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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I actually already posted this on a couple of other forums... But I forgot this one had a sport touring section until someone from advrider mentioned being intrigued when he saw I was touring on an SV, as he used to own one... So, sorry I'm late to posting it here. Hopefully someone will enjoy the read. Anywho...


The general plan for the trip is to travel for two days from home to Newfoundland, then a week and a half to explore the island, then two days to get back home to northeast Pennsylvania. I was originally planning to leave late June or early July… But my schedule happened to open up in early June, so I decided to leave Monday the 4th for two weeks. This is a bare bones trip. I will be camping literally every night (except for nights aboard the ferry and maybe the generosity of others), and most of these nights will be wherever I can find a spot to put the tent; not in a recognized campground.

My bike:
2009 Suzuki SV650S

My luggage:
Givi 45 L top box
70 L dry bag bolted to rack on rear seat
Small tankbag

Since this trip was on a very tight budget, I will post my cost analysis after the report... In the hopes that anyone who may be contemplating a trip but doesn't have much money will benefit from this.
 

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Day 1 – Monday June 4th

I set the alarm the night before to go off at 3:30am. I had everything packed up, and even took the bike out for a hundred miles to make sure the load was secure the day before. All I needed to do was get up, brush my teeth, get a quick bite to eat, put my gear on, and go by 4:00am.

I woke up to my wife elbowing me and telling me to get up. I check my clock and it was 3:50am. Oh well, leaving a few minutes late won’t really hurt anything. I checked outside and noticed it had been raining all night, but it wasn’t raining at the moment. Great! I had been checking the weather and it looked like it would be intermittent rain throughout the day. I made the decision to leave without my rain gear on, as I could just put it on when the rain started, if need be. I put my gear on, put my iPod in its waterproof case and plugged it into the charger… and it had no power. The 12V DC to USB adapter was the only part of that equation that was new, so I plugged in something else to see if it was getting power and it was. I took a closer look at the new adapter and saw that it was too short; it wouldn’t reach all the way to the bottom of the port. I took apart one of my el-cheapo LED flashlights and grabbed one of the battery springs and attached that to the bottom of the adapter. Success! I now had power! I said bye to the wife and dog (already said bye to the kids the night before) and took off at 4:45am. Forty five minutes late wasn’t the end of the world.



Precisely 23.2 miles into my trip I noticed that my right toes felt wet. ****. The spray from the wet road was enough to get my feet wet. As soon as I noticed my feet getting wet, it started raining. By the time I got pulled over, both of my feet were damp and so were my gloves. Nothing like wet hands and feet less than thirty miles into a several thousand mile trip! I pulled under an overpass and got suited up with my cheap Walmart rainsuit that has successfully seen me through countless rain storms during my normal commutes, some new rubber overgloves, and some Nelson Riggs overboots that have only been used twice and for only about ten minutes or so each time.

My first stop was to be in Groton, Connecticut to meet up with my friend Jeff (articam6 from SBN) for a coffee near where he works. It continued to rain… No. Pour… Right until I got to Connecticut. I got a short reprieve from the rain for about an hour and met with Jeff in partly sunny skies. We stopped at Dunkin Donuts and grabbed a coffee (Thanks Jeff!) and shot the **** for about 15 minutes. I then had to head off if I wanted to make it into Canada today, and Jeff had to get back to work anyhow.

Oh, and as a side note: I used to think New Jersey drivers were the worst in the country… Well, I’ve since amended my position on this matter. Connecticut drivers have now slid into first place. They seem to have a penchant for not being able to see motorcycles…

Only a few minutes after leaving, it started raining again. Rain would be my constant companion for the rest of the day. I was making slow progress on account of the weather and drinking too much coffee in the morning, which meant frequent stops into the woods to ****. I was averaging about 50 miles per gallon for the first part of the trip. I did 220 miles until my first gas stop, then 180 miles for my second stop, with gas to spare. From Connecticut up to Maine, there was a really strong headwind I was riding into. This obviously affected my gas mileage, as I ran out of gas at 200 miles. Since I have a 4.8 gallon tank (realistically 4.6 gallons in actual usage), this meant I only got 43 mpg out of that tank. Fortunately, I had two 30oz MSR fuel containers strapped to the bike for the trip. I pulled over on the side of the highway and emptied one of the bottles in the tank, since I my gas exit was coming up in about two miles anyhow. Damn was I glad I had them (of course, I probably wouldn’t have pushed so far between gas stops if I knew I didn’t have them)! That would have been a long two mile walk to the next exit in the cold rain.

I realized I left my camelback by my door before leaving, which was my only water vessel for my trip, other than a coffee mug. I also forgot to bring any coffee filters, so I stopped in Maine to grab a new Camelback and filters. This stop ended up taking me over an hour and a half due to a series of random difficulties. Once I hit Maine, the rain was off and on for the entire distance through the state. Most of the ride thus far was super-slab, as I had a ferry to catch almost 1200 miles from home 40 hours after leaving, so I needed to make good time. After hours and hours on the highway, I turned off onto route 9 through Eastern Maine. This was one of the best roads I’ve ever ridden before. It wasn’t super-technical, but there were enough curves to keep it interesting, road traffic was almost non-existent, and the scenery was amazing. On the downside, I saw my first wild moose on that road. It was standing on the shoulder of the road… Scary. A fox also ran out in front of my bike. That was the first time I had seen a wild fox as well.


One of the few pictures I took the first day.

I hit the Canada border about a half hour before it was getting dark in Callais. Crossing the border was as painless as I could have hoped for. The border patrol agent was very friendly and seemed genuinely interested in my trip (and not just the stuff she needs to be interested in). I told her about the bear spray and she just asked if it was bear spray, not mace or anything. She never checked any of my luggages and the only paperwork she needed to see was my passport. I was in and out in about five minutes or less. Easy peasy.

My first order of business was to get away from town a bit and find a place to put a tent. I rode for about a half an hour down route 1 east before spotting an unfinished section of highway that looked promising. I pulled off and noticed there weren’t any ‘no trespassing’ signs or anything, so I rode down the newly paved highway that turned to stones that then turned into a small four-wheeler trail. I spotted a small clearing just big enough to put my tent. Perfect. I was almost exactly one mile down the trail. I set up the tent, lubed the chain, and passed out… and forgot to take a picture of my campsite.

Total mileage for the day: 735 miles


Day 1 route
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Day 2 – Tuesday June 5th

My alarm woke me up at 4:30am Atlantic time, so it felt like 3:30 to me. It had rained all night, so I had the distinct pleasure of packing up a wet tent… And since I will be on the ferry tonight, it will stay in my bag wet and rolled up for two days. I got the tent all put away and the bike packed up before remembering that I actually wanted to take pictures this trip. Oh well, no point in taking a picture of the bare ground. The first day was mostly a wash for taking pictures because I was trying to make big miles for the day and it was cold, rainy, and miserable.

Too bad that today was no different weather-wise… No, actually I lied. It was much, much, much worse. The rain was nonstop, the temperatures were much colder, and the wind through New Brunswick was fierce and it was all I could do to stay in my lane. During gusts, I could see the rain sliding off my helmet visor sideways as I was leaning into it just to keep in a straight line. Earlier in the morning I scraped a small hole in the arm of my raingear top, and the wind turned the small scrape into a pretty large hole, and rain found its way in. I pulled over and duct taped it, and the tape was gone about a mile down the road. It was too wet for the duct tape. I will have to fix that later. My feet were soaked, despite the overboots which should be more accurately labeled as ‘slightly water-resistant,’ not waterproof. My gloves were still damp from the night before. With the cold weather (in the forties) and wet conditions, I was miserable. I needed to do about 450 miles today, which normally wouldn’t be a hard ride, but every mile felt like ten miles today.

I found myself pulling over about every 80 miles or so just to warm up a little… But the plus side is that I actually got a few pictures today, since I was pulling over a lot anyhow. Yeah, yeah, I suck at pictures… But at least I got some. Usually I don’t!


I looked in the mirror and saw this miserable face staring back at me.



Nova Scotia visitors center.

There’s not much of a story to tell today. It was just pure misery going from point A to point B in the cold rain. It was foggy most of the day, so the views weren’t that great for most of the trip either. I had about a thirty minute reprieve from the rain when I hit Cape Breton Island, but then right back to the rain…






Some photos from Cape Breton Island (during the few dry spells I saw all day).

I stopped for lunch along the road and had my first meal of the day (skipped breakfast). Obligatory food porn picture:



Okay… So this is the way too hairy, with bad camera angles, 70’s porn version of food porn… It was about 45 degrees out, and I unwisely packed my stove on the bottom of my dry bag. I decided not to spend the time to get it out and reorganize, which meant my ‘meal’ was also at about that temp. If you thought canned ravioli tasted bad heated up, try tossing a can in the fridge and having a go at it! Lol

About 45 minutes from North Sydney, which is where the ferry to Newfoundland leaves, I finally stopped in and had a meal from Tim Horton’s… I was surprised to find out it was a donut shop. I thought Tim Horton’s was a burger joint all this time. I grabbed a chicken salad sandwich, a donut, and a coffee. That was a damn tasty sandwich and donut. A bit better food porn pic:



I made it to the ferry terminal at about 5pm-ish. That gave me about five hours until the boat left (and from what I heard, they’re always late). I finally got my wet weather gear and leathers off and changed into some dry socks and dry shoes. Wow, what a relief! I briefly contemplated going into town to check it out… But it was still raining, and I was loving the ever-living **** out of being dry. I decided to just stay here. Besides, there’s free internet here. What more could I want?

At 8:20pm they announced that all passengers should go their vehicles to begin boarding the vessel. I was surprised we were boarding so soon (as departure time was 10:30pm), but I wasn’t going to complain. Since I heard motorcycles are loaded on first, I rushed to put my stuff together and get out to my bike. All I had on was my leather jacket and plain clothes, as the rest of my gear was strapped to the bike. I went outside and it was pouring! The wind was blowing, it was cold, and the rain was coming down hard. My only pair of dry shoes and the dry clothes I was wearing were slowly getting drenched.

When I got to the ferry terminal, I was the only motorcycle there. When I got back outside for boarding, I saw that about ten other motorcycles had shown up. There was a husband and wife from New York that were going to ride up the west coast of Newfoundland and then take another ferry into Labrador and then ride the unpaved trans-Labrador Highway. They were planning to take about two weeks to do their trip. There were also three guys from Toronto that were planning to do basically the same trip as I was doing, except they were going to do it in a month, not two weeks, like I was. The married couple and the three guys all had BMW adventure bikes with proper hard luggage. I had immediate bike-penis-envy. All the other guys had really nice waterproof suits, boots, and gloves as well. I had my regular leathers I commute in, a cheap Walmart two-piece rain suit, some rubber overgloves, and some ****ty overboots (which seem to do a better job of holding the water in than out). I was definitely outclassed in the bike and gear department!

After about twenty minutes in the freezing rain, I asked one of the dock workers when they were going to board us, as they had been sending a steady stream of cars onto the ferry before us. He told us ‘very soon.’ Well 40 minutes later, ‘very soon’ was finally realized. By this time, I had been out in the rain in a pair of sweat pants, a t-shirt, my dry (not any longer) shoes, and jacket for an hour. I was a bit peeved… But there wasn’t really anything I could do about it at this point.


Our ferry.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Once on the ferry, we had to strap down our bikes. I am very glad that I brought my own ratchet straps. I was told that they had straps available, but to bring your own just in case. Well, we were exactly two straps short to get all of our bikes strapped down. Since I had my own two straps, it was a non-issue. I’m sure if I didn’t have them, the crew would have been able to muster us up some, but this saved us (or at least one of us) the hassle. After strapping down the bike, I grabbed my camelback and a book and headed up to the seating area. Once the ferry left port you couldn’t go back down to the cargo deck. I forgot to take pictures of my bike strapped down. I'll have to remember on the ride back.

When reserving a seat on the ferry, you must pay for yourself, your vehicle, and your accommodations. The cost for me was $45 and the cost for my bike was $50. General seating was free and options ranged from $15 for reserved seating (basically chairs that recline all the way) up to about $100 for a single-occupancy cabin. I went the el-cheapo route and got general seating. Literally every other rider on the ferry with me paid for a cabin. Every single person who I had talked to (over the internet) who had taken the ferry said to pay the extra for a cabin… Or at least the reserved seating. Well, I was on a bare bones budget, and any extra for accommodations had to come out of another part of my trip. I decided that the six hour ferry wasn’t worth spending the extra money.

The general seating was about like airplane seating, except there was plenty of leg room… In fact, there was a ton of leg room. The seats did not recline very far, but at least I could stretch my legs.



The vessel left port right at 22:30, as scheduled. I was surprised at how much the boat rocked through the waves. I was expecting a smooth ride, but there was quite a bit of turbulence (or whatever you call it in a boat). Maybe I was unrealistic in my expectations, or maybe it was on account of the storm. Either way, it wasn’t terrible, but it was definitely noticeable. In fact, it was quite difficult to walk around the ship once we left. There were signs all over the general seating area that said sleeping was prohibited. The crew told this as well, and the safety video again mentioned it. With this in mind, I reclined my seat as far as it would go and tried to get some sleep. After about an hour of unsuccessful sleep attempts, I took my book out (Alter of Eden by James Rollins) and read for an hour or two. When I looked around, I noticed there were at least a dozen people around me sleeping on the floor. Many had brought sleeping bags and pillows for the occasion. Well, despite all the signs, I figured when in Rome, do as the Romans do. I was quite cold due to being pretty wet and not having a blanket of any sort. I had put on a dry fleece shirt, so I pulled my arms inside of it, covered my legs with my leather jacket, and used my soaking wet camelback (later I found it was leaking) as a pillow. I fell asleep within minutes of lying down. The rocking of the boat that I wasn’t crazy about earlier in the ride ended up rocking me to sleep. It was actually quite nice!

Total mileage for the day: 472 miles


Day 2 route.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Day 3 – Wednesday, June 6th

I woke up on the ferry’s floor about four hours later when I felt we were no longer rocking. I looked outside and saw it was light and I could see a rocky coastline beside us. Looks like we had reached Newfoundland!



Soon after waking, they announced we would be docking in an hour. Over the night, I had dried out and was no longer damp. I went to the cafeteria and bought a coffee and sipped on it while waiting to dock. Soon thereafter I saw the three guys on bikes from Toronto were in general seating. I went over and talked to them for a bit. One of the guys, who appeared to be the older of the bunch (they looked like they ranged from their late twenties to forties), asked me if I was in the military on account of my high and tight haircut. I told him I was in the army National Guard. He then asked me if I had been deployed. I told him I was in Germany, Iraq, and Afghanistan. He then asked me if I had been to Kandahar. I told him I had passed through, but was actually at FOB Mehtar Lam. Upon hearing this, he said yeah, I know the place. I’ve yet to meet anyone who has heard of that place who wasn’t deployed to Afghanistan. It turned out he was stationed at Kandahar with the Canadian military. He used to be active duty and was now National Guard. He was actually the equivalent of a brigade sergeant major (I forget the Canadian rank equivalent he told me) currently. We shot the **** about the military for twenty minutes or so. It’s amazing how similar our two country’s militaries are.

They called for us to go down on deck to get our vehicles ready. When I got down there, I was the only biker who didn’t already have all his gear on. I scrambled to put my gear on (it’s a slow process with the leathers, then the wet-weather gear on top) and got my bike loaded up. I was warm and dry at this point… However, as soon as I put my nice warm dry feet into my boots, I was immediately reminded of the cold, wet misery of the last two days. My feet were again cold and soaking wet. Ugh, what a start to the ride today! I just got the last piece of gear on as the crewmember waved us off. I headed off the boat behind about four other bikes. As they got off and into the parking lot, they pulled off to regroup. I gave them a quick honk and wave and headed out of the parking lot onto the Trans-Canada Highway, route 1. At least it wasn’t raining… yet.



After setting up my tripod and getting the picture of me in front of the welcome sign, a car pulled up behind me. It was a husband and wife with their teenage son. They had the same idea as me. I offered to take their picture for them, so they could all be in it. After taking their picture, they were quite eager to talk to me. They asked me where I was from and where I was going. The wife was originally from Newfoundland, so she was all too eager to tell me the must-see sights… and I was all too eager to pay close attention, as I didn’t really have a real plan of what I wanted to see, aside from a few places.

At this point I must stop and make a comment about the people of Newfoundland (and move into the present tense, as I’m sitting at a campsite typing this ride report out on Microsoft Word to be posted later). I had heard that Newfoundlers are some of the friendliest people you could ever hope to meet by many sources. I was told that you will be hard-pressed to make a single stop here without at least one person striking up a conversation. Wow! I cannot believe just how true that is. I’ve only been here one day thus far and I have to already wholeheartedly agree. The people here are extremely friendly and love to ask about my bike (and why in the hell I’m out in this weather riding!) and where I’m from. Once they find out I’m from the states and this is my first time here, they are quite excited to give me advice and answer my questions. As beautiful as the scenery is here, thus far the best part of Newfoundland are the people.

After leaving the welcome sign I headed about a quarter mile up the road and stopped off at the welcome center to pick up a map and travel guide. As soon as I pulled in, the rain started up again. It was also very cold; much colder than it had been the last two days. At the welcome center, the woman behind the counter told me it was currently 4 degrees C (39.2 F) and they were calling for a high of 6 C (42.8 F). To top it off, the wind was terrifyingly strong on the bike. Although it had started to sprinkle and it was cold, the scenery was beautiful.





 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
When I got off the bike at the welcome center, I forgot to unplug my heated gloves (which are routed through my jacket and plug in behind my seat). I do this all the time and it just unplugs itself… But today it pulled the controller from the double sided tape on my rear fairings. No big deal. I zip tied it to my rack I have my waterproof bag mounted to. I should say that up until this point, I hadn’t used the heated gloves because my waterproof overgloves won’t fit over them. However, it was so brutally cold that I forced the overgloves over them. They were so tight that my hands started aching… But the aching beats losing feeling in my fingers from the cold… Well, it turns out that when I pulled the controller off of the double-sided tape that I broke it. It could no longer turn it on and I had no heat. So now my hands were cold and aching from the overgloves being too tight. It was absolutely pouring outside and the wind was blowing me all over my lane. I was only able to go about twenty to thirty miles at a time before my hands and soaking wet feet were too numb and painful to continue. I would then pull into a gas station and fill up (well, top off) and then hang out inside for twenty minutes. I also pulled into two Tim Hortons and one McDonalds to get coffee. I was absolutely miserable. I thought I was miserable the first two days… But they were nothing compared to this day.

My goal was to make it to Gros Morne provincial park by the end of the day. This should have been an easy task, as it was only about 200 miles from Port Aux Basques (where the ferry landed) to Gros Morne… But I had been on the road for three hours and only made it less than 100 miles. I was seriously considering pulling off the highway and finding a place to put my tent for the night. I wasn’t sure if I could make it another hundred-plus miles today. I just kept with my short bursts and then long rests schedule until I had finally made it to the park. Between the rain, cold temps, and moose warnings, I kept my speeds pretty slow, which meant slow getting there.



As soon as I got to the park, the rain stopped and the roads were even dry! It didn’t really help me much though, because I was already wet, and I wasn’t exactly drying off quickly. I discovered that many of Canada’s provincial parks aren’t free to enter. Gros Morne costs about $10 for one day. For $46 you can get the Viking pass which gives you entrance into five or six parks/historic sites up the northern peninsula for a week. I was just about to get this one when the park ranger told me that I could buy a one year pass for $68 that would be good for any park or historic site in Canada for an entire year and I would get the discounted rate on campsites with showers (which would then basically cost the same as the ones without showers). To me, this was a no-brainer. I bought the year pass and then headed to the closest campsite in the park with showers (and I made sure to ask if they had hot water!).

I got to the camping area and set up my tent, lubed my chain, and tried to trouble-shoot my heat troller. I took off the seat and immediately found the problem. I hadn’t broken the controller… I had just unplugged it from underneath the seat! Great news! That was a quick ‘fix.’ I only wish I had decided to take the time to do this while on the road. After this was all done, I finally headed to the shower. It had been three long, cold, wet, miserable days with no shower. I literally spent about forty minutes in the shower under the hot water.



The camping area was almost empty. I saw one other tent on the other side of the area. Sounds good to me! I hate busy campsites with a bunch of noise and screaming kids. When it’s that busy, I feel like I might as well just stay in a hotel, because it feels just about as wild as a crowded campground.

Camping area:







Some ominous clouds



After the shower I came back to the picnic table and started working on writing this damn ride report! I also decided to have a few drinks. I bought a bottle of KRU vodka before leaving. I was looking for any vodka that wasn’t in a glass container. The only reason I went with this vodka is because of the cool container it came in.



The bottle cost $15 and the aluminum bottle itself is very well built. It’s not like those thin aluminum beer bottles. If I didn’t know better, I would have thought this was a purpose-built drinking vessel retailing for $10 or $15. After preparing a tang and vodka mixer, I boiled up some shells for ‘shells and cheese’ for dinner.





The campground didn’t have any potable water, so any water out of the faucets or water pump had to be boiled before drinking. This was no problem though because I brought along my Katadyn water filter. I found a pool of water close to my campsite (looked like fresh rain runoff) and pumped out a couple of liters of water… I needed something to make my tang vodka mixers with! (I need to come up with a fancy mixed drink name for this. It’s actually quite good and packs well)



Total mileage for the day: 212 miles (though this felt more like 2012 miles)

Day 3 route:
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Day 4 – Thursday, June 7th

I woke up early in the morning with frozen toes. It was another miserable cold morning. I don’t know just how cold it was, but I could see my breath. Thus far into the trip, I had only been getting four to five hours of sleep a night. It’s not that I was tired of sleeping by this point, it’s just that I woke up freezing and couldn’t get back to sleep after waking up cold.

I looked up into the sky and saw dark clouds that were threatening to dump rain on me. I had been traveling for three days straight in cold rain and wasn’t in the mood to do it again. I decided to just stay put until the skies cleared up.

While waiting out the impending weather, I took the time to dry out some of my gear by the fire.







I also did some hiking in the surrounding area. It was nothing major, but it was a chance to stretch my legs and take a look around at this part of Gros Morne.



All morning it looked like it was going to rain, but never did. Finally at about two in the afternoon the skies started to clear a bit and I decided to pack up and see a bit more of Gros Morne and then head up the northern peninsula. I got packed up and headed out on the road. No more than five minutes after leaving, it started drizzling. Un-*******-believable! I sat around all morning waiting for it to rain, but it never did. As soon as I decide it’s not going to rain (and the skies looked clearer), it starts up once I’m on the bike. I really hope this isn’t how the rest of the trip is going to be. The rain very quickly turns from drizzle to a light rain. Nearly immediately some of the rain finds its way into my boots. Great. I was five minutes into the trip and my feet were already damp. I pulled over and put on my wet weather gear and headed to the Gros Morne Discovery Center. At least that was an indoor exhibit.

The Discovery Center had been highly recommended by two different park rangers I had spoken to. However, I was disappointed with it. It was really nothing more than a small visitor center with a gift shop. At least I got to see a wild fox that decided to poke around the parking lot.



While in the parking lot, a fox decided to show up and hang out a bit.



After spending a few minutes at the discovery center, I decided to head north. The scenery through Gros Morne was spectacular. Despite the cold temps, the constant drizzle, and cold wet feet, it was an enjoyable ride through the park.









The scenery was spectacular as I headed out of Gros Morne up the northern peninsula.







There were lots of little fishing villages along the way.





I made it just north of a small town called Parsons Pond when I saw a beached fishing vessel. There was a rough little dirt road leading to the rocky beach about a quarter of a mile from the boat. I pulled off and decided to walk down to take a look at it. As I was walking to the boat, I saw a pickup truck pull into the pull off. I looked back and realized my bike was probably blocking its path. I went back to move it over a bit so the truck could get through. When I walked back, the driver told me it was fine where it was at. There were three guys there; two in their thirties or forties and one teenager. They had a four wheeler they were towing behind on a trailer. I got to talking with them for a bit and they told me they had come down to cut the propeller off of the beached fishing boat to sell for scrap. They had a gas-powered cutter that the teenager and one of the other guys loaded onto the four wheeler, and then they headed to the boat. I walked down the beach with the other guy toward the boat. He told me the boat had mechanical troubles and had washed up on shore last fall.







I was able to climb into the boat and look around a bit. It was in rough shape and all the instruments had already been scavenged. There was a ton of drift wood around to make a fire and a flat spot next to the beach that I could put my tent. This would be a great spot to camp for the night… Except I didn’t have a way to get my bike there, and I didn’t want to leave my bike out of sight and a quarter mile from where I would be camped at. I was talking to one of the guys about possibly camping there and they agreed it would make a great spot if only I could get my bike there. They suggested trying to skirt the edge of the rocky beach with my bike. I really didn’t think my bike could make it. However, they said if I had troubles, there were three guys there that could get me out. That was enough of an incentive for me! I really only had about a hundred yards of rough beach to get through, then there was a rough dirt road that was made when they rescued the fishermen last fall (part of the road had turned to swamp, which is why I couldn’t take the bike the whole way there on the road).

I cleared out some of the big rocks and made myself a rough trail to get to the dirt road. I then hopped on the bike and started down the beach. Almost immediately I realized I had made a mistake going this way. My street tires just couldn’t get any grip in the sand. I would go a foot or two, get buried, then dig myself out and repeat. However, there was no way for me to turn around, so I had to push forward. I had made it about fifty feet when I got myself buried up to my headers. I put the kickstand down and started digging myself out again. As I was digging, a strong gust of wind blew and my bike started coming over on me. I dived out of the way just in time as it came crashing down where I was digging. When it hit the rocks, I heard a sickening cracking sound; the sound of something very hard breaking…

 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Day 4 (continued)

I tried lifting the bike back up, but it was laying on its side on a down-sloped beach, and I just couldn’t lift it on my own. I started to head to the boat to ask for help, but one of the guys, named Ernest, as I would find out, already saw me and waved to me and hopped on the four wheeler. While I was waiting for him, I checked out the bike. There were no oil leaks or obvious signs of any severe damage. However, it was worrying me that the bike was laying at such a slope that the engine was slightly upside down (hard to tell this from the picture). I took off my luggage and Ernest and I hefted the bike up. I again inspected it and couldn’t see any real damage. There were some scrapes on the plastics and engine case, but nothing major. I then looked down at the rocks and saw a large flat rock was split in half. This must have been the source of that sickening cracking sound! However, I was still worried that it wouldn’t start after lying on its side for five minutes. I turned the key, flipped off the kill switch, pulled in the clutch, and pushed the starter button… It fired right up like nothing had ever happened! I revved it a few times and looked for oil leaking and saw none. I was quite relieved at this point. For the next fifteen minutes, Ernest pushed as I worked the throttle and clutch to get my bike off of the beach and back onto the dirt road I had started on.

After parking the bike, I went back to the beach and retrieved my gear and my luggage and got it strapped back on the bike. The only real damage was that the latch that held the rear passenger seat on had bent so that it would no longer hold on. This would have been a big problem for me, as that is what my dry bag is trapped to, except that I had my ratchet straps with me. One cinched down ratchet strap later, and it was good as new (well functionally speaking anyhow).



I then went back to the ship to thank the guys again and grab a few pictures. When I got there, I saw they had the propeller off the boat and about a third of the way up the beach. This thing was massive! It looked much larger once they had it off the ship and on the beach than it did while on the boat. I asked if they needed some help getting it up the beach and they were quite happy to accept my offer… it looked smaller to them on the boat as well.



We eventually wrangled it up the beach, then onto some fiberglass panels from the boat and they hauled it away on the four wheeler. It was getting dark by the time they got it back to their truck. We got the beast loaded onto the bed of their truck somehow. As they were getting the trailer back on the hitch and the four wheeler loaded onto the trailer, the other older (well, he was only ten years older than me… but he wasn’t the teenager) guy, named Reubin (though everyone called him Reub), offered to let me set up my tent in his yard. I gladly accepted the offer. I followed them on my bike and back to his house. He let me park my bike and his car port and then offered to let me set up my cooking set in his garage (he’s a mechanic by trade, so a fully-functioning mechanics garage). Reub actually lived down the street a bit and this was his garage he owned.





It was freezing out (possibly literally so), and no warmer inside the garage. Reub came in and we started bull****ting for a bit while I was making up my food. He then fired up his wood furnace. Wow that felt great! It went from freezing cold to near tropical in about ten minutes. He then asked if I wanted to just throw down my mattress on the floor here instead of staying out in the cold in my tent. I was more than happy to agree to that!

We got to talking and it turns out we had a ton in common. Reub and Ernest are both avid hunters and even guide moose hunts during the moose season! I hunt whitetails and small game back home, so we talked about that for some time. They loved guns and even commented they were a bit jealous of our much more lax gun laws in the US.

Ernest and the teenage boy headed back to their house. The teenage boy, whose name escapes me, was Ernest’s son and Reub’s nephew. Seemed like a very nice kid.

I still had 3/4 of my fifth of vodka left in my pack, so me and Reub stayed up all night drinking mixed drinks of vodka and tang, and exchanging stories. Reub also agreed that the tang and vodka made a great mixed drink! Reub makes his own wine and was quite disappointed he didn’t keep any bottles in his garage to share with me.



My father is an avid license plate collector. He has hundreds of plates, from all the US states and many, many other countries. It turns out that Reub collects license plates as well. When he learned that my father did too, he offered to give me a Newfoundland plate, which I know my father doesn’t have. He owns a small junkyard as well as his garage, so he had tons of old plates lying around. Reub already had a Pennsylvania plate, but he didn’t have a PA motorcycle plate. So, we exchanged addresses and I told him I would send him out an old motorcycle license plate of mine.

I would finally have dry feet the next day. The heat vent made a great place to lay my boots to dry them out.



It was about 2 am when we polished off the last of the vodka. I couldn’t tell if Reub felt as numb as I did, but I was quite schnookered up by this point. He offered me the use of his air compressor to fill up my inflatable mattress. I had only used the mattress one night and decided against using since then, as it is too much of a pain to fill up. Reub walked down the road to his house and left me for the night. This was the first night of this trip that I was actually warm and comfortable for a night’s sleep. I slept very sound that night.



Total mileage for the day: 110 miles

Day 4 route:
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Day 5 – Friday, June 8th

Reub came into the garage around 9 am the next morning. I was already up and had my bike packed up when he came by. I made some breakfast and some coffee for both of us, and then he showed me his horses. One of them was a Newfoundland pony… but I don’t remember which one he said was; it was one of the two smaller ones. I hung out there for about another hour or so while a bunch of his customers stopped by and he made appointments to work on their cars for the day. He would be out of town for the weekend, but said if I’m ever back through that I’ve always got a place to stay. We exchanged numbers and I said goodbye and headed up the northern peninsula. Sadly, I don’t think I’ll be up his way for the rest of the trip.




My goal was to make it to L’anse Aux Meadows, the first European settlement in North America, by the end of the day.

I had heard the moose here in Newfoundland were a big danger to motorists. In fact, it was practically a death sentence to ride the roads at night on a motorcycle... Or at least so I had come to believe. To this point though, I hadn’t yet seen any in Newfoundland. The ride up the northern peninsula changed that. I saw probably two dozen of them… and probably didn’t see far more than that. The fear of hitting one of these giants kept my speed pretty slow. The speed limit on the road up was 80 kph and I was doing probably 70 the whole way. It was slow going and I was making a lot of stops along the way.





The landscape of the northern peninsula was quite different from the rest of the island (at least the rest that I explored). The trees were all small and wind-blown and there were vast areas of what looked like tundra.



There were dozens of small fishing villages scattered along the route up to L’anse Aux Meadows. Most were small communities of probably less than a hundred people. It seemed the farther north I went, the friendlier the locals were.

On the way north, I stopped by Port Au Choix. This was a big fishing port at one time. The mainstay of the Newfoundland economy used to be cod fishing. However, in 1992, there was a moratorium that essentially ceased the commercial fishing of cod due to their over-fishing which led to a vast depletion of their population. According to the locals, and supported by what I saw, this was felt hardest on the northern peninsula where there essentially was no other industry.





I saw a sign for Wu’s place, a Chinese restaurant, at Port Au Choix. I was starving and didn’t feel like cooking a meal… and their prices were cheap, so Wu’s it was.





It looked delicious… However, that may have been the worst Chinese food I’ve ever had in my entire life. Blech! Oh well, it served its purpose to fill my stomach.

Heading up the peninsula, the weather got colder and colder. My left leg was freezing and breezy. I pulled over and noticed that the stitching above my left knee on my leather pants was coming undone… Zip ties FTMFW!





The ride up the northern peninsula ranged from fully wooded to barren and desolate. I tried to pull over and grab pictures as much as I could.


My artsy fartsy picture of the trip



I pulled off the side of the road to take a leak. When I pulled over to a small dirt road, I noticed that I had pulled off onto one of the many logging roads that had small sawmills.



I noticed some land off to the left as I was riding north. I pulled over and looked at the map and realized that the land off to the left across the sea was Labrador. There were several icebergs in the water.





The weather got colder and colder the closer I got to L’anse Aux Meadows. It had started to drizzle and was just unbearably cold. I made it up to L’anse Aux Meadows, but the visitor center had already closed and I needed to find a spot to camp for the night.





I headed back south and looked for old logging roads. About twenty miles south of L’anse Aux Meadows I went down a logging road and found a good spot to throw down a tent. I set up camp and went out scavenging wood. These were the coldest temps of the trip, and I wanted a fire to warm up next to. Everything was soaking wet and I knew starting a fire would be a challenge. I gathered up as much kindling as I could and a lot of larger pieces. Rather than find some dry leaves (there weren’t any) or other tinder, I decided to put my fuel cans to good use again. Instead of tinder, I just poured some gas on the kindling and got it started that way. I got a good fire going and that lasted for several hours before I went to sleep for the night.



I then made dinner for the night and went to sleep.



Total mileage for the day: 248 miles

Day 5 route:
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Day 6 – Saturday, June 9th

I woke up after about five hours. My feet were cold and I was shivering. There was no use in trying to go back to sleep. I was too cold. I got up and got the fire going again to warm up. It had dipped below freezing last night, as there was frost on my bike seat. What the hell? This was mid-June! Welcome to the northern peninsula of Newfoundland, I guess.


On the way back up to L’anse Aux Meadows.

Although I was slowly realizing how safe my items on my bike were here in Newfoundland, I noticed a lot of license plates in the parking lot that weren't from Newfoundland. Since I would be away from my bike for an hour or two, I decided to lock everything up.


140 L Pacsafe luggage lock.


Handgun lock through my helmet.

I packed up and headed up L’anse Aux Meadows. As I said earlier, this was the first European settlement in North America. It was a Viking settlement that was occupied for about ten years around 1000 AD. They had the archaeological remains on that you could look at, but that was just a few uninteresting grass mounds. They also recreated the original settlement as authentically as they could. As I was walking down the path to the archaeological remains, I stumbled upon a small tour group, so I joined them. The tour guide was a gentlemen that grew up around the area and actually used to play on the archaeological site as a kid. They thought it was old Indian grounds at the time.

He did a fantastic job of doing the tour... However, there was an extremely annoying couple from Vancouver, British Columbia along for the tour as well. They seemed to be very knowledgeable about the site, and made sure everyone on the tour knew how much information they knew. At any break in his speaking, no matter how small, they would cut in with a tidbit of useless information or ask a question they knew the answer to. For example, the tour guide mentioned the cod fishing moratorium in the early 90s, and Mrs. Douchio had to cut in and ask 'the moratorium started in the year 1992, right?' Well, **** you very much for that information. I don't know how I got by on this tour without it. ******* ****. I eventually got sick of the yuppie couple and took off on my own again to explore the site.





















I next rode through St. Anthony. There was nothing there I particularly wanted to see, so I stopped when I found something interesting, but I didn’t spend much time there. I pictured it being a much larger place than it was.







Back home almost no one flies a Pennsylvania flag. Lots of people, of course, fly the US flag, but the PA flag is largely ignored. In Newfoundland, however, I see an occasional Canadian flag, but mostly their provincial flag is flown. Newfoundlanders are definitely Newfoundlander first and Canadian second (as I had been told more than once).



From there I headed back south. My goal was to get to Gros Morne, and maybe a bit further if possible. I didn’t stop to see much this day. I had already traveled these roads a couple days before, so it was mostly just a straight shot down. However, passing back down through Parson’s Pond, I ran into a fellow holding an interesting sign.



I didn’t recognize the flag on the sign and was curious about it, so I slowed down, swung a u-turn and talked to him. He was a fairly young guy, probably my age. He seemed quite happy to talk to me and I was happy to listen. He explained that Quebec had something like 85% of the Capelin fishing rights in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and that there was a great deal of animosity toward Quebec because of it. As I was talking to him, he pulled a beer out of his fishing boot. I then noticed his boots were loaded with beer! Neat trick. I talked to him for a bit longer, said goodbye, and headed down the road.





I stopped to have a quick lunch of heated up flakes of turkey on pita bread. It was actually quite tasty!





Along the way, I stopped when I saw a fox hanging out on the side of the road. When I pulled over to take a picture of it, it came a little closer and kept giving me quizzical looks. As I pulled away, it followed me. I stopped, and it stopped. I then slowly rode alongside the shoulder for a bit and it followed me the whole time, stopping every time I did. Neat little fellow.



I made it to Gros Morne and decided to go on past it to find a logging road to camp for free. I had stopped earlier and picked up two small steaks to cook over the fire. The problem was that it was very windy and I didn’t feel comfortable making a fire in the woods. It looks like I would have to cook it over my small camp stove. As luck would have it, I came upon a gravel pit down the logging road. It was surrounded by dirt and stone hills on all sides and was far from any trees. Windy or not, this was a plenty safe place to start a fire without fear of catching anything else on fire with blowing embers!



I grilled up my first steak and took a bite out of it and spit it right out. What the hell! It was so salty it made my stomach turn. I looked at the package and saw I had inadvertently bought a salt cured steak. This one four ounce steak had 6000g of sodium. Yuck. This became a meal for the fire. However, even the fire didn’t seem to want it. It never would burn all the way through, despite sitting right on the coals.

Luckily my other steak wasn’t salt cured, so I enjoyed that one. I like my steaks rare to medium rare, so cooking over a fire is perfect. I burn down some wood until there is just a hot bed of coals. I season one side, then toss it directly on top of the coals. After a minute I flip it over and season the other side. It gets a light char on the outside while the inside is tender. Perfect.


(not exactly how I like to do it, but I dropped this one there and just went with it)


Delicious!

Oh, and a hot tip for cooking over a campfire: Don't try to move one of the rocks with your bare hands... They're hot.



I was probably a mile or two down the logging road and far away from any sort of civilization. With the wind howling and making strange noises, your mind can sometimes play tricks on you. I swore I kept hearing voices and rustling around nearby. I kept shining the flashlight into the woods expecting to see some eyes reflecting back at me. Though, nothing. It didn’t help that I was reading a creepy adventure novel, and then images from every horror movie I had ever watched kept playing through my mind. Here I was 29 years old and scared of the dark! Hahaha.

Although the wind kept me pretty chilled, the temperature was the warmest of any night thus far. Once I crawled into the tent and the wind wasn’t as strong, it was actually pretty comfortable.

Total mileage for the day: 312 miles

Day 6 route:
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Day 7 – Sunday, June 10th

I woke up around 9am, which means I got a solid nine hours of sleep! I really needed that sleep too. I had been working on way too few hours of sleep since my trip started. The much warmer temperatures of the night afforded me time to sleep. I packed up and got on the road heading to Twillingate.

The interior of the island looked somewhat like home in some respects. The trees were larger and there were more deciduous trees, not just the scrubby pines of the northern peninsula. Around lunch time I stopped at a gas station to fill up and picked up a few groceries as well. I then pulled off onto a logging road to make lunch.








This rice crispies treat sounds delicious...

On the way up to Twillingate, I pulled over at a small provincial park sign to take a picture...



Once I got close to Twillingate, the scenery changed again to a beautiful seaside appearance. Whereas the northern peninsula was poor and dreary, this region looked fairly wealthy and touristy. I also noticed the people were not nearly as friendly as they were on the northern peninsula. It seems they are quite used to dealing with tourists and aren’t as warm because of it (who can blame them). I stopped in Twillingate and got an ice cream and took a walk out to a beach.







I stopped and saw a small iceberg wedged into the rocks, so I walked down to get a better look and some pictures of it. Next to it was a piece of the iceberg about the size of a bowling ball. I got the tripod and set up a picture of me holding it over my head. I was then going to post it with some mildly amusing title like 'the great max, iceberg conquerer,' or something equally as ghey. I seem to have screwed up the timer and only have a picture of the back of my legs. Ah well, here's another small iceberg picture:




Whale skeleton





This touristy place, albeit beautiful, just wasn’t really what I came to Newfoundland to see and experience. I didn’t spend much time there. I headed south with hopes of making it to Terra Nova National Park that day. It was mostly a straight shot there, other than stopping in Gander for some groceries for the next day or two. I decided to stop into their Walmart and see if it was any differed from the ones in the States. Other than this store being a regular Walmart (not a Super Walmart), you’d never know you weren’t in the States.

On the way to Terra Nova, I saw a sign with the ‘screaming eagle’ from the 101st airborne division. I was intrigued and couldn’t imagine there was a Canadian airborne unit with the same insignia. I took the turn and ended up on a small dirt road. I was sure I took the wrong turn, but continued down just in case I found a good place to camp. Then I saw the sign for the 101st airborne division ‘silent memorial.’ A military plane full of soldiers from the 101 had crashed there coming back from a peacekeeping mission on the Sinai Peninsula. Canada erected a memorial in their honor. I’m glad that I stopped to see this. It was odd to see a bunch of American flags planted in Canadian soil though.











It was about 9 pm by the time I made it to Terra Nova National Park. I decided I wanted a shower (it had been a few days), so I stopped in and set up camp at the park camp site. I was bummed to see that fires were not allowed in the park, but it wasn’t all that cold this night anyhow, and I didn’t have any meat to cook over the fire, so I didn’t lose any sleep over it.



Total mileage for the day: 402 miles

Day 7 route:
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Day 8 – Monday, June 11th

I got another good night of sleep on account of it not being too cold. I woke up and decided to take another shower… Not because I needed one, as I had one the night before, but the hot water was nice. Although it wasn’t frigid out, it was still quite chilly. After a shower and breakfast I decided to catch up on this ride report. I sat by my laptop for a good two hours before realizing that I hadn’t started the bike the whole time the inverter that was powering the laptop was plugged in. I quickly unplugged the inverter and tried starting the bike… The battery was dead. I tried in vain to push start it for the next few minutes. The ground was all flat so it was hard to get enough speed and the few times where I might have gotten enough speed, the thick gravel road just caused the tires to skid rather than biting in to turn over the engine. I walked down the road and found a Park maintenance worker. I asked if he had jumper cables, but he didn’t. He then asked another guy, and neither of them had any. They agreed to try and push me so I could start it that way. We got going at a pretty good clip, but my rear tire just skidded on the loose gravel and never turned over the motor. They were kind enough to make a few calls and secure a set of jumper cables for me. I was back on the road (and hopefully wiser about using my power next time!).



After a lazy morning and a jump start, I was ready to hit the road. I didn’t have an awfully long day ahead of me. I had the general plan for the day to make it to St. Johns. I wasn’t going to stay there since I was doing camping and I assumed free camping spots wouldn’t be plentiful in the city. I figured I would check out the city, take a few pictures, and then head out of town to find a spot to camp.

I stopped into a Tim Hortons in Clarenville, just south of Terra Nova National Park, to grab a coffee. I was really beginning to grow a fondness for their coffee at this point. Dare might I say that it is better than Dunkin Donuts???

While sitting inside enjoying my coffee, I decided to check on my thread at ridetherock.com. The previous night I had given an update in my thread telling everyone that I was headed to St. Johns the next day. When I logged in, I saw that I had a new private message from ‘Murph.’ He gave me his address and phone number and told me to stop by. He said he had a place for me to sleep, a shower, and I could wash my clothes. Well, as luck would have it, I had just used my last clean pair of socks, so today was laundry day anyhow. What timing!

I replied back that I would text him if he did texting… Turns out Murph isn’t exactly savvy in newfangled things like cell phones. He is actually a self-described Luddite (more on that later). He told me to stop by a payphone and give him a call when I was close by.

Anywho, I finished my cup of coffee, talked to a guy on a V-Strom 650 (likely to be my next bike), and got back on the road. The scenery on the route to St. John’s was quite beautiful. However, I had given Murph a timeframe on when I would be there, and I pride myself on being punctual… So I didn’t stop and take many pictures. Here are the few that I stopped to take though:













I was pretty close to St. Johns, within a half hour to forty-five minutes, when I saw my first moose outside of the northern peninsula. I was going around a right hander on the TCH (trans-Canadian highway to everyone who isn’t on ridetherock) in the left passing lane when this giant ******* vaulted over the guardrail on the left side of the road. I’ve always pictured moose as gangly clumbsy creatures with the finesse of a string of firecrackers. However, this moose was able to jump from a steep hill over the guard rail and onto the road seemingly effortlessly. As soon as it hit the road, it ran straight for the other side of the road. Once it jumped over the railing, I knew I couldn’t avoid it by braking. I was going too fast and would have had to straighten the bike if I was going to brake hard and head straight at the guard rail. So, the only thing I could really do (or at least the best option) was to keep on the throttle and lean harder into the turn and move into the right lane, hoping to beat it to the other side of the road. As I turned in harder, the moose looked at me, got spooked, and turned and ran the other way! Whew. I don’t know if I would have hit it. I really think I would have missed it by taking the turn tighter… But either way, I knew I had to pull over and check my drawers. It was likely that Murph’s offer of a shower was going to be a bit more generous than he knew…

I pulled over and discovered that I had somehow managed not to **** myself! Since I was pulled over anyhow, I took a few pictures.







Shortly thereafter I arrived in St. Johns. I pulled into a gas station parking lot and called up Murph on my cell phone. I told him I was a minute away and he told me he’d meet me outside when I got there. My GPS took me right there and Murph greeted me ouside when I got there.

We started with short introductions and got right to unloading my stuff and putting it away in his house. We then did a bit of small talk before heading out to look at his bikes and talk bike stuff. I don’t personally know anyone who is bike-only, and I know a few on forums that only own bikes as their means of transportation. Each of these people lives in the southern US where there is traditional riding weather year round… Well, this Murph fellow rides all year in Newfoundland, and has done so for many years! When I asked him what he did when it was snowy or icy, he showed me his KLR. I immediately liked him.

I also met GI Jane (from ridetherock) that night. I would get to know her a bit better over the next couple days riding.

Murph and I spent the rest of the night talking about bikes and riding and such. He then showed me the room I would be staying in, and I went to bed. It was quite nice to sleep in a real bed inside, rather than freezing in a sleeping bag on the hard ground. I slept very nicely that night.

Total mileage for the day: 319 miles

Day 8 route:
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Day 9 – Tuesday, June 12th

Murph got up and went into work before I got up… He also decided he wasn’t going to be staying at work and came back home… All before I ever managed to pull my lazy ass out of bed! I got up and Murph made us both an excellent breakfast. I was starting to get used to this kinda life… Especially after a week or so of canned food.

After breakfast Murph showed me around St. John’s. We went to Signal Hill, Cape Spear, the downtown, Quidi Vidi brewery, and other smaller fishing areas around the city. It was nice having Murph taking me straight to the ‘must see tourist attractions’ as well as the smaller out-of-the-way areas. If I was doing this on my own, I wouldn’t have known how to get to these places directly, and I wouldn’t have known to see these smaller places he showed me.

Cape Spear, the most easterly point in North America:





The battery at Cape Spear:











Lighthouse at cape spear:



Quidi Vidi area (I think!):









Signal Hill, which is the site where the first transatlantic wireless signal was received:





Other areas around St. John's:









Murph took his 20 year old BMW K75 (I think that is the model). He called this motorcycle his parts bike because he bought it to use for parts… Yet he seemed quite fond of riding it! As soon as we got out of city limits, Murph was immediately ripping up the twisties immediately surrounding the area. One would have thought that my 2009 SV650S stripped of all its luggage would have no problem keeping up with “an old man on a twenty year old parts bike” with side panniers attached… But Murph was quick! I just couldn’t manage to keep up with him. Damn this fast old man!

We also stopped by a local coffee house (I think it was today… maybe it was the next). Well actually Murph just needed to stop by the bank, but we parked in front of the coffee house where all the other bikes were. While Murph ran to the bank, I ordered us two coffees. We then sat outside of a coffee house sipping coffee while our bikes sat out front… I had a good chuckle when I realized this was the first time I actually rode my bike to the coffee house to have a coffee. At least I had a dirty, ugly, rashed up bike that proved I didn’t really fit in there! Lol.

I was blown away at just how many bikes there were in St. John’s. I actually enjoyed sipping on my coffee watching all the people on their bikes riding up and down the main drag there in front of the shop. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many bikes in one place as I did there in downtown St. John’s on a warm sunny day. I should have taken a picture of my bike parked in front, but I didn’t think of it.

After a morning of riding around the city we went back to his house to meet back up with GI Jane. I kept thanking him for taking me in and then taking me for rides around the area. He kept telling me he was just paying back the favor for a couple that took him in for a few days… Though I have a feeling that he would have done the same even if he didn’t have that experience.

GI Jane came and met up with us shortly after we arrived back to his house. She rode two-up with Murph… Finally I would be able to keep up with this guy! His neighbor, Spock (from ridetherock), also stopped by and rode with us for the day. As with every other Newfoundlander I had the pleasure of meeting, he was a hell of a nice guy.

We rode down the southern portion of the Avalon peninsula. We made several small stops so that Murph could show me a small site I would have never known existed or give me some details on the route or some sort of historical significance of the place. It was like I had booked a personal motorcycle tour guide or something!

It should also be noted that even two-up, I could barely keep up with him. Murph is one skilled rider… And I got the feeling that he wasn’t even pushing it either!

We stopped alongside the rode somewhere along our route (I couldn’t tell you where at this point) and pulled off to see a giant iceberg that was lodged alongside the peninsula. Although I describe the iceberg as giant, it was pointed out to me that this was not really all that big in comparison to others that were previously in Newfoundland. GI Jane had made us some delicious snack wraps, which we ate as we watched the iceberg calve (I hope I am using the right word, I only heard it spoken, not written). When an iceberg calves, that means that large chunks of ice fall off into the water. Notice the water line in the first picture as compared to the later pictures. We were hoping that it was going to roll… But it never did while we were there. It was incredibly lucky timing to get there when we did.




Notice the water line on the iceberg and also the smaller ice chunks around it.




Murph and I.

We rode through some absolutely beautiful barren landscape that Murph called ‘bleakosity.’ Although it was barren and bleak, I really enjoyed it because it was so much different than the land at home, and really quite breathtaking.



From there we rode down to Cape Pine, the southernmost point of Newfoundland. There wasn’t really all that much to see… It was just cool knowing we were at that landmark, which in this case was the southernmost point.



Along the route back to Murph’s house, Murph pulled over to grab some gas. It hadn’t been very long since our last gas stop, but my legs were getting a bit tired, so I didn’t mind a break. However, once I got off the bike, Murph came over and pointed out a car parked out front. I now understood why we stopped there to get gas. The owner of the gas station also owned an amphicar (An amphibious car. Google it. It’s pretty cool). The owner came out and showed me around the car and told me a little bit about it while we were there. I’ve seen these on TV before, but this is the first one I’ve ever seen in person. It was definitely worth the stop.





Soon after this stop Spock tore off and headed home apart from us. We didn’t do much else for sightseeing either. We headed straight home to drop off GI Jane and then we went to a grocery store for dinner (which Murph refused to let me pay for) and then to the liquor store. I grabbed a six pack of Quidi Vidi 1892 and a mixed Quidi Vidi six pack. As I walked into the cooler and grabbed my beer, Murph turned to me and thanked me for supporting his country’s healthcare. I was a bit confused by this statement until I looked at the price of the six pack… $13.99! I thought this small brewery must be extra-expensive until I looked around and realized the going price for a case of beer was in the forties to fifties in dollars. Back home I drink Boxer lager which is $15 for a 36 pack. If I want to splurge I buy Yuengling lager for about $20 a case. Canada’s prices took me by surprise.

We got back and Murph started on dinner. I kept asking if I could help, but he wouldn’t have any of that. Finally he asked me to take out his compost… I finally felt like I was beginning to earn my keep… even if it was 10 seconds of work.

That night we bull****ted about riding and bikes and spent time on Google Earth looking at the routes we did that day. All the while I was busy drinking the beer that I had bought earlier. I didn’t realize quite how strong they were until I was ready for bed. I had only seven beers that night, yet I was quite wasted. Murph gave a quick laugh and said something to the effect of ‘told ya.’

Total mileage for the day: 253 miles.

Route for day 9:
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Day 10 – Wednesday, June 13th

I woke up somewhat early while Murph was still at work. He came back shortly after I woke up and began making me breakfast! He really treated me good while I was there. While eating breakfast, he announced that Dildo was calling his name. After giving him a quizzical look, he specified he was speaking of the town, not the sex toy.

GI Jane came over and we got geared up and headed out. The general route for the day was to go through Whitbourne to Dildo, then through Heart’s Content and into New Melbourne. From there we would go north to Grate’s Cove and Bay de Verde. We would then head to Conception Bay South and through Kilbride back to Murph’s place. In case you’re not from around this area I will have the daily route posted at the end of the day’s ride report, of course.

For the second time this trip I managed to park my bike in front of a sign with the word ‘dildo’ on it. This was done solely to have the chance to show it to other people at a later time and giggle like an excited school girl… Ah yes, life is grand.


Hmmm… I just realized the arrow was pointed at me. I wonder if Murph was laughing on the inside when he snapped this one?

We stopped at a place called Shag Rock (he he he). Shag rock was a cluster of rocks out in the ocean not far from the shore. I thought the rocks looked strikingly similar in shape to the Sydney Opera House.



From there we went to Heart’s Content Cable Station. This is an historic site where the world’s first transatlantic communications cable started from (or ended from, depending upon your perspective on the matter).





I really can’t remember the names of each of the places in the next couple of pics, so I will just let the pictures do the talking.












fish (maybe crab?) processing facility somewhere...

For lunch we stopped at a friend of Murph’s cabin near New Melbourne. GI Jane had heard me mention on several occasions how much I liked those cans of ‘flake of turkey,’ but had never tried the flake of chicken or ham. So, she made us some delicious chicken salad sandwiches made out of the flake of chicken… Great, now I had a difficult decision to make next time I went to buy flakes of meat cans!





We then stopped at a small cemetery that had a parking area that said ‘scenic lookout’ or something to that effect. Had I not had a local rider showing me around, I would have passed right by this. From the road, it appeared that the only ‘scenic’ view was of the old cemetery. However, a very short walk down a small trail through some pine trees led to breathtaking scenery and a sheer cliff.











A bit further down the road I got to see my first actual sandy beach in Newfoundland. The weather was warm and sunny and I could actually picture myself taking a dip in the water… Of course, I’m sure the water was cold enough that my penis would pack up and make a permanent move inside my pelvis if I attempted a swim.





We then stopped and looked at an old ship that had run aground on a sandbar not too far from St. John’s. Murph told me the story behind this one, but the details are a bit too cloudy for me to post with any sort of certainty.



From there we stopped by Murph’s place, dropped of GI Jane, and then rode to Bidgood’s Cove, a grocery store. The reason we went there, I soon found out, was because Bidgood’s has nearly every piece of Newfoundland food imaginable. They had cod, salt cod, cod tongues, cod cheeks, capelin, smoked capelin, salted capelin, moose sausage, moose steak, rabbits, lobster, crab, seal, and a ton more stuff I can’t remember. Murph picked up a lobster, some fish and brewis, seal flipper pie, some cod tongues, and some partridgeberry pie for desert… All traditional Newfoundland cuisine. I’ve had lobster before, but everything else on the menu for the night was new to me. I was excited!

When we got home, Murph and GI Jane put together the meal while I sat my lazy butt on the couch and sipped away on a couple of beers. Plate by plate, they brought out the food.



Fish and brewis



Lobster and scallops



Cod tongues





Seal flipper pie



Partridgeberry pie

The food was delicious and I was stuffed! What a meal… The best one since coming to the rock!

GI Jane went home for the night, so I goodbye to her, since I would be leaving in the morning. Murph and I stayed up for a bit longer going over our route on Google Earth and he was also showing me places to see on my way home.

Total mileage for the day: 252 miles

Route for day 10:
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Day 11 – Thursday, June 14th

Murph got me up when he woke up for the day, since I had to get on my way. He put on a pot of coffee and I had a cup with him. He gave me some last minute route advice as I started getting my luggage back on the bike. He then went to work as I finished getting my luggage back together. After getting the luggage on the bike, I grabbed a quick shower, put on my gear, and hit the road.

My plan was to see the crash site of an American RB-36 bomber plane and then see Greenspond. Both were places Murph had showed me the night before. From there, I was going to go as far west as I could make it. I realized as I was leaving that I took no pictures of St. John’s downtown, so I went for a quick spin through the city to grab a few pics.


Old train engine and train station (now museum). Newfoundland used to have a rail system throughout the island, but the highway eventually replaced it.













Although I didn’t actually ever have a drink on George Street, I did stop by and take a few pics! Lol








The coffee shop I parked the bike in front of the other day... Too bad the view is blocked by the dick truck.

On the way out of town I pulled over to take a leak and noticed a small boat left by the side of a small lake. Didn’t seem like the owners had any concerns over theft at all.





It got quite cloudy and chilly going through the isthmus that connects the Avalon peninsula to the rest of the island. I could watch the low clouds being swept over the road as I rode through them. It was quite wild. I couldn’t capture it on film well though.



My first stop was to be the RB-36 bomber crash site. I made it to the town of Burgoynes Cove on the Bonavista Peninsula with no problem. Once I got into town, I asked a gentleman walking his dog where the crash site was. He gave me some vague directions and then we had a chat about my trip. I then headed down the dirt road he told me to take. He told me to take a right once I got on the dirt road, and that there would be a sign at the next right I was going to be taking. I ended up missing the turn I was supposed to take and instead wandered the old logging roads for about two hours. It was slow going, since the roads got rougher the farther out I went… and no matter how rough the roads got, I was still in an SV with street tires. I ended up getting mildly lost for a while, but soon found my way back to the main dirt road I was on. I went back to where I started and decided to turn down the road to a slate company. On the way, I saw a farmer on a tractor and pulled over to ask him directions to the crash site. It turns out the road to get to the slate company was actually the road I was supposed to be on. When the gentleman in town told me there would be signs at the right turn I needed to make, I assumed he meant there would be signs for the crash site… Well it turns out I think he just meant there would be signs (but not necessarily for the crash site. lol). Anyhow, the farmer told me it was just a few kilometers up the road and there would be a sign for the crash site (I clarified this point) once I got to the trail. He also told me it was a pretty good hike and to make sure I was up for it.

The road got much rougher and pretty steep. I was contemplating turning around soon and just abandoning seeing this site when I saw a tiny sign on my left. I pulled over and saw that I was finally here! I took off my gear, grabbed my camelback and started up the trail.

Getting lost:












Looks like I need to do some chain maintenance tonight!


I finally made it to the trailhead! The camera doesn't do the road much justice. It was much steeper than it looks here (or maybe I'm just a *****!).







Nearly immediately I was blown away by how beautiful and scenic this trail was. I didn’t come here for a scenic trail. I came here to see the crash site. However, the trail itself was good enough that I didn’t need to even see a crash site. The trail was about a mile long, maybe a bit longer, but it was straight up the hill and rocky. I needed to shed some clothes and was breathing a bit hard before making it to the top.













Once getting to the top of the mountain, the carnage from the crash of years ago was immediately evident. It’s no wonder no one survived it. There was a plaque on the tail section telling of the aircraft and the crash. There was also a propeller blade memorial statue on the top of another higher hill.
















The scowl wasn't intentional... I was just concentrating on keeping the camera still.



After peaking around a bit, I made lunch at one of the picnic tables erected at the site. I never did hike up to the propeller blade statue. I should have, but it looked like rain the whole time I was up there and I didn’t want to get soaked. Turns out it never rained and the skies were pretty sunny for the rest of the day.

Due to stopping to take pictures of St. John’s, getting lost on the logging trails, and then taking longer than I had anticipated at the crash site, I realized I would have to pass on seeing Greenspond. Instead I decided to go as far west as I could make it before having to break for camp for the night.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I pulled over and took a picture of this sign for my buddy back home. He loves gin and forces me to drink that vile concoction any time I’m over at his house. I suggested he should move here.



I made it a few miles past Grand Falls-Windsor when was getting dark enough that I decided to start looking for a place to camp for the night. I came across a small dirt road that looked promising, so I turned down it. As I was going up a small hill, my rear tire slid out and the bike decided to take a nap… for the second time this trip.



I picked it back up and hit the ignition switch and she roared to life immediately. This was beginning to feel like a routine at this point! A couple new scratches, but they were barely noticeable over the all the other damage. Good girl, that’s a good girl.

I continued down this road only to find it ended in a compost dump. There were a bunch of rotting moose carcasses and yard waste. I decided this was probably not the best place to camp.

A few miles down the road I took another logging trail and found a suitable place to camp. I put my tent up, made a quick fire ring, collected some wood, and took off in search of some water since my camelback was completely empty. All I could find close by was a stagnant pond. It was no big deal, as I had the water filter and had taken stagnant water in the past. I filled up the camelback and headed back to camp. I got the fire going and then battled mosquitos and black flies for about a half an hour until the cold temps started setting in and they disappeared.




Perfect place for a tent.

As I was preparing dinner for the night, I took a drink out of my camelback. I spat it out immediately. I somehow managed to find a saltwater pond in the interior of the island. The filter will filter out microbes, but it won’t do anything to desalinate salt water. Since it was late, I had a fire going, and I didn’t want to travel the roads at night, I just went without water for the night.

Total mileage for the day: 389 miles

Route for day 11:
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Day 12 – Friday, June 15th

I woke up cold and parched. I was a bit dehydrated from being on the road all day the day before. Then, to top it off, not having any water once I stopped for the night really got me dehydrated. My head was pounding and my mouth was dry. Before leaving though, I needed to lube my chain. I hadn’t done it in a few days and it needed done, especially after all the dirt riding yesterday. After lubing my chain, I packed up my gear, took a couple of ibuprofens, and took off down the road.

My first order of business was to find a source of water. A couple miles down the road, I found a creek to draw water from. I pulled over and got some water. I also decided to make a small breakfast while I was stopped there.





While eating my Ramen noodle soup breakfast (yeah, high class!), I glanced at my rear tire and saw there was oil all over it. In my haste to lube my chain this morning I forgot to wipe down the excess, so it all got slung all over my rear wheel and tire! Good thing I noticed it sitting down eating breakfast, not going around a sharp left-hander.



I wiped down my tire and the chain and then headed back through Corner Brook and then down toward Port Aux Basques.









I was making good time, so I decided to take the loop around the Avalon Peninsula. I went through Stephenville, then headed onto the peninsula. I pulled over when I came across an abandoned building. I then walked around the back of the building and noticed this was an old quarry.







Next to the quarry by the sea there was a small caved carved in the side of the rock by the ocean. So, naturally, I climbed in, but was disappointed to see it didn't go very far back.







I then decided to poke around inside this abandoned building. After taking a look inside I realized this wasn’t an abandoned building; it was a firefighter training house.















I made a quick loop around the peninsula, only stopping a couple of times, since I was planning on taking the ferry to North Sydney later in the night. The few stops I made, I took some pictures though.









About an hour outside Port Aux Basques I pulled over to get some water from a small river and call the ferry service to make a reservation for the night. My card had been cancelled due to suspicious spending (despite me calling my bank and specifically telling them the dates and locations of my trip so that they would NOT cancel it), so I had to get my wife’s credit card number and use that. I reserved a general seating seat on the 23:45 boat to North Sydney that night. It was early evening, so I had plenty of time to get there.

I never really took many pictures of the scenery outside of Port Aux Basques on the way up, so I took the opportunity to on the way back through.













Upon reaching Port Aux Basques, I stopped in to fill up my tank when I came across two other bikers on sportbikes with touring luggage. They were coming up from Nova Scotia. They did basically the same tour of Newfoundland that I did over the past week and a half, only they did it in four days. We got to talking a bit more and they were both active duty military. They invited me to join them for dinner at Pizza Delight since we had several hours before we needed to get to the terminal. We talked about the military, motorcycles, and riding. I meant to grab a picture of them, but forgot to. Ah well.

We made it to the terminal and we had been there no more than two minutes when they loaded us onto the ship. I couldn’t help but think back to a week and a half earlier when it was pouring outside and I was cold and getting soaked. I remembered waiting out in the rain as the workers loaded up the people who were dry and comfortable in their cars as we froze outside waiting to be waived aboard. Well, on this beautiful night when I wouldn’t have minded waiting outside and breathing some fresh ocean air, we were rushed on right away. Funny how that works sometimes.

Since I forgot to take pictures of my bike strapped down the first time, I made sure to this time.




Oh, and I guess I did get a picture of the two guys I had dinner with. They’re the ones in the red and dark blue shirts in the last picture.

I boarded the ship and surfed the internet (and posted the first couple days of my ride report) while I waited for us to leave port. After leaving port, I laid down on the floor and fell asleep. I learned a little bit since last time I was on the ferry!

Total mileage for the day: 387 miles

Route for day 12:
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Day 13 – Saturday, June 16th

I woke up at about four in the morning with my entire left arm numb and useless. Laying on my side on the floor of the ship, I cut off my circulation and woke up quite miserably. I knew I wasn’t going to be going back to sleep, so I grabbed a cup of coffee and read a bit of my book (the second one of the trip). I lounged around until we had docked. I then threw my gear on and waited to be called down to my bike.

Once we were given the go ahead, I went down and unstrapped the bike. I talked with a few of the other bikers as I was strapping down the last of my gear. Right as they were waving us out, I realized my bike wouldn’t start. I double checked that my clutch was pulled in, my kickstand was up, the key was turned on, and my killswitch was off. What the hell? I didn’t have much time to troubleshoot my problem when a couple of the ship’s crew came up and offered to push me out of the boat. Once they pushed me out, they told me they would call down a couple of guys from maintenance to give me a hand.

While I was waiting for them to arrive, I started trying to figure out what was wrong. The fuel pump would prime when it was in neutral, and it did so quickly, so I figured the battery was good (when the battery is low the pump will prime slowly or not at all). That was as far as I got before the maintenance guys got over to me. They were convinced it was a dead battery. I told them I didn’t think so, but they wanted to try and jump it. I didn’t argue, as it didn’t take much time to get the seat off and it would rule out the problem even if it didn’t get it started. As expected, jumping it didn’t help anything, but at least I knew the battery was good. I checked the fuses and they were all good as well.

At this point, the maintenance guys had given me the names and numbers of a few local bike mechanics to go to and an offer to push me to get me bump started. We got the bike running this way and I was off to find a place called Woodlawn Sno & Garden Motorsports, which was highly recommended by them. It was a Saturday, so I was just hoping that anyone would have a mechanic in for the day. I parked the bike at the top of a small hill in the driveway of Woodlawn’s in case I needed to bump start it again. I then shut off the engine and started trying to figure out what was wrong with it. It would be great to figure out the problem before they ever even opened. I took off all of the luggage, then took the seat off. I double-checked the fuses. I then took apart the starter switch box, but didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary. I cleaned the connections just to be safe. I checked the connection to the starter motor then undid the fuel tank and propped it up so I could follow the wiring.


Starting to get her apart



This was as far as I got before the owner of the shop, Larry, pulled up in his pickup. I walked up and gave him a very brief rundown of my problem. He then asked if I wanted a coffee. I told him I would love one if he had some made. He told me to push the bike around back and that he would be right back. I told him not to worry about going out to get me a coffee, but he insisted. He came back with a large Tim Horton’s coffee and refused payment for it.

I helped him move some bikes out of the way so we could pull mine into his garage. He did a few tests to rule out some problems. All the while he was doing this, he was explaining to me what he was doing and why he was doing it. I got the feeling he wasn’t doing it just to do it. I felt like he was trying to teach me how to troubleshoot this problem for the next time. We spent a couple of hours testing wires and figuring out the problem. By crossing the solenoid wires, the engine started, so the problem was narrowed down to somewhere in the wiring or connections. Good news. Only half the time was actually spent working I think (maybe less). He was a really nice guy and we spent a good deal of the time talking and bull****ting. He also introduced me to a couple of his workers and his daughter. He introduced me as though I had been a longtime friend.

We eventually nailed down the problem. It turned out it was an exceedingly easy fix. The safety switch wiring harness attached to the clutch had come loose, probably while tied down on the ferry. It was definitely at least partially my fault why we didn’t figure it out sooner. I had told Larry that the fuel pump would prime when I pulled the clutch in. Thus, we assumed the clutch safety wiring was working properly. However, I realized later that I had it in neutral when I pulled the clutch in, so the fuel pump would have primed regardless. I’m sure if I hadn’t given him this misinformation, we would have found the problem much sooner. No matter, I was absolutely thrilled to be able to start the engine with a push of the button again!

After getting the bike put back together, I asked him how much I owed him. He told me ‘nothing.’ He refused to let me pay him for helping me get the bike running again. What a damn nice guy. He bought me a coffee, treated me like an old friend, fixed my problem, then wouldn’t let me pay him. Looks like Newfoundland wasn’t the only place with really friendly people!

After fixing the problem and getting my luggage back on my bike, I couldn’t help but stick around and hang out with all of them. They finished up for the day at noon and one of his workers, Scott, stopped by on his ATV. He opened up his rear luggage and pulled out a case of beer. A few of them then sat around swapping stories, busting each other’s’ balls, and drinking beers. They offered me a beer, but I couldn’t since I still had a lot of miles ahead of me on the bike. I may drink a beer or two if I go to dinner in the car, but I don’t drink a drop if I’m going to be on the bike. It’s too bad though. I could have easily spent the entire day hanging out with these guys. Scott, one of the workers there, gave me a beer to take with me. He told me to enjoy it over the camp fire this night.

Larry gave me some business cards and told me to let anyone in the area know about him. I obviously don’t live around there, but I told him I would post his business card in my ride report along with the story of how well he treated me. It was the least I could do. He told me that he also does custom cables (clutch, brake, etc.) for all bikes, even old bikes in which cables are hard to come by. So, if anyone in the North Sydney area is in need of a new bike mechanic, give Larry a try. He’s a hell of a nice guy, has a bunch of great guys working for him, and they all ride themselves.


Larry (right) and Scott (left)


His business card


His store
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I had decided that I wanted to ride the Cabot trail on the way back home, since it was only a few minutes away on Cape Breton Island. Larry and Scott both highly recommended it, and I already knew about it from internet forums and such. Although I was about six hours behind schedule, it was a beautiful day and I was looking forward to this ride.

I took the ferry over to Cape Breton Island and then started on the Cabot trail. The ferry cost $5.25 and lasted about 30 seconds to cover probably half a football field in length (maybe). What an ass-raping for the distance we traveled.



Once on the Cabot trail, I kept waiting for the insane twisties and breathtaking views. To start, the Cabot trail was a fun road, but nothing to write home about, plus the asphalt quality was fair at best. However, I pulled off to grab a quick lunch right at the base of Smokey Mountain, which I had heard was one of the best sections of the trail.



This section was quite incredible. However, it was also pretty short and then it was back to good, but not great twisties. The further I got on the Cabot trail, the more underwhelmed I became. I had really built up the Cabot trail to be much more than it really was in my head. Much of it is through national parks and through small towns. There are many quite boring stretches of it, then short bursts of incredibly technical sections with breathtaking scenery. If I had just stumbled upon this road, I would have been absolutely blown away by it. However, having ridden Deals Gap and expecting this to be a much longer version of that in my head, I was quite disappointed. I wish I had more time there and I would have rode a section I liked, then turned around and rode it again, and again, and again. Then repeat at another section. That would make quite an enjoyable day. However, to just ride it from one end to the other without having the time to repeat the fun sections wasn’t nearly as fun.

I don’t mean to **** on the Cabot trail. It is a fantastic road with beautiful scenery… Just don’t go in expecting it to be Deals Gap. However, it does have one huge thing that Gap doesn’t have… VERY LITTLE TRAFFIC!!!, and better scenery.

















I was planning on doing the entire Cabot trail loop, but decided that I was running late enough as it was and only did 3/4 of it, and then headed south to make it as far as I could for the day. My plan was to go to Prince Edward Island on the way back home. There was nothing I wanted to see there; I just wanted to say I had been there. I was planning to take a ferry to the east side of the island, and then ride west until I got to the bridge to take me back over to New Brunswick. I stopped into a visitor center and inquired about the ferry schedule to the island. It turns out the ferry was more expensive than I had thought and I would have to wait about three hours to catch the ferry. I decided it just wasn’t worth it and that I would just skip the whole PEI. I was also planning to stay north and ride through Quebec and Ontario on the ride back home. With PEI out and already behind schedule with the bike problem, I decided to just scrap that whole idea and slab it the shortest way back home.

It was already late in the day and I still had about 1100-1200 miles to go to get home. I decided to go as far as I could go for the day. I made it to the visitor center at the edge of New Brunswick just before dark. I stopped and talked to another biker there and he told me there really weren’t many moose in this area of New Brunswick. He said they’re out there, but nothing like Newfoundland. With this information, I decided to keep pushing it through the night until I got tired.

I only made it about an hour past nightfall before my speeds got slower and I found it difficult to go the speed limit. That meant I needed some sleep. I took the nearest exit and then took random side roads until I found a small dirt road that lead to an open field. Perfect. I pulled in, set up my tent, and fell asleep. I was exhausted from a long day with not much sleep the night before.

Total mileage for the day: 486 miles

Route for day 13:
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Day 14 – Sunday, June 17th - Last day on the road

I awoke fairly cold this morning. It wasn’t as cold as I had experienced on the northern peninsula in Newfoundland, but it was still quite chilly. The tent was soaking wet outside due to the morning condensation. Looks like I would be putting away a wet tent once again. I had set my alarm to wake up at 4:00am, but I turned it off and didn’t wake up until 6:30. I had a long day ahead of me and didn’t want to leave exhausted. I had a bite to eat, made a cup of coffee, and packed my gear back up.





Super-slabbing it through New Brunswick is about as boring as it gets. The scenery is all the same and it’s mostly long straight lines. As a result, I would often glance down at my speedometer and see that I was well over the posted speed limit. The speed limit through there was 110 kph and I was keeping a steady pace of about 150-160 kph as indicated (so 10% lower in reality). I would look at my speedometer and slow it down only to be back up there by the next time I checked. Although I didn’t mean to keep speeding, I was making great time this way. Besides, I hadn’t seen any cops pulling speed traps the entire time I’d been in Canada…







































Okay, I guess they do sometimes target speeders in Canada!

About a half an hour from the border, I saw a cop car in the median. I hit my brakes since I knew I was probably speeding… But it was too late. His lights came on and he started pulling out before I even made it to him. I pulled over, shut off my engine, and waited for him to come over to talk to me. He said he clocked me going 143 in a 110. He told me it was a $300 fine. I mentioned my wife being a cop back in the states (she really is) and how my budget was pretty thin as it was. I couldn’t talk him out of a ticket, but he said he would lower it to $172.50. I sure didn’t want to include that into my budget, but it’s better than it could have been (or maybe he tells that to everyone he gives a ticket to in order to soften the blow, who knows). This was my first speeding ticket in 7 years, so not too shabby I guess.

He told me they’ll give a motorist 10kph over every time and most will give twenty over. I then got back on the road going ten over the speed limit. He really cramped my style big time!

Soon enough I made it to the border. Coming back home to the US it took me about five minutes of waiting in line, then 30 seconds to make it through the border check. Easy peasy.



I continued making good time through Maine. I stopped near Bangor to call my wife and kids (it was Father’s Day after all) and then talked to my folks quickly. I was then back on the road and getting ready to enter the hellhole of traffic congestion known as Portland, ME to Hartford, CT. Although the traffic was miserable, we were all moving at a good pace and I was actually making good time. I was stretching rest stops out to about once every 150 miles. However, I would then take about twenty minutes to fill the tank and stretch my legs.


Pee break in Connecticut.

I had been planning to stop at the Pennsylvania border and use my tripod to take a picture of me standing on my bike with my arms in the air in front of the ‘welcome to’ sign to post in my ride report. However, I had forgotten that the sign was on a bridge with no shoulder… so scratch that idea.

I stopped in at a rest area about an hour from home. While there, I noticed that the picnic tables were chained to a cement slab… What a difference between worrying about a large picnic table being stolen back home to the friendly people of Newfoundland that will take complete strangers into their homes. Those reading this from ridetherock will probably get a kick out of this picture:



The last stop I made before getting home was in Newfoundland… Newfoundland, PA, that is.



I arrived home just after 9pm. My wife was at a work party and my kids were still at their mom’s house. Fine with me… I got to relax without recounting my trip this night.


I was tired and didn't put much effort into getting the picture right, so this is all I've got for the picture of arriving home.

I got home and was attacked my overly excited bulldog. He wouldn’t let me do anything but pet him for a long time. However, I had no beer at home and I was in dire need of a frosty cold one, so I made some room in my dry bag for a case and headed to the distributor. On the way, I decided to stop by a local pizza place and get a large pizza to go. I asked them to put it into a few smaller boxes so that I could get it home on the bike (thanks Jo and Sandy for that idea!). I sat back and relaxed while downing the entire large pizza and a few beers… Life is good.



Her dirty, broken, smiling face after a long trip.

Total mileage for the day: 843 miles

Route for day 14:


Route for the entire trip (mostly):
 
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