how to get to pei, road trip version, part two (aka the argument-diffusing power of a fundy beach)

Not so much an argument as Do you have to eat your chips like that???

But this comes later.

First, cross over into New Brunswick and go directly to the info centre to ask about restaurants between where you are and where you’re going. Info centre people hate this question and, it seems, don’t have an answer. BUT!!! they tell you with a certain amount of pride… there IS a zip line at Grand Falls.

Okie dokie, then. Remember to say thank you.

Don’t entirely discount the zip line. Afterall you enjoyed the one at your local Treetop Eco-Adventure Park.

At Grand Falls witness a fearful gorge and decide that, gee whillikers, if only you weren’t so darned hungry, thirsty, tall, short… or if it wasn’t so cold, hot, rainywindysunny or possibly on the cusp of a locust invasion, you might seriously consider doing some zipping.


(Notice a child being strapped in as you leave.)

Leave anyway.

Drive and drive and drive and drive and drive (it’s a long road through NB) until you need gas and then while at some obscure off the beaten track gas station, find the sweetest little place for lunch on the River John.

DSC04062 DSC04060 DSC04058

DSC04064_1Enjoy your meal because the friendly server is very possibly right when she says this is the best place to eat between here and St. John.

DSC04104And as lovely as St. John probably is, it’s not on the agenda this trip.

DSC04105Continue to drive and drive and drive with the intention of getting to the coast by nightfall. Don’t despair of having no idea where you will spend the night.

Read brochures from the info place and find a motel at somewhere called Deer Island, a short ferry ride off the coast.

Call and speak to motel owner Diane who says sure she has a room, come on over.

Don’t panic when you can’t figure out how to find the ferry.

Call Diane again who will give you directions via back roads.

Don’t panic because the ferry leaves at 6 p.m. and you can’t remember if Diane said to turn left or right at the place that sells propane. Have faith in your instinct.

Find the ferry with time to spare.

DSC04067The line up waiting to board is three cars long, including yours.

Enjoy the view.

DSC04072Do a jig if the spirit moves you.

DSC04069Find the motel and be happy with your tiny perfect room in this dreamy spot and who cares if not all the outlets work.

DSC04094DSC04075DSC04095 Eat the fish the even-lovelier-in-person Diane makes you for dinner because there is nowhere else on the island to eat and anyway, it’s excellent fish, caught by her son. And there is a patio.

In the morning walk to where there used to be a thriving fishing industry and now is mostly litter and emptiness.

DSC04084DSC04086 DSC04082 DSC04081Find a veggie place where you take what veggies you want and leave money in a tin can.

DSC04093Be happy when the veggie seller shows up before you choose your onions and carrots because it’s excellent chatting with her although what she says is a lot of sadness about the island losing funding for its once perfectly functional school, and that now there isn’t enough money to pay even a single teacher so all children are ferried to the mainland, every day, to attend school. Much of this, of course, is connected to the loss of fishing.

Notice the once lovely houses, ancient family homesteads and funky cottages going derelict. It used to be a thriving community the veggie seller says.

DSC04092 DSC04080DSC04099DSC04079Wonder aloud why all the houses are black and white.

Then find a book shop in one of those ancient family homesteads where the owners have lived and run the store for decades. They’re thinking of moving away. No one comes anymore, they say. Everyone’s moving.

DSC04096_1 DSC04097Leave some love on the island and think about returning one day.

DSC04100Driving along the Fundy coast at last… marvel at the beauty and (again) the lack of places to eat (and why didn’t you bring a picnic??). Decide to open a bag of chips to tide you over. (No pun intended. Honest.)  Make the mistake of asking your travel mate if they would like to eat some of your chips.

They would.

And they do.

(It’s not that you mind sharing, it’s just that they eat them…like that….)

And because it’s been a long day with beauty and sad stories and little food your hearing is unusually sensitive. Pull the car over and with as much exasperation as you can muster, say you need some air, to walk and breathe and be alone for a minute without the sound of chips everywhere.

Make sure it’s a beach made of small boulders so that you can’t actually walk very far comfortably.

Allow this to increase your level of crankiness.

DSC04106_1Find a rock that looks sit-able and sit there, staring out across the water and at the tiny tide pools at your feet.


There is magic in breathing and tide pools and rocks.

DSC04110_1When sufficient silence and magic has been inhaled walk back to where your travel companion is also breathing and take their hand.

Smile and breathe together.

Head back to the car but not before choosing a small boulder to take home, a reminder that in the greater scheme of things, chips–no matter how stupid noisy–are but small potatoes.


Part One, here.

Next: Part Three–PEI…!! Claustrophobia on the Confederation Bridge.