Tristan’s Trip Report – Week 7

Atlantic Canada Roadtrip Route

Aug. 8th, 2016 (Day 43)

From: Cape Breton Highlands National Park, Cheticamp, Nova Scotia
To: Inverness/Whycocomagh, Nova Scotia
Activities: Frog Pond Café, Glenora Distillery (Not)
Stayed: Tulloch Inn and Gifts

Another night in a park, another nice stay in an oTENTik.

I have to just take a second here to heap praise on all of the wonderful employees of Parks Canada. I asked the other day if they have to take an aptitude/attitude test to get the job, because they are simply some of the most easy going, helpful, courteous and knowledgeable people we have ever worked with. It takes a really special person to work in/for a national or provincial park and we got to meet a bunch of them.

Started the day by vegetating at the beautiful Frog Pond Café in Cheticamp. We got a lot of work done while looking over the beautiful pond and listening to the fanciful sounds of a harpist. I worried that perhaps we were overstaying our welcome but then a local priest randomly said to me, “Oh, que la vie est belle!” (Oh, isn’t life beautiful). So I stopped worrying and did a crossword puzzle.

Cape Breton, Nova Scotia
Frog Pond Cafe

On our way down to our accommodation for the evening, we popped over to the Glenora Distillery, which just happens to be the only single malt distillery in North America. I walked in ready to buy a bottle. I walked out minutes later empty handed. I had gotten some poor reviews on the whiskey from reputable sources but was ready to make a purchase simply because… it’s the only single malt distilled in North America. What’s this, a bottle of the 10yr is $80?! Can I try a bit just to make sure? I have to buy a tasting flight?

See ya!

We hunkered down in the very nice Tulloch Inn and Gifts to take in a little bit of the Olympics and catch up with “the rents” via Skype.

Total Kilometre Count: 6,734km


 

Aug. 9th, 2016 (Day 44)

From: Inverness/Whycocomagh, Nova Scotia
To: Baddeck, Nova Scotia
Activities: Not too much
Stayed: Ceilidh Country Lodge

Folks, our time in Nova Scotia is coming to a close, so today we really took it easy. We enjoyed a delicious lunch at the Clucking Hen before moving on to the Big Spruce Brewery for a tasty flight which Arienne nabbed a photo of. After that we drove back to Baddeck, and didn’t stay at the Trailsman Motel. No, this time we managed to book into the Ceilidh Country Lodge and I didn’t have to be the luckiest guy in Nova Scotia to do it.

Final hours of sunlight on the lake-side town of Baddeck. #visitnovascotia

A photo posted by Arienne (@seeusoontravel) on


I would love to write more, but unless you want to hear about me procrastinating around writing this report and what garbage I dialed in on the tube…

What’s that you say? “I’m really slacking on today’s report.” You noticed that, eh?

Total Kilometre Count: 6,849km


 

Aug. 10th, 2016 (Day 45)

From: Baddeck, N.S.
To: The Atlantic Ocean
Activities: Ferry to Newfoundland
Stayed: Atlantic Vision (Ferry), 2-berth cabin

Today was our last day in Nova Scotia. It was spent rather ingloriously. Well, except for lunch. Big shout-out to the Black Spoon Café. Their 3-piece lunch special (half a wrap, salad and soup) was super delicious and they only charged $10. You can find the Black Spoon in North Sydney, just a little ways from the ferry terminal.

Ferry service from Nova Scotia to Newfoundland
Marine Atlantic’s ferry to Newfoundland, the Atlantic Vision.

So we boarded the Atlantic Vision Ferry, the largest ferry in North America, bound for Argentia, Newfoundland. We booked a 2-berth cabin with Marine Atlantic which was really rather reasonable as you’ll see in the picture below. The ferry had all the accoutrement one would expect from the “Largest Ferry in North America”. A couple restaurants, a couple bars and a shtick-y lounge singer cracking ace jokes about the Titanic and the Poseidon. I would love to have hung around longer to listen to the soothing sounds of his backing track, but… something was probably going on somewhere else.

Ferry between Nova Scotia and Newfoundland
Our 2-birth cabin aboard the Atlantic Vision with Marine Atlantic.

And just my luck, it was. Here we were, heading right out into the Atlantic Ocean and the fine people of the Marine Atlantic corporation had provided us with a satellite television connection beamed directly to the small t.v. in our room. And lo-and-behold, the Blue Jays game Arienne! The freaking Blue Jays game. OMG.

I was so shocked and excited I could have thrown-up. No, not from sea sickness. I should mention on that note that the ferry has a slight rock to it, very subtle, which will tickle your tummy a touch… but nothing substantial.

Fell asleep to the quiet crash of the waves hitting the side of the ship. The ocean is haunting at night.

Total Kilometre Count: 6,919km


Atlantic Canada Roadtrip Route

Aug. 11th, (Day 46)

From: The Atlantic Ocean
To: St. John’s, Newfoundland
Activities: Laundry
Stayed: St. John’s Airbnb, loft

I dreamed last night about declining grades and over-due assignments. It’s been a long time since I was in school. These trip reports must be getting to me.

Our day began by packing up our cabin and waiting for the ship to pull into port. I was amazed at all the people who started lining up and waiting for the elevator to get to their cars… just so they could wait in their cars. Why rush to line up, to be first to eventually wait in a line up? I don’t get it Arienne. I don’t get it.

It was nice seeing Jane again. Some people probably get tired of being in a car, but I always feel at home when we get back to the old girl. I’m not really a “car guy”, but the fight left in this 14-year old car… I tell ya.

Anyways, we drove into St. John’s (make sure you enunciate the ‘S’) which is a lot more built-up than I would have thought, you know, based on nothing. Downtown St. John’s features the very cool Water Street, as well as beautiful pastel coloured houses that line the… oh I’ll just shut up and let you see a picture. Arienne?

St John's Colourful Houses
The historic homes in St. John’s nicknamed Jellybean Row.

Right. So we drove 15 minutes out of the downtown area and found our very cool loft-style Airbnb. I immediately changed into my bathing suit, not because they had a pool, but because they had a laundry machine. Yes, today was the last day of any clean piece of clothing (except for my bathing suit), and therefore the last day of any sense of decency. When you are on the road and get the chance to clean all your clothes… you put your bathing suit on and lie on the bed knowing that the machine is doing the lord’s work.

And that’s where you’ll find me now, hours later. Still on the bed. Still in my bathing suit. #blessed

Total Kilometre Count: 7,067km


 

Aug. 12th, 2016 (Day 47)

From: St. John’s, NL
To: St. John’s, NL
Activities: Jellybean Row, Hiked Signal Hill, Quidi Vidi Brewery, Yellowbelly Brewery
Stayed: St. John’s Airbnb, loft

It was another day of exploring a city with a local. Today’s local talent was provided by Candice Walsh, who runs freecandie.com. It’s a travel website. No, you can’t order jube-jubes.

We met Candice around the colourful houses of Jellybean Row, which isn’t really a place, which probably makes you think it never happened. Arienne, get the photo. Oh what’s that, you already posted one above. Right.

Hiking in St. John's
Following the trail along St John’s harbour up to Signal Hill.

While hiking up Signal Hill and taking in the ridiculously beautiful view of the St. John’s harbour, Candice regaled us with insider knowledge of both life in St. John’s and as a Newfoundlander. I particularly liked hearing about the healthy rivalry between Townies (those from St. John’s) and Baymen (those from every other corner of Newfoundland). Reminded me of the other adorably ridiculous rivalries from our Atlantic Canada Roadtrip, the North-siders vs. South-siders in Fredericton. I still like the Southside Jab: “The best thing about the living on the North-side is the view of the South-side”.

Villages in Newfoundland
The picture-perfect village of Quidi Vidi

We popped on over to the very cute village of Quidi Vidi where the Quidi Vidi Brewery company was holding a kitchen party. Unfortunately, the first 5 songs the band played were considered “downers” by Candice, and so apologized that we weren’t getting the Real McCoy when it comes to kitchen parties. Interestingly the next day, Candice sent us a message saying that there was a real popping kitchen party going on at… The Blueberry Festival??? #AnyReasonWillDo

After a delicious supper at Ches’s Famous Fish and Chips made sure our cholesterol levels reached the “liposuction won’t fix this” level, we had a tasty beverage at the Yellowbelly Brewery and investigated the exuberant George Street, which apparently becomes a gong-show after midnight.

What’s my age again? Over 30? #I’dRatherGoToBed

Total Kilometre Count: 7,117km


 

Aug. 13th, 2016 (Day 48)

From: St. John’s, NL
To: St. John’s, NL
Activities: Drive out to Pouch Cove, Scouting for Tomorrow’s Sunrise Timelapse
Stayed: St. John’s Airbnb, loft

Today we slept in a little and enjoyed the benefit of staying in an Airbnb that has a full kitchen. While I do enjoy the novelty of our Coleman stove, washing dishes in a proper sink certainly has its perks. Sure, not washing dishes has it’s perks too, but that comes with eating out. And if you haven’t noticed, this is Day 48, so… ain’t nobody got money for that!

The day was pretty straight-forward. We drove out of the city and explored some of the Avalon peninsula. Essentially, St. John’s towards Pouch Cove. Wonderful photo opportunities came up, especially by Torbay and Flatrock. We thought of taking Alice (the drone) out, but… something today didn’t call for her, so we let Alice rest.

St John's Newfoundland
The bay at Torbay

We finished our day by scouting out Cape Spear, the most easterly point in all of North America. Arienne wants to capture the first sunrise of the continent tomorrow morning, so guess who’s getting up at 4am tomorrow. ME!

Well, Arienne too. Definitely Arienne. Definitely.

4am Arienne?

Definitely!

Total Kilometre Count: 7,242km


 

Aug. 14th, 2016 (Day 49)

From: St. John’s, NL
To: St. John’s, NL
Activities: Sunrise at Cape Spear, Getting Screetched-In
Stayed: St. John’s Airbnb, loft

I have always loved the line surrounding fear mongering and terrorism in Canada: “You are more likely to get hurt or killed by a moose than by a terrorist in Canada.”

At 4:30am, driving out to Cape Spear, ironically just after mentioning that many Newfoundlanders had warned me about hitting a moose with the car, we narrowly avoided hitting two moose that were crossing the road. I am justifiably more scared of moose than just about anything at the moment of writing.

We made it out to Cape Spear and set up shop to do a sunrise timelapse that beautifully captured the lighthouse, cliffs and ocean. Unfortunately, a small group of photographers meandered around the lighthouse, leading me to coin line 42nd of the photographers code: Beaten to the spot? Get out of the shot!


Arienne and I cooled our jets when we figured out it was a proposal. She said “yes,” and got a ring. I said “NOOOO!!!!!” and got bitten by mosquitoes.

In the afternoon Arienne and I went to get “Screeched-In”, the official ceremony where one becomes an honorary Newfoundlander. What’s involved?

  1. Learning Newfoundlander slang, as in “long may your big jib draw” (I wish you all the best!)
  2. Kissing a cod (traditionally done before it was sent to Jamaica in exchange for rum)
  3. Drinking Screech (Jamaican Rum beloved on “The Rock”)
  4. Getting a certificate

I particularly loved when the host joked with a fella from Nova Scotia also getting screeched-in, “You know that a Nova Scotian is simply a Newfoundlander who gets lost on his way to Toronto.”

The ceremony is priceless and really let’s you get a sense of the culture and humour of Newfoundland. There are many bars that offer their take on “Getting Screeched-In”, but the word on the street, and we can confirm it, is that the best show in town is the one offered at Christian’s, found on George Street.

With a “near-death” moose run-in, and a proper screeching-in under my belt, I am ready to head out and explore the rest of Newfoundland and see if I can’t become an honorary “bayman” to boot.

This is your week-7 trip report.

Total Kilometre Count: 7,312km


Coming up for week 8: Terra Nova National Park, Bonavista, Twillingate, and Fogo Island.

Missed any of Tristan’s previous trip reports? Check them out here:

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  • George T

    Great report, Frog pond cafe looks very comfortable and homey. We were at Frogpond Farm winery in Niagara a few weeks ago.

    Love the photos with the deep blue ocean, especially the sunrise. it was worth getting up Tristan, for me anyway. Also like the map graphics showing where you went.