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Old 07-19-2010, 06:19 AM   #1
HowlingMad OP
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Lost and Found - Newfoundland

This story goes waaaaay back to 2008 when we decided to take a few months and travel some of North America. While we were on this trip,
we met these people:


Meet Claude and Claudia. They were traveling from Montreal to the Southwest U.S. in just two weeks. We exchanged email addresses and followed each others travels since then.

Fast forward two years and although we've kept in touch, we haven't seen them in two years. We decided to do a trip together and met them in New Hampshire to soak in some of the great riding in the White Mountains. (Ride Report here:)

They invited us along on their next adventure; Newfoundland. The plan is to spend a few days traveling from south of Boston to Cape Bretton, NS and meet them before the ferry to Newfoundland. We are currently in Baddeck, NS.

We were up this way only last spring, so we've decided to take the express route up here and slab our way up, two 400+ mile days back to back, something we rarely do.

The Bikes: two F650GS. Not great for open slab, but a fun bike all around.
The Plan: two weeks round trip with as much time on dirt roads in Newfoundland
The People: two couples separated by two languages but joined in a passion for riding. (fortunately, their English is better than our French)

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Old 07-19-2010, 06:22 AM   #2
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I took this trip last summer and have been going up to Newofundland for 17 years. You're going to love it!
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Old 07-19-2010, 06:24 AM   #3
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Day 1

We greeted the first day at 4:30am and kickstands were up before 5:30, an unusually good start for us. We had to be up early to make the 425 miles to New Brunswick. A fairly uneventful day that started with a gourmet breakfast at McDonalds. Nothing but the best for my lady.

Meet your author:


And his more attractive wing-lady.

Painfully cute, isn't she?

We have lot's of video, no time to edit it and not many exciting tales from the first day. We made it as far as New River, NB on the first day.
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Old 07-19-2010, 06:26 AM   #4
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Day 2

Yesterday (7/17) was another hot and long day in the saddle for us to in order to make the journey to Baddeck, NS, some 350 miles from New River, NB. We wanted to stay in the same hotel we stayed at last time and have lots of time to recoup from the journey before the ferry to Newfoundland today.

Once again, we were able to start the day quite early (for us) at 4:30 EST and on the road before 6am.


The morning was quite cool at 56, a refreshing change from yesterday and one we will long for in just a few hours. The fog made for some very dramatic scenes. It was nice to have this whole road and moment just for us. There is very little traffic this early in the morning.

Over 100 miles on the clock before another gourmet breakfast, this time at our favorite Canadian coffee shop, Timmy's (Tim Hortons). On a side note, Bethany has been attempting to give up coffee to discover if it may be the source of constant headaches. So far, not so good. It's a tough vice to give up.
Can't say as I blame her. Coffee, it melts the brain.

As the day gets hotter, we decide to get off the highway for a bit. We've made excellent time so far and it allows us a more relaxed pace for a few hours on local roads. We enjoy the local color.
Some of the roads are in very poor shape but these bikes are impervious and easily soak up the bumps, ruts and potholes. Aside from the broken air conditioner, the bikes are remarkably comfortable.

The heat has even killed our little thermostat (actually a wire was torn out) and this Celsius thing has us confused, but we are certain it's hot. Damn hot. We're forced to stop for almost two hours for lunch to avoid the searing heat of the highway. Why is all motorcycle gear black? Damn pirates. I'm strongly considering a pair of those ass-less chaps right now. Might keep the tail-gaiters down too.

We've taken to filling our Camelbaks with ice from the fast food chains and it makes the heat much more tolerable. Back on the highway we realize we are headed into a thunderstorm and need to make the distance to Baddeck.
We are quite lucky and arrive with only a few minutes of rain and lightning all around us. Did I mention I'm allergic to lightning?
Since we've been eating out most meals, we decided to make a little supper on the picnic table outside our hotel. Here you can see the fine working conditions in which the chef prepares the meal.
Chicken stroganoff (?) and zucchini from our garden for dinner.

We look forward to tomorrow's relaxed pace and few miles.
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Old 07-23-2010, 08:31 PM   #5
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As usual, lots of great pictures and little internet and even less time to post. It's currently 1am, and I've run out of Black Horse beer and steam for the evening, so it will be a quick update with just a couple of pics.

We are currently on Fogo island, one of the largest islands of Newfoundland and yet incredibly quaint. Just $8 to get you and your motor here. We're camped out at a B&B since it rained all day and everything is soaked to the bone.

The journey has had some fairly amazing parts including river crossings, fantastic logging roads, old railroad tracks and Amazon like trail blazing, but I'm afraid much of this will have to wait a while longer before we can post any of the videos. It's been great having a total of 5 video cameras and 4 cameras and we're capturing great footage. The bad part is that it takes too much time to sort and time and bandwidth are in short supply here.
I'll need to spend some time later to lay out the trip chronologically later.

In the meantime, here are a couple of random shots:

The first from Nova Scotia. We had some extra time before catching the ferry to NFLD, so we decided to take back roads, this one turned out to be more of a path, and this was long before it got worse.



The next day we awoke to a misty, foggy morning and rode to Rose Blanche, a very small community that must have made the first Scots here think that the whole world looked like Scotland.





Just a few days later we were exploring logging roads that no doubt will be a highlight of the trip and at least an honorable mention in our greater journey. This was the calm after a storm, and despite the peaceful reflections, the four of us will forever see this picture with powerful emotions.


You know it's a good day when you test your boots for leaks. I'll be writing a sternly worded letter to Mr. GoreTex.




More about that later.
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Old 07-23-2010, 09:42 PM   #6
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Old 08-01-2010, 04:26 PM   #7
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7-19

It's difficult to tell the story on the road as it happens, for me anyway, but we're home now and I wanted to go back and fill in the blanks.

So let's go back to 7-19, the day we meet up with the other couple we're traveling with, Claude and Claudia. The two previous days were spent making up 815 miles, a record for us, so we treated ourselves to the Trailsmen Hotel. As usual, we made ourselves quite comfortable and spread out everything we own to dry.


I spend much of the morning trying with much frustration to sort photos, videos, journal entries and updates to the site. I've decided I need a better system since it's starting to be a real drag. After a late checkout, we slowly make our way to North Sydney where we will meet our friends at the ferry to Newfoundland. Since we have a few extra hours, we explore some of the many dirt roads in Nova Scotia. We follow a small dirt road that get's smaller and smaller until it's just a track in the woods.


We've used up too much time on the back roads and can't afford the extra time if this track doesn't connect, so we reluctantly turn around but have enjoyed the first taste of off-road in some time.
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Old 08-01-2010, 05:31 PM   #8
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7-19, part 2

It's damn hot today, must be into the 90's and we're fine as long as we're moving, but eventually we reach the line for the ferry and start to melt. We make our way to the waiting area where we meet some of the other bikers waiting. This rig is owned by a Quebec couple that we later cross paths with several times.

If you're in New England reading this, keep an eye out for them and invite them in for a pint. If I remember correctly, she is driving a truck in the Paris-Dakar next year.
Not long after Claude and Claudia arrive. They have traveled about the same distance from Montreal to meet us here. As usual, they have several very nice gifts for us including a few stickers and t-shirts they made for the trip. (You'll see them show up a little later.)


Fortunately, we have a few for them as well, including an evaporative cooler which they could have used while sitting in the line waiting to get to us. Claude takes the rather effeminate color in stride.


Traveling always seems to be cycles of hurry up and wait. Loading bikes on the ferry is a great example. You wait and wait not really knowing when you'll be loaded and then all of the sudden you scurry on the boat and strap the bike down as quick as possible forgetting something important. I think it was my passport this time.


Once the bikes are on, we watch the gate close down on Claude's bike.

The deckhands are not amused by our antics.

We strap all the bikes down with all the confidence of someone who has never done this before and are quickly herded upstairs.
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Old 08-01-2010, 05:51 PM   #9
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Up top I run into John and Dave from Philly/NJ area and have a great conversation. They have come a farther distance with less time to spend, but seem to be having a great time. They are inmates in here as well I think, hopefully they will chime in here with a ride report.
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Everyone is in great spirits as the journey begins.
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I always like traveling by boat, at least for the first hour. Then I get very bored, but in this case, it's nice to be making mileage while doing very little. It also makes for some nice scenery.
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On board, Claudia makes updates to their blog while Claude and I discuss routing. (note the shirt)
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The fog makes our midnight arrival in Port Aux Basque very dramatic (and difficult to capture on a moving boat) and we are re-energized by the excitement of disembarking and the search for our hotel.
Photobucket
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Old 08-01-2010, 06:19 PM   #10
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7-20, part 1

A rainy start to the day is made easier by coffee and eggs at the Port Aux Basque Hotel.
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Other ride reports direct us toward Rose Blanche where we are treated to more dramatic scenery.
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We make our way north to Gros Morne National Park, a main event on the island. The scenery reminds us of Scotland. The reader should be forewarned that your author is Scotish, and compares everything beautiful to Scotland which of course falls short of the original, naturally.

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A quick stop for an unremarkable lunch and I begin to see the efficiency of the couple we are traveling with. Claude sorts the route ahead and Claudia documents their travel and makes incremental blog posts frequently. They have a great system and work well together, we are inspired and taking notes.
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Old 08-01-2010, 06:42 PM   #11
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7-20, part 2

Meet Todd. He's a great example of what becomes a signature trait in Newfoundland. We pull over looking for the Newfoundland T'Railway (more on that soon) and out of nowhere pops up Todd. He's full of great advice on where to go, what trails are open and how hard they will be for our fairly green crew. He invites us to stay with him and you get the sense that this sort of hospitality is a Newfy tradition.


Eventually we make our way to Gros Morne and put down in the "Blow-Me-Down" Provincial park. Camp is set up and everyone gets about the chores.


Some of the chores are individual like keeping up with the travel log...


...and others are group chores like setting up camp or gathering firewood.


It's interesting to see how well everyone knows the drill and quietly takes different parts of the puzzle with little discussion.

It's all working very smoothly between two couples who have spent very little time together.
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Old 08-01-2010, 07:24 PM   #12
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7-21, part 1

A quick breakfast at camp of oatmeal and Claudia's famous cappuccino (how she does this is still a mystery to me).
Photobucket

We are anxious to find our first bit of off road together and head for a place we now call "Todd's Road", a simple logging trail that seems active in the beginning but later reveals it's true nature. As we turn off the main road, we notice these barrels. We assume they are to help truckers identify any wayward branches before hitting the tarmac. Anyone know more about these?
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It's a perfect road to re-acclimate to the dirt.
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We are grateful to have an easier road and everyone seems quite comfortable.
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But the puddles seem to gradually grow to be ponds.
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Nothing our fearless crew can't handle though.
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After all, we are all (pretending to be) vikings! Little did we know what awaited us.
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More brilliant artwork by Claude.
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Old 08-01-2010, 08:02 PM   #13
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Those "barrels" are load liners. Wood is delimbed and cut to 8 foot lengths for transport to mills. When they are loaded on logging trucks the wood is not perfectly lined up - some are sticking out more than others. The trucks drive through these load liners and the rotating "barrels" force the wood to become even such that there are none sticking out from the side of the truck more than others.

Looking forward to the rest of your report.
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Old 08-01-2010, 08:02 PM   #14
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The road has little sand or greasy mud, something I'm very grateful for since I stink at both.


As usual, there are three things working against us; weight, height and skill.

Traveling with all your camping gear for a few weeks starts to add up the weight. Although you can see all the luggage above, it's the vulnerability of remembering how far from home you are that puts a little caution in your head. The next problem also visible in the above photo is height. The ladies' bikes are lowered so that their vertically challenged frames can reach the ground. It's little problem on pavement, but it will give us grief later in the day. Skill is the most important of the three and we have a shortage. Each of us has done some formal training, a little practice and not much else.

Here you can clearly see my skill. I'm good at dropping bikes. Um, hello? A little help over here.


A few more small water crossings get us warmed up for what would be the main event.




This was a sign things were about to get more interesting for us.





Still, everyone is handling the challenges with great attitudes. I am quite happy to be in such good company.
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Old 08-01-2010, 08:04 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by riverman
Those "barrels" are load liners. Wood is delimbed and cut to 8 foot lengths for transport to mills. When they are loaded on logging trucks the wood is not perfectly lined up - some are sticking out more than others. The trucks drive through these load liners and the rotating "barrels" force the wood to become even such that there are none sticking out from the side of the truck more than others.

Looking forward to the rest of your report.

Ah hah! I never noticed they rotated. Thanks for the explanation.
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