Thursday, July 13, 2006

Newfoundland Trip Days 5-6

I’ve gotten a day behind. It’s actually Sunday night – I was too tired last night to write.

We arrived at Argentia in a grey drizzle. I thought it would clear up so I rode off the ship without my rain gear on – that lasted about 5 minutes! I stopped at the tourist info place and put it on. It drizzled on and off for a while but never really came down hard.

I made a routing mistake. I thought I remembered seeing that Route 91 took me the way I wanted to go. Wrong. I should have obeyed the GPS. Route 91 was gravel. Not just ordinary gravel. Big, soft, mucky, wet gravel. Gawd, I was uncomfortable. After about 5 miles, there was a turnoff towards what the GPS said was the Trans-Canada (TCH from now on) and another couple of miles and I was back on pavement. Totally confused, I listened to what the GPS told me and I ended up right back at the Tourist Centre where the ferry landed. Attempt #2…

I followed Route 100 South. It was extremely foggy, at times I couldn’t see more that a few hundred feet. I stopped for brekkie at a town called St. Bride where an older gentleman told me I must go to Cape St. Mary to see the Sea Bird sanctuary. So I did.

The feature at that place is called the “Rock”. There are THOUSANDS of sea birds there. It’s a mile hike in and out again, following the cliffs in the fog. As I topped a rise, I came face to face with a sheep! I was told I’d see lots of birds, and they were right. I was also told it would be difficult to get pix in the fog, right again. I did get a few.

From there, I rode back up the peninsula and headed for the East coast. Route 91 (that road again! But this part was paved!) took me to Bay Bulls, where I turned South in search of a B&B. To make a long story short, I found one, I’m sitting there now – decided to stay 2 nights. It’s a nice place, modern, with all the amenities including a Shiatsu massage chair which I just availed myself of. Everyone should own one of these!

The riding is good in Newfoundland – although wherever you get off the main road, expect gravel. All the lookouts, some of the restaurants, any attraction. The paved roads are spotty – you don’t ride the blocking position here, you ride “the track of least potholes”. I’m starting to get used to it. And making a U-turn on gravel isn’t so scary any more.

So this B&B is in Cape Broyle. When I got here it was nice and sunny and warm. They have a restaurant, so I had dinner there. Pan fried Cod, with a Caesar salad. I’m being good. Unfortunately, I wasn’t specific enough and they fried the fish with batter (which I scraped off) and there were croutons in the salad which I didn’t eat. Told you I’m being good! There were supposed to be “scrunchions” with the fish. I asked why I didn’t get any and anyway what are they? I figured onions or something. Nope. Something about fried pork pieces and they decided if I was on a diet, I didn’t want any!

Oh, and I’ve lost track of the mileage. I know what my odometer said when I left… (35646), so I’ll try to figure from that tomorrow.

Might as well go right into today’s blog…

July 2

Today started out beautiful. Sunny and a bit cool. I headed down the coast targeting Trepassy as my destination. I was told that there were herds of Caribou down there, that you had to stop and wait for thousands of them to cross the road before you could continue. I loaded the 200mm lens on the camera and went forth in search… in vain. Nary a one. I talked to a local and accused them of using caribou as stories for tourists. I was assured that they were indeed there, just not always near the road.

It was WINDY. I’ve never ridden in wind like that. You had to ride partly off the seat with the bike leaned sideways into the wind. Tough, especially when you hit a gravel spot! Still, I survived!

I took a little side trip in search of Caribou, to St. Shott. Nothing. But I did get some good ocean and rock pictures. I actually went past Trepassey to St. Vincent’s before turning back.

The early part of the day was hazy, but it cleared up in the afternoon. I got back to this area and decided to look for one of the publicized boat tours, for Puffins and Whales. No luck. Couldn’t get on one. The weather was spectacular, too bad – and it’s starting to rain tonight.

Oh yeah: I came over a hill and saw a gas station. I decided to fill up so I turned in – yep, gravel. Going WAY too fast, downhill. Yes you can use front brake on gravel, when you have to… it was almost embarrassing. That’s the one aspect of the trip I’m not comfortable with.

Tomorrow, I’m heading North. If it’s not too rainy, I’ll do the obligatory Signal Hill and Cape Spear stuff, then head for Trinity where I reserved a cabin for the night. Gotta program my GPS then go to bed… night night!