Thursday, July 13, 2006

Newfoundland Trip Days 12-13

One eventful day, one not so much.

I started out from Rocky Harbour heading for Norris Point again, because I had heard from a co-guest at the B&B that she was going ocean kayaking from there, and I thought it would be a good photo op. It was, but I don’t know if I captured what I wanted to. Bright colours, I must say.

Leaving there, I headed along the road towards the cutoff for Trout River. I figured I had lots of time, because the boat didn’t leave until midnight and I was only about 250km away. I rounded a curve and saw what I first took to be a man standing in the middle of the road. Nope! A MOOSE! I brought the bike to a stop about 50 feet away and slowly got off. It (he – a young bull) just stood and watched me as I got the camera out of the trunk. I took one quick snap shot with the 24-120 mounted, then he turned and trotted away. He went another 50 yards or so then stopped and looked back. I quickly mounted the 200mm and took a couple of shots. He turned and moved into the forest. There ARE moose in Newfoundland!

I took the cutoff and headed for Trout River. That’s a misnomer, by the way – it’s a typical ocean fishing outport, nothing to do with Trout. On the way there, I passed through the Tablelands. The rock on the south side of the road – which is nude of all vegetation – is apparently comprised of the same stuff as the ocean floor. Tectonic plates crunching together some 460 million years ago brought these to the surface, apparently it’s quite unique.

Trout River was an interesting town. As is my habit, I followed the paved road as far as I could. It crossed a little bridge out in the barrens and then turned to gravel. I tried a U-turn – it was narrow and sloped up – and dropped my bike. No damage, except to the ears of anyone listening (and there was no one). I couldn’t pick it up. I tried unloading what I could, no use, the damned thing weighs 700 lbs and I couldn’t budge it. Oh, and I hadn’t seen a car or a person since I got there. So I hiked back across the bridge and waited about 10 minutes before I was able to flag someone down to come help.

It was an interesting conversation with the two guys in the truck. I’m sure they understood me, but I couldn’t make out what they were saying, the accents were so heavy!

Back on the road again, I went back into town and shot some pictures of the port. The fishermen were cleaning up their boats in anticipation of the end of the season the next day. This town was less typical in that there were a number of girls there who were reasonably shaped, some quite striking, as opposed to the 300 to 400 pounders elsewhere on the Rock. Wish I had gotten some pictures.

So I left Trout River after waving to the gaggle of a dozen Harleys that had come into town and were parked at the local watering hole. Up on the ‘highway’, I passed a spot where I wanted to take another picture. I turned around, rode until the best spot (on a curve, narrow, uphill but paved) and… you guessed it… dropped the bike again. This time I remodeled the left mirror housing. Again, some help picking it up and some duct tape and I was off. Embarrassed and having second thoughts as to my proficiency as a rider. I vowed, NO MORE U-TURNS, unless it’s level and it’s paved!

Riding through Gros Morne park was awesome. The scenery was spectacular, but I think I was burned out, and I didn’t see any way to get good photos. Steep, wooded or rocky mountains surrounded you. The rest of the long ride down to Port aux Basques was uneventful and a little boring.

I arrived shortly after 6 with the intention to find a good restaurant for dinner. The Tourist Info people pointed me to a little town called Margaree and a seafood restaurant they recommended. As I rode out there, I noticed that the water was completely calm – glasslike – so naturally I stopped for pix. I saw two other bikes there, an Intruder and a big Yamaha cruiser, so I followed them. Locals from Port aux Basques enjoying the beautiful evening. They rode into this little town, I followed them and we dead-ended in a heavily sloped gravel parking lot.

NO, I didn’t. Drop the bike. Almost though. I HATE gravel!

By the time I got back to the restaurant, they were already there, working on their second round of beer. I had dinner (pan fried cod, halibut and ocean perch (the cod is the best) and a nice chef’s salad. Now it’s about 8:30 or 9:00 and I headed back towards the ferry, with a stop for gas and at Tim Horton’s. Who’s sitting at Timmie’s? The same two guys, with some other non-bike friends. I sat at the next table and I have to tell you, I did not understand enough of what they were saying to put a sentence together.

There were 4 other bikes in the parking lot for the ferry. A couple on a Harley (nobody talked to them), a young guy on a Kawi sportbike who was from Alberta and was camping. He had stuff bungeed to the back of the bike, a huge tankbag and a big backpack.

The other two bikes belonged to a couple, Greg and Lucinda, from Raleigh, NC. They were BMWs and they too were camping. She rode an R1150R and he had an older R1100S. We chatted quite a bit and I have their card, so we can compare pictures. They had a little P&S camera but a nice one.

On board, we found airplane type reclining seats, but I had a tough time sleeping. We rode out together, but we separated about 30 minutes later.

This was a travel day. I never even took the camera out. I’m guessing my total mileage was about 750 km (I’ll figure it out from the GPS later…no wait, I’ll do it now. Just a sec…). Close. The map says exactly 700 km but there was a 20 km deviation around Miramichi for an accident.

It turned hot as I entered New Brunswick. Quite tired, I found John’s Motel, where I had stayed 3 years ago. No air conditioning, but they have a pool and a fan. Another guest here said he was coming back from the Gaspe. There were lots of motels, he said, but they filled up early so I may have some difficulty tomorrow. We’ll see… after a not-very-good steak, I’m almost ready for bed!