Visiting the Canucks again....solo from Virginia to Labrador and Newfoundland

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Brett737cap, Jul 23, 2019.

  1. CdnGS

    CdnGS Been here awhile

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    Not too much detail from my POV and think that many m/c riders appreciate all things that go fast - especially aircraft. Judging by the traffic on the aviation thread in the basement, there are plenty of both real and wannabe pilots here in AdvRider. That number will probably double after the release of the next Top Gun LOL.
    #81
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  2. Brett737cap

    Brett737cap Life is short... leave with no regrets. Supporter

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    Yeah, the new Top Gun will send recruitment soaring. I wonder how many pilot wannabes won’t be told the requirements or that it isn’t guaranteed and end up on ships or enlisted.

    I know a lot of colleagues who ride. Always something cool to talk about in the cockpit, even if they just ride HDs :D
    #82
  3. skibum69

    skibum69 slave to gravity Super Supporter

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    Thanks for the invite. I was down there in June when I rode my '82 R65 LS to TN for the MOA rally. I left the bike in Maryland at my uncle's so I can get to the R65 LS/R80 GS 40th aniversary rally in PA in Sept.
    #83
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  4. damurph

    damurph Cold Adventurer

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    Given the choice between Skibum and the classy looking lady you spent time around St John's with....you made the right decision.
    #84
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  5. Brett737cap

    Brett737cap Life is short... leave with no regrets. Supporter

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    We are just over the Harry Nice bridge, on Route 301, from MD. Stop in when you’re down.
    #85
  6. Brett737cap

    Brett737cap Life is short... leave with no regrets. Supporter

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    :beer My wife is always a good choice!
    #86
  7. V1ROT8

    V1ROT8 Adventurer

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    I fly with Air Canada Express out of Toronto Pearson, but we fly all over Canada. It's not uncommon to find ourselves on the West Coast or in Newfoundland. It's an awesome job and best of all (for me, after 6 years of mostly night medevacs) never to fly red eyes ;). The 767 is an amazing aircraft. If I ever go to AC Mainline, that's what I want to end on (Rouge 767). They have the best destination, especially my home country, Romania.
    #87
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  8. 'Bob'

    'Bob' Been here awhile

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    I often get caught up in conversations about the ride and forget folks have a 'real life' to get back to. It was really nice to meet you and thanks for sharing this refreshingly honest ride report with us.
    #88
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  9. 'Bob'

    'Bob' Been here awhile

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    I did, including the 'point break' just off from your place which he seemed familiar with because he grew up in California.
    But in all fairness he left here in the pouring rain to meet his wife in St. John's... what would you have done?:-)
    #89
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  10. Brett737cap

    Brett737cap Life is short... leave with no regrets. Supporter

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    Truth there. I remember that. We had a good point break where I went to college in Santa Barbara, called Rincon. You can ride for a mile.

    Your place was going backwards for me. And my wife is probably prettier than you Skibum.
    #90
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  11. Brett737cap

    Brett737cap Life is short... leave with no regrets. Supporter

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    You are much too complimentary about the 767! Old technology. I think my GS cockpit is more advanced. Now the 787.....
    #91
  12. skibum69

    skibum69 slave to gravity Super Supporter

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    Yes I'd be bolting in the rain in search of my wife too.

    I'll be heading to Maryland to pick up my R65 and head up to CroMag in September.
    #92
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  13. Pete Pilot

    Pete Pilot Been here awhile

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    Enjoyed the ride report. But not finished? You made it home safely, I hope? Merlin, of the smaller isle.
    #93
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  14. Brett737cap

    Brett737cap Life is short... leave with no regrets. Supporter

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    Made it home safely, thank you for asking. Sorry I've gotten behind. My wife visiting me in St. John's, limited internet after that, and general laziness got in the way of my RR. Updates coming soon!
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  15. Brett737cap

    Brett737cap Life is short... leave with no regrets. Supporter

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    Sorry but I have been lazy with respect to this Ride Report, and I allowed real life to get in the way. I left off while visiting 'Bob' in Shoal Harbor. I am home safely now, and finally found some time to work on the RR.

    Day 14: Shoal Harbor to Shoal Harbor, 160ish miles

    Bob took me for a great day ride around the Bonavista Peninsula. We took off from his house mid-morning headed North. Bob led the way on his K1300 as we headed North on Route 230. After a short while, Bob pulled over on a highway bridge to show me the damage created by Hurricane Igor, in 2010. I could easily see the damage Bob pointed out and the way the raging water had cut the land away to create a new pathway.

    We continued Northeast to Trinity, a beautiful and picturesque town on water. We rode through town and down to the local marina where we found one of the models of sailboats that I own, which is a rare find since they didn’t make many of them.
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    We continued Northeast and stopped at the town of Elliston, which bills itself at the "Root cellar capital of the world". It seems to me they should promote their large Puffin colony rather than the 135 vegetable storage cellars.

    The Puffin is the official bird of Newfoundland and Labrador. The Atlantic Puffin, with its brightly colored beak, looks like a cross between a Penguin and a Parrot. They are seabirds who nest and breed in cliff colonies but spend most of their lives at sea. After reaching maturity, Puffins spend 3-5 years at sea before returning to breed, feeding on small fish they catch several at a time. We parked the bikes and hiked the short distance to the cliffs where we could view the entertaining birds up close.
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    We left Elliston and headed just 15 minutes more up the road to the community of Bonavista, where we headed out to the Lighthouse on the point. Supposedly Bonavista's name comes from the explorer John Cabot, who discovered Newfoundland, and declared "oh Buena Vista" which means great view, upon seeing land for the first time in months. We enjoyed the view from the point before heading for lunch at a local cafe Bob knew of. 868E794C-EB90-4B72-90BA-CC54EEC1AEC2.jpeg 93FE4D69-42C3-4351-9DE9-B3D76B4EF5BD.jpeg
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    After Lunch we headed back towards Bob's house, riding Route 235 and 230 almost nonstop back down the opposite coast, enjoying the beautiful scenery along the way. We arrived back in time for dinner and Bob, once again, hosted a delicious dinner at his home.
    #95
  16. Brett737cap

    Brett737cap Life is short... leave with no regrets. Supporter

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    Day 15: Shoal Harbor to St. John’s, 120 miles

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    It was to be my Last day of riding for a few days. My wife was flying into St. John’s the next day to meet me for a few days and we were renting a car there and dropping my bike off at the local BMW dealer for new shoes. It was a fairly short and easy day and I had planned to do some exploring on the way to St. John’s, taking side roads and dirt roads, even the T’Rail, whenever I could. But the weather was having none of that.

    I awoke to pouring rain. Now I don’t mind riding in rain, but this was the kind of rain that was coming down so hard it would find its way into your goretex within an hour of riding. Cold rain too. Plus it was raining hard enough that hydroplaning could be an issue.

    So I waited it out until the early afternoon, when it finally let up enough to be reasonable to ride in. I said my goodbyes and thanked Bob and his wife and headed out their driveway in a light drizzle.

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    It was too wet to do any exploring so I stayed on the TCH all the way to St. John’s, making the ride in about 2 hours. The rain came and went but thankfully not as hard as it had rained earlier in the day.

    Once I reached St. John’s I found prime parking at my hotel and checked in to clean up and do some exploring on foot.
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    I’ve never been to St. John’s before but I immediately liked the place. It had a cool vibe and had lots of good eating and drinking establishments, as well as an interesting history. I spent the evening walking around to get the lay of the land and had dinner near the water at a Brewery. I couldn’t access the famous George Street without paying $45, due to the music festival going on, but I was still able to go into some of the other places. I ended the night at a cool bar called the Black Sheep, enjoying some good soulful music sung and played by the songwriter herself, after which I stumbled back to the hotel and fell blissfully into the comfortable bed. I was excited about seeing my wife the next day.

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    #96
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  17. Smashy

    Smashy Been here awhile

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    It looks like a very colorful city.
    #97
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  18. Brett737cap

    Brett737cap Life is short... leave with no regrets. Supporter

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    Days 16,17,18: St John’s and surroundings in a Rental car.

    The next day I got up and took a walk to the top of Signal Hill for a view of the city and to get some exercise. Signal Hill is a National historic park and sits atop a strategic hill guarding the entrance to St. John’s Harbor. It was the site of the final battle of the Seven Years War and the surrender of the French to the British in 1762. It has been an important strategic fort for the Napoleonic, American Civil, and World Wars. It was also the reception site of the first transatlantic wireless transmission in 1901. Today it is a great place to view the city and see the daily midday cannon firing.
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    Afterwards I got packed up and I rode over and checked into our AirBnb where we would stay the next 3 nights. I unloaded everything then headed over to the Toy Box, the local BMW dealer and dropped off the bike to have new tires put on (Tires are not cheap there...almost twice what I pay at home!). I then Ubered over to the airport and picked up the GMC Equinox that would be our transport for the next three days and waited for my wife to arrive via her circuitous Washington DC-Ottawa-Halifax-St. John’s routing. When she finally got there I was so happy to see her. Even though I travel a lot for work, I’m not away for several weeks on end and I really missed this beautiful lady.

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    It was evening by the time her flight had landed so we drove back to the AirBnb and changed to go out to eat. We walked around a bit and finally settled on The Merchant Tavern, where we were able to finagle a table at the busy place despite not having reservations. We enjoyed an excellent seafood meal and then cruised over to Shamrock City Pub for some live downhome
    Newfoundland and Celtic music and adult beverages. When we were good and exhausted, we headed back for well-deserved sleep.

    We woke up on Day 17 and walked over to The Battery coffee shop for some
    Coffee before heading out for the day. It was a local holiday, Regatta Day, and they were having the 201st running of the Royal Regatta over at Quidi Vidi lake. We decided to avoid the crowds though and head South along the coast after coffee. As I mentioned in an earlier post, we were lucky enough (I know, some of you don’t like him, but it was cool to see a Head of State of a country you are visiting) to be there when Justin Trudeau came in for coffee. I’ll post a pic again for those who may have missed the other post.
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    After coffee we drove out to Cape Spear, the Easternmost Point in North America and a historic lighthouse. There was also a fort from WWII with the gun emplacements and underground bunkers to explore. The fort served to protect the strategic harbor of St. John’s from U-boats and a German invasion. The views were amazing, so I’ll let the pics speak for themselves.
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    After leaving Cape Spear it was lunchtime so we stopped at a roadside restaurant called Keith’s Diner, in Gould’s, for some fish and chips. Karie ordered the “deluxe” and man did she get a meal. It was fish and chips covered with onions, gravy, and peas. She can tuck in some food for a little girl, but she couldn’t finish that meal. I helped some and it was damn good.
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    We continued South to Ferryland, enjoying the beautiful coastal scenery along the way. We stopped in a few little coves to explore. In Ferryland we hiked out to the lighthouse on the point and were lucky enough to see a Humpback Cow and her calf swimming and breaching in the waters off the point. It was too far away for good pics but we sat, fascinates by these beautiful and graceful creatures and wondering how man could have ever hunted them.

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    We left Ferryland and headed back to St. John’s because we had reservations for dinner at Raymond’s. Raymond’s is one of the 7 best restaurants in Canada and one of the 50 best in the world, according to what we had read in several sources. Anthony Bourdain visited it’s chef and Newfoundland on the last full episode he did, and everyone told us how amazing it was. They do only food from Newfoundland and supposedly specialized in some exotic fare and game meat. I had never been to a top restaurant like that but was game to try it. Karie
    Had researched the prices beforehand and we didn’t think they were too bad, but soon discovered that she must’ve either looked at a different place or seen old, very old, prices. Ok, I thought, it’s quite a bit more than I expected, but that’s ok, it will be an amazing experience and you only live once. We each had the 5-course tasting menu. All I have to say is that these fancy places must laugh at all of us for paying those ridiculous prices for not much food. We paid over C$500 (around US$370) for the meal and 1 bottle of not very expensive wine and we went away hungry. The portions were minuscule. Ok, but was the food amazing? No. It was disappointing. Some small seared scallops appetizer, pan seared cod about the size of a postage stamp, a tiny piece of beef (how is that exotic?) that came from PEI, a dab of pasta, and some berries for dessert. None of it was anything I probably couldn’t have cooled myself at home. So, yeah, I got ripped off and fell into the trap of thinking it must be worth it if critics raved about it and it was famous. Lesson learned.
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    This was the pan seared cod portion...the onions were bigger than the slice of cod!
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    After dinner we met up with Volker and Diane, the couple I had met in Twillingate, who were in St. John’s also, and went to a brewpub for a few beers.

    The next day Karie and I hiked to the top of Signal Hill to get some exercise and because she had not been there yet. Afterwards we set out to drive the Avalon Peninsula and visit some of the picturesque small towns there.
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    We stopped in Brigus and Cupid, both recommended by numerous people. Brigid was preparing for their annual Blueberry festival, which we had missed by a day. Nevertheless, we were able to have a delicious Blueberry Crisp dessert at a local restaurant. After those we headed North through Harbor Grace, which was known for both its old shipwreck in the bay, and the fact that Amelia Earhart had departed from there on her solo Transatlantic flight.
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    We headed all the way to the top of the Peninsula at the village of Grates Cove and then drive back down the West coast of the Peninsula, stopping in to the picturesque, but uniquely named town of Dildo. Little did we know that the town was about to become famous thanks to Jimmy Kimmel’s bid the next week on TV to become the Mayor of Dildo. It was a beautiful place and we enjoyed a beer at the Dildo Brewery looking over the cove.
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    We returned to St. John’s and found a good, and not nearly as expensive, restaurant for dinner and then walked George Street, the first time I was able to since the music festival had just finished the night before. We were unimpressed with the bars...it seemed to be mostly just places for tourists and drunks. I was kind of bummed that we ended our last night without doing much, and sad that Karie had to fly home the next day and I would be alone again.
    #98
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  19. AdamChandler

    AdamChandler Ascending n00b Supporter

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    The food you had in St. Johns looks great! Makes me want to go now.
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  20. Brett737cap

    Brett737cap Life is short... leave with no regrets. Supporter

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    Most of it was pretty awesome. We are going back one day for sure.
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