November 28th. Finish location: St. Georges Junction. 45.1km today.
November 29th. Finish Location: St. Fintan’s. 41km today.
Total for 28 road days = 1,212.4km
Many thanks to Katheryn, Stewart and Bernie Cochrane for their unbelievable hospitality. I can honestly say they could not have done more. I spent 2 lovely nights in their Pascedena home and they drove a lot to and from my finish/start locations picking me up and dropping me off. Thank you so much
I got a very late start out on the highway. 11.30 start which put pressure on me for the day as I didn’t get finished till after dark.
Also made an error in only carrying 1.7 lt of water into this service devoid area. There was one long steep hill which took about an hour to get over.. It was cold and windy. Was a bit stressed about the water situation as one dehydrates more in cold weather. Some light snow flurries.
There was no real camping locations till near the end of the day as off the road it was fairly forestry and at a slope. Also had to be careful not to camp near the road as I don’t fancy a dumping from an early morning snow plough!
To be honest I really didn’t fancy camping at all because I had already gone through the .7 lt water bottle and just had the 1 lt thermos. That would go in no time with a cup of tea in the evening also in the morning and night sips. Then if I decided to mix oatmeal I would need a bit more.
What do they say in survival situations?
Rule 1. If you got little water…Don’t eat.
What I was really thinking about was the next day. People are giving me unreliable information as to where the next service station/ water area is.
So I pushed on running in the dark for one hour till I got to St. Georges Junction. Here the communities are off the highway. St. Georges is 4km off. I had a feeling there was a service station had I continued but I was not sure. I decided to run into St. George’s knowing that these km will not count.
It was a steep hill down. So steep I figure it would be a waste of the first hour in the morning, but it had to be done.
I stopped at the first house to ask to sleep in the garage.. No deal just got water and then asked for the mayors name and address. My head was buzzing a couple of different directions about what to do by now, still thinking about camping.
I continued to the foot of the hill and turned left. Went into a convenience store to ask for further directions to mayor Anderson’s house as suggested.
I mooched around trying to get an invite from a couple of people by asking where was a good sheltered place to camp. Sometimes I almost feel I am prostituting myself.. But hey, how do you run around the world on a low budget without hustling!
The lady inside was giving me vague directions then as one would imagine luck prevailed when the mail delivery woman came in for a purchase. She didn’t seem too friendly after I explained my mission.
So I went in the general direction of the mayor’s house until I noticed the fire hall with a couple of fire engines outside. I wheeled Nirvana inside to the surprise of a few of the fire fighters.
It looked to me like they were volunteers.
I flashed the Magic Letter and asked could I sleep there! One of the lads, a man called Jerome Bennett came out of the office saying that due to government regulations that wasn’t possible, however I was welcome to stay in his seaside fishing cabin for the night!
We lifted Nirvana into the shortly to be decommissioned former ambulance, now a fireman transportation vehicle and headed for his cabin about 2km away.
Once inside the small cabin Jerome lit two oil lamps. There was a sofa for me to sleep on. He offered to light the wood burning stove. I told him not to bother as I was going straight asleep. I looked around. There were pictures of fishing vessels, fishing nets on the walls of the dimly lit homemade cabin. It was now 8.30pm. I rolled my sleeping bag out on the sofa and settled down to sleep.
I was thirsty all night. I woke up about six times to sip on the two liter bottle of lemon drink I purchased from the convenience store. It was sweet and felt salty. I hate buying water and that’s why I chose the soda. Felt that was value. But in future may have to reconsider this rule for the more practical one.
Got up at 8am, later than I planned. I was wrapping up my gear when Jerome came over to ask me to his house for some breakfast.
It transpired that Jerome worked with Mike Keating from Gander ( mentioned so much last week as he took great care of me in his home and on the road ) for the very same power company.
He told me his family name Bennett is a derivative of a French name. His ancestors came here in the 18th century. They were of French descent. French people were forced out of the area by the British but his folks managed to escape and hide out as many other French did to eventually settle in and create their own French communities. Port aux Basques being one obvious example.
Not wanting to have the experiences of yesterday I was well stocked up with water and also filled the 2 liter empty soda bottle with water.
Jerome hitched up his trailer and we returned to the cabin to pick up Nirvana to transport me back to last nights finishing location of the junction out on Trans Canada Highway 1.
I only got 3 km before coming to the Ultramar service station I was unsure about last night. Even though I was soon after breakfast it’s still hard to pass these beacons of refuge being so rare on the highway.
Went in and had a French Vanilla coffee and some chocolate. Two very friendly ladies were scrubbing the floor of the restaurant.. I turned on a bit of charm.. Mentioned about the World Jog.. They thought I was a cyclist! Then were impressed I was running. Then I hit them with the smack..
” Do you give complimentary cappuccino refills to around the world runners?? ”
” Ha Ha! Help yourself! ”
About an hour later on down the road Mike Greene and his wife Linda pull up in their car. They get out and walk across the road. Mike is holding out a Tim Horton’s coffee!
Here you are Tony. I read on the forum and checked out your blog.. I know you like coffee!
So we chat on for a while and Mike and Linda ask me to stay in their place tonight.
Its in Stephensville Crossing about a 45 minute drive back past the way I came. They offer to pick me up at 4.30 on the road. What about the buggy?
Mike has given me an update on the road. He knows the area very well. There is a service station about 28km away at Saint Fintan’s junction. I suggest I leave it there for the night and return for it in the morning.
He drives ahead to get permission.
When they returns I offload much of my baggage and pour out the 2 liters of water = 2 kilos to me.
The sun is out now. The wind is minimal. I am wearing two pairs of gloves these last two days instead of my usual three.
Sometimes I even take off my hat…Getting bold!
There were some glorious down hills lasting a couple of kilometers. Then the uphill but they were not so bad. Every time I drink some water I seem to pee it out within a couple of minutes.
The pressure is off for tonight. I enjoy the run in the afternoon and am ahead of my 4.30 schedule to meet Mike. So I ease down a lot as I have to think of recovery and tomorrow. I run nice and easy for the last hour. There is much construction on the road. They seem to be widening it in places and working on a bridge.
There is not much traffic. I am running on the left side of the road towards the traffic. I can see far down the road so can run on the road moving back towards the hard shoulder for approaching vehicles. Sometimes it’s not necessary as the vehicle moves out to the overtaking lane. I usually wave when they show this courtesy.
Then Mike passes me on the road 20 minutes early. I pull into the service station five minutes early.
We bring Nirvana into through the door. The attendant says we can put her behind her counter.
” But you don’t have much room! ” I said after realizing this would take up half the space.
” Don’t matter! I can work around it! ”
Instead I push my faithful into the passageway of the adjoining restaurant and lodged it in beside a freezer.
Mike went to get me a coffee as I unpacked a few items for the night. The lovely attendant said the coffee was on the house.. Thanks!
Just as we were going Jerome’s cousin, Alphonsis comes in and offers to put me up for the night. Alphonsis lives just 10km away so I guess Jerome phoned. I have already committed to Mike and am so sorry for Alphonsis making such an effort… It’s great there are so many wonderful people in the world.. I am amazed by the hospitalitity afforded me here in Newfoundland.
On the way back to Stephensville Crossing Mike is telling me all about his running passions and how he trained hard running everyday for 90 minutes no matter what the weather was, even -20! He has a 2.31 personal best for the marathon.
Now unfortunately his running career has been curtailed by injury.
” I been in sport all my life Tony. I was a gym teacher when I retired.”
He has a great understanding of running injuries and the bodies metabolic workings.
We arrive at Mike and Linda’s house. Linda has a lovely roast beef dinner. Mike talks about art his other passion.. He is self-taught. Later I see his works. He has painted copies of several of Vermeer’s works to a very high standard.
Over a lovely roast beef dinner Mike and Linda tell me about how the British defeated the French in the 1713 battle in Europe. How that spilt over from Europe to Newfoundland. He says the Brits more or less just tolerated the French allowing them just to fish and that’s how they set up in Port aux Basques.
Mike has a contact in a town called Doyle’s about 50km away.. Doyle is ideally placed for me as it’s halfway to the Port. It turns out his contact from his school teaching days would be delighted to host me but will be out of town tomorrow. She makes a call to her friend, another teacher called Crem Reid. Crem says he has a place for me for tomorrow night.
So we call Crem and I arrange to call him when I reach Doyle.
These short daylight days don’t help me as I always need an early start. I don’t always get them. People understandably ask me for time of arrival, as one can imagine I can’t always be sure.
Newfoundland is just one of the most incredible places I have ever been to.