Nova Scotia and Newfoundland 2017

posted in: Canada | 0

John and I had another successful trip in the truck camper. Our trip from August 6 to September 3, 2017  took us to Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. Normally I try to blog while on the road, however, this trip there were very few times we had internet and/or electric. So for those of you who have asked, here is a recap of our trip complete with pictures. I took over 480 pictures so I will post the best and try not to bore you too much.

During our camping trips, we very rarely make campsite reservations ahead of time. We like to decide on the road where we want to go next. As we soon found out, this trip made it a little difficult to do that.  Our first night we planned on stopping in New Brunswick at New River Provincial Park. This night, however, when we stopped we found they were all booked up. So after looking at the map we decided to stop at Harding’s Point Campground in St. John. Upon arriving, we soon found out there is a ferry to the CG. The ferry was free and was fun to take. Unfortunately, that was the best part of the CG. We felt like we were in a sardine can and sitting on someone else’s site while trying to enjoy the nice weather.  The beach (which was not near our site) was nice to look at. We survived the night and the next morning instead of taking the ferry back, we decided to take another route. Since my map reading skills aren’t the best, I directed John to take a turn which to me looked good on the map. An hour and a half later, we arrived at our original starting point  (campground) and took the ferry back over. So much for the map…

The boats were fastened with cables to go back and forth to the other side.

 

Harding Point Beach by campground.

 

We worked our way across Nova Scotia to catch the midnight ferry from North Sydney to Newfoundland. We toured Sydney before the boat ride and came across a beach with some unusual features. Not really sure what they were but we’re guessing it was some sort of barrier to protect the beach.

Beach in Sydney with unidentified objects.

 

Watching the ferry being loaded was interesting. We lost count of the number of tractor trailers, cars, motorcycles and, of course, the most important vehicle–our camper. We were wondering how the ferry didn’t sink with all that weight. The ferry ride was surprisingly smooth especially to someone who gets seasick. We paid extra to get a recliner seat so we could sleep. Sleep pretty much evaded us as we got to listen to 60+ people snoring in unison throughout the night. We had opted not to get a berth for the 7-hour trip thinking it would be very uncomfortable. We talked to other people that did get a berth and they had a comfortable bed, TV and shower. Next time we get the berth.

On to Newfoundland click here to next page

 

All good things come to a close

posted in: Georgia | 2
Goodbye from Seabreeze Island.

 

We extended our time in Georgia an extra week but it’s now time for us to pack up and leave. Our last week here was quiet as far as sightseeing. We had two days of rain and thunderstorms which cooled things off from the high humidity and temperatures. We did have a tornado warning for one evening but luckily we did not experience an actual tornado.

Our last trip was to Harris Neck Wildlife Preserve that we had already been to but we enjoyed it so decided to go back. We found another trail to walk and found alligators and many birds as well on this trail.

Wood storks

 

Coming in for a landing.

 

The birds

 

Just another gator. But look at those teeth.

 

Stork in flight or is it a teradactyl?

 

Butterfly on thistle. He stayed just long enough for me to snap his picture.

 

Our trip to Darien has been everything we hoped for. We have seen some fabulous sites (especially the Blue Angels), traveled to some wonderful marshes with lots of bird sightings, met some wonderful people in the area, played pickleball, kayaked, and added two more lighthouses to check off our list. We loved the house we stayed at and would certainly come back here again.

I had our last day here all planned. It consisted of going for a walk, playing pickleball, kayaking, and going for a bike ride. Unfortunately, with winds of 35 mph for the last two days we could only go for a walk. Maybe another visit.

Hope you all have enjoyed seeing some of the highlights of our trip. Until next time…..

Last happy hour on the deck.

 

 

Happy Easter from Seabreeze Island.

 

 

 

Wildlife and Marshes

posted in: Uncategorized | 16
Altamaha Wildlife Management Area

 

Driving around this area, we see a lot of marshes and wildlife areas. While many of them look alike, there is always something different to see. The picture above shows a wildlife management area but used to be Butler Island Plantation, one of the largest plantations in the South, It is fun to see the birds, ducks, alligators and try to identify them. (The alligators are easy to identify.) Some birds we are successful finding what they are and other birds we can only guess at looking at the bird book.

Walking around this WMA we heard a huge splash into the water and moments later an alligator popped his head up. After that, we were on alert for not only splashes but we kept looking behind us to make sure they didn’t follow us. A few times even though I was expecting the splash it scared me as I didn’t see the gator.

A small alligator that ran into the water after he heard us. He had a twin just to the right of him not in the picture.

 

This big guy just sat watching us. His claw sticking out of the mud was a little intimidating.

 

Here are some birds that were in the trees right outside our deck at the house.

 

Hard to see this bird but as he sat there, we identified it as a Louisiana heron. Better picture below.

 

Louisiana Heron

 

Cattle Egret

 

This lizard appeared on the deck so he could get his picture taken as well.

 

 

We thought this was some exotic bird …but upon closer look it was a bobber in the trees!

 

Catbird

 

Outside of Savannah is a park called Skidaway Island State Park.The hiking in this park was like much of the hiking in Georgia–marshy areas amongst live oaks, palmettos and pines. They do offer an observation tower to view wildlife on the barrier island. Only problem was that the walkway to the tower got destroyed by the hurricane in October so there was no viewing from the tower for visitors.

Observation tower that you can only observe from a distance until they fix the damage from the hurricane.

 

View along the Big Ferry Trail.

 

During prohibition liquor stills were built on this secluded island. In the 1930s there were 31 liquor still sites located throughout the island. Boaters could easily sneak on and off this island with their illegal moonshine. Many stills fell victim to police raids. You can see ax marks on this still.

One of the remaining stills.

 

Some days we opt to stay home and choose to ride bikes and kayak. (OK maybe not John but Sharon and I got to do those activities.) John stayed back and played photographer. It was a beautiful sunny day, the bugs stayed away and the paddling was just perfect.

 

View from our house of the marshes where Sharon and I were kayaking.

 

Cheryl paddling back home.

 

Sharon working hard in the kayak.

 

View from the kayak of John on the dock. (I brought a little camera to take pictures.)

It’s a bird…it’s a plane…

posted in: Georgia | 12
Single Blue Angel

 

What would you say if we told you we found a rare bird in our travels? Okay, it wasn’t actually a bird but it certainly was a rare siting for us. There was an airshow in Brunswick, GA which just happened to be near where we play pickleball. So we not only played pickleball, avoided the viewing crowds (about 38,000 people), and saw an amazing Blue Angels airshow. There were about 12-16 people playing pickleball but every time the planes flew overhead, the games came to a complete stop for everyone to watch the show. At times we had to cover our ears because of the loud noise. This airshow has been the highlight of our trip. We don’t think we can top this. I was even happy with the pictures I took.

 

Our favorite photo of the Blue Angels

 

Going straight down

 

Can you see the five planes?

 

All six in formation

 

 

Corkscrew from one of Blue Angels

 

F-18 Blue Angels

 

Raptor F-22

 

Shelby after his tough day of holding down the fort at home.

 

The sunset at the end of a wonderful day.

 

 

Jekyll Island and St. Simon’s Island (again)

posted in: Uncategorized | 12
View of bridge to Jekyll Island

 

We visited Jekyll Island last year on our way to Florida but there is always something different to see so we opted to go back to this island. It is not a large island (7 miles long by 1.5 miles wide and has 8 miles of beaches. We went to Driftwood Beach which was a really unique looking beach to walk on and it is described as   “beautiful driftwood and trees that resemble a tree graveyard.” Looking down the beach all you can see is dead trees.

Driftwood Beach

 

 

 

Sandpiper testing the water.

 

As we walked along, we were able to imagine different animals in the driftwood.

 

One of the driftwood “sea creatures”

 

John and Cheryl at Driftwood Beach (photo by Sharon)

 

Sharon at Driftwood Beach

 

Our attempt at posing the shells for a picture.

 

Can you see the fiddler crabs in this picture?  They are no bigger than your thumb. Males have one enlarged claw that can grow to 1.5-2 inches long while females’ claws are equal size.

 

We revisited St. Simon’s Island since Sharon had never been there before. The beach has a great shape which unfortunately doesn’t show in the pictures. But is is not a straight beach like we are used to.

 

Another beach view.

 

Cargo ship from Panama moving by swiftly in St. Simon’s.

 

Pelican in flight.

 

Another view of the lighthouse. (Couldn’t pass up the opportunity to photograph it again.)

 

We identified these as elegant terns. (Anyone agree or disagree?)

 

 

 

Fort King George and Pickleball

posted in: Georgia | 9
Blockhouse at Fort King George

 

Another location to check off our list is Fort King George State Historic Site. This site is less than 10 miles from us in Darien. It dates back to the Guale Indians in  the 1500s and in 1721 Colonel John Barnwell brought a group of scouts and slaves to build Fort King George. In 1736 Oglethorpe brought over 177 Scottish highlanders to settle the town of Darien. As with other forts there was a blockhouse, officers’ barracks, guardhouse, blacksmith shop and more. The grounds were nice to walk around and view the buildings as well as wildlife.

 

Bird looking for lunch.

 

 

View out one of the windows to the Altamaha River

 

This cannon is called a 6-pounder.

 

Beer was brewed here at Fort King George. John wanted to know what happened to the “large beer”.

 

Imagine 4 people in this 4-holer outhouse.

 

Other than walking and bike riding our biggest activity is playing pickleball. There is a group that plays on Tuesday evenings in Darien and one in Brunswick about 25 minutes away. We have enjoyed meeting people down here and even talked with someone who had a cousin in Plympton, MA. It’s certainly a small world. Our friend, Sharon who was visiting in Florida came up to enjoy our house and play pickleball as well.

The pickleball fanatics–Cheryl, Sharon and John.

 

Sharon and John playing pickleball.

 

 

 

 

Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge

posted in: Georgia | 10
All the white specks are birds nesting.

 

This wildlife refuge is a great place for nesting and wildlife habitat. We have visited this place twice and have not been disappointed. The down side is pets aren’t allowed so Shelby gets to stay home on these visits. The wood storks nest in a large colony on a pond and are quite fascinating to see.

 

Woodstork coming in for a landing.

 

Stork resting on a branch.

 

Every trip I like to see something I haven’t seen before. This trip I wanted to see an armadillo. As I was busy taking pictures of turtles and alligators, John saw an armadillo on the other side. He didn’t really want to turn around for us, but I can at least cross that off my list. The one thing left on this trip I want to find is a painted bunting. From the pictures I have seen, these are very colorful birds so with any luck we will find one later.

Viewing of our first armadillo. (photo by John)

 

Alligator and duck enjoying the weather.

 

Couldn’t get the duck to turn around but I liked the branch in the water he was sitting on.

 

Driving through this refuge is nice and very peaceful. This is not a crowded place and the fields, wetlands and hardwood/pine forest are great. There are 2,824 acres.

 

Love how the Spanish moss hangs down off the trees.

 

Bottle brush bushes are quite colorful.

 

We had a nice visit with Pat Connell and Art Quinn who visited for a couple days. We got to try out a local restaurant Skippers Fish Camp in Darien. The food was great. We had fried shrimp and scallops and thoroughly enjoyed them. We decided not to try the alligator tail. Wasn’t something we felt the need to taste.

 

View from the restaurant of shrimp boats.

 

There was an 11 foot stuffed alligator on the wall of the restaurant. He certainly was big. One of the neighbors told us they had an 8.5 foot alligator taken out of the pond near their house. They now have another one that is 9 feet long. Glad we’re not near a pond.

 

Art, Pat and John at Skippers Fish Camp restaurant.

 

John and Cheryl right before dinner. Notice the long sleeves and jacket. (photo by Art)

 

On our daily walk we found what we think are fiddler crabs. Tough to get a good picture of them but when we walk by they scurry towards the land. Funny to watch.

 

Fiddler crabs (we think)

 

Our neighbors invited us to dinner last night along with two other couples. They are from Pennsylvania and leaving on Saturday. We had a great evening with them and certainly appreciated being invited over.

 

And last but not least, here is Shelby in one of his typical poses.

Shelby in his favorite chair. (Photo by Art Quinn)

 

St. Simon’s Island

posted in: Georgia | 12
Beach on St. Simon’s

 

Visiting the islands on the coast of Georgia is great fun. Each island has its own uniqueness. We visited St. Simon’s Island on a beautiful sunny day. It is a 17.7 square mile island and is a busy seaside resort as well as residential community. The owner of the house we are staying at lives on St. Simon’s. He says it is way too crowded for his liking. We spent a few hours on the island visiting the St. Simon’s Lighthouse and the beach on one end of the island and Fort Frederica on the other end. We found the architecture quite beautiful.

We watched dolphins playing in the water off the pier while birds flew over our heads.

Pier

 

St. Simon’s Lighthouse (Another lighthouse to check off my list)

 

View of Jekyll island bridge as viewed from St. Simon’s Island.

 

Sandpipers

 

Fort Frederica is a military town on the Colonial Georgia frontier. This fort has ruins from the 1700s. There were many foundations depicting where the families lived including the pub owner, cook, candlemaker, the barracks, church and more. Interestingly, there were 84 lots and the house lots were about 60×90 feet. I think I would need a little bigger house than that.

 

Magazine (where ammunition was stored) at Fort Frederica

 

Cannon overlooking the Frederica River

 

 

View of live oaks near where houses were originally standing.

Sapelo Island

posted in: Georgia | 9
Sunset from upper deck

 

 

We have been having nice weather and as long as you can stand the biting flies things are great. I think these are even worse than black flies because they are smaller and there are 10 times more of them. But around here you just put on bug spray and continue on with your activities.

Sapelo Island is a state-protected barrier island that you can only access by ferry. We took a 4-hour tour over to the island on a beautiful Saturday morning. The ferry is only about 30 minutes. The population of this island is less than 70, many of whom are descendants of slaves who worked on Sapelo plantations. You aren’t able to bring cars or bikes over but you can rent golf carts and bikes once you get there. We took the bus tour which was perfect. The hurricane in October did quite a job with taking down trees. It left devastation thoughout the island that they are still trying to recover from. Our neighbor felt that because Sapelo Island took the brunt of the hurricane, it prevented the island we are staying on (Seabreeze Island) from getting hit.

I was able to add another lighthouse to my list of lighthouse viewings. The Sapelo Island Light Station was built in 1820. We were able to climb up the 77 stairs to the top of the lighthouse for a nice view.

Ferry boat to Sapelo Island. Taken from our house.

 

Sapelo Island Light Station

 

Sapelo Island Light Station

 

Lighthouse stairs

 

View from top of lighthouse

 

We went by the Reynolds Mansion previously own by tobacco heir Richard Reynolds. We weren’t able to get out and tour the mansion as the tours are only on Wednesdays. Last stop was the beach. It was a nice clean beach with lots of shells on it–which, of course, we needed to take a few samples home.

This was a short tour but just enough time to see the island and enjoy its rich history.

 

Shells on Beach. We loved the designs made in the sand.

 

Nannygoat Beach at Sapelo Island

 

Black headed gulls

 

Each night looking from our deck we get different colored sunsets. We never know what they will look like but each one is special and we enjoy them all.

 

Sunset from our deck
Sunset from our deck

 

 

Arrived in Darien, Georgia

posted in: Georgia | 12
View from Widow’s Walk

 

After two and a half days driving, we arrived in Darien, Georgia on Monday, February 27th. I have decided we have a love-hate relationship with our GPS. GPS’s can be great but they can also cause you to go in directions you didn’t want to go. We mistakenly listened to the GPS and took the George Washington Bridge in New York. That was a big mistake. Took us over an hour plus in very heavy traffic. At least 3-4 other times, the GPS told us to get off the highway at a certain exit. Now luckily I also have a map in front of me and know it is not the direction we should be going. So ignoring these directions, we notice that while the GPS wanted us to get off the highway it also chose to bring us right back on the highway 100 feet down the road. What’s up with that?

The weather for our first week has been quite hot (85) and humid (93% humidity). But by today (Friday) it has cooled down to 60s with low humidity and is quite pleasant. (Especially when we watch the weather in Maine.)

The house we have rented for the month of March is just beautiful. There are three outdoor decks so for happy hour we go from deck to deck depending on the wind and the sun. It doesn’t get any better than that. We’re certainly getting our exercise as there are stairs going into the house, off the deck and up to the bedroom. Here’s some pictures of the house.

Front of house

 

View from deck

 

Living Room

 

Kitchen – Dining Room

 

Sun Room

 

Bedroom

 

There is a widow’s walk at the very top that you can also go up to sit. (See first picture of view from Widow’s Walk.) The biting flies (midges or no-see-ums) are quite prevalent especially up there, so we don’t stay very long.

 

 

John at top of Widow’s Walk

 

We have done a little sightseeing and stopped in to see The Smallest Church in America in Darien. It was built in 1949 but burned in 2015 and was rebuilt. It holds about 12 people inside and is 190 SF.

Smallest Church in America, Darien, Georgia

 

Today we went for a hike at Crooked River State Park. It was a very clean park and the trails were very nice although as we found in Florida, there is not much elevation gain on hikes in Georgia. We wonder what people that hike in Florida and Georgia think when they try hiking in Maine.

John & Shelby at Crooked River State Park

 

Crooked River State Park trail
1 2 3 4 5 6 7