Newfoundland: Fogo Island to St. John’s

TRANSIT DAY!

Every once in a while, I check in on the stats for the blog, and I’ve noticed that a lot of hits go towards entries that have a “to” in the title.  Since it looks like people like advice on how to get from place to place, I will offer some very important advice.
GET TO THE FOGO ISLAND FERRY EARLIER THAN YOU EVER DREAMED WAS NECESSARY!!!
We talked to Joan, who set up our cabin at Penney’s Vacation Homes in Fogo, what time we should line up for the 10 am ferry to Farewell, and she said anything less than two hours and you’re chancing it.  We made it to the line-up right at 8 am, and were greeted by a HUGE line!  I took a little walk to the front to see if we had to show our return ticket (spoiler: you don’t, just buy it at Farewell and they’ll give you the round-trip ticket for very economical price), and when I say little walk, I mean I counted 67 cars in front of us.
Ferry Logistics: Two ferries make the Fogo run in the summer, one stopping at the Change Islands, and the other doing the Fogo/Farewell run direct.  Depending on how many cars are waiting at the Change Islands, the number of cars going to Fogo or Farewell can vary.  The direct ferry can take 64 vehicles, but some of that depends on size – campers, RVs, school buses will all take up a few extra spots.  So walking back to our jeep, settling in for our two hour wait, I was a little bit anxious.
D gassing up the Cherokee in Gander Bay
with special thanks to my little brother,
for providing the gas card!  Go Esso!
What was a bit more anxiety provoking was cars that were zooming past the line to the front, never to be seen again.  I wasn’t sure if these were foot passengers, people who worked on the ferry, or people trying to jump the queue.  It made for some interesting waiting, but ultimately, we had to just leave it to the process.
As the line started to move, we noticed that there were some vehicles that didn’t and just remained parked at the side of the road.  Some were empty, some had drivers scrambling back to them, and a couple had people who had fallen right asleep behind the steering wheel!  Protocol seemed to dictate that you drive around these parked cars and move ahead, so we did, and with that, we were one of the last few vehicles on the ferry for 10 am.  
While we were crossing, I was talking to a woman we had met on the Brimstone Head climb the day before (who had also done a stint on cruise ships like yours truly), and she explained that she had parked her car in the line-up at 9 pm the night before.  Apparently, Fogo Islanders will travel to the ferry line with a friend, park their own car, and then have their friend shuttle them home to sleep, leaving the car in the line to be returned to the next morning (hence, those cars “jumping ahead”).
Moral of the story is, if you’re getting to or leaving from Fogo Islands, give yourself A LOT of time in the summer season.  15 minutes later and we’d still be driving.
What a drive it was today, too!  St. John’s was being hit by a MASSIVE rainstorm, about 50-60 mm worth, and the storm affected most of the area we were driving through.  We thought about making it up to Twillingate to try to spot more icebergs, but with the weather being unreliable and getting worse as the afternoon went on, we decided to try and make it through the storm.  This involved a quick stop in Gander for all-day breakfast at the Country Kitchen, a quick walk through the Gander Mall (which looked just about how I would imagine a Newfoundland mall to look like, couple of minor chains and a few off-brand clothing stores) before driving through a rainy Terra Nova National Park to get to St. John’s.  From ferry line-up to arrival in St. John’s, with the lunch break, it took us about nine and a half hours to get here.  So big day.  
Best burger of LIFE!!!
Chilled at our hotel for a bit to recuperate before heading out for dinner.  We went to Bernard Stanley’s on Duckworth Avenue on the recommendation of one of Daina’s friends and OH MY GOODNESS IT WAS AMAZING!!!  The burger I had combined brie, bacon, caramelized onions, jalapenos and PEANUT BUTTER AND STRAWBERRY JELLY!!!  Nothing about those last two SHOULD make it work, but it TOTALLY DID!!!  Add in a caramel parsnip cake at the end and… wow!  
Tomorrow morning, I’m hitting a “redo” of the encounter from Xinalani… but bigger.  MUCH bigger.  

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