Mary Beth Writes

Thank you, Robert Burns, for that title. 

We were driving from Gaspé to the next town when this happened.

What you are seeing is Tim Horton’s; famous Canadian purveyor of coffee, donuts and a whole bunch of other treats and sandwiches. They also offer free WIFI so we stopped by Tim Horton’s most afternoons to use their Internet to figure out what motel we would be stopping at that evening.

Which is what we are doing in the photo. The rain you see is an outer band of Hurricane Dorian. Dorian was no longer something to wonder about. Dorian had become a sheeting downpour that was causing our car to hydroplane on an empty highway somewhere in New Brunswick. It was time to find a motel and hunker down. We were not in the hurricane but we were a mere 300 miles from the middle of it, and it was a doozy. Twenty miles from this Tim Horton’s was Bathurst and yes, they had a room for us.

We soon learned that Nova Scotia has a population of 500,000 people - and 400,000 of them lost power that night. Including the entire city of Halifax. It would take days for the “normal” to come back on.

We spent the next morning at a small nature preserve on the bay by Bathurst.

The path we followed down to the bay.

This is their salt marsh, where fresh water from the river flows outward, and saltwater from the bay flows inward. Salt marshes are among the most fragile ecologies on earth due to global warming and rising sea levels.

 Isn’t this beautiful? It’s a collage of leaves and sticks that puddled together the day before in the torrential rain.

We drove onwards to Moncton, New Brunswick. Our next motel had electricity although about half of Moncton was still in the dark, with non-working stop-and-go lights. Our motel’s ‘free WIFI’ didn’t work that night because too much infrastructure had been damaged.  

We went into the city for dinner. Afterwards we walked to the Petitcodiac River to see Moncton’s Tidal Bore. A Tidal Bore, for those of us who don’t live with tides, is the lead wave that arrives on a river or bay, herald of the incoming tide.  In Moncton it isn’t huge, but it still impressed our midwestern hearts.

If you are curious, here is a YouTube video that shows it more clearly. https://youtu.be/8R6Ipsl2VJ0

Next morning, we visited Hopewell Rocks along the Bay of Fundy, at the southern end of New Brunswick.

This pup was hot. 

By the end of that afternoon we exited Canada, with regret. We are not sure if or when we will ever get back. It was so beautiful, although we might take a plane or train if we try it again. And NOT in August or September, hurricane time… That lesson is learned.

 …

We have heard all our lives that Maine’s Acadia National Park is spectacular. We don’t disagree, but we didn’t love being there.

It was a Monday well into September. Where did all those people come from?  The place was so jam-packed we could barely park our little car. We drove to the top of Cadillac Mountain, saw the stunning scenery, but could only pull into a handicapped parking slot. Len jumped out, took some photos, then we drove back down that mountains, bumper to bumper with RV’s and tour busses.  Not our favorite day. 

This photo is from the handicapped parking slot on the top of Cadillac Mountain!  And yes, that is a cruise ship down there.  Either a regularly scheduled tour, or maybe a ship diverted from the hurricane.

We thought we could take a hike, but I wasn’t up to negotiating uneven slabs of rocks for two miles, so we went back to the car. (Lesson learned from you, Bob N.) 

Not sure if this was a Maine or Canadian cormorant, but isn’t it elegant?

This was our favorite part of Acadia. See that tiny person in the middle of the picture?  (Looks like a rock.) That’s Len looking for starfish. He didn’t find any, but we sure did see snails! And I collected dozens of empty snail shells, all so tiny they fit in one jean’s pocket.

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Leonard's picture

If you have been a long-time reader of Mary Beth, you know that this is the SECOND vacation that's been rearranged by a hurricane. Kurt Vonnegut said that unexpected travel is like dancing lessons from God.

Gorgeous! Thank you for taking us along this memorable dance!

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Quarantine Diary #142 Swimming Lessons

“It's a good idea to begin at the bottom in everything except in learning to swim.” Unknown author

I was well into my 40’s when I realized that one doesn’t have to wait for perfect weather if one wants to go into the water. 

Quarantine Diary #141 8/5/2020 "Red Dust"

I just finished reading “Red Dust – A Path Through China” by Ma Jain.  It is a remarkable book that asks more questions than it answers.

Ma Jain was born in the 50’s and grew up grew up very poor in a small Chinese city. He remembers when his mother would simmer stones for dinner so that the neighbors would see her cooking and not realize how poor they were.  (A whole different take on the children’s tale “Stone Soup.") The violent and terrifying Cultural Revolution that Chinese citizens lived through is over but memories of it are in everyone’s minds.

Quarantine Diary #140 7/31/2020 Wishing you a Merry Quarantine Weekend

When I’m in a certain mood I love how-to articles – and I’m in that mood right now. I think it happens at the intersection of reasonable weather and Friday ... when happiness still seems possible.

I googled “How to have a nice weekend in the time of Covid” and guess what? There are no Wiki-How articles on how to be happy in a pandemic.

Let’s invent this right here, right now.

Quarantine Diary #134 Written while sweating …

My best coping skill for appalling weather is to show it who is boss. 30 below?  Cool. Let me put on all my clothes plus a hat down to my eyebrows and another one up to my glasses, and I’ll go out there.

Quarantine Diary #131 7/23/2020 "Becoming Labrador"

Yesterday I forgot to write about a movie we watched which I think many of you might like to watch, also.  We’ve been talking here about what one can stand to read and watch these days when our spirits are stressed and anxious.

I thought I wanted to reprise some of our Canada travels.  FYI, if you’ve traveled in a place you loved, put that place into your streaming service Search window, find some great or mediocre documentaries about that place, and revisit your memories.  It’s fun.

Quarantine Diary #130 7/22/2020 What's in your glass?

In the last few weeks one of my knees has decided it is the current star of the MB show. I overused it one day, I know when that was, ever since it’s been wonky. I have to baby it otherwise it hurts more than a little. Aging isn’t for wusses. 

I am walking less because walking a lot makes it worse.  I CAN ride a bike as much as I want since that doesn’t exacerbate the situation. I’m trying to weigh less, which is its own comedy.

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