(Written on July 9, 2013)
Carol Ann and I left the Grand Codroy RV Park at 8:45AM, well within the first half of the group to leave. That’s probably a first for us. The trip was uneventful but very scenic. We drove through mountains and along the coast. The terrain changed ever so slightly the further north we drove. By that, I mean “more rugged.” The population is sparse, to say the least. In 235 miles we only passed one town of any size at all. Almost every other place was too small to call a village. Perhaps communities would be a better description. The highway was excellent for about the first two-thirds of the drive then began to narrow and deteriorate somewhat. Not really too bad. It could have been a lot worse.
When I say mountains, we are talking 1000 to 1500 feet of elevation. Not very high in altitude, but extremely steep. When I could, I would get a running start on the downhill so that I could make it up the hill without getting too slow. Some times that wasn’t possible due to other traffic in front of me (I couldn’t pass or run over them). When that happened the coach really struggled climbing the hill. I didn’t think that was supposed to be much of a problem for a diesel, but I guess our diesel is a tad too small (we will find out later what the problem really was). At one point I was behind two motorhomes from our group. I wasn’t far enough back to get my usual running start and when we hit the uphill portion both of them just walked off and left me. One had a Ford V-10 gasoline front engine and the other a Cummings 425 HP rear-engine diesel. The one with the gasoline engine was not towing a car, which made a difference I’m sure. The other was towing a small UTE that weighed only 1500 lbs. My motorhome has a CAT 330 HP rear-engine diesel and was towing a 4500 lb. Chevy Traverse. The slowest speed I got down to going uphill was 22 mph. It would have been less had the crest been any further. I either need a larger engine or a lighter car to tow.
For a little while I followed one of our group (Stoney and Claudia) who traveled a little slower than I like to drive and I began to get antsy. At one point he was down to about 35 or 40 mph so I pulled over at the next overlook to take some pictures. I decided that I would award him the “I MAY BE SLOW BUT I’M AHEAD OF YOU!” bumper sticker until I got in a line behind a highway line painting truck that was traveling at the agonizingly slow speed of 10 mph. I had to wait on the vehicles in front of me to get around it, which made the agony last at least 5 minutes but seemed like forever. Now I have pretty yellow tires.
We still made good time and arrived at the Mountain Waters RV Resort at 1:45PM. We did the 235 miles in 5 hours flat. Granted, that’s only an average of 47 mph but we stopped once for fuel and to eat lunch. When we arrived the weather was excellent. It was sunny with plenty of blue sky, big white fluffy clouds, and a temperature of only 57 degrees. It’s like the entire outdoors is air-conditioned this far north. Quite a difference from what’s happening back home in Texas.
The last 1.2 km (I’m beginning to think in metrics!) from the highway to the RV Park was on an extremely dry and dusty gravel road. Once we were parked and I got out of the coach to connect the utilities I was shocked to see our car. Normally, a midnight blue, it looked like the entire car, windows and all, had been painted gray. I rinsed it off with the hose so we would be able to see through the windshield.
In regards to fuel. It is highly advisable to consider stopping and topping off your tank ANY TIME you see a fuel station, as they are few and far between up here. It has also gotten a bit more expensive now that we are in Newfoundland. It was $1.37 Canadian per liter of diesel when I last topped mine off. That works out to about $5.60 a gallon! A couple of the stations in which I have purchased fuel had diesel pumps in back for trucks but they would not allow me to use them. Apparently some type of special truckers’ card is necessary. Instead, I had to squeeze into one of the pump lanes in front. If the outside lane is occupied or doesn’t have diesel I’m just SOL. Doesn’t seem fair.
Although fuel, alcohol, and tobacco taxes are extremely high, I must admit that those taxes do pay for a lot of services in Canada. I don’t know about all of Canada, but yesterday our tour guide informed us that they paid no property tax in her county and there is no school tax in the entire province as the provincial government foots the bill for schools. They also have free medical services.
Tonight is the moose stew dinner and tomorrow we go to St. Barbe, park the RVs and take a ferry over to Labrador where we will spendmone night in a hotel and return to the RVs the next day. The cats will only have one night alone, not two as I originally thought. They’ll still be pissed off, but they have short memories.
There is no Wi-Fi or cell service at this RV Park. Hopefully, the place we are staying tomorrow night in Labrador will have Wi-Fi, but I’m not going to hold my breath. They have only one highway on the entire island and it isn’t paved so there is really no reason to expect Wi-Fi.
Just got back from dinner. Carol Ann and I paired the moose stew with a very nice cabernet (no chianti with fava beans). I wasn’t sure whether or not I would be able to eat moose without thinking of Bullwinkle so I kept repeating the mantra, “This is really beef” to myself over and over as I ate. It must have worked because it was not bad. If I hadn’t been told it was moose I would have probably assumed it to be beef. At least I can check “Eat Moose” off of my bucket list.
(Arrived a short while ago in St. Barbe where we are leaving our RVs for one night in Labrador. There is Wi-Fi here so should get this posted today, July 10.)