NOTE: IN ORDER TO BETTER SEE PHOTOS IN THEIR FULL 1600 PX. RESOLUTION, VIEW THEM IN THE ALBUM FORMAT BY CLICKING ON THE LEAD PHOTO OR ANY PHOTO IN THE POST. This is especially true for landscape shots. Thanks to Mark for the idea of adding this alert so the photos can be seen at their best!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Newfoundland Has Murals Too

Thanks to all our traveling this past 2 weeks I'm at least a week behind on reading everybody else's blogs again!  More to come on our trip to the U.P., but here's a Monday Mural post featuring Newfoundland first.
Make sure to follow the link and check out the other participants, today's murals come from as far away as Dubai and the Netherlands!

I actually saw quite a few murals through the car window as we sailed through Downtown St. John's, but decided I wouldn't force Wayne to stop...until we saw the one on Signal Hill.

Signal Hill itself was socked in with fog, we couldn't even see Cabot Tower.  We went into town the night before our departure so we could try to spot some icebergs.  Not happening!

The mural was originally painted by Don Short of Mount Pearl in 1995.  I couldn't find any information about the mural itself and very little about the artist either.  In 2007 it was repainted by Angela O'Brien and Brian Penney.

However I did find a great new blog to explore.  Check out Ride Newfoundland and see the nooks and crannies of the island that I haven't gotten to explore yet.  Biker Missus even recently posted about the icebergs I didn't get to see.

More Newfoundland and more Michigan posts to follow!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Yooper Yellow

Memorial Day weekend in Yooperland is all about the yellow.

 The Yellow Trout Lillies are everywhere!  The campground is loaded with them.

While the ferns aren't yellow, they are a nice light green and are just starting to unfold.

We went on the short walk to Munising Falls yesterday and saw some more yellow there.

Tannin stained Munising Creek

The Marsh Marigold is thriving alongside the creeks here in Munising.  And the sun is shining!
Sunny day at Munising Falls

To top it all off Wayne supported local women in business by buying a cup of lemonade.

Murals from Newfoundland tomorrow!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Happy Christmas Campers

We interrupt this series of Newfoundland posts to tell you how happy we are to be camping in Christmas, Michigan this Memorial Day weekend.

We're staying at the Bay Furnace Campground just a smidge outside of Munising. Bay Furnace is part of the Hiawatha National Forest and situated on the Lake Superior shoreline.  There are 53 large non-electric sites available with a dump station but no flush toilets or showers so we are using the generator for the first time and "roughing" it.  Well, as rough as it gets in our new luxury accommodations anyway.  The campground is beautiful and very well taken care of by some very friendly camp hosts.

Site 13

I originally booked 2 sites here so that I could go tent camping with Katrina and her boyfriend, but Wayne decided taking the camper out for a run before our trip to Door County in a month sounded more appealing than an off-road-vehicle trip with his buddies.  We did not say no to access to a shower and heat this far north, let me tell ya.

Katrina and Joe

Think it sounds weird that we're staying in Christmas for the unofficial start of summer?  Not really.  We got in about 10:30 last night and set up in the dark...we had a bit of a surprise waiting for us under the trees this morning.

Ice.  Lots of it.  The glass bottom boat tours and the ferry to Grand Island?  Cancelled due to ice.

However the weather is perfect, as long as you don't get too close to shore.  The temperature drops about 20 degrees as you approach the ice drifting around the shoreline.  It's like stepping into a walk-in freezer!

Last time we visited Bay Furnace there were bumblebees buzzing around the bee balm, this time it's insect free, but the spring wildflowers have started.  I even picked up a book titled "What's Doin' the Bloomin'?" here at the local Falling Rock Cafe coffee shop where I'm picking up the free wifi.  They have a great selection of books here in addition to the coffee, ice cream and sandwiches they offer.

Like how I do that?  I mention spring wildflowers and then show you the lake instead?

snail heading south to escape the ice?

Wildflowers and waterfalls to follow.  But maybe I'll finish up the Newfoundland posts instead?  Right now I'm heading back to the campground to try to coerce the lazybones people I'm traveling with into leave the campfire.  I hear there's a spot the locals like that's just as good as Pictured Rocks in Christmas.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Coddin' Around on Castle Hill

That Aunt Agg is a sucker for a suggestion for a walk and I didn't have a hard time getting her to walk around Castle Hill with me and Katrina on Sunday.  We had to park outside the gates and walk up the road to get to the trails but that suited us just fine. 

Castle Hill is on a hill, of course, so we used any excuse to stop so the flatlanders could catch their breath.  The tree with the built in seat was a great spot for some coddin' around.

All coddin' aside, it doesn't take long to get to the top and take in the views of Placentia Bay.

The French founded the town of "Plaisance" in 1662 and fishermen arrived in droves to harvest the cod.  Until 1713 the British and the French fought over this area for the fishing rights.  Want to know more about Placentia?  Here's a great link I found for their 350th anniversary celebration.

photo courtesy of Katrina

Placentia is the town Wayne calls home.  See that little road going up the hill on the right?  That's the road to the cemetery and Wayne's mom lives just below it.  Placentia isn't as secluded from the rest of the world as it was when I was younger, in our new global world this tiny town even has their own blog!  I have a lot of reading to do...

But that's for another day, and on Sunday we just hung around chatting and enjoying the gorgeous day.

Then it was off down another trail to the Redoubt to check out the ruins of Fort Royal.  Along the way we saw what was probably evidence of Hurricane Igor which passed over the island the last time we were home.  It doesn't take much to knock over the trees here though, there isn't a lot of soil for them to sink their roots into with the bedrock so close to the surface.

Next time we come in the summer maybe I'll get a guide and learn the name of all the plants like I did in the Smokies.  I should know more plant names than pitcher plants, right?

Fort Royal has a lot left behind considering it's over 350 years old.

If you're ever driving through Newfoundland make sure you stop to take in the view, check out the museum, and maybe even catch a re-enactment.  Or just sit on one of the cannons like I always do.

Pam, Katrina and Agatha 2014

Hey, that outfit I wore almost 30 years ago is back in style!

Aunt Agg's daughter Cheri liked climbing on cannons too

Katrina is just as crazy as the rest of us Newfies and she wanted a picture of herself being foolish up on Castle Hill to complete the set.  Giddyup!

Before we left Castle Hill I spied a caterpillar in the grass that I wanted to get up close and personal with.

photo courtesy of Katrina

When I was up at First Beach the little stinkers were everywhere in the grass.  I wonder what they'll turn into?  Hopefully nothing pesky.

That's it for our tour of Castle Hill.  While looking for internet links to add to this post I also found the Calendar of Festivals & Events for Newfoundland.  I wonder which ones I can work into our trip up next summer? 

While we were home this time it was the May 24th weekend, you know, aka Victoria Day, the Queen's birthday.  Everyone was celebrating the long weekend by going out with their campers, fishing, or just having kitchen parties and coddin' around.  Speaking of coddin' around, another fun group in Newfoundland is Buddy Wasisname and the Other Fellers. Here's how they celebrate the Queen's birthday.

Okay, I can't help myself.  I'm posting this from work this morning and I'm listening to Great Big Sea on Jango internet radio so here's another GBS clip...Mari Mac is one of my favorites.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Celebrity Sighting...Newfie Style

Well, I'm finally getting time to try to finish up sharing my pictures of my walk on First Beach.  Nothing like an airport layover to help you catch up on things!   So far today's trip is going a little bit better than the one last week, all our trouble was in getting to our first flight.  First we took a few wrong turns to the airport in the fog, then we had trouble getting the suitcase lock to work and had to get another one at the gift shop, then the ticket counter had trouble getting our charges to go through for our bags, and to top it all off I left my laptop at the ticket counter and didn't realize it until we got to the scanners at security!

Aunt Agg said it looked like a good spot to come do yoga

Of course after sprinting back for my laptop and all the other issues we were the last to board the plane.  The reward?  Alan Doyle of Great Big Sea was sitting in the first row on our plane!  Newfies probably see him all over the place but it was only our third sighting.  The first two times we had to buy tickets...but of course we also got to see them perform.

If you're not familiar with Great Big Sea, give them a listen!  We also saw Alan at the baggage claim, and we were nice enough not to bother him. (Because we already bothered him at the concert at Summerfest years ago and got our autographs and photos then, don't-cha-know.)

beach rock with a surprise center

But back on First Beach there weren't any surprises, or Newfie celebrities, just quiet tide pools.

And some gulls and cormorants.

After passing my camera up to Agg I literally clawed my way up the last few feet of the cliff above the rocks.  Good thing all that winter-worn grass was there for me to grab onto.

It's not very often you can get views like these, more often than not you're greeted with fog, like we were yesterday when we drove out to St. John's to try to do a little iceberg viewing.  Kind of hard to see icebergs through the t'ick-o-fog.

There are more shots to come from our short time in Newfoundland, but we must say farewell to First Beach.  I was shocked when Wayne was looking at the pictures and said he'd never been there.  It was so close he could have swam there (maybe a bit of an exaggeration) for over 20 years!  I guess I'll have to drag him down there on our trip next summer.  Maybe we can borrow someone's quad and go exploring along the beach towards Argentia.  When we go next year we're starting in Argentia and making our way across the island with stops in places we normally don't have time to visit before taking the ferry back to Nova Scotia from Channel-Port-Aux-Basques.  We'll have to put all our Great Big Sea cd's on the iPod for the drive!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

The Tide is High?

First thing out of the bed this morning my Aunt Agatha was on the phone asking me if I wanted to join her for a walk down to First Beach.  You know my answer was something along the lines of "How soon can you get here?"

She was ready to fight off any moose.

But the only wild animal we encountered was a rabbit.

It doesn't take long at all to get down to the beach, and the weather was perfect again for a day by the sea.

There wasn't much to look at along the shore.  Lots of beach rocks, a few crab claws, an urchin or two.

Aunt Agg found herself a nice place to sit while she waited for me to hobble my way along the rocks.

I got a good laugh when I came up on her and she was writing "Pam was here" in the bit of sand.

It's not the kind of beach for sandcastles and sunbathing, but we enjoyed ourselves.

I have more pictures, but they'll have to wait.  Tim Horton's wifi just can't keep up with me!