The following is the story of our recent road trip to Bear River, Nova Scotia…

Hummingbird House

This is the amazing 150 year old captain’s house with a sprawling 5000 square feet of beauty, antiques and charm where we stayed. I had booked the two guest rooms well in advance for us and our friends and arranged for purchasing four tickets for the sold out performance of Hold Mommy’s Cigarette. So super excited but a bit nervous that maybe I just might be over-selling how wonderful it would all be. I needn’t have worried.

Hummingbird House

Before Shelley departed to prepare for her performance, she asked what time we wanted breakfast and before I could answer, she announced “OK, 11:00 it is then”.  Always the comic!  She told me that after the show she is usually drained and crashes while she regroups so I didn’t expect any special treatment

Hold Mommy’s Cigarette

She and her husband set up and prepare for the show with minimal help, the set simply a reproduction of her growing up environment.

The Set

During the performance she plays her seven year old self, her mother, her grandmother and her current self.  She deals with such emotional and traumatic events with such ease, moving effortlessly from character to character.  We belly laughed and at times felt our eyes welling up with tears. It was truly a world class performance.

Gramma Persona

Following, we returned to Hummingbird House, stripped down to our bathing suits and wrapped in the fluffy robes left for us in our rooms.  We skipped the sauna warm up and headed straight to the Nordic salt water spa that overlooks the Bear River and soaked and soaked and soaked until pruney, chatting and sipping wine.  Actually I think we stayed there relaxing with our friends until at least 1:00 in the morning.

Hot Tub Heaven

That night we slept with the angels.  Morning came with the delicious smell of freshly brewed coffee and when we descended to explore we found the breakfast table already set for the four of us.  Cereals, toast, homemade jams and cake, freshly squeezed orange juice.

Good Morning

The sign she left on the table for us made me smile.  So very Shelley!

Host with the Most

Four hard boiled eggs gathered that morning, two blue, two brown, prepared with love and so much care.

Farm Fresh

We asked Shelley to join us while we sipped coffee and chatted about the show and her life in general.  She truly has had quite a challenging life and has come through the other side with such dignity and strength.  I could have sat there listening to her for hours.  Even as draining as it must be for her to perform then change costumes to become super host she carried it out with such ease.

Super Host

After breakfast was cleared away we packed up our gear and headed down to the barn to visit with Jason (Shelley’s husband) and the Farmacy menagery.

Farmacy Visit

I have such a soft spot for ginger cats! There was Marlowe, Peewee, Junior and Archie. Lucy Maude, the momma ginger, had previously departed for unknown adventures.  Then there’s Johnny the black feral barn cat who is not a favourite friend of the Gingers.

Lucie Maud’s Tribe

They have an impressive variety of critters all with very distinct personalities.  The shy and very grumpy pot belly pig. The curious sheep. One somewhat aggressive alpha goat who was insistent on challenging Francois to a head butting competition. The cautious feral black cat with vampire fangs.  The adopted cow that nobody wanted.


Jason told us a hilarious story about the time Shelley called out to him and asked where Mork, the goat, was to which he answered: ‘out in the yard somewhere’.  To which she replied: ‘no, just got a call, he’s down at the legion and it’s not even happy hour.’  They said that one or other of the animals with wander off into the town from time to time but they have become such a well known fixture in Bear River that it’s never really a problem.

The Farmily

Let me see if I can remember the names of Shelley and Jason’s crew.  There’s Maynard the Indonesian Ayam Cemani Rooster (complete with black feathers, black internal organs and black bones), Rosie, Tammy the Silkie with feathered slippers and Susie. Then there’s Oscar the cow; Bean, Hana, Gilbert, Mork  and Mindy the goats; Molly B, Seymour and Audrey the pigs; Sweetie the sheep; and last but definitely not least, Steve the pony. I think my favourite of their critters was Phyllis the Frizzle hen with her perpetual bad feather day.

Phyllis Diller

Shelley refers to these wonderful animals as her ‘farma-suitables’. We came home totally relaxed and refreshed.  Great entertainment, beautiful healing surroundings.  The very best medicine indeed!



The CFA’s have arrived.

This was our third and shortest day. Only 389.8 kilometres.  It’s a trip that can easily be done in one day but we kept the speed at a steady 90 km/h, giving us better fuel consumption and because it was just a nicer way to travel, all relaxed and carefree.

Our tow beast and R.E.D. rolled as one solid unit.  After leaving the campground this morning though we noticed a sound that wasn’t there during the two previous days.  A sort of grinding sound.  I fully expected to see a trailer wheel drop off and poor R.E.D. tumble onto the highway.  But as we learned in our CPS Boat and Engine Maintenance course, first check the obvious.  Turns out all we needed was a little grease.  With all the rain the night before and accumulated road grit, the ball of the trailer hitch was rubbing metal on metal. A five-minute stop, a little lubrication and all was silent once again.  Once back on the road, Francois looked at me sideways and said ‘and this is why I bring ALL my tools Kathy.’

Nova Scotia Border


R.E.D.’s New Home Province


For Now

Total Trip Recap

Distance: 1365.5 km (848.4 miles)

Average Fuel Consumption: 14.4 l/100km (16.3 miles/US gallon)

Total Litres of Deisel: 193 litres (50.9 gallons)

Fuel Cost: $200

Accomodations: $67

Provisions: $23.53

Next on the agenda is to find a home for R.E.D.




Hi there all you R.E.D. folks.  Today we traded in our deck shoes and sailing gloves to become road pirates, conquering and plundering the highways with R.E.D. in tow.  We kept with our usual sailing schedule departing at the crack of 08:00, second coffee in hand with the plan to stop by mid-afternoon.

The day was clear and warm.  We checked wind forecast along the way which in some places along the Saint Lawrence could present problems but all was good on that front too.

So many memories from last year’s trip came to mind as we drove along…especailly those stormy times.

Hand of Mother Nature, la Malbaie, 2016

I found a great little app that gives information about truck stops, camp grounds, gas stations.  Sort of like Active Captain for road warriors.

Rest Stop

With it we chose a convenient place, not too far off road for the night

Le Rayon de Soleil Campground


Lucky Double 7

The camp ground owners were very nice, found us a secure place for the night with birds singing, biting bugs (it’s that time of year) and distant sounds of Highway 20…but really, the thrill of pulling a sailboat into an RV campground with all the amenities and a few curious looks for $33?  We could easily have done more damage with beer and pizza.

Trip Recap

Mileage: 483 km

Fuel Consumption: 14.2 l/100km (and you all know how loaded dear  R.E.D. is)

Provisions: 2 cappuccinos $7

Accommodations: $33 + bug spray.

Aside from my spices liberating themselves freely from the magnetic strips, the galley had wonderful aromas of Herbes de Province and Dill and there is now a knife behind the galley that may have to stay there for the duration (never did that on the water, even with 45 degree heeling)

Extremely good day for the three land pirates.  Time to crack a chilled beer.

Side note: after having the battery on all day and the refrigerator running, both house and cranking batteries were full. Solar power rocks!