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Canadian East Coast - 3 weeks and +10,000km!


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Wagoneer

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#1
Last summer we did the West Coast, so naturally we did the East Coast this summer! Over 10,000km covered (not including ferries). We hit all of the classic stops as well as a few I was told about by locals. I wasn't expecting this trip to even come close to the West Coast (lets be honest, the west coast has the rockies), but I was so very wrong!

Our campsite just outside Halifax. Nothing special here, this was just our base camp while we unpacked my brother who was moving out to Halifax for a year. Moving my brother was the excuse for this trip. My poor little trailer and SX4 were packed to the brim with not only our camping gear, but all of my brother's belongings as well. New Brunswick has some of the steepest grade highways in Canada (who knew?) and boy did Suzie get a workout. We're talking 3rd and 4th gear foot to the floor the entire way there just to keep up 100km/h. Little trooper didn't even complain once. Even after some 3rd gear 5,000rpm WOT climbs that were a good minute at a time. I guess NB never got the memo that you build highways in the valleys to avoid drastic elevation changes. They just literally drew straight line over top of mountains and built a road.

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We explored all around Halifax the first week, met some friends we haven't seen in a while who moved out there a year ago. Good times, good food, and good company! This is Duncan's Cove, one of many hikes we did along the coast line. This is also the hike I popped the question to my fiance. And as you may have guessed since I said fiance, she did say yes. Like 50 times over again. For anyone who's visiting halifax, do yourself a favour and skip the famous Peggy's Cove. It's WAY too touristy and I was very unimpressed with it. Duncan's cove (literally the next cove over) was probably one of the most impressive hikes I've ever been on. We saw a total of 6 other hikers on the 4hr hike. Probably because it's so difficult, but it was completely worth it.

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After that my parents joined us and we took the bridge out to P.E.I. and did the tourist thing for a couple days. We went to see Anne (with an "E" - for all of you that have read the book) of Green Gables and then went to see the play afterwards. My parents went to see the house that the story was based on before it was turned into a national historic site. Back then it was literally just a house you walked out and could explore the property. Now it's basically a theme park. Kind of disappointing, but also good to get some tourists out to P.E.I. I guess. Going to see the house and seeing the play was my mother's only request on the trip, so we had to oblige. The red soil is also amazing to see. And the entire northern eroding shoreline is amazing to see. We biked almost the house thing, even though we brought along entirely the wrong kind of bikes for road biking.

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Then we took the evening ferry off of P.E.I. to caribou, NS. There we got a hotel and woke up super early to start the Cabot Trail while the sun was coming up. This road is just stupid gorgeous. I can sit here and explain how beautiful it is all night long, but you really have to see it for yourself. All of the panoramic photos I took of the scenery doesn't even do it justice.

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That's just a few of the hundreds of photos we took. I've never been on a road with so many "scenic outlook" pull off areas. Even the Icefields Parkway from Jasper to Banff doesn't have half as many.

After we said our goodbyes to my brother who had to return to halifax and start work, we got on the overnight ferry to Newfoundland! To be Continued... same bat time, same bat channel.

Wagoneer

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#2
We arrived in Newfoundland at 7am and drove off the boat into the classic Newfoundland fog.

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So foggy, in fact, that you couldn't even read street signs until you were basically underneath them. Luckily, there was the all holy beacon shining brightly through the fog - a Tim Horton's sign. Luckily, the fog burns off every morning and it was perfectly clear by the time we were fully caffeinated.

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Newfoundland is a massive island, so we only had time to explore the West Coast. I was told by many locals, that the West Coast is the only place worth visiting, lol. And boy were they right. Even as a Canadian, I had no idea how beautiful Newfoundland was. The highway along the coast was every bit as beautiful as the Cabot Trail. It's sort of a mix of Northern Ontario and the Rockies without the snow capped peaks. We split ways with my parents again while they stayed in a fancy shmancy hotel in Cornerbrook, we went to the beautiful Gros Morne national park. We tried to do all the hikes we could, but sadly we couldn't fit in all they had to offer in the 3 days we were there. But the hikes we completed were some of the best we ever did. In Newfoundland, when you hike 4hrs from away from a road, you are literally 4hrs away from any man made object. It was beautifully quiet on these hikes. We saw moose, foxes, owls, snakes, and even a couple mice scurrying along the path in front of you.

And then we did my personal highlight of the trip. The Western Brooke Pond boat tour of the Fjords. If anyone has seen any of the Jurassic Park's, it's pretty much the closest you'll ever get to a personal tour of Isla Nublar. I had no idea we had these kinds of geological structures in Canada. Once again, pictures don't do it justice. At one point we were 6ft away from a rock cliff going straight into the water and we were over 385ft of water. Waterfalls coming coming over the cliffs around every turn. I can't oversell this enough. It's a 3hr hike from the road just to get to the boat. They had to bring in the boat by helicopter piece by piece and build it right there because it's surrounded by protected swap land that motor vehicles are not allowed to drive on. One foot step takes almost a decade to repair itself. Getting there and crossing this strange terrain by boardwalk was it's own highlight. I have no idea why Peggy's Cove is the poster child for the East Coast - it should be this place.

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But alas, we had to move on a head north to St. Anthony's. St. Anthony's is famous for being the only proven North American viking settlement. I've always loved the history of vikings so this was definitely a stop I wanted to make. We stayed halfway there in a B&B (like I said, Newfoundland is way bigger than you think), run by ONE single man and it wasn't the newest or best hotel I've stayed in, but it was the cleanest, warmest, most inviting place ever. Newfoundlanders really are the nicest people in the world. He set out a spread for us in the morning that had so many choices I didn't even know where to start. We felt bad for how little we paid for our rooms so we tried to give him a tip and he would not accept it no matter what we did. So instead, we set up a tripadvisor page for him and all gave him 5 star reviews hoping he'd get more business. He was very grateful.

Getting to St. Anthony was no easy task. The roads... err... blotches of pavement here and there, whatever you want to call them... were terrible. So bad, that I asked if I could leave my trailer at the B&B and pick it up on our way back, and of course he said no problem. Not only were the roads terrible, sometimes there were no roads at all! I'm not sure if Newfoundland is just terrible at updating their road maps, of if there's just so little tourism in those areas that they just don't bother, because our GPS on multiple occasions lead us into gravel quarries. And since we were in such a remote part of Newfoundland, these quarries are completely unmarked with no gates or signs of any kind. Sometimes they lead us back to a highway, sometimes they didn't and we had to back track. At one particular time we almost got back to the highway. And by almost we were literally 20 yards away from the highway we wanted but we couldn't get to it. I guess the works were sick of traffic getting lost and using it as a short cut back to the highway because they had blocked the road with a giant pile of... you guessed it... gravel. The locals clearly still climbed up and over it with dirt bikes, quads and side by sides because there were tracks worn into it, but it was no easy feat for a vehicle. So naturally, we had to try and get over it.

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Long story short, we were not successful. I was the only one to try since my parents in their GV wanted to see if I could get over it with the trailer before they tried. First time I got up and got stuck with the car high-centered. Thank god for skid plates and a locking center diff. I was able to back it up and get back down. So I tried it at more of angle. This time the SX4 got up and over no problem, but I popped my trailer hitch from the ball from the extreme angle. Boy was that fun to get connected again. We tried it again, but there was no way of doing it without popping the trailer off. The severe breakover angle was way too much for just a regular ball and coupler. Clearly, a 3 axis coupler is in the near future for this trailer. So, defeated and sweaty, we had no choice but to back track. My brother has video of our attempts, I'll see if I can grab it off of him. I'm sure it'll be pretty entertaining for you guys to watch.

Along the way somewhere in one of the many fishing towns we stopped at a very local restaurant. Even though it was incredibly clear this restaurant usually catered to the local fishermen the lady was extremely friendly and chatted about the local fishing and was even nice enough to share her chowder recipe with us. With all honesty, it was the bed fish and chips I've ever had. I don't think it will be beat any time soon either. This is why Newfoundland is so great. The locals are great.

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St. Anthony's was worth the drive. We arrived just as 3 giant icebergs were floating by. I guess that's why they call it "iceberg alley". It's also incredible watching the fog roll in every evening. One minute you can see miles out into the sea, the next minute you can't even see the water anymore. Pretty amazing to witness just the speed it goes from 100% visibility to 0%. I totally understand why sailers were terrified of making that journey around the point of St. Anthony's back in the day and why so many ran ashore. The fog horns are also pretty awesome to hear go off.

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Somewhere on the journey back home this happened.

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We did the Cabot Trail in the opposite direction on the way back home. Was a nice finish before we started the 20hr drive back to Southern Ontario. Which I did in all one go. I do not advise that, especially while towing a trailer.

Scott

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#3
Thanks for the trip report and all the great pictures. Funny on just snap a straight line and build the road. Sounds like no hiccups with the trailer?
Scott Chaney - Owner of Compact Camping Concepts
Home of the DIY Explorer Box and Dinoot trailers, also Tent Topped camping

Wagoneer

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#4
(08-16-2016, 05:28 AM) Scott Wrote: Thanks for the trip report and all the great pictures. Funny on just snap a straight line and build the road. Sounds like no hiccups with the trailer?

No issues at all. This trip was a serious test of the new suspension and frame strength and all the reinforcements held up perfectly. The bump stops were working overtime.

Sent from my SM-G930W8 using Tapatalk

Scott

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#5
Good to hear!
Scott Chaney - Owner of Compact Camping Concepts
Home of the DIY Explorer Box and Dinoot trailers, also Tent Topped camping

 
 
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