Friday, 21 July 2017

Happy 150th CANADA!!!! (Saturday, July 1st)

This morning, I take the time to sign up with  In case it comes to this, I just want to see how much it would be to ship the trailer home.  Not dwelling on it this morning though because we are heading out.  Wow! It's like nothing ever happened.  We are on the road continuing our adventure.  We are on our way to Twillingate this morning.  It is a very touristy part of the island.  Famous for its icebergs and whales. We've seen our fare share so we are not convinced that it will be that spectacular but today will be a good day and we will have a great day!  After all it is Canada Day.  I must be out of practice because we miss a turn and make it all the way to Little Burnt Bay (where we see a burnt house....not funny but fitting).  Mom also calls and tells us that she called Good Sams describing our situation and she tells us that they say they would tow us all the way home.  Seems a little unbelievable but it could work to get us towed to another city.  We will give that a try later on tonight.

Today is also memorial day in Newfoundland.  In Lewisporte there is a ceremony and when I mention to Justin that I had heard on the radio that it is important to not forget that it is also Memorial day here (it is overshadowed by Canada Day), he knows right away what I am referring to.  My military history buff knows all of this.  We arrive in Twillingate and there are still a few icebergs to see.  Nothing like what we saw on the Northern peninsula but we still think they are beautiful.  Our first stop is at the supposedly most photographed lighthouse of Newfoundland.  We both don't understand because it is probably our least favorite.  It's unfortunate because the area is more of a tourist trap than anything.  Sure the shore line is beautiful but the area looks very much like a tourist trap and it is not charming like most other areas we visited.  We do a small hike. It's a rugged path and not stroller friendly so we decide to head back.

We drive through town and visit the campsite we had planned on staying at.  Boy, they have a way of making things look much nicer online.  From their site map online, a good portion of the sites look like they are right on the water.  Not at all.  Some sites have a view of the ocean and the campsite looks ok but far from what you expect when you look at their site map.  This is all good information for me to pass along to my parents as they are planning their Newfoundland trip for next year.  I'll be able to be their private holiday planner!  There is a winery in Twillingate and they have the cutest names for their wines.  They first got my attention when we were at the liquor store with their wine 'Fifty shades of Bay'.  I love play on words and I bought it just because of the name.  I told the cashier that and he said so many people do.  We stop in at the winery and decide to have lunch.  Unfortunately, James is not a happy camper and the service was terribly slow.  Justin ordered some seafood appetizers and we both had the fish and chips.  Unsure whether to get the pan or deep fried we ordered one of each and swapped.  I was surprised, but I liked the pan fried whereas Justin prefered the deep fried.  They offered a wine tour and tasting so we did that and then grabbed a few bottle of wines!  It will be a great thing to share with friends and family back home.  Again, so many cute names for their wine (12 gauge, Jellybean row (has the typical multicolored houses of St. John's on its label), moose joose, crooked cod, 3 sheets to the wind etc...)  Time to head back to the campsite.  On our way back we see 3 caribou running through a field along the Hwy.  We make a stop at the grocery store to pick up a ready made chicken. James is sleeping so Gaby and I head on in to pick it up.  I stop in at the camping office to ask where we could watch the fireworks.  The attendant has tons of Canada day stuff she is trying to get rid of.  I grab a bunch of Maple leaf tattoos.  Gaby has a blast with those.  We all put on tattoos and then we have a mini photo shoot!
 At around 9 we decide to head to the park for the fireworks.  When we get close to the park, we are amazed at the great spot we got to park.  We walk up a hill and are at the park. Joke is on us.  We could have parked way closer but for us this was like parking at the civic.  We find a nice spot on the hill and wait for the fireworks.  James falls asleep right before the start.  He doesn't move at all once they start.  We are spoiled as the fireworks are amazing.  They are really nice and it lasted a long time!  Miss Gaby is like Justin and really enjoys the show!  All in all, today was a great day as we did our best to forget our misfortune.

Moose count = 19 caribou = 9 whales= 2 Black Bears =  2

Monday, 10 July 2017

Dodge has no clue... (Friday, June 30th)

Another day for Justin spent at the garage. Justin talks with the mechanic from Ottawa.  He truly believes the pump is not the issue but what else can we do.  I'm praying that this new pump will be the answer to all our problems.  Long story short - Big fat NO. The mechanic is useless and has no idea what to do next.  At 430 they pretty much tell Justin that they don't know what else to do for him.  They called around to garages in the area for advice.  Are you kidding me...the dealership can't figure things out. Now they have a vehicle for us.  No, you would think after everything they could just lend us a car from their lot seeing as there are tons just sitting there.  Oh no - We have to pay to rent the vehicle! This place is such a joke that it is hard to grasp that this isn't a dream.  At any rate, we now have a vehicle and we will be able to go and do some sightseeing this weekend.  Once Justin gets here with the car, I just want to get in it and go!  We have no where to go but I have cabin fever and want to be anywhere but at the campsite.  We head out and grab some groceries.  The long weekend is here.  The goal is to forget our woes and get as much sightseeing done while we can.

Everyone is helping!! (Thursday, June 29th)

We get a call from the Dodge dealership from Cornwall this morning.  Justin had called them yesterday just to get a little guidance.  The mechanic says he would be really surprised if it was the main injector pump and offers all the help he can to Justin.  Very nice of them.  Justin heads to the dealership to drop off the truck and comes back on his pedal bike.  They are calling the engineering departement at 10 so Justin heads back at 11.  The verdict now is that they still think it is the Main injector pump and could also be the Injectors!!! OMG!!! Not good.  But no way to tell! The pump has not arrived from Cornwall yet.  It's on the truck for delivery.  Justin is debating what  to do...but we have no choice.  We have to take the gamble and get it fixed.  While he is waiting for the part to arrive he decides to go to another garage he spoke to the other day and see if they can help out in any way.  The garage is in Bishop's Falls about 10kms away.  The owner is super and tries his best to help Justin.  He works on the truck all afternoon and tries to make sure that the problem really is the pump.  Unfortunately, they work on big trucks and they are not able to connect their computer to our truck.  He is able to check some stuff the old school way and checks this one part that our trusty mechanic back home really wanted to confirm.  The man feels bad for charging Justin 20$ for the springs he changed and gives him a t-shirt.  Wow!!! Now this is the Newfoundland we had been told about.  Smithy's garage! You guys are the best!!!  You meet the nicest people here..that's why the treatment at the Dodge dealer is so hard to swallow.  I guess we have no choice but to go back to the dealership in the morning and pray that somehow they are right and that it is the main injection pump!  Anyhow, I did my best at entertaining the kids.  We went to the park!  James is a little 'Maniac' like Gabers.  He climbs up the stairs to the slide and is all over the playground!  Both kids have a great time!  Justin is back at 5 with food in hand because I can't bring myself to cook.  After supper we take a walk to the park to show Justin how James has so much fun on the slide.  Then Gaby convinces us to do the hike to the nice falls.  We talk with Jamie from the campsite after supper.

He has a connection for us.  He knows one of the best Dodge Diesel mechanics in Ottawa so he tells us to call him in the morning.  It is so heart warming to see how everyone back home is trying to help.  Justin is in a mood!  He is off to bed before Gab even is.  So I use the time to clean up and reconnect with my girls!  Sex and the City movie for me!!!  Mon oncle Adrien calls us.  He also tries to see if he can help but as much as everyone back home is trying to do their best, we have no solution in sight.  Now let's hope tomorrow is a great day!  Uncle Moe!! I'm still counting on you! xox

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Dealership - Stealership! (Wednesday, June 28th)

Please! today is the day we are set free and on our way.  The part is not expected before 11-noon, so I get up with the kiddos and Justin can sleep in.  Gab made some friends yesterday so she is having fun playing with them.  Justin heads into town, picks up the part and goes to the garage.  They are installing the actuator today - 500$ plus part.  He calls by 2:45 to tell me that it's bad news and that he is going to talk to the service manager and try to get some news.  At 4pm I am still impatiently waiting to see what is happening.  It started to rain at 3ish but Gab is playing with the girls in their trailer, and I am writing this as James just went down for a nap.  Really hope that we will know what is going on soon.  At any rate, we couldn't leave today because we have to wait for the other part that was sent to us at the garage that will arrive tomorrow morning.  We were hoping that we wouldn't need it but the way it stands now and the information that I's not looking pretty.  At this point, we just want the truck to be fixed.  The cost is no longer a factor.  We have no choice.  We both feel that the garage knows that we are at their mercy.  At least if they were being nice and considerate while they give it to us sideways.  Hopefully, they make things right today and Justin will give me good news when he returns. Bad News - Justin returns at 5.  He finally talked to the service manager explaining our frustration.  We just changed a 500$ part and it needs to be unplugged in order for the truck to start.  Now, they want us to change a 2600$ part without knowing for sure if that is the root of our problem.  There are tests that could be done but for some unknown reason they can't do it(pretty sure they don't know how).  She says that they will call the engineering department in Toronto tomorrow but not before 10 because of the time change.  That upsets Justin even more because they won't call now as it's 430 here and they close at 5 (you think they would have called already!)   He then mentions how he is stranded here with his family with no vehicle (enterprise doesn't have any vehicles available) and she finally suggests that they can rent him a vehicle.  He has asked for the the last two days if a vehicle was available and now they decide to mention that they can offer us a rental! Why wouldn't they lend us one after all this time is besides me but that's something else to add to their lack of customer service.  We understand that anyone would be upset in this situation because of the expense but what puts us over the top is that they really don't seem to care, are incompetent, and have no empathy at all.  And they want us to change a part without being certain that it will fix the problem.  But what are we to do....we are at their mercy!  A little facetime with Liane puts a smile on my face.  Gaby's report card is in! Gab has been anxiously awaiting it!  Liane reads us the LONG report card and we are all so proud of our baby big girl!!! We now have a first grader!!!

Justin picks up a DVD player at walmart and we watch a little 'Sex and the city!'.  I'm praying to uncle Moe so he can help us out! Let's hope he can work magic from up there!

Bonne Fête James!!! (Tuesday, June 27th)


Nanny is the first one to facetime with a yummy donut for James' bday!
Facetime with Nanny

At 830 when the garage opens.  Justin calls to get picked up.  He doesn't get anywhere with the garage.  They don't have any pressure readings nothing to help us make our decision easier.  Justin decides to take the truck as it is working (sounds rough but he assures me it's ok).  We order the 500$ fuel actuator from NAPA.  It will be here in the morning and Pat located us a main injection pump for half the price and we decide to have it shipped to us.  It will be here Thursday.  We hope to not need it and we can bring it back to the shop but in case we do need to change will be better to have it here ready for Thursday.  Justin stops at the grocery store.  I had packed everything to make the cake for James with Gaby.  I am short eggs and really don't have it in me today to bake a cake.  I am pretty much in the dumps this morning. Pretty bummed about this truck situation and my baby turning the big ONE makes me nostalgic!!! no more babies for us.  I quickly turn my frown upside down because I have to remember that things could be sooo much worst.  Justin picked up the cutest frog cupcake for James along with a few more groceries.  We had called for a rental car and non were available so we will use the truck. I am a little worried but Justin seems ok about it. James is a happy birthday boy!!!  He is rocking out in the truck!

First we stop at a fab shop to fix our bike rack which has been causing a lot of damage to our tailgate (not to mention it bent the rim on my bike).  On our way to the next stop, Gaby spots beautiful flowers.  We take a picture and send them off to Kim.  Turns out they are her favorite - Lupine.

  We then head out to Salmonid Interpretation Centre.   Located on the Exploits River, at the 'Grand Falls', the centre has exhibits on the history, biology, ecology and habitat of the Atlantic Salmon.  We got to see salmon through the underwater windows as they travel upstream to their spawning habitat and also got to take in the view of the Falls.  It was pretty cool but I thought we would be there longer and really thought there was more walking to be done.

It is beautiful out.  The thermometer at the centre says 30 degrees but a nice and confortable 30 so I suggest we take the kids to the splash pad.  We come and grab our stuff and head out to the splash pad nearby! Oh MY!!! Cornwall should take lessons from this very small town of barely 2500.  They have a BEAUTIFUL park.  We didn't think of chairs so Justin goes back to grab some, Gab goes wild and I have fun with James as he adventures slowly towards the water.  He hates bathtime so I don't imagine he will love this. But slowly he starts to play a little.  We spent a good 2 hours there before coming back.

Justin cooks us up a yummy steak dinner in honor of our bay boy turning 1!  Supper is late and James is getting fussy so we hurry out with the cake.  His mood changed quickly and he had a good time eating up that buttercream icing.  He would head plant his head in the cake at times to get some big bites in...pretty cute.  We tried to facetime as many people as we could to share our little excitement.

Now came the poor job of washing James.  Given the choice, I am pretty sure he would have skipped the cake if he would have known how bad the shower/bath combo coming his way was.  In no time after his bath he is sound asleep in my arms.  And just like that my baby boy is 1!!!  Kids in bed, Justin went and had a drink with our neighbor (he found out he was a hunting guide! Oh my the excitement) and I went and worked on the blog a bit.

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Monday morning BLUES (Monday, June 26th)

This morning the truck is a no go.  None of the little tricks that have previously worked are doing the trick.  We call back the tow truck company.  I'm pretty upset that they charge us 58$ to tow us 4kms when I am certain they made a killing yesterday from the roadside assistance coming back empty.

 The dealership takes the truck right away so that is nice and a good sign.   Justin stays there all morning.  At around 11 he asks if they would have a courtesy car to lend us given the situation and they don't have one so they shuttle him back to the campsite.  Meanwhile me and the kids walked to the waterfront.  We hiked a trail that runs along the water.  It was very beautiful but it may have been too much for Gaby this time.  Actually, I think it's because of the heat.  It's very warm and we have to acclimatize I guess.   We spend a good part of the afternoon playing games.  On s'amuse à jouer 'Ou est Charlie? (Where's Waldo) et quelques parties d'Uno.  At 4:45 we have not heard anything so Justin calls the dealership and they come pick him up.  They would not have called if we didn't.  They tell Justin that they THINK he needs a 2600$ part - main injection pump.  To add to that, he can't even give him a labor estimate.  Justin tells him he surely can look it up on his computer but he won't turn it back on.  The report for the 7 hours of labor to diagnose at at Dodge dealership (important to mention!) doesn't even include any readings that would need to be verified to conclude that the part is needed!  Ok...breaking down sucks but you get the repairs done and you move on.  What we don't understand is the 'they THINK' we need that part.  If the dealership orders the part, it won't be in till sometime next week.   They make Justin pay the near 700$ bill and leave him out in the rain.  No ride back.  He walks back (he managed to pickup a few strongbow on the way)  We are pretty much at the dealership's mercy.... what are we to do.... the fastest they can get the pump in is next Monday.  Justin takes the truck to fill it with up with diesel and sees how it runs as they didn't even do that when our first guess is that there has been water in the fuel.  Yesterday the engine light came on with the water in fuel indicator.    No  changes, so he parks the truck at the dealership and walks back to the trailer as we don't want to pay for another tow.  Justin talks with Kevin, Pat and Anthony.  The part from dodge included both the actuator and the pump.  We decide to order a fuel control actuator from NAPA which will be here on Wednesday.  We also order the main injector pump from Kevin's garage and they will ship it purolator and we will get it on Thursday (2 days instead of the 10 days from the dealership oh and more than half the price - THANK YOU ACTIVE GREEN & ROSS!)  With everything up in the air we cross our fingers that things will look up.  To be honest, not much faith in the dealership after today's events.

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Westport HIGHs and LOWs (Saturday, Sunday, June 24-25th)

We have to decide what to do.  Justin gets the truck going once again and heads into Baie Verte to research online what the problem with the truck could be.  He thinks that the pump wasn't primed properly.  All seems to be working fine now so we head into town to grab some groceries and call Sherry to tell her that we will prepare them supper tonight.  She is heading into town so we will head over and park the trailer beside the house.  Once again Rob is finished fishing early, he pulls in about 30 mins after we have arrived.  We get the trailer setup and all the food ready and head over to get cooking on the BBQ.  Maple Carrots, potatoes and some venison!  They all seemed to enjoy it!  Out of all nights, James is really hard to put down but he finally goes down and with the kids in bed in the trailer, we can spend our first adult night! We spent a nice evening learning more about each other! Justin loves everything about Rob.  He lives off the land.  Fisherman, hunter, trapper, lumberjack, can fix anything kind of guy!  A little facetime with Will and Liane during 'lunch'.  One of the things we learnt is that the Newfies have breakfast, dinner, supper and  lunch.  They actually set the table at 10ish to have what they call lunch.  This conversation came about when we were asking about Jiggs dinner.  There are many restaurants who advertise to come in for their Jiggs dinner and we told them we wanted to try it out one night for supper.  That's when we learnt that if we went in for supper we would have been too late - dinner in Newfoundland is lunch!  Tonight they made crab and surprise dip!  Great snacks to accompany our beer, wine and coolers!!! We also learned a little bit more about the fishing industry and how it works.  Rob for example has a fishing permit for crab.  He has a licence for 9000lbs.  On retirement, he can sell that permit to someone and it is a form of a retirement plan I guess.  A licence came up last year for example and sold for two hundred thousand plus. We don't know the details but that's an example.  We spent a super evening and are super happy that we bumped back our departure to spend more time here.

Justin is outside with Bones and Rob tells him that they will have Jiggs dinner for us at 1130.  Wow! How kind!  Almost everyone in Newfoundland has Jiggs dinner on Sundays.  It's a one pot meal consisting of salt beef, potatoes, turnip, cabbage, peas pudding and bread pudding.  They have special bags for the peas and bread pudding that is added to the pot and everything cooks together.  Justin LOVED it.  I had a bit of a harder time because they also served Turr.  Turr is a type of duck they eat here in Newfoundland.  The gravy was made with the drippings of the turr.  It was pretty fishy tasting for me.  Very happy to have tried out this traditional meal.  After lunch, or should I say 'dinner', we pack up the trailer.  We don't want to over extend our stay.  Here we go AGAIN.  Truck won't start.  Foolish of us, we also pulled in the driveway because we wanted the doors to the trailer facing their house.  We soon decide that this is enough and we need to call Good Sams Roadside to get towed to Grand-Falls Windsor.  It's 2 hours away but it's the closest town with a dealership.  Not many people on the island fix diesel trucks.  Justin is on the phone for almost an hour trying to explain that a tow to Baie Verte will accomplish nothing.  That is after trying to explain that the tow truck does not have to come by boat to get us (for some reason, even in this day and age with google and everything, the B%!!! dispatcher thinks that we have to be towed to PEI???!!!).  Long story short, we finally get approval for a tow truck - it will arrive at 1813 - that is exactly what the lovely (insert sarcasm) dispatcher tells us.  By this time, Sherry has called everyone in town she knows that could help out.  After a couple of hours, the truck now starts.  The tow truck arrives.  Oh boy! We know right away that he can't take us.  It's a 3 seater.  Second of all, he doesn't have the right ball to tow the trailer.  Justin takes control and tells the guy that we will drive our truck and trailer and that he will follow us in case something happens.  We are 2 hours away from our destination and no reception for 90% of the way.  Well, what do you know - the truck runs smoothly the entire way.  We call a campsite in Grand-Falls Windsor and setup for the night.  Justin gets the info off of the tow truck driver 'in case' we need him in the morning.  Fingers crossed!  The dealership is less than 4kms away so this is a perfect spot for us.  Once we are settled in, I tell Justin to go and relax and check out the Legion in town.  The Legion here has a War museum and it is opened from 2pm to 12am daily.  What better de-stresser for Justin. Not so much.  He gets there at 1040 and on Sundays they close at 11!  The nice gentlemen still serves him a drink and lets him look around.  Then, of course to top off the day, the truck once again won't start.  Justin does his magic and gets it going to come back to the campsite.  Here we go again......

At least we have beautiful memories of Westport!