Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Labrador here we come (Friday, 16 June)

Today we are taking the ferry to Labrador.  We are reserved on the 3:30 crossing.  We have to be there 1 hour in advance.  This morning we take our time and enjoy the beautiful spot by the river we found.  J'ai la chance de faire la paresse parce que Justin se lève avec les enfants.  On a la génératrice de mon oncle 'nornon' avec nous et Justin veut absolument s'en servir! So fire up the generator to make some yummy bacon, egg and toast for breakfast!  The ride to the ferry is good.  We spot 2 caribous.  I go to the ferry office and pay for our crossing (115$) and we go line up for the ferry.  We meet a nice couple from Idaho.  They have a gorgeous Airstream!  We are not good at this ferry thing.  We bring too much stuff with us, we have a hard time bringing the stroller up and it just never goes as planned!  We'll get the hang of it eventually!  Bones stayed in the truck this time and that was a great call.  He slept his way across.  The ferry is old but there is tons of space to roam around.  We settled in the cafeteria and shared a poutine (shredded mozzarella - yuck).  Me and Gab went and explored on the upper deck and looked at some icebergs (we are still not sick of them!). We get off the ferry in Blanc Sablon, which is actually in Quebec.  First stop is their tourist office. There are a few things we could do down the coast on the Quebec side.  We might fit that in after having gone North.  We decide to do a campsite for the night.  So we park at Northern Light RV park (pretty much another parking lot with a view of the ocean).  Get some groceries, do some laundry and time to relax.

Ferry to Labrador

Moose Count =  18   Whale Count = 2    Caribou count =  5

Worth the wait (Thursday, June 15th)

Our boat tour was planned for 11am.  We got all ready to go, got in the truck and crossed our fingers while we waited for Justin to go and call and see if we were on.  He comes out of the RV office with a big 2 thumbs up! The tour guide lady told him, sun is shinning, no ice in the bay, tour is a GO! Youpi!  The boat tour was without a doubt worth the wait.  We started out by looking for whales.  The 9am group had seen them so they thought it was better to look for the whales now in case they decided to leave the bay.  It didn't take long to spot 2 whales.  They were far enough but it was more than enough to get Gab excited.  Honestly, I was way more excited about the upcoming icebergs!  They went under and our guide said they usually go under for about 5 minutes and then resurface (although they can stay underwater for up to 40 minutes).  They came back up in about five minutes and we got to watch them play around and they dove back down.  It was beautiful to see their tale flap out of the water.  James was not very happy during this time so me and Justin were switching back and forth holding him.  On our way out to the BIG iceberg, it started getting rocky in the boat.  Gab was loving it, it rocked James to sleep but I wasn't a big fan.  I was ok and not sick (like some people on our boat) but my stomach was making it known that it wasn't happy.  SO WORTH IT!! We got very close to a very big iceberg.  The color and its stature sitting in the water is indescribable and the pictures don't come close to do it justice.  700 feet long and 90feet high!  This iceberg began its journey in Greenland and probably took 1.5 to 2 years to get here.  It will most likely be melted in approximately 6 weeks.  On our way back the bay had a lot more ice in it and they were manoeuvering around the ice to get us back to the dock.  We are happy that we stayed one more day in Northern Newfoundland to experience the boat tour.

Our little youtube video of the day!

We headed back to the campsite and stopped in at the office to pick up another pie and some partridgeberry jam.  As we were hooking up, I noticed that the trailer beside us had a sticker on it that said http://bobsnewfoundland.com/.  I absolutely wanted to meet them as I have browsed their website several times for ideas on what do her in Newfoundland.  He had a short and sweet write up on many of the spots you should hit up.  They are addicted to Newfoundland.  They are from London, Ontario and come up twice every summer.  They leave their trailer on the island.  Pretty cool.  We pulled out of the camp site and weren't sure if we were going to get St-Barbe to catch the ferry via the coastline (same way we came up) or take it inland with about a 20 minute detour.  We opted for inland since we figure we might as well see as much as we can.  It was a great decision.  Not only did we spot caribou on this road but we found a PERFECT spot for our trailer.  We were able to pull in beside this beautiful river.  Gaby was loving camping in the middle of nowhere.  Walk by the river, marshmallows and some cuddle time by the fire - perfection.

Moose Count =  18 Whale Count =  2 Caribou count =  3

Monday, 26 June 2017

Waiting for the boat that never came.... (Wednesday, June 14th)

James has a small fever this morning.  We think he must be teething but not sure.  Justin goes to the office to book our ferry to Labrador.  We have to use a landline as there is no service.  She needs help with her Trip Advisor page so Justin sends me her way.  I'm no expert but I try to help as much as I can.  We leave to go and take the whale and iceberg boat tour.  1 moose sighting on the way.  The bay has filled up with ice and the tour operator takes a vote amongst all the ones waiting to go out and we decide that we will wait till 3 and see if the winds have cleared the bay.  So now we have a couple of hours to tour around St Anthony.  We drive to the lighthouse we were at 2 days ago to see how much ice is in the bay and it is indeed ice jammed.  We stop at Tim Horton's for a quick lunch.  We rarely eat out on this trip so it's a small treat.  Justin hits up the NAPA shop to pick up some fuses.  Our fuse on our trailer tongue keeps blowing so we want to make sure we don't run out.  We drive to Goose Point.  There are a few hikes we could do but James is resting comfortably in his car seat so we opt to drive around to give him the chance to rest up.  We spot another Moose on the way.

We then drive to Saint Carols and Great Brehat.  The views everywhere on the coast are amazing (I sound like a broken record!).  Almost time to head back to the boat so we fuel up and cross our fingers that the winds took care of business.  Thumbs down - we can't go.  Still too much ice in the bay.  The tour operator is VERY confident that the winds will clear the bay for tomorrow and he gives us the opportunity to reserve on the 11 o'clock tour.  We are scheduled to take the ferry so we decide to call up and move our ferry booking to Friday.  Hit up the Foodland and the liquor store - they even have Strongbow in Newfoundland.  On our way back, James is sleeping again and we have been crossing this side road that says 'great iceberg viewing'.  We've pretty much driven the entire Northern coast so why not go down this road even though I think it's a tourist trap.  Turns out there are beautiful views and Justin and Gab get their hero shot on top of small icebergs!  We also stop at a local spot that sells fish.  They want 10.50$/lb for lobster.  We feel that seems high and we also need to buy a big enough pot to cook some so we decide against it.  We head back to the campsite and pick up some fresh partridge berry pie the owner made today and chit chat with other campers from Maine.  Not too bad for a day that didn't turn out as planned.
Moose count = 12

Vikings and Iceberg adventure (Tuesday, June 13th)

L'anse aux Meadows is our destination this morning (the most northerly tip of the island).  We arrive right on time to jump on a tour that started at 10.  This is the site where back in 1968 they discovered proof that the Vikings had settled here over 1000 years ago.  Our tour guide is a local.  He lives in L'anse aux Meadows (population 30).   He was part of the 'dig' when the archeologists came in the 60s to discover the proof they had long been looking for.  He is very interesting and a joy to follow along.  Gab is once again not loving this tour but she follows along.  Once we get to the recreated Viking houses, Gab is a little more enthused.  The houses are made of turf and wood.  They are really impressive.  Once done with the tour we do Gaby's favorite - hike!  Justin has his work cut out for him as we took the stroller along as opposed to the back pack.  It was a good call because James slept through the entire tour but now it would be a workout for the hike.  There are still parts of the trail that are snowed over.  We finally find some Parks Canada red chairs to take our picture on (special chairs that have been put throughout National Parks for the 150th celebration)! The scenery and the icebergs are amazing.  We head back to the campsite for a quick bite to eat and then off again to explore the North!

We are not sure where we are going but we follow the map and decide to head out to Cape Onion and Ship Cove (combined population 102).  We drive to the end and find a cemetery  (70% of the tombstones are Deckers) on top of a cliff right next to the ocean! The wind is blowing and there is a bit of rain but we are so in awe by the scenery that we don't care.  We are so blessed to see this beautiful view and on top of that we are mostly always by ourselves.  We now have decided that the best views in town are always where the cemeteries are.  On our way back we drive through the village of Raleigh.  We up our Moose count for today by 4!  It would be higher but Gaby's rule is that all 3 of us have to see it for it to count!

Braving the weather for the crazy views!

Moose Count = 10

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!