Things I know about Newfoundland

Our luxury ride at the Canaan Motel, Maine... which is a whole other story.

Our luxury ride at the Canaan Motel, Maine… which is a whole other story.

By the time you read this, we will have landed or be on the verge of landing in Newfoundland. Does one land if travelling by ferry? Deboat? Debark? Is “debark” worse than “de bite”? I would have to say yes.

The ferry voyage from North Sydney, Nova Scotia to Argentia, on the eastern Avalon Peninsula of Newfoundland, takes about 15 hours. It’s not exactly an Alaskan cruise, but it does hold the prospect of being Alaskan, given that Newfoundland is undergoing its coldest summer in 20 years.

I know this because my friend Rick, who lives in St. John’s, keeps posting weather-related links, including that bit about the RCMP arresting the local CBC weather man in connection with the unexplained disappearance of summer.

After I showed Deb the spoof of a tourism commercial Rick sent me, in which the sun comes out just one day a year, she asked, “Are you sure he wants us to visit?”

Yes, I’m sure, and I’m excited about visiting Newfoundland and tent-camping across the province. I’ve visited all the other Canadian provinces – if by “visit” you mean “drive straight through,” which is really the only way to see Saskatchewan – and Newfoundland is last on the list. Cold or no cold (or fog or rain or snow), I’m looking forward to whatever comes our way… even if I don’t quite know what that will be.

That’s because our research into this vacation has been minimal. We are ferrying by the seat of our pants.

Here are some of the things I know about Newfoundland:

– For starters, it’s not pronounced “new found land.” That’s a dead giveaway that you’re from away and probably American. Y.ou want to run the words together so that they flow from your tongue like cod oil, which is disgusting but what can you do? The correct way to pronounce it like a true Newfoundlander is “muffin man.”
– Newfoundland is commonly referred to as “The Rock.” This nickname was introduced by Newfoundlanders in 2003 in the hopes that former wrestler and action film star Dwayne Johnson might stop by for tea. They are still waiting.
– Newfoundland became the tenth province in 1949 on the promise of economic prosperity within the nurturing and protective arms of the Canadian Confederation. They are still waiting.
– The first premier was Joey Smallwood. I have no point to make here other than to say “Smallwood.”
– On the northern tip of Newfoundland, one can find the remains of a Viking settlement, indicating that Norse explorers reached North America around the year 1000. The location is now called “L’Anse aux Meadows,” which comes from the French for “This was a bad idea.”
– The full name of the province is Newfoundland & Labrador, although, since no one has ever actually seen Labrador, when people say “Labrador,” they generally use air-quotes.
– Newfoundlanders are famous for their friendliness and lead the country in organ donors for tourists.
– Newfoundlanders also have a great sense of humour. If you want to make a Newfoundlander laugh, simply tell him you’re tent-camping across their province.
– Then follow up by telling him there are three of you travelling in a non-air-conditioned two-door Hyundai Accent with a cargo bubble dubiously fastened to the roof.
– We plan to visit Gros Morne National Park. It has fjords. Just like Alaska! Except not quite!
– Look out for moose.

And that’s about all I have to go on, except to anticipate scenic vistas, funny place names, essentially one highway through the whole damn province and probably lots of souvenir sou’wester hats for sale. And, despite my reputation as a traveller, I will do my best not get cranky – a sour-wester.

I hope to post and reply during our travels through Newfoundland (but not “Labrador”) although there is no guarantee. The Internet in Newfoundland tends to be spotty because, as we all know, it runs on whale oil.

About rossmurray1

I'm Canadian so I pronounce it "Aboot." No, I don't! I don't know any Canadian who says "aboot." Damnable lies! But I do know this Canadian is all about humour (with a U) and satire. Come by. I don't bite, or as we Canadians say, "beet."
This entry was posted in Family - whadya gonna do?, It Really Did Happen! and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

34 Responses to Things I know about Newfoundland

  1. pinklightsabre says:

    The naming convention reeks of half-baked marketing, like Greenland vs. Iceland, or our favorite camping destination on the Washington coast, Oil City (no oil, no city). But it will be new to you, and I hope you will be found, find something of yourself there. Bon voyage!

  2. List of X says:

    Be careful there. From what I heard, the Vikings went tent-camping in Newfoundland a 1000 years ago, and no one have heard from them ever since. A couple of settlements is all that’s left.

  3. Newfoundland is at the same latitude as the U.K., but the areas have two different climates. That gets bandied around a lot by the Britons to explain the long nights in the winter and long days in the summer to the Americans.

    And I went to high school with The Rock. He is a year older than me and had no idea who I was because I was Nerdtastic, and he was Big Jock Football Player on Campus. I saw him give an atomic wedgie to a kid in the gym once. Whether he would still do that during a tea party remains to be seen.

  4. Lynn says:

    Newfoundland is a part of Canada I have yet to visit. I look forward to reading about your adventures. Hope you packed a touque!

  5. Paul says:

    Ahhh, me son, me son. I mis-spent the years of me young adult life in and around the Rock. Some of those memories are fuzzy or missing – treat the Screech and local back-room distilled hooch with respect – don’t bite when the locals try to get you involved in drinking contests. Ha!

    Camping in Newfoundland. Well, well. There is a topic much discussed. Not having any great man-made draws for visiting or holidaying on their Rock, Newfies often spend their vacations tenting and camping with families in their fair and beautiful land. The parks are beautiful and very nice and few and far between. That said, there is a reason why Newfoundland is called “The Rock” – it is predominately rock (and peat bog). When the highways were built, gravel was needed and so many roads have abandoned gravel pits attached every few miles along the way. Because the parks fill up quickly and reservations are hard to get, many Newfies camp in the gravel pits alongside the roads. That may sound icky but some of the pits are very nice. You see the road cuts through many rivers and runs beside pristine lakes – remember , there has never been any humans settled close to some of these roads, the roads were just built through wilderness to connect towns. As far as the out-port communities are concerned, the best accommodations are Bed and Breakfast’s – few communities have the extra money to establish camping parks.

    The land is gorgeous and the people the friendliest I’ve ever met. The weather can be challenging. You’ll have as great time Ross – enjoy, I wish I were with you.

  6. sweetsound says:

    Disembark? Alight?

  7. “…Hyundai Accent with a cargo bubble dubiously fastened to the roof.”

    Like a throat lozenge lashed to another lozenge. The macho oozes from your pores.

  8. goldfish says:

    I read that as 15 hours from Australia to Argentina by boat and was about to be impressed until I realized I can’t read. Impressive.

  9. Tez says:

    Have a great time and come back with lots and lots of stories. For those of us in the hot antipodes, we relish tales of adventures in snow/cold/freezing temperatures. Most importantly, have fun.

  10. Bon voyage! Safe travels to you guys! If you take a wrong turn and wind up in Brooklyn, give me a call. Is it hard to drive with that house strapped to the roof of the car? I’ve always wondered. I never drive behind one of those because I always assume they’re on the threshold of snapping off.

    • rossmurray1 says:

      Last night, driving back, we saw a couple of these even more precariously strapped down than ours. Flapping like clam shells. “Stay clear of that one,” I said to Deb. Others probably saying the same of us. Poor little car. It was laboured pretty hard.

  11. I’ve spent time in Nfld and have to say that some of the stereotypes are, well, stereotypes. The west coast has great beaches & generally, good weather. St John’s weather is truly awful. Humid, hot, dank and foggy in summer, humid, cold, dank and rainy in winter. Since there is remarkable and very varied scenery throughout the province, I have never really understood why it’s called “the rock” me son.

    Have fun. I hope that the mosquitoes don’t carry you away while you’re sitting by your campfire. 🙂

  12. Letizia says:

    Is someone from Newfoundland a Newfie? Or does that only relate to the dog?

  13. ksbeth says:

    jump in and embrace it all , flying by the seat of your snow pants.

  14. Trent Lewin says:

    Yeah but whale oil smells good… and whale blubber is a total treat, as long as you sit around the campfire and cook it just right. Why no AC? What’s wrong with you man???

    Dwayne Johnson is not the Rock. Not in this country, dude.

    • rossmurray1 says:

      This was the no-thrills car. It wasn’t the one we were planning on taking but the Tucson died a horrible death days before we were to set out.
      Whale oil beef hooked.

  15. markbialczak says:

    Because I’ve yet to see a subsequent post from Newmuffinland, I’ll assume you’re having too grand a time careening across the Rock in your bug with a bug on top to take the time to find WiFi to enlighten us, Ross. 🙂

  16. pieterk515 says:

    I’m too late for any comments…

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