Friday, October 21, 2016

Grand Pre

Grand Pre is another Nova Scotia World Heritage Site, in this case celebrating the French Acadian community in Nova Scotia which was driven away following the so-called French and Indian War, which the French lost. Quel dommage. The Acadians, some of them, went south and became the Cajuns of Louisiana. Much was lost in translation. All this is celebrated, however, in Longfellow's epic poem Evangeline, which, as every school boy/girl knows, was written in dactylic hexameter, Homer's meter. At Grand Pre, the Acadians built a dike against the Bay of Fundy and reclaimed considerable farm land, still tilled. For us, it was a somewhat brief visit, since the visitor center had already closed. The hour was late and smoke already was rising from the mountain of doom....

Helpful illustration

Bay of Fundy from Grand Pre plage...low tide


Reclaimed land

Community church

Of course sea level can vary considerably here; mean sea level?

We proceeded on....

On To Nova Scotia: Joggins Fossil Cliffs

We got into Canada on October 1st, crossing from Calais to St. Stephen without difficulty. The only stop of note on the drive through Maine was at LL Bean. We were no more impressed in 2016 than in 1970. I guess Bean's must be a regional thing. (We've been REI members since 1971.) After doing the wash (no laundromat in Calais!) and getting a sim card in St. Stephen, we then breezed through New Brunswick, having been there several days in 1970, as far as Moncton and the Tidal Bore (or "total bore" as we called it then). We arrived in Amherst, Nova Scotia, at 5:30PM, stopping at the visitor center and then camping au savage in town. Next morning we were up bright and early for a visit to the Joggins Fossil Cliffs, the first of several World Heritage Sites we saw in Nova Scotia.
Joggins Fossil Cliffs visitor center; the cliffs, washed and eroded
by the tides of the Bay of Fundy, expose layers of 310 million year
old Carboniferous flora and fauna; Charles Lyell, the father of
geology, exponent of uniformatarianism, and a major influence on
Darwin, visited in 1842, and pronounced Joggins the finest example
of the fossil record hitherto known; the cliffs figured prominently
in the debate that followed publication of Origin of Species
I saw the Bay of Fundy first in 1970, and from that time have
been fascinated by these big tides, whether at Glacier Bay,
New Zealand, Normandy or Bristol Channel; none is as large
as Fundy; October 1st's high tide was 38+ feet

Looking out toward the Bay

A smidgen of the cliffs; on the Bay

Looking the other way

Tree fossil

We got onto the 11AM tour, which was superb; here the guide
shows a fossil trail plowed by a giant millipede

These puppies were 6 feet long!

Coal; carboniferous, right? Mines in the area followed the
coal veins even under the Bay

Great guide

Another tree bit

Hollowed out by a tree trunk now gone

Another bit of tree trunk


Smaller fossils in the rock

Standing on the beach, below the cliffs, I kept a close eye on
the advancing tide...

Fossils left behind by previous visitors

In the visitor center, amusing Canadian humor

Carboniferous swamp menu

Coprolitic output

Rushing Through New Hampshire And Maine

Two days after Pittsburgh, we were in the Hamptons (September 27th), on the New Hampshire coast, a place we enjoyed visiting when we lived in Boston in 1970-71. Somewhere further up, in Maine, a look at the Foliage Network convinced us that we needed to get to Nova Scotia in a hurry, saving Maine and the rest of New Hampshire for the flip side of the trip. (We'd visited Maine and New Brunswick in 1970, on our first cross country road trip). But we did stop for a few quick pix on the way.
So how closed up is it on the New Hampshire beaches in October?

Mile upon mile of rocky coast

Famous often-photographed lighthouse probably in Maine whose
name presently eludes me

The Bush family compound in Kennebunkport, we thought

Or maybe it was just another gated community

Thursday, October 20, 2016

RV/Motor Home Museum/Hall of Fame

Vicki and I have owned recreational vehicles of one sort or another since 1970. Before that we traveled and camped in tents. (And we have done some time tenting since then too). Two VW campers, 3 class Bs, 2 class Cs, a big truck camper, a pop-up truck camper, and a tear-drop trailer. We've also rented a few in travels abroad. So it was natural for us to put Elkhart's RV/Motorhome Museum and Hall of Fame on our agenda for driving through the Great Lakes area. The Museum is by no means comprehensive--like any museum, it depends largely on donations to its collection--but the collection is no less impressive. We were most impressed with the older parts of the collection, before RVs and motorhomes became an "industry" (about 400,000 new units will be sold this year), and my post here will focus on those older, sometimes trail-blazing or otherwise historic rigs. Our first rig was a 1968 Dodge class B, very basic, and at the museum we didn't look at anything much younger than that.
This is just the entry hall, temporary exhibits, gift shoppe, etc;
behind it are some thousands of square feet of the permanent
collection, with the hall of fame, library, meeting rooms, and
auditorium elsewhere in the building

A smidgeon of the permanent collection

One of the older rigs, a 1913 Earl trailer towed by a Model T


1958 22' Airstream, mid-evolution of the classic trailer

The Tennessee Traveler--1931 Model AA "Housecar"

Found in an Alabama barn in 1999 and beautifully restored

Cab view,  pretty Spartan

Just one specimen of the period decor found in all
these vehicles, some of it more interesting than
the vehicles themselves

1955 Ranger "Crank-Up" Tent Trailer

Best in show, we thought: the 1937 Hunt Housecar, built for
Hollywood producer Roy Hunt; but then we like Art Deco

Interior of the Hunt Housecar


Dorsal view; note boat-tail

1939 Lindbergh Travel Trailer--custom-built for the famous/
infamous aviator/fascist scoundrel

1935 Bowlus Road Chief; design bought by Airstream in 1936;
and the rest is history (except the boat-tail)

1931 Mae West Housecar; Paramount Studios had this built
to entice the vaudeville star into the talkies; she mostly rode
in it from house or hotel to studio or location

Ugliest in show, the 1988 Star Streak II; based on a Cadillac
Eldorado with an Oldsmobile Toronado engine; but it would
fit in your garage; built in Coral Park, FL, Carole

1928 Pierce Arrow Fleet Housecar

1929 Covered Wagon, first production travel trailer in the US

Early plumbing fixture; some of our smaller
rigs were not much more advanced

1933 Ford Kamp Kar 

One wing of the 2nd floor Hall of Fame ("Industry" Hall of Fame)

In the library/research center

Many interesting representations in the museum; here, the
Airstream Ranch, near Tampa, FL

1970s RV owners; if history is cyclical, I ask, why haven't leisure
suits come back?