Arriving in Newfoundland

I had several of my favorite adventures hitchhiking to Newfoundland for the bicentennial. No, not the Newfie 200, this happened in July 1976. I was in my second year working at a home for children in Farmington Hills, Michigan and had 2 weeks vacation. I debated my options for trying to get from Detroit to Alaska or to Newfoundland. I decided the roughly 1800 miles to Newfoundland was more likely the route allowing me to get there and back. It was spectacular. Lots of adventures. I will take time to write them up later. Meanwhile here’s how I arrived in Stephenville, Newfoundland.

With the exception of my hitchhiking around Europe, just about everywhere I hitched, I had a destination and most of the time a place to stay at the end of the road — friends or family. I had a high school & college friend who lived in Stephenville who had invited me out to visit. Ric is a good friend with a beautiful Irish tenor voice. He sang at a few pubs in metro Detroit and a couple times I joined him on fiddle. When we spoke about me coming to visit, he said, make sure you bring the fiddle. So, after travelling through Ontario, Quebec, back into the US at Vermont, through Maine, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, & the ferry to Newfoundland, I arrived in the town of Stephenville (pop. @8000) — 55 hours after I left my rented room just north of Detroit. I called my friend Ric. It was 9 in the morning. I said “Ric, tell me where you live — it’s such a small town, it can’t be far from where I am.” Ric replied, “No, I’ll be right there — we’ll pop into the pub.” I protested saying that I was dog tired after the 55 hour trip with little sleep. He said “Naw it’ll be great at the pub” and he hung up before I could insist further. He found me in a couple minutes and took me to the corner pub. There were just under a dozen elderly gents in the pub and when they saw my fiddle, there were 4 beer mugs on the table in front of us before Ric could get up to the bar to ask for something. Did I say it was 9 am? The guys wanted me to play. I was in no shape to play and was never all that great anyway. However, I think I’ve never had a more appreciative audience as I fiddled. These old guys were dancing in their chairs, stomping their feet under the table.

Newfoundland is beautiful.