Stranded in the Campground
My spirit is in Destination Newfoundland, but physically I am still at the North Sidney KOA. A most memorable day. It rained non-stop. The previous day, the desk staffers helped me make a reservation for the NL ferry. I chose the midnight one to save myself accommodation costs. From previous trips I knew I had no problem sleeping on the floor in the reclining seats lounges. No need to waste money on a berth or a cabin. I could even bring Jim’s comforter up for extra padding. That still cost US$122, but I was willing to pay.
I talked the KOA office workers into allowing me to park my car near the office after the 11 o’clock checkout. There was plenty of space for tenting, but I did not want to push the rules. They agreed I could use the guest room and facilities as I waited for the boat.
The Israeli woman with her American husband left the day before for a day drive around the Cabot Trail, and I did not see them back. What’s the point of driving non-stop through such a rich sightseeing attraction? Well, people have different ideas for sure. (I later spent a week around the Cabot Trail and I could stay for weeks if I had the time…)
Naughty, Naughty rain
Two beautiful gay girls, seeing my plight, volunteered to help me dismantle the tent in the rain. I already learned inFundythat there was no way to undo the tent underneath the canopy. The only trick was to wait for the rain to ease, work as quickly as possible, and then squeeze the different pieces speedily into plastic bags.
The Israeli woman told me previously that when necessary they dried their tent in the drier, careful not to overheat. I was surprised, but gave it a try. Not daring to submit the silky fabrics to the drier’s heat, I tumbled the tent cold. It wasn’t very effective. I kept checking on the machine every few minutes, worried something will tear or catch. After a while, I took everything out and draped the fabrics over the the plastic chairs. Bottom line, the tent was still wet when I arrived in Gros Morne . I had to go for a “dry cabin” again.
It rained non-stop. Although the guest lounge was only a few meters away from the car and the laundry room, it was a hardship to get from one to the other. Especially difficult was getting stuff to and from the car with the umbrella in one hand. Reaching the toilets was an ordeal. The effort to do just about anything was exhausting, and it lasted the whole day. I was even worried about the 15-minutes’ drive to the ferry.
Such a downpour is rare in Israel. We are not used to that level of weather obstruction in our daily functioning. Traveling, I was learning to live with what was.
I spent the entire day in the common room, cooking with my gas stove on the counters, heating water in the electric kettle, reading, surfing the Net, checking on the tent. One nice thing about that kind of rain – it brings people to relax and socialize.
Talking Across Tables
I left early in the evening, ready to have some “good food” in a recommended restaurant, “Cedar House” in Boularderie. I crossed the amazing bridge in the rain and parked in the big parking lot in front.
It was a nice cozy place. I had their house dish, fish cakes and bowl of beans, that came with some interesting scones. It was delicious and the feel of the place was great, a combo of locals and tourists enjoying regional quality cuisine. The price was decent too. I did not know yet that fish cakes were the staple food Newfoundlanders used to eat 365 days a year, as a native lady I met later in Gros Morne told me!
At the table across from me sat a lady in her thirties. She carried herself with confidence and elegance, even as she was dressed for travelling. I asked if she was waiting for the ferry to NL. No, she just came from there. Generous and open, she suggested recommendations, answered burning questions. She even gave me the Gros Morne brochure, where she marked all the places of interest.
I learned about Green Gardens, Trout River, the Table Lands, Green Point fossils and the coastal walk and Cow’s Head. Some hikes she recommended I did not get to, including Gros Morne Mountain, the tallest peak in the park and the highlight of her trip. Alas…
The lady was one of the only solitary women I met during my travel. It was empowering and inspiring.
She approved of my reservation at the KOA at the center of Gros Morne Park, but also recommended a backcountry camping by Trout River. As things turned out nicely for me around the KOA, I did not feel a need to change location. Meeting her was a good start for my “Destination Newfoundland” project, and I went on to the ferry with renewed energies.
Destination Newfoundland - The Marine Atlantic
The 105 ended at “exit 21”, and from there I zigged and zagged into the ferry terminal.
The Marine Atlantic in full show.
Waiting for the ferry
The ferry was an impressive human achievement, a monument to our amazing technology and mastery of the planet, for good or bad. Long lines of cars and trucks formed on the wet tarmac. Several tough-looking men and women directed us to this lane or another. I fumbled to get necessities out of the trunk, getting ready for the night’s sleep on the floor.
Eventually I had to say goodbye to the car, making a mental effort to remember where I left her. I took my few belongings up the elevator, and headed on to deck 7, where the sleeper chairs were located. I spread the comforter and sleeping bag next to one of the reclining chairs, went to the bathroom and, ignoring all the stores and bars, sank into deep slumber.
We were woken up to a Newfoundland morning.
I knew I finally came to where I wanted to be. This was a home to one of my dreams.