As we start out for a new-to-us destination, Newfoundland, it occurs to me that, as curious travelers, we’re always looking for something new. We’re hoping this trip will reward us with many new sights, new adventures, and new friends.
Of course, on day one, we were quickly reminded that our RV is far from new. Our first stop of the trip was to attend an engagement party for Randy’s nephew and bride-to-be. The wedding will be in Las Vegas and, uncertain we’ll make it there, we put off this trip by a few days to attend the Saturday night party at the country home of the father of the bride. Within 10 miles of our destination, we pulled away from a stop to look at each other and utter, “uh-oh – that sounds louder than it should”. It was obvious; we had an exhaust system problem.
Our arrival at this lovely event at the home of people we were meeting for the first time, was announced much more loudly than we would have liked. It was evening and the party was in full swing. Our first task was to determine whether it would be okay to stay the night in the driveway so that we could assess the damage in daylight before moving on. That request, posed to people who are not RVers themselves or familiar with the idea of “boondocking” could have been met with a look that said, “Hmmm…what kind of family is our daughter marrying into?” But no, we were assured we were welcome to stay. Whew!
So, we were reminded that we are driving an old vehicle, but there was a silver lining: we were now included in the “after party” when all but “the close family” had gone home. When our hosts learned Randy carries a guitar, he was persuaded to serenade them. Performing in front of an audience is something he does very rarely, but he made an exception. We had made our first new friends of the trip!
In the light of morning, we realized we would surely have lost our muffler had we tried to drive the 15 miles to Randy’s brother’s house as originally planned. Using spare parts we carry for just such an event and aided by a borrowed power tool that was generously offered by our host, “Handy Randy” set to work and managed to repair the cracked exhaust pipe and put us back on the road, only a few hours behind schedule.
On day two we were reminded that old and familiar can be awfully nice too. We visited my aunt near Picton, Ontario who, at 86, is still an amazing cook and an award-winning fiber artist. My aunt, Greta Kristiansen Jacobs, won much acclaim, including first prize awarded by the Ontario Craft Council.
During dinner, Greta announced that she has begun to give away some of her prize-winning quilts. Some are going to charity, others to family. Even in a small B-class RV with very limited space, we were able to make room for this extra special and unexpected gift.
Day three, was a relaxing three-hour drive followed by a couple of hours of wonderful conversation at our first Boondockers Welcome host of the trip and peaceful sleep in a perfect country setting. We thought we had a good grip on what to expect in Newfoundland but our hosts, who we chose because they have been there several times, filled us in on stuff we didn’t know about. For example:
- How to sleep on the night ferry without renting a berth or paying for the lounge area
- That there are days when the ferry doesn’t run because of high winds
- Where to find boondocking – in some unexpected places – campgrounds that are closed for the season but not gated. No amenities but campers can use the sites for free.
- That there’s a weather report but also a wind report and how important the latter is – trailers are actually easily toppled by the winds at times -they’re that strong!
- That moose hunters will haul trailers with as many as six household freezers on them – all full of moose meat. The meatpacking plant is on the island.
- Despite the number of moose – it’s possible we’ll not see even one.
- That “the Rock” is so rocky in places, there’s not enough soil for residents to grow gardens so they plant garden plots in spring on fenced sections of public land along the highway, and come back in season to harvest. Not marked they just seem to trust that no one else will pick their veggies.
Night four saw us crossing into Quebec and stopping at our first true boodocking spot of the trip. About an hour east of Quebec City, we stayed at a lovely little municipal park near La Pocatierre. We thank the Days End Directory for that tip. We never travel without it and rely on it when there’s no Boondockers Welcome host en route. (With only 2 hosts in Newfoundland at this time, I have a feeling we’ll be relying on it extensively).
In the morning, we walked a short trail to a lookout tower where we could see miles in every direction but our eyes are turned eastward – toward that land that’s new to us while we wonder what other new-found “stuff” we’ll encounter over the next two months.
- Days on the road: 4
- Camping cost to date: $0