More from St John’s

Some random thoughts and some more experiences:

Random Thoughts; The road layout of this city makes Boston roads seem orderly and carefully planned. Wrapping roads around mountains and water without any seeming regard to the needs of people and vehicles has resulted in a jumble where three or more roads meet at a single junction at uneven angles resulting in traffic, depending on stop signs, crossing without being able to easily see vehicles approaching from several directions. There do not seem to be many through roads to get from one section to another. The result is we are totally dependent on GPS and Google Navigation for getting around, even to places we are returning to, such as our campground.

The campground, Pippy Park is located in a very large park in the middle of the city! From our location you would not know that we are in a city the size of Rochester NY. We are in a clear area surrounded by woods. Other sites are in the woods, but they would not accommodate us. It is quiet and pleasant here, if the interior roads were in better shape it would be wonderful. Note for other RVers, water pressure is about 100 psi, bring your regulator!

People are friendly! No, I mean REALLY friendly. We have spent most of our time in St John’s and we are told that in rural areas they are even friendlier. Every place we have stopped to ask a question or just to say hello, has resulted in a conversation and an exchange of personal information and often suggestions of other places to see.


Saturday we set out on the Killick Loop up to Pouch Cove (pronounce that as if the “u” is “o”) We made several stops along the way to ooh and aah the views of the ocean from the bluffs or down low from the shore. Once in Pouch Cove we noted a lesser road that continued further out on to Cape St Francis. This was especially interesting as we passed a sign that the road was maintained for 4 wheel drive vehicles only. “Maintained” was an exaggeration. This brought us to the site of the former Cape St Francis Light House. For the light house crazed among my readers there are at least 56 manned and unmanned light houses remaining in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Cape St Francis Lighthouse

We returned from the loop and stopped at Signal Hill in St John’s which has served as the focus of many battles between the French and the English in the 1700’s and served significant military purpose as late as WWII. Oh yes Marconi sent messages from Signal Hill using balloons and kites to support his antenna. He was not permitted to build his main station here as the cable company filed suit preventing immediate action. Marconi left and set up his station in Nova Scotia. Click on this link for much more.

We decided to seek dinner on Duckworth St in downtown but away from the festival area by a block. We had a list of possible restaurants from Google and Trip Advisor. We decided to walk and look, checking menus as we went. Our second stop was Get Stuffed. It looked good and they had an interesting vegetarian option for Carol. We made our excuses and wandered further before deciding to return there. A table was available, unusual for a Saturday night, and we were seated immediately. My Cod was wonderful and Carol’s salad was as well. The staff were friendly – this is Newfoundland after all – and we would send anyone we know there. Prices were moderate!

And so we sit on a rainy day looking for one more thing to do here, indoors!

Quick Notes from St John’s NL

The 16 hour ferry ride was mostly uneventful, we slept in our cabin and dined in the buffet dining area along with almost everyone else. We made friends with people in line waiting to board and ran into a them on our first day touring at Cape Spear National Historic Site. This is the locale of the easternmost point of land on the North American Continent. The actual point was not reachable due to construction, but there is an “alternate” point that is maybe a few feet from the furthest, but in reality waves and rocks would prevent getting to the actual point. We returned to the coach for dinner and took a break for the evening.

On Friday we set out to tour the “Irish Route” not really intending to cover the 312 K. We made it to Witless Bay where we booked a whale and puffin trip for later in the day and continued on down to Ferryland Light where we hoped to have lunch at Lighthouse Picnic. After the drive over a one lane gravel road and a .9 K walk (about 10 minutes) to the light house we found that advance planning was required and there was no way we could get our lunch and be back for the 3  PM boat ride. We stopped to look at some whales and returned to the Jeep and stopped at Tetley Tea House for lunch. The whale and puffin trip was way over the top in a Zodiac with about 14 of us on board.

Entering a sea cave
Backing Out, end of trip

I don’t need to identify the puffin and whale tail for you 🙂

We returned to St John’s with the idea of walking through the entertainment district and getting some dinner. There is a major street festival on and we thought we might take it in. It appears to be mostly loud music and drinking so we stayed outside the venue and started to walk along the other venues. We heard a shout directed at us and and saw a woman we had met on the ferry leaning out of the Shamrock. We had had a long talk with Jennifer and Greg on the boat and decided to join them in the pub. Greg is retired Canadian naval Intelligence. We had a lovely 90 minutes shouting over the Irish/Newfoundland music (along with everyone else). Before we parted. The music sounded a lot like the sound of “Come From Away”. We found a quieter place for dinner before returning for the night. 

Today, Saturday, we will get on the Killick Loop.

Along the Road to Newfoundland

We have left the country! Again! We are perched in a roadside pullout, with fishing, along NS 105 looking over St Ann’s Bay. We are meters past the turn off for Gaelic College and Cabot Trail. We found this spot listed as a free stopping place in Days End Directory a resource for members of Escapees. Tomorrow we will find our way to a reserved camping spot and then go visit the Perlmans who have a lovely place across the bay from where we are parked. We will take Monday and Tuesday to prepare for a very long ferry ride – 16 hours. The coach will be locked down with no power on while we enjoy ourselves in a suite we reserved some months ago. We sill take three weeks to drive the length of the Newfoundland highway before boarding a much shorter ferry for the trip back to the mainland.

I plan to wear m “Come From away” T shirt in Gander and otherwise do and see what we can.

Getting this far has had its challenges. Coming up the Maine coast I heard or misheard and instruction to “turn right.” Against all reason I did! Wrong! It took 10 miles to find a spot that was just barely suitable to turn the rig around. We could have continued which would have brought us back to US 1 20 miles south of where we made made the turn. Oh, and our stop at Wild Blueberry Land was disappointing as they no longer carry the No sugar added Blueberry Preserve that I have for breakfast many days. I will have to wait to reorder from “Out on a Limb” when we are staying someplace for a couple of weeks. We had an interesting overnight stop at a place featured both in the aforementioned Days End as well as in Harvest Hosts. It was a decent place to stay the night but it didn’t have much more than a small shop selling blueberry products as an HH place. The location also included a hardware store and the town Tourist Information Center, one young man with a  bunch of brochures and directions to “The Water Fall” across the street from the shop.

We ended the day with out supplemental braking system (for the Jeep) giving failure signals as we drove on a narrow winding road with no good place to stop and check it out. It has failed safe so we can continue to travel. At last we arrived at Seafoam Campground in Seafoam NS and found ourselves with one of the tightest back in spots we have seen. Troy came out to help, but nothing was needed besides some moral support. With Carol at the wheel and me giving limited, but crucial guidance, we put the coach where it needed to be in one pull.  People were cheering Carol for the great driving. It was grand.

Road Mode

When I left off writing, we were in NYC with Corey. We left Liberty Harbor RV Park on schedule and spent a day driving around the City, across the Tappan Zee Bridge and eventually up I 95 and assorted routes to Hyannis Elks Lodge. It is nothing special but it is in Hyannis and provides access to see the town. Then we moved to Atlantic Oaks RV Park in Eastham, about 15 minutes from my sister Sandy’s place in Wellfleet. We kept Corey on the move including a 3 hour Whale Watch (looking for a picture, must be on the other computer) and walking all over Province Town, and what an education that was, for me! After 4 days on Cape Cod, we changed our venue to the Boston area, camping at Normandy Farms in Foxborough, not far from THE stadium.

Our first half day was at leisure in the park, that meant walking all over the park to see what it had to offer. The short answer is “LOTS” the longer answer is mostly for families with preteen children who can run wherever and whenever and they do. The slow speed limit is too fast as kids appear out of nowhere and stop where the are with impunity and no sense of fear – sort of like Bluefooted Boobies in the Galapagos.

For our second and last day we set out to walk the Freedom Trail. It covers a lot of Boston and we never made it to Bunker Hill or the USS Constitution. Something for another trip, not to mention Lexington and Concord or the site of the Boston Tea Party and that is just Revolutionary War era sites.

Late afternoon Priscilla Douglas, our former neighbor from the Townhouse, and very good friend, came to join us for a long wonderful conversation. When we are together it is seldom “chat” more like engaged conversation. Corey joined in and we all had a great time. dinner was some salads Carol put together and steamed clams I had ordered ahead from the Kamp Kitchen. we gathered around one of their tables and had a fine meal. the end of this part of the trip was in sight, but not yet concluded. We rose earl to get Corey to his flight to Richmond where his parents collected him. I must admit the coach really feels empty without him after 9 days. Then after vamping in town for a bit we drove to Belmont where Carol reconnected with Ann Rafael Brendt. The had been neighbors in grade school and her mother was a very active dance instructor who Carol studied with. While Ann and Carol covered territory that I was not part of (can you imagine?) her husband David and I had a lively exchange of ideas and tales in the next room.

And so we have moved on from Boston. Presently we are camping at Elks Lodge 1008 in Rockland Maine. Tomorrow?

Road time and some Lows and Highs

I seem to have gotten a bit behind. For some of our time since Ithaca check out Carol’s Message in a minute post. Grandson Corey flew in to Newark from Charlottesville via Boston on his own. We picked him up at Newark and headed for West Orange and family. No one was around so we took him to The Edison National Historic Park in West Orange where much of his inventing was done after he out grew the Menlo Park facility. It was a fascinating tour and the place is indeed a repository of much history.

We joined family for ordered in dinner and finally got Corey to the rig to get some sleep and prepare for the unveiling of Carol’s brother Arthur’s tombstone. This was the low point of the weekend. On Saturday night we determined that Sunday night was clear of family obligations and Joyce helped us find seats for “Come From Away” on Sunday night. This was Corey’s first Broadway show, and what a show. It is very “Broadway Musical” and the entire script is sung. 12 actors play at least 36 parts and represent hundreds of actual people on 38 planes that landed in Gander on September 11, 2001. We were on our feet for a very long time, even after the house lights came up. The high point so far.

Today we walked our feet off starting in Wall Street – and we worked our way up to Rockefe;;er Center and ultimately to Central Park. We have taken Corey on 3 ferry rides and innumerable subway trips and in the morning we will experience driving around the city and on up some route to Cape Cod.

In all of the trecking we managed to get to the September 11 Memorial twice. It is indeed impressive and well done.


Lego Store

XRIJF Day 9 – That’s all there is!

First a comment on my choice of reviewers. It may seem biased, Jeff Spivack at the D&C is an excellent writer and I would enjoy his reviews and link to them if I could read them without wading through endless popup ads that cover the screen . I know I am not a subscriber, I am not around Rochester enough to care deeply about the local coverage they provide, but making it impossible to read a review just makes me even less interested in reading, much less linking to, the paper. Rant over. Oh there may be another reason for my bias, full disclosure here, I am a stockholder and board member of WMT Publications, the corporate name of City, and also close friends with the Towlers who created the paper some time in the dark ages of the late ’60s or was that the early ’70s, doesn’t matter.

We decided to start the last night with Jazz Banjo, Cynthia Sayer and her Hot Jazz Trio at Max.

She declared right up front that she had just met her sidemen, Sax and Clarinet player and Bassist, just before the gig. It didn’t seem to matter with just a bit more conversation than usual they got it together and the set was so great we wanted to come back for the 10 PM show. Cynthia included a history and background for Jazz Banjo in her between number patter. We would go to hear her again, oh right we stayed for the encore.

Once we had our wristbands for Max we headed over to Harro for Majestic. They were fine, but our plan to leave after after two numbers turned into leaving after one, a blessing of the Club Pass.

Following Cynthia, we headed over to Hatch where Benny Green was onstage solo after his performance with 3 other pianists on 4 by Monk by 4 the day before. We sat back expecting to leave before the end but couldn’t bring ourselves to walk before the encore. This encore seemed a bit forced as he left the stage after 45 minutes and returned to finish the set at an hour as expected. For Ron’s review follow this link.

Our plan was to go on to Little for International Orange. I was hungry and the Little is a hike. We walked up to a truck on East and I got a brisket sandwich, better than expected, and we headed over to Kilbourn for our penultimate set. John La Barbera Big Band Celebrating Buddy Rich. This was our best call of the evening. He had his brothers, one on drums and another on sax on stage. Also Bobby Militello was in the middle of the sax section. Four saxophones, four trombones and four trumpets can really stir up a storm. Needless to say we were pinned to our seats and were grateful for the encore.

The line at Max was too long for us to wait for Cynthia for another show so we headed over to the Big Tent for Bonerama. Two numbers there were enough to remind us that we really don’t care for them. The line at Max was still out the door at 10:40 so Carol had an ice cream and I had some popcorn and we took in the scene until it started to shut down at 11. We headed over to the Jam, now relocated to the first floor on the Radisson. It is a bit of an awkward space and we ended up sitting at a table with our friends the Gracis. We could hear but couldn’t see and  by 12:30 we had had it and decided to call it a Jazz Fest. Wait ’til next year!

As if we hadn’t had enough, today we went to a sold out matinee of “Million Dollar Quartet” at GEVA Theater. Wonderful performance and great ’50s music. Jerry Lee Louis, Carl Perkins, Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash were definitely in the house and by the end everyone who was able was up and dancing.

Tomorrow we drive with friends to Ithaca, no live music planned, that we know of.

XRIJF Day 8 – A Sax Free evening!


Keyboards and vocalists was our theme last night. We actually only went to 4 shows. Got in line at 3:15 to get wristbands for 4 by Monk by 4 at Kilbourn. Got back in line at 5:00 to wait for our choice of seats at 5:30, not sure this wristband thing really saves us any line time.  Read Ron Netsky’s review in City Newspaper (and also Tessa Souter and Ariel Pocock). I have loved Monk’s music since I first heard it many years ago. This was like candy for both of us and having four fine pianists trade off at two keyboards in just about any combination you can imagine just took it over the top. I have to admit we left before the grand finale with all four on stage trading piano benches, so we could move on to Hatch Recital Hall for Ariel Pocock. As Ron noted it was most unusual to have a live microphone used in performance there. We really enjoyed her performance, again. She has a lot of subtle shading in her voice and I love her piano playing as well. We stayed for the encore.

We moved out onto the street where I hit the Blackend Chicken again. I like it and the line was short which was important as we had to wade through the growing crowd for Caravan Palace on the Chestnut Street Stage to get to Tessa Souter at Xerox Aud. We missed the intro so I don’t know if this was her 3rd or 4th appearance at Jazz Fest, I do know we have heard her a couple of times in the past. Loved her take on Chopin’s Prelude in E minor which she wrote lyrics to and shifted to G major(?). We ran before the end because we wanted to get in to Max at 10 for. . .

Ronnie Foster Organ Trio. Made it in time for the introduction. I must admit he was an unknown to us, but featuring the Hammond B-3 Organ will usually draw us in for a listen. We listened and we stayed, and we stayed. He finally wrapped at 11:20 or so and no one wanted it to be over. His call and response with the audience near the end just took the whole thing over the top. I don’t usually care for this gimmick, but in this venue with these performers it really worked for us.

We headed back to the apartment full of good music and not able to absorb another note until tonight, Day 9. Current plan is to get wristbands for Max to hear Cynthia Sayer, 4 string jazz banjo and then run over to Harro for the beginning of the Majestics performance at 5:30. Following Max we will trundle across the street to Hatch for Benny Green piano solo (what else at Hatch?). Take a breath and find something to eat before running down East Ave to the Little for International Orange. Starting to huff a bit we head all the way back up East to cross over to the Big Tent to let Bonerama carry us out of the Fest on our way to the closing Jam.