Gadget under header picture

We are off to Newfoundland so tag-along with us.

After 2 months of being Nana and Poppa

Oh my how time flies!  It is so hard to believe that our little man is 2 1/2 months old.    He still has Nana and Poppa wrapped around his baby finger.  
Dallin getting Poppa to sleep!
He is such a good little fella, already sleeping 11 hours through the night.  How lucky for Mommy!  
I'm a Little Brother!
I was Baptized November 20th
He is just finding his voice and tells us all sorts of stories.  It is so amazing to watch him smile and coo at the strangest things.  Like the picture of a family of lions that hangs over the couch in the living room, or the swirls on the living room ceiling.  Who would have thought something so simple could be so entertaining to a little one.  His Auntie Amanda has appropriately nick named him "His cuteness" and awaits her daily morning picture. 
Aunt Amanda, Uncle Mike and Pastor Olavi
Nana and Poppa are so blessed to be able to see "His Cuteness" every single morning.  It sure does make it tough to drag myself into the office and stay focused.  At the end of the day I can't wait to get home to hold my little man in my arms and give him his bottle.  I am so blessed!!!!!

Brotherly Love
We have also been blessed with Robin.  Dallin's 5 year old big brother.

He has also brought so much joy and laughter into our lives.  We can hardly wait for the weekends when he comes to visit.  We had forgotten how much a 5 year old can talk, what you doing, what's that for, can I help.  Our day starts with a 5 year old climbing in bed with us for a little snuggle and horsing around, then it's off to start the day.  Chasing a bike up and down the road, playing cars, building houses with lego, playing tag around the kitchen island and reading stories.  Do you know how hilarious it is playing hide and seek with a 5 year old when he announces that "I'm in here....hiding behind the bed".   Nana and Poppa have to learn all the new children's characters, like Lightning McQueen and Buzz Lightyear and oh yeah can't forget about Caillou.  What a thrill to have him at the trailer this summer.  Teaching him to jump off the dock, 

Catching his first fish
watching him reel in a little fishy "All by Himself", watching him collect his 4th place prize in the Picnic Island Fishing Derby.  

Robin loves helping Doug drive the boat and can stay entertained for 3 hours while the big boys try and catch a fish.  
Helping drive the boat

They obviously need to take fishing lessons from a 5 year old!  Robin has quickly become a very treasured part of our family and we look forward to many more fun filled days with him. 

Doug and I will be blessed with another darling little Grandchild in April when Amanda and Mike will welcome their first child.  We are truly blessed!!!
Aunt Amanda, Uncle Mike and
future Cousin

Just think of the all the Backroad Memories we will be creating in the days to come!

Our Boys

Don't Be a Stranger!

Announcing the arrival of Dallin Douglas...Our Little Man!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The pride and joy of the next stage of our lives arrived on Tuesday, September 13th at 12:32 a.m. Dallin Douglas weighed in at a healthy 7 lbs 8 ozs and 19 inches long.  We had the surprise of our life when our little man was born.  He was supposed to be a she!  According to the ultrasound anyway.  We had been preparing for a little princess to arrive around the 6th of September but as luck would have it for Sarah she was a week late after having endured one of the hottest summers for many years.  Apparently our little princess was growing a handle that last week!  Can you imagine the shock in the delivery room for Mommy, Daddy and Nana when the Doctor announces we have a beautiful baby girl...with a penis!  Everyone was preparing for a girl, showers all had a pink theme, pink baby items, beautiful pink outfits and pink blankets, everything pink awaited the arrival of our little Granddaughter.  God does work in mysterious ways.  Doug and I really didn't want to know the gender of our little Grandchild, but he surprised everyone, and was the topic of conversation at several gatherings.  What a surprise, and a delightful one at that. Dallin is the pride and joy of his Nana and Poppa!  He already has us wrapped around his long slender fingers.  Mommy, Daddy and Dallin live with us, we are so blessed to be able to see him every day. 

There is nothing more gratifying than snuggling your little grandchild.  It is as if the world stops turning and you and him are the only people on earth.  Supper...who needs supper! Laundry....who needs clean clothes!  Dust isn't it there to write messages in.  Your heart melts and the love you feel for that little person is unmatched.  Dallin you are our WORLD!!!
Dallin's first trip to the trailer
Got my thermometer
My Mommy and Daddy

We made it back home

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Well we finally made it back home at 10:06 p.m.!  It was a fantastic trip, but it does feel good to be back home.

We left the campground in Argentia around noon.  We figured the ferry would probably start loading around 1:30 or 2:00 so we might just as well go get in the line-up.  Who knows we might get to talk to some more interesting people while we are waiting.  And of course we did, we talked to a young fellow that was on his way home to Nova Scotia after a season of crab fishing.  He had been gone for 3 months and was hauling all of his equipment back home. 
 It was interesting leaving the Island, we could not take any vegetables or plants back with us, and Hemi and Elbroko had to go through a car wash. Unfortunately there was no brush to scrub all the Newfoundland bugs off!   Apparently there is a blight in the soil that they do not want to spread.  After handing over our bag of expensive potatoes we were good to go.  Security was definitely tighter leaving the island. If you went into the terminal building you had to make sure you had your boarding pass to exit the terminal and go back to your vehicle.  
We drove onto the ferry, Atlantic Vision, around 2:15 and immediately went in search of our bed for the night.  We opted not to pay the $160 for a berth, we figured we could just sleep in the reclining chairs.  Wrong!!!!  Neither one of us got a wink of sleep.  It was the longest night ever!  14 hours of fidgeting, up and down and strolling over to the lounge was not fun.  We took our pillows and a small blanket, but we just couldn't get comfortable.  We arrived in North Sydney around 6:30 a.m. and were unloading in no time at all.  We stopped to have breakfast around 9:30, and then drove a couple more hours before we just had to pull into a gas station and have a nap.  We were going to be visiting Doug's brother Dan again on our way back home and that was an 8 hour drive in total.  We did arrive in Woodstock New Brunswick around 5 o'oclock Sunday night.  Needless to say I was not up very late.  I did manage to visit for a few hours before I was off to get my beauty sleep.  Boy do I need it!  Doug got his second and third wind and stayed up into the wee hours visiting with his brother.  We were not sure if we going to spend another night or carry on.  It took us until 6:00 o'clock that night to decide that we really should try and get a few hours behind us, even if we can make it to the Quebec border.  We stayed in our first Walmart parking lot in Edmonston, New Brunswick with 27 other Wallyworld campers.  We couldn't believe it!  There were campers of all sizes scattered around the back end of the parking lot, and now Hemi and Elbroko were part of them.  We left Wallyworld 7:30 a.m. headed for home.  Our timing was perfect to drive through Montreal.  Not too much traffic. We did not have to worry about the bikes falling off this time, Doug decided to have them ride inside the trailer.  Good thinking Dougy!  We were thinking we would camp around Cornwall or Kingston but when we arrived in Cornwall around 3:00 we decided it was too early to stop we could get closer to home.  So we head for Kingston and arrive around 5:00.  We decided it was still early to stop so we made an executive decision to just push it right on to home.  We could be there around 10 or 10:30.   We sure did surprise Sarah and Stephane, they were not expecting us until Wednesday or Thursday.  My Sarah burst into tears when she saw us, it was a long 2 months for her. It was definitely a long day of driving but it was great to be back home after 15,175 kilometers and 68 days of being on the road.  Our gas prices ranged from 122.9 in Bouchtouce, N.B. to 137.9 in Hermitage, NL.  Out total gas bill came in at $4,153.74, which we did not think was too bad for all the beautiful places we had been.  Our camping however, did cost us more than we expected.  It came in at $1,728.82.  Camping rates were as low as $15 up to $36.42 a night, which are much lower than any campgrounds in Ontario. We were planning on doing a fair bit of boondocking, but when the weather was so cold and rainy we just wanted to be hooked up to hydro so we could run the furnace and make Elbroko more comfortable.  We saw a total of 19 moose, 5 deer, 8 bald eagles, several dolphins, 1,000's of puffins and other seabirds, and tons of whales on our journey.  We met so many wonderful people on our travels.  We will never ever forget the hospitality of the Newfoundlanders.  I was able to check off all the items on my "must see" list including my long lost relatives. This certainly was a trip of a lifetime for both Doug and I.  We thoroughly enjoyed every one of those 15,175 kilometers and 68 days, in spite of the weather. We both feel so fortunate to have been able to experience this unbelievable adventure.  Now it is time to catch up with family and friends and continue to make more Backroad Memories!

Don't Be a Stranger!

Ode to Newfoundland

When the sun rays crown thy pine clad hills,
And summer spreads her hand,
When silvern voices tune thy rills,
We love thee smiling land,
We love thee, we love thee
We love thee smiling land.

When spreads thy cloak of shimm'ring white,
At winters stern command,
Thro' shortened day and starlit night,
We love thee frozen land,
We love thee, we love thee,
We love thee frozen land.

When blinding storm gusts fret thy shore,
And wild waves lash thy strand,
Thro' sprindrift swirl and tempest roar,
We love thee windsept land,
We love thee, we love thee,
We love thee windswept land.

As loved our fathers, so we love,
Where once they stood we stand,
Their prayer we raise to heav'n above,
God guards thee, Newfoundland,
God guard thee, God guard thee,
God guard thee Newfoundland.

The national anthem of Newfoundland, written by Sir Cavendish Boyle while he was Britain's Govenor of Newfoundland between 1901 and 1904.

Every Newfoundlander stands tall, and proudly sings this song about their Newfoundland.

Don't Be a Stranger!

On our way home

July 29, 2011

The view from our campsite
Last night after we dropped Amanda off at the airport and got back to camp we went over to see Gerard and Barb.  They are the couple that brought us all the fish when we were at the Blue Fin a week or so ago.  Arnold and Teresa were also there.  These 4 people have been great and treated us like one of the gang. We had ordered 20 lbs of codfish from Gerard at cost, so they made a special trip out to the trailer to deliver it to us.  What great people! We had another fun visit with these awesome Newfoundlanders, exchanged email addresses and promised to keep in touch. We hook Hemi and Elbroko up one more time, and left the Blue Fin around 11:30 and headed over to Argentia.  We have reservations for the 3:30 ferry to Nova Scotia on Saturday and just wanted to be in the area. We are really hoping for a smooth crossing.  We will be on the ferry for 14 hours arriving in North Sydney, Nova Scotia at 7:30 a.m.  We have had a fantastic vacation!  We feel so blessed to have been able to see so many things, and meet so many wonderful people during our 2 months on this wonderful Island of Newfoundland.  Someone asked me what my favourite part was, I honestly could not pick one thing, it has all been fabulous.  Although re-connecting with my relatives definitely has a special place in our backroad memories. We had a nice relaxing afternoon enjoying the view of the ocean from our campsite. It seems now that we are booked to go home all we want to do is get home. We do miss our family and friends at home and are looking forward to seeing them all.  We are also very excited about the new addition to our family that will be arriving in a month. I can hardly wait to have that little bundle of joy in my arms.  Our last night on the Island we were blessed with this lovely sunset, the grand finale of our time in Newfoundland.  What amazing Backroad Memories we have in our collection now!!!! 


Don't Be a Stranger!

Saying Goodbye to Amanda

Thursday, July 28, 2011
Amanda is sad her vacation has come to an end, but she is looking forward to seeing Mike.  She has had a great vacation and definitely intends to come back, and bring Mike with her.  Amanda's plane does not leave until 8:00 tonight so we have time to introduce her to a few more relatives, and hopefully get her back out to Cape Spear. Both times we took her to Cape Spear last week it was foggy and she didn't see anything but fog.  
Fog on Amanda's day
Amanda wanted to get some pictures printed before she left the island so she would be able to show her friends on the weekend.  There is a Dominion Store in Long Pond that does one hour processing which is perfect, we can do some visiting while they are getting printed.  When your on vacation you lose all track of time.  We realized it was lunch time, not a good time to stop into see Delilah who works at the Yacht club and would be serving lunch.  Lunch, oh yeah wouldn't some Toutons go good right about now.  Thank goodness for cell phones and Mr. Google.  There just happens to be a cafe up the road that serves Toutons.  There are 2 Toutons in an order. Oh my, they are so darn good.  I'm drooling just typing this!  We gobble up our Toutons and then stop into see Lynn.  Carson is working so Amanda will not get to meet him until she comes back with Mike.  We walked back to the Manuels river and showed Amanda and Doug the old swimming hole. 
We had a great visit with Lynn.  We said our goodbyes to Lynn and promised not to wait another 42 years to return. By now it was 2:30 and hopefully would be a good time to stop in and see Delilah at work.  She was so happy that we stopped in, she was happy to meet Amanda, if only for a short time.  We had a quick little visit, we didn't want to interrupt her work too long.  Again we said our goodbyes and promised to return.  One more stop before we head to Cape Spear and that was to say goodbye to Delilah's husband Cecil.  He was the most gentle man and reminded me very much of my father.  Cecil has pinched nerves in his back, and can barely walk, he is in a great deal of pain, waiting patiently for surgery in November.  We just couldn't leave without saying goodbye to him.   It was very sad saying goodbye to my relatives that I had not seen for so many years. Amanda was so happy that she was able to meet some more of her Newfoundland relatives.  Hopefully, we will be able to bring the whole family back again in a few years.  It was so great re-connecting with them again after 42 years.  Off we go Cape Spear to see if the weather is going co-operate with us this time.  Finally, we can see the lighthouse!  

And can you believe it, there are whales there to say goodbye to us as well.  What a perfect ending to Amanda's vacation.
Don't Be a Stranger!

Heading back to St. John's

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Amanda’s vacation is coming to end and we have to head back to Holyrood and the Blue Fin campground.  We are on the road around 8:30 with a temperature of 15 degrees.  The road from Twillingate is another bouncy road and we have to take our time so Elbroko doesn’t shake apart.  It was a nice day until we got closer to Holyrood and then it started getting cloudy, overcast and foggy.  We all start to sing, "waiting for the sun to shine, on a grey foggy day" a great Newfoundland song.  The temperature dropped to 9 degrees, it was just like the weather we left behind a week ago.  I am beginning to think the sun doesn’t shine in Holyrood! 
We arrive back at the Blue Fin around 3:00 get set up and then just relax for a few hours.  We didn’t need to make supper tonight, we ate a big lunch out, on the way back to Holyrood.  Doug needed the hour break from driving, after the rough ride.  Amanda wanted to meet a few of my cousins so I make a few phone calls.  Unfortunately, Delilah was working late at a special function and Linda was at her trailer but would be home tomorrow afternoon.  It is Amanda’s last night on the Island so we have to do something with her.  We decided to take her into St. John’s to George St., the hot spot for the pubs.  Hopefully Doug and I will not be the only old foogies there.  We’ll try to keep up, and give it our best shot!  We find a nice bar called O’Rielly’s. There is a fellow playing guitar and singing.  It ended up being a great night.  He was actually an awesome singer and sang Newfoundland songs as well as some Irish tunes.  Doug and I were not the only old foogies in the pub, however, as the evening went on the crowd slowly switched over to young people.  This fellow finished at 10:30, and another band was coming in, which was obviously for the younger crowd.  Amanda definitely has some Newfie blood in her, she has taken a liking to the Newfoundland music and has really enjoyed her last night in Newfoundland.

Don't Be a Stranger!

Toutons and Tea in Twillingate

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Happy Birthday to me!  Well today I am celebrating my birthday in this beautiful province of Newfoundland.  It doesn’t get much better than this!  Again we check to see if the icebergs are any closer to shore, but no such luck.  I guess I will just have to come back another time to see them up close. Oh darn. Yesterday Amanda bought a small painting of Salt Harbour so we wanted to go over and check out the harbour in real life.
Driving down the road we stopped to take a picture and a local fellow who was enjoying his morning walk stopped to talk.  He gave us all the local history of the area, which we found so interesting. He told us about Ship Island and how it had been resettled back in the 60’s. It was really quite sad, the residents were given $1,000 and $100 for each child to relocate to the mainland, not even enough to cover expenses.  Some moved their homes across the bay and some just left them to disintegrate. This gentlemen kept his grandfather’s house and uses it as a vacation home.  We could have talked longer than the 30 minutes but we had places to go and things to see.
Salt Harbour was another great little community tucked back in a bay.  Amanda and I found a nice little hiking trail at the end of the road that we just had to go on.  We were hoping to get a good view of the icebergs from here.  Amanda does have proper hiking boots with her today, so I won’t be as nervous.  We climb to the top of the mountain to look out over the bay that is dotted with lots of islands, what a gorgeous view.  There are lots of local fisherman on the water that look like little dots on the expansive ocean. It is such a beautiful day, sunny and 23 degrees and we are perched up on a lookout viewing this wonderful sight. 

Everywhere we have been in Newfoundland a familiar sight is a line of laundry hung out to dry. 
On our drive back we stop to talk to a husband and wife cleaning some huge codfish just by the road.  Again we were offered some fillets but decline this time, we already have a freezer full of fish, besides that we are starting to grow gills. Amanda is fighting a headache and we have tickets to see the Split Peas tonight so we head for home early. We want Amanda to have a rest and get rid of her headache so she can enjoy the show. On our way back we noticed a mussel farm, which had the larger barrels holding the strings of mussels up.  They start with the floating balls and as the mussels grow they change to a mid size barrel and then finally the larger barrel until harvest time.  We got back to Elbroko early afternoon, Amanda and Doug have a rest and I go for a big walk. I walked along the coast and then through a lovely meadow. 

The Split Peas is a group of 7 local women that sing and entertain.  What an amazing show they put on.  
We all thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it, and it only cost $10.  They sing a lot of their own original songs as well as some old familiar Newfoundland songs. 

They sing about mummers, and Swarvin' down the road and My Newfoundland. 
They perform on Tuesdays and Thursdays in the very old Orange Hall, that they call home.  It is a very relaxed setting, they are just enjoying themselves and draw you into their music with the first song I’s the B’y. At break time they served Toutons and Tea.  Oh my, if you haven’t had Toutons you definitely need to try them.  They are basically bread dough that has been fried in oil and served with either partridge berry or blueberry jam, molasses or syrup.  They told us that there are no calories because we are on vacation and the berries cancelled out the oil and dough. Wow, that made me feel a whole lot better, I’ve had way too many meals that were not weight watcher friendly!  The show ended around 9:30 with everyone singing the Ode to Newfoundland. This song is referred to as the anthem of Newfoundland and is the finale of many of the shows. It always brings a tear to my eye to see the Newfoundlanders standing tall and proud as they sing this song about their beloved homeland.  The show was over in time for us to scoot over to the lighthouse to see the tail end of the beautiful sunset.  What a fabulous time we had in this lovely community of Twillingate, and lots more enjoyable memories to add to our backroad memories!
Don't Be a Stranger!

Out and about in Twillingate

Monday, July 25, 2011          
Picture plant in bloom
The sun was shining with clear blue skies and the temps started out in the high teens.  It was a shorts and t-shirt day.  Yahoo!  We decided to go to the dinner theatre “All Around the Circle” tonight and made our reservations through the camp office. First thing we do is head down to the Lighthouse to see if the icebergs managed to find their way closer to shore in the wild wind last night. Maybe it was just wishfull thinking but they sure did look closer.  Maybe the tour boats will be able to go out to them today.  So into town we go to check it out.  Unfortunately they are still beyond their jursidication so try again tomorrow.  Well that leaves us to do what we do best and tour around to show Amanda the sites of the area.  There was one road Doug and I didn’t drive to the end of, so we head out there first and maybe that will get us closer to the icebergs. 
Amanda and I were just going to walk around the corner to see if we can see them.  My Amanda only has her flips flops on, not quite hiking shoes, but we were only going to go around the corner.
There was a laneway that went down to a beach and by the time we got there Amanda thought we should carry on, up and over the mountain.  I was very concerned about her hiking gear but she insisted she was fine, so away we go.  Doug knows by now that when we strike off we will eventually return and he should make himself comfortable looking out over the ocean, watching the fishing boats come and go. This was an amazing hike that takes us to the cliffs overlooking the ocean.

It is just so beautiful  Amanda and I hate to leave, but we better get back and let Doug know we are still alive.  I’m so glad we didn’t miss this, even though I was very nervous about Amanda trapesing around cliffs in her flip flops.  We make it back and find Doug sitting on a rock enjoying the beautiful day and the view.  It had now reached 22 degrees, the warmest day yet for the Dickinson’s!  We went back to Elbroko for our lunch and a bit of a rest before we head down the road to Morton’s Harbour and Tizzard’s Harbour. 
As we are driving through Virgin Arm we notice some fisherman cleaning fish, so of course we have to stop to chat.  They had a mess of Codfish, the largest was 15 lbs, and again we walk away with a bag of codfish. 

Amanda is so amazed at the Newfoundlander's. They love to chit chat,and then they even share their fish with you.  We are going to have to start travelling with a cooler full of ice if we continue to stop and chat with the fisherman! We continue on our tour enjoying all the little communities along the way.  We can’t dilly dally too much we have to get back and get shined up for our dinner theatre.   The 3 of us decide to take a break from fish tonight and order the stuffed chicken dinner which was excellent.  Not only do the 3 men and 4 women of ”All Around the Circle” entertain you they cook and serve your dinner as well.  This entire evening was awesome, and only cost $30. 
They sang Newfoundland songs, and did little skits that had us on the floor in laughter.  Our whole table was from Ontario. The one lady looked so familiar to me but I just kept telling myself that I’m in Newfoundland I will not know anyone here.  As the evening went on she finally asked if I was Kathy Pitz.  OMG, I can’t believe she knew my name, I certainly could not put a name to her face, but when she introduced herself as Dawn Keller I did remember her.  We went to Sunday school together waaaaaaay back when. Unbelievable, you drive half across our beautiful country and run into people you know. We got back to camp just in time to see  this beautiful evening sky.

Don't Be a Stranger!