May 4

May 4th, 2007

The months of preparation have come down to this day. But no matter how long I had to get ready, nothing could prepare me for this.


A lot has happened in the last 2 days. I don’t even know where to start.


I should be out skating through the streets of St. John’s right now, but due to a very minor setback, I won’t be starting until tomorrow morning. Don’t worry, though. Nothing major has happened. The delay is due to a very minimal vehicle problem, but somewhat time consuming.


I’ll begin with our ferry ride to Newfoundland. For those who have never been on a 6 hour ferry, it’s quite a unique experience. Once on board, we had to leave Winnie (my parent’s dog) in the RV while we went to the passenger decks. Poor Winnie didn’t sleep well. But then again, neither did I. As comfortable as the passenger areas are, unless you have booked a cabin or bunk, you have to sleep in a chair. Fortunately the ferry was not full so we had plenty of room. Once the Canucks game ended, I was able to sleep a bit. I tried sleeping in the chair for a while, but couldn’t find the sweet spot. So I grabbed a blanket and curled up in a corner on the floor. It wasn’t too bad. I was pretty comfortable, but the floor got really cold, so I moved back to the chair. I think I managed about 30 minutes of shut-eye before we finally arrived in Port Aux Basque.


I was finally in Newfoundland! I haven’t been on the island since I was very young. My first thought was how desolate it felt. There were barely any trees, and the few trees that I could see were only about 5 feet tall. Thankfully the entire province is not like the first few kilometers. Once we got moving, we started seeing more vegetation. It’s a very different landscape than anywhere else in Canada. I don’t think many people realize the size of Newfoundland. I felt so close to St. John’s, yet I still had nearly 900 km to go!


Hours and hours of driving, but we were determined to get to our final destination. You seem more willing to drive further when you can almost touch the finish line. We made it to within 45 minutes of St. John’s and stopped for gas one last time. With a full tank of gas and less than an hour to go, my Dad hopped in the driver’s seat and turned the key. The engine roared to life in an instant, and then died just as quickly as it started. Again, my Dad turned the key, and again the engine refused to stay on. We fought and cursed the RV for 20 – 30 minutes before finally giving up and calling a mechanic. Within minutes, a local man, Edgar Power, arrived to help figure out the problem. It didn’t take long for a diagnosis. We were expecting the worst, but Edgar told us that it was only the ignition barrel. The engine was fine, but the ignition switch just didn’t want to stay on. It was a good thing we were ahead of schedule at this point, because the part had to be flown in. I supposed that is to be expected when you’re driving a ’78 Ford.


We were able to keep the engine running simply by keeping our hand on the key. We decided to move on and drive the last leg of the trip holding the key. So we finally made it to our friends house in Harbour Grace (a small village not far from St. John’s).


After a good night’s sleep and a hot shower, I was ready for the last couple days before I start skating. We found a great local mechanic who was able to get the part we needed, as well as give us a quick oil change. Steve, from Superior Auto in Carbonear has been great. He juggled his schedule so he could squeeze us in. Although the part we need only arrived today, I feel very fortunate that I’m only delayed one day. Catastrophe averted.


I think I’ve already mentioned that Staples has been great in providing a few posters for free. Well, I was able to get in touch with a printer in St. John’s who has offered to print 100 copies for me for free! Thank you, Print Three! For anyone interested in having posters to put up in your city, you can get the PDF file at:


Try contacting a local Print Three or Staples to see if they will donate any prints.


Hostway shipped me some amazing clothes to help keep me dry, warm and stylish while I’m skating. Thank you, Hostway. Everything is great!


Since we have an extra day before I strap on the blades, we’ve decided to head in to St. John’s to do some site seeing today. I’m sure I’ve forgotten to mention some details from the past couple days, so I will add some more after I tour St. John’s today.

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