Another overnight at Camp Walmart, this time in Antigonish on July 4th, on our way to North Sydney and the ferry to Newfoundland Labrador. Of all the places this Walmart was populated overnight by more RVs than any other we have stayed at since leaving Ontario.
We opted to head off the Trans Canada Highway on our way to North Sydney to detour around the town of Fredericton all in hopes of sparing the Captain from flashing back on a certain “experience” many years ago that continues to haunt him to this day. More details on this sordid incident will be unveiled in a future Blog Post. Please stay tuned.
At North Sydney on July 5th we overnighted at the Arm of Gold Campground. This RV Park was the closest one to the Ferry and where LL and BBB would put the Phantom Phaeton into storage while we travelled the rock. Before putting their baby to bed innumerable trips back and forth to the Eagle accomplished the complicated task of merging our stuff for our joint venture. Several checks were conducted to ensure all necessary items were aboard. Heaven forbid should we forget BBB’s Moosie pillow and LL’s Green bay PJs.
So all packed up and ready to go and other than DD’s incessant nattering that this is her “all about me month” we are ready to “Screech” one way or another.
Atlantic Vision – July 6th and 7th
The recommendation to arrive at the ferry terminal at least 2 hours before departure was interpreted by DD to mean to be there at least 5 ½ hours in advance. Rest assured 2 hours would have been more than plenty but hey we’ve got nothing but time. And speaking of “nothing but time” 16 hours on a ferry clearly brings home that message. Luckily most of the trip was overnight, although for some of us landlubbers (CC in particular) a restful night was not in the order book despite the quasi comfortable prison cell sized stateroom. Some entertaining live music in the bar (Michael Averill) helped pass the time.
Prior to boarding we did have a concern about whether the food in our fridge and freezer would survive the trip as all propane tanks had to be closed. Happy to report we were not greeted with the smell of rotting veggies or sour milk and suspect the close to freezing temperatures aided in this respect.
St. John’s (Pippy Park) – July 7th, 8th, 9th
Leaving the ferry we headed for our first scheduled stop at Pippy Park in St. John’s but not without first refuelling with a Double Double at the first Tim’s along the way. At Pippy we faced the first (of probably many) tough group quandaries that required a decision. Should we camp in the park area that had free wifi or the section with the comfort station? Give the decision to DD and BBB as bathroom proximity won out on this day. After a good night’s sleep we woke up to heavy fog and drizzle which now has become the norm.
Off to Cape Spear for our first day (July 8th) of sightseeing on the Rock and if this is any indication of the delights that await us we are in for some treats. Cape Spear is the home of Canada’s oldest lighthouse and sits on a hill with a splendid view of the ocean and across to Signal Hill in St. John’s. Cape Spear was also home to a WW11 battery for protection from U-boats. We were amazed with how quiet the ocean was from above, which flew in face of the waves that could be seen crashing the shore.
The afternoon found us visiting Signal Hill and the Cabot Tower and the Queen’s Battery Barracks. The history of Signal Hill dates back to 1762 and the Seven Years War between the French and English. In more recent times the Cabot Tower housed radio transmitters that allowed communication between North America and Europe during the Second World War. On our way from Cape Spear to Signal Hill we had to navigate our way through downtown St. John’s and had our first experience with its very narrow and arbitrary street layout. My suspicion is that the roadways were designed by a drunken Italian spaghetti maker who came up with the layout by tossing a handful of soggy spaghetti against a wall???
On July 9th we paid a visit to the little fishing village of Bauline.
Afterwards we headed back to downtown St. John’s and around taking in the many old churches and colourful buildings in the Jelly Bean District, Quidi Vidi and George Street. Unfortunately, we old folks were too tired to stay and enjoy some of the down home nightlife for which St. John’s is renowned. LL had wanted to get “screeched” but he apparently has had enough of that listening to DD.
While downtown we did get to hear the performance of the Harbour Symphony by the ships docked in the harbour. See in the following video.
We could have easily spent more time here but with only a couple of weeks for the whole island we moved on to Clarenville for an overnight stop on July 10th and then to Gander on July 11th to explore this area for a few days. On the foggy drive to Clarenville we finally spotted, albeit fleetingly, a “Bullwinkle” racing across a marsh. BBB can finally give up on the Mookie Moose anthem. At Timmies in Clarenville we experienced firsthand a “newfie” dialect which made our attempts at understanding the conversation futile. We also now heard first hand a few other colloquialisms that make the folks here unique such as “lard tunderin”, “I dies at you”, “some shockin good” and my favourite “stunned as me arse”.