Thursday, July 31, 2008

Day 97 & 98: Ottawa, ON

Location: Ottawa, ON
Dates: Wed, July 27th & Thursday, July 28th
Total kms driven: 23,962 kms
Total $$$ spent on gas: $3,296.57

It's been a busy few days in Ottawa. Unloading the car, unpacking things, re-packing for Montreal, running errands, seeing friends.

Wednesday night, we celebrated Freyja's brief return from Vancouver. Two months ago, I was partying with her in Vancouver.

We made stops at The Brig, Rainbow Room and ended the night at Zaphod's.

Outside of Zaphod's, I scored some nice freebies off the side of the road. New wine glasses, a few vases, brand new silver ribbon and this $60 red retro candle holder!

Thursday was the start of intramural volleyball playoffs, and "Team Flail Strikes Back" won all our games! We celebrated with drinks (and steak for me) at Quinn's Ale House on bank.

Day 96: Fredericton to Ottawa

Location: Ottawa, ON
Date: Tues, July 26th

I decided to cancel trips to Campbellton, Miguasha World Heritage Site and Forillon National Park so that I could have a few days in Ottawa to unpack.

I set out at 11 am AST with the goal of beating my 9.5 hour record driving from Fredericton to Ottawa.

The drive was going well, until between Edmundston and Riviere-Du-Loup. I was behind an RV that was passing the transport truck shown below. For some reason this transport driver decided to change lanes, forcing the RV into oncoming traffic. I braked hard, and had to watch as oncoming traffic drove on their shoulder, narrowly avoiding a head-on collision. Everyone was fine, but couldn't help but wonder what the driver of this Cai Logistics transport truck was thinking.

I continued on, and I was making good time, until I blew a tire while driving. I felt two small wobbles, then two big wobbles, and then "bang", the tire blew near Montmagny, Quebec. It's the first time in my life a tire blew while I was driving!

Finally the spare tire I've been carting around for years, would come in handy. I've changed many tires, so I was well prepared... except the car was too low to the ground for me to get my jack under it. I tried everything, including driving over my wooden blocks. Unfortunately it didn't help.

So, I had to use my Rogers road side assistance. I was on hold for a half hour, and then it took a half hour for the service truck to get there. It took him 5 minutes, and then I was on the road again with 1.5 hours lost.

All told, I really lucked out.
- There were no cars around me when the tire blew.
- The rain held off the whole time, but started within a minute of me being back on the road.
- It happened about 100 metres before hitting a speed trap.
- I was 50 feet from a sign saying what km I was at on the highway.
- I found my hub cap.
- I noticed the front tire had lost about 15 lbs of air.

The sun was setting just as I made it through Montreal, so I snapped a photo.

Finally around 10 pm EST, I arrived safe & sound in Ottawa.

Day 95: Fredericton: Ode to the tour van

Location: Charters Settlement, NB
Date: Mon, July 28th

I spent the day transferring everything out of the tour van into my car for the drive back to Ottawa. The tour van covered the country twice over, travelling more than 22,000 kms in 90 days. So I'm dedicating this post to the tour van - a 97 Plymouth Voyageur!

The tour van was a great loaner from my parents... My Dad had to dig it out of the snow in April using an axe and snowblower. He had to replace 11 things on the van, and rumour has it (from my Mom), it broke down 3 days before I came to pick it up in April - the water pump needed replacing. But other than seized up calipers that needed fixing in Vancouver, it worked perfectly... I'm still counting my blessings!

By the time I arrived in Fredericton, the van looked like this. Notice the fan I used to cool me since it has no air conditioning!

So as an ode to the tour van, I want to recap some of the highs and lows, passengers, etc...

** Within 15 minutes of leaving Fredericton in late April, the "Service Engine Soon" light came on. It stayed on for the whole trip, except when the van bottomed out on a dirt road in central Winnipeg near the University. It came back on within an hour.

** Every second day I was re-packing the van, as I dug out cds, merch, food, etc. I would often disappear for 30-60 minutes at a time to do the re-org.

** The chaos of the van would sometimes claim victims like these two cans of Pimp Juice in the parking lot of Western University in London, ON.

************** PASSENGERS **************

I had numerous passengers on the trip, some of whom caught me eating steak or with my thumbs up.

Other times, I was caught sleeping while I let Stephanie drive for parts of the trip.

I had numerous other passengers including Lise and Rachelle shown below.

Some passengers dared to dive into the back in search of some item while I was driving.

Some passengers dared to ride in the back, including Dystrakted shown below. Others to experience the back include Kasia, Kristian, Stephanie and Chris.

************** SLEEPING **************

After unloading the van, you get a better view of the bed I slept on 7 times during the trek. The neighbour across the road was gutting a trailer, and left the bed thingy on the side of the road. My Dad grabbed it, stashing it in our shack in the backyard for awhile... It smelled quite musty, but certainly did the trick for sleep!

Here's how I looked sleeping in the parking lot at Lake Louise, where it was below zero.

I slept in the van 7 times including behind some white vans at the university in Prince George and outside the Old Orchard Inn in Kentville, NS.

************** WEATHER **************

The van ran into some crazy weather in Alberta. Calgary provided 3 intense hail storms. While the drive from Drumheller to Edmonton provided winds stronger than I've ever experienced. The wind would lift the windshield wiper up and hold it in the air.

************** SIDE VIEW MIRROR **************

The side view mirror came in handy for shooting several situations.

Rush hour in Toronto

The Digby ferry lineup

Construction in Nova Scotia.

Animals include an elk licking my mirror and a long horned sheep

************** LANDSCAPE and VENUES **************

The van saw the whole country.

By the mountains along Lake Superior

At Waterton Lakes National Park

In the Rockies in Jasper National Park

At the Royal Albert in Winnipeg

Day 94: Sydney to Moncton to Fredericton

Location: Charters Settlement, NB

After having a blast in Cape Breton, I was sad to say goodbye. I took the morning and afternoon to catch up on my blog, facebook, etc before leaving for my show in Moncton.

The day was bright and sunny, providing great views of Brad D'Or and the Canso Causeway.

The sun was shining bright as it was setting until some clouds rolled in... I snapped shots, but they didn't quite capture the view.

Finally I arrived in Moncton for my show at The Paramount Lounge, hosted by Adam Gould and DJ Matty J of Broken Coast Productions.

The night started with a small crowd of emcees there for freestyle open mic and break dancers. Hydrogen ended up winning the $50 freestyle prize.

The crowd got quite bigger and by the end of the night it was packed! I was pretty exhausted, but at 3 am, I opted to continue on to Fredericton for a night's sleep at my parents place.

Unfortunately just as I was leaving Moncton, one of my headlights burnt out, making for a somewhat dark drive at times... As soon as I got to Fredericton it started to downpour! Did I ever sleep well though!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Day 93: Black Brook & Bras D'Or

Location: Sydney Mines, NS
Date: Sat, July 26

After 4 hours sleep, I was on the road from Glace Bay back to Sydney Mines. Rachelle & Levi packed up the car with beach stuff (and Parker), we picked up Nicki and headed to Cape Breton Highlands National Park with a destination of Black Brook.

Parker was one happy dog to be along for the trip!

Rachelle entertained us by playing the trumpet and bagpipes! :)

Rachelle & Nicki swore they saw whales, so we stopped to look, but didn't see any. I'm getting disappointed, that I still haven't seen a whale on this trip. I heard one, but didn't see it at Cape Spear!

Finally we made it to Black Brook in Ingonish. The day turned out to be beautiful and perfect for the beach!! The cold water hit Levi hard... haha. And Parker had a blast fetching sticks and digging on command!

I was introduced to Boogie Boarding. At first I didn't think it looked much fun, but after trying it, I had a blast... probably the most fun I've had on the whole trip! It was hard to catch the perfect wave, but when you did, it took you all the way into shore. There were lots of tumbles, laughs and near collisions.

We left the beach, and stopped at a nice spot for supper of hot dogs and sausages. Levi got so excited, he dropped a brick! :)

Then it was back to Sydney Mines... We got to take the Englishtown ferry again, but the currents were pretty strong, so it was looking pretty crooked!

I needed a nap! After that it was some partying with Nicki and her friends Laura, Courtney & Lisa. There was some drinking, some shots of Pimp Juice, some newfie dancing, some karaoke and some railing dancing. Then we headed to the Mist Tavern in Bras D'Or. Rapper Bush was in the house!

Finally I got a cab back and was in bed by 5 am!

Day 92: Louisbourg & Glace Bay

Location: Louisbourg, NS & Glace Bay, NS
Date: Friday, July 25

I decided to take a drive to check out the Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site. It was a beautiful day, but I was surprised at how busy the place was. It took two shuttle buses to get to the site.

As it turns out, this weekend involved celebrations for the 250th anniversary of the fortress! So the place was packed. People from all over North America had driven there to set up camp, dressing up and living like the days of old.

This Indian was bent over like this for a long while. I decided to take a picture... It spawned the saying "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" :)

Special events were planned for the whole weekend - I was there to catch some dancing.

The Fortress is the largest reconstructed 18th-century French fortified town in North America. The government undertook this project in the sixties as a way to generate jobs for cape bretoners. It was originally erected by the French in 1719. Back then Louisbourg was a thriving seaport and capital of Ile Royale (Cape Breton Island). Just like pretty near every French fortification I've visited on my trek, it fell to the British twice, in 1745 and 1758.

There were tons of animals too: sheep, pigs, roosters, turkeys and ducks.

Two hours after I'd arrived, the fog had rolled in!

Rachelle, Levi & I headed out to Mike's Place for the Friday night wings & fries special. Then I was off to Glace Bay for the "Edge of the Earth" hip-hop show at the North Street Club!

It was all the same folks that played at the Thursday night show at Bunkers. They had a light system and a smoke machine curtesy of Mr. Gary Boudreau!

The turnout was a bit small, but everyone had a blast! Especially the CBLA girls!

Afterwards a huge pool party ensued at Mista Mack's place. It was a blast... I was asleep in my van by 5:30 am.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Day 91: Sydney Mines & Sydney

Location: Sydney, NS
Date: Thursday, July 24th

I awoke to the innocent looking face of Parker the Barker. Somehow he'd managed to get the door to my room open and snuck in. Eventually he took up more than half the bed...

He looked bashful and shy, but was using that look to leave me unsuspecting of his attack of licks. I caught Parker on camera though...

Needless to say, it got me up out of bed earlier than anticipated. I caught up on some Internet tasks, and decided to read some of my book. I napped off & on before a great chicken dinner curtesy of Rachelle. Phone calls, some tv and then it was time for the show.

I headed to Bunkers to perform for the first time since a 2003 tour with J-Bru, Spesh K and Sound & The Fury.

My Sydney Mines friends were in the house!!

DJ Method was holdin it down on the ones and twos:

First up was Hot Roc

Second up was Mista Mack

Then I hit the stage. Nicki and Rachelle were my photographers for the night. They captured my dog puppet assistant on 'Clap Your Hands'; some Super Dude action; and some caboose shaking.

The night wrapped up with some serious CBLA action curtesy of Sick Kookies (Matt Nokes and Lippity Lip) and Mischif.

Now it's 4 am and I'm ready for bed...

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Day 90: Port-Aux-Basques to North Sydney

Location: Sydney Mines, NS
Date: Wed, July 23rd

I slept okay in my van and was at the ferry terminal at 9:30 am.

I met up with my friend Rachelle for the ferry ride back. She had a cabin with bunks, a toilet, shower and nice window view!

While waiting to depart, we watched a diver working on the new docking terminal.

We had to navigate through a small opening in the port to get out. Somehow the Leif Ericson Ferry managed.

We made it through! This fishing boat drove by us displaying their catch, with lots of seagulls circling!

After some naps, some reading, some entertainment, some food, we saw land again. We docked successfully at North Sydney.

The night was low key, as we watched 'Bucket List'. What stuck with me most was the two questions Egyptians Gods ask you at the gate to Heaven.
1. "Is your life filled with joy?"
2. "Have you brought joy into the life of others?"

Day 89: Gros Morne to Port-Aux-Basques

Location: Port-Aux-Basques, NL
Date: Tues, July 22nd

I awoke to an amazing breakfast cooked up by my aunt & uncle. Nothing beats starting the day with a meal like this!

We took a drive to Norris Point. The drive provided a view of Gros Morne Mountain!

The lookout on the way, provided a view of Norris Point and the Tablelands. The Tablelands is a large area where part of the earth's underlying mantle — an ancient ocean — was pushed up to the surface when two tectonic plates collided (about 470 million years ago). The Tablelands is the most important geological feature in Gros Morne Park, and the main reason for the park being declared a World Heritage Site.

The Norris Point Waterfront provided a number of photo opportunities, and had lots of beached jellyfish!

I headed back to the campground and spent a couple hours updating my blog, and then departed for Port-Aux-Basques. It clouded over for the drive out of Gros Morne National Park, but I still took pictures.

I stopped at Corner Brook to check out the city. It will be host to the 2009 East Coast Music Awards. It doesn't have an airport, so I'm still not certain how I'll be getting there yet...

The weather was cloudy, but nice, until about 90 kms from Port-Aux-Basques. Then it got rainy and foggy.

It was dark when I arrived in Port-Aux-Basques. I took a drive through the downtown, and parked at the Visitor's Centre where I slept in my van.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Day 88: Windsor-GrandFalls to Rocky Harbour (Gros Morne), NL

Location: Rocky Harbour (Gros Morne), NL
Date: Mon, July 21st

I awoke at 9 am in Windsor - Grand Falls. I ate breakfast, made some tea and hit the road headed for Gros Morne National Park to meet up with my aunt & uncle.

In Deer Lake, I took a wrong turn, and just went with it. I like exploring at times. It worked out great as I chanced upon Deer Lake days, which a local told me hadn't been celebrated in nearly 10 years! It was great fun with fire trucks, moose burgers and karoake. I broke out some mean 'Busta Move'!

The most fun part was the dunk tank. I took a few tosses, but my aim is no where as good as it was back when I used to pitch!

Vernon Wells isn't known for his pitching ability, but managed to dunk the councillor!

I haven't had cell phone service since St. John's, much thanks to Rogers lack of coverage in Newfoundland. Fortunately I was still able to meet up with my Uncle Roy in Rocky Harbour, which is part of Gros Morne National Park. He'd invited me to stay a night in his trailer at Gros Morne RV Park. The park has wireless Internet, which was a great surprise!

They cooked me up a great supper that reminded me a lot of supper's growing up!

After supper we headed down to Rocky Harbour just shortly after sunset. I took lots of pictures and was captivated by the little fish jumping up out of the water. Unfortunately I couldn't capture any on my camera.

The terrain of Gros Morne reminds me a lot of the Rocky Mountains, except without all the snow. :)

Afterwards we enjoyed a nice campfire then headed to bed!

Day 87: St. John's to Grand Falls - Windsor

Location: Windsor - Grand Falls, NL
Date: Sunday, July 20th

Before leaving St. John's, I took another trip up to Signal Hill, where the sky was clear and the fog was a ways on out. I took more pics:

I headed west, but took a detour toward Dildo, NL.

Interestingly, Dildo resides on Broad Cove.

I learned about the founder of Dildo, Captain Dildo.

Dildo is a cute little town complete with an interpretive centre and local "Dildo Days".

There have been tons of dragonflies all over... while approaching Dildo, I managed to capture one on camera.

In Ottawa, I have a bunch of Newfie friends, so interesting Newfoundland town/village names get thrown around lots. "Come By Chance" is one of those towns, so I stopped for a picture!

I continued onward to Terra Nova National Park. I stopped at the Visitor Centre and enjoyed beautiful weather. I checked out their interpretive centre with touch water creature tank, and wandered the shoreline.

I continued driving on the highway. There wasn't much to see except lots of people fishing and a nice sunset!

I finally settled on Windsor - Grand Falls as my place to sleep. I parked my van behind the visitor centre and went to sleep.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Day 86: St. John's

Location: St. John's, NL

It was a rainy day, so I spent the day catching up on Internet stuff. It's been quite a few weeks since I had a day free with Internet access for catching up. There was a small break for fish & chips and some phone calls to friends, but other than that, all business.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Day 85: St. John's, NL

Location: St. John's, NL
Date: Fri, July 18th
Total kms driven: 20,560 kms
Total $$ spent on gas: $2,939.51

I got 5.5 hours sleep before getting up for some sight seeing with my parents. It was quite foggy, so we decided our first stop would be the Quidi Vidi Battery Provincial Historic Site. It was constructed by the French in 1762 to overlook the entrance to the village. No fighting ever occurred there. It was reconstructed to the 1812 period.

The Battery provided a nice view of the village.

Then we checked out the Mallard Cottage and Quidi Vidi Brewery.

We returned to Signal Hill for the 2nd time that day and it was still quite foggy.

It did clear long enough to get a nice shot of Cabot Tower and George's Pond.

Then we headed to Cape Spear National Historic Site - the most easterly point in all of North America!

It was foggy & rocky, and the loud fog horn was in full effect. We heard whales off the coast, but couldn't see them through the fog.

There were tons of irises along the walking trails.

We headed back to Signal Hill National Historic Site where the fog had finally lifted.

It provided a nice view of the St. John's Harbour.

Then I headed to The Dock Pub on George St for my gig.

I was on the bill with The Idlers. They're a great jam/reggae/ska band, who'd just returned from the Reggae festival in Montreal the previous weekend.

They had some great guests join them on stage for collaborations, including Neil Conway.

Day 84: Placentia to St. John's

Location: St. John's, Nfld
Date: Thurs, July 17

After a Scallop dinner for breakfast, I explored Placentia a bit.

Then I headed to Castle Hill National Historic Site. Castle Hill features the remains of French and English fortifications from the 17th and 18th centuries. Placentia (or Plaisance as the French called it) was a key fishing village fought over by the French and British from 1662 to 1713. As was the case with most battles, the British won the battle.

I then headed to St. John's. The terrain is unlike anything I've seen, although a bit similar to the drive between Thunder Bay and Manitoba. Lots of rocks, and small lakes.

Newfoundland is also home to some great village names. For example, Foxtrap and Conception Bay.

I started my visit with a trip to Quidi Vidi. Upon arrival at the Quidi Vidi lake, I was greeted with a flock of pigeons who followed me around like minions.

Fortunately this unsuspecting girl, who was feeding ducks distracted them away from me...

I continued on to Quidi Vidi village, for a step back in time.

Then I headed to Signal Hill National Historic Site, where I stopped at the Visitor Centre and thought it would be appropriate to spend a few hours on the Internet catching up.

Signal Hill was at the forefront of modern communications. In 1901 Guglielmo Marconi received the first transatlantic wireless signal at Signal Hill. In 1920 Cabot Tower was the site of the earliest wireless phone calls across the Atlantic.

It was a beautiful clear day and I regret not making it up to Signal Hill until 8 pm. I still had a decent view of Cabot Tower and the coast. If I'd been up there earlier, I might have seen whales.

Around 8:30 pm I arrived at my parents hotel, The Captain's Quarters, which local folks would later tell me is rumoured to be haunted.

My parents & I headed out to Ches's for some fish & chips. First timers get this fancy certificate!

After supper, I headed to CBTG's for my show that night.

Big shout outs to Neil Conway of The Discounts for hooking up a couple of shows! He opened up the night at CBTGs with a fun acoustic set!

I was the second act, and decided to take a picture of everyone with their thumbs up during the Super Dude Jorun remix!

The final act of the night was the rap-punk-metal band Local Tough.

Day 83: Ferry to Newfoundland

Location: Newfoundland Ferry (North Sydney to Argentia)
Date: Wed, July 16th

I was up at 6 am getting ready to catch the Joseph and Clara Smallwood ferry to Newfoundland. Normally the ferry takes 14-15 hours, but they had to do repairs on an engine, so the trip took 18 hours.

The departure provided a decent view of North Sydney, but after that it was all fog.

I slept quite a bit, watched 'In Pursuit of Happiness', and worked on some postcards.

Finally at 2:30 am, we arrived and I headed to the Harold Hotel in Placentia: The first of 4 nights I'm spending with my parents.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Day 82: Sydney Mines, NS

Location: Sydney Mines, NS
Date: Tues, July 15th

It was a beautiful day in Sydney Mines, NS. Sydney Mines is rich in coal and hospitality!

Rachelle & Levi were up early (8:30 am) cooking a huge breakfast. I got a special omellette, while they had eggs benedict.

Around noon, we were cleaned up and ready to go... but where... we decided on Indian Brook. To get there required some fancy driving by Cooper and taking the Englishtown ferry.

We stopped just after the Englishtown ferry in hopes of picking cohogs, but the tide was too high. Instead we played some improv frisbee :)

We made it to Indian Brook, at an unmarked backroad beach. I love it. It was rocky and the water was cold, but it was beautiful. Noel & mother Sonya were in the water the longest, although Levi's snorkling took a close 2nd. My favorite part was playing "hit the apple core with the rock".

After an hour, the clouds came in so we took off. After debating where to go, we decided on Cape Clear. Unfortunately we soon realized it was going to be 140 kms on a dirt road, which would put us back in Sydney Mines too late. Apparently Cape Clear overlooks the Margaree River.

So we treked back to Baddeck for a tour of its downtown.

We stopped for ice cream and fresh fudge for me. Cooper showed off his balancing while eating ice cream skills.

Then we headed to Sonya's for a refreshing dip in her pool. I was caught in the act of relaxing... something I've been practicing a bit on this trip. :)

It was the birthday of Sonya & Rachelle's Dad, and I was invited to the party. He requested Lick-a-Chick, so I fulfilled my goal of eating some. The party was fun and I met the whole Brown family!

Afterwards, Nikki had a party at her place. It included bacon-wrapped scallops, which I'd had for the first time in Alberta, made by my Newfoundland friend, Sheldon! She also had 10 pounds of Mussels, but they smelled fishy and everyone was nervous to eat 'em. I gobbled down four anyway.

I was in bed by 1 am, not looking forward to getting only 5 hours sleep before getting up to catch the ferry to Newfoundland.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Day 81: Halifax to Sydney Mines, NS

Location: Sydney Mines, NS
Date: Monday, July 14th

I was on the road from Halifax by 9 am. I briefly tried to find Revolution and Breakdown records stores, but without any luck. Do they still exist?

The drive was slow due to construction. One stop was about 45 minutes long...

Finally I made it to the Canso Causeway, which leads onto Cape Breton Island!

I stopped in Port Hawkesbury for some Seafood Chowder and snapped this pic of the Canso Causeway from their downtown.

I stopped for a nap at the Tim Hortons in Baddeck, right near where the transmission started to fail on my 93 Ford Escort Wagon back in 2003 while on tour with J-Bru, Spesh K and The Sound & The Fury.

Around 5 pm, I finally arrived in Sydney Mines. Rachelle, Levi & Nikki had a great dinner all prepared for me. Then the Cape Breton hospitality and cheer began. There's no messing around. In these parts it's half a bottle of wine per glass! :)

There were dog fights, in this case between Parker and Cooper.

There was spilled coffee, curtesy of Richard, which goes perfect with Rachelle's amazing chocolate chip cookies!

And since they heard I was a rapper, they assumed I could sing... not the case. Out came Sony Sing Star. I battled Nikki at 'Baby Got Back'... she distracted me with her "back" and I lost by a mere 10 points. We would later battle again, and I crushed her at 'Ice Ice Baby' :)

Genna Murphy, a celebrity NY blogger for the Cape Breton Post, was in the fray and destroyed everyone.

Later, 7-month old Noel awoke, wide-eyed at the sounds coming from the living room :)

And as a rule of thumb, if you pass out early at a Cape Breton party, you might end up with a soiled diaper on your head. :)

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Day 80: Halifax, NS

Location: Halifax, NS
Date: Sun, July 13, 2008

I was up at noon, but napped off & on in the Old Orchard parking lot until 2:30 pm. I made my way to Halifax to Dalhousie University to appear on CKDU

I had a good chat with RS Smooth, the host of 'Smooth Grooves'.

I spent the rest of the evening updating the tour blog and around 10 pm I decided to find a place to crash. Fortunately my old high school friend, Julian, accepted me with open arms!

Day 79: Liverpool to Wolfville

Location: Wolfville, NS
Date: Sat, July 12th

I was on the road by noon. A stop in the Bronx to pay proper respects to Hank Snow is always a necessity.

After driving about an hour on the scenic route to Bridgewater, I was overcome by the urge to turn off at the next beach I saw. I really lucked out, as Crescent Beach was absolutely amazing! I enjoyed two hours in the sun, picking shells, reading my book, wading in the nice ocean waves!

Hunger hit me, so I got an amazing plate of fish & chips from the Yum Yum Bus II.

The scenery was beautiful. 1000 Islands National Park has nothing on the Atlantic Ocean coastline.

I stopped in Lahave at the Fort Point historic site, and was surprised to learn that LaHave was the capital of New France from 1632 - 1636.

There were boats in Bridgewater.

I then headed straight for Kentville/Wolfville to the wedding of my good friends Erin & Jackson. I first met Erin when I performed at the university of New Brunswick during her frosh week in 2001. She dug my performance, and a friendship bloomed! We've had karoake in St. Catharines, Canada Day in Ottawa... and lots of fun times!

Jackson's grand mother gave one of the best speeches I've heard in awhile. Jackson & Erin also put together a dance montage for their first dance. By far the best first dance I've ever seen! I can't wait to see video footage!

I made friends with some folks at a table. I think their names were Clint, Shelly and Fane. Later in the night, we played spin the bottle. If it pointed at you, then you shook your groove thing in the middle of the circle! It was fun...

Then the after party began... There was an abundance of booze, guitar playing, tree climbing and glasses with lights on 'em. Fun times!

While folks slept in their cozy hotel rooms, I went to sleep quite comfortably in my van!

Day 78: Fredericton to Digby to Liverpool

Location: Liverpool, NS
Date: Friday, July 11th

I was up at 6 am en route to the 9 am ferry from Saint John to Digby. Mick D has talked about taking this ferry many times... I hadn't been on it since I was a young child, so there was some nostalgia.

The ferry is called the Princess of Acadia. The guide said it was the first clear day in two weeks. No fog meant I had a great view of the Saint John and Digby harbours.

I got a kick out of this dude's shirt: "I'm so broke I can't even pay attention".

I stopped off in Digby to eat some lunch on the downtown stretch. I was going to wait until later to get scallops, but disappointedly I didn't get any.

The next stop was Fort Anne National historic site located in Annapolis Royal. The french built this 7 pointed star shaped fort. It took them 7 years to build in 1600/1700, and as soon as they finished, the British came and seized it by starving them out. Before Halifax was the capital of Nova Scotia, the capital was Annapolis Royal. Giselle was a great tour guide!

The white flag was not a surrender flag, rather it was "The Flag Bastion" - the flag of the French Ministry of the Marine. Clearly a poor choice :)

I also learned about Pierre Dugua, Sieur De Monts. He was the man with the financial connections in France that made the North America efforts possible. Most people think of Champlain as the founder of Quebec, but he was actually a co-founder with Sieur De Monts. For the 400th Quebec Anniversary this year, they took a mold of this statue to give him his proper dues.

Next up was a stop at the Port Royal National Historic Site. This is a reconstruction of the habitat created in 1605 when the French first arrived on our continent. It was founded by Sieur de Monts.

I got sleepy, so I pulled off in Kejimkujik National Park to take a nap. The mosquitos were too bad to sleep outside, so I slept in my van. The Mersey river runs by the main info centre, so I took some pics. And you always gotta watch out for turtle crossings!

Then I scooted to Liverpool, NS for my show at The Mersey House. Liverpool is the Port of the Privateers!

I opened up for a great Halifax jam band called Magnus Haze. They played some Radiohead, and did a killer version of 'What Is Love'!

The owner and chef got decked out in Super Dude swag!

An after party ensued, and I had a blast! The best part about the venue is that they have a hotel & hostel in back, so you can sleep right there! I love it!

Day 77: Charters Settlement

Location: Charters Settlement, NB
Date: Thursday, July 10th.

I was feeling better on Thursday, so I chased the cats around the yard taking pictures. Also, in New Maryland, they have Bouncers for rent..

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Day 74 to 76 - Charters Settlement, NB

Location: Charters Settlement, NB
Dates: Mon, July 7th - Wed, July 9th
Total kms driven to date: 19,289
Total $$$ spent on Gas: $2,711.47

On Saturday, July 5th or Sunday, July 6th, I came down with a fever. It peaked at 103.3. It broke on Tuesday and by Wednesday I'd regained my appetite and energy. I've been sleeping a lot.

I had to cancel my Moncton show and the Charlottetown show. I am pretty disappointed because I was looking forward to catching up with folks in both cities.

Fortunately I was near my parents, so that's where I'm resting and reading a book 'Painted House' by John Grisham. I think maybe it was heat exhaustion, or just general exhaustion...

Other than being kept awake one night by a mosquito followed the firefly below, the rest has been much needed.

Day 73: Saint John to Moncton to Charters Settlement with a fever

Location: Charters Settlement, NB
Date: Sun, Jul 6th

I woke up at 4 am shivering uncontrollably. I found some towels and blankets, wrapped myself up, and took a Tylenol 3. This let me sleep until 7 am when I awoke with serious cramping/pain in my stomach... I had a fever of 102+.

Steph needed to get to Moncton for her flight back to Ottawa, so we agreed that she'd drive the van there. I talked to my parents and they agreed to drive to Moncton to drive my van back. Unfortunately I had to cancel my appearance at the Moncton show..

Other than devising that plan, I slept most of the time. I got to see Julia a bit though in between naps... but I kept my distance with my fever! She showed off her many poses! She's a cutie... but seemed a bit tired of pictures when we were there!

1. I know what that bright light means - pictures... no more!

2. I just love that lamp shade on the ceiling

3. Praying for no more pictures

4. I'll pretend I'm standing to make you stop taking pictures.

Steph successfully drove the van to Moncton in plenty of time for her flight. I mostly slept and enjoyed the effects of a couple Tylenol. My parents met us, and I slept pretty much for the next 24 hours.

Day 72: Fredericton to Saint John

Location: Saint John, NB
Date: Sat, July 5th.

The van was all packed and ready for the road again. I said goodbye to my parents, and left for the Crowne Plaza (Beaverbrook hotel). I was set to perform as part of the UNB Computer Science 40 year Alumni event.

It was another beautiful day, and I saw lots of familiar faces. It was great catching up with everyone! Thanks to Steph & Natalie for taking the performance pics!

It was my first time using my battery powered amp and microphone set up, which worked quite nicely.

I was impressed by the number of thumbs in the air during Super Dude!

As usual, I pulled out the Pimp Juice and got to shaking my caboose!

And of course there was some drinking of Canada Dry!

Even the University of New Brunswick's president, John McLaughlin, showed up for the show! My parents also showed up too!

Afterwards, Steph, Natalie & I headed to The Blue Door for a nice dinner before setting off to Saint John, where my google map failed me for the first time. I ended up in the middle of nowhere...

Finally I arrived at CFMH for my radio show apparence on Higga's 'Def Republic' show. Gorgeous Geordie (of the Foot Clan) was also in the house.

Afterwards, I headed to my friend Stacey's house to meet up with her and her 6-month old youngin Julia. Stacey was the first person on the tour to greet me with a banner and a gift bag!

I got to meet her dog Wonder (who she claims was named by a 10-year old), her cat Muffin (who she claims she named when she was 8-years old) and her other cat Smokie, who desperately tried for escape via Steph's suitcase! :)

Around 11 pm, we started making nachos, when suddenly I didn't feel very well.. I took a couple Ibuprofen and laid down for a half hour... then I started feeling better. We watched some tv and called it a night...

Day 71: Fredericton, NB

Location: Fredericton, NB
Date: Friday, July 4th

I slept in until noon, which was much needed. After food and some tasks, Steph and I drove into downtown Fredericton. We ran into AC and Matty of Chillin Room playin some frisbee in Officer's Square.

We stopped at City Hall for a picture with Freddy the Nude Dude. Then I tried to update my blog while Steph did some shopping.

We headed back to my parents for a steak supper. I'm still bitter I forgot to take leftovers with me when I left...

I re-packed the van, and headed off to the Capital for my show. I ran into lots of old friends, most of whom had no idea I was playing there that night... clearly my promo is hurting from all the days on the road :) It was a fun show. There were ladies sporting my stickers; dudes on stage shaking their cabooses; reunions with old Campbellton foggys Rob and Danny; and a visit from former partner in crime, Rory Borealis.

We checked out the soulful funky grooves of Dr. Defunkt for awhile.

We finished the night by hitting the dance floor in the upstairs Phoenix to the sounds of Chris Carson, and finally checking out Sweetwaters. Afterwards a kebob and fries were mandatory from George's.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Day 70: Fundy to Cape Enrage to Hopewell to Fredericton

Location: Fredericton, NB
Date: Thurs, July 3rd.

We left Fundy National Park and went for breakfast in a very foggy Alma where the tide was fully in. We proceeded toward Moncton with stops at Cape Enrage and Hopewell Rocks.

Cape Enrange is a lighthouse run by 21 students in the summer.

After exploring the lighthouse, we read the sign warning that if there was fog, that we shouldn't be there due to the 130 db fog horn, which can cause hearing damage :) Fortunately it didn't go off even though it was quite foggy, windy and cold!

Despite the warning of falling rocks, we risked the hike down to the "beach". It wasn't much of a beach with lots of big rocks.

Steph got excited to put her feet in the Atlantic Ocean... so excited that she slipped on the rock and slid on her bum into the water all the way up to her waist.

There were lots of snails on the rocks!

Then we headed off to Hopewell Rocks. They are rocks formed like flower pots by years of erosion. The tides are also some of the highest in the world - rising and falling by 8 to 14 meters every 11 hours or so. The rise and fall are caused by lunar gravity.

Steph was again quite excited to put her foot in the Atlantic Ocean. This time only her foot went in :)

We were running late for my radio show in Fredericton and I was tired, so Steph drove again. She caught me napping. So I returned the picture favour :)

I arrived 45 minutes late at CHSR, just as a violent downpour started. I got to catch up a bit with STV on his 'Strictly Hip-Hop' show.

When we got to Charters Settlement, Steph cooked up the last two hamburgers, and I used a couple slices of gluten free bread for a delicious late night snack. We made it half way through watching 'As Good as it Gets' before I had to call it a night.

Notice: I'm ill

Saturday, July 5th or Sunday, July 6th, I came down with a fever. It peaked at 103.3. It has broken, but I'm still not feeling well and sleeping a lot. I had to cancel my Moncton show and the Charlottetown show. I am pretty disappointed because I was looking forward to catching up with folks in both cities. I'm at my parents resting..

Friday, July 4, 2008

Day 69: Fredericton to Fundy National Park

Location: Fundy National Park, NB
Date: Wed, July 2nd

I spent the afternoon updating my blog using Fredericton's free "e-Zone" wireless Internet from a relaxing bench in Odell Park. It was nice, but where are the ducks and swans I remember!? I ran into Kristen Pottle, who was in town for her sister's wedding. You might remember her from my Shake Ya Caboose video!

Afterwards, Steph & I headed to the Superstore for some groceries and food. I ran into Matt McGuire of Chillin Room. I'm still disappointed I missed their performance on Canada Day! They're headed into the studio in a couple weeks, so watch out!

We enjoyed our meals - sushi for me, and "the best greek salad ever" for Steph, by the Saint John River.

After the meal, we left for Fundy National Park to meet up with my brother and his girlfriend at Point Wolfe Campground.

My Ottawa friend, Rowena, had lent me her tent, which I'd never put up before. It took some trial & error, but we finally got it worked out just before dark fell.

Afterward, we enjoyed a smokey campfire due to the wood being wet from the weekend of rain. Hot dogs, hamburgers and smores were in order.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Day 68: Fredericton, NB - CANADA DAY!

Location: Fredericton, NB
Date: Tues, July 1st - CANADA DAY

I treked downtown for Canada Day, where I was set to perform at 1 pm.

Saa Andrews opened up the event with his reggae / jamhall vibe. He was backed by the Celtic Dancers - an interesting combination, which I was definitely digging!

I invited my good Fredericton friends, First Words, to perform during my time slot. They have a new album out, which you should definitely check out! They consiste of Sean One, Above, DJ STV and Jorun.

I hit the stage shortly after 1 pm. It was nice & sunny, humid & warm. The crowd was starting to grow as more folks made it downtown. Another great thing about having Stephanie on the road, is that I have a photographer. She took some great pics! I made some new Super Dude fans! :)

My old Fredericton DJ, Loc Dog was in town. He's headed to Korea to teach shortly...

After the show, friends Martina & Kristian were around, so we hung out and headed to Officer's Square for free cake. Since I can't eat cake, I bought some of the amazing Spiral fries:

While waiting for the parade, we threw some darts and ate some Hot Lollies. Hot Lollies are cheesecake lollipops invented by high school friends of mine, Alicia & Rena. In the picture are Rena, her husband Shayne (one of my best friends from Elementary / Junior High days) and their dog Bounty.

The parade was okay. Highlights included the moose taking out the random photographer with his big hug. An inflatable pizza. "Team Eric" - a bunch of people with a real estate agent. The dragon. And free air guitars for everyone.

After the parade, we headed to Martina's for a dip in the pool, some pool volleyball and hot tub action. Her parents made an amazing dinner for us all, along with gluten free coconut macaroons made by Martina!

Martina's dad, Eldo, is an engineer at the University of New Brunswick. One of his first cars was a 66 Honda, so he's in the middle of restoring a couple.

We headed back downtown, where we caught performances from Age of Daze and George Street Blues Project.

My parents met up with us for the singing of the Canadian anthem.

Finally at 10:40 pm, the fireworks began.

Day 67: Quebec City to Fredericton

Location: Fredericton, NB
Date: Mon, June 30th.

On the road again, I was greeted by a nice note left by a patron. He was the one with his tires outside of the parking space... and I wasn't even that close. Maybe he was a big man or woman?

After a couple hours on the road, I decided we'd stop for breakfast at the next restaurant. Unfortunately the restaurant at "Hotel Relais" was a dive. The $8 breakfast didn't even come home fries and since I can't eat toast, we decided to leave. Fortunately the mall in Cabano had a nice little spot, with a great breakfast!

For the second day in a row, I enjoyed a nap while I gave up the wheel to Stephanie. Having someone help with driving makes a big difference! I woke up just as we approached Hartland, which is home to the longest covered bridge in the world!

Around 8 pm we made it to my parents place in Charters Settlement. We ate supper, unpacked and took some time to enjoy day 67.

Day 66: Quebec City, QC

Location: Quebec City, QC
Date: Sun, June 29th

We took our time leaving Ottawa. Breakfast at Carleton Tavern was nice. We arrived in Quebec City around 7 pm. The 400th anniversary of Quebec City made it hard to find a hotel at last minute for a decent price. We settled on L'Hotel Quebec, which had a nice pool.

We ventured downtown into Quebec, but unfortunately there was a lot of fog. The rain did hold off, but it was quite windy and cold.

We drove through the wall surrounding Old Quebec, and climbed to the top of the Citadelle, or at least as far as we were allowed. It provided a nice view Old Quebec, the river and the old Port.

We walked to Chateau Frontenac for some hot chocolate (it was so windy & cold). Along the way we noticed lots of cannons.

We walked along the wall, and came across a nice french concert. Finally, it got too dark, and we headed back out through the walls to our hotel.

Day 65: Ottawa, ON

Location: Ottawa, ON
Date: Sat, June 28th

It was supposed to rain 40 mm in Quebec City, so instead of going there, we opted for a quiet night in Ottawa. Stephanie had noticed that Pizza Pizza now offered gluten-free dough, so I was pretty pumped at eating pizza for the first time in years!

Riley, the cat, wasn't too happy about his mommy leaving him, so he decided stow himself away next to his wet food.

We had a few drinks. The usual debate. Pimp Juice & Grey Goose versus Red Bull & Jagermeister.

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