We left Ebenezer Park and headed north towards Shokan, NY to visit my cousin and his family plus leave our weapons with him while we head to Canada. Somewhere in Va. B & D's 5th wheel blew a tire. We pulled into the next rest area and changed the tire. It had done quite a bit of damage to the wheel well. In the rest area was a Bow String Arch truss bridge that was built in 1878 & had been moved to the rest area. It is the oldest metal bridge in Va. Also met a Viet vet that had a restored motorhome and took a tour of it. He did a nice job on it and lives in it fulltime. We were in the rest area quite awhile so we looked for an RV park nearby. Found one near Gettysburg and stayed a couple of days. Weather wasn't that great so we didn't do much touring. Went to the local American Legion.
we again headed to Shokan. Arrived in good shape and my cousin Bob had us both
fixed up with 50amp service. We decided to stay thru Memorial Day as we didn't
want the hassle of trying to find a campground over the first major camping
holiday of the year. We had plenty of maintenance things to take care of and it
was still chilly enough that heading to Canada was not so appealing.
emails we found out that Rich & Diane Emond were camped not far from us. In
fact they were visiting their son, Curt, and he lived 5 miles from my cousins
place. Small world. We met them for supper at the Hurley
Mountain Inn in West
Hurley, NY. It was a nice place and had good food. It was at a halfway point
between where we were both staying. Another great visit with the Emonds.
in this travelog I talked about my birth family and that my Bmom was in
Middletown, NY about 1 hour from my cousin. We called my B-cousin, Mary Merron,
and made arrangements to meet her at the nursing home. We got there and Mary
arrived shortly afterward. We went upstairs and my B-mom wasn't in her room.
Went to the desk and asked about her. The staff all looked at each other and
finally one of them spoke up and said she had passed away about 2 months ago.
They had notified her son (my halfbrother) and he took care of everything.
Except notifying the rest of her family. Not even her 3 surviving sisters. The
family had told me that I probably wouldn't want to meet him and he never
expressed a desire to meet me. Even so he is my halfbrother but after this
incident I'm not sure I would like to meet him. I can't think of anything that
would possess a person to do something like that.
of my B-aunts were going to meet us there also and I am sure glad they couldn't
make it up there. And I am so glad that we were there when cousin Mary found
out. Not a good time to be alone. Later that week 2 more cousins (Kitty &
Peggy) came over from RI and met us (Kay & I, Mary Merron and David) at the cemetery,
placed flowers and said a little prayer. It was a sad week but I am sure glad I
had the opportunity to meet her, especially while she was able to know who I
took a couple of day trips around the area. One was to Woodstock, NY. I'm sure
everybody has heard of it except the concert was not held there. Originally is
was supposed to be there but it was changed to another area. Woodstock is a very
quaint artist town. Lots of old houses and it is interesting to tour.
cousin bob & his wife Liz have a parrot, Tobey, and he is a
doozy. He talks
to you, eats your food and overall is a lot of fun. One day we were out on Bob's
deck and the bird was there. Beezer was in Kay's lap and someone put the bird on
the table. Beezer looked around, looked back at Kay and did a double take back
at the bird. He hadn't seen the bird before and being a pup yet he was still
learning the world. I swear the expression on his face when he looked back at
the bird was: "What the hell is that!!!" I still laugh whenever I
think about that. Maybe it was of those 'you had to be there' moments but I'm
sure glad I was there.
Memorial Day weekend we headed to Montreal. The border crossing was very easy.
They asked a couple of questions and we were on our way. Found a nice
campground. Then I did a dumb thing with my puter. I’ll tell you about it so
maybe you won’t do the same thing. It found a virus so I had it cleaned, then
a screen came up asking if I wanted to delete the infected files. Not thinking
clearly I hit yes and as soon as I hit it I knew I did wrong. And boy did I
screw things up. Ended up having to send it to my bro-in-law (Mike) to have him
work on it again. He was able to save a lot of my files, then had to restore
back to original and reinstall the files. He didn’t have all my install CD’s
but did a great job. He had to get online and update my programs. He is on cable
internet so it wasn’t too bad. Would have been worse if I had to do it over a
phone line. Between my feeble attempts at repairing it, shipping times, Mike
trying to work it in while maintaining his own puter for work duties, my having
to reinstall programs, it was over 2 months before I was up and going again.
Boy, did I miss my puter. I have an old laptop that Mike fixed up for me to use
for my GPS system. He also set it up to check my email as a backup system. It
worked once for email and then wouldn’t do it anymore.
is pretty but I had a hard time touring the area. We were going to use the
subway system to get around. We got there and realized that all info was in
French. Uh-oh! We went below to the ticket area and as I was looking at the map
with it’s info in French I started to get a panic attack. I think it was the
feeling of being helpless. I knew I had to get out of there. I headed to the
truck with Kay right behind me and B&D standing there looking very confused
as to what was going on. It got better when we got outside but I knew I would
not be able to use their subways. So Kay, B&D headed back to subway and I
got in the truck & headed for the campground. We set up a time for me to
pick them up. That was my Montreal tour. We figured then that maybe we should
leave the Quebec part of out trip for some other time if ever. We did have to
follow Highway 20 which is one of the Trans-Canada Highways (like our
interstates) to get to New Brunswick. It was one of the roughest highways we
have encountered. Not because of construction but lack of maintenance. We had to
slow down to 20-30MPH quite a few times.
followed this road to Mont Jolie and then took 132 to New Brunswick. As soon as
we entered NB we could tell a major difference in the roads. So much better. By
now Bob is starting to salivate. He has been thinking “LOBSTER” for over 3
months now and we were getting close to the ocean.
stopped near Shediac, NB for a couple of nights. Got the name of a lobster place
and headed out. Bob, being deaf, didn’t hear the directions but knew the name
of the place. Along the way to the restaurant there is a branch of this place
with the same name but doesn’t have a restaurant. We passed this place and Bob
saw it and hit the panic button. There it is! His mouth was watering and we kept
going. The look on his face---priceless. Being the close friends we are we
didn’t tell him what was going on. :>) We finally got there and they got
their lobster. I ordered a burger. I don’t care for lobster. The only flavor
you get is from the butter you dip it in. I could just suck on a stick of butter
and get the same taste. They enjoyed their lobster but were a little
disappointed with the fact that it was served cold. Never heard of that before
being the landlubbers we are.
we headed for Nova Scotia.
you might remember from earlier pages, one of the reasons we wanted to go to NS
was my B-mother was born there. I could learn a little more of my
B-family history. And we had an excellent guide available—my 1st
cousin—Margie Dunn. We entered NS and stopped at the welcome center, took pics
& picked up tourist info. Kay had made reservations at the Hyclass
Campground in Havre Boucher, NS based on them being members of Passport America,
a discount camping org. You never know what you will get into in those kind of
long distance deals. We were very pleasantly surprised. A great place and the
owners, Frank & Veronika, were super nice people. Frank is outgoing and
always ready to help & loves to kid around. Veronika is a little more quiet
and also a very nice person. Another reason we chose this campground was it’s
proximity to my cousin Margie and also to Cape Breton where my B-mother was
my puter being down, we were in a ‘no service’ area for our cell phone.
Luckily B&D’s cell phone worked here. Kay called to get our mail forwarded
and couldn’t get an answer. After calling around different places she found
out that our mailing forwarding service had closed it’s doors without any
notice to anyone. Now what? Post Office would not forward our mail as it was the
forwarding service’s responsibility. Finally we got ahold of someone that was
sympathetic to our situation and would forward the mail until we could
straighten the mess out. Kay called a “MailBoxes, Etc” in Champaign, Il
(where my brother lives) and we could arrange for a box by phone and had to
followup with a notarized application. There was a “MailBoxes, Etc” in
Antigonish (auntie-ga-nish) so off we went. They were very helpful but didn’t
know any Notaries so they looked one up in the phone book. He was right down the
road so that’s where we went. His name is Ray E. O’Blenis. We went in, told
receptionist what we wanted plus faxing the form and waited til his meeting was
over. Went in and he looked at the form, had us sign it, he notarized it and we
were done. Went to his receptionist, she faxed the form and she said it would be
$40.00!!! WHAT!!!!! Our fault, we should have asked beforehand but our
experiences before this was never over $5.00. She said that was his normal fee.
(We did check around later and this was NOT the normal for the area). She wrote
up the receipt for notary & fax, we paid and as we were leaving, the lawyer
called out that it would be another $5.00 for the fax (1 sheet). In my opinion
this was highly UNETHICAL. Not only the exorbitant fee but he never asked for
any ID’s to verify who we were. That is the purpose of a notary—to verify
the signatures are from the named person. So if you are ever in that area and
need a lawyer, use your own judgment concerning this ^%*#@()@ person.
this was the only negative thing we ran into in NS. The rest of the people were
super and helpful.
got together with Margie and she took us to Queensville and showed us the house
where my b-mom was born and raised in. They raised 11 kids in the house. Also took us
by the school she went to. They used to have to walk thru the woods to get to school. This whole trip was
fascinating to me. I mean, after all this is my heritage. She took us to the
cemetery where my B-grandparents are buried. Also my Uncle Dan Hughie MacEachern
who was a famous composer of the music for the area. Margie also set us up for a
lobster feed. She went down to the docks, bought the lobster, cooked it (a steak
for me) and we had a feast. Bob went absolutely crazy. As long as they were
eating, the lobster kept coming. She also showed us how to put a lobster to
sleep. You just rub the back of their shell and watch them relax. Then they
threw them in the pot. I couldn’t watch that part. Somehow that bothers me.
When they are done and on the table I’m OK but not watching them die.
day the 4 of us and 2 dogs loaded up and drove the Cabot
Trail. It is described
as a “must see” place. It was beautiful but it was an 8 hour day and with 4
people & 2 dogs in an extended cab pickup it was not the best touring
conditions. A little too crowded. Margie took Kay & I for a drive around
Cape George. Another beautiful drive. I was as impressed with it as I was Cabot
Trail. Maybe more so. She said the locals call it “The Little Cabot Trail”.
As we rounded a corner in the road there was a black bear
in the middle of the
road. We pulled over at the first opportunity and took some pics. We were kind
of far away but didn’t think it would be a smart idea to walk towards him for
evening the 4 of us went to a local restaurant to eat. While there the waiter
asked if we were there for the Harley get together. We said we didn’t know
anything about it. It was about a mile down the road and people came from all
over for the event. Needless to say---off we went. Nice party, we enjoyed
daughter Jackie is a fiddle & piano player. She and Wendy were playing at a
hall in Mabou. Actually they both play piano and fiddle and trade off during the
evening. So Kay, Donna & myself went to Mabou.
We ended up way out in the boondocks at some hall. Only a couple of cars
there and I wondered if anybody even knew where this place was. Went in and
about the time they got set up the place was filling up fast. The tables were
lined around the sidewalls. Not like here in the states where there is a little
dance floor and the tables are packed in. When the music started, almost
everybody got up to dance. You saw young people dancing with older people and
everybody was enjoying themselves and mingling. There was a bus that pulled up
and it was full of some traveling dancers from somewhere else and they knew this
event was going on and scheduled it for their trip. We got to see different
varieties of the highland dances and Margie would point out all of Dan
Hughie’s songs which was most of them. It was an incredible evening that
I’ll always remember. What really impressed me was the unity between the young
and old. That is something we are lacking here in the states.
& D did some fishing at the campground and caught enough for a couple of
feeds. When the tide went out you could find oysters, mussels & clams along
the shore although we didn’t get any of them. Other campers did and as far as
we know they are still alive. :>)
One evening, Frank & Veronika put on a chili feed for the campers. He said that during the prime months (July & August) they have one every weekend and usually have a bagpiper strolling around during the cookout. If any of you are going to NS I highly recommend the Hyclass Campground. Hopefully we can make it back there sometime in the fall to see the colors. (UPDATE: Frank & Veronika are no longer affiliated with Hyclass Campground)
the road from the campground was a garage that had some old cars in it. We
caught the owner there one day and got to view them. The most impressive was an
old Mercury pickup truck. I had never seen one before and he said they were only
made in Canada.
had other visits with Margie and other tourist things but too soon we had to
moved on to Bangor, Me. While there we heard a scraping noise on the truck.
Turned out the emergency brake cable broke and parts were flopping around
inside. Another trip to a garage.
we headed to the Boston area to visit with Larry Gwin who was in Ia Drang Valley
with me. He lives in S. Hamilton, Ma. Because we were nearing the 4th
of July weekend it was getting hard to find campground openings. After numerous
calls, Kay found one in the Gloucester area. We emailed Larry and he said he was
on vacation that week and was spending it at his fiance’s family beachhouse in
that area and there was a campground on the way to the house. Turned out that
was the one we were at. It was about a mile from where he was staying. What a
coincidence. We had a couple of great visits with Larry & Nancy. One day
Larry & I went alone, he took me to a quarry that was right on the ocean.
Beautiful views! Then on into Rockport, a quaint village. Another beautiful
place. B & D, Kay & I went into Gloucester one evening and there
happened to be a festival going on. The whole area was packed. They had a parade
where they carried a statue of a saint (can’t remember which one) thru the
streets. We walked along the shoreline and on a platform out in the bay they
were having a greased pole contest. It looked like a telephone pole on it’s
side, extended out over the water. Contestants tried to walk it to the end.
Never did see anybody make it.
didn’t get to stay there long as the campground was booked for the 4th.
So we moved on to Webster, Ma. We wanted to be near Newport, RI and that
was the closest we could get. (About 1 hr away) Everything else was booked. One
evening we went up to Worcester for dinner with John Cahill & Angela Corey.
John is another Ia Drang vet. I don’t remember where we ate but the food was
good, beer was cold and good company—great combination. On Sunday, July 7th,
Kay & I went to Webster to visit my B-Aunt Kaye and her family. They had a
cookout and a lot of the family was there. It was good to see them all again. We
were sitting outside and the sky was really overcast. At least that’s what I
initially thought. Turned out it was the smoke from fires up in Canada. I took a
pic at 6PM that evening to give you an idea.