The Route We Took: Rte 500 E - Driving the Trans-Labrador Highway (ok ok ... the only route available. Roads bumpy and dusty. Lots of construction. Slow going.)
Lodging: Midway Inn, Churchill Falls, NL, CA
Food:Restaurant within multi-purpose building in which the hotel is housed
Joke of the Day:
(Read each letter aloud.)
These are the jokes, folks.
Our First Day in Labrador: Driving from Labrador City to Churchill Falls
We had a leisurely breakfast, and did our best to plan portions of the trip. But it was back to work for me, and so I had to log on to participate in a portion of the workday.
After checking out, we decided to see what a bargain store in Labrador City was like. We’d seen one the day before, and headed back over. First, a nice lady yelled at us for driving the wrong direction in the parking lot. Again, not my mom’s strong point ... so we’re used to this. After turning around and parking, we found ourselves shopping in the bargain store when the power went out.
All the power went out.
Shops closed. Stop signs were dark. There was no power anywhere.
What were we to do?
We wanted to shop the bargain store (we were hoping to find a French / English dictionary), stop at the grocery store, visit the tourist center, and get more gin.
But there was no power, and so our only option was to visit the tourist center. We didn’t realize that the only Labrador tourist center was in L’Anse aux Clair, and went in expecting information on all areas of the province. What we found were documents to help us in Labrador City and Wabush, with some pamphlets for Newfoundland.
This wasn’t particularly helpful, and we didn’t have enough gasoline to get to our next stop in Churchill Falls. We drove to neighboring Wabush, and when I say neighboring ... I mean next door, across the railroad track Wabush. Their power was out, too.
Happily, we stopped in Sir William Grenfell Hotel, which was under renovation. So we groped our way through the construction debris, halted due to lack of power, and climbed the stairway in complete darkness before reaching the reception area.
Not only did they not have power, but they anticipated the phones to go out shortly, too. At least they always had before.
Afraid we wouldn’t make our reservation in Churchill Falls, we asked if they had a room for the night. While they didn’t, the very kind woman behind the desk called Fermont to see if they had power. They did. And so we back tracked to Fermont to fill up.
Naturally, when we returned to Labrador City ... all was fully functioning, including the bargain store and liquor store.
We were shocked to walk into the liquor store and discover prices had doubled and quadrupled from Maine to Labrador City. The 1.75 litre bottle that is $12.99 in NC, is $56.00 in Labrador City. Another startling example: a 12-pack of Bud Light Lime was $16. Yup. That was our reaction, too.
Gas in the tank. Groceries purchased. We were on our way.
All of this had taken some time, and so almost immediately we were on the road ... we decided to stop for a picnic. Fairly close to Labrador City / Wabush, we spotted a road that led to Smallwood Reservoir where we picnicked on a homemade boat dock grateful for the strong breeze that kept the black flies at bay.