I was excited as I drove onto the MS Highlanders, the ferry that would take me to Newfoundland. The seven hour, 111 mile, $344 crossing from North Sydney to Port aux Basque was mill pond smooth. Spent time chatting with bartender Sherry, watching a couple freighters cross our rhumb line, and making some vitamin D on the boat’s sun deck. When we arrived in Newfoundland it took me some time to figure out it was now a half-hour later, making the province 2½ hours ahead of Texas.
Disembarking was quick; I was off the boat and headed toward camp in less than 15 minutes from the time we tied up at the dock. And as soon as Trans Canada Highway left the port town, it climbed into the seaside hills, offering beautiful views of the mountains, lakes and coastline. I already knew there was something about this land.
Alice, owner of Grand Codroy RV/Tent Camping, welcomed a couple other ferry travelers and me so warmly. Alice and her husband Dennis have owned the campground since it was passed down from her family after being privatized in the late 90s. This is the best campground I’ve stayed in on this trip. The facilities are great; the people are awesome. Alice is also a great ambassador for Codroy Valley and Southwest Newfoundland . . . so good, I knew I was not just staying one night before heading north. When she asked how long I’d be in Newfoundland and I told Alice just seven days she said, “that’ll never do.” I knew she was right. There’s something about this land.
That night I joined several other campers at the community fire pit, where we chatted and enjoyed Susan’s guitar and Newfoundland ballads (short video). It was so cool, so fun enjoying the warmth of the fire and new friends, surrounded by trees and hills and brilliant stars breaking through the clouds. I’d heard many times about how friendly Newfoundlanders are and the reports were spot on. I’m convinced you cannot meet a stranger here. Their friendliness must be contagious because all the CFAs I met were so friendly too. After I tossed out a wise crack, Susan laughed loud and said, “oh, you’re a corker!” I considered it a great compliment from a Newfie to a CFA (Come from Away) like me. I had decided to stay another day and was already looking forward to the next night at the fire. There’s something about this land.
(Note: My posts from Newfoundland will pretty closely align with the tourism brochures that break the province into geographic areas including Southwest Coast, Gros Morne, Great Northern Peninsula, Humber Valley, etc. Hopefully that makes sense and will accommodate what I’m sure will be tons of pictures and narratives about exploring this beautiful land.)