Western Colorado

Pagosa Springs

The drive from Red River southeast toward Taos and then northwest through Carson National Forest was beautiful. West of Tres Piedras, New Mexico the highway winds through rolling mountains, past lush meadows and across a couple ridge lines where there were still a few patches of snow hanging in there. Eventually the route crosses into Colorado to wind its way up and then down into the cool town of Pagosa Springs. It was really a pleasant drive, despite the jackelope in the Class A holding up a long string of traffic who couldn’t—or wouldn’t—squeeze more than 40 miles an hour out of his rig. I got around the lineup using a few straightaway sections of passing lane.

Tuesday started with phoning in to my 121 life group to hang with the guys for an hour. Followed that up with a hike along the raucous Piedra River. Started out as a beautiful day—sunny, warm, fun trail. Then a thunderstorm built up and dropped rain, small hail and lightening bolts. Like a dumbass, I’d forgotten a rain poncho (always carry rain gear in the mountains!) and I quickly got soaked and cold. But the rewards of the mountain rain aromas, the echoing of the bone rattling thunder and the dramatic colors of cloud and sun sparring were worth every shiver. Just before the storm blew in I’d spent maybe 20 minutes just sitting on a rock enjoying creation. The storm reminded me of what a thunderous God we have!

Finally back at camp I took advantage of their shower facility because I knew I wanted lots of hot water and didn’t wanna fill my holding tank. LOL, I felt a lil bad abot how much hot water I used but so it goes.

Wednesday I ventured outside my comfort zone and hit the hot springs at the resort in town. Going for a quick soak after a workout or rough day, sure, but just sitting around for a couple hours soaking in communal juices is kinda a stretch. But I gotta say, it was cool (the water was hot, lol) and I got a check in that box. Followed that up with a visit to Riff Raff on the Rio for their Yak & Tequila Chorizo meatloaf. It did not disappoint! The brewpub’s beers are good but didn’t really knock me back. The view of the river and mountains sure did.

Durango

The easy 90 minute drive to Durango landed me at the Riverside KOA north of town. Nice campground nestled in the trees alongside the fast-flowing Animas River. This location flooded out last year after the rains followed a pretty devastating fire and it’s been nicely rebuilt.

Historic Durango is a cool town with several hotels, restaurants, pubs & breweries. I bypassed the numerous gift shops to sample a few brews instead. While meandering around Durango I wandered into the railroad museum at the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. This donation-only eclectic museum is packed with railroad memorabilia, antique cars, an old Indian motorcycle and tons of other seemingly random stuff. It’s definitely worth a visit if you like trains.

D&SNGRR

I’ve wanted to ride the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad for as long as I can remember. So I ponied up $200 for a seat in the Alamosa parlor car. The four hour trip, each way, is nothing short of amazing! The Alamosa is the last car in the train so you get outstanding views from the back platform.

I’m not sure why I like trains so much but I do. The coal-fired steam engine just sounds so cool as it chugs up the track. And the screeching and clacking of the wheels really is the rhythm of the rails is all (you) feel. The four-hour trip was over before I knew it. The slideshow pics simply fail to render how gorgeous the scenery is.

Our porter, Ellie, was wonderful. Her knowledge of geography & history and a commitment to superb service made the trip so enjoyable. Each round trip up & down from Durango to Silverton consumes five to six tons of coal (all shoveled by one guy) and about 10,000 gallons of water, which we replenished at a couple stops along the way.

The short layover in the mining town provides only time for lunch and a quick shopping stop for those so inclined. I didn’t mind since I was spending the next two days in Silverton. I was glad I did not opt for the quicker return via bus. The train ride is just too good and is clearly one of, if not the best tourist attractions I’ve ever experienced. If you’re ever near Durango be sure to take this trip. If you’re not near Durango go there.

Our return trip downhill was cold, sometimes rainy & the skies threw down some sleet and hail. But that didn’t dampen the experience I just threw on a heavier sweatshirt.

D&SNGRR Videos

Rhythm of the Rails
Animas River & Train View #1
Animas River & Train View #2
Animas River Rear View #1
Animas River Rear View #2
Cliffside View #1
Cliffside View #2

As a side note, I’ve added a page that shows the National Parks & Monuments I’ve visited. Check it out here.

Western Colorado Part II

Wonderful Risky Road

Heading north from Durango the Million Dollar Highway weaves its way up-valley, crossing a few high mountain passes. US Highway 550 requires diligent attention to downhill speed, several times as slow as 10-20 MPH. With 14,000 pounds behind me and sheer drop-offs, I heeded the speed warning signs! As risky as the road might be it’s a stunning drive. I arrived in the historic mining town of Silverton for a couple days. Silverton is base to tons of off-highway roads and the economy has transitioned from mining to renting ATV & OHVs. There’s a popular loop that runs between Silverton, Lake City and Ouray and I headed up that road for several miles before it was still closed due to slides. I probably wouldn’t have gone all the way anyway, as the road is pretty narrow and rocky, best suited for jeeps and OHVs. A long-bed truck runs the real risk of high-centering. Outside of the D&SNGRR crowds who flood the town each afternoon, Silverton is a pretty sleepy village. Even the bordellos have closed up (dang it!). Lunch at Thee Pitts Again, which has been featured on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, was only fair (think Spring Creek). Meat U Anywhere and AJs on Main in Grapevine serve up much better BBQ. Half a pizza for dinner and a Pizza Girl Black Lager at Avalanche Brewing were great!

Welp, the drive from Durango to Silverton is nothing compared to the northern section from Silverton to Ouray. Gorgeous, but I’d never consider this road at night or in the rain while towing a fiver. There’s a few videos from my newly acquired dash cam below.

Ouray

Ouray is a really cool little mountain town. A bit touristy but still very cool and very friendly. Troy’s crew at the Ouray KOA are awesome. I’m kinda jealous; he just bought the campground. Gonna be looking into that…

Ouray Perimeter Trail
Ouray Perimeter Trail

Friday I hiked the Ouray Perimeter Trail. This isn’t your typical walk around town. Yes, the trail has great views of Ouray but it also gets away from civilization with sections that wind into canyons and across plateaus. Clockwise from the visitor center the trail climbs constantly until it drops into cool Cascade Falls canyon. After that it rises & falls until the final stretch drops steeply back into town. The southern section through Ice Park is mosquito city and doesn’t add a lot to the overall loop; I should’ve taken the Ice Park shortcut. The reported 6-mile loop took me 5 hours, with a few stops at waterfalls and river crossings. I ran outta water the last mile-ish and got super dehydrated. I laid very low the rest of the day and the next. Lesson learned (dumbass). 🥵


Ok, I’m always skeptical of food offered at a campground. But I got to visit with Troy, the new owner of the Ouray KOA, and he insisted their weekend BBQ was very good. I’d had breakfast at the small café and it was, indeed, excellent. The combo BBQ plate Saturday evening (which I got halfway through for just $20) was some of the best I’ve had anywhere. Props to this campground for such a good operation in a beautiful place!

Made a day trip, backtracking 23  miles to Silverton. I wanted to drive the Million Dollar Highway again, this time without Synko in tow so I could easily pull off to enjoy the sights. Took another spur near Silverton, up South Mineral Creek about six miles. On the way out I saw two moose head off the road into the brush. Very cool!

Check out a couple video slices from my dashcam of Million Dollar Highway in the links below. It’s a beautiful, wild drive—especially towing 35′ Sykno!

Video Links

Million Dollar Highway I
Million Dollar Highway II
Million Dollar Highway III
Million Dollar Highway IV
Cascade Falls – Ouray
Bear Creek Falls

That’s it for now. I’m headed to Montrose for an engine oil change, Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, Gunnison, Lake City and Crested Butte to wrap up my western Colorado travels in the next week or so. Happy trails!

 

New England

Back in the States!

The drive through southern New Brunswick to the northern U.S. border was easy and eye-pleasing. Beautiful rolling forests with many trees showing fall colors. I might just need to get me a dash cam and see if I can capture some of the beautiful sights I come across since I can’t pull out every time another scene of nature catches my eye.

I returned to the good ole USA at the Calais, Maine port of entry. And was lucky to get the nicest (and cutest!) border control agent. She noticed the Samaritan’s Purse decal on my trailer window and commented that she loves Franklin Graham’s organization and still listens to some of Billy’s sermons. Really a nice lady. She welcomed me home and we wished each other blessed days. Nice way to arrive back in the States!

US Coastal Route 1 winds its way down, well, the northeast Maine coast. It dips inland and climbs and falls through beautiful hills, forests, past rivers, you get the idea. Nice drive. I eventually checked into an overpriced and narrow site at the KOA near Bar Harbor. Leaving the trailer behind I grabbed some good chili at a pub in town and then drove through Acadia National Park. I’d been there before so I didn’t spend much time; just wanted a refresher of how pretty the park is.

After a rainy, windy night I first stopped into Martha’s Diner in Ellsworth for an awesome country breakfast before heading across US Highway 2 through central Maine into northern New Hampshire. On my previous trip up here a few years ago I’d driven the Maine coast so I wanted something different and that would position me well for Vermont. Great drive—again! As I was about to pass through the town of Bethel I saw Sunday River Brewing standing by the roadside. So I did what I do, nearly locking the trailer wheels to stop in time! With just 45 minutes left to drive I had their IPA and Porter and then headed on. Both were good beers. An hour later and more awesome scenery (I’m running outta adjectives) I pulled into a nicely wooded KOA at Twin Mountain, NH. Drudged through the chore of laundry (my next rig will have on-board washer & dryer) and, well, began writing this post. Forecasters are predicting possibly severe storms tonight so I might pull the slides in before hitting the rack. More tomorrow …

Into Vermont

Light & moderate rain last night made for a wet departure, disconnecting power & water. But the day was spectacular! Blue skies, changing colors in the trees, great drive continuing across US Route 2 and eventually onto Vermont Highway 100, heading south. This road is rated by NatGeo as one of the best drives in the US. They got it right. It’s a wonderful road! I followed Route 100 to Rochester where I hung a right toward Brandon where small Foley Brothers Brewing is located. As I started to make a tight right turn down the one lane side road that leads to the brewery I noticed a semi-truck & trailer backing up the driveway to the brewery. Sensing trouble navigating around him, I backed up onto the state highway. That’s always fun. A mile down the road I was able to loop back on  another side road, park the rig in a small turnout and walk up to the brewery.

These guys make good IPAs. I liked them all (in sample sizes): Big Bang, Citrennial, Pieces of Eight, Fair Maiden, and Skeleton Crew. While small and with little seating, it’s a really cool, authentic location. Wanting another but deciding against it, I figured the remaining 30 minute drive to the campground was gonna simply wind down the day’s trip. The B in the dash had other ideas…

Major construction in downtown Brandon prevented me from making the turn onto Highway 73. So the B in the dash figured she’d take me down a freaking dirt road into a dead end. The homeowner at the end of the road said the navigation apps have been doing this quite a bit the past week. Nothing like backing 57′ of truck and trailer about a half-mile to a point where I could jockey the trailer into the weeds to finagle a seven-point turn. That’s always fun. Trust me, I cussed that B in the dash!

Having recovered from that blunder, she pulled the same BS again a few minutes later! This time I stopped before getting in too deep. Another homeowner came out as I was attempting to reverse direction and guided me to a reasonable exit path. He, too, said the nav apps seemed to have become particularly evil the past week or so. I might be investing in Garmin’s RV product… Anyway, I got to the campground, grilled some precooked (and not very good) ribs, and watched the recap/analysis of the Judge Kavanaugh hearing. Lindsay Graham hit it outta the park: what a perfectly spoken assessment of the circus the dems have made of confirmation hearings.

More Vermont Wandering

Took a full day and just drove around central Vermont. I headed up Equinox Mountain Skyline Drive but unfortunately it was cloudy at the top so the viewing was petty limited. Back down, I drove more of Highway 100, visited a general store and a couple breweries; Long Trail, a large operation and Killington Beer Company, a more-to-my-liking small place on the road to the ski mountain. I especially liked their Super * Stout and the seasonal pumpkin ale.

The weather lady said fall colors are a week or two behind schedule this year otherwise I’d have been right in the thick of it. Nevertheless, this is gorgeous country and hopefully I’ll see more color in upstate New York. Anyway, I couldn’t believe the day went as fast as it did but after a quick bite at Hop’n Moose in Rutland I was back at camp and fell asleep watching a crappy downloaded movie on Netflix. Heading to Schenectady for a week of base camping and day trips to the Adirondacks. Might even make a side trip to Rhode Island to check the box for having visited that state, too.

New York

For the short drive from Lake Bomoseen, VT to Schenectady, NY I took US 4, part of the Lakes to Locks Passage. The road pretty much follows the river and is a nice drive through several small towns. Then the traffic picks up nearing Albany and the B in the dash tried to take me under another low bridge, dammit! I gotta get something better to identify unsuitable roads but the research I’ve done hasn’t led to any really good GPS/Nav solutions. I’m still looking…

Arrowhead Marina & RV Park just outside Schenectady is a low-key campground along the Mohawk River which I chose for its location to town. My plan was to get the bedside of my truck fixed but turned out that the shop in Schenectady couldn’t handle aluminum repairs. They had the truck a day and a half before letting me know. So I returned their rental, picked up my pickup and decided to cut my stay in the area short by a couple days, especially since the campground was a mud pit from the daily rain.

But before leaving I made an awesome side trip through Adirondack Park, sans trailer. Fall colors ranged from just showing to full peak. It was beautiful! Traffic was light during the midweek; I’m sure its amping up this weekend. I spent the night in the cool village of Lake Placid, taking advantage of a looooong shower without worrying about running outta hot water or filling a gray water tank. Having TV for the first time in a month was nice too, as most of Canada and the recent US campgrounds were blackouts.

I shudda taken a pic of my breakfast skillet at a restaurant on Main St. It was ridiculously big and huge; I got about half-way through it. Continuing the 300ish mile loop that covered much of Adirondack Park, I enjoyed the colors and drive across mountains, by rivers and lakes, and through autumnal meadows. So glad I made the trip into the mountains. Would like to spend a few days in  Lake Placid as it turns to winter.

Next destination: Pennsylvania. The drive through south central New York, while on interstate highways for much of the route, was so nice. Lots of color, relatively light traffic—although the B tried to take me down another inappropriate road. Grrrr…..

I arrived at the KOA near State College about 4:30pm and forced my rig into a too-short site. I’ve decided I wanna design and build a campground. It’s unreal how poorly designed some are. For the one night it wasn’t a big deal; it just didn’t need to be so tight.

That’s it for New York! Trying to figure out my route from here, after visiting the Flight 93 Memorial tomorrow. But that’s for the next post. Home is a weekish away so it’s still over the horizon but I’m another state closer today!

Thru New Brunswick onto Prince Edward Island

Camper Church came late today, as the Grapevine 9:15 Service started at 11:15 Atlantic time. But, second week in a row the video streamed without issues, so there was no cussing at technology during church! As soon as the last word was said I was on the road toward PEI.

Four Rivers Brewery in Bathurst has a good reputation so, alas, I stopped in there for a taster flight on my way out of town. Each style was very good: the amber, the Belgian blonde, the American pale ale and the black IPA. Cool, friendly place too. Have I mentioned the people up here? 😀 I picked up a pint can each of the last two to go.

The drive across heavily forested northern New Brunswick was easy and enjoyable. I took the moose warning signs seriously, as they had 8′ x 12′ signs placed—no joke—about every 7 to 8 kilometers. Didn’t see any animals though, dang it.

West River, Cornwall PEI
West River, Cornwall PEI
West River, Cornwall PEI
West River, Cornwall PEI

A few hours later I was crossing the impressive, 8-mile Confederation Bridge onto Prince Edward Island. The island knows how to grow grass and fields of grain. Very colorful and nice to drive through. A short 20 minutes later I was setting up camp at the KOA on the beautiful blue West River which feeds into Northcumberland Strait. Having come further east in the time zone, the sun was already headed toward its resting place and the temps were falling from the low 70s of the afternoon toward the mid 50s. Good sleeping weather!

I originally thought I’d go into Charlottetown for dinner but decided to grill up a couple pork skewers and watch a movie. I’m here for four nights so there’s plenty of time to check out the doings in town, as well as the rest of the island. And I gotta carve out my Nova Scotia and Newfoundland (pronounce it like understand) plans. G’night Gracie!

Prince Edward Island

Allowing myself three full days on PEI, I decided to first drive the Central Coastal Route to get a feel for the island’s heart. This tourism-driven route provides an excellent sampling of both south and north coasts and takes in the country’s national park. What a pretty place! The roads wound their way through seaside fishing villages, over fertile farmlands, and across the cliffs and beaches of Prince Edward Island National Park.

Island Stone Pub, Kensington PEI
Island Stone Pub, Kensington PEI

About a third of my way into the course the route took me through Kensington, where I stopped into Island Stone Pub for excellent fish & chips and a Gahan 1772 IPA. When in PEI, make this restaurant a target for lunch or dinner. Good stuff!

As the day and route was winding down I visited Upstreet Craft Brewing in Charlottetown where I tasted a flight across their current tap lineup and visited with a couple friendly locals who gave me a few good tips on PEI and my upcoming adventure to Newfoundland. The Denovo III farmhouse Saison and Go Devil IPA were may favs. I’ll likely revisit this little brewery before leaving town!. . .

Tuesday I met up for lunch with a couple friends who live on the island and then headed downtown to check out Charlottetown. Cool town, lots of restaurants, shops, pubs and, yes, a couple breweries! Gahan’s Juicy IPA is a rare juicy IPA that isn’t over-the-top fruity—a four pointer. ‘Twas a good, easy day kicking around the streets of the island province’s capital city.

My last day on PEI I headed east to Cape Bear Lighthouse and Marconi Station. This station (built in 1881) was the first in Canada to hear the Titanic’s distress call in 1912. The lighthouse is still in operation.

I let B in the Box guide me to my next stop: Copper Bottom Brewing in picturesque Montague. I think she’s been to PEI before because it turns out she knows her way around the island’s backcountry roads. Beautiful drive on two lane, occasionally dirt, roads. Lots of patchwork reveal winter’s toll on the asphalt roads. But I enjoyed driving them, my truck feeling even nimble without the trailer in tow.

Back to Copper Bottom: got the best brews on the island overall. Especially liked Broadside pale ale and Parkman DIPA. Since the big IPA was an 8 percenter, I opted for the tamer Broadside to pair with the buffalo chicken wrap from Red’s Grill food truck across the street. Great 72 degree day for lunch on the brewery’s deck overlooking Main Street.

B in the Box, still in charge of getting us back across the island to Charlottetown, did a fine job and deposited us at PEI Brewing Company. I love a girl who knows what I like! 😜

I wrapped up the day back at camp, knocking out a load of laundry and prepping for an early departure in the morning. Prince Edward Island is a very friendly, beautiful place. I could live here—although I should probably get a taste of January thru April before climbing out on that limb, aye?

Next stop: northern Nova Scotia where I’ll drive the Cabot Trail, take in Cape Breton Island National Park and then jump off land for a 7-hour northern bound ferry ride to southwest Newfoundland. I’m still outbound on this trip, very much enjoying Canada’s Maritime Provinces!

Northeast Nova Scotia

Since I failed to get a ferry reservation from PEI to NS for my oversize rig, I retraced miles back to Confederation Bridge, heading south thru a short piece of New Brunswick then into Nova Scotia. Not a big deal; it was a wash in terms of time and a few bucks less than taking the ferry. Plus, I got to see more of NB and NS, as the interstate highway flowed across several rolling ridges of heavily forested and enjoyable mountains. Eventually, I crossed the causeway onto Cape Breton Island. Wow.

Big Spruce Brewery
Big Spruce Brewery
Cape Breton Highlands - Big Spruce Brewery
Cape Breton Highlands – Big Spruce Brewery

About 45 minutes into the island I saw a sign for Big Spruce Brewery and made a quick hard left onto an uphill road where I finagled the trailer into a precarious spot so I could check out the unexpected brewery’s goods. Like they say, good things come in unexpected packages. Or something like that. I do know that Big Spruce is may favoritist brewery of all times, all places. Seriously.  I know you’ve heard that before but I’m totally real serious this time. I just might move here. Yup.

The village of Baddeck is so cool, too. I’m only here one night and have reservations in the national park up north and then for the 7-hour ferry ride to Newfoundland already booked. But I’ll return here whenever I come back from NF. Seems the further I go into the Maritime Provinces, the more I like them in all aspects: geography, history, people. Cannot wait to see what the north cape of Nova Scotia has to offer!


Well, the north cape of the island—largely Cape Breton Highlands National Park—offers up much, Lots of much! I hope God has used some of this incredibly beautiful country as the blueprint for heaven. The Cabot Trail covers much of the highlands of this end of Nova Scotia. It’s a wonderful road (and in short sections, it’s a wretched road; more on that later). I’ve had the blessing of driving many wonderful roads the past few months. Can’t really believe it sometimes. Truly blessed! Thank you, God!

Cabot Trail leaves the community of Braddeck and quickly climbs, with concerning roadbed deterioration into the highlands of the island. Just a couple miles in I was sure every cabinet door was thrown open, spewing its contents into a sea of confusion on the trailer floor (Amy, sorry for any disturbing images of open cabinetry!). But in a few miles the pavement settled down and the drive became quite nice. I now understand how tough winters are on roads and why the two primary seasons up north are winter and construction.

The seaside community of Chéticamp just south of the national park is so cool. Very picturesque; could spend a couple days just looking at the Saint Lawrence Gulf, enjoying the smells of the water. Within a couple kilometers of entering the park there was a small black bear foraging alongside the road. Also so cool. As I continued along the coastal route, I pulled into a few overlooks, talked with a few people, just enjoying the day. Beautiful day.

Skyline Trail is a highlight of the park that crosses a huge headland bluff. I took the 5+ mile loop trail that wound through wind-scoured forests and highland mesas. Didn’t see any moose, though there were plenty of signs they were in the area; it was a great walk in the park!

Hike done, I headed eastward toward my campsite. Cabot Trail continued to delight with its incredible views, and it continued to confound with its sometimes steep and twisty sections—sometimes very steep and very twisty sections! I was thankful for the heft of my F250, especially on the downhills. Man, some of them were intimidating. When I arrived at the KOA in Sydney the rep in the office remarked about hauling a 35′ foot trailer around the Cabot Trail… was impressed. I never felt in danger but there were many sections where I drove the centerline of the roadway because the shoulders were essentially craters. The road definitely required diligence.

Cabot Trail is another of the world’s great coastal routes and despite the tough driving at times, I enjoyed the three days circling northeast Nova Scotia. On to Newfoundland for a week before returning to lower Nova Scotia!

Newfoundland — Southwest Coast

In the morning I unhooked B and headed back to Port aux Basque, stopping at the visitor center to get some info. Roberta was so helpful, pointing out what I absolutely had to do, recommending sites and routes and restaurants. A cod lunch at Seaside Restaurant in the tiny fishing village of Margaree was great. I continued eastward on coastal Route 470 passing more fishing villages, many lakes and streams until I arrived at Rose Blanche. The granite lighthouse there is so picturesque, my phone camera fails doing it justice, as I’m sure will be the case throughout this adventure.

Returning to Codroy Valley I meandered it’s few roads, beaches, farms, and river. Back at camp, I pulled out the map and guidebook and started to plot my course north and east. Having decided to stay as long as I needed to to more fully enjoy the island and culture, I found myself planning to spend the next week just on the west side of the rock (as the locals sometimes call it). I rescheduled a campsite reservation and made a couple new ones to carry me through the upcoming Labour Day holiday weekend. With the map now in front of me and with recommendations of locals and other travelers, I was starting to wonder whether I’d be ready to leave the island when the last ferry of the season makes its crossing September 22. Due to the season-ending schedule of the Argentia/North Sydney ferry, I had to either leave by the 15th or on the next boat, a week later. I’ve got some driving, site seeing and route planning to do.

Needing to move on from my favorite campground, I hooked up and headed out for the couple hour drive to Kippens, where I’d drop the trailer and then make the 100 mile circle tour of the Port au Port Peninsula, aka the French Ancestors Route. It was a rainycloudyfoggy day but still a nice drive. I envied the people living on the shoreline with gorgeous views to Gulf of Saint Lawrence. Glad I didn’t bypass this little side trip. I wrapped up the day with a quick provisioning stop at Coleman’s grocery store in Stephenville and a Rickards Red ale at The Bar & Grill. Back at camp, I took advantage of a rare fast & reliable internet connection to catch up on email, upload pictures & videos, write this post, and do some trip research. The brisk wind was clearing out the clouds. Tomorrow promised to be sunny and cool!

Video from the Lighthouse Point

So in the morning, I’m off to Gros Morne National Park, a few hours away. Can’t wait! Yes, there’s something about this land.

Newfoundland — Central

Kittiwake Coast

After wrestling the rig off the Northern Peninsula yesterday I was ready for a semi-lay day. Took care of some business in the morning then headed out (sans trailer) toward Twillingate and the New World Island(s). Nice drive on potholed roads. Twillingate and Moreton’s Harbor are very picturesque and are certainly worth the 90+ minutes to get there. Tried—again—to get a moose burger for lunch but had to settle for decent fish & chips. Beginning to think I’ll need to wait until I get back to DFW and Twisted Root Burgers to try moose. But I’ll keep asking…

Headed back to camp after refilling my DEF and hitting the grocery store. Chicken seems to be a rare bird up here. Last few stores have had just remnants of the tasty fowl: wings. No breasts, no thighs, no legs. Just wings. I don’t even wanna know what that implies!

Terra Nova National Park

Weather was nasty: rain &wind. After stopping by the visitor center I decided there was no compelling reason to hang around during this “shoulder season.” So I kept on keeping on. Geez, did the wind arrive! Somebody estimated 50-60 MPH winds. I believe it. Finally wrestled the rig onto slightly less exposed side route 230 onto the Bonavista Peninsula. Less than an hour later I was enjoying the best grilled cheese sandwich I’ve ever had and a couple brewskis at Port Rexton Brewing Company which makes a very good Baycation Blonde and a good Horse Chops west coast IPA.

As it was still pretty breezy and now past 4pm, I figured I should get my happy camper ass to camp. In 30 minutes  I settled into a pretty site overlooking a white-capped pond at mediocre Paradise Farms RV and, having decided to stay just the night, stayed hooked up. I’ll drag B to Elliston in the morning to hopefully see a few puffins. If this wind keeps up the slides are coming in tonight…

No Puffins. Sealers.

Elliston is a quaint village with very friendly people. The puffins have moved on, dang it, but I did spend a good amount of time at the Home from the Sea Sealers Interpretation Center, a very informative, very well-done museum that covers sealing and the 1914 sealing disasters in Newfoundland. I was impressed. Bought the book by  Cassie Brown; I like true stories like this.

Continued through Bonavista and down the west side of the peninsula on the 1½ lane road, compromised by deteriorating shoulders and many many many potholes. Arriving at 2-4 lane TCH was a huge relief. An hour or so later I arrived in Green’s Harbor, ditched the trailer and headed to my latest favorite brewery in the tiny village of Dildo.

Dildo Brewing Co & Museum is a great place with an unreal view of Trinity Bay. Yesterday I’d found Port Rexton and today Dildo. My faith in craft beer in Newfoundland has been restored! Dildo’s Blonde Route 80, Stout Dildo and the I’se da bye PA are all solid brews. This news article does a nice job of introducing the brewery, which opened earlier this summer. I’m probably gonna squeeze the trailer into the tiny village tomorrow on my way out of town. Grab lunch and another “taste of Dildo” as their tagline says!

With most of Newfoundland in my rear view mirrors, I’m now headed to Saint John’s, where I’ll hang for seven nights, waiting for the next southbound ferry. The week will give me a chance to get the truck’s oil changed (I’ve gotten 9,358 miles on this oil, even with all the towing!) and tires rotated, check out the Avalon Peninsula, George Street in town, and simply hang loose for a while before I make the turn for home. I’ll spend a week in Nova Scotia and probably a couple days in New Brunswick before re-entering the States. Gonna be hard to leave Newfoundland. There’s something about this land.

… past houses, farms & fields …

I’ve become pretty comfortable with the lady (sometimes she’s a different pronoun) in my maps app to give me good directions. There was that time in South Carolina where I was about to lock the hubs because the roads were so small & remote I fired her (alternate pronoun), but we’ve made up since then. She (the nice pronoun) made me happy yesterday.

Indiana State Highway 5 is a joy! I was making my way from south of Fort Wayne to Van Buren State Park on the Lake Michigan shore. My lady (see how fickle she can be?) directed me from Huntington to Larwill on IN-5, a short 20-25 mile stretch of American Highway. It’s a easy winding country highway that dissects fields of green plants and interacts with a few towns along its path. I loved passing the small restaurants, hardware stores, independent gas stations, homes, parks, and I even liked navigating a few quirky turns as the road made its way through a few towns. I especially loved the display of Americana. Lots of flags. This is America.

Good morning, America, how are ya?