20220903 – Good bye (again) Nova Scotia, Hello (again) New Brunswick

SATURDAY 03 September

Technically, I covered the beginning of this day at the end of yesterday’s post, as I was up after midnight publishing the most recent blog posts.  By the time I actually got in bed it was approaching 0100 hours, and it was chilly in the trailer, in spite of having the zone 2 heat-pump in heating mode and set to 62 degrees (F).  I was able to sleep (stay in bed) until 7 AM, but I was uncomfortably cool most of the night.  Linda got up shortly after me.

The outside air temperature dipped into the upper 40’s (F), but with the heat-pump on, why would that matter?  Well, it’s because the insulation in the trailer is marginal (IMHO) and, as a result, the inner aluminum skin gets cold to the touch with low outside air temperature.  So, even thought the air temperature in the trailer is 62 (F), I was sleeping next to a cold surface which drew heat away from me.  The same was true for Linda, but she tends to be too warm at night while I tend to be too cool.  I’ve read about solutions to the heat draw problem in the AirForums, and will have to give it some thought once we get home.  (On 50 A electrical service my best bet is probably an electric blanket or pad, like we use at home.  On 30 A electrical service, which we often have, that might be a problem.)

I fed the cat, made a cup of coffee for each of us, and started my computer.  Check-out time (latest) at the Halifax West KOA was 11 AM and check-in time (earliest) at the Ponderosa Pines Campground in Hopewell Cape, New Brunswick was 2 PM.  That’s pretty typical, and is only a problem for short distance/time re-positionings.  We estimated a 3-1/2 hour drive to cover the 306 km (~190 mi) and targeted a 10:30 AM departure.  That gave me time to finish the blog post for our visit to Burntcoat Head / Park on Thursday (September 1).  Wi-Fi access to the Internet was solid and fast, and I was able to upload and publish it by 9 AM.  Breakfast was a bagel and orange juice; quick, easy, and tasty, with very little clean up.  We then got busy preparing the truck, trailer, and us (and the cat) for travel.

The couple across from us was also getting ready to leave, and needed to use the front part of our site to pull their enormous fifth wheel trailer out.  He (husband/driver) needed to pull it out going the “wrong” way (to his left) because he could not make the turn at the end of our section if he went out the “right” way.  No problem.  I moved our truck to give him the room he needed.  And then I moved it again, because he needed even more room.  He then proceeded to make the very sharp turn to go behind our trailer, rather than take the much easier path through the other half of our section (E) past the dump station.  He appreciated that I moved our truck, but wasn’t interested in anything else I had to suggest, so I disengaged.  The wife, however (following in their car), stopped to thank Linda for us being willing to make it easier (possible) for them to get out.  Guys and gals, I guess.

All of that added about 15 minutes to our departure preparations, which went smoothly enough otherwise, and it wasn’t a big deal for us.  Why wouldn’t we do what we could to help fellow RVers?  As Red Green says “we’re all in this together.”  We put the address of our destination into the F-150 navigation system, and were on our way at 10:45 AM.

We had been back-tracking since returning to North Sydney, Nova Scotia from Newfoundland, and had to do more back-tracking today.  The nature of the landscape in Atlantic Canada is that there is often only one way to get somewhere, and that same route is the only way to get back.

We got back on NS Hwy-101 heading south towards Halifax, took the now familiar left at Exit-1(G&H), but stayed with 1H to swing around onto NS Hwy-102, towards the Halifax Airport and Truro, where we would pick up NS Hwy-104 (the Trans-Canada Highway) going west.  Much of this route was posted 110 km/hr (~68 mph), so I set the cruise control at 65 mph (~105 km/hr), which allowed the transmission to shift up into 9th gear and drop the engine rpm to ~1,700.  Normally that would drop the sound level in the cab slightly (it isn’t that loud to begin with) but we were traveling with the windows open a bit and the air-conditioner turned off.  It really was that nice of a day.

Quite a few miles before our turn onto the T-CH, we encountered the worst traffic jam of our entire time in Canada (so far).  Hwy-102 was down to one lane just a mile before our exit AND there was an entrance ramp just after the merger for the lane closure.  Traffic was some where between a dead stop and very slow creep.  We remembered seeing traffic backed up for miles at this point when we drove this route the other way on Monday, but had no practical way to get around it.  The delay added 30 minutes to our ETA.

At Masstown, we decided to stay on the T-CH, which becomes the Cobequid Pass Toll Highway for 45 km (~28 mi) with a toll plaza near the mid-point.  It was posted 110 km/hr, which allowed us to move right along, and the toll for our truck/trailer combination was 5.25$.  This was a new road for us, as we had taken the Trunk 4 route when heading into Masstown from the north back in July.  It was in excellent condition.

Not long after the toll section ended, we crossed into New Brunswick and continued northwest towards Moncton.  The north end of the Bay of Fundy splits and goes around part of Nova Scotia.  To the right/east is the Minas Basin and Cobequid Bay, where we had been earlier in the week.  To the left is Chignecto Bay, with New Brunswick on its left.  Chignecto Bay splits again, with the Cumberland Basin to the right/NE (ending at Sackville, NB) and Shepody Bay to the left/N.  Shepody Bay is fed from the NW by the Petitcodiac River, which runs through Moncton.  The point of all this is that to get to southwest New Brunswick, we had to go around the north end of the Bay of Fundy, which is Moncton.

The T-CH flowed through a high-speed rotary in the center of Moncton and I made a mistake there, exiting before I should have.  I was NOT pleased with this unexpected route change, but had no one to blame except myself.  I could see clearly on the nav screen how the rotary worked, but it did not make it clear what lane I should be in, and I ended up in an exit lane I should not have been in.

We got re-routed through downtown and ended up on Main street, which was narrow, dense with buildings and people, and choked with traffic; definitely not a place to be with the trailer.  The navigation system tried to route us under a 3 m overpass (it doesn’t know we are towing a travel trailer), but I made a left turn in time to avoid that.  (3 m is ~10 ft.  The trailer is at least 10-1/2 feet high.)  Once we were off of Main Street, we were able to work our way back to the road we should have been on in the first place, which was NB Hwy-106.  Expressions that applied here included:  “all’s well that ends well” and “no harm, no foul” (or “no blood, no foul” if the context is ice hockey).

At Gunningsville Blvd., we turned left, crossed the river, and turned left again onto NB Hwy-114.  Hwy-114 ran southeast along the Petitcodiac River to Hopewell Cape and then southwest along Shepody Bay past Hopewell Rocks Provincial Park to the entrance to our destination.  It was not a good road surface.  We had planned to be here at 2 PM, our navigation system originally gave an ETA of 14:22, and we actually arrived at 14:45.  While Linda checked us in, I turned on the LevelMatePro+ in the trailer and paired it with the app on my phone.  (All times are Atlantic Time Zone.  We cross back into the Eastern Time Zone when re-enter the USA at Calais, Maine.)

We were assigned site 306 (W3W=”chestnut.savings.subsystem”), a back-in with full hookups (including 50A electrical service).  It was angled to the road, so easier to back in.  I am getting better at doing this, but it took me quite a bit of back and forth to the get the trailer positioned close to where I wanted it AND get the truck well enough aligned that we could put the tongue jack down.  On the plus side, we were level side-to-side (again!) and only 0.75 inches low in the front while still hooked up to the truck.

Ponderosa Pines Campground is on Shepody Bay, adjacent to the south side of Hopewell Rocks Provincial Park, which was our main reason for booking a site here.  Our site faced northeast, towards the Provincial Park, and we could see the Bay from the front of our campsite.  At the rear of the site was a long row of tall trees, which provided shade from the afternoon sun, and will from mid-morning on. The two sites on either side of us, and some of the pull-through sites across from us, were empty, which surprised us for the first Saturday in September.

It took us an hour to make camp, so our main meal of the day was linner.  We had salami and cheese sandwiches with lettuce, a few Fritos, and black grapes.  After linner, we went for a walk across the low earthen dam that forms a pond on the west side and separates it from the marsh to the east, which goes all the way to the Bay.  The bugs were pretty bad, both mosquitos and small black things. We’ve had our mosquito netting with us since before Newfoundland, and this was the first place where we might actually need them.  Our park info indicated that moose can sometimes be seen here, with the best chances at dawn and dusk.

Linda set up her computer and got online to take care of our banking.  I tried to work a puzzle, but my less-than-ideal night’s sleep finally caught up with me, and I took a nap from 5 to 6 PM.  We had a light supper around 7 PM of kimchi ramen, crackers with butter, and more grapes, with a few cookies later for dessert.

After supper I started my computer, proof read and corrected my draft of the post for yesterday, and then logged in to our WordPress site to post it.  The Park Wi-Fi signal was strong but Internet access was spotty.  Our cellular signal, however, was very strong, so I hot-spotted my phone long enough to publish the post, reply to a comment, and delete a couple of spam comments before logging off.  I then turned my attention to writing the post for today.

Looking around before it got dark, I got the sense that we might have a fairly dark sky here tonight, with good star visibility under clear weather conditions.  I went out at 23:30 to check, and I was right; it felt like it was one of the two best nights we have had on this trip.  If I had waited for 20 minutes in the dark for my eyes to adjust, it might have been spectacular.  But for the want of a tripod, I might have gotten a really good Milky photo.  But I needed to get to bed, and hoped these conditions would occur again during our stay here.

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