– Wabush, Labrador to Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Labrador –

It was pretty cold this morning. It also felt like 4am when we got out of bed, even though it was 5. Silly time change. Spoiler alert, though: We made it to our hotel around 2:30pm this afternoon and had a nice, relaxing afternoon. We really needed it.

So, as I mentioned yesterday, there really¬† wasn’t anywhere to run in Wabush or Labrador City, so we just got up, showered, and hit the road. Our hotel didn’t have breakfast, so we mostly ate from our food stores. Mark and I did buy two little packs of cereal and a small carton of milk for our breakfast when we stopped at a gas station for ice and a full tank of gas. I’ve eaten more cereal on this trip than I’ve had in months at home.

Actually Bowdoin Canyon

We didn’t have any planned stops for the day, and no amount of googling on our part revealed anything particularly interesting between Labrador City and Happy Valley-Goose Bay. In fact, there was only little town were we could stop for a break. The drive only took 6.5 hours though, so I guess it wasn’t too bad.

Sunrise was even earlier still, so even though we were on the road by 6:30am, it was bright daylight. It’s still bright daylight as I write this to you at 8:30pm. The days are getting longer, for sure. I’m just glad most of these places have good curtains.

Churchill River

Our first stop today was at a little trail on the Churchill River that led to the Bowdoin Canyon. It was just over 3 hours into the trip, I think. Mark and I were both going to get out of the car and see if we could go and find the canyon and waterfall back on the trail, but I balked at getting out of the car as soon as I saw all the bugs that swarmed the vehicle as soon as we stopped.

I know I’ve mentioned the bugs before, but this was absolutely insane. There were thousands of flies and mosquitoes buzzing around the Suburban, since it was putting off heat. I immediately changed my mind, but Mark decided to put on some bug spray and brave the outdoors. I spent two or three minutes after he left crushing flies that got in when we opened the door.

Mark and the big mean bug bites

He was gone so long down the trail taking pictures that Dad eventually put on some bug spray and went looking for him, thinking maybe something had happened. It turned out that it was a little further down the trail than we had thought, so he’d spent the extra time walking down and back.

At the end of the trail was Bowdoin Canyon, which he got some photos of, along with a really sketchy path down to the waterfall that he chose not to take. His pictures of the canyon are neat, but I’m not sure it was worth it. He missed putting bug spray on his face, and he came back with multiple, incredibly itchy bug bites on his head. They’ve been bothering him all day. Luckily, my parents brought some anti-itch cream, so he found some relief at little while ago at the hotel. The bumps have not gone back down yet.

Our only stop

A little up from the trail, we stopped in the tiny town of Churchill Falls, which is another town with most of the homes, stores, and businesses inside a large central building. We only stopped for a much-needed bathroom break, and we had a hard time finding somewhere to stop, not realizing the giant building had a grocery store and restaurants in it, too..

We finally found a gas station / liquor store, where we bought a candy bar and a soda and took our break. We’ve never seen blackberry ginger ale from Canada Dry before.¬† It was pretty tasty. The candy bar was weird. It was an “Eat-More,” and was a “dark toffee peanut chew.” It tasted like a slightly better Tootsie roll with nuts. I love trying candy I’ve never seen before.

Blackberry Ginger Ale

About noon, we stopped for a quick lunch from the cooler. The highway today has been entirely paved, unlike yesterday, and for some reason that seems to mean that it has even fewer pull-outs. It is just miles and miles of empty highway and trees.

Our stop ended up being gorgeous, though. It was still filled with bugs, so we ate in the car, but we had a very nice view of the river while we gathered our food. Mark once again braved the bugs for photos. He’s a true photographer, risking life and limb for pretty pictures. Or maybe he was just risking further itchiness.

The view at lunch

Around 2:30, we made it to Happy Valley-Goose Bay, where we promptly checked into our adorable hotel, the Royal Inn & Suites. We took the dogs around to meet the receptionist, as she really wanted to see them and scratch them. After that, we unloaded the car and Dad took a nap.

Mark and I took Ripley to the local dog park, which we were shocked to find in such a small town. She had so much fun, especially since we didn’t get to take her for a run this morning. She was exhausted after, and much happier. We also stopped by a tourist information center and picked up some books and pamphlets about traveling Labrador, which it would’ve been nice to have yesterday, but they will help tomorrow, too. We also got a nice paper map that has Newfoundland and Labrador. Score.

Being ridiculous at the dog park

We took Ripley back to the hotel, then drove back to a grocery store to buy some eggs. Our room tonight has a kitchenette, and we have an entire container for a dozen boiled eggs that’s totally empty now. We refilled it properly and are set again for another few days.

By the time we got back from that, we had some time to sit around the room again and relax for a bit. We went back out for dinner around 6:00pm, and made it back around 7. For dinner, Dad had fish and chips, Mom had a hamburger and fries, Mark had a cheese sandwich and fries, and I had vegetarian nachos. Never order Mexican food north of Texas. The salsa tastes like plain tomato sauce. The food was fine, and it wasn’t pizza, so we were happy.

A cheese sandwich, but not a grilled cheese

Tomorrow we drive briefly back into Quebec at the very end of the day. We’ve got a morning without much of anything but dirt roads, but we should hit the ocean mid-afternoon, as well as several small towns. It’s a longer day, and we have two planned stops towards the end of the day, so I hope we make it to them before they close. Mark found us a place to run in the morning, and our hotel has breakfast. It should be an improvement over today, for sure.

– Trip Total : 3,125 miles

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