Yes, we’re extending this roadtrip about as far as you can drive out east, and then some. We are on our first trip to Newfoundland!
The ferry prices weren’t as bad as I expected – at least when compared with simply filling up the fuel tank on the truck. The ferry leaves from North Sydney, NS on Capre Breton Island. Everyone says to get a reservation for the voyage, but I have no idea when I might arrive and do not want to rush myself. So, I just drive on up to the ferry terminal to see black smoke pouring from the stack of the just boat just preparing to depart. No worries, I go inside and get a ticket for the departure a few hours later, which gives me ample time to fuel up, and check out the Tim’s in Sydney, and get ready to go.
I can walk around near the terminal and look at the boat I think we will be going on. But there is a very cool breeze blowing, so for the first time in months, I have to pull out the socks, long pants and a – jacket!
I note that many of the semi trailers destined for the trip have been abandoned at the terminal and small trucks are hauling them onboard where they are chained down without a tractor for the voyage. Other trucks haul their own trailers on and stay connected. You are not allowed on the vehicle deck during the voyage, but this does not apply to Hailey, who much prefers to be at ‘home’, rather than the kennel facilities on board. Because it is an evening departure, I contemplate hauling a pillow upstairs with me. This is apparently the correct decision, as I see everyone else hauling pillows, blankets and the like. You are not allowed to lay down on the floor (safety regulations?), but I saw at least one enterprising individual who had a sleeping pad and bag tucked in between two rows of seats where no one could trip on him. While you can rent cabins or berths, most of us third class passengers hunkered down in the seats that don’t recline nearly far enough and attempted to get comfortable enough to sleep for at least part of the trip. The short route to Port aux Basques is supposed to take about 6 hours, but we arrived in about 8, perhaps because the seas were a bit rough out on the open ocean portion of the route? I was amazed when the ship, which must weigh thousands of tons, was getting bounced around enough to jostle me in the seat, or make walking down the corridor a bit like a pin-ball game!
We arrived on the ‘Rock’ just as the sun was peering over the horizon. Since we had boarded through the bow of the ship, it had to do a nice pirouette upon arrival to allow us to exit out the stern.
After getting off, I drove into the town for a bit and took some ‘after’ pics of the Blue Puttees boat we had been on.
After a bit of ‘down’ time, and a visit to Tim Horton’s for a kick start, we headed on up the island in less than hot sunny weather. The small groves in the pavement combined with the rain, left nice long pools of water which made driving with my non-water-tread tires a bit like driving a hydrofoil. But I really do like the way they mark the passing lanes here in NL. Unlike some areas where the shoulder lane just becomes narrower and narrower till it wouldn’t fit a bicycle, NL does things exactly the way I like. There is of course the sign announcing the end of the passing lane, then the white line between the lanes turns solid, before changing to the very wide dots, and then stops so that the two lanes become one. And the best thing of all, there is a ‘Yield’ painted on the pavement in the fast lane, to giver the slower traffic the right-of-way. My photo kind of misses the ‘yield’, but you get the idea.
Although quite a few of the fuel pumps I’ve seen in NL are not the ‘pay at the pump’ variety, they are all the ‘fuel first, pay later’ type.
I must admit liking the ones in Nova Scotia the best however, as many of them allow you to just wave your ‘chip’ card near the pad on the pump and you are good to go. Sorry US readers, you will eventually get chip cards and technology too. In this one, we are way ahead of you!
It was a rather short day trip, given the lack of sleep on the ferry, so we got as far as Corner Brook, before calling a halt. The Walmart there is officially signed as a ‘no-camping’ one, but when I drove by in the morning, there was quite a number of rigs parked there that had ignored the ban apparently. I, on the other hand, prefer some peace, quiet, and privacy whenever possible, so I found myself a tiny spot, in a small rock quarry, but with the required view of Humber Arm and Corner Brook.