Friday, July 31, 2009

Newfoundland Angels

I don’t know what time it is where you are or where this blog is published but it is 2:30 AM in Newfoundland on August 1. The time is ½ hour ahead of Atlantic Time. Today is HappyThon 2009. Send a happy message to everyone you know. This is a happy story because it has a happy ending. Sorry that I don’t have pictures but angels don’t take very good pictures.

Do you know what angels look like? No, our angels didn’t wear white gowns and come floating to us on gossamer wings. They appeared to be an attractive couple of about 40 years old wearing blue denim, black leather and motorcycle helmets and came to see us riding their motorcycles.

Angels give you messages and help you when you are in trouble.

The accident happened a few minutes after twelve noon on July 12, 2009. We were traveling in our RV about two hours from Corner Brook, Newfoundland when we wondered if we should take Highway 340 or 341.

“There’s a road with a place to park. Pull off and look at the map” I told my husband Terry. He drove on the service road but instead of parking on the gravel area, he pulled off onto a grassy area. Suddenly we heard a loud thump, glass breaking and stuff falling.
My first thought was to get out of the RV. I reached for the door latch. The steps automatically descended and the door and the steps slammed into the soft dirt. Both Terry and I crawled out.

The back wheel was spinning crazily in a ditch, which has been hidden in tall grass. The driver’s front tire was several inches off the ground. The RV continued to teeter. Terry crawled back uphill into the RV and put the jacks down. The RV leaned at a 20-degree angle. There were hundreds of cracks in the passenger side of the windshield and a gapping hole in the windshield on the driver’s side. I had seen a broken cabinet and stuff lying all over the RV before I bailed out.

It was obvious that we needed a wrecker. My camera bag was in my lap when the accident occurred. In it was my wallet and cell phone.

There was no service in this remote area to the cell phone. A gas station was near by. The attendant told me to dial 0 instead of 1 for the 800 numbers on the pay phone to call our road service. I was put on hold for half an hour before I was disconnected. I kept trying to get road service. Terry and the gas station attendant called someone the attendant knew before I reached road service some fifteen minutes later.

Then we waited. The couple on the motorcycle and others asked if they could help. We said that help was on the way. The angels said that stuff was replaceable and we were fortunate that we were not injured.

We waited. I was scared. What were we going to do? Would the RV go completely over when someone tried to maneuver it? We were on day two of a forty-one day trip to Newfoundland. The RV wasn’t just a mode of transportation but also our only home. We have been traveling full time for twelve years in one RV or another and all our stuff for our daily living is inside. What could we selvage? How would we get off the island?

Three hours passed before two men from the wrecker company arrived in a heavy-duty pick-up with jacks and 8 x 8 pieces of wood to use for cribbing. It stabilized the RV but there wasn’t any way it could be driven out.

The motorcycle couple returned with a heavy-duty pickup and their travel trailer. The man lay on the ground and checked the situation out. “I’d pull you out if I could with my wrench but you are too big. There isn’t any transmission fluid or fuel leaking.” He stated. “They look intact.” The couple, who said they were Susan and John, tried to reassure me.

We waited another one and a half hours before the men with the jacks and cribbing arrived with their wrecker. They didn’t have a clue where we should go to have the RV checked or glass replaced.

John and Susan arrived on their motorcycles just as the RV was pulled out. John checked the bottom of the RV and told us that it looked safe to drive.

Susan looked at me and said, “You look exhausted. You need to come to our house. My husband drives a semi truck. We have space for the RV, tools and even a pit if you need to work on it.”

I looked at Terry. He asked where they lived. They answered that they lived about a half hour away towards Corner Brook but not to worry about where. They would lead the way.

Now what are the chances that they would have space, a torch, welder, and other tools to fix the RV? John even had an aluminum strap to hold the muffler up.

Susan invited me in their home.” Have you eaten today?” She asked. I admitted that I hadn’t even thought about food. “Would steak, baked potatoes and corn be all right?”

When I expressed gratitude, Susan just said, “I’d want someone to help me so we are helping you.”

John said that he was broken down with his semi one day when a stranger came along and asked to help. The man returned and said that his wife insisted that John come home with him for lunch but John was shy and told the man that he was okay. A little later the man returned with a bagged lunch for John.

Susan offered to have us sleep in their spare room but we cleared a path through our stuff and crawled into our own comfortable bed. They didn’t want any payment. Both John and Susan hugged me before we said good night.

When we woke the next morning, the house and garage were still there but our angels were gone.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Peggy's Cove

We have been to Peggy’s Cove three times. The first time it was a picturesque little village with the most amazing lighthouse because it was built on huge rock boulders while most lighthouses are on land. The second trip was in late September of 1998 when most of the area was blocked off because artifacts from the Swissair plane were being washed on shore from the accident site nine nautical miles away. July 7 was the third time. It is still a small village but there are many, many tourists who go to see it so it is difficult to get good close up pictures without hoards of tourists.

I have been hurrying to get these blogs on the Internet because I’m not sure that our satellite dish will work in Newfoundland to post them. We take the ferry in the morning from Sydney to Channel-Port aux Basques. If you don’t hear from me for awhile, you know that we can’t get Internet. We can phone friends and relatives but if they don’t have Canada coverage, it is costly for them to phone us.

The Citadel

The citadel in Halifax is an old time fortress. We walked through it to see the changing of the guard, heard bagpipes played by people in kilts, saw many videos and artifacts from the various campaigns in the history of N.S.

The clock was given to the city of Halifax when Prince Edward, the father of Queen Victoria, lived in the area. He was very punctual and wanted people to be able to tell the time even if they didn’t own timepieces.

We also heard more about the explosion that Trevor told us about that happened in 1918. It was an accident, not an act of war, where two ships collided with the resulting fires exploding tons of ammunition. Over 2,000 people were killed and 9,000 injured.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Halifax, Nova Scotia

We visited Terry’s cousin, Trevor Hole who lives near Halifax on Monday, July 6. He is the son of Sylvia Miller Hole Daradick from High Level, Alberta, Canada. Trevor lives with his wife, Leslie and children Avery Rine Hole, aged 41/2 and Carson Darcy Hole who is twenty-one months old. Since Trevor is working the night shift at a Michelin tire plant, we visited in the morning and didn’t get to see the family. I took a photo of a picture of the children.

I think that Trevor and his cousin, Terry Miller from Edmonton, look enough alike to be brothers rather than cousins. They have the same slim body style, brown eyes and beautiful smile. The picture of my husband Terry and his cousin with the same name was taken a couple of years ago. What do you think? Do Terry and Trevor look alike?

After we ate lunch, Trevor was our guide around the Dartmouth area bays and coves. The bridge behind him is the MacDonald Bridge, which leads to Halifax. You pay a $.75 to cross the bridge or use a pass. Guess what they call the pass? Right. It’s a MacPass. They have a MacDonald’s in town that sells MacLobster.

Monday evening we went to the “Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo, which was held in the Metro Stadium in Halifax. The building has a large open floor that hockey teams use in competition. What’s a tattoo? It is music performed by marching bands from Sweden, Copenhagen, Germany and Wales, massed choirs from Nova Scotia, bag pipers in kilts, and American fifes and drums. It included competition in a Canadian Forces Obstacle race and military teams racing to dismantle and put jeeps back together. There was a German Police Motorcycle team who had as many as 17 people on 3 motorcycles on pyramids racing around on the floorshow and a Paris Police Gymnastic team. Dancing included many styles of tap and toe dancing to popular and classical music. I’ve never seen anything like this fast paced action program with unbelievable choreography. It is a night that I will always remember. Photos were not allowed.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Anne of Green Gables

When we visited the Green Gables site in Cavendish, the first thing I saw was a barn and then I thought that I saw the redheaded fictional character of Lucy Maud Montgomery enter the barn. I could see the house and the buggy that the exuberant orphan rode when she arrived to be adopted by Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert, but Anne had disappeared. I peaked into her bedroom and saw the dress with the big puffy sleeves that she wanted. I went into the sewing room, and into the flower garden. Terry even went into the scary woods where she imagined all sorts of wild things but we didn’t see Anne again.

We drove to Springbrook and saw the place where Lucy Maud Montgomery was born. I saw a copy of Miss Montgomery’s wedding dress and some newspaper clippings and diaries. There was the stove that looked like the one that she wrote about. Upstairs was the room where Lucy was born. Downstairs there were copies of her books. I bought a new copy for my grand daughter.

July 4th was the date Terry picked to leave P.E.I. so we bade it farewell as we rode over the eight-mile long bridge in the fog.

Prince Edward Island

Did you hear that it is expensive to drive over the Confederation Bridge to Prince Edward Island? It’s free. They only charge you to leave P.E.I. and that was $56.50 for both the RV and the car.

Prince Edward Island has lots of lighthouses, a few “old salts” and lots of fishing villages. Many small farms grow hay, alfalfa, and potatoes in their red soil. We saw a few barns that are shaped like the Quonset huts that were popular after WWII. You often see clothes hanging on lines by the houses. Wildflowers, especially very large purple and pink lumen, dot the lush green countryside. What amazed me was every yard is clean, buildings are painted, and people seemed to take pride in their homes and farms. I didn’t see litter anywhere.

Small white Protestant churches and large Catholic churches are seen in the tiny villages.

The scale of the map, that we received when we entered P.E.I., is large. I looked for a village and then realized that we were past it already. I think that if there were 12 or more people in an area, you could call it a town. One town was even called “Five houses”. I only saw two towns, Summerside and Charlottetown with populations of over 2,000 on the map.

We saw an eagle, osprey, and a glimpse of a fox, but they were camara shy. An 18 month old baby must have seen the fox too because Isabel pointed and said “doggy.” We met her and her mother and grandmother at the lighthouse at East Point. They even sold lobster rolls for lunch. I was lucky enough to get one.

Even though it has been 101 years ago that Lucy Maude Montgomery wrote “Anne of Green Gables”, the author is the best-known woman of the island. In the next blog, I’ll write about her.