Day 92 September 9, 2014
Barachois Pond Provincial Park to J.T. Cheeseman Provincial Park, Newfoundland
Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada
This is a long story with very few photos. Why? ‘Cause I was too freakin’ stressed out to take any photos!!
As soon as we walked the dogs, ate breakfast, showered, and pumped up our bad rv tire with the bike pump, we were back on the road. We headed south to Stephenville, the de facto New York City of southwestern Newfoundland, with a population of 8,000.
We knew there was a Canadian Tire store in Stephenville, and we knew that they’d be able to diagnose and fix our leaking tire. No worries. No stress. We enjoyed the drive south, and were happy upbeat people when we pulled into the Canadian Tire parking lot.
Joyfully, we strolled into the service center and explained our situation, where the friendly, and courteous employee explained that yes, they could help us, but not for another two days. They were completely booked up until then. And though we pleaded with him and explained that we had to catch the ferry back to Nova Scotia the next day, he showed no sympathy, and sent us to a small tire shop down the street. We walked out of that place a little less happy, a little less upbeat, and a little less joyful, than when we had walked in.
We found the small tire shop down the street, “OK Tire.” When we pulled up in front of the little garage, all four or so of the guys working there came out to say hello.
Friendly group, yes. But more so, a curious group, as they had never seen a vehicle even remotely similar to ours before. Nope, not a one of them had ever laid eyes on a Sprinter van! They were mesmerized by the Space Shuttle, and they were shocked to find out we’d driven all the way from California.
And so, started the most stressful part of our entire road trip. These nice guys were happy to help us, but, they didn’t know how to jack up our rig. And, did I not mention, that the problematic tire was the inside rear dually? Of course it was, because had it been a front tire, or an outside rear tire, that would have been exponentially easier to deal with!
I stood by and watched as Mark and these four guys looked under the rig, looked at the owner’s manual, looked under the rig, looked at the owner’s manual, shook their heads, discussed how to jack up Fiona without damaging her, and finally had at her with a bunch of equipment.
I didn’t have any confidence in this turning out well, ‘cause it just didn’t look to me like these guys knew what they were doing. I even tried to convince Mark that we should wait until we got back to Nova Scotia to deal with it. My fear was that, if they damaged Fiona during this first aid attempt, that we would be stranded in Newfoundland.
For some reason, Mark had confidence in the ability of a bunch of guys to figure out what to do and how to do it. Maybe ‘cause he’s a guy. I just saw impending disaster.
And YEEHAW!!!! Mark was right!! Our guys jacked up the rig, removed both rear tires on the driver’s side, diagnosed our problem (our tire valve was loose. easy fix. not even a tire problem at all!), reassembled everything, charged us $50, and sent us on our way.
I profusely thanked each and every one of these great guys, and I apologized for my nervousness and for ever doubting them!
We had a celebratory lunch at Joe’s Takeout food truck, and then took a drive around the Port au Port Peninsula.
On the peninsula, we stopped at the one and only alpaca farm. The couple who own the farm have 16 alpacas and one llama. They shear the critters and send the stuff to Prince Edward Island to be processed. When the processed wool is returned to them, they hire a bunch of local women to knit stuff from it, and then they sell the stuff in their little shop. Mark bought a pair of hand knit alpaca wool sox. Nice!
When we completed the loop around the peninsula, we stopped back at OK Tire. They’d told us to drive for about an hour or so, and then to return so that they could retighten our tire lugs. So, we stopped and said hello again, and then said goodbye again. And we thanked them profusely, again!
Just a little more driving, and we were back at J.T. Cheeseman Provincial Park. This was where we’d spent our first night in Newfoundland, and it’d be where we’d spend our last night as well. A bittersweet reunion.