Twillingate: Tire Troubles, Terrible Roads, and Tour Buses

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.

This is what's known as a "chip wagon," what we in the US would call a food truck. Best "squid rings" (calamari) and fries I've ever had! (Frank, if you are following, thanks for this tip!)

This is what’s known as a “chip wagon,” what we in the US would call a food truck. Best “squid rings” (calamari) and fries I’ve ever had! (Frank, if you are following, thanks for this tip!)

I'm in Canada, so I have to try gravy on my fries. ;-)

I’m in Canada, the land of Poutine now, so I have to try gravy on my fries. ;-)

Another example of a chip wagon.

Another example of a chip wagon.

Chelsea also offers a dining room with a view.

Chelsea also offers a dining room with a view.

This didn't come from Chelseas, though. It was from Trip Advisor's recommended Doyle Sansome's Lobster Pool about 10 miles outside Twillingate.

This view didn’t come from Chelsea’s, though. It was from Trip Advisor’s recommended Doyle Sansome’s Lobster Pool about 10 miles outside Twillingate.

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.

Iceberg at Bridgeport, NL

Iceberg at Bridgeport, NL

Though this one has seen better days, it's still quite impressive.

Though this one has seen better days, it’s still quite impressive.

Another time when I can't decide which photo I like best, so I'll just post them all.

Another time when I can’t decide which photo I like best, so I’ll just post them all.

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….

Who could resist a photo?

Who could resist such a photo?

St Peter's Church, , 1842, one of the oldest in Newfoundland.

St Peter’s Church, , 1842, one of the oldest in Newfoundland.

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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.

I realize this road does not look all that bad...and it's not compared to other spots. But those require two hands on the wheel! As long as I am the only one on the road and can "float over the potholes," it's not so bad, but traffic ahead and behind makes it more tedious.

I realize this road does not look all that bad…and it’s not compared to other spots. But those require two hands on the wheel! And this is the major highway into Twillingate. As long as I am the only one on the road and can swerve around the potholes, it’s not so bad, but traffic ahead and behind makes it more tedious.

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.

Long Point Lighthouse, 1876, is still a working lighthouse in spite of being a major tourist attraction.

Long Point Lighthouse, 1876, is still a working lighthouse in spite of being a major tourist attraction.

There are some nice trails at the Long Point Lighthouse. Not as crowded as one would think given the long line at the fudge factory.

There are some nice trails at the Long Point Lighthouse. Not as crowded as one would think given the long line at the fudge factory.

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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.IMG_9057 IMG_9059

Water is so clear here, you can see the cliffs below the surface.

Water is so clear here, you can see the cliffs below the surface.

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.

French Beach, on the outskirts of Twillingate.

French Beach, on the outskirts of Twillingate.

Based on names like "Snowball" and "chubby," I am taking this to be a pet cemetery.

Based on names like “Snowball” and “chubby,” I am taking this to be a pet cemetery.

Good boondocking spots at French Beach.

Good boondocking spots at French Beach.

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….

3 thoughts on “Twillingate: Tire Troubles, Terrible Roads, and Tour Buses

  1. Looks like you and the sign makers have a one-track mind.
    Absolutely love your photos (and the entire blog, for that matter: we use it as a travel guide for Mexico.)

  2. “Fish, Fun, and Fork Festival…” I don’t know how to resist that line, but for you, I will.
    Goldie has no tire pressure monitors…less worries :).
    Those cute, manicured houses and towns reminds me of Jasper, B.C., only without the trees. Your photos are exquisite!!!
    Box Canyon Mark

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