The last few days have been quiet, but not uneventful. We are slowly getting into our daily routine, which is me dropping off Marije at work, doing some hiking/exploring or shopping/chores done and picking her up at the end of her workday.
The Newfoundland weather has been very agreeable this week and as long as you remember to keep an eye on the forecasts there is no reason to stay inside. We had two small ‘weather dumps’ (as they are lovingly called here) which each deposited about 15 cm of snow, so after these small storms I decided to take a few trips.
At the start of the week it was an overnight storm and after driving the unplowed Marine Drive to the Ocean Sciences Centre I headed through wicked winter traffic in St. John’s to Cape Spear. Since the last 3 km to the lighthouses cover a hill and there was no snow-clearing beyond the tiny village of Blackhead, I had to park the car there and hike the remainder of the trip to the Cape. This long walk up the hill through deep snow was very invigorating, and I stayed for two hours in spite of the high winds with a chill factor of -20. When the car is a long way behind you, it’s worth it to spend some extra time on site.
The next day was marred by car trouble. On the highway I noticed the car vibrating violently when driving over 80 kmph. We called the car dealer and they had us come by the following morning, on Marije’s birthday.
At the dealer, embarrassingly, it turned out to be frozen snow in the wheels. Apparently this is a regular occurrence here in Canada, on unplowed roads you pick up a lot of snow in your car, it gets everywhere; because of the cold weather it will freeze to your car, in our case inside the wheels and they consequently got unevenly balanced, hence the shaky ride. The garage folks kindly cleaned the car for us and it’s running smooth again, now we know.
We enjoyed the rest of Marije’s birthday at the OSC, where she shared a cake with her co-workers and I hiked up to the nearby Sugarloaf Path, this time with snowdrifts packed up to a meter high, which is getting really difficult to get through.
On her birthday, Marije received a lot of festive e-mails, messages, cards, e-cards and calls and she was very happy with that 🙂 We finished the day with pizza, ice cream and X-files.
Wednesday we had a weather alert, a huge amount of snow was supposed to hit the island but at the last minute the warning was pegged down a notch. We still had very bad weather and I was in the car when the worst of it came down. I was getting some shopping done and after each stop I had to clear the snow of the windows and windshield, I couldn’t see anything. With weather like this there are a lot of vehicles clearing snow on the road. From huge trucks with snow-chained wheels scraping steep hills to very narrow excavators clearing the sidewalks of downtown St. John’s pushing all the snow into the parking spots. At the big supermarkets where they obviously have huge parking lots I’ve seen snow shoveled up to 4 metres high, it’s a pretty neat sight.
Yesterday after dropping off Marije I wasn’t sure what to do so I decided to take a trip westbound on the Trans Canada Highway.
I drove for an hour or so, great rock music on the car radio, and took an exit at route 70 leading to the other side of Conception Bay, to a few small towns called Brigus, Cupids, Port de Grave and Hibbs Cove. Brigus is very picturesque but unfortunately the weather was dull and the light bland so I didn’t get any good pictures. Oh well, at least I know how to get there now.
The T.C.H. is a pleasure to drive, I only saw the first 100 km yesterday but it passes through a landscape filled with frozen lakes, white snowy hills and dense coniferous forests. You get great views coming through every corner. It’s a 100 kmph max highway, which is because of the twists and turns I guess, maybe also because of the bad weather and some wayward moose that is likely to wander onto the road during sunset.
Today I had a lazy day at home. It turned out a great day outside (windchill of -26!) and in hindsight I should have hiked somewhere; one of these days the weather will change and I won’t have a choice but to stay in.