Breaking the IceTHE BIG CHILL, CHAPTER 5: IN WHICH WE FIND TREASURE OF ONE KIND AND ANOTHER
Day 6: Trinity, NL to Twillingate Island. Retracing our journey back to the Trans-Canada Highway, we bade farewell to the historic Bonavista Peninsula. Soon after reconnecting with the TCH, the highway entered Terre Nova National Park, where the Atlantic Ocean meets the boreal forest, dominated by thick stands of black spruce.
|Sandy Pond, Terre Nlova National Park|
In Gander, we paused long enough to check out the tiny airport that began life in the 1930s as a refueling stop for transatlantic flights between the U.S. and Europe. With the advent of longer range jets in the 1960s, the Gander airport's star began to fade with only their air traffic control retaining relevance for planes on the great circle route.
The small airport remained active for flights within the province, averaging just a handful of arrivals and departures daily. Then came September 11, 2001. In an atmosphere of unprecedented uncertainty, air traffic control sought to keep commercial aircraft from major Canadian cities, making little Gander a top destination for planes blocked from U.S. airspace. On that day, this tiny facility received 39 major airliners carrying almost 6,600 passengers and crew. And they all stayed for four days while Gander, a town with fewer than 10,000 residents, embraced them like old friends, saw to all their needs, and earned a sterling international reputation for kindhearted compassion and gracious hospitality.
From Gander, we turned north on Highway 330 to Gander Bay, where we took the causeway to 331, a road that carried us across the peninsula to the 340, where we began island hopping. Driving near the little village of Fairbank, we spied in the distance what appeared to be an ocean of ice. Then for the next half hour, we drove up and down a plethora of tiny roads in search of a spot that would afford a closer inspection of this phenomenon.
|Little Harbour, NL|
|Coastal visitors near Little Harbour|
|More Little Harbour|
|Long Point Lighthouse|
|French Beach Trail|
As we walked past the front desk on the way to our room, the desk clerk asked our name. When we told her, she told Ken that he had lost his passport at Foodland. What?? It turned out to be not the document itself but a copy that I dropped from my wallet. Still, it held enough critical information to warm the heart of any identity thief. Lucky for us, this valuable document had been turned over to the store manager, who happened to be the desk clerk's sister.
Taking a chance, the manager called the inn (one of only two hotels in town) to ask her sister if we were guests there. Only after she told her sister why she was inquiring did the desk clerk verify that we were there. In an exceptional gesture, the store manager then drove to the inn and delivered the paper for us, giving us an opportunity to experience the same type of big-hearted kindness demonstrated by the folks around Gander in 2001. We were amazed and very grateful.
Sadly, our itinerary included only one day in this hospitable town. Tomorrow we'll head west to Deer Lake, our jumping off point for a couple of days exploring Gros Morne National Park.
Sunday, June 15, 2014
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