This is primarily a travel blog in which I write about traveling in our motorhome. Our travels have

Nacogdoches, TX, United States
I began this blog as a vehicle for reporting on a 47-day trip made by my wife and me in our motorhome down to the Yucatan Peninsula and back. I continued writing about our post-Yucatan travels and gradually began including non-travel related topics. I often rant about things that piss me off, such as gun violence, fracking, healthcare, education, and anything else that pushes my button. I have a photography gallery on my Smugmug site (http://rbmartiniv.smugmug.com).

Saturday, June 29, 2013

"What it Was Was Football" (Andy Griffith)

This morning we managed to slip back into last place.  It was only a few minutes after 9:00AM when we pulled out of Annapolis Royal but with the exception of Herm and Georgia, the “tail gunners” (always bring up the rear) we were the last to leave.  Carol Ann asked me to tell Herm that trying to be early wasn’t all it was cracked up to be.  We are quite happy sleeping in and waiting until the hustle and bustle is over and everyone is out of the way.  It rained on and off during the 96-mile drive and there were no multilane or divided highways so it took us right at 3 hours to reach Lunenburg.  There was only one mishap that I am aware of.  Jim and Lynn’s motorhome suffered a windshield wiper malfunction (as in it seems to have fallen off) requiring them to stop.  Fortunately, Rich and Helen came along and Rich helped with a “temporary” fix (it’s liable to fall off again at any time so I’m told).

Even though we were the last to leave this morning we seemed to have arrived at the Lunenburg Board of Trade RV Campground at about the same time as everyone else.  We had to wait in line behind about 5 other RVs out on the road before we could enter the park.

After arriving in Lunenburg and getting the motorhome parked it wasn’t long before the few “Type A” personalities in our group were outside in the rain washing their windshields and wiping down their cars.  Howard was even rinsing off his motorhome and car with a water hose!  In the rain! These guys need to find some other outlet for that pent-up energy.  It seems like too much fruitless work with it raining every day.  Maybe Carol Ann and I are just lazy.  Anyway, we do have our motorhome washed at least once a year.

A little before 2:00PM we car-pooled down to the Atlantic Fisheries Museum for a tour.  It was quite interesting but I had trouble understanding the guide (not a language problem – just a hearing problem) so I just hung out in the back of the crowd and did a little exploring of my own.  Thursa gave me some very useful photography tips during this time.  She is a “don’t attempt this at home” professional photographer.  I’ll be sure and take advantage of that by hitting her up every once in a while for more tips.  I suppose she could tell me to p _ _ _ off if she wanted to.

Carol Ann and I skipped the “Lobster Lore” lecture at the end of the tour (got enough of that in Bar Harbor) and browsed through the ubiquitous gift shop after which we treated ourselves to some ice cream.  Ice cream shops in the Maritimes are like Dunkin’ Donuts were in Maine.  Every little bump in the road has at least one.

We were supposed to go on a walking tour of the old town after the museum tour was over but it was pouring down rain so most, if not all, of us opted out.  It would have been more of a wading than a walking tour. 

Instead of the wading tour, Carol Ann and I drove around the town looking at old houses.  The historic district is basically the whole town.  Lunenburg was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995.  It is said to be the best example of a planned British colonial settlement in North America.  It was established in 1753 (four years after Halifax was founded) and hasn’t changed a whole lot since then.  It has retained its original layout, which is based upon a rectangular grid pattern that was drawn up in England.  All but the fortifications still exist today.  The original layout consisted of seven north-south streets and nine east-west streets.  Each block was divided into 14 lots, one for each settler, who was also given a larger “garden” lot outside of the town limits.  The citizens have maintained the city’s identity over the past 250 some odd years by preserving the wooden architecture of the houses (95% are built from wood).

Lunenburg has a protected harbor on the Atlantic Ocean and fishing has always been the dominant industry.  One of the most famous fishing vessels was the Bluenose, a fishing schooner built in 1921.  She was also a racing ship and became an icon for Nova Scotia by winning the International Fishermen’s Trophy for 17 straight years.  The "International" Fishermen’s competition was limited to Nova Scotia and Maine.  The Bluenose was wrecked beyond repair on a reef off of Haiti in 1946.  In 1963 a replica, the Bluenose II, was built at Lunenburg using the original Bluenose plans.  The money to build the replica came from the Oland Brewery as a marketing tool for their Schooner Lager beer brand and as a pleasure yacht for the Oland family.  It was sold to the government of Nova Scotia in 1971 for $1 or 10 Canadian dimes and now serves Nova Scotia well as a tourist attraction.

We had dinner tonight with Rich and Helen at The Knot Pub.  The food and beer were pretty good and the prices were very reasonable.  I got a burger for $6 instead of the usual $12 price.  It wasn’t yet dark when we entered the pub so it took a few minutes for my eyes to adjust and for me to realize that I was not back in one of my old college haunts.  Wide-screen TVs were on almost every wall and a football (not soccer) game was in progress.  I saw the yellow and green uniforms and thought it was kind of early, even for pre-season games, but the Green Bay Packers seemed to be playing somewhere that was very warm and sunny.  By the time we were seated I realized that it was not the NFL but the CFL.  It was the first game of the season and the Saskatchewan Roughriders were playing the Edmonton Eskimos.  They play in the summer and early fall.  They start early because it’s too cold in the winter.  I don’t know where today’s game was being played because I thought it was raining all over Canada.

Where do the CFL players come from?  There are only 27 college football teams in Canada so I expect that they may take a few of the leftovers from the NFL draft.  Canadian football is a bit different from American football.  I don’t know why they had to make it different.  I guess it was so they would have a good excuse for not playing against any American teams!   Not really.   They actually experimented with American expansion teams over a 3-year period in the 1990’s.  The experiment failed.

Back to the differences.  For example, when I first noticed the game on the pub television, the score was 35 to 1.  How in the world do you score 1 point?  It sounds like an extra point (or point after touchdown) without the touchdown.  Well, I looked it up and discovered that one point is awarded for a “safety” (player receiving the kick-off fails to return it out of the end zone).  American football awards two points for a safety, UNLESS (I discovered) the safety is scored on an extra point or two-point conversion attempt.  The American rule for the one-point safety is so complicated that there are only two know occurrences of it happening in Division I college football.  There has been no one-point safety scored in the NFL since 1940.

The best seats at a CFL game are not on the 50-yard line.  They are on the 55-yard line.  That’s right.  The field is 110 yards long (plus about 12 yards wider).  Maybe it’s a metric thing like the liters at the fuel pumps.  Also, a Canadian football team has 12 players on a side instead of 11 as in American football.  The extra man is in the backfield.  They probably need him there because they only have 3 downs to move the ball 10 yards instead of 4 downs as in American football.  With only 3 downs, the Canadians throw the ball more than the Americans, if you can believe that.  One of the good things about Canadian football is that a team only has 20 seconds from the end of the previous play to run the next one.  In college and NFL football a team has 40 seconds to get the ball into play.  American football allows each team to have three timeouts in each half.  The Canadians allow only one timeout per half and there is no two-minute warning.  However, in Canadian football, the clock is stopped after every play during the last three minutes of each half.  Something really weird is that the referee can actually give possession to the defensive team if he feels that the offensive team has repeated (how many I don’t know) “delay of game” penalties. 

There are a lot more differences in the two games than I care to read about.  It seems like most of the changes made by the Canadians were to make the game move faster, which is a very good thing.  I think I have covered the main ones adequately.  At least enough to justify my calling the Canadian game “strange.”

Tomorrow is a “free day” and the first thing on our agenda is to buy some wet weather gear.  I still refuse to wear one of those funny looking rain hats common to the Maritimes and New England.  Perhaps a rain slicker with a hood will do.  Also rain pants and some rubber boots (Wellington’s, they are called up here).  Maybe even a life preserver.  It’s raining that much.

At the moment it is 8:30PM and you can’t see anything outside.  No, it’s not dark yet.  (at least another hour to go).  It’s pea soup fog.  We are overlooking (I use the term loosely as it is mostly just "over", there isn't much "looking" due to the fog) the harbor and it sounds like a foghorn contest down there.

1 comment :

Croft Randle said...

Yes, most CFL players come from the US (you seem to have a lot of eatras) but each team must have a minimum number of Canadians. We have produced some good players, some of whom have moved to the US.

There is no "Fair Catch" in Canada. Many imported players get a big surprise when they wave their arm in the air only to be brought down hard.