There were three things we were most looking forward to seeing in Newfoundland; whales, icebergs and puffins. All were said to be, not necessarily common, but doable when visiting the coastlines. So far, we have seen none of these. As a matter of fact when we were on Pilley’s Island the owner of the brewery talked when THE iceberg was in the area and how they had visitors from all around the world to see it. It sounds like it is an event, not a common occurrence. Oh well, at that time we still had over a week left so maybe there is still a chance to see a whale tail or two and perhaps a colony of puffins!
|Our route the last few days|
When the planes crashed into the twin towers on 9/11 all flights into the U.S. were ordered to land immediately. Well, 38 of them landed in Gander. A town with an airport big enough for the airliners to land but not big enough accommodate the nearly 7,000 travelers that were on them.
The community of Gander opened their homes to the passengers, housing and feeding them for the next four days. There is a book that recounts the tale; The Day the World Came to Town.
iOverlander had a great free spot listed just outside of town at a secluded boat ramp. Plenty of room for one large rig or several small rigs. Ends up we had the place to ourselves.
Barb and I were in bed reading, enjoying the peace and quiet. It was 10:00pm and we were just ready to turn off the lights and go to sleep when our phones started blowing up with texts and pictures from our friends Kevin and Cheryl as well as Dan and Bonnie back in South Dakota. Apparently they had gotten together and were having a good time without us! Well, not really without us as they broke out the Jim and Barb cutouts and were having a good time with us! We had been telling them about all the rain we have gotten since we have been here and they decided to have a little fun at our expense dressing our cutout characters up in rain suits and an umbrella depicting us in rainy Newfoundland while it is sunny and 80 in South Dakota.
They called a few times over the next hour or so maybe not realizing that we were 3 ½ hours ahead of them, or perhaps they were having too much fun and did not care. I suspect it was the latter. I am sure glad that we can entertain from thousands of miles away!
The next morning we packed up and continued east. Our destination for the day; Cape Bonavista. But we had several sights we were hoping to see along the way. We turned off the TCH (Trans Canada Highway) onto 233, then 230 and eventually 235 to the town of Tickle Cove who was said to have a pretty cool sea arch. The roads were on the rough side. Not bad if you had a car or even campervan but I don’t think I would take our setup down there again. You just have to go too slow. It was worth it though, the sea arch was pretty spectacular.
Plus Barb did a couple of her soon to be infamous Instagram poses!
We had to backtrack a few miles as we made our way to Cape Bonavista, Dungeon Provincial Park. They had a lighthouse there that was pretty cool.
But it what else was there that blew us away….. Puffins!!
Hundreds and hundreds of puffins on a rock island right off of shore. Barb and I sat there for over an hour just watching them, taking pictures and soaking it all in. My friend Doug from Wisconsin called the other day and asked me what the coolest thing we have seen so far in Newfoundland was, and I struggled to answer him. “The scenery I guess” is how I answered. Had he called after this stop I would have said “The puffins, definitely the puffins!” For some reason I am just enthralled with them! Such a goofy looking bird.
We finally saw one of the three things we were looking for! Happy, we made our way to the town of Catalina where we parked at the public library for the night. I was able to connect to their internet and work on a blog post. Since we got rid of our hotspot, writing and keeping up on other people's blogs while on the road has been a challenge.
The next day we made our way back to the TCH, southeast to the town of Dildo. I mean, how can you not stop at a town named Dildo? Especially when they have a brewery!?!?
But wait, there’s more! Not only does Dildo have a brewery and a giant squid, there is also a distillery in nearby Clarke’s Beach. The Newfoundland Distillery makes rum, gin, vodka and something called Aquavit. This is the first distillery we have ever stopped at so we really did not know what to do there. But looking at the menu options they have tastings, 3, 4 and 5, one ounce tastings, just like a flight of beer! Barb opted for the 3 sample tasting while I got the 4. They also provide a tonic that pares well with a particular spirit.
All would have been fine had we not gotten a new server who uses the 2 ounce measurer instead of the 1 ounce. By the time we left there we had to crash in the camper for an hour or so before we were off for our next destination; a road side pull-off just off the TCH.
As we were heading into the St. John’s area we started seeing a lot of billboards along the side of the road. We had been driving a couple hours and like a lot of couples who have been married for over 35 years, neither of us had spoken a word in over an hour as we took in the scenery and now started reading all the billboards along the side of the road. All of a sudden Barb shouts “Cold Beer!” Or at least it seemed like she shouted it as we had been quiet for so long. “What?” I said? “That sign back there said Cold Beer”. Leave it to Barb, of all the signs we read along the road, she would blurt out that one!
We had reservations at Pippy Park Campground but it was well before check-in time so we decided to drive up to the Cape Spear Lighthouse area and check that out. BEST STOP EVER! No, they did not have cold beer but what they did have was whales!
A pod of probably 10-12 Humpback whales were feeding just off shore and kept us entertained for over an hour as we watched them surface, roll, blow and feed just off shore. They were not surfacing real high, maybe a foot or two but we each took hundreds of pictures hoping to get a few that were decent. These are some of the better ones.
By that time, it was time to check into the park. We checked in, drove to our loop and saw nothing but classic cars in many of the sites. How cool is that?!?!
While we were in St. John’s we had several things on our list besides the Cape Spear Lighthouse area. We went to the Quidi Vidi Brewery and Quidi Vidi Village.