Going ‘Ome

It’s road trip day!

Today we are off to Newfoundland & Labrador or as we call it…back ‘ome! Newfoundland is home to all four of us, we were all born there and majority of our family still live there.

This trip is a little special than our usual family trips home. This year Paparoo was deployed overseas and he wasn’t supposed to be back for quite some time. As some of you know, the Military changes things and this time luck was on our side. I got a call and he told me he was coming home for 5-6 weeks and could join the kids and I on our trip to Newfoundland. I am all about surprises so I didn’t tell anyone that he was coming back and we decided to surprise all our family back home! Now how in the world was I going to pull this off? I was telling my local friends not to mention anything on social media and I just carried on as if he was still on the other side of the world.
It was the end of June and we set out on a long journey home. It was a gorgeous morning and we were on our way.

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We had 12 hours to our first hotel in New Brunswick.

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We love the open road as it leads us to amazing adventures and countless memories.

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I had to add this picture of our pup Cooper.  For the past few months he was having some health problems and we didn’t know if he was going to make the long drive to Newfoundland.  With approval from our Vet, we took the chance and he made it. For the most part, he did really well.  His favorite of course was our gas stops so he can get out to stretch and pee a hundred times haha!  Cooper has done a lot of road trips with us over the past 10 years and he loves every one of them, especially if I’m in the car with him.

Hello Quebec!  We used to drive through Montreal but some genius decided they needed a highway to go around it…Highway 30 or autoroute 30, as the GPS would say, is a total game changer for driving down East.  Traffic was a little heavy but we expected that on a long weekend. This is a toll highway (around $2.80) and totally worth it!!

 Lets keep going, lots of miles to travel yet!

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 We were very lucky with the weather, it was a gorgeous day and so hot!

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Peace out Quebec, we will see you in a few weeks.  New Brunswick here we come! At this point in the day, we just wanted to get to our hotel!

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100% fake smiles!  Cooper is done, he just wants out at this point!

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The sun is setting on the first day and that could only mean one thing…time for bed!!  12 hours later we made it to Fredericton, New Brunswick!!  Fredericton is the capital city of New Brunswick on the St. John River.

1096km complete!!

Our first stop on route to our hotel was Pizza Delight.  This is an East Coast restaurant and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on some of their garlic fingers and donair sauce..yummy!

We booked Holiday Inn Express & Suites and it was great.  Service was amazing, rooms were clean and comfortable and they were really welcoming to our pup Cooper.

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Today was a long day but it was good that we got most of the driving done.  Tomorrow we could sleep in (well not me as I suck at it), but there was no rush to be up early and on the road as we only had 6.5 hours to the ferry.  I mean what’s 6 hours anyway?!?

Day 2

I was up at 5:00am waiting to hit the road haha!  I kindly let everyone sleep until 8:30.  It was another gorgeous day and I was hoping it was going to be a smooth sailing tonight.

The hotel had a complimentary breakfast so we headed down to check it out.  It was a decent breakfast and filled out bellies.

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Cooper was living the dream and I’m pretty sure he could get used to living the hotel life!

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Good-bye Fredericton!  The Roo’s are ready to roll!

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These smiles are a little more genuine, besides Cooper, he is thinking about that lovely white bed that he spent the morning in and wishing he was still there.

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So peaceful!

Seeing the Nova Scotia signs was an hallelujah moment for me!  3 provinces behind us and 2 more to go.  Nova Scotia today and Newfoundland tomorrow.  Lets get ‘er done!

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Our last stop before we hit Cape Breton Island.

Crossing the Canso Causeway, I always love this part of the trip!

Now there is nothing more exciting than seeing this next sign.  Just imagine a car load of Newfie’s driving from Ontario and all they want at this point is to see the sign for the Newfoundland Ferry!

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We are almost there!

Before we go any further, let me tell you about “getting to Newfoundland.”

To get to Newfoundland, you have to arrive by plane or take a passenger/vehicle ferry and cross the Cabot Straight.  Newfoundland is about 96 nautical miles off the East coast of Canada.  The crossing is approximately 6-7 hours from North Sydney, Nova Scotia over to Port-aux-Basques, Newfoundland.  Marine Atlantic ferries make a few runs daily and it is advised to book early as you need a reservation.  With this being Newfoundland’s main link to the rest of Canada, it can get busy, especially during the summer months as it’s a tourist hot spot.  You can book 2 or 4 berth cabins, but they are very limited and you need to book those well in advance.  We are on the waiting list for tonight so fingers crossed we get one.

This crossing is not like our typical Caribbean cruise.  I mean it is in the wide open ocean with no land in sight, but if you plan on going out on deck, dress warm.  For most of my sailings it has been very cold and windy.  Keep an eye out as you may even spot a whale!  The salty sea air is my favorite and it’s a nice addition when you live away from home.

If you ever decide to visit my homeland by sea, be sure to be on deck as you arrive, the rugged coastline and colorful houses are not to be missed.

Okay, lets get back on the road again now that you have my geography class done.

Driving through Cape Breton is beautiful.  We always have to stop for pictures at a few of the lookouts!  The views are breathtaking!

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 Gotta take a selfie!

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Just gorgeous!

Off we go again but not far.  We stopped at the top of Kellys Mountain. You see that bridge?  We are going to cross that in a few minutes.

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Kellys Mountain is known for its amazing view and winding roads.  Not going to lie, the drive down this mountain scares me a little (or a lot)!

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We made it down the mountain and we are getting closer to the bridge

 We made it!  That bridge was so far away when we were at the top looking down!  Next up…Marine Atlantic!!! (Happy Dance) I am pretty sure the kids asked 764 times “how much longer?”

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Our cruise ship awaits!  After all this driving, I can honestly say that she looks as good as a Disney ship!

We arrived in North Sydney around 6:30pm and got a bite to eat.  Our departure wasn’t until 11:45pm so we had lots of time to kill.  We went to check-in at 8pm and we discovered we were still on the waiting list for a cabin.

We walked around to get some air.  The boys went back to the car and us gals went inside the terminal to have a look around.  This had been updated since we were here last and it was quite an improvement.

We loved the 2nd level

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All throughout the terminal you will find different wall murals of various places to visit in Newfoundland.

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This is a plaque of Mr. Joseph Smallwood and his wife Clara.  He was the first premier of Newfoundland & Labrador.

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Someone is a little excited!!

Still smiling!

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And we are off!  Boarding has begun and we are about to the cross the Cabot Straight on our 6-7 hour crossing.

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Here we GO!

Welcome onboard the MV Blue Puttees! This ship joined Marine Atlantic in 2011 and was named after the regiment that represented Newfoundland in first World War.  This Regiment was known for their fierce fighting and was named the Blue Puttees because of the color of their uniform leggings.  This Regiment was part of the tragic advance at Beaumont-Hamel on July 1, 1916.  780 men went forward that day and 68 were available for roll call the next day.  A causality rate of 90% was more than tragic for this Newfoundland Regiment.  Hopefully some day I will be able to visit France and see the memorial site of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment, it bears the names of over 800 Newfoundlanders who died in the Great War and have no known grave.   (History class complete, I should have been a teacher ha!).

  This ship has 96 cabins, 500 reclining chairs, a gift shop, dining options that include quick service or a full course meal and amazing views from the deck.

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Our name was called as we were waiting and we got a 4-berth cabin

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Not a lot of room but it beats sitting down in a chair for the night.  It has a bathroom with a shower as well.  I don’t sleep too well in these cabins but the rest of my crew got a good nights rest.

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It was really smooth sailing when I got up the next morning.  Today is Canada Day and we are about to pull into port in Newfoundland…we finally made it!

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Local fisherman passing by, this is a familiar sight around home.  Cod fishing season is open so I would assume they are heading to the fishing grounds to catch some lunch!

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Arriving in Port-Aux-Basques and its typical to see fog and rain.  It was a little too cold for my liking haha!

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We are about to hit the road again…5 more hours until we reach our little town of Triton.

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We stopped at the Visitor Information Center before hitting the road.  Once you get off the ferry, traffic is a little crazy and there is no big highways to get people moving fast.  You will get the odd passing lane and watch out for Mr. Moose, especially this early in the morning.

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Happy Canada Day!  The tourist chalet was celebrating in style.  Cake for breakfast?  Why not?

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Now when you go to Newfoundland, you will see Purity products in almost everyone’s house.  It could be a peppermint nob in a candy dish or a biscuit with your cup of tea.

and if someone ask you if you want a kiss, they may be referring to a candy!

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Time to hit the road!  We have a lot of surprises waiting to happen!

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I love the drive across the island, so scenic.  This reminded me of the Pitons in St. Lucia

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Yes, it’s July 1st and there is still snow in the mountains

We finally arrived home and our surprises were amazing…we pulled it off!!

Lots of happy tears!  The long journey was totally worth it!

Summer vacation here we come…