By Barry Zander, Edited by Monique Zander, the Never-Bored RVers
Why was Monique eager to embark on this 17,050-mile tour from California to Canada’s Atlantic Provinces and back? First, to eat lobsters and crabs. Second, to see puffins. Third, because it’s there, a place that we rightfully expected to be a new horizon on our seven years of RV travel.
We definitely did not go there because Elliston, Newfoundland, is “The Root Cellar Capital of the World,” and after seeing a few dozen root cellars, we are still not oohing and aahing, but it’s all part of the mind-expanding reason for travel. My impression of a root cellar is a door that comes out of a knoll, behind which are shelves. Let’s move on.
We arose early in our Bonavista, NF, campground, gulped down our latte and headed out for nearby Elliston. We were alone at the well-known point, a precipice across a small Atlantic flow from a rocky island, upon which were flocks of graceful birds – AND UNGRACEFUL PUFFINS. The three purposes of our long journey had been met!
After an hour of watching the puffins and hoping they would fly over to our side of the small strait, we were joined by a busload of birders from the States, all sporting binoculars and cameras. Among things we learned from their local tour guide was that we were sitting too close to the edge, thereby scaring away the puffins. We also learned that the cliff upon which we perched was somewhat fragile, potentially dangerous. We immediately moved back and became advisers to the dozens of people who joined our throng over the next hour.
While all of us looked eastward at the island ahead of us awaiting the first puffin to land on our side, Gail, a member of our Fantasy RV Tours caravan, who, with husband Richard, is a professional photographer, was looking at the low hills to the south, taking pictures of the puffins 20 feet away. We sauntered over and Monique “clacked” to get them to move in closer. One came within six feet of us, posing for numerous pin-up shots.
Another cogent suggestion by the tour guides: Go to Spillar’s Cove for a spectacular view.
No easy trip, but with our four-wheel drive GMC truck we were able to drive within 150 feet of water’s edge. Awesome! Jagged rocks with a thin finger of granite rising from the aqua ocean below, white-topped waves crashing over rocks at the base. Surrounded by formations with character … and more seabirds, including puffins.
We hiked and photographed. And by this time, those same birders, who had hiked the 100 yards from their bus, had shown up and were seated in the grass enjoying their lunches with one of the most spectacular views imaginable. Again, let’s move on.
In Bonavista, we toured The Matthew Legacy, a re-created 17th Century frigate, housed in a mammoth building while in dry-dock. Along with the boat was the history of Captain/Explorer John Cabot, with docents
available to point out important bits of history and answer our many questions.
Dungeon Provincial Park was a sort of afterthought, but Wow, what a view! Below the viewing area was a large circular abyss carved into the solid rock grassland through two passageways formed by the pounding waves of millennia. It was a garnish for a delicious meal of sightseeing.
Twenty-one campgrounds in 48 days. This was just one stop along the way. With the vast number of places we ventured, it can be hard to separate and catalogue each in our minds, but the Elliston/Bonavista stop, like Twillingate, stands out. I’ll mention a few more in the next blog.
I rarely take notes, except for specific facts that I care to remember, so how do we remember all this? I often tell people who surmise that I’m a professional photographer that I take photographs for the memories. Whether you have a point-and-shoot camera, a cellphone, I-pad, or an interchangeable-lens single-lens-reflex camera, the quality is always good enough to record for your lifetime memories of the places you’ve been.
When Monique and I reach the time when we no longer have the ability to travel North America, we’ll be able to revisit the wonderful places we’ve been by looking at the photos. And for now, we’re glad to have you along with us.
From the “Never-Bored RVers,” We’ll see you on down the road.
© All photos by Barry Zander. All rights reserved