Old Whaling Ship Rusting in Conception Harbour

Looking Down Into Ocean at Cape Spear

Original (1835) Lighthouse & Home at Cape Spear

Working Lighthouse at Cape Spear

Friday - August 31, 2007

Boy, it’s hard to believe that summer is over and the kids will be back to school on Tuesday, I know Cara is looking forward to starting high school and Derrick said he doesn’t mind going back, but I haven’t talked to Brent to see if he is ready to go back. I am sure Kel & Pat wish they had more summer before having to return to teaching!

Today was another beauty so we headed for Cape Spear, the most easterly point in North America. The lighthouse and light keeper’s home there have been restored back to the time it was built in 1835 and the furnishings in the house are lovely. The attendant there said that the lighthouse keeper made about $70,000/year in today’s wages, so they were very well off and usually had much nicer household furniture, dishes etc. than the normal person at that time. It would be a very lonely, isolated life so I guess that is why they were paid so well. We had a long walk (over 200 steps) up to the lighthouse then we took another path along the edge of the cliff back down – very pretty.

From there we drove down to Bay Bulls, with at stop at Petty Harbour for lunch, then drove across to Conception Bay to take the Admiral’s Trail along the coast, that was a disappointing drive as it didn’t really go into the coves, just through the built up areas, so we are hoping the Irish Loop will be nicer when we do that.

When we got back we stopped at the library but it had closed and won’t be open until Tuesday. Fortunately, we could get the signal in the truck so I managed to update my blog, check e-mail etc.

Narrows Into St. John's Harbour

View from Lookout at Winterton

More from Signal Hill

St. John's from Signal Hill

View of St. John's from Signal Hill

Thursday - August 30, 2007

We certainly aren’t complaining about the weather this week, it has been gorgeous. Today we drove around St. John’s – what a confusing place to find your way around! We drove through Quidi Vidi Village then went to Signal Hill and the Cabot Tower, what a beautiful view of the city, the harbour and out into the Atlantic. While at the Tower we met Stephane Dion, got to shake hands and have a brief chat with him, did we get to chat with the next Prime Minister??

We then toured the Signal Hill Visitor Centre, they had a very interesting film on the history of St. John’s and the part Signal Hill has played in its history since the mid 1700’s. From there we drove through the downtown area – what a busy place and the streets are very narrow so it makes for interesting maneuvering at times!

We came back and I did laundry here at the park – it cost $13.50 to wash and dry 3 loads! After I finished the laundry we drove out to Torbay, then did a loop up the peninsula to Pouch Cove and then came back through Portugal Cove, St. Phillip’s and Paradise. When we got back we found a Swiss Chalet so had dinner there then stopped at a large Dominion, which is the same as our Super Centres at home, and picked up a couple of groceries.

We are finding a lot of traffic here, we have got quite used to the quiet roads on the rest of the island and it is hard to get used to all the traffic again.

Wednesday, - August 29, 2007

Well, we are now on the last leg of our trip to Newfoundland – we arrived in St. John’s this afternoon and will be here until next Wednesday when we head to Argentia to catch the ferry on Thursday morning.

Today was a gorgeous day and it is warming up – it was about mid 70’s today. At Outside Pond Park they have a boardwalk up a quite high hill with a gazebo and lookout at the top so we walked up there this morning (we were waiting for a really nice morning to do it). There are also a couple of other boardwalks, one to the lake and one to an island in the lake which has a gazebo on it. This park certainly is lovely and the boardwalks would have been quite an undertaking, I imagine they got big time provincial grants to do the park and boardwalks and it would be covered under the tourism industry, which I think is very big here.

The view was fantastic from the top of the hill and we could see the Hauser homes from there, they are perched on the edge of the cliff overlooking Trinity Bay – I bet they have a wonderful view! John saw a whale surface once but then we couldn’t see it again – darn.

We got away about 12:30 and had a good drive to St. John’s, it was only about 145 km so not too far. We got in and set up and all around us are Airstreams, I guess we finally caught up with the caravan that left from New Brunswick in early July. After we got set up I went down to pay and asked about wi-fi, the fellow said there is a communications centre in the park but I would need my visa card to use it but he also said the library is only a couple of blocks away. He gave me directions and a map to the library so I headed there and managed to get my blog updated and pictures posted. It took me well over an hour to do it as I hadn’t done it since last Friday but it is now done again.

Now that I know where the library is we can stop in there easily and try to keep up to date with the blog, that way it doesn’t take so long to do. John washed down the trailer and windows and cleaned the bathroom while I was gone and is now washing the truck – it certainly needed it. I checked the laundry here and it is $2.50 to wash and $2 to dry – seems quite pricey so I think I will check out a laundromat elsewhere and see what their prices are.

Now we hope this nice weather continues for us for the next week.

Typical Newfie Garbage Bin - Most Every House Has a Bin Out by the Road

Bay Roberts

S. S. Kyle Grounded in Harbour at Harbour Grace

Looking Down the Bay at Harbour Grace

Spirit of Harbour Grace

Newfoundland Ponies at Air Strip - Harbour Grace

St. Paul's Anglican Church (1835) - Harbour Grace

Tuesday - August 28, 2007

Today was another beautiful day and it is getting warmer, today it got up to about 22 in the truck.

We drove across to Carbonear then down the Conception Bay side of the peninsula, and it was another pretty drive. Harbour Grace is a pretty town and it was the starting point of Amelia Earhart’s first successful solo Trans-Atlantic flight. We had seen on TV a couple of weeks ago that they had just erected a new monument to commemorate her flight so when we saw the signs for the airport we headed up to see the monument – wrong. It was a twisty, turney, very steep dirt road and when we finally did get to the airfield there was a small plaque that has been there for years. The only saving grace of that drive was that there was a paddock beside the airfield with some beautiful Newfoundland ponies in it. Back down we went and found a visitor’s centre with a lovely statute of Amealia Earhart as well as an old DC3 – the Spirit of Harbour Grace. Oh well, the view from the airport was lovely. In the harbour is the S.S. Kyle which had a varied career – it was a coastal schooner and a sealer among other things and went aground in the harbour in the late 60’s. The town has painted it and left it sitting on a sandbar in the harbour. Harbour Grace is also home to the oldest stone church in the province – St. Paul’s Anglican and it is a beautiful church.

We meandered our way down the coast through Bryant’s Cove, Spaniard’s Bay, Bay Roberts, South River, Clarke’s Beach and North River. Bay Roberts is quite a large town, it even has three sets of traffic signals (the first ones we’ve seen since Corner Brook!) and is very pretty. We toured the Cable Building that was home to the first trans Atlantic cable and it also has a very interesting Mercantile Museum as well as an art gallery, and this is all part of the municipal building. We then picked up Highway 75 which is a main artery and bypasses all the small towns and villages and made our way back to Carbonear where we stopped at Dominion for groceries then on home.

Another nice day in Newfoundland!

Light House at Heart's Content

Mouse Hole at Burnt Point

Dock at Caplin Cove

Grates Cove

Fog at Bay de Verde

Monday - August 27, 2007

Today was overcast most of the day but the sun did come out about 3:30 and it was really nice, the high on the truck was about 21 so the temperature is improving.

As we were getting ready to head out this morning the two fellows who seem to run the park stopped by to chat and asked if they could see inside the trailer. We then stopped at the office to pay (they weren’t there last night for us to pay) so chatted with them a bit more. It turns out this is a municipal park, which explains why it is so nice, and the one fellow is the mayor, who volunteers his time to help out here. He was telling us the average tax in Winterton is about $650 and the average house assessment is $35,000-40,000 – can you believe it!! He was telling us that the Hauser’s (Hauser Industries in Waterloo) bought a piece of land here off the town and have built a beautiful home for the father as well as homes for the children. The mayor said they have wi-fi here, I could park beside the office and get it for a small fee - $10 for a couple of days. I thanked him but said I would wait till we got to St. John’s (highway robbery if you ask me!). We stopped at three libraries and I did manage to download my e-mail but they all have a block on blogger so I couldn’t get my blog posted and somehow I bet I would find that if I paid the $10 here there would also be a block on blogger as it is probably all set up by the same person.

Today we drove up the Trinity Bay side of the peninsula then back down the Conception Bay side to Carbonear and what a lovely drive it was. When we got to the top of the peninsula at Bay de Verde it was really foggy which was very disappointing as it looked like it would be a beautiful view out into the Atlantic from there. We went to Grates Cove which is at the very end of the peninsula and stopped at a lookout where a woman and her son were looking out with binoculars. It turned out that she was a local and had been looking out her living room window and saw a very large seal in the harbour so jumped in her car to come to the lookout to see it, then lost sight of it. We would have loved to have seen that! We chatted with her for a bit, she said that next week the men would head back out fishing for mackerel, capelin, and squid and the women would be back to work at the fishing plant. I asked the young lad about school in winter and he said they got out early a lot and had quite a few snow days last winter. She said the winters there can be brutal with the winds, don’t think we would want to experience a winter here.

The drive was interesting as along the Trinity Bay side we were driving pretty well along the shore line but on the Conception Bay side most of the towns are on the cliffs overlooking the ocean – some really beautiful views and although the water wasn’t really rough there were very large swells and it was fascinating watching them crash in on shore. I said to John that I wonder if it isn’t a lot like the coast in Scotland or Ireland.

Carbonear seems to be quite a large place and has a Wal Mart, a Tim’s and a Dominion grocery store so we hopefully will be able to stop there on the way home tomorrow and stock up on some groceries. I didn’t have my list with me today or we could have stopped and done some shopping on the way back. If not then we can do it when we get to St. John’s on Wednesday.

Our Site at Open Pond RV - Winterton

Sunday - August 26, 2007

Today we left Bonavista and drove to the peninsula between Trinity and Conception Bays – the Baccileau Trail. Today was pretty well overcast all day and the high on the truck was only 15-16, but it didn’t rain so we aren’t complaining. As we were getting ready to leave this morning Lloyd (one of the park patrons from Harbour Grace) came over and asked where we were going and when we told him he mentioned a park at Winterton, Outside Pond RV Park that he said was really nice. He gave me their phone number and when I called they said no problem so we headed for here, it is pretty well at the top of the peninsula but what a nice park. It is built on the side of a hill and the road winds up and around, we got the only pull through spot in the park and it is really nice.

Driving up the peninsula to get to Winterton we went through the communities of Heart’s Delight, Heart’s Desire and Heart’s Content – John wondered where Heart’s Break was!

After getting set up we went into Winterton and found the library to get internet, I managed to get onto our web mail and see our e-mails but I couldn’t download them and it wouldn’t let my onto Blogger to do my blog so guess we will have to find someplace else for internet. We got fuel and came home – that is it for today.

Can You See the Puffins?

More Puffins

Church at Red Cliff

St. Peter & Paul Church at King's Cove

King's Cove Shoreline

King's Cove

Saturday - August 25, 2007

Today is our son and daughter-in-laws anniversary – Happy Anniversary Mike & Franneca. A Happy Anniversary also to Doug & Fran – John’s brother and sister-in-law.

Another day without rain, it was overcast most of the day but as long as it didn’t rain what the heck. There was a very cold wind today; it was a jacket day whenever we got out of the truck.

We drove down the other side of the peninsula and visited a lot of pretty villages and out ports, but for the first time since we have come to Newfoundland we found a village that didn’t appear to have one redeeming feature – it was very depressing looking and all the homes were in a sad state of repair. It was very sad to see; obviously it is a village that did not survive the cod moratorium. Most places here have put a lot of effort into attracting tourists and it seems to be paying off for them. I think mid June to mid August is the busiest time for tourists as most places seem to be pretty quiet now. I suspect St. John’s area will still be busy though.

We came back and went to Elliston, the root cellar capital of the province – they have found over 144 root cellars and some of them are still in use today; (they even do tours of them). We have noticed a number of them around the island but must say that we did see a lot in Elliston. We also saw some puffins today, there is a rock at Elliston where they nest and we could see them with the binoculars but that was as close as we could get, at least we have now seen them, if not up close. We went back the Cape Bonavista lighthouse as apparently they also nest in that area, but there were none to be seen there. I think there is also a place somewhere on the Avalon Peninsula where they nest so maybe we can see some there - and up closer.

Friday - August 24, 2007

Wow, another gorgeous sunny day and it is warming up a bit, a perfect day.

Today we spent the day in Bonavista and toured Ryan’s Premises which is a restored fish merchant’s multi-building premises that tells the story of the fishery and sealing through exhibits and displays, - very interesting. It is just mind boggling what the cod moratorium announcement on July 1st, 1992, which immediately put 40,000 people out of work, must have been like. Videos of the seal hunt are unbelievable, it is hard to imagine how dangerous it must have been for the men out hunting seals yet it was a job to be vied for. In 1914 77 men died during a storm when out seal hunting, they couldn’t get back to the boats and froze to death out on the ice.

After that we did laundry, some domestic things just have to be done, then we stopped at the local coffee shop for a coffee and internet hook-up, so I finally got caught up on my blog and got a couple of pictures posted. After a stop at the local grocery store it was time to go home and get dinner. As I said to John – where do the days go!! The Laundromat was a good one today, they have built a gorgeous new building at the harbour and have included a laundromat and washrooms with showers for boaters, hikers and RV’ers. The machines were new and I washed and dried 2 loads for $5, a good deal.