The most memorable part for Fuzzy Harrison of her road trip to Newfoundland in her Smart car was the “amazing” people living in Canada’s most easterly province.
The 60-year-old Crofton resident piled her three Australian Cattle Dogs, each weighing up to 80 pounds, and enough gear to last several weeks into her small Smart car on May 16 and headed east.
Harrison wanted to keep expenses down on the trip, so she avoided costly motels and tucked her small, five-foot frame into a sleeping bag on her reclined driving seat next to her dogs each night.
She arrived in North Sydney, Nova Scotia, 11 days later, in time to make her reservation to catch the ferry to Port Aux Basques, Newfoundland, and began touring the many quaint fishing villages on her trip across the island to its capital, St. John’s.
“I’ve been to all the other provinces over the years, but I’ve never been to Newfoundland so I wanted to explore it a little,” said the ebullient Harrison shortly after her return to the Cowichan Valley.
Harrison said she visited a pub just outside of Port Aux Basques after disembarking from the ferry and found that, although the locals were friendly enough, she had no idea what they were saying to her due to their thick Newfoundland accents.
She said the communication problems disappeared after she was “screeched in”, a tradition in which people visiting the province become honorary Newfoundlanders by kissing a cod and downing a couple of shots of Newfoundland Screech, a heavy black rum.
“I began to understand what they were saying after that,” she said with a grin.
Harrison spent the next few weeks touring through many small towns and meeting the people until she finally arrived in St. John’s.
She said while the people were great, the weather conditions weren’t and the temperatures were in the single digits with rain that came down sideways due to the constant high winds that Newfoundland faces on a regular basis.
The situation was made even worse by the fact that her car heater stopped working the second day after she left Crofton, so she found the nights in the car damp and cold.
“It did rain the whole time, but I’ll never forget the icebergs, the many lighthouses and the fantastic people I met,” Harrison said.
“Another great thing is that I only spent $825 on diesel for the 21,000 kilometre trip.”
Harrison said she intends to travel again next year, and will likely head north to Nunavut or Churchill, Manitoba, to check out the polar bears.
“I’ve always enjoyed travelling, and hope to continue to see parts of Canada I haven’t seen before,” she said.