This is primarily a travel blog in which I write about traveling in our motorhome. Our travels have

Nacogdoches, TX, United States
I began this blog as a vehicle for reporting on a 47-day trip made by my wife and me in our motorhome down to the Yucatan Peninsula and back. I continued writing about our post-Yucatan travels and gradually began including non-travel related topics. I often rant about things that piss me off, such as gun violence, fracking, healthcare, education, and anything else that pushes my button. I have a photography gallery on my Smugmug site (

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Ferry to Newfoundland

This morning we were up at 6:00AM for our drive to the ferry terminal. We would board with our RVs for the overnight cruise to Newfoundland.  It was a chore but I had no choice.  My leveling jacks were still in Error Mode so I got out my electric screwdriver, removed the control pad from the panel, and unplugged the connection.  Now, no flashing lights, squealing, or leveling jacks.  We’ll worry about them later. 

The following narration is formatted in a journal-style and will be in the present tense.

7:00 AM
Engine is idling and I am ready to pull out.
7:05 AM
Wayne and Val haven’t moved so I pull around them to find everyone in front of them already gone and out of sight.  I have the remaining 3 or 4 rigs following me. Hope I know where I am going.
7:15 AM
Found them. We exit the highway and pull into line behind the other RVs.
7:25 AM
There appear to be 5 tollbooths operating.  We are directed to #4.
7:30 AM
I present our photo IDs and reservation number to the attendant.  She asks our tag number and if we have pets or propane aboard.  We have 2 cats and the propane main switch is OFF.  I am given 2 placards for the windshield.  One identifies our coach as having pets on board and the other noting that we have propane on board but is shut OFF.  She instructs me to pull into Lane #7 for loading.
7:33 AM
A parking attendant directs me into Lane #8 (?).  The lanes are so tight that our side mirrors are almost touching those of the RVs and trucks on each side.  I was forced to stop short in my lane because an 18-wheeler was on the white line dividing our lanes and its mirror was in the way.  My left mirror is only 3” from the side of Paul’s coach.
7:35 AM
We can go no further so I switch off engine.  If we could open the door and get out we could go outside and sit in the shade or go to the coffee shop. We are trapped.
7:40 AM
I start the generator in order to run both A/Cs.  Barb squeezes up to my window and volunteers to take my camera and get some photos for me
8:06 AM
Outside temperature is 76 degrees and sunny.  We should drive onto the ferry by 8:45 AM.
8:10 AM
Through a gap between vehicles I can see some of our group enjoying themselves outside in the shade.  Are we the only ones trapped inside of our vehicle?
8:12 AM
I checked my trip computer for lack of anything else to do.  Since leaving Texas we have traveled 3,604 miles in 87 hours, 39 minutes, and 20 seconds.  16% of that time has been spent idling (wasting fuel).  We have used approximately 513 gallons of diesel and are averaging 7.0 miles per gallon.  Our average speed has been 41 MPH.
8:16 AM
PA announcement (in English and French) requests that all people return to their vehicles in preparation for boarding.  We are first for once as we never could get out of our vehicle.
8:18 AM
The driver for the 18-wheeler, whose mirror is blocking me returns to his vehicle, looks at how close we are, enters from the passenger side, and pulls forward a few feet.  A little too late for us.
8:27 AM
Now 78 degrees outside and I have detected no movement whatsoever in any lane that I can see.
8:28 AM
Vehicles 3 lanes to my left are moving.
8:30 AM
Vehicles 3 lanes to my left are not moving.
8:31 AM
PA announcement (in English and French) tells us to have our boarding passes and photo IDs ready.
8:33 AM
Vehicles 3 lanes to my left are moving again.
8:35 AM
A group of 3 or 4 truck drivers look at how close I am to the vehicles on my right.  They point and shake their heads.  That is not a good sign.
8:38 AM
Vehicles 4 or 5 lanes to my right are moving.
8:41 AM
Vehicles 2 lanes to my right are moving.  Nothing on the left side is moving.
8:45 AM
Carol Ann says that we should have taken the ferry BEFORE we saw The Titanic exhibit.  Apprehensive?
8:47 AM
The 3 lanes to my left are now empty except for a few stragglers.  No more movement to my right.  Painted on cab of truck next to me:  In memory of “Big Mike”  1970-2012   Last Ride.
8:53 AM
PA announcement (in English and French) unintelligible due to noise of truck engines being started.
8:56 AM
I am still not moving.
8:58 AM
Remnants of lane to me left begin moving.  I think I see movement ahead so I start the engine.
8:59 AM
We begin slowly moving forward and stop immediately.
9:08 AM
We have not moved in several minutes.  There is an old, small, and rather banged-up camper to my left.  There is a sign in the back window:  ACROSS CANADA TOUR (on twitter @ 4 guyscampin).  A truck to the right is carrying some yellow road equipment with a brand new (no tags) Porsche Boxster tied down on the rear of the trailer.
9:10 AM
The line to the left is moving.  I am not.  I still can’t see the boat.
9:12 AM
All lanes to my left are completely empty.  I am still not moving.
9:13 AM
I see the mast (radar antenna, etc.) of the boat over the tops of the other rigs.
9:14 AM
The boat’s horn blows.  Is it leaving?
9:15 AM
We start moving again.  We stop again.
9:17 AM
A man approaches my window, checks our boarding pass and photo IDs (again) and says we are going to the bottom.  I asked if he meant the sea.  Apparently that was not funny.  Bottom of the ship he says.
9:18 AM
I drive across the ramp and into the belly of the whale.  Its name is MV BLUE PUTTEES.  What are puttees?
9:19 AM
I am being directed by a crew member and watching my left side.  The mirror on my right side comes into contact with the TOUR ACROSS CANADA camper and makes a very small dent in its left-rear corner.  Although it is not noticeable among the other dings, it will probably cost me.
9:20 AM
We exit the RV but are unable to move forward to check my right mirror.  It will have to remain a mystery for now.  Crewmember tells me the TOUR ACROSS CANADA camper is OK.  We go to stair well and climb from Deck 3 to Deck 7.
9:33 AM
We have seats and can breath a little easier.
9:40 AM
The ferry’s engines begin to rumble but we are not moving.
9:55 AM
I find a table and begin writing this blog post.
9:59 AM
The ferry begins to move.
11:21 AM
I finish this writing and look up only to see nothing but water in all directions!

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