Sunday, August 5, 2012

Northeast M'Od

What’s northeast of the Northeast? As it turns out, quite a bit! And I’ve decided that exploring that “bit” will be my last great adventure for the summer. 

The seed of the idea for a whirlwind weeklong road trip through New Brunswick and Nova Scotia sprouted back when I was planning Acadia and realized that the Canadian Maritimes were only a few hours further up 95 and that there was apparently a lot of interesting stuff up there. Like last summer, the real draw came from the fact that I’ve never seen any of it – having ventured into Canada only to visit Montreal (which I barely remember) and Toronto last April. Ever since last winter’s Blue Ridge excursion I’ve been itching for another real road trip – one where I spend several nights moving among different non-home destinations. While Acadia and the White Mountains this summer were certainly pleasant escapes, the knowledge that I was never further than one drive away from home limited my sense of being “away.” While Nova Scotia isn’t all that far out there geographically, the fact that it’s in another country, where another language is spoken and the metric system is used, and where there is a physical gate I must traverse after being granted permission to enter this foreign land, I suspect it will feel as unfamiliar as Kansas. And that is a very exciting thought.

So here’s the plan: After a dentist appointment (and a day to make sure I don’t have any crazy complications from it **cough**shots-before-Niagara**cough), I’ll set out for Canada, making it as far as Fundy National Park on the coast of New Brunswick by the first night. After camping there and spending a short time exploring the park, I’ll move on to see the world’s highest tides in action at Hopewell Rocks and Cape Chignecto. Still on that second day, I’ll drive to the southern coast of Nova Scotia and spend the evening at world-famous Peggy’s Cove (you’ll know it when you see it) before heading up to Halifax (hopefully without a certain Barenaked Ladies song stuck in my head the entire time) to check into my only hotel room of the trip. Try as I might, I couldn’t find anything interesting to do in Halifax so the next morning I’ll head northeast to Cape Breton Island and begin a day-and-a-half-long exploration of the Cabot Trail (which some call the east coast’s answer to the Pacific Coast Highway). From there it’s back to the Bay of Fundy and Blomidon Provincial Park before recrossing the border and returning home (possibly stopping at West Quoddy or Portland Head on the way back). Untold kilometers (because I cant’ convert them in my head), 6 days, and 1 poodle companion.

As far as I can predict, the international travel aspect of this journey should only present two complications: I may have to pay cash every time I get gas, and I’ll have to turn off voice and data for 99% of the trip. As I found out in the planning stages of Torontonto, it’s a couple of dollars per minute or per megabyte once you cross the border. Since my phone uses data somewhat autonomously, the only way to avoid huge bills is to turn off both voice and data roaming. Why am I bothering to explain this? Because it means that, while I’ll write something every night, unless I’m in a spot with wifi I won’t be able to upload anything until I get back.

Watch this space…

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