Saturday, August 22, 2009


With my laptop down until we get back to the States and with no cell phone service with internet access until we get back into Rogers territory, I'm using the Birdhouse application on my IPhone to record my observations as we go down the road. I'm trying to keep a journal on Henry's computer or on paper, but I'm behind several days. I'm finding that my notes on Birdhouse will help me when I get ready to do a more comprehensive journal. I plan to do more detailed blog posts with photos after I get back home and my computer comes back from being repaired.

If you're not already on Twitter, you can still follow my "Tweets." I tend to send a bunch of tweets at a time when we have hotel rooms with internet. It has been surprising how many small hotels in remote places have internet. I'm still a day or so behind because I find that I need to reword some of the notes to match the 140 character limit on Twitter. Sometimes my note was too long and has to be broken up into several tweets.

We spent last night in Twillingate, Newfoundland. We'll be working our way along the northeast coast of Newfoundland today. There are rookeries in the Avalon section of Newfoundland that we are hoping to see. I hope that Hurricane Bill won't rain out my photography opportunities at the rookeries.

Hurricane Bill looks like it will bring rain as the path shows it crossing southern Newfoundland as a tropical storm. It looks like BIll will rain on our parade, Apparently the east coast of the US is having strong waves that has caused beaches in New York State to close.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Trying to catch up with Tweets & Blog

I had intended to keep up with my blog as I went on this trip, but at the WorldCon in Montreal, my intermittent computer problem decided to become a full time problem - it is hard to work on a computer when the computer works but the screen doesn't. So, Henry and I have been sharing the computer. Another issue - internet access has not been something we can count on. I've done some tweets - but even they do not show up as a steady stream - I compose them as we go using the Bird House app on my I-phone and then post a stream of tweets all at one time - not a perfect solution.

When we get home, I'll come back and revisit the highlights of this trip with blogs with photos, but here is a synopsis.

We headed north from Amarillo - going through Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Ontario on our way to Montreal. After the WorldCon, we continued east through Quebec Province following the St. Lawrence River. We did whale watching at Baie St. Catherine - seeing Beluga whales, minke whales and humpback whales. We continued up the St. Laurence to Baie Decomeau heading north to Labrador. We saw the amazing hydroelectric system that Canada has built - including the amazing dam at Manic 5. At Churchhill Falls in Labrador there is another amazing underground hydroelectric plant utilizing the Churchill River.

Continuing southeast we ended up at Happy Valley/Goose Bay to take the Ferry to Cartwright. From Cartwright we continued south to the coastal fishing villages. We took the ferry from Blanc Sablon to St. Barbe, Newfunland. We have spent two nights in St. Anthony. Today we visited the Viking site- proof that the Vikings visited North America in 1000 A.D. We are hoping to go whale watching/iceburg watching tomorrow. That excursion was cancelled today because the wind was coming from the wrong direction making the sea too choppy for them to want to do the trip.

Last but not least, we have noted that Hurricane Bill has formed in the Atlantic. It has grown to a category 4 storm. Now you may be asking - why would the Meltons worry about a hurricane when they are so far north? Well . . . last time we were planning to visit Nova Scotia and take the ferry across the Bay of Fundy - we were told at the campground in a nice Scottish brogue, "Well, we had beautiful weather today, but tomorrow a hurricane is coming in." When we checked our satellite internet, sure enough a hurricane was coming in - and a Category 2 at that! The current storm path for Hurricane Bill has it crossing Nova Scotia and Newfoundland! We are not in the RV and we have weathered a hurricane at this point . . . but . . . I sure hope that Bill stays in the Atlantic and doesn't hit land ANYWHERE!!!! We are likely to still be in Newfoundland needing to cross a ferry about the time, it would likely decide to hit . . . so . . . we'll keep on with our itinerary and hope for the best. But I do find it strange that the two times I've been in this part of the world, that a hurricane has been part of the story!

Friday, August 14, 2009

God's Providence

We continued out the St. Lawrence Seaway to Baie Comeau where we turned northward toward Labrador. We've been trying to figure out how to make the Labrador Newfundland part of the trip work. To take one of the ferries from Happy Valley/Goose Bay was going to be a 4 day adventure - while it sounded fun, it was fairly expensive and four days was long.

We have stopped at Manic 5 - site of one of the world's largest dams. Our hotel is a combination gas station, restaurant and hotel. The rooms are actually modular/mobile homes that have been trucked in. This is the only stop between Baie Comeau and Labrador City. And, they even had internet!!!!!

We've actually met our two neighbors - one a couple from western Quebec near Ottawa, the other a couple from Wisconsin. Henry brought them in to use our computer to make reservations for the ferry. I started speaking my poor French - and they said, "English - we speak English!" I had to laugh!

They were plotting their route over territory we had been trying to puzzle out with poor tools. They had done the research and knew what they needed to do. It dovetailed perfectly with what we needed to do. While they started apologizing for taking up our time, I was grateful because they had provided the solution to our puzzle.

So . . . we are off to Labrador in the morning.

Whale Watching on the St. Lawrence

A humpback whale diving!

Henry and I have been having adventures on our road trip through Canada. I am WAY far behind in blogging and posting photos. Today was whale watching out of Baie St. Catherine on the St. Laurence River. We saw four species - Beluga, minke, humpback, and harbour porpoises. There was an occasional seal sighting, but I don't think I saw the seals.

The highlight of the days were two minke whales that decided to breach repeatedly. Note how close this one breached to the Zodiak tour boat! In retrospect, I'm glad we took the bigger boat where not only we stayed dry but also my camera equipment as well!

While the breaching whales were not as close to our boat, it is not common to get to see them breach! And, you have to be quick to even capture the breaching whale from a distance. Not great photos, but priceless memories!

I've a few more whale photos, but I'll catch up with blogs and photos when I get a chance (could be after we get home!)

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Travel Log - Thursday

Thursday was cloudy when we got up. Breakfast at the Prince Albert McDonalds. We headed south and east into Manitoba and the Duck Mountain Provincial Park. Henry stopped and took pictures of the yellow and blue fields and pulled one canola plant and one of the blue flowering plants. We saw Wildlife Tomorrow signs near some of the wooded areas. .

Lunch was at a hamburger place along the road in the small town, Hudson Bay (not on the famous ocean bay). Talking to the people at the blue fields are flax. In retrospect, I KNEW that flower looked familiar, part of me says, I should have known . . .

We took the road through Duck Mountain Provincial Park. While it doesn't seem "tall" enough to be a mountain, it is really a pretty area. It's really an escarpment that is flat on the top with numerous lakes, ponds, and marshes, it is forested and well worth the drive through. We saw a rough legged hawk that gave us a very nice look see. He kept flying to perches that we could see as we carefully approached in our car. Other wildlife sightings - saw a bear twice - might have been same bear . . . might not. Second sighting was near a small community where a couple was out walking. When we mentioned we had just seen a bear, they turned around and went back the way they had come. A porcupine crossed the road in front of us fanning out his quills. We were looking at the ducks and ducklings in a pond, when there was a big splash. A few moments later a beaver surfaced. Got a good look while he floated and swam around his territory. Got a good look at his flat tail as well. Wellman Lake is very pretty with a campground and a lodge with cabins as well as church camps along its banks. We saw a loon on this lake as well as some of the other lakes in the park. The Wellman Lake Lodge would make a great place to stay to spend some extended time here doing birdwatching or canoeing or fishing. They have both cabins and camping facilities.

Later on we saw another hawk - my best guess is the Harlan's variety of the red tailed hawk. We saw several small ponds and lakes with loons - one that had four! One of the ponds had a ringed neck duck (I think) and about 9 ducklings still downy! What fun! Spent the night in Dauphin, Manitoba, the town where Henry went on a mission trip when he was a young teenager. His group helped with a Vacation Bible School there.

The day was cloudy and gray - not great photography lighting - so no pictures for today.