Thursday, July 16, 2015

On the Shoal Tickle Bridge

Dildo Run Provincial Park, NL – Tonight we will be dry camping – no water or electrical hookup! It was the only site we could re-serve, so we took what we could get. We did manage to switch for tomorrow and Saturday nights at a site just down the road that has electricity. And, we are allowed to run our generator, so we won’t have to freeze in the dark.

Freeze is a bit of an exaggeration; it was a beautifully warm and sunny day today, but as we approached the Atlantic Coast the temperature dropped perceptibly. We were glad of another nice day, anyway, as we left Grand Falls-Windsor and headed east on the TCH. After passing Bishop’s Falls, we turned north on Highway 340 in the direction of Twillingate.
A small museum drew us into the town of Lewisporte. Val said he really felt old when he recognized the wooden box telephone like his grandfather’s on the wall, and the wringer-washer like the one his mother used, and the same camera and typewriter he used in his youth.

The display also covered the First and Second World War years, including a part explaining that, when WWI broke out, local volunteers’ uniforms had to be sewn locally. Without khaki material, they made do with dark blue broadcloth to fashion their puttees, hence the name The Blue Puttees for the first 100 soldiers to come from this area. That’s now the name of the Marine Atlantic ferry we took here from North Sydney.
Our second stop was at Boyd’s Cove, where we drove in to the site of the Beothuk Interpretation Centre. In the 1980s an archeologist found a large flat clearing on the shore of the cove when he was searching for evidence of Beothuk habitations. As soon as he walked across the clearing, he knew he’d found remnants of a settlement, based on raised mounds of earth outlining two round teepees and an oval-shaped longhouse. Thousands of artifacts were unearthed at the site, from animal bones to arrowheads, plus iron tools refashioned from European objects that confirmed contact between the natives and the white man. The centre holds a wealth of information about this now-extinct society. One of the features of the centre is a Spirit Garden in memory of the lost tribe, where visitors are invited to craft tokens from natural materials and hang them in the trees.

Once we got settled at our campsite – pretty quickly when no hoses or power cords are required – we set off for Twillin-gate for a quick look. It’s special to us because our dear friend Carl lived here many years ago, and met his late wife Roslynn as she crossed the Shoal Tickle bridge. A painting of that very bridge hangs in Carl’s apartment, and when we rolled into town, I recognized it right away! We drove onto a dirt side road and I sneaked through a couple of back yards and past a garden patch, and scrambled over the rocks on the shore to get as close as I could get to the artist’s vantage point, and snapped a picture. It was a very special moment!
[P.S. Delighted to find a Wifi hot spot at this park!]

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