Overland Expo to TBEX: Canadian Geocaching Mission

When I last left you in the Overland Expo to TBEX expedition, the Camp Granola crew had made it to camp in Fundy National Park after several days of pure travel whackiness. I’m really not sure what else to call it… a drowned iPhone, a naked border crossing, complete rerouting, Tropical Storm Andrea, and a cracked windshield. I mean, really? Even looking back months later, I’m not certain if I should laugh or cry.

Anyway, knowing we were going to be headquartered out of Fundy for at least three nights, we had a sense of relief. This was our home for a few days and we could do what we do best… camp, explore, geocache. Maybe, just maybe, I could get in some photography time.

The flags of Prince Edward Island. Tropical Storm Andrea was taking a break so we nabbed a quick geocache here even though after all the rain it felt like walking through a bog.

Go away Andrea…

Except we still had the problem of Tropical Storm Andrea who just wouldn’t go away. As we settled into the tent that first night, we roughed-out our plans about how we’d spend our time in Fundy. But the rain… the incessant, unending rain was still the biggest factor. Forecasts called for off-and-on rain the next day but possibly a little less the following day… not clear skies mind you, but maybe a little break in the rain for a few hours so we could get out, explore, and not be completely soggy and miserable.

As much as I greatly disliked the thought of getting back in the car the next day, it ended being our best move to go ahead and blast out one of our side missions at Fundy, geocaching Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. This would be a car-based exploration day that would allow us to knock out one of George’s highest priorities. A quick look at the map and you’ll see this amounted to a lot more driving.

At  over 6 hours of driving time alone, not to mention geocaching time, this was a huge side-trip out of Fundy.
At over 6 hours of driving time in addition to geocaching time, this was a huge side-trip out of Fundy.

Exploration mode…

In spite of the rain, we had no trouble getting into exploration mode. Knowing you have a camp and home base set up is a very freeing mindset so we took our time to move towards Nova Scotia. We stopped to smell the flowers so-to-speak by sticking to backroads and absorbing the Canadian countryside. This day’s journey was spurred on by fulfilling George’s desire to geocache in as many Canadian provinces as possible but I wanted to be certain Fred was getting the adventures he wanted as well. And that’s what directed us towards Cape Enrage.

Cape Enrage…

My quirky and imaginative Fred was intrigued by Cape Enrage so we made our little detour to check it out. This local landmark consists of a lighthouse and grounds teeming with natural wonders.

Fred being enraged at Cape Enrage…

It’s located within the Fundy Biosphere Reserve and is named for the dramatic tidal action that takes place in the bay. Needless to say it was a hit with the Camp Granola crew. With a reasonable entrance fee, we were able to explore the lighthouse as well as the grounds that were a delight of geologic and fossil terrific-ness. We highly recommend this stop if you’re heading to the area.

It was fun to watch visitors take on the challenge of the zipline in the cold, wet weather. As you can imagine, we were not in for it that day. We were quite content to watch from the ground.

We did manage a geocache smiley while we there (George’s 2000th!!!), although it was way harder than it should have been. The poor GPS signal left us struggling to search for it under the boardwalk and not be noticed by other visitors. But we got the smiley nonetheless, even if it was a comedy of errors and a pay-no-attention-to-the-strange-people-from-Georgia situation.

We didn’t partake of the ziplining but there is a geocache hidden under those stairs… and it was George’s 2000th smiley!
A sweet moment at Cape Enrage with my Geocaching George. And yes, he carried that Atlas everywhere on this trip.

Nova Scotia…

So after giving Fred his stop we moved along to tackle Nova Scotia. The plan was to slip just over the border at Amherst and get a few smileys. We stopped at the welcome center to have a potty break, grab lunch from our stash of food in the car, and grab our first Nova Scotia geocache. It was super easy and we were happy to know we had at least had one cache under our belts to claim Nova Scotia.

But of course, we wanted more than just one. So we set off for some Nova Scotia back roads. We didn’t have to go far to find some cool potential geocaches that were a little bit challenging but didn’t look too time-consuming. Except that’s when the rain started to pickup again. The caches we had in our sights proved to be too much to attempt. I just couldn’t have a repeat of the Maine disaster with most of our clothing and gear back at camp so we left with one measly Nova Scotia geocache to our names.

The lull in the rain in Nova Scotia.
We felt very welcome by this inviting haven at the visitor center in Nova Scotia. A lovely place for a lunch stop.

Prince Edward Island…

We rode out that wave of rain as we made the trip to Prince Edward Island. Given the amount of ground we were trying to cover in only one day, we were planning on the the same geocaching tactic as in Nova Scotia… scoot in over the border and cache all we could without getting too far in.

My geocaching app dabbles in fortune telling…

So we crossed over the astounding Confederation Bridge to Prince Edward Island and on to the most expensive geocaches ever. You see, this impressive structure is one of the longest bridges in the world (although I didn’t realize it at the time…) and is also a toll bridge. I knew that part, of course, but it was still painful for the short time and purpose we’d be there.

I didn’t know much about Prince Edward Island going in to this journey but apparently it was still off-season. When we set foot onto PEI at the Borden-Carleton entry point, it was nearly a ghost town. Throw in the cold, blustery weather and we had the place practically to ourselves. And if you’re geocacher, that can come in quite handy in urban geocache hunts. We had very little worry about muggles. Which is good because with the lacking GPS signal, a couple of our smileys took some time. And fortunately the rain had settled out. Everything was soggy mess but that was completely workable, unlike the constant rain.

With very little open to explore on PEI after we’d gotten a handful of smileys, there was not much else to do but drive back to camp.

The boys embraced the chance to play at a geocaching stop on Prince Edward Island. Long days in the car and incessant rain were wearing on all of us.
A chilly and blustery geocaching mission on PEI… and we were so happy the rain had stopped.

Return to Fundy…

The drive to Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island was not a straight-forward beast. Having to work around bays and inlets, made it a very long drive. So as we returned to Fundy that night, we’d already had a very long day with a couple of hours of drive time still ahead and it was approaching dusk.

The minions got a kick out of finding “Fred’s” restaurant.

Still decompressing from the past few days, I didn’t feel like digging food out of the car that night to eat at a random rest area and it would be far too late to cook back at camp. That meant dinner out. As we mozied our way back to Fundy, we kept our eyes peeled for something intriguing. And that’s when we saw “Fred’s” restaurant.

Well, you know we had to stop for that! Only by the time we pulled in, it was on the verge of closing. Some friendly locals, spotting our Georgia plates, recommended a great local joint just down the street. That’s how we found ourselves at an eastern Canadian equivalent of a southern greasy spoon dive… the Bel Air.

In the south, this place would have fried chicken, hash browns… that sort of thing. Here it was every type of fried seafood imaginable. My hungry crew set to a quick dinner so we could get back to camp and collapse after a fairly successful geocaching side-trip.

Are you (bleeping) kidding me…?!?

If you’re keeping track, you’ll notice that this expedition was rife an unusual amount of hiccups. On top of the previous few days challenges, earlier in the journey we’d faced other difficulties like a failed tent and dodging tornados

This is a “small” order of fried clams. Even though I barely put a dent in it, they were my undoing…

I wish I could say our fortune improved at this point. It did not. Not by a long shot… because I spent the the night with a mild case of food poisoning.

Gastrointestinal ordeals suck in even the best conditions. Battling it while camping? No words. But I’m very, very glad the kids had stuck to hot dogs and chicken fingers that night and I didn’t have to tend to them on top of my own bouts of… unpleasantness. I’ll let you fill in the unspoken bits there.

And fortunately I can say we’ll get to the good stuff next time. Because Fundy National Park is a very special place…

And now for your moment of green…

One of the benefits of back roads… odd sightings. I’ve never been able to figure out what this shoe tree in New Brunswick was about.