Fundy Park

My girlfriend, Donna is visiting for a few days, and with the truck still on hold waiting for parts we thought we'd go on a bit of a tour. Started with a fabulous brunch in uptown Saint John at Magnolia  Cafe. I had a wild Eggs Benedict, Donna had panko battered, deep fried French Toast. Perhaps not as amazing as it sounds, but a neat spot. From there we walked around a bit, as I've mentioned, I've become enamored with the city, love all the old buildings and the steep streets.
But I was really amazed when we came to the harbor and there was,... The Queen Mary II!!
I couldn't believe it! I just love the old liners and this boat just represents a whole era of travel that I adore. Next to the Carnival Cruise thing behind her, the QMII was radiant! Love this!
After much Googling, I finally found a  suitable place to spend a couple of days, I called and booked Fundy Park Chalets.
Awesome spot, and at this time of year there is very little in the way of chalet rental. Plus really
So we're off up to Alma.
Checked in, set up, lovely spot, increasable view, absolutely lovely people!
Off for groceries. Then bacon wrapped scallops on the Q,
The next day we head into the park and set out for some hiking, lovely trails. Our second trail was significantly longer than expected, the park maps aren't quite to scale,...
The inlet in the picture to the right with the covered bridge was once the site of a huge dam and lumber mill, just below they built ships to haul the timber to Europe! It's amazing, unless you look very closely, the bridge is the only trace of that era.
The next day we went to Cape Enrage and Hopewell Rocks.
The New Brunswick tourism destination of choice, which was closed. So we broke in,...
Now this place is awesome, no wonder it's such a hot spot, there's easily room for 300 cars in the parking lot. Taking pictures becomes absurd as they all look the same, but walking around you just come upon more and more amazing stuff.
Do NOT miss this on a trip to New Brunswick.

Cape St. Mary's

OK, so we need to get to Cape St. Mary's at the very bottom of Nova Scotia, Not really all that far
from here but the options are the ferry from Saint John's to Digby NS and a 40 minute drive down to the Cape. Or drive all the way around on the mainland, a 6.5 hour drive,.....
At is always seems with the ferry, the timing
never works out, so if we leave now, we'll still be at the cape ahead of the ferry,....
We fuel up and hit the road.

Cape St. Mary is another stunning spot, high over the Atlantic Ocean, more cliffs, more climbing safety fences,...
The work here was somewhat more complicated however, we had to open all the road cases full of electronic gear!
In fact by dusk there were still issues, realizing we needed to return the next day we packed up and headed for the Rudder Pub in Yarmouth.
A great spot with some nice craft brews including a splendid dark ale.
The following day was very successful as Dr. Fisher promptly sorted out the radar and we were on our way, again the ferry was of no use so we drove around again, arriving in Saint John just before midnight. Plenty of time to tidy up the remaining beers in the trunk.

At the Coast Guard tower

The work Dr. Fisher does involves sending radar pulses out across the gulf of Maine from several stations in Maine and Nova Scotia. These radar pulses bounce off waves in the gulf and using sophisticated modeling software he can map currents in the gulf with great accuracy. Cool stuff. The electronics is housed in the Coast Guard radio shed at the extreme southern tip of the island, a dramatic spot indeed.
I didn't feel I should take any pictures of the gear in the radio shed in the interest of national security but wow! what a pile of cool gear.
The installation is on a very high cliff overlooking the Gulf of Maine. I managed to climb out on a rather precarious rock bluff well beyond the safety fence,...
When you stand in a place like this, alone and in still air your mind about bubbles over, for me anyway, I'd love to build a little studio, right on this bluff, and build a beautiful but precarious stairway down to the completely inaccessible beach, what a spot it must be.
That mood was promptly squashed by the instant appearance of a Coast Guard helicopter directly overhead! "h lovely"I thought "'ve gone and pissed them off, threatening the good doctors work." Or worse, perhaps an alarm triggered when we opened the door to the computer room from hell!
Then they landed!
No worries, the little building in the picture holds 30,000 liters of jet fuel, it's a refueling stop.

Neil promptly fixed the radar, without more than some carrying and lifting on my part, well done.
And we're off to Saint John! Back on the ferry and up to the city, bookended into the hotel and off to the pub!
Britts, awesome spot, good folk behind the bar.
I had simply amazing prosciutto wrapped scallops!
Our late night walk back to the hotel was lovely, I really like Saint John, I believe it's in for a renaissance. it's a city on a hill of a peninsula with three sides to the sea. Ancient architecture and very walkable, love it!


Now we're talking!
My first adventure! My good friend and Oceanographic scientist, Dr. Neil Fisher needs help with a field maintenance tour of the Bay of  Fundy! With the truck on hold while we wait for parts, Neil picks me up on his way to Gran Manan for our first stop. Having never been to Gran Manan I was really looking forward to the trip until Neil pointed out that there isn't a single pub on the island.
Oh well I always enjoy a ferry ride.
It's good to catch up with Neil, he's a Rover buff
too and has been a good friend for many years. Everyone should know at least one scientist.
Arriving too late in the day to do any meaningful science we found the sole open restaurant and had a lovely deep fried bonanza.
Back at the motel a trunk full of beer made up for the lack of a pub.
We didn't quite see the dawn that night but made a good effort.

Out with the old

We're at Tony's and the Rover's in the shop and up on the hoist.
Moments later the rear differential is out and disemboweled. This Rover is a bit of a Frankenstein, the rear differential is out of a 1982 military Land Rover, it's seriously robust and there was good reason. The early military Land Rovers had regular Land Rover rear ends and they're prone do failure under heavy use. The British military suggested Rover find a solution and quick. That solution was to use an American Dana 60 rear end, massive by Rover standards but a godsend for anyone using their Rover
to work, as I do. One of the added benefits of having a Dana 60 rear end in the truck is availability of aftermarket goodies, like the ARB air locking differential I had installed some years ago. This locker has been both a blessing and a curse, I installed it in an era where I off roaded the truck pretty hard, and while a locker can get you out of some sticky situations it can, like any
performance enhancement, get you in more trouble. I don't off road anymore,....
Another curse from having the locker installed was the shop that did the work.
The poor thing howled and leaked from day one. the use I've put it through these last few years didn't justify the immense cost of rebuilding it but my upcoming road trip does. So with new ring and pinion gears, bearings, seals and a new drive flange on order we're going to get this rear end in top shape.While the truck was on the hoist, we changed out the front differential as well, much simpler as a Rover differential is housed in a "pumpkin" with all the gear set up done as a self contained unit. It's common to replace a Rover diff in a mud puddle on the trail in well under an hour. I had brought a good spare with me.  I murdered the old differential trying to tow a loaded dump truck out of a ditch. The rear tires slipped and all the gear crunching torque of my big V6 motor did, well, just that.

Smooth sailing

Oh what a difference!
Our antique freight train is an absolute joy now!
I moved all the heavy stuff out of the coach and into the Rover, and with the weight distribution hitch we're riding like an old Cadillac. Note I said OLD Cadillac, rather boaty with the airsprings and worn out front shocks. But very stable and easy driving.

Headed off to spend the evening with some very good friends on the Amherst shore, just before leaving Nova Scotia.

Geordie is quite used to the truck and has settled right in, it's amazing, the life of a dog, he knows we're going somewhere, but after spending his whole life in my truck, it could be an hour's drive or several days.

After a lovely evening and beautiful farmhouse sleep we're off to Saint John New Brunswick to see Tony, renown Land Rover guru and good friend. It's there, in his shop where the truck will get it's final significant maintenance. New gears in both differentials being the most pressing.
The run down to Saint John was lovely, but I did roll down the canvas tilt. The canvas roof on the Land Rover is called a tilt, go figure. It was a bit too chilly for open top motoring.

Share the load

In the bustling metropolis of Halifax I procured a weight distribution hitch. This is a engineering black magic that transfers the tongue weight of the coach to the front wheels of the truck. I actually had one at home but it was a gnarly beast and wouldn't have fit my tall truck.

I did get to start the day with a flat, had me worried for a bit, but I just pumped it up.

The weight distribution hitch needed an extra deep shank that I had to go all over town to find, pricy too!

I also sprung for an anti sway bar which is basically a shock absorber damping the hinge action between the truck and coach. I didn't really have a sway issue but it's cheap insurance.
The hitch bolted right up and wow, what a difference!
You can see the oil all over the Argosy that's been pouring out of the differential.


Wow, a fun first leg, well fun if you enjoy white knuckle driving,...
Which, oddly, I sort of do.
The thing is, everything I own is in this truck and coach, clothes, tools, instruments, and a hell of a lot of spare parts and building materials. Yes, several hundred pounds of slate and soapstone! Big plans I tell you. OK so even with the air bags in the truck pumped right up the rear of the truck was sagging and the ride was horrible. But I pushed on for Halifax at a breakneck speed with the canvas rolled up and the wind in our hair. Great fun.
Two things have become overwhelmingly evident. I have to lighten the load, dramatically! and I have to fix my poor rear differential. It's been bad for years, but with this heavy load I doubt it will make it as far as Maine. I've made arrangements to have new differential gears, bearings and such shipped to a friend with a shop in Saint John New Brunswick. He's kindly offered to swap in the gears there. Let's just hope I make it,...

Finding my way

“Our  biggest regrets aren’t the things we did. But the things we didn’t do”

                                                                                                      Lucas Scott


Fate has afforded me a period of little commitment.

How could I pass up on this opportunity to fulfill the lifelong dream of perpetual travel.  Geordie, my 8 year old golden doodle and I set out from Lunenburg Nova Scotia Canada on the adventure of a lifetime. An unknown period of travel, good food, good wine and good friends yet to be met.