Oh Canada! - A review of our 2017 trip to Canada.

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Oh Canada! - A review of our 2017 trip to Canada.

Postby TheStuboy » September 8th, 2017, 12:34 am

From August 22nd to August 30th 2017, Melanie and I visited the great white north. This was our honeymoon, because we didn't want to vacation to Canada in June right after the wedding. What fun is Canada in the mid-summer? It would probably be the same weather as here, if not hotter and miserable. Well August was also a tad bit cheaper. Our itinerary was to take us from Nova Scotia to Prince Edward Island (PEI), most of this picked by Melanie. I had not ever thought about visiting the maritimes as they're known. Hey though, it's Canada and I've never been there, so why not go to PEI, NS, and New Brunswick (NB). Melanie also wanted to go to Newfoundland but we both researched ferry times and it's a ridiculous seven hour trip one way to get from Nova Scotia which will be referred to as NS from here on out, to Newfoundland.
The following is a day by day blowdown (insert massive fart sound) review of our trip.

August 22
4:30 AM - We're waiting at Minneapolis International Airport (MSP). We dropped off the Subaru at a place called Park N Ride which took us to the airport via shuttle. The driver was friendly and helped us with our luggage. When we got to the airport, we went through security with no problems. We notice a funny sign for a restaurant, Salty Tart. Melanie and I were in the process of watching Prison Break, a FOX TV show with muscular dorky guys breaking out of prison. Of them has a breathy voice, so Linc, you're being a salty tart!
We are flying on Air Canada. This is the first time I've flown on let alone heard of that airline. Our flight takes off at 6:30 AM. Air Canada has touch screens on their planes that allow you to watch free movies or listen to music. They also have what United has on some of the bigger planes, which is the ability to see where the plane is on a map, and how fast you're going etc. We right off the bat notice people speaking French. The flight attendant said everything twice... once in English, then again in French (it varied on each plane). The first plane was a smaller variety, two seats on either side. I got the window.
We flew over New Brighton and the Shoreview radio towers.We also flew over White Bear Lake before we ascended into the clouds. When we were approaching Toronto, we noticed how spread out the city was. There's like three or four downtowns we could see from the air. A lot of it looked like Minnesota, very tree-filled and green. I should note, for anyone reading this from Air Canada... my screen was broken. The cursor would not move. I could barely get it to the maps section. I couldn't watch a movie on the flight. I listened to the entire Shawshank Redemption soundtrack on my ipod on the way there and tried to sleep. I can't sleep on planes for the most part so that didn't work out well. The broken screen thing would appear again on a later flight you'll read about soon.

YYZ - the first time
We arrived in Toronto around 10 AM, about 45 minutes before we were supposed to take off for Halifax. When we were landing, we could see a thunderstorm in the distance, with scary lightning. This meant we had a temporary groundstop while the t-storm passed. We pulled into the gate and immediately noticed we were on the second floor. It took us down a long hallway, ending at customs. Getting into Canada was a breeze. They just scanned our passports and that was it. We were off to our next plane. This involved going downstairs and out onto a bus. It was pouring rain on the tarmac. The bus lead us around a turn and stopped and we got off (very stupid how short the ride was). We went up some stairs and were in a different concourse. We made our way to the next flight which the attendants got wrong. The gate was in a different spot. Melanie and I got something to eat at an establishment and everything was in Canadian dollars. We used our credit cards and had no problems. I mentioned earlier we had about a 45 minute layover. It seemed a hell of a lot shorter. As soon as I finished my sandwich they had started boarding our next flight to Halifax.
The next flight was shorter. I should note both flights were bumpy, but nowhere near as bad as the flight into Denver from Rock Springs during xmas last year. We arrived at Halifax around 1 pm. The entertainment system on this flight worked but it was too short to start a movie and I didn't have my headphones out. Halifax's airport is small It's about two Casper International Airports put together, or maybe a half of MSP. We waited for our bag to come and went to the place where you rent a car. We chose Avis but the airport actually had quite a few options. I am kind of wishing we had went with something like Budget but whatever. It's over and done with. We got a newer (probably 2016 year model) Dodge Journey SUV with a NAV system (for obvious reasons) and satellite radio. It was a nice car and had a massive fuel tank. I don't think I took a picture of it unfortunately. Anyway, everything in Canada is obviously not imperial units, so metric. You're talking litres for gas, not gallons. You're talking kilometers per hour not miles, which is a bit of a learning curve. I know the metric system is a lot more simple than imperial but the U.S. has to be different than everyone else in the world so...
Halflatch... er... Halifax/Lawrencetown/Cole Harbor
Anyway we drove from the airport to the bed and breakfast we were staying at and checked in. It was called 3 Moonlight Beach Suites and was actually about 20-30 minutes outside of Halifax to the east. I should also note that Canada does weird things with their airports, i.e. they're way the fuck outside of town. The nearest town was known as Lawrencetown, but it was spread out so basically it was just one big town from Halifax to about where we were staying. We passed Lawrencetown Provincial Beach park, and saw some windsurfers. It was low tide when we arrived so we could see the beach. Checking into the B&B was fairly simple. The lady that owns the place met us at the front door and told us to come around to the room. We walked up some steps and into the room. It was pretty cool. it had a nice soft bed and a little kitchenette with a fridge. She showed us a hot tub in the basement of the place and also a pool table. We walked down to the beach and took photos. We were getting hungry so we drove into Cole (flatch) Harbor, NS, which is to the west of Lawrencetown. Cole (flatch) Harbor basically blends into Dartmouth, and across the inlet from there is Halifax. It isn't as large a city as you'd think... maybe 1 million people or so. We found our first geocache in Canada just down form the B&B. Melanie actually saw it before I did. She would do this several times on this trip... find caches before I would.
We went to Walmart to get a swimsuit since we forgot ours. From there it was a quick drive to a restaurant that looked good... Jamieson's Irish House & Grill. I ordered Haddock Fish Tacos and Melanie had Seafood Chowder. I'm not kidding you, that was some of the best fish tacos I've ever eaten in my entire life. Melanie's chowder was also good. While we were there, a French guy and his English speaking wife sat next to us. The French guy asked us what we were having and commented on it in broken English. Right off the bat we began to notice something. People in Canada are fucking friendly as all get out. He mentioned something about me being a romantic guy, and lit our candle at our table since it had burned out. Nice fart smeller... I mean feller.
After dinner we found a couple of geocaches and returned to the hotel.

August 23 (the long day #1)
The next day we drove to the Halifax Citadel, having to pay a toll on the bridge that goes across the inlet (it's not a river, doh). The bridge takes you right into the heart of downtown Halifax which has some big buildings. The GPS leads us on a winding route up to the citadel and we found parking. Since it's Canada's 150th Birthday, we didn't have to pay to park nor to enter the Citadel. We got a little hanger thing for our car we would later lose somewhere. It was friggin windy up top but not a cold wind. It was warm and humid as all get out. This is the highest point in the region, so you can see most of the city from up there. The Halifax Citadel is like a fortress that's been there since I believe the 1700s. There have been four different incarnations of the fortress and it was in use all the way up to WWII. We took a photo by the front because I just had to get an earthcache at the citadel... cause that's why I was there :lol: Anyway we went inside and walked around for a bit taking in the sights. We noticed they had a team of guys doing a ceremonial soldier's practice. You know, that ten-hut stuff. We went into the gift shop and walked out the other side of the building to hear a guy play his bagpipes from atop the citadel. He finished and we walked around to the top. Part of the earthcache requirements meant we had to walk around the entire perimeter of the citadel and note the distance. We walked around and checked it out. By the time we got back where we were going we were stopped by some guards for a live cannon fire demonstration. I had no idea this was happening so I tried to walk through and a guard pulled me back into a crowd of people. Oops. The guys firing the cannon had to yell at a dude outside the grounds as he was in the way, before they could fire it. We left the Citadel after that and kept our car in the same spot since... free parking. We walked down by the town clock which has been going since the 1800s. We walked down into downtown Halifax from there and ended up at a terminal for the ferry to Dartmouth. They had a poster inside that showed animal cruelty and talked about pigs being slaughtered. Yay fun stuff. We saw the ferry come in and then walked along this floating dock called the Seabridge. It was kind of fun actually. We went to the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic after that. It's a museum about boating and such but also has a cool exhibit featuring real artifacts from the Titanic. Very interesting place and a lot of neat boat models. After that we walked up Prince Street and grabbed a quick virtual cache along the way. We decided to stop at a restaurant known as Baba Ghanouj Cafe, which I thought was Greek due to their menu but they could have been a middle-eastern type. I had lamb tacos and Melanie had grilled cheese. I couldn't finish the tacos but I wouldn't go back, the food wasn't that good.
Finding Ge-mo
After we finished lunch we walked back up the hill to the Citadel, stopping to get a quick traditional cache along the way. We drove back to the hotel to get Melanie's backpack because it had trackables in it. While we were in Canada one of my biggest goals (and call me weird, I don't care) was to find Canada's oldest Geocache, which is west of Halifax about 30 (imperial) miles. We plotted the GPS in the car to Chester, NS and started west from the hotel. It was raining from here on out. The speed limits in Canada being in KM/H means you have to use that part of the speedometer in your car. Thankfully this car had Km/H first with mph under it so it was easy to follow the speed. Plus, the GPS told us when we were going too fast. We made it to the site of Canada's oldest geocache in a little over an hour and a half. It's in a highway offramp that is heavily wooded. In the states you can't put geocaches near highways like this. This cache has been out there since June of 2000 I believe. It has a significant geo-trail to it complete with a sign that says Geocaching Lane. I found the cache as Melanie chose to guard the car since it was again a highway offramp. We found two trackables and dropped three (IIRC). Next we decided we weren't quite done yet so we inputed "Peggy's Cove" into the GPS and it lead us there. It was starting to get dark and the weather was lousy on the way there. The drive to Peggy's Cove from Chester was pretty. Very rustic but the roads were windy and you can't go the posted speed limit unless you want to fly off curves. I noticed Canada doesn't like shoulders on their roads for some reason. Peggy's Cove was cool but kind of underwhelming. It was smaller than I thought. It's one of the most photographed lighthouses in the world if you're unfamiliar with it. We walked up to the lighthouse on the path and as I was taking a picture of Melanie and the lighthouse, I was backing up and lost my footing. My foot fell into a puddle of water. This happened while some dudes were walking by. One of them said "Oh SHIT! Are you okay!". I said yeah, I'm fine. He then offered to take a picture of both of us. WTF Canadians! YOU'RE TOO FUCKING NICE!!!
Anyway we checked out the gift shop there and the restaurant but didn't eat. We found a geocache in a phone booth and I completed the earthcache while there. We headed back to Halifax in the rain, having to once again pay the toll to cross the bridge. We found a way to watch Prison Break on the TV at the hotel so we could stay current with our new favorite show.
August 24 (long day #2, the longest day)
Before we left to Canada I had put what is called a "pocket query" of geocaches onto my Garmin GPS. A pocket query is a whole swath of caches in one area and it's easy for the garmin to read this so you can cache offline, since we couldn't use our cell phone data while in Canada. I had problems loading all of the Canada PQ's onto the Garmin so I only loaded a few, intending to use Melanie's Chromebook to load the remaining ones later. Well I realized I may have forgotten the cord that allows the computer to plug into the Garmin. Shit. I couldn't cache any more after Halifax if that was the case. We went to a computer store and they didn't have it. We went to Walmart. They didn't have it. Staples in Dartmouth didn't have it either. Well I had a back up plan. C:geo, the app on my phone can load PQs so I was going to be stuck caching on my phone the rest of the trip. Damnit. Our plan for August 24th was to drive to New Brunswick, specifically the Bay of Fundy which has the world's highest tides. If we had time we wanted to stop at the Joggins Fossil Cliffs where Neil DeGrasse Tyson said "Come with Me" on Cosmos. Well Alma, New Brunswick where Fundy National Park is, is a four-hour drive from Halifax. So we endured four hours in the car, listening to both local radio stations and satellite radio. Satellite radio I guess for some is good but I wasn't all that impressed. It's very repetitive and the variety of songs is not that great. It has a lot of channels, but a lot of it is crap I would never listen to.
Anyway central NS is very pretty, rolling hills and small towns. It's also home to the $4.00 toll road and a lot of cops. People in Canada don't care though. 90% of the drivers we ran across were speeding. We were the ones going the speed limit. It must be that whole Canadians are fucking nice thing. The road we took is called the Trans-Canada Highway.
New Brunswick
We arrived in New Brunswick and stopped in the first town across the border, Sackville, to get something to eat. Sackville is a small village that was once home to Radio Canada International shortwave towers. They've been dismantled but the building is there and could be seen from the highway. We ate at a little cafe in downtown called "Bridge Street Cafe". I think I had a wrap and I don't remember what Melanie had. Anyway we left after that and headed north. We got to a city called Moncton, which is probably about the size of Cheyenne or a bit larger. It was very dirty. The road layout was lousy and we ran into rush hour traffic here. We took a road south that lead us past the Hopewell Rocks which is kind of where I wanted to go while here, but we decided to press on to Fundy National Park. We eventually made it and stopped to check out their welcome center. Inside we encountered a sign promoting Geocaching in the park. Both of us wish the US would do this. I've never seen anything like that anywhere else. As luck would have it, I found out that my PQ of New Brunswick was loaded on my Garmin so we COULD gecocache while here. We picked out a few caches (a traditional, earth cache, and letterbox) and checked out the park. We ended our tour of the park at Point Wolfe Beach. There is a trail down to the beach that reminded me of the Lassen Peak hike in California 12 years ago with my brother and dad. It was overwhelming how pretty it was here. There was even a neat little waterfall along the trail. I had to help Melanie on the trail several times because she didn't grow up like me and her family didn't do much hiking. We got down to the beach and she started searching for neat rocks. It was low tide, and you can see how high the tide gets... at least 15-20 feet. It's amazing. This is seriously one of the coolest places I have ever set foot in my 33 years of existence.
We found a letterbox hidden nearby and found a easier trail back to the car. From there we stopped in Alma, NB to fill up the car and grab an ice cream before the long-ass drive back to the hotel in Nova Scotia. It was past 11 pm their local time when we got back.
August 25 - Lunenburg
The next day we got up kind of earlier, as we decided to go on a whale watching tour in Lunenburg, NS, which is about a two hour drive from Halifax. We made it to Lunenburg around 10:30-ish and explored the town. Lunenburg is a UNESCO World Heritage site, most of the town anyway, meaning you can't touch the exterior of the buildings. Most of the houses were built in the late 1700s, and their exteriors are the same today as they were three centuries ago. Parking was another story. Initially we parked at a meter but it had a two hour limit. We walked down to the dock and checked in for our whale-watching tour. Apparently we weren't on a main list because we had checked in online but they had space for us since...reasons. Anyway I noticed how long the tour was, three hours, so I panicked about the car. There was a small parking lot near the boat that was $4 for a whole day. They had one spot open. I instructed Melanie to hold the spot and I ran to get the car. I drove down there and noticed that the lot was full, according to the electronic gate, despite Melanie standing in the open spot. I parked the car and walked into the museum to tell them about this and the lady called maintenance. He came out and lifted the gate but as soon as he did, some asshole sped in to the spot that Melanie was holding. I was super pissed off because that was my spot. I started shouting obscenities with the window open in the car and two guys standing near the car probably heard it. In fact I know they heard it as they were giving me a puzzled look. Anyway I told the maintenance guy that the other car had just stolen my spot. He said there was another one open and opened the gate for me. I parked and we barely made it onto the boat in time for the tour.
Kill the whale... Salinah Eyon Eyasis.
We were taken out of Lunenburg Harbor on the boat and the "look at me I'm not the captain" guy started narrating where we were and such. He said that we should all keep our eyes peeled. We started seeing porpoises (or in other terms, very similar to dolphins). They were cool and all. We went farther out into the Atlantic and weren't seeing much for quite some time. Then we all saw this fin waving at us. Wave... wave... wave... it went. The "I'm Not The Captain" guy told us it was a sun fish. It was a big friggin fish, like the size of 10 Chevballs put together. Anyway the real I'm the captain backed the boat up so the Asian tourists could all get a telephoto shot of the fish and then we sped more southeast. For a looong time we didn't see anything. We were told that they're usually out this way but for some reason weren't out today. We then headed back to the harbor and started seeing more and more porpoises. They are pretty cool and get up right near the boat as if they're playing with you. We passed some lazy fat seals on a rock and the I'm the Captain guy scared them away. We eventually got back to the harbor and Melanie and I went to the nearby eatery.
The restaurant is right above a museum. I had a seafood wrap which was mouthwatering. It had crab, shrimp, and lobster in it. Melanie had a lobster roll which was also pretty good. We finished and then Melanie wanted to take a carriage ride.

We got on a carriage and this dude who said he worked in films in Nova Scotia was our driver. He said he had a cabin not too far away from Lunenburg. There were two people behind us on the carriage. He lead us through the streets of Lunenburg, describing houses and cracking jokes. At one point he stopped in front of a house and hosed down his horse, Ernie, but he called him Ernest as well. A couple of times the horse farted but it wasn't quite on the level of what happened in South Dakota with the farting horse heard round the wah, or was that at Yellowstone? My memory sucks. Anyway he wrapped up the tour and the horse pee'd a massive amount. We then talked to the owner of the carriage service and the topic drifted to health care. He said the Canadian system was (obviously) vastly superior to the one we have here in the states. I think it's because we started talking about how fucking nice Canadian people are. He said the people in the states were nice too. I disagree but that's just cause I live here. He said he doesn't understand why Americans can't get their shit together with healthcare and that Canadian healthcare is more run by the provinces than the government. He says the provinces each have different health care plans but the Canadian government as a whole accepts all of it. He said things like major surgeries are covered by the plan. He also said Americans perception of Canadian health care is wrong because the insurance companies here have brain washed us into thinking it's worse when it isn't. I'm pretty sure I'm paraphrasing but that's what I got from it. If you need more go see Michael Moore's "Sicko" and you'll hear exactly what we heard.
Lunenburg is perhaps my most favorite stop during the entire time we were in Canada. The town has that European look like you'd see in Germany or Holland. It's straight out of the 1700s, and I would definitely go there again. We found a couple geocaches and ran into a cacher from Florida while there. He was friendly but he couldn't find the geocache. Melanie ultimately found it. Hea.

August 26, leaving NS for PEI (long day #3).
Since we had learned our lesson about how long it takes to get around Canada, we said goodbye to NS a little earlier and headed north to Prince Edward Island. I intentionally woke myself up earlier (imagine that) so I could hike about 0.4 miles to the west along the beach to find a geocache in a park. I made the hike, noting how much garbage was on the beach. Come on! We as a species are so fucking wasteful. It was sad seeing all of it. The cache was about 100 feet up the side of a hill (like a 35-45 degree angle), and I had to scramble up to it. It was a random fire hydrant sitting there that had to be opened a special way. I eventually got it opened, signed in, and replaced it. I bushwhacked through a small forest to another cache on the other side of the hill and walked back down to the hotel. We stopped at McDonalds for breakfast on the way out of town and we noted another interesting Canadian perk. You can order from kiosks at that McDonalds, you don't have to go up to the counter. This McDonalds apparently employed several folks with disabilities and I give them props for doing so. They're deserving of a job too ya know. Anyway we headed north and arrived at the Confederation Bridge that connects mainland Canada to Prince Edward Island. It's a nearly 10 mile long bridge over a straight (which is apparently in no way shape or form, salt water aside, the Atlantic Ocean). Anyway, it was crummy weather here too, raining, when we got into PEI. It wasn't quite what I was expecting, but was still pretty. It took us another half an hour or so to get to our hotel in Cornball... I mean Cornwall, PEI.
We were kind of confused about our hotel since Melanie had booked us at a Super 8 but the address lead us to a Quality (flatch) Inn. We went inside and asked about it and the guy behind the counter said they had just changed names two weeks ago. That makes sense. He told us about an art festival going on throughout downtown Charlottetown that night for one night only. He said it was called "Art in the Open" and we should check it out. We checked into our room, which had a jetted tub and a neat walk-in shower thingy. We then went to get something to eat and the car GPS kept leading us places where there weren't any restaurants. It was kind of frustrating, not going to lie. We spotted this place called Smitty's which, the American equivalent is Denny's or Perkins. I had some kind of sandwich here that I couldn't finish but saved for later. We returned to the hotel, I took a nap, and we started thinking about what were going to do that evening. We decided to check on this Art in the Open thing.
(F)Art in the open
We drove down to Victoria Park which is at the southern end of Charlottetown. It's a pretty big sized city park. There were a lot of people there for the art festival. We took a couple of pictures and walked over to an overlook platform. I found a geocache under the platform and we walked to the ice cream stand to get some ice cream. One of the workers in there, a younger female, could not for the love of god take her eyes off of me. Hey maybe I'm not as ugly as I think I am, or I had a booger on my shirt or something. We ate our ice cream and checked out some of the other exhibits they had including a telephone where you could talk to a guy and he would give you advice. He said my life had no meaning and I had no purpose. He told Melanie that he was sorry she was married because I told him I was married. We laughed about it. Not to be taken seriously at all. We saw the rest of the exhibits and talked to this lady doing a podcast. She was asking for confessions (the podcast I think is called Coffee Shop Confessionals https://www.facebook.com/CSconfessional or something). We waited for what seemed like forever for her to get more release forms and Melanie and I did a confession. During mine, a stupid person kept staring at me through some glass so I screwed up. They allowed me to do it again.
We walked around downtown Charlottetown after that at night, and it was very cool. We saw an old church from the 1800s that looked haunted, and some neat older buildings. We then drove back to the hotel after that. We watched Prison Break on Melanie's Chromebook here since the hotel's cable was slim pickings.
August 27 - Aaaaannne of Green Gables
The next day we slept in a little bit because in all reality, Prince Edward Island isn't that big. You can get from one end to the other in under two hours. You can get to most touristy places from Charlottetown in half that. Melanie wanted to go to Anne of Green Gables since it takes place in PEI. I didn't and still know very little about this but Melanie has read at least one of the books. It's a 45 minute drive to the A of GG sites. We first stopped at the birthplace of the author, LM Montgomery. It's a house, but they offer tours inside. You can see where she was born and how she lived. I liked their stove. Anyway from there, another 15 minute drive and we were at the farm where the book took place. It had a barn and a couple of other buildings plus a gift shop. We checked out the whole grounds and got a 10 minute horse ride. We also took a walk through the whispering woods. Shh, I've got wood.
After leaving that site we stopped at a nearby red sand beach near Park Corner. It was neat. There was a lady on horseback riding through the surf here. We grabbed some sand for our jar (I forgot to tell you about the Nova Scotia sand we got, oops, well now you know). We left there and went to another beach down the road to grab (yup) an Earthcache and a virtual cache after I failed to find a multi-cache. Doh. Anyway we went into Cavendish and stopped at a tourist trap Avonlea village. They have a lot of A of GG stuff and an old church that was moved from down the road. We ate at this "Cows" place that had grilled cheese and really good raspberry drinks.
After that we drove back to the hotel.

August 28 - Caching and Brackley Beach
Since PEI is home to the Confederation Trail, which has 1,600+ geocaches, Melanie gave me a day to find at least some of those. This was that day. A short 5 minute drive from our hotel and we were at the trail. We ended up finding 7 of them, all that we looked for. There were a lot of mosquitoes back where the caches were and a couple of them were either rated incorrectly or stupid placements. We finished there and drove up to Brackley Beach, and PEI National Park. We changed into our swimming suits and spent a couple hours at the beach. I would consider this the Atlantic but don't tell people on PEI that, they'll say it's not, that its the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Well it's salt water and connected to the Atlantic so bite me :lol:. The water wasn't terribly warm but it wasn't cold either. It was warm enough that one could easily get used to it. I would say compared to Silver Lake in Wisconsin, it was maybe 5-10 degrees cooler.
Anyway we left there and went to an eatery that we passed on the way to A of GG the day before. I had fish and chips because I had a craving for it, and Melanie had a scallop burger. The fish and chips were underwhelming but the bite I took from Melanie's burger made me wish I had ordered that instead. After that we returned back to the hotel. I went swimming in the hotel's pool which was cold too but had a little water slide.
August 29 - Singing Sands

As I mentioned, we had jars for sand. Well half of the jar for PEI was already full of red sand but they also have white sand beaches. One of those is known as Singing sand. Wtf is Singing sand? It's sand that makes a high pitched noise when you walk on it. Scientists don't exactly know why but they think it has something to do with the quartz rock in the sand. Singing Sands beach is a little over an hour's drive from Charlottetown, on the southeast side of the island. We headed out that way around 10 am. Singing sands is also in Basin Head Provincial Park. When we got there we noticed that there were quite a few people parked nearby. We walked past the main building and down to the beach, thinking the changing rooms were nearby. They weren't. You had to walk all the way back uphill to the main building to get to the changing room. Eventually we put our suits on and walked back down to the beach. The water here was about the same temperature as the beach from the day prior, if not a tad bit warmer. It was advertised as having the warmest water on the island. Here, you're still technically not swimming in the Atlantic. It's the Northumberland Straight. Again, the water was salty and it's connected to the Atlantic so... That's one thing you can't escape if you decided to swim in the ocean. You'll come up from underwater and notice how salty your lips are. Duh. Saltwater. Anyway, it's also harder to hold your breath in the ocean. I think it had something to do with the temperature of the water too.
Anyway I jumped off a 15 foot drop and Melanie caught it on video and then we left back for Charlottetown. On the way back we stopped at an average restaurant in Charlottetown and ate a late lunch. We then went to find the final for a puzzle cache I had solved the day before, and then Prince Edward Island's oldest geocache "Charlottetown Memories". It was in a wooded area that required some bushwhacking. Melanie didn't like it but I didn't mind. The cache had seen better days and smelled like it had been there 16 years (it has btw).
We then stopped at a trackable hotel where I dropped off my most prized TB "Targe", https://www.geocaching.com/track/details.aspx?id=7225705 after a nearly tear-filled goodbye. We then struggled to find a cache on the other side of the area from the TB hotel. Melanie ended up finding it for me. Doh!
We went back to the hotel and I did an FM band-scan with my radio later that night. You can hear at least one Halifax station up here, and A LOT of New Brunswick stuff.

August 30, Bye Bye PEI and NS, YYZ and Canada

Leaving PEI - We got up relatively early, ate breakfast at the hotel, and made the four hour drive to Halifax International Airport. I had bad stomach issues so we stopped a couple of times along the way, and I had to pee a lot. Stupid tiny bladder.
Anyway we got to the airport in Halifax and I filled up the car. When I went inside to pay for gas, I was probably a good 3 feet away from the guy in front of me at the counter. When he was leaving he told me "Getting a little too close there bub". Well fuck you too, I was not. Where the fuck did that come from? Dude had issues, jackoff. Anyway we dropped of the car (easier than I thought it would be), and went into the airport. We were confused because there were signs with US flags on them but apparently we were on a domestic flight which was a whole other part of the airport. We checked in, checked our bags, and went to security. A security officer scolded us for not removing our laptop and camera bag out of the suitcase before we went through the checkpoint. You don't have to take off your shoes to get on a plane in Canada.
Anyway since the airport is small we found our gate pretty fast and waited...and waited....and waited. Our flight arrived late from Hethrow (London) and the passengers I guess had bad turtle so they took forever to de-plane (deplane boss, deplane). Anyway we eventually got on and the flight from Halifax to Toronto was uneventful. This was a bigger plane and was also a full flight. It had a full-on 120 volt power plug to the right of the screen in front of me. These didn't work. I tried it on Melanie's side (she was two seats away from me) and I tried it on another chair to my left since the flight wasn't 100% full like they said. Nothing worked. We were in the very last row. My screen worked but the outlets didn't. Fix this shit Air Canada. Ridiculous we pay for broken shit.

YYZ (again)
Arriving in Toronto, we were able to easily find our way to the international concourse that would take us to the states........ then we hit customs. First you go to to a kiosk and scan your passport. The kiosk takes a terrible photo of you that prints out. You bring that to security and they check it, and your baggage... again. You do have to take your shoes off to go into the U.S. btw. Then you go through another line where you have to scan your boarding pass... again. Then you go into this room where you have to see your initials come up on a screen. Then and only then can you go down a long ass hallway to yet another line where you wait for a customs guy to greet you. He asks you basic questions and stamps your dorky photo (but not your passport), and you're on your way. I understand about being safe but the number of steps seems a bit much. Anyway we walked to our gate and waited. Since we were both hungry we walked to the nearby Wahlburgers restaurant. This owned by the Wahlbergs, you know Mark Wahlberg, Donnie, Paul, and half a dozen other Wahlbergs. The food was ok, nothing terribly exciting.
We were then able to swiftly get on the plane to Minneapolis because there weren't many people going apparently. This time, the USB outlet on the screen was broken.... COME ON! Two planes in a row with broken shit. I was able to use the one on the seat directly behind me because it was empty. I also got permission from the dude behind me as well before charging my phone. I watched Kong: Skull Island on the flight from Toronto to Minneapolis. It was an okay film, better than Peter Jackson's Kong. Oh yeah and a little over halfway through the flight, an older lady was coming back from the bathroom at the rear of the plane and totally passed out in the aisle. We heard a "bing" and the flight attendants asked if there was a doctor on board. Apparently she had fainted. The flight attendant and a nurse plus a guy I think was a doctor all tended to her. She was able to get back to her chair but as we were deplaning, a team of medics got on board and went to see if she was okay.

MSP - We arrived at MSP several hours earlier than we originally were supposed to since they bumped up the flight from Halifax to Toronto a couple of hours. We got our bags and took a shuttle back to the Subaru at the Park n Ride. I asked Melanie to rank each province in order of best to worst and she said Nova Scotia, PEI, and New Brunswick. I agree with this.

Overall it was a fun trip. I really enjoyed Nova Scotia and some of PEI. New Brunswick I could have done without. It wasn't that it wasn't beautiful (Fundy was awesome) it was just a long ass drive and we left later than we should to get up there. Also Moncton was dirty and the people in NB didn't seem as friendly as NS or PEI. We didn't really encounter that many people in NB though. As you've read, the people in Canada seem to be overwhelmingly friendly, aside from two people that were kinda rude - the lady on Twitter and that dumbass at the gas station.

Getting around Canada wasn't hard. There are a lot of people who speak French but you'll probably never have to learn it unless that's something you're into.
Canada is a bit on the expensive side. Filling up for gas is done in liters not gallons. Gas may look cheaper ($1.04 per liter was the cheapest I saw) but remember you're not paying for gallons. Food is about the same as the states, but the grocery store we went to was a bit on the high side. Expect to pay more for seafood there, even though most of it is locally sourced. Expect higher prices on menus in general. It's Canadian dollars. The food is great there depending on your taste.
Their money looks cool, and has a transparent section. Dollars are called "Loonies". Two dollar coins, which are common, are called "Toonies". Canadians don't use pennies. They round most stuff up. Canadians are incredibly friendly people. Nearly everyone we encountered was helpful, nice, and/or gave us recommendations, or all of the above.
The air is clean and there isn't a lot of garbage around! Canadians love their recycling and even composting. The McDonalds in Halifax had bins for recycling, compost (food waste), and plastics etc. It was neat to see. Even our B&B and hotel in PEI encouraged recycling. The airports were both pretty clean and not at all scary as far as finding how to get to your destination. We even had help at Halifax airport finding the check in place.
As of this post, a Canadian dollar is .83 cents for an American dollar. When were there in August it was closer to 86 cents.
Also, for geocachers, Canada should feel very welcome. While some of the caches weren't taken care of very well, most were in decent shape. I suspect this is exactly as it is here in the state. There are a buttload of caches to find though, especially on Prince Edward Island. National Parks even have geocaches, something the USNPS doesn't allow.

I would definitely go to Canada again. This was probably one of if not the best vacation I've ever been on, and well worth every penny.
Salty Tart!
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Mitch D. Umbass
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