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(Does this look real to you?!)

We’ve uncovered an amazingly well-executed hoax here in Newfoundland:  Despite all attempts to convince us otherwise, we’ve determined that there are, in fact, no moose whatsoever in this Province.

Ask any Newfie, though, and they’ll tell you something like, “Oh geez, by, ya gotta watch fer alla moose!  Dere all over da place, eh?  Smash yer car up right quick dey will!”  HAH!!

Read any tourism brochure and it’ll tell you that the moose population is up to well over 100,000 on the island now and that a massive culling is in progress.  HAH!!  (again)

There are road signs giving dire warnings about the moose on the roads and you’ll hear tales of how the local won’t even go out of their homes for fear of being trampled to death.  Say it with me now….HAH!!!

Folks, it’s all a fargin’ lie!  It’s an elaborate hoax cooked up by some sort of Newfie Tink Tank to suck the tourists in.  So well co-ordinated is this deception that when we enquired of an Official at one of those Tourist Information places, “So…where the heck are all these moose we keep hearing about?”  Her reply was (get this), “Oh geez, dere was a bunch of ’em just run by dat window right dere just a little while ago…”  HAH and DOUBLE HAH!!!!  What a load!

Just because some Newfie Tourism Committee sat around brainstorming ways to increase tourism traffic while sampling the Screech, doesn’t mean we’re gonna fall for it.  It probably went something like this:

“Oh geez, I gotta a good one, eh?”

“Oh yeah?  Whatcha tinkin’, by?”

“Well, y’know how doze west-coasters got dem Sasquatches and Ogopogos and whatnot, eh?”

“Yeah…”

“Well, why couldn’t we do sumpin’ like ‘at, only ours could be, oh, I dunno, like say a giant beaver er oh!  Har-har-har!  Here’s a goodun:  What if we say we’re overrun wit moose?!”

“But, Frankie, me by, we got no moose…”

“Well, dat’s da beauty, eh?  We just say we do ‘n’ we put up a buncha sign’s ‘n’ whatnot ‘n’ get alla bys ta say dey just seen one a minute ago…”

“Oh, har-har-har!  Lord tunderin’, Frankie!  Dat’s some genius tinkin’ dere!”

All (imaginary) dialogue aside, the evidence mounts.  We’ve now been in Newfoundland for six days and we’ve seen exactly zero moose.  To further damn the Moose Conspirators, we’ve met and spoken to exactly zero fellow travellers who have seen so much as a single moose!  Oh the locals are holding fast to their minute-ago sightings and brudder-in-laws whose crew-cab pickup was Bullwinkled to an early death.  Hell, there are even local radio reports warning that the moose detector lights at such and such a location are out again and gawd-helpya if yer headed dat way.  AND!!!  On a hike through the bush, we encountered what appeared to be a pile of moose poop…but there was a guy standing just off the path with a fargin’ shovel behind his back!

Pfft!  What a crock!!

Nice try, Newfoundland Tourism Board!  You might have the rest of the world bamboozled, but you ain’t foolin’ us!

 

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If you can’t handle being out of touch with the world for a while, don’t put Newfoundland on your list of places to visit.  Cell service is sporadic at best.  WiFi?  Fuggedaboudit!  Is there a trade-off, though?  Oh, you bet your bippy there is!

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Arches Provincial Park

When you pull your head up from you stone-dead cellphone, you are afforded a rare opportunity to step back into a time when life was simpler, work was harder, and people were as good as their world.  You also get to spend unhurried hours travelling through a harsh and spectacular landscape that is unmangled by the machinations of man.  You bask in the warmth of a people who are not only not mistrustful of strangers but who welcome them like long lost friends.

Heading to Work

The minute we drove off of the ferry and onto The Rock (there never was an apter nickname), our connection with the outside world died, but y’know, we didn’t miss it at all.  Newfoundland is a beam-me-up-Scotty experience.

Being the observant souls that we are, we began to accumulate assorted interesting observilizations (it’s a word if I say it is, okay?) about Newfoundland and Newfies:

1.  There’s something really weird going on with the trees in Newfoundland.  For some reason they seem prone to falling over.  I’m not sure if this is because of laziness or what but it’s damned odd if you ask me.  (I was sure I had a couple of pictures of this phenomenon but I’ve been looking for an hour now and I can’t find them.  Just pretend I showed you, k?)

2.  There are no raccoons, skunks, or snakes in Newfoundland.  Because of this, there are no formerly-furry-critter road pizzas here.  Because of this, there are no vultures either.

3.  One may become an Honorary Newfie upon completion of The Screeching In Ceremony.  During the said ceremony, the prospective Newfie must imbibe a substance which has been aptly named Screech (it tastes like a cross between kerosene and yak pee…don’t ask how I know this…), and then kiss a cod fish.  I imagine that Newfies secretly find it hilarious that tourists fall for this.

4.  All non-oceanic bodies of water, regardless of size, are called “ponds.”

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5.  Water in motion, again, regardless of size or ferocity, is called a “brook.”

6.  There are actual places in Newfoundland called Come By Chance, Dildo, Halfway Point, and Nicky’s Nose.

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7.  Non-Newfies are called Mainlanders no matter where they are from.

Now that we’re back in Internetland, I’ll make up for lost time (hopefully) and show you all the things we did.  In the meantime, here is a small sampling of the zillions of photogs we took:

Bob’s other wife, Shari, has flown in from Vancouver to come along on the rest of our adventure (she keeps us from killing each other – ha ha!).  This morning, we’ll take the ferry over to Newfoundland.  It’s a six-hour ride so it should be either deadly dull or interesting, depending on the scenery or lack thereof.

I’m going to attempt a gallery of bits and pieces of things we’ve seen so far (including the world’s biggest and dorkiest blue berry).  Wish me luck!  Here goes….

It’s kinda hard to see here, but on that big curvy bridge shot, they had to stop the traffic both ways to move that house across.  Yep, it’s a house!   We must be getting close to Newfieland…

Oh, and that fluffy blue guy is a cupcake we saw in the grocery store.  This cupcake business is getting out of hand, don’tcha think?

 

I have a personal goal that I shoot for all the time:  Be amazed by something every day. 

Some days it’s a swing and a miss, but when we’re on the road, it’s a no-brainer – there are amazing things around almost every corner.

Here are a few of the things that amazed me yesterday:

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What amazes me today is that I figured out how to make a slide show!!!  🙂

Just a quickie update and a few photogs (to keep Shari happy):

We’re holed up in New Brunswick visiting family for a few days.  The trip here was mostly yawnular – driving along the TransCanada Highway is not what you’d call particularly scenic.  I got a lot of reading and napping done.

We did, however, have a chance to see (you’re gonna be soooo jealous)….the World’s Largest Axe.  I schitt you not!  Here, check it out:

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How exciting is that?

And, speaking of exciting, I’ll just let this photog do the talking because I have no explanation for it:

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Here’s something different – I’ve never seen a windchime quite like this one:

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Okay, okay, you’re right – I’m grasping at straws here.  Let me just finish up for today with the reason for the title of this post:

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I don’t know who’s in charge of naming things around here, but I like!  🙂

 

“Pisstank One to Base, over?”

“This is Base, PT1, go ahead.”

“Base, I’ve been assimilated.”

(Oh lord…)

“10-4, Pisstank One, resistance is futile.”  (eyeroll)

Yep, he’s wandered off again.  That’s not even the scary part.  This park where we’re currently moored is the scary part.

When we first pulled in last night, the place was just a’hoppin’.  There were people everywhere – hoards of kids running around, adults clustering with their polypropylene-encased beer cans.  A very festive scene that rapidly went weird.  As we rolled to a stop, the entire park seemed to come to a grinding halt.  People pivoted around to stare at us.  The silence was eerie.  The staring, worse.  “What are they staring at?” I wondered aloud.

“No idea,” said ole Bob, vaulting from the car to go register us.  I locked the doors and stared back.  They just kept on with their staring.  I began to wonder what I’d do if Bob never came back.  Eventually he did and we proceeded to our designated camping spot.  As we pulled in, the same darned thing happened.  Everyone stopped what they were doing and stared.

An hour later, we were all set up.  I had opened up all the windows and blinds and just gone about my business.  Then.  I happened to glance outside.  There was some hillbilly just standing there like a statue.  Staring.  Y’know, most people, when caught gawking will look away or blush or pretend they were looking at something else.  Not this guy.  He just stood there.  Staring.  Even when I stared right back, he didn’t budge.

I couldn’t swear to this but I’m pretty sure I heard banjo music in the distance…

Okay, ya got me:  I posted that last bit for the sole purpose of distracting you from the fact that I didn’t actually write anything on Day 1.  To my credit (or maybe just to validate my laziness), pretty much nothing happened on the first day of our Newfie Adventure.  The sad truth is that the highlight of our entire day was a small flurry of excitement caused by a “low tire pressure” light coming on just before we pulled in for the night.  We figured we were screwed.  As it turned out, we were right.  (Oh, you’re so gonna groan.)  We had a slow leak caused by (yep, you guessed it) a screw in the right rear tire.

If you’re expecting an apology for the foregoing gratuitous corniness, fuggedaboudit.  It was a very slow news day and corny is all I got.

It was stinking hot yesterday –  90 degrees F, plus a honkin’ humidex making it actually somewhere around 125 F (I just made that up – uneventful day, remember?).  Dear ole Bob figured out how to work the air conditioner in the trailer without blowing stuff up, a skill I have yet to master.

You’ll recall (or perhaps not) from our Southwest Adventure that Bob is the Doer of All Things, while I am the Designated Turnip and, as such, am not to be trusted with even the simplest of tasks.  We’re working on that.  By “we,” I mean me.

Permit me to illustrate:

This morning, when we were breaking camp, I finished up my few meagre “inside” chores so I went out to help (HAH!) Bob with the outside ones.  He was busy tweaking something vital (I’m sure), so I said, “I’m gonna go shut off the water.”

“Uh huh…” he replied (distractedly).

As I rounded the back of the trailer and headed for the post with the hookup stuff on it (is there an actual name for that post?), I heard his little light come on in the form  of a tiny squeak.  Then there was a sort of a whoosh! as he blew by me headed for the post.  “NO!” I shrieked, “MY do it!”  He skidded to a stop and tried to hide the look of horror on his face.  “Nuh…nuh…okay….” he spluttered, eyes darting feverishly between the post and me.

Just to clarify here, I wasn’t about to disarm a bomb with my eyebrow tweezers or perform neurosurgery with my sewing kit, I was about to turn a knob.  If you’ve ever turned water either on or off, then you’ll have mastered this move yourself.

So, with an almost euphoric sense of suffragetteness, I, under the hawklike scrutiny of  The Supreme Bobness, shut the water off.  Alas, that was the extent to which my newly acquired skill set was to be tested – he stepped in and unscrewed the hose himself because gawd only knows how many ways that could have gone sadly awry.

 

From the time of early childhood, we’ve made fun of Newfies, told Newfie jokes, and held Newfies up as the epitome of how we fervently hope not to appear to others.  We did this with the blithe naivety of youth, never once imagining that Newfies were actual people.

For those of you unfamiliar with the term, “Newfie” refers to someone who lives in or is from the Canadian province of Newfoundland.

And that, amigos, is as graceful a segue to our current destination as you’re gonna get from this ole bird.

We’re headed for Newfoundland (pronounced NOO-fin-lund) for a bunch of reasons, among which are:

We’ve never been there;

We hear there are icebergs and puffins and whales, oh my!;

We have an unbridled curiosity about a folk who have their own time zone (half an hour out of whack with the rest of the world), have their own language (Oh, it’s English, just not English as we know it), and who may or may not be as amusing as we believed them to be in our youth.  In short, inquiring minds want to know if Newfies really are goofy.

Oh, and we also want to know if Newfie kids tell Ontarian jokes.  We suspect they do.

 

This bird business is getting out of hand. If you’d told me five years ago that I’d become a birdwatcher in the not-too-distant future, I’d have har-de-har-harred and advised you to seek professional help.

Be that as it may, I found myself prowling around in a cemetery the other day in search of an Eastern Screech Owl I’d heard rumour of. The problem with the location for the search was that, in addition to my little bird problem, I also have a real thing for cemeteries. It sounded like the perfect combo to me. Now who needs professional help, hmm? Hey, we all have our demons…

Well, the owl was nowhere to be found, although, I have to confess, my search was perhaps slightly less diligent than it might have been in a less fascinating environment.

Here’s what I did see (please excuse any photographic weirdness you might encounter – I just got PhotoShop Elements 11 and we’re becoming acquainted):

And, as if that weren’t thrilling enough (okay, thrilling to me, anyway), I found someone who is…er…that is to say was more enamoured with their trailer than Bob is with ours!  

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Hey, do you think they’d do an Airstream tombstone for him when he kicks the bucket?

Nine more sleeps ’til we leave for Newfieland!

When we arrived in Verona, Virginia, first stop on our way back home, we were completely charmed by the Shenandoah Valley Campground.  What’s not to love about this:

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And these:

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Some of these:

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And a bunch of these:

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Temperatures in Virginia topped out at 89 F so when we set up, we had every vent and window wide open.

As soon as the sun went down, our nightmare began.

Noseeums (nasty little biting bugs) by the score began pouring in through our screens.  There were thousands of them – they couldn’t resist our lights.  We didn’t wanna start blasting bug spray around so we figured we’d just shut off the lights and go to bed early.  We wanted an early start in the morning anyway.

As it was still pretty early and our neighbours were having a fire and being rambunctious, we shoved earplugs in and went to sleep.  Because we both had our ears plugged, neither of us heard it start to rain.

It was, in fact, a downpour of biblical proportions.  We slept on.  It wasn’t until I rolled over into a big squishy patch of bed that I discovered that water was pouring in through the vent in the ceiling over my side of the bed.  It was all being merrily absorbed by the sheets, blankets, mattress – all things just made for sucking up water.

Cripes!” said I, or words to that effect.  I bounded out of bed, darting madly to and fro, closing open things and feeling about for wet bits.  Because I am so unusually alert when I first awaken (I wish I could have said that with a straight face), I reported back to Bob that all was well – no water had gotten in.  At least none that wasn’t currently occupying my side of the bed.  I got back in the sack, gave Bob a wee shove, curled awkwardly around the soggy zone, and went back to sleep.

A while later, I awoke, as I often do, wondering why the hell Bob has to be so flaming noisy in the morning.  This seemed worse than usual, so instead of just pulling a pillow over my head as is my custom, I got up to see what was happening.

Remember when I said that no water had gotten in?  I was wrong.  To my credit, the one spot I really did check while I was (ahem) sleep-walking and closing things was dry.  The rest of the trailer, however, not so much.  Suffice it to say my deluge detection skills are not quite up to snuff.

As I shuffled out of the bedroom, there was ole Bob on his hands and knees under the table.  He was attempting to sop up a lake with a bath towel.  He was already on his third towel and he really didn’t seem his usual cheery morning self.  He had upended most of the upholstered cushions and when I grabbed one to move it out of the way, it seemed a lot heavier than I remembered it being.  It also peed on my foot which I thought was a bit rude.

We had to eat standing up the rest of the way home.

Sigh.