From Alberta to the East Coast

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by thedopplereffect, Jul 8, 2021.

  1. gpfan

    gpfan a mari usque ad mare

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    "The fact that blew my mind was that it did not become a province until 1949."

    And there is the answer to the question: "WTF is wrong with the Alberta education system".

    FYI, the Newfie education system is not much better; every f*****g idiot I met there babbled on about 'straight across to Ireland'. St John's line of latitude scoots straight through France.
    #81
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  2. thedopplereffect

    thedopplereffect Adventurer

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    I think I might be more inclined to blame the student than the teacher in that scenario... I'm sure it was covered in one of the 12 years of social studies that I endured, just one of the facts that didn't quite hit home until I was here.
    #82
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  3. staticPort

    staticPort Meditrider Supporter

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    Newfoundland has been on my 'bucket list' for a long time; you've motivated me to underline it in red!
    #83
  4. thedopplereffect

    thedopplereffect Adventurer

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    If you plan to do it on a bike I would recommend you give yourself at least two weeks. I only have a week here and I'm finding myself feeling pretty rushed to get from one place to the next. I've also just tried to come to terms with the fact that I won't be able to see it all,
    #84
  5. fasteddiecopeman

    fasteddiecopeman Been here awhile

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    I went to school in Alberta, and we WERE taught about Newfoundland becoming a province in '49 (in fact I was in grade one then!).

    Over the years I was lucky enough to fly there (RCAF and Air Canada) MANY times. WONDERFUL people there.
    #85
  6. AngusMcL

    AngusMcL Been here awhile

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    You might want to ease up on the "f'n idiot" comment. Two things to consider... firstly, 75-100yrs ago when Newfoundlanders had to sail across the Atlantic, you'd follow the Gulf Stream which would take you well North of France and you would indeed sail straight across to Ireland and/or England. Secondish, a high percentage of Newfoundlanders trace their ancestry to Ireland, so there is affinity and link with the country. So take into account the history and culture before you jump to judgement. :-)

    A.
    #86
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  7. thedopplereffect

    thedopplereffect Adventurer

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    August 22, 2021


    It occurred to me today that as of yesterday I am technically on my return trip. With each passing day I’ll be slightly closer to home instead of further away. I’m both excited to be home again and terrified to return to normal life.


    When I woke up today it was overcast and windy. The forecast had called for no rain though so I was very much looking forward to not wearing my rain gear. The plan was to go to the Salmonier Nature Park and then go north from there along the Baccalieu Trail, which goes up along the coastline to Caplin Cove and then back down the other side of the little peninsula, past Dildo (another very real place) and back into Whitbourne. Rob was totally fine with me spending one more night here so it was going to work out pretty well.


    The Salmonier Nature Park is a rehabilitation facility for injured wild animals. Animals that are injured in such a way that they would not be able to survive if they were released to the wild are kept at the park and displayed in as close to their natural habitat as possible. The park has a boardwalk that meanders through a wetland area with the enclosures on the left and right as you walk through.These are all animals that are endemic to Newfoundland or Labrador so there aren’t any wildly exotic animals like you’d expect at a zoo. There were eagles, owls, mink, foxes, caribou, lynx, geese, ducks, and groundhogs, at least that I can remember right now. Most of them were willing to show themselves to the gawking onlookers but few were hidden away.


    Big animals are almost always the most impressive in these kinds of scenarios, and the caribou did not disappoint. There were two caribou in the enclosure together and they both had full, impressive sets of antlers.Fun fact of the day, both male and female caribou grow antlers, but only females keep them through the winter months. So Santa’s reindeer are all ladies. Either way, the one reindeer was making its way through a wooded section of its enclosure and it was so impressive to watch it navigate through the trees with its huge rack. It knew exactly where those antlers were at all times and had no problem dodging and weaving through the closely growing trees without even so much as grazing them on anything.
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    It was great to walk through the whole park though and spend the morning in the quiet of the woods.
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    Afterwards I took off north and west to run along the coast. The first couple hours were not so much running as waddling. The Baccalieu Trail runs through a number of small towns that seem to link together continually so you have stop and go traffic for a very long time, which was not so much fun. But eventually I got to a little town called Harbour Grace. The reason I stopped initially was that there was an old ship that had grounded ashore and been abandoned so I was going to see if there was a way to get a good picture of it. Unfortunately there wasn’t but there was a cool airplane that had been turned into a monument. In front of it was a statue of Amelia Earhart. Her first solo transatlantic flight had begun at Harbour Grace,so that was cool to learn.
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    After that I stopped in a few places to take some photos but mostly I just rode. It got down to about 7 degrees Celsius at one point and I was glad I had my woolies on. But other than that it was a beautiful ride.
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    I'm not sure why there was a Union Jack flying on this island and there was no one around to ask. Crown loyalists everwhere I suppose.

    I stopped for supper at the Dildo Boathouse Inn and had an excellent cod fish dinner with potatoes and vegetables. Then I took off down the road and went back to Monty’s Place here in Whitbourne and got a hot slice of apple pie with a dollop of ice cream on top.


    The sun was just starting to set and I decided to go out on the water. Rob was kind enough to offer me full use of the paddle boards and things so I watched the sun dip down from out on the water. And then as the final light was fading I went for a little swim off the dock. The water is a beautiful temperature and it actually felt warmer to be in the water than out of it, once the sun was gone.


    Tomorrow I’ll be heading to Bonavista and then I’m hoping to get back to the Mint Brook Campground, but we’ll see how far I make it.
    #87
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  8. damurph

    damurph Cold Adventurer

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    The Red Ensign (Union Jack) was the Newfoundland flag until 1980. It is a British Naval flag and is supposed to be flying on British ships but our history is tied closely to the naval command and thousands died fighting for this flag in both world wars with the Royal Newfoundland Regiment. Google Beaumont Hamel.

    The grounded ship was the Kyle. Last of the alphabet fleet which was the coastal steamers that supplied every small community and of course Labrador during the summer. It was our supply chain system pre-roads. The island was settled and serviced by boat. It was our highway. The TCH was only completed in 1965.
    #88
  9. thedopplereffect

    thedopplereffect Adventurer

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    August 23, 2021


    I took off from Whitbourne this morning under a clear and sunny sky. There was hardly a breath of wind either and even though it was a bit chilly still it felt like it was going to be a hot one.


    Whitbourne is at the eastern end of the isthmus that connects the Avalon peninsula to the rest of Newfoundland. Rob had warned me that there is often very high winds in that area, up to 120 kms per hour. Thankfully that wasn't the case today but you can definitely see it in the landscape. The trees are often bent over or leaned to one side and none of them are too tall. There was a turnout right at the top of a mountain on the isthmus that had some absolutely spectacular scenery.
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    My next stop was at Vernon's Antique Car Museum in Swift Current, which is about 20 kms south of the Goobies (another great name) turnoff. This was another recommendation from Rob and it was very cool! I don't know much about antique cars so there were probably more vehicles there that I didn't recognize that that I did, but they were all in near perfect condition and every single one of them runs and drives.
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    After that I didn't stop until I got to the Bonavista lighthouse. The shoreline there is pretty intense with lots of rocky crags and step cliffs. And that makes it perfect for cliff nesting birds like puffins! There's an island just a hundred yards off from the lighthouse that is the home to a puffin colony so it was really cool to be able to see some of them flying around. They aren't the most graceful looking birds in flight or on the ground but their striking appearance makes up for it.
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    Unfortunately, it started to rain pretty well as soon as I arrived at the lighthouse. There was a little restaurants just up the road so I stopped there for lunch and waited out the weather.


    After lunch I went through Dungeons Provincial Park. It's a section of scenic shoreline where the cliffs are made up of hard sedimentary rock stratified with soft igneous rock (I think that's what I read anyway, might need to look it up to make sure). The softer rock is eroded by the ocean and forms these impressive caverns. The whole coastline is very harsh and imposing with lots of little pieces jutting off. It's no wonder that they felt that there should be a lighthouse there.
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    After that it was back on the road. The ride back to the Trans Canada had some smatterings of rain but nothing too showstopping. Lots more coastline to admire and little towns to pass through. I also passed through Terra Nova National Park. There was a scenic lookout called Blue Mountain that I decided to check out. The ride up to it was probably about five kms and on the way I saw a wild reindeer! I turned off my bike to try coast by it, but it still got spooked and took off running before I could get a very good look. Boy do they ever look goofy when they're running though, or maybe this particular animal suffers from hip dysplasia. Either way, the view from the top was excellent. It was looking to the north west, along the shoreline and over the ridges and mountains that make up the rest of the park.
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    After that quick stop I went straight to Mint Brook Campground. There was rain forecast overnight so I opted for a cabin, which was still very reasonable. I ate some supper by the brook itself as the sun went down and then called it a night.
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    The goal for tomorrow is to get to Gros Morne.
    #89
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  10. Highliner

    Highliner Been here awhile

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    This is a great ride report. Growing up south of Lethbridge on the other side of the border we traveled to Lethbridge quite a bit because of the 18 year old drinking age, the quality gentlemen’s clubs and all the awesome concerts a bit further north in the Calgary Saddledome. Now that I’m living in West Virginia I’ve really taken an interest into following the Appalachian range up into Canada. Thanks for stoking the fire and letting me be a little nostalgic.
    #90
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  11. thedopplereffect

    thedopplereffect Adventurer

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    My pleasure! That sounds like it would be a great ride too! If you go for it, then this Gros Morne section of Newfoundland and on to the Trans Labrador Trail should definitely be part of it!
    #91
  12. damurph

    damurph Cold Adventurer

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    My apologies for cluttering your very enjoyable thread. Offending post deleted.
    #92
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  13. thedopplereffect

    thedopplereffect Adventurer

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    August 24, 2021


    Today I rode from the Mint Brook Campground at Gambo to the Fisherman’s Landing Inn in Rocky Harbour.


    From Gambo to Gander I was bracing myself against the wind and doing my level best not to get blown into oncoming traffic. For the 30 kms after Gander I was trying to resist the urge to lay down and take a nap while waiting to get through various construction zones. And from Badger to Deer Lake I was huddling behind my windscreen to try to stay as dry as I could. But this last hour of riding from Deer Lake made it all worthwhile.


    Rocky Harbour is situated at approximately the midway point of Gros Morne National Park. Gros Morne itself is described by Google as a flat topped mountain with scenic views, and the surrounding park encompasses a chunk of the northern reaches of the Appalachians. The scenery truly is spectacular.
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    If you really squint the right way you can make out the town right in the middle of the photo. That's part of Rocky Harbour sitting just on the North side of the tickle.
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    I believe that Gros Morne itself is the one on the right.

    The road follows along the eastern side of the Bonne Bay fjord. Fjords are inlets formed by glacial activity and generally have steep sides or cliffs surrounding them and are very deep. They are also often nearly cut off from the open ocean. Bonne Bay for example is more than 200 metres deep throughout much of its length, but its mouth (which is called “the tickle” for some reason), is less than 30 metres deep. The depth of the bay combined with its separation from the open ocean means that the water stays very cold at the bottom because the water does not mix up very much. This kind of a unique habitat has allowed a variety of arctic species to thrive there when they otherwise wouldn’t be able to. The deep water also attracts all kinds of fish, and I’m told it’s a great spot to go whale watching in the early summer. Alas, I wasn’t able to spot any whales while I was there today.
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    Rocky Harbour from the waterfront in town. This would be the other side of the peninsula that was visible in the other picture.

    Tomorrow I’m planning to head to the northern reaches of the park and then back south to Port aux Basque to catch my ferry back to Nova Scotia.
    #93
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  14. Sal Pairadice

    Sal Pairadice Captain Obvious Supporter

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    Beautiful pictures. I am inspired. What seemed like a vague idea of Newfoundland is now a desire.
    #94
  15. gasgas17

    gasgas17 Adventurer

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    It's pretty cool to read your ride report about riding around my home province of Nova Scotia, stopping to admire many of the same places I take day or evening rides to myself. I'm in awe of your journey and I hope to do the same from the right side to left some day myself. I won't overwhelm your journey with my photos. But since you missed it, here is a pic of Burnt Coat Head, NS at low tide. You can walk right over to it. [​IMG]

    PS, We were just a day ahead of you all around Cape Breton on a long weekend get away ourselves. We hiked the Skyline Trail the day before you were there. If you come back down the Cabot Trail, take a side scoot over to Cape Clear if you don't mind riding a bit of gravel road. It is a very well maintained forestry highway on the top of the highlands from the Margaree Valley. The view is something else. Google maps will show the way.
    #95
  16. nails1

    nails1 Been here awhile

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    Not to hijack your great story, but I'd like to mention that Santa Fe, NM also was founded in 1610 by Europeans. I've worked at irrigation ditches dug by the Spanish (acequias) that had "priority dates" of 1605 in nearby, earlier communities. Neener, neener.

    And I so-ooo want to check out Gros Morne National Park. Unique geology -- surface rocks 1.5 billion years old! (That's even before Santa Fe.)
    #96
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  17. thedopplereffect

    thedopplereffect Adventurer

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    In talking to some of the people that worked at the various historic sites that I've visited I kind have gotten the sense that some of the exact dates are a little fuzzy. But I think you can lure in a lot more tourists by saying you're "the oldest in North America", "oldest in Canada", "oldest in the province", "most complete", and other such superlatives. And if I was in charge of establishing European settlements in the early 1600's I don't think Newfoundland would be my first choice just based on the climate, so I was pretty surprised to read that myself. So you're probably right
    #97
  18. damurph

    damurph Cold Adventurer

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    Newfoundland was not settled for climate. It was settled for whale oil and fish. Red Bay was an early whale processing station and you needed somewhere with a beach to salt and dry the fish so it would not rot on the return voyage to Europe.
    #98
  19. nails1

    nails1 Been here awhile

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    And what's it really matter anyway? Pretty sure they all were established where there was already a thriving Indian community.
    #99
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  20. johnnnniee

    johnnnniee Adventurer

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    If you have time take the boat tour of Western Brook Pond in Gros Morne.
    Even if you don't do the boat tour walk down the trail to where the boat leaves and check out the great views of the Fjord.


    Tomorrow I’m planning to head to the northern reaches of the park and then back south to Port aux Basque to catch my ferry back to Nova Scotia.[/QUOTE]