Blue Puttees Ferry from North Sydney, Cape Breton, to Port Aux Basque, Newfoundland. Day 1
“Did you come in on the ferry?” the lady at the kiosk at the J.T. Cheesman Provincial Park campground asks me. I nod and say ” yes” she raises her eyebrows and her forehead wrinkles up in a look of surprise. “Wow the ferry is early. It doesn’t usually get in till 6:30 pm.” It is 4:45 pm. I shrug. I don’t know how we got in early and I can’t offer an explanation, so I carry on with business. “I have a booking for tonight.” I spell out my last name peeking over the ledge into the shack. She finds my name on her computer screen and swivels her chair around to retrieve the campsite print-out and staples it to the receipt. “Just display this in your window.” she says. smiling and hands it through the window to me. ” Thank you” I say and take the paper and head out to find my spot.
I back into my spot along the river and notice tiny droplets of rain start collecting on the windshield. My first thought is set up the tarp and I get to work trying to locate suitable branches on the surrounding trees, that I can tie the tarp onto. With the one side taken care of the quickest solution for the other side is to use the truck. I run the string through the door tying it to the upper handle inside the cab, and lifting the tarp out of the way, I close the door. The tarp draws tight and seems anchored well. It will do, I think to myself. The next string gets knotted it to the handle of the back cap and the third is threaded through a screw eye, that I twist into the ground. It gives it a bit of slope so the water will drain downward and away.
I would call it a heavy shower now and I scrounge around in the alders looking for a long stick to push the saggy middle upward. Finding one of a suitable length, I thrust it under and upward and plant it in the middle of the picnic table. It holds firm. I now have a dry space with a high clearance area, I can work under. I am wet and I regret not filling my air mattress up at my sisters place last night while I had a chance. There is no way the mattress isn’t going to get wet, but with no choice, I remove it from under the cap of truck and drag it under the canopy, positioned within reach of electric cord of the air pump that has to be plugged into socket on the truck dash. Which I have to feed through the window so not to disrupt my tarp. This is not how I envisioned my first night in NFLD. Luckily It is a quick inflation and within moments I slide it between the wheel wells of the bed and close the cap lid. There my bed is sorted. Time for food. An easy dinner of peanut-butter and crackers, cut veggies with hummus and I cut up a bit of cheddar cheese my sister put in my cooler. She thinks I wouldn’t eat enough. Oh look at this… she put some Stella beer in there too. Perfect. Thanks sis. I pull the tab open and take a gulp. My world is good again. Ahhh
Soon the mosquitoes start torturing me and I scratch at a bite on my calf and swat one buzzing around my ear.. bastards. Not fun. I finish my dinner clean my utensils at the water tap, and settle into the front seat of the cab away from the pests to read my book. The Deserter- A Nelson and Alex Demille collaboration that I can’t put down. I read til the light is gone and my eyes start to watering. A final walk to the comfort station for a wash-up and I crawl under the cap of the truck for a good night’s sleep. Until I am awakened with a sore hip from a flat air mattress and a dripping sound. It was raining so hard the seal around the window started leaking onto the ledge. Damn. I laid there thinking I could hold out till dawn. Once the arse of my pants started feeling damp, I finally gave in, grabbing my two pillows, I head for the front seat of cab. I didn’t sleep much but I was dry and It gave me a bit of time to hatch a plan for the morning.
First light I am up. The rain has stopped temporarily After a decent cup of coffee and a bowl of oatmeal, I take down the tarp. Port aux Basques is only 10 km away and the Canadian Tire is open at 8:30 am. I am lucky, they have a sale on double-high air mattresses and a reasonable price for a sturdy high-pressure hand-pump. I purchase both. If my mattress gets low, I can pump it up right where it is in the cargo bed. I would have to remove it from the bed of the truck, if I use my electric pump because the cord doesn’t reach the back that far. I inflate the mattress right in the parking lot of the store and slide it between the wheel wells and voila, problem solved. I am good to go. By 9am I am headed westward on the Trans Canada highway.
I have decided to go directly to Gros Morne National Park. 352 km away or just under 4 hrs. If there is a vacancy, I will camp tonight in Trout River campground. I have some very special adventures planned tomorrow if they weather is good so please join me for the Tablelands- a walk on the earth’s mantle. in Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland.
Just a few links in case you want more info:
https://www.marineatlantic.ca/ The NFLD ferry
No money, gratuities or discounts were received for this post. It is my own story
Happy travels from Maritimemac
If you found this content helpful or entertaining. you can tip me to show your apprecation.