My Newfoundland Trip with Mom OR A Scouting Trip

The following Journal entries are written by myself and Mom separately, relating our time in Newfoundland. Mom had said she wanted to do the west coast of Newfoundland one more time. The last time we went was with my Grandparents, Roy and Gladys Webber when I was…….OMG. How old was I? Grade 5 or 6? I had long hair then and I remember cutting it in Junior High. Does anyone else measure their life by grade school years? Anyways, though we had a wonderful time then, we wanted to do it all over again as a memoriam to Roy and Gladys.

I admit I had a second agenda. As you may or may not know, I’m planning yet another group trip to the west coast of Newfoundland. Convenient yes? Thus I wanted to make notes on what were the best places to eat and visit, driving times, etc. Driving! When I got back, I had to revamp some of the days on my calendar due to the driving distances and times. In many cases, roads were under construction. They were corrugated from transfer trucks. They weren’t as twisty as I had imagined them to be, but there were hills.

All this and more I will relate to you. I sincerely hope you enjoy our adventures.

August 7th, 2014

Marilyn –
I am excited about our trip to Gros Morne, NL. However, nervous about encountering moose while driving from Port Aux Basque to Rocky Harbour is hovering in my brain. I will be relived to say, “Over!” to the 3 and ¾ hour drive, part of it at night.

Sarah –
I have trepidations about the wildlife, but I’m looking forward to enjoying myself and my time with Mom. Let the pieces fall where they may and we’ll deal with them. Don’t get me wrong, we’ll try to be as prepared as best as we can.
We’ll try to be diligent about recording things that will help with next year’s trip with the group. Such recordings will include; where we stayed, swam, hiked, etc.
I hope I’ll be able to keep myself within budget. That’s another good point. Keep receipts to record estimated costs.

August 9th

Sarah –
Oops. I didn’t fill up the car after my 4×5 excursion with George and Robert. I may get a dressing down for this. Actually, I probably will.

Now that I’m home, Mom and I revised our initial schedule for the first day. Basically when the ferry leaves, the crossing, and how long it will take to get to our cottage.

As a result of this review, I’ve made an alteration, a betterfication to my 2015 group trip. Which is…. Mom and I will leave the day before on the 11:45am ferry to Port Aux Basques. We’ll drive as far as Stephenville for the night (finding better accommodations than the Days Inn) and take our time getting to the Deer Lake airport to pick up the group at 1:30pm. That will also give me time to pick up the rental car. On the way home, we’ll book the midnight ferry since it’s only a 20 minute drive home from North Sydney, we can hit the hay and sleep in for as long as we like. I know I will.

August 10th

Sarah –

After much to-do, we arrived in Stephenville at 8:15pm Newfoundland time. Why Stephenville and not Rocky Harbour as originally planned? Well, the roads would have been iffy to drive in the dark with pot holes and the moose.

I may have to be charged for tonight at Mountain Range Cottages and I may not. If she can rent our cottage, she won’t charge us. I have the urge to do some banking.

Marilyn –
It took us 2 hours from Port Aux Basques to Stephenville. Hotel – Days Inn – Middle of the road, no luxury here, but adequate. TC Highway good except for some major pot holes after Port Aux Basque. The ferry “Blue Puttees” was on time, very comfortable, good food if somewhat expensive (but not by Toronto standards), smooth sail, a bit strange to park your car at the very bottom of the ship on car deck! WE entered the ship, rounded a turn, proceeded on a down ramp and had to reverse into a parking spot. Interesting!! Much easier to get out but were first in, last out.

August 11th

Sarah –
Arrived at Rocky Harbour without a hitch. Didn’t see a single moose. Took a picture of colourful shacks lined up on the beach just before Stephenville Crossing. Didn’t use 4×5 as it was too windy.
We’re at Mountain Range Cottages for one night before we head to St. Anthony tomorrow. Mom is looking at a map I bought of the park, deciding which trial we want to do. We’re also looking at where to catch the boat at Western Brook Pond for our boat tour of the fjord.
This is somewhat early in the day, but I’m ready for a beer.

Marilyn –
Meandered from Stephenville to Rocky Harbour. Ran into much road work all the way. Many bumpy areas of highway. Stopped in Corner Brook at the Mall-On-The-Hill. Stocked up at the liquor store and had coffee/hash browns at Mac Donald’s which provided a magnificent view of Corner Brook. Gassed up and we were on our way. Madge, our GPS, is quite helpful if she knows the address. Turned off at Deer Lake. The road was narrower, but soon revealed some spectacular natural vistas. This area reminds me of a mini Cabot Trail. We “happened” upon Rocky Harbour after a visit to the Parks Canada Visitors Centre where Sarah obtained a Canada-wide Canada pass and a walking trail map for Gros Morne. Rocky Harbour is a quaint village on the shores of Bonne Bay nestled between folding impressing hills. We watched the tide recede and the sun go down after a wonderful supper at the Oceanview Hotel.

Earlier, we had visited Norris Point and toured the Bonne Bay Marine Centre. The tour was well done, very educational and everyone could be “hands-on” at the end. Very satisfying. The natural surroundings in the Bonne Bay Fjord were fantastic.

We attempted to drive to Trout Brook for a seafood supper, but the lateness of the hour, the road work and my nervousness about driving after dark caused me to turn around and head back to Rocky Harbour. Let the moose roam the highway – we are safe in our cottage nestled among the trees.

Sarah – Continued (After reading Mom’s entry, I was inspired to continue writing.)
LOVED Norris point, LOVED the Bonne Bay Marine Centre. I’m going to bring my group there next year. I’d like to spend the whole day there. I took my 4×5 out to take a photo of the hills and clouds; I hope to find some more things like this along the way. But, I don’t want to waste my film on just any old thing. It’s challenge number 2 – when does an image speaks to you?
I just finished downloading some photos onto Mom’s computer as well as all the photos off her phone, though I have left them there. I also downloaded her photos from her SD cards. 128MB doesn’t even register it’s so old school. 391 photos off her 4GB SD card. I feel as though I’m always cleaning her memory cards. Marilyn – Thanks Sarah! XXXOOO

August 12th

Marilyn –
Arrived in St Anthony after a tedious, very long drive from Rocky Harbour. We left R.H. around 10-10:30am (???) and arrived at St. Anthony around 3:30pm. The weather was sunny and warm. We stopped at the Shipwreck of 1911. This was disappointing because after 103 years of wave and storm action, the wreak remains are strewn over a vast area of beach and are too rusted and worn down to warrant much interest. Next stop was Arches Provincial Park which was interesting for the geological eroding of huge rocks that now resemble arches. There are also toilets on site. However, a huge drawback was the tiny black flies that had huge bite capacities and were very hungry when we arrived! Next stop, St. Barb Ferry lookout – ate lunch then move on. Most exciting was the whale action around Flowers Cove. Mincke Whales and white bellied whales were cavorting quite close to shore. Breathtaking! The Flowers Cove Lighthouse is quite photogenic. We somewhere missed the Visitors Centre which we thought was near St. Anthony. But isn’t.

St. Anthony itself is “God’s armpit” but the people are quite friendly. The town itself is not “walking friendly”, but there are many hiking trails around the area. Also a big plus for St. Anthony – it has a Tim Horton’s!!!!

Sarah –
OMG! Such a drive! Holy Crap! We got on the road later than expected. We were rather lazy about it. For the first time since coming home, I actually had a great sleep. But it wasn’t enough to prepare me for the insane long drive ahead. And to be so disappointed in St. Anthony besides!
Next year, we’ll get on the road no later than 7am! NO SUNRISE! At least not for the 1st or second driver’s. But that leaves everyone else out unless they want to take Mom’s car.
Also, next year, I’m not staying in St, Anthony. Rather, I’m going to find us a place on route 436. Something with kitchens, though if there’s a place without kitchens, it’s not the end of the world. We can eat out. Marilyn, the night staff here at the Grenfell Historic Hotel, told us about a place who does Fish and Brewis, and other traditional Newfoundland dishes. I hope they have Jigs Dinner on the menu. A majority of trails along with L’ Ans Aux Meadows are on route 436 and as Mom put it so delicately at supper tonight. “St. Anthony is God’s armpit.” Its one redeeming factor is that it has a Tim Horton’s. But I’ve just learned of a nice coffee shop on that route that will hopefully appease everyone.

So the search continues for accommodations in Rocky Harbour and up this way. Though I’ve asked to look at the 2 bedroom cottages at Mountain Range when we get back.

August 13th

Sarah –
I’ve accomplished things today for the 2015 trip. I’m very proud of myself. I almost cried again when I saw all the nice camera’s most tourists had. You could tell who knew their camera well and those who didn’t. I managed to squeeze back the tears. * I think I might have been too depressing for Mom. Negative energy is contagious.

Ok, So. I looked at the rooms at St Brendan’s Motel in St. Lunaire Griquet on route 436. The town is very charming with many things to photograph within walking distance. The morning mist was magical, though we didn’t stop because I had a mission. I thoroughly regret it. But there’s always next year.
*Before we left Newfoundland, Mom, Robert and I went out to supper in Port Morian at Dock Your Dory. We decided to go beach combing afterwards. You know me and photographing dead things; well there was a nice freshly dead crab on the beach. To make a long story short, I thought I had more time before on wave on the rising tide soaked a half centimeter of the bottom of my camera. I guess I was wrong. I left it home for the week we were gone to Newfoundland. Luckily it dried out and when I tried it, my camera was back in working order.

Marilyn –
Went to L’Ans Aux Meadows – thoroughly enjoyed it. Knowledgeable, will spoken guide who kept everyone’s attention. Good pace and movement, encouraged questions. Excellent washrooms!
Next was Nordstead. Not as organized, sparse “customers”, well versed in the historic background, but somehow not as interesting as L’ans Aux Meadows.

Ate at Northern for Fish and Brewis. Disappointing. The Norseman restaurant more interesting, more expensive, but little Newfie dishes! Ditto for Lighkeepers in St. Anthony which has spectacular settings but is quite expensive. Walked the Nuddick Trail. Lovely! About 1 hr.

August 14th

Sarah –
What does one look like when they are about to hit a moose? Well, I’m sure one’s face goes through many expressions throughout the whole ordeal. Mine when from surprised, determined, sympathy and relief.
I didn’t see the cow and her calf until she reached the crest of the ditch. I slammed on the breaks just in time. Oddly enough the cow changed her path from going straight across the road to going diagonally. I thought, “Smart Girl!” The poor calf however slipped onto his hind legs on the asphalt in his hurry. Poor guy, he went down like a ton of bricks! The mother looked back to see where he was then looked at us I think all four of us were relived. My arms were like jelly for a while. I’ll forever see the scene in my head. Perhaps it will be another Tar Pond Bee Inspiration. From the inside of the car, Bibi will be leaning against the dash in the middle. The scene of the cow looking behind at her fallen calf will be the moment stopped in time.

More revisions of plans. Decided on a few stops to make our way back from St. Anthony, even though we won’t be staying there. One of the stops includes a picnic at some fishing huts.

When we got back to Rocky Harbour, Mom and I decided to walk to a bakery. A VERY KIND woman stopped in the middle of the road to ask if we wanted a drive. She had overheard us asking the clerk where the closest one was. Earls is an all-in-one, restaurant, bakery and gift shop. They have the more traditional Newfoundland food and great atmosphere anywhere yet. Moose everything; stew, soup, pizza, burgers, hot sandwiches along with non-moose Jiggs Dinner, Fich Cakes and Mugg-Ups! MMMMMMmmmmmmmm!!!!!!!!!!!
Mom – Jiggs Dinner only on Sundays.

Marilyn –
We almost saw our “Maker” today! 2 moose, a mother and a baby decided to cross the highway in front of our 90 km/hour car (at least). I was asleep, Sarah was at the wheel. I heard “MOOSE!”, woke up to see Mama Moose followed by the slightly lagging baby mope into our path. Sarah put on the brakes, the tires squealed, we smelled rubber and we stopped… just before the moose made it to the other side. Baby moose fell – his legs slid on the rocky verge and he went down in front of us. Mama looked behind, very concerned and seemed to urge Baby to get up, pronto! He did and both disappeared in among the trees. We were shaking and thanking God and Sarah’s quick action that we were all in one piece! Thank – You – God!!

August 15th

Sarah –
Just came back from Earl’s. Had Moose Pizza. It was very good. I was going to get a moose burger, but changed my mind last minute. Glad I did. I have two more pieces for the boat tomorrow.
The Western Brook Pond tour was awesome! I’d recommend it to anyone.

Marilyn –
The Western Book Pond tour was excellent!! Loved the walk in, but was too tiered for the walk out. Liked the bogs, the boardwalk, the benches, the commentary, the washrooms!!! Yes!!! The office, the boat, the commentary and the fjord that’s no longer a fjord!! Very impressive. Lovely, hot sunny day….
Home tomorrow at a very early hour. Up at 4am. On the road by 5am. Hopefully get the ferry, Port Aux Basque by 11am. Tried to change reservations from 11am to 11pm, but all booked.
– Walk-in approx 1hr
– Walk-out approx 1hr
– Bring water, sun hat, sun glasses, sweater for cooler weather, camera, snacks, sunscreen, etc.
– There is a small canteen and washrooms on site.

August 18th

Marilyn –
Over all wonderful NL trip. However, I always feel that I could make better use of our limited time. But who wants to rush around for a whole week without slowing down and stopping to admire the view!
The weather was so sunny and mild for NL – best summer in a good many years, everyone says. Gros Morne lived up to expectations; St Anthony was moody in its cloak of fog, L’Ans Aux Meadows historically educational, Rocky Harbour and Norris Point both quaint and beautiful.
– Give plenty of time between ferry and destination.
– A few stops between R.H and St. Anthony for photo ops and lunch.
– Try at least one BBQ at a cottage where all chip in to buy and prepare food.

September 26th

Sarah –
I didn’t write my conclusion in the journal, so I’m writing one now. One thing I didn’t comment on was L’Ans Aux Meadows and Nordstead. I like each of them the same. With the park pass, we got into L’Ans Aux meadows for free, but since Nordstead was a Provincial Park, we had to pay the $8. The Norseman, the restaurant we went to visit and get a copy of the menu for, must have been the place where Lindy played. He’s a local Toronto talent from Iceland who was doing a tour of the Maritimes and Newfoundland. We missed him by two weeks. It would have been amazing to see him play in a different environment rather than Downtown Toronto.

Since coming back, I’ve had someone cancel their spot on my trip. Three people said they were interested, but none of them (as yet) have given me a definite answer. I’m confident I will get someone though. I asked everyone to get back to me no later than the end of November so I can get my final numbers and everyone’s totals to them.

Little by little the pieces are falling together. There’s still a list of things I need to do before the trip. I want to get a car magnet with “Sarahndipity” on it. I want to get my website updated and maybe interactive. Let’s see… get more equipment such as rain bags for the cameras, battery chargers for the car that will fit all the phones. You get the idea.

Personally, I love traveling with my Mom. Every mother daughter trip should be one of those perfect moments you’ll treasure forever. I can tell you, I’ll do just that.

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