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Old 08-27-2013, 09:36 PM   #16
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Space reserved for bike crash porn pic coming soon...
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Old 08-28-2013, 05:29 AM   #17
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Excellent so far.

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Old 08-28-2013, 07:37 AM   #18
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We hang onto the Trailway until we arrive at a little village called Doyle's. Doyle's consists of a convenience store and a gas pump, along with a cluster of houses. Rich's rescuer on the quad is at the store. He's a big, friendly guy who rides up this way every day to get an ice-cream cone. The locals are in and out filling up with gas and grabbing snacks. There's none of the reluctance to talk that one finds south of 45 here. I engage in conversation with a fellow in a battered but sound '73 Toyota FJ40 Landcruiser. I had a '76, and we have a lot to talk about. The Landcrusher is a practical rig up here, if you can afford gas for it. While the pavement is very well kept, the secondary roads are a web of potholes and the ever-present loose gravel.

As the secondary roads parallel the rail bed for some miles, we decide to abandon the Trailway. We re-join it before the trestle at Fischells River. Here Anton nearly gets rammed by a lady on a quad. She has a Labrador retriever on the pillion, and is paying more attention to talking to the dog and her riding companion than to the trail ahead. This won't be the first incident of this nature. Although cars and trucks aren't allowed on the rail bed, it's a rule that the locals shrug off. The Trailway provides the only access to many camps and cottages along the way. A few days later, I nearly get wiped by a pick-up coming around a blind corner. In many places, there is no where to go, but luckily I am able to get the bike up onto the right berm. I squeeze by with inches to spare. For those from away, this may be an eye-opener, but there is practically no law-enforcement along this route. We see two instances of LEOs. The first is near St. Barbe. The second was around Red Indian Lake, where a LEO was guiding a long string of quads. They expect you to police yourself and have reasonable sense of manners and good conduct.

Tablelands and Gravel



Trestle Crossing Fischells River





Adam is always willing to walk to get a good photo. At the bed of Fischells River.

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Old 08-28-2013, 09:52 AM   #19
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After Fischells, we join secondary roads and the TCH for a time. The Trailway doesn't seem worth the risk at this point, and our progress has been slower than planned. At Stephenville Crossing, it appears that the rail bed was used as a logging road. There's less gravel, and the track is much wider. We make good progress to Gallants and George's Lake. There, the old Trailway re-emerges with a vengeance. The track is narrow along the lake, and the gravel is deep and loose. By the time we intersect a side road, Rich is exhausted. He chooses to take the road to the Trans-Canada, and meet us in Corner Brook.

Adam comments that he really needs to change out his front sprocket. He's been running a 17 tooth for the pavement, which makes the conditions a real challenge.

We find a moose skull by the side of the road. We agree that a man of Adam's off-road fortitude needs a real Newfoundland hood ornament.



The Trailway to Corner Brook again improves, and we rail through a very nice selection of twisties before emerging on a hill above the town. It's been raining now for some time, and we need some time to regroup and plan the evening.

With apologies to the residents of Corner Brook, it was not my favorite town by a significant margin. The centerpiece is a large paper mill, and the area has a gritty industrial feel, although the location is as scenic as any along the coast. This was once the largest paper mill in the world -- and a paper mill is one of the most expensive pieces of industrial equipment to construct. After over 100 years, Corner Brook's mill is still creating jobs and economic opportunity.

We stop at a Tim Horton's in the center of town. There appear to be drug deals going down right outside the door. A teen boy is riding his bicycle without any helmet or other gear, and gets hit by a pick-up coming out of the drive-through. He's OK, but badly shaken up. We decide to get out and find a camp site for the night. This isn't a good place to hang out.

A few miles from the center of town, there's a pleasant campground. Rich turns on the Swedish charm with the young lady at the gate. She's not supposed to let four of us on one site, but she bends the rules. We purchase an enormous sack of firewood and pitch the tents. We've survived our first day.
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Old 08-28-2013, 10:12 AM   #20
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Corner Brook is actually very pretty when you see it from the south east side of town. You can see all the way out the Bay of Islands, with the Blomidon's in the background. It's stunning.

That Tim's is scary though. We were there for lunch a few weeks ago, and there was a woman barking uncontrollably, two different guys carrying on very elaborate conversations with themselves, and a whole host of seedy characters hanging around by the door. Not a Tim's I'll make a habit of visiting.

Great report so far.
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Old 08-28-2013, 10:35 AM   #21
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The first day. 177 miles/285 km.

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Old 08-28-2013, 10:54 AM   #22
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Very excited to see the rest of your RR. Just got back from a week in the area surrounding Pasadena, did quite a bit of trail riding there. Beautiful country, very tough riding at times!
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Old 08-28-2013, 12:56 PM   #23
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Great read so far, look forward to this one.
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Old 08-28-2013, 02:28 PM   #24
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Tuesday

Tuesday morning dawns clear and glorious. I can't think of a more hazardous job than being a weather forecaster in this climate. During our week on The Rock, we experienced just about every extreme of climate that could be expected in the summer. The weather can change from brightly sunny to a wind-lashed torrent in a very short space of time. Any rider should be aware of this, and bring plenty of warm clothes and rain gear. I brought my 35 degree sleeping bag (2 degrees Celsius), and was wishing on some nights that I'd brought one that was warmer.

August is reported to be the warmest and driest month. Overall, we lucked out on weather, and the black flies and mosquitoes were largely not an issue. I'd hesitate to plan a trip in June, however.

We were finished with the Trailway for a while, and I can't say that any of us regretted the fact. Tuesday's route took us over the tablelands to the north of Corner Brook. From what I'd read and heard from other riders, the roads would be spectacular. Shortly after leaving the campground, we headed up Hughes Brook Road. I immediately regretted not plotting more routes in the area. The scenery is stunning, and the riding is challenging enough to be interesting without being grueling. Starting at sea level, one rapidly ascends the mountains. One great view follows another. This area is big bike friendly, and had some of the most enjoyable riding of the trip.

Anton savoring the area:



Rich and Adam with tablelands in the background:





BMWKLR marked this as a great campsite, and it surely would have been.



View from the campsite:





My camera doesn't do the subject justice. I'm eagerly awaiting pics from the others.
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Old 08-28-2013, 02:50 PM   #25
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at the "campsite" I just set my camera in video mode and spun around just for my own memory's sake
We had snow in the mtn ridge to the left of the waterfall on July31.....

nice report, I'll do mine when the days are short and nights are cold.....
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Old 08-28-2013, 02:52 PM   #26
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Imagine an excellently set up shot, made with a quality camera, in this spot. I hope Adam will come through for us!

If not I'll be posting something causing the viewer to ring up their eye doctor with cataract concerns.
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Old 08-28-2013, 04:20 PM   #27
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I'm hoping one of you had a good telephoto for that waterfall. We asked a lot of people about it but no one seemed to know anything about it.
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Old 08-28-2013, 04:29 PM   #28
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Tuesday - Back on the Slab

All too soon, we're near Bonne Bay and back on the pavement at the border of Gros Morne Park. It's a lovely area, but it's a long slog on pavement. The middle of the day is eaten up winding north along the coast through so much scenery that it's often difficult to take in. I give up on photography, as my little point-and-shoot doesn't do the subject justice.

Just after entering the park, we stop at an overlook and pull out stoves to cook lunch. We draw quite a crowd. A family from Ontario stops to chat and take pictures of the four funny guys on little bikes. A little later, a group of cruisers pulls in with Nova Scotia plates. South of the border, this may have occasioned a little posturing and scraping, as the dual-sport crowd sometimes doesn't see eye-to-eye with V-twin riders. There's no such friction here. The Bluenosers are genuinely interested in our trip, and we have a good conversation and shake hands all around.

This is when Rich once again demonstrates his Swedish charisma. A very pretty young girl engages him in lengthy conversation, leaving the rest of us feeling smelly and unattractive.





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Old 08-28-2013, 07:43 PM   #29
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Grinding northward up the slab, one begins to wish for a nice, cushy saddle rather than the narrow plank on the DRZ and DR. All three of us Suzuki riders have Seat Concepts seats, and they make the ride manageable. It's still not cushy by any means, and there's a lot of squirming and peg-standing going on after a few hours. First you sit on one cheek for a while, then the other. Lean forward, lean back, stand up. Adam's doing better. While it's no feather bed, a KLR seat is at least tolerable on the slab, and the rugged New Brunswicker apparently has a posterior made of highly classified Canadian armor plating. From what I see, he regularly pushes long miles on the Kaw.

It's a relief to finally pull off onto gravel again. Just north of Daniels Harbour, we pull of onto a series of roads that parallel the 430. It's good riding, despite pot-holes that would qualify for yachting clubs in lesser country. Some of the pot-holes are easily 20 meters long, and appear to be spring-fed. By the time we locate a camp site, we all have wet feet and pants. Rich is suffering. He's packed jeans and hiking boots, while the rest of us have waterproof pants and high riding boots. His boots are theoretically waterproof, but that doesn't stop the flow in from the top. One puddle shoots water straight into my helmet, and it's dripping down my back. Arrgh! The Scottish mountaineers I know would call this "full conditions."

I've been pissed off at Anton all afternoon because of a comment he didn't intend and I likely took the wrong way. We ride together frequently, and I consider him my closest friend. However, a group ride is a little like marriage -- an enterprise I've failed at twice. We've got to clear the air, or this whole business could go down the pan. We bitch at one another for a few minutes, shake hands, and suddenly everything's better. I'm still not going to bunk with the Russkie sum-bich, however.

Anton and Adam scour the landscape for firewood. Adam has a very cool manual chain-saw from Princess Auto; Anton a good Fiskars hatchet and a Coleman folding saw, which I borrow. Soon we have a large blaze going. Next time, I'm bringing my saw, however. The Coleman product looks good, but the blade is made of old tin cans or freighter hull or something, and cuts like a sofa cushion. It's neither sharp nor properly set.

Rich cooks some truly wretched ramen soup, and offers to share. Sucker that I am, I spoon some noodles into my pot.
It's bad. I choke down three forkfuls, and leave the rest in the middle of the road for the Canada Jays. The "gorbies" are a bold, bright bird. I've often had them land on my hand and snatch a cookie in the woods. Lumberman's legend holds that each jay has the soul of an old lumberjack, and one can't scold them, even if they snatch food from your hand. We amuse ourselves by breaking granola bars into pieces and watching the jays scamper for them.





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Old 08-29-2013, 08:43 AM   #30
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Tuesday's Route -- 163 mi/263 km.

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