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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Canuman, Aug 27, 2013.
The first day. 177 miles/285 km.
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!
Great read so far, look forward to this one.
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.
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.....
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. :eek1
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.
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.
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.
Tuesday's Route -- 163 mi/263 km.
We didn't have a problem with fuel on The Rock, but this was due to good management. Each of the Suzukis carried a spare fuel can on the back, giving us a total capacity of around five gallons. We never used the spare fuel, but it was comforting to have in case of emergency. The KLR650 is a supertanker, and Adam did not carry a can.
The general rule is to fill up when one sees a station, even if only a couple of liters down. As one progresses north, the distance between stations increases, and often one has to ride off-route a fair distance to get gas.
87 octane is the norm. While some stations in larger towns have mid-grade and premium, I'd be reluctant to bring a bike that needed high octane. At one station above Gros Morne, we observed a pair of Harley riders pulling up to the pump, only to see that there was regular. They blazed off down the road. If they'd asked, we would have told them that the next station was over 100 km down the road, and had a single pump. They didn't ask.
Photo by Anton
Anton just sent a link to a large number of photos and videos. I'll post some of them up so we're caught up.
Anton's wife Katya sent this little doll along to remind our companion of home. Anton and Katya are expecting their first child in December.
Anton took a lot of ribbing about the bling silver bag on the dash. It came as a premium with some perfume Katya bought, and she was going to throw it out. It was somewhat out of place on a trip like this. Anton didn't mind. It was the right size for a bunch of his electronics, and is actually very rugged. Anton grew up under the shortages in Soviet Russia. He figures a bag is a bag. I still had to call him "Sir Elton." You should see his bright pink neoprene camera case.
Entering Nova Scotia. It's always windy here in Amherst.
North Sydney, NS at night.
The "Frat House," MS Atlantic Vision
We needed this:
Entering the harbor at Channel Port Aux Basques:
Near the beginning of the Trailway at JT Cheeseman Provincial Park
There isn't much sand on the Trailway, or on The Rock for that matter. This stretch is an eye-opener first thing in the morning, however.
Lobster Traps Near Fischells
Adam acting as building inspector
Limestone Strata At Fischell's River
Who's Shooting Whom?
The ocean is the most obvious feature of the landscape here, but there are also thousands of lakes, ponds, rivers, and streams. One is never very far from water. Anton and Adam brought water filters, which we used to fill our water containers on several occasions. Because of the moose population, one doesn't want to drink unfiltered water because of the risk of giardia.
In many areas, there are pipes coming from roadside springs. We assumed that the water from these was safe, and drank it with no apparent ill effects.
You'll be thankful for a camera that takes panoramic shots.
South of Corner Brook. Many of the back roads are maintained by lumber companies. Be aware that a well-maintained resource road generally means that there's an active logging operation in progress, and that the trucks have the right-of-way. Even if they didn't, you're too small to argue the point.
Abandoned car outside Corner Brook. If I had to guess, I'd say that it was stolen and abandoned. Those are good snows on the front.
Corner Brook and Humber Arm
It's been a long day!
Looking out from the beginning of Hughes Brook Road:
Stone, Trees, and Sky:
The red plateau looking toward Gros Morne:
Bunchberries. I'd mistakenly labeled them as teaberries, which look somewhat similar. Thanks for the correction, Newfiebullet.