Toronto to Newfoundland - the long way east

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by NonstopBanana, Aug 26, 2013.

  1. NonstopBanana

    NonstopBanana Thumper Rider

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2013
    Oddometer:
    224
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    The mirrors on the SV are Ducati Viper. They could be adjusted for length, but he always has them at their longest.
    #41
  2. NonstopBanana

    NonstopBanana Thumper Rider

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2013
    Oddometer:
    224
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
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    Twillingate Lighthouse

    This morning no one brought up the idea of taking T'Railway further. Even though from here on the trail passes through towns all the way to St. John's, we thought there way just no point. Perhaps it was finally time to explore the coastal villages of the northern shores.

    Before leaving we cleaned our bike chains and did an overall inspection of the bikes. That's when I noticed that while my luggage rack was still hanging, it was hanging by one less screw than originally intended, and the rear bracket containing 3 of the 5 screws holding it in was cracked completely between two of the screws. I decided from now on not to tempt fate and avoid large potholes, especially at speed. And no gravel, either. So we headed up to Twillingate and decided to check that area out before rejoining the TCH near Gander and heading for Clarenville, our planned stop for the next night.

    This area was different from both the west coast and the interior we saw along the trail. The first curiosity we stumbled upon was this odd location in the community of Campbellton, the original purpose of which is not quite clear to me.

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    Notice several odd objects in the background - was it for moonshine production?

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    There was a couple of these huge sections of concrete pipes there. One was all open and filled with empty beer bottles and other trash, the other was locked. We knocked, no one answered.

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    No idea what this is, but it's RED and looks awesome!

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    Now I know what's been missing in my life: a success grinder!

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    The whole place was overgrown with knee-high grasses

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    There were inhabited houses right across the road

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    Road 340 towards Twillingate passes through several islands over numerous causeways. The scenery was very interesting passing near Boyd's Cove, with lots of yellow flora in the water.

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    This style of stabilizing the electrical poles with a pile of rocks is used throughout Newfoundland.

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    Then there is the obligatory photo of the Dildo Run Provincial Park sign.

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    Further research suggests that great views can be found inside the park, but it's always the issue of so much to see, so little time.

    It got colder passing near the ocean along all the small islands. I put my rain gear on for wind protection. Sunbandit decided it was warm enough for the mesh jacket alone and long story short, in Newfoundland you better put your rain gear on sooner rather than later, especially if it's cloudy. Not surprisingly, it soon started to rain.

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    Outskirts of Twillingate

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    Cleaning fish in Twillingate

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    Our breakfast consisted of cold leftover moose meat we originally bought in Rocky Harbour, and by the time we got to Twillingate, it was way overdue for lunch. Sophisticated travellers that we are, we were intent on picking a well recommended location for lunch. There were a couple of them we considered, but the unfortunate truth is that we could not find them despite there being only one main road in the whole town. The rain kept drizzling, Sunbandit kept getting soaked, the GPS kept playing tricks on us.

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    That's the road the trusty Garmin told us to take back to town when we strayed too far. It was in "car" mode.

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    Although not drivable, it's a rather pretty trail, with great views.

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    View from the top of the trail back towards the road.

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    Even after taking an alternative route we still could not find the restaurants we were looking for. Twillingate was very busy in general, full of slow moving cars, probably all tourists with a very faint idea of where they were headed (just like us). It was raining harder. Having soaked halfway through we stopped at J & J Fish Market for lunch. The place was right on the road and quite impossible to miss when you enter the town, so we decided to give it a try. Can't say it was bad, but after all the time spent eating seafood in the Maritimes and Newfoundland, it takes more to get impressed. Fortunately, the rain took a break as we came back on the road, so we spent a bit of time in the town taking photos. This time Sunbandit decided to play it safe and put his red rain jacket to some good use.

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    Making the lobster pose

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    A patch of blue sky - a false hope for sun

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    Fishing houses in Twillingate

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    We stopped at a souvenir shop and after long deliberations, picked up a pair of embroidered T-shirts. Made in Nicaragua. This really sometimes depresses me, but what can you do? The only place I visited where the souvenirs were actually made in the same country was Greece. You can also find some "Made in USA" goods in the States, but they will make sure to mark them prominently and charge you extra for the privilege, so it feels like an exception rather than a rule. I wonder what I will see in souvenir shops if I go to Nicaragua? Made in Canada, perhaps, part of a cultural exchange program :)

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    Steep cliffs near Twillingate

    The last item on today's to-go-before-dark list was the lighthouse, in Crow Head, just north of Twillingate. It's a rather uniquely designed structure, surrounded by a large hiking area with tons of great views of the steep cliffs, small islands and the ocean. It's a popular spot for iceberg watching, but the season for that ends in June, and this was almost August.

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    Not a good spot for cliff diving

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    Hiking trails around the area are quite extensive

    As we headed out we spotted a few of Twillingate's many root cellars. They are dug into the sides of the hills and often are quite subtle. There are supposed to be over 200 of them all over the village, but you will not find them unless you look very carefully.

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    Root cellar, Twillingate

    As we headed south towards the Trans Canada Highway the rain restarted. We stopped only once when we saw a creepy house. It may have been a church in its previous life, but looked abandoned. The crooked top of the red tower made it look like a witch's hat.

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    Rain was going on and off, and the light was rapidly decreasing. As we were riding through Terra Nova National Park, it was getting into the nighttime territory, and by the time we got to Clarenville, it was way past closing time for any decent restaurant (in other words, no dinner tonight). We stayed in a cute B&B and the hostess was apparently worried as to our whereabouts. I left only my home phone when booking, so when she called, all she got was the answering machine. She promised french waffles for breakfast and with that thought we called it a night.
    #42
  3. NonstopBanana

    NonstopBanana Thumper Rider

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2013
    Oddometer:
    224
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    It's been a while since the last update, but I still hope to finish it all up before Christmas. :1drink

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    The B&B we stayed in Clarenville had a very small room for us, but it was enough to fit our stuff, and the bed was probably the most comfortable of all that we had slept on so far. As for the French waffles, there was that and much more waiting for us in the dining room. Aside from preparing a thorough breakfast, our hostess felt it was her obligation to make sure we were headed in the right direction today. She mapped out a route around the area that would pass through many of the interesting places in Bonavista peninsula, as well as suggestions for lunch, and finally a suggestion for a small fishing village that we would probably not visit that day, but perhaps on the way back from St. John's. Aside from all that, I had another spot in mind: Elliston, where you can observe Atlantic puffins from land.

    Last night's rain got through to Sunbandit's mic and made it for the most part unusable. That left me in a radio DJ mode - I can talk, but would not get a response from my attentive audience. It would take a couple more rainfalls for us to figure out that a solution to this problem is simply to dry out the mic, and if natural forces are not able to do so in time, a hair dryer might.

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    A side road leading someplace unmarked on our maps. We stopped for some photos, but eventually turned around to continue to our planned destinations.

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    Pitcher plants

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    Lily pond

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    A tiny fur tree

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    Riding near Clarenville on highway 230a around the pond was quite scenic but after a while you get used to it and it becomes normal. We passed an Esso gas station with a old style oval sign and were wondering if we'd stop here to gas up later on our way back to TCH. But our first stop was not a gas station, it was the village of Elliston. There was nothing upon entering to tell you about the puffins, but knowing about them in advance, we stopped at the visitor centre and asked for more specific directions to the puffin viewing site. I suppose if it wasn't for the birds, they would not have that visitor centre in the first place.

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    In the village of Elliston

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    View of Elliston

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    The surrounding waters are full of small islands that serve as nesting grounds for a variety of sea birds.

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    These are not puffins, these are terns

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    Once we got to the parking area, Sunbandit was a bit concerned about leaving our helmets unlocked with the bikes (the comms units stick out in just the wrong place and prevent them from fitting into the locks). I was so confident with Newfie hospitality (and visitors' honesty), I actually managed to talk him out of lugging those helmets with us. A short hike took us to the edge of the cliff separating the birds' nesting grounds from the mainland. They nest on a small island which is only about 20m or so from mainland. What followed can be briefly described as an hour of surprising relaxation as we sat there on the grass and just watched them go about their lives.

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    Watching the puffins. This is why we brought binoculars, and it was definitely worth it.

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    Black Guillemots

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    Puffins, they are social creatures

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    There was a lot of taking off and landing happening.

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    These birds are built for swimming and diving, they look very awkward on land. They excel at high speed dives from the air, but are quite clumsy at descending on dry land, and walking on it.

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    Coming in with the catch for the chick.

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    View of the nearby islands (glorified rocks in the water) from the mainland.

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    Notice the seagulls. They spread out throughout the island and try to intercept the fish that the puffins bring to feed their chicks. There was a moment when I saw a couple of puffins trying to push a seagull out. One puffin made a head gesture to the other puffins to approach the seagulls and the other one proceeded a little but then took a good look at the seagull and shook its head and went back inside the hole. The puffins are strong in numbers, but the seagulls are still significantly larger birds.

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    A puffin guards the entrance to its nest as its partner goes in to check on the young.

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    The further they are from land, the more graceful they look.

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    A large number of puffins are chilling in the water. When the breeding season is over, they stay in the water for months at a time, only coming back to land to build nests and lay eggs.

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    Panoramic view of the observation area and the puffin island.

    While we sat there looking at puffins the weather was beautiful, sunny and warm. So sunny in fact, I think I was about to have a mild heat stroke. Yet in the distance we could see fog and darker clouds looming in, so we figured we better keep going before the weather turns for the worse and cuts our sightseeing short.

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    There are many different seabirds in Newfoundland. These remain unidentified by me as of yet.

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    Fog over Elliston.

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    The trail back

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    I think everyone that comes here takes a photo in this cool chair.

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    Next stop: cape Bonavista. The local landmark is a historic lighthouse at the tip of the peninsula. As is true of many places, the way towards it was more fun than the thing itself. The sunny skies followed us to the lighthouse and made the surrounding landscapes appear very bright and joyful. The lighthouse itself is very unique, painted in thick white and red stripes. Many existing photos show it in a bright and shiny state, but when we came to it, it was clearly way overdue for a fresh paint job. The weathered paint was sad to look at, and as we later found out, it was a common case of government budget mismanagement.

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    Views along Cape Shore Road, leading to Bonavista Lighthouse

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    The shores off Bonavista Peninsula

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    Bonavista Lighthouse. It has had better days.

    We heard a fog horn and realized that the scenic part of the trip was probably over for the day, as the weather was getting poorer and visibility lower. At the suggestion of our Clarenville hostess, we went looking for the Bonavista Social Club for lunch. Unlike most well regarded city-based establishments, this one was not in the middle of it all nor easy to find. It's located in a little cove off a tertiary road, but apparently its reputation is high enough that you better book ahead for dinner - people come from all over the area. It started raining as we were still looking for the right road to turn on, but once we got there, the skies temporarily cleared up and allowed us to enjoy a great meal on their outdoor patio. The patio overlooks the shore of the cove, a vegetable garden and a field with a small herd of goats. At one point someone's dog got loose and started chasing the goats around the field. It was fun watching two grown men run around in circles trying to catch that dog :).

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    The last minutes of fair weather in Cape Bonavista.

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    Onwards and upwards!

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    Gloomier skies in the town of Bonavista.

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    You can see the modern light station on the right. These have effectively replaced the historical lighthouses on the island, and most of the world for that matter. The numerous picturesque lighthouses only serve as historic landmarks and tourist attractions, not for marine navigation.

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    Ready to indulge in fresh pizza.

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    Amherst Cove

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    The Bonavista Social Club

    If we wanted to make it to St. John's before sunset, we needed to get going. There was hope that we would beat the rain, but it seems we simply went from one cloud to another. Strong winds, thick fog and hard rain - all the principal components of Newfoundland climate. Keep your visor closed and you will hardly be able to see with all the water drops and condensation. Open it up and get the painful lashes of rain against your face (cold rain does not feel good on your skin at 100km/h). As we entered the Avalon peninsula, the fog became extremely thick, with visibility dropping to less than 10 meters. We reduced the speed and tried to keep together, mindful of a long train of cars that were piling up behind us. Nobody wanted to go particularly fast with such dense fog all around you. If you looked to the side, you could not really see anything past the highway. Only a couple of times the fog cleared up a little bit and we could see glimpses of the beautiful landscapes it was hiding. It's a shame, as on a clear day you could see many ponds and even sea shore from the elevated vantage points of the highway.

    It all cleared up as we got close to St. John's, and after we finally got to the city we parked our bikes and headed out for a walk around downtown. It felt like a city, which I kind of missed after all this time spent in small villages and on the road. Despite all the dining and partying opportunities, we decided to retire early, but not before stopping to admire the large ships docked in the old harbour.

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    Sticking around in St. John's

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    Lots of huge ships from all over the world in the harbour

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    Downtown St. John's
    #43
  4. bwokentoof

    bwokentoof Pollyanna Man

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2007
    Oddometer:
    362
    Location:
    no fixed address Ontario
    Great RR

    Great Pics

    This is why I love ADV :clap
    #44
  5. NonstopBanana

    NonstopBanana Thumper Rider

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2013
    Oddometer:
    224
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
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    The rolling streets of downtown St. John's

    Our morning in St. John's started with a breakfast together with some of the other guests of the B&B we stayed at. It was interesting to talk about all sorts of random things while the breakfast was prepared, and this morning we were treated to some insights into shipbuilding. It was looking gloomy outside, but we still decided to get out of the city and check out Cape Spear.

    We made a few calls first to arrange boat tours for next day and to confirm our tire change appointment, and then headed out. Cape Spear is advertised as the easternmost point of North America, though I find most claims of this nature to be fuzzy at best. If we are not sticking to the requirement for the point to be part of the continental mainland, then why are we ignoring Greenland?

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    Road to Cape Spear, with the two lighthouses barely visible on the horizon: new one to the left of me, old one slightly to the right.

    After getting to the cape, the gloomy weather became rainy weather and turned on my moody mode. We sat on the rocks not too far from the cliffs and looked out into the ocean. From here on it really is open ocean with no land for a long while. The fog over the water covered up whatever we would otherwise see, and we had to entertain ourselves watching a huge tanker which for some reason was stuck just off the shore.

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    View near Cape Spear

    When the rain got stronger, we went inside the souvenir shop to avoid soaking through. There was nothing terribly interesting there, with the exception of a large model of the Fresnel lens. The small shop was stuffed with people looking to escape from the rain, and it soon got way too hot and crowded. We went outside and decided to visit the nearby lighthouse museum.

    It was right across from the souvenir shop, but its modest appearance did not attract any attention so it was free of any other visitors. This museum showcased paintings of over 80 of Newfoundland's historic lighthouses, created by a single artist over the course of over two years. It had everything from the famous lighthouses like Twillingate and Bonavista to less known towers on the small islands off the shore of Newfoundland. It was run by the Coast Guard and soon after coming in, we were greeted by a retired guard who talked at length about the origins of this collection, lighthouses and Newfoundland life in general. The diversity of architectural styles present in all these lighthouses was astonishing, tall and short, round and square (and polygon), bare brick walls, a variety of paint colours and patterns... It was definitely worth checking out.

    Rain kept drizzling, so we decided to head back to the city and have lunch. We parked the bikes near our B&B, changed into more street appropriate clothing and headed out by foot. We set to try a well recommended spot on Water St called The Rocket. It is a quintessential urban food joint. Kind of hipster, opens early and closes late, pretty interior and very good food, including desserts.

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    Manhole cover in St. John's

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    They were closed, all out of sausage.

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    One thing about St. John's: it's not very flat, it's got slants in all directions.

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    Cat and beer, what more can a soul desire?

    After lunch we circled around the downtown block looking for odd things and as the drizzle intensified, headed back for a cat nap. Woke up just in time for sunset and decided to take a ride in the city. It has been a long while since we've been out riding in a city at night, and it felt not entirely unlike Toronto, except way smaller ;). After a few minutes we ended up in the Battery, an area at the edge of the city with great view of the harbour and lots of steep inclines and hairpin turns. It was very quiet and beautiful there, so we spent some time taking photos of the night harbour and taking in the atmosphere.

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    St. John's port

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    Views from the Battery

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    Looking out towards the Narrows - a treacherous exit from St. John's harbour.

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    Next up: Signal Hill. The view of the night city from there is one of the best, contrasted by the total darkness on the opposite side - the ocean.

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    Looking over the city from Signal Hill

    It was relatively busy at Signal Hill, so we went back towards the city and stopped near the port entrance on Harbour Drive. "Marsec Level 1" was prominently displayed there, and the security guard on duty came out of his booth and chatted with us for a while. Like some other Newfies we've talked to, this guy spent a few years working in Ontario before coming back to Newfoundland. He mentioned it's very common for people here, as work can be hard to find locally.

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    At the port entrance

    As we came back to our B&B it was very quiet and empty, so we decided to make a little bit of noise by preparing fresh tea and sipping in on the sofa in the lounge. We did not turn on any lights so the room was only lit up by whatever light was coming from the street. There was a large painting on the wall that matched a smaller photograph on the table. It was a portrait of a person that looked strangely genderless, except for the thin pearl necklace that we did not notice right away, which pointed to it being a girl. It was a bit creepy being watched by two copies of that portrait on either side of the sofa, but I suppose whoever decorated this place, was going for that effect. Case in point: our room featured a reproduction of The Lady of Shalott, not exactly a joyful piece of art.

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    Our bikes parked in a quiet courtyard at the back of the B&B. If you want to stay in the city, you definitely need to make sure you have access to safe parking as few places in downtown core offer it.
    #45
  6. NonstopBanana

    NonstopBanana Thumper Rider

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2013
    Oddometer:
    224
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
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    This morning we woke up close to the breakfast ending time and found the main table in the dining room had no more space left. We opted to have breakfast in the lounge instead, where we had tea the night before. This was a blessing in disguise as the guests at the main table were in the middle of a heated discussion about Toronto politics (especially our colourful major, who since then became even more infamous). This was not something we wanted to engage in, so we headed out quickly after the meal for our Zodiac boat tour in Witless Bay.

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    Before we left, we noticed something stuck in the SV650's rear tire:

    It still held air fine and we decided to proceed with caution today, but tomorrow this will be the first bike to get the tire change ;)

    Witless Bay is a 30 min ride away from downtown St. John's. The route we took along Topsail Road and Highway 10 was close to the coast and very scenic. It was short compared to most other rides on this trip, so before we knew it, we were donning the bright orange insulated suits that would keep us warm and dry on the open boat.

    As we left the small inner bay we started seeing puffins and many other sea birds very close to the boat, and within a couple of minutes we were seeing the first whale for today - a minke. Over the course of the hour and a half tour we got close and personal with about half a dozen humpback whales; some of them teased us by passing right under the boat. A few more were seen further away, often identified by the splashes coming from their blowholes.

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    On the approach to the bird sanctuary island, we saw lots of puffins up close. This time we had plenty of opportunities to watch how these birds behave in the water, something not easily done in Elliston.

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    Puffins in Witless Bay Bird Sanctuary

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    Sea gull chicks

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    Common Murres and Atlantic Puffins

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    There is a small tent on the island, apparently for use by the researchers that study the numerous birds at the sanctuary, but no other human-made structures. In the vicinity of the island whales and seabirds roam very close to each other, sharing the abundant resources of the ocean. It's always cool to watch the whales surface, but nothing beats the view of their majestic tails as they dive in.

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    Humpback whale tail

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    The whale and the bird sanctuary

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    Tiny research tent - the only artificial structure on the island

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    Puffins warming up in the sun

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    Take off!

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    Common Murres

    I got a little seasick on the boat and decided to wait a bit before riding off. We had a bite in a nearby cafe and then went back to St. John's. We had another boat tour scheduled and with the extended lunch break we took, we made it with little time to spare. Since it was departing from St. John's harbour, we left the bikes at the B&B and headed there by foot, noting some of Newfoundland's furrier residents.

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    Our resident cat. Since the streets are so slanted, the ground where we parked was way above the first floor kitchen and patio, hence the shot's downward perspective.

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    Another street, another cat.

    I was hesitant to do the second boat trip because I was afraid to get seasick again, but as it was a much larger boat, I thought to give it a try. It's funny because I've been on quite a few boats before, including another Zodiac, and was feeling just fine, but somehow that day was different. In retrospect, I made a wrong guess. Not only did I promptly get nauseous again, the trip itself was a waste of time. The boat did not depart for another half an hour as they waited to see if more people would come and buy tickets. What followed was a very basic tour of the static landmarks such as the harbour and Cape Spear. It would have been fine if that's what we were looking for, but the tour company based their entire marketing around icebergs, whales and puffins, so we were hoping to see more of that, instead of just the landmarks that are always in season and always easy to find. I can understand lack of icebergs, it was indeed not the time for that, but it was mind boggling that we saw no whales at all considering the luck we had with them earlier in the day. I think they did not even try. On the bright side, we did not crash into an iceberg and arrived safely back to dry land, so there is that.

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    St. John's waterfront.

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    Looking towards the Narrows from the inner harbour.

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    One of the numerous large ships docked in St. John's. Also note the steep incline of the street as you get further from the shore.

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    The Battery.

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    The Battery up close. On the right is the spot from which we took many night photos the previous evening.

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    Lighthouse at the entrance into St. John's harbour.

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    Cape Spear and its two lighthouses.

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    Fishermen like to show off their catch!

    We usually try to explore different places to eat when travelling, but after a disappointing boat tour, I wanted some certainty. We went back to the Rocket, and had some of their yummy stuff and some extraordinary profiteroles.

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    With our spirits lifted, we walked around the city streets absorbing its atmosphere and enjoying a relaxing evening.
    #46
  7. NonstopBanana

    NonstopBanana Thumper Rider

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2013
    Oddometer:
    224
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
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    Community of Flatrock, Avalon Peninsula, Newfoundland

    Our schedule for the morning was very busy: a tire change for one (or both, depending on how efficient the shop is) of our bikes. After that we planned to ride around the peninsula and see what the coast looks like north and south of St. John's.

    We scheduled our appointment with Honda One in Mount Pearl back when we were in Rocky Harbour, so thankfully we did not have to wait for anything too long. The new BT-023 tires were installed on the SV650 within an hour, barely giving us time to check out their store and catch up on writing the trip journals ;)

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    SV650 getting ready for new shoes

    After they were done, the mechanic said that if we leave the other bike in the shop, they might finish it before end of day. We agreed and headed out 2 up along the Irish Loop, towards Ferryland. This gave me an opportunity to whip out the camera and take photos from the back seat as we rode. This sounds like fun and games, but the truth is, it's not so easy to make decent (or even barely passable) shots while going 100+ km/h.

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    Blooming potato fields on the side of the road. It's a sight I haven't seen in over 10 years. Last time I saw these pale purple flowers was in my grandparents' vegetable garden, where I would occasionally try to catch and kill the much hated Colorado beetles.

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    Typical Newfoundland field flowers.

    We passed several interesting villages with their very familiar by now views of the ocean, fishing houses, boats. We explored a couple of spots in a bit more detail, taking close up shots of the shore and wildlife.

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    Although Ferryland is only an hour away from St. John's, the time spent going there felt very different than the whole trip up to this point. Without having to account for my TU250, the SV could afford to go much faster than at any other point during the last couple of weeks, which felt faster still when you're on the passenger seat instead of the rider's. :dllama Although we had a couple of multi-day 2 up trips before (to Saguenay in Québec and Cape Breton in Nova Scotia), once you try riding a motorbike yourself, a passenger seat feels a lot more insecure and uncertain. Getting my TU back could not happen soon enough.

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    Approaching Ferryland.

    By the time we got to Ferryland, it was about lunch time and we stopped at a restaurant that claimed to have a million dollar view. It was overlooking the ocean and served seafood, like many of the establishments in Newfoundland. After a couple of days in St. John's this town felt rural again.

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    The local attraction in Ferryland, like most coastal communities, was the lighthouse. In this case the road to the lighthouse was passing by an archaeological dig and then a short gravel road. This area was in use by fishermen since the 16<sup>th</sup> century, so the digging was apparently a worthy endeavour to unravel the site's long history. The gravel road was a good test for the newly installed BT-023 tires - it had a few steep ascends and descends, and was quite narrow overall. We could not reach the lighthouse by bike as the last section of the road was marked for pedestrian use only.

    Instead of hiking all the way to the lighthouse, we took some photos near the parking lot. The lighthouse was barely visible and we estimated that if we were to hike all the way to it, it would probably take an extra hour for the trip, which could make it hard for us to make it in time to pick up my bike from the shop. I did not want to risk it, and entertained myself with the view from where I was standing and by watching a Québec family take some daring photos. The gist of it was that the boy (about 8 years old or so) was arguing with his mother and finally won. She then held him up by his legs, upside down over the cliff while the father was taking photos of them against the backdrop of the deep blue water and the lighthouse in the distance. The things some people are willing to do for their children :)

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    Ferryland

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    The lighthouse is visible near the horizon. The water was clear and inviting, but it was too chilly for a dip.

    Although there was still lots to see further south on highway 10, we decided to head north and make sure we get my bike back today. After finally reaching the shop by phone we realized that they greatly exaggerated the likelihood of the tire change being done today. We decided to just come pick it up and figure out the rest of the day as we go along.

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    Along highway 10, Avalon peninsula.

    After picking up my TU we went to St. John's and decided to stop by a downtown café for a little dessert. Hava Java is a spot right on Water Street with a couple of outdoor tables and we parked our bikes right beside it. Just as we were sitting down a police officer came over and started writing us parking tickets. Turned out it was a no parking zone (it was not well marked at all!). :mulie SunBandit sprung up to talk to the him and the tickets were avoided, though he still had to re-park the bikes. Since we already ordered the drinks and desserts and the outdoor tables were an even hotter commodity than parking spaces, I stayed at the table while SunBandit handled both our motorcycles. It was a whole lot of trouble for a very small gain to the city - a parking space cost us only 50 cents for the half hour we were there. On-street parking in downtown Toronto will cost you 3-4 times as much, though it is free for motorcycles (for now).

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    A cup of fancy pants Valencia Hot Chocolate at Hava Java.

    After relaxing for a bit at the café we went to check out Signal Hill, this time in daylight. You could see Cape Spear quite well from this elevated vantage point, and there are many plaques on the hill marking various historic occasions. One of those that caught my attention was commemorating the reception of the first transatlantic radio signal in 1901, by an Italian long distance radio pioneer Guglielmo Marconi. :deal

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    Cape Spear visible from Signal Hill.

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    Cabot Tower

    From Signal Hill you get two general options - north and south, and since we've been south of St. John's earlier, we went north this time. Past Torbay, we stopped by communities of Flatrock and Pouch Cove, until finally we reached the end of the paved highway. It turned into a gravel road, which did not seem so bad in itself, but when the road started to go steeply uphill, our tires gave up and the bikes started to slide down. I was not quite prepared for this and was not sure how to best get out of this sticky situation, but the tip to lean the bike a little until you get a good grip with one leg helped. We made it out of that section just in time: once back on flat road travelling in the opposite direction, we saw a pickup truck going confidently into the blind uphill turn, full speed ahead.

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    Near Flatrock, Newfoundland.

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    Pouch Cove, Newfoundland

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    It was past sunset when we got back to St. John's, and having tried the fun activity that is parking in downtown here, we left the bikes at the B&amp;B and went out in search of dinner. The restaurant we originally planned to go to was fully booked, so we went to the Rocket again. They did not disappoint, and the bread pudding suggested by the cashier was tastier than I even hoped for. On the downside, I was hoping to find some kind of interesting piece of handmade jewellery featuring a puffin, but came up with nothing, but bread pudding makes such things seem unimportant.

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    Building about to be torn down, St. John's.

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    #47
  8. NonstopBanana

    NonstopBanana Thumper Rider

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2013
    Oddometer:
    224
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    On our last morning in St. John's we had a particularly engaging breakfast conversation with fellow travellers. It was a couple from Québec who travelled on a GS1200. Although currently they were on a mellow tour of Newfoundland, the rider shared a more hard core story of going on his bike to James Bay. He travelled there alone and got stuck, but thankfully his wife was able to come to his rescue, after many continuous hours of driving and with lots of spare fuel carried on board, since provisions are hard to come by in that rarely visited section of Northern Québec. There were many stories exchanged, including a friendly note that if you ever ride in India, the elephants always have the right of way. It's easy to get distracted with a good conversation, so we ended up late for our tire change appointment. :ear Still in about 15 minutes my TU250 was perched up on the stand and got some new rubber on. By 10am we were ready to roll west, towards the "perfectly centred" Grand Falls-Windsor.


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    Ready to go!

    We had plenty of time to make it half way across Newfoundland by nightfall, so we took a side trip to Southport, a tiny finishing village at the end of highway 204. It was the birthplace of our Clarenville hostess and she suggested it for its beauty. Located between Bonavista and Avalon peninsulas, this area is full of tiny islands, low mountains, and is prone to rolling fog. The whole route 204 leading up to Southport was quite scenic, but the village itself was indeed worth the detour. Although most coastal communities in Newfoundland have a few boats and fishing houses lining up their shores, the layers of mountains and islands near the horizon made this village look somewhat different than the others we've seen. On the side of the small harbour was a wreckage of an old ship. The whole landscape was enveloped in thin fog and was eerily quiet.

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    Along hwy 204

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    The village of Gooseberry Cove, just off route 204

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    Southport, Newfoundland

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    Southport, overlooking Fox Harbour

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    Southport, with Random Island in the background.

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    The wreck in Fox Harbour

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    An apparently abandoned pick up truck in Southport. Many vehicles look very weathered, but according to the locals it's not so much their age, as the rough winters and sea salt that contribute to the rapid decay.

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    Rolling fog over nearby islands, Queens Cove

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    Heading back on 204

    After exploring the coast along 204 we made it back to the Trans Canada Highway and stopped at the Clarenville Inn for lunch. It would have been cool to have a bite in a small town along 204, but we did not notice a single sign advertising restaurants, diners, or anything of that nature. The food was decent, though the desserts did not come even close to those at The Rocket. Out on the road again we stopped for photos at the scenic lookout near Gambo, a logging town.

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    Gambo seen from Joey's Lookout.

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    Overlooking Freshwater Bay

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    As the sun started to go down we passed a bridge that had a gravel service road running underneath. Sunbandit decided to drop by and stress test his road tires some more (somebody clearly did not have enough dirt on the T'Railway yet). After that, it was a straight shot into the sunset ;)

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    Setting sun near Norris Arm

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    Looking west along the TCH

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    We reached Grand-Falls Windsor while it was still light outside and were met by our B&B hosts. Apparently they used to live in North York (a neighbourhood in Toronto), and the hostess used to work as a librarian at the North York Public Library, a place I have visited quite a few times while in high school ;). There was lots of Toronto themed artwork on the walls and the feeling that we were getting closer to home became very prominent. Our ferry to North Sydney was booked for next evening, and our host mentioned that we should double check that it's on, as there was some incident with a Marine Atlantic ferry in Port aux Basques so delays and cancellations were likely. Apparently a ferry coming out of the port ran aground and damaged a front portion of its hull. While there were no serious injuries, there was now one less ferry in operation, so their schedules were being re-worked. We tried calling, but the lines were all busy, so with a whatever happens, happens mindset we headed out for a walk around the town.

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    Grand Falls-Windsor town hall

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    The light was changing colours continuously as the skateboarders and cyclists were practising their tricks

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    This was a main feature in a local convenience store. Apparently Lay's was running a contest for the best new flavour of chips and this was an entry from a Newfie potato lover. As part of the research for this report I looked up the results and yes, this ended up as the winning flavour across all of Canada! :clap

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    Walking back to our B&B, we were entering our last night in Newfoundland.
    #48
  9. ShimrMoon

    ShimrMoon Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2007
    Oddometer:
    347
    Location:
    Matthews NC
    Wonderful trip report and great pics. Thank you for showing the rest of the new or budget minded riders out there that it's ok to choose a 250cc motorcycle for your first bike and take it on a long distance tour. Looks like it performed quite well.

    So many new riders are shamed into, or given bad advice on, buying a much larger bike than they should have.
    #49
  10. danh600

    danh600 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2011
    Oddometer:
    351
    Location:
    South Florida
    What a great road report. I started reading the first page but quickly found myself scanning forward. I just couldn't wait to see the next picture. Now that I have seen all the pictures I want to go back and read the report.

    I have always wanted to visit NS. Now I have added Newfoundland to the list.

    Outstanding pictures.
    #50
  11. Rutabaga

    Rutabaga Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2012
    Oddometer:
    734
    Location:
    Southeast Lower Carolina
    Very picturesque and informative. Used Gander many times as a fuel stop on Trans-Atlantic flights but unfortunately never seen much of the rest of Newfoundland. Thanks for the tour and travel tips.
    #51
  12. Vinbowie

    Vinbowie Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2007
    Oddometer:
    408
    Location:
    Maryland
    Started this report yesterday.
    Great ride and pictures and it must
    be so great for you two to ride together.
    What a vacation. :clap:clap:clap
    #52
  13. NonstopBanana

    NonstopBanana Thumper Rider

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2013
    Oddometer:
    224
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
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    Leaving Newfoundland, sunset over Channel-Port aux Basques Lighthouse

    This entry will be long and painful. It spans 3 days and does not have nearly as many awesome photos as it should, because sometimes the road is not throwing exciting things at you all the time, and sometimes you just get dog tired of it. And sometimes you just need a break so you can go for that last stretch with a refreshed mind.

    Our last morning in Newfoundland was marked by some friendly conversation with a few Québecois travellers at the breakfast table and a hearty meal. Despite being from Gaspe, they nevertheless have not visited the Gaspesie National Park. It still keeps surprising me: not a single person we've met on our several trips visited that beautiful part of Québec. Oh well, I guess it will be our open secret.

    The ride to Channel-Port aux Basques is about 500km, which is not too much, but not a joy ride either. We tried getting some information about our ferry, but still could not reach anyone. Our ferry was scheduled for 1:30 am, so we planned to explore the side roads as much as daylight allowed, and then just wait at the Tim Hortons near the port. The notice on the Marine Atlantic website said that passengers would be notified of any changes, and so far no one contacted us, so we went off to TCH and pushed on until Corner Brook. There we decided to stop for a lunch break, having gotten tired after almost 3 hours of boring highway travel. Few things are as bland as the inner section of the Trans Canada Highway in Newfoundland, especially considering how colourful their coastal roads are.

    At first we wanted to get some sushi, but the place we found was too busy at lunchtime, so we circled the town a bit more until we found a small Italian restaurant that was quiet and almost empty. Their food was the first thing that day notable enough for a photo, so here goes.

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    We spent a really long time in that restaurant, resting and considering our immediate plans. We still could not find any updated information about the ferry, so we thought it best to just get to Port Aux Basques as soon as possible, and then explore highway 470 for as long as we had time. This highway goes east from the port, along the southern shores to communities with romantic names such as Isle Aux Morts, Burnt Islands and Rose Blanche-Harbour le Cou. The whole road is barely over 40km in length so it seemed like a nice last side trip to make.

    After another boring stretch of the TCH we entered the Codroy Valley, a rather beautiful part of the southwestern Newfoundland. This is the area that woke us up upon arrival to the island, as it's quite close to Port Aux Basques. The weather was remarkably pleasant, blue skies and bright sunshine all around. The gulf on the west was reflecting the sunlight like a mirror, and the mountains on the east were rising majestically above ponds and wetlands. Sunbandit took out the GoPro and the monopod and shot some videos, which still need to be edited, but some screenshots make worthy snaps.

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    When we finally reached Port Aux Basques it was around 6:30 pm and we leisurely rode into a gas station to refuel. Kind of missed the exit at first, so had to take a shortcut over a lawn to get to it :D. That's where I finally took out my phone to check mail, only to find a fresh notification that out ferry is now rescheduled for 8:30 am. :huh While this would leave us plenty of time to explore the area, it also would create two significant problems. 1) we would not be able to make it to our next destination from North Sydney before nightfall (we had a hotel booked in Saint John, NB) and a much bigger problem 2) where would we spend the night? The most recent info on their website stated there was a ferry leaving at 8pm, so we scrambled to the port to see if we could take it instead.

    Isle aux Morts and Rose Blanche are now on the long list of things we did not visit, but after about half an hour of riding around the port and talking to various employees of Marine Atlantic we had our boarding passes for this earlier ferry. The last control booth was the funniest one - they asked if we were carrying any potatoes. Cleared of any concerns, we headed into the ship's belly to grab the last two tiny spots available on the vehicle deck. We would not have been able to fit if we were on a full sized car, they literally had just those two spots left, only big enough for bikes! There was plenty of room on the passenger decks, but clearly it's the vehicular cargo capacity that is the bottleneck on this route. The boat started moving just as we were walking up to our seats - a full hour ahead of the time posted online. It was one of the closest cuts we've ever made! As the boat started coming out of the harbour I went outside to snap a few last photos of Newfoundland under the setting summer sun.

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    One of the many decks of the Marina Atlantic ferry.

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    The ferry on/off ramps merge seamlessly with the highway. In fact, the ferry is designated as an official part of the Trans Canada Highway system.

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    &#8232;The damage done by another ferry. Mild, but enough to mess a lot of schedules up.

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    Last glimpse of Newfoundland.

    This time we got even less rest than on the trip to the island. The sun has just set and it was too early to try and sleep. When we arrived at North Sydney it was not even 3:30am, complete darkness all around and the whole town was empty and silent. The cars coming off the ferry quickly took off and left North Sydney, but we were not up for riding through the night. We picked up some snacks and beverages from a convenience store in a gas station and wondered if anything else would be open at this hour. There was a 24 hour Tim Hortons nearby and we decided to go there and wait until sunrise.

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    About to disembark from the ferry.

    When we found it, turned out the 24 hour schedule applies only to the drive through, the rest of it opens at 5am. So we hung around the parking lot until it finally opened, at which point we came inside and I got a cup of hot tea and a panini. Maybe it was the lack of sleep, or maybe they really do make some of the most tasteless food around :(.

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    Tim Hortons parking lot in North Sydney. Warming up with doughnut holes and pineapple juice. Yes, it was a weird night. :1drink

    Somewhere around 5:30am we headed out aiming to reach Saint John as quickly as possible. That did not mean going particularly fast, but rather stopping less and not taking any side trips. It was a rather miserable morning, cold and foggy, and the roads getting out of Cape Breton were frequently reduced to one way traffic due to construction. We definitely had plenty of time due to our early morning start, and even considered passing Saint John and continuing on, but had to let go of that idea since we realized how tired and prone to mistakes we were. We stopped for lunch in Truro, a town on Trans Canada Highway midway between North Sydney and Saint John. It was a funny detour as we accidentally turned the wrong way on a one way street, to the amusement of the locals travelling towards us.

    The cook at the cafe bakery we stopped at was very friendly and even told us some stories about Newfies passing by through the town on the way to explore the rest of the continent. I suppose many choose this town as a stop over after a draining ferry ride :D.

    We were on track to get to Saint John way ahead of schedule, so I called the hotel to make sure our room could be ready even if we get there before official check in time. They had no problem with that, and as soon as we got there, we were promptly checked in, parked our bikes by the entrance and headed up to relax.

    In retrospect, it was the best possible choice of a hotel, though I certainly did not expect it to be that appropriate at the time of booking. Although it was an upscale Hilton, it was actually one of the cheapest rooms we got during the trip. Not because it was cheap in itself, but because Newfoundland is much more on the expensive side :-/. Spacious room, big soft bed, it was a perfect place for the 10 hour nap we so desperately needed. :snore:snore:snore

    I was half expecting to wake up around sunset and maybe go for a walk around the city, but when I did finally wake up, it was past midnight. We made some tea and coffee using the hotel's supplies and then Sunbandit managed to convince me to go downstairs and lube the bikes' chains (it was all under the pretences of retrieving the USB charger we accidentally left there, didn't want it getting damaged in the possible rain). With not much else to do, we went back to sleep afterwards, dozing off just as quickly as the first time.

    I'm not 100% sure if the hotel really did not offer complimentary breakfast, or if they just did not advertise it, but after spending so much time sleeping we wanted to go out and see at least a little bit of this new city. We found an Italian sandwich place that only serves breakfast on Saturdays, and voilà, this was Saturday.

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    The sandwiches were very good, that's why not shown :D

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    After a short stroll around the downtown and the harbour, it was time to pack up and go. All said and done we left around noon, after spending 21 hours in the hotel :D

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    One of these is not like the others.

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    Wait what? Let's zoom in:

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    Going for the morning shift?

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    &#8232;Nope, couldn't steal it.

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    &#8232;Easy and plentiful motorcycle parking :D

    We crossed the United States border at Saint Stephen. The border guard was much friendlier than the ones we met in Niagara Falls and Buffalo over numerous previous crossings, didn't even ask us to take off our helmets and waved us both to come in at the same time. He didn't ask us to recite our plate numbers and instead just stepped out of the booth and looked at them himself. Seems like a small thing, but when I bought my bike in Ohio just a few months ago and was crossing the border into Canada with a freshly minted temporary plate, the question "What's your plate number?" from the Canadian border official left me deeply puzzled :huh. We stopped for lunch somewhere in Maine, and continued on to New Hampshire. We took secondary roads towards White Mountain National Forest, hoping to make it to Mt Washington, but seeing lots of other cool things along the way.

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    First glimpse of the mountains.

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    Welcome!

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    Gorham, NH.

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    White Mountain National Forest.

    By the time we got to Mt Washington it was past 7pm, and apparently they only accept visitors until about 4:30. As we were turning around to head back, we noticed something strange. A few Tesla Model S cars pulled in, attempting to gain entrance, unsuccessfully. They were soon joined by a few more, and within minutes there were a couple dozen of them, stretching in front of the park gates. Hey, it's tough to make it on time when you are in a group of 20+ cars, and have to wait for that one guy that has to pee every 20 minutes :D

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    &#8232;The Teslas and the closed gates of Mount Washington Road.

    We continued south on route 16 that passes through the forest, and then took another scenic road, 302, on our way to Lincoln, NH. Although it's not that close to anything specific we wanted to see, it was one of the few motels that showed up online as available. As we rode through the area though, we saw lots more hotels and resorts of all kinds. It's a pity we did not know about them ahead of time, but the one we stayed in was passable, although it was completely dark by the time we got to it.

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    Route 16.

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    #53
  14. NonstopBanana

    NonstopBanana Thumper Rider

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2013
    Oddometer:
    224
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
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    The day was sunny and cool, seemed like a perfect day for a ride up Mount Washington! Not wanting to waste any time, we had a quick breakfast in the hotel and headed back by the familiar roads towards the mountain.

    Before reaching the mountain, we made a few stops to take photos, including a few scenic lookouts over the mountains, novelties such as a gift shop set up on a covered bridge,*and a family of turkeys, that sat by the road and scattered in the nearby woods when we approached them.

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    At the gate to Mt Washington road the attendant informed us that visibility at the summit is 50 ft (does not seem like much, and converted to 15 meters it seems even less). Since we were only here for a day, we went up anyway. The ticket to access the road comes bundled with one of those "This bike climbed Mt Washington" stickers, which looks like it was designed by someone's nephew, so it won't be sticking around on my bike ;) All the way until about 1500 m it was a beautiful ride, the air crisp and clear, the views growing more and more magnificent. We stopped a couple of times for pictures, and so far it was not excessively challenging.

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    Typical view from Mt Washington road

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    My TU250 basking in the sun.

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    The clouds over the peaks are starting to look suspicious.

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    On the way up, the extra spaces along the road seem to be lookout points. On the way down, the true meaning emerges: to allow people who ride down on their brakes to cool them off.

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    On our last stop before the summit, at a little over 1500 m elevation, the clouds descended and engulfed everything in thick grey mist.

    When the landscape got covered by the clouds, we stopped at one of the rest points, took a few pictures and considered waiting a bit to see if it would clear up soon. Sunbandit ventured off along a hiking trail to check out the fragile alpine environment of the mountain, towering over a few other visitors in his helmet and oversized bright red rain jacket. He quickly disappeared into the fog and soon afterwards the Bluetooth comms units got disconnected as well. It felt very disorienting and the few minutes it took for the hikers to re-emerge near the road seemed very long. At one point the fog was so thick, the visibility was only about 10 m, but it improved a little and we continued up towards the summit.

    The fog turned into a light drizzle and the road turned from freshly paved asphalt into hard packed dirt. That in itself would not have been a big deal, but the cars travelling ahead of us slowed down way below the posted limit of 20 mph to something like 6-7 mph. Passing is not permitted on this road, by if I kept going at such low speed on these steep slopes, I would stall within a minute, and the thought of trying to start up from zero on the uphill in slippery dirt helped me pass them*swiftly.

    Once we reached the top, the drizzle stopped, but the fog persisted. At some point we saw a train car higher up near the summit, but after we climbed up the stairs to the true summit the fog thickened and I could no longer even find that train. A sign pointing to the "Observation Deck" seemed like a mean joke, as did the info plaque promising to help you identify the other mountains in the "Presidential Range". I did not even know that they named a whole range of mountains after different presidents, but hey, at least I learned something, even if I did not get to see them.

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    The summit of Mt. Washington. According to the sign, the winds here can reach up to 372 km/h! That's the second highest ever observed on Earth.

    It did not look like the fog would clear up any time soon, it actually started to drizzle again, so we headed back down. Once we were below the clouds, the views opened up in all their majestic glory. We made a few more photos before the rain intensified, and then it was a straight ride down to the base of the mountain. And by straight, I mean it was twisty, wet, slippery, and full of passing slow cars in blind turns.

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    Mount Washington, after the rain

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    Light and darkness, infrared

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    Clouds and road, infrared

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    Rock formations on Mt. Washington

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    Panoramic view from Mt. Washington road

    The rain kept pouring. We waited inside the gift shop at the base of the mountain, but there was no end in sight to the wet weather. We headed out in the direction of New York until lunch time, when the weather cleared up and we stopped in a small town for a pizza. We passed Vermont and caught a beautiful light display over the mountains near Lake Champlain. Over the bridge, and we were in New York, enjoying the golden sunlight over the lake and the historic lighthouse.

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    Views in Vermont, looking out towards Adirondack mountains.

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    Lake Champlain Bridge (freshly opened in 2011)

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    New York route 22 on the shore of Lake Champlain.

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    Our target for the night was Lake Placid. The ride was supposed to be quite scenic along highway 73, but it was getting dark fast, for the last hour of riding we could not see anything not lit by the headlights. After a couple of wrong turns and necessary backtracking we finally made it to Lake Placid, our last stop on the trip.
    #54
  15. Clipper

    Clipper Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2007
    Oddometer:
    134
    Location:
    Sin Jawns NL Canada...otherwise known as The Rock
    I live on this godforsaken Rock stuck out in the North Atlantic:D and have ridden to many places around the island as well as having the great pleasure of sailing all around it.

    You have a great report here. Loved the narrative and the pictures. :clap
    Im always fascinated to read about the experiences others have when they come to visit and wonder what they must think about the place as well as the people.

    Ride Safe.......and Happy New Year to you!
    #55
  16. Hevy Kevy

    Hevy Kevy ADDRider

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2010
    Oddometer:
    200
    Location:
    S. Ontario
    Ditto Clipper!
    #56
  17. NonstopBanana

    NonstopBanana Thumper Rider

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2013
    Oddometer:
    224
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
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    View from Whiteface Mountain

    The last morning of our trip started rather lazily. We did not have any immediate plans and did not really do much research about the Lake Placid area, aside from knowing that it's nestled in the middle of Adirondacks so it should be pretty when served the right way. We started out by slowly riding through the town in search of a good breakfast.

    The slow ride was necessitated not as much by our desire to scout local food joints, but by the heavy tourist traffic of the village. The day was beautiful, everyone was try to go somewhere, nobody was going very far. We stopped at a cafe that served several dozens kinds of crepes and sandwiches. It took a while to decide which of the 100+ items on the menu we would like to have, but it took even longer to wait in line to finally place the order. Despite the long wait, the food was on par with what you would find in decent Québec creperies, so it was quite worth it.

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    There are many beautiful places to visit in the Adirondacks, but the most prominent attraction seemed to be the Whiteface Mountain, so we decided to check it out and hopefully have a clear panoramic summit view this time around. The weather forecast was sunny, so that was in our favour.

    The road leading to the mountain was picturesque and studded with numerous lakes. Route 431, which leads almost all the way to the summit was uncharacteristically straight for a mountain road, except for a couple of hairpin turns close to the top. Mount Washington road on the other hand had too many hairpin turns to count.

    There is a toll booth at the mountain's base, at the start of the Veteran's Memorial Highway, which is responsible for a bit of congestion trying to go up. While waiting to get in we noticed that although the weather at the base was warm and sunny, the summit promised to be much cooler and windier. A couple of riders ahead of us stopped right after the toll booth and were putting on more clothes. We followed their lead and brought out our rain jackets to keep the wind at bay.

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    Panoramic view from the top of the Whiteface Mountain

    There were great views along the way and even a few places to stop on the side of the road - complete with picnic tables. At the end of the paved road we took the hike up to the actual summit. There is an elevator to take you there with less struggle, but it was not working at the time, so the only way up was by foot. The hike started off as just walking up a staircase, but soon turned into a rock covered mountain trail, with metal guardrails running along the ridge. Many of the large rocks were very slippery, having been smoothed out by thousands of footsteps over the years. There was definitely more traffic here than at Mount Xalibu in Gaspésie National Park.

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    The path to the mountain elevator, not operational.

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    &#8232;Veteran's Memorial Highway snaking through the Adirondacks.

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    The path to the summit is on a narrow ridge, flanked by steep slopes on either side. The steep angles make this area very fragile and susceptible to landslides when combined with excessive rain. The exposed rock trails seen in the photo are the signs of such landslides. Some notable ones occurred after heavy rainfalls in 1971 and 2011, and by all indications, there will be more in the future.

    [​IMG]&#8232;
    Trail to the summit is surrounded by unobstructed views of the Adirondack mountains, valleys, and lakes.

    Once past the tree line, Lake Placid dominates the view from Whiteface Mountain. On a beautiful day like today the summit is filled with people enjoying the spectacular vistas. It's quite spacious up here, with lots of room to sit on the rocks in the sun and look meditatively into the distance. As busy as it seems, this is definitely a place where one can sit for hours relaxing and embracing the landscape.

    [​IMG]&#8232;Prime view of the lake from the very top of the mountain

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    Walking around the summit you can read up some interesting things about the ancient history of this mountain range. Geologically, Adirondacks are related to the Laurentian mountains in Canada, not the nearby Appalachian range. Newfoundland's Long Range Mountains on the other hand, are part of the Appalachians. Mountains know no political borders ;). More curiously, during the last ice age the valley was under a 2 mile thick layer of ice, so heavy it caused it to sink below sea level. As the ice retreated, the sea water flooded the valley and turned it into a part of the Atlantic ocean for over 1000 years, complete with at least 5 species of whales and other sea creatures. Their fossils are commonly found by the archeologists. That explains the whale tale sculpture we saw as we crossed Lake Champlain Bridge!

    Before heading back we made a short stop at one of the picnic areas and had a small snack. The peaceful lunch was interrupted by a funny guy in a passing car, who stuck his head out and shouted "VStrom rulez!" in our direction before disappearing in a corner. People like that present a choking hazard!

    Following a series of country roads we were going further west and north. We couldn't help noticing that the landscape looked more and more like Ontario. One interesting distraction was provided by a red tailed hawk that sat by the side of the road and did not seem to care at all when we approached to take photos. He eventually moved a little closer to the trees and bushes away from the road, found something to snack on, got bored and finally flew into the woods.

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    Amish baling hay, near route 26.

    Eventually we made it to the border crossing near 1000 Islands. The border officer was of the less friendly variety and asked us to recite our plate numbers and warned us to come in one at a time next time :gerg. Instead of going directly for the 401, we took the 1000 Islands Parkway to be able to stop for photos in this scenic part of the route.

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    Making some Canadian honey

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    &#8232;Lake Ontario turning into St. Lawrence river, 1000 Islands.

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    Another bird find: ospreys nesting along the parkway.

    Before switching to highway 401 completely, we dropped by Kingston, which I have never visited before. Did not see much during the 15 minutes we spent there, except for the fun sign marking the Tragically Hip Way, in honour of the music band that originated in this city.

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    We stopped at a cute Hungarian restaurant in*Gananoque, called Maple Leaf. Re-energised, we continued by the Waterfront trail westbound.*Sunbandit was hoping to take the Waterfront trail all the way to Toronto, but considering it was around 6:30 pm when we got to Kingston, there was no way we would make it home before nightfall, and travelling by unlit rural Ontario roads in the dark is only a good idea if you don't mind the occasional deer coming out in front of you. We stopped for gas and came to terms with the fact that it would be the very boring 401 all the way from here on. It wasn't too bad for a while, but as we got a little closer to the GTA area (when there was still about 100 km to go to Toronto), the traffic got denser and faster. In many ways a 250cc bike is just fine for travelling, but even going full throttle I was getting passed by every clunker in sight. It's a long flat road and nobody is doing the speed limit. And if someone is doing the speed limit, you certainly don't want to be near that crazy person. This is very frustrating, trying to pass a sketchy car when all you can muster is a 10 km/h speed difference. It's an ungratifying experience, going at top speed of the TU250. On one hand, yes, it can do 120 km/h on a flat stretch for as long as it has fuel. On the other hand, going at 120 km/h as opposed to say, 110 km/h, results in a 25% higher fuel consumption. So whatever time you might have gained by going faster (not much) you will waste refuelling more often :cry. All this was very frustrating for Sunbandit, whose SV650 has a top speed that he never dared to even try and figure out.

    When we got to Toronto it suddenly became warmer, both due to its great ability to collect heat and because everything was just so awfully familiar about it. It was already night, but it's never really dark in the city, and every street light seemed to carve out an inviting path to our home. There it all was, 10,000 km later.

    [​IMG]&#8232;
    All of this started with only 1800 miles on the odometer. I think we can consider this bike broken in. :ricky
    #57
  18. NonstopBanana

    NonstopBanana Thumper Rider

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2013
    Oddometer:
    224
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    And thus the narrative comes to an end, though in the upcoming year I might edit the GoPro videos into something interesting and post them up.

    Happy New Year to all fellow Adventure Riders! To many amazing adventures! :beer
    #58
  19. grubz916

    grubz916 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2011
    Oddometer:
    57
    Location:
    New Jersey
    Amazing report and photos. Thanks for sharing it with us!
    #59
  20. Lonebiker

    Lonebiker n00b

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2013
    Oddometer:
    8
    Location:
    Montreal, Canada
    Very nice report and pictures. Newfoundlans is on my to do list. I quit doing some motorcycle trips since i sold my V-Strom 1000. I own a WR250X. Since las summer, i did some short trips. Maybe this little 250 will go outside of the province of Quebec.

    Thanks a lot for taking the time to write this report.
    #60