Date: Tue, 28 Nov 1995
From: Rita Baker

Two years ago my husband, son, two bassetts and me headed to Nova Scotia for a two week camping vacation. We stopped for two days outside of Boston to visit Sturbridge, and then headed toward Canada.

Well, we weren't in Maine 10 minutes when some kind of debris sailed off of a truck and landed right in the center of our windshield. We quickly pulled over, trying to decide what to do. I was sitting there with a lap full of glass. I already had a cast on my left leg and was worried about the glass going down inside the cast. My husband went to the travel trailer to get the "Dustbuster". As he was returning, a Maine State Police Officer pulled over and asked if there was a problem. As he got closer to me he could see what the problem was. After we removed the glass from my lap, the officer guided us up to the toll facility. We went inside and he found the closest windshield replacement company, called to verify that they had our windshield in stock, gave us directions, and stopped toll traffic while we turned our truck and 32 ft. trailer around and continued up Rt95 for two more exits. The windshield place replaced our windshield and we were back on the road in less than 2 hours.

We figured that we were off to a fresh start and that our problems were over. We decided to take the more direct route to Canada and chose to follow Rt. 9 instead of Rt 1. On the map it looked like a decent road; two lanes in each direction. Half way along the road we saw a sign that said "Pavement Ends" They weren't kidding. Here we were traveling along with other cars, trucks, and buses making our way through a graded dirt road. It lasted about five miles and then the road appeared again. We got into Canada and traveled by a small ferry to our campground. The attendant made comment, and we noticed the smell of burning brakes. We were hoping that it was just from that last road and would cool over night. We got to our campground and settled down for the night.

The next morning we headed off for the St. Johns / Digby Ferry into Nova Scotia. The trip was nice. When we got off the ferry and started to make our way through Digby, my husband realized he had no trailer brakes. The truck brakes weren't strong enough to handle 32 ft of trailer, so we set off to look for a trailer shop. The only one was on the other side of Nova Scotia. We stopped at various places to inquire about a local mechanic and finally found a fellow who said he would look at it but could spend no time working on it. Well, an hour later when he was done examining the whole trailer he told us that he had no parts to fix it, but if he cut the connection on one brake, it would free up the other three brakes, and we could probably make do on the 3 brakes until we got home to Baltimore. After he finished freeing the brake, we asked what we owed him and he said $10 (canadian). We gave him much more for all his help.

The last thing that tried to make our trip a disaster was the black flies in Yarmouth. We had set up camp there and used it as a point for venturing off. The campground was well covered with trees and shrubs, but they provided a home for the black flies. The bite of these creatures is worse than any mosquito. As it ended up my husband was allergic to them. While we were in Peggy's Cove, his neck turned from mildly inflamed to hotter than a second degree burn -- that's exactly what it looked like. We stopped at a Pharmacy to get Benedryl, but it did no good. By the time we got back to camp he couldn't raise his neck enough to see in front of him because of the swelling. The only place open on Sunday was a hospital outpatient center. They took him right in and gave him a shot of Prednisone and the tablets he needed to continue the therapy. He spent the rest of the day sleeping. BTW -- THAT was the only day that it wasn't rainy or foggy during the whole time we were in Nova Scotia.

Did this ruin our vacation? No. We were determined to have a good time in spite of any obstacle. In fact we went back to Nova Scotia the following year and had a much better trip (except that my son took a friend and the two of them argued the whole time we were away).

Rita Baker

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