Day 20: Moncton the Unremarkable

Not planning on staying in a Coastal Inn again. Our room was crawling with ants which the girls happily squashed all over and when J brought it up at check out the desk guy barely apologised and that was it. No upgrade to hot breakfast, no 10% off, no sincere concern on his part at all. Which means it probably isn’t a rare occurence.

Yuck.

Breakfast was another unremarkable continental. Our hotel was actually in Dieppe which is basically the French side of Moncton. The sides are separated by a large ring road/roundabout which we circled many times over the course of the day going from hotel to truck wash to this to that. Driving is becoming a bit of chore. Well, city driving anyway. The provincial driving is still beautiful and there is a lot to see. New Brunswick is lovely rolling hills, lots of trees, lots of rocks, lots of water… kind of like that Arrogant Worms song again…

J found a truck wash after dropping off the girls and was going to get change to start washing but he was already in his business clothes. The girl at the wash asked if he was going to do the wash dressed like that. J said yes, as he has been doing in all the other cities. And she said:

We have guys who will wash it for you.

J: How much is that

Girl: 7.50

J: Sev’n fiddy! Giver!

Moncton sits on the Petitecodiac River which connects to the Bay of Fundy. The Bay of Fundy has some of the highest tidal differentials in the world. In fact, the tides are so extreme that the rivers coming off the Bay exhibit what is called a tidal bore. Basically, the river flows in one direction during high tide and then changes direction during low tide. One of the best places to see the bore is Tidal Bore Park. M hoped to be able to see it around 10:30 am so that’s where J had dropped them off.

Except she had looked at the wrong day. The bore came in a 9:30 am. So no bore. Just a walk along the river in the misty wind. We’re in a funny part of the year where tourist season is just getting started in the Maritimes. The weather is really unpredictable and most tourist bureaus and visitor centres have just opened for the season. We travel like that – never in peak season but usually in the off or shoulder season: Oct, Nov, Feb, May. Why? We don’t know. It just always works out like that.

 J’s meeting was only a few blocks away so they walked into town to get coffee and a snack before meeting up with Dad. They found a lovely coffee shop (there seems to be at least one good one in each city that’s not Starbucks, Time Horton’s, or Second Cup) and had a drink with their leftover cake from The Happy Baker yesterday. Then they continued walking to find Dad.

Moncton is not nearly as charming as Fredericton but more modern and bustling. The City Hall is a modern building and the main road is a busy strip of traffic, business people, and office buildings. We found dad and the PT soon enough – he was just finishing up. Turns out J had to do some work on PT and need a Canadian Tire fast.

One thing we’ve learned about Canadian cities is that no matter how small they all have a Canadian Tire. Or two. Or three. It is Canadian after all. So we found one a J went into buy the parts he needed. Then he proceeded to work on the PT. And the girls huddled inside as it was windy and raining and cold. We are in the Maritimes after all. The weather changes constantly. Eventually M got the girls involved in a movie. And J continued to work.

When all was said and done a good two hours had passed in that parking lot. Wendy’s was had for lunch and then we finally headed up to Moncton’s famed Magnetic Hill. We followed some signs and eventually found ourselves at the newly renovated Magnetic Hill Winery. What a little treasure! The 1867 farmhouse was almost finished being restored and the owners made wine from everything but grapes – apples, blueberries, rhubarb… They were tasty wines and we are bringing a bottle home. The owner pointed us in the right direction for Magnetic Hill and we were off.

Please don’t ever be fooled by the notion of a magnetic hill. The story goes that your car will be “pulled” back up the hill by the magnetic force. So you pay your $5 (Yeah! $5!) to drive the little road, stop the car, put it in neutral, and marvel as your vehicle is pulled back “up” the hill. Only it’s really an optical illusion. Basically, when the view of the horizon is completely obscured by surrounding terrain one gets the sense that the hill is sloping upwards when in fact it is sloping down. So keep yer 5 bucks and go buy some wine instead.

So we left Moncton and headed to Halifax. As we neared Aulac, we remembered the kind tea shop man’s advice about the German restaurant. Well, it was getting around dinner time so we pulled off and found the Schnitzel Haus and a fine German meal we had. Sausages, spatzle, schnitzel, red cabbage… another one of these little finds that perk up the day. The girls even enjoyed their dinner and there was a table full of kids books and toys so we even ate in relative peace.

And onward to Halifax. We booked a hotel via Hotwire and ended up at the Holiday Inn in Dartmouth, just across the river from Halifax. It was very clean, modern, and the staff were very attentive. They sent up milk and cookies for the girls (who were still awake of course) and offered day passes to the Sportplex across the street. The girls ended up watching TV with their bedtime snacks and then snuggled down with mom for sleep while dad continued to work for a few hours.

Yes, hours.

Too bad you can’t bank sleep. You sure can bank exhaustion…

  • Melodies: Narnia: The Horse & His Boy, Marley & Me, Backyardigans Super Spy
  • Miles: 110 (175 km)
  • Meals: hotel continental, Wendy’s, German fare in Aulac
  • Meltdowns: we’ve stopped keeping track.
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