Thursday, August 6, 2009

August 7 Sidney Crosby brings Stanley Cup to Cole Harbour, his home town

13,000KM on the clock.
We are heading back toward Halifax. Tomorrow is a big day in Cole Harbour as Sidney Crosby, Captain of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Stanley Cup winners, brings the cup to his home town and on his 22nd birthday too. Quite an achievement. Shawn very excited.

We will spend this last weekend in and around the Halifax area. Rhianna, James and I fly home on Monday to Victoria and we plan to spend a week or so on Pender before heading up to Comox.
Shawn will drive home alone, allowing him to cover more distance per day than we can, while travelling with the children. He anticipates it will take about 10 days I think.
It has been a great trip.....thanks for following our adventures and being at the other end of the computers....we have felt very connected to everyone along the way.
See you all soon. Happy Summer 2009.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

August 5 Discovered kids are related to Rita MacNeil from Big Pond, Cape Bretton, NS

Shawn's Scottish ancestors, named Campbell, came to Canada in 1806 from Barra in the outer Hebrides, having previously lived on the Isle of Skye. We knew that his G, G, G, Grandparents, Donald P Campbell and his wife Annie, were buried here in the community of Johnstown, near Big Pond and we set out to find the graves.

A chance meeting with a local, connected us by phone to Bob & Fran Campbell, who invited us to come over to his house, as his brother Louis was home from Texas and he had studied local geneology and they were both knowlegable in local history. Turned out that we are related to them and that their home still sits on the original land where Hector Campbell had first arrived in 1806.
Donald is son of Peter who is son of Hector. In all we managed to complete a picture of 10 generations from Hector arriving in North America to Rhianna and James. The Campbells are the Shawn's grandmothers family tree. Having just visited the Rita MacNeil Tea House, only minutes before finding the cemetary, we were surprised to learn that the graves we were tending were also Rita MacNeils Great Grandparents and that in her autobiography she talks affectionately about her Great Grannie Campbell, who was Shawn's Grandma's Grandma.

Also surprisingly, six years ago Bob & Fran Campbell had arranged a home exchange on Pender Island and remember visiting the winery. They were also in Ottawa the day before Canada Day, watching the same RCMP Musical ride that we attended. Their son, Bob.....everyone is James or RCMP and rides in the ride. A strange series of coincidences and events. Thank you for your time and hospitality, it really made our Cape Bretton visit.

So we left Cape Bretton, with knowledge of some new cousins and many happy memories.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

August 2,3,4 Cabot Trail,Cape Bretton, NS

The Cabot Trail is a very scenic, mostly coastal, drive around the top of Cape Bretton island and is home to the proud descendants of early Scottish immigrants and Highland Mountains, with road grades of 13%!!! The area is mostly National Park and boasts some fantastic beaches, complete with a hint of pink in the rock and sand and is home to many moose, elk and eagles. The Atlantic is wonderfully warm here and the kids had a great time, body surfing in the big waves.

James loves lobster and is quiet for remarkably long periods of time as he picks his way through, ensuring non is wasted. Our 5th Wheel now has a lobster trap on the roof and a sea star mounted on the skateboard at the back, making us easy to spot and remember. We have encountered many travellers in the campgrounds who, recognising the lobster trap, have mentioned that they have seen us before and remember seeing the lobster trap on the roof.

As this is the turn around point of our trip, we decided to pour out the Pacific water collected on our beach in Comox and collect some Atlantic water to take home.

John Cabot, for whom the trail is named, is thought to have first landed here in the 15th Century. He was an Italian, sailing & exploring for England. Although he was here in the 15th Century, he did not stay and Jacques Cartier is credited with making discoveries much deeper into Canada, when he ventured up the St Lawrence seaway. The French Acadians and the Scots settled Cape Bretton in the late 18th and early 19th Century. For many, it was the first land they saw. Anxious to get off the boat after the, often very difficult, Atlantic crossing they settled here. The scenery would have reminded them of Scotland and they proceeded to name most of it after areas of Scotland. It is said that some seasick wives jumped off the ships and swam to shore, refusing to get back on the ship, once they had found solid ground, forcing their husbands to follow them. Gaelic is still taught here at the Gaelic College in St Annes.