Friday, September 4 & Saturday, September 5
Left the Halifax Airport Holiday Inn by 8-ish to head to East Gore for Roomba. Had received a note from Sue that she and Jim were still away, but that Jen was likely there.
Hooked up and shifted things we hadn’t needed during the bike tour from storage in Roomba back to car, and were ready to leave when we both wanted a pit stop. We used the supplied key to unlock, and Jen had been inside the whole time we were working. Sat for a moment with her to catch up and thank her and then we headed up the u-shaped drive to the road and began our 7 hour trek up to Sugarloaf Provincial Park, New Brunswick.
Stopped for a chicken/ham Cesar salad to carry with us for dinner, and got a couple of pre-packaged sandwiches and a bag of chips, with a couple of bottles of water to eat for lunch in the market’s parking lot.
Not much to say about the route except, there being no “straight line” between East Gore and Sugar Loaf, New Brunswick, it was a long but pleasant drive. Arrived at about 6:30 PM and quickly set up camp and had a few hours to relax and eat before nightfall.
Spectacularly, there were NO BUGS at all! But we were evidently in the epicenter of a colony of those feisty red squirrels, and they gave us unrelenting chatter and reproach the entire time we were there, for two nights. So much so that I worried they might chew the solar connectors on Roomba’s roof (but they didn’t, thank goodness). Certainly, they ate their pine cones directly above our awning, plates, picnic table, etc. and dropped all the chaff disdainfully on our heads.
Sugarloaf, even though it’s a Provincial Park, it is primarily a ski resort. In the summers they have lots and lots of mountain biking activities: chair lift to the top and ride down; trails for all skill levels; a dirt bike course; and a lot more. It’s an excellent place to stay, and we had a great site — even though it was obviously a very popular place, and although we were between two big rigs, it didn’t feel crowded or busy. As the evening waned, we had a “wee dram” of the single malt Jack had bought to share with the bicycle pack a few days ago and that was sublime. So we cocooned and had a great night’s rest.
Next day we figured we’d go explore and see if we could pick up something to grill and some breakfast fixings, plus a wine store stop was definitely in order. Campbellton, the burgh the provincial park sits next to, was no great shakes. There was a nice bridge that led across a small bay, river, or inlet and suddenly we were in Quebec province. There was a nice park on the other side of the bridge and I took a photo or two, but not much to see beyond that, other than the mountains.
Still, I picked up a replacement pair of slippers for indoor Roomba use (you might remember the deluge en route up to the bike tour where my slippers were soaked and we declared them a total loss), and we did our grocery and wine shopping. As it happens, we were in a store that was offering a “tax free” day on all food supplies, so the place was mobbed.
Nevertheless, we got some goodies and decided on grilled hamburgers with Havarti cheese, replaced our pre-bike-tour mayo and mustard (this time the horse radish was included with the mayo rather than the mustard), and got some other staples — and for good measure, drove to a liquor store to stockpile wine for the next few days. We realized that we were shopping and getting ready to camp during the US and Canada celebration of the working stiff: Labor Day. We weren’t sure the liquor stores would be open on the Monday holiday.
It was an excellent evening. I spent a long time sketching on my iPad (since I could plug it in, since artwork really drains the battery), and Jack did some laundry and hung it out for a while. The red squirrels were quite bold and aggressive, running very close to where I sat and chittering nonstop at our intrusion. A couple of them were either playing or vying for victuals, and chased each other nearly right under my chair. I tried to run one or two off by throwing rocks at them, but they remained undeterred.
We had also picked up some firewood to burn, and started the burgers and the fire about the same time, around 6:30P. Accompanied by some store-bought potato salad, and with the burgers on ciabatta rolls, with a fresh tomato and some of the leftover salad from yesterday, it was a perfect meal. The Camembert we had left out to soften came out next and we watched the fire die with a sip or three of Port, and a cheese/cracker dessert. Perfect.