Saturday, September 26

     Up at 7:10. Another clear blue sky day. They had a pretty good breakfast at the motel--bacon & eggs (actually an egg patty), yogurt, toast, bagel and cream cheese, coffee, orange juice.
    On the road at 8:30 NB time with the sun in my eyes, temperature 40. I then took Route 2 to Moncton, breaking my last unbroken rule, rule 1, since Route 2 is essentially an interstate, 2 lanes each way with a wide median and 30-40 pines lining the road most of the way, speed limit 110 km/hr (about 67 mph). Not a lot of traffic in either direction. I passed Oromocto and a very large river (the St. Johns River).
    When I got to Moncton, I went past 5-6 entrances looking for Route 106 then gave up and turned around one more time again and took 126 into town, which was quite some distance. The temp was now up to 51. Checked into the Midtown Motel at 11:10 and had to wait for the room so I walked downtown--the Bell Aliant tower, the Old Triangle Irish Alehouse, a sports bar wide open despite the chill in the air, at least 3 sushi bars, the Tide&Boar "gastropub," the McSweeney Dinner Theatre, Mexicali Rosa's, Shopper's Drug Mart. I stopped at the Cafe C'est La Vie for a $2.25 cup of coffee. Down a side street there was a mass market of some kind--produce, prepared food, some arts--I bought a small piece of maple candy for a dollar.
    I got into my room at 1:15. It was very nice with a sink outside the bathroom as well as one in the bathroom itself, TV and wifi of course, 2 beds, table, desk, toaster, microwave, minifridge, better than the one in Fredericton except there was no sofa. A lot cheaper too.
     Spent the aft in my room working on the internet. In the evening I went downtown and had guacamole bruschetta at Mexicali Rosa's. Pink Sushi & Teriyaki was across the street. The streets certainly weren't crowded but there was a fair number of people out on a chilly night--walking to Maria's, I was passed by 4 young people, including a young man in what looked like a superhero suit but nothing that I recognized (it was green); walking back to the car, I was passed by 3 women who seemed to be in their mid or late 20s.

Sunday, September 27
     Up at 8:00 on still another clear blue sky day, the temperature 41. Breakfast at Jean's Restaurant a block and a half away from the motel--2 scrambled eggs (small), a good slice of fairly thick ham, toast and raspberry jam, 2 cups of coffee, and beans, which I barely tasted. Then I headed to Hopewell Rocks for the Tidal Bore, which turned out to be nothing.
     The internet took me through town to route 15, going clear around Moncton, first north, then east, then south to 114, where I could see Moncton off to my right across the very wide marshlands and probably the river. I got stuck behind a tanker truck and to to Hopewell Rocks at 10:00, the temperature now 54. $10 to get in. High tide was at 11:45. It was a good walk with several places to overlook the Bay of Fundy, interesting rock formations and Diamond Rock, Big Cove, and Flower Pot Rocks, where people waited for the tide to come in, not really all that interesting. I heard a chickadee and a lot of other birds chittering in the trees but I never caught even a glimpse of them, try as I may. There was a red squirrel at Flower Pot Rocks and the ubiquitous pigeons.

Diamond Rock

     I got back to the parking lot at 12:10, the temperature now 63, and back to Moncton before 1:00, this time taking the bridge from 114 to town, cutting off 15-20 minutes of driving. My room hadn't been cleaned yet so I went searching for a cup of coffee. Finally went to Arby's, where it was free. Then I drove downtown. Being Sunday, I figured parking was free but it was hard to tell. They had new-fangled electronic parking meters that took money, credit cards, and cell phone calls. There was no sign on the hours and the screen was impossible to read in sunlight. I finally found one in the shade and the screen said "Free Parking until 12:00 a.m." A young man walking down the street with a black cowboy-style hat and a drooping mustache, looking like a fugitive from the 60s. Found a bar with "Music Every Night" but no open mike and finally got a raspberry freeze (or whatever it was called) at the Cafe C’est La Vie.
     In the evening, I went back to Arby's for their 2 for $6 special on roast beef sandwiches and an orange cream shake--$9.19 plus $1.19 tax. That's a 13% tax. As I left there was a young woman there with died bright red hair and bright red lipstick. A fugitive from the 90s?
     At 10:00 I drove my Mitsubishi Eclipse down to the waterfront park in downtown Moncton to watch the lunar eclipse. It was kind of fun--there were a number of people, mostly middle-aged though a scattering of young people, many with telescopes and/or cameras. The moon became a dull dark red at total eclipse, looking like photos of Mars, and, even with all the light pollution around me, I could see the Great Square of Andromeda and other stars that had not been visible before the eclipse.
     I'll probably leave for Montreal tomorrow. Still, for some reason, I like this town, although I don't know what to do with myself here. It looks like a good place to raise a family. Never got to Nova Scotia or Prince Edward Island or Labrador but impatience is getting the best of me, as usual. When I'm driving, I'm content if not downright happy (unless I'm lost) while, when I stop, I don't know what to do with myself. A little over a week on the road and things are already going south--my plan of exploring the Maritime Provinces is in shreds and I plan to take Route 2 to Edmundson tomorrow, instead of the non-express route I asked AAA for. But their route seems a bit convoluted in places and I'm tired of losing my way. And, face it, this damn blog takes up a lot of time. So I'll go back to normal Carrington mode for at least one day. I look forward to the open mikes in Toronto. I miss having a place to perform, despite all my previous denials to the contrary.

Big Cove

Monday, September 28
Moncton to St. Leonard, NB
     Up at 7:50 for another clear blue sky day and on the road at 8:45, the temperature 54. Stopped at an UltraMar gas station for 37.347 liters of 98.9 gas. I have had a sore soft palate for the past few days. Shoppers Drug Mart suggested acetaminophen
     When I got on to Route 2, I saw an eagle in the air, his head and tail flashing white as it was chased by another bird before perching at the top of a tree. There were long lines of young birches on my right, off and on for several miles. 61 degrees with cirrus clouds in the sky when i stopped at Borders Diner past Fredericton for a couple of fried eggs, a good slice of ham (they don't kid around here in Canada), raspberry jam, and one cup of coffee ($10). There were 3 guys at the next table talking in French. I understood very little--my mere, mon pere, oui, and one other word.
     I left Route 2 for Route 105 at 11:55--pretty country, downhill for a ways, a hill in front of me with more color, though still about 90% green, a bridge over the quite large St. John River. There was a sharp right turn onto just a country road, not a highway at all, paralleling the river for several hours. A chipmunk raced across the road. I got to see a lot of rural New Brunswick on this roller coaster road of patched gray tar, quite some distance before seeing a 105 sign, wondering if I should have taken that turn.
     There was a small island with what looked like people standing on a concrete jetty, no boat in sight. What looked like a mill town was on the other side of the river, a house with two dark red spires, a church spire, a bridge over a side river, another bridge up ahead. Woodstock. Shorebirds on a beach-type shoreline. At Florenceville-Bristol, there was a covered bridge still in use that led to an iron girder bridge over the river. The road was a little better, now well paved. The Village of Bath. At Beechwood, an old rusted girder bridge, unused, crossed the Marquardt Stream. 1:30--about 50 mph, temperature 70, mostly blue sky but some cotton puffs and cirrus up ahead, a churchyard with a small wooden chapel in its middle. 105 leaves the well-paved road to go back down to the river, once again bumpy patched old gray pavement. Crossed the Topique Narrows, apparently a branch of the Saint John, once again going on faith that I’m on the right road. I was. Another chipmunk raced across the road, bunches of crows here and there. New Denmark.
     The temp was 71 when I reached Grand Falls, where 105 became 108 which led me back to Route 2, which i left at Route 17 for the Daigle Motel at 2:45. Pretty spartan--no refrig. The sky was now completely clouded over. I took a little walk under a threatening sky with a bit of wind, crows flying one way, lots of geese the other, mostly small groups but one well-formed V and another with the leader too far ahead of the others and still another with about 30 geese that kept forming into a V then breaking up. It was a short walk from the motel to the border, which turned out to be the river, which that woman who swam from Cuba to the US would find very easy to swim across.
Tuesday, September 29
St. Leonard, NB to Quebec
     Up at 7:00 and on the road at 7:35, temperature 62, the sky completely clouded over. Filled the tank with 33 liters of gas and got back on Route 2 into Appalachian mountain foothill type country. By 8:21, I was in sun but with a lot of large dark gray clouds. I entered Quebec at 8:25.