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24 July 2011

Cross Canada and Back Part 29b


Freak Wind and Thunder Storm in Val-Comeau, New Brunswick, Canada



This is a quick blog to let you all know, that we are fine and that our trailer is still standing with some minor damage.


Saturday 23rd of July 2011, a wicket wind storm gathered and hit our campground in Val-Comeau on the north coast of New Brunswick.


View Val-Comeau, New Brunswick in a larger map. You can also zoom in to see exact location



We were down to Miramichi and did the tourist thing as well as picking up some supplies. We saw the clouds coming in very quickly on the horizon. 
Storm clouds on the horizon

It's coming in fast
We are down to 50 km/hr on the highway.

It's getting real ugly

We hurried back towards our campground. The wind and rain got so bad we were down to 50 km / hr on the highway. Trees were rooted up, thrown across the road. Sure glad we had that heavy diesel motor holding the truck down, that was all I could do to keep it on the road.





Just before we got back to camp the fire trucks past us. At camp, trailers had been thrown around, some with people in them. We talked to the people next door. Their son was in the washroom when their trailer flipped over. One other trailer had apparently four people in it. As far as we know 7 trailers flipped over, but as far as we know no one was hurt, just shaken up.
Damage to our trailer

It's ugly


Our trailer has the awning ripped off, the toppers on the slides are partly ripped, and there is some cuts into the body of the trailer where the awning hit. 
Trailer next to us flipped over
Our trailer skidded two feet side-ways....  The wind must have lifted the trailer right up on two wheels at one time, the outdoor carpet was right under the other set of wheels. All our leveling blocks (pink and yellow) was blown all over the place. Found one of my missing flip-flops and a leveling block this morning.
The trailer must have lifted up on two wheels for the carpet to get under the other set of wheels
We dismantled the rest of the awning so it would not do any more damage to the trailer. There must have been some water blowing in somehow, we had some water on the floor inside? Not sure where it came from.
The front landing gear or jack was sitting on the pink leveling block.... that's how far the trailer skidded sideways.

The second landing gear skidded and dug into the ground about 6 inches.
From what we can tell now, the only major thing damaged is our awning. However, we are still assessing the situation. We will drive up to Tracadie-Sheila and Caraquet today. There is supposed to be a few RV dealers up there.
Dismantling the awning

Cuts into the side of the trailer.

Looking from the roof down - damage to trim.
We called ICBC and filed our report. We were told that an out of province adjuster will contact us in a few day. We'll keep you posted. I'm sure it will all work out fine.
View from our roof. Power is now being restored.

From what we have heard, there was four people in this trailer. Lucky no one was hurt.
Apparently some other areas were hit really badly, with roofs of houses blown off etc.


Over all we were very lucky.
Finish the day of with some chicken on the BBQ and a "stiff" drink.

You would have never known there was a storm a few hours ago.
We will stay here for two more nights, and then head north in direction, Quebec.


For more pictures of this mess, see our Picasa Web Album.


Storm and Damage in Val Comeau Campground


Cheers,


Anders and Liz


PS. Do we still enjoy camping?  Absolutely, Yes. We are having a grand time. Liz is doing laundry to steady her nerves.

Here are some shortcuts to all the blogs from our Cross Canada Trip. Just hover over the number to see where it will take you

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11,   12,  13,  14,  15,  16,  17,  18,  19,  20

21,   22,  23,  24,  25,  26,  27,  28,  29,  29b

30,   31,  32,  33,  34,  35,  36,  37,  38,  39,

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60,   61,  62,  63,  64,  65.


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22 July 2011

Cross Canada and Back Part 18

St. John's Newfoundland back to Nova Scotia to Murphy's Cove.

June 19th 2011, day 36. We left Pippy Park in St.John's to drive back to the ferry terminal at Port aux Basques. So far we had driven 10,740 km since we left Victoria, BC. We were on the road early morning and it was 7 C with sun and clouds. 



View St Johns NL to Murphys Cove NS in a larger map


We arrived in Corner Brook and set up camp in Kinsmen Prince Edward Park. Both of us a bit tired and ready for supper. It was a long day with an additional 700 km added to the truck and trailer. Taking turns driving makes the trip much easier.


Island of Newfoundland


Island of Newfoundland
Newfoundland has a way with words, we passed some interesting names along the way: 
  • Dildo Dory Grill
  • Dildo B & B
  • Pissing Mare Falls (in Gros Morne National Park)
  • Badger Restaurant
  • Blow Me Down Provincial Park
Just to name a few...

The Corner Brook campsite was in an open field, the wooded sites were all booked by a caravan coming in. The wind and the rain were by then really pounding us.

June 20th, day 37 of our journey. We did not sleep that much, the wind and the rain were rocking us all night. Over coffee we checked the forecast on-line. The warning was for "Wreck House" winds. These are winds with gusts over 200 km / hr. Check out this video  I found on-line. The wreck house winds actually blow semi trucks off the road. More on Wreck House winds.

It looked like we might have to stay here for a while. We had to be in Halifax to pick up Liz's sister Annamarie on the 25th of June. We called the ferry terminal in Port aux Basques, they told us it had calmed down there and the ferries were running again. 


Island of Newfoundland
Time to make a decision, the next ferry was at 3pm, we had to be there at 1pm and we were still in our PJ's. We break camp, going like like crazy, on the road it was windy, not 200 km / hr but it was blowing good. We arrived at the ferry terminal at 2:15pm. They told us that it will more then likely be the midnight ferry :(   

Next we had to drive into this huge big building "Canadian Food Inspection Agency". They wanted our potatoes and carrots, anything that has been grown in soil. We did not have time to ask why, just take the potatoes (they were bought on NL but grown in PEI).

We rolled out to the loading area, it was empty. The upstairs door on the ferry was closing, we pleaded and smiled profusely with the fellow at the terminal, he talked on the radio with someone then ran over to us, "hurry over to  the lower level, they have room for you". As we were driving on the ferry they closed the doors behind us :)

The sailing across the Cabot Straight was pretty bumpy and rolling. Liz had her traveling bands on, and I was doing OK, just a bit pale but surviving.

Terra Firma!! We arrived in North Sidney NS and we drove off the ferry with a "forced" smile. Again we camped at the Cape Breton KOA campground in New Harris, fired up the BBQ and had supper at 9 pm. 
North Sydney Cabot Trail KOA Campground
Tuesday the 21st of June, day 38. We left New Harris in brilliant sunshine. We decided to drive the coasts of the Bras d'Or Lake (which are actually several inlets of the ocean). We took Hwy 223 to Chrismas Island and then north to East Bay. Beautiful country-side and scenery along the first half, but the south side looks a bit neglected. 

Drive around the Bras d'Or Lake

Way with words.... even in Nova Scotia


Drive around the Bras d'Or Lake
Later, south on Hwy 4 we stopped  at Rita MacNeil's Tea Room just past Big Pond. Lunch will only be served after the 24th of June so we had tea and cookies.

Liz at Rita MacNeil's Tea House
In Port Hawkesbury we shopped at Sobeys and got some fresh supplies. Had lunch in the camper in the parking lot after we cleaned up the mess in our fridge... the lid on the jam was not on properly and was originally sitting on the top shelf of course. It made a royal, mucilaginous, gooey mess. 

By the way, Sobeys has some great frozen hamburgers "Sensation by Compliments". They are super good and we put them frozen on the hot BBQ, 4 minutes on each side.... Done!! So easy to do and really good. They have several types under this brand.

After we crossed the causeway at Canso we headed south on Hwy 344. Ouch, lots of pot holes, lesson learned, if the tourist books do not mention a certain area, don't go there or be very careful.


Lobster fishing off the shore at the  Sea Breeze Campground.
"Shaken not Stirred" we arrived at Sea breeze Campground and Cottages. Beautiful but windy.


Liz on the beach at Sea Breeze Campground
The next morning the "Sea Breeze" was still going strong and with some rain to boot. We drove into the little town of Canso. Canso is on the north-eastern tip of mainland Nova Scotia, on Chedabucto Bay. 


Welcome to Canso Harbour

Canso
The Canso area was established in 1604, along with Port Royal, Nova Scotia. The British constructed a fort in the village in 1720. 


Canso is of national historic importance, reason being it was one of only two British settlements in Nova Scotia prior to the establishment of Halifax in 1749. Canso also played a key role in the defeat of the battle over Louisbourg. 


Today, the town attracts people internationally for the annual "Stan Fest" or Stan Rogers Folk Festival.

Canso must have been beautiful  back then, we looked at all the wonderful old homes as we were driving along the streets. We seen an old building, "The Cable Station". 


The old Cable Station.
The Cable Station was an important link in relaying news of the Titanic sinking from Cape Race, Newfoundland and Labrador, to New York. The cable station building still stands, it looks abandoned and in some disrepair, however structurally the exterior probably looks much like it did in 1912. Around the corner, a fisherman was selling Haddock out of his truck for $6.00 / lb.


It does not look rough in the picture, you should have been there.
We were soon at a snail's pace on Hwy 315 towards Goldboro, traveling west along the coast. The road is so bad the grass is 6 inches high growing out of the cracks in the pavement. Not sure what these poor people have done to the government to be neglected like this. It took 2.5 hours to drive 55 km.


End of the road???
All of a sudden, end of the road, take the ferry? Where? Across the bay: $5.25 - running every hour. -  We arrived across the inlet. 


Get ready the ferry is coming

All aboard.
The road after the ferry crossing is in better shape and we arrived at Murphy's Camping By The Ocean in Murphy Cove. We booked in for two nights, we needed a rest.


Our camping spot at Murphy's

A short hike is in order
Supper is almost ready
Great campground with fantastic owners, Brian and Marilyn Murphy, they even sit with their guests around the campfire at night and serve complimentary steamed Mussels (steamed in beer and lemon pepper), everyone welcome. Life is good!!
Campfire


Campfire
Anders enjoying mussels. Brian and Marilyn in the background.
Thursday 23rd of June 2011, day 40 of our Cross Canada trip. Wonderful day with lots of sunshine. We drive around the area and go down to a little fishing village, talk to two brothers who have lived there all their life and now fish lobster and do renovations in the winter. No rush here, talked for close to an hour. Just wonderful people. Care to guess how heavy these traps are? ( 150 pounds+/-)


Anders and two brothers who are local lobster fisher men.

So picturesque 

Ropes nicely coiled up.
Lobster was for supper that night and of course a visit to the common campfire. Really good idea, you get to know all the people and their stories (or at least some of them) in the campground. 


Nature at it's best in Murphy's Cove Campground on the Ocean.


Nature at it's best in Murphy's Cove Campground on the Ocean.
Wonderful evening, with more stars in the sky then I have seen in a long time.


For more pictures on this part of the trip, check out our Picasa Web Album.


St John's drive back to NS all the way to Murray Cove NS


Cheers, Anders and Liz

Here are some shortcuts to all the blogs from our Cross Canada Trip. Just hover over the number to see where it will take you

 1,    2,    3,     4,    5,    6,    7,    8,    9,   10

11,   12,  13,  14,  15,  16,  17,  18,  19,  20

21,   22,  23,  24,  25,  26,  27,  28,  29,  29b

30,   31,  32,  33,  34,  35,  36,  37,  38,  39,

40,   41,  42,  43,  44,  45,  46,  47,  48,  49,

50,   51,  52,  53,  54,  55,  56,  57,  58,  59,

60,   61,  62,  63,  64,  65.


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17 July 2011

Cross Canada and Back Part 17

Twillingate to St John's, Newfoundland and Labrador



It is the 16 of June 2011 day 33, 7C, and we break up camp in Twillingate and set our GPS for St John's, the capital of Newfoundland and Labrador.


On our way to St John's


As we get out on the highway the rain and the fog get more and more intense. Second gear on the wipers do not do much, and a snow plow seems appropriate for the fog.


Along the way we stop for a "Jiggs Dinner" at a highway diner. This is, I'm sure most of the time very good. But there is always an exception to the rule. We found the exception, darn, and I was hungry.
Fog


Jiggs Dinner typically consists of a combination of pickled salt beef (and I mean salty), boiled potatoes, carrots, cabbage, turnip, turnip greens, bread pudding, dressing, pease pudding, and a cooked turkey, chicken or roast beef. We did not see any turkey, chicken or roast beef but a pice of meat-like material that tasted like salt.


Condiments for a Jiggs Dinner sometimes include mustard pickles, pickled beets, cranberry sauce and butter.


Well we left the diner with 12 liters of water, just in case. It was all gone by the time we got to St. John's.


St John's

We arrived in St John's and set up camp in Pippy Park Campground right in St John's. An absolutely wonderful park close to everything. Full service hookup. We booked in for three nights.


St John's here we come

Anders.... Lost? Looking for a pub?

Liz looks a bit cold


St John's is a very scenic and picturesque city with about 200,000 inhabitants. It is on a small bay with a very narrow inlet.


June 17th 2011, we needed an oil change on the truck by Hickman Chrysler on 20 Peet Street. Super good service and very friendly staff. The price was almost half of what we pay in Victoria? You figure that one out.


Meanwhile Liz gets a haircut during the oil change in the shopping mall next door to the dealership. I do the husband thing, and sit on a bench and pretend that I'm busy on my phone sending messages.


Cape Spear

After lunch (no Jiggs Dinner today) we head out to Cape Spear, the most easterly point in Canada and a National Historic site (again it's free with your annual National Parks Pass). Here we are actually only 4,500 km from Zurich Switzerland and 7,500 km from Victoria. Got to love this big country of ours.


Cape Spear National Historic Site

Cape Spear - The most easterly point in North America


The oldest surviving lighthouse in Newfoundland and Labrador is located here, at the most easterly point of land in all of North America . It has been restored to its 1839 appearance and shows how a lightkeeper and his family might have lived in the mid 19th century. 


Can you see the light house?

Liz on her way up to the light house
The Cape Spear visitor centre includes an exhibits on the history of lighthouses and the tradition of light-keeping. Cape Spear is surrounded by spectacular scenery and wildlife such as whales, seabirds and icebergs in season.


Anders at Cape Spear
During the World War II, a very different kind of danger focused activities at Cape Spear. German submarines and raiders off the coast of the Island posed a considerable threat. 


One of the 10 inch guns

Anders looks tiny (and that's not very often) on top of the gun


A coastal defense was necessary, and a battery equipped with two 10" guns was put in place to protect the entrance to St. John's Harbour. The gun emplacements were built at the tip of the Cape and connected by underground passages to magazine and other rooms. 


The Old Lighthouse

What the old light house looked like on a day without fog.


Further from 1941 to 1945, troops were stationed here, and the construction of barracks, mess halls and canteens were quickly under way.


Liz and one of the staff or Parks Canada inside the old light house.

The light house is fully furnished the way it was back then ( the oval shield is to protect the face from the heat of the fireplace).


With the end of of the war in 1945, most of the fortifications were demolished however the gun stand as a sombre reminder of that important period in Canadian military history.




Signal Hill

Next on the list was Signal Hill right in St.John's. This National Historic Site is preserved in celebration of the rich communications and military history of Signal Hill. Signal Hill overlooks the sea and has a spectacular view of the city of St. John's. Again bring your annual National Parks Pass for free entry.
Signal Hill National Historic Site of Canada

View of St. John's 

View from Signal Hill


Signal Hill was the reception point of the first transatlantic wireless signal by Guglielmo Marconi in 1901. Further, it was also the site of harbour defences for St. John's right from the 18th century to the World War II. Here we enjoyed a spectacular hike from the administration building up to the summit.
Reaching the top

Liz and Anders with St John's in the back drop.

Both Signal Hill and Cape Spear should be on your list when visiting St John's.




The Rooms



The Rooms is an art gallery, archives, museum, cafe and gift shop. The architecture alone of the building is fantastic.
The Rooms

Inside The Rooms


Here you can immerse yourself in the culture of Newfoundland and Labrador. It's the place where it all comes together. The history, heritage and artistic expression, it's all there. The Rooms unites the Provincial Archives, Art Gallery and Museum. 



Beautiful Architecture

Wonderful exhibits


The building soars into the skyline of historic St. John's, and combines 21'st century technology with a striking visual reference to the past. Its unique design mirrors what is referred to as the "fishing rooms". This is where families came together to process their catch from the sea.
Caribou

Black-bear


The Rooms today is also a place to gather. Here you will find collections, exhibits and programs that tell the stories of Newfoundland and Labrador and interpret the natural world through art, artifacts, archaeology, architecture and archival records. 


Sorry there are no pictures of the wonderful artwork - no pictures allowed because of copy right law.


Even though I'm no crazy about stuff like this, I truly enjoyed the visit to The Rooms. Plan on spending at least half a day here.



Petty Harbour-Maddox Cove

Petty Harbour-Maddox Cove is a picturesque old fishing town of approximately 950 people. The town is located on the eastern shore of the Avalon Peninsula about 15 minute drive from St John's. The drive out there is wonderful and scenic.


Anders in Petty Harbour-Maddox Cove

Chafe's Landing..... stop for a bite. It' awesome.

Down on the wharf


Petty Harbour-Maddox Cove is around 200 years old and is the site of the first hydroelectric generating station in Newfoundland and Labrador. It is further home to a wonderful place to have lunch.... Chafe's Landing! Wonderful food, plan on lunch or dinner here. The seafood chowder and lobster roll is some of the very best!


For more pictures from this part of our trip, check out our Picasa Web Album.


St. John's, Newfoundland


Cheers,


Anders and Liz

Here are some shortcuts to all the blogs from our Cross Canada Trip. Just hover over the number to see where it will take you

 1,    2,    3,     4,    5,    6,    7,    8,    9,   10

11,   12,  13,  14,  15,  16,  17,  18,  19,  20

21,   22,  23,  24,  25,  26,  27,  28,  29,  29b

30,   31,  32,  33,  34,  35,  36,  37,  38,  39,

40,   41,  42,  43,  44,  45,  46,  47,  48,  49,

50,   51,  52,  53,  54,  55,  56,  57,  58,  59,

60,   61,  62,  63,  64,  65.


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