Archive for Prince Edward Island

Jul
02

The G.U.N.S.E. – Over the Border

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The next morning, my own personal adventure continued. My reasoning was sound, or at least seemed to be the night before. Crossing the border with a bottle of delicious Macallan would most likely result in a Canadian Border Guard taking it away, then toasting us from his home with our bottle. So I did what any civic minded American would do, I denied the Canadians the opportunity to drink my booze by finishing it all myself. Told you I am full of great ideas.

Hangover or not, the sun was up, and it was time to face the pain and drag my sorry carcass (and poor Abi) on one of my favorite side trips, to a lighthouse, in this case the West Quoddy Lighthouse.

Abi and Keith made the best of my forced field trip by competing to be ‘Easternmost Goofball in the United States’, the first of what would be many improvised competitions.

In the parking lot, we met a nice couple on a Harley. “We’ve lived an hour away from this place for thirty years. This is the first time we’ve been here.” After the usual sniffing around and story swapping motorcyclists tend to do, they left us with a warning that would be become a refrain echoed by nearly everyone we met. “Watch out for moose!”

Nevermind moose, my head was still pounding, so we headed off in search of breakfast. Thank God for Darleen and Tina at the Cobscook Bay Cafe. These two angels whipped up the biggest and best breakfast ever for us, all with honest to God down home sincerity.

Fiona just may have a little competition….

At some point in our ride, we crossed a really cool bridge. I don’t have anything exciting to say about it, I just needed an excuse to post the really cool pictures Fiona took of the really cool bridge.

Then it was time to trade in the comfort of the land I love, and take the Great Nova Scotia Expedition into the unknown wilds of the Great White North.

Border crossings always make me nervous, because you never know what kind of mood the guards will be in. Who knows, there *may* even be a body cavity search quota they need to fill. If there is such a thing, I’d hate to be the one crossing if the CQR (cavity quota report) happens to be due that day. Plus, with this group; Keith, the foulmouthed Sergeant in the US Air Force, Abi, who, he’s the first to admit, looks vaguely terroristic most days and usually gets questioned for it, and me, smelling, no, make the REEKING like one of the casks they make the Macallan in; the only one I wasn’t worried about getting across was Fiona, who is as pure as the driven snow (she is reading this too you know…)

Who gets hassled? Fiona of course. Since she’d never been to Canada before, we had to go into the immigrations office so they could decide if she was worthy of entry. They can be real strict about it too, when my friend Dan crossed into Canada on our way to Alaska a few years ago, the Immigration officer said, “Seems like you had some fun about twenty years ago. You have a DUI.” They were going to deny us entry because of A TWENTY YEAR OLD DUI!!! They finally let him in, but it took a while, and at one point they wanted Dan to purchase a $400 ‘pardon from the Queen.’

Unlike Dan, Fiona is only pure as the driven snow because she had her lengthy and heinous criminal record purged from the system long ago. Ha Ha! Take THAT, Canada! Trust me, ‘Pure As Driven Snow’ status cost more than the $400 the Queen wanted!

Canada was exactly the same as the US, except the mile per hour signs were now Kilo-mile per hour, which is different. I forgot this at first, and congratulated the Canadian government for allowing people to drive at 110 MPH.

Following our loosely defined itinerary, we debated where to go, that night. The Tidal Bore of St John was a hard sell to the group, mostly because of the name. If it was called the Tidal Thrill, it might have had a better shot. After some discussion, and some rejection, we decided, using the most scientific method available (covering my eyes and pointing at the map) on Prince Edward Island. The Canadian highways were exactly the same as the American ones, except there were more trees, fewer billboards, and it seems that Canadians have a strange tendency to not shoot their highway signs full of holes.

How sad for the Canadians.

My arch nemesis, Mother Nature, had a surprise of her own in store for us. The temperature, conveniently measured in a Canadian code called Celsius, started dropping. In less than an hour it went from a balmy 75 degrees Fahrenheit to about 10 degrees Celsius. (For all you scientists out there, the formula to convert temperatures is Tf = (9/5)*Tc+32; where Tc = temperature in degrees Celsius, and Tf = temperature in degrees Fahrenheit – me, I’m an audio guy that works for the WWE, that stuff is way above my pay grade. All I know is it was warm, but got really cold really fast.)

We pulled into a gas station to fill up and gear up for the changing conditions.

Canadian gas stations are exactly like American gas stations, except the price for gas is MUCH lower, or so I thought. Most pumps read 1.40 for the cheap stuff (which Rain Cloud Follows favors, though not by choice). Canada is the land of the plenty! It took me a while to grasp that the price was PER LITER, and there are A LOT of liters in a gallon. (Scientists, the formula goes something like this: U.S. gallons x 3.785 = liters) which means we were actually paying a PILE OF CASH for fuel. (Formula for translating cost in Canada is: Price in Canada = Price in America squared)

Fully geared up, the Expedition plunged deeper into the forbidding wilderness, aiming for the unsuspecting island owned by Prince Edward.

Five Kilo-hours later, we made it to the impressive Confederation Bridge, a 12.9 kilometer (you do the math) span that crosses the Northumberland Straight, linking New Brunswick to Prince Edward Island. Just before leaving New Brunswick for the shores of PEI, a goodbye sign warned again of dangerous moose, but this time of gigantic, mutant ones that roam only at night.

The harsh winds pushed our motorcycles around like horseflies in a hurricane, but somehow we managed to keep ourselves out of the water, and arrived to claim the first island of the Expedition for the Kingdom of Rhode Island.

The Prince was no fool, however, locating his ‘Welcome to…” sign behind a fence in the middle of a highway. I had no hope of claiming his island for my Kingdom of Rhode Island. Damn you Prince Edward!!

But I did have other hopes, namely finding a place to sleep that would rival our first night’s accommodations. Another dirt road led to another diamond in the rough, a two bedroom oceanfront cabin for the unbelievably low price of $85 a night. The owner hadn’t even finished telling me the price before I accepted it with a huge grin. “Darn, I guess I should’ve said $100.”

I was thinking more like $200, but a deal is a deal, and, as Mom always said, “A dumbass is always to be taken advantage of!”

We did our traditional ‘Best Day Ever’ toast – albeit with cheaper whisky bought in Canada. Day Three flowed to an end as we watched the sun set on the Confederation Bridge, and smoked fine cigars by the fire as the ocean lulled us to a state of complete relaxation.

So far, it really was the Best Day Ever, but even better was ahead.

The next installment of the Great Unsponsored Nova Scotia Expedition can be found here.

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