A moment with connection and time to post at the same time. What follows is mostly a journal of the time since the last post. If you can;t read it all, read the last paragraph, today’s activities, it is brief and may even be touching.
In Golden Arm Park on the Baccalieu Loop in Avalon, NL. Our first stop today was at Rodrigeus Winery, a place of many surprises. All their wine is actually berry wine and it is sulfite free and most importantly it is kosher. The biggest surprise is that they are in the midst of changing their brand to Markland Cottage Wines. The signage was a bit disconcerting as we drove in and found the “wrong” name on the building. Given that we had just negotiated a narrow highway and an even more narrow and rutted dirt driveway in the motorhome on the promise that the place would be big rig friendly, it was a surprise. The last bad surprise, there was an easy way out and the staff are all Newfoundlanders which is to say friendly and easy to get along with. I sipped a bit of the tasting and bought a bottle of wine and we took the tour. Carol was driving and doesn’t taste anyhow.
Next we set out for a campground along the loop, ending up in Golden Arm Park in Green’s Harbor. It’s okay. Only 30 amp and the water pressure shows 20 psi on my gauge – way low. After setting up and lunch we set out to drive as much of the loop as we could in 5 hours. This was an overview as tomorrow we plan to leave early and stop at some recommended museums and sites. The drive went a bit long as we just had to explore roads that were 4 wheel drive only along the coast. One long road to Cape Grate took almost an hour to negotiate. A one point facing a puddle across the entire roadway Carol tried to convince me to turn back. I checked the depth with my hiking stick and decided to forge across. No big deal in the end. The Jeep has nice mud striping on the sides and will until we get some rain or I decide to wash it.
Our plan for Tuesday was to visit the key places we had passed and complete the loop. To that end we got a sort of early start after I had an unsuccessful wrestling match with Dish, to be concluded when I have reasonable phone service and 30 minutes to waste. Our first stop was Heart’s Content, the place where the very first Transatlantic Cable came ashore. The station was in operation for almost 100 years. In 1965 the staff had reduced to 18 from over 300 at the high point, this was first due to increasing automation and then to ever decreasing traffic as new lines and telephone cables changed the nature of communication and eliminated the need for telegraph transmission. When the time came Western Union switched off the power, locked the doors and walked away. The entire complex came into the hands of the Provincial government which has preserved it and reopened it as an historic site. You can still see where the undersea cable comes ashore and where it enters the building underground. For
Rochesterians there is a direct connection as Hiram Sibley founded Western Union and it was headquartered in Rochester for a time.
Our next stop took us back further in time to The Boat Building Museum in Winterton. We spent an hour there touring the history of wooden boats in Canada and Newfoundland and Labrador in particular. The most interesting thing I learned is that the method of laying out wooden hulls using variable frames is very rare in the boat building world. I won’t even try to explain as I have not spent a lifetime learning the technique. Suffice it to say a Venetian gondola builder was surprised to see them using the method that he thought was exclusive to them.
We moved on heading for the extreme ends of the road to the north. Our last stop was Bay de Verde Where another historic site has been preserved. This is the home of a Merchant fisherman, named John Blundon. Across from Bay de Verde is Baccalieu Island Ecological Reserve where thousands of Leaches Storm Petrels roost. We left there and slowly returned down the east coast of the peninsula covering new territory as we went. In Carbonear we looked for a place for dinner and found that most were closed on Monday and Tuesday night. The only place we could find was Main St Diner. It is a Tripadvisor 2 star (in a town where Subway is 4 star). I certainly would not rate it any higher. We drove through the dusk returning to the coach. I say that because all advice says not to be on the road after dusk as that is when the moose are moving.
Oops, skipped a day. From Golden Arm CG (not Arm of Gold CG) we drove to Golden Sands Campground on The Burin Peninsula. We explored from there aroung the loop through Grand Bank and St Lawerence. In Grand Bank we attended theater, twice! The first night we dined at the Thorndyke Inn, not to be missed and saw Love Letters with a cast of 2 and audience of 12. We really enjoyed the perfomance and were glad to be coming back for Dinner Theater the following night for “ps The Cat Is Dead” During the intervening day we toured and stopped at several light houses. The most poinient stop was in St Lawrence at the Miners Museum and Memorial. The story of the mistreatment of miners, in this case fluorite mining, is nothing new and the lung disease is also brutal. Our docent is the daughter of one of the miners. The other story is the heroic rescue of US Sailors from the Truxton and Pollux which ran onto the rocks during WWII and broke up with loss of about half their combined crew. The rest were saved by a valiant effort of Bergeron who having achieved the high ground found his way to a mine where the miners turned out with the entire town to pull the survivors from the sea and up the very high cliffs to eventual safety. We drove and walked to the spot on Chamber Cove where the men were rescued and find it hard to believ that even in good health on a calm sunny day that the cliffs were climbable.
Moved out in the morning headed toward Bonvista at the northern extreme of the Eastern Area. We needed some facilities and started looking for a campground, forgetting that it was Friday night and every town is having a festival or “Come Home Year” reunion. Found a site for one night in “no place” and dropped the coach with a brief setup and set out to explore Trinity and surrounds not more than 40 kilometers up the road. We drove out to Fort Point Lighthouse and explored there, it was after hours and the entry gate was “locked”. They had tied a loose twine loop over the gate to keep it from swinging in the wind. Then we drove back into Trinity a very old fishing town for a look around. There was a suggested boondocking site in town and we were grateful we had not tried to get there. The streets are very narrow and twisty and they were congested when we arrived. The boondocking site was now clearly marked “No overnight parking”.
Today, Aug 6 (?!?!) we are planning our last 10 days already 🙁 Drove to Gander and changed into my “Come From Away” T shirt. No one noticed, well one police officer, O. Fudge, did. He or more likely his relative is featured in the play. Writing on speeding warning tickets STFD. We went to the National Aviation Museum and learned the history of the Gander Airport and more of the story of Sept 11, 2001. As we were viewing the exhibits we came upon one that almost reduced us to tears. In December 1985 Arrow Airline, a contractor to the UN returning soldiers from the 101 Airborne from a peacekeeping mission, crashed off the end of the runway here. Our next door neighbor’s son Peter Schremp was among those killed in that crash. He and his siblings played endlessly with out boys as they grew up until we moved away. We drove out to the Silent Memorial and remembered Peter and his family and thought of the many families who lost loved ones on that day.