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Old 08-30-2009, 04:30 PM   #16
Bikebits OP
Scramblin' man
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Joined: Dec 2005
Location: Southwestern Ontario
Oddometer: 241
Days 8 & 9

Leaving Forteau for the ferry, it was foggy and wet.

As we waited for the ferry, James and Darren showed up. We had been told we didn't need a reservation for this one as motorcycles are easy to fit on. The non-reservation line did take longer to get through, as the reservation line was processed first.

The weather started to clear as we set out. We saw large whales on the east side of the ship as we crossed, followed by smaller black whales(?), about the size of a large dolphin on the west side.

The weather was overcast again a couple of hours later as we approached the dock in St. Barbe. We bid James and Darren goodbye again, telling them we were going to look for a motel somewhere around Cow Head, a town near Gros Morne National Park.

The wind were stiff out of the west on the ride south, with occasional showers.

As we approached Gros Morne the tops of the mountains were lost in the clouds, but they were spectacular nonetheless. The motels were full in Cow Head, so we continued south to Rocky Harbour in search of a place to stay.

Rocky Harbour is in the heart of Gros Morne, and appears to be a popular spot to stay for visiting the park. After getting settled in to a motel directly across from the harbour we set out for an exploration of the area and some pictures. It was an easy ride of 258 km for the day.

Gros Morne is a UNESCO world heritage site and the scenery was spectacular, even if half obscured by clouds.

Our room was at the back of the motel, and as we rounded the corner to pull up to our room I laughed out loud in my helmet as we saw James and Darren's KTMs. We were quite a way from where we said we would be, and in spite of all the choices we all settled on the same place. They said they had seen Michigan Bill in town as well, and invited him to supper.

When we had all left the ferry back at Cartwright, Bill had stayed on board for an extra day for the trip all the way to Lewisporte NF. In a huge coincidence we had once again all converged on the same spot. We enjoyed dinner together at another restaurant "where the locals eat".

We had all been following the weather on TV, as hurricane Bill was threatening to disrupt ferry service to Nova Scotia. Bruce and I had confirmed reservations on tomorrow's Saturday daytime ferry; Bill had booked for Sunday and James and Darren (who were pretty much travelling without reservations) tried to get reservations but were told that they couldn't get on until Monday.

Morning dawned sunny and warm with a great view from the front of the motel.

We took our time heading south, drinking in the scenery. On a more leisurely schedule, the Gros Morne area would be worth spending several days itself.

That afternoon, we arrived at Port aux Basques and stopped at the tourist information centre and asked about a place to stay. They recommended a small cabin in the outport of Isle aux Morts. With directions in hand we set out for our last night in Newfoundland and Labrador.

443 km today for a total of 3983 for the trip thus far.

The cabin was a four-plex on the shore in Isle aux Morts and was the first disappointment in all the places we had stayed. We made a point of using old style non-chain, pull-up-to-the-door motels wherever we could. The majority had been right on the water and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend any of them until now.

Although it was clean and in a very picturesque setting, it was an old building with a definite slope in the floor, and the water was chocolate brown. Not risking the water, we skipped showers and used the drinking water we had packed for the Trans-Labrador Highway.

There was an interesting local fisherman's home museum, and although we arrived at closing time the curator insisted on opening back up to show us through. Once again the Newfoundland hospitality shone through.

Bruce had a knack for always asking the locals for the best place to eat, and we had also done very well in the dinner department. A little restaurant in the next community of Margaree came highly recommended. We were warned it opened at four and if we got there later than five we might not get a table. Hedging our bets, we got there at four thirty and true enough the place was packed by five.

We did a bit more exploring of the ports east of Port aux Basques and packed it in for the night.

It appeared hurricane Bill was far enough off our ferry would get to Cape Breton tomorrow.

'06 Triumph Scrambler Trans-Labrador veteran
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