Lonnie and Sue - Traveling North America

2007 - August 1 to August 12 Travels in Newfoundland


 My campground rating system is on a scale of 5/5 with the first number being the levelness of the site and the second being the appearance.  A 3/3 would be an average site.


 I have left the prices in for comparison and to give a general idea of what to expect.  Depending on when you read this, factor in inflation.



All travel this segment was in and around St. John's

Travel Log - August 1 to August 12, 2007     
[Tab 2007 Newfound'd 4]

08-01-2007     Wed     Day 122          Trip Meter:   221.3 

Fuel:   The coach at an Irving’s station at the jct of TC 1 and 233.  $1.136 = $4.132 

Driving Directions:   Took 330 south.  At TC 1 took it east.  Got off at exit 46 and went to the campground.   

Days Activities:   Started raining again about midnight and rained until we got to St. John’s.  We had to break camp in the rain.  Departed campground at 8:55 AM.  

About 50 miles west of St. John’s traffic was reduced to one lane because water was running across the road like it was a spillway. 

  • Campsite:   Pippy Park Trailer Park, St. John's, NL – 12 nights - site # 42 - gravel pad - back in - 30 amp, water, sewer.  Cost $29.00 per night.  Rating 4/4.  Got setup at 2:30 PM.  First night was paid by credit card and the remainder with cash. 

Additional info:  Have a table, no fire ring.  There are a lot of paved roads in the campground.  Our site is surrounded by trees.  The campground is situated in a large stand of trees and has over 160 sites.  It is really spread out.  The trees give a lot of privacy at the sites.  The campground is aka C.A. Pippy RV Park. 

Went to the post office but our mail has not arrived yet. 

Our campsite at Pippy Park Trailer Park, St. John's, NL
 

08-02-2007     Thur     Day 123 

Fuel:   The jeep at an Ultramar in St. John's, Newfoundland.  $1.118 = $4.067  

Days Activities:   Departed home at 11:30 AM.  Stopped at a mall so Sue could make an appointment to get her hair done but they were closed - nearly all of the stores in the mall were closed.  Found out the most of the businesses in town, including the grocery stores and banks were closed.  There were parking meters in the mall parking lot.  I took a picture.  Have never seen a parking meter in a mall parking lot before.  The meters are 25 cents for 15 minutes with a maximum of 2 hours.  They take “Parking Cards” that are the size of credit cards.  You put the card in when you park and 2 hours parking is charged.  When you leave you put it back in and if the parking time was less than 2 hours the difference is credited.  I believe they are prepaid cards with the ability to add money like a phone card.  These meters are all over town. 

Went to the Regatta.  St. John's is the oldest city in North America and the annual St. John's Regatta is the longest continuing sporting event in North America.   It is a series of races in 6 man sculls, with coxswain.  The seats in the sculls are fixed, just like in the old days.  It appears it covers all age groups with classes for amateur and professionals.   The races last all day.  They were suppose to have started at 8 AM but didn’t get going until 10 AM because the lake was a little rough this morning.  This is a major event for the city of St. John's.   Publicity about it stated the event usually attracted 40,000 to 50,000 people.  I believe it may be correct. 

The races were conducted at Quidi Vidi Lake.  It is a small lake with steep banks around it.  There were at least 150 concession booths set up on the slopes that sold food, crafts, and games.  There were many gambling games for fools and there were a lot of fools lined up giving them money.  There were also a number of activities for children including pony rides, carnival rides, etc.  Sue took some pictures.  We watched several races.  

After we left the lake we headed for the harbour.  On the way out we came upon the historical village of Quidi Vidi, pronounced “Kiddy Viddy”.  It is located within the St. John's city limits.  We drove through and found the Quidi Vidi Brewery.  We had heard about it several days ago and had intended to try and find it so this was a pleasant surprise.  Even more surprising was the fact it was open today.  The next tour was at 2 PM so we had a 15 minute wait.  I took some pictures of the small harbour the brewery was setting on.  There were 3 very interesting looking buildings hanging off the cliff across from the brewery. 

While we were waiting, Sue was reading and I was gawking, I saw a group of people standing on the hill at the head of the drive leading down to the brewery.  I thought they were coming in for the tour so I headed to the office ahead of them and paid for our tour.  There are 3 different packages offered:

  • A $3.00 tour that just included a tour of the brewery
  • A $5.00 tour that included the tour plus a small glass of the 6 types of beer they brew
  • A $6.00 tour that included the tour plus the tasting plus a bottle of beer of our choice 

We took the $6.00 tour.   

Anyway, about the group I thought was taking the tour.  It turned out it was a walking tour of the village.  As they continued on I noticed 2 fiddlers following.  I headed up the hill and counted 14 tourists, plus the guide, plus the 2 fiddlers.  The fiddlers were sawing away as the tour continued on their way.   

The tasting and tour lasted about an hour - we took it with a couple from Saskatoon.  We did a lot of visiting during the tour and had a most enjoyable time.  They flew in Tuesday and will be here for 2 weeks.    

Went to the Railway Coastal Museum and learned about the construction of the railroad.  Construction began in 1881 but was discontinued 1884 when the contractor went bankrupt.   A new government took office and a new construction contract was let to a man named Reid.  He was paid $15,600 per mile plus 5,000 acres of government land per mile.  Construction started in 1890 and the line from St. John's to Port aux Basques and was completed in 1897.   

When the line was completed the government sold it to Reid for one million dollars and gave him exclusive government contracts for both rail and coastal transportation.  The next premier didn’t like the arrangement so there were a number of years where there were many disputes between the two factions.  Finally the government of Newfoundland purchased the business from Reid.  The railroad was closed after the Trans Canadian Highway was built.  Sections of the old railroad bed are used for hiking trails.  Sue took a picture of the depot that was constructed in 1895.  It is a great looking building made from stone from Reid’s quarry.  The Reid family was heavily invested in paper mills then and still is.  Cost was $4.00 SR.  Didn’t have many exhibits – primarily reading.  Got back home at 5:30 PM.

First mall parking lot we have ever seen parking meters in.
Railway Coastal Museum.

08-03-2007     Fri     Day 124 

Days Activities:   No rain last night or this morning but is overcast.  Left home at 12:15 PM. 

Sue really perked up after getting her hair appointment.  She has been feeling a bit low at times during the past 3 or 4 weeks.  There should be a major difference after the hair is actually done tomorrow. 

Karen called last night and gave me the tracer number for the mail.  At the post office they checked on it but can’t tell if it has left the states yet or not.  I checked on the RV Forum and have been informed by several people that it takes 3 to 4 weeks to get mail from the States to Newfoundland.  We will just have to keep checking.  The postal people gave me a number to call so I don’t have to keep going there.  We may have to swing back by St. John's and get it if it arrives after we leave – still have about 2 weeks in this area..  However, Karen said there were no prescriptions in the package so if we lose it there will probably not be anything of great importance.  Got home at 7:15 PM. 

08-04-2007     Sat     Day 125 

Days Activities:   No rain last night – clear this morning – a little sunshine.  Left home at 10:15 AM. 

Drove to the Signal Hill National Historical Site.  Watched the Signal Hill Tattoo.  Sue took a lot of pictures and some movies.  Cost $5.00 each.  Great show. 

After the Tattoo went into the Visitors Center.  It is the Historical site headquarters.  There are exhibits in the building and a video about Signal Hill from 1704 to current time.  Cost $3.95 each.  Very interesting. 

Drove to the top of Signal Hill.  Cabot Tower is located there.  The Hill has a long history of serving as a lookout for ships arriving at St. John's and as a site for military bases.  There were 500 US service men station there during WW II.  It was also the site of the first transatlantic wireless signal received.  The tower was constructed in 1897 for the 400th anniversary of Cabot’s landing on Newfoundland and was used as a signal tower until 1960.  We went to the top of the tower.  The view of St. John's was magnificent.   

Took a walk on top of the hill and hiked to the “Ladies’ Lookout” and out the “Cuckold’s Cove Lookout and Trail”.  Had a good view of the Quidi Vidi harbour and Brewery.  The hike covered about ¾ mile of up and down hiking over large rocks.   

Returned home at 1:40 PM and Sue went to the hairdressers.  She got back at 4:00 PM.  Believe she will be in a happier mood for at least another month to 6 weeks then we will need to start looking for another hair shop.

Signal Hill National Historical Site.  The Signal Hill Tattoo. 
One of the artillery emplacements.
The infantry and artillery standing parade.
Cabot Tower on to[ of Signal Hill.

08-05-2007     Sun     Day 126 

Days Activities:   Left home at 10:00 AM.  It was 62 degrees and the sun was shinning.  There was not much traffic on the road this morning.  The malls appear to be closed and have noticed the grocery stores are only open 1-5 on Sundays.  Probably shorter hours for the mall stores also.   

We drove up Battery Road by the harbour and the streets are really narrow – all of them are one lane and at places not more than 10 feet between houses.  The street branched off like branches on a tree, they were all one lane, and every one was a dead-end.  It took me 4 backups to get the jeep turned.   It was a very rustic looking area with houses cantilevered over the harbour but not a place I would want to live unless my only transportation was a bicycle.  One turn was 90-degrees and I don’t believe it could be made in an older Cadillac because the car was too long.  This is by far the narrowest street we have been on during this trip - in fact that we have ever been on.   

We drove out to the Quidi Vidi Battery, a Provincial Historical Site.  The battery is located at the head of the QV harbour.  It is a small harbour, not large enough for ships, but well suited for land parties.  It was considered the “back door” to St. John's.  When the French took St. John's in 1762 they set up breastworks at the entrance and installed 2 cannons.  As a result of the installation Colonel Amherst was forced to find another landing site when he invaded in September 1762.  The French didn’t hold St. John's long.   

The breastworks was abandoned and deteriorated.  With the outbreak of the Revolutionary War in 1776 the British started rethinking the defense of Newfoundland.  So in 1779-80 a battery was installed above the breastworks.  I estimated it is about 50 feet higher up the cliff and gives a much better view of the ocean, even though the view is limited because of the narrow inlet.  The battery consisted of a barracks, a landing, four 18-pounder cannonades, and two 6-pounder cannon.  The battery was abandoned in 1783 and had fallen into decay by 1785.   

With the outbreak of the war with France in 1793 the battery was restored and used until 1803.  It was abandoned and had fallen into decay by 1805. 

In 1811, a year before the war of 1812 the battery was reconstructed and mounted with two 18-pounder cannonades, and two 6-pounder cannon.  In 1812 they were replaced with 42-pounders (don’t know how many).  The battery was manned until the British withdrew from Newfoundland in 1870.   

The site has been restored to its 1812 appearance just before the cannon were replaced.  What we saw were the two 18-pounder cannonades, and two 6-pounder cannon.   

We received a tour conducted by 2 ladies in period dress.  There were 4 soldiers at the battery and they did a drill for us.  It was very interesting.  We spend about an hour there.  I took pictures of the QV harbour that included a different angle from the ones taken from the brewery dock.  The brewery is the blue building on the left.  Sue also took pictures.  This is a fee site, $3.00 each, but was FREE today. 

Drove out to the North Atlantic Fishery.  Thought we might get to see some fish but no luck.  It was the government headquarters for the fishery industry.  It was a large complex of modern designed buildings. Large round saucer looking roofs, with a great view of the city.   

Drove out to Cape Spear.  It is the eastern most point in North America.  There are 2 lighthouses there.  One was constructed in 1836 and is the oldest lighthouse in Newfoundland.  It has been designated a National Historical Site.  We took a guided tour.  The lighthouse is the same construction as the one at Twillingate so looks like it was copied from this one.  It is round, constructed of stone, with the 2-story house built around it.  We were not allowed to go up into the top of the tower.  The house has been restored to a 1839 appearance.  Cost $3.55 each with AAA discount. 

In 1955 another lighthouse was constructed about 200 yards above this one.  The light was moved to the new lighthouse and the old lighthouse became vacant.  No indication of when the new lighthouse became automated but is was working while we were there.   

We took pictures.  There were 141 steps to the new lighthouse and 60 steps to the old lighthouse.  We met a couple there, with a small child. They live in St. Phillips.  That is about 30 miles from here.  We had a nice visit.  He was a truck driver for 20 years and has driven all over Newfoundland.  They both gave us some ideas of additional thing to see.  Recommended a restaurant in St. Phillips called “On The Beach”.   

Went to the racetrack in Goulds.  We got there late and missed the first race.  We were hungry so we ate as soon as we got there - during the second race.  I didn’t bet on the second but Sue did.  She had 5 cashes on 7 races and I only had 1 cash on 6 races.  She lost $5.50 and I lost $7.40.  She also lost 10 cents through a hole in her pocket. 

They dragged the track using a water truck but after the third race they stopped putting down water.  Found out the water pump where the truck was filled had broken.  It made it real dusty because the truck made six circuits to drag the entire track.  Also, the starting vehicle stirred up a lot of dust.  When it speeded up at the start the horses were completely hidden until they cleared the first turn.  We were seated next to the start/finish line, in our chairs, so we ate a lot of dust during the afternoon.   

This is the first race track we have been to that restricts some of the betting to Win-Place with no Show betting.  There were 2 races like that.  Also, in the seventh race there was a horse that had won 12 of 12 races this year.  They did not allow betting on that horse but it got to run and won.  That makes 13 for 13 in 2007.  The way the betting worked was that the second place horse was considered the winner for betting purposes only and the third place horse paid the Place bet. 

Got home at 6:00 PM.  It was a beautiful day.  The sun was shinning during the races but we hadn’t been home more than 30 minutes before it started raining.

The Quidi Vidi Battery, a Provincial Historical Site.  In period dress.
Performing a drill.
From the Battery looking down onto Quidi Vidi Bay.  The green building is the Quidi Vidi brewery.
One of the lighthouses on Cape Spear.

08-06-2007     Mon     Day 127 

Days Activities:   It rained last night and a bit this morning but the sun came out around 8:30 AM.  Left home at 10:35 AM.     

We went to the parliament building, called “Confederation Building”.  Construction was completed in 1960.  It has a large office building appearance.  The only thing that makes it look different from other office buildings is the tall tower in the center.  It is the tallest building in St. John's and sets on a hill overlooking the entrance to the harbour (called the Narrows) and Signal Hill.  We took a tour – FREE.  Sue took pictures. 

Went to the Geo Center located on Signal Hill.  It is a building that was constructed in a ravine in the hill.  The 2 sides of the ravine are the outer walls of the building, exposed in the building.  The purpose of the building is to provide a history of rocks.  There are several theatres and numerous exhibits throughout the building explaining and demonstrating the evolution of the earth.  We saw a long video on the tsunami that happened in 2004, oil and gas exhibit provided by Mobil, a Titanic exhibit, several live presentations, videos that covered industry, and video about icebergs.   

There were signs hanging from the roof about the age of the rock walls that read – The rocks of Signal Hill were formed:

  • 450 million years before the Rocky Mountains
  • 350 million years before the Atlantic Ocean
  • 300 million years before the first Dinosaurs
  • 150 years before the first land animals 

I think they’re full of shit when it come to trying to date these rocks.   The primary objective of the exhibits is to educate people on the history and evaluation of the land matter of Newfoundland and Labrador and the development of the region.  The theme of the exhibit is “Our Planet, Our Province, Our Future.  We spent 4½ hours here.  Cost $8.00 each SR.   

Stopped off at home for an hour then went to George Street for dinner at “Mexicali Rosa’s”.  Sue liked her meal but mine was way overcooked.  Took a stroll down George Street but it was too early to see much.  Did see that it looked like a dump with narrow uneven and cluttered up sidewalks.  Sure wouldn’t want to walk on them in the dark.  Got home at 7:30 PM.

08-07-2007     Tue     Day 128 

Fuel:   The jeep at Irving in Torbay, NL.  $1.108 = $3.986 

Days Activities:   Left home at 10:15 AM.  Going to drive the Killick Coast road on the Northeast Avalon Peninsula. Drove over to the St. Phillips Harbour and started the tour from there.  Next stop was the Belle Island Ferry landing in Portugal Cove.  Stopped and picked up a ferry schedule.  Took pictures of the ferry dock and houses on the cliffs overlooking the harbour.   

Drove to Bauline Harbour.  In is a cute little village at the foot of a steep cliff on Conception Bay.  There are about 50 houses in the village.  The final approach to the village drops over 300 feet in less than a quarter mile – extremely steep with the last 300 yards being at about a 20% grade.   

On the way out we stopped and took some pictures of model boats in a yard.  The owner was in the front yard and he invited us into his yard to take the pictures.  He makes the boats in the winter time.  He has a shop in the back yard where he does the rough work and then takes them in the house for the finish work.  I took a shot of the line of boats then took an individual shot of each one.  The lens setting and the distance of each picture are the same - which gives a comparison of the size.  The second one is the one he did this past winter and is not completed yet.  Four of the boats are lighted and the newest one has a motor with a shaft and propeller that works.   

Drove to Pouch Cove.  Stopped at an overlook and took pictures of murals that are on the concrete retainer in the parking area – also one on a wall.  Also took pictures of boats and coastline.  It is suppose to rain the next 3 days.  Took pictures of what looked like weather moving in but found out later it is just the fog bank that sets out there every day and moves in at night.  The old gentleman that told us about the fog said it was so bad at nights it “was as thick as pea soup”.   He said the fog is worse at this end of the peninsula than any other place on the island.   

Pouch Cove is the oldest permanent settlement on the Avalon Peninsula, and possible the oldest in Newfoundland, because it was settled in 1611 when permanent residence in Newfoundland and Labrador was illegal.    

We continued on a 4-wheel road at the edge of the village to the end on the peninsula.  There is an automated lighthouse at the end.  I took pictures and also a movie of the surf.  Sue set out on the rocks and looked for whales.   It is a beautiful view but didn’t see any whales.  There are a couple of docks at the end and 6 structures but it is all abandoned and in disrepair.  We passed 8 houses on the way in but none of them looked like they have been occupied this year.  

At the Geo Center we learned that there is very little farming done in Newfoundland and the majority of that is grown on the Avalon Peninsula.  Everything that is grown is utilized on the island – none is exported.  What is exported is “wild blueberries”.  About one million kilos are exported annually.  On the way out we stopped at a blueberry field and looked at the bushes.  Sue took pictures.  Some of the berries were just getting ripe.  We had seen people picking berries out on Cape Spears and on Fogo Island.  The drive out to the end was 2.8 miles and it took about 25 minutes each way.  It was really a rough road.   

Stopped in Torbay fueled the jeep and had an ice cream cone – double dip. 

Stopped at Middle Cove Beach and walked out on the beach.  It was sunny and there were quite a few people there.  The beach sand was gray in color but it was about 50 feet from the water.  The area between the sand and the water was rock.  People make fires on the beach.  I counted over 60 places where campfires had been made.  This is a popular beach for gathering caplin when them come in each year.  Also, this is the spot where the trans-Atlantic cable was landed on August 23, 1853.  It originated in Cornwall, England and was 15,252 miles long.  Sue took pictures.   

Drove another quarter mile and stopped at an overlook above Outer Cove.  Met two old gentlemen, would estimate in late 70’s, who were enjoying the view.  We had a nice visit with them.  They had watched whale in the cove last week that had followed the caplin in.  We were talking about the weather and they said it had changed so much that for the past two winters they have played golf in December and that had not happened before.  Where has the snow gone? 

Stopped at the Oceans Sciences Center in Logy.  I thought it was an aquarium but it wasn’t.  it is a marine research center.  They invite the public but only have a limited area open, that being a touch tank that was about one foot by 8 feet and two tanks with five seals in them.  The seals are used for research and they are weighted and blood drawn every week.  The oldest one was 23 years old and has been at the center, in that small tank, for 18 years – we think that is really sad.  Very disappointing for what I was expecting.  The center is operated by scientist and used by universities.  FREE.  Sue took pictures.  Got back home at 4:20 PM.

Bauline Harbour on Conception Bay.
Around Bauline Harbour saw these boats in a yard.
In Pouch Cove saw murals painted all along the coastal road.
Middle Cove Beach.  Remember, Newfoundland is called the "Rock".

08-08-2007     Wed     Day 129 

Days Activities:   Left home at 10:10 AM.  Went to Wal-Mart and got the oil changed in the jeep – mileage 96,769.  Overcast with mist. 

Drove to Fort Amherst.  Had to park and walk about a quarter mile.  It was a steep climb to the point.  The original fort was constructed in 1777 and named after Colonel Williams Amherst who led the troops that recaptured St. John's in 1762.  It was only manned for several years.  During WW I it was reconstructed and used through WW II.  Since WW II it has been allowed to deteriorate.  No restoration had been done on the fort.  It only consisted of a concrete bunker with large guns and several concrete buildings that were probably barracks.  The area is fenced off.  The top of the bunker has caved in and one of the rusted guns is visible.   

It is also the site of the first lighthouse built in Newfoundland – constructed in 1813.  It was rebuilt in 1852 to include light keeper quarters.  In 1867 additional quarters were added.  In 1951 the current lighthouse was built and was automated in 1982.  Sue took pictures.  As noted it was a steep grade going up but appeared to be  only a slight incline coming down.   

At the lighthouse we met a couple from Ontario.  We talked for about 20 minutes.  They drove over and are staying a B & B’s.  We talked about places we have each visited and shared ideas of places to visit. 

Stopped at the St. John's small craft harbour and took pictures of a shrimp boat.  It was a bottom dragger.   

Sopped at three churches: 

  • Anglican Cathedral of St. John the Baptist – took a tour.  The corner stone for this church was laid in 1843 but construction was not started until 1847.  Construction was completed in 1885.  The fire in 1892 destroyed the roof, pews, and all of the stained glass windows except for one.  Reconstruction took 13 years.  We had a good visit with the tour guide.  Took about an hour.  Left a $5.00 donation.  Sue took pictures. The church had a huge organ with over 1,300 tubes.  Church will seat 1,000.
  • Basilica Cathedral of St. John the Baptist – Sue went in and took pictures.  There was a double decker tour bus unloading so she listened to some of the tour talk.  The church will seat 2,000.
  • St. Thomas Church – it is the oldest wooden church in St. John's.  Suppose to give tours but the church was locked.  Sue took pictures of the outside only.   

Went to the Fluvarium that is across from the entrance to the campground.  The building was built with viewing windows in the underground floor and a stream that runs through the park was diverted to the viewing windows.  The stream is stocked with brown trout.  There are other exhibits that deal with the ecology of fish and streams.  The best part was a video about the cod and caplin.  Cost $5.40 each SR.  Got home at 5:10 PM.  The weather turned out to be good today.

Fort Amherst.  This shot was from the parking lot.  It was a steep climb to the fort but well worth the effort.
The lighthouse at Fort Amherst.  Is the first lighthouse built in Newfoundland. 
View from the Fort.
Fishing boat in St. John's small craft harbor.

08-09-2007     Thur     Day 130 

Days Activities:   It stated raining about midnight and rained all night long.  Still raining this morning.   

Left home at 9:15 AM.  Drove to the Belle Island Ferry.  Had an hour wait, heavy fog all the way there.  Took a picture of the waterfall at the landing.  Cost $6.75 SR.  Crossing took 20 minutes.  

Went to the Iron Ore Mine and Museum.  Went down into the mine.  There were actually 6 main mine shafts and we went down shaft #2.  They mined a 17’ high vein of ore in all the shafts except #5.  Number 5 had two 17’ veins, one on top of the other that was separated by a 2’ layer of stone.  So the ceilings in all the shafts were 17’ high except for #5 and it was 36’ high.  The ore was removed in a “rooms” fashion on a 60/40 percentage.  What that meant was only 60% of the ore was removed in any one section with 40% being left in place to support the ceiling.  No bracing was used to support the ceiling.  
 

Since there were 6 main shafts the shafts ran from north to south.  The shafts dropped at a 10 degree slope because that was the angle of the vein of ore.  The arteries off the main shafts ran east and west.  All ore was removed through the main shafts via rail cars that were pulled to the surface by cable, 6 cars at a time, each car holding 1.8 ton of ore.  The cars from the arteries were moved to the main line with horses.  Each mucker (ore car loaders) had to load 20 cars in their 10 hour shift.  There was an estimated 70 square miles of ore available but only 10 square miles was actually mined.  The mine ran 3 miles south out under Conception Bay and for 4 miles east to west.   

We went 650 feet down shaft #2 and that was as far as we could go.  The mine was flooded from that point on.  We were allowed to go about 50 feet into the east and west arteries at that point.  Employees and researchers are allowed in the other sections of the mine that is not under water but most of it is under water.  Bear in mind it runs for 3 miles south and it is all under water but 650 feet.  At the furthermost point we could go we were still a quarter mile from the bay and it was 160 feet to the surface.  At the end of the mine it was 1,800 feet to the bottom of Conception Bay and another 400 feet of water.  They had to continually pump water while the mine was in operation.  We took pictures but they didn't come out very good so have not included any. 

As noted horses were used.  They went down on a one month in one month out rotation.  Since it was dark in the mine when the horses were taken out they were blindfolded with a layer of blindfolds.  Each day one layer was removed.  At the end of a week the last blindfolds would be removed.  This way the eyesight of the horses was preserved.  In the museum was an award that was given for one horse that went in the mine at the age of 3 and was retired at the age of 20.  It lived for another 5 years after retirement and still had eyesight when it died. 

The mine was opened in 1895 and closed in 1966 because of the low quality of the ore.  At that time there were 15,000 people on the island.  When the mine closed there was no other work on the island so the government offered homeowners $1,500 each for their homes, regardless of value.  The tour guide said the current population is about 3,000 with about 600 a day commuting to St. John's to work.  I would question that because considering the ferry size and schedule that many can’t be moved twice a day unless they are using bus transportation, which I doubt.   

During WW II a German U-boat sank 4 ships at Belle Island that were loaded with ore - two on September 5, 1942 and two on November 2, 1942.  The U-boat was destroyed.  Cost $6.00 each SR. 

Drove out to the lighthouse.  It was operating but was not open.  It was raining so I took pictures from the car.  

It had stopped raining by the time we got back across the ferry.  Drove to St. Phillips and picked up the Admirals’ Trail.  Stopped at Topsail Beach.  Nice clean beach with a large parking area, all rock, with picnic tables.  Good view of Belle Island and two other islands that looked to be uninhibited.  Got home at 4:30 PM.

Water falls at the Belle Island ferry landing.
Lighthouse on Belle Island.

08-10-2007     Fri     Day 131 

Days Activities:   Left home at 12:15 PM.  Went to the library and checked email.  Then we went to “The Rooms”.  It is a museum that is built on the site of Fort Townsend that was constructed in 1775 to 1777.  Fort Amherst was built at the head of the Narrows around the same time to augment protection for St. John's.  Cost $4.00 each SR. 

Not much to say about the museum.  Did have some interesting reading.  Discovered trans-Atlantic cable that landed in Newfoundland in 1858 failed after just 3 weeks and a reliable cable was not installed until 1866. 

Went to the post office and our mail still has not arrived.  Got back home at 4:30 PM. 

Went to dinner at By The Beach, the place the couple that we met at Cape Spears told us about.  The fish was good and we met a couple there from St. John's, Phyllis and John.  The place was really crowded so we set together.  We had a real good visit.  They are both retired, she a schoolteacher and he an electrical engineer. 

Have driven 465 miles in and around St. John's since we have been here.  Will drive the Irish Loop tomorrow.  The weather was beautiful today.

08-11-2007     Sat     Day 132 

Fuel:   The jeep at an Ultramar in Cape Broyle, NL - $1.118 = $3.997 

Days Activities:   Left home at 8:10 AM to drive the Irish Loop – that is the loop of the southeast section of the Avalon Peninsula.  Headed out 10 south.  Drove through the villages along the route. 

At East Bauline we saw a campground that has one of the best view we have seen in years.  It is setting on a small flat area above the bay.  The bay is full of small islands.  The sites were close together but had full hookups.  Would not mind spending a few days in this campground.   

Drove through La Manche Provincial Park.  There are 70 sites, no services, and the campground was full.  There were RV’s parked in the day use area.  It looked like a nice campground to spend a few days. 

Drove to the village of La Manche but it was just a turnaround at the end of the road.  Looks like the village has disappeared but there is still a spot on the map. 

At Brigus South we stopped at the top of the hill of the road entering the village and took pictures.  Took a picture of a dock and stage.  This is the first stage we have seen in our touring since leaving Twillingate.  There is a small island in the bay that has had a causeway built to it.  It makes for a very effective harbour.  We went out on the island and walked out to the tip and took pictures.   

Drove out towards the Ferryland Lighthouse but the road, if you could call it a road, stopped about ¾ mile short.  The rest of the distance had to be covered by foot and it was all uphill.  Sue took a picture and we drove back.  

Stopped at the Ferryland Visitors Interpretive Center.  Sue took a guided tour.  Cost $9.12 and took 2 hours 15 minutes.  I stayed in the car, napped, and read.  She had a good time and I did too.  It is an archeological dig with some partial reconstruction.

Stopped and got lunch to go at a small place just outside Cappahayden.  There was a convenience store located in the end of the house and a small building in front that was the café.  Did not see a name, it just had a sign out by the road that said “fish and chips”.  Don’t know if that was supposed to be the name or advertising fish and chips.  While we were waiting for our food we talked to one of the ladies that lived in the house.  She said there has not been an iceberg along their coastline in over 5 years.  In past years it has been full of bergs.  She also said the whales had been scarce the past few years.  

Anyway we got our food and headed out.  Sue had a club sandwich and I had a hamburger.  It was the best burger I have had in months.  To bad we’re not going back that way because I would have liked a second serving.   

At Portugal Cove we took a 12-mile long rock road out to the Cape Race Lighthouse.  It was not open to visitors and is a working lighthouse.  Sue took pictures and also pictures of a large rock at the base of the point.  There was not anything there to tell us about the lighthouse. 

On the way back we saw an old couple out in the field gathering something so I stopped and walked out to them.  Had to walk through a bog with really spongy like plants underfoot.  They were gathering “bake apples” – looked like an orange berry.  There is only one berry per plant.  He said they grow in the wild in bogs in Newfoundland, Labrador, and Norway.  This years crop has not been very good – the berries are usually more plentiful and larger.  They were both wearing rubber boots because of the bog.   I took some picture and then gathered a couple.  Put them on the hood of the jeep and photographed them.    

We saw a number of cars parked along the road with people out gathering bake apples.  Another name for bake apple is “cloud berry”.  That makes more sense to me considering how it looks and the fact it looks like a berry.  

Drove put to the Cape Pine Lighthouse – 5 miles of rock road.  It was not open to visitors and is a working lighthouse.  There was someone living in the light keepers house but the light is automated.   The lighthouse stands 300 feet above the water, was constructed in 1851, and cost 6,500 pounds.  It is a 50-foot circular cast iron tower and originally contained sleeping quarters for the light keeper.  However, the tower proved to be inhabitable so a house had to be built.  No reason given for being inhabitable but would imagine it was quite cold in a cast iron tower.  Sue took pictures. 

The lighthouse is sitting in a beautiful spot.  There are no trees but miles of rolling grass plains.  There is a sign on the gate going in that request the gate always be closed to keep the sheep out.  Apparently there is sheep ranching in the area but we didn’t see any.   

Departed the lighthouse at 5:55 PM and we had traveled 168 miles to this point.  We headed home.  

Between the Cape Pine turnoff and Peter’s River we saw some caribou grazing off in the distance.  As we were getting ready to stop and look at the little spots far off we came on two caribou walking down the road.  Took some pictures and they eventually wandered off the road and we got a few more.  

The coastline of the southern part of the Avalon Peninsula is primarily cliffs and beaches.  The beaches look real clean and inviting until you get close to them.  They are covered in small rock.  There is a little sand but not much and what there is of it is course and gray.  Got home at 8:20 PM and the drive today was 272 miles. 

A note about today.  According to the guidebooks this is supposed to be a beautiful drive.  We had also been advised, at different times by two Newfoundland couples, that it was a beautiful drive.  It was but not what we wanted to put this much time into.  The villages are all modern without the rustic appearance we wanted to look at.  The bays in the villages were all real clean and sterile, without the appearance of being fishing villages, again not what we wanted to look at.  There were miles and miles of nothing between villages and we see enough of that in Texas.  However it was a nice clean looking area.  In a way it is probably a good thing we made the drive because if we hadn’t we would have always wondered what we had missed. 

Driving the Irish Loop.  At Brigus South though this was a pretty shot. 
Ferryland Visitors Interpretive Center.
Cape Race Lighthouse
Rock and surf at the foot of Cape Race Lighthouse.
Bake Apple aka “Cloud Berry”.  They only grow one to a plant.
Bake Apple close up.
Cape Pine Lighthouse.
Caribou on the road.

08-12-2007     Sun     Day 133 

Days Activities:   We’ve had a busy week so taking it easy today.  Went to the Memorial University of Newfoundland’s Botanical Gardens.  It was established on 5 acres in 1977.  We spent 1½ hrs there and really enjoyed it.  Cost $3.00 each.

Note - We had only planned to stay in St. John's for 5 nights but had to stay for 12 because of our mail.  As it turned out staying 12 nights was a good thing.  We received our mail on the 13th so we departed St. John's.

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