Okay - day 7 and it's getting better every day.
Steve Adams, aka Kojack, had suggested we check out Twillingate and since it was always my intention to let some of the trip have no plan and let things just happen as they will we gladly ditched our route and headed up to Twillingate.
Before we did though we got on the rail trail again in Terra Nova. I was getting out my gear to shoot a cool bridge and when I turned around I was all alone. I looked around and saw the whole crew neck deep in raspberry bushes. They were ripe and sweet and made for a great break - this sort of thing just doesn't happen when you ride a Gold Wing.
While this section of the trail was certainly less technical it was actually FAR harder as it was a narrow double track with an 8" high crushed rock center and edges so if the bike wandered more than an inch or two it started to weave and the front would start to tuck so the trick was to keep the speed up around 35 or so and not let the wheel out of the track. At one point a black fly flew into my eye and I took my left hand off to wipe it and instantly the bike started to tuck and I grabbed it again - that black fly stayed in my eye for about 10 miles.
After about an hour we found another gear and some more confidence and edged up to about 40-45mph and let the bars wander. We did the whole thing all standing and even caught and passed a pair of quads. The racer in me can't let go when I see game ahead of me and as soon as I saw the dust I put my head down until we passed them. Good fun.
While neither of us have gone down Gino did drop the bike while attempting to turn around for a missed turn. The deep gravel and the tall bike combined for a standing still tip over which was aided when Lauren decided to abandon ship early on the high side and used Gino for traction. After waiting a while Judiaann and I turned around to find them and it took us both to lift the HP2.
We then grabbed a quick lunch at A&W and some fuel and the stress of the several hours of gravel just wiped me out.
Since this is a lunch update I won't have time to do any video but that's okay - the still shots will tell the story. So, on the road up to Twillingate where we rode through town and out to the very end of the island by the lighthouse. We had seen a camping icon on the map but didn't see anything as we passed through the little fishing town. At the lighthouse we asked at the tourist shop where there might be camping and he told us there was a city park that they'd quit maintaining and it was free game: camp anywhere you want - there's no services but no one will bother you. Sounded perfect.
We rode into the site and looked around and then Gino and I saw a steep rutted 4x4 track going up a hill and we gunned it up. At the top we found a camp site that was the camp site to end all. On the edge of a 200 foot cliff overlooking an island and the setting sun. We ran back into town for steak and wine and headed back to make camp. As Gino and I did the he man fire thing the girls prepped the meal.
We found enough dried driftwood for a good bunch of coals and wrapped the potatoes in foil and buried them in the fire while the steaks grilled.
This was by far the best meal of the trip - t-bone steak, sautéed asparagus, baked potato, tomato salad and sauteed onions. Amazing.
After dinner I climbed up the hill to get a panorama of our site and the view we enjoyed which was nothing short of spectacular. I've camped since I was 2 years old and I've never in my life enjoyed such a perfect place. I think you'll agree:
This, we all agreed, made the whole trip worth every sacrifice we've made to get here. Gino hadn't taken a vacation in three years and declared last night more than worth the wait. After dinner we sat around the campfire toasting marshmellows, eating chocolate we got from the local fudge shop and polishing off the last of our Nova Scotia scotch. It was perfect.
So a HUGE thanks to all those who encouraged us to go to Twillingate - no icebergs but the best camping I've ever experienced by a large margin.
We just finished lunch with Steve here in Grand Falls and our gear is almost dry from the torrential rains we rode in this morning and we're off to who knows where tonight. We had planned on camping in Gros Morne but if it's wet we'll look for a motel instead.