Thursday, July 26, 2007


Dartmouth, Nova Scotia: Same song second verse, or maybe the second time around, or been here done that, or we got busted, or whatever you want to title this blog.......Ernie says to call it NO SUPPORT IN CANADA! Anyhow, August 4th last year I posted on this same subject but I can't remember how to link to my own previous blogs. I'll do what Linda B does....Help, Kari!

Here's the story. Yesterday afternoon we were heading down a scenic, but rather curvy and bumpy road, toward a camp site not too far down the road when all of a sudden Ernie said "#%&&$@!" There was smoke coming out from around the wheel well of the tires on the driver's side of the RV. We edged the big RV over to the edge of the narrow road and he got out and checked. Sure enough, it was the spring again, the spring that we had replaced in August by Tok, Alaska, and then replaced with a stronger one at the factory in November. We couldn't drive it. This time however, we were in civilization, not 80 miles away from anyone, so we had hope that we'd get it fixed quickly. I walked ahead on the road just a bit and found a big driveway guarded by big iron gates, but the gates were open so we decided to pull in there. We got the RV off the road and through the gate, and started making phone calls. First we called Good Sam and explained everything, and they said they'd look for a repair place and call us back. They did, and told us they could find nothing, but we should call our dealer. We called back to our dealer in Minnesota and the gal there found a few suggestions, but they were in New Brunswick, hundreds of miles from here. It didn't look like an immediate fix, so Ernie walked up to the very nice house on the hill and asked the woman there if we could park there until we could get it fixed. She said of course we could. Then Ernie got some numbers of places around here and started calling them. Each place said they couldn't do it, but call so and so who they were certain would fix it. Finally, a man said they could come out in the morning. Ernie walked back to talk to the kind woman and she said we could park there for the night, so our friends went on to the closest campground with their rig and we crawled into our RV.

Morning came and we waited in vain for the phone call saying the truck was on the way to repair it. Finally Ernie decided to call them to see what was going on......the cell phones wouldn't work! We kept getting a message to include a 1 or a 0 in the number, but when we did that, it told us to include a 1 or a 0 in the number. Over and over again, the same message. So he walked back to the nice woman and asked to use her phone. Guess what? The day manager of this truck parts place said that there was no way they could come out and fix it! Ernie told him that he had talked to someone last night that said they would be out this morning. Well, it seems that the night manager is new..........guess he didn't know what he was talking about. Anyhow, he suggested that Ernie put a block of wood between the frame and the spring and limp along into Dartmouth to get it fixed. So we jacked the rig way up and he crawled under and beat a piece of wood into the space. It seemed to hold it up enough so we lowered the jacks and took off on our 40 mile trip into Dartmouth. Ernie drove. I prayed.

We made it into town and found the place where they fix trucks so I figure they can fix our RV. They didn't have the right size spring on hand, but they will make one the right size; that's what they do, make springs. So, we had to find a place for the night. We found a semi-reasonable motel not too far from the truck place and booked a room. We were supposed to have internet in our room, but guess what. That doesn't work either, and the No Smoking room must have just been designated as such because it reeks! And the supper at the restaurant included onion rings and fries, both fried in the same oil as they use for the shrimp and clams and other shell fish, which I am allergic to!

We tried to call our friends to tell them we should be back on the road tomorrow and that we'll meet them at Peggy's Cove, but our phones still don't work. I emailed Kari to ask her to check with my buddy RJ at my phone place, and I left her a message on her blog to ask her to check her email. Hopefully she'll check someplace tonight and get the message.

But as I said last year, it could have been worse. We didn't damage the RV, didn't have an accident, nobody was hurt, and we are safe and sound in a smelly motel room. No, actually, I'm sitting in the smelly lounge because the wireless works here. And, I am looking forward to tomorrow when I finally get to go to Peggy's Cove, a place I'm heard about for years. And you can bet I'll post pictures the first chance I get! So life isn't all bad! Except that it was 98 degrees today!

Sunday, July 22, 2007


I'm missing my home town church today. We haven't even seen a Lutheran Church up here, much less attended one. For a PK who grew up in church every single Sunday, rain or shine, snow or 100% humidity, and who has been an active member of our church wherever we lived, this is unquestionally very hard for me. We have our Bibles and devotion books, but it's not the same as worshiping with others who believe the same as we do, and I miss the fellowship of the friends that I have seen in church every Sunday for the last 25 years. And then to receive an email from my sister who told me that our new assistant pastor, Pastor Brooks, had an excellent sermon today, made me more lonesome than ever for our church. So when we ran to the store for a couple of items, I had Ernie drive by this beautiful church so I could take a picture of it. It's a beautiful white with vivid red trim. The color doesn't snow properly on this picture, but it is a lovely church, set up on a little hill, with it's stately square topped spires reaching up into the bright blue sky.


Yesterday morning we found out that the tall ships were in the harbor in Sydney. It sounded like an interesting adventure and even though it had been raining most of the morning we took off to find them. Surprisingly we drove right to the harbor even though we had no clue where it was located. There were 4 large ships and 2 smaller ones on display and open to the public, so we paid our $2 apiece and started our tour. Actually, most of the time was spent waiting in line as there was quite a crowd there. Fortunately we had taken our blue rain jackets and we wore them, hoods up, for the whole time we were there. This large ship is the Picton Castle, a sailing training ship. If you are over 18 you may pay $1000 to sail with them to learn the art of sailing. What an adventure for the young that would be! They learn all the parts of the ship, all the sails, all the ropes, and what each one is for, and how to make each one do it's part in the journey. This ship just completed it's 4th trip around the world, and they are now accepting applications for their 2008 trip across the North Atlantic to Europe, then down to Northern Africa, across to South America, and up to the West Indies. If you are interested in signing up (!!!) or if you
just want to learn more about this ship, check out this site . The pictures there of the ship with all the sails unfurled is very beautiful. While they were in the harbor yesterday, they of course had the sails down. I spent a little time talking with one of the young girls on this voyage. I peeked into the tiny cabin and into the small, hot, but functional kitchen. Everyone on the ship shares in all of the duties, KP, watch, sailing, cleaning, mending, etc.

The little ship below was a beauty. The pictures are a bit dark, but the wood on this vessel was a beautiful golden color, and all was tidy and shipshape. I would not like to be the fellow up on the rigging making repairs!

This ship is the Baltimore, a modern replica of a war ship originally built and used during the war of 1812. It also was a beautiful ship with lovely wood work which you can't see because of the angle I took the picture in order to capture the waving flag.
Of course there was a pirate ship too, complete with a Johnny Depp look alike giving autographs and posing for pictures with dozens of admiring young teens. I neglected to take his photo, but he actually was quite convincing in his role!
If I may give you a piece of advice, I'd caution you against sailing with the two fake captains in the final picture unless they took the training offered by the ship in the first picture! The one in the blue rain jacket will not ask for directions under any circumstances, so you would more than likely end up in Antarctica on your way to the North Atlantic, and the one in the dark blue jacket relies on a Garmin, which he proceeds to argue with and ignore most of the time.

Friday, July 20, 2007


So this morning we got on this ferry, the Joseph and Clara Smallwood, and sailed off into the fog to Nova Scotia.

These are the last views we had of New Foundland, beautiful even in the rainy, foggy, morning. We had a smooth trip and arrived in NS in less than the 6 hours that was advertised. Now we'll spend two nights in North Sydney so we can have the day tomorrow to do some very necessary laundry, then we're off to explore Nova Scotia.


Wednesday afternoon we went on a boat tour that we had seen advertised in all the tourist information. It was at Western Brook, and was listed as a fjord tour. Well, it's actually an inland lake that at one time was probably connected with the ocean and was truly a fjord. It was an absolutely lovely trip.....after you got there. There is a huge parking lot along the highway, then a 3.5 km path/boardwalk to get to the lake and the tour! We love to hike, so it wasn't a problem for us, but some people don't or can't walk that far so it becomes a real trial for them. Parents were carrying children, and there were a couple of strollers on the part gravel trail, and we saw one motorized wheelchair. The trip was well worth the 45 minute walk, however. It was 2 hours long and took us way back into the winding canyon. The views were fantastic! See for yourselves.............

Then, of course, was the 3.5 km hike back again. This was the last boat trip of the day, and I found it interesting that all the paying customers were walking back and were passed on the trail by two gators carrying all the workers! And they refuse to give anyone a ride! I think they should offer rides to those that may need them, or at least stay off the trail until the last of their customers have reached the parking lot. There are many people who can't enjoy this trip because of the limited access.


This whole field was filled with lovely fresh daisies. They were my dad's favorite flower, and are my daughter Kari's favorite flower. Enjoy!


The last week was spent driving back to Port au Basque from Quirpon, New Foundland. We had a couple of days of rain and fog, but overall it was a beautiful trip. Wednesday was especially beautiful. Let me tell you about it.


In the morning, Ernie and I hiked up and over a hill to get to the ocean on the other side. It was a well marked trail, maybe 5 km in length, and it was a nice walk.

The views on the other side of the hill weren't bad either! Isn't this just awesome? The sun was so bright and the sky and water so blue, and the grass so most of New Foundland. Linda had commented that she had never thought of New Foundland as a destination. We hadn't either. We heard so much about Nova Scotia, and knew we wanted to go there, and then decided we might as well go up to NF as long as we were in this part of the country. Then our friends, Mark and Becky, told us about their trip and encouraged us to go for it. We are so glad we did. This is one of the most beautiful spots we've ever been. But back to the hike.

At the end of the trail, back where we started, I found this absolutely enchanting spot for a photo, don't you think?

Saturday, July 14, 2007


Just when I was having a hard time saying good bye to New Foundland because we are leaving in the morning, she gave us one final gift. The sunset this evening filled three forths of the sky. I wish I had been on the little hill overlooking the harbor. I'm guessing that would have been a very beautiful sight! Even so, the view from the campground was awesome.


For the past four days we have been in the tiny village of Quirpon, New Foundland, a place I had never heard of, and probably none of you have heard of it either. We have loved it. We have driven the Viking Trail to L'Anse aux Meadows and heard the tales of the Vikings landing in North America.

We have driven the winding roads, up the hills and down the hills, and marveled at the sights we saw around each and every turn. We saw the ocean when it was grey and agitated, and we saw it again when it was the darkest saphire blue you can imagine. We drove the roads through the fog and through the rain, and today we were rewarded with the most beautiful sunny day we could have ever asked for. We bundled up against the cold wind blowing off the ocean, and we dripped sweat under the incredibly close northern sun. We put on many miles while out moose hunting, and even more out iceberg hunting. And we found both. The bergs in the picture below are miles away from us, and half way behind a hill, but you can imagine the size of them. There were no roads to get over to view them up close. We should have taken the boat tour.

But the scene I will carry in my mind is like the one below. Quiet, simple, little homesites, close to or even on the water, two or three tiny red buildings, a boat nearby, crab pots and fish nets crowding the little dock, and always the sparkling white laundry flapping on the line. Good bye New Foundland. Thank you for sharing your awesome beauty with me. I hope to return someday.

Friday, July 13, 2007


On a summer's day around the year 1000, a Viking expedition led by Leif Eiriksson landed on the shores of L'Anse aux Meadows at the tip of the Great Northern Peninsula of New Foundland. This site was first brought to the attention of the world in 1960 when a Norwegian couple, Dr. Helge Ingstad and his wife Anne Stine Ingstad, began their archaeological research that resulted in their discovery being designated a World Hertiage Site by UNESCO because it tells us of the world movement of peoples. And this is what we came to see in New Foundland.

This is a replica of the sod houses the Vikings built at this site and one of the inside rooms.

One of the Parks Canada interpreters dressed in period Viking clothing re-enacts what life may have been like at the camp.
Two pieces of sculpture form one piece of art to reflect the historical significance of this site. The piece on the left indicates the North American Aboriginal culture, and the one on the right the Norwegian/European culture.

This was a very interesting tour with a knowledgable guide. The Visitor Center is also most interesting with it's small museum and film about the Ingstads and their work here.

At a commercial site down the road a bit is the replica of a Viking ship that would have been used at the time of the expedition to L'Anse aux Meadows. In 1997 this ship was sailed by W. Hodding Carter and a small crew from Greenland to this spot, proving that it could have been done with the ships that the Vikings used. It is a beautiful ship, named Snorri.

At this same site is chieftain Ernie and one of the interpreters there. He is sitting in the chieftain's chair and holding his sword and horn, and wearing the Viking helmet.

A small church would have been a part of the village.

After this very interesting history filled day, we were treated to a beautiful sunset.
A lovely ending to our day.

Thursday, July 12, 2007


The beauty of this place is unbelievable. I'm sure the photos show only one tenth of what I saw with my own eyes, but I just had to try to show everyone everything that I've seen. Ernie and I are so glad we decided to take the drive way up north and we want to thank Mark and Becky for encouraging us to do so. Montana and Alaska have always been my favorite spots, but there is now a three way tie in that category. I love this place!
This is a huge iceberg, quite a long way from us, but I had to try to show you the size. It's the size of a big office building and it's a beautiful whitish blue. The sun didn't cooperate today either, but at least I got a photo when the fog wasn't obscuring it.
A tiny graveyard on the side of the hill that overlooks the ocean. The three white crosses have had me singing this folk hymn all afternoon: Three men on a mountain, up on Calvary. And the man in the middle is Jesus. He gave his life for me.

This is a very rocky land. In fact, I think the island of New Foundland is just one big rock!
This little guy found his way into a quiet bay. He sits alone there, and will probably just melt away without moving on.
Quiet simplicity. There are scenes all over this little village like this one. The name of this place is Quirpon, pronounced Carpoon to rhyme with harpoon.
We spotted this good sized berg after dinner this evening while we were out on our moose hunt. I'm curious to go back tomorrow to see if it has moved much. We are hoping for a sunny day tomorrow after the clouds, fog and rain that we had today. I believe we brought it with us from the south the day before. Our plan tomorrow is to go to the world historic site, L'Anse aux Meadows, where the Vikings landed 500 years before Christopher Columbus "discovered" America. Again, I'm sure I'll post plenty of pictures so you can visit it with me.
And just a note to our family.......We have NO SERVICE on our cells right now. If you need to get us, please drop an email. We have access now and will check daily. When we leave here it should only be a short distance when we'll be back in business. Love you all!


On Tuesday night we camped in another little village right on the shore of the St. Lawrence Gulf, which by now is really just the Atlantic on the way north part of New Foundland. About dusk, after we had eaten an all American meal of burgers, pasta salad, and baked beans, we set off moose hunting. We didn't manage to bag one, but we did find some incredible plants at the moose viewing spot. I have no clue what they are called, but I thought them so unusual. The ground, which I would call tundra I guess, was covered with a spongy mossy carpet of various shades of green, red, and kind of a purple burgundy.

I tried not to step on any of the little beauties as I crept up to snap these pictures.

These iris grow with wild abandon along the highway. We had iris along the porch on our house when I was a kid, and I really love them. Their simple perfection and deep coloring make them one of my very favorite flowers.

Yesterday morning dawned wet, dreary and foggy. This is a shot of the little village across the bay where we approached a fisherman the night before and bought a fresh cod for $1.50 pound. Can't wait to cook it!

We drove many miles through this type of fog, Ernie expertly pulling the RV and keeping us on the road through hill and dale, curve and straightaway, and I, also expertly I might add, gripping the armrest on the truck door and silently praying for safety. We worried about Richard and Bev behind us, as this truck and rig are relatively new to them and I know they were a bit nervous. But we made it

and emerged from the fog into bright sunlight and blue skies and temps in the perfect range of 70-72. We took a break for lunch at this little rest stop, and I amused myself, as usual, by climbing on the rocks down by the shore. If they don't see me they always know where to look. I'm getting my ocean fix!

Here Ernie is waiting for his ship to come in! Actually, he is bound and determined to be the first one to spot a whale, so he needs to scan the ocean at every opportunity.

We drove on, through absolutely awesome scenery. We haven't discovered the reason for these gardens, but along the full length of the highway from south to north we found these gardens in the ditches, often fenced in with sections of small trees. A couple even had a bench or a chair for a weary gardener to rest on between rows, and some sported frightening scarecrows.
The afternoon drive was very pleasant and I was getting so excited to finally be near our final destination in the very tip top north of New Foundland.

And finally there it was! The little village of Quirpon, sitting on the very edge of the north land. Ernie said I was as excited as a little kid finding candy as I oohed and awed and exclaimed over every sight as we rounded each corner or crested each hill. And this land is true eye candy. It is so beautiful! I love the simplicity of the little homes, the freshness of the air, the picturesque hill villages, and the mighty powerful ocean.
And one of the most exciting events of the day was the sight of our first icebergs!
More pictures to come later.