Airstream Time

Exploring North America in an Airstream

Archive for ‘August 8th, 2019’

Fogo Island

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

We got an early start to make sure we caught the 8:00 ferry to Fogo Island. Two pickups were tailing me closely, like they were late for work, so I pulled over and let them pass. Just around the corner was the lineup for the ferry. We were sure they would get on and we wouldn’t, but there was plenty of room on a Tuesday.

I didn’t get much sleep last night. My right leg has been bothering me for a while. I can do anything, like hiking, and it doesn’t bother me, but at night it has been getting more painful. Nothing seems to affect the pain – not Aleve, Advil, Butazoladine or aspirin. My differential diagnosis was either sciatica or Lyme Disease. Something bit me right before Martha came and my thigh turned bright red and burned. I didn’t see a bite mark or a tick, but figured something bit me while I was working on the trailer roof the day before. It took about a week to go away. There was no target look to it, so I guessed a spider bit me.

I was planning on sleeping on the ferry, but a man stood nest to our table, looking out the window, and we got to talking. Jim Tulk was his name, and he was a Newfie. He told stories of what it was like growing up. His family came originally from England in the 1800’s when there were no roads and they walked everywhere. 

He had no real education, so the language evolved so it doesn’t sound like English any more. They drop the “H”, so Martha becomes Marta, and they have a lot of colloquial terms that make it hard for visitors to understand. Jim said they all had big families. “What else were you going to do in the winter?” He and his wife and daughter were going to Fogo to visit some of those relatives. 

He used to work for the electric company for 35 years, and traveled all over Newfoundland, so he was telling us where to go and what to do. He told the story of having appendicitis when he was a young teenager. They had to drive somewhere and then pull their way on a river ferry before they could get to the hospital in Gander. I enjoyed listening to this nice man, and before I knew it, we were docking.

Jim Tulk

Stopping at the visitor’s center, it was 10 minutes before opening. I saw a girl riding a 4-wheeler drive up to the back of the building. Soon the lights came on and the door opened. We knew very little about the island, but the nice young lady circled places on the map, showed us where the hikes were, where the ice-cream place was and where the museums were.

We decided to go to the east end of the island and work our way back. Newfoundland is the end of the Appalachian mountain chain and some of the oldest mountains in the world. There are so many islands at this end of the country, I wondered how anyone could sail their way around this part and not get lost. These islands were just the tops of the mountain chain, sticking out of the water. 

We drove to the east side of the island first and walked Joe Batt’s Point Trail, but not all the way. There was a lot to see and do in one day. We had a view of the Fogo Hotel, built by a successful person who wanted to provide jobs for their home. It’s a pretty expensive hotel, and they wouldn’t let us walk through it. In fact, you can’t even drive up to it. You park and take a shuttle. Maybe that translates to more jobs.

We came back to town and had a nice lunch at a restaurant I still don’t know the name of. Then we went to Fogo and went to the Visitor’s Center. This is the site of a Marconi radio station, which took the Titanic’s distress call. It was also important in both wars. I was surprised to learn that Newfoundland was independent until 1949.

Out back we took another trail leading to a beautiful overlook. Fogo is indeed a beautiful harbor and town. By then it was time to get back to the ferry. Two days would have been nice here.

Twillingate

Monday, August 5, 2019

Driving 35 minutes to Twillingate from Dildo Provincial Park, we drove through town and out the the northwest point. Everywhere we go, the coast of Newfoundland (pronounced NewfoundLAND) is dramatic and beautiful. They call it The Rock, and you can see why. With beautiful, clear, blue-green water washing the shore and mountains or cliffs meeting the sea, it is so beautiful.

Driving back into town, we went to the Wooden Boat Builder Museum. Chris greeted us and sent us upstairs for a talk on how wooden boats are made. A young and enthusiastic man had just started giving his talk on how it was done. His grandfather was a boat builder, and now he builds them at this museum. The whole second floor is a workshop where they were building a punt, a smaller, wooden rowboat that can be used in harbors and coves. It will only weigh about 200 pounds when finished.

It is quite a process, taking them two months to build one. they have electric tools, but still there is so much fitting and shaping to be done by hand. He said his grandfather could probably have built this boat with hand tools in a month because he did it full time all his life. There was a new language of parts for us to learn. How they fit all the complex curves was interesting. They use fir trees, getting pieces that look like knees where the roots join the tree trunk. These take a lot of stress growing in windy Newfoundland, so the grains are very tight and strong. They use these to cut the ribs, which he called a different name. He showed how they use wood different patterns to help define the width and shape of different boats. Then when they put it in the water, it will leak, so they fill it with water for a day until the wood swells to close all the seams. It was all very cool. On the way out, Chris suggested places for lunch, a seafood market and Sansome’s for dinner. 

After lunch at Annie’s, we drove out the other arm of town to the tip, where a trail goes all the way around the peninsula. You would have to be young and in very good shape to make your way all the way around, but I’m sure many do. We walked out to the end, finding great vistas. I am always amazed by the abundance of lakes everywhere. On the way back in, a girl was busy picking berries of some sort. She was too far away to tell what she was picking, but there must have been plenty.

We went to a grocery store to get a few things, filled up the truck, then went to the seafood market. There were live wells with running water keeping lobsters of all sizes fresh. We wanted fish for dinner, so we went into the next room, picking up three cod fillets for $5.40 Canadian. The nice woman at the desk helped us sort out our change, saying she used to work at a bank, so she was good at it. She said we could come in and pick out a lobster and they would cook it for us, crack the shells and have it ready at any time. $11/lb Canadian 😊

Back at camp, I drove up to the shower house, where the WIFI is strongest, to see if I could post. I couldn’t even get on yesterday, but today I could upload pictures to my amazement. It was about 3:00 in the afternoon, so I guess there weren’t many trying to get on. Several people came up, asking if I was able to get anything done, as they couldn’t get on. I knew I was hogging the network, and tried to be quick with my work.

A couple had just arrived and came to check out the showers. “Five showers”, she exclaimed to her husband. “Can you believe it? And you can adjust the hot water! Curtains, they have shower curtains!” I couldn’t help but laugh out loud. It was a very nice shower house with lots of room.

As they walked away, she read my license tag and came back. “Are you from Virginia?” They had just moved to Edenton, North Carolina, where my brother-in-law was raised, so we got to talking. It turns out she grew up in Richmond, Virginia, an hour from where we live. They said Edenton is a great place to live, but it gets very hot in the summer, so they loaded their Mercedes conversion camper and came to Labrador for 5 weeks. We exchanged stories of where we were going and where we had been. Then they headed back to their campsite, and I tried to finish up my work as quickly as I could.

Martha fixed the cod fillets in foil over a fire, having learned some techniques from the cooking show we have been watching. It was great!

King’s Point Pottery/Drive to Dildo Run Provincial Park

Sunday, August 4, 2019

About a 30-minute drive from George Huxter Memorial Park is King’s Point where the highest-rated craft store in Newfoundland can be found. King’s Point sits on beautiful Notre Dame Bay.

Kaitlan greeted us, and we were the only ones in the store on a Sunday morning. She said they had the busiest July in their 28 years of being in business. There is so much in this little store, the longer you stay, the more you notice. It’s hard to take it all in. Everything is made in Newfoundland by maybe 300 artists. There were paintings I loved, Labrodite jewelry and stones, knitted, wool socks, wood utensils, bowls and decorative things, lots of pottery, bowls and mugs. 

We had a nice running conversation with Kaitlan, who was maybe 22 years old. She suggested places to go and bits of Newfoundland history and what it’s like to live in King’s Point. We bought a cute moose mug, some partridgeberry jam and a hand-made card with a puffin on it. We drove through the little town, then headed back.

We packed up and got on the road east on TCH 1 (TransCanada Highway 1), then north toward Twillingate to Dildo Run Provincial Park. We pulled into a great site with a beautiful view of a bay with islands all through it. As soon as we got settled, the rains came. I put the awnings out and we sat out for a while until the mosquitoes got too hungry.

We talked to Diego, who will be joining us for a week in St. Johns. With thunder and lightening, the rains got harder. The roof didn’t leak 😊

Drive Back Down Coast to Shallow Bay Campground

Friday, August 2, 2019

It had been rainy, cloudy and cold in Pistolet Bay for three days, and it was getting to Martha. She talked about how cloudy and cold makes her sad. 46 years of marriage, and I am still learning.

I went to Woodward GMC in St. Anthony’s to have the oil changed. Mike checked me in, then I went to the visitor’s area hoping to catch up on my posts, but I could go nowhere on their WIFI. I couldn’t even get my phone to work there, so I took a nap. 

At 3:00 we arrived at Shallow Bay, set up and went down to the beach to see what it was all about. The sun had broken through, and it was a warm, beautiful day. This beach is one of the prettiest, beaches I have ever seen. Shallow water keeps it relatively warm. Several people were swimming, while others walked the huge, semicircular cove. Pristine sand without a bit of trash and no rocks make it unique in Newfoundland. It is a part of this diverse, incredible National Park, Gros Morne. If you come to Newfoundland for nothing else, come to Gros Morne. 

We walked for about 45 minutes and came back to camp. Martha wasn’t feeling well with an upset stomach, so she took an hour nap, instructing me to make wild rice in the InstaPot. Then heat up lobster claws in butter and wake her up in an hour.

The InstaPot takes a bit of power as it heats up, but after that, it uses very little. Dinner was wonderful, but Martha didn’t feel like eating. I cleaned up, got in bed and read Killing Patton.

St. Anthony

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Driving into St. Anthony near the top of the northwest arm, we hiked Lighthouse point, which was very pretty and an excellent place to look for whales.

We went to lunch at the Lightkeeper’s Restaurant, which was OK. We shared fish tacos, moose spring rolls and seafood chowder. The winner was a rice dish that came with fish tacos. I think it was a wild rice with other things in it.  

Hiking the point around the lighthouse, We saw a whale a half mile away, a minke maybe, smallish and black. 

In town, we got propane, and a few other items at a great hardware store, Shears, Sears with an H. It had a very nice staff and was well-equipped. We found more roof tape, since we still had a leak, and now a new one around a window.