New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland

Tuesday September 11, 2018, we drove from Kouchibouguac National park to Amherst Nova Scotia

Wednesday we drove from Amherst to Sydney to catch the ferry.

Thursday we arrived for the ferry on time and had a smooth ride across the gulf of St. Lawrence to Newfoundland.

We stayed the night at Cheeeman Provincial Park

Friday, We drove from Cheeseman provincial park to Cornerbrook to get some laundry done. The city was built into the hills and every street either goes up or down at a wicked angle. It must be brutal in the winter with all the snow they get.

Afterwards we left and saw a laundromat at the side of the highway just outside of town. That is the way things go sometimes.

We spent the night in Deer Lake and the next morning I saw two moose (Moosens, spelling?) while I was out for my walk.

We continued on to Gros Morne Park and were blown away by the mountains and the water.

The night was spent sheltered from the rain at Green Point campground.

Saturday September 15, 2018, After a slow morning we got out for a hike along the coastal trail. I had walked it the night before and really enjoyed it. It is interesting to see how tightly the trees grow along the shore and how tightly the branches grow. Once you are in a path through the trees, very little light and noise gets through. I told the kids it looked like something out of little riding hood.

The afternoon was spent driving north towards L’Anse Aux Meadows which is very the first European Vikings were found to have arrived on the shores of North America.

After we got some groceries we head back South to warmer climates.

We spent another day in Gros Morne but could have spent many more.

Wednesday September 19th, we visited Lobster Cove, Tablelands and dove back to Deer Lake.

Gaspé and Perce Quebec

I wonder if I am going to lose me awe at all of the beautiful scenery. After a couple of months, will it be just another day. Will it become routine? That is a thought that was bouncing around my head today.

Friday September 7, 2018

We returned to Gaspe and toured through the cultural display for the Birthplace of Canada.

Then we made the hour long drive to Perce. The hills were wicked and we had to avoid a some type of endurance race. But we made it safe and sound. The rock was very cool to see and we got there right near low tide. The kids played LEGO in the RV while I hiked out to the rock. It was very cool to put my had on it and see the quartz deposits in it. As well, several animals had there homes on the rock face. I stayed for a short time then went back. I was nervous about the tide coming in.

The Rock

looking back to shore

Afterwards we went to a near by campground called cap de surprise.

Saturday September 8, 2018

Woke up to a cool morning. We ate and packed up slowly. I loaded the Katia onto the tandem bike and put Giovanni and Maya in the chariot to go back into town. Perce recently upgraded their waterfront park and it looks great.

With three little kids this trip is turning into a tour of parks.

After lunch we left the campground and drove to Canpbellton New Brunswick. Here are some more parks we found along the way.

Our last section of the drive and I realized the we had not had any poutine in Quebec. This is the official meal of the province. Happily we found a small family canteen that served a great meal. I was really happy we got to stop here.

Sunday September 9, 2018

We got up in a Walmart parking lot and went off to church. St. Thomas Aquinas was a nice service with a very friendly community.

Afterwards we visited another park.

Note, Smearer Septic who provides the port a potty gas a great name.

From there we drove to Miramichi which had yes another park, Richie Wharf. It was very nice but I don’t have any photos of it.

I also completed two u turns with an RV on two lane highways with posted speed limits of 100 km/h but there is no evidence to prove that.

Monday September 10, 2018

We left the Enclosure campground at noon and went to see Wilson’s Point Historical Site where I have begun to learn about. La Grand Dérangement

And Estimated 10,000 Acadians we’re deported from their lands in Nova Scotia and only 1,800 survived the deportation. We saw a small island where many had to spend the winter and a large number of them died due to famine and exposure.

Our day ended a couple hours later a Kouchibouguac National park

I took the kids swimming in the cold ocean.

There is debate in the RV whether you call it swimming in the Gulf of the St. Lawrence or swimming in the ocean. Please comment your opinion.

Gaspé Peninsula

I keep bouncing around ideas about what type of writing to use for this blog. Should I document everything for the trip? Should I try to use it for advertising and get discounts at spots? Should I focus on writing really popular content that will get lots of views? Should I inform readers about these different spots that we visit?

My thought is to write about the interesting experiences we have while we travel. The funny, annoying, tiring, infuriating experiences that make memories. I think that is what I will want to look back on and read

If you have an opinion on the issue, please email me at Dan.mcdougall@gmail.com or comment on the bottom of this post.

What Day of the week is it? I am starting to forget.

Monday September 3, 2018

We took our time packing up and drove from Riviere du Loup to Matane. We left the camp ground at 1pm, filled up on gas and cleaned the windshield which took 20 minutes. Not 200 meters down the road, I had to stop because one of the kids had to pee. Apparently they did not think of it while we were stopped.

Driving along through Rimuski, I saw what looked to be a submarine in the distance. I was not going to miss the opportunity and I figured Giovanni would love to see it. We did the tour which included a handheld audio guide which was very well done. Giovanni and Maya wanted to go fast and didn’t want to listen to the whole think. I don’t think Giovanni liked the small space.

I downloaded an audible book called Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone and we played it while we drove. Surprisingly the “I am bored” comments have really decreased.

Tuesday September 4, 2018

Drove from Matane to Riviere an renard ouest

Leaving Matane took a long time while we did groceries and got some Matane shrimp. We also got some mussels for Katia to try we kept them in the fridge and cooked them up for dinner. It turns out that Katia really likes mussels. And Matane shrimp are very tasty, thank you Claude for recommending it.

We stopped at a park and drove along some beautiful scenery and stopped at a nice park.

We also had a close call with the bike rack. Leaving the park, I did my vehicle walk around and noticed the bike rack was sitting out kinda far. I took a closer look and the bolt had come loose. I was able to remove it with my fingers. The rack was chained to the RV should if it had come off, it would have been dragged behind the RV for who knows how long.

I will be sure to check the bolt more often.

The day ended with may hills up and down. The grades vary between 10% and 15%. After two hours of it I was mentally done and we stopped. The RV holds up well but there are lots of steep hills with nasty turns at the bottom. A beer at the end of the day was very nice.

Wednesday September 5, 2018

Shorter drive from Riviere du Renard to Forillon National Park. First stop was the visitor centre which was closed. Then we drove along and stopped at a mile long beach with 6 people on it called Cap-Bon-Ami. It was rocky with giant cliffs to the south. One of those places that make you stop and take it in.

The kids had fun playing on the beach. Giovanni built a fire pit with rocks. Katia collected pretty rocks from the beach. Maya filled her rubber boots with salt water. The water was very calm but it was deceiving how higher the waves would roll in and one of them went over the top of her boots.

We stopped at Petite Gaspe campground and we have walked around and taking it in. The kids enjoyed there day and I made a point of getting dinner ready early. We cooked dinner over the fire. Cooking early made bed time earlier which the kids needed after being up late last night.

Thursday September 6, 2018

The morning began with breakfast and school work. Then we cleaned the RV and left the site around 11. Mariana washed the clothes while I took the kids on a short hike.

The hike started off with the kids complaining. We kept hiking and I offered chocolate chips along the way and a reward of a marshmallow at the top of they made it.

It was interesting that after pushing through the initial complaining, the kids had fun. They explored creeks and made up silly stories.

Pushing through the initial discomfort paid off. At the end we were rewarded with seeing two seals or otters playing in the water.

The kids are now all asleep and I will be soon too.

Departures

Thursday August 30th is the day we depart.

9:30AM

The RV is loaded up.

The van is sold pending pick up.

Emergency health coverage is in place.

The RV has been inspected by a mechanic.

The house stuff is in storage and the house is now taken care of by the rental company.

10:20AM – we departed my parents house and proudly drove through a toilet paper banner to begin the trip.

1:00PM – Funny it took another 2.5 hours to get out of Kingston because we stopped at Canadian tire, sold the old van because there were too many safety issues to sell it, dropped off the plates at Service Ontario and fed the kids some food. Off to a fast start.

We also met Nana and Papa one more time to get a few items that had been forgotten.

2:00PM – We stopped in Brockville to meet Peter an old coworker and catch up with him. To combine the visit, we invited Rolf and Jacky over to Peters place. Rolf and Jacky are bicycle touring friends.

Yes, I asked Peter before I invited others to make sure he was ok with it. I am learning some social norms.

G

After chatting with Peter we went down to walk through to Railway Tunnel in Brockville. They have done a great job laying down a concrete walkway, LED up lighting and a good sound system. It is very cool to walk through the old tunnel.

After the tunnel, we put $234 worth of gas into the RV and then went out for a treat dinner atq Boston Pizza. The kids ate well but in hind site I think we could have picked something that would have been been more fun. Sitting still in a chair for dinner was a challenge for them.

We arrived in Cornwall at 9:00pm and quickly got the kids ready for bed. They were overly tired and silly.

Afterthoughts,

Everyone’s life is going to keep going while we are on this trip. The same projects and tasks will be there. Life will go on without us in the picture.

I am not writing that to be depressing it is just a humbling thought. My world and my interactions with others is not the be all end all. I am just a small part of something very big. I am not as important as I think.

Friday we drove from Cornwall to Quebec City and stayed at a Walmart. The GPS decided it was fastest to go through Montreal which was fun. Fortunately we were driving through between noon and 2pm, so the long weekend rush hour had not hit.

Saturday we took the kids to Old Quebec City. It was 10km from the Walmart to the Old City so we drove. Thanks to missing a FPS direction, I was able to drive the RV through the Old City. Tight can bale stone streets and narrow turns. Yep, I can handle it all. We eventually found a parking spot but they wanted $50 for 6 hours. We left and found free parking at Victoria Park baseball stadium.

After parking we marched back into Quebec City. We stopped at the library and several parks but you would think I was taking the kids on a death march by the amount that one of them complained.

I flip the complaining on its head. Good. It is good that my kid is tired and complaining. That means I have taken her out of her comfort zone and we are getting tougher. We made it through and had fun at the museum.

The Museum of Civilization had some great displays. The London exhibit was good. The observation area and the native area were really enjoyable for the kids.

After a long day of walking we were face with another march back to the RV. Fortunately earlier in the day I found a free Toyota Carolla test drive. They had cameras set up in the cars to get video of people’s reaction and they were interested in my handsome face. We made a deal. Mariana and I would drive two separate cars back to the RV and they would get the video. Two sales people came along and got the faces they were looking for.

We got back to the RV, stopped at one of the free dumping stations and ware fill up and then returned to the Walmart. All in all, a good day.

Sunday September 2nd, 2018

We had a good morning and went to church. It started raining afterwardsso we decided to hit the road to Riviere du Loup. To my surprise we made it the whole way without a single stop. The day ended with a nice sunset on the shore of the St. Lawrence Seaway.

Week 1 – Happy Days, Happy Days

Friday August 24th was my last day at Bombardier for 2018.

Well, sort of.

There was one task left for me to complete. I sketches it out this weekend and emailed it to the team on Monday.

Saturday was the big farewell party at Lake Ontario park which was good. The kids got to play in the splash pad and playground and we got to talk under the shade of a tree.

I also coined a new term.

When describing the blog I said there will be

Nothing Terribly Inappropriate

posted on the blog. Richard called me out for what exactly that means.

I am not sure exactly what is Terribly Inappropriate but I think we will figure it out as I write this blog.

The farewell party on Saturday went well and none of the kids got seriously injured. A grand parent did twist their ankle on a rock and had to be taken to urgent care but it appears to only be a sprain.

Sunday morning was spent at church and we got a blessing before hitting the road.

Monday Mariana committed the whole day to sorting things out in the RV. I took care of the kids and repaired bikes. Nana and Papa joined us at United Empire Loyalist and the kids got to play with their cousins.

Tuesday the RV goes into the mechanic for an oil change and a check over. We have a wifi OBD2 connector and a app to track fuel consumption and gas mileage. The engine currently has a code P1406 that will need to be corrected before we go.

Wednesday is last minute preparations and farewell drinks in the evening.

Farewell Drinks:

We will be getting together for Drinks at Red House West on Wednesday August 29th at 7:00PM if anyone would like to join Michael, Carla and myself.

Address: 629 Fortune Crescent, Kingston, ON K7P 0L5

Date: Wednesday August 29th

Time: 7:00PM

Phone: (613) 384-3999

Departure:

The planned departure date is Thursday August 30th in the morning.

Observations after the first couple of days: The nights are ending early. By 9 or 10 pm we are packing it in to sleep.

After I post this at 9:43pm, I am going to bed.

Good night,

Dan

Packing up, There is more to our house than I thought

My plan was to post every Tuesday but that plan is already behind schedule.

The past 2 weeks have been spent packing the house. We have been in that house for 10 years and accumulated a lot of junk.

Yesterday Ian and I rented a truck and moved several loads into the storage unit. Here is the current state.

To add complications to the packing process, I decided to go away for 4 days for the boys camping weekend. Every year Ian, Paul, Mike, Jeremy and I go camping at a different provincial park. This year was Algonquin park, the biggest and most popular, for our 10 year anniversary.

The trip was full of silliness and fun.

I returned from camping and went straight into packing mode. I am thankful my parents, Gus and Janice, were able to watch the kids Tuesday and overnight into Wednesday which freed us up to pack until late in the night.

I have vacation time to use up before I leave for the trip but I am trying to transition to the people taking over my tasks.

Wednesday morning we woke up and began trying to sort things out. Then I remembered I had scheduled an important meeting. I called my parents and explained what would happen:

Ok. I have the van loaded up with garbage which I am going to take to the dump. Then I will swing by your place to pick up the kids.

I had seen the mayor at the grocery store 2 weeks ago and told him about the trip. He was excited for us and we have a 9:30am appointment to meet him at city hall. Could you please have the kids to put on nice clothes?

They laughed at my plans but rolled with it. I think they are learned to accept the unexpected with me.

The meeting with Mayor Bryan Paterson went very well. We got to meet him in his office and take a picture in Counsel chambers. He did a great job asking each child a question and genuinely being interested in where we are going. I wish him the best of luck in the next election.

IMG_0082.JPG

We have now officially moved out of the house and are spending a week at United Empire Loyalist Campground.

We will stay here while I finish working and we wrap up the final tasks before hitting the road.

Final thoughts after putting the kids to bed:

Stay calm.

I will write it again to remind myself.

Stay calm.

When the kids are very tired, overly active and are getting hurt, stay calm, be the rock they need to adjust there emotions and lead them through bedtime routine and rest.

Stay calm.

They are now asleep and I am going to sleep. Mariana will join us soon. She stayed home to work on emptying the house.

Grand McDougall Family Adventure

Back in 2008, Mariana and I drove around North America over a 2 month period.  The trip was fast and awesome and we got to see a lot of cool things.  I distinctly remember standing on a bridge in Chicago and recognizing the area from movies which just blew my mind.

10 Years later, Mariana and I are working on planning out our route for our next great adventure.

We plan to drive around North America in the opposite direction for 1 year.  We are taking a year to travel slower and hopefully show our kids that travelling and exploring can be fun.

Below is a picture of places that we would like to go.  The full map can be found here, Grand McDougall Family Adventure.  If you can recommend more places to see, please let me know by email or in the comment section below.

Route-2018-08-15

Our plan is to drive our 2000 Triple E Commander RV. IMG_6735

We had not planned on buying an RV this big but when the opportunity presented itself we took it.  We have taken it out for a week of travel and a camping trip but so far have not been out on a big trip.  This trip will be a giant learning curve for us.

The RV is still unnamed.  I have almost convinced the kids to call it the Fun, Adventure, Recreation & Travel mobile, F.A.R.T. mobile for short but Mariana is less than impressed.

My intention is to post on this blog once or twice a week to document the trip and keep all of our friends and family informed.  I have added an email follow button to the side and would be happy if you subscribed.

Unfortunately I will not be posting on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook.  I find those site way too distracting and would only pull me away from enjoying the trip and teaching the kids.

 

Take Care,

Dan