We have just spent 5 days on the Bonavista Peninsula. Other than worrying about running out of propane we had a super time. Propane is our main source of heat. We also have electrical heat but if we are not plugged in at a campground we must use the generator to have electrical heat. The problem with the generator is twofold. Mike doesn’t like running it for long periods of time because of the maintenance requirements (oil changes every 150 hours, etc.). The other problem is that the generator is located below the bed which means that we don’t run it late at night. The temperature the other night went down to 3 degrees above freezing. Mike figured our bedroom got there too. Slight exaggeration but it was cool. I slept really well! A lot of gas stations that used to provide propane to RVs don’t any more. We were quite concerned that we were going to have to run to St. John’s to get propane which would probably have meant not visiting this area properly. As it turns out we located some today and Mike is much happier now.
While driving up the peninsula we stopped for lunch at a little cafe. When we left we saw a small tourist style store nearby that we went into. There was no-one inside. We did see a sign that said if you found something that you wanted to buy please go next door and pay at the cafe. Talk about an honour system!
The two main towns on the peninsula that people have probably heard of are Bonavista, and Trinity. With a population of about 3,500 in Bonavista the town was home to multiple lovely little cafés and tearooms. It had a very nice historic theatre which is used for both live performances and movies. We went and saw a folk trio called “The Once” from St. John’s there when we were in town. We had crepes in a cafe run by a couple from London England. They came over and restored the building and started the small cafe about 10 years ago and seem to love it here. They work 7 days a week for five months of the year and then they close down for the winter.
The population in Trinity has been steadily declining. The latest figures that I could find were for five years ago when the population was down to 137 not counting tourists. It is hard to believe that this is enough to sustain a nice tourism industry but it is. Apparently when the cod fishery died in the 1990s the government looked to tourism as a means of employment for a lot of people. They decided that Trinity would be the centre of tourism for this area. The government has been reconstructing a lot of historic buildings. They have sponsored a variety of businesses including tour companies. The other thing that happened was that a theatre company that was based in St. John’s at that time moved out to Trinity. It is well known and definitely helps bring tourists and employment to the town. For all that, wandering around Trinity at 6pm on a Monday evening in September is like walking through a very attractive ghost town. The season is basically over. Stores and galleries that are still open for the tourists close down around 5pm. We went to the play that evening and talked with locals and tourists there. One couple felt that Newfoundland had everything in the way of culture and scenery that you would find in Scotland or Ireland and its people that couldn’t be beat. They raved about visiting here.
As we have been doing all around Newfoundland Mike and I continued our walks on trails through the woods and by the ocean. I am afraid that all the pictures we take on these walks are going to start looking the same. There are only so many photos of great colourful houses, crashing ocean waves and huge rocks that you can take and have them look different. This next description is aimed at our niece Stacy and her husband Fred. They will be coming to Newfoundland very shortly for a vacation. We hope to meet up with them while they are here. If they do get to the Bonavista Peninsula I want them to know about the Skerwink Trail in Trinity East. Here is what the guide book says about it. “Travel and Leisure magazine named the Skerwink Trail one of the top 35 walks in Europe and North America. The trail has received rave reviews in national and international publications.” Quite honestly even after reading that we weren’t expecting anything special. Tourism is all about exaggeration. In actual fact, the 5 km Skerwink Trail was lovely. The only concern was reading the signs about dangerous cliffs while the wind was so strong that you can hardly stand upright. Stacy and Fred, if you get to this part of the island it is a lovely, relatively easy trail and a great way to spend an hour or so.
We left Trinity quite quickly because of our propane shortage. We had been told that we wouldn’t be able to get any propane until St. John’s. Well it turns out that that was wrong. We have now filled up and Mike is comfortably sleeping in a warm bedroom (probably too warm, I didn’t mind the cold nights).
We have had quite serious problems with attachment between the RV and the bicycles and car. Mike is going to try tomorrow to mount a roof rack and bicycle supports on top of the Lincoln instead of on the back of the RV. We will see how that works. He wanted to install the racks tonight but the wind is just ferocious at the moment. I think it is almost worse than when we were at the far corner of the world on the edge of a hurricane in Fogo. Mike said that he had to hold on to the car to stand up and that didn’t leave any hands free for actually trying to do the install. We are pulling in the sides of the RV while we sleep tonight. I have never seen consistent winds this strong in Ontario like we have had here recently.
From here we will head towards St. John’s. We don’t know yet if we will go almost directly there or if we will do one of the arms of the Avalon Peninsula enroute. That would probably be my choice. It also might make the timing for meeting up with Stacy and Fred work better.
We are having a great time. Give us a call to say hi and keep in touch. Our phone coverage seems to be getting better now, not perfect but better J.