From Cheryl’s journal: “Had planned to stay another day but so much to see. I wanted to go to Signal Hill, but it wasn’t open until 10. So we decided to go to Cape Spear, which is the most eastern spot in North America. Couldn’t get there with every road blocked off for some reason. Decided to head north along the Killick Coast. Stopped at Flat Rock. Very picturesque fishing village.”
Today we are sad to leave the unique St John’s, but excited to begin our unfortunately time-limited exploration of Newfoundland, beginning with the Bonavista Peninsula.
You have to book your ferry departure ahead of time, and due to limited availability we had to settle for a spot in about seven days. We either make it to Channel-Port-aux-Basques in seven days for the sailing, or we’re stuck for another week, probably. We are on somewhat of a time-budget since we are doing an actual Cross-Canada trip.
We’ve budgeted for about three months for this thing, the travel insurance we took out will certainly cover that. We are conscious of having to keep driving–every day, mostly–to keep the kilometers ticking over.
Canada has one of the largest coast-to-coast geographies in the world. It can easily be ten to twelve hours between cities. If you take three days per city–instead of taking one, or even driving through–you won’t complete a Cross Canada trek.
Our bright idea was to head out east into the Maritimes as fast as we could, and then start properly exploring/camping on the way back. By that time we would know better what next location was doable or not.
It also takes much longer to travel between cities in our motor home, versus our city car. On a decently paved highway–which all of Newfoundland, and some of Nova Scotia and Quebec doesn’t have–we can keep the vehicle at 90 km/hr for hour after hour. We made good time through BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, and New Brunswick.
Newfoundland at the time we did our trip in summer of 2019 has something that is so rutted and torn, it’s not really fair to call it pavement. This applies even to the #1 Hwy, which was in a state of disrepair, calling it mildly. There was one brand new nice stretch up in Gros Morne Park, about 12 kms worth.
Newfoundland suddenly became a noisy, washboard driving affair. To add insult to injury–even though the posted speed limit might have been 50 or 80–we couldn’t get anywhere near that. Every few hundred feet–I kid you not–there’d be a car-swallowing hole in the not-pavement that we had to slam our brakes on, to crawl into and out of again.
The roads and highways are flanked by the official “Bump!” signs, by the thousands for any given road. I joked to Cheryl we’ve seen so many “Bump!” signs that’s probably the Newfoundland National Flag. We came across a local who totally agreed that many of those potholes are big enough to build a bridge over.
Newfoundland has a crumbling road system due to probably at least these factors, lack of man power, and lack of money. Even a gravel road has to be done right.
So it’s a given that Newfoundland roads are by far the worst in Canada. Oh well. At least they were driveable–all it cost us was brake pads, and seven days of aggravation. No broken leaf springs!
We also found out on the boat over, that Newfoundland has more moose than people. We were advised to limit our driving times to daylight hours. We took that serious enough that we abided by it. As the roads were so mangled we usually arrived hours behind schedule.
We might have been able to properly explore–drive down every road–if we’d had a month.
We spent the night in the wonderful Backside Pond RV park, at Heart’s Delight.
Cheryl’s journal entry: “Every time we come into a town there is a bay and every house has a view. It’s definitely a place I could call home. We stopped for the night near Green’s Harbour. Found it by luck. Marcel wanted to stop by 5:00 as we had been told that that’s the magic hour of when moose come out. Did see one cow moose alongside the road today. First wildlife other than a bear in Ontario (maybe, thought it was a bear, looked like a bear) other than dead porcupines and raccoons. We camped right by a lake. It has been windy most of the day and hasn’t died down yet. Hoping for the clouds to go away so we can see stars tonight. A beautiful out of the way place.
Have I said lately the fridge is still working? I contend that it was the rain that stopped it. We will see. Haven’t had rain without the fridge stopping. We will see.”