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'Tales from the Open Road'

Jodie would spend part of the summer at her work camps in Loveland CO (training), Racine WI and Keansburg NJ. I would be filming our new video in the Canadian Maritimes and Newfoundland. After her camps, Jodie would fly out to meet me on the video shoot. Below is a "condensed" version of our summer shoot.

On June 13th I arrived in Kitchener Ontario to pick up the RV I'd be using for the summer. Roadtrek was loaning us a 210-Popular Class B rig for the project. They had let us use one of their SS Agile's for our 2009 Great Rocky Mountain RV Adventure shoot. We loved the floor plan, ease of driving and great fuel mileage. Later that day I headed northeast towards the St. Lawrence River.

My first stop was in North Hero VT. I'd mailed a box of RV supplies to Elliott and Leslie Smith, our friends from the Voyager RV Resort in Tucson. It was much cheaper sending it there than to Canada. In addition to the supplies, I picked up my cousin Bob Tap at their house. He had agreed to join me for the first month of the trip. He was a great navigator and a big help on the shoot. Each day I looked forward to his delicious baloney sandwiches for lunch.

We drove up the north side of the St. Lawrence River to the village of Tadoussac Quebec, at the confluence of the Saint Lawrence and Saguenay rivers. I had filmed here years ago and wanted to include it in the video. Even though it is not part of the Maritimes, I decided to begin the video here due the beauty of the Gaspe Peninsula and great whale watching. This is one of the few places in North America where you can see the rare white Beluga whale.

After filming the whales we took a ferry across the St. Lawrence and continued our trip around the Gaspe. The coastline offered wonderful photographic opportunities, including quaint villages, rocky seashores and lighthouses. The rock at Perce is one of the most recognized landmarks in Canada. We took a tour out to the rock and then on to Bonaventure Island, one of the largest and most accessible bird sanctuaries in the world, with more than 280,000 birds. We hiked 45-minutes out to the Gannett colony, which numbers more than 120,000. The noise from that many birds was amazing (the smell, not so good). We got some great shots!

We continued our journey south along the coast into New Brunswick. Touring the Acadian Isles we filmed a lighthouse, hiked in a bog with carnivorous plants and visited Acadian Historical Village, an authentic site that re-creates the various eras between 1770 and 1939. In Moncton, we timed our visit to shoot the tidal bore. The nearby Bay of Fundy has some of the highest tides in the world, averaging about 45-ft. The incoming tide reverses the flow of the out-flowing rivers, causing the water to flow up-stream. The Hopewell Rocks and Fundy National Park are also good places to view the dramatic Fundy tidal range.

Our next stop was Prince Edward Island. We crossed the bridge and headed right to the exciting Potato Museum, much more interesting than it sounds. We then followed the coast clockwise around the entire island. Other highlights included the Shellfish Museum, Irish Moss Interpretive Center, eating Seaweed Pie, Malpeque Oysters and great lobster. The town of Cavendish is famous for being the setting for the book Anne of Green Gables. While filming and exploring the beautiful red sand beaches of PEI National Park we came across many friendly fox's who had no problem posing for the camera. Instead of back-tracking over the bridge we took the Wood Islands Ferry to Nova Scotia.

The province is divided into two parts, the north and south. We began our journey heading north to Cape Breton Highlands National Park. The Cabot Trail is considered one of the most scenic drives in North America. The trip included a stop at North America's only single-malt distillery, an exciting whale watch in Pleasant Bay and so much beautiful coastal scenery you could stop at every curve in the road for a photo-op. After completing the scenic loop around the peninsula, we headed east to Louisbourg National Historic Site, a beautifully reconstructed French town destroyed by the British over 250-years ago.

On June 30th we boarded the Marine Atlantic Ferry in North Sydney for a five hour passage to Newfoundland. On arriving we head straight for the Northern Peninsula and follow the Viking Trail into Gros Morne National Park, a spectacular geological slice of the ancient world. Our visit to the park included wildlife viewing, exploring the Tablelands moon-like terrain and a boat tour on Western Brook Pond, which is actually a fjord featuring sheer cliffs and cascading waterfalls. Continuing north we take an iceberg cruise out of St. Anthony and visit L'Anse aux Meadows Historic Site. It was here that the Vikings came ashore over 1,000 years ago, the first Europeans to set foot in North America.

Near the tip of the peninsula we took the 2-hour ferry ride over to Labrador. The next day we drove the 60-miles of paved road out to Red Bay. At that point the road turned to dirt and gavel. We decided we either needed a truck camper to continue or we should head back to Newfoundland. We chose the latter.

The drive from Western Newfoundland to St. John's on the East coast is over 400-miles. Once we got to the provincial capital there was much to see. Driving to the top of Signal Hill we got a birds eye view of the city. From here it was out to Cape Spear National Historic Site to film North America's most easterly point. Standing at this spot you are closer to Liverpool England than you are to Toronto.

On July 10th my cousin had to fly back to the states. I wouldn't be alone for long. A couple of hours after his flight left I went back to the airport and picked-up the Strathy family, my good friends from Toronto. They have had cameo appearances in several of our earlier videos. It's always great to see them. Over the next week David, Rita, Gerard and I would head over to Twillingate to look for icebergs, sample the local lobster and try our hand at fly-fishing for Atlantic Salmon. I even filmed Gerard getting "Screeched In" at a local bar (you'll have to see the video). It was a great visit!

Leaving the Strathy's at the airport to get their flight home, I headed southeast to Argentia and drove the RV on board the ferry for the 16-hour trip back to Nova Scotia. The next afternoon I picked-up Jodie at the Halifax airport. The 250-year-old provincial capital has much to offer. We filmed the beautiful waterfront, Maritime Museum, Alexander Keith's Brewery and the Citadel National Historic site high above the city. Halifax also has links to the Titanic tragedy. The ship sank 500 miles east of town. Many of the bodies were brought here and buried in the local cemeteries.

From Halifax we followed the south shore west to well known tourist hotspots Peggy's Cove (Nova Scotia's most famous village), the churches of Mahone Bay and historic downtown Luenburg, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. >From there it was on to Yarmouth and a scenic drive to Cape Forchu and it's impressive lighthouse. Farther up the coast at Digby we met up with our good friends Joe and Vicki Kieva (from Highways Magazine). A few years ago we had spent time with them in Alaska producing their "RVing Alaska: What to Expect - How to Prepare" DVD. We spent a couple of days together visiting wineries, sight-seeing (filming) and eating world famous Digby scallops. A great time was had by all!

On July 22nd Jodie and I got on the Digby ferry and crossed the Bay of Fundy to Saint John New Brunswick. The city was incorporated in 1785, making it Canada's oldest. The area offered many historic filming opportunities. From there we headed west and caught another ferry to Grand Manan Island, the largest of the four Fundy Isles. While on the island we took a whale watching trip and a tour out to Machias Seal Island to film puffins. Grand Manan is less than 10-miles from Lubec Maine, the eastern most point in the US, the perfect place to end our adventure. It was an amazing summer.

Our first two east coast videos covered Key West to Lubec, a distance of nearly 3,000-miles. This new video will complete the journey up the coast. It was now time to head back to Tucson and begin the editing process, or as I call it, "house arrest." Traveling from Key West to Labrador was a great adventure, now it's your turn to hit the highway and make your RV dreams come true.

See ya on the road!

John & Jodie

©2020 John Holod Productions

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