Saturday, August 29, 2015

Catching up - Part deux

August 17, 2015

I was looking for a hotel in Corner Brook and saw that they had a Comfort Inn.  I thought, Oh, that'll work - clean and fairly cheap.  I went in to ask about a room (they had one available) and the price.  $185 per night.  Whaaaaat?!?!  Are you kidding me?!?  You're a frikkin Comfort Inn.  No Comfort Inn anywhere is worth $185 per night.  Is that your best rate?  Yes.  Seriously?  Thanks, I'll look elsewhere.  

I found the Glynmill Inn.  Really nice place for about $100 per night.  They had a good restaurant, the room was really comfy.  If you're in Corner Brook and need a place, I suggest this one.

August 18, 2015

I had time to kill before I got to the ferry so I went on a side trip to Cape St. George.  It just looked interesting on the map.  Glad I went too.  It was a nice ride and ended up at a park.  It was dedicated to the Acadians who were removed from the area in the mid-1700's.

From the Newfoundland Labrador website news article:
The Grand Dérangement, also known as the Great Upheaval, was the forced removal of Acadian people during the Seven Years’ War from the Canadian Maritime Provinces to the British Colonies between 1755 and 1763. While many Acadians were deported to such areas as England, France, Massachusetts, Virginia, and Maryland, others resettled in Louisiana, Quebec, Miquelon, and all around St. George’s Bay on the west coast of Newfoundland.

When I arrived, a couple of gals were cooking bread in an outdoor wood fired oven.  Later they served that bread in the visitor center.  Oh my, was it good!! 

I hiked around the trails a bit and went to look at a colony of nesting kittiwakes.  It was hard to see because they were on the side of a cliff that didn't really have a good view.  There was supposed to be another colony but it was too far away.

All in all, it was a great way to spend the time.


Pretty scenery everywhere and then I came around a corner to this:

What is it you ask?  Mining.  Open mining of a "mountain" top.  A local told me they'd been mining this site for 30 years.

Pretty but invasive (purple loosestrife).  

The monument at the park.

I rode through the town of Stephenville which was actually quite a large town.  The road goes through an abandoned US Air Force station.

I rode down to Port aux Basques where the ferry terminal was.  I got some food at a nice little restaurant there and chatted with some folks who were scheduled to leave on the morning ferry.  Then I went next door to a small park where a band set up and starting playing tunes.  What was funny was that they had a drum machine and for every song they played, they used the same 3/4 time sequence.  I guess that beats (heh heh) paying a drummer.

Finally, I went to the ferry terminal to get in line.  Chatted with a group of guys who had taken the Argentia ferry over to the east coast and ridden their 4 wheelers all the way across to the Port aux Basques ferry.  I bet that was a fun trip!  Then there was a fella from Alabama who was traveling around with his elderly mom in their RV.  He was an interesting fella.  Then there was Jeff and Peter who where on a couple of GS BMWs.  I'd run into them a few times the next day as we all traveled around the Cabot Trail. 

I didn't get a cabin on the ferry.  I had a reserved seat along with a bazillion other people.  Think airplane with slightly more room.  The seat barely reclined and the footrest hit the back of my knees.  Not even remotely comfortable.  I ended up sleeping on the floor.  But before that, it was screaming kids.  Not just whiney, but SCREAMING bloody murder.  Holy shit people, it's midnight.  Can we get a little quiet please?  Plus it was hotter than hell.  I tried to go find some cooler air but no luck.  Finally I went in and laid down on the floor with earplugs in (could still hear the screamers) and covered my eyes with my buff.  They eventually turned the lights off thank goodness.  Ugh.  If you ever go across, get a cabin.  Don't go if you don't have a cabin.  That was miserable.

The ferry arriving in Port aux Basques.

The pilot turns this huge boat around in this narrow approach and backs it into place at the dock.

Add video.

The band playing.

View from my seat on the ferry.  This is in the morning prior to arrival in North Sydney Nova Scotia.

Next up:  Cabot Trail.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Catching up

I got a little bit behind with limited internet access.  Still can't get pics uploaded though.  I may have to wait until I get home to add pics.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Today I rode. From chilly L'anse aux Meadows to warm and sunny Grand Falls-Windsor.  I am now in my tent eating Timbits and relaxing. I was hoping I could keep this camp as home base while I explore St. Johns but it's just a bit too far away. Dammit. I'm going to have to pack everything up and move to another camp in St. Johns. Oh well. Excrement occurs sometimes. 

I can't possibly have too many pillows. But the ones I have seem to be made of the wrong material. First I'm using my Airhawk seat cushion for the pillow pocket on my sleeping bag. Then I have a nice self inflating one for on top of that. Then I have a nice blow up pillow with a slicker-than-snot covering. As soon as I touch it, it goes squirting off like a greased pig. Every time I lay my head on it, it shoots off to the other side of the tent. To bad because it is encased in down. Then I have 2 more blow up pillows. 

I like to be comfy.

And here's how rough the ride was today: my Fitbit thinks I got 28,541 steps today. 

Which reminds me, I forgot to mention the wind.  Wind that was blowing the trees WAY over and blowing me all over the road. I have no idea what the wind speed was but it must have been really high. And the gusts. .. oh my goodness! Overall, it really beat me up.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Today I rode east to Cape Spear and Signal Hill in St Johns. Quite the varied terrain. And there's a bit more civilization although that's really not saying much. 

One thing I've noticed is that there seems to be no police. I saw one yesterday and one today and that's it. A fella I talked to today said there's not much need for them. How nice! Anyway, as I was riding, a car heading towards me flashed his lights so I thought there was a cop ahead. After a minute, I thought instead maybe they were signaling there was a moose by the road. I kept an eye out and saw a deer instead. It was grazing beside the road down the embankment. After a minute a realized there are no deer in Newfoundland. That means it was a caribou. A caribou! U-turn time. I went back and sure enough, it was a caribou. I got a pic before it ran off. I won't know if it turned out until I download the pics to the computer. 

Today I met 2 people. The first was when I stopped at an overlook to take a pic. He was on a Harley. We chatted a bit. He lives in the area. Semi retired. Said if I needed anything he's easy to find. I'm sure all of these towns are the kind where everyone knows everybody. A blessing and a curse I suppose. Anyway, we parted ways. Really nice fella. 

I stopped for food and fuel and while I was sitting there, I looked out the window and there was the Harley. I looked over and there he was at another table. I invited him over and we got to chat some more. Then he bought my lunch! How nice! 

This afternoon at Signal Hill, I parked next to an FZ1. The fella was sitting on the wall overlooking the ocean and we started talking. He works at the airport refueling planes. While we were sitting there, his friend pulled up on the orangest Harley I've ever seen. He works at the local Harley dealer. We sat there and talked a while. The fella on the FZ asked if I had everything I needed and that if I needed anything to give him a call. He said he has a fully stocked garage. Unfortunately I have to get on the road before he'll be up after his night shift at work. Otherwise I'd take him up on it to adjust the chain on my bike. But how nice was that?

The people have been the best part of this trip. Well, except for the whales.  :)

Camping tonight in St Johns. Just finished dinner at a Mexican place. Time to walk back to camp.

Monday, August 17, 2015

600+ km today and I'm whupped.  Rode from St johns to Corner Brook. Just a few hours tomorrow to catch the ferry and I have all day to do it. 

I didn't sleep so well last night. There was a steady stream of traffic in and out past my site all night. And I mean ALL night. 0330 in the morning about a dozen cars in and out. People, you're in the middle of frikkin nowhere! Where the hell are you going? 

I got a hotel room tonight. It'll be nice.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Vikings and more

Still waiting for pics to upload so hang tight.  

Today I went back over to L'anse aux Meadows and did the guided tour.  That was very interesting.  They referred to the people as Norsemen.  I wondered what the difference was between Norsemen and Vikings and was told that all Vikings are Norsemen but not all Norsemen are Vikings.  (Kind of like frogs and toads:  all toads are frogs but not all frogs are toads.)  Viking means raider so the vikings were the ones who went on the raids.  

They were here about 1000 years ago.  The remains of the settlement are visible as mounds where the walls of the dwellings were.  They were made of peat and timber frame.  Each one was the size of one of their boats and held about 25 people.  They didn't stay very long.  About 10 years.  

About the time we were leaving L'anse aux Meadows, we saw a moose.  It wasn't real close but easy enough to see with the nekkid eye and much better with binoculars.

After the tour, a couple staying here and I went on a whale watching tour.  Oh. My. Goodness.  There were whales everywhere. A couple of them came right up to the boat.  I'm hoping the pics and video come out good because Oh. My. Goodness.  I think that will end up being the highlight of this whole trip.  We even saw 4 whales breach at once.  Crazy!!  What a fantastic day.  

On the way down to St. Anthony where the whale watching boat was, we saw an iceberg.  I sure didn't expect to see that because it's so late in the season.  And just now sitting in the room at the B&B there's one floating by way way out there.  

Later on about the time it starts to get dark, we're going to walk across the way to the park and see if we can see any moose.

Pics are uploading.  It's taking forever because this connection is so slow.  I had to run it all night last night.  Hopefully I'll get to post some later on tonight.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Puffins and the Rock

August 11, 2015

Had a good ride from Pugwash to the ferry in North Sydney NS.  I had some time to kill before I had to be there so I thought I'd find a provincial park to hang out in.  I picked one off the gps and made my way toward it.  But when I got there, I didn't see any park.  But on the way I saw some signs for puffin watching boat tours.  I decided to check that out.  

I arrive at the place and asked the details about the tour.  "Leaves in about half an hour; 3 hour tour so returns to the dock at 8pm; plenty of time to get to the ferry which is only 15 mins away."  Perfect.  

We motored out to a couple of islands where there were several species of birds including puffins.  There were puffins, razorbills (similar to puffins), northern gannets, 2 species of cormorants, bald eagles, blacked backed gulls and herring gulls.  There were also a bunch of gray seals there.  They were in the water and would poke their heads up out of the water to watch us go by.  It was a great tour.  I'm glad I went.

Gray seals poking their heads out of the water to look at us.

Puffin.  That's the best I could do.  The boat was bouncing around, the birds were moving, even though they were close they were too far for the camera to catch well.  What can I say?

I know this is pathetic, but this is a razorbill.  Sorry.

This one is actually a little better.

Hey!  It was hard to get a decent pic!!  

Cormorants.  Adults and immature; Great and Double-crested.

Got to the ferry and found out I got a cabin!!  Boy and am I glad I did!  I saw the reserved seating and it was kinda like bus seats.  A little more room than an airplane and the seats reclined some.  The cabin was great!  It had a bathroom and shower and it felt so good to lay down.  I slept well although not for all that long because the ship sailed just before midnight and got in to Newfoundland at about 6am.  At 5 am they announced over the loud speaker that docking was in 1 hour.

My room on the ferry.

It had its own bathroom with shower.  So nice!

On the Rock

August 12, 2015

Motorcycles were first on the ferry and the first off.  The weather was gray, cold and dreary but not raining yet.  I rode up to Rocky Harbour and got a room in a hostel.  A bed actually but no one else was in the room.  On the ride up, I had a really hard time staying awake.  I was really fighting it.  So as soon as I got to the hostel, I figured I lay down for a few minutes and rest.  I slept for 3 hours.  So glad I stopped and didn't try to push on.  I needed that sleep.  

There were 2 guys at the hostel - Paul and Marco.  Paul reminded me of Paul Lynd with his voice and mannerisms.  He was very funny and animated and full of travel info.  Right away he started telling me where to eat, where to get this, how to do that.  He was nonstop with info.  Good stuff too!  I really needed a recorder or shorthand.  I hope I can remember a little of it.  

Marco reminded me of a much thinner Chris Farley.  He had the accent of Chris Farley.  He was a kind soul.  A photographer by trade.  On Newfoundland for work and taking a little time for himself as well.  He had a bunch of food and said he'd take me to the fish market to get some scallops and he'd cook dinner for me and Paul.  $5 for a whole mess of fresh scallops.  Oh man, was it good too.  We all sat and talked and had a good time.

The rain started after I got to Rocky Harbour.  It continued all night and all day today.  I had wanted to stay to do some hiking around Gros Morne National Park but decided to move on because the weather was supposed to be a little better at L'anse aux Meadows.  Then in a few days, it should be better at Rocky Harbour.  So I rode up to L'anse aux Meadows today.  Off and on rain all day.  But light.  No frog stranglers.

I'm staying at a B&B.  It's only $65 a night so that's about $50 US.  The hostel was $35 which is way too much for what it was.  The bed was a bunk bed with a mattress what was...  like a plastic mattress-shaped bag stuffed with...  toilet paper maybe?  It was bad.  But the company made it good.  Anyway, the B&B is right across the street from L'anse aux Meadows.

I went over and walked around and took a bunch of pics.  They're uploading now.  I'll probably have to update this post later with pics.  It's incredible to think about the Vikings sailing across to Iceland and Greenland and to here.  Oh, a guy staying here at the B&B from Norway said that the Vikings named Iceland Iceland and Greenland Greenland when it should have been reversed.  He said Greenland is nothing but ice and Iceland has very fertile land on the coasts.  He said the Vikings wanted to mess with people's minds so they named the green fertile island Iceland and the icy one Greenland.  I thought that was funny whether it's true or not.  

Since it's cold and rainy out and supposed to be nicer tomorrow, I thought I'd try uploading pics and updating this blog.  I'm kind of tired anyway.  I'm going to see if anyone here is going to dinner and see if I can go with them.  

Oh, something I learned last night from Marco:  United Airlines uses one ply toilet paper.  So don't fly United.  LOL!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Crossed into Canuckistan.

August 10, 2015

Ride was good today.  Weather is perfect. It couldn't be any better. It was a long day though. 9 hours of riding. My back is really bothering me. I think I need to take another Aleve.

I couldn't get my phone to send music to my helmet. My little Bluetooth thing for my Sansa player was acting weird and it wouldn't play from the Sansa. So today was a music-less day.

I got a lot of "Good for you"s and "I'm so jealous! "s from people. This one lady said she used to ride but can't anymore. She said she started riding in the 60s when very few women rode. I said I started in 1970 and she said "so you know exactly what I'm talking about. " She said "I wish I would have met you yesterday; I would have given you a place to stay". We chatted about stuff for a bit. She was really cool. People are genuinely interested in what I'm doing and amazed and one said "inspired" by what I'm doing. It's cool but weird too because this is just normal for me. But the people I've met are the coolest. I'm a total stranger and they just want to help me out and hang out and talk. This lady I was talking about - she said if I need rescue while I'm up here to call her. She'll come get me. Now THAT'S cool stuff right there. (Thanks Linda! You are awesome! )

Random pics...

Tide is low.  Tributary that goes into the Bay of Fundy.

Tilting windmills?

Sunday, August 9, 2015

A long day of riding ahead.

August 9, 2015

Yesterday was a lot of riding. Mostly interstate. Traffic wasn't too bad for the most part. A couple of sections of construction where traffic was at a standstill wasn't fun.

Today I need to get a lot of miles in but the plan is to stay off interstates. We'll see how well that plan works.

Heading up through Vermont and New Hampshire today.

Update:  I'm in Maine.  Found a little Mom & Pop motel to stay at.  I was able to stick to the back roads and had a good day of riding.  It's pretty all through here.  It's a lot like riding up through the foothills of the Carolinas.  

It's interesting how all these places are the same.  Poor little towns surrounded by farms.  Somebody gets the bright idea to take all the crap in the barn and call it "Antiques" and sell them by the roadside.  Next thing you know, they turn an old house into an "Antique Shoppe" and are selling the junk like hot cakes.  

Here are a few random pics from today.  Just scenery on the fly.

These were all taken in CT, VT, and NH.  I haven't gotten any in Maine yet.  I'll work on that tomorrow.

Ok, that's it for now.