Tuesday, July 31, 2007

July 31 - Palmyra to Elkhart, IN

Before we left Palmyra we visited the Temple. It had been closed the day before. It is small, but very pretty. The stained glass windows portray the Sacred Grove, which they overlook.

The Kirtland Temple was amazing. So interestingly built, for so long ago. I wish I could have taken pictures of the inside as well. I had some concern about taking the tour because I feared a sense of rivalry between The Community of God, who now owns the Temple, and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. That was not to be the case. There was great tact and sensitivity. There were lots of interpretations especially for LDS people who clearly see this temple in a different light than their hosts. The visit was a very pleasant, uplifting and inspiring experience.
We finished the day driving to Elkhart, Indiana.

Monday, July 30, 2007

July 30 - Palmyra

We began a wonderful day with a visit at the home of the Wiley's. Booklogged's parents became fast friends with them years ago when both young families were stationed in Guam while serving in the Army. They had such wonderful stories to tell. And, though strangers to both of us, seemed imediately to be like family. We spent a wonderful and too short hour and a half with them.

Next we drove to Fayette and visited the Peter Whitmer Farm. This was the site of the organization of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on April 6, 1830. It was neat to stand in that very space.

From Fayette we drove to Palmyra and drove to the top of the Hill Cummorah. Pictured is the monument to the visit of the Angel Moroni. The next stop was the two Smith homes and the Sacred Grove. It was amazing to visit the very space where Moroni visited Joseph Smith on that singular night so many years ago. And it was so wonderful to walk quietly through the trees of the Sacred Grove.

For me, it was all a very unexpected experience. I came here with no doubt that the church is true. I have enjoyed convincing manifestations that the church is true, long since. I didn't come here expecting anything of that sort. I just wanted to see and touch these sacred spaces for myself. I don't entirely know how to describe what I felt here. Maybe I can put it this way.

About 18 years ago I was once holding my youngest daughter in my arms. It was a special moment. I then realized that I had had such moments with my older daughters but that I could no longer remember in much detail those previous experiences. They had grown and my memory of them had faded and become altered by their changing faces and ongoing association. I longed for those memories, those feelings and hoped some day in heaven, my mind and heart could enjoy perfect recollection.

So it is with my testimony. I first new the Book of Mormon was true way back in my teens. While reading in Mormon of the demise of that great people who had enjoyed so much and then lost it to wickedness. When Mormon cried "O ye fair ones....", I cried too, for I knew the story was true. God had poured that knowledge into me in a way undeniable. I have, since, had many precious moments with the Book of Mormon. Moments which have sustained me though my trials and carried me though life. Moments which like that one with my daughter, are real but not ever-present. So, as I stood upon the Hill Cummorah and looked out over the valley I was surprised and overwhelmed when suddenly I felt as though all of the experiences I had ever enjoyed with that wonderful book were there, present with me, in the here and now. It wasn't new, it didn't change anything; but it was real and was a precious and welcome gift from a loving Heavenly Father.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

July 29 - Utica

We had plans to do some sight seeing today, but it took us two and a half hours to get across the border. That cut our time pretty short. So, besides sitting in the heat and exhaust for all that time we just drove, hoping to make tomorrow a little more restful and pleasant.

It's not like the day was all misery. The drive through the Adirondacks was beautiful and being back in the States on much smoother roads was great. New York is amazing. Even the big cities are swallowed up in trees and greenery. The farms are lovely. The people speak English. Fuel and food and accomodations are much less expensive.

Booklogged got quite choked up thinking about coming home the US of A. That is, until the chaos of the border crossing. The guards are respectful, earnest and thorough. But we couldn't help noticing all those forests and fields on either side, which would be so easy to passed through without detection. I'm sure the Border Patrol does the best they can. But it isn't much of a stretch to imagine people being able to easily sneak across.

We also couldn't help noticing the number of cars which would drive down the truck lane for a great distance and then crowd their way into the line ahead of the rest. We were reminded that there are plenty of people in the world who take little thought of others and somehow think they are sufficiently superior to deserve to take advantages like that. I'd almost rather keep those out of the county than the ones we have officially labelled as unwanted. Still, in the over all picture, there was a huge number more, of folks who just got in line and quietly, if not patiently, waited their turn. Good on 'em.

July 26, 27, and 28 - Quebec City

We've been having too much fun to blog of late, so I'm catching up a little. We pulled out of Prince Edward Island on Thursday, crossing the Confederation Bridge. The bridge was shrouded in fog, so we didn't get any pictures. The bridge is six miles long and only ten years old. Prior to it's construction the island province was only accessible by air or sea. It was free to cross on the way in but cost us $40.00 to get out!

We drove through northern New Brunswick and back in to Quebec. This end of Quebec is entirely French speaking. We found few who could even get by in a little bit of English. The farms are prosperous, the forests vast and there is a special french charm to the villages. Unlike western Quebec, the road signs and others are only in French.

We stopped for the night in Rimouski on the St. Lawrence Seaway. We were surprised how large this city, we considered obscure, turned out to be. We ate in a family style restaurant where we enjoyed our first escargot. Candleman enjoyed them more than Booklogged however. The food was nice and though the waitress couldn't speak English we got along okay.

Friday was spent driving along the North Shore. What a treat that was. There are high table lands along that coast with rivers cutting through them down to the sea. So it was up over the top, with majestic views of the sea, then back down steep narrow roads into villages, this repeated several times. The villages were always charming and inviting. Each featured a large cathedral expressing centuries of devotion. They all had narrow winding streets which were steep and seemed like I imagine the French Riviera to be.

One village specialized in sidewalk cafes, the next specialized in art, the next in boutiques, its fun how things become localized as like minded artisans and merchants congregate.

At Tadoussac the road meets the Saguenay River which in navigable. Building a bridge would be an enormous challenge over its wide mouth, especially one high enough for ships to pass under. So, they ferry the traffic across. Three free ferries (say that three times real fast), large enough to hold fifty cars and trucks run furiously back and forth keeping pretty good pace with the traffic. We were only delayed about 20 minutes and the ferries were filling up each time.

We arrived in Quebec City at around 3:30 PM. This afforded us time to a take a bus tour of the city. It was worth the money for we learned so much about this wonderful place. Perched strategically high above the St. Lawrence, Quebec is the only walled city remaining in North America. The Citadel, well designed to defend the city and the walls surrounding the city are well maintained. All of the buildings within the walls are old and full of history and character. The streets inside are narrow and winding and seem very European. It was great to spend time wandering these beautiful and surprising streets. There are museums, theaters, boutiques and sidewalk cafes everywhere. Quebec is a very pedestrian city, though you can drive around inside the walls. Just outside the walls is a large and wonderful parking terrace that is hidden beneath a park. One can walk to almost anywhere within the walls from the parking terrace in 20 minutes or less. Beneath the walls on the St. Lawrence side is the old lower city. It has been largely reconstructed around a few old buildings that are nearly400 years old. An active church and Champlain's first home are there. Newer buildings here are built like those of the long past. The streets are open only to pedestrians. The shops and cafes are all dolled up with flowers and bright window treatments and we had a ball walking along looking at it all.

We spent Saturday revisiting favorite places from the tour. In the evening we caught a bus out to Montmornecy Falls to see the International Fireworks competition. China presented that evening. It rained and rained but let up just as the fireworks were about to begin. Unfortunately, the humidity and temperature combined with the heat and smoke from the fireworks developed a dense fog and not long into the wonderfully choreographed musical extravaganza we could no longer see much but brightly colored clouds. We had a great experience though and were mostly sad for the Chinese performers who had worked so hard to present something the audience and judges hardly got to see. The falls are magnificent and taller than Niagara, though not nearly so wide.

We got home after midnight, tired but pleased with our experience.

All in all Quebec is far and away our favorite city of the trip. It's charm, warmth, history and welcoming feeling are superior to any place we've visited. Montreal doesn't even come close!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

July 24 and 25 - Charlottetown

Which photos to show you from Prince Edward Island was a tough call. We've never seen a place that enchanted me more. The cities are small and the farms run right up to the edge of them. As for the farms - they are as picturesque, well kept, productive and charming as any We've ever seen! They are all situated on rolling hills. Each is bordered and neatly accentuated by dark evergreen trees. Often there is a pond or sea shore to add to the scene. Often, too, is a church to enhance the pastoral scene. Always there are large barns and charming homes.
We visited the Anne of Green Gables Museum, located at the home where Lucy Maude Montgomery grew up. That was a great way to get a feel for this wonderful Province as it was 100 years ago. Asside from the machinery, not much has really changed.
Charlottetown, the Provincial Captol, is small and inviting. We loved spending an evening there. We enjoyed a super performance of Anne of Green Gables the Musical. Very funny and moving.
The show really did justice to the book.
The drummers, pipers and highland dancers were great at a performance we enjoyed at the Piping College.
All in all the PEI is like stepping back into a quieter, slower, more simple time. A place in which we would love to stay.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


You can't travel with Booklogged without some new music. It's a great idea. Then when you listen to it later, memroies come flooding back, of the sights, sounds, smells and tastes that it accompanied as we traveled. I can't listen to Roger Miller without thinking of driving across Kentucky at night, hurrying to meet Aly at the Atlanta airport. I can't listen to IZ without thinking of the Oregon Coast. I can't listen to Gorge Inti without dreaming of Vancover Island. I love to put on our Willow of the Wilderness CD so I can wander back to Concord and Walden Pond.

The Maritimes are big on music. With a Celtic style all their own, their jigs, reels, shanty's and ballads are wonderful and tell stories of these wonderful people and places. We have a few wonderful CDs that will always bring these beautiful folks and their delightful land to our recollection.

I wish there was a way to share a Ceilidh with you. There is something very special in just regular folks singing and dancing together. No formality, just good fun, where everyone participates. I think the loss of this kind of entertainment is one of the worst things TV has done to us. That and the homogenization of North America. Even in Newfoundland the young people talk the same as anywhere else from sea to shining sea. It's sad to see the old manners of speach and the old cultures disappear. We're all becoming the same old boring people we see every day on the television.

Still, many Maritimers are trying to hang on, if only for the sake of the tourist dollar.

One of my favorite oddities in the Newfoundland music scene is an instrument called the Ugly Stick. It's just any old broom or mop handle with washers and bottle caps and maybe a cheap pot or a tin can or two attached. Any noise maker you like will do. We saw one for sale that was so elaborate they wanted $200.00 for it! I plan on making my own. Any way it is played by pounding it on the floor while rapping on the side or attached objects with a drum stick. It is amazingly fun and versatile. Depending on the imagination and talent of the player of course.
The band on the Caribou had a name for this third member of the band and expressed their love for his willingness to play for free.
To me the Ugly Stick speaks of the common gift of music. We've come to think that only the gifted professional performer is worthy of making music for us. Here I've learned that music and dance belong to everyone and are not just spectator sports. Here, even if it's just tapping a foot, everyone participates, everyone performs. Anyone can play an ugly stick. Even me.

July 23 - Amherst

We said farewell to Newfoundland and enjoyed the passage back to Nova Scotia. There was a little band onboard who entertained us with Newfoundland music. They have a style all their own and were delightful to listen to. The passage was smooth and we arrived in North Sydney by 2:30.

We decided to drive down the east side of Lake Bras d'Or this time. Some fellow travelers had tipped us that we ought to stop in Big Pond at Rita's Tea Room Rita MacNeil is a famous singer here in Canada. The lunch was nice and the old remodeled one room school house was very beautifully appointed.

Candleman had a hard time leaving Cape Breton as it was a favorite place for him.

We stopped in Antigoish and poked around a little, then drove on to stop for the night in Amherst, Nova Scotia.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

July 22 - Port aux Basques

We headed for Port aux Basques to spend the night. It's an early call to catch the ferry in the morning. Like most Newfoundland towns the houses are colorful and arranged on hillsides for neat panoramas.

We stopped by the meadow where we saw the Showy Lady Slippers last Tuesday and found that they have mostly faded away. We couldn't have had more perfect timing last week! They were in their prime.

We went to Cape Ray and the J. T. Cheesman Provincial Park in hopes of seeing a Piping Plover, no luck. The little town at Cape Ray is having their "Come Home Year" celebration. Every five years each town in the Province has their Come Home Year to draw everyone back for a reunion and celebration. Most of the houses in town were decorated with flags like are shown in the picture. Campers and trailers were everywhere as families and friends gather to celebrate their roots and get reacquainted. Neat tradition.

We spent some time by the sea and then checked in to our Hotel. The Caribou was just pulling into port as we arrived. We'll be leaving this wonderful place tomorrow. A little sad, but with much yet to see, do and look forward to.


Just a word about food. We alway try to find food that is indiginous to the local we are in. In keeping with that theme we've enjoyed some really neat and interesting stuff.

In Wisconsin we tried our first Fish Chowder. It was delicious! Better than Clam Chowder in my book. Since then we've had about a dozen variations on the Fish Chowder theme and found everything from lousy to fantastic in that regard. Look forward to our attemps at it when we get back home. We love it and hope to develop a great recipe of our own.

In Michgan we tried Pasties (mentioned before) these were brought to Michigan either by the Finish or the Cornish depeding on who you ask. Don't ask either when the other is present. Things could get nasty. Pasties are sort of a meat pie, but not cooked in a tin. Just rolled in the crust and baked. They're great!

In Montreal we had been advised to try Poutine. This a concoction made by filling a platter with home made french fries then adding cheese curds and covering it all with brown gravy. It was super comfort food, but pretty high on the calorie count.

In a little town called Knowlton, Quebec we tasted our first every Maple Syrup Pie. That was a treat!

Digby, Nova Scotia is famous for their scallops. They were fantastic there and everywhere else we've tried them. Large and tender and tasty, no matter how they make 'em.

In Cheticamp, which is part of Acadia, Booklogged had a beef and pork pie that was out of this world. What a wonderful crust it had.

Newfoundland has be full of culinary surprises. The first was called Mess. Mess is an expanded version of Poutine. It too starts with french fries but includes fried hamburger, stovetop stuffing, cheese, gravy and frankfurters and anything else that suits your fancy. A lumberjack meal for sure. Also, we've tried Cod Tongues which are delectible. The most fantastic fish and chips, are served here, though I was disappointed that they served them with a plastic packet of Kraft Tartar Sauce, which is lousy. This evening I had a Moose Stew that was simply wonderful.

Now for the piese d'resistance! Newfoundland is berry land. They have strawberries. We found a wild patch today and found those tiny little morsels very yummy. They have blueberries, partridge berries and our favorite - bakeapple berries. Bakeapples are in the raspberry family, grow wild, are hard to pick and sell for up to $80.00 per gallon. They're not on until the end of August but restraunts freeze them and serve them over cheese cake and we're here to tell you that absolutely nothing goes better on cheese cake than Bakeapple berries. It is a match made in heaven, absolutely ambrosia! We think this is the thing we'll miss most when we leave, for these berries are found no where else.

As you can tell we are enjoying eating our way across the country and by the look of my wasteline, I should be fasting my way back.

July 21 - Grand Falls

We started off the day with a visit to Cape Spear, which is the Eastern most spot in North America. There are two light houses up there and a breathtaking view of the Atlantic as well as St. Johns and the Cabot Tower on Signal Hill. While looking at the sea from Cape Spear I noticed several Humpback Whales horsing around in the sea. They were probably a mile off but it tried to get some photos of them breaching. I've posted a couple of the best shots. Not great, but then for the distance, not bad. You can see one breaching. The white side of the V is his long pectoral fin. The other side is, of course, his head.
We drove back into town and saw Water Street. Candleman bough himself a Bodhran from O'Brien's Music Store. O'Brien's claims to be the oldest store on the oldest street in the oldest city in America.
Next we drove up to Cabot Tower on Signal Hill and took some pictures including some of the city from that angle.
We then drove into Quidi Vidi Gut. A cute little place where the sea sneaks into a tiny bay. From there we drove by the Army Base now occupied by Canadian Forces and up to Torbay Road. Torbay road is now Yuppyville. McDonald's, strip malls, motels and gas stations for about three miles. We got on the TCH (Trans Canada Highway) from there and headed West.
On our way to Grand Falls we diverted our path to take in some scenery around Trinity Bay. What a beautiful place!