Thursday, August 7, 2014

Random Passage, Rainy Pageant, and Repast Play

It was an “RP” day!

I guess I’ve been living under a rock for some time. I had never heard of Random Passage, neither the novel nor the mini-series. The novel was published in 1992 by Newfoundland author Bernice Morgan. It’s a historical novel about the inhabitants of Cape Random, set in a Newfoundland fishing village in the early 1800s. The mini-series was filmed on a set in New Bonaventure near Trinity, NL, built in 2000, and it aired beginning in 2002. We toured the set on Tuesday. Below are some pictures of the buildings, grounds and ocean views used in the filming.









Now we need to buy/rent the DVDs of the mini-series, so we’re not so clueless!

After lunch we had tickets for a walking pageant around Trinity. We found friends Gisela and Bill Pollock there too! As you can see, we all had our rain gear on as it started to drizzle just as we were gathering for the start of the pageant.


Then it started to rain heavier. The re-enactors did their best to give us the tour, but the rain didn’t quit.


Finally, the director canceled and offered refunds or exchange for a play. We opted for a refund because we already had tickets for the dinner theatre and didn’t want to stay later for a play. That was very generous of her! Hopefully this doesn’t happen often, as I’m sure the production company lost money because of the weather.

We had time to drive back to the RV park for a brief rest in our motorhomes before returning to Trinity for the dinner theatre (the “Repast Play” from the title above – yes, I had to stretch a little for that one).

They didn’t allow pictures during the performance, so I can only show you the room and stage.


The dinner was okay, the musicians and actors were good, and we enjoyed the evening. But the best thing was meeting the people who sat next to us.

(Note: if you saw this on Facebook, skip to the bottom.)

So, the conversation started as people sat down at our table...

She: You're full-time RVers? I knew a single woman who did that after she retired, and she met someone and got married...

Me: Her name wouldn't be ZoAnn Lapinsky, would it?

She: YES!!!!

Me: We stood up with her and John Macon when they got married!

Here’s the picture I posted of us with Ruth Lacey, ZoAnn’s friend and former co-worker.


Wow! I think this is my best ‘small world’ story yet! What a way to end the day.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Birthday on Bonavista Peninsula

Don turned 70 yesterday, and we did our best to celebrate it. We left Gander and are now parked at Cabot Hi-way Cabins & RV Park near Charleston on the Bonavista Peninsula of Newfoundland. There’s a small lake behind our RVs and we have water and 30 amps for $22/night.


I couldn’t capture any good sunset views, so this one will give you the feel of the lake.


Unfortunately, there aren’t many nice restaurants in the area, so we went to Greening’s nearby. I don’t think Don looks any older, do you?


Today we drove to the northern end of the peninsula, to the town of Bonavista and the Cape Bonavista Lighthouse. Along the way were many scenic spots where we paused for pictures or stopped for a walk. Here are some of them.








Everywhere there are unusual houses. We liked this mural.


And a painted rock.


There were lots of churches. Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church, built in 1825, is beautiful. I don’t know why there are two front doors, each with their own set of steps.


We found a nice boondocking site along the road. Susie & Denny will report it for addition to the Escapees’ Days End directory.


We could see a few icebergs in the far distance out to sea. They’re hard to capture with my camera.


Susie spotted some wild berries, and we had a few for a snack.


Susie’s CafĂ© was open.


Later, Don wished we had eaten there because they had lobster!


Instead, we had lunch at Skipper’s Restaurant in the Harbour Quarters Inn in Bonavista.


Up the hill is the Ryan Premises National Historic Site which commemorates five centuries of commercial fishing on Canada’s east coast.


We spotted another iceberg!


The Cape Bonavista Lighhouse was built between 1841 and 1843. The building is a square 2-story wooden structure built around a masonry tower in the middle that supports the light. The first lighkeeper was still in his position at 80 years old, assisted by his son.


Here’s another iceberg, with several calves.


While trying to get the iceberg picture, I accidentally got some Puffins! Not the greatest picture, but they’re there!


A statue of John Cabot stands near the lighthouse, marking the site of his landfall in the new world.


The coastline on the eastern shore of the peninsula is rugged.


It seemed like another good place for a pose!


The Dungeon is an unusual rock formation, essentially a twin-entranced sea cave with a collapsed roof due to erosion. These rocks are over 600 million years old!


Our tour stopped in Elliston for a look at some root cellars.


The statue of a father and his 16-year-old son who died in each others’ arms in a sealing disaster on the ice in 1914 was quite touching.


Our final stop was in the town of Trinity to buy tickets for a pageant and dinner theatre tomorrow.


We’re looking forward to another interesting day!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Active Days in Gander, NL

We had a full day on Saturday, starting with Russ & Jane Darrow sharing lunch with us at Denny’s favorite McDonald’s, followed by the 17th Annual Fun Fly hosted by The Screaming Eagles R/C Flying Club. These radio-controlled aircraft are anything but toys, and the people who fly them are anything but amateurs.


It takes a lot of patience and skill to build the planes and helicopters, to say nothing of the extreme talents required to fly them.


It takes almost as much skill to photograph them, so I only got a few good shots of the planes in the air.



And I couldn’t get any good shots of the one helicopter that was flown by Colin Bell, a national R/C helicopter flying champion. This picture is at the end of the show he put on, which received a hearty round of applause from the spectators.


Our friend Russ was lucky enough to have his name drawn to fly one of the planes, with a trainer giving instruction and assistance.


He did a pretty good job!




Later, we got together to cook burgers and brats outside.


Denny brought his Ugly Stick to demonstrate it to Jane and Russ.


Then Russ tried his hand at it.


Don worked his magic on the burgers and brats.


And we compared notes on maps and travel books to make recommendations to each other. Finally, we had to bid Jane & Russ “see ya down the road” as they are scheduled to take the ferry off “The Rock” of Newfoundland on Wed and have lots kilometers to travel by then.

Our final event of the day (are we tired yet?) was Newfoundland’s Biggest Kitchen Party at the Gander Community Centre. The first group was unknown to us, Freshly Squeezed. It was hard to get a good picture because of the size of the place, the lights, etc.


The crowd was pretty thin for the first group. A few couples got out on the dance floor, including our own famous dancing couple Denny & Susie.


The headliner group was The Navigators, the same group we saw perform in Twillingate. Now that we were familiar with their music, it was really nice to see them perform again.

Arthur O’Brien is the lead singer and plays the fiddle most of the time, although he also plays guitar.


At least two unusual instruments are played by Fred Jorgensen: the tin whistle and the bodhran (an Irish drum).


The five-musician group is quite talented and popular in Newfoundland. You may enjoy listening to some of their music available online.



More about the music of Newfoundland and Labrador can be found at this link in Wikipedia.

More dancing as well as a bigger crowd grew as the evening went on. It was fun to watch some of the better dancers during the fast-paced, energetic Celtic music.


You may recognize some other familiar faces and forms on the dance floor as well.



The only downside was that we “old folks” aren’t used to staying out as late as this party, which began at 9:00 pm, with the Navigators starting about 10:40. We made it until shortly after midnight and left before the next group started. Denny & Susie stayed for part of their show, but we all missed the final group. There were plenty of younger folks to continue the party without us, though!

One of the great things about this experience was meeting some local Newfoundlanders who, like many others we’ve met, were so friendly and interesting to talk with. This couple even invited us to visit them in St. John’s and offered to give us a tour of the city! We hope to take them up on the offer when we get there.

After such a late night last night, today we just had one big activity: the 2014 Demolition Derby. I wasn’t keen on attending and thought I might want to come home early, so we took 2 cars. The guys took a detour to the airport to see some Russian planes while Susie and I took chairs and staked out a place to watch the races. We got there early enough to get prime seating at the derby pit.


By the time Denny and Don arrived and the first heat started, the place was packed.


Ten cars were introduced individually in the Compact Category and took their places, then the drivers and safety officers had a brief meeting and prayer.


The object was for each driver to try to demolish other cars, obviously. They started by backing into each other.


It was dusty and loud, but the wind was blowing the dust away from us, so I stayed to see what happened. As cars became disabled with flat tires, crushed bodies and broken axles, their drivers tried in vain to get them moving again, and finally the last car still moving was declared the winner.


Then it was time to remove the wrecks and clean up the pit. Waiting for the race to start, then waiting for the cleanup each were longer than the race itself. Gee, I’m having a lot of fun! But I decided to sit through one more heat with the full size cars.

They lined up in much the same manner, with 13 competitors.


This time, they not only damaged bodies, bumpers and axles; they started to pile up on each other.


With a driver still in the green car when the white one backed up on top of him, we were worried a tragedy was taking place in front of our eyes. The red flags came out immediately and the ambulance was ready to move into service. But it wasn’t long before both drivers gave a thumbs-up signal and crawled out of their cars.



The white car even managed to get free of the pileup, thanks to the help of the only woman driver (in the black/purple car closest to us) who nudged it enough to dislodge it from the green car. The white car then continued in the race.


The final winner was a car that hadn’t attracted much attention, just managed to stay out of the way and ended up with the least damage.


I was happy that Don was ready to go home; if he wasn’t I was prepared to exercise my option to leave early. Susie & Denny also decided not to wait for cleanup and regrouping for the next heat, the survivors’ round. (There were survivors?) So we went home for a brief rest then went out for pizza.

What a nice time we’ve had in Gander! It has been wonderful meeting so many truly friendly people, participating in parts of their annual Festival of Flight, and learning about the important role the town played in aviation history for both the U.S. and Canada.