Newfoundland/Labrador Day 23: Day 23? Are you kidding me?
Day 23? Already? I’m just getting started and it’s about time to head home. (Obligatory caveat: Of course I miss Marilyn.) Everyday here has been great and I only have two days left before I catch the ferry and begin the 2,500 mile journey back to the misty mountains of North Carolina.
Before I get to today’s business, I have to mention what happened last night. Two ladies staying at the bed and breakfast, Margaret and Anita, grew up in this area and still have friends here. Last night eight of their friends came to visit, bearing guitars and a small accordian. For two hours they sang, told jokes, danced, reminisced and made me and the other two guests feel as welcome as if we had been their classmates years ago. In Newfoundland, apparently, this kind of get together is a common occurance and is known as a “kitchen party.”
Traditional Newfie songs, some original (and very good) compositions, some lively jigs, and a little Nashville country thrown into the mix made for a very real Newfie experience and one I’ll not forget. I had my picture taken with the 10 ladies and sent it to Marilyn titled “Me and My Women.” She thought we made a good looking group. I’ve mentioned in previous posts how friendly the people here are. Last night convinced me, if I needed any convincing, that I had not misjudged or overstated the case. As the party broke up about 10:30, I kept thinking: “One more song. Just one more.
I had one specific item on my to do list today, but took another ride down the road for about three hours before getting to that item. It doesn’t seem to matter much which direction I go because I always seem to find places and people and sights and sounds that enrich my life on the road and add to an already overflowing mind-trunk of memories.
I rode along the coast on a road known as the Irish Loop, which, as the name suggests, goes through an area largely settled by Irish immigrants. Their influence was heard last night in some of the musical selections that echoed through the B&B. Their influence is also reflected in place names and structures along the road.
A beautiful mid-19th century stone church with monestary next door, a cove named for a nun who came to teach and stayed 50 years among her flock, and pubs along the way advertising “Irish Music” on Friday and Saturday nights, all attest to the Celtic heritage of this corner of Newfoundland. I didn’t ride the entire loop because I had afternoon plans, but I’m hopeful, weather permitting, to complete the ride tomorrow.
Kayaking around the icebergs in Twillingate was so much fun I decided to try the waters again, hoping to see some whales up close. Unfortunately there weren’t any in the cove where we went. This was a guided tour with seven two-person boats and and two guides who took us to waterfalls, caves, old fishing structures and a little nature lesson thrown in as they explained various seaweeds, urchins, starfish and capelin (the whales’ main dinner course).
We were out for about three hours, and because I was a single, I got paired up with one of the guides, a young Irishman by the name of Daniel who has been in Canada for four years. That worked out well, because I had a continuous conversation about the area and kayaking and dozens of other things with an experienced paddler while the others, mostly novices, were trying to paddle in a straight line in a stiff wind and blaming each other for splashing paddles and errant navigation.
I had my small camera again, just in case there might be an unexpected underwater adventure, so the pictures aren’t as good as I would have liked, but they give an idea of what my afternoon was like..
Daniel had a strong Irish brogue, talking about his brudder and his fadder, and his efforts to hone his sit down (as opposed to stand up) comedy gig added to the afternoon’s pleasures. He was a nice kid, who thought riding a Harley-Davidson around the United States and Canada was a pretty good idea. After the paddling was over I showed him the bike; he thought the Ultra’s saddle was more comfortable than the kayak’s seat.
I would have liked to see whales up close, very close, but that didn’t happen this time. Another reason to come back to Newfoundland, me thinks.
Weather looks wet off and on for the next two days, but I’ll probably be able to get out some tomorrow and I won’t have choice Saturday because I have a hundred-mile ride to catch the ferry. There are still unexplored roads to ride and nice people to meet, so I’m really hoping to log some miles tomorrow.
As this part of my ride begins to come to an end, I’m glad I hadn’t planned a detailed itinerary. The chance meetings and opportunities I’ve had are probably better than anything I could have planned.
You watch out for rogue waves and I’ll do the same.