Well our plan to visit Happy Valley – Goose Bay for a couple of days turned into a full week. I am not sure where to start but I think that I will start with the end. We left Goose Bay this afternoon (Saturday) after being treated to a full homemade Newfie dinner of pork, special bread, puddings, potatoes, gravy, turnips, cabbage, carrots and more. In addition I left with a cooked lobster to take on the RV that I think was intended for our hosts dinner but I had admired it. What can I say. We spent the last two nights of our trip in Val and Ruby’s driveway at their invitation. They hooked us up to their electricity and water, took us out to lunch, out to dinner and prepared this huge traditional sendoff meal for us in addition to allowing me to use their internet (heaven). We also got to watch the news on TV for the first time in ages which I had been missing. Val and Ruby were two of the really friendly people that we met while we were in Goose Bay. Knowing that I am generalizing I would say that almost everyone in Happy Valley – Goose Bay, Labrador originated on the island (i.e. from Newfoundland) and seem to have family connections in Fort McMurray.
All these friendly people played havoc with our biking and walking. Almost every time we went out for a ride or a walk we met people and either we ended up at their house or they ended up in our RV for the evening. In either case our walks or rides nearly always ended quickly. We met Leo, from Home Hardware, who owns the sister RV to ours. His model happens to be the one that originally sold us on wanting to buy an RV for ourselves.
We spent the first four nights right on a beach on Gosling Lake, just outside of town. For a couple of days the rangers were there teaching 12 – 18 year olds how to canoe, set up tents etc. It was quite interesting to watch. One evening we met two guys from the US, Bill and Neil (rubberboa.wordpress.com), who are going to be doing a similar route to us. We may see them again at some point although they didn’t have to wait the extra few days for FedEx that we did. We met an ex American policeman and his wife touring the Atlantic provinces as well. Somehow he managed to legally bring two guns into Canada. I was surprised. While at Gosling Lake we took the boat out for a ride but quickly discovered that the lake was a little smaller and shallower than was ideal. We hiked up to a nice waterfall near the lake and then on to some rocks higher up with views out over the valley.
The first person that we talked with in Goose Bay gave us some great suggestions on what to do and where to go. The problem was his directions didn’t match any landmarks you would find on current maps. He started talking about driving past the Canadian side to get somewhere. Mike and I looked at each other, both thinking – aren’t all sides Canadian? He then clarified and talked about the Canadian side, the American side and the civilian area. It turns out that these areas are based on WWII and subsequent air bases at Goose Bay. Historically the terms were used a lot but as modern day directions for tourists they are a bit tricky to follow. Actually on our last night in town Val gave us a tour and showed us exactly where there used to be Canadian barracks and Amerrican barracks etc. The vast majority of these areas are now just fields of grass.
Until our arrival, the summer here has been quite cold and the lilacs are only now in bloom.
Staying in Happy Valley – Goose Bay for a week gave us a chance to meet some really nice people. We had a great time but I am not looking forward to the next leg of our trip. Apparently we will have something like 400 km of gravel followed by a paved road in worse shape than the gravel.
I am writing this at the side of the gravel road. It is really lucky that we are so self contained. We haven’t spent very many nights in campgrounds with services on this trip. Today we have travelled the dustiest road that we have ever been on and the RV is covered inside with dust. It doesn’t get dark until around 10pm up here but the black flies outside the windows are so large that Mike and I decided to watch recorded episodes of Covert Affairs on TV instead of going out for a walk. I had expected to get a huge amount of walking and biking in during this trip but it hasn’t happened so far. One bad note to end on. Do you remember the picture at the beginning of us replacing our front window for almost $3,000. Today a couple of extra wide load trucks went racing down the gravel road in the opposite direction and threw up enough gravel with enough force that they have put a chip in our brand new extra large window. Chances are that we can’t leave for Europe next spring with this chip since, if it gets worse, we wouldn’t be able to replace the window over there without shipping the windscreen in from America. We aren’t happy. We are actually looking to see if our dashcam caught these vehicles racing down the road or not.
Not a great ending to today but our time in Goose Bay was very nice and we had a great sendoff and I just finished my lobster treat. Life is good.