Cloudy and cool this morning +5 celsius. A short drive this morning to the ferry that will take us from Port aux Basque, Newfoundland to North Sidney, Cape Breton Island and mainland Canada.
We arrived at the ferry with no issues, but to our surprise, an agriculture inspection, no in-ground vegetables allowed off the island, seems strange, we did not encounter any such restrictions in the rest of Canada. Lynda and I didn’t lose any, but the others lost a few veggies and herbs.
The ferry parking lot was near empty, another advantage of traveling during a shoulder season. Traveling after the kids return to school has advantages, less traffic, off-season prices, no lineups at popular attractions and the weather is still decent.
The ferry trip to North Sydney was enjoyable, poor Buddy again spent the 7-hour crossing locked in the truck. There is another ferry route to Newfoundland.
The other route is from North Sidney to Argentia, 1 ½ hours from St. John’s. The downside, it’s an 18-hr. overnight trip.
We considered this route, but the cost is much higher besides we would miss the scenic drive.
Once docked at North Sidney, Cape Breton Island, we needed to refuel, our tanks were scary low. According to my truck’s info center, I had less than 50 kilometers to empty.
Fuel prices in Newfoundland are higher than the mainland between 5 & 10 cents per litre, so we did not fill our tanks at our last fuel stop. We added what we thought would be enough to get us back to cheaper diesel, our guestimate was too close for comfort.
I was afraid of running out of fuel, apparently running out of diesel is more of an issue than running out of gas. The fuel system requires bleeding.
Lynda checked the GPS for fuel stations in North Sidney, of course, the problem is access when towing a trailer.
The first station was not an option, impossible to enter. The situation was becoming serious, we needed fuel badly.
The next option thankfully worked, I breathed a sigh of relief as I pulled up to the diesel pump.
We arrived at Arm of Gold Campground in time to set up for the night and enjoy a colorful sunset. The girls also had time to do a load of laundry.
I used the time to make an appointment with a tire store the next morning to get the front tires balanced hopefully eliminating the shimmy.
My appointment was 8 am opening time, I was concerned about holding up the trip.
Thursday, October 5 – Day 38
I was up early on this cloudy and warm18-degree morning, the warmest we’ve experienced in more than a week. I planned to be early for my 8 am appointment at OK Tire.
As luck would have it all went well, and I was back at camp in time for our 9ish departing time. My front end was much better but not perfect, I will live with it for now.
We hit the road looking for a fuel stop, Henry and Ralph they hadn’t taken the time to refuel after leaving the ferry the afternoon before. The first fuel station, a Petro Canada was a card lock, the second one on the GPS was closed.
Not much was said over the radio but I’m sure Henry and Ralph were sweating bullets, they had to be running on fumes. Finally, a fuel station.
Today’s destination is Sussex, New Brunswick’s Walmart, an overnight stay before crossing the US border. The drive was pleasant, the highways have improved since leaving Newfoundland, with the temperature climbing to 23 degrees Celsius.
We arrived about 4 pm under sunny skies, set out our lawn chairs on the grassy boulevard next to the parking lot and enjoyed what was left of the warm afternoon.
Since leaving St. John’s Newfoundland we’ve covered more than 1700 kilometers heading south-east, we are hoping the farther south we travel the warmer the temperatures. Leaving Newfoundland was like traveling back a season from fall to summer.
Just a side note, if you are traveling and plan to spend a night in a Walmart parking lot check out the reviews on freecamping.com or allstays.com, some Walmart’s do not allow overnight parking like the one in Stephenville, NL.,…… if in doubt call the store.
Also of note, signs prohibiting overnight parking are often posted to prevent people from setting up permanent residence. As we’ve discovered many times traveling in our RV.
We sat outside our rigs enjoying a glass of wine and the warm evening harvest moon sunset through partly cloudy skies.
Friday, October 6 – Day 39
Partly cloudy skies and 10 degrees as we left the Walmart parking lot.
The group was excited as well as apprehensive, in a couple of hours, we will arrive at the US border. Crossing into the US is always stressful, one never knows what questions the border guard will ask or if he will deny entry for some trivial reason.
If you are not a US citizen you’re at the mercy of the border guard, it’s a privilege, not a right to travel to the US.
You never know what items are acceptable to take across the border, food items are always a concern. The ladies did their best to use up the groceries especially meat, vegetables, and fruit.
After years of crossing the border and no issues, Lynda and I were turned back because of firewood in one of the compartments of our motorhome. The rules change constantly and RV’s definitely attract more attention than passenger vehicles.
The following is a quote from The US Customs and Border Protection, “CBP has been entrusted with enforcing hundreds of laws for 40 other government agencies, such as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These agencies require that unsafe items are not allowed to enter the United States. CBP officers are always at ports of entry and assume the responsibility of protecting America from all threats”.
The drive to St. Stevens border crossing between New Brunswick and the state of Maine was quick through light traffic except for some congestion in Saint John.
I was first to pull up to the US border kiosk, the border guard was chatty and pleasant as he looked through our trailer even peeking into the fridge.
I was concerned about the kayaks and an invasive species inspection. We have been chased down after missing a checkpoint, apparently serious stuff.
We rehearsed our story the night before going over the likely questions and answers, it’s not that we had anything to hide. The border guards are not dumb and will quickly realize we are traveling together, our stories need to match.
My rule, do not offer anything, just answer the border guards questions. Our worst fear is being detained or turned back especially just one rig.
We made it through easily, thank goodness, hurray,…….. Boston here we come. Our first length stop in the US.
Soon after crossing into the US, clouds gathered, and showers fell as we made our way along a windy secondary road. As the day wore on the sun made an appearance showing off amazing fall colors once again.
The west has fall colors but nothing like the brilliance and variety of the eastern forests.
Crossing into the US we leave the Atlantic time zone and enter the eastern time zone, we gained another hour and maybe more sleep!!
I was looking forward to cheaper US fuel prices, our first fuel fill-up was, $2.68 per gallon divided by 3.78 liters = $.71 US cents per liter. At the time our Canadian peso was about 80 cents per US dollar, so it works out to around 90 cents per liter a considerable saving after paying $1.26 per liter in Newfoundland.
Our destination for the night is Oxford Casino in Oxford Maine. We love casinos, free camping, maybe a buffet and if we are really fortunate maybe win a few greenbacks. We arrived around 4 to warm temperatures and sunny skies.
We set up camp, and as we hauled out the camp chairs for an early happy hour a security guard arrived asking us not to sit outside our rigs, but we are welcome to spend the night, I’m not sure what the reason, but we complied and sat in our rig.
That evening we indulged at the casino buffet, not the best, a small salad bar, prime rib and the fixins, a delicious seafood dish, and many others, at $22. an acceptable price.
As with most casinos, it’s an advantage applying for a player’s card, it often comes with an incentive, food discounts, free play money etc. so like good gamblers we stood in line for our player’s card.
Unfortunately, there was no real advantage to a player’s card unless you are prepared to risk more bucks than our frugal group.
After dinner and after losing our usual $20, Ralph, Lois, Lynda and I headed back to our rigs, Henry and Allyson stayed behind to break the bank.
Allyson was up a hundred or so, Henry was down. By the next morning, the opposite was the case.