Saturday - September 8, 2007

Today was a nice day but too hot and hazy for me – the temperature on the truck got up to 30, we sure aren’t used to those kind of temperatures.

We drove to Amherst N.S. today, we were going to stop around Truro but when we got to the park it was a zoo, a real family park and there were all kinds of activities going on so we decided to give it a pass and go on to Amherst. That turned out to be a good move as this is a nice quiet park and about $10/night cheaper than the other one plus here we have cable TV and wi-fi – what more could we ask for!

When we were checking in John asked the woman about diesel and she said to wait till New Brunswick, which is about 10-15 km from here as fuel is about $0.10/litre cheaper than in Nova Scotia, so we will definitely wait to get fuel there tomorrow.

That’s it for today.

The Joseph & Clara Smallwood Leaving North Sydney Harbour

Friday - September 7, 2007

Today was a nice day, last night on the news they were calling for cool and wet today so a sunny, warm day was a pleasant surprise.

I did some cleaning, and laundry and then after that we went into North Sydney and got groceries and diesel. On the way back we drove through Sydney Mines and happened to see the Joseph & Clara Smallwood (which is the ferry we came over on yesterday) heading back to Argentia.

Not a very exciting day but relaxing.

Thursday - September 6, 2007

Today was sunny and yesterdays wind had died down so it made for a good crossing back to Nova Scotia. The ferry was scheduled to leave at 9 a.m. and you are supposed to be there an hour early so we headed out about 7:45 and thought we would have something to eat on the dock while we were waiting to board – wrong, they were already loading when we got there so we just drove right on. The cafeteria was open so we got breakfast on board – bacon and eggs.

We were surprised at how long we could see land for, it was at least 3 hours after leaving Argentia before we lost sight of land and we passed fairly close to St. Pierre & Michelon so got a look at them. We saw some whales on the way across, there were three of them putting on a show for a while, so that was interesting. I read a Jodi Picout book that Nan had given me so that helped pass the time. We docked about 10:40 p.m. and were at the park before 11, they are busy here but the Port aux Basque ferry came in about 9:30 so that is why they are so busy, it will probably clear out pretty good tomorrow. We gained a half hour back when we got here, it will be nice to only have to deal with a one hour difference from home, an hour and a half is a real pain.

Time for bed, how can I be so tired when I didn’t do anything all day?

Wednesday, - September 5, 2007

Well, the weather is nice and sunny for our last day in Newfoundland but it is very windy and cool. Oh well, it beats cold and rain! John just put the storm window back on the door and I suspect it will stay there now until we get to Arizona – where did the summer go!!

We got away from Pippy Park about noon and had a good drive to Argentia (pronounced Argencha) arriving at the park here about 1:30. When we got here there was one other trailer, now there are 4; I think a lot of people spend the night on the ferry parking lot but we wanted to have hydro for the night so our batteries would be good and charged for the 14 hour ferry trip. I will turn the fridge onto vacation mode tomorrow morning and it should make the trip fine. To explain for those of you who don’t know, we have a regular apartment size fridge in our trailer that only runs on electric, so knowing we need to have lots of battery power tomorrow to run it we don’t want to use it all tonight dry camping. It probably wouldn’t really be a problem but we just didn’t want to take a chance; plus, this morning they were calling for rain which would have meant little solar power to charge the batteries.

This park is new this year and has nice long sites, we are sitting here looking right out over the ocean, a beautiful view and we can watch the ferry come in tonight. Tomorrow it will be a quick run down the hill to the dock. This park has wi-fi so I am in 7th heaven, I can get all caught up on everything again!

I was hoping to be able to do laundry here but there is no laundromat so we will probably spend Friday in North Sydney so I can do laundry and grocery shopping then head out Saturday morning. We won’t arrive in North Sydney until around 11 p.m. tomorrow night so I don’t imagine we will feel too ambitious on Friday morning anyways.

We have just loved Newfoundland and plan on returning again some day to see the things we missed this time. We are very glad we gave ourselves six weeks as we have been able to see and do a lot of things but haven’t felt rushed. Next time we will try to come earlier (like late June) so we can see icebergs, puffins and more whales.

Just a little p.s. for those of you who don't know, if you click on a picture on the blog it will go full screen size and be easier to see.

St. John's at Dusk

Notice the Helicopter

Cruiser "Turmoil"

Tuesday - September 4, 2007

Today was mainly cloudy, windy and cool but at least it didn’t rain so we aren’t complaining. We had a bit of shopping we wanted to do so we thought we would go downtown and walk around and check out some stores. It wasn’t easy finding a parking space but we finally did, then we spent a couple of hours walking along Water and Harbour Streets. It was really busy everywhere we went today, here we thought with school starting it would be quieter but not so. As usual, we got lost a couple of times trying to get to Quidi Vidi and then downtown but we did finally make it. We walked along the harbour for a while and there was a huge cruiser tied up, Turmoil out of the Cayman Islands – it even had a helicopter on board!! After downtown we headed back to the Avalon Mall for a bit, then got fuel and went out for dinner.

After dinner we decided to go back up Signal Hill for a final look and although it was getting dark and a bit foggy we still had a good view of the city. From there it was time to make our way home, we found some streets we hadn’t been on before so saw a bit more of the city. After a week we still haven’t figured how to get around here – I wonder if the natives have it figured out! Pippy Park is off Allandale Road so when we saw Allandale on the way home we got on it, it then turned into Bonavista Road then back into Allandale – that is they type of thing drivers are having to contend with plus the fact that street signs are few and far between and when looking for a street we are always past it before we can read the sign. Oh well, tomorrow we leave and hopefully we won’t run into anymore problems trying to find our way around. Oh yes, we have never ended up on so many dead end roads as here in Newfoundland, it has become a joke with us –“end of the road again” as they have never heard of “No Exit” signs here.

Barren Landscape - Lower Avalon Peninsula

Ferryland Lighthouse

Looking Out to Sea at South Brigus

South Brigus Harbour

Monday - September 3, 2007

We woke up to sunshine this morning although it was quite cool – only 8 degrees but it did warm up during the day to about 16-17.

We did the Irish Loop today which is a drive around the Avalon Peninsula; there were a lot of pretty little villages along the way. We had heard that at Ferryland you could have a picnic at the lighthouse, you order lunch and they give you a blanket to sit on and you go sit on the rocks and they bring you lunch so we thought that might be kind of neat. Well, we got to Ferryland and started up the road to the lighthouse – wow, it is a VERY NARROW road, uphill all the way and about two thirds of the way to the lighthouse there are a couple of parking areas and it is about a 1 to 1-1/2 km walk from there to the lighthouse. It was a really busy area and we figured by the time we walked up, had lunch and then walked back down again that we wouldn’t have time to finish driving the loop so instead went back down and went to a local restaurant and had really good fish and chips for lunch. The drive back down from the lighthouse was interesting, we met a couple of cars coming up so John had to back up for quite a bit before he could pull over and let the cars going up go by. Thankfully, we got the rest of the way down without meeting another vehicle and we had got up without meeting another vehicle.

We would have liked to have driven out to Cape Race but it was a 20 km dirt road and we just didn’t feel like tackling a drive like that, the paved roads can be pretty brutal in spots so we could just imagine what a gravel road would be like.

At Trepassy we were going to drive into the main part of town but all of a sudden there were a lot of sirens and we could see a couple of ambulances and a fire truck heading into the main part of town so decided to pass, then as we came around a curve to head out of town there was this huge line of vehicles heading into town with yellow ribbons on their aerials and honking their horns, then we saw “Welcome Home Trent” signs so think that one of the local boys has just returned from Afghanistan and they were having a huge welcome home party. For about 2 km going out of town all the brush had yellow ribbons tied to them and most of the driveways had yellow balloons – very festive.

When we got close to the bottom end of the peninsula the landscape totally changed, the elevation was quite high and there were no trees just a bit of ground cover and lots of little ponds. There were a lot of little cabins along the highway that are probably used for hunting and fishing, they had no hydro and looked quite rugged. It was quite interesting that there was no obvious means of earning a living in all the little villages along the bottom and up the west side of the peninsula – there were no harbours and no signs of fishing or any other industry. The villages also had a different look to them, not as prosperous as most of the other places we have been. The east side of the peninsula was far prettier than the west but all in all it was a nice drive.

When we got back we stopped at the library and I got my blog updated and checked my e-mail. That’s it for another day; tomorrow is our last day in St. John’s.

Quidi Vidi Gut

St. John's Harbour from The Rooms

Brightly Coloured Row Houses

View of Signal Hill from The Rooms

Sunday - September 2, 2007

It was pretty well overcast and drizzly when we woke up this morning but the sun eventually came out although the temperature never got above 15, and the wind was brutal today.

We decided today would be a good day to do the Rooms which is a new building that was opened in 2005 and has Museums, Archives and Art Galleries in it. We got there about 11:30 and found out it doesn’t open until noon on Sundays, fortunately there was a Tim’s right beside it so we went for a coffee until it opened (all this was after we found the place – what a horrible city to find your way around!). The Rooms (I wonder why they couldn’t have come up with a better name for the place) had some very interesting and nice displays, we quite enjoyed touring it and the price was right - $4 for seniors. It was from The Rooms that Canada AM did their broadcast in June and I can see why they were talking about the lovely view – I will post some pictures of the harbour taken from the top floor of The Rooms.

The Tim’s we went to has to have the best location we have ever seen – it is between the main Fire Station and Police Department!

After that we drove through St. John’s and Quidi Vidi – I will never complain about trying to drive in K/W again as it is a breeze compared to here. We wanted to stop at the Hops Shop at the Quidi Vidi Brewery and get a mixed 6 pack but the parking lot looked full (it was a long downhill driveway) and I could see a CLOSED sign so we didn’t bother trying to maneuver the driveway and parking lot, hopefully tomorrow or Tuesday we will have better luck. Have I mentioned that like most other places the roads here are very narrow, there are a lot of steep hills and the street signs are almost non-existent. Lots of fun!

We found a TD bank (the first TD we have seen since leaving Ontario) so I got some cash which hopefully will do us for a while, usually it isn’t a problem getting cash back at the grocery store, but at one point I couldn’t do that and ended up paying fees to do a withdrawl from the Scotia Bank so I thought I would try to avoid that again. Anyways, today was another nice day on the Rock!

Saturday - September 1, 2007

Today we woke up to an overcast sky so decided to take it easy. This afternoon we went out shopping, we found two large malls so got our fill of wandering around stores. I got a new pant suit for fall but that was about all. When we went out this afternoon it was very foggy, we couldn’t even see Signal Hill for the fog so we were glad we hadn’t decided to do the Irish Loop as it wouldn’t have been a good day for it. The park here is so well treed we couldn’t see the fog until we got out of the park.

After the malls we stopped at Sobey’s and when we came out it was reallly pouring so John ran for the truck and picked me up out front. We stopped at the library and did the computer stuff after that and by the time we got back it had pretty well stopped raining. All in all it was a quiet day but nice.