I’ve been eager to get on to Twillingate, southern end of “Iceberg Alley” for some time now, as reports on the Newfoundland Iceberg Facebook group show giant skyscrapers of ice floating just offshore. If Saint Anthony’s holds the lock on iceberg viewing at the northern end of Iceberg Alley, Twillingate reigns as the place to be at the southern end. I’ve been patiently anticipating my arrival in Twillingate, not wanting to rush through my planned stops in between, but eager to finally arrive.
My tires have been running a bit low on pressure, most likely due to the cooler temps, so I decide to stop in Deer Lake, the largest town I’ve passed through in a while, and top off the pressure in all six tires. Fifty miles down the road, my tire pressure monitoring system starts to screech at me. I’ve lost 15 psi from my rear dualie in an hour. All due to “preventative maintenance.” Is it any wonder I’ve always been a “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” kinda person.
I stop at an Esso station in Springdale where the station attendant tightens the core in the valve stem, and refills the air. He says he thinks it was just a loose core. So I decide to overnight and keep an eye on it until morning, since I am near a repair shop. I awake the next morning to no leakage, so I drive on another 50 miles to Grand Falls. Then I stop for groceries, and again, the pressure drops 15 psi in an hour! It’s Saturday afternoon, so I quickly scout out tire repair places. The good news is, I am right across the street from Canadian Tire! How fortuitous! But then I learn they don’t have a jack that will lift over 9K, and I weigh in at 11K. He gives me names of a couple of places, all which are closed until Monday.
I am faced with the choice of traveling on, hoping I can keep the tire topped off as I go, but also knowing I am headed into a more remote area. Or I can stay put in the Central Auto and Diesel Repair parking lot for two days, waiting on a sure bet that someone can “lift the old girl.”
Twillingate will have to wait….
Come 8:00am Monday morning, I am at the door of the repair shop. Good news is, they fix the tire in no time. Bad news is, it’s my Borg valve extension gone bad, and they do not have a replacement. I obviously damaged it when trying to jam the unfamiliar gauge on the valve back in Deer Lake. Since it’s one of the dualies on the back, that means I can’t check the tire pressure in that tire until I can get another valve extension.
But here’s another great “Newfie” story….the mechanic loads the tire into the back of his truck and drives it down to the big truck repair place to see if they have anything that will work. They don’t, but I continue to ask myself, “Have I ever met nicer people than Newfies?” No.
The road to Twillingate seems like the worst in all of Newfoundland. Although potholes are a common site everywhere, no where are they as consistently bad as the main road leading into this town. Usually, one can dodge them, straddle them, or slow to a grinding halt. But it’s tough to do on this road, because traffic is heavier than usual. And of course, I am more sensitive to it now than ever after waiting two days for a tire repair.
I have the unfortunate timing of pulling into Twillingate in the middle of their week-long “Fish, Fun, and Folk” festival. It’s Monday, so I’ve missed the opening ceremony, and there’s not much on the event calendar until next weekend, except lots and lots of visitors milling about town. I see more tour buses in Twillingate than I’ve seen in the rest of Newfoundland put together.
It’s ironic, the place I expected to love the most is my least favorite in Newfoundland so far. Maybe I’m sulking because all the icebergs are gone. Or maybe it’s the heavily touristed vibe I get in the town. Even the lighthouse has a fudge factory. Anytime I find myself in a place with a fudge factory, I’m usually in the wrong place. It reminds me of one of those New Jersey seaside towns where the locals crowd in on summer weekends. They even have a dinner theater. Everyone says “Don’t miss it! It will be the height of your visit! The Trump skits are hilarious!” But unlike the Canadians, I have to live with the embarrassment, wearing a “Scarlet T for Texas” on my license plate. No, I’ve lost my sense of humor were Trump skits are concerned.
Don’t get me wrong, Twillingate is a gorgeous place. The views from the hiking trails are stunning. But it feels more like “urban hiking” after being in remote Gros Morne. I decide if I’ve not warmed up to the town by the next day, I’ll move on….