Red Jeep Goes (Way) North
We, Bill and Gail Perry, decided our Red Jeep Cherokee needed to see some new country far to the north of our Soddy Daisy, Tennessee base. So, on September 2, 2005, we hooked it to the tow bar behind the 36 foot Monaco motorhome and headed north from the Rivergate Race and Rally Prep shop before daylight. Our two cats, Speedy and Morris, were along to keep us company (and furniture and carpets furry).
The Jeep has been dirty several times, but never like it was that day at Arcadia, Virginia. The motorhome popped a hydraulic line. Four gallons of oil dumped out of the hydraulic steering/cooling system, most of it apparently landing on the Jeep. One slippery, slimy Jeep! A short wrecker trip for the motorhome, with the Jeep following behind, dripping with oil, and the hydraulics were repaired better than new. While the new hose was installed, we used lots of quarters at a car wash getting the worst of the oil off the Red Jeep. (Only after we got home did we get the last of the oil off. The exhaust system smoked from it’s oil soaking for a few hundred miles).
The interstate highways through upper Pennsylvania and New York were rough. They gave the motorhome a beating, but the Jeep never seemed to even notice. The toll on the New York Turnpike was $12.75. We figured out this comes to one mill per bump! I wonder what they do with the toll money – obviously not fix the road.
On the way north, we stayed at Wal-Mart parking lots to save a few bucks, which were needed for fuel. Fuel prices were at an all-time high as this was just after Hurricane Katrina.
On day three, we crossed Lake Champlain and went into Vermont (relieved to see the last of New York!). Visited the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum on the lake. Most interesting with displays and lots of Revolutionary War history. Stopped at a campground and uncoupled the Jeep and used it to explore. Visited Burlington (interesting old city on the lake), Grand Isle, and what we could get to of Lake Champlain. A beautiful lake with mountains across the water.
Next day, we crossed Vermont and the Green Mountains. Lowlight of the trip – Morris escaped while we stopped for fuel at a country fuel station west of Gorham, New Hampshire. After a 20 minute hunt in a junk yard where he ran, Gail got close enough to run him down after opening a can of food to attract him. Damn Cat! He has no idea how close he came to be a cat-cicle this winter in northern N. H.
Camped at a nice KOA in Skowhegan/Canaan, Maine on Labor Day.
Day five, crossed into Canada at Calais, Maine/St. Stephens, New Brunswick. Crossing was (too) easy. Just a few questions (got guns? got over $10,000 cash? Not likely!).
Stayed at Kiwanis Campground in St. Andrews. Campsite right on Bay of Fundy, with a 28 foot vertical tide each 6 hours. We see ocean out the left window, right window and windshield! Cats even enjoyed the view (seagulls). Four beautiful, clear days in a row now.
Day six, drove around the area in the Jeep, and found a car wash to try again on the oil problem. Road dust was sticking to the Jeep making it look like a mud ball. Beautiful old town with a spectacular old hotel built in the 1880’s, the Algonquin. Staff was dressed in Kilts.
Drove to St. George to fill the Jeep with gas. It cost $87.74 Canadian to fill the tank! $5.43 US per US gallon. Hope it’s a long time before we see this again.
Day seven, we drove across New Brunswick to enter Nova Scotia. The truckers were attempting to blockade the road to Nova Scotia in a protest of high fuel prices. Just one road on the narrow strip of land that connects the rest of Canada to Nova Scotia so the truckers thought NS was a good target for a protest. Royal Canadian Mounted Police were there, but were doing nothing much to control the unruly truckers. So we called them Royal Canadian Mounted Pansies for the remainder of the trip. We were barely able to squeeze through the attempted blockade in the 8.5 foot wide motorhome, with our mirror overhanging the front bumper of a tractor truck parked crossways of the road..
After driving thru some very rough frost-heaved roads, we stopped in a campground at Five Islands. Right on the Bay of Fundy again. But this far up the bay, the tides are 46 feet vertical each 6 hours! One of the Five Islands has a big hole right thru it so that boats can cruise thru the island at high tide.
When we arrived, we were right on the edge of the water – six hours later the edge of the water is 2 miles away!! Clam diggers went out over a mile onto the bottom of the ocean to dig while the tide was out. They spent hours bent over digging – hard worked it appeared.
Drove the Jeep down to see the Geological Museum at Parrsboro. Geology is spectacular in this area, with the tides carving the rocks.
Day eight, towed to campground at Parkers Cove.
Only four campers at the most beautiful campground. Beside a working fishing harbor, and right on the Bay again, but looking west this time. In the Jeep we explored Annapolis Royal and Fort Anne, established in 1630.
Day nine, we drove the Jeep to Port Royal and out to Victoria Beach. The reconstructed Fort Royal was well done, especially the furnishings. Built in 1605 and reconstructed in 1939. We visited a tide-powered electric generating plant – one of few ever done.
We towed across Nova Scotia to the Atlantic Coast, at Lunenburg. Drove the Jeep out to an area called Blue Rocks. They are blue!
We took a horse and buggy tour of old Lunenburg.
Horse was Percy and driver named Freddy. Freddy had trained Percy (and all the other horses used for this purpose in the area) to a litter box. We stopped at a large litter box; Freddy unhooked Percy and took him to the box. Percy did his business, and came back to continue the trip. Who knew horses could be trained to do that? Percy was a huge Belgian.
Visited the Fisheries Museum. As the town was formed for the purpose of fishing in the Atlantic, this was also a history of the town of Lunenburg. Lots of boats and equipment like we had never seen, including a 90 footer at the museum dock.
Day ten, we towed north. Wind noise proved to be because the windshields of the motorhome had popped out of the frame due to the frost-heaved roads flexing the body and the beating it had taken in New York. Time for duct tape!
Day eleven, still towing north. Drove the motorhome to the town of Little Bras D’Or to get the windshield reinstalled at Sam’s Glass. I wanted to visit the nearby town of Big Bras D’Or to see how it got it’s name, but Gail didn’t see the need. Couple of Irish fellows fixed the windshields for $20 (wow) while we took the Jeep to the Fortress of Louisbourg.
An amazing reconstruction of a large fort and village built by the French in the early 1700’s. We ate a 1735 style lunch there. Served on pewter plate with only one utensil, a big spoon. It was used to cut meat, stir coffee and shovel in the food. Also visited the site of the oldest lighthouse in Canada. This was the Jeep’s furthest penetration East for the Jeep, at Latitude North 45o 54.59 and Longitude West 59o 56.95.
Day twelve, visited the Alexander Graham Bell Museum. He moved here after he got famous, and rich. He said he had seen the whole world, Alps, Fjords and all, and this area on Bras D’Or Lake was the most beautiful place on earth. Sounds right to me. Shopped in Baddeck. Attended a fine musical show at Saltwater Theater.
Day thirteen. A big day as we did the Cabot Trail in the Jeep.
This was the primary purpose of the whole trip. The Cabot Trail is said to be the most beautiful drive in the Americas, if not the world. So we just had to do it. One hundred and eighty five miles of curves and mountains, most of it bordered on one side (Gail’s side) by the Atlantic, the Bay of St. Lawrence or the Bay of Fundy. Absolutely spectacular!! We will never forget this day. A fantastic way for Bill to spend his 66th birthday. We turned the Jeep off the Cabot Trail to see how far north we could get. It took four wheel drive, but we made it to the entrance of Dingwall Harbor, Latitude 46o 54.1594.
At Pleasant Bay, NS, we took a ride in a 42’ fishing boat to see whales and scenery. Saw two humpback whales and many pilot whales.
We returned to the campground after a 12 hour tour. Tired but never had more fun.
Day thirteen, a travel day, back to St. Andrews NB campground that we enjoyed so much on the way up. Watched seals swimming just off shore.
Day fourteen, back to the USA at Calais. US Customs was just as easy as Canadian Customs. We could have had 12 terrorists, 1200 pounds of dope and one small atomic weapon on board and they wouldn’t have known. They did ask about vegetables and money.
We stopped in Perry, Maine at a monument saying it was half way between the equator and the north pole, 45o latitude.
We settled into a campground in Eastport, Maine, again right on the Passamaquoddy Bay, off the Bay of Fundy. As we knew the largest whirlpool in the western hemisphere was near here, we asked the campground staff where was a good place to go to see it. They said, "well, the spot you are camped should do – it’s right across from you". Two hours before high tide, when it is at maximum, there was no way to overlook it. It sounded like a large waterfall roaring. It has sucked several fishermen to their death. I have never seen so much water so turbulent. The dolphins loved feeding in the turbulence. Seals feed where it wasn’t so bad. Very impressive.
The first French settlement in what is now Canada was at St. Croix Island (in the background above). It was settled in 1603 but abandoned after the first winter. They almost starved because the 25’ tides jumbled the ice so badly they could not go to the mainland to hunt. The Jeep is in this photo is in the US, but the background is Canada.
The plan was to stay in Eastport only one night. No Way!
We loved it so well we stayed four days.
Eastport was founded as a fishing village, and is a center for salmon grown in pens now. Every little bay seemed to have a set of salmon pens and lots of people are employed at them. Pretty place with a busy, large harbor.
Visited Campobello Island, one of the summer homes of President Franklin Roosevelt. He contacted polio there. On the way out I saw our only moose.
The Jeep just had to go to West Quoddy Lighthouse.
It is the eastern-most point in the USA with coordinates 44o 48.9 north and 66o 57.1 west (why called "west" then?).
The Sylvia W. Beal is an 84 foot sailing schooner, built in 1911. We took a whale watching tour on it.
Passengers had to help with setting the sails. A few hundred feet from the dock we saw a Minke whale. As we sailed along Campobella Island we saw dozens of Bald Eagles, as many as five at one place. Scenery was unbelievable on this three-hour tour (and we made it back safe). Back at the campground, we watched seals around the dock.
Day 19, we traveled across Maine.
Day 20, we traveled through southern Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York and part of Pennsylvania. Covered only 351 all day. Makes us appreciate east Tennessee even more and our great Tennessee roads..
Day 21, drove through Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, and most of Virginia. Virginia is so lovely after traveling through the northeast. Good roads, good scenery.
Day 22, home again.
Total of 5101 miles, 4291 on the motorhome and 810 on the Jeep when not being towed (plus the 4291 when on the towbar). A great trip, worth every penny, even with fuel at record prices. Motorhome got 8.43 miles per gallon of diesel fuel, every mile pulling the Jeep.
And the Jeep is a fantastic way to see the country and a good tow vehicle. Never a bit of trouble with it (well, the oil thing, and the $5.43 gas, but not the Jeep’s fault).
Bill and Gail Perry