1. I did....and blame my mom for that. She taught me so many good things too.....Now if I'd have spent a few more hours on the "Once Kept Stay Organized" lessons I'd know where the still elusive marked up maps and my journal are.

      That trip as well as many since then have brought smiles, reflections and peaceful contentment over and over again. That sunset evening was a marvelous one; you'd have enjoyed it I'm sure!

  2. $4 camp fees? Now those were the days. Back when you didn't need to reserve a year in advance. Can't do that now.

    Great job getting these retro posts together.

    1. Isn't that $4 something?? Peg and I lived in Orange Co. back in '84 and used Ticketron to get camping 'tickets' for Yosemite....that knocked my socks off.

      The photos bring so much of it back to me. Part 5 will actually mention some people that I've maintained contact with lo these many years.

  3. I remember getting camping reservations at Ticketron. So much more convenient than by mail...

    I'm impressed that you still have all of the paperwork and know what it was from.

    1. Richard, the camping I'd come from at the time meant arriving at the site by 4pm instead of 9pm.....that was what a Reservation meant here in the Midwest. The idea of locking in a spot ahead of time was a new concept to me.

      There's a very dog-eared manilla envelope here marked "Maritime". It hasn't taken up much space and the stack of full Carousel's in the closet are props that help immensely.

  4. Doug I thoroughly enjoyed that account. Made me think of my only visits to NB and PEI on a family vacation, likely in 68 or 69. Plus what I was doing in '79, which was toiling at a law firm that summer as a student.

    Now I'm off to read the other parts.

  5. David, thank you, very kind of you to say. I'll be toiling the next while to make up for the time I spent goofing off back then.

    I should have provided links for the previous parts.