Newfoundland, HWY 1 from Clarke’s Beach to Gros Morne, Aug 5-6, 2008

6 10 2009
Famous Lounge at Gander Airport

Famous Lounge at Gander Airport 

Colonel Sanders

Colonel Sanders

Aside form the natural beauty of Newfoundland, and the funny names of some of the towns, the only thing of real interest on the highway from St. John’s to Gros Morne is Gander International Airport. In the early days of trans-contintental air flight, all flights stopped at Gander, since it was the commercial airfield closest to Europe. And so the airport has all sorts of historical interest, as well as many autographed pictures of famous people and Old Time Movie Stars who had passed through, such as Colonel Sanders and Bette Davis. It turns out in modern times only a few planes stop at Gander daily, so when we went to rubberneck the airport was weirdly empty—indeed, we didn’t see any other people the whole time we were there, although everything was open . (My Grandmother had not been doing well, and so at Gander I talked to my brother on a pay phone for at least an hour, and we also used the airport’s wi-fi, so we were there for quite some time). Gander has all kinds of aviation displays, and an amazing lounge which had been styled in the ‘60’s and kept intact since. During the World Trade Centre crisis of 2001, the town of Gander hosted almost 7,000 stranded air travelers for several days, and the population of the town is only 10,000! It’s a good thing Newfoundlander’s are such welcoming people to begin with.

Impressive Mural

Impressive Mural

After Gander we drove in the dark a bit and finally camped next to the highway, on a plot of dirt by a car garage. There was an old Winnebago next to us, but we couldn’t tell if it was occupied. Even though we slept pretty late, no one bothered us. Later, we stopped at Grand Falls-Windsor to eat (the town has 2 names together, for some reason). The Lonely Planet said there were 2 decent places to eat. The first we tired was ­­­­Kelly’s Pub and Eatery, but it turned out they had closed their eatery a year before and were now just a pub. We asked for a nosh recommendation and one of the customers eagerly suggested Subway for a sandwich. That wasn’t quite what we were after so we tried LP’s other suggestion, the Robin Hood Hotel. Their kitchen was closed but the clerk said we could get something good from Bill’s Takeout. We explained we wanted something sit-down and of good quality, so she reluctantly told us 48 High (located, oddly enough, at 48 High Street—what a coincidence!) was good, but liberally sprinkled the suggestion with warnings that it would cost us in the pocketbook. When I saw the lunch menu, I laughed out loud, because nothing was over $10. It’s a different world than the one we come from, that’s for sure. Anyway, I had a very excellent clubhouse sandwich with a fresh salad, and that made me happy.

Later we stopped in Deer Lake to visit the Visitor Welcome Centre and buy supplies. (There were a couple of teenage girls working at the Centre and you could tell one of them thought we were total freaks and she wasn’t happy about that. Her attitude picked me up and threw me back into  Junior High smalltownland. I guess people are free to be as intolerant as they want, but maybe Town Greeter isn’t the right job for them). There wasn’t anything to special about Deer Lake that we found, other than a statue of a moose in front of the gas station that had an enormous toolbox. We didn’t dawdle in Deer Lake, and moved right on into Gros Morne.

Statue at Deer Lake

Statue at Deer Lake

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