Saturday, May 06, 2006

Across the Rock

I write this entry on the computer in the lobby of the Port-aux-Basque Hotel. Pulling into Corner Brook -- where I'd planned to spend the night, then push on to Port-aux-Basque tomorrow to catch the evening ferry -- at 4:15, it occurred to me that I had made great time, the weather was amazing and it was too bad I didn't have the ferry booked for tonight. And then I remembered -- bookings can be changed! What a wonderful world we live in.

So I called Marine Atlantic and switched my ferry ticket to tonight, hopped back in the car ... and here I am. Killing time in a hotel bar doing the Globe crossword and looking out at a very foggy night.

I'd been told by numerous people that the drive across the Rock along the Trans-Canada is mind-numbingly dull, so I was pleasantly surprised to discover otherwise. Oh, don't get me wrong -- there are some painfully long sections of forested blandness, but they are fortunately punctuated by some lovely scenery. The drive is such that you frequently catch glimpses of picturesque inlets and coves and lakes; it's kind of like Ontario cottage country for about the first two thirds, and then once you're into the more mountainous western region starting around Deer Lake, it becomes more consistently beautiful. Pictures to come.

As I said, I made good time ... I looked up three different estimates for the duration of the drive from St. John's to Corner Brook: MapQuest, Google Maps, and the time/distance guide on my Rand McNally map of Newfoundland. MapQuest was the closest to the actual time it took me at 7:44. Google and Rand McNally, on the other hand, would seem base their estimates on the likelihood of the driver being a 90-year-old man driving an antiquated Dodge Dart: 9:56 and 9:11, respectively.

My driving time, not counting stops? 6:40. Add a further two hours even on that from Corner Brook to Port-aux-Basque, and I fell just short of a nine-hour day of driving. And yet, it flew by. Quite the pleasant outing, if I do say.

Plus, I saw a moose.


guinnessgoddess said...

That's rather good time, Chris. You could've asked me, as I've done that trip a million times, and I'd have suggested 7.5 hours. Then again, I drive with my dad, whose age is somewhere between yours and 90. Maybe there is some direct correlation between age and driving time?

Happy ferrying.

Mireille Sampson said...

I've always enjoyed that drive, though I haven't driven it myself (no licence). I spend too much time away and forget how beautifully topigraphical the drive is on the western part (I'm from Stephenville, the one flat part of the west coast). I'm also a fan of being on the ferry, a fan of being on any big water. Perhaps when you come back in August you'll be seeing more marine life too (if i recall correctly May is too early for Humpbacks).

Anonymous said...

I have done the drive too many times to count in my short life, the best time was around 6 hours, but we have a friend who did it in less than 5--Crazy! The longest stretch is called "Scenic Green Bay", I have wait to see the scenic part of it.

Lesley said...

I guess if you're doing the drive for the first time (and technically, the drive back is a first) then yes, it would be interesting. And to me, it sounds like it was an interesting drive. People always tell me that the drive from London to Windsor is boring but I find it interesting. At least I try. But hey, seeing a moose is worth the trip itself. Unless said moose is running into the road towards your car. Then the drive is not so much interesting for the scenery as it is interesting for the strange accidents you find yourself managing.

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I have had the same experiense, I remember that I got a airplane to Canada some years ago and I had a great time with some of my cousins.

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Interesting story, it reminded e when I was to England and I had excellent experiences in the ferry I was traveling, actually I met a lot of girls during that trip, it was the best part of the trip.