Newfoundland, La Manche, July 27 and 28th, 2008

10 03 2009

The Boogie Bus with a New Wing

A good place to take a couple of engaged people camping a week before their wedding is La Manche Natural Envirnoment Park, which is maybe an hour’s drive from St. John’s. Step and Bart were so happy to see each other and catch up that Undrea and I hid in the back of the van and played Crib, so we weren’t apparent when Step and Bart arranged with the ranger for a campsite. Bart told the ranger “Yeah, I’m getting married next week and this is my Best Man from out of town. We haven’t seen each other for a long time so we’d like a site with some privacy, if you know what I mean?” It was a Bartleby moment so good Step included it in his wedding speech.



Our site wasn’t completely private but it was very nice with trees all around and on the edge of a steep decline. It had been cloudy all day and then it started to rain, a concern for us as you could maybe sleep 3 in the Boogie Bus but not 4, especially when 2 are really tall like Bart and Undrea. They had brought a tent but it had no fly! I don’t know why it had no fly. But we had been camping for weeks now and were nothing if not adaptive, so we took a tarp and extended it from our awning, then put a tarp underneath the tent and lined the bottom with cut open garbage bags, over which we put the bunk mattress of the Boogie Bus, and it was a cozy dry place for the engaged couple. As soon as we finished it stopped raining, of course, and we told Bart and Undrea to relax and we made dinner. After all the incredible stress build up of getting ready for their wedding, they were happy to just sit back and relax and let someone else take care of stuff.

Blow Torch Natchos?

Blow Torch Nachos?

I made a fire, and as a special treat, Step made us all blow torch nachos! Mmmmmmmm! Not only are they delicious, but Step looked especially becoming as he wielded the blow torch. There’s just something irresistible about a handy man making you nachos. Then we had some barbecued meat and carrots. The day before Undrea had taken me to the town “butcher” which turned out to be a meat counter at the back of a corner store that was called Halliday’s Meat Market. Because I am a spoiled west coaster I expected a counter with a wide array of meats and cuts, with grass fed and organic selections, but what I had gotten was the choice of pork, beef or chicken, and I seem to recall there was also a round of balogna (Newfoundland steak). Anyhow, I had bought some sirloin tips and marinated them, and we ate them at La Manche. Then we sat around the fire and roasted Guimmauves.

The next day after fits and starts the weather got sunny again, and we packed up and drove down the road to the La Manche waterfalls, but not before stopping at La Manche Pond for a quick dip. I love swimming and the water was pleasant, but when wet I must smell like a flower because a bee glaumed onto me and no matter how far I swam under water I couldn’t evade it, so I got out of the water sooner than I would have liked.

Undrea by La Manche Suspension Bridge

Undrea by La Manche Suspension Bridge

You can hike to the falls from where we were camped but it’s a bit of a trek so we drove part way. La Manche is named after a town that was once there, and the falls are by the town’s suspension bridge, or rather, the reincarnation of the town’s bridge, because in 1966 the original bridge was wiped out in the same big storm that destroyed the majority of the town, which at it’s height of residency was populated by 55 people. No one died in the storm but since most of the infrastructure was wiped out the people of the town agreed to be resettled by the government, so now La Manche is a “ghost town”. Anyway, the East Coast Trail Association rebuilt the suspension bridge in 1999, in honour of the people who once lived there, and that is how you get across La Manche harbour to where the town was.

Step Retrieves his Hat

Step Retrieves his Hat

It took us about half an hour to hike there from the road, and it was a very beautiful spot, especially the natural pool that one of the falls empty into. It was hot and how I wished I could go skinny dipping in that beautiful pool! But there were quite a few strangers around and I admit the challenge of climbing down to it was too daunting for me, anyway. We hung around on the bridge for quite a while, soaking in the sun and taking pictures, and then a gust of wind came and blew Step’s new straw hat into the harbour! We watched it float away but when Step realized it might get close to the shore at the bend he ran and ran and managed to rescue it back in the nick-o-time. So now the new PEI hat was even better because it had an adventure.

Camping and hanging out in the wilderness is all nice and good, but the engaged couple had been sufficiently decompressed, and there was a lot of wedding stuff to attend to, so eventually we made a slow climb up back to the Boogie Bus and drove back to St. John’s.

The Pool of La Manche Sings a Siren Song

The Pool of La Manche Sings a Siren Song




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