20-years-ago today was a good news-bad news kind of day. The bad news is the driving rain and incredibly high winds sweeping across the highway at a place called Wreck House on the west coast of Newfoundland all the way down into Port-aux-Basques, the departure point for Cape Breton. The good news is that we have completed Newfoundland, province number one in the walk across Canada.
Along the Trans-Canada Highway at Wreck House there are lots of signs that caution motorists about the dangerous winds blowing in from the ocean and down from the flat mountain tops along the coast that can blow trucks off the highway. There was a time when they used to chain railroad cars to the tracks to prevent them from blowing over.
In Port aux Basques on the last 200 yards of train track in Newfoundland, sits the “Newfie Bullet,” one of the most storied trains in Canada.
We’ve all heard stories about ‘bullet’ trains in Japan and China moving at more than 300 kilometres per hour. The Newfie Bullet – not so much.
There was a gentler time in Newfoundland when, if you wanted to pick berries or flowers, the Bullet would stop. And, if you were a fisherman or hunter, you didn’t have to go to the station. Just stand by the side of the tracks and the Bullet would stop and pick you up.
Newfoundlanders like to tell the story about the woman who gave birth on board the Newfie Bullet.
When the conductor looked at her and said “Madam, you shouldn’t have been traveling in your condition.” The woman looked up at the conductor and said simply, “I wasn’t pregnant when I got on this train!”
And so it went as I finished another 33 kilometres on road. I spent the evening of Day 29 trying to dry out a lot of wet clothing. The morning call was set for 5:00 a.m. with about 250 more days to go.
I learned in Port aux Basques that humour can go a long way in helping you persevere in tough times. No matter how difficult the road, I hope you find a little something to make you smile (maybe even laugh out loud) each and every day. It makes the journey easier.
Stay tuned. The journey continues…