The ongoing story of a girl and her van on an epic journey across Canada.
Day 104 (Sat, August 21)
Why, dear god, WHY did I think that booking myself on to the 5:45am ferry from North Sydney to Port Aux Basques, Newfoundland was a good idea? At the time my thoughts were on the ‘arriving’ bit — getting in at noon seemed smart as I’d have all afternoon to figure myself out. I didn’t give any thought to the whole “departing” bit.
I had to be at the ferry terminal at 4:15am at the latest, but couldn’t arrive until 1:30am at the earliest. Go figure. So I slept in the North Sydney visitor centre parking lot, and had my phone and iPod alarms set for 1:30. I also had my sister and mom on strict instructions to call me at 1:30 (9:30pm their time) as a back-up plan. My thinking was to get to the terminal as soon as I was allowed, and then sleep until boarding.
With four alarms in place I promptly didn’t get any sleep and was awake all by myself come 1:30. Once in the ferry line I lay in bed and listened to the trucks continually powering on and off, and the alarm of the car in front of me singing merrily every few minutes.
Once on board (an hour late boarding, which I later found out is actually quite good for this particular route) I curled up in a chair and somehow managed to doze for a few hours, so I wasn’t a total zombie when I got my first view, ever, of The Rock.
I spent the afternoon driving around the south west roads of Newfoundland, ogling the rugged coastline dotted with rickety vinyl-sided houses perched precariously close to cliff edges, and wondering how anyone can get anything done with this relentless WIND.
Day 105 (Sun, August 22)
I drove out to Lark Harbour, which had a cute campground with the wonderful name of Blow Me Down, several walking trails, and a little restaurant called Captain Cook’s Eatery or something similar. I sat down at one of the nine tables, of which only three others were occupied and two already had their food. I ordered a cheese burger and small fries.
An hour later I asked my waitress how much longer it would be, and she sighed and stomped off to the kitchen. She returned a few minutes later saying it would be SOON, and they’d been really busy didn’t I know? Um…I beg to differ.
My burger was not a patty, but a loose meat catastrophe, which my waitress tried to over charge me for. And I thought Newfies were supposed to all be wonderful?
Day 106 (Mon, August 23)
I passed through Corner Brook, which has a pulp mill right down town and the most extensive collection of potholes I’ve ever experienced. I checked my email and there was a message from my lovely friend Tasha saying she had an aunt and uncle in town I could stay with, and I could find the aunt at the library. So to the library I headed and started asking around for an Esther, and a few hours later I was snug in her home enjoying the comforts of a home cooked meal, shower, and BED! Thank you so much to Esther, Allan and Hanna for taking this wayside traveler in!
All photos by Sarah Gignac
Port Aux Basques
Newfoundland Welcome Sign
This article was first published on Raggedy Threads in August 2010.