AmeriCanada 2015

NOTE:  When Sharon adds comments, they will be in {curly brackets}. 

Day 31. Monday, August 24, 2015. Up and Back. Long Day, Jack.

Our path today is shown below, It is 457 miles round trip. RV park to Norse Village, back to RV park.

Nancy has decided not to do today's part of the trip, skipping the ten hours or so riding the back seat. Opting instead to do all of our laundry, rest a bit, have a shower, relax and read and maybe wonder what she would do if we didn't come home. {I really wanted to see this Viking Village and we worked out how to do it. It means a log day but we are up for it.}

It's almost 5 o'clock, clear skies because I can see stars, not too cold, not too windy. Looks like we're in for a good day. Yay to that! We take off {After clunking around trying to be quiet but failing as Nancy says "good-bye" to us}, and set the Sirius XM radio to Classic Vinyl - music from the late 50s and early 60s. Cool, Man.

We get a nice sunrise over some water. On the right, you see how they put up power poles in land that's not stable. There's a grid made of timbers, and small boulders fill it to support the pole.


About 5:20 we're coming into this little town. I'm going about 49 miles an hour. A sign says the speed limit is 50. Sharon says," OK, it's 50 here". I say I AM going 50, actually 49. She says" kilometer"s. I say, Oh yeah, and brake until I get there, about 30 MPH.

About 6 am, we're headed down the smooth road. Suddenly Sharon yells MOOSE three times, each time louder than the last, in quick succession. I put on the brakes pretty hard and I look to the left. A big ol' female moose is looking at us. There's a little ditch that goes down, then back up to where she is. I look to our right, put on the brakes, and back up, but she's gone. Great sighting but short.

About 6:45 we make a bathroom stop in the City of Ponds. The Doors are singing, "... Save our City!"

In Hawkes Bay, there are trash bins in front of each house, permanently. The most common form is an eight-sided barrel, lying on one of its sides, like the picture we took yesterday, as I recall. But some of the bins are little houses, maybe four feet tall, and in one case, the little house is a model of the actual house. Pretty cool.

I have a nap while Sharon drives. As I wake up, Sharon points and says, "There's Labrador." And it's easy to see. You can take a ferry over there, and be there in a few minutes. But we are on a time schedule, with not a minute to spare. Dang.

We also go past a thrombolite location Sharon has read about. {Thrombolites generate oxygen and you can actually see it bubbling up from them It is believed that these organizums generated all the oxygen that supported life out of the ocean.} There are only two in the world, supposedly, and we have been to both now. One in northwest Australia and this one. I'm really enjoying the little villages on the water, with boats in the harbors.

To our great surprise, the road up is wonderful. {We had been "warned off" by some visitors here who talked about how bad the road was; "full of potholes, it will take you forever to get there" I'm glad we ignored their warnings and saw for ourselves. We are moving pretty smoothly. and it's early enough that there is very little traffic.}

We change drivers with a half tank of fuel, and 31394 miles on the Chevy.

Pulling over at a roadside park, Sharon IDs a bird we saw yesterday - a Northern Waterthrush. That's a cool trip bird, meaning a bird we see for the first time on this trip, but not a new life bird. {I had missed it the day before at the boat trip. I was in the wheelchair and Bob and Nancy could see the bird and were saying "It's right there, on that branch, moving right, etc." I kept saying I couldn't see it and then I got it. I'm at ground level and they are standing up, 4-5 feet higher. No way could I see at their angle. So I'm glad to see the bird today.}

There are lots of Black-backed Gulls here, occasionally tricking me into thinking one is sometimes a Bald Eagle.

We see lots of dories, lobster traps and stacks of what looks like fireplace burning logs. These log stacks are becoming very common, and we can't figure them out. One has a number, which may be a phone number, but most have no numbers.

A lady had complained about the horrible rainy/pothole day they drove this road. I wonder if it was 50 50 or 90 10, the ratio of what she hated about her day - the potholes or the weather. And the minimal distance of bad road makes think she was 90 10 weather.

It's very comfortable at 62 degrees. At 9:30 we arrive at a stretch between the local airport and St. Ant'ony that is supposed to have a huge population of moose, according to a sign by the road. I say St. Ant'ony because in the RV park we stayed in the night before our PEI-to-Nova Scotia ferry, we were talking to some fellows with strong New York City accents. We told them where we were going in far north Newfoundland, and one said, "Oh yeah, that's in Saint Ant'ny, not An-tho-nee, but Ant-nee. Great stuff.

I'm guessing these log stacks are on an honor system. You load up and pay somehow, but how? [We later learn this is community wood, and the number is a permit number - letting the keeper of the block cut wood down]

There are road markers telling us that we're on the right path.

We can tell we're gettng close, and it's a relief to get that first long drive over with. Several Norse silhouettes of iron highlight a nearby hill.

We park and here's Sharon on our way from the parking lot to the visitor center. There is a photograph, shown below, of the man who went all over the earth, looking for early settlements. He would ask if anyone had seen any unexplained bumps or hills in the middle of cornfields or where they didn't belong. And it was here that he struck paydirt. Google it if you want to know more. The finger below points to that man. The photo to the left of that photo shows the "old Indian" who told him about the odd hills and depressions. {They grazed cattle here and this man told him the bumpy ground was what they called "the old Indian place" The "searcher" man was married to an archeologist and he brought her back her and they foud the remains of a Viking Village which turned out to be the oldest European settlement on North America.}

Below left, Sharon returns the old warrior's high five. At right is a view of the reconstruction depicting conditions and buildings and contents that existed hundreds of years before Columbus 'discovered' America. At 10:30 we arrive at the visitor center for the ancient village site. We pay our fee, look around a bit, then head out to walk to the recreated Norse village.

There are some cool art works on the walk to the village. There is a better view of the one of the left later in this report.

Here are views of the reconstructed village. {Sod roofs, Main lodge, blacksmith shop, outbuildings, etc. All built in the shapes of the archeological findings but not on the same spot.}

There were narrators, dressed as the people dressed in the village long ago, and authentic clothing as well. {This was Dean who gave his his Norse name I can't remember but we talked about my Norweigen roots and we share some family names, like Anderson and Johnson.}

The fellow in yellow was picking wild strawberries OFF THE ROOF!

We leave the reconstruction, and tour the actual remains of the actual village. {The archeological site was explored and then recovered with soil and grass to preserve it.}

Others are there too. Don't be fooled by the older girl being ahead of the younger boy. He passes her and wins easily. Sharon makes friends with this guy.

A wonderful brook passes through the area. At right is the view of the earlier sculpture, but seen as the artist intended it to be seen.

This is the figure on the bow of the ship - a dragon I think. Sharon gives her approval, with her thumb and her Mountie sweat shirt.

Sharon zeroes in on a few birds that turn out to be Horned Larks. Cool. Trip bird again.

We have lunch at The Norseman, recommended to us. We split an order of Snow Crab (fantastic) with potato-leek soup (not so good) and a salad (great). They also gave us each a small curved, very thin scissors. They were perfect for slitting a thin leg. Man, every crab place in America needs to get twenty pairs of these. Far, far better than nutcrackers and tiny forks. {The owner and chef here had also written a book about the animals of the region in the style of the "12 days of Christmas" and I got an autographed copy from her.}

Below right is the restaurant owner, and the author of a children's book that Sharon purchases, getting the author's autograph. {As I said, sorry to be repeating Bob's dialogue.}

Before we leave, I run across the street and get photos of a Leif Erickson statue.

I'm amazed that here we are on the outermost point of our trip, and at a historical place that wasn't even on the agenda of my initial plan.

After 2-3 hours here, it's time to head back.

The return trip is enjoyable. I refuel with 417.7 miles on the trip odometer. Most of that was without the trailer, of course.

We go by (as opposed to go buy) several stacks of lobster traps on the right, and then we notice a big female moose on the left but we are going too fast to stop. Down the road, I U-turn, and slowly come back. I pull over and cautiously walk into the location, getting several photos of the moose walking away, into the brush. Sharon kept whispering for me to be careful, and I am but in a way that I get these photos. I was ready to jump into the back of the truck or on top of the lobster pots. Mooses can't get you if you are on top of a stack of lobster pots. All Newfies learn that early on.

We continue homeward when we see a sign near a house advertising quilts for sale. I will let Sharon tell her story.


{I had seen this sign on the way up but it was too early to stop.} It's about 5:30pm. We discuss it and pull in. A man and woman are pulling a box springs set from the back of a pickup and carrying it inside. The woman yells for us to go on in. We do. A woman named Phyllis greets us, we presume, because we can't understand a word coming out of her mouth. Where's my audio recorde? I need to get this. What a brogue! {My sister-in-law Shirley is a quilter and when we travel with her, she is always wanting to visit quilt shops. She says that each region of a country gets its own special material that you can't buy anywhere else. So I want to buy her some material from Newfoundlandfor a Christmas present. As I ask the older woman, Phyllis, it is clear that she only has quilts she has made herself to sell. I tell her and her daughter, Belinda, that what I really want is Newfoundland tartan material and tell them about Shirley. Belinda says,"You should have gone to our small convenience store because she has material there but they close at 5." I look at my watch, it is 5:30 and I say "Do you think you could call her and see if she could sell me some?" She goes through several phone numbers, looking in a telephone book (remember those, everybody?) for Christine's number, reaches her and explains the issue. "How much do you want", she asked. I quickly think "how much would it be worth it to her to go back and open her store?" so I say 5 yards (knowing that Nancy also wanted material to take to a quilter friend of hers) That seems to be the magic number as Belinda says she will meet us at Pateys (not Pattys as you might think) Store. We follow Belinda in her truck there in our truck and see that Christine lives next door to the store, so it wasn't too much trouble for her to open up. Belinda explains to me that this far up in the country, small stores like these carry many things the women want, like yarn and material. It turns out that Christine does have Newfoundland tartan material. At first there is a great discussion to see if they have enough to sell 5 METERS, it turns out, not yards. They do and we finish our business. So very nice and accommodating these Newfies}

Belinda's dog keeps getting out of her truck and coming into the store no matter how much she says "he knows better" and putting him back in the truck.

Below is a composite from two photos showing the goods for sale in the little mom-and-pop variety store that sold Sharon the material.


We head on toward home. I am amazed to see a small helicopter on a trailer, being pulled by a pickup truck.

We noticed a sign indicating some stone arches when we were on our way north, and we stop in on the way back home. At right is a panorama. There are bathrooms here, but Sharon says, after using them, that they may be the worst she's ever seen. She said other ladies went in, came out and said they'll go behnd the bushes. {Had to hold my nose the whole time.}

Finally back in camp, the truck mileage is 31701. We are greeted by Nancy and a little friendly turtle. Nice sunrise, nice sunset.

Tomorrow morning, we will wake by alarm at 3:30am, leave by 4 am, drive to the ferry scheduled to sail at 11:45 am. We are supposed to be there by 9:45.

PS I stayed up all night to see where the sun went.  Then it dawned on me.

Began: Gros Morne RV Park, Rocky Harbor, Newfoundland
Pass Through: Cow Head, River of Ponds, Hawke's Bay, Barr'd Harbor, Newfoundland
End: Back in Gros Morne RV Park
Miles Today: 457 (all without the trailer)
Miles for Trip: 6341 (doesn't count ferry rides)

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