Posts Tagged ‘Tourism’

I’m not sure whether to call this a pause for dramatic effect, or just plain laziness.  Ah, who’m I kidding?  It’s not really all that dramatic, is it.

As I mentioned so long ago on Day 8, our destination was a spot called South Brook.  I think I called it “Point F” on that map that I’m so over now.  And, between you and I, calling it Point F makes a good deal more sense than calling it South anything if you consider how far north it is.  Speaking of not making much sense, the campground was (and in all likelihood still is) called Kona Beach which I thought sounded sort of Hawaiian, but does this look like Hawaii to you? Hmmm?

PT1 and PT2 at Kona BeachThat’s Bob indulging his pyromaniac tendencies, and Shari ordering more beer.

We packed up early on the ninth day of our journey and headed back to the same spot we camped on our first night in Newfieland, Grand Codroy in Doyles.  Once we’d dumped off the trailer, we set about exploring.  It was our last day and we wanted to make the most of it.

Now, I don’t know if you know this about me or not, but I really like lighthouses. Not quite as much as I like puffins (or bacon) but I find them sort of extremely interesting.  Our TRT (Trip Research Technician…okay, Bob) had located a couple more lighthouses for us to look for.  I say “look for” because sometimes they hide them really well.  I’m not sure how doing that is helpful to boats and such, but there you have it.  Hidden secret lighthouses.  Don’t say I didn’t warn ya about doze wacky Newfies, eh?

This first one, called the Cape Anguille Lighthouse, is also a fog horn station.  The weird rusty thing is apparently the fog horn.  Looks a bit dodgy to me.  There’s a little sign advising against standing in front of it.  I’d imagine there’d be a risk of an interesting hairdo at the very least.

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The second lighthouse required a lot of driving and a fair bit of hiking, but it was entirely worth it.  But hang on a second – I’m getting ahead of myself.  I know, I know, how unlike me.

On the way back from the Cape Anguille Lighthouse, we saw some interesting things, not the least of which (okay, maybe it was the least…) was a herd of free-range sheep. Free-range Newfie-style means let’s-put-em-on-da-road-n-see-what-happens (the tourists will think it’s quaint). Um…no. The aforementioned tourists nearly had a mutton hood ornament.

JDSC_0386ARHere are a few of the other cool things we saw:

That shot of what looks like a box of rocks with birdhouses on it is an example of how Newfies put up their telephone poles. Because the island is basically just a giant slab of rock, you can’t just dig a hole and cram the pole into it. So, the box of rocks is what you’d call the holder-upper (technical term).

I think I’m finally ready to tell you about the second lighthouse.  I have no doubt the anticipation is getting out of hand by now.  We decided that even though our time was short and the trip to the Rose Blanche Lighthouse would be a longish drive, we’d go for it anyway.  But, uh-oh!  What’s that up there on the road?  Can it be?

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The last part of the last day and now they bust out the moose?  I just hate it when my conspiracy theories fall apart.  

JDSC_0323AOkay, okay, I admit it:  I was (ahem) wrong about the moose thing.  Sue me.  Now, let’s just get over it and get out to Rose Blanche Lighthouse, cuz this one, my friends, is a real show-stopper.  I’ll just say two words and then let you enjoy: Solid. Granite.

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I’m sure I’ve missed some bits and pieces, so I’ll sweep it all into a bucket and do an “oops” post in a few days. Then, if the weeds in my garden will just bloody well stop growing, I’ll tell you what we saw on the way home.

 

 

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After heading out early and determining that icebergs were not to be seen this day, we sighed, we sagged, and we soldiered on.  Thankfully, the bergs are not the only thing worth seeing in the Twillingate area.

There are innumerable tiny coves and fishing villages just waiting to be discovered.

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Something we found really interesting were these Newfie-style root cellars.  Some of them are still in use to store taters and whatnot through the winter.  Because of the giant rock aspect of this entire island, there are no basements, so you can’t just chuck your turnips downstairs for storage.  Not that I’d ever do that.  Turnips are disgusting.  Just sayin’.

 

Mother Nature let us down with the icebergs, but it was a wonderful day all the same.

 

 

Oh geez, by, not da map again!

Oh c’mon, be honest, you were missing my beautiful map, I know you were.

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On Day 4, we meandered from Point C, Gros Morne, to Point D, which is….I’d better show you – you’ll never believe me if I just say it.

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Now, I know what you’re thinking – you’re wondering if I’m alphabetically challenged because there appears to be a Point F in between Points C and D on that amazingly glorious map.  As it happens, the F-stop (little photog humour there – heh heh) comes later, after we’d been to E and back (that woulda been a lot cornier if I’d said L instead of E…).  But I’m getting ahead of myself.  First, we went to Dildo Run.

We chose this spot to camp for two days not only because the name made us giggle, but because it’s close to Twillingate, and, as we all know, Twillingate is the Iceberg Capital of the World.  Turns out it’s pretty much like the moose business, but, I’m getting ahead of myself again.

While The Bob was setting up the trailer, Shari and I were excused from turnip detail so we went wandering around with our cameras.  Almost immediately, a really nice Newfie man approached us and asked if we’d been to photograph the owls yet. Given my “thing” for owls, I began to bounce up and down and I had a heck of a time concentrating on the directions the man was giving us.

“G’wan down tada stop soign ‘n’ hang a right, right?”

Right.”

Den ya take dat road a ways an’ y’ll see oh I dunno foive er six ‘ouses dere, ‘n’ ya g’wan right on by dem ‘ouses.”

Right…go past the houses…check!”

After a ways y’ll see a pond. Pull over by da pond and y’ll see doze owls up ‘ere inna rocks, eh?”

Right…stop at the pond and look up in the rocks…check!”

But deres a lotta rock so ya gotta look fer da poop, okay?”

Right! Look for the poop! Got it!”

So off we went, right turn, down the road, past the ‘ouses, pond, park, poop, and ta dah!  Just as he’d said.  I showed you a couple of the pictures the other day – if you missed it or you wanna look again, click HERE.  There’s something otherworldly about standing there being stared at by a Great Horned Owl.  It’s unbelievably cool.

After Bob dragged me back to the car, we went exploring around Twillingate.

The first stop was (yet) another lighthouse (yay!):

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Unfortunately, we arrived too late to hand over a wad of cash and visit the Whatever-it-was Exhibit in this unusual lighthouse.  We’re still trying to get over that.

Since as I said Twillingate is the (ahem) Iceberg Capital of the World (snort), we decided to venture in to town and find out where all the icebergs were.  We heard from several sources that we “just missed one – har har har.”  We were beginning to see a pattern…

With no icebergs to see, we poked around the town and the area for a while. We happened upon a sign that said that Vancouver was 4824 kms away. This amused us greatly because that’s where Shari is from. I insisted that she pose for a photog (for her mom) and she and Gnomey assumed the position. I was just about to take the shot when this lovely dog materialized and struck this lovely pose. Not exactly a photo-bomb, but kinda.

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If he’s a pointer, he’s doing it wrong.  Just sayin’.

We goofed around Twillingate until it was hungry time whereupon we laid siege to a fish ‘n’ chips shop and stuffed our faces.

After dinner, we waddled back out to the car and headed back to the campground with the silly name thinking we’d get up early and go check on the iceberg status.

I hate to disappoint, but there’ll be no incredibly awesome map today.  Only because we were still in the same place: Gros Morne.

Our Trip Research Technician had sussed out a number of interesting spots for us to scope out.  Team Turnip seemed to be enjoying letting him do all of the work (travelling with a control freak does have its perks…sometimes).

We began our day by falling into the car clutching our coffee mugs and meandering up the coast to the site of a shipwreck.  The S. S. Ethie, a wooden steamship, ran aground in 1919 in a terrible storm.  (If you’re interested in the details, click HERE for an excerpt from the ship’s log.  It’s a short, interesting read.  Seriously, click it.  Would I steer ya wrong?  Geez…I hope the Captain of the S. S. Ethie didn’t say that…)  Nearly a hundred years later, all that’s left are a wood thing (technical term) and the metal bits of the ship, and they’ve just been left as they landed – rare for something of interest to tourists.  No gift shops, no ticket booth, no velvet rope – just the bits of the wreck lying in the surf.  Cool, eh?

Once we’d shot our photogs of the wreck, we piled back in the car and headed a little further up (or possibly down) the coast to a place called Arches Provincial Park.  Not quite as impressive as the Utah Arches we visited last year but still pretty cool.

Next, we had planned to go and see the Cow’s Head Lighthouse, but for reasons that are as odd as they are classified, we decided against it (Okay, okay, one of us had to pee rather urgently so we went in search of a potty instead. Happy now?).

On the way to find the potty, we saw stuff like this:

Once business was taken care of, we tossed around some ideas and came up with this:  “5km hike in through a bug-infested bog for no apparent reason.”  Hey, who wouldn’t vote for that one?!  There actually was a reason at the time, but it sorta fell apart in the execution.  We went out to a place called Western Brook Pond, which offered what sounded on paper like a really cool boat tour.  The downside was that you had to hike 2.5 kms through the swamp to get to the boat.  The downer-than-that-side was that when we got there, we were alone.  I mean alone alone.  There was a building and there were boats, but no people.  We stooged around for a while until a couple of worker bees showed up and informed us that we were about two hours early for the boat tour. What?! You mean the internet is WRONG?! Inconceivable! (Little Princess Bride reference there…heh heh….oh,never mind…)  So, once again, one (or more) of us had to pee desperately so we decided to hike back to the parking lot where the potty was.  It wasn’t a total write-off, though.  We did see some interesting things along the path. Well, okay, some of it looked like this:

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But some of the other parts were nice.

AND!! You’ll be excited to hear that I saw some birds I’ve never seen before!

By then it was just coming up on lunchtime and we were already exhausted. We went back to the trailer, ate lunch and declared it to be Nap Time.

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:

I’ve never been a big fan of “tourist trap” places.  I prefer to see what’s on the street behind the one with all the souvenir shops on it, y’know?

When we first arrived in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, we were assailed by big flashy signs wanting us to come to Kitty Hawk (!!!) and see the Wright Brothers monument and museum (!!!).  Pfft!  Even I, the non-history buff slash museum hater in the bunch, know that this is the spot where Orville Redenbacher and that guy that Mr. Ed used to talk to invented the self-flushing toilet.

Speaking of which, have you ever noticed that those stupid toilets always either flush before you’re ready, hose down the whole bloody stall, or just simply refuse to flush at all even when you glower sternly and say, “Please.  Just flush, damn you!?”  And just what is it that lets the toilet know when it’s time to flush?  Ever wondered about that?  Hmmm?

Where was I?  Oh wright – Kitty Hawk.  It turns out you can see the whole shebang, dorky monument and all, just by driving by, pointing, and saying, “Yep, there it is.  That’s the spot.”

The other person is our gang (hint: the one who isn’t me) actually is a history buff slash museum lover, so we had to negotiate a few historically significant (apparently) stop-overs.  Roanoke Island was one of these.

What’s so fascinating about Roanoke Island?  Why, I thought you’d never ask!  It’s the scene of a great historical mystery!  (Yawn…oops!)

The story goes that some pompous English oaf, bent on pillaging and world-domination, pitched up on the beach with a bunch of his home-dawgs with the intent of opening a 7-11 and establishing a colony.  After a short while, the colonists discovered that they hadn’t brought quite enough clean underwear and food, so they took a vote and decided to send Pompous English Buddy back home to get more while the rest of them set about murdering the Natives to tide themselves over.

Okay, now here comes the (insert Phantom of The Opera theme here) mysterious part:  When Pompous English Buddy finally remembered to come back, three years had elapsed, and lo and behold the Native-murdering colonists had vanished into thin air.

Really?  This is your big mystery?  I guess it never dawned on these bozos that bumping off the indigenous folk might actually piss them off a bit.  No?  Sigh….