And so the tale begins. A tale of four travel-hearted individuals from different reaches of the North Americas. Four travel-hearted bloggers on an epic two-week road trip from the jagged coastlines of Newfoundland in the east, to the 2013 Travel Blog Expo in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
I hope you are ready for the shenanigans that will ensue…
First thing is first – let me give you a quick rundown. This will be a multi-part series, retelling the adventures of Candice of Candice Does The World, Seattle of Seattle’s Travels, Zak of Sparkpunk, and I as we drive, hike, wander, and frolic through Canada.
And what ever else we do to get there…
TBEX is being held in the first weekend of June. A conference bringing together veteran and noob travel bloggers, writers, and travel companies from near and far.
The prospect of getting to meet tons of travel writers at TBEX that have inspired has me crazy excited!
It is bound to be filled with good times, pow-wows, enlightening conference speakers, and the clanging of pint glasses. Just think Lord of the Rings when the fellowship gathered; all the different faces, races, sexes (I didn’t say sexy time…), egos, personalities, and beards that might not mesh at first, but are sure to get along in the end!
The drinking will help with that as well.
And so the tale begins. A tale of — oh wait. I already said that. Okay. Fast forward to the morning of the road trip.
It began like most trips with travelers do. With a hangover…
In a town like St. John’s, which touts a world record for most bars in a certain square footage, we couldn’t not go out on the infamous George Street on a hoppin’ Friday night. Even IF we planned to leave bright and early the next day.
What happened? Well, we were a tad slow to start moving and began the trip two hours later than we wanted. No matter, because an amazing road trip was beginning and a late start wouldn’t set us back too much.
Little did we know it was only set back number one…
Our chariot was dropped off sometime in the morning. Our ride through Canada? An itty-bitty blue Kia Forte provided by Hit The Road. This company has a gnarly program allowing travelers to transport other individuals cars across the country for them if they don’t want the hassle of driving the distance themselves.
After trying to figure out how the hell we were going to get all the way to Toronto when none of us own a car, Hit The Road was rad enough to sponsor our transport for this road trip!
Things seemed to be coming together oh so well.
Everything was packed up and ready to go, but the next challenge presented itself. How to fit all our crap in the trunk.
When I said itty-bitty, it just seemed that way because we had four backpackers with massive bags containing their entire lives in them. There was a lot of shoving, crunching, and smushing, but we managed to squeeze in like sardines.
It was gloomy and overcast. Rain sprinkled on and off as we said our farewells to St. John’s and hit the freeway. Though St. John’s is a smaller city than most I’ve lived in, there was just something I came to love about it.
Maybe it was the night-life.
Maybe starting a road trip with the first travel bloggers I ever met.
Maybe just the euphoria of another adventure and never believing my life would be like this.
Either way, I was sad to leave.
The moment we left St. John’s, the pace was set for our road-trip…
Set back number two — there was only one turn at the start we had to worry about making for 500km to Gros Morne. We missed it.
There was a collective, “Oh shit” said by all four bloggers when we realized we blew past the exit. You would think four people who live a travel lifestyle would be pretty damn good at navigation.
It seems like travelers aren’t always experts at finding their way around…
This trip was starting off as you’d imagine with any ragtag group of rebel travel bloggers.
It was a little rough around the edges and laughably un-orthodox, but we were still having a damn good time.
And better yet, after the mess at the start of the trip, I got a sign that things would be turning around. A sign in my coffee.
We took a rest break at a Tim Horton’s, beloved coffee joint of Canadians, to grab a snack before driving for another 7 hours. When I opened my coffee lid to add sweetener, there was a smiley face staring back at me. I took that as a good sign.
Except it was probably laughing at us. Little did we know set back three fast approached.
First came the fog and spitting rain.
The further we drove, the more the grey consumed us. It felt as though we drove into nothing-ness.
The white-washed sky gave way to no sunlight. The fog thickened so much it was hard to see the car 25 meters ahead.
The spitting rain turned to sleet, then snow.
To lighten the mood, we made blogger jokes about Canada, tried to sing songs, and talked extensively about starting a blogger fight-club at TBEX.
Rule #1 of Blogger Fight Club: You don’t talk about Blogger Fight Club.
Though our little Kia that could fought on, the roads had become puddled and slick, causing us to hydroplane constantly.
Scary as hell thinking you are going to crash every second.
I’ve been in a car accident that nearly killed me, and so had Candice quite recently, so we were all on the edge every time the car began to slip n’ slide around.
Zak grew up in Anchorage Alaska and was a pro at driving in these conditions, but it is still hard to fight the fear as the weather worsened.
I just prayed to gods I don’t believe in and tried to distract myself by staring at the snow-capped trees that whizzed by. Oddly enough, it is what I always pictured Alaska being like, and what always fascinated me about it.
Candice, watching the flurry outside said, “I find it so funny that no matter how much technology we have, and how many innovations are made, Mother Nature just doesn’t give a damn and keeps on doing her thing.”
You could say the fierceness of nature was frighteningly beautiful in those moments.
We just kept on driving, 7 hours into the nothingness. Kept on driving down that shiny black pavement under that white-washed sky. Kept on through the fog and the snow biting our fingernails. Hoping the weather would break soon.
And the weather did break.
“Look! The sun!” Seattle squeaked with delight. Yes, we are an odd blogger bunch, but after not seeing sunlight for 7 hours straight it was quite exciting.
Just as the weather had transitioned from rain to snow, so it retreated from snow, to sleet, to rain, then nothing.
The road snaked through the dark green pines and passed swollen rivers until we spotted Gros Morne rearing its bald head in the distance. We finally reached “The Great Somber“, the meaning behind the name of this bare rounded mountain of exposed earth mantle.
After an exhausting long day of driving, we did what all backpackers do — grabbed beer and got cozy. We checked into Gros Morne Cabins, located right on the water of the bay-side town of Rocky Harbor which would be out base for the next 2 days.
There is NOTHING like relaxing on homemade quilts in a wooden cabin by the sea. Nothing.
As we sipped our beers and unwound, we were treated to one of the most stunning sunsets I had ever seen. Luckily I happened to look up as I was unpacking.
Just above the horizon, the clouds had parted just enough to see the sunset. The fiery sun seemed to descend from the monochrome sky to fill the horizon in a colorful splendor of orange and crimson. It seemed to linger as long as it could until retreating from sight; the sky faded to light blue, then purple, then was consumed by the blackness of night.
However crazy the start of the trip was, it’s always the journey and not the destination. We survived an intense 7hr drive through some wicked weather. Plus got to know each other through the ordeal.
My first trip with other travel bloggers had begun…and it was looking to be a hilarious ride.
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