Thursday, July 13, 2006

Newfoundland Trip Day 1

mileage at start: 35646 km

The day started inauspiciously. I left at 7am as planned in a light rain. I had put my Frogg Toggs pants on under my riding pants, anticipating that it was going to be wet. I definitely wasn’t disappointed – it rained like Hell for 2 hours solid. As I rode along the 401 I started to feel a bit damp down below, especially in the crotch area. I stopped for gas at the service centre around Bowmanville and when I got off the bike, my fears were confirmed. So much for the waterproof Frogg Toggs. I was completely soaked to the skin.

Fortunately it was warm – so I put my other rain pants over top and carried on. By the way, a good trick is to tuck the top inside the pants instead of outside – it prevents the water from running up inside it.

By the time I reached Cobourg, I’d ridden out of the rain. Other than a few sprinkles in the mountains around Lake Placid, that was it for the rain today. I stripped off the rain gear at the border crossing at Hill Island (Kingston). They had an interesting sign made of plants and I took a couple of pictures. Then I stopped at the bridge and took a couple more shots, including the nasty OPP radar guy.

I knew the route through Watertown, but I decided to follow the GPS. It took me down some different roads which avoided the military base and came out on Route 3 at Gouverneur. I should have stopped there for gas, but I carried on and put 5.5 Gal in when I finally found another gas station.

It did get a bit cooler in the higher elevations, I put a shirt on which I had to remove when I got into Vermont – it was quite hot. Again, I followed the GPS, which came in handy navigating through the maze called Middlebury, VT. Interestingly, it led me on some great roads! Rte 125 is awesome, reminded me of the Blue Ridge Parkway but with some tighter turns here and there. Then it took me on some roads I never would have found like the Bethel Mountain pass which was great! We have to return to Vermont and spend some time exploring there.

Around 5:00 pm I decided enough was enough and I looked for a motel. At a rest area they had a telephone link to accommodations, and I picked the Super 8 motel in White River Junction. Good choice – they had a swimming pool (cold, but swimmable), and WiFi! I logged on, picked up my email, then logged off to go for a swim and a bite to eat. When I got back, I couldn’t log on again, I don’t know why. So this will have to wait until I can log back on to post it.

Dinner sucked. As long as I’m on this diet, meals are just refueling. I managed to stick with it today, but I don’t know what I’m going to do about lunches. The doc suggested buying a sandwich and throwing away most of the bread. I haven’t had ANY bread yet, but I suppose I’ll have to.

It’s taking me a while to get back into “the rhythm of the road”. I’m riding a bit uncomfortably, not doing as well in the twisties as I’d like. I have to re-learn to trust the bike.

I covered 465.3 miles (749 km) today according to the GPS: in 7:52 of actual driving time (not including stops). That’s an average of 59 mph. I was doing 80 a lot of the time, slower in Vermont. The GPS had some trouble calculating, because of the giant route I had put in. I’m going to cut it up into more manageable sections for tomorrow.

I only took a few pictures – mostly out of guilt. These first few days are “get there”. Once I arrive in Cape Breton I can slow down and take more. Wait for it…