Church and Garden

St. Mary's Botanical Walk

Saturday - August 11, 2007

The weather sure can change here, we woke up this morning to cloudy skies and a strong wind again. I needed to do laundry and I haven’t been able to update my blog all week so we decided to head to Rocky Harbour as there was no Laundromat in Port au Choix and no internet – it was a room with a view but no amenities! It was very cool this morning, only about 12 so when we stopped at Parsons Pond for lunch I put on a sweatshirt, then when we got to Rocky Harbour it was about 18 so off went the sweatshirt and back on a tee.

On the way to Rocky Harbour we drove into Cow Head and stopped at St. Mary’s Botanical Walk, which is a beautiful garden located next to the Anglican Church. I went into the church and it is very pretty, I wondered if there were any arguments as to who got to sit on the right side of the church so they could look out at the gardens! It certainly would be a pleasure to go to church there during the summer.

We got to Rocky Harbour about 3 and got set up then went into town and got fuel – it was cheaper here than in Port au Choix, and we also went to the harbour and bought some more salmon and halibut. When we got back I went and did laundry and while it was doing I got my blog updated as well as my banking, etc. The internet at the trailer is spotty but is fine up at the laundry so it helped pass the time while the laundry was being done.

By the time I got finished with the laundry it was 6:30 and just starting to rain. John barbecued and was lucky that it was just spitting as now it is pouring again. John isn’t complaining as he is hoping it will wash the salt spray off the trailer and truck! They are calling for sun tomorrow – we wonder what it will actually be like!

Sunset at Port au Choix

Room with a View

Point Richie Lighthouse

Waves at Point Richie

Port au Choix Harbour

Friday - August 10, 2007

It rained almost all night but we woke up at 5:45 to no rain, a partly sunny sky, and the Strait of Belle Isle was pretty calm – great the ferry will be running. We arrived at the ticket office about 6:40 and got our ticket for the 8 a.m. ferry, and by the time the ferry got there the parking area on the dock was full so I think they had a full boat going back and it looked like it was pretty full coming over going by the number of vehicles that came off.

Our trailer was only about a minute drive from the terminal so we were glad to see that it had weathered the wind okay. Of course it was the first time we have had a site without hydro (wouldn’t you know it!) so we were concerned about the batteries and fridge, but, although the batteries were down, the fridge was still running, much to our relief, as they hadn’t been charged since the sun went down on Wednesday. We got hooked up and drove to Port au Choix which was about 95 km down the road.

We are now parked right, and I mean right, on the water and it is a beautiful spot looking directly out into the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The wind has picked up again so the waves are crashing in, gotta love that sound, but it is cool – only in the mid 50’s. I think tonight will be an electric blanket night!! With the wind John isn’t going to attempt to barbecue, we will do an indoor dinner tonight.

After getting unhooked we took a drive through Port au Choix and what a pretty town and very prosperous looking – apparently the shrimp fishing is really good here.

This is the area where the Maritime Archaic Indians and the Dorset and Groswater Paleo-Eskimos lived and hunted thousands of years ago and this area has yielded the most information about their habitat and way of life, and is regarded as one of the richest archeological finds in North America. We visited the Visitor’s Centre that has a really great display about their life and a lot of artifacts which they have uncovered including intricate carvings, hand-wrought tools and weapons.

We then drove out to the Point Riche Lighthouse that offers a beautiful view out into the gulf. The waves were pounding in out there and with the flat rocks and the water a real blue green colour, we were reminded of Lions Head. Now that we are back at the trailer we have a really good view of the Visitor’s Centre standing by itself out on the point, hopefully we will have a wonderful sunset tonight!!

Tonight’s job will be sorting out pictures – John has taken 120+ since we last downloaded them so he has the job of sorting them out and then giving me the best ones for my photo album plus for putting a few on the blog.

Fishing Boats at L'Ance-au-Loop

Point Amour Lighthouse

Thursday - August 9, 2007

Wow, what an adventure today was, and my wishing for a nice day was all in vain. It rained all night and we woke up to rain and wind, but onto the ferry we went – we were up at 6 to pick up our tickets by 7 for the 8 a.m. ferry. The ride over was rough but certainly not enough to make us seasick. We had breakfast when we got on board then after eating we went up to a lounge on the 7th level which looked out over the front of the ship – what a nice view of waves and rain, although we did see a dolphin frolicking in the waves.

We docked at Blanc-Sablon in Quebec and then drove into Labrador and up the coast to where the highway crossed the Pinware River – very pretty. We would have liked to go to Red Bay where there is what sounds like a good National Historical Site about the Basque whalers, but we were afraid we wouldn’t have enough time to drive there, do the site and get back to the ferry by 2:30 for its 3:30 p.m. return (little did we know!). Instead we toured around all the little towns between the ferry and Pinware and they were really nice and the drive was very scenic. Fortunately, although it was raining and there were gale force winds, we could still see a fair bit. We stopped and toured a little museum which depicted life along the coast a hundred years ago and chatted for a while with the young fellow who was doing tours of it - he told me all about his trapping experiences! He also filled us in on the story of the S.S. Raleigh, a British naval ship, which sunk off the coast of Labrador in 1922 - quite interesting to hear the details.

When we got back to the ferry dock at 2:30 we were met by a couple from Vancouver who like us had crossed over in the morning just for the day and they proceeded to tell us the return ferry had been cancelled, it was still in St. Barbe, but there would be an update around 4 as to whether or not it was going to make the return crossing. You guessed it, it didn’t!! So here we are stuck for the night in Labrador and of course totally unprepared. We went back to L’Anse au Clair and got a room at the Northern Lights motel, then we headed out trying to pick up a few necessities – we got toothbrushes, toothpaste and I got a nightie but no where could I find a speck of makeup! Either women in Labrador don’t wear makeup of else they buy it all from Avon as I couldn’t even buy an eyebrow pencil anywhere. We drove as far back as Blanc-Sablon but did manage to find a deal on beer – whoopee!!

We had dinner at the motel then had an early night, all the excitement tired us out, plus, I didn’t have my computer (and the hotel had wi-fi!!), my palm, my phone or a book – talk about unprepared. There were not a lot of TV stations so it was a very quiet, boring evening. Every store we had gone into I had checked for books thinking I could buy one to read and they didn’t even sell those, go figure. I think the motel quite liked the ferry being cancelled as there were a number of us who stayed there for the night.

The motel did have a computer in the lobby so I checked my e-mail and John checked his and he had an e-mail from Steve and Cheryl, a couple we met in northern Arizona who live in White Rock B.C. and they will be visiting the Gaspesie the same time as us as Cheryl is from there, so we are hoping we can meet up when we’re there.

Motorcycle RVing

Marjorie Bridge on Path to Thrombolites

Thrombolites (Living Rocks)

Boat Rotting on Dock

Flower Island Lighthouse

Wednesday, - August 8, 2007

Today was beautiful, sunny and warm. We drove back to St. Barbe, which was only a bit over 100 km and got set up at the St. Barbe RV Park, which is like a Wal Mart parking lot. We were told all the electric sites were taken (but as of 9:30 this evening there are at least two left) so we are parked in the front corner with out service. Fortunately, with the solar panels etc this is no problem for us. We had to fill up with water here as we only had a little bit on board, unfortunately there is a boil water order here so we will only use the water for washing.

After getting set up we drove back to Flower Cove and took a walk over Marjorie bridge and then a gravel walk to Lawless Cove to view the thrombolites. The thrombolites are bun-shaped boulders, but are actually fossil-like remains of algae and bacteria growth. The only other place these thrombolites have been found is in Australia. John also drove out to the dock, an extremely bumpy drive, which had a lot of rotting ships on it, very depressing!! Coming back from seeing the thrombolites we walked along the shore for a while and it reminded us of Lions Head, all flat rocks and very pretty.

We came back from Flower Cove and drove to Foster’s Cove, then on to Black Duck Cove, which was very pretty. At Black Duck Cove there is an overlook area looking out over the straight so we could look over to Labrador and also see a number of fishing boats out in Belle Straight. There was a small park there and it was really cute, there were quite a few miniature buildings, plus a playground, and we were surprised by the people there, with kids, who had come to the playground on ATV’s - certainly a different way of life! We also saw a number of black ducks so guess that is where the name comes from.

We came back to the trailer and sat outside for a bit before having dinner. Again, another beautiful day and we are hoping it will be a nice day tomorrow to go to Labrador.

Tuesday - August 7, 2007

We woke to sunshine this morning which unfortunately didn’t last long but it didn’t rain other than a couple of drops so we aren’t complaining. John checked the latitude here and it is the same as James Bay, no wonder the temperatures are in the mid to high 60’s.

We went into St. Anthony this morning and stopped at Tim’s for coffee and there were all kinds of people walking around and coming in, we thought there must be a bus tour in town. After Tim’s we were heading into the middle of town and all of a sudden we could see a cruise ship out in the harbour and tenders running back and forth, guess that is where all the people were coming from. We drove up to Fishing Point so we could get a good look at the ship and John got some pictures and what a busy place it was, all the locals plus all us tourists were out to see the cruise ship. I turned on my phone and was pleasantly surprised to find I had a signal so we called Kel and my mom and got a bonus when my sister answered mom’s phone so also had a good chat with her. We wanted to hear how Kel and her family’s trip to Quebec City and Presquile went and she said it was good but it was extremely hot so made it difficult for sightseeing.

We went to the Visitors Centre here which was all about Sir Wilfred Grenfell, a doctor/Justice of the Peace/Preacher who came from England to Labrador and Newfoundland in about 1892 to care for all the people in the fishing outposts. He used schooners as his mode of transportation as all the fishing posts were inaccessible by land, It was a really good display about his life and the hospitals, schools, medical outposts etc. for which he got funding to set them up and keep them running. The people in the fishing outposts were very poor and TB was rampant, so there were a lot of orphans because a lot of parents died of TB so he also set up an orphanage for all these children. After that we went and toured his home, which was also very interesting.

We stopped at the municipal offices/library and were able to get on the internet so I got caught up with my e-mail and posted my blog. Thanks John for being so patient while I did that!!

After that we drove out to Goose Cove, then stopped at the grocery store on the way back through St. Anthony then on the way back to the park we drove out to St. Anthony Bight - both of them were pretty little fishing villages.

After dinner we went for a walk around the park, but there was no sign of a moose tonight. The mosquitoes were out in full force so we walked around the park once and called it a day.

Moose in Park

Our Trailer at Triple Falls Park

St. Lumaire

Viking House

Roadside Wood Piles

Roadside Garden Plot

L'Anse aux Meadows

My Favourite Viking Warrior

Viking Loom

"Viking" Making Shoes

Fishing Point Lighthouse

Fishing Point

Monday - August 6, 2007

Wow, we woke up to sunshine this morning and it was a gorgeous day all day – bonus.

This morning we headed to L’anse aux Meadows where the Vikings landed over 1000 years ago, there are remains of a Norse village and replicas of three Norse buildings showing us how they lived 1000 years ago. The Visitor’s Centre was very interesting - there was a 30 minute video on the discovery of L’anse aux Meadows and then a very good display depicting life there.

I must say I am glad that I didn’t live there back then, what a hard way of life. The main house had four rooms – the main room had a central fire and that is where the day-to-day activities took place and about 30 people slept in this room on benches around the walls. One small room at the end is where the head honcho would have slept, then, there was a room they used as a workshop and then a room where the women did spinning etc. All in all a very close community and you would certainly get to know one another very well! There was also a replica of the blacksmith shop and a cold storage room.

From there we drove around the peninsula and visited all the little coves – very pretty! Most of the houses don’t cut grass, in fact at one place we saw a man out with his scythe cutting the front yard, but we did see some places that do cut their lawns and even have a bit of a flower garden. Another thing that has surprised us is that all the roads are paved even to the smallest community and basically they are in pretty good shape.

We saw one moose in a pond when we were driving but after we got home there was a moose roaming around the park – he didn’t seemed at all fazed by the people, he was just enjoying eating whatever it is they eat!! Moose are not native to Newfoundland, but in 1904 someone brought over 4 moose (who or why we haven’t heard) and now there are literally 1000’s of moose on the island, there are far more moose than caribou, and the caribou are native to Newfoundland.

Another observation – the RV parks here are really nice, the only one we haven’t cared for was the one at Stephenville and mainly because we were in the middle of the family camping and the kids seemed to congregate right behind our trailer to play, plus the sites were poorly laid out and we hardly had room to park the truck.

Parsons Pond

Parsons Pond

Sunday - August 5, 2007

Today we woke up to sunshine after a night of heavy rain and thunderstorms so we were glad to see the sun. We headed up to St. Anthony’s and it was a beautiful drive – the ocean on one side and the Long Range Mountains on the other for a long way. The road ran along the coast most of the trip and the scenery was lovely. The farther north we came the sparser the vegetation, and a lot of people have their gardens along the roadside where there is some soil. It is quite funny to be driving along and see all these little garden plots out in the middle of nowhere. We also saw a tremendous amount of cut wood piled up, as well as wood set up tepee style drying, every house has a huge woodpile so guess they need to stay ahead of the game as it would appear that woodstoves are the main source of heat. The little towns look like they can barely eke out a living along the rugged shoreline – I suspect it is a very hard life here, especially the winters! The road wasn’t as bad as we had thought it would be, it was quite dippy in spots but really good in others, at least you could see where the dips were and slow down for them as there were some beauts.

On Sunday mornings for years we have listened to Elvis’s gospel songs so this morning I tried the Elvis channel on Sirius and they were playing his gospel songs so we enjoyed them for the first part of the drive, now we know we won’t have to miss them even if we are on the road. We can’t imagine listening to the Elvis channel all day but are glad they do the Sunday morning gospel songs.

We got set up at the Triple Falls RV Park just outside of St. Anthony’s, it is a really nice park, then took a tour through the town. We were quite surprised at how large it is – there is even a Timmy’s here!!

We got home just before the rain started again, so John got the awning out so he wouldn’t get wet barbecuing – what a wussy!! When we were registering the owner checked the weather for us, and tonight there are showers but tomorrow is supposed to be warm and sunny so here’s hoping they are right. Even though we have had a fair bit of crappy weather it hasn’t been cold, there has only been one day that it felt cold and damp all day so we really can’t complain.

Surprise, our Sirius radio is still working so that is good and the owner at the park here told us of a couple of places where we should be able to get internet, so that is hopeful. We aren’t even going to try the Bell ExpressVu because of the trees and our phone is definitely not getting a signal so guess we are batting even so far!! I will try the internet tomorrow and see what happens.

Dinner is finished and it stopped raining before John started the barbecue so he was lucky, it was dry. We had bought some salmon burgers at the fishery in Rocky Harbour and had them tonight – they were delicious, we will have to try to find some more. After dinner we were going to go for a walk and again it started to rain – looking one way the sky was blue and pretty, looking the other it was very black but there was a nice rainbow. We didn’t go far before it started to really rain so we headed back. Wow, now it is raining but looking to the west there is a beautiful sunset – go figure!!!