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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Brett737cap, Jul 23, 2019.
Another Brilliant R.R. and pictures,good luck with the rest of your adventure!
Did I ask if you're planning to take a spin by here?
Headed to the ferry in Argentia tomorrow after spending 4 days in SJ with my wife.
Now that my wife has gotten on a plane bound for home, I have some time to catch up on the RR....where was I? Oh yeah.
Day 11: Deer Lake to Twillingate, 224 miles
After leaving the BnB I hit the Trans-Canada Highway and headed towards Grand Falls-Windsor. On the way there I saw a service road following the power lines up into the hills so I took it to get a higher vantage point. Some of the rock and dirt was pretty loose and I had a fair amount of slippage but the big bike was able to make it to the top where I took a few pics before heading back down to the TCH.
I made pretty good time to Grand Falls where I wanted to see the Salmonid Interpretation Center. The Center is on the Exploits River, where they have built Salmon ladders to aid the fish in getting around the Hydroelectric Dams and migrate upstream to spawn. It had a pretty good film, an underwater viewing area where you could see the wild salmon in their journey, and a viewing area at the fish ladders where you could see the fish jumping upstream. I think the entry fee was around C$10 and it was worth it. There is a cafe there too if you want to get some food but I didn’t try it.
After leaving the interpretation center I headed North towards the coastal town of Twillingate. Twillingate is a town of about 2100 people on Twillingate island in the North-central part of Newfoundland. Even though it’s in an island, it’s connected by causeways to the main island, so no ferries needed to get there. It’s known for being a good area to see icebergs and whales, though it was a little late in the summer for icebergs.
The ride there was pleasant, but a bit hot. It got up to 91 degrees inland, but as I approached the coast, the temps dropped dramatically down to the mid to high 60s. Twillingate was very picturesque. It’s set in Notre Dame Bay and the homes and fishing boats set amongst rocky coves and inlets create a very salty atmosphere.
As I was unloading my bike in front of the hotel, the Anchor Inn, a husband and wife came up and started talking to me. Volker was German originally and his Canadian wife, Diana, and he had lived in Zurich for 10 years where they owned an engineering business and he rode an 1150 GS, which he still owns and keeps in Zurich. They have lived in Toronto for a few years now but we’re up in Newfoundland on a short holiday. As I’ve been to Zurich many times for work, and I speak German, we talked about bikes and life in Zurich in German for a bit.
After checking in, I had an excellent Salmon dinner with a glass of wine in the hotel restaurant.
After dinner I went downstairs to the Captains Pub. They have a “Screeching-In” ceremony there in the evening, where you kiss a frozen cod, drink a shot of Screech, a local rum made from molasses, and become an honorary Newfoundlander. (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kissing_the_cod)
The host was hilarious and the ceremony went on for some 20 minutes and he had us saying all sorts of Newfoundland sayings in their dialect. When he asks if you are a screecher, you reply loudly “Deed I is, me ‘ol cock, and long may your big job draw”. Diana and Volker were there and took some pics for me since I didn’t have anyone to take pics. Afterwards the “host” played and sang some excellent local music and I sat with Diana and Volker enjoying Newfoundland beer, listening to music, and talking. We took our cue to leave when the music was over and the employees started putting chair upside down on the tables.
Good for you, we were busy last few days anyway getting a new drilled well put in.
Sorry I missed you. Where are you at anyhow? You mentioned you were away for work for 3 weeks so I figured you were not around. And where is the tent space thread? I’ve never seen it.
And as I absentmindedly and stupidly found out the other day, putting your wet gloves in your dry helmet and leaving them overnight has the opposite effect.
Here it is, I figured that's how you found Murph. My post is on page 6.
Hmmmm, don’t know Murph. You mean Bob? Just met him via ADV last year..... just looked at your tent space post....Damn. Nice place. My wife and I drove through there just yesterday. Wish I’d known you were there, we would’ve loved to have stopped in to say hi.
Nope. He doesn't know me though we all know Bob. 'Tis a small island for such a big place.
Day 12: Twillingate to Twillingate, about 30 miles.
Yeah, I slacked today. So what? I enjoyed 2 nights in the same place. Yeah, I know, not really Adventurous.
I woke up and took a run into town, getting some coffee at the local shop on the way back to my hotel. After returning I cleaned up and took the bike out for a short day ride, exploring all the nooks and crannies of Twillinggate island. First I went to the end of the road, to the lighthouse at Crow Head. The lighthouse had an Interesting exhibit called the Titanic experience, which was really just a bunch of storyboards telling not only what happened, but delving into the why, ie the greed and Industry-dominating ambitions of the owners of the White Star Line and the arrogance and unpreparedness of the Captain and crew. It was actually a good read. After goi g through that I climbed the staircase to the top of the Lighthouse and checked that out. It’s sad that lighthouses these days are all, for the most part, automated. The isolated romance of the light keepers and their families are largely gone these days. It was a good job for introverts. I would’ve liked it.
After leaving the lighthouse I rode the small roads around the island, checking out the small covers and marinas all over. I stopped and sat at the roadside stops, enjoying the peace of the waves crashing against the rocks. I loved stopping at the harbors and checking out the rugged fishing boats. They build salty boats up here.
It was early afternoon and time for lunch. I remembered a place I had passed not long before the causeway that goes to Twillingate. I rode back out the only road that leads there and found Sansome’s seafood. They have a small restaurant and they prepare and serve fresh the fish and lobster that they catch each day. Don’t miss it if you are in the area! I had a perfect fresh Lobster salad sandwich with fresh cut fries.
I headed back to the hotel and, after changing, and reading for a bit, walked the mile down to the Split Rock Brewing Company, where I enjoyed a beer and some fish and chips on the back deck overlooking the water.
I walked back to the hotel and read a bit before calling it an early night.
And a damn good group of people here! I’ve enjoyed my stay immensely.
Too bad you didn't know, I would have had a beer for you.
My mistake, Bob is supposed to drop by here one of these days, been awhile since we've caught up. The Burin peninsula still has at least 3 lighthouses with keepers still working them.
Day 13: Twillingate to Clarenville, 160 miles
After 2 nights in Twillingate, it was time to move on. An ADV inmate, Bob, had invited me to stay at his place in Shoal Harbor/Clarenville and I was looking forward to meeting him.
I headed South on Highway 331 towards Gander. The scenery was typically beautiful and there was no traffic, but I didn’t stop for any pics as I had an appointment to keep in Gander.
As an Airline Pilot flying to Europe from the east coast of the US every week, Gander plays a large part in my life. Our great circle route typically takes us Northeast bound up and over Newfoundland as we coast-out (going feet wet) into the North Atlantic. The Air Traffic center in Gander not only controls the airspace over Newfoundland, but also the Oceanic airspace in the North Atlantic out to the 30 degree West line of longitude, at which point they hand us over to Shanwick control in Ireland. These sectors are called Flight Information Regions, or FIRs. I interact with and talk on the radio and datalink with this group on controllers in this FIR every week and have done so for over 2 decades. 500+ flights going to Europe transit their airspace every evening, an equal amount coming back In the day. I was interested in meeting them and seeing their operation so I had arranged a private tour of Gander Air Traffic Control Center, to start at 11am.
I got onto Gander a little early so I had a coffee at the local Tims and then found where the T’rail, the railway trail that crosses Newfoundland and was now a gravel and dirt ATV trail, came through town and I rode that about 10 miles out and then turned around. Then I went by Gander airport to check it out, since it is one of the enroute emergency divert airports we use in the event of A problem over the ocean. It’s also where numerous planes landed on 9/11 when they could not enter the US. As many Newfoundlanders told me, there is now a broadway play, “Come From Away” about that time.
I pulled up to the gates of Nav Canada’s facility and rang the “doorbell”. The guard came on and initially seemed confused what this guy on a motorcycle wanted but then opened the security gate and let me in. I got off the bike and went in and one of the managers, Nick, was waiting for me. He showed me around and took some pics and then took me to meet Don, the supervisor for the domestic low section, which is the non-oceanic airspace below 29000 ft.
Don has been working there over 30 years and was a wealth of information. He took me around to various ATC sectors and introduced me to the controllers working that day, introducing me as a 767 Captain who flies through their airspace each day. They all seemed interested to talk to one of the pilots they work with, I guess not many of us come through there. I took a seat next to each of them and they showed me what they were doing and let me watch. I put on a headset and listened in and asked questions when they had time to talk. I even got to talk to one of my Company planes that was transiting the airspace right then. It was a familiar flight number as I had flown that flight to London many times. I was expecting about a 20-30 minute tour, but before I knew it, 2 hours had gone by.
It was so cool getting to talk to these fellow aviation professionals face-to-face, some of whom I had probably talked to on the radio at one time or another. Unlike in the US, Canada’s ATC system is privatized, something I was not aware of. Of particular interest to me was talking to one of the controllers who issues us our oceanic clearance (we have a separate clearance from our domestic clearance to enter oceanic airspace, as it is predicated on more spacing between aircraft since there is no radar coverage over the ocean). These same controllers make the eastbound North Atlantic Tracks, or NATracks (we just call them NATs), a series of 8-12 parallel routes that planes fly when crossing over to Europe every day. The tracks change every day and are drawn to take advantage of the eastbound Jetstream
Winds for the fastest and most economic flight times. Shanwick Center does the same every day for the Westbound NATs, only now they draw the tracks to avoid the headwinds. I was interested in what how they decide the track routing. Sometimes we get different routing and/or altitudes than we ask for and I was also curious what went into that and why getting a clearance sometimes takes a while.
The visit was fascinating but I had to get going so I said my goodbyes. Don wanted to know if I was hungry and I said I was, so he used his break time to guide me in his truck to the best sandwich shop in town and then said his goodbyes. He was a great guy and I’ll make certain I say hi whenever I fly over.
After leaving the Nav Canada facility I went over to the Aviation Museum of the North Atlantic. It was ok, but small. The museum explained the importance of Gander Airport to the development of Trans-Atlantic air travel and to WWII and it had some aircraft outside on static display. I spent about 20 minutes there before moving on.
After leaving the museum I made one final stop on the way out of Gander. In 1985 Arrow Air charter flight 1285 on a MAC charter from Cairo to Ft Campbell, KY, crashed on takeoff after a refueling stop in Gander. It was carrying members of the 101st Airborne division. All 256 aboard the airplane perished. The Silent Witness memorial to that crash was built on the downsloping crash site off the end of the runway. As with any place where many lost their lives, it was a somber and hallowed place. The metal in the cross is from the aircraft and the inscription reads “Rendevous with Destiny”.
After leaving Gander in my rear view mirror I picked up the TCH sand headed East at high speed. It wasn’t long before I pulled off and into Bob’s town. His house wasn’t too far off the highway and he had the garage door open and waiting for me to pull in. I took a spot next to his K1300GT and pulled my helmet and gloves off. Bob was waiting for me with a cold beer. It was great finally meeting him and he showed me to the guest room and said when I was ready he would put some steaks on the grill. Newfoundland hospitality at its best. Bob and I enjoyed good conversation, a few beers, and some grilled steak that night and I went to bed a little early, tired from another great day on the road.
I can't believe Bob didn't give you directions to my house so you could stop in for a beer.
Brett great write up. Thanks for bringing us along on your journey and the education on trans Atlantic air routing.
This is really awesome! I'm the same way when it comes to adventure motorcycling. I go out of my way to see airports and especially airfields. Speaking of that, I flew into Labrador City quite a bit. I started out flying the King Air 200, LR35 and (now) the Dash 8-100/300. The trip to NAV Canada "Gander Control" was awesome! Are you still flying the 737?
Ha! Hopefully I didn’t bore you guys to death. I was wondering, while I wrote it, is this too much detail? I mean, it IS a motorcycle site, not aviation.
That’s cool, who do you fly for? No, haven’t been on the 737 for years but I’m stuck with the screen name. I can’t say I miss the plane . Left seat on the 767 now. It’s been cool seeing all the places on my weather report all the time.
Yeah, I’m bummed I missed meeting you. Missed opportunity to connect with more ADVers. I’ll definitely be back to NFLD and will look you up when I get up there. Meantime, if you get down to Virginia, PM me. You’ve got a place to stay.