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Newfoundland
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August 16 - Day 101

What a beautiful morning. Not clear, mind you. Cloudy as heck, but bright, crisp and fresh a morning as you could hope for. I had trouble sleeping, but was awoken at 6am sharp by a paperboy delivering.

Everything on me is falling apart. My right gear shifter came loose yesterday (fixed it), the gears themselves are out of sorts again (can't fix it), the brakes are giving me trouble by sticking at times. My speedometer broke again, and the speedometer itself will no longer reset. I took it apart and barely managed to get one more reset out of it, but from now on I'll have to subtract my distances from the day before. My Maglight bulb is holding on by a thread, being partly broken during replacing. My watch battery is almost dead (I changed it only last month, darn it!) and just today my pants zipper broke irreparably, I had to jury rig a really ugly series of buttons on the fly instead. The camera has been damaged since Ontario, and my food bag is slowly tearing off day by day.

I'd say I'm ending this trip right in time.

I'm at the ferry terminal now, and it is now time to board. The sun has come out just in time. Perfect.

Just perfect.

As soon as I'm on board I find out that the battery case on my camera popped open and one of my batteries fell out. My camera is useless! To buy a new battery (which I cannot do on board) would require me to shell out 15 bucks (which I cannot afford). I backtrack my path step for step, without success. But then, just when I was going to cave in and get a disposable camera, it hit me...

The OTHER camera!

The one I picked up before Oka. The Kodak Advantage that didn't work. It had a battery! Only problem is, it's not the right size, the right voltage, but far too small!

Well, as anyone who knows me can tell you, I just LOVE to jury rig things.

Getting a thick paper clip from a gift shop, I clamped it with my Leatherman and spooled it around the tip to turn it into a spring. I then (after trimming the edges) used it to complete the contact points for the battery and VOILA! The camera works again!

I love it when a plan comes together.

Now I have a few hours of boredom ahead of me. People here are setting in, still feeling the newness of everything, so getting an interview would be difficult if not impossible. Perhaps at 11 I'll start, but not before then.

No way in heck I'm buying food here, so I brought some up with me (you can't go down to the passenger deck while ship is in transit, unless accompanied by a crew member).

Man, I hope I'm doing the right thing here.

I'm not sure I know what I meant by that last statement, it just sort of blurted out on its own.

After today it's only one day to St. Johns, one day back, and a ferry to North Sydney. Then the next morning I take the bus home. Four stops between here and there, hope the bike doesn't get lost along the way...

There is a guy here with a working dog for his disabled wife, and on its vest it has ads from Pedigree, a telephone company, and a pharmaceutical company on it. A walking ad.

An hour and a half into the trip and we hit a thick fog patch. Looking up you can see the clouds, but in front of you, nothing but off-white. "The color of television tuned to a dead channel" (William Gibson) At the front (helm?) the wind is quite strong, pushing you hard across the deck. Either this ship isn't as well built as those in B.C., of the seas here are much rougher, because I've never been so un-surefooted in my life. I haven't fallen (yet) or got sea sick (yet), but it's certainly disconcerting after a while. Still, it's very relaxing and meditative to sit on deck, hear the ocean roar, look out onto that vast nothingness and hear the fog horn bellow.

Oh my God, there actually IS a worse movie than Beethoven's 3rd (in French), and that's Slappy and The Stinkers (in English)! I cannot believe that this movie was ever made. It had to be made to intentionally waste money or something. What surprised me most was just how many adults (and some kids) laughed at the most insanely stupid sight gags! It hurt my poor brain, I want to sue for Assault and Battery on my intelligence! I was reading a book, but the volume was cranked up so I couldn't help but look every ten minute.

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention they have several movie theaters here (well, big screen TV anyways), one public (showing nothing but kids movies) the other private (showing actually good ones). There is an arcade, cafeteria, bar, ect... the usual you'd expect to find here.

I feel dizzy. the rocking of the boat is throwing off my equilibrium a bit. This must be where the term "getting your sea-legs" comes from. I'm not nauseous, but feel sleepy and light headed.

The fog continues to surround us entirely. I wonder if there will be any icebergs? They do come down this far, so it's not impossible.

I don't know what I'll be doing for the night. We'll be arriving around 11, which sucks because it's pitch black. Last night I talked to a guy who had offered to let me use his car that night (he'd be in a bed and breakfast), but I haven't seen him since. Pulling an all nigher isn't a good idea, since I have to hit the Trans Canada highway for the last part of the trip, and I really don't want to have my senses dulled in any way.

I saw The Whole Nine Yards in the "theater", which was quite funny, and hope to see Where The Money Is later one. For now, however, I read.

The captain of the ship was not helpful, refusing (through liaisons) an interview. I haven't got a single interview on this boat, the people aren't exactly approachable. You kind of get "the vibe" from people that instantly tells you if they are likely to accept such a proposition. It's only 80% effective, but that's not bad for intuition. The other 20% respectfully decline, so I've managed at least to avoid 100% of hostiles.

My problem for a place to sleep tonight was solved, and an interview gained all at once! A young, attractive lady who worked the information booth told me I could camp on the grass at the terminal (yippee!), and agreed to an interview later in the evening. Things are looking up. Not having to worry where I'm going to sleep is a big relief.

Moby Dick is going to play now, the version with Patrick Stewart in it. So I'm just going to relax now.

I finished the Alfred Bester book and did the interview, it's 9 and it's pitch black out! Holy cow! I'm already tired. But, I still have to wait a couple hours before I can truly rest. Then tomorrow comes the final stage of the Tour de Canada.

They must have people like me come in all the time. They're actually letting me crash INSIDE the terminal. Turns out a half dozen other people are doing the same thing. Won't mind that, seeing as I won't have to dry or pack my gear tomorrow (aside from the sleeping bag). Perfect.

Tomorrow, the odyssey ends, and the journey home begins.



Onto Day 102...