Oh Canada!

Posted by Donna on 4:29 PM with No comments
Oh Canada!

It was an early start to the Father’s Day leg of our journey. We were up, showered, coffee’d  and on the road by 7:45. Before we left, we chatted briefly with a really cool couple who were saddling up their Harley trike about riding in general (they recommend a spin on the Green Eyed Snake), but specifically about the switch from two to three wheels. Marketing genius for Harley I must say. It definitely extends one’s riding life.

The Maine coast continued to be spectacular, with stunning views and quick teasing glimpses through the thickets of fir and pine trees filling the air with the persistent smell of balsam and Christmas. Americana is everywhere – flags waved proudly from front yards, front porches and telephone poles, welcoming us like old friends. The American spirit is so prevalent here, we even saw a bald eagle soar overhead as we rode through Gouldsboro, it’s white crown unmistakable against the backdrop of towering pines.

It was a blustery day so we finally surrendered to the wind and layered up in Machias – another first. I’m used to peeling off layers as the temperature rises, not adding them as we push further north.  I swear it dropped 10 degrees right after we crossed the border into Canada. But before we got there, we stopped at a few scenic overlooks and took in the incredible views, including the St. Croix River, which was simultaneously rustic and majestic. 

Once in Canada, we detoured slightly to St. Andrews, or St. Andrews By-the-Sea, as it is commonly called.  This tiny seaside town – population less than 2,000 - was founded in 1783. It retains much of its colonial charm, and is piping with quaint character and bungalow type dwellings clad in cedar shakes painted in shades of gray and brown courtesy of Mother Nature's weather brush.

We found a similar roadside treasure in Lepreau Falls, just outside of St. John. Early area settlers relied on the Lepreau River for transportation and fishing and the power to move logs and run sawmills. During Prohibition in the US, American bootleggers used this relatively isolated spot as a rendezvous point to load their boats with liquor. Bootleggers would smuggle the liquor from New Brunswick to Maine and sell it at black market prices.

Sun shone like a beacon in spots along the way today, but it couldn’t quite muscle its way through the insistent blanket of clouds. And the closer we got to St. John, the more dismal the sky became.

At first blush, St. John is nothing to write home about – or blog about for that matter. Of course, I can only comment on what I’ve experienced so far, snaking our way up, down and around a roller coaster of hills to our hotel. So far, and maybe it’s the influence of the wind and grey fringed clouds, it feels very much like an old urban town. And quite frankly, it is. It’s the oldest incorporated town in Canada, but rich in architecture, galleries and quiet historic charm.  Uptown, I’m told, is where we need to be, but we’re only here for the night so a true St. John experience will require a return trip.

Stay tuned.