Today was a rocky day. Rocks, rocks and more rocks. There are a whole bunch of photos of rocks in this blog. Consider yourself warned.
We slept in this morning. No loud talkers, no door bangers, no trucks starting outside the window. A comfy bed, a squishy pillow and a sound sleep. Doesn’t happen in my life very often so I really appreciate those nights when it does.
After a late breakfast we headed east of Gander to drive around another of Newfoundland’s coastal bumps. We made two stops outside of town before heading up Highway 320 – both to grave memorials.
The first was the Commonwealth War Graves. Beginning in 1936 Gander became an important part of trans-Atlantic flight; the town was perfectly situated to be a refueling stop. During WWII many flights originated from here to attack the German U-Boats that were trying to destroy the supply convoys sailing out of Halifax and other Canadian ports on the way to Britain and Europe. There are 100 graves in the Commonwealth War Graves part of the cemetery up on a hill 1/4 mile from the TCHwy; 80 are for Canadians, 18 from the UK, and 2 Australians. They are the 94 servicemen and 6 soldiers that died off the coast of Newfoundland during WWII.
The second memorial site is called the Silent Witness. It is located a 100 meters down the road and on the other side of the highway from the Commonwealth War Graves. It commemorates the 256 people (248 members of the 101st Airborne from Fort Campbell, Kentucky and 8 crew) that died on the site Dec. 18, 1985 not long after take-off from Gander Airport after a refueling stop. The plane was an Arrow Air Charter transferring American peace keepers home from the Sinai to their base in Kentucky. There were no survivors.
The cross atop the pillar was made from the emergency exit door of the plane. It is engraved with the words, “Rendevous with destiny.”
After visiting the grave sites we took the turn up Highway 320 to make a counter-clockwise loop around the coast; connecting with Hwy 331 that we drove yesterday on our way back to Gander.
We made a stop at Joey’s Lookout overlooking Gambo Pond and Triton Brook. The little town of Mint Brook right down the road was the birthplace of Joey Smallwood, the first premier of Newfoundland after it became the 10th province of Canada in 1949.
The planned stop was in Newtown to see the Heritage Village. Before we found the village we stopped to take some photos of the church and houses along the inlet and the Tickle (Newfoundland term for a creek).
We toured the village, had some lunch and drove the rest of the way around the coast and back to Gander. It seemed that every third or fourth bend in the road revealed a little bright blue bay full of rocks.
We got back to Gander at 6 pm, had dinner and returned to our hotel for the evening. It was a beautiful day; warm sun, lovely vistas and interesting people (we had a great chat with a young man in Newtown, toured the Village in Newtown with a friendly couple from Edmonton, AB and our 18-year old guide was an aspiring thespian so her presentation of the Bourbor family history was quite entertaining).