When we left Kamloops we knew it was 7,200 kilometers to St. Johns, Newfoundland. When we got there however our speedometer reading showed we had amassed 15,000 clicks already. This might lead you to think there was no budget involved with this adventure. The truth is we’re pretty well tracking everything we spend and lately we’ve been running a little over budget, what with having to sample the local delicacies and music and so on…
Pictured below are Toutons that we had at Velma’s restaurant in St. John’s. The locals eat them for breakfast with molasses poured on top. Basically they're fried bread dough and taste like Bannock.
Being over budget, we decided to take advantage of some of the freebie campsites available in Newfoundland. After leaving St. John’s we spent the day at Gander Lake at, where else, Gander, Newfoundland. We swam, had dinner and enjoyed the day there before heading for the Wal-Mart parking lot, which of course, is free. The next day we toured Gander on our bikes before hitting the road.
We had two more days to make the ferry back to Nova Scotia so we were picking spots that weren’t more than a four hour drive away. We stopped at Davey’s’s Pond near Springdale where we knew we could camp for free. Again we swam and were enjoying the day when a local told us about a better free camping spot down the road at Goodyear’s Cove, right next to Springbrook, where there was ocean on one side and a pond on the other. We moved to that site and were rewarded right away when a local couple approached asking us if we were on holidays in Newfoundland. When I replied in the affirmative he said, “Here, I have something for you. A piece of The Rock” He then gave us both pendants with a little pieces of Newfie rock. Nice touch! Later we had seafood chowder at a roaring campfire.
Pictured is our free spot at Goodyear’s Cove from the lookout at top of the hiking trail. Also pictured is a whale in Goodyear’s Cove.
The next day we spent swimming and hanging out at Barachois Provincial Park before heading south and setting up camp, along with some people from California, at a free spot just north of Port au Basques. We reluctantly left The Rock the next day. Our departure date was pre-booked so we only had eleven days on The Rock - two weeks would have been better.
Pictured is the M.V. Caribou, which we took both ways to Newfoundland.
We arrived back in North Sydney, Nova Scotia at about 6:00 pm and while I was setting up camp Janice was secretly arranging a jam with a fiddle player who was also visiting from Inverness, Nova Scotia. A guitar player from Sydney was also in camp. The young fiddle player turned out to be monstrously talented. Her name is Kristan Shaw. She’s only seventeen but she's very pretty and dresses like Daisy Mae - I’m pretty sure we’ll be seeing her on TV one of these days. It was a little different for me playing that Cape Breton kind of stuff but a lot of fun. It turned out the guitar player couldn’t keep up with Kristan and so mostly tapped the top of his guitar. She had a gig the next night in some other town, otherwise we would have hung around for another day.
Pictured is Kristan and me having some fun in a little hall at the Arm of Gold Campsite in North Sydney where they regularly feature music. Of couse a still picture can never convey the feel of the music.
Heading towards Halifax we toured Louisberg, a World Unesco Heritage Sight where they’ve uncovered and recreated a complete 18th century fortress and village with authentically dressed soldiers, blacksmiths, merchants restaurant waiters, cooks and miscellaneous other servants who shoot cannons, cook meals, wait on customers, tend the animals and gardens, serve grog and stay very much in character - definitely worth the price of admission.
Pictured below is Louisberg.
That night we set up at the Port Hawkesbury Wal-Mart but, following the advice of a local, drove up to Point Michaud for a swim and dinner on the beach. As the sign proclaims, Point Michaud is a‘A World Class Beach’. It was too. Fine, firm sand and warm, clear water.
Pictured below is Point Michaud beach.
We were n our way to Halifax the next day and tried in vain to squeeze our trailer into my cousin’s downtown driveway. There was no way we could get the unit to fit though so we took it to the Wal-Mart parking lot and left it there for the weekend. Martin Kalmokoff is my cousin on my Mom’s side but he and I haven’t seen each other in about thirty-five years. Besides being ten years my junior, Martin was always a bit of a Brainiac, and so while I was jerking around playing in bands and painting, he was off to university right after high school. By the time he was finally done with all of his schooling he had his Doctorate in micro-biology and was living in eastern Canada. He and his partner, Camilla, who is also a scientist, work for the federal government. Martin involved with Canada’s food supply and a self-described "Poo Doctor", while Camilla oversees Canada’s Air Quality Index.
Martin had me eating raw oysters for the first time in about thirty years while we drank too much of his homemade wine. The next day they took us to the obligatory Peggy’s Cove tour and then to Mahone Bay, where we had lobster sandwiches at a seaside cafe, and then on to historic and picturesque Lounenburg, where we watched Dory races and walked the historic town and its many architecturally unique buildings. That night, back at their place, we ate whole lobsters. Janice had been a little worried beforehand about keeping up conversationally with two highly educated scientists but we had some great discourse and laughed a lot. The next day we all walked to the Halifax waterfront before janice and I hit the road for Liverpool and other points west. Thanks Martin and Camilla for being so welcoming and showing us a great time.
Pictured are Janice, Martin and Camilla at Peggy’s Cove and then a couple images of the cove itself.
Pictured: Mahone Bay where we had lunch and Martin softening up Camilla for a sip of her mango smoothie.
Pictured below is Lounenburg.
Pictured below are a couple shots of Halifax harbour and all of us having a beer in downtown Halifax before our departure.