Every culture has its peculiarities, here are some we have found in Newfoundland: unlocked doors on every establishment, some very elegant B&Bs (no check in, no locks and here we are in a sumptuous living room); fenced, raised gardens built near the road complete with scarecrows (we met a couple who drove 1/2 hour from home to garden where the soil is good and there are no rocks); wood piles near the road, all cut for winter by who knows who but they must live somewhere nearby; and honest people everywhere.
After a hard night on the ferry I left my camera on the seat in a huge lounge. Next thing I hear is an announcement over the loud speaker for the person who has lost a camera. I went right to the office and they handed it to me.
Alice and I took a ride up to the very northern tip to see the Viking settlement and more icebergs. We found a five-star restaurant and had quite a wonderful experience. Then we found a nice B&B nearby and have hold up there. An old fisherman stopped in to talk. Was a fisherman all his life, but he hated it. Went through grade nine, tried to leave, got as far as Goose Bay, but his father fell down paralyzed. Had to come back to nurse his dad. Two boys fished with him, got educated, got good jobs. Hates winter, wants to move south, but wife doesn’t want to go. Talks away.
His name is Guy and he loves people and would go anywhere, even to the mainland, he says. He would have married a city girl and only come here for visits. He had a happy family with three boys and three sisters. Boys all died.
He says he stops in to find people to talk to, he must have seen our car. Alice has since locked the door after this strange encounter even though the sign near the door says “Do Not Lock.” Newfoundlanders are so trusting. See next blog post.
We are at Pinware National Park. WIfi and hot water showers. Icebergs in the bay. Fished Pinware river, beautiful. Caught nothing, as did Pat, Dan, Geoff. Left to go to another river. Got there and realized I had left my pole leaning against the car when I backed out of the space at the Pinware River. Came racing back and my heart sunk when I looked on the ground and saw nothing. Got out to check and saw the pole, intact, leaning against some bushes. Some nice soul had placed it there. Very good luck.
Sunny now but clouds around and threatening rain. We are all set up in camp which is good. First time we have had two nights in the same place. A luxury.
Bugs and more bugs. Everywhere, all the time. Net suits are wonderful.
For a small place Conche has lots to see, the walk along the bay is prime with the icebergs but last night three whales cavorted right in front of the Catholic Church where a group of tourists watched with binoculars and cameras. Another couple watched from the bluff and an older couple parked their car. Of course, Alice and I missed the entire thing. We were checking out Dan and Amarilee’s property…right next to where the whales were seen. There’s always another evening and more walks.
Today we are off to St. Anthony’s at the northern tip, will try to write from there.
We reach Conche at the end of a long day and a 26-kilometer dirt road: Jewels of neat colored houses flung against cove, red blue yellow appear over the crest of the last hill. Marilee’s mother, Joan Simmonds, meets us by car and we follow her back to her comfortable, modern white house just above the bay. The sun is lower and I rush off to snap photos of everyone’s sheds.
When I return we settled into a friend’s house and eat soup and sandwiches with Joan and her family. What amazes us are the sea of icebergs at the mouth of the bay, some have escaped and drifted in and foundered like towering sky scrapers, smaller pieces break off and drift back to the open sea. Through the cliffs in the outer bay a dozen more icebergs drift down the coast like majestic cruise ships. Smaller chunks assume shapes of vehicles: a sea plane, a fishing vessel all ghostly white with azure gashes.
Gone are the splotches of lavender and pink lupine that graced the roadsides of Nova Scotia replaced now in western Newfoundland with low deep green vegetation backed by short pines. Fields on some hills fade to light green, flat topped mountains are reflected in still pools and shallow lakes. The black top stretches away to the horizon, only the dot of a red bus and a blue car in the distance, traffic since the ferry. “Brooks” of Newfoundland replace “loops” of Nova Scotia. Signs warn of “moose crossing,” “slow down, save lives.” A ridge sporting a cell phone tower is spiked with burned fir tops like a bad haircut on the mountain. Men fishing in wide rocky rivers, their rods and lines flashing over sparkling water everything else, including the men, is dark green.
Further on deep blue mountains patched with snow back the rolling green, the road swells to four lanes then narrows to two. No litter but massed buttercups. A truck stopped indicates men fishing. Six foot high metal mesh moose fencing for a ten mile stretches just beyond St. Stephen’s with gates. Massive highways roll on without traffic as if the population has been removed by aliens. Telephone poles are propped by wooden crates filled with field stones. A giant lake in the middle of nowhere is studded with elegant vacation homes. Rumor has it Oprah W. has a home here somewhere…
Six bicyclists pass us careening down the long, slow hills past billboards for RV parks in Corner Brook the last sizable town heading north. Traffic has increased, four cars and a couple of trucks. In a pull off two stocky men stand stolidly smoking, contemplating the silent pines next to an enormous gray pickup. No sound but the wind. Corner Brook lies whitely in a deep inlet against the flat snow covered hills to the west.
Near Port au Choix a sign announces “Folk Art and Things for sale.” A young caribou covered in hunks of gray molting fur wanders down the middle of the road before galloping for cover in the brush.
We decided to take the road less traveled, a lot less traveled it appears with beautiful views, tiny harbors, folk art on the road side, curvy, with poor Marilee feeling like she was on a tilt-a-whirl but the baby was quite good. Eliana only cried when we got to the only fabulous, town with animated historic village and two terrific cafes. Alice and are sharing the last homemade lemon merengue pie.