Every RVers Worst Nightmare – Part Two
The next week another Fantasy RV caravan came into the park. It appears that our predicament had been communicated to the Wagon Masters and some of the travelers stopped by to express their sympathy. The Wagon Master invited us to join them on a whale-watching cruise and we jumped at the chance. The weather was nice and we saw a couple pods of porpoise in addition to two whales that we watched for quite a while. They would stay near the surface and occasionally would dive deeper, lifting their tails in the process. It was a great time and a good opportunity that we really appreciated. This caravan didn’t have any musicians in their groups and I entertained them with some folk music after their drivers meeting that evening.
Here’s a compilation of some of the video —
As we watched them leave the morning of July 18th, we wondered how many more caravans we would wave goodbye to as they left before we could leave too.
Pat and I walked most mornings for exercise and we discovered the Cape Raven Trail, not too far from the campground. We hiked it one afternoon and enjoyed some great views of the surrounding area. From the peak you could see our campground and our trailer is in the lower right of the picture.
Cory had pointed out other hiking trails to me, and Pat and I hiked some of them. Some were without names and poorly marked, but we were able to do some exploring and enjoy more great views without worrying about getting lost.
Another Fantasy Caravan arrived from July 22 through July 26th. We actually knew the Tail Gunners, Nancy and Danny, from Key West. Unfortunately, Nancy had come down with COVID and we didn’t get to spend much time with them.
While all this was going on, we kept asking about when our new engine was going to arrive. The Parts Manager at Woodward Motors was not able to get any tracking information from his supplier and had even started to see if he could find another one. Meanwhile, we were making, modifying, and canceling ferry reservations to get back into Nova Scotia. Apparently, there are a lot of people traveling back and forth on the ferry and getting a truck/trailer combination that is 13 + feet high and 55 feet long is not easy on short notice. We would make a reservation and then have to modify or cancel it because the truck wasn’t ready yet. On July 20th, it was obvious that we were not going to catch up with our own Fantasy Caravan and called our Wagon Masters, Bill and Ann, to let them know that we would not be able to rejoin them. That was not a milestone we wanted to have, As of July 25th, we have reservations for July 30, August 20 and August 24. If something doesn’t happen on the truck soon, it will start a domino effect on our other plans.
On Tuesday, July 26th, we had waved goodbye to our fourth Fantasy RV caravan when I got a call from the parts manager at Woodward Motors. He said he had bad news and good news. The bad news was that no one had any idea where our replacement engine was and no one had been able to contact the seller. The good news was that he had found a rebuilt engine at a Chevrolet dealer in Toronto and FEDEX could deliver it to us in five trucking days. I told him to go ahead and order it; at this point, I wasn’t worrying about the cost. Later that day he told us he had arranged for us to set up in their parking lot with water and electric hookups. There is a dump station we can use across the street. They had a person with a pickup with a fifth wheel hitch come out to pick us up and sent their shop pickup to carry our bikes and kayaks. Now we are in the dealer’s parking lot and our new engine should be here in five days. Our only other problem is getting on the ferry.
On a happy note, we could now walk to the library, coffee shops, grocery stores, and more. Life was certainly more convenient. The dealer has been very helpful to us, even loaning us the use of their courtesy car through the weekend. Friday was a special treat. The GM Parts Manager, Jordan, plays in a two-person band and they were going to perform at the local Royal Canadian Legion Post on Friday. He said there was going to be a group of U.S. military veterans and invited us to go. The group was a SMART RV caravan. SMART is “Serving Military Active Retired Travelers.” We chatted with them for a while and listened to Jordan and his partner played a number of Newfoundland folk songs. They took a break and invited me to take the stage. I played a number of patriotic songs for our veterans and all who were present enjoyed it. After dinner, many of the SMART group went through the “Schreech In ceremony” to become honorary Newfies.
The RagnaRock Northern Brewing Company is a nice little pub, just down the road from the road from the dealership. After we moved from Viking RV Park, I checked in with them to see if they had any openings for a folk singer. Much to my surprise, they said yes. I played one afternoon during happy hour and they invited me back to play a second time as a “special guest.” It was a lot of fun and the audience seemed to enjoy it as well. It was a nice change of pace from playing in the campground.
On Tuesday, August 9th, we got good news; our engine had been delivered to the trucking terminal in St. Anthony! The trucking company told the General Manager that they could deliver it the next morning. Apparently, he thought that was too long so he drove over himself and picked it up – now THAT is customer service! These people have been great! So now, the work is progressing and we are waiting to get an estimate on when they will have it completed.
Meanwhile Pat and I did a lot of hiking in the area. There were several geocaches nearby and we combined hiking and geocaching. There were the ruins of an old American radar station that was part of the DEW (Distant Early Warning) Line (this section in Canada was called the Pinetree Line), a series of radar stations positioned to detect incoming Soviet Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles. There was a geocache there. After several miles of mostly uphill hiking, we reached the site. Unfortunately, after an exhaustive search of the area, we couldn’t find it. That’s the nature of geocaching, sometimes you find the container, sometimes you don’t. We hiked back on a trail that led to the Grenfell House Museum and stopped along the way for a trail mix lunch. Just before we arrived at our stop, we were met by a big moose! We stared at each other for several minutes. I took many pictures and he didn’t seem to care. After a while, he just wandered off into the woods, munching on leaves as he went.
Another day, we hiked out to Lamage Point. It was about a 6.5 mile round trip and we got some wonderful views of St.Anthony and the surrounding waters. With only a little bit of searching, I was able to locate the geocache on Lamage Point, which put me at a grand total of 703 geocaches found!
Friday, I checked on the truck and they had accomplished a lot! They had completely installed the engine and the cab of the truck was back on the chassis where it belongs. They still had many things to complete; I swear there must have been hundreds of connections to put back together. They hoped to have it completed by Monday, August 15th. We had to stop at another Woodward dealer in Deer Lake to recharge the air conditioning system because the machine in St. Anthony was broken and they were waiting for a replacement. That was tentatively scheduled that for Tuesday and should work out fine, as it is right on our route to the ferry terminal.
Monday was a great day! Cold, wet, windy, no sun, but we had our truck back! We were on our way!
Although we left St. Anthony later than we expected, we made it to Deer Lake that evening and the dealer there was able to do the air conditioner recharge as soon as they opened.
A big thank you to Ken Loder and his wonderful team at Woodward Motors. They did everything they could to get us on the road as soon as possible and take care of us while we waited. If you need automotive help in St. Anthony, NL they are the place to go!