Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Up North we go! (Monday, June 12th)

Wake up by ocean with no plans for the day ahead! Do we stay put and visit here or do we keep going?  After checking out the hockey results (booohh) and Justin putting on his Pens hat, we decide that we will continue moving north.  We hit up the foodland that is across the street from the campsite because you never know when you will see a grocery store again.  On our way North we stop in St-Barbe where the ferry crosses to Labrador to get first hand info on whether we will be able to cross or not.  Almost everyone we talk to about crossing over warns us about the ice conditions and how the ferry that usually takes 1.5hrs has taken up to 8hrs to cross with the help of an ice breaker.  We weren't convinced that we wanted to go over but I exchanged emails with a girlfriend from RMC and she easily convinced us that we should cross and at least go up the coast a little. And really, it will be a while before we ever make it back here so why not!  The lady at the ferry tells us that things are running smoothly and gives us the crossing info and phone numbers to call to book our crossings.  There is also a campsite, or I should say a parking lot, adjacent to the ferry where you can leave your RV.  We also inquire there and are told that there is a caravan coming in and that we wouldn't be able to leave the trailer there until Friday.  We've been going back and forth about bringing the trailer or not and this makes the decision easy.  It will be less than 250$ total to bring the trailer there and back.  This way we will be able to make our own food, stop wherever we would like and not have to spend money on hotels.  So onwards we go!

The drive is super pretty as it follows the coast and we are excited because we know that we don't have far to go (about 1.5hrs).   At one point, I spot a tiny iceberg in the distance.  I am so excited.  It's actually embarrassing how excited I got.  As we keep driving, we keep seeing more and more icebergs - me and Gaby are overly ecstatic!  We convince Justin to pull over and we make our way down to the beach to see the icebergs up close!  We facetime everyone we know to share our over excitement (I have no idea how we had reception here but we did!).

On with our journey to Northern Newfoundland!  We arrive at Viking RV park and have our first true encounter with the Newfie jargon.  The man that greeted us at the park was so hard to understand.  I figured out somehow that he was just someone visiting and that I should come back after we are setup to settle up with the lady in charge (she was away for a bit).  We have a nice site and settle in nicely as we plan on being here for a few days.  We cook up some lunch.  Justin picked up a 'best deal ever' pizza at foodland this morning.  It was delicious and just what we needed to fuel us up for a drive to St Anthony's.

St Anthony's is the hub for the northern peninsula.  They have a hospital, a foodland, Irving, and a Tim Horton's.
Our little minions are tired!
We drive to the lighthouse at the tip of the bay.  We do the little hike that goes around the point.  The bay is beautiful and there are some lovely icebergs.  It's a perfect little hike for the late afternoon.

We LOVE icebergs!

We noticed a little gift shop and Gab wanted to go inside and have a look.  Us girls went in while the boys, including Bones, waited outside.  A little tradition we have is to pick up Christmas ornaments for our tree when we travel.  There was a perfect little lighthouse that Gab chose.  We then noticed there was a small museum at the back of the store.  We told Justin we would have a look and then we could switch seeing as Bones was with us.  The nice lady came and got Justin and told him he could come in with Bones.  It was a perfect little museum.  It answered many of our questions that we had following our drive up the northern coast.  Why so much cut firewood on the side of the highway? Gardens on the side of the highway?  Turns out the locals cut the wood during the winter and use the sleds to bring it close to the highway (similar to Chicoutimi wood cutting - one of our favorite things to do in the Saguenay with our friends Kathie & Dodoll).  No one steals each others wood!  The gardens are put in by locals as well.  They don't call it the ROCK for no reason.  Hardly nothing can grow in Newfoundland.  When the highway was built, they turned over the ground so it is easier to use the soil on the side of the road as opposed to attempting to do it in your own backyard.
Gab was a little scared of this polar bear.

On our way to our car, we are blessed by the most beautiful sight!  A perfect rainbow landing on an iceberg!  Everyone was snapping pics!  I grabbed a picture for a fellow tourist (I'm sure it's his new profile pic!) and he said sarcastically that all that was missing was a whale jumping out of the water in the middle!  :0
On our way back to the campsite, just outside St. Anthonys, we got another Moose sighting!

Moose sightings for the day = 4
Total Moose count = 6

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Tablelands, Trout River & Arches Provincial Park,(Sunday, June 11th)

This morning we start with a guided walk of the Tablelands on the other side of Grose Morne.  The tour is at 10 so we leave the trailer at around 845 thinking we have plenty of time but we get there just on time.  Gaby is not feeling good this morning, her cough was pretty bad over night.  After everything we have seen in Newfoundland, the Tablelands are kind of 'blah'.  Yes, if you consider that you are walking on the earth's mantle (1 in 5 places on the planet where you xcan do this)'inner core' of our planet, sure....it's cool.  But in reality it just looks like a big mountain like the ones we saw in the mid-West.  Gab loves the hikes but really doesn't like it when it's slow and having to listen to tour guides.  As much as I would like to follow along with the tour guide (because we adults still think it's interesting), we abandon the tour a half hour in and start our way back to the truck.


 Liane has been asking me since we got to Grose Morne if we had been to Trout River.  Being on the south side of the Park and really not planning on coming back this way, no time like the present to check out this cute boardwalk she talks about.  We took the wrong turn and ended up at the Parks Canada Trout River campground.  Really nice but too small for our big trailer.  It will be perfect in our old days when we plan on travelling in a much smaller rig!  Found our way to a deserted Trout River.  We are here before tourist season and it shows.  The boardwalk is all ours. I had read that there was a nice restaurant in the town.  The village is pretty much all along the ocean with the boardwalk being less than 1km long.  We find  the restaurant I had read about and it many must have read up on it because after we sit down, it started filling up a bit more.  We stuck to local dishes.  Mel - Newfoundland Pea Soup and fish cakes.  Justin - Seafood chowder and a scallop salad.  Gab - as much as I can pull the 'Dr. MJ voudrait que tu manges ça - c'est bon pour la santé...ça ne fonctionne pas pour le poisson.  Donc, Gab mange des croquettes de poulet.  Our meal is delicious.  Justin still dreams about the sweet buns they served with our soup!

James was only this happy when we shared the sweet buns

Seafood chowder

Pea soup

Back to the truck to make our way to the campsite to pack up and head north.  The kids both fall asleep in no time and we sneak in a stop at Stuckless Pond in honor of our and only Will.  The pond is a 10km loop so a bit too much to try and attempt with Gab.  If we had a whole day out of it and packed a picnic we could do it but as much time as we have, we unfortunately don't have all the time in the world.

We are back at the campsite in time for us to pin the trailer in the rain but we are pretty good at it by now.  By the way, we fueled up before arriving at the campsite! Lessons learned!  Norris Point KOA campsite was really nice as they let us checkout really late (it's about 4pm by the time we pull out).  Our destination is 2 hours North in Port Aux Choix.  We stop at Arches Provincial Park.  We are there at the perfect time as we are low tide.  There are 3 arches formed in the rocks as a result of tidal action.  It's a perfect spot for a break and we spend a good half hour having fun underneath the arches.  We are really loving travelling at this time of year in Newfoundland as tourist season doesn't start till later in the month.  We get to enjoy these beautiful natural locations all by ourselves! We are really spoiled.

The rest of the ride seems like nothing since we have been doing long stretches of driving since the beginning.  Matante Doudunne facetimes and we actually have reception. I am telling her how it's BS that there is supposedly tons of Moose in NFLD when we see our first NFLD MOOSE!!!!  Hilarious!   We arrive at Oceanside RV Park.  OMG. Our site is 30 feet from the ocean.  We may have the worst timing ever on this one because there is crazy wind, rain and we are sure there was a bit of hail as we were setting up the trailer.  About a half hour later the sun was almost peaking through the clouds.  Justin sets up the hockey game on the ipad but he can't handle it when it cuts out a bit.  It's actually really good considering it's on wifi.  Anyhow, the terrible Pittsburgh fan falls asleep on the game.  What a guy!

NFLD MOOSE count = 1

Press the video below to have a look at our day!

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Marine Station and James is WALKING!!! (Saturday, June 10th)

Gloomy day this morning.  Rain is coming down so it's a great day to hit up Bonne Bay Marine Station.  We've heard from a few people that it's really cool and they talked to us about this touch tank that sounds fun.  Small admission fee of 20ish dollars for all of us and we are 10 minutes out from an included tour.  Leah our tour guide was super interesting.  She made Gab her assistant.  Gab got to hold a star fish, a mini crab and many other sea species.  She was loving holding everything, she even put her hand out to help hold the huge crab.

Playing in the 'touch tank'

Justin holding a small crab

It was still raining when we came out so we went back to the campsite for some lunch and relaxation. Mel is pretty sick with a head cold and Gab is starting one as well.  After lunch, Mel sneaks in a long afternoon nap while Justin entertains the kids.  Rain and trailer living is not so fun.  Even though we have what I consider a huge trailer, it is very tight on some occasions.  The skies clear up and Justin and the kids were able to walk the trail that goes around the pond at the campsite.  Another 2kms under Gab's belt.  James falls asleep on the walk and sleeps from 430ish to 730.  That kind of messed up his bedtime!

After supper, Gaby is excited to play UNO.  She wishes for rain so that we can play more games!  Since James slept so much, he stays up and he is having fun playing on the floor therefore we let him hang out.  All of a sudden, out of nowhere, he takes a few steps!  We are so excited! We thought he would have been walking a few months ago as he has been able to stand without assistance for so long but he thought it was faster to crawl instead of trying to walk.  Facetime Nanny, Mami & Pépere, and matante Doudounne to show off baby James' accomplishment!  We are sad that Gab missed out on seeing his first step as she 'practices' and does 'exercise' with her little brother almost on a daily basis! :)

Gab's cold is really ramping up and Mel is starting to feel better.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Max relax day and visit to Lobster Cove Head (Friday, June 9th)

We have been going non stop since the start of our trip so we take it easy this morning. We head out after lunch to Lobster Cove Head.  It's a lighthouse with a small museum inside.  It is 23C when leave the campsite and Lobster Cove is maybe a 10min drive.  By the time we get there, the temperature has dropped to 16C and the wind is BLOWING!  We wore our shorts but we were smart enough (or maybe lucky enough) to have our warm jackets and tuques.  There is a super nice Parks Canada employee who has fun things for Gaby to do.  We ask about the kite's that they lend out so we can give it a try.  She tells us that her and a fellow employee will come help us because it's sometimes hard to get the kite to fly.  We think it's pretty funny seeing as the wind is blowing 100 mph! (and a small secret...Justin loves to fly a kite) She lets the kite go and it shoots right up in the sky and in no time she loses the handle and is running after the kite...it was hilarious!  I was just about to press record on the gopro... too bad because writing this out really doesn't do it justice.  It's too bad because we didn't get to fly a kite which would have been awesome by the ocean in those winds but maybe we'll find a way to do it at some other point. We did all the little trails around the lighthouse.  Gaby insists that we go on EVERY trail.  It was a nice way to spend a relaxing afternoon.

Interactive museum

Training for the 15km race in Sept with James on my back! :)

 Came back via Rocky Harbor.  We stopped at the pharmacy and Home Hardware to pick up a few things then drove through Norris Point.  Supper, laundry, game of skipbo with gab, blog and off to bed!

Footage fort this day has also been lost but running a recovery software right now with fingers crossed!

Western Brook Pond (Thursday, 8 June)

This morning we are excited!  We are in Grose Morne and ready for some adventure.  Visitor centre opens at 9 so we were there at around  940ish.  Parks Canada staff was great and gave us some great trails that would be perfect for us with the kids and told us to try and get booked on the Western Brook pond as it has been sold out the last few days.  So first thing we do is call up to make reservations and the 12 o'clock boat is full so we are on standby for the 3o'clock tour.  We have to call in at 1 to see if the tour is a go (they need a minimum to run the tour).  Meanwhile we head over to Berry Head Pond for a 2km loop.  Gaby loves the walk and has to stop at every plant/flower to take a picture for Kim.  Kim and Gaby always go for walks with the dogs and she's a big reason why Gab is so good at keeping up on our crazy adventures.  We saw a beaver damn and the trees they took down to make their hut.  (I would have never noticed...but my nature buffs - Gab and Justin spotted it).  It was a great trail for the stroller.  Gaby was having fun trying to call the Moose - 'Here Moosey Moosey' :)  We have yet to see a Moose in Newfoundland.  The only one we saw was in New Brunswick on the drive up.

Left over guac!  Never happens when Will's around!!!

We make our way back to the campsite for a good lunch and call at 1230 to find out the tour is a go. Off we go because it's a 30 minute drive-ish and we also have a 3km hike in to reach the boat.  Poor James - we wake him up again out of his car seat to put him in the backpack.  He has no complaints in the back pack...he loves it.  The cost of the boat tour is pretty expensive! 146$ for the 4 of us.  But when in Grose Morne....you have to do it.  It really was worth every penny.  The weather was amazing but we were warned to bring our winter gear, which we did.  We were happy to have our tuques! The wind blows right through you.  The fjord is now fresh water so technically it really isn't a fjord because to fit the description of a 'fjord' it should be salt water.  The boat we were in had to be air lifted to the pond and the other boats were taken to the pond in pieces during the winter over the bog.  Our french tour guide was really nice.  Her boyfriend was posted here last year and they are in Rocky Harbor for 3 years.  She has learned to love it but she really misses fresh fruit and vegetables.  It's about a 1.5hr drive for a grocery store.  Yikes!  But on the bright side, she said you can get a nice house on the OCEAN for 150 to 200k.  Try buying a shack for that price on the St-Lawrence!! The highlight of the tour for Gaby was at first the waterfalls, but then, on our way back, water was splashing into the boat and onto the deck floor! She was entertaining the other passengers with her full out belly laugh.  We had a lot of fun.  James did well considering he didn't have a nap. He got fussy near the end and Justin took him down to the lower deck.  For the last bit of the tour, they turned on Newfy jams, James loved it! He was clapping along and also putting on a show.  The walk back did our little man in, and he found a way to fall asleep in the backpack.  Our little trooper Gab also did awesome.  She was a little tired near the end and needed to use the restroom but she pushed through and we got back to the parking lot.

Looking towards Western Brook Pond

The fjord in teh background is our destination!

Beautiful walk to the fjord!

On our hike in to Western Brook Pond

Comfy on the boat
Having Fun with BB Girl
One of the falls along the fjord

James is done in!

Just taking in some rays
My little trooper did 8kms today!  Once at the campsite, she forgot how tired she was and headed for the bouncy mat while we enjoyed the sunshine!  Another wonderful day!

I am pretty upset with myself because I think my GoPro footage from the boat tour was deleted by accident.  I have been switching SD card between my camera and Gaby's 'caméra d'aventure'.  I have a feeling she or James may have deleted the footage before I downloaded it.  I am going to try and recover the footage but for now... it's more important to make the memories than to capture them.  The SD card came with a 'recovery' software download so fingers crossed!

Monday, 12 June 2017

Change of plans (Wednesday, 7 June)

Today the plan is to head out to Stephenville and find a campsite in that area.  It's about a 1.5hrs drive.  We get on the road by 10ish and head North.

Grand Codroy RV campground
View across our site

Gab prête a partir avec sa caméra d'aventure
We will drive the French Ancestors Route after we park the trailer.  As soon as we pass the campsite, I had my eye on, I decided that maybe there isn't enough for us to see here for it to be worth spending the night. Problem is, we needed to fuel up before doing the 125km loop.  Justin is an expert at wheeling our trailer around and we head back to fuel up and decide to stop in Port au Port at the narrows connecting the peninsula to the main land. It's about 1315 and we have a nice lunch.  The drive around the peninsula must have taken us an honest 1.5hrs.  It had beautiful views especially on the western side where the Dodge was put to the test driving up the big hill.  We were above the clouds looking down at the ocean.  Just breathtaking.  I was hoping to find the 'bread ovens' they talk about in the visitors guide but we didn't spot anything.

Lunch stop

Throwing rocks while waiting for lunch to be ready

Bones just hanging out after lunch

Lunch break is almost over - ready to drive around the peninsula

Back on HWY1 to get to Grose Morne.  We are all anxious to get there.  This is another long day of driving but I know that we will now stay put for a few days.  We debate on which campsite and agree on KOA as they are known to be kid friendly.  I had the wrong address in the GPS so we passed it and had to backtrack which was probably an extra 15 minutes and another occasion for Justin to turn the trailer around but we are all just happy to finally have reached our destination.  We book for 2 nights indicating that we will probably extend to make sure we don't have to move the trailer and we settle in for the night.  Quick pasta and off to bed we go! Mel finally figures out her GoPro and how to make awesome videos but the wifi isn't strong enough for the upload! :(

I dropped a quick email to my RMC roommate, Heather, who is from Stephenville.  I should have written to her before because she gets back to me that same day but just after we have left.  Her mom still lives there and if I'm not mistaken, I'm pretty sure we drove right passed her house.  Still cool to have seen where she is from!

Friday, 9 June 2017

We made it to the ROCK!!! (Tuesday, June 7th)

*** You can skip to the video at the end if the write up is too long! 

Waking up on the Ferry!  They give a warning when we are 1hr from port but we kept sleeping and finally got up at the 30 minutes warning.  My plan was to get up earlier and bring Gab on the top decks while we were actually sleeping but it didn't take much for Justin to convince me that we should just chill.  So, we are rushing to get everyone showered in our mini bathroom and get everything packed.  By the time we make it to the elevators to bring us to the lower deck, they are calling for the owner of a Black Dodge with a travel trailer....oh boy!  Justin takes off using the stairs and we get off the elevator just in time to see Justin pulling away with the trailer..... The lady on the deck tries to figure out if they can stop him and if we can join him but it's too late and she tells me we have to get off using the passenger only buses.  Problem is that Bones is still up in his kennel and I have no idea how I will manage to carry all our bags, the kids, Bones and his kennel.  She tells me to head to reception on the 5th deck and they would figure something out.  Once I finally find it, they tell me to just go get my dog and leave him in his kennel and to come back and we would go on the passenger bus.  Hugh....my dog is 80lbs in a 4X3 kennel....no way.  Plus, I am not sure if Justin has the muzzle or if he left it up there.  Thank God we both have our cell phones and I can call him and he tells me that he left the muzzle it in the kennel.  I get to the top deck with the kids and look frantically for Bones.  He is so happy to see me.  I get him out and put the muzzle on him (which he manages to take off in record time, but I really don't care at this point)  I put our bags in the kennel, grab onto bones, Gab is pushing James and we head back down.  When the doors open a nice lady is there waiting for us.  She sees how nice Bones is and says that they will take us to the lower deck and have a bus for us. We get our own bus and get driven to Justin who is waiting in the yard for us.  Boy...are we happy to finally be in NEWFOUNDLAND!!!!!

Our tiny room 
tiny bathroom which included a shower

We made it!
So tired! Yesterday was a long day!

We decide on a campsite in Codroy Valley in Doyles.  About a 30 minute drive.  3 service, free firewood and super friendly service all for 36$.  The lady gave us a super well put together flyer of things to do in the area so we have a quick lunch and head out.  Our first impression of NFLD is WOW!  The drive to the campsite takes us on HWY 1 through Table Mountains.  We drive to most westerly point of the island where there is a cute lighthouse and then make a stop at a beautiful beach.  Gab is having a blast picking up seashells and trying to skip rocks on the water with Justin.  We then head back towards Port-aux-Basques to discover the communities that lie east of there.  Our first stop is in Isle aux Morts where we take what we guess is about a 4km loop walk along side the ocean.  The Harvey Trail is breath taking.  It's a gravel, coastal trail honoring the site of the daring rescues by the George Harvey family

Next, onto Rose Blanche.  This community is the last one going west inland.  You can catch a passenger ferry to get to 'La Poile'. (Had to mention it because it made Gab laugh big time).  We turned into Rose Blanche thinking we were heading to the lighthouse.  The tiny winding roads are crazy! There are tiny little houses all right next to each other with roads that only allow one vehicle at a time.  We are happy we turned in because driving through the village was fun.  We kept thinking of people who would accidently turn in there with their trailers!!! When we initially got off the ferry, I had thought of maybe going to west first to see these villages in order not to backtrack! Thankful we didn't.  We found the lighthouse and it was a nice little walk to go see it and visit inside. It is a restored granite lighthouse.  Unfortunately, we are not aloud to go to the top. 

On the way back, we decide to stop at a waterfall that we spotted on the way in.  We gave Gab the option to hike to it or not.  Our little trooper was all about it.  It's about a 3km there and back hike to Barachois Falls.  Very nicely done and well worth the easy hike.  James was sleeping in his stroller the entire way and Bones was a little tired from his first day so he stayed back in the truck.  Gaby and Justin went and touched the water and of course Justin had to try and get a hero shot and climbed up the fall a bit.  He had to take his shoes off to come back as he couldn't make the jump back to the trail (I think he was playing it safe seeing as on our last trip,  a hero shot landed him in Emerg with a sprained ankle!).  

Barachois Falls

Rose Blanche Lighthouse

Back to the trailer we go, via a small pitstop at Foodland in Port-aux-Basques.  Cauliflower was 8.99, it stayed on the shelf.  I bought broccoli for a crazy 4.29!  The meat on the other hand, was fairly priced. Some good chicken breast and broccoli for supper and we all call it a night!  The kids were both passed out on the way to the camper!

Day 1 on the ROCK did not disappoint.

A little video of today's highlights!