– Clarenville, Newfoundland to St. John’s, Newfoundland –
It was pretty misty this morning in Clarenville. It wasn’t supposed to rain, at least according to the weather app on my phone last night, but it eventually did, though thankfully not until Mark, Ripley and I were almost done with our run.
Clarenville is full of hills, and with the mist and rain we decided to avoid the likely muddy ATV trail in favor of running along the roads. We were on sidewalks most of the time, but it was wet everywhere and all of the hills were exhausting. Overall, it was not a very satisfying run.
When we made it back to the hotel, it started to rain in earnest. It was still raining when we were packing up the car. Once everything was and everyone was in, we headed down the road towards the Trans-Canadian Highway to find the big gas stations to get some ice and some breakfast.
We stopped at an Irving Oil for our ice and gas, then through the same parking lot over to Tim Horton’s. I guess now that we’ve had our first Timmie’s of the trip, we’re somehow in the habit now. I was especially impressed with Mom’s Canada Day donut. Too bad it ended up having jelly in it. I would’ve been jealous otherwise. I didn’t even get a donut. Maybe next time.
It was only two hours over to St. John’s, and we were finally on the road and going that way by 8:30, so we would’ve been in town pretty early if we’d just driven straight there. Luckily, we had several planned stops for the afternoon, so we wouldn’t be getting there quite that early.
About half an hour or so from town, we turned more to the south and drove down to the Witless Bay Ecological Reserve, where we hoped to see pretty coast, whales, and puffins. Unfortunately, it was still misty, and the fog this morning was terrible.
After driving around for a while, we found a point to drive out and look around the bay. It was too foggy to see any sort of wildlife, but the coast was interesting. We’ve been seeing a lot of nice coast, so it wasn’t especially impressive in comparison.
We eventually found the ecological preserve, too, though most of it is actually out on islands just off the coast. That’s where you see most of the puffins, I guess. I feel like we are doomed not to see any puffins this trip, since we didn’t book any boat tours. Maybe we will somehow see a puffin on the big ferry trip?
From Witless Bay, we drove north toward our next stop, one of two national historic sites of the day. This first one was called Cape Spear National Historic Site, and while the rain and fog had cleared quite a bit on our trip up to it, it was terrible there upon our arrival.
The wind was blowing so hard it could nearly knock me over, the temperature had dropped nearly 10 degrees celsius, and the fog had the lighthouse there almost completely socked in. The wind was blowing the fog so hard that you could watch it blow past in huge clouds.
Since the weather was so nasty, we decided to see if we could wait it out, and the weather might clear a bit. We sat in the car and had a little snack while we sat around for fifteen or twenty minutes, watching people in pants and jackets walk up the hill to the lighthouse while we sat in the car in T-shirts and shorts more suitable for the nearly 80-degree weather back away from the historic site.
After our wait, nothing had changed, and Mark decided he didn’t want to wait any longer. He donned his sweater and powered up the stairs without us, braving the cold and the terrible wind. He took some great photos, and survived the cold. I almost wished I had gone too when he got back, but that wind was really sharp, even with my sweater.
It was another half hour down the road to our next national historic site, and in between was the city of St. John’s, which is the largest city in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. We did a little bit of cruising through town as we headed up to the next park, but we didn’t dally too long. It was already after noon, and we were starting to get hungry.
The other park is called Signal Hill National Historic Site, and it served as St. John’s Harbor defenses from early in the city’s history until about World War II. Also on the hill is Cabot Tower, which received the first trans-Atlantic wireless message from the United Kingdom back in 1901. The tower was originally constructed to commemorate the 400th anniversary of John Cabot’s discovery of Newfoundland.
It is quite difficult to park at the top of Signal Hill, as it is a very popular attraction and there aren’t many spots available, but we managed to find one pretty quickly. While we were getting things out of the car, like Mark’s cameras and the dogs, people kept thinking we were leaving and parking behind us, waiting for us to pull out. Sorry, other people. We’d just gotten there.
The hill looks back down on the whole city, and out across the ocean, as well. Dog are allowed, so we took Ripley up to the top. We took a bunch of photos of the city, and of the tower. It’s a really neat place. We even took turns walking up the tiny, narrow stairs to the top of the tower. The dogs weren’t allowed in the building. I was a little nervous, since the stairs were so tight, but I made it to the top. The view was even better than the one from the bottom, for sure.
When we finished at the hill, we drove back down to look around town a little more. The houses down here are very colorful. There’s an area called Jellybean Row that’s particularly pretty. It was only about 2pm, so we stopped at our hotel to get some internet to see where we could find something for lunch.
We ended up at a pita shop, where Mark and I had falafel pitas, and Dad got a Philly cheesesteak one. Mom wasn’t hungry, so she skipped it. Mine was pretty good, if a little messy. We visited Walmart after that, to stock up on the things we’ve been needing.
With Walmart out of the way, we unloaded all of our stuff into the hotel room, and while Mom and the dogs stayed behind, the other three of us went to Canadian Tire to get the oil changed in the Suburban. Canadian Tire is pretty cool. I wish we had one at home.
Mark and I dropped Dad at the hotel after that and went to a real grocery store (instead of Walmart) to stock up on cooler food. We were able to get stuff we’ve been wanting for a while, and we were very happy. Coleman’s is a nice grocery store.
Mark and I did our laundry when we got back to the hotel, then took Mom out to buy dinner around 6:30pm. She bought fish, chicken, and fries for herself and Dad, and Mark and I picked up Asian food from the Wok Box. Both of our dishes were very spicy, but delicious.
Tomorrow is a long day driving all the way back across Newfoundland to get to the ferry on the far side. It’s a lot of backtracking, with only a little bit of new road. We probably won’t do too many exciting things along the way. The following day is the long ferry. At least we get to run, and our hotel has free breakfast. Slow days happen, right?
– Trip Total : 4,670 miles –