Day 18: An uneventful, long driving day on the Trans-Canada highway, equivalent to our interstates.
Still only the occasional red leaf spotted.
Day 19: 20 miles south of Moncton are the Hopewell Rocks, a unique site where the tides rise and fall more or less 40′ (44′ today). This is the narrow end of the huge funnel shaped Bay of Fundy, off the Atlantic Ocean. We were expecting that the tide would come roaring in. WRONG! It is very gradual, but still dramatic. Peter goes down 98 steps to the beach shore and strolls around. At high tide, the water will be 20+ feet above the bay mud flats, and the same height above the beach.
See pics and note the water marks on the immense rocks and tiny Peter on the beach.
We then drive on to Prince Edward Island, named after Queen Victoria’s father 40 years after the Brits had won Canada from the French at the Seven Years Wars in 1758. The population of PEI is only 135,000 and it is Canada’s smallest province. The license plates state “Canada’s Greenest Province”, which seems accurate. Many small communities surrounded by farmlands. There must be a code, or provincial pride, for the people to keep their houses and community buildings in pristine, sparkling condition. We drive all around the central section of the island, including the PEI National Park, around Cavendish. For women readers, Cavendish was the setting for Lucy Maud Montgomery’s “Anne Of Green Gables” and 7, or more, sequels, written in the early 1900’s. At Debbie Gaensbauer’s suggestion, I had read the first book. Really sappy, at least at my age. We chatted with a young woman on the beach boardwalk who said she was enraptured by all the books when she was age 10. Lois vaguely recalled reading one of the books, devoid of rapture, when she was a girl. Montgomery is wildly celebrated around Cavendish. We skipped the celebrations but really enjoyed the bucolic scenery of the northern shores, especially the beautiful sand dunes and beaches around Cavendish. We started off our island tour with, what else?, a magnificent lunch of PEI mussels at a pub in Summerside village. Each order was two pounds of mussels, which the waitress estimated to be about 50 mussels each. She was not surprised that PEI mussels are flown to Denver, but stated that “they are so much better here, where they are fresh”. She is so right!
We were quite surprised that PEI is so agricultural – huge farms, cattle, and Cavendish Industries dominate the countryside. We were expecting more of a Maine coast atmosphere – craggy coastline, crashing waves against the shore, etc.. One of the more striking things are the absence of trees around homes and in yards. Lots and lots of grass – no trees, even though there are large patches of forest interspersed among fields.