Sunnyside to St. John’s, NL

July 31, 2019

My itinerary for Wednesday was to stop in Dildo (if you don’t understand that comment wait until the next post…) and take one of my primary scenic drives following Route 90 south from near Holyrood to the bottom of the Avalon Peninsula where it becomes Route 10 north through Trepassey and all the way up the east coast to St. John’s.


First let me comment on a side trip I didn’t make.  My original plan was to take Routes 210 and 220 southwest from just north of Goobies (highlighted in pink on the map above and just north of where I had stayed Tuesday night in Sunnyside).  That spoon-shaped route would take me down to the southwest part of the Burin Peninsula.

Off-shore there, to the west of Fortune and Lamaleine, are three islands which are technically France.  There is a ferry which takes people out from Grand Bank (on the upper part of the spoon) to St. Pierre.  You are, in fact, going to another country and need to take your passport.

The three islands, Grande Miquelon, Petite Miquelon and Ile Ste. Pierre are south of the island of Newfoundland (obviously) but curiously are in the Greenland Time Zone!!  I have verified this fact – pay no attention to the map which says they are in the Atlantic Time Zone.  Greenland time is 1/2 hour AHEAD of Newfoundland & Labrador time, which itself is 1/2 hour ahead of Atlantic.  This means that while riding the ferry from Grand Bank to Ile Ste. Pierre you must set your watch ahead 1/2 hour even though you are traveling west.  This is perhaps the only place in the world where this is the case.

The three islands sound charming but time simply did not permit me to take this trip.  If there is one thing I’ve learned being on Newfoundland is that these small, secondary roads have low speed limits, go through small towns and often are not in very good condition.  Going anywhere using those roads takes longer than you think…

JohnBoy, you’re so childish – Redux

August 2, 2019

Here’s another one I thought of….

Yesterday while I was driving around St. John’s, Newfoundland I remembered people I stayed with (more than once – they are really nice) in southern Missouri.  They live on County Road P.  I remember thinking to myself, wouldn’t it be awkward if you lived on County Road PP?

And the next year when I went to Missouri, there it was:


Tee-hee-hee, pee-pee….

A face ANY mother could love….

August 2, 2019

While researching information and photos for my Terra Nova National Park post I found these photos of a European Pine Marten, similar to but different than the Newfoundland Martens I showed pictures of in the Terra Nova post.  Again, these are from the internet:

Pine Marten

(Photo credit:


(Photo credit:

I just thought I had to share these as well….

Elliston surprise number two

July 30, 2019

Not only was I in for a pleasant surprise in Elliston, turns out it would be a twofer!

On my way into town I saw this sign:



Walking down the path to see what I had actually COME to Elliston to see were these two root cellars:



This was looking inside the very short open door (after bumping my head on it while turning the flash on my camera on):


And when I was finished viewing what I had come here for I found this out by the road I had driven in on, near someone’s house:


I half expected a Hobbit to come walking out of it (although it didn’t have a round door…)


Elliston surprise number one

July 30, 2019

When planning this trip I had a boat ride in Witless Bay on my short list of things to do.  Witless Bay is south of St. John’s, Newfoundland, where I would be staying multiple nights.  I hadn’t booked the boat ride yet because I wanted to wait until I got here to see how the weather would be.  When hearing of my plans, my Airbnb hosts in St. Andrews, where I stayed the first night on the island, suggested I go to St. Marys instead.  They had done a similar boat ride there and said it was incredible.  So that was Plan B.

They sent me a message two days later saying they had seen on the news that what I was seeking could be found in Elliston and that a boat ride, while nice in itself, wouldn’t be required.  I don’t mind paying for a boat ride but I like FREE….  This became Plan C.

Elliston is out on the Bonavista Peninsula (Newfoundland has various regions, each with their own name) between Bonavista and Catalina.  The thing I was going there to see – not whales, as you might have guessed…. Puffins!

Last year when I was on the northwest coast of the US I was hoping to see Puffins but they had already migrated north and I was too late.  I was hoping to see Atlantic Puffins this trip and my wish has been fulfilled – big time.


Is this really Elliston?  You don’t seem to be too sure….


Yup – this must be the right place.


There was a short walk out onto a peninsula….


… and maybe 200 feet past the cliff on our side, an island with hundreds of Puffins milling about.

Enough talk, JohnBoy!  Let’s see some Puffins!








And not only were they on land, they would fly down and float on the water.


I had taken a photo of the water when I arrived and didn’t notice any.


A few minutes later, this was the scene:


Not only do they swim but they can dive into the water from high altitude and achieve considerable depth.


They are so small there was no way I could catch them in flight, but how entertaining, flapping their short little Puffin wings.  They almost look like hummingbirds in slow motion.  The cutest thing EVER.

I took some video with my smartphone but because they are small and I was far away it isn’t very good (but will at least reinforce what I watched with my own eyes).  By all means, go on YouTube and find some good videos of Puffins flying – what a hoot!!

I am soooooo glad my Airbnb hosts told me about this place!

Oh, and down on the rocks below I saw this black guillemot – sulking because no one was paying any attention to HIM.


HEY….. GUILLEMOT….. you made it onto JohnBoysTravelBlog!


Terra Nova National Park

July 30, 2019

After taking my fabulous scenic drive I continued just a few miles south on the TCH and stopped at Terra Nova (which means Land New.  Newfoundland – get it?).  This isn’t a very big park, only about 150 square miles – a little bit smaller than Zion National Park in Utah.  As I always do, I went first to the Visitor Center to get a map.  It is undergoing complete renovation and was effectively closed (but looks like it will be beautiful when completed) but I did get my map and asked the young lady working there for suggestions as to things I could do while there.  She sent me to two of their overlook areas, at the two highest points in the Park.

This was the view from Blue Hill on the north side of the Park (I had actually driven past the entrance road on my way to the Visitor Center).



Those were both taken looking southeast, towards the late morning sun.  There was something else there which I probably should have mentioned earlier in this trip.  Two red chairs.


This is part of Parks Canada program promoting their National Parks.  They have placed two red Adirondack type chairs (plastic) at prime viewing sites in their parks and encourage visitors to sit and take a few moments to enjoy the view.  What a great idea!!  They also mention that while they’d like you to savor the moment to please not hog the chairs if there are other guests waiting…..

After savoring the moment, as I ALWAYS try to do (after I take my photos I just stand and LOOK at what I’m seeing), I drove back down the hill and went to the Ochre Hill overlook.  This is the highest point in the area and in addition to the steps leading to a large observation deck there is a tall fire tower right next to it.


This view was looking west (note the change in water color).  Looks like a great place for two more red chairs…


There was a sign on the observation deck explaining various things, among them an animal which is unique to Newfoundland – a subspecies of the Marten family called the Newfoundland Pine Marten.  These animals are very shy and are usually found deep in the woods.

Here are some photos of them I found online:


(Photo credit:

Newfoundland Marten tree

(Photo credit: Brendan Kelly Wildlife Photography)

Newfoundland -Marten

(Photo credit: Kelly Wildlife Photography)

While researching this post I learned that this variation of Marten is the only one with semi-retractable claws.

After viewing the area from Ochre Hill I crossed the TCH to a walking path which would take me around a lake and perhaps offer some wildlife and bird photo ops.  I did walk down to the lake but there were lots of people there (it was becoming a warm day) making noise and it was approaching noon.  I generally don’t have good luck seeing animals mid-day, plus I still had a long drive ahead of me to my next venue, so I passed on the walk and got back on the road.

Gander to Sunnyside, NL

July 30, 2019

Tuesday morning I left Gander and headed south on the Trans Canada Highway.  On the agenda for today – one of my primary scenic roads just before getting to another one of Canada’s National Parks, the Park itself, and a surprise destination recommended by the Airbnb hosts I stayed with my first night in Newfoundland.


When I reached the exit for Glovertown I got off the TCH and drove east on Route 310.  This would take me out to some small towns described in my Scenic Roads in the Maritime Provinces book my friends Eric and Shawn gave me, the basic for this trip.

These were taken when I reached a lake near Traytown:



This is the little village of Burnside, where I had a wonderful conversation with a woman who was sitting outside enjoying her morning coffee (and trying to get a signal on her cellphone.  She said the best reception to be found locally is by being out on a boat!).  Burnside is a periodic retreat for her and her kids.



This was heading back towards Eastport.


This is the harbor in the little town of Happy Adventure:



The beach at Sandy Cove (clever name):


And a rock on a rock….  I saw this while walking back to my car from having taken the Sandy Cove beach photo.  I have been seeing more and more of these in my travels, small painted rocks left various places.  Kind of like being on an Easter egg hunt.


This tall wooden lighthouse model was up on a retaining wall in someone’s yard.  I didn’t get up to check but I bet it’s 5 feet tall:


And this was the drive back out to the TCH, over a bridge and long causeway I had crossed earlier.


By the way, I’d be staying in the small town of Sunnyside Tuesday night but Goobies is what I have highlighted on my map.  Sunnyside is a few miles south of Goobies.