Overland Expo to TBEX: Slogging our way to Fundy
So when I left you in our Overland Expo to TBEX saga, we were suffering from a string of failures, bad weather, and our own stupidity. And that’s how we found ourselves moving on to Campobello — soaked, cacheless, and trying to salvage this detour that cost us so many miles and so much time. But first, our most memorable border crossing ever.
Border Crossing #5…
You see, when we got back in the car after the Quoddy Head disaster, we were completely soaked. Our rain gear did little to protect us from the torrents of Tropical Storm Andrea. The situation obviously didn’t improve with our frantic, wet, last-ditch, pre-border-crossing attempt for a geocache smiley at the Lubec sign. So when we arrived at the border station, the guard asked the usual questions and, as usual, asked me to roll down the back windows so he could see everyone in the car. He peered in, then gave me a quizzical look.
Uncertain what could possibly have him so befuddled and a bit aggravated by the hassle given the conditions of the day, I turned around to look into the back seat myself. And there sat George… Stark. Freaking. Naked!… with only his laptop covering his little boy bits. I managed to stifle an “Are you (bleeping) kidding me?” from slipping out and I calmly inquired with George as to exactly why he was buck naked in the back seat of the car while we were trying to cross an international border. He replied that we was just wet and uncomfortable so he took matters into his own hands and stripped off his clothes. He’s a little problem-solver, that one. *facepalm*
I slowly turned back to the guard and gave the border guard a “Man, what do you want me to say?” shrug and head shake. The guard found he had nothing further he wanted to ask us and we were on our way.
Epic moment in parenting, no?
Roosevelt Campobello International Park…
Still trying to grasp all of the events of the day and the fact that it had all happened before noon, we slogged our way to our intended destination Roosevelt Campobello Interntaional Park. The rain had slowed to a drizzle and we sought warmth and dryness in the visitor center… with George finally dressed, of course.
The park is located on Campobello Island where FDR summered as a child and later spent time with his family as an adult. It was formed as a memorial to him and as a symbol of cooperation between the U.S. and Canada. His “cottage” is preserved for tours and there are trails and flower gardens to explore. Not that we got to do any of that, mind you… but it looks like it would have been lovely had we not been in the middle of Tropical Storm Andrea.
We did take some time to mentally escape the events of our morning and soak up some history in the visitor center. This is the kind of scenario where Fred finds his learning groove and he thoroughly enjoyed learning more about the U.S. equivalent of royalty. Even George, who isn’t a history buff, was a bit taken in by the Roosevelt story. Or maybe he was just so happy to be out of the car and dry…
In my state of mind at the time, I didn’t take a single picture to share with you but it was a very cool place and I do hope I get a chance to explore it under better circumstances.
Border Crossings #6 & #7…
What would have made our lives a little easier at this point in the trip would have been a ferry ride across the bay instead of having to head back to Maine. It would have shaved considerable time and miles off of our journey to Fundy National Park. Alas, the ferry wasn’t running so we had to go the long way… and log two more border crossings.
For border crossing #6 back into the U.S, I was ever-so-thankful not to have to face the same border guard that witnessed our insanity on the way in to Campobello. We smoothly returned back to the states and headed north towards Calais, Maine, our point of entry to New Brunswick and Fundy National Park.
We attempted to soak up local flavor at a pub in Calais. Our lunch left a lot to be desired but we were hungry and bad food was the least of our concerns at the time. Cutting our losses, we scarfed our lunches and set on our way to refuel and make our third border crossing in less than three hours.
And on to Fundy…
With nothing left to be done but drive through the rain and get ourselves to Fundy National Park, we pressed along the New Brunswick coast. I was feeling the pressure of time. I desperately wanted to make camp before dark. The rain was bad enough but thought of pitching the tent in the dark in an unfamiliar campground motivated me to keep moving.
The drive went quickly though as I marveled at the road cuts along the highway. I could tell I was really going to like New Brunswick. Even with a stop to resupply before arriving in the park, we made good time. You might find this hard to believe given our day, but we even managed an easy geocache smiley of the lampskirt variety in the store parking lot. It was a much-needed morale boost to have a little success that day.
And that momentum continued. As we approached the park, we stopped for another geocache smiley in a graveyard. Some folks think we’re odd but we enjoy graveyard geocaches for the peek into local history they provide. The rain was a slow drizzle at that point and we reveled in our success. We felt like we were exploring again, not just surviving the trip.
When we finally entered the park, we were ecstatic. We were still a good ways from the campground, but it was such a relief to be within the park borders. The roads were sloppy and the rain had picked up again but I knew we’d get to camp in enough time to set up and get a warm dinner cooked up before dark. I finally relaxed and enjoyed the drive. We didn’t see another vehicle on the road for miles. But the one we did see? Well, that one was a tractor trailer barreling at us from the other direction.
He was moving fast and not even remotely staying in his lane on the narrow road. I slowed and eased Blubaru towards the soft shoulder to make more room for the truck. He didn’t slow, which I though was borderline nuts given the road and weather conditions. He blew past us giving Blubaru quite a jolt and passing within inches of us. As a lovely parting gift of our close encounter, we were left with a rock to the windshield and Blubaru sporting a healthy crack that grew with each mile. So much for feeling like things were going our way.
Home Sweet Home at Chignecto North…
At some point in a series of misadventures, you either just become unflappable or you find your sense-of-humor. Sometimes both. After the last few days of this trip (Exhibit A & Exhibit B), I could only look upon the cracked windshield with mild curiosity. I watched it grow as we approached camp and the beginnings of dusk set in. By the time we reached camp at Chignecto North campground in Fundy NP, I’d found my sense-of-humor about the entire situation — the rain, the iPhone, the geocaching, the detours, the naked border crossing, the cracked windshield… all of it.
Fortunately, there was another lull in the rain and we set to getting camp established in quick fashion. Pitching the new tent was still a bit slow and awkward since it was only our second go with it but once it was up, the boys were in gear and did their bit for getting us set up while I got dinner going. Camp life hummed along efficiently and we busted out dinner and clean up so we could collapse after a blistering few days of hard travel.
We rested easily, knowing we had our home established for the next three nights…