Westbound to Vancouver, British Columbia

We spent most of November and December between Toronto and Vancouver. It was good to spend time with our family and friends during the holiday season, something I had missed out on in the past 6 years working in the US. Emily and I both cleaned out the many boxes we had stored at our parents’ from college days and in between moves. Living in our car for a month has further convinced us that a minimalist lifestyle is what we want. We are grateful for a home to stay in two of Canada’s largest multicultural cities where we have access to really good cultural food. That said, we quickly missed the serenity of the wilderness and life on the road. I’m envious of the people who have been able to find income or carve out a career while always on the road.

Toronto to Vancouver

On November 18th, 2017 we started our drive west towards British Columbia. We weren’t keen on spending too much time on this leg of the trip since the winter was getting worse, so we drove past many points of interest. I’d really like the chance to go through the prairies again on another schedule-free trip. Watching the northern lights at Jasper or Wood Buffalo National Park in Alberta is certainly high on my list.

It took us 3 days to drive through Ontario, the width of the province stretches over 5 U.S. states! Near the end of our second day, the snow started to build up and come down heavily. It was close to 6pm when we were reaching our destination for the evening in the town of Ignace, ON. At about 50km east of town, a moose suddenly appeared on the highway in the thick snowfall. It was less than 10m away and we could not avoid hitting the animal. We clipped the moose on the passenger side and immediately stopped the car. Emily screamed and we were both in shock. We looked at each other and were immediately relieved when we realized that we were both unharmed in the accident. With a flashlight in my hand, we both got out to look for the moose but it had already ran away so hopefully he/she was not injured.

The driver behind us stopped to make sure we were okay and helped us check our vehicle. The moose cracked the windshield, ripped off our side mirror, broken the headlamp and bumper, and dented a few panels. As far as we could tell in the dark, most of the damage seemed to be cosmetic so we continued our drive into town. At this time, there were snowsquall warnings in the area and we were driving right through it. Still shocked from the accident, the next hour of driving was terrifying and painful. We had very little visibility and the highway was completely covered with snow. We caught up to a truck and followed behind until we got into town. The truck cleared a path on the road for the string of cars behind it and was the only way we knew where we were heading.

The remainder of the westward drive was not as enjoyable as the Canadian east. The car and our spirits were broken by the accident and all we wanted to do was to find a warm place to repair ourselves and the car. We spent the daylight driving and the evening in motels at Winnepeg, MB, Swift Current, SK and Creston, BC over the next 3 days before arriving in Vancouver, BC. The snow was not so bad after leaving Ontario, and so the remainder of the drive was relatively easy. My heart skipped a beat every time we were told to watch out for moose, elk, mountain goats and deer.

Arriving in Vancouver

We arrived in Vancouver to a rainy night on November 24th, 2017 and let out a sigh of relief. The car was making more noise than ever and I was worried things would get worse. Thankfully, Vancouver has extremely mild winters so I could get my hands dirty in the garage. After settling in for a week, we wanted to share our Trans Canada experience through what Emily does best — baking up a storm. Emily and I came up with a laundry list of travel-inspired biscuits and chocolates for our friends/family for New Years. While she planned and carried out her baking, I was in charge of putting up this website and the packaging to go along with it. It was a tough two weeks, but it felt great to make something again.

Reaching St. John’s, Newfoundland

We woke up early on October 30th, 2017 from the cold weather that was chilling our bones. The temperature is reaching the negatives now (in celcius) and driving is the only time we get any artificial heating. We started our drive to Terra Nova National Park to hike along the Atlantic coast of Newfoundland and maybe do a bit of bird watching as well. When we arrived at the park, it was unfortunately closed for the season and all of the facilities were already locked down.

With our hiking plans cut short, we decided to continue our drive to St. John’s, NL. By the time we arrived in the city, we were starving and craving something healthy to nourish our bodies after the previous day’s long hike. We settled on a vegetarian restaurant called The Sprout. We ordered a chickpea curry and a pad-thai, both loaded with lots of fresh vegetables and bright spices. After a few days on a camping diet (bread, cheese, apples, nuts, some a lot of junk food), you really start to crave for cooked vegetables and meat.

Luckily, we had one more punch left on our trial gym membership at Goodlife Fitness so we used that to scrub off all our dirt from the past few days of hiking. We spent the rest of the evening loitering at Avalon mall and enjoying the warmth indoors before returning to the cold of our car.

Signal Hill

Considering we did a tough hike two days ago, we decided to take today off by doing some light city touring. We wanted to see Signal Hill and perhaps do the North Head trail to see historical landmarks. The weather was extremely windy and a light rain started the moment we got out of the car. By the time we reached Cabot Tower at the top, we were thoroughly soaked and our historical learning experience was cut short.

During our hike down Signal Hill, we ran into another hiker who was braving the rain and strong winds. Pauline is a local who lives nearby and hikes Signal Hill everyday after work, in rain, heavy winds, and even snowstorms. We learned from Pauline that snow covers St. John’s well into April and May.

On the surface, St. John’s seems like a reviving city when you look at the many young small businesses that we came across as visitors, but Pauline shared a different perspective. She worries about the declining economy and population and rising unemployment as a result of falling oil prices and mine closures.

Queen's Battery and hiking on the North Head trail
Top Left: The hike along the North Head trail brings you through the Queen’s Battery. It is a strategic spot to place fortifications to protect the harbour and the city during WWII. Top Right: A city view of St. John’s from Signal Hill. Bottom Left and Right: The trail leads you through fields of red flowers and views of the Atlantic ocean.
Harbour view from North Head trail at Signal Hill
Hiking on the North Head trail along the coast of Signal Hill. Colourful houses dot the hillside and are seen all over the city.
Red Adirondack Chairs at Signal Hill
Early in our travels, we noticed these red Adirondack chairs dotting select viewpoints around landmarks and hikes. We later learned that this is called the Red Chair Experience, and there’s a huge list of their locations on the Parks Canada website.

The colder weather has had us craving for hot soup. We found a funky looking ramen joint, Bad Bones Ramen, that we decided to check out for lunch. It had just opened a few months ago, and it’s the city’s first ramen restaurant. The menu is short and straight forward (a good sign) and we ordered a chicken miso and vegetable shoyu ramen. We loved the flavourful broth and the generous abundance of toppings. This was better and much healthier than some traditional ramen bowls I’ve had and it’s also an amazing value for what you get.

There were still a few minutes left on the parking meter so we browsed the shops along Water street. What caught my eye was a small lifestyle shop hidden in an alley on a side street called Civic Duty. When we walked in to the shop, the owner was busy working on his side gig making vinyl decals for local businesses. They sold all kinds of apparel, footwear, home goods and more. I ended up picking up a neat handmade woodcut print by local artist Grahram Blair. We hope to hang this up on our wall when we get back to a home with walls!

Considering the rain was still pretty heavy, we decided to find some indoor entertainment back at Avalon mall. We bought two tickets to Blade Runner 2049, and brought in a beer and a few other snacks. The theatre was completely empty when we walked in, so we took this opportunity to lay out our rain jackets to dry. It felt comforting to sit in a warm empty theatre after a long morning of wet windy hiking. I thought the movie was a good modern addition to the original film based on Philip K. Dick’s short story. I left the theatre still immersed in their world and had mixed feelings if I should feel sad for Joi.

Winding Down

We had a car full of damp clothes so we thought it would be a good time to hit the laundromat before we left St. John’s. This is the second time on the trip that we did our laundry, so there was enough to make a whole load. We drove to Mighty Whites Laundromat and asked if we could use their side alley to cook dinner. We were making tortellini with tomato sauce so it took a bit of time to get the meal going. During the whole time, I was wondering what people would think if they looked down the alley and saw us cooking in the dark. I shrugged it off and had my dinner inside while watching the live report of the NYC truck terror attack.

After the laundry was done, we brought everything back in the car and decided to go check out Cape Spear lighthouse in the dark. We turned the key to start the car and all I could hear was a click. The starter motor didn’t make a noise and nothing seemed wrong so I tried again. I suspected there was something wrong with the ignition switch because of the humidity we create while sleeping, and it could be the starter motor because it didn’t even try to turn the engine. We walked back into the laundromat to read up on what could be the problem. After finding out a slew of possible solutions, I went back into the car to give it another go. Other ford focus owners who have similar symptoms said if they moved steering column up and down while turning the key, their car would start up. With this new trick up my sleeve, I gave it a shot and the car started! What a relief! I wasn’t very happy with this witch doctor cure, but what can I say when it seemed like a real fix?

With the car running, we took the chance and drove to Cape Spear to see the Newfoundland’s oldest lighthouse. Cape Spear is the most eastern point of Canada and one can see humpback whales and icebergs here. Unfortunately, the view wasn’t much to look at tonight because the sky was thick with clouds so the ocean was pitch black. It would be wonderful to come back here in the summertime when you can take a boat tour to see puffins, whales and icebergs. We kept the car running as we checked out the area and returned to Walmart for the evening. We parked in range of a Mc Donald’s wifi connection, so we caught an episode of Stranger Things 2 before calling it a night.

Return to Toronto

With the car doing poorly, we made the decision to start our way back to Toronto tomorrow morning. Hopefully, the car can carry us back to a garage without much trouble. The rest of the trip back was not really eventful as we didn’t stop by any unique landmarks or did more hiking.

Moose head from Newfoundland
Hunters carrying their trophy back to Nova Scotia on the Marine Atlantic Ferry. The head sits on an enormous cooler that likely contains the rest of the animal. This is the first time I’ve seen the head of a freshly skinned unmounted moose head. A bunch of us walked around the truck and stared at the head for 10 seconds before we were grossed out and walked away.

 

Ferrying across the Cabot Strait to Newfoundland

On Friday, October 27, 2017, we woke up to a cloudy morning with light showers at Ingonish Beach Campgrounds in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. Considering it was the last week of the camping season, were were surprised to see another vehicle parked on site. After a quick breakfast, I hopped into the washroom and took a nice warm shower. By the time I was done, the light rain turned to a heavy down pour. We sought refuge inside one of the kitchen huts, and wondered if we should wait out the rain to do some more hiking in the area. The weather app said the rain will be continuing for at least another day, so we decided to drive to North Sydney to catch the 11:45 am ferry to Newfoundland, the most easterly province of Canada.

The drive from Cape Breton to North Sydney was very foggy and we had little visibility. We had to drive with our blinkers on but luckily, a truck lead us safely through some heavy construction areas. We made it to North Sydney Ferry Terminal just in time to catch the boat, and we were one of the last vehicles to board the ferry which runs twice a day.

View port on the Marine Atlantic Ferry. It’s a 7 hour journey between North Sydney, NS to Port aux Basques, NL. I felt very sea sick halfway through the journey and tried my best to sleep it off. Be sure to bring everything you need for the ride as you cannot access your car until the ship docks.

We arrived in Port aux Basques, NL close to 7 pm and grabbed a quick dinner at Tim Horton’s. We tried to find a local restaurant but most businesses that cater to tourists are closed during off season. Surprisingly, the clam chowder at Tim Horton’s was very good but I could not find it again after leaving the province. We drove to Walmart Corner Brook and settled in for the evening. No other RV campers in sight.

The next morning, we did some grocery shopping at Walmart and Sobey’s and visited the Wonderful Fine Market Coop, a sort of indoors farmers’ market. We got coffee from Gros Morne Coffee Roasters, a new business venture by a well traveled couple trying to introduce locals to lighter and more flavourful roasts of coffee. We also bought a jar of homemade ketchup from The Saucy Newfoundland Co, another local startup that was born out of a weekend event. It’s a fun story to read and we met the founders who gave us amazing tips on what to eat while in NL (cod tongues and cod cheeks) and the lesser known hikes at Gros Morne National Park. Their enthusiasm for their business and thick newfie accents were very memorable. They also thought we were cookoo for camping at this time of the year.

The gloomy weather seemed to have carried over from Nova Scotia. After a quick lunch, we left Corner Brooke and drove to the Gros Morne Visitor Centre which was just about to close up entirely for the season. We were informed that Green Point was the only campsite open but the hot water, flush toilets and showers were closed for the season. It’s a very new campsite (or maybe newly renovated) with a few sites that have an ocean front view. We seemed to be the only campers who happily took up one of these attractive sites.

We spent the afternoon walking the Coastal Trail, an easy 6 km (3.7 miles) return hike that connects the Green Point campgrounds we stayed at to Bakers Brook, both previously fishermen settlements.
I found many of these critters crossing our path during our hike. Their brown and black stripped furry coat make them so distinct.
Here’s a view from the end of Steve’s Trail at Broom Point. At the beginning of the video, you can see the Long Range Mountains in the distance, then out into the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

Along the hike, we came across dense coastal forests called tuckamore. These short wind blown spruce trees have a cavernous interior, and people have carved out small entrances that you could duck into. This seems like a great spot for secret cult meetings.
We watched the sunset at the end of Steve’s Trail in Broom Point. At low tide, we were able to see the layered rock formations that were once part of the ocean floor 500 million years ago.

Gros Morne Mountain/James Callaghan trail

On October 29, 2017, we woke up to the sounds of waves breaking on the shore below us. We cooked a huge pot of oatmeal for breakfast, made three bagel sandwiches, prepared a bag of carrot sticks and set off for the Gros Morne Mountain Trail. It’s a difficult 16 km (10 mile) return trail that takes you through changing landscape views of boreal forests, tablelands, long range mountains, and Arctic-alpine habitat. This hike brings you to the highest point of the park and is listed in World’s Best Hikes: 15 Classic Trails by National Geographic.

We begin our hike through the dense boreal forest on well carved trails. It was a quiet morning as we were the only people on the trail so far it seemed. The forest looked like it came out of a fairy tale.
Top Left: In the first few km of the trail, you’ll find many boardwalks laid out for hikers. It makes for an easy trail at the start but there is another reason for it. It’s raised from the soil so that young vegetation can have a chance to grow and be protected. Top Right: Currently there is an overpopulation of moose in the park, they were introduced to the region just a century ago. This has caused a disruption to the regeneration cycle of the forest, and consequently affected the population of the birds and other species that live in it. We heard loud sounds of deep moo-ing during our hike, which we later realized were bull moose calls. Bottom Left: The base of Gros Morne Mountain is scattered with little still ponds like this one. There are signs at this point that warn hikers of the strenuous 8 km hike and 500m vertical scramble ahead. Make sure to plan for enough time to descend before dark. You don’t want to be trapped on a mountain that’s overpopulated with moose. Bottom Right: From the base, we began our accent up the steep boulder gully.

The entire region was nearly silent as the fog rolled in and dampened the sound of our boots hitting the rock. It seemed as though we were the only two humans on the mountain, so we were acutely aware of any other noise that came from the distance. I had high hopes that we would get to see a moose or a caribou along the hike, and I even saw sets of hoof prints in the mud along the trail. By the time were at the summit, another quick footed hiker caught up to us and we all took a break from the climb. She introduced herself as Katrin, and she told us about her hitchhiking adventures that started all the way in Alaska, and she’s been working her way through Canada before she continues to South America.

As you ascend the mountain, you are rewarded with amazing views of the Ravin Ferry Gulch and Crow Cliff. The wind and dense fog came through sporadically and made the climb chilly at times. At this point, we were about 20 minutes from the base of the mountain.
Top Left: The scramble uphill seemed to never end. Giant boulders the size of small cars dotted the path to give you a mental cue that you were making progress. Top Right: The view near the summit looks like we’re on another planet. The ground is littered with sharp rocks, the air is dense with fog, and there isn’t another human in sight for miles. Bottom Left: We were treated with some clear blue skies (and a rainbow) when we reached the summit. Unfortunately, the grand fjord-like views we were supposed to see are still covered by dense cloud. Bottom Right: Small families of rock ptarmigan roam the top of Gros Morne. Their furry legs look protected from the chill of the coming winter months.

The rock ptarmigan’s feathers have a seasonal camouflage that keep them safe from predators. That said, their lack of predators in the area make them bold and they even decided to come in our path knowing they would be in our way.
A view from the base and from the summit of Gros Mountain.

Exploring Nova Scotia and hiking Cape Breton Island

On October 22, 2017, we left PEI and headed into Halifax, Nova Scotia. Nova Scotia is latin for New Scotland, and explains the many oatcakes I came across in coffee shops and bakeries around these parts. While living in Pennsylvania, I often purchased oatcakes by Effie’s Homemade which I later learned are based off a Scottish family recipe out of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.

Oat cookie, ginger almond paste cookie, granola cookie
It’s not just America where you find giant cookies. Here’s a Scottish style oatcake that’s bigger and thicker than my palm. The cookies from top to bottom are: Oat cookie, Ginger almond paste cookie, and Granola cookie
It was a beautiful sunny day as we walked along the Halifax Waterfront. It is home to many shops, museums, and the farmers’ market.

It’s not just America where you find giant cookies. Here’s a Scottish style oatcake that’s bigger and thicker than my palm.We visited Anchored Coffee, a local roaster with a small coffee bar inside Pro Skates shop. The barista, Braeden, had a great energy and made us a very good cortado and cup of pourover coffee. We chatted about the coffee scene in the city and hiking in Cape Breton. We took our cup of coffee to Halifax Public Gardens, and walked around taking in the warmth of the sun.
We hiked up to the Citadel and spent our afternoon inside the Army Museum learning about Canadian troops in the first and second World War. It’s a small but very informative museum packed with displays of handheld artillery, uniforms, medals, and trench art from Canadian troops. Reading the biographies and stories of soldiers awarded medals evoked a newfound admiration for our Canadian troops. This section of the Citadel was so dense we couldn’t make it past WWII before we had to take a break from learning.

We ate a lunch of cheese, bread, salami and apples before heading to the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21. We didn’t know what to expect but this ended up being our favourite museum over the course of our trip. We took part in a guided tour and had a great time learning about Canadian immigration from the 1600’s until the present day. One family in our tour group was able to identify the boat on which their grandparents arrived in. After the travellers land on shore, 1 in 5 immigrating Canadians would have entered Pier 21 between 1928 and 1971.

We later learned that the Dutch government put heavy restrictions on currency leaving the country, so the Canadian government removed weight restrictions on what a Dutch family could bring onto the ship. Taking advantage of this new rule, an immigrating Dutch family would appropriately fill a giant wooden crate, called a kist, with all of their belongings. It was fun to see the contents because it often contained silly things like a kitchen sink, rocks, heavy wooden dressers, and more!

Near the end of the tour, we walked into a small theatre that showed a heart warming video about Canadian immigrants of today. It featured a compilation of stories from refugees and immigrants about why they left their home country and how they built a new life in Canada. It was refreshing to see how accepting this country is to all cultures, and explained why we have such a diverse population in our cities.

We visited the popular seafood restaurant called Fredie’s Fantastic Fish. We ordered their fried haddock, seafood chowder, and a lobster roll with another fillet on the side. It was way too much food, oops. We loved their fish and chips. They got that batter recipe down, and you can even ask for it extra crispy if you wanted.
This is the freshest cooked lobster meat in a roll I’ve ever had. It is generously piled with hunks of perfectly cooked meat and lightly dressed with a bit of mayo. It gets to be a little too much lobster about a third of the way through.

Maritime Museum of the Atlantic

We wanted to learn about the story behind the fishing vessel that is stamped on the Canadian dime so we headed to the Maritime Museum. There is a large display on shipwrecks, the Halifax explosion, an area dedicated to the Titanic, and a Days of Sail exhibit about Canadians who raced around the world on solo sailing trips. There is actually a lot more of this museum we didn’t explore because our brains could only take in so much. I’d certainly recommend this museum to anyone interested in ship history.

We later visited the Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market to pick up some local fruit and vegetables for our stay on Cape Breton Island. The bag of pears we bought were amazing, juicy, floral, with a creamy firm texture. We also stopped by East Coast Bagels to refill our carb supplies. The bagels were still warm from the oven when I bought them and we quickly finished one while walking out the store. Yum!

Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site

On October 25th, we started our day early and drove to the Alexander Graham Bell National Historic site in Baddeck, NS. Cape Breton was Alexander’s summer retreat because the climate and the landscape reminded him of his home in Scotland. This eventually became more of a permanent home later in his life. The museum is filled with replicas of his inventions like the space frame, tetrahedral kites, hydrofoil experiments, and of course, his work on the telephone. It also goes into his father’s work on Visible speech which Alexander also became very invested in. After a morning of learning, we began our drive towards Cape Breton Highlands National Park.

The Alexander Graham Bell National site overlooks the Bras d’Or Lakes.
The fog kept up with us along our drive towards Cape Breton National Park. There was an eerie stillness to the lake that day.
On our way to Cape Breton Island, we stopped by a small french campground called Plage Saint Pierre in the small fishing village of Cheticamp. It is very quiet at this time of the year, so we had the freedom to walk around and explore the area. It had a windy boardwalk that took you to a deserted beach.

Cape Breton Highlands National Park

The drive to Cape Breton was absolutely stunning. We made it just before the leaves fell and saw endless mountains of yellow leaves. I cannot stress enough how the following images do not capture the beauty of the landscape. Visiting Cape Breton in the fall is surely something I will have to do again. We arrived around noon, and had more than enough time to secure our camp site and start on the world famous Skyline trail. The gem of the trail lies at the very end where the boardwalk starts. It’s built that way so hikers stay on track and do not harm the fragile vegetation below.

Top Left: The sun setting over continuous mountains of yellow leaves is an unforgettable sight. Top Right: Dense groves of hardwood trees populate the Acadian trail. Emily says the best tissue for wiping your nose are the slightly dried yellow birch leaves still on the branch. It has the right texture and thickness that make a good tissue. Bottom Left: Young trees are the perfect food source for moose, and the forests here have been decimated by their growing population. A small fenced enclosure was built to rehab the forest so that young trees can grow in the area. Bottom Right: The end of the Skyline Trail is a boardwalk overlooking the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

Acadian Trail, Lone Shieling Trail and Black Brook Beach

The very next morning, we had a quick breakfast of yogurt, granola, and biscuits before hitting the Acadian trail. The hike was very nice with plenty of sight seeing benches along the way. The plan for the day was to make our way across to the eastern side of the Cape Breton Highlands and stay at the Ingonish Beach campground for the evening.

The trail leads you through mature Acadian forests filled with old hardwood trees and lots of young saplings. You can hear the rustle of leaves and branches as a gentle breeze blows through the area.
We were told to keep an eye out for black bears, moose, and coyotes. Although we didn’t see any of those animals, moose droppings were neatly piled in the middle of the trail.
One of the viewpoints on the Acadian trail overlooks the small fishing town of Chéticamp, NS.
A satisfying viewpoint from top of the the Acadian trail. You can see the town of Chéticamp along the Gulf of St. Lawrence in the distance. (A windy video. Please turn down your volume.)
Leaving the Chéticamp campgrounds of Cape Breton National Park.
Old sugar maple trees fill the Lone Shieling loop. This is one of those photos that do not do the area any justice. Although the hike is short, it features a replica of a crofter’s hut made by those of Scottish Highlanders on the Isle of Skye.

On our way to the next campground at Ingonish, we stopped by Black Brook beach to stretch our legs and make some hot tea. This beach has washrooms with running water, firepits and picnic tables for day use. It’s a nice quiet area but the wind was cold and the waves were strong so we didn’t stay long.

The soft sand at Black Brook Cove Beach would make for a nice place to pitch a tent in the summer.

The search for razor clams on Prince Edward Island

Before we started on our trip, some of our friends told us about their successful clamming experience at Prince Edward Island. Just before we reached the island, I watched Youtube videos of people pouring salt over holes in the sand and catching the long razor clams that get coaxed out. I couldn’t wait to do the same. We discussed ways of preparing our clam harvest with our limited cooking tools while driving across The Confederation Bridge. Completed in 1997, It’s a 13km (8 mile) long bridge connecting land travellers between Prince Edward Island to the rest of Canada. It’s the most expensive 12 minute drive in the country at a cost of $1.3 billion. After arriving on the island, we stopped by the visitor centre to get a map, ask about things to see and do, and most importantly, where we could find these razor clams.

After crossing the bridge, we found ourselves in the centre of the Red Sands Shore area. The iron rich soil, good rainfall, and distinct seasons provide the right conditions for growing potatoes. It’s hard to believe that this island, which also happens to be Canada’s smallest province, is home to 25% of all potatoes grown in the country. Here is a view from Canoe Cove.
We searched on the red sand beaches for keyhole shaped openings, signs of razor clam life underneath. No clams were found.

We made our way into Charlottetown, the capital of P.E.I. and stopped at Receiver Coffee, The Brass Shop, to get a cortado and chai latte. They make sourdough bread and pastries on site, as well as roast their coffee at this location. We took advantage of the quiet, open space to journal and plan our next few days.

Since we turned up empty handed after our first few clam digging attempts, we headed to Claddagh Oyster House to enjoy their happy hour $1 oyster deal! We ordered a dozen P.E.I. Malpeque oysters, they were sweet, a little briny and very fresh.

After our happy hour dinner, we walked around downtown Charlotttetown, spent some time in a bookstore and drove to the nearest Walmart parking lot for the evening. There was only one other RV camper here, the most quiet overnight parking lot so far.

Charlottetown Farmers’ Market

On Saturday, October 21st, 2017, we woke up feeling quite hungry (happy hour oysters are not that filling) and headed to the Charlottetown Farmers’ Market. It was bustling with lots of lines for every vendor. It was as if the entire town had shown up to do their weekly shopping here. We filled up on cabbage rolls from Grandma Jaworski’s, a shiitake mushroom fougasse, crab cakes, chowder, and more oysters. It was very satisfying, this was one of the best farmers’ markets we had visited so far on our trip. This was also where we tasted the most sweet and flavourful hazelnuts grown on the island, from Bill and Elizabeth Glen.

We replenished our bread reserves with a spelt loaf, shiitake fougasse that had more mushroom than bread in a bite, and a hearty loaf of volkenbrot (seeded rye bread). These were all sourdough breads from Angel’s Bread.
We walked by Gallant’s Shellfish & Seafood, a seafood stand selling hot food and take-away items. I overheard a customer rave about their crab cakes . I was hungry and it was an inexpensive snack ($3.5 per crab cake) so I bought one to try. It was so good, packed full of crab meat and lightly breaded and seared, we got another one, as well as a cup of seafood chowder. This chowder was loaded with mouthfuls of scallops, fish, muscles, clams and maybe if you’re lucky, you’ll get a cube of potato. They also had a tiny standing oyster bar with a few varieties, all from P.E.I. We ate a few oysters on the spot, each type different in their flavour, texture, and sweetness. Next time, I will order the whole menu.

Northern and Eastern Shore of PEI

It started to rain by the time we finished our shopping so we decided to explore the Anne of Green Gables Heritage Place and delay our clam digging ventures. Anne of Green Gables is fictional story written by L.M. Montgomery who grew up in Cavendish (North of Red Sands Shore), P.E.I. We learned about life during the Victorian-era, explored the childhood home of L.M. Montgomery and read about her life. After spending some time at the Green Gables Heritage Place, we headed East on the Rue du Golf Shore Parkway. It’s a very scenic drive with many white sand beaches. We stopped a few times to look for clams and take in the scenery. No clams. We drove to the very Eastern point of P.E.I. marked by the East Point Lighthouse which was unfortunately closed for the season.

We continued our drive around the island and stopped by a secluded beach at the end of Anselm MacDonald Rd near Souris to look for more clams. A lot of beautiful sea glass can be found in the area and we and met a local who kindly gifted us her nicest find of the day. No clams.
It was a very gloomy day with occasional bursts of sun and light rain.

Along the road, we saw many signs about the singing sands of Basin Head Beach. Curiosity brought us to the white sanded beach to check for singing. We experienced absolutely no singing and found no clams either. What we did find was a gusty wind and light rain that looked like it was about to get worse. We quickly found a small hut and decided to cooked the rest of our spätzle for dinner here.

We were both feeling wind blown and disappointed with our failed clam digging mission. I suppose we were warned that it was the end of season. It was a cold night in the car, our car frosted over by dawn and we woke up ready to explore the next province.