A Letter Home

This website started because whenever Mike and I traveled I would send letters home.  Friends started asking for me to copy them and eventually I decided it was easier to just create this website.  This entry is simply a rambling letter and not specific to any area or event.

When Mike and I were in New Zealand last time Mike bought himself a “holiday” hat.  This is a hat that he wears whenever we go on holiday.  He is having a problem this trip.  He isn’t sure what exactly determines “holiday” anymore.  Is this trip simply our new life and lifestyle in retirement or are we on holiday?

Port aux Choix walk MikeAs many of you know, Mike and I have been trying to get our 10,000 steps a day in for a couple of years now.  Although this is very easy for people who work on their feet all day, it is much harder for those of us that sit at a desk.  I had thought that this trip would have Mike and I easily making our walking and bike riding targets.  Well until this last week neither of these things had happened.  Bike riding actually requires more built-up areas which sounds strange.  In an area where the only road is a skinny main road, sometimes gravel, with two way speeding traffic and no shoulders, it isn’t something a novice rider enjoys.  If any of the fishing villages were flat enough for me to bike in, it would only have taken 10 minutes to go around the entire village, so not much exercise.  On top of everything, now that we have lost Mike’s bike we have done almost zero riding this entire trip.  Canadian Tire or bicycle stores are not to be found in these rural areas.  Our walking, other than Canada Day and Quebec City, has also been minimal.  The walking has taken a huge change for the better in the last four days.  We are now away from most of the bugs and in areas that mark out nice walking trails.  We have walked 15,000 – 30,000 steps each of the last four days.  Today we woke up and drove to a lighthouse and went on a 7 km walk before lunch.  This evening at 5:30 pm we decided to walk to see a salmon ladder.  That walk was just over 6 km.  None of these were hard hikes.  Probably half of the walking was actually done on boardwalks.  The temperature this morning was 52F and 56F this evening (11C and 13C).  It was a good day with a huge variety of scenery.  Fly Fishing Hawkes Bay I keep thinking about the tourist commercials that Newfoundland has been running for quite a while.  These are the commercials that highlight the differences between a vacation in Newfoundland and a vacation at Disney.  They also talk a lot about colour and show lighthouses, buttercup fields, red muskoka chairs and more.  We love these commercials.  On this trip we have felt like we were in the middle of them.  Red muskoka chairs (or whatever they call them in Newfoundland) are common here.  Today we walked past a lovely lighthouse out on a point in the ocean with two red muskoka chairs for visitors to sit in.  At one point we were walking on a tiny path through a huge field of yellow buttercups, it was really pretty.  After that we wandered off the path onto huge rocks out high over the ocean.  This evening the walk was in the trees along an inland river with falls that cause problems for salmon.  We watched some men fly fishing and then got to see a moose swimming in the river.  Very different areas, equally nice.

Moose Hawkes Bay

Englee ice bergA couple of days ago we were walking in Englee around their point and saw the largest iceberg that we have ever seen.  It was a fair ways out and still looked really big.  To get some perspective you need to know that the dots in front of the iceberg are actually a few sightseeing boats next to the berg.  We talked to a girl and her father who had been out in their boat up relatively close.  She took a lot of pictures and said that she will email them to us.

Winston, if you or your family are reading this here is another big thank-you.  As I mentioned previously Winston gave Mike and I two large packages of moose steaks.  We have tried them twice so far, once barbecued and once in a stew.  They were very good and we still have steaks left.  Thank-you Winston.

I have been surprised at the size of many of the houses in the fishing villages.  For some reason I expected them to be quite small.  There are small houses but there are a large number of quite large houses as well.  The churches in many of these villages have really tiny parking lots.  In the past, as long as it wasn’t a Saturday night, Mike and I have often parked overnight in a church parking lot.  I guess in small villages most people walk to church.  There was certainly no room for us in the parking lots.

Every since the water scandal in Walkerton, Ontario the Canadian and provincial governments have gone overboard in their water safety warnings.  Almost any water available to the public near government property has a sign on it that the water has to be boiled before drinking.  So far we found one place where they said that you really did have to boil their water as it came from a pond.  We were told that these warnings didn’t use to be in places except where they were really necessary.  In many areas the water hoses are specifically there for the public and RVs to get their water. The warnings are counterproductive and dangerous.  They leave you not believing and ignoring the signs and then you miss the one that was critical.

We want to make some changes to the RV before we go to Europe.  One of the changes that I have been talking about for ages is to have a desk built-in.  This has gone back up on my priority list after this trip.  I am also going to look into television satellite for Europe.  It would be great if it worked in North America as well since mobile satellites are very expensive but I don’t know if that is possible.  The two things that we have really missed so far are watching the daily news on TV and internet access.  Our TV antenna hasn’t picked up a single signal so far in Newfoundland or Labrador.  Now that we are getting into areas with more regular cell phone access we can use it to watch a little news in the evening.  We still have to be very careful about how much internet we use over the cell phone.  I was really disappointed to find out that you can’t buy one satellite dish and use it for both internet and television.  I had thought that we could get both but apparently it doesn’t work that way.  Oh well, people used to survive without daily news and communications.

My best wishes to anyone that actually made it through this longer article to the end.  Thanks for having the interest and following along with Mike and I.

Lovely Reflections Port aux Choix walk Jackie

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