A Vagabond Trip to Nova Scotia by Albert E. Fletcher

1941 ChryslerAugust 23, 1950 at 6 P. M. Richard N. Gaylord and Albert E. Fletcher started for Cape Breton Island and Nova Scotia.

We drove a 1941 Chrysler Royal, towing a sleeping trailer 3 1/2’ x 7’ x 2’.

As we intended to live out-of-doors and do our own cooking we purchased $20.00 worth of groceries which were stored in two refrigerators. The refrigerators were to be used for storing fish on the return trip, or lobsters if no fish were caught.

Our route was outlined for us by the ALA special route plan. Route was through #20 – #9 to Wellesley Hills, route #16 to route #128 to U.S. #1. We were in the Newtons at 9:30 P.M., everything going fine, traffic fairly heavy as we approached Boston.

After reaching U.S. #1 we very quickly came to the new Turnpike from Biddeford to Portland, about 60 miles long. This wonderful road makes your car feel as though it were floating on air it is so smooth.
We continued to drive on the Freeport, Maine, to visit L.L. Bean’s Sporting Goods Company. We arrived at this  point at 1:30 A.M. We travelled all over the upper floors of a three story wooden building, devoted to the sale and manufacture of fishing, hunting and sporting equipment. Although the building is constructed of wood throughout, it is protected by sprinklers. This manufacturing concern is the only one in the world having a complete Post Office in the building. The Post Office is connected to upper floors by chutes and conveyors. The town of Freeport uses this unique Post Office also.

We left L.L. Bean’s at 1:45 A.M. and had a cup of coffee at the lunch room in Woolwich. We inquired of a truck driver where we could sleep for the night in the trailer. He told us to pull to the side of the road, off the road, and sleep the same as they did. This sounded fine! We drove out of town and found the required “off the road” place, hopped out of the car and into the trailer. Because we wanted fresh air we left the dome top open about one foot and we then could see the stars. We fell asleep in about two minutes. We were tired as we had travelled about 240 miles.

Entrance_to_Maine_Turnpike_at_Kittery,_Maine_(80048)Soon after going to sleep I awoke. I thought some one was pulling my hair, so I sat up and found out that when a truck weighing 20 tons goes by and your ten feet away, it creates a vacuum strong enough to pull your hair, and you too if your not careful. Dick and I closed the top of the trailer and slept until 5:30 A.M., between the rocking of the trailer by vacuum and the ssstt. of a car doing 80 M.P.H.

We got out of the sack, somewhat refreshed, drove eight miles to a lunch and gas station, washed up, had toast, eggs and coffee and felt pretty good.

We drove steadily until we came to Cherryfield, the location of a salmon river named the Narraguagus River. Thomas Walsh wanted me to look it over. The Narraguagus River is 385 miles from Westfield and at this writing is very low and it will require considerable rain to bring a flush to make the salmon run up. The river is about three-fourth the width of the Westfield River. The Narraguagus Inn is  a very nice old home where they furnish rooms at $2.00 per day and breakfast only 75¢.

The scenery was beautiful all the way up the shore line, very rugged seacoast, rocks and more rocks, pounded by heavy ocean waves, white crested and angry.

We arrived at the border before noon, 471 miles from home. The Custom Officers asked only a few questions and sent us off with best wishes for a successful fishing trip.

The trip from St. Stephen, N.B., to Amherst, N.,S. was rolling black-top roads with miles upon miles of fir and spruce trees on each side. Towns became smaller as we worked into the interior. Moncton is a large city 41 miles from the Nova Scotia border town of Amherst. We arrived at Amherst, N. S. at 10:45 P.M., Atlantic Daylight Savings Time (one hour ahead of New England) 696 miles from home.

We talked with the clerk at the Information Booth and he recommended we go to the old Fort at Amherst to park our trailer and sleep. We slipped into our sleeping bags at 11:30 P.M. and did not move until 8:30 A.M. A beautiful sleep. Soon after awaking we drove to the first brook on Highway #6, cooked our breakfast.

Route #6 is gravel and not too good. We would take route #4 another time, on the way to New Glasgow.
We stopped at noon in the telephone office at Tatamagouche and I was finally successful in calling Westfield to let our families know we were O.K. Arriving at the New Glasgow we reported to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to let them look over our outfit and tell them where we were going. This precaution was taken to enable the folks back home to get in touch with us no mater where we were in Nova Scotia.

We secured out license in the Custom’s House form a Major A. MacDonald, who gave us the name of M. M. Manson at Sherbrooke, to assist us in exploring the East and West branches of the St. Mary’s River.
The next few days were a great change from hardened roads and towns. On the map roads colored bluer were listed as other roads, no route number. We travelled from New Glasgow to Riverton, Eureka, Springville, Caledona, the first day. These gravel roads are very dusty. You can either drive fast and “give it” or drive slow and “take it”.

At 3:00 P.M. we saw a large part of the West Branch of the St. Mary’s River lying in a valley. A friendly farmer allowed us to drive down to the river on his land. What a hill! I don’t know how I ever got back up, even in low speed, wide open!

We fished for two hours, but no luck. We cooked our supper and went to bed under the stars. At 3 A.M. I awoke to a noise and shining the flashlight outside the trailer I found we were surrounded by a herd of sheep going to the river to drink. Boy did they run! At daybreak I heard a roar of wings and saw some geese landing in the pool. I crept out in stocking feet and took some movies before they were frightened away.

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