Thursday, June 13, 2024


 Pistolet Bay Provincial Park - June 4 to June 14, 2024

I think most of us were taught in grade school that "In fourteen hundred and ninety two Columbus sailed the ocean blue" and discovered America. Since that time there have been plenty of archeological finds proving the Vikings were here long before Columbus. They just didn't stick around. One of the sites proving the Vikings were here first is L'Ance aux Meadows, which is about a 30 minute drive from where we are parked.

As part of our preparations to visit L'Ance aux Meadows we check Yep, no cruise ships due at any of the local ports, we are good to go! I wish I could find a similar web site for tour busses. I don't begrudge any of the folks that choose to travel this way, it's just that they overwhelm whatever they visit. How can you enjoy a site when there are 50 to several hundred other people jockeying for position to see whatever there is to see. It's just best to avoid them if you can. That way you can stop and embrace the essence of the location. 

L'Ance aux Meadows is where the Vikings, or Norsemen, established a settlement in about 1000 AD. Archeologists say that this was not a permanent settlement but was sporadically occupied between a period of 20 and a 100 years. Remains of the village suggest that this was used as a boat repairing facility and a staging area for explorations that ranged further inland and further south.

Our excursion to the Viking settlement began with a slight diversion. We are always on the lookout for a good boondocking site. We found a gravel road that went around a corner hiding what lay beyond and piquing our interest. Hoping it might be a good site to camp, we went to investigate, and found our second fox. As usual, we were both so stunned by the appearance of a fox headed straight for us, that neither of us thought to take a picture until it was headed away.

We finally arrived at the Viking site where EJ is greeted by the inhabitants.

On the walkway to the Viking structures we passed through this. It is an artists vision representing the meeting of two worlds. Beats me how they get that out of it. If you squint really really hard the object on the left might represent a Viking sail. The object on the right, I got no clue! And in the middle, "Oh look, another iceberg!".

Eventually we arrive at the Viking village. There is a long house, a blacksmith shop and several others.

And it's not crowded. Just the way we like it.

Of course on the way out, we had to find a geocache and ended up here.

And to close out our adventure, the fog starts to roll in. That happens a lot up here.

Obligatory cat picture follows...


 Pistolet Bay Provincial Park (CG) - June 4 to June 14, 2024

We are about as far north as you can get on the island of Newfoundland. Oh sure, there's the Quirpon Lighthouse Inn with it's lighthouse next door, which is even further north, but Miss Mosey doesn't float or fly and those are the only two ways to get there.

In spite of all the assurances we have gotten, we have discovered that boondocking spots for bigger RVs are very limited. We've searched and scouted and found some that were in beautiful locations, but access was by a big drop off, or skinny little 2 track paths. So the next best thing was this Provincial Park. No hookups, but there is water available and there is a dump station for taking care of business.

The drawback to the Park is that it is down about 9 kilometers (5.6 miles) of patch work road. Repairs on top of repairs along with the occasional whoop de do (sudden dip) that will surprise you if you're not paying attention. It appears that rather repave roads, they just patch over and over again. Don't get me wrong, we are thankful for what pavement there is. And so is Miss Mosey.

Back a couple of months ago we were debating on whether to go to the St. Johns area which is where in years past most of the iceberg activity seems to have taken place or to travel to Saint Anthony which is lesser known and not as well traveled. St. Johns is a very touristy spot with an international airport and lots of accommodations and attractions for those tourists. Saint Anthony, on the other hand, is harder to get to, requires a long drive, and has few accommodations and fewer restaurants.

To our readers who know our dislike for crowds, it should come as no surprise that we chose Saint Anthony. And it is a good thing we did. This year the winds and currents have conspired to give the greater northern peninsula area near Saint Anthony an abundance of icebergs while sending hardly any to the St. Johns area. Lady Luck was definitely smiling upon us. This is simply a sample of what we saw.

 It seemed as though almost everywhere we looked, there was an iceberg. And according to the latest iceberg map, there is another big batch headed our way. Excuse us while we pat ourselves on the back. Just joking, but since we don't really have a schedule we extended our stay here to catch all the bergs we can.

Obligatory cat picture follows...


Wednesday, June 12, 2024

What were we thinking?

 Pistolet Bay Provincial Park - June 4 to June 14, 2024

The end of the road in Saint Anthony is Fishing Point where the old lighthouse is located. This is another popular tour bus stop. We wonder where they come from because the nearest airport is at least 5 hours away. We don't recall any village along the way that could accommodate 40 or so passengers overnight. Oh well, according to no cruise ships are due in Saint Anthony today. But, during the 3 hours we were there, at least 5 tour busses showed up. Fortunately we only had to momentarily endure one, before embarking on our hike away from the swarm.

EJ had suggested we visit this area while the weather was reasonably nice. There was no rain in the forecast, which was nice. The temperatures were supposed to be near 50F. So we bundled up and headed of for a nice hike along the coastline.

It was pretty windy so we were waring our wind breakers. That 50F temperature feels pretty cold when it's blowing about 10 of 15 mph. Then sum fule (me) suggested we go find a geocache that is nearby. EJ said "I bet it's up there".

And she was right!

At the bottom we meet a local who is concerned about our physical capabilities and cautions us about the steps. Too narrow, sloping backwards, makes balancing hard, etc. We thank him for the information and he heads up the trail never to be seen again (at least by us).

We tighten our shoes, slurp down some water, suck on some Jolly Ranchers and mentally prepare ourselves for the ascent. And yup, the sign says 476 steps to go up 550 feet. 

After about 5 minutes of climbing, EJ asks me if I'm counting the steps???? I doing all I can huffing and puffing and she wants to know if I'm counting steps? So I tell her no, I'm not. Eventually we find a step that someone, obviously much younger and fitter than we, has marked with the number 100. We assume that means that this is the 100th step from the bottom, only 376 to go. Oh god! Taking many, many breaks we continue our ascent. We begin to wonder, where is step 200? Those younger, fitter folks didn't just number one step and then stop, did they? Maybe they aren't as fit as we gave them credit for! Onward and upward we trudge. We get passed by a slender athletic person almost running up the steps. 

Oh joy! What is this? A step with another number?

Hey, we're doing better than we though! 300, woohoo! Upward we continue our struggle. After another eternity we encounter the same slender fit person on her way down who informs us we are almost to step 399. We wonder is it too late to turn back? We are almost there! Will we make it? More slurps of water and another Jolly Rancher, we continue or climb.

Every time we turn a corner and look up, there are more steps. Finally, we make it.

They've even posted a sign up here showing us which way it is to Florida.

We find our cache, make our mark and return to begin our descent. This part goes much easier, but our leg muscles protest. They are quivering and protesting with every step. But, knowing we must prevail, we eventually reach the bottom.

Success! This is really gonna hurt tomorrow. But for now, a cold beer is just what we need.

A few days ago I met the owner of the Ragnarock Northern Brewery as he was delivering a case of beer to the Northern Delight Restaurant. I asked him about his dark beers and he confessed that he had none available right now, but he should have some ready to tap next week (which is now). He said he would have a stout and a red ready.

As it turns out, he had no dark beers available when he said he would, but he did have a new red that I tried. It was quite tasty. Our time here on the GNP (Great Northern Peninsula) is done. It is now time to head to Puffin and Whale territory.

Obligatory cat picture follows...