NEWFOUNDLAND (Part 3)

6 July

It cooled off pretty nicely last night. Slept like a rock. Weather forecast calls for very smoky, windy, and hot.

Made it to Botwood in short order. Why there?

Botwood, which is 14 kilometres from Route 1 (TCH), is the major shipping port in the Bay of Exploits.

The continuing romance of Botwood is its association with flight. Sidney Cotton, the pioneering aerial reconnaissance photographer, established an air survey company here in 1921 to spot seals during the annual hunt. When transatlantic air service became technically feasible in the 1930s, Botwood was chosen as the site of a seaplane base.

British Imperial Airways and Pan American Airways established the first transatlantic mail service in 1937, with Botwood as the stopover between New York and Ireland. In 1939 the famed Yankee Clipper seaplane, or flying boat as it was known, inaugurated the first commercial passenger service across the Atlantic.

During World War II, Botwood was a military base: its deep, protected harbour was easy to defend with coastal batteries. Famous personalities such as Bob Hope stopped by to entertain the troops. The tarmac for the old seaplane base is still here. Private seaplanes still use Botwood harbour. On display at the tarmac is an old Canso water bomber used to fight forest fires. The Canso is a converted World War II PBY submarine patrol aircraft. Next to the tarmac is the Botwood Heritage Park and Museum, which contains a treasure trove of material on early flight and World War II.

I wanted to go to the museum but had arrived too early and did not want to wait.

Reading one of the plaques there gave me a chuckle. During WW II Newfoundland was not part of Canada. Not sure if it was still a British dependency or it’s own entity.

Anyway, the plaque said that the presence of Canadian troops here during WW II were instrumental in bettering relations with the Newfies given the strong presence of US troops here and it was to try and counter our presence here. Sure makes me wonder if it was not a calculated move by the Canadians at the time to guarantee absorption of Newfoundland into Canada and thwarting American influence as opposed to really supporting the war effort.

Next stop was Dildo Run Provincial Park.

dildo···

I registered and then headed into Twillingate.

I know, you’re all desperate to find out how this was called “DILDO.” As far as being Called “Dildo Run” I do not know. However, there is a town called Dildo. It’s further east and I will go there, too. And when I get there I will give you the skinny on the use of the word.

OK! OK! Quit bitchin’!

Here it is, from Wiki:

The place name “Dildo” is attested in this area since at least 1711, though how this came to be is unknown. The origin of the word “dildo” itself is obscure. It was once used to reference a phallus-shaped pin stuck in the edging of a row boat to act as a pivot for the oar (also known as a “thole pin” or “dole pin.”)

It was used as early as the 16th century for a cylindrical object such as a dildo glass (test tube), for a phallus-shaped sex toy, as an insult for a “contemptuous or reviling” male, and as a refrain in ballads.

The name, then written as “Dildoe”, was first applied to Dildo Island, located offshore from the present-day town of Dildo. This use was recorded in 1711 and 1775, and the name was thereafter applied to the Dildo Arm of Trinity Bay and other local physical features. Social scientist William Baillie Hamilton notes that Captain James Cook and his assistant Michael Lane, who mapped Newfoundland in the 1760s, often displayed a sense of humour in the place names they chose, and were not above selecting names that might offend overly sensitive readers. Regardless of the origin, the name has brought the town of Dildo a measure of notoriety. In the 20th century there were several campaigns to change the name, though all failed.

History: The Dildo area has a long history, going as far back as 2000 BC when Maritime Archaic aboriginal people resided at Anderson’s Cove. By 700 AD, people of the Dorset culture inhabited Dildo Island. In 1613, Henry Crout, whilst sailing up Dildo Arm, came in contact with the Beothuks, who were residing on Dildo Island at this time. He traded with them and left gifts. In 1711 the inhabitants of Trinity Bay were ordered by Governor Crow to leave their homes during the winter, to defend themselves against the French, who burned their houses. Dildo Island was one of the places designated for this purpose. The town of Dildo was founded in the late 18th century and settled to exploit the abundance of marine resources such as fish (mostly cod), whales and seals.

So back to Twillingate: from the scenic drives site

The Twillingate area is where the Slades, Nobles, Earles and Duders, merchants from Poole, England, established trade in the mid 1700s. Once the hub of the lucrative fishery in this part of Notre Dame Bay, Twillingate was so prosperous it had its own newspaper, ‘The Twillingate Sun,’ and a championship cricket team.

Twillingate’s most famous resident was opera singer Georgina Stirling. In the late 1800s, Miss Stirling, who was known professionally as Marie Toulinguet, won acclaim for her performances at the Paris Opera and La Scala, in Milan. Unfortunately her concert career was tragically cut short by voice failure and she returned to Newfoundland to live out her days in her hometown. She is buried in St. Peter’s Cemetery.

The stories of Twillingate are told in the Twillingate Museum in the former Anglican Rectory. Parts of this fine old home have been restored to illustrate an upper class residence at the turn of the century. One of the museum’s exhibits is a remarkably preserved 120-year-old child’s tea set. There are also a sealing display and a collection of Maritime Archaic Indian artifacts.

Twillingate Island has some excellent hiking trails. Most are easy to moderate walks and take the hiker to hidden coves, to the highest point of the island for a great view of the area, and along the coast. The rock formations have such colourful names as Gorilla Face and Cobra Snake.

The nearby Long Point Lighthouse, built in 1876, is one of the best places in Newfoundland to see icebergs. Built on a bluff, it overlooks the outer reaches of Notre Dame Bay. You may also catch a glimpse of the whales that spend their summers feeding along the coast.

The cold Labrador Current funnels icebergs into Notre Dame Bay through what is known as Iceberg Alley, and on a clear day you can see icebergs many kilometres away. Of course, the best way to see an iceberg is up close, and Twillingate has a few tour boat companies that offer this service, and the town bills itself as the Iceberg Capital of the World. There’s a better chance of seeing bergs here than most places because of the area’s location.

Here are some trails you can take. I only tried one, the French beach (which merged with the French Head trail.)

I wanted to go on the Cod Jack trail to see sea stacks and arches but signage was abysmal.

Just getting to French Head was an adventure in itself. I made it to the beach with no problem and went off in search of French Head. All of a sudden the path ended. What looked like the “Head” was about 300 yards ahead but through a bog or a fen. I’d read about staying on paths and how if you get off them you damage the flora which, in this area, can take years to grow back.

And I was not really enamored of the idea in crossing a bog. Having taken a couple of tentative steps I knew it could get messy. But curiosity got the best of me and I struck off …. only to get my feet wet in the bog. DAMN!!!

Long Point to Cuckold Point trail: 10 K with a lighthouse, sea caves, view of Twillingate, eagles’ nests, whales and icebergs. Lighthouse can be driven to on Route 340.

Top of Twillingate Trail: 4 K to a 360 degree view of area

CodJack’s Cove Trail: sea stacks, hole in wall; 6-8 km

While I am at it, if whale watching is your thing, whales can be seen in all bays along the coastline. Some spectacular viewing sites by land are Signal Hill, Cape Spear, Cape St. Francis, Trinity, Cape Bonavista, Twillingate, White Bay, Strait of Belle Isle, St. Vincent’s, Cape St. Mary’s, Cape Race, Witless Bay, and Groswater Bay.

While in Twillingate, make time to go to Durrell. If you want to hike Cod Jack Trail or French Beach Trail you have to go there anyway but it’s a photogenic town, great for photography.

Went to the lighthouse but saw no icebergs. Probably too late this far south as whatever was at L’Anse melts by the time it floats by here.

Headed back to the park as the smoke was really thick and clouds were coming in.

Stopped off at a winery that specialized in wines made from local berries. After I bought my bottles I realized I could have some problems at customs back in the US. DAMN IT!!!!

If you ever come up and stay here I think you’ll like the park.

Hot showers, laundry facilities and spots 10, 12-19 are right on the water. I am in number 14 and 7 steps from the back of the van is Dildo Run if you feel like swimming. But one toe in the water will quickly dissuade you. One thing I do not like is the fact that so far none of the parks I’ve stayed at have had drinking, potable water. All of it needs boiling. So bring a couple of gallons with you.

Something else I’ve noticed: a shiiteload of people here have properties in Florida! So there must be good money to be made somewhere. The park registration guy has a genetic disease that does not allow him to feel pain in his extremities. His father has it and lost fingers and toes due to frostbite. That then caused other problems likes aches and pains and winters here are murder on him. So he heads south. The registration guy does, too. A place in Pinellas Park off Ulmerton Road.

This is one of those “snap” shots that begged getting taken. It was at the Long Pointe Lighthouse.

Following is my caption.

What’s yours?

WE CAN’T HELP IT!! WE MUST GO!!!!!!
fudge

 

7 JULY

Up early, again. Made coffee and headed out.

Something I noticed…but didn’t, really, until this morning: many of the cemeteries are segregated by church affiliation. The Catholic Cemetery, the Methodist Cemetery, the Anglican cemetery, etc. Must suck if you’re Anglican and your parents or spouse Catholic. You’ll have to be buried apart.

Something else I noticed: I spend a lot of time meaninglessly wandering around looking for points of interest that can’t be located because either the town has nothing up to attract visitors or there is no one nearby to ask. I honestly don’t get it. You’d think these people would WANT tourists around to supplement the dying fish and forestry industry. The fact that so many have fled to work in places like Alberta for their oil fields says a lot about dying communities here. Newfoundland reminds me of Portugal. You go to small villages and there are huge homes built with no one in them. They belong to those people who left for a better life and come back for a couple of weeks in the year to visit. Does nothing for the local economy.

My scenic drives guide indicated Lark Cove and Aspen Cove would be nice places to visit. Aspen Cove is an old lobstering community but many of the docks are falling apart into the water. However, there are lots of nice homes. Lark Cove was supposed to have lots of root cellars. I saw none but, again, lots of nice homes. View stores anywhere and wnenever I saw one it was ramshackle or closed.

This is a shot from Aspen Cove:

aspen cove

 
Next stop was Newtown.

It’s called the Venice of Newfoundland. It’s grown up and around a couple of dozen islands and at one point had 17 bridges connecting most of them.

Lindsay Hansen who put together a great trip diary of when she and some friends visited the island last year had this to say:

(The)Venice of Newfoundland. . . . enticed us enough to add over an hour to our travels to see this wonder.

Upon arriving in Newtown we wove the car through a network of tiny house covered islands and channels and parked to take some photos. Surrounding us were piles of lobster traps, colorful dories, a beautiful church and traditional homes. I felt as though I had stepped back in time. The first person to drive past us turned off is car in the middle of the road and began a conversation. Mr. White was friendly and we enjoyed getting advice on our trip and telling him about our travels. He even told us were we could drive to see a recently beached whale!

Rebecca’s Tea Room

We continued to the portion of town known as “The Barbour Living Heritage Village” where we visited “Rebecca’s Teahouse”. The women working here were dressed in colonial costumes and were some of the friendliest people I’ve ever met. I ate delicious tea and partridgeberry pie, while Lee and Court tried “Lassy Cream Bread” which was bread drizzled with molasses and cream. Unfortunately, the ladies did not enjoy the taste of molasses, but the place was so lovely it didn’t matter.

I stopped in at the Tea Room myself. The morning was chilly enough to warrant warming up a bit.

newtown

Really not much else worthy of mention for the day. If it weren’t for Newtown the whole New-Wes-Valley drive would have been a wash.

Getting on the TCH and being a bit more inland I realized that, BOY! Was it ever hot today. Close to 85 degrees. I thought I left Florida to avoid this. Had to run the van’s A/C.

I saw a couple of cars pull off into the dirt and realized there were others there filling jugs with spring water. Given that I’d had bad luck at all the other parks getting water and given it was Sunday and so many stores closed, this solved one of my needs.

Decided to call it a day and registered at Terra Nova National Park.

From there it looked like the smoke was clearing a bit and hazy sun was visible so I hot footed it to Salvage. If it were a crisp, clear day I could have spent all day here. Especially as they had a nice pub and restaurant, the Ocean Breeze Pub.

Stopped in for a beer while waiting for better light and ran across even more folks who work in Alberta, are making shiiteloads of money and have TWO homes in Florida. And a boat. And a boat here. And property here as well as Alberta.

salvage

Continue to Part 4

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2 Responses to NEWFOUNDLAND (Part 3)

  1. McMurdo says:

    Keep them coming Vilmar, great stories.

  2. antzinpantz says:

    Glad you like them.

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