Month: July 2019

Geology Lecture

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Green Point and was our view in back of our campsite

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Green Point with two Adirondack chairs in the distance

Green Point with two Adirondack chairs in the distance

At 10:00 we went to Green Point to hear a geology lecture. Chris Rohrback gave the talk, and she was great. She has a way of making a difficult subject simpler and fun. It is the eroded remnants of a mountain range formed 1.2 billion years ago. “The park provides a rare example of the process of continental drift, where deep ocean crust and the rocks of the earth’s mantle lie exposed.” (Centre, UNESCO World Heritage).

Gros Morne became a national park 1973, but it was for the geological studies that it was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The complex nature of a tremendous upheaval a billion years ago made for a lifetime study by Robert Stevens and Harold Williams, who established the concept of tectonic plate movement. 

This site offers a unique, exposed view of the plates turned vertical so you can readily see all the layers. Chris explained how the world was one supercontinent, before Africa and Europe pulled away, drifting to the east, leaving parts of Africa and Spain along the east coast of Newfoundland. Parts of these Appalachian Mountains went with Europe and can still be seen today.

These mountains were the size of the Himalayas. Thousands of years of erosion have reduced their size, and glaciers gouged out U-shaped valleys, pushing boulders all the way to the ocean and this beach. There are layers of sediment, shale (compacted mud), limestone, soapstone and whatever the other one was. “Here geologists discovered fossils that define the boundary between the Cambrian and Ordovician periods and makes Green Point a world geological benchmark.” (https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/nl/grosmorne/activ/decouverte-tours/gp)

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Once a thriving fishing village, there are many restrictions today.

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One or two still fish from this great spot

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Moving to Gros Morne National Park

Monday July 22, 2019

It was about a two-hour drive to Gros Morne National Park, the jewel of Newfoundland. We made our way to Green Point Campground and checked in. While Martha checked in, I talked to two ladies riding their bikes with all the camping gear on board. They started at the Ferry and were on a three-week trip. They don’t carry food, so they eat all their meals out, which requires a lot of planning. They were staying in the campground and would take the cruise tomorrow.

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Our site was lovely, in a grassy area with woods behind. At the edge of the woods were two Adirondack chairs and a table looking out on the Bay of St. Lawrence and a tiny fishing village with its man-made harbor. There was a very modern, beautiful shower house that made Martha very happy. There was even a WIFI tower, unheard of for a national park. Perfect!!

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The Coastal Trail starts in the campground, so after riding in the truck all morning, we were ready to stretch our legs. It’s a 6k return walk out and back, following an old mail route taken with sled dogs. Bushes are swept back by obviously powerful winds. Underneath was very cool and offered some protection from winds and rain. A few geese rested in the grass. 

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The bikes of the ladies we met earlier, who are biking Newfoundland for three weeks.

 

We started a fire, fixed a drink and enjoyed a beautiful, cool evening. 

Southwest End of Newfoundland

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Driving south on the TCH (Trans-Canada Highway), we first went to Rose Blanche for a hike and to see the lighthouse. Driving along the coast on 470 is beautiful with the sea and bays on the right, but maybe even prettier were all the lakes on the left. We wondered if there were trout in these lakes.

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At Rose Blanche Lighthouse we paid $6 each to Zachary, a young man who had just started working here and was a bit nervous. His father was in the military, so he had lived in New Brunswick, Quebec and now Newfoundland. This was his summer job.

This is a unique lighthouse, built of stone to last forever with a classic Newfoundland view of Rose Blanche and its beautiful harbor. Interpretive signs told us the history as well as what all the flowers and plants were. We ate our lunch sitting on a rock overlooking the calm sea. It’s not an easy place to make a living by the sea. Many have lost their lives on these rocks in heavy storms, but if you love the sea, this is such a marvelous place. Canada has consolidated many of the towns along this southern coast, trying to save on the costs of power and telephone lines. Fishing is more regulated and restricted now, so the population is dwindling here.

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On the way back we walked down to Barechois Falls, admiring all the flowers along the way. We were going to do two more hikes, but were both tired, and I could try to fix the furnace.

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Back at camp I had time to see if I could fix the furnace. I had emailed Chris Burch at Airstream Jackson Center, asking if there was a way to do this. He said there were two blue wires on the street side of the hole where the air conditioner was. If I bought a simple thermostat and connected these two wires, it should work. I found three wires, one big and two small. I guessed the small ones were the ones, but emailed Chris again. A nice hardware store was right around the corner, so I went in. A young lady asked if she could help, and I said I needed a thermostat. She took me right to it. The simple on/off was more expensive than one you could control the temperature on, so I bought that one. With no answer from Chris, I turned off the electric and wired to the smaller blue wires. The instructions said it didn’t matter which wires connected to positive and negative. With Velcro and duct tape, I attached the thermostat to the ceiling. Turning on the power, nothing exploded and no circuit breakers closed. I turned the temperature up on the dial, and the furnace came on 😊 Replacing the aluminum plate over the hole where the air conditioner once was, I was quite happy.

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After dinner Martha went over to the central campfire and enjoyed a wonderful evening of music and singing. One man played a concertina (squeeze box) while a lady played a guitar and sang. Everyone sang along, having an enjoyable evening. She also bought a few things at the craft store, where local artists sell their goods.

 

The Ferry to Newfoundland

Thursday, July 18, 2019

It was a bit chilly in the morning, and Martha asked for a little heat. I said, “Sure, turn it on.” “It doesn’t come on”, she said. I told her to put it on furnace, but still nothing. I got up to check the thermostat, but there was no power to it. None of the fuses were tripped. We have been lucky that everything else works since the accident, but traveling in Newfoundland for two months, we were going to need heat!

I showered in the nice shower house and walked around a bit. Battery Provincial Park is such a nice campground. We had an hour’s drive to North Sydney Terminal, and you are supposed to be there two hours early, so we left at 8:00 for an 11:45 ferry. We tooted at the office, but no one was in yet.

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We were surprised to see the lines had already started, and we had to wait to get through the toll gate. A nice young lady checked us in while another measured the truck and trailer at 47’. She gave us two passports. We went into the big terminal building and were surprised at an announcement to return to our vehicles. There were plenty of campers and lots of tractor-trailers.

There was a car with a pop-up trailer behind me and the driver motioned me over as I walked by. It was a young couple with two cute little girls. She was from Newfoundland, and they were going back to visit family as they did every year. I asked how it was in the winter. Then they described the deep, wet snows that sometimes made canyons after snow plows had done their work.

They loved the Airstream and wanted to know about the backup camera. At least he could see over the top of the popup camper, but he still couldn’t see what might be behind it. They told us many places to go and things to see when the line next to ours started moving. I told him he had to be an old fart like me to have an Airstream.

I got back in the truck, but our line wasn’t moving. Another Airstream owner, George, came up to my window and started talking. They are going over for a month. He would like to stay longer, but they have grandchildren and his wife, Karen, wanted to get back. He is a 61-year recently retired guy who loves traveling in the Airstream. He would be in Newfoundland all summer if Karen would do it. 

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We loaded up on the ferry and went up to the 8th floor for seats in front of the back window. There was a poor, young lady with an awful cold a few seats over. As she fell asleep, we got up and moved to the other side. 

It was cold on this floor, and we were surprised to see it wasn’t full at all. The 7th floor is the same kind of seating, but was more full. It’s amazing how many vehicles went on this ship, and it still wasn’t full. I asked Martha what floor we parked on and was happy when she said 3. I had no idea. I think they put the tractor-trailers down low.

The seas were choppy, but the big, heavy boat barely knew it. Once we got out in the middle it rocked a bit, making walking a bit humorous. I get seasick, but it didn’t really bother me. By 4:00 we went down to the 6th floor to a huge, nice restaurant for dinner. They had a nice staff and the meal was good.

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It was a 30-minute to Codroy Valley RV Park, a highly-rated private park on the Codroy River. Thankfully, there were very specific directions from the campground about how to get there. I have learned to follow those directions!

Alice greeted us and checked us in. I had given her the wrong arrival date, but fortunately it wasn’t a problem. She said her parents started the campground, and now their son, Jason, was doing most of the work. She said Jason had started a fire behind the office where people meet to chat about the days events. Often there is music and singing. It was another long day’s travel, so we just wanted to rest. First a walk on their pretty hiking trail through the forest. At every turn was a sign with an inspirational quote.

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Move to Battery Provincial Park

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Poor Martha was tired from the long trip yesterday, but we have a 3.5 hour drive to get closer to the Ferry to the 11:45 Newfoundland tomorrow. Still groggy with Jet-lag, Martha went for a walk around the park. After I straightened up and got ready to travel, I walked down to the point. 

Grand Lake is quite pretty. A person on a paddle board was getting their exercise this morning. It is so quiet and peaceful in Laurie Provincial Park, and they keep it very nice. Still, I marvel at humans who will throw their trash over the fence in a place so pretty. 

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l hooked up while Martha took a shower. Seeing the campground host doing his morning surveillance walk, I went over to thank him for the great care they take of this park. He said they are all volunteers, and they love it. “You must be from the States”, he said. Asking why, he said, “Because you have an Airstream”.

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Stopping along the Trans-Canada Highway for a break, where you can gas up, visit the information centre (a cubbyhole), get lunch and an ice cream.

It’s a pretty drive to Battery Provincial Park, but we had both had enough by the time we got there. Driving in, there were picnic tables near the water and up the hill in the shade, all perfectly-kept. this is a lock system where boats can enter the huge lake, Bras d’Or. 

You always wonder about the next campground, especially when the last one was so nice. We entered the little office and checked in with Jerry. With a cheery face, he excused himself and went out on the back porch. He returned to finish checking us in. I had chosen site #4 from the internet, but you never know what it is really like. Jerry suggested driving around the loop, pointing out site 34, saying it was higher with a better view. Then he said he would be right back. 

Martha asked what he was doing, and he said, “Cooking trout”. He came back into the tiny office with a plateful of grilled trout. then he said, “Take one” , offering us a plate. are you kidding me?!! A friend of his stepped out of a room in the back and said he would bring more. 

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A couple walked in to register and looked at us devouring this delicious trout. Perhaps our luck has turned. Never, never, never have I walked into a campground office and met anyone like Jerry – soft-spoken, understated and with a face like Santa. He changed our mood instantly. 

Jerry was busy registering the new guests, giving them similar options. Martha walked behind the desk to return the plate when Jerry said, “Can you turn them?” She went out the screen door and I quickly followed. There was a gas grill on a small deck. He had a cast iron skillet with butter with two trout cooking. Martha flipped them. As we walked back through, with a smile Jerry said, “Thanks”.

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He was still talking to the new guests when we waved and said thanks. As I got outside I knew that just wasn’t enough, so I turned around and loudly said, “I love you Jerry!” A voice returns from behind the screen door, “You’re not too bad yourself”.

We passed site $4, which was OK, but a bit crowded. All the sites have a view of the water as you climb the hill, but as he said, site #34 was better, so that’s where we went, calling the office after we got set up. A lady answered and was a bit confused. I could hear Jerry in the background telling her it was OK. 

It started to rain as we set up, but we got some lunch and settled in. We drove into the little town and picked up a few things including a cooked lobster. Sadly, lobster season is now over, so we wanted one while we could get it. It was $21. A man in line behind us said you can get them off the boat for $7. We felt like stupid touristas, but then he said, “It will be good though”.

We had a nice dinner of lobster, baked potatoes and peas and reviewed the route for tomorrow. We did NOT want to miss that ferry, as we were booked in campgrounds for the next month. It rained hard all night with no leaks 😊

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