Thursday, July 28, 2011

Bill & Ed's Excellent Adventure...Day 43...Wednesday, July, 27, 2011...Sailing Western Brook Pond

Ah...another good (and dry) night's sleep. Up early and out of camp en route to Western Brook Pond for our boat tour. A quick stop outside the town of St. Paul at a gas station for coffee...and off we go.
From the Western Brook Pond parking lot, it's a 3.5 kilometer hike over level ground through low brush and bogs (with boardwalks) to the boat launch. Off we go, hiking through the bogs...and down to the boat launch.
We're early, but there's some coffee to be had and a little cigar before we board. There are probably forty people on our boat as we head out into the "fjord"....a few folks from the U.S...and a nice couple from Quebec next to me...they've driven the Labrador Highway, so they have some helpful info as we're heading out.
It's a spectacular cruise,,,a deep body of water surrounded by high mountain peaks. This was originally an outlet to the sea carved by ancient glaciers, but now it's closed off from the sea...not a true "fjord" anymore, but magnificent nonetheless. The tour takes u into the "fjord" for an hour up one side, then back out next to the other side. All along the way, I'm getting some really great photos.
Back at the dock, we're off the ship and on the trail back to the parking lot.
Now we're back on the road and heading to the town of St. Barbe, where we'll catch the ferry to Labrador. We arrive around 4:00, and camp at the only RV park around...much scenery. But, we head across the street for a few cold ones at the local "hotel".
Back at the "RV Park", we hook up with Jimmy, Timmy, and their fog, Tobey. They invite us over for beers and we share a dinner of cheese, salami, and white wine.
In a great stroke of luck, it turns out that Jimmy and Timmy are fellow "arthritis sufferers", and they happily share some of their local "medicine"'s a great night of beers, medicine and great stories...we're up till almost midnight.'s time for bed...ferry leaves at 10:00, and we've got to be in line at 9:00.
Good night.

Ed's Sidebar, Day 43:

Now for something completely different. We are adrift in an iceberg field, in July. Our ferry boat, Apollo, has had a "slight mechanical problem" in the Strait of Belle Isle. I can hear the crew laughing in the pilot house and no one is passing out life jackets. But dead in the water, we are. Finally the ship coughs up one huge hairball of a black cloud from its smoke stack. A few preliminary shudders of the railings later, and we are underway slowly. We limp among icebergs in the company of two whales. Welcome to Labrador, Pilgrim.

It is seven hundred miles of gravel road to Labrador City. Now and then a car passes in the opposite direction. I hold my breath instinctively as we drive through the dense dust cloud it raises. I wonder if cats in the city have been doing that for a hundred years already.

The Labrador Highway kicked our ass today. It is a five round fight, though, to Baie-Comeau, QB.

The black flies are back. We suspect they are mercenaries of the Winds of Blomidon. We captured several and waterboarded them under interrogation, but learned nothing. They are tough little buggers. A camp rumor says these flies get forty acres and a mule for service with the Winds of Blomidon.

Bill & Ed's Excellent Adventure...Day 42...Tuesday, July 26, 2011...A Day of Rest in Camp

OK...the plan today was to take the boat tour of Western Brook Pond...a landlocked "fjord", and the absolute "must see" of Gros Morne. Alas, all booked up for, it's a relaxing day in camp.
Weather is sunny and, that's a change. I put out all of my sleeping gear to dry in the's all dry again.
A good (and dry) night's sleep...a hearty breakfast...a welcome shower...some blog posts courtesy of the Park's WiFi.
No photos...nothing much to report.
Leftover chile for dinner...a few cocktails...early to (dry) bed.

Ed's Sidebar, Days 41-42:

Moose sausage pasta for dinner. Nothing much to think about except how does any place get a name like Cow's Head?

A bird is stationary in the air at Western Brook fjord. Ground speed zero. Air speed thirty. From the tilt of its wings it seems to enjoy the surreality of travel without distance, a journey without destination. We should be so lucky.

Bill & Ed's Excellent Adventure...Day 42...Tuesday, July 26, 2011...A Day of Rest in Camp

OK...the plan today was to take the boat tour of Western Brook Pond...a landlocked "fjord", and the absolute "must see" of Gros Morne. Alas, all booked up for, it's a relaxing day in camp.
Weather is sunny and, that's a change. I put out all of my sleeping gear to dry in the's all dry again.
A good (and dry) night's sleep...a hearty breakfast...a welcome shower...some blog posts courtesy of the Park's WiFi.
No photos...nothing much to report.
Leftover chile for dinner...a few cocktails...early to (dry) bed.

Ed's Sidebar, Days 41-42:

Moose sausage pasta for dinner. Nothing much to think about except how does any place get a name like Cow's Head?

A bird is stationary in the air at Western Brook fjord. Ground speed zero. Air speed thirty. From the tilt of its wings it seems to enjoy the surreality of travel without distance, a journey without destination. We should be so lucky.

Bill & Ed's Excellent Adventure...Day 41...Monday, July 25, 2011..."Terror in the Night"

Ah...there's nothing like taking a nap on Gretchen and Roger's deck in the late evening...a nice dinner, great wine and, now, a chance to snooze a bit. Jasmyn's toddlers have got their squirt guns, and they're at it again. They love to squirt their "Uncle Bill", and they're really letting me have it...I'm soaked from head to toe. But, now, I'm thinking that there is something wrong with this picture...I'm in Newfoundland, and the "toddlers" are hundreds and hundreds of miles away.
Now, I'm awake in my tent, and I am drowning in's pouring over my sleeping bag and sleeping pad are soaked. Groggily, I struggle to find my headlamp...and the light reveals the truth...I've got a half inch of water in my tent. No matter where it's coming from...I've got to get out. Outside, it's cold, rainy and windy...and I am soaked to the skin. Into the Escape for a minute's respite...then back out to the rear to find clothes. There's nowhere to go, so I've got to change in the rain...then back into the Escape. It's a ;little after 3:00AM, and I have nowhere to go. So...for the next four hours, I sit in the satellite radio in this location...just me in the silent Escape.
Ed is up around 7:30...there will be no coffee in this rain. So...we decide to head into "town"...everything closed up tight at this hour. Now...back to the campground...pack up the tent and everything else in the we go.
We're heading to the north end of Gros Morne Park to camp at Shallow Bay Campground. After a half hour or so, we get to a gas!
Then, it's onward...upward for about seventy the town of Rocky Harbor. We stop for gas and, then, breakfast...the "Caribou sausage special"...excellent.
By now, the rain has stopped, so we head over to the Visitor's Center for guidance and WiFi.
Then we drive to Shallow Bay Campground and make camp. There's a nice couple next to us from Ottawa, so we chat with them while we're setting up the tent. Now it's time for some well-deserved cocktails...followed by linguine with red sauce and moose sausage...thanks to our friend, Gary.
The tent and everything else has sat out for awhile in the (rare) sun. Everything but the sleeping pad is dry...I use the backup pad...everything is OK.
A gull swoops into camp...amusing until he makes off with a Caribous's all part of the "Camping Life".
I'm in my tent...things are dry...I'm off to is good (again).

Monday, July 25, 2011

Bill & Ed's Excellent Adventure...Day 40...Sunday, July 24, 2011...Hiking the Tablelands morning wake up from strange.
Ed and I are up early and making coffee on a sunny (and dry!) day. Around 9:30, we head out to the "Tablelands" for a guided tour. The Tablelands are unique in all the world. It's a spot where the North American and African "plates" collided millions of years ago. This collision squeezed material from the earth's "mantle" (below the crust) up and out like toothpaste from a tube. As a result, certain rocks and minerals that are not normally found on the earth's surface are exposed here. They are high in toxic materials, like chromium, so there's not a lot of plant life in the area...except for a few pines and enterprising carnivores like the Pitcher plant and the Butterwort.
It's a very interesting tour...lots of interesting information and a good three-mile hike. Our hike completed, Ed and I opt for lunch at the Seaview restaurant in Trout Pond Harbor...big mistake. They are overwhelmed by a tour bus full of diners...the service slow, the food mediocre, and the prices high. Ed and I had planned a second hike, but we're not done with lunch until after 2:00.
We have some time to relax in camp...I finish up my book on the history of the Brooklyn Bridge (started last summer) and plunge into volume 3 of the great Morris biography of Teddy Roosevelt.
Dinner is pretty simple...some pasta and bottled sauce enlivened with some ground beef...simple but hearty fare. Ed starts a campfire, and I relax with another glass of CatDaddy.
It looks like there might b rain tonight, but who tent has performed admirably so far. Or so I think as I slide into my sleeping bag around 9:30. I am blissfully unaware that disaster is only six hours away.

Ed's Sidebar, Day 35:

Misc...St.John's is the oldest Anglo city in N. America, and the farthest east. One arctic swim farther east, and we could be on Greenland time. As it is, Newfoundland has its own time zone. Vinland was the original Viking name for Newfoundland.

St. John's is a nice city despite being, and I quote the guidebook: 'the foggiest, snowiest, wettest, windiest, and cloudiest of all major Canadian cities.' We are Here, I think, placing a fingertip to the offending map location.

We got screeched in at St. John's. A rum slammer with rituals to match makes us honorary citizens of Newfoundland now. The Screechers' greeting:

'Is you a screecher?'
'--Deed I is, me old cock. Long may your big jib draw.'

If I am in Newfoundland without a cell signal, and my daughter is in California with all her gadgets, is it still a small world?

Ed's Sidebar, Day 36:

Departing St. John's we head into, what else?--the twilight fog of noon through hill country with its boulder fields and glacial ponds. The sun breaks through by day's end. Life is good.

By night we see our frosty breath again. There is talk of icebergs. 'Guaranteed,' the locals say, speaking of St. Anthony and its cape. It is almost August everywhere but here.

Ed's Sidebar, Day 37:

Weather report for today: rain followed by cold wind, followed by sunny and warm, followed by--a blizzard? No, just more rain.

A breeze in the birch reminds me of home. Though there are no birch at home. A thin sun attempting the haze reminds me of home. Though this could not be called a sunset. The granite beneath my feet reminds me of home. Though this may never be a beach. Then a couple from Newfoundland strolls by. The way they smile...

Ed's Sidebar, Day 38: the road to Gros Morne...

I've been to cocktail parties where I felt like the green spider that was in my hair yesterday. Moving knee to knee through the throng of hairs, his legs were still kicking when I plucked him from the warm hors-d'oevres tray of my scalp.

Once more we could be back in the 18th century, with this wilderness all around. The difference is this asphalt pavement, and a rock of grafitti which says, 'Lesbians were here." Of course there was no asphalt back then.

Ed's Sidebar, Day 39: at Gros Morne National Park...

Campers speak of icebergs with a reverence reserved for clerics in search of God. Have you seen one, everyone wants to know? Where are they? Nobody knows, but--they're everywhere.

We hiked the Tablelands Trail with our guide. Tonight I'm sure I'll dream of continental collisions and how you can't buy insurance against them. My agent will be shaking his head sadly at the moment I am attacked by the Carnivorous Plants of Gros Morne. A giant pitcher plant maybe, or the low-crawling butter wort will have me in its grasp. 'Pre-existing condition,' my agent will say, shaking his head sadly.

Ed's Sidebar, Day 40:

If you want to know the meaning of 'relentless', go to the Maritimes. Go to Newfoundland with Labrador ahead. Go north with north ahead. We haven't been dry since Sydney, NS, our one dry night in a hotel. It has rained for almost 40 days and 40 nights. We are short on carpenter tools. It is against the law to build an ark in Newfoundland. Everyone would be building arks.

Carnivorous plants, two for a dollar. Ladyslippers and harebells, dime each, cheaper by the tray. Daily special, dwarf birch, buck apiece. No limit on specialty juniper trees--these grow sideways for arctic conditions--order yours now. We are in God's dollar store. Nature is still plentiful and cheap in Newfoundland.

Sunset on the pine tops after a storm. Quiet in the woods. One bird somewhere sings. The sound of ocean waves through the trees. One bird sings. Quiet. Waves. One bird.

We had dinner of curried moose last night. And caribou sausage for breakfast. Not that things are more desperate than usual, but tomorrow we may be forced by the Arctic to eat our last surviving sled dog.

Bill & Ed's Excellent Adventure...Day 39...Saturday, July 23, 2011...On to Gros Morne National Park

"When life hands you moose,
Make a curry."
-William Thee, from "A Camping ife", circa 2011

Ah...the familiar sound that greets me almost every morning...plop, plop, plop. It has rained all through the night and, now, into the morning. Coffee-making is out of the question...I can barely manage to make it from the tent to the car without getting drenched. I listen to the news on satellite radio and have a cigar until Ed gets up. Then we take down the tent and pack everything up wet (yet again).
Once out of the park, we head to the nearest gas station for coffee...much needed this rainy morning. We've got about a 300 mile drive from Terra Nova to Gros Morne National Park way back over on the western part of Newfoundland. We stop around 9:30 in the town of Gander (of airport fame)...more coffee, breakfast at McDonald's (yech), groceries...and another visit to our favorite store, Canadian Tire. Ed and I have been going over our drive across the Labrador Highway, and it looks like two legs of that drive exceed the cruising capacity of the Escape...nothing like running out of gas in (truly) the middle of nowhere. So...we're buying a five gallon gas can at Canadian Tire...just for a little insurance.
It would not be a camping trip without a "wormhole" and, sure enough, on the road to Gros Morne, we hit one. That familiar sulphur odor, the tingling in the hands and fingers, the flash of light and...boom...we're sucked up in a wormhole and dropped out on the road...somewhere else far away. But where? The signs tell us that we're in Green Bay, Wisconsin...Wow! We just have enough time to grab a hamburger at the famous "Wertles" before we are swept up again and spat out on the highway in Newfoundland...very exciting!
It's a long drive, but we're at our campground at Trout Pond in late afternoon. The rain has stopped (for the time being), so we are able to set up camp under relatively dry conditions. Te drive into the Park was gorgeous...lots of mountains, bays and other large bodies of water (including the Atlantic Ocean nearby).
Our friend from Terra Nova, Gary, has given us more than arthritis medicine...he also threw in a box of Cuban cigars...and...two packages of moose (sausages and loin pieces).
So...tonight, we're trying to figure out what moose dish to make. Stew has been suggested by a number of fellow campers, but we'd need a lot of vegetables that w don't have to make that. Someone also mentioned moose curry, so we decide to go with that. I've got these great spice packages from a company called "Asian Home Gourmet"...they're "pastes" of different herbs, spices and oils...handy and very good.
We use Indian meat curry ("Rogan Josh") for the moose, and it is excellent! All the more so with a nice bottle of 2005 Bordeaux. After dinner, we're relaxing when a Ranger stops by...they're expecting more rain tonight...great!

Bill & Ed's Excellent Adventure...Day 38...Friday, July 22, 2011...Another Day in Terra Nova

Another morning that promises to more of the same...cold, windy and rainy. We've got electricity here so, under the protective back hatch of the camper, I'm able to make coffee and gain some shelter (albeit brief) from the elements.
Ed and I are sitting around in a light drizzle, drinking coffee and trying to figure out how to spend our day. Around 10:00, however, the clouds begin to blow away, and there is the faintest hint of sunshine...and warmth. Thus inspired, Ed and I decide on a hike along the water. There are some pretty views of the bay, but Ed and I are not really up for hiking in the woods...we want to be in the sunshine. So...we head back to camp and dry out some of the things (many things) that are wet.
We have a few leftovers for lunch, and I proceed over to the General Store...there's WiFi there. My laptop is acting up and there is much work to be done (emails, bills, blog, etc.)...before I know it, it's after 6:00.
Time for a hot shower and cocktails before a dinner of Ed's famous chili...all the better as a leftover. No fire pits in Terra we just sit around the picnic table after dinner...I'm enjoying a nice cigar and a glass of CatDaddy North Carolina White Whiskey as the sun goes down.
Not much done today, but a good day nonetheless.
The rain starts again a little after's too early for bed, so I tough it out for awhile in the drizzle. It's a losing battle...I'm in my tent and asleep before 10:00.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Bill & Ed's Excellent Adventure...Day 36...Wednesday, July 21, 2011...Driving to Terra Nova National Park (via the Bonavista Peninsula)

Over coffee this morning, Ed and I were joined by one of our fellow campers, George. He was a fascinating individual...full of great stories (including his career as a trucker hauling liquid arsenic). Before we knew it, he was handing over a "jar" of's what we would call "canned" (e.g., mason jar), but here they call it bottling. And George's wife gives us her recipe for moose stew.
Our plan was to drive straight to Terra Nova National Park today...about 250 miles. But George lives on the Bonavista Peninsula, and he's telling us that we really need to see that.
So...around 9:00 or so, we're off. We stop for lunch along the way at "Meaghan's"...famous for fish and fish is excellent, and Ed has a plate of "Poutine"...French fries covered with gravy and cheese curds...good, but filling.
The drive up the peninsula is beautiful...many little coves, fishing villages and pretty views. In the town of Bonavista, we stop for a beer, and immediately make friends with the bartender and the owner. They're disappointed that we're just "passing through". Newfoundlanders love the place that they live with great passion. They have something wonderful here, and they want to share it with you.
The drive back down the other sid of the peninsula is even prettier than the way up, but it's slow going through all of the little villages.
By the time that we reach Terra Nova, it's we have to rush to set up camp and get dinner ready before the sun goes down.
While we're finishing off the last of a great bottle of Shiraz, another camper, Gary, joins us for a beer. He is yet another great guy...friendly...and he loves his Newfoundland. I'm relating the story of my arthritis and the "miracle cure" that I discovered last summer in California. And...wouldn't you know it...Gary also has an arthritis problem, and he's brought along some medicine that came all the way from Afghanistan...which he is happy to share with Ed and I. Our arthritis now "in check", we linger late into the evening over conversation and cold beer. It's not raining, but it's pretty cloudy and getting colder by the minute.
It's after 1:00AM by the time I crawl into my sleeping bag. Another great day in Newfoundland...another friend...another wonderful experience.

Bill & Ed's Excellent Adventure...Day 35...Tuesday, July 19, 2011...A Day in St. Johns

One of my guidebooks has given a great review to a small Indian restaurant in St. Johns, so Ed and I have decided to have lunch there and spend the day in the city. We drive in around 11:00, and we are lucky enough to find a parking space across the street from our lunch spot. Unfortunately, restaurant reviews are inherently subjective, and this one is way off. The food looks good, but it is way under-spiced to the point of bland...and it's hardly a bargain at $16.50 (cdn) for the buffet.
Afer lunch, we take a walk down Water Street...the oldes street in North America. Things are "bustling"...shops, bars, restaurants. Soon, we're at George Street...famous for having more bars and pubs in a two-block area than anywhere else in the world. We got "screeched in" last night at the Ship Pub, but we didn't get our official certificates (suitable for framing) head into another place where Kelly performs the ceremony once again and hands over the prized certificates. We're trying to find a place with WiFi, but we're not having much luck.
So, we head back to the Ship In where we know that they have good signal. For whatever reason, it takes hours to update the blog and perform other "housekeeping" tasks. It's after 6:00 and several beers before we're finished and head back to camp. I'm still full from lunch, but Ed is somewhat hungry...enough to polish off a bowl of leftover chili. It's starting to rain, so w decide to "cab it" back to St. Johns. A few more hours of bar-hopping and we're ready to pack it in for the night.
It's pouring rain as the cab pulls up to our camp...a mad dash for the tent befor getting completely soaked.
Sleep comes quickly.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Bill & Ed's Excellent Adventure...Day 34...Monday, July 18, 2011...Driving Newfoundland

Only a "little" rain last night...cloudy, but no rain this morning. Our campground is nice, if a little commercial, and there's electric. So...I'm brewing up a pot of coffee around 6:30.
We've got a long (very) drive today to get from the western end of Newfoundland to the eastern end. There was a different ferry that we could have taken, but it was over twice as much as the one we took. So...the plan is to drive "balls out" over to the capitol, St. Johns, then work our way back via two National Parks (Terra Nova and Gros Morne).
It is, in fact, every bit as long as I expected...but...we're getting to see a lot of the island. Around 1:00 or so, we stop for lunch at a tiny little restaurant in the middle of nowhere for a burger (Ed) and, for me, a local specialty...fried bologna and fries with gravy (it was actually pretty tasty). Then, back on the road...overcast, rainy, and an hour in "pea soup" fog. Around 6:30, we arrive in St. Johns and our campground, "Pippy Park". Since this will be our last piece of "civilization" before Quebec City, we decide to "cab it" into town for dinner and cocktails.
Our cab driver exemplifies the tradition of Newfoundland friendliness. First, he explains a few things..."This is St. can walk anywhere day or night and be safe...there's no crime...if you get lost, ask anyone for help, they will be more than happy to help...they will probably join you for a drink". Then, befor we arrive at our destination, he shuts off the meter, and drives us around to show us where all the good spots are located...awesome!
Our first stop is the "Ship In Pub", noted in my guidebooks as particularly "local" and especially friendly. It is all of that as we are "bonding" with the locals within minutes.
Newfoundland has a tradition called "screeching in" which involves welcoming visitors with a short of Jamaican Rum ("Screech"), making them kiss a codfish, and reciting some verse..."may the cut of your jib be straight" or something like that.
So, Ed and I "screech in" at the Ship In...great fun and much ceremony...and...the Screech tastes pretty good.
Later, it's dinner at "Blue on Main"...Ed has curried cauliflower soup and I opt for fried cod tongue and a platter of venison carpaccio...excellent washed down with a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.
After dinner, it's back to the Ship In for "Open Mike Night"...some good local talent...and Ed gets to read some of the poetry that he's written on the trip...and people like it!
More beers, more Screech...a late night cab ride back to camp in a pouring rain.
It's been quite a day.

Ed's Sidebar, Day 34:

On the road to St. John's, Newfoundland:

It's the best we can do with an artificial intelligence: we can try to make a driverless vehicle. The brainy types build a huge database of facts and definitions; they make rules of engagement for the facts; they put glass eyes on a glass frame, front and back. Wheels carry the facts, point to point. Facts stumble over a course in the desert where they can't hurt themselves when they crash...Now, how easily a crow rises on its bulky frame from its breakfast of road kill, its tiny intelligence engaged on 'automatic' to avoid the trampling by our tires. How deftly its claws attach to the power line. Our artificial intelligence is no match for a crow. Not even close.

Origin of the Dragon Myth:
Giant squids abound, icebergs, whales, nine-foot-tall moose appear. A monster lobster lumbers the old hills of Newfoundland in this dream. There are not enough spears to bring it down. It tosses a tribesman into the pot. There was an early hell, even in the age of superstition.

We cannot escape the Winds of Blomidon. Even on the highway, it finds us again. It sent out its minion breezes, their swirling spies of a hundred eyes, and they found us. It being otherwise a day of good omens, we made our escape through the woods of a glacial valley near Terra Nova, Newfoundland.

Bill & Ed's Excellent Adventure...Day 33...Sunday, July 17, 2011...The Ferry to Newfoundland

Something is definitely wrong. I'm half awake...but it's warm...and dry...and I'm encased in real sheets...and I can't see the inside of the tent.
Wow...a great night's sleep in a a real bed...what a luxury!
Included in the exorbitant hotel rate is a free hot breakfast, so Ed and I head for the, omelet, toast...good!'s off to North Sydney (15 miles or so) to catch the Ferry. We're there two hours early, and the lines of vehicles waiting to board are already long. We booked online, so we zip through in a few minutes. Now we have an hour and a half wait for boarding. But, that's OK...we chat with our fellow "shipmates"...drink a coffee...get a glimpse of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police "show horses"'s a fun wait.
Around 9:30, we're driving aboard. I've packed a "travel bag"...books (a history of the building of the Brooklyn Bridge...unfinished from last summer's trip out west, camera, cigars, guide books...I'm we;;-prepared.
The ship is HUGE...almost like a cruise ship...restaurants, a casino, name it. Ed and I grab a spot between one of the bars and one of the restaurants...and settle in for our six-hour voyage across a part of the North Atlantic from Nova Scotia to Newfoundland. I read, have a with a family of UM fans from Grand Rapids (Go Blue!). And, before I know it, we're docking at Port-Au-Basques in Newfoundland. By 3:45 or so., we're off the ship and on the road. We adjust our watches for Newfoundland HALF hour later.
Now, we're rolling along on a 125 mile drive to Corner Brook where we'll camp for the night. Newfoundland has some impressive mountains...vast forests...many lakes carve out by glaciers many years before...all beautiful.
About 6:30, we're at our camp, Prince Edward Provincial Park, and setting up camp. A few cocktails to take the "edge" off, then a great dinner of homemade chili...excellent!
We meet a couple from Alberta...ranchers...and they give us some restaurant tips for Quebec City and Montreal. After dinner, it's time for a few last beers before calling it a night.
We're on this island...this rock...this Newfoundland.

Ed's Sidebar, Day 33:

The ferry boat to Newfoundland...
My little teardrop camper (actually Bill's)--everyone wants to see her. Her chrome rims and solar panel, wow. And what a rack, wow. And look how the tail goes up and down, wow, man, cool. What a sexy rig, they are thinking. Yeah, I am thinking--but you don't have to live with her.

Speaking of teardrops--live a little. Empty your refrigerator. Go ahead. Take out the shelves. Take everything out. Now get inside. Pull the door shut. Change your clothes in there and you will have some idea of cold weather camping.

Bill & Ed's Excellent Adventure...Day 32...Saturday, July 16, 2011

Cold, wet rainy...what else, it's Canada!
Ed and I packed up pretty well last morning, after coffee, we only have to take down and pack the (wet) tent.
Around 9:30, we're off to drive the Cabot Trail. It doesn't take long to reach the first "test" of the Escape's carrying capacity versus the Cabot Trail...French Mountain is several hundred meters up...and several hundred down. No problem...we're huffing and puffing a bit on the way up, but we make it up (and down) without incident. The fog is thick...bad for the view, good for my vertigo...not many photos this morning.
After a few hours, the Cabot Trail turns inland for awhile, and we go over our second mountain without a problem. Around noon, we hit the coast again and find the tiny town of Neil's Harbor for lunch at the Chowder House. I'm expecting this place to be strictly for tourists...expensive, high-priced, etc. But...I'm's a charming little place with five ladies waiting on us hand and foot. Ed's "pizza soup" is good...and my seafood chowder is loaded with is my "lobster club". All in all, a great meal.
After lunch, we have one final hurdle to cross...Ol' Smokey is the highest mountain on the Cabot Trail...a steep ascent and a particularly steep descent into a series of switchbacks culminating in a ninety degree hairpin turn...I can't wait. But, it's a piece of cake...and soon we're on the Trans-Canada Highway heading for the town of Sydney (near where we'll catch our ferry to Newfoundland).
The road is great, but the weather is awful...pouring rain all the way. So...we make an "Executive Decision"...we're staying at a hotel! And soon, we're in our room at the Cambridge Hotel and Suites...terribly pricey, but mighty comfy. Showers, shaving, a change of clothes...there's a flurry of some television, use the WiFi...all nice after many days "in the wild". Before dinner, Ed and I head to the bar at the hotel for Martini's (me) and a Chivas with a splash (Ed). Then it's off to The Gouvernor's House for a great meal of STEAK...a bone-in filet for me, a sandwich for Ed...a little Shiraz with that...excellent.
After the day's drive, Ed and I are it's back to the hotel. Soon, I'm drifting off to sleep...CNN playing comfortably in the backround.
We drove the Cabot Trail...and survived!

Ed's Sidebar, Day 32:

Today, Cheticamp to Sydney...Four a.m. in Cape Breton and another cold mist descends all night. Our campfire is out. Not an ember remains and it is raining when I awake in my folding chair. We head north again along the Cabot Trail at first lifting of the fog. We will never see the sun again.

There is always more to experience. The wind. The rain. The wind and rain are summering here. And the cold. The cold fog is sliding down the mountain on its sled. Wet. Wet mist and fog are hiding the wet road. The thin road drops away in the wet, cold mountains. Mountains are inside this gray sky volume. I am obsessing. There is a poetry of the weather worth repeating. But driving today is like a madman running through the museum.