Two Weeks Solo On My Bike - Pennsylvania to Newfoundland Ride Report

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by GravelRider, Jun 15, 2012.

  1. lm248

    lm248 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2009
    Oddometer:
    106
    While I don't know if I'll every get to Alaska,,,, and I really want to.
    Newfoundland is now a very real possibility.
    Thanks for sharing :clap:clap:clap
    Les
    #41
  2. dresda

    dresda Long timer

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,038
    Location:
    Eastern Ontario
    I'm really enjoying this RR! I've been to Newfoundland twice and have been to many of the places you have featured, including the crash site near Gander. I hope you made it out to the Bonavista Peninsula, its really lovely out there....
    #42
  3. GravelRider

    GravelRider AKA max384 Supporter

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2011
    Oddometer:
    6,900
    Location:
    North by South
    Day 8 – Monday, June 11th

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Total mileage for the day: 319 miles

    Day 8 route:
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    #43
    jasiu and Jimmy C like this.
  4. GrimeTime

    GrimeTime Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2010
    Oddometer:
    184
    Location:
    Bethlehem, PA
    Nice report max! Keep it up. Subscribed
    #44
  5. GravelRider

    GravelRider AKA max384 Supporter

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2011
    Oddometer:
    6,900
    Location:
    North by South
    Day 9 – Tuesday, June 12th

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

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

    Cape Spear, the most easterly point in North America:

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    The battery at Cape Spear:

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    Lighthouse at cape spear:

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    Quidi Vidi area (I think!):

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

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    Other areas around St. John's:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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    Murph and I.

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Total mileage for the day: 253 miles.

    Route for day 9:
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    #45
    jasiu and Jimmy C like this.
  6. dirtymartini

    dirtymartini Shaken, Not Stirred

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2004
    Oddometer:
    2,717
    Location:
    Harveys Lake, PA
    Nice ride report Max! Very well done!...I'm subscribed...
    #46
  7. BTL

    BTL No more snow!!

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2011
    Oddometer:
    476
    Location:
    St Albert. Alberta Canada. IBA Member 50093
    Great report...I have ridden in every province of Canada except Newfoundland and look forward to the day I can do it. I just pray for better weather. However, I do admire your tenacity and pushing on. Good on yah. The Folks in the Maritimes are the nicest people you'll ever meet.
    #47
  8. GravelRider

    GravelRider AKA max384 Supporter

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2011
    Oddometer:
    6,900
    Location:
    North by South
    Thanks!

    I've never met nicer people than I have in Newfoundland. What a place!

    The weather was terrible to start, but got better and better as the trip progressed. No complaints there!
    #48
  9. GravelRider

    GravelRider AKA max384 Supporter

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2011
    Oddometer:
    6,900
    Location:
    North by South
    Day 10 – Wednesday, June 13th

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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    Fish and brewis


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    Lobster and scallops


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    Cod tongues


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    Seal flipper pie


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    Partridgeberry pie

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

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

    Total mileage for the day: 252 miles

    Route for day 10:
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    #49
    Jimmy C likes this.
  10. GravelRider

    GravelRider AKA max384 Supporter

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2011
    Oddometer:
    6,900
    Location:
    North by South
    Day 11 – Thursday, June 14th

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Getting lost:

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    Looks like I need to do some chain maintenance tonight!


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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    Perfect place for a tent.

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

    Total mileage for the day: 389 miles

    Route for day 11:
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    #50
    jasiu and Jimmy C like this.
  11. FolkGirl

    FolkGirl Guitar Slinger

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2008
    Oddometer:
    186
    Location:
    Vermont
    :clap great report so far
    #51
  12. GravelRider

    GravelRider AKA max384 Supporter

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2011
    Oddometer:
    6,900
    Location:
    North by South
    Day 12 – Friday, June 15th

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Total mileage for the day: 387 miles

    Route for day 12:
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    #52
    jasiu and Jimmy C like this.
  13. apexeric

    apexeric Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2010
    Oddometer:
    393
    Location:
    NEPA
    Great Ride Report. Subscribed.
    #53
  14. kojack

    kojack AMF!

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2007
    Oddometer:
    4,830
    Location:
    god's country, AKA. Newfoundland!
    Awesome. Murph is a laugh. He frequents my house every time he comes across the island. He does not frequent this website as much. I should more often as if I knew you were coming, I would have met up and rode some time with you. You are one of the few that met gi Jane. My wife and I still believe she's Murphs imaginary friend. Ha ha. His parts bike is sweet.

    Next time contact me, I'm in grand falls Windsor.
    #54
  15. cakmakli

    cakmakli Made It - Army Retired

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2007
    Oddometer:
    331
    Location:
    Pittsburgh
    Great report and pictures. This is the trip I want to make. Thanks for showing me what I have to look forward to.
    #55
  16. jagred

    jagred Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2010
    Oddometer:
    110
    Location:
    Tuscaloosa, AL
    Great RR! I love the hardcore camping, offroading, hard riding spirit! You make my hotel and restaurant hopping SV trips sound positively pampered.:bore
    #56
  17. BOOGIEMAN

    BOOGIEMAN Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2010
    Oddometer:
    374
    Location:
    East Greenbush,N.Y.
    Having served in combat with the 101 st Airborne I am very interested in any of the history of the Div. I knew about the crash site,however I have never been there. Thank you for taking me there.
    #57
  18. GravelRider

    GravelRider AKA max384 Supporter

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2011
    Oddometer:
    6,900
    Location:
    North by South
    Thanks!

    Murph is definitely one of a kind! Him and GI Jane were both great to me while I was there.

    Thanks, I will do... Of course, it will likely be a few years until I'm back in Newfoundland. Though, now that I've been, I know I'll definitely be coming back.

    Good luck on your trip whenever you make it. You'll love it.
    #58
  19. GravelRider

    GravelRider AKA max384 Supporter

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2011
    Oddometer:
    6,900
    Location:
    North by South
    Hahaha, I think I'm just too dumb to know what's a good idea and what's not!

    I'm glad I was able to provide some pictures for you. It was really a beautiful memorial they set up there. I've never served with them, but being a combat veteran, I am always interested in military history, especially when I find it in another country.
    #59
  20. GravelRider

    GravelRider AKA max384 Supporter

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2011
    Oddometer:
    6,900
    Location:
    North by South
    Day 13 – Saturday, June 16th

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

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

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

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

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    Starting to get her apart

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

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

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

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

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

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

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    Larry (right) and Scott (left)

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    His store

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Total mileage for the day: 486 miles

    Route for day 13:
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    #60
    jasiu and Jimmy C like this.