The sign on the door of the ferry office when I went to bed said "next scheduled ferry Sunday 1 pm, office will open at 10:30" so I got up at a reasonable hour to check out the situation. No evening boat on Saturday either obviously. When I hit the front door there was already a sizeable lineup so I joined in chatting with a couple of truck drivers who'd been stranded longer than me. I noticed a couple in riding gear so I started chatting with them.
Turns out Tom and Leah were from Conway New Hampshire and were on a 1200 GS. They'd been toodling around the west coast for a bit and had holed up a little south waiting out the wind. They wanted to spend a week in Labrador taking in the sights. the three of us spent time going back and forth listening to the reservation call outs and getting coffee.
If you're headed to Conway to go to Whitehorse Gear or Mt Washington stop in at their restaurant, Cafe Noche for some tasty Mexican food, right on the main drag next to the Cumberland Farm.;)
The way this ferry company works with cancellations is interesting: if your reservation sailing is cancelled you go on the list, the next scheduled sailing reservations have first priority then they start adding the backlog of previous cancellations. That is combined with the fact they will only add vehicles in order of the list, doesn't matter if they have room or not. The girl's response to my query of fitting a couple of bikes on was: "I can't let you on ahead of someone else." Needless to say the 3 of us were not impressed.
I got a card to get on the 6pm boat, no chance of getting on the 1pm, Tom & Leah got a pass for the 9pm boat. We were standing outside discussing what we were going to do when I look over to see a familiar figure roll in....Tree great to see you! A quick catch up and we filled him in as to the status of sailing.
Tree with DR650
Tree with Tom & Leah
As for me, the math just wasn't going to work, I had to pick up Sue at the airport the morning of the 22nd in Montreal, it was the 18th now and if I took the 6pm boat landing too late to start riding I wasn't going to get moving until the 19th. Knowing with speed limits etc I was going to need 4 days to get there, I couldn't do it, I had to bail. I handed off my 6pm crossing pass to Tree & Tom to decide amongst themselves and hopped on my bike heading south.
The headwind was still brisk which made for a moderately uncomfortable ride south but at least it was still pretty warm.
on the fly Gros Morne was pretty in the afternoon sun.
I gassed up in Wiltondale and kept moving. Wreckhouse was fine and as the hills tapered down near Cape Race I saw my shadow riding beside me in the golden hour light and though it would make a nice picture with the hills in the background.
I was heading up a hill in the left of 2 westbound lanes taking a glance down to my tank bag with one hand reaching for the camera and when I looked up I saw a minivan in my lane passing a car headed right for me! I had a second to wait and see what he was going to do and he moved first swerving to his left going around me in the righthand westbound lane on my right. Not fucking cool! I looked in my mirror and didn't see any vehicles leave the road or any crashes, to hell with him, arsehole! I continued on my way and still got the photo I wanted.
Very soon after I was in Port Aux Basques and pulled in for gas, while there I saw an ambulance and fire rescue pickup heading east. Something must have happened? I continued on to get my ferry ticket and with 3 hours to wait headed back to Timmies for a bite to eat. Just as I crossed the overpass I heard a honk behind me and turned around to see a pickup truck, whatever. I pulled into the Tim Horton's parking lot as intended and stopped. The truck stopped by me and the guy walked over pulled out his RCMP badge and asked to talk to me rather curtly. Here we go. He took my license and was chatting back and forth on his radio saying he'd found the bike; then he took me aside and said there'd been an accident where a car had gone into a pond, one person hadn't gotten out and the driver said "an orange dirt bike" had crossed the yellow lines into their lane. Ah... no! I gave him a description of what happened from my perspective and very firmly stated that at no time did I even come close to crossing the center line. His manner changed for the better and he asked what time my ferry was? I guess he could see that I wasn't a kid and was loaded up to travel. He asked me a timeline of events which I gave him and verified it with my gas receipt. With plenty of time to spare he asked me to follow him to the RCMP station to give a statement; no problem.
looking back on my day while waiting for the Sgt
We had a good chat in the interrogation room where everything is now preserved on video which he nicely informed me of before we started. I gave my side of the facts, the description of the minivan as a late model burgundy Chevy and no idea what kind of car he was passing. He asked me if I maintained my bike etc to which I mentioned the full service I'd just done including tires plus details like the LED brake lights. I asked him if he'd noticed them, he replied "those flashing ones?" They work as intended. I also reminded him that I was on my way to pick up my girlfriend so I wanted my bike to be in good working order for that too. We finished up and he mentioned that he rides bikes too and was behind me for a bit in his truck and could see that I rode responsibly and in control, and to keep in touch to see what developed. Nice guy, thanks for that. I returned to Tim's for the soup I was still wanting.
Turns out it was the van that went in the drink and one of 3 occupants didn't get out; when I checked the news in Fredericton there was a report about a 2 vehicle crash and no mention of a motorcycle in the one I read. I phoned Sgt Foote back and queried that there was more to the story? Yup, turns out they were racing, the passengers in the van were witness to speeds up to 160 km/h. The driver of the car was trying to blame it all on me to get out of it, there can't be more than one "orange dirtbike" around and where the hell is it going to go from PAB, the end of the road? Dumbass. When the van passed me he hit the shoulder on his left then overcorrected to the right hitting the car he was racing sending both of them off the road and his into the pond. That explains why he didn't hit the brakes and pull back in behind the car, he stayed on the gas and went around me instead. Lucky for me either way, not so lucky for him as he killed his buddy. It could have been a lot worse killing everyone in the picture.
The local news
On to the ferry lineup where there were a few other bikes waiting and a lot of moose hunters headed home high on having successful hunts. There were trucks from all over as far as Wisconsin and Ontario, I guess Newfoundland is a mecca for more than touring motorcyclists?
Marine Atlantic here I come
first ride on one of the new boats, how bad was it going to be?
Holy crap, this trip is 3 days in, I haven't even gotten off the island, I've ridden almost 2000 km's and events are really piling up. I hope the rest of the trip isn't going to be like this!