Toronto to Newfoundland - the long way east
Sunbandit and myself have had many adventures in the past and unfortunately everytime it came to writing something about them, we just did the easiest thing and went on another adventure. So we kept hoping to write the reports on the long winter nights, but ended up spending our time snowboarding in the evenings. Anything but the labourious task of shuffling through thousands of images and thousands of memories and trying to make sense out of it all :kumbaya
Here goes, after many long evenings (and work days) spent reading about the numerous adventures here, my addition ;)
I recently acquired my Suzuki TU250 (that was in June, and that is my first bike :wings ) Sunbandit rides a Suzuki SV650 (with GSXR forks, pervert that he is), so a long trip with me will be an exercise in patience, in addition to all other challenges. No camping gear, because I'm a spoiled city girl. I've tried it, got my food stolen by a gang of racoons in the middle of the night. Still not ready to try again.
So for the first big trip on my new TU250 we decided to go to Newfoundland. This turned out to be about 10,000km spread over 25 days. We took a long way around the shores of St. Lawrence river and gulf.
Map approximated, certain restrictions apply.
Geared up and almost gone
We came out just in time to enjoy Toronto area traffic along the 401 and 404. After getting cut off and enjoying the pleasure of interacting with other drivers, we decided to escape the major freeway and headed for highway 7. We took Woodbine ave to Bloomingfield and then continued to head east towards Ottawa.
On the road
There were some great views and a pretty sunset, at which point we realized that we would need to travel at night and did not stop for any picture taking.*The bombardment of bugs left a bad smell and hundreds of splattered bodies collapsed into a single dimension on our visors and clothing. Once all dark and with our stomachs grumbling, we stopped at the only place we recognized along the way to have our late dinner. The food at this Pizza Hut was not really worth mentioning but it allowed us to escape from the feeling of hunger and concentrate on the road. Sunbandit's speedo magnet somehow managed to dislodge itself from the rotor and he no longer could keep track of his speed (one of the perks of having gixxer forks). We also saw a deer standing on the side of the road, mesmerized by our headlights, it only moved after he honked at it. As we headed to our hotel, we conveniently noticed a Lee Valley store and noticed that our hotel was right beside CTire at which point we agreed to get some epoxy and magnets in the morning to fix the speedo. The hotel staff weren't really friendly about parking the bikes away from other cars and on the side of the building so we found a nice littler corner and parked there. The room was great, a little cold but that was easy to fix ;)
We got up and realized that the heat has been left on all night and it was very dry and hot. It was so dry that I couldn't use the iPhone's touch interface. It just wouldn't register my fingers. Couldn't turn off the alarm :). Next we headed down for our continental breakfast. The omelet and sausage seemed ok and tasteless for the most part, but one of the perks was a waffle toast making machine. It dispensed liquid doughy substance which you poured into the pan, closed and flipped (that was the fun part) to cook for 3 min. It was fresh and tasty, yum yum.
We then headed to Canadian Tire to pick up the washer and glue to fix the speedo. After which we headed to Lee Valley tools and picked up the magnets. They have a cool ordering procedure, which you have to experience for yourself. After that we headed to 148 and ran into city traffic. At one point I had an old lady brake check me, just as I was about to pass her.
The fancy pants hardware store.
It was quite scenic, but took us a while to reach Montreal. We decided to skip Montreal traffic and take a highway through it. Soon enough, we ran into traffic and headed for hwy 138. For some stupid reasons we argued over minor nuisances and that got me completely exhausted. As we went on we stopped for food in Trois-Rivières. Motorcycle parking on the main street was surrounded by pretty statues, a small park and restaurants. We both mentally picked the same place - words such as "pasta" underneath the restaurant name inspired confidence. I got chicken soup followed by veal with mushroom sauce and mashed potatoes with Cesar salad that I shared with Sunbandit being the ungrateful neurotic ass that he was. The most important thing to bring to any trip is the right attitude. *Sunbandit ordered pasta with meat and pepperoni covered in melted cheese. Great food and we were listening to some band playing live country music on the street and testing out their instruments.
Somewhere on 148.
Somewhere else on 148.
Tons of smaller tributaries fall into the Ottawa River, here is one of them.
Lunch! I love Quebecois food! Even when it's Italian.
As we headed towards Quebec City, we stayed on 138 (north shore of St Lawrence river) and then headed down to 132 (south shore). I was getting a little exhausted with trying to overtake traffic on my trusty little TU250. This was a little nerve wrecking for both of us and we got into another fight. Eventually we found a very pretty church and both of us enjoyed the sunset there.
Sun beginning to set over St. Lawrence river.
So good to be out and about ;)
More arguments later and my headset died mid-screaming at him for having to pass another vehicle unsafely. We ended up taking a detour though gravel roads at dusk and it got nerve wrecking and he started feeling very bad. So once we got back to 132, he led us to hwy 20 and I took the lead and got us there without any problems. As for the hotel, there were tons of bugs and no AC. The nets were ripped so we kept the windows locked and I couldn't sleep. Woke up at 5am and said, lets get going :) but once I opened the window and the fresh air came in, I fell asleep.
That's all for the night.
Have a great trip! - hope you packed your woollies! NFLD was cold in July!
South shores of St. Lawrence river
Woke up pretty early and I realized that this motel stinks and not to book here again. We packed and headed out. The view was beautiful, with small rocky hills that broke the plain colourful flat hills and provided a great view. The river was right behind that, and the mountains on the other side looked magnificent but hard to see through all the haze. We stopped many times to take pictures and then continued on our way and started yearning for breakfast.
Infrared view from the motel room. There was a cat roaming in their garden, too (not shown).
Stopping for photos with the newly acquired Fuji X100S, which we have tried out several times before finally committing to it for this long trip.
Let the road never end!
Rocky formations in the middle of St. Lawrence.
We decided to stop and gas up at Rivière-du-Loup and rolled through the town trying to find a place to eat. We settled at an interesting looking place and parked our bikes in front. That was a delicious breakfast! Crèpes with chocolate and fruites, yum yum. On top of which we got a sugar coated glass with a delicious freshly squeezed fruit cocktail.
Food, glorious foo-ood!
The day was starting to look up :). We proceeded to take in some beautiful views along hwy 132 and had our lunch at Sainte-Anne-des-Monts. I ordered Italian pasta with pepperoni and minced meat sauce, which was delicious and I didn't leave a drop on the plate. As we headed north we started seeing that it was hard to make it without riding at night. I insisted that we take Rue Rivière which was a great looking dirt road that would let us continue on 299 and ride through Parc national de la Gaspésie, however after riding a couple of km by this road we quickly realized that we wouldn't finish riding it before nightfall. With limited fuel and coming close to sunset we didn't want to get lost at the foothills of the Chic-Choc mountains. So we turned back and crossed through Forillon National Park by hwy 197. We came across a beautiful bridge and NotstopBanana lead us all the way into Percè.
Parc national du Bic
Parc national du Bic
Stopped at one of the road side picnic areas and ate strawberries that we just bought at a farm along the highway.
Taking a break in the setting sun.
On the way in NotstopBanana caught a big live bug in her jacket's sleeve, and as we were checking in, it started tickling her, causing her to erratically try and take the jacket off. A monsterous looking bug came out flicking its wings on the floor. The hotel owner even thought it came from Mars. I was thinking of releasing it but the owner quickly took initiative and killed it, but he had some trouble and the bug wouldn't go down easy. We parked on the grass and NotstopBanana was exhausted so I helped her park her bike. Our room was smaller and more secluded than usual, but had a beautiful view of Percè - both the village and the rock. We chewed on a blueberry turnover and went to bed.
We woke up to a hot day. The sun was blazing and we got our sneakers on and shorts and went to have breakfast at ~10am. Parched after a hot night we asked for an extra helping of cold juice to add to our chocolate croissant and a good cup of coffee. The host had a telescope setup and told us that it was pointing at whales that he had seen earlier. I couldn't see them due to all the waves. That day we cleaned the chains and lubed them, but left the bikes parked and headed down to the village on foot.
Hotel's backyard overlooking the town and rock of Percé.
We bought boat tickets at the first booth we could find and went to get drinks. The boat was departing in 20 minutes, so not a lot of time for anything else. We also bought sunscreen remembering how red our faces became on a similar tour in colder weather. We met a funny grocery clerk who upon hearing that we were from Toronto proceeded to make jokes about our (allegedly) crack smoking major.
The boat did not leave on time, it was waiting for another boat, a Zodiac, to come in and use our boat to relay passengers through to the pier. As the tour started the boat made its way around the rock, towards the island. We saw tons of seals, gannets and auks (the latter look a bit like penguins).
Percé from the sea
Seal on the rocks
Northern Gannet mid-flight
We landed on the island and met a family from India whom we helped out because they did not have any Canadian money left and the park wouldn't accept their US cash. We bought some drinks for the hike. It was only about 40 minutes long and it wasn't too complicated. Everybody kept saying <em>bonjour bonjour bonjour</em> as we met them going the other way.
Trail to the gannet colony.
The landscape at the gannet nesting site was covered with birds, both on the ground and in the air. Each nest is made by a pair of birds, and one would stay on the ground, with their eggs or the young chicks, while the other ventures out fishing. When the fishing birds come back, they often miss their nest a bit and nearby birds on land take that as a threat and start fighting and screaming in an attempt to protect their nest from the "intruder". The result is a very dense, noisy and feisty colony. Birds are so numerous, so densely packed they made the landscape somehow alien and entirely their own. They were very expressive and displayed both aggression and affection in a very short amount of time, completely unrestrained.
This gannet was giving me the eye as I was getting too close
Touching of the beaks and necks is a sign of affection, not a cleaning ritual.
Eventually we headed back knowing that there will still be more than an hour from us leaving the gannets to being on the mainland and being able to have lunch. We headed back on the same trail towards the boat, waited for a good 15 minutes with the boat to leave and finally we were looking for place to eat in Percé. Unusually for us we declined several restaurants before settling on one right near the boardwalk. We each ordered a lobster sandwich which was served with a bit of potato chips and a very tasty cabbage salad. The sandwiches were very tasty with flavorful crunchy bread and lots of lobster meat.
We spent some time walking along the boardwalk and sitting on the funny looking benches on it. These benches were decorated like heads of gannets and seals. We walked back across the town along main street. Stumbled upon an art shop of a local artist, Mylène Henry, and bought some postcards. The artwork was very expressive with vivid colors and bold strokes portraying Québec nature. Finally we walked up the hill towards our hotel. On the way we picked up some supplies from the local grocery store. That included some cooked peeled shrimps and cold local beer, Pit Caribou. The beer was great, the shrimps went down easy and before we knew it we were fast asleep.
Day 5 - Thirst for Altitude - Mt Xalibu
Woke up early around 6:30am, took a sunrise shot of the St. Lawrence and quickly went back to sleep because breakfast starts at 8am. Today we decided to head out to Gaspésie National Park, ride us some dirt roads and hike us some mountains.
We had our usual breakfast and headed down to the bakery for some extra pastries for the road. We got a bottle of water as well (physical need for water will be a big theme today) and continued on our way by highway 132 to 198 to the town of Murdochville. This town was at the center of a valley of small mountains with what appeared to be lots of mining. Route 198 was quite scenic but we constantly got construction gravel patches.
After Murdochville we turned onto Route du Lac-Sainte-Anne, which was a gravel road and this is where we started to have fun and the mountains around us became all the more scenic. The road continued for a full 50km and after a while it became less difficult and we reached 90-100 km/h on it and met several ATVs along the way. Over time we overcame the challenge of riding side-by-side, but not before my jacket and bike and everything else got covered in dust.
Turned onto 299, which passes right through Gaspésie National Park, and tried to find the Discovery Center. Twice turned on the wrong road, one of them was the road we eventually had to take to go for our hike. It was a gravel road and continued for many kilometers. At the Discovery Center we paid park fees and got a map along with suggestions of hikes to take. We ignored the suggestions and decided to do a more difficult climb with our limited daylight, in exchange hoping to get more thrilling views from 1140m elevation. The gravel road leading towards the trail was much harder than the one we took earlier that day with a lot of very bumpy sections where I almost lost the bike several times. (Oops, where is my bike? Oh, here it is!)
Lac aux Américains
The hike to Mount Xalibu is split into two sections. The first one is fairly short and easy, and opens up to beautiful view of Lac aux Américains. Enjoyed the view for a while, took pictures and ate some of our pastries. At this point we had about half a liter of water left. Then we began the ascent which was supposed to take a further 4 km. During this hike the mountain climbs 540 m for a total of 1140m above sea level at the summit. The hike included a lot of steep, rocky terrain. It was exhausting and hot and we did not have much water left. Beat up our BMW Allround boots pretty well, but they handled it with grace and kept our feet safe.
The little patch of rocks seen in lower centre is the actual trail.
Less than a kilometer away from the lake we came upon a mountain stream with icy clear water. I drank some of it while Sunbandit was cautious and only used it to wash his face. From there on it was getting harder and harder primarily because there was no water left to drink, but also because the terrain was actually quite difficult, especially with no hiking poles or any other special equipment. With many stops it took us over two hours to climb those 4 km. At around 900m elevation the trees stop growing and only the shrubs remain, and for the final few hundred horizontal meters even the shrubs disappeared leaving just a bare rocky summit.
Elevation 950m, way above tree line.
The views were indeed amazing not only at the very top but along the way as well. The trail overlooks the valley and you could see many more high peaks just like it. You could also see some mountain lakes and even a waterfall. At the top you have a 360° view of the Chic-Choc mountain range. It was very beautiful and very calming after the difficult climb. However we were thirsty and the nearest spot where you could buy refreshments would be the Discovery Center which closes at 8 o'clock and we would probably just barely make it in time if we get going soon.
View from the summit
View from the summit in IR
We spent about 20 minutes at the summit resting and enjoying the view. The descent was a lot easier but still quite tricky with all the rocks and odd terrain. We stopped at the stream again and refilled the water bottle and drank it just in case we did not make it to the Discovery Center. The water turned out just fine - after two days there are no signs of any sickness or anything else like that. It took us just over an hour to get down to the lake which was 1.3 km away from the parking lot. The sun was already setting and the gravel roads did not seem as bad as on the way in perhaps just different sections are better than others.
It was very beautiful riding into the sunset with a purple light covering the mountains and the sky behind them and also lighting up the dust that Sunbandit's bike was spitting out. I was too tired to stop to take a photo of that majestic view, but will always keep it in my mind's eye. We made it to the Discovery Center on time and bought some Gatorade, geared up and headed back to Percé. Sunbandit really wanted to take the gravel road back which I was quite against. After five minutes it became noticeably colder, we stopped to put our rain gear on for some added wind protection and at that point Sunbandit realized that the gravel road is not a good idea in the dark in the middle of a forest. You don't want to test your breaks on loose surfaces trying to avoid a moose. So we headed south on 299. The sun was setting quickly and was soon gone, leaving us in the darkness and surrounded by swarms of bugs. The flying insects were infatuated with our visors and within half an hour we couldn't see beyond the murky bike headlights. I was thinking of stopping, thinking that maybe I could find a rag somewhere in my topcase that could help me clean this madness off my visor so that I can stop riding blind, but I shuttered at the thought of being still and preyed upon by a thousand mosquitos.
Luckily by the time we reached the nearest town almost 100 km further there were still gas stations open at almost 10pm. Something tells me that if this was rural New Brunswick or Nova Scotia, we would be stuck there with no gas, as I was running on my last reserves by this point. Fueled up and with some more drinks we headed for another hour and a half long stretch towards Percé. Amazingly, highway 132 is actually lit up almost continuously along the shore at night. We were no longer bombarded by bugs and were not in total darkness. We were slightly hungry but did not want to stop at silly fast food joints. We were hoping that maybe grocery store or restaurant or at least a bar at the end of the town would still be open for some decent food. We came in close to midnight and lucked out on dinner. Better luck in the morning ;)
Quebec to New Brunswick
Percé is one of my favourite places in Canada, and it is with a feeling of slight regret that we left it that cloudy morning. The next two days would be spent mostly on the road, with much less time to slow down, stop and explore.
We stayed in Percé for as long as we could. Had a really late breakfast, enjoyed the views of the town from the hotel. Went down into town and had another one of those tasty lobster sandwiches on the shore of the gulf. Finally we geared up and continued going south on 132.
After a while of pretty curves on the shore we made our way to New Brunswick. From there we continued a little while along a major highway - 11. Needing gas we turned away from hwy 11 towards a small town. Finding a gas station was a little less trivial. The gas stations the GPS knew about were either closed or not gas stations at all. So we turned to follow the smaller hwy 134, which follows nearly parallel to 11 but closer to the shore and passing through small towns.
The area was Acadian and most street poles had a cool painted design to mimic the Acadian flag, and even the fire hydrants were decorated the same way. We stumbled upon an Esso station along the way (yey for the quick an easy speedpass payment, instead of the credit card that gets refused at the pump 50% of the time for no reason). After checking out more side roads along the Acadian route, we turned back to main freeways near Bathurst. It was getting to be late, and the skies were cloudy and menacing.
New Brunswick does not have its own police service and relies on RCMP, just like the rest of the Maritime provinces. Its highways are definitely unique. Main freeways like 8 and 11 are very straight, very smooth, and feel very remote. They are enclosed by deep forest all around, and whenever you come to any clearing, it's to pass over a deep river valley, also enclosed within a forest with no civilization in sight. The road surface looked brand new and really tempted you to test out your speed on these roads, although I found that the strong winds detract a bit from your ability to reach your bike's true capacity. It is here that I managed to pull the highest speed from my TU on this trip.
As it was getting darker we arrived in Miramichi, our stop for the night. The dinner at Boston Pizza was highlighted by mosquitos and bland food, and thus ended the day of our return to Anglophone Canada.
As there were not too many adventures this day, I'll make a detour to discuss the more pragmatic things - the gear we got for the trip.
Aside from the typical things like luggage, there is also a question of electronic gadgets.
Prior to getting my TU I was riding pillion and we were using an iPhone app to communicate using Bluetooth. This worked well on a single bike, but the phone is not designed to allow high transmission power to Bluetooth so this method does not work with two bikes at anything above very low speeds / short distances. We decided to give Scala Rider devices a go and after trying their top of the line (but somewhat aged) G9 model, we promptly returned it and got a Q3 instead. Benefits: few buttons (fewer features too, but we did not miss any of them), lower cost, ability to use your own headphones. The last one is perhaps the most important, as this means you can use it with a set of good noise reducing in-ear headphones to cut the deafening high speed highway noise. Disadvantage: lower battery life. But there are ways to circumvent that, more on that later.
Up until now the main workhorse in my photo stable was a Nikon D7000 with the 18-200mm VR lens. This thing can do it all and can do it fast. It's a great setup, but it's pretty heavy too. On an earlier 5 day long trip this year we tested out a Fuji X100s, a camera with similar (and sometimes superior) image quality, but smaller size and a bit less flexibility. It has a fixed lens, so not good for wildlife photos, unless wildlife is huge or does not mind you coming up really close and personal. Its smaller size and weight become a more pronounced advantage when you spend a lot of time walking around with the camera in tow - your neck does not hurt by the end of the day. The third camera was a Nikon D80 converted to shoot infrared. It's very different and does not get out of the bag all that much, but the results are so unique, it's worth it. A 10.5mm fisheye and a 50mm f/1.8 prime lenses rounded out this advanced line up. A pair of GoPros travelled in a category all of their own.
Electricity is second only to gas on our trips. Installing a 12V adapter on my bike was one of the must haves on the list of mods to do before the trip, but that alone was not enough. It powered my Garmin GPS, while the adapter on the SV powered up an iPhone mounted in a Lifeproof case. (Great case by the way.) We needed something extra to make sure our communicators lasted through the long days of riding - a portable power source. After much deliberation we settled on a Powerocks Tetris AC Charge Pack. It's a square block, about the size of a Macbook power brick, with 6000 mAh of juice available. The key features that made it a winner were:
With more than 1 device using USB to recharge (the GoPro cameras), my trick to avoid carrying too many USB adapters is to just take a small powered USB hub. 4 devices can charge from a single wall plug!
We would typically connect the headsets to the Powerocks charger while having lunch or any other break in riding, and it was sufficient most of the time. I think there were 3 times during entire trip when a headset would run out of power before the day was over, usually caused by taking too short of a lunch break :).
Getting to Cape Breton
This was the second time we passed through Miramichi, and the second time we did not stay long enough to notice anything other than the green Centennial Bridge across the river. The hotel served breakfast, which saved us time by not having to go find a place to eat in this town.
We went on to hwy 11 and continued looking for TU's top speed until we reached Kouchibouguac National Park. From there we headed by 134 taking small roads, like the scenic highway 505 along the coast.
Eventually we went back to the main highway and continued until we reached Nova Scotia. We exited at Amherst and stopped at Bella's Cafe and Bistro for lunch. It was a cute little cafe that served seafood chowder and more dessert than we could handle.
From there we continued by hwy 6 all the way to Pictou where we fuelled up at a gas station where a computer had new software installed. That was a fun 15 min stop. The rebooted it several times, had a qualified technician try to talk sense into the machine, and finally the attendant could not quite figure out how to process our complicated purchase with the new software. I'm sure the upgrade will be worth it in the long run, but I did not stick around long enough.
After that we turned back to hwy 104 - the Trans Canada Highway - until we reached Cape Breton, where were turned off the direct path to explore Isle Madame and where the SV had a bit of fun with a passing ZX7, while the TU was chilling in their dust.
Finally we made our way to North Sydney. Unfortunately we were there at 8:30pm, and apparently local restaurants don't really stay open that late. That was another time we went to bed with no dinner. Although it's possible that somewhere out there one place or another was available, the swarm of mosquitos on the front porch did not make us feel safe enough to venture out in search of food. It's things like this that make me appreciate my Toronto - you will not stay hungry there, no matter what time of the day or night.
It looks like I'll have to head towards Gaspe at some point. Too pretty to miss.
Cape Breton - going around the Cabot Trail
It was a sunny morning with clouds lurking all around. We went to greet our hostess who served us a nice breakfast. It was a pleasant surprise to yum on REAL scrambled eggs and not the seemingly artificial and tasteless concoction that we have become accustomed to in the big chain restaurants. We don't usually meet travellers from the west coast, as the scenery of the Rocky Mountains would probably far surpass that of the hills and small mountains found in the east. However joining us for breakfast were a couple traveling from the west who took a plane to Ottawa and rented a car to go to Newfoundland for the third time.
We packed up and headed towards the Cabot Trail. It was nice and chilly so we took the first opportunity to jump into our rain suites. Upon reaching the Cabot trail we went North towards the highlands. We practiced carving out the turns and eventually reached a small glass making shop and stopped to browse and get a souvenir.
We soon found ourselves hungry and began searching for a place to eat. That meant riding along, looking at restaurants by the road and having a deep discussion ("How about this one?" - "Too late, passed it already") until we finally got hungry enough to stop at the nearest diner that looked operational. The parking area was gravel and I managed to drop the bike as I entered it. The whole braking on odd surfaces and angles needs more practice. That did not do any good to my mood, which was already not at its best due to the shifty weather. Call me superficial, but I somehow feel a lot better with the sun shining. It was the second time we visited Cabot Trail, and again it presented only tiny slivers of blue sky, if any. The food was okay at best. They rave about lobsters (and seafood in general) on the east coast, but not every establishment actually does these ingredients justice.
After the lunch break we kept on going by the trail, and on one of the sharper right hairpin turns I went too wide and into the opposing lane for a brief moment*:( Good practice overall. We stopped many times to take photos, although oftentimes the scenery looked much better with the naked eyes than in the resulting pictures. Once past the Highlands, the sky turned darker and it started to rain. When we reached Chéticamp*the road turned for the worse. It was under construction for quite a few kilometres, with uneven surface and loose rocks flying into us. The winds picked up and were so strong, I was worried I'd actually get pushed off the road (it did not help that the road was slippery from the rain and surface conditions changed as we went in and out of construction zones).
The day was winding down and it was time for dinner. We thought of eating in Baddeck but the place we liked closed 15min before we came there and the other place was too busy, so we decided to push on and eat in North Sydney. Our first choice was the highly recommended Lobster Pound, but for some reason after barely finding it hidden on the side of a pizza building, it was closed that specific Friday evening - sorry folks - that's all for tonight. We decided to backtrack a little and eat at another restaurant called Black Spoon. The food there was delicious and fairly priced. It was quite a departure from the last few days and made me feel like I'm in a real, normal city again. I admit, I must be very spoiled by the availability of good food in Toronto, and that makes me feel a certain love/hate towards the more remote areas and how they fill my soul with awe but sometimes leave my stomach unimpressed.
After a relaxing dinner we went to the ferry terminal to get on our boat. We got our boarding passes and were told to head to the front of the line. We waited for quite a while and did not board first as originally expected, some cars went ahead of us. We talked to a guy with a beard who rode a Gold Wing with a trailer and apparently was in Newfoundland a few times. We boarded and proceeded to tie down our bikes, which was an adventure in its own right. After all the other bikers were gone from the vehicle deck, we too headed up to get some rest, if at all possible. Deck 7 was the main one and very busy. We ended up getting a pair of seats in a more quiet area on deck 8. The ferry trip was a mix of trying to fall asleep and watching cheesy TV shows on the overhead screens. On the bright side, the seats were significantly roomier and more comfortable than airline seats and even had USB power plugs.
It was hard to get any sleep on the ferry, even in the fairly comfortable seats. A cabin would have been better perhaps, but there weren't any available when we booked - about a month in advance. It's definitely something to try and arrange for if we ever go back to Newfoundland by ferry.
Wow great photos and thanks for sharing! I did a similar trip three years ago and this is bringing back the very good memories. Looking forward to the next episode :clap
Arriving to Newfoundland on a foggy morning
Dismantling the boat was easier than loading. The cargo straps that took half an hour to put on took only a minute to come off. We got off the boat and ended up right on the Trans Canada Highway - this ferry route is considered to be an official part of it.
We proceeded into Port Aux Basques through mixed rain and fog. Not soon after we left the ferry, a cruiser broke out of line and bravely passed us in thick fog. We were going relatively slowly, tired from lack of proper sleep and curious to actually see and absorb this new landscape in front and around us. This is the furthest we've ever gone by surface transport. Sure, a transatlantic flight easily beats the distance travelled, but when you go this far by land (and a tiny bit of sea) it seems that every kilometre is an effort and a cause for celebration. So we rode casually, getting passed by pretty much every other vehicle on the road. We didn't mind, as we were occasionally stopping on the side of the road to take photos.
The SV rider made me stop at the visitor's centre and get a proper paper map. The feature we most looked forward to was the T'Railway and the map did include it. I had it mapped out on my phone as well, but it's always nice to have an analog backup. So we went on towards our next destination - Rocky Harbour.
As we emerged from the fog, the Long Range Mountains were overwhelming to absorb. Every corner, creek and pond looked fantastic in the foreground of these giants. We had to pull to the side of the highway and I wasn't too comfortable with that at first but the SV rider persisted and we even went back and took some more shots. Aside from the scenery, we saw quite a few memorial sites by the side of the road.
After a long ride we decided to have breakfast in Corner Brook. As we approached the town we saw a police car stopped on the side of the road and it appeared that an accident occurred and the same cruiser rider who overtook us earlier was standing beside his bike which seemed to have gone down on a slippery turn in the middle of construction. Not a good way to start the journey.
We came into Corner Brook and began searching for a decent breakfast place and after circling around their downtown area, we settled on a pizza shop and had some donair meat for the first time. From there on we continued by Hwy 1 until Dear Lake, then turned onto the Viking Trail - Hwy 430. This is where it started getting even more scenic, but we were exhausted so we pressed on and eventually got to our cabin. We came in a bit too early and it wasn't ready yet. To pass the time we went to explore the town, get some groceries and find a place that may have oil for the TU. We found Pittman's Towing Company, a small auto repair shop at the edge of Rocky Harbour. It looked promising but they didn't have 10W40 in stock. They told us they would go get it tomorrow. We also found a trading post and a convenience store that both had some food, though it wasn't very tempting. Fruits and vegetables looked like they were rotting and frozen at the same time, but it seems that's a common occurrence in Newfoundland, where these things are not grown locally but shipped in by boat. We loaded up the groceries into a tankbag and went to our cabin where we unpacked and took a nice long nap to compensate for the sleepless ferry ride.
I really enjoyed this. I got here from your link at tu250riders.com.
I really enjoy seeing people take longer trips on the TUx!
I meant to ask, for your IR photography, are you shooting film, does the Fuji sensor actually pick that up, or is it a post processing effect?
I have always wanted a hyperspectral camera...
I think most DSLRs can be converted to IR, but some are easier than others. D80 is one of the easier ones, full featured and nowadays very cheap.
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