Geocashing and Exploring

August 5, 2011

The heavy rain held off through the night.  I woke at five and the outside of the tent was slightly wet, but had dried off by the time we got up at eight.  Because we hadn’t unpacked much, we were able to get the tent and our belongings packed up quickly.  We stopped in to say goodbye to Carl, who was a wonderful ambassador and so helpful and kind to us!

The drive from Frenchman’s Cove to Bonavista takes about four hours.  We stopped in Marystown for coffee & smoothies for the road.  Just as we got out of town, the girls announced that they had to go to the bathroom.  For the record, there is NO place to stop along the road from  Marystown to Goobies.  At one point, we pulled over to let Olivia pee on the side of the road, but she had some performance anxiety and decided she could wait for the gas station.  We finally arrived back in Goobies. Sarah insisted on washing the van windows, something I remember loving to do while on trips with my own family when I was growing up.  The girls wanted to go over and see the moose again.  The bull moose is anatomically correct which made for some interesting conversation!  We stopped in at the Visitor Information Centre and got some information on Bonavista and the girls got activity books.

Our next stop was Clarenville where we went to the Co-op to get supplies for lunch. We took the scenic route from Clarenville and stopped in Trinity to have our lunch – another beautiful Newfoundland town!  We had sandwiches, fruit, yogurt & pudding at a picnic table on the water.  A man from Trinity came along with his dog, Charlie, and the girls had fun petting him.  We also chatted with a couple from Quebec City who were traveling on motorcycle.  After we ate, we walked up to the Library and used the C@P site before touring around the rest of the town.

A picnic in Trinity

Trinity, Newfoundland

We headed to Bonavista and it started to rain heavily.  During the drive, we decided that we would find a place to stay rather than sleeping in the tent again.  We found a “cabin” (small apartment) at the Hotel Bonavista & Cabins.  I think we all enjoyed having some of the comforts of home!

After we checked in, we drove out to Bonavista Lighthouse and searched for our first geo-cache! Despite the rain & fog, the setting is beautiful!  There are Inukshuks built all along the cliffs’ edges.  After we found the geo-cache, we took an eraser and left a toy that we had found in our van when we bought it – and a business card of course!  There were puffins flying everywhere.  It was a fun activity and the kids are looking forward to finding their next one.



Almost found it!

Found it!!


Having fun with the family!

All those white spots are puffins!

We came back to the “cabin” and cooked pizzas while the girls watched some television and D’Arcy and the boys played crib.  We were happy to be warm & dry while the rain pounded outside!


A Day of (Mis)adventures

August 5, 2011

The boys & I woke up in the tent shortly after eight a.m., only to discover that D’Arcy was already up and out for a run.   We lazed in our sleeping bags, chatting quietly and the girls continued to sleep peacefully until closer to nine.  When D’Arcy got back from his run, we got up, lit a fire and started to make breakfast and hot cocoa.  The weather was cool & grey, but the skies were threatening rain.  We decided that we should pack up as quickly as possible, so that our things wouldn’t get wet.  Our itinerary for the day was to drive to Fortune and catch the ferry to St. Pierre & Miquelon, France.  We were all excited.

Breakfast at the Campsite

We were packed up by eleven and stopped at the park check-in where we could get cell phone & internet service.  D’Arcy called the ferry company to confirm our reservation and was told that they had been trying to contact us.  The French Government ferry that we were booked on had gone on strike!!  They could take us over that day, but couldn’t guarantee that they’d be able to get us back.  When D’Arcy called back to ask how far in advance we needed to check in, they informed us that the workers had refused to bring the boat over so the crossing was cancelled.  The private tour company ferry left at 11:30 a.m., so there was no way we could get to St. Pierre.

We started making a flurry of calls.  When D’Arcy tried to call the B&B in St. Pierre, we discovered that his phone wasn’t enabled to make international calls.  My phone is, but I’m with Rogers (only until my contract is over!) and have no cell service here.  Carl, at the Provincial Park was fantastic through this.  He let us use his phone and we charged the call to my parents’ house because somebody had to answer to accept the charges. We were able to cancel our reservation for the night and told them that we would be there the next day.  We also booked the private ferry for the next morning at 7:30 a.m.  We decided that we would drive around the Burin Peninsula and stay somewhere in Fortune, near the ferry.

The Burin area was beautiful and quintessential Newfoundland.  Steep, rugged cliffs, narrow windy roads, water, and brightly coloured wooden houses.  Parked on a rock by the water, the girls were delighted to see a VW Beetle, painted blue, with moose antlers on the front and a giant key coming out of the trunk.  Burin was the location of a tsunami in 1927 and so we visited two museums and an art gallery.  Every Wednesday evening, there is an outdoor jamboree on a wooden stage between the museum and the art gallery.  The girls insisted on putting on a performance of their own, creating characters “Savaria” (Sarah) and “Teddy” (Olivia).  Teddy had lost her dog and Savaria was searching for her brother because they were playing hide and seek.

The performance

We got back into the van and drove around the peninsula to Fortune, where we were going to pick up our ferry tickets.  Parked in the parking lot, we got out the passports, only to discover that we only had five!  Alex’s was still at home in the lock box!!  At this point, we felt deflated.  D’Arcy went in to check with them if it was possible to go without his, but he needed to have a government issued photo ID.  We were all disappointed and Alex felt terrible.  I reminded him that it was not his fault – I was the one who forgot to get his passport.  He had even asked me before he left if I had them all, and without double checking, I just said yes.  I assumed they were all together.  Evan reminded him that we are all a team and that if Alex couldn’t go, then none of us would go.

We talked about how important the St. Pierre part of the trip was to each of us, and thought about alternatives.  We went in to a local diner to have supper and figure out what to do.  We made some calls and my parents were able to save the day!  After telling them where the key and lock box were, they went to our house, got the passport and couriered it to the tour company!  It should arrive on Friday.  We looked at the map, rearranged our trip, and will go to St. Pierre on Sunday, overnight.

With the “extra” day, we decided to travel to Bonavista, one of the places we wanted to see, but didn’t have time to fit in.  We called Carl at Frenchman’s Cove Provincial Park and got our same site back for the night.  We arrived at 7:30 and D’Arcy & the boys set up the tent and got the campfire lit while I started to get water ready for hot cocoa, and got the ingredients out for s’mores.  It was threatening to rain through the night, so we unpacked only the bare essentials.  While we were getting set up, Sarah & Olivia were playing.  Sarah had a baseball & glove and was throwing the ball into the air and catching it – most of the time!  She missed one that hit her in the face and knocked the lens right out of her glasses!  This makes two pair of broken glasses so far this trip! (D’Arcy broke the arm off his while on the ferry…)  Luckily, I had brought both Sarah & Alex’s extra pairs, so when we get to St. John’s we’ll go to an optician and get them fixed.

We sat around the fire, listening to the loons on the water and made – and burnt – our s’mores.  When talking about what we learned during the day, the kids mentioned that we need to be flexible and that we should double check for things like passports before leaving! We all decided that our day of misadventure actually turned out all right in the end.  We had a relaxing evening around the campfire, we’ll still get to St. Pierre and now we’ll get to Bonavista too.  It involves some extra 400 odd kms of driving, but I have agreed to relax my DVD-watching-in-the-van rule during roads that we’re traveling on for a second (and third… and fourth… ) time.


Laughing around the fire after a long day!

Alex enjoyed his s'mores!

Olivia has told us that she loves Newfoundland because she loves throwing rocks in the water at our campsite!  I don’t think she’d care if we didn’t go anywhere else!

View at our campsite