Sunday, 22 October 2017

A Great Canadian Road Trip 19

We actually had a bit of a sunny day today. Windy and cold but sunny. When we arrived on Isle Madame yesterday it was windy, cold, overcast and raining and the whole atmosphere reminded me of the Moors in England. Now understand me, I have never been to the Moors in England and with the exception of London have never even been to England. However, I have seen An American Werewolf in London several times so consider myself an authority.
We went up to the Cape Auguet lighthouse this morning. It required a hike in the cold and wind but, once again, we were prepared with ski jackets, toques and gloves. It is still October isn't it? Just checking.
After lunch we did our own road trip tour of the island. It's a beautiful place, and just a little unusual - islands off islands, rocky shores and lakes in bays. This is in the middle of Rocky Bay. How does that work exactly?
The town of Arichat where we are staying is on the south shore of the island and is quite an historic town. Lots of churches, cemeteries and memorials. I was standing beside a couple of canons pointing out to sea when I took this shot this afternoon.
Sadly our time is winding down. We should be home in about a week. We have some good times to look forward to as we will be seeing several friends on our trip back home. Keep following us.
Eric and Karen

Saturday, 21 October 2017

A Great Canadian Road Trip 18

Another on again off again rain day. We headed south to Isle Madame. It was a pretty drive - no surprise as part of it was on the Cabot Trail - can't go wrong there.
I am convince the Maritime provinces of Canada are Heaven on Earth. The people are so nice and the scenery is neverending. The West is pretty amazing but I could probably afford to live out East.
Isle Madame has a mysterious tone to it. The clouds and howling wind probably help set that scene. We're staying in a cabin on the shore of one of the endless stretches of rocky shore here in Arichat. Stay tuned.
Eric and Karen

Friday, 20 October 2017

A Great Canadian Road Trip 17

A very uneventful day but it worked out much better than we anticipated. The ferry from Port aux Basque NL to North Sydney NS took about 6 hours. There was only about 100 vehicles onboard - not crowded at all. The ship is huge - I still say these things can't possibly float, even without the additional 700 tons of vehicles.
We knew it was going to be a long passage and possibly rough so we had a day berth. Great decision. We could lie down, had our own washroom with a shower, satellite TV - this ship was as nice as any cruise ship we've been on.
All signs pointed to it being a miserable crossing with total overcast conditions and a stiff wind as we left but in Jimmy Buffett's words "It's been a lovely cruise." We enjoyed it on waters so calm we hardly knew we were moving.
On to Arichat for 3 days tomorrow.                    Eric and Karen

Thursday, 19 October 2017

A Great Canadian Road Trip 16

It was with sadness and a touch of pissedoffedness (that's a word I just made up) that we left Gros Morne this morning. A little ticked because it was a beautiful day - sunny, warm, no wind, a perfect day - and we had to spend it driving after numerous days of rain and wind. The silver lining was it was a beautiful drive to Port aux Basques.
As we left the higher mountains behind and entered the area around Corner Brook we were ambushed by people and traffic - probably 25 vehicles in an hour. That's the price you pay to re-enter civilization.
As we approached Port aux Basques the mountains disappeared, the water suddenly appeared and in the blink of an eye we were there. The Newfoundland Railway Heritage Museum is next door to the hotel where we are staying and of course it's closed. However, there are some things you can't hide - like a train.
Karl Pilkington was An Idiot Abroad. This one chose to travel locally this time - well relatively speaking.
Tomorrow we take the ferry to  Nova Scotia - 7 or 8 hours on the boat - Karen's not looking forward to that. Hope for a smooth passage.
Eric and Karen

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

A Great Canadian Road Trip 15

Sorry for the delay - no wifi where we're staying. Posting this from the Visitor Centre in Gros Morne NP in Newfoundland. We arrived in Rocky Harbour yesterday and are leaving for Port Aux Basques tomorrow. So far it has been very Gros Mornes and the rest of the day as well. Raining all day and very cold. It snowed yesterday morning just before we got here. Nevertheless Gros Morne is a very special place. We explored it thoroughly when we were here in 2014 so now we're just seeing it a little darker and a little wetter.
Norris Point is still the nicest place in my book - even in the rain.
The Bottom Brook Cottages still reign supreme in Rocky Harbour even if their internet is out for this visit. Owner remembered us - especially when I reminded him I showed up with gout and he sent me to his doctor immediately. He insisted on giving us some moose meat (enough to make a small moose) - sausages, fast fry steaks and full steaks. We have a BBQ here so you'd never know it wasn't beef (still have a couple of full steaks to transport). A bit of a mind game to ignore what you're eating - poor Bullwinkle. Our cottage has a beautiful view of the harbour which is just a short walk away if you want another angle.
This morning we saw a couple of moose but they were a little distance ahead then some guy passed me and scared them off before I got any pictures worth showing. We squeezed in a short hike between rain storms. Kind of hilarious actually. I was wearing a t-shirt, long-sleeve shirt, ski jacket and windbreaker complete with scarf, toque, hood and gloves. Wasn't until the end of the hike that I felt warm. Very steep, slippery trail as most have been. I guess I shouldn't be surprised - we are in the mountains after all.
Somehow the rain didn't start until after sunrise, leaving another one of these...
Hopefully we'll be back on line when we get to PAB tomorrow night.
Eric and Karen

Monday, 16 October 2017

A Great Canadian Road Trip 14

Sadly we left Labrador - it truly is one of Canada's great remaining wildernesses. It took a little doing thanks to the weather. It was extremely windy again and that made the ferry crossing questionable. A boat in St. Barbe (where we were going) had blown astray and was blocking the dock so we couldn't leave. They were also waiting for a Nor'Wester which they eventually got. All totaled we waited at the dock for about 2 hours. Not bad but it was cold so with the engine off we did our best to keep warm.
We were booked on the 1PM crossing. The 8AM was delayed so we arrived at 11AM hoping to get on board. At that moment those booked on the 8AM had priority but we were told to return at noon. We waited. At noon the 1PM crossing took priority so we were in - if it left at all. By 1PM we were actually on board and ready to roll.
It was a rough crossing for a ferry but we made it - after all we did manage the Drake Passage last year. We arrived in Hawkes Bay by 4PM. We did not have anything booked but knew there was a motel there where we had stayed in 2014. Happy to be warm and dry. On to Gros Morne tomorrow.
Eric and Karen

Sunday, 15 October 2017

A Great Canadian Road Trip 13

Today was more a matter of getting things done than doing things. We had to return the satellite phone - forgetting that would incur a $1400 bill. Make sure we are booked for the ferry tomorrow (we are, as long as the weather cooperates) and pay our MasterCard bills (not necessarily an easy task from here). Along the way we re-visited the L'Anse Amour Lighthouse to see it in the sunshine. Sunshine yes but the wind was vicious. I set my camera on a post (luckily I secured it with the strap) and put the self-timer on to take a photo of Karen and I together - after all it is our 40th anniversary. The wind was so strong it shifted the camera (a heavy dSLR) - the lighthouse is not on that angle.
The Belle Strait was also very deceptive. Hopefully the wind dies down a bit for tomorrow. It was a lot rougher than it looks here.
We're booked into a motel about 7 kilometres from the ferry docks. They have room tomorrow as well if we have to wait out any crazy weather. Luckily we do not travel on a schedule that has to be kept. Stay tuned.
Eric and Karen