Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Heading further east...

We decided to head out from Cheticamp today, on our way to Prince Edward Island. With the troubles we had been having with the tow bar, we decided to drive the vehicles separately, so Patti drove Miss Doozie and Dwayne drove the Jeep. We plan to get a extender bar in Charlottetown on PEI tomorrow that we hope will help with the tow bar issues.

Our route took us through Port Hawkesbury where there is a traffic circle. All the roads leading into it seemed to be backed up... really at a stop... not sure what it was because once the traffic started moving, we went through relatively easily. We were at a stop when I took this picture from Miss Doozie of the quarry across the causeway. You may also be able to see traffic on the road down and to the left at a stop, and the traffic on the causeway was also backed up.
 It definitely was not fun driving separately! We stayed on the phone with each other (hands free) at the times that we had phone signal, which was much of the trip.

We are overnighting at the Walmart in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia. It turns out that Miss Doozie is parked on a little bit of an incline down, so once we used the air-leveling, the front end was up in the air a little more than usual - so, we decided to try to test the headlights to see if they were getting power.

At about the time Dwayne started to get under the front of Miss Doozie, the generator auto-started.... we cut it off, but realized that we could run it out and get a little more room to get access to the headlights.
 Patti's brother Jimmy helped us out by telephone to help us to read the diagrams of the electrical circuits for the headlights. When we first checked the lights, we were checking the high beams but neglected to turn the high beam switch on inside the bus (duh!). After talking with Jimmy, we went back to check again, and found that there was power going to the wire, but for some reason the bulb was not lighting.

While Dwayne was under the bus, and Patti was handing things to him as he requested, a very nice young man, Jim, stopped by on his Yamaha. He has a Winnebago and so could commiserate with the fact that something always needs fixing. But, beyond that, he hopped off his bike and crawled up under the front of the bus to take a look. He jiggled some wires on the right high beam light and amazingly it came on! He also took a look at the right low beam and said that he thought the bulb was shot on that one. Jim gave us a recommendation of a fellow to see here in New Glasgow who would be able to help us get fixed up - so we're thinking we will try to see him before we leave here tomorrow.

We wanted to say a big Texas-sized "THANK YOU!!!" to Jim who stopped by to help us out!

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

A nice day after all!

After the weather forecast that we saw yesterday was indicating rain all week, we woke up this morning to sunshine - clouds with the sun, but definitely not raining! We decided we had better take advantage of any opening to see Cape Breton Highlands and headed out.

The Cabot Trail goes up right along the west coast of Cape Breton Island.
Yes, it was that chilly at that point in the morning!

The waves were quite magnificent!
As the day went on, it got less cloudy and more beautiful - this is looking over Pleasant Bay, a small town at the northwest corner of the park.
After crossing over the top of the park, we started heading down the east coast of Cape Breton Island.

Amazing waves on this side too!

Just beautiful!

In this one, you might notice a small brownish thing in the spray on the right - you might think it is something on the camera lens, but it is actually a piece of seaweed that got thrown up in the spray!


Rather than returning the way we came, we kept on driving on the Cabot Trail, eventually ending up in Baddeck. There, we visited the Alexander Graham Bell Historical site - it was very interesting! We did not know of his areas of invention with airplanes, hydrofoils, and his general work with the deaf.
An interesting comment made by Bell in a letter to his wife, Mabel: "The days of handwriting have gone forever; they belong to the 19th century. The 20th century will not tolerate manuscript."

School Room Charts on Visible Speech - this was a writing technique to communicate to deaf people how words should be said, by indicating what should happen in their mouths, to their soft palate, to their tongue, what kind of sound should be made - all to help deaf to speak. It was fascinating!

His family was very involved with speech and hearing.

"He was a very independent amateur, experimenting for the pure joy of gaining knowledge."

Because of his experience with proving his claim as inventor of the telephone, there are many pictures of him throughout his life.
Solar still to obtain distilled water from salt or contaminated water.

Solar still model.
Bell with granddaughter Gertrude.
 We enjoyed our day of visiting, and... if we don't get another day to tour the area, we feel that we've seen much of it.

Monday, August 29, 2016

A rainy day...

It has been a very rainy day in Cheticamp today.

We drove in to the town this morning to get the tow bar cross piece welded. We were at the welding shop when he opened and he was able to get it fixed up very quickly.
Cheticamp Welding shop
 We also stopped at the grocery store and picked up a few items - soup and things to make a beef stew - the rainy weather (and a little chilly) is making us want to make warm foods!

We also stopped off at the Cape Breton Highlands Visitor Center to see what they had for the weather forecast... not so nice, especially since we are to leave on Thursday.
The rain slowed down for a little while this afternoon so we decided to drive up the Cabot Trail a little ways - there are lots of scenic overlooks which are unfortunately not very scenic in the rain and low clouds. But, we passed 4 people who were bicycling up the Cabot Trail (and I mean *up* - it was a pretty severe hill) - and we were thankful to be in the nice warm dry Jeep!

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Cheticamp in Cape Breton Highlands National Park

After a night in a gravel pull-off,
Although we were right alongside the road, it was relatively quiet through the night.

Someone had some of their firewood stored over to the side of the pulloff and he came to load up a trailer at about 6am, so we got a relatively early start... Just beyond those trees was a pretty little lake with a gravel road leading down that fishermen used.
We drove a little south, then east, then north, to arrive at Cheticamp in Cape Breton Highlands National Park.

Unfortunately when we went to unhook the Jeep, we found that the tow bar cross piece had broken in the same way as it had that we found in Port aux Choix, but on the other side... The bolts were all still in place, so just the cross piece broke this time.

We aren't sure when it broke, though we are pretty sure it was between the gravel pull-off and the campground - maybe even coming out of the gravel pull-off. Very annoying... but it had not rubbed on the asphalt to shave off the longer broken end this time.
We both had noticed a welding shop in the town of Cheticamp when we came through, so we'll head there tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Dwayne wanted to test the fuses for the hydraulic jacks so he could report back to the HWH guy whether they were getting power (they aren't).
After checking the fuses, Dwayne wanted to make another attempt to get into the area where the solenoid and the master cylinder for the jacks are located.

We have a slide out Joey bed in the first compartment, and the frame for it prevented Dwayne from being able to get to the screws at the bottom of the cover to the HWH mechanics. He had to drill through the metal in two places, and remove one of the rollers for the Joey bed, so he could get the three bottom screws on the cover removed. So, now, if the support person from HWH wants him to look at anything there, we can get to it.
Current tally of issues with Miss Doozie/Jeep:
  • HWH hydraulic jacks are not working - working with HWH tech in Iowa on that
  • Headlights and daytime running lights are not working - we need to get under the front of the bus to test whether power is getting to them... and with the jacks not working, that is a problem. This particular campsite has a dropoff at the back of the site, so we're thinking we may either turn Miss Doozie around for long enough for us to do some testing (she is rather long for the site, so we're not sure we'd be totally out of the roadway with the back end - with her backed in, we have the part of the bus behind the tag axle hanging over open space).
  • Tow bar cross-piece on Jeep is broken - planning to go to the welding shop in town tomorrow to see about getting that fixed. We also think that we need to get a hitch riser to improve the balance between the back of Miss Doozie and the Jeep.
Of course, our technical advisor, Patti's brother, Jimmy, is helping us out with all of these as much as he can from afar... we need to figure out how to get him to travel with us!

Fun fun fun! Keeps life interesting...

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Back in Nova Scotia

We took the ferry across to Sydney, Nova Scotia, today.
It appeared that the trash was traveling with us on the ferry - or maybe it is metal recycling.

All loaded up - the upper vehicle deck was partially open to the outside - they put a livestock truck on the very back (maybe to ensure that it had plenty of air circulation?) as well as a couple of tankers - at least one of them was carrying liquid carbon dioxide. The announcement from the loudspeaker had just finished telling us that smoking was only allowed in designated smoking areas - wonder if those exhaust stacks were in the designated smoking area?

The town of Port aux Basques (or maybe its name is Channel-Port aux Basques?) as we were leaving.

It was a beautiful day to be crossing

As we got within an hours of arriving in Sydney, one of the ship's crew raised the Nova Scotia (on the right) and Marine Atlantic (on the left) flags - we didn't notice if they had had the Newfoundland flag raised before we left Channel-Port aux Basques.

We have reservations to stay at Cheticamp in the Cape Breton Highlands National Park starting tonight... but... Miss Doozie's headlights aren't working, and by the time the ferry docked (about 6pm), and we got off, and got fuel for the Jeep and Miss Doozie (649.53CAD to fill her up, but it was about .20 less per liter than in Newfoundland), we were running out of daylight. So, we stopped at a location that was documented in the "Days End Directory" from Escapees along the highway, and will finish driving to Cheticamp in the morning. We have 5 nights reserved there, so will hopefully get to see all we want to see in the remaining time.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Waiting for our ferry

It was a very rainy and foggy day in Port aux Basques, so we didn't really feel energized to do anything. We drove into town to get a loaf of bread, and on the way, stopped by the port to see if Marine Atlantic might let us overnight in their parking area. After a quick conversation between a couple of folks working there, they said that we could. So, we went back and got Miss Doozie and relocated to the Marine Atlantic line-up area. This way, we'll be able to get a good nights sleep in our rig and then be all ready to board for the 11:45am ferry on Saturday.

Since we were here, we got to see the evening ferry come in - this would have left Sydney, Nova Scotia, at 11:45am Atlantic time, getting in here at about 6:45pm Newfoundland time (about a 6.5 hour crossing). It will load back up and leave here at 11:45pm Newfoundland time. We didn't want to do a night crossing - we did not sleep well in the cabins on the way over from Nova Scotia (and we had a longer crossing to Argentia so we should have been able to get a good nights sleep), and we want to see the trip as much as we can. So, we hope to get a good nights sleep in Miss Doozie here on the parking lot (with all the trucks going onto the ferry, maybe we won't get to sleep very early!), and awake all ready to take the ferry tomorrow and then drive to Cheticamp in Cape Breton Highlands after we arrive in Nova Scotia tomorrow.

The ferry coming in to dock - it turned around and is backing in to the dock area.

There are two decks of vehicles - on this ferry, the top deck is outside, and seemed to mostly have trailers on it (without the tractors). The bottom ramp is starting to open - the top of it is way up at the top of the back of the boat.

It's coming down! But... it's gonna hit the ramp for the top deck if it keeps on coming...

Oh, they had that figured out...

As the bottom ramp continues down, the top ramp starts to unfurl...

They start looking like they are doing some sort of weird dance...

Do-si-do and all that stuff.

The bottom ramp is down... top ramp still opening...

It opened up all the way straight before coming down again.

coming down...

down and set - and the fog has come in...

The first trucks come off the bottom (enclosed) deck.

And a truck comes off the top deck too.

After a few trucks come off the top....

A small tractor goes onto the top deck (actually a couple of them went on)...

They started pulling the trailers off.

A couple from Newfoundland who was watching the operation with us said that Marine Atlantic also has a trucking company, so some of these might be their trucks. But, it is also probably more efficient to just send the goods with the trailer over and let local drivers in Newfoundland carry them the rest of the way.

We've had dinner, and are ready to settle in for the night. More pictures from the ferry tomorrow, I expect!