2020 At Home – Part 2

John had been searching all year for somewhere we could retreat during the pandemic and still follow all the health protocols. Nothing was available in the province until late October when he found a week at Panorama Ski Resort in the Kootenays in SE BC. We own a time share unit there that we received from my step-mother many years ago when she no longer planned to use it. Our daughter was recovering from a third surgery on an ankle she broke in Mexico in early February and so was equally as in need of ‘a time away’ as we. We packed up the truck and headed out on Oct. 19.

It was early in the season and the ski lifts were not yet open so there were very few people around the resort. We brought all of the food we needed for the week and cards to play, a puzzle to make, and a few board games for entertainment in the evenings. We planned to find geocaches during the days and had a wonderful week exploring the Invermere/Panorama area.

There is a multi-trail hiking/biking system called Lake Lillian Recreation Area just up the road from the lake. Over the course of a few days we found every geocache hidden in the recreation area. And every one of the hides took us to a place with a wonderful view or a unique geographical feature.

The community of Invermere sits at the base of the Purcell Mountains, a subrange of the Columbia Mountains which are located on the west side of the Canadian Rockies.

We had a view of another hillside of hoodoo cliffs on another hike along the trails.

As we walked the various paths and trails in search of geocaches it was not uncommon to come across one or more deer munching the fall grass.

There are lots of larch trees among the conifers on the hillsides around Panorama and when the sunlight hit just right the contrast in the deep green and bright yellow as stunning.

On another day we walked down the very long, very steep road of an undeveloped subdivision to find a geocache hidden at the canyon viewing platform.

As were were leaving Panorama at the end of the week we really noticed how much ice had built up along the sides and among the rocks of Toby Creek.

We had a wonderful time on our week away at Panorama. It gave us enough of a lift to “stay at home” to the end of the year.

Once we were home again we drove up the one of logging roads in Hunter’s Range every day for several days to check off a missing day on the calendar. There is a challenge to find a cache on every day of the year (not all in the same year) and we had quite a few needed days in October and November. The Hunter’s Range series checked off nine different days in early November.

When you are driving into the hills in the late fall the scenery can change dramatically from one day to the next. We had fog and fall colours and, then, aburptly, winter white.

The community of Enderby is the closest to our home in Salmon Arm. It stretches along the banks of the Shuswap River and one of our days up Hunter’s Range was a beautiful day and the reflections in the river as we crossed the bridge were so pretty I had John pull over on the other side so I could walk back and take some photos.

As I stepped out of the truck in the parking lot I noticed all the leaves of a maple tree had dropped and created a lovely colourful carpet on a fresh snowfall.

Lower elevations and a few days of milder weather and we were free of snow again. We drove around to the North Shore of the main Shuswap Lake and found a couple of geocaches at Magna Bay. Clear blue water and fall colours make for pretty pictures.

There were a series of caches along a road back in the foothills east of Kamloops. We had never been on the Campbell Creek Road before and really enjoyed the drive through the semi-arid ranchland.

The final day of geocache-finding for the year 2020 was a drive in mid-December into the hills west of town to Skimikin Lake. There was a cache hidden on the far side of the lake at the top of hill. We found an unplowed road to walk most the way around the lake and then we branched off on a horse trail before doing a little bushwhacking to get to the site of the cache. Thankfully there was not much snow yet at the spot, because we would not have been able to find the cache if there had been.

We are so very blessed to live in an area of such geographical and botanical diversity. When we add in the changes of seasons we can experience a vast array of colours, textures, and scenes from one day to the next. If one must “stay at home” during a global pandemic this is a pretty good place to do it.

2020 At Home – Part 1

2020 was a very strange year for everyone. The largest adjustment I had to make was staying home. Since we retired in 2007 we have travelled a lot, and I love to travel. We had a road trip planned for the spring to drive to Houston, Texas after the birth of our first grandchild in early March. But then, COVID-19 hit the world with a bang and the borders were closed and travel was restricted and we had to stay home.

This prevented us from not only travelling, but meeting our granddaughter. Thank goodness for today’s technology where we can watch her grow via the internet. Certainly not the same thing by any means, but definitely better than the days of old when it would take weeks if not months for a letter to arrive and photographs were very expensive and limited.

No travelling meant no travel blog either so I decided to do a couple of blogs about the ‘at home’ travels we enjoyed while pursuing our geocache hobby. Caches are hidden everywhere (There are 3 million of them around the world; including several in Antarctica.) and going to find them takes us to little out-of-the way places or to very familiar places.

Geocaching is a hobby perfect for times of social distancing because you can take off for the day and drive some back country roads and not see another person while out enjoying yourself.

We had a long snow-filled winter so our first local trip was in mid-April when we drove to Shuswap Falls. There are actually two water falls, one either side of a small island. There is an old power plant to harness the electricity. I am not sure if it is still operational.

In early May we went over to the small community of Chase and up the hill to the Nisconlith Meadows which are awash with wildflowers every spring.

A week or so later we drove east to Sicamous and walked along the shore of Mara Lake along the old decommissioned railway to find a series of geocaches hidden along the trail.

There is a wonderful nature trail along the foreshore of town and another series of geocaches are hidden along the route. We have been working on finding them off and on for a year or so and found the final one this year.

The Larch Hills are east of town and there are quite a few logging roads interspersed through the forest, many of which have geocaches. The views can be lovely if you get to an open patch.

A few years ago we drove all the way up to Mica Dam above Revelstoke to find the 100+ geocaches hidden along the road. We were unable to find three of them so in June we decided to drive the route again to find them. Can’t leave unfound geocaches. We hate DNFs (Did Not Find).

The north shore of the Shuswap Lake has some lovely waterfalls and beaches. We spent a lovely day in August in the area.

The final first-half of the year day trip was along the far side of Okanagan Lake from Vernon in the Fintry area where we climbed a couple of hundred stairs to find a geocache above the waterfall.

And that was as exciting as over half of 2020 was. I will do another post of pics from our October week at Panorama in the Kootenays in southeastern BC plus the few other day trips to find geocaches that we did before the end of the year.

2012 March 22-24 – Days 11-13 – At Sea to Cadiz, Spain

We were woken in the morning by a ship-wide announcement that the Captain had diverted the ship’s course and was now involved in a rescue operation.  Apparently a Madeiran fishing boat with eight men aboard had a leak in the engine room so they had gathered their possessions and abandoned ship in the lifeboat.  Four ships responded to their distress call.  A freighter arrived first which, by the ‘rules of the sea’ makes them the rescue ship.  However, the Prinsendam is a cruise ship and has lower deck access.  We were asked to bring them aboard until they could be airlifted via a helicopter from Madeira. Now times have changed drastically in the past few years. At one time the captain would have moved close to the lifeboat, cut the engines and had the fishermen paddle over to the ship where they would be assisted aboard.

This does not happen in our world today.  The captain cut the engines, yes, but the lifeboat was not allowed near the ship and no crew members from our ship went to their boat.  When the army helicopter from Madeira was directly over the ship, the lifeboat was brought alongside and the fishermen were assisted aboard by security crew.  All of the upper decks were evacuated of crew and passengers.  The fishermen were to be hauled up on a winch line from the open pool deck into the helicopter.  The ship’s firemen were standing by with charged hoses in case of any accidents that may happen.  John, of course, had to check out the preparations by the fire crew and was able to do an adjustment to this fellow’s twisted air hose line.   The fishermen were take directly to the lower deck elevator, brought up to the pool deck without stopping and assisted one by one into the harness for the dangling ride up to the helicopter.  When all the men were aboard their belongings were sent up after them.  As we sailed from the area the fishing boat was still afloat, but much lower in the water and listing to one side.  The captain announced later that the men had arrived home and all were safe and sound.  A boat would be sent from Madeira to collect the lifeboat and check on the fishing boat.  Never a dull moment at sea!

We were scheduled to dock in Portimao, on the Algarve coast of Portugal the next day.  However the Captain warned us that predicted high winds may prevent our going up the dredged river channel to the village.  His concern was realized when the port pilot came on board the next morning and advised against trying to navigate the narrow channel due to gale-force winds.  Portimao is considered a ‘fair weather’ port and the Prinsendam would have been the largest ship to anchor there.  Since the passengers would be tendered to shore the strong winds would also have made getting into and out of the boats dangerous.  So…our second port-of-call was cancelled and we continued along the Iberian south coast to our next port, Cadiz, Spain.

We had been scheduled to arrive in Cadiz (pronounced Kaa deez) at 8 am on March 24 but docked instead at 5 pm March 23.  The port is right ‘downtown’ in Old Cadiz so you just had to walk across the street and look around.  By the time we finished dinner though it was too dark to be wandering unfamiliar streets in a foreign country.  One of the crew told us the next morning that he had gone out, walked a few streets and gotten totally lost.  Took him several hours to find his way back to the ship.

                                       One of the creative flower arrangements on the ship.Our towel creation on the bed that night was a peacock, complete with colourful feathers.  Very cute.

The early arrival meant the ship spent three nights  instead of the scheduled two docked at Cadiz.  Cadiz is the gateway port to Seville which is about an hour and a half’s drive inland. We had tours booked each of the next two days, the first was a four hour tour in the countryside where we visited Los Alburejos Farm. They raise Andalusian horses and bulls for the fights.  The day after that we did an all-day tour into Seville to see “The Palaces of Seville.”

Dec 12 – Flight Home

Usually my last day on a trip is the last blog I write, but large sections of our flight home were in clear skies – and I had a window seat, so I took some photos.  It is rare to see anything other than white clouds on long flights so I enjoyed the different scenes far below.This is something I don’t see often – sunrise. Leaving Ottawa. Houses, houses, houses, and more houses. We had been flying for two hours of our four and a half hour flight to Calgary and we had been flying over the Canadian Shield in western Ontario for quite some time already.  The province of Ontario is BIG. Clouds moved in for awhile.  But, then it was clear again to see more treeless rocks and frozen lakes.The checkerboard fields of ManitobaWe had cloud cover over Saskatchewan and then clear sky again as we descended into Calgary – 7 minutes ahead of schedule. We had time for some lunch before our flight to BC and were blessed with bare roads for the drive home.

Another wonderful adventure completed.  I do love to travel…

Dec 11 – Ottawa, Ontario

We had a quiet morning in our room because we were meeting John’s cousin and his wife for lunch at 11:45.  We lingered after the meal until almost 3 o’clock chatting and catching up on news.  After we parted ways John and I drove to the Parliament Buildings because I wanted to walk the pathway behind the complex and see the views of the city and the Ottawa River and all the statues of some of the former Prime Ministers of Canada that have been erected over the years.  Unfortunately, we had forgotten that there is a major renovation project going on at the Hill and much of the grounds have been fenced off. We walked around the side of the building below and were able to find a walkway around the back.  We checked with several of the construction fellows if it was okay for us to go and were told it was fine. Behind the main building there is a usually a good view of the rotunda, but it is now cordoned off with tall metal fencing.  Which also enclosed all of the statues. Rats. We had a nice view of the city and the Ottawa River as we walked around the back of Parliament Hill, but when we reached the far side we discovered that there was no exit.  The fencing crossed the path.  We turned around and walked all the way back again. There was a virtual geocache at the War Memorial so we walked over to find the answer to the question that we needed to log the cache as a find.  Part of the main path past the memorial is also closed because there is a climate change protest tent camp set up on the lawn.


We found the information  we needed and  crossed the road to go to find an earth cache at the Rideau Canal locks that are between the Parliament Buildings and the Chateau Laurier. Where we taking some photos of the locks and the chateau a fellow came jogging down the stairs.  He was in shorts and a short-sleeve top!  He asked us if we would take his photo to show his family at home in Minnesota. He was in Ottawa for work and figured he would be warm enough to go for a jog since it was supposed to be 40° F (which is 4° C).  It was colder than that and windy, but he didn’t seem to mind.  He said the next day’s goal was to run across the bridge you can see in the background and check out the statue that rises above our heads.  The temperature was not fazing him – he is, after all, from Minnesota!  He insisted on taking our photo.

The beautiful Chateau Laurier.

By the time we made our way back up to the street it was rush hour so we wandered around the area for awhile to let some of the traffic get out of town.  We had to drive out to the hotel by the airport where we were staying the night to have a short commute for our 7:45 am flight. We  had  parked  our  car  in  the  arcade  of  the  World  Exchange  Plaza. There  were  models  of  beluga  whales  and  narwhals  hanging  from  ceiling.As we began our half-hour drive to the Hilton at the airport it began to snow and within a very short time there was limited visibility and white roads.  We were very thankful we had spent the extra money to have winter tires put on the rental.  We passed a city bus that was unable to get up a small grade due to the ice.   But, by the time we got to the hotel it had stopped completely.

It was another early-to-bed night as we had to be up at 5 to get ready and get to the airport for our flight home.

2019 Dec 10 – Trois Rivière, Québec to Ottawa, Ontario

This is our last driving day before we arrive back in Ottawa.  We left our hotel shortly after 9 am and headed southwest.  After about 55 km (34 miles) we exited the freeway (always a good thing) at Berthierville and got on to the much quieter Highway 158.  Well, it was supposed to be quieter, but there was quite a lot of traffic until we passed the exits into Montréal.  Then the majority of the cars veered off and we had a nice drive through more farmland and villages.  This whole river delta area is dotted with dairy farms.  As we have been driving around in New Brunswick and Québec we have spotted groves of trees crisscrossed with connecting blue lines. We have concluded this is the new method of tapping maple trees for syrup.  It is a bit hard to see because I took this photo out of John’s side of the car  as  he  drove past.Is there such a thing as too much when it comes to Christmas decorations??? At St. Lin-Laurentides we stopped to find a geocache hidden at the back of the grounds of the Sir Wilfred Laurier House.  It was closed for the season of course, but we had done the tour in 2014 on our drive across Canada so we were not disappointed. There was a geocache hidden at the Visitor’s Center so we walked over the bridge beside the waterfall and the park to find it. We were looking around the doorway of the Visitor’s Center trying to find the cache and a lady came along who worked there and had been on her lunch break. I had just said to John that I thought the cache was inside when she unlocked the door.  John said we were geocaching and she said – in French – that it was indeed inside.  She even pointed it out to us and then gave me three brochures, chatting away explaining the different things in the area even though we told her we did not speak anything more than a few words of French.  Somehow, I guess she thought we could understand it.  She was sweet.We also see quite a few of these gingerbread-style houses.  I love all the intricate railings. This house, like so many others we passed was decorated for the holidays. There was a geocache hidden at an old truck weigh scale and when I took the lid off the container I saw this encouraging message.Driving through Gatineau on our way to Ottawa we passed a few nice art pieces – and got stuck in a long line of traffic.  I don’t know if this was a normal amount of after-work rush hour vehicles or if it was more congested due to the accidents that were on the 417 freeway.

Driving into a city watching a pretty sunset is always a bit more enjoyable. I didn’t even see the biker ride into my shot as I took this photo.  It looks  kind of neat, even though it is out of focus. If you keep taking photos as you drive along, eventually you will get a good one.  I really like this shot.

We have lunch tomorrow with John’s other cousin and then, depending on weather, we hope to do a bit of touring around the Parliament Buildings area.  Our last day before we fly home again.

Dec 9 – Rivièvere-du-Loup. QC to Trois Rivière, QC

Once again we took the roads-less-travelled as we headed west along the St. Lawrence River from Rivière-du-Loup to Trois Rivière.  We spent the morning driving Highway 132 on the south side of the river, crossed the bridge into Québec City and headed west again on the north side along Highway 138.  Both of the roads had some winter friendly geocaches and took us through farm country and lots of villages.

It was a grey day though.  We had low cloud and rain drizzle all day.  Thankfully, no snow. One of the geocache hides we stopped to find was in a tree behind this memorial sculpture.

This spot marks the point of departure on May 29, 1783 of a route between the St. Lawrence River Valley and Acadia (in what was parts of eastern Québec, the Maritimes and Maine, USA).  The route was first used by the First Nations people and later became a strategic road frequented by French and British Colonists. There is lots of ice built up along the St. Lawrence shores. We stopped near this bridge to find a geocache that was hidden down by the river, but we were unable to find it.  I do admit we did not look too long for caches along the route today. Most of the time there was quite a cold wind blowing so we did not spend nearly the amount of time searching that we usually do.  We also had some distance to travel so elected to move on to another cache hide rather than spend too much time trying to find an elusive one. The big circle of thicker, different coloured ice is at the base of a culvert that drains storm water into the river.There was an earthcache at an ecological preserve at Kamouraska.  It was only a short distance off our route so we turned in to find it.  Last night in the hotel, on my computer, I had very cleverly looked along our planned drive for any virtual or earth caches and translated (not me literally, but the built-in translator on the Geocache site) all the information ( info on all hides in Québec are in French only) and the questions we needed to answer.  We were hoping to that would assist in the finds.  However, at this location there were 8 information panels strung out along a pathway – all in French – so having the questions in English didn’t help when we couldn’t read the panels.  And, it was too cold to walk along the water’s edge trying to translate the signs for the answers.  Time to move on…  I have  actually  been  quite  impressed  with  how much  French  I am able  to figure  out on  signs,  menues,  and  geocache  descriptions.  I am bad at  understanding  the  spoken  word,but  am  able  to  figure  out  the  gist  of  a lot  of  things  I read.  I guess  some  of  the  high  school  French  actually  stayed  in  my  brain.   Kamouraska is an old community.  It was settled in the later part of the 17th century and is mentioned in the constituency rolls of the Government of French Canada in 1674.  The name is Algonquin for “where the rushes grow at the water’s edge.”  The area has a long tradition of eel fishing.As I said, it was a grey day.

One of the things we enjoy on these quieter roads is driving through the villages.  We like looking at houses and various styles of architecture.   On our drive we have seen ultra-modern houses, 1960’s bungalows, 1950’s cottages and very old stone houses.  We love the old houses and see so many of them are beautifully decorated for Christmas.

We found a geocache in a tree along this nice long driveway to an research farm.As we stopped to find another cache in a guard rail we saw a big tanker making it’s way up the St. Lawrence. We arrived in Trois Rivière at 4:30, negotiated a convoluted route to find our hotel, and got settled in.  Tomorrow we  travel on freeway for about 55 km out of Trois Rivière and then exit onto Highway 158, a secondary road to circle around Montreal.  We are able to stay on this road (although it’s number changes to 148) all the way to Ottawa. We arrive from the Québec side, driving through Gatineau and across the bridge into Ottawa.

Miramichi, NB to Rivière-du-Loup, QC

Yesterday, after successfully achieving the two goals for our road trip, we left Prince Edward Island and drove back as far as Miramichi, New Brunswick; where we spent the night.  Today we decided to take the inland route across the province to Grand Falls, which is almost at the border with Maine, USA’ and then head north into Québec and Rivière-du-Loup.

Miramichi is located at the end of a wide inlet on the Northumberland Strait between New Brunswick and PEI.  The distance across the middle of New Brunswick between the two cities is just under 213 km (132 miles) – a very short distance compared to crossing British Columbia which is over 800 km (497 miles) to the Alberta border from Vancouver.This nice mural was on a building beside the gas station as we fueled up in Miramichi.

Almost the entire day was spent on quiet roads with little traffic and very few stops.  Even most of the geocaches we were hoping to find were buried under snow and out of reach.  We did find 6 caches, but had to clamber through snow to get everyone of them.We drove on this road for almost three hours for a distance of 176.5 km. (109 miles).  In all that time we met 10 cars and had none come up behind us. We drove past this little semi-frozen river and John was kind enough to back up so I could get a photo of it. On the down-side of the bridge the water was covered in snow and ice.  I liked the patterns right below the bridge. Above and below the bridge over the Dungarvon River.  There is a harrowing tale in this area about The Whooper, a lumber-worker’s cook who was murdered near this river and roams the forests at night making a loud whooping, yelling noise.  The story may be a way for parents to try scare their children from going into the deep, dense forests, or….you may consider yourself warned from venturing alone along the Dungarvon River.  Beware The Whooper.The sawmill community of Plaster Rock is on the west side of the Tobique River.  Hezekiah Day gave Plaster Rock its name based on the hill on the other side of the river – the rock is made up of gypsum, or plaster.  Plaster Rock hosts the World Pond Hockey Tournament every year.  They section off rinks on a very large local pond and teams come from all over the world to play.  There are teams from Jamaica, Egypt, Germany, and many other places around the globe.  A fund raiser for the tournament is a calendar featuring photos from the previous year’s games and teams.  We had lunch at a small cafe in Plaster Rock and then continued the 30 km to Grand Falls where we turned north on Highway 120, which turned into 289 when we crossed the border into Québec.We arrived at Rivière-du-Loup at 4:30 but it was now only 3:30 because we crossed a time zone between New Brunswick and Québec.  This gave us some down time to check email and Facebook before heading out for dinner.

Tomorrow we travel from Rivière-du-Loup to Trois-Rivières. We will travel the coastal route 132 as far as Québec and then cross the St. Lawrence River and drive along the north side to Trois-Rivières.  After that, it is another driving day back to Ottawa.

Moncton, NB to Carleton-Borden, PEI to Miramichi, NB – Dec 7

We achieved our second goal for this short road trip – our 4000 cache find!  And we got three caches on Prince Edward Island.

We were on the road at 9:40 and headed directly from Moncton to Prince Edward Island.  As soon as we traveled east of Moncton almost all of the snow disappeared. I love the Confederation Bridge that connects New Brunswick to Prince Edward Island.  One of the conditions of the island joining the Confederation of Canada in 1873 was that access to the mainland would be provided; either by tunnel under the Northumberland Strait or a bridge across it – whichever became feasible.  That promise was a long time coming because the Confederation Bridge was not opened until 1997!

The bridge was built by a private consortium, took four years to build with almost 6000 workers and a cost of $840 million.  They negotiated a 35-year agreement with the Federal Government.  Each year for 35 years Canada pays Strait Crossing Bridge Ltd. $41.9 million.  After that time the bridge becomes the property of Canada and part of the Trans-Canada Highway.  If you do the math the taxpayers will, in 35 years, pay Strait Crossing Bridge Ltd. close to 1.5 billion dollars – which pays for the bridge plus over $600 million in interest on the privately financed construction project.

The bridge is also a toll bridge.  It costs nothing to go from New Brunswick to PEI, but the cost to go back to the mainland for a passenger car is $47.75.  A motorcycle costs $19.00 and an individual or cyclist riding in the provided shuttle pays $4.50 or $9.00 respectively.  (No pedestrians or bicycles are allowed to cross) Even in the slow winter season that adds up to several thousand dollars per day.  The construction consortium keeps all the tolls for the 35 years.  Sounds great, but the money from the tolls had to first be used to cover the $330 million construction cost overrun before any of it became profit.  Maintaining the bridge has also cut into some of the projected gains, but the company shareholders will still make a considerable amount of money from their investment – over 35 years. The bridge is built in an S curve specifically to reduce the risk of accidents from drivers getting complacent during the 13 kilometer (8 mile) crossing.  At the speed limit of 80 kmp (50 mph) it takes 12 minutes to get from New Brunswick to PEI.  It is the longest bridge in the world across ice-filled water.

We did not have to drive very far once we were on the island to find a geocache to complete our Canadian provinces.  There is an immediate exit to a nice park with a view of the bridge that has a cache hidden in the base of an information sign.  The wind was bitterly cold!  We did not linger long outside the warmth of the car.  We found another cache nearby and looked for another one at the visitor’s center that we couldn’t find, Then we found the road to Noonan Beach where we got the information for an Earthcache. I was smart enough to wrap my scarf around my head before I ventured near the water.You can’t really see it in the photo but the grass is really blowing inland.   As we were getting back into the car snow flurries began to fall.   We had achieved our goal of a PEI cache ( X 3) and now it was time to head back to New Brunswick and start making our way back to Ottawa.  Our destination for the night was Miramichi which is about 200 km from the New Brunswick side of the bridge.

We turned north immediately across the bridge and took the secondary coastal road called Murray Corner;  finding  a couple  of  geocaches  along  the way. We discovered as we neared the end of the road that the bridge that connected Murray Corner to the main highway was closed so we had to go back a few kilometers to another crossroad.  Instead of turning around and navigating the same road again, we took a lesser used country road.  I was hoping to see a moose since there are warning signs for them all over this province, but no such luck.We spent a lot of the day driving near coastal inlets and there were lots of pretty views of houses and cottages reflected in the ice or water. About halfway to Miramichi there was a side road called Beaubassin Road that had a string of 20 geocaches hidden along it.  We gave ourselves one hour to find as many as we could before we stopped and drove the rest of the way to Miramichi.  There were a couple we could not get because the ditch was full of water, or rather ice, that we did not trust to walk on, and near the end of the road the last six or so caches were hidden further into the bush on the opposite side.  We decided to find them on the way a back if we had time; since it was a dead-end road.  As it was our hour was up just as we got to the final cache so we ignored the ones we passed by and headed back to the highway again.  We did find 12 of them though.

During our few days of driving in New Brunswick we would occasionally spot a bright red bush among the trees alongside the road.  There were some of them growing along Beaubassin Road so we were finally able to see one up close. I don’t know what it is called but the berries are certainly bright.

The last 100 km was driven in fading light and setting sun. We arrived in Miramichi at 5:30.  Tomorrow we cut across NB to Grand Falls and up to Rivière-du-Loup, Québec.  We have yet to decide if we will stick to the freeway from Grand Falls to Québec or take a road-less-traveled, but longer.

 

2019 Dec 6 – Grand Falls, NB to Moncton, NB

To be honest, this blog series seems a bit weird to me.  Usually when I am writing about one of our road trips I can include information and photos of museums, or historical sites, or old forts.  This trip is literally a road trip and all I have to share are things we see along the road, which seems strange.  But it is winter and everything is closed; including the tourist information centers.  And our primary goal on this little journey is to get at least one geocache in New Brunswick and one in Prince Edward Island to complete our Canadain Provinces cache finds.  After today we can check New Brunswick off the list!

We were blessed once again with bare roads and sunny skies.  It was a lovely drive from Grand Falls to Moncton.  Before we left Grand Falls this morning we drove down to see the falls for which the town is named.

There is a bit of snow here and I had to make my way over to the fence behind this picnic table to see the falls.  There is a hydro-electric plant here that uses the massive amount of water that flows through here to produce power.  In the winter there is very little water flowing into the gorge. If you look closely at the photo above, near the right side there is a muddy-looking bit.  That is the only open flowing water.   But,  judging  by  the  information  on  the  plaque  below,  in  the  spring  it  would  be incredible!We went back over the bridge after trying to see the falls from the tourist viewing area and walked halfway across to get a better look at the gorge. The nice round holes you can see on the images above are potholes carved out of the rock by the water.

After checking out the falls we took to the road again toward Moncton.

There are two bridges that cross the river near Aroostook and just off the freeway between the bridges there are two geocaches hidden. This was our first real opportunity to find a New Brunswick cache since it was dark when we got into Grand Falls last night. If one is going geocache hunting in New Brunswick in the winter, one must be prepared to walk through some snow!

We deviated from the Trans-Canada Highway near Aroostook and drove down the quieter Highway 130 as far as Hartland before rejoining the main highway.

We came across another covered bridge; one that was connected to a metal trestle bridge at Florenceville.  Florenceville was named in 1855 by the Lt. Governor of the day in honour of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing and the heroine of the Crimean War.  I remember reading her biography when I was in Grade 8. Florenceville is the french fry capital of the world due to the McCain Foods factory.    Information on the company says, “Since 1957, McCain Foods has grown proudly from its Florenceville, New Brunswick roots. With 30 employees and sales of $150,000 in its first year of business, the company has grown to become a global enterprise with more than 21,000 employees operating out of 53 production facilities on six continents with sales in excess of CDN $9.5 billion globally, while remaining Canadian headquartered and family-owned.” The icy St. John River.We stopped near the famous Hartland Bridge and bought some lunch at a local grocery store deli, then drove across the world’s longest covered bridge and parked on the other side so we could walk back and find a geocache hidden about halfway along the 391 meter-long bridge. It is only a one-lane bridge so you have to look to the far end and see if there is a car coming before you enter. I  liked  the look of  the  bridge  peeking through  all  the  tree  branches.There are lots of bridges across the St. John River.  This the newer bridge at Hartland.  After we found the cache on the covered bridge we re-connected with the Highway 2 – the Trans-Canada – and drove to Fredericton.

We had visited Fredericton sights, including the New Brunswick Parliament Building in 2014 and we only diverted today to go find three earth caches and a virtual cache that were all close together and did not have a lot of onerous questions to answer.  It took us about an hour to find them all and then we were on the road again without stopping until we reached our hotel in Moncton.One of the Earthcaches was at the Science Center which is located in the old Fredericton Provincial Jail.  It was built between 1840 and 1842 and was a maximum security facility. There are still bars on the upper story windows.

The last Earthcache took us to the campus of the Univerity of New Brunswick, Fredericton Campus to find an erratic glacier boulder that had been unearthed during construction and now sits in front of the Forestry and Geology Building.A few of the nice old buildings on the campus. The moon had risen in the sky as we approached Moncton at 5 pm and located our hotel and our dinner.