It was a long driving day today, from the topmost tip of the western side to the city nearest what one might call the mid-point of the island – 418 km in all. We got a nice smooth portion of new pavement for part of the trip, but for the rest, there were a lot of dips, bumps and potholes to watch for.As we made our way back down the same highway we drove up on, it was interesting to see the stark ruggedness of the land in the north give way to gentler, greener terrain as we re-entered Gros Morne National Park. Gone were the roadside garden plots and wood piles so prevalent between the fishing villages along the shore of the strait and the northern Gulf. Instead, we were treated with the magnificent views of mountains and lakes we’d passed before, only afresh, from the southbound point of view.
We had to slow down at one point because a Sprinter cargo van was pulled over with flashers going at a narrow section of highway, so as we passed I opened my window and asked the driver if they were OK. He nodded, so we continued on our way.On a seaside turnout, beautifully trimmed with purple wildflowers, we stopped briefly for lunch and a stretch of the legs. Then we were off again, keeping an eye out for the Arches Provincial Park that we had passed by on the way up.
As I scouted out the route in to the Arches parking area, Val was engaged in conversation by the same driver of the truck we’d seen earlier. He noticed our RV was a Mercedes Sprinter, and he wondered if we had our vehicle manual with us. A warning icon had appeared on his dashboard and he didn’t have his manual to see what it meant. He was relieved to learn it wasn’t anything serious.The driver’s name was Ben, and he and his wife Colleen were from Niagara Falls. He opened the back of the van to reveal an amazing refit job: inside were compartments made of presswood to hold tools, and a platform at the back end was made into a bed. The walls were decorated with a large zebra print, and various bins and containers clung to the walls with bungee cords to hold them up. He said he’d bought the truck second hand and made his own motorhome out of it! Only cost him $23,000! It even had a tiny toilet, fridge and microwave, with plastic drawers for cutlery and other kitchen items. It was wonderful to see his ingenuity and enthusiasm.
After a look at the huge arches of stone, carved by glaciers in the distant past, and the white twis-ted ghosts of trees on the hillside lead-ing to them, we resumed our southward route to Deer Lake and the Gateway to the North RV park which will be our hub for explorations over the next couple of days.