Placentia, Newfoundland, Canada

1,100 feet of our RVs waiting for ferry crossingWe got up early.  All 21 RVs left the Arm of Gold Campground for the ferry terminal located just 3.9 miles away.  We need to be there 2.5 hours before scheduled departure.  Tickets for the 14 hour, $600 (group rate) ferry crossing were issued for each rig.  Our propane was tagged and turned off.  Our rigs, measuring over 1,100 feet in combined length, started boarding the lower deck of the ferry shortly before 7 a.m., while other cars were loaded on the upper vehicle deck.  The ramps were very level and dragging bottom was not a problem.  We loaded through the bow of the ferry whose snout was raised high into the air.  We were skillfully directed by several loaders in bright orange suits into position, sometimes with our rear view mirrors within inches of other vehicles.  Two RVs ended up on the upper deck.

Squeeze in tightlyThe ferry, Smallwood, is 581 feet long, 81 feet wide, seven decks tall.  It can hold 370 automobiles and 77 tractor trailers and motor homes.  We board through the bow, and then the ferry backs into the dock at the destination, where we exit through the stern.

Each couple had a dormitory sleeper assigned to them — basically a upper or lower single bunk bed — paid by Adventure Caravan.  Very few of us used them, as the Baccalieu Lounge had very comfortable seating on the seventh deck.

Bow being loweredWe departed North Sydney, Nova Scotia, 45 minutes late at about 8:15 a.m.  We all then set our watches ahead 30 minutes — Newfoundland is 30 minutes earlier than Nova Scotia and 90 minutes earlier than Eastern Time!!!  The ferry backed out from the dock and then lowered and locked its bow.

We arrived in Argentia, Newfoundland, about 10 p.m. where we fairly quickly got off the ferry and caravaned as one long string of coaches 5.0 miles to Sobeys grocery store parking lot in Placentia.  The two rigs on the upper deck were more of a challenge to the crew to unload due to the upper deck stern ramps not being a level approach.  Besides some storm damage from a major tropical storm that Sobeys parking lotpassed through the area a few days earlier and dumped six inches of rain in 24 hours, hitting Placentia the hardest, highway 100 was also being totally redone, making the last mile very rough and bumpy late at night.  We all got settled in the parking lot for the night. 

The next morning we had a group trip meeting with donuts in preparation for the travel day to St John’s, Newfoundland.

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