Newfoundland

Newfoundland Farewell – July 19, 2006

(For those reading this for the first time, you might want to look at “About” before continuing)

Cape Ray

Cape Ray

Well, we’re on the boat heading back to Nova Scotia after a sad farewell to Newfoundland. We had a great final two days seeing the sights we missed on our arrival.

Long Range Mountains

Long Range Mountains

Newfoundland is a place for all the senses. The beautiful green 1,968 to 2,600 foot (600-800 metre) high Long Range Mountains, the northern extension of the Appalachian Mountains, that run up the right side of the highway when you first disembark from the ferry to L’Anse aux Meadows. You can sit and watch the clouds flow over the peaks like water. Not far from Port aux Basques is Wreckhouse where, because of the wall of mountains, the wind can get up to 125 mph (200 km/hour). When the train used to run, boxcars were, at times, blown right off the tracks. And of course the wildflowers – lupines, wild roses, harebell, cow parsnip, yellow buttercups by the acre rolling down through the colourful saltbox houses to the azure sea.

Long Range Mountains

Long Range Mountains

The profusion of flowers creates a bouquet for the nose. Clover flowers so thick you can smell the blossoms (my mouth’s watering again). The smell of peat and warm juniper, spruce trees and poplar, the ocean shoreline and the not so pleasant smell of thousands of seabirds nesting on small islands just off shore.

Red Rock

Red Rock

Newfoundland is most remarkable for what you don’t hear. No industrial noises, few airplanes, little traffic. In the small shoreline towns at night you might hear the waves running up on shore or the wind in the trees. In the morning you are awakened by seagulls and terns instead of an alarm clock. You may hear the fish boats leaving the harbour or the bells on the buoys or occasionally a foghorn in the distance, the baaing of a blessèd sheep or mooing cow. With a population of less than 500,000 and an area of 43,008 square miles (111,390 kilometres squared), the ratio of cars to roadways is very small so traffic problems aren’t an issue.

Red Rock

Red Rock

It is also a land of contrasts from the high tabletop mountains and 800 metre Gros Morne to the flat limestone shelves of Phillip’s Garden. You have the rugged Oregon coast-like shoreline in Bonavista to the sandy beaches at Cape Ray. The dense (though short) spruce/birch/poplar forests of the interior to the windswept barren plains of the west coast. The heritage of cold blooded Vikings and hot blooded Basques. The sand dunes being re-sculpted every day and The Arches made up of some of the oldest rock in the world, rock that should be buried deep within the earth but due to cataclysmic forces have been forced to the surface giving geologists the first concrete evidence of continental drift.

Wreckhouse

Wreckhouse

And of course Newfoundland wouldn’t be Newfoundland without it’s special people. A quality of people not too dissimilar to British Columbia inhabitants. Perhaps it is the isolationism of Newfoundland being an island and British Columbia hiding behind the barrier of the Rockies. Friendly people who will stop to talk and within four sentences be willing to tell you their life story and often do. Waitresses who call you ‘my darling’ when they serve you and will often give you a reassuring pat on the arm. The men who like to discuss the fishing situation and, of course, tell of their moose encounters. These are people who have to make do and have struggled hard to subsist but instead of making them inward and selfish they are always willing to give you advise or help you out. As the sign in the small town of Bonavista says, “We have been welcoming visitors for over 500 years.” But, there is also a sadness to the people as we talked to many of the adults. Time and time again, when discussing children, we found the common thread was that their son was in Edmonton or their daughter was in Ontario. There is little or no work for the young people and they have to move away. There is concern now that many of the small outpost communities will not last much longer as fishing becomes harder and the young people don’t return.

When you talk about the people you can’t ignore their figures of speech and accents. Quite amazing to listen to little kids who often have a stronger accent than their parents. It was really strange the other day to be in a restaurant listening to an Oriental woman with a strong Newfie accent.

So . . . I am so glad that the Man and Lady persevered and made the last push to this wonderful island. The Man says that if there are any future trips it would be to fly directly to Newfoundland, rent a RV and stay for a couple of months. Even then there would be so much more to see.

Leaving Newfoundland

Leaving Newfoundland

By the way, the miles/kilometres we have driven from our doorstep to Cape Spear are 8,894 miles (14,824 kilometres). The Lady and I were looking at the Man the other day and realized that either he’s been in the car too long or he needs better quality shirts. Both of his favourite shirts have a dark diagonal line down the front where the seatbelt strap lies. The rest of his shirt has faded from the sunlight.

Today we’ll be in Nova Scotia. We will drive up towards the Confederation Bridge which we’ll take to Prince Edward Island instead of the ferry. Probably a quick tour of PEI and then the return home. Most likely faster than the trip out!

Leaving Newfoundland

Leaving Newfoundland

One last ‘funny’ before signing off. The other day as we were checking out we were talking to a female acquaintance we met where we were staying. She remarked to us giggling, “Isn’t it funny, all our rooms have started with the number 2.” The Man didn’t have the heart to tell her it was because they always stayed on the second floor.

Til later,

Miss Ewe

Advertisements
Categories: Cross Canada Road Trip, Newfoundland | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Homeward Bound Sort Of – July 16, 2006

(For those reading this for the first time, you might want to look at “About” before continuing)

Hello everyone,

Yesterday we had a good day of visiting the east coast. While many of the towns away from the coast aren’t as interesting as the west coast, as soon as we drove into the little bays we found the picture postcard images of Newfoundland. Colourful saltbox houses balanced on the sides of cliffs over churning bays or quiet harbours.

Salvage

On the recommendation of a local Newfie, we went to see the town of Salvage which was very pretty, it’s one of the most photographed towns in Newfoundland. Even in the rain it was very picturesque.

Bonavista

From there we drove out around Bonavista Peninsula ending up at the end, Cape Bonavista which was the landing spot of John Cabot in 1497. Very rugged and sparse vegetation, it obviously endures strong winds and looks very much like the Oregon Coast with its rocky outcrops and sculptured shoreline. Somehow the Man found a flock of goats to interact with. They are quite nice creatures but obviously not quite as evolved as blessèd sheep. They tried to eat bits of carpet and traffic cones and the Man’s blue jeans. We also saw a puffin colony and a whale putting on an incredible show close to shore, breaching about eight or nine times. Naturally the Man got twenty nice photos of whale butts. I’ll bet you’re all looking forward to seeing his photos when he gets back.

That night we stayed in an ‘interesting’ hotel whose minus ratings declined by the hour. One of our worst sleeps yet. Apparently the manager had gone home to sleep, no one was manning the office. At 3 a.m. the Lady got up and saw a poufy haired woman walking down the hall with her white poodle!?

This morning the weather was a little brighter so the Man wanted to go back into Bonavista to take pictures that he’d missed in the drizzle of yesterday. We ended up going back to the Point and seeing more whales, horses and cows but to the Man’s disappointment the goats were still asleep. A beautiful place despite its austere ruggedness.

Then the Man went all crazy and decided to make a dash for Cape Spear, the most easterly point in North America. So we drove and drove and drove and at 4:30 p.m. we arrived at Cape Spear.

Saving Miss Ewe

Saving Miss Ewe

Another rugged stormy place but also beautiful. The waves were pounding on the shore below very steep and crumbly cliffs. There was a fence around the most easterly spot lookout but I was still very nervous. The Man kept saying, “Get a little closer, get a little closer” and wouldn’t you know it, I fell right over the fence and almost down the cliff. With a crowd of people watching, the Man had to crawl over the chain link fence to rescue me. I made a beeline for the car but managed to see another whale blowing and leaping.

Petty Harbour

Petty Harbour

We had to find somewhere to stay as it was getting late and the first thing the Man did was get lost again which made it even later. He said, “We’ll just drive out of town a little bit, I’m sure we’ll find something.” Two hundred kilometres later we finally did. At least it’s two hundred kilometres closer to home. I’m not sure how much more I can take! No moose today.

Newfoundland continues to be beautiful but the Man and Lady have found that this side of the province looks very much like parts of BC and doesn’t have the spectacular quality of the west coast of the province. We’re making a big push to get towards Port aux Basques tomorrow, still want to drive rather than take the long ferry from this end because it is so beautiful. We’re very glad that we decided to see Newfoundland.

So that’s it for tonight.

Til later,

Miss Ewe

Categories: Cross Canada Road Trip, Newfoundland | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gandering in Gander – July 14 (part 2)

(For those reading this for the first time, you might want to look at “About” before continuing)

L'Anse aux Meadows

L’Anse aux Meadows

Hi there – 

Today we drove 6 miles (10 km) to L’Anse aux Meadows which is the site of the first Viking habitation in North America. A beautiful site with an interpretation center built right into the side of a hill.

L'Anse aux Meadows

L’Anse aux Meadows

In Norse sagas there had been references about discovering Vinland but researchers didn’t know where that was though they suspected it was somewhere in North America. Dr. Helge Ingstad and his wife, Dr. Anne Stine Ingstad, had spent years studying the Norse in Iceland and Greenland and concluded that it only made sense that the Vikings would have sailed west to discover North America.  In 1960, the Ingstads sailed up and down the east coast trying to pinpoint where a good possible settlement site would be. They landed on L’Anse Aux Meadow which at the time was a very small fishing village that was only accessible by sea. As usual they asked the local inhabitants if they had seen any ruins and the village leader, George Decker, said yes and took them to the site of some unusual grassy mounds. The Ingstads were certain that this was a Viking settlement and twelve years of archaeological research proved them right. The grassy mounds turned out to be the remnants of eight 11th century Norse buildings. They went so far as discovering remains of early iron production and woodworking. The site became a National Historic Site and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Today you can see the remains of the original buildings and right beside it are four reconstructed sod buildings of the same design. Staff are dressed in the period and act the role of the era, all very informative and fascinating.

The Vikings arrived in the 11th century but only stayed a few years then hostilities arose between them and local natives and they departed. It is felt that this site was only a way station and that somewhere in the south a larger site exists where they lived. They think only 70 to 90 people lived in this site.

Norstead

About half a mile from the park site is Norstead, a living history site. It’s a village reconstructed with modern day Vikings demonstrating the Norse style of a thousand years ago, sharing their crafts and knowledge with the visitors. The Lady learned how to knit a hat with one needle. One of the highlights was seeing a full sized replica of the “Snorri” Viking ship. It had actually been sailed from Norway to this site. Beautiful craftsmanship and lines. It was all very well done and the staff were knowledgeable and friendly. A great experience especially after seeing a blessèd sheep sleeping in a Viking sheep pen.

The Grenfell House

After having a great lunch, we headed to St. Anthony to the Dr. Wilfred Grenfell Centre. Dr. Grenfell, a medical missionary, arrived from England to Northern Newfoundland in 1892 where he began giving medical attention on the Labrador coast and Northern Newfoundland. At the time Labrador had a population of 30,000 people with no medical care. Grenfell was appalled at the living conditions, barely subsistent fishing families living all together in small one-roomed houses in extremely unhealthy conditions. He was very impressed with the spirit of the people though and devoted his life to improving their physical and spiritual well-being. Over the years he introduced medical centers, schools, small home industries, orphanages and co-operatives. Up to that time the fishermen would buy all their supplies on credit from the fish plant owners. At the end of the season they paid their debt with their fish. If it was a bad season they got more into debt. Grenfell tried to end this system though it did continue on until the 1930’s. St. Anthony itself has a large hospital and the lovely Grenfell home which we toured. Quite an inspiring man who said, “If you’re given two choices, always choose the most adventurous.”

St. Anthony

St. Anthony

St. Anthony

St. Anthony

A full and fascinating day. The Man and Lady have discussed going to Labrador but have decided against it as there is only 50 miles (80 km) of road on the other side of the ferry, four towns and we hear lots and lots of black flies. We can see Labrador from here and realize it isn’t probably going to be that much different from what we are seeing here so we’ll carry on south tomorrow and then east towards St. Johns.

July 14 – Well, we did our own epic trek today south and then east. We needed to backtrack from the northern peninsula south to the Trans Canada and then east, a drive of 270 miles (430 km). We had planned to stay at Deer Lake but arrived there about 3 p.m. The Man and Lady didn’t like it because it was ‘too big city’ – it had a Tim Hortons and a KFC so they decided to drive a bit further. The Man and Lady have become confirmed rural-ites and are doing anything to avoid towns with more than two highway exits. This meant heading further east and we had been warned by the Newfoundlanders that it was a long drive and ‘nothing much there.’ We headed out for our first town and kept waiting for the nothingness. I guess there are degrees of nothingness – the nothingness we encountered was like saying there is nothing to see in the Rockies but mountains, lakes, wildflowers and beautiful forest. The scenery was awesome. We keep telling the Newfoundlanders how beautiful their province is but they kind of shrug and don’t seem to see it. We reached our first town after 70 miles (110 km) – booked up, so we pressed on another 43 miles (70 km) to Badger – all booked up, another 12.5 miles (20 km) to Grand Falls and they were having a music festival so were all booked up – finally another 56 miles (90 km) to Gander and we found a place to stay!

Tomorrow we continue east to Terra Nova National Park and Bonavista and then some exploring of the Avalon Peninsula.

 Well, a long day and I’m ready to count blessèd sheep!

Till later,

Miss Ewe

Categories: Cross Canada Road Trip, Newfoundland | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gandering in Gander – July 14 (part 1)

(For those reading this for the first time, you might want to look at “About” before continuing)

July 13

Well . . . that’s it, I’m eating in the car from now on. First the Man and Lady ordered COD TONGUES as an appetizer tonight and then the Man, realizing that the only way he’ll have a close encounter with a moose, ordered Peppered Moose for dinner. He’s one sick person. When they got back in the car all they could talk about was the cod tongues. Apparently they aren’t the actual tongues but the muscley part underneath. The Man said they tasted alright but that they are quite chewy except for the glob of jelly like stuff in the middle. I think I’ll stick to grass!

Speaking of moose, our Newfoundland moose spotting count is up to fifteen not counting the dead one on the Man’s plate. By the way, I forgot to tell you about our chat with another couple in another viewpoint the other day. Just say ‘moose’ to a Newfie and they’re ready to pull out their treasure trove of moose stories. This couple was telling us that the moose was not native to Newfoundland but a pair were brought over from New Brunswick. Apparently they didn’t get along so they had to bring in another pair who liked each other a lot. And now there are 110,000 moose in Newfoundland. The caribou, who are native here, are down to 500. I think the moose are eating the caribou. It was quite embarrassing because the Man was itching to tell HIS great moose stories and I had to bite his ankles to stop him from bringing out his pack of moose butt photos!

Wednesday it started out really rainy as we drove up the Viking Trail north. We thought it was going to be a day of driving and not much adventure. By early afternoon it had cleared up and we were treated to some more incredible Newfoundland beauty. We decided to stop off at Port au Choix which is the first of two archaeological sites that the Man thought we would like to see. They had a great interpretive center explaining the arrival of the four different cultures to that particular point covered with plants and berries that were beneficial to their survival along with the sea life.

Port au Choix

The archaeologists could tell the four distinct groups by the design of arrowheads found in the area. Theses groups lived in the area from about 3500 BC to the present. It was all very interesting and there were dig sites that weren’t accessible to us.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Phillip’s Garden

Then we went to an area called Phillip’s Garden which is a flat limestone ‘shelf’ to the shoreline eroded into pockets filled with peat. Because of the high lime content the plants are stubby and alkaline loving types. Lots of wild berries and unusual wild flowers cover most of the rock in thick layers. The natives used it for medicinal and food sources. It was very beautiful, blue Atlantic waves on eroded cliffs.

Point Riche

Point Riche

From there we continued to head north when we noticed something strange on the sides of the road. Small fenced off areas about 32′ x 32′ (10 metres x 10 metres) with cultivated rows of potatoes growing in them – every kilometre or so. We couldn’t figure it out until we picked up a book on the local lore and it told us that after the highway was built in the 1960’s people found pockets of good soil to grow things in which was a novelty so they drove many kilometres to claim these small areas to garden. Another thing we see are many huge piles of cut firewood along the side of the road. Often there is a snow mobile sled beside the piles. Apparently locals have wood lots and cut their wood early and in the winter haul it back to their houses by snow mobile. There is an extensive snow mobile trail throughout Newfoundland. We’ve seen lots of trails and bridges built for them. The people here on the coast seem to be very resourceful and don’t waste anything. It’s very beautiful now but you can see where winter would be very difficult with high snow and by the look of the windswept vegetation, cold and windy. In some places there are no trees around the houses for protection, just the wind blowing right off the Atlantic. Makes me thankful for my woollies.

The Man had a talk with a local Newfoundlander today but didn’t know what they talked about because he couldn’t understand a word he said. The Man just kept nodding his head apparently at the wrong places because the Newfie said, “I guess I’m talking too fast, little hard to understand.” But it seemed a pleasant enough exchange.

157-St. Lunaire (01)_watermarked

St. Lunaire

St. Lunaire

St. Lunaire

Last night we ended up in St. Lunaire which is almost as far north as you can go in Newfoundland. Another quiet fishing village with incredibly beautiful small natural harbour. Everywhere you look there are beautiful sights to see and the Man’s neck is getting sore from whipping around to find the next shot. You can’t go more than ten minutes without finding another new and beautiful vista to gaze at and it’s amazing how the beauty just goes on and on. People have been wonderful. Very good food – well actually the grass tastes just the same as everywhere else, but the Man and Lady talk about their meals ad nauseum.

Categories: Cross Canada Road Trip, Newfoundland | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Yakking Ewfie – July 11, 2006

(For those reading this for the first time, you might want to look at “About” before continuing)

057-Harbour_watermarked

Hi there,

Well, we did a first today – we had our first stay over since visiting with the Man and Lady’s friends in Bragg Creek. We entered Gros Morne Park yesterday afternoon and had a wonderful time exploring. Met a Newfoundland man with his family at a viewpoint and he HAD to tell the Man his moose story. He drives about 37,000 miles (60,000 kilometres) a year with his business and felt he was very moose aware. Two weeks ago he and his wife hit a moose that leaped onto the road. Their SUV was totalled, the engine pushed right into the passenger compartment and the front part of the roof ripped right off. They were bruised, shaken and suffered facial injuries. The Man was impressed and is being a little more cautious in his moose hunt.

About 10 minutes later the Man and Lady saw a wonderful moose specimen on the side of the road. Unfortunately, the moose chose a spot where the Man couldn’t stop which they seem to do on purpose unless they’re flashing their butts. Not long after we pulled into the trailhead for the Western Brook Pond boat tour and met two hikers who told us there were TWO moose just around the curve of the trail.

The Man went tearing down the path and, lo and behold, there WERE two moose about 40 feet (10 metres) away chomping on reeds. The Man managed to get three pretty good photos of apparently girl mooses. He says as soon as he gets a good photo of a boy moose he will take moose off his ‘hunt’ list. He thinks porcupines will be the next goal. We saw lots of dead porcupines in Nova Scotia as they seem to be the bête du jour for road kill there.

We were too late to do the boat trip up Western Brook Pond which is an incredible land-locked fjord but we will do it on our return trip. The Man and Lady have decided to take the ‘Viking Trail’ up the western coast of Newfoundland to see a site the Man has always wanted to see. On the northern tip of Newfoundland is L’Anse aux Meadows. This is where the Vikings landed in the new world 1000 years ago. The settlement has been restored and we hear there is a lot to see and learn. It will mean a 500 mile (800 kilometre) diversion but from what we have seen of Newfoundland so far, it will be well worth it. As our friend Lauri said, Newfoundland is like one great big national park. It is beautiful!

049-Gros Morne (17)_watermarked

047-Gros Morne (15)_watermarked

043-Gros Morne (11)_watermarked

We found a great motel in Cow Head which looks like they just kept adding buildings onto one end as they expanded. You walk down one long corridor through about four doors. We were right near the end on a room about 50 feet (15 metres) from the high tide line. Last night we watched an amazing sunset that lasted more than an hour. The room is very quiet, all we can hear are seagulls and terns on the nearby islands.

We had such a good sleep and because we wanted to do some kayaking, we booked another night. This morning we headed up the coast 13 miles (20 kilometres) to explore the possibility of kayaking in an area called The Arches. The Arches are huge limestone arches sitting on the shoreline that are slowly being eroded by the ocean.

It wasn’t really a good area for kayaking so we headed back to Cow Head where there was a park area called Shallow Bay. It is large with 3 miles (5 kilometres) of sand beaches and sand dunes. Very pretty with a chain of small islands extending across the mouth of the bay creating a huge sheltered lagoon. While tempting, it was too far to portage the kayak so we headed to the actual Cow Head. Cow Head is a high, once upon a time island at the south end of Shallow Bay. It is now connected by a thin corridor and the town harbour and fisheries is located on it.

It was a good spot to put the kayak in and with a 10 minute paddle we were able to reach the small islands. We had a great time with beautiful clear, glassy calm but shallow water to putter in. The islands, which we thought from a distance to be sand turned out to be limestone covered with wildflowers and a coarse green vegetation. There were hundreds of gulls and terns who, by their reaction to us, were protecting their nests and chicks. We were probably a 1/2 mile (kilometre) offshore and had a great view of the mountains running up and down the coastline. Very dramatic and beautiful.

Cow Head

Cow Head

Cow Head used to be the summer camp of Inuit and early settlers where they would hunt seal and fish. As winter moved in they would move onto the ‘mainland’ to winter over there. The two sites are known as Summerside and Winterside. Lots of old, old history here.

So . . . that’s it for tonight – tired legs so I’m going to hit the hay – baaa, baaa, baaa. Heading north tomorrow.

Til later,

Miss Ewe

Categories: Cross Canada Road Trip, Newfoundland | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Goofie Ewefie – July 9, 2006

(For those reading this for the first time, you might want to look at “About” before continuing)

001-Newfoundland Views (01)_watermarked

Hi there,

Well, we’ve landed in Newfoundland in one piece. The ferry ride convinced me of one thing . . . we’re not taking the long ferry ride home on the way back. When we got to the ferry this morning we found out they had a ‘NO SHEEP’ policy for the passenger deck so they stuck me in the kennels for 6 hours with a bunch of yapping, stinking dogs. It will take me a week to get the smell out – I might even need a shearing!

Meanwhile, the Man and Lady are above decks listening to live music, watching a movie, having a great breakfast and lunch, using the free wireless Internet and lounging in the bar/lounge. When the Man came to rescue me I told him it was the last time that was going to happen. I managed to convince him that if he drove one way across Newfoundland he would probably get his usual butt picture of a moose BUT if he drove back the other way he would get the head and then he could Photoshop the two together. Now he’s all excited to do that instead of sitting 14 long hours on the ferry. Whewww!

So . . . the Lady’s first impression of Newfoundland. . ., “Where are the trees”? The Man had to explain that there are no trees because they are blown off in the winter gales. That didn’t go over too well. We were all quite amazed though at how the landscape had changed after travelling not that far east and north. The coastal area is very rocky and there are only small trees in the wind protected nooks and crannies. The rock is covered with stubby salal, juniper and grasses. Lots of wild flowers still blooming here everywhere – wild rose and iris, clover, evening primrose, fireweed, buttercup and daisies.

002-Newfoundland Views (02)_watermarked

The Man decided that Port aux Basque, where we arrived, would be too busy after the ferry disgorged us and that we would find accommodation in the next major town, Stephenville. We knew we were in trouble when we saw road signs saying, “Stephensville Exit 115 km” – not many towns in between. Road signs seem to be a major industry for Newfoundland. We first saw a “Bump 1 km” sign, then “Bump 500 m,” “Bump 100 m – Slow to 50″, “Bump 50 m – Slow to 20” and then the slight ripple in the road. Three minutes later we’re jostling through unannounced potholes.

010-Trans Canada_watermarked

The Trans Canada here is actually great with lots of double lanes and hardly any traffic.

003-Newfoundland Views (03)_watermarked

005-Newfoundland Views (05)_watermarked

006-Newfoundland Views (06)_watermarked

Our limited view of the countryside has been amazing. Driving out of Port aux Basque you have the ocean on the left with green bog like fields running down to the shore. For miles on the right are high 1500+ foot Long Range Mountains in amazing geometric shapes – cones, flat topped parallelograms (sp? – I’m only a sheep) and triangles. Deep glacier hewn valleys running through them and all free of trees but completely covered with short shrubbery in beautiful shades of green. Later as we moved inland there were small blue lakes surrounded by yellow peat bogs. There is more soil therefore more trees and taller – a soaring 10 feet (3 metres) high BUT they are trees – spruce and deciduous.

007-Newfoundland Views (07)_watermarked

008-Newfoundland Views (08)_watermarked

009-Newfoundland Views (09)_watermarked

Nearing Stephensville we again approached the shoreline and saw beautiful sand dunes and long, white sandy beaches. The short, stubby spruce and juniper trees on the shore are all at a permanent 45º angle due to the wind. The rock is black and igneous and the water so clear it has that aqua blue quality we saw in Lake Superior. It all looked very tropical and beautiful.

However . . . when we arrived in Stephenville, the town the Man chose as our final destination for the night, things did not look as good. First, driving into town the Man of course got lost then found his way again. We drove by a huge, now closed pulp mill and then some shut down warehouses, then some large blacktopped areas surrounded by barbed wire filled with piles of old tires, then an actual US fighter jet (?) on a pedestal, barrack like apartments and then we started driving down streets call ‘Ohio Avenue’, ‘Minnesota Street,’ ‘Florida Avenue,’ etc. Very strange! We finally found a little better section of town and found a nice place to stay.

It turns out that in 1941, as part of the Lend-Lease Agreement between the US and Britain, the US was given the OK to build an air force base in Stephenville. It was to become the biggest US air force base outside of the continental US. It lasted until 1966 when the US pulled out leaving a hundred million dollars worth of buildings and a world-class airport.

The other claim to fame for Stephenville, as reported by Walter Winchell in 1949, was that the US Air Force had photographed three UFO’s over Stephenville and had tried to pursue them but the UFO’s outran the US jets.

AFTER we got settled the Man read his guidebook to see what it had to say about Stephenville – “Stephenville is possibly the least appealing town in Newfoundland and, festival time aside, there is no compelling reason to stop.”

Well, it looks like it’s all uphill from here – I’ll let you know!

Til later,

Miss Ewe

Categories: Cross Canada Road Trip, Newfoundland | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.