Our Newfoundland trip has just begun and we’ve already had our fair share of adventures & misadventures!

Our first adventure began the week before we left, when we took our ten-year-old Toyota Sienna in to the garage to get it tuned up before leaving.  They had hardly begun to look at it when they called to tell us that the frame was rusted through on the front passenger side and in their opinion, we shouldn’t take it on the trip.  Thus began our search for a new vehicle.  Having four children (two still in booster seats), a van was our only option.  We did look at a used Honda Pilot, but it just didn’t have enough space.  Long story short, we ended up buying a 2010 Honda Odyssey with 22,000km at 4:45 on Friday afternoon of the long weekend, planning to leave on Monday.  Nothing like the 11th hour…

Sunday night, we had two rooms of guests who were both up and out fairly early.  We scurried around, cleaning rooms, washing bedding, and getting packed up.  We had a goal to leave the house between 1 – 2 p.m. and we pulled out of the driveway at 2:30!  Evan had sold tickets for a baseball fundraiser that had to be dropped off on our way out of town and away we went!

Our next stop was a visit to D’Arcy’s aunt & uncle, Myles & Alice, in the Monastery area. That was a highlight of the trip so far!  D’Arcy’s cousin Paul was there from Ontario with his family and pet bunny.  Olivia had a grand time petting the bunny.  Paul’s kids showed the girls a fun came of loading up a toy dump truck with bouncy balls and dumping them down the stairs!  They were protecting themselves with pillows and laughing & squealing.  So much fun!

Olivia & Robinson

Most fun game ever!

Sarah made my day when we were driving in Cape Breton and she announced, “I’m watching the Nature Channel out my window – and it’s in 3D!”

We got to the ferry in lots of time and I was very impressed when as we checked in, the girl (another St. FX grad!) commented, “Oh – you’re traveling with a peanut allergy!”  She told us to feel free to take our cooler with food on board. We got in the line and the excitement in the van was palpable.  The girls decided that they needed to go to the bathroom just as the announcement was made to return to your vehicles to prepare for boarding.  Sarah decided that she could wait, but it soon became apparent that she couldn’t.  We were in lane #9 and were watching the other vehicles board in order.  We decided to risk it, and D’Arcy ran her to the bathroom.  The rest of us started to panic when they skipped over from loading Lane 6 directly to Lane 9!!  Luckily, we were farther back in the Lane, so just as we would have to move, Sarah & D’Arcy came running back!

We got on board and checked out our very tiny, cramped, 4-bearth cabin. After some finagling, it was decided that Evan would sleep on one top bunk and D’Arcy & Sarah would sleep on the other top bunk.  We’ll switch it up on the way back.  We went out on deck to watch as we set sail and then after a quick tour of the decks went back to our cabin for stories and bed.  (It was after 11:00 p.m. by this time.)  Olivia was so tired that half-way through her story, she asked if we could finish in the morning.  The swaying of the ship put us all to sleep very quickly.

Luckily, the kids all seem to have inherited strong “sea legs” from their parents and none of us had problems with our stomachs on the fourteen hour ride.  In the morning, we showered and went out to the Lounge area to have brunch and play games.  The ferry has a games room where you can borrow different board games so the boys played Battleship while the girls played Snakes & Ladders and then D’Arcy & I joined them for a game of My Little Pony Memory.  The girls were so happy that the ship was fitted all over with “ballet bars”!

Leaving Nova Scotia

Brunch on the Ferry


The ballet boat!

This takes me back to my days as a crane operator on the MS Scotia Prince!

Fun times on the ferry

So bright - and hot!!

The kids and the moose at Goobies, NL

It was a beautiful, bright, but cool day when we arrived in Newfoundland.  We disembarked from the ferry and headed towards our first destination – Frenchman’s Cove Provincial Park on the Burin Peninsula.

We made a couple of stops along the way – one in Goobies where we got gas and took pictures with a statue of a moose, then again in Marystown.  We realized that we hadn’t brought a flashlight and we wanted to pick up a second air mattress for the tent. We tried a couple of Home Hardware stores, and Canadian Tire was closed, so we had to go to Walmart.  We picked up what we needed and proceeded to the cash.  The air mattress rang in $15 more than the sticker on the shelf.  The cashier called the girl in the outdoor section who couldn’t find the sticker on the shelf.  I ended up taking the air mattress back to her.  It was no wonder she couldn’t find the sticker – she was looking at a totally different product!  I got the sticker and took it back up to the cashier.  She had to call a supervisor over and the supervisor told her that she should have done a price override.  The two of them started arguing about what the proper procedure was, rather than ringing it in.  The lady behind me told them that their behaviour was inappropriate.  The supervisor stormed off, but didn’t complete her procedure, so I couldn’t pay until she came back and pressed some more buttons.  She wouldn’t even look at me or at the cashier, and pounded the keys on the register before storming off again.  The cashier looked at me and said, “After ten years of doing this, I think I know when I can do a price override or not!”

We finally arrived at the campground at about 7:30 p.m., 29 hours after leaving our home.  D’Arcy & the boys got the fire going and started setting up the tent while the girls explored and I started supper.  We had steak, and new potatoes, carrots & onions cooked over the fire.  It was delicious!!  We sat around the fire and realized that we were exhausted!  We decided to put off making s’mores and went to bed and were asleep in no time!

In the tent