Gander may be famous for its airport and hospitality however it could become infamous for its pot holed roads. Arriving in the rain on the afternoon of July 11th our trip navigator (Nellie the GPS) took us down some side roads in getting to the RV Park that were under construction and were marred by literal ditches running across them. Needless to say DD, even though safely ensconced in the back seat, voiced a number of screech like and incomprehensible mutterings. The entrance to the RV Park didn’t offer much better in the way of transgress but we managed to sort it out without any major mishap.
Other than the need for road work, the RV Park turned out to be a pleasant little spot with very clean washrooms (a must for DD and BBB). Plugging in turned out to be an essential for our 4 nights here as there was little evidence of the big round yellow object in the sky needed to recharge our batteries.
Tuesday July 12th was spent huddled in the 5th wheel (with the odd foray to Timmies) avoiding the tumultuous rains of the day. And here is a good place to provide an update on the Boys v the Girls ongoing Domino tournament. A report on this challenging event has been requested by none other than that other alliterative RV traveller HHH (Harley Hawk Hickman). The Boys had built up what had appeared to be an insurmountable lead of 20 – 9 but the Girls have somehow pulled themselves up off the carpet and have narrowed the gap to a slimmer but still sizable advantage for the boys at 21 – 14. It seems improbable that despite a huge spate of recent luck that this trend can continue and the Boys will continue to dominate.
Wednesday July 13th we set out early for a day trip north to the little burg of Twillingate. Great expectations were held for this trip as Twillingate is considered to be the iceberg and whale watching capital of the world. I do wonder who makes these “world capital” designations. Is it some little known body of the UN or more likely it’s a not so subtle self appointed crown used to lure the unwary traveller?? Regardless, off we went as additionally LL had also been told that there would be Puffins there and as he seems to have a bit of a Puffin fetish so much the better. Sad to say however, that the Puffin story was blown away in puffin of smoke and LL was heartbroken as we were on the completely wrong peninsula.
Despite this setback we drove out to the Long Point Lighthouse north of Twillingate to seek out icebergs and/or whales. From the lighthouse we did spy an iceberg that was just visible way out on the horizon, so there just wasn’t quite the thrill we were expecting and with no whales swimming by it appeared all was lost. Zero for three!!!!
On the way out of town CC inexplicably veered off the main road and down a dirt road emblazoned with large signs advising that the DUMP was closed. DD immediately demanded that CC turn around and go back. Undaunted CC continued on and as if a miracle within 2 minutes a beautiful iceberg came into view. In a rare admission of being wrong DD was quick to apologize to the Captain and pledged to never again question his leadership. This pledge however heartfelt when given, will fade away quickly I would suggest. The iceberg while not the behemoth seen through the binoculars at Long Point, very much satisfied part of our quest this day.
Dover and Pools Island
Thursday June 14th and another day trip. This time we would travel a circle route of over 300 km that would take us through such renowned spots as Gambo, Cape Freels, Deadmans Bay and Musgrave Harbour and so on. Our first side trip took us to the little village of Dover which was the site of an earthquake (7.2) and tsunami in 1929 that caused extensive damage. Dover is also the site of a plane crash in 1942 that had the villages perform a heroic rescue of the downed aircrew.
We next made a side trip to the really, really small village of Pools Island. DD had remembered that a couple we had net while hiking at Imperial Dam a few years earlier in Yuma purchased a home on Pools Island and spent their summers there. A bit unusual in that Lee and Jan hail from New York State but had visited here 17 years ago and fell in love with the place and the people and ended up buying a fixer upper with an ocean view. We had no idea where their house was but figured anyone there would be able to direct us to them. Our first try comically was made to someone from “away” who had no idea. Better luck came on our 2nd attempt and we were directed to a general area with a “house up that way”. Up “that way” we found a truck with New York plates and the house of our hiking friends Jan and Lee. An incredibly beautiful spot on the ocean that would have been spectacular, if not for the drizzle and wind. In true Newfoundland style everyone we met there apologized for the poor weather.
We spent a couple of hours having tea and we were delighted by the love Jan and Lee have for the Island and its people. Lee told us the story of how things work on the Island. He was advised by an Islander that some of the b’ys had just done a neighbours roof and it looked like Lee’s was due to be done. He was told to pile the shingles by the house and let it be known when the roof was ready to be done. All that was required was a few cases of beer and a pot of moose stew. On the appointed day a few of the b’ys showed up early and the roof was done “newfie” style by shortly after lunch. During the work it was apparent that each of the b’ys had a certain role and Lee was bit in the way so he was directed to “get his arse off the roof” which he did and apparently contributed by doing so.
After the roof was done Lee chatted with one of the b’ys about repairs if needed when they were south in the winter. Lee suggested that he be called and would send money for the supplies and labour etc. He was firmly told that it wouldn’t happen that way. If there was a problem with the roof the b’ys would see to it and then phone him and tell him what they did period. And another aside: No locked doors here and when you get home you might find some food or flowers left in your home but nothing will ever be missing except of course if something needed fixing. If not for the weather this might be the best place in the world to live and even with, it still might be.
A short drive on July 15th to Grand Falls – Windsor starts us on our way to arrive at Gros Morne on Saturday the 16th. Expect Gros Morne will be a real highlight of the trip and even the weather seems to be looking up. All of us have our fingers crossed.