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Old 10-08-2013, 10:28 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by NonstopBanana View Post
The IR photos are made with a converted Nikon D80. It's the most sensible way to shoot IR - through the lens metering and composition, fast shutter speeds, and with correct white balance they barely need post processing. I bought a regular used camera, a regular round infrared filter and followed instructions online:

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.
That's awesome! I have a D80 (my main camera at the moment, (I've had it since it was a new model). I may have to do this with it when I upgrade.

Back to motorcycles! Really enjoying this thread.
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Old 10-08-2013, 10:53 AM   #17
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Hiking in Gros Morne National Park

Newfoundland is often called a hiker's paradise. The Gros Morne National Park area in particular is known for many beautiful hiking opportunities, the best of which are multi-day expeditions into the remote inner regions of the park. We did not intend to do any multi-day hikes, but definitely wanted to experience some of that rugged Newfoundland beauty. There was plenty of that to be seen, and this post is going to be very picture heavy. Brace yourselves!

On our first morning waking up in Newfoundland, we decided to stock up on some food supplies and hopefully find a good bakery. The place that fit that description was Earl's Restaurant and Bakery. They sold tasty breads, pies, jams and jellies made from local berries (bakeapple, partridgeberry) and an unexpected treat - canned moose meat. After a quick shopping trip we were back in our cottage, having breakfast and making plans for the day. We booked a boat tour of the Western Brook Pond for the day after and headed out.

Approaching Woody Point.

We got to the Gros Morne Visitors Centre, picked up a map and looked at our hiking options. Decided to go to Woody Point and hike up the Lookout Trail. It was a nice hike that was very scenic throughout, with the high point offering a 360° view of the surrounding Bonne Bay, harbours of Norris Point and Woody Point, the bare brown Tablelands, and the Gros Morne mountain. There is a pair of Muskoka chairs (known in the USA as Adirondack chairs) at the top of the hike to let you rest and appreciate the view.

Panoramic view from the top of the Lookout Trail

Pitcher Plant - Newfoundland's official flower

A section of the trail close to the top is a boardwalk that protects the marshland underneath.

The bare Tablelands are so different from the rest of the landscape because of the unique chemicals in their soil.

It was high 20º outside, but there was still snow lurking in the crevices of the mountains.

Woody Point and highway 431.

Norris Point across the bay, with Gros Morne mountain on the far left, touching the clouds.

Infrared view from the top

Marshes on the Lookout Trail

After we got back down to our bikes, we decided to check out the Lobster Cove Lighthouse, which is just north of Rocky Harbour. Even though both Woody Point and Rocky Harbour are within the same national park, it still takes an hour to get from one to the other. It was still broad daylight when we descended from the trail, and sunset when we got to the lighthouse. Instead of photographing the lighthouse, we ended up spending all the time near the cliffs taking photos of the roaring waves underneath. The sunlight was rapidly changing into varying shades of blue, pink, gold and purple, reflecting off the clouds and the waves. Separating the cliffs from the road was a forest of tuckamores - short stunted fir trees. You had to go through that forest to get to different points overlooking the cliffs. It was spooky at times, like as if you were in an enchanted forest.

As the sun finally set and it got darker, we headed to our cottage and had some of Earl's moose meat with spaghetti for dinner. It turned out quite tasty and we figured we'd get more - for ourselves to eat while we stay there, and as perfect Newfie gifts for friends back home.

Moon rising over Rocky Harbour

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Old 10-09-2013, 07:14 AM   #18
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Looks like you had a great trip
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Old 10-09-2013, 02:23 PM   #19
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I've done that trip by car several times. It's on my bucket list to do on my TU.
"The memories of a man in his old age are the deeds of a man in his prime" - Pink Floyd
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Old 10-09-2013, 03:32 PM   #20
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Great RR and superb pictures
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Old 10-10-2013, 05:02 PM   #21
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Western Brook Pond & Other Gros Morne Adventures

Some of the most impressive photos of Newfoundland feature Western Brook Pond, and pretty much everyone would say that it's a must to check out, so today we were going on a boat tour there. But before that, we still had plenty of time to check out a few other spots.

Lobster Cove Lighthouse

One such spot was Norris Point. It is a small picturesque village on the north side of Bonne Bay, just opposite to Woody Point which we visited the day before. It is the nearest village to Rocky Harbour, less than 10km south. You don't even need to go to the Viking Trail (hwy 430) to get from one to the other, there is a small quiet road that links them directly, Pond Road. It is called that way because of the Rocky Harbour Pond, a small scenic spot that we had to stop and explore.

Outskirts of Rocky Harbour

What really caught my attention right away was not the pond, but a tall abandoned water slide, which was part of an amusement park on the shores of the pond. The only things remaining from that park were the slide with its adjacent climbing tower, and a little shed that used to sell tickets and snacks. The area was overgrown with weeds and field flowers and looked very beautiful in the bright morning sun. We climbed the stairs to the top of the water slide and took some photos of the surrounding landscape. It was a very calm place, the peaceful waters of the pond being so different from the roaring ocean along the edges of the island.

When we got to Norris Point, we headed straight for the shore, which was rough and rocky. The water was a very clear blue-green and provided a great contrast to the backdrop of the mountains on the other side of the bay. Rocks a little further from the shore were covered in flowers, and we climbed up for some variety in the shots. Looking back, these field flowers are something that I will always associate with Newfoundland, a kind of softer side of this rugged island. They were always on the side of the road along the highway, peaking out of the crevices in the rocks, everywhere.

Pittman's Towing gave me a call back letting me know that my oil is in the shop ready for pick up. I guess that takes care of plans for the evening ;). I dropped off a postcard at the Norris Point post office (wondering how long does it take for a piece of mail to make its way out of this tiny town), and headed towards the highway to check out some areas close to Western Brook Pond.

As we passed Rocky Harbour, we spotted our first moose. The moose on the other hand spotted us and Alex pointing his finger at it and quickly smelled trouble and began to make it back into the woods. It appears like every time we see one, it doesn't come out of some thick bush or forest, but often through a clearing or passage big enough for a human to fit through. It makes sense, they are large animals. I suppose just like in the city you need to be extra cautious when approaching driveways and alleyways, up here you have to be alert near gravel passageways - it will not be a neighbourhood kid jumping out, it will be a moose!

Our next stop was at the site of S.S. Ethie shipwreck. The rusty boat parts were spread out across the shore and the history of that boat was posted at the entry. It was a fairly large ship when it was still sailing, but almost 100 years after the wreck, there was not much left of it. I once read that of all inorganic materials, metals are the easiest for nature to break down and reintegrate into the ecosystem, and it certainly seems that way from the looks of the remaining heavily rusted pieces. I don't think any of this will last another 100 years, the merciless water of the Gulf of St. Lawrence will eat it up, little by little.

After that brief stop, we continue north. There are many coves along the shore, many with one or two fishing houses and no permanent settlements. They are quite photogenic, if only a bit repetitive. Many are propped by a huge number of lobster traps, adding that extra authenticity to the resulting photos. Yet their emptiness and a certain abandonment are somewhat depressing. The whole notion of this huge amount of land, with sparse small communities - it feels a little lonely in an odd sense. Wherever I travel, I try to imagine what it would be like to live there, and frankly, I don't like what I come up with in my imagination. Of course, this is coming from a hardcore urbanite. I like that there is food from 100 different cuisines within a 10 minute radius and that if I wanted to change careers tomorrow, I could be looking at 100 different realistic options. But I digress.

It was time to get to Western Brook Pond, as we'd still need to hike for about half an hour to the boat launch. We pulled over for photos a few times, as the flatlands near the road with the mountains further in the background are simply breathtaking. The lowlands by the road are actually marshes, and are sometimes dotted by small ponds, with geese in some of them. Here is another Newfoundland lesson: any random land-locked body of water is called a pond here (in Ontario we would have called it a lake). These ponds were a great contrast to the sharp rocky highlands further inland and we took some extra time enjoying them.

Canadian Geese in a small pond

The trail leading up to Western Brook Pond was flat and not challenging, but you better plan for some extra time to slow down and enjoy it. The terrain was quite unique. We passed through forests, marshes, bogs and areas of bare thick mud that looked like half melted dark chocolate. As you looked across the marshes the landscape seemed endless. Western Brook Pond was connected directly to the ocean and contained saltwater thousands of years ago, but when glaciers melted, the earth rebounded, leaving these marshes and a series of tiny creeks as the only connection from the pond to the sea.

The boat was quite crowded, and did not leave until about 10-15 minutes past its scheduled time. While waiting in the harbour, we saw a moose on the other side of the pond, drinking water. We were told that the water in the pond is so clean and contains so few impurities, it does not conduct electricity. It is some of the purest naturally occurring water in the world.

The tour was quite interesting, covering a lot of the history of the pond, its geology and exploration efforts. For example, the boats used for these tours were disassembled, carried through the same hiking trail that we took on the way in, and reassembled in a small boathouse in the harbour. This area is heavily protected from industrial development and there are no plans to build a full on road and allow motorized vehicles to travel to the pond.

One of the numerous waterfalls that feed this pond.

The far side of the pond.

Notice the tiny red spot near the rock / water boundary - it's the other tour boat, to give you some scale of the surrounding fjord.

On the way back we took it slow through the hiking trail, taking more photos along the way in the golden afternoon sun. Once we got back to Rocky Harbour, we stopped by Pittman's and bought the oil for my bike. The owner was kind enough to let us use his premisses to do the oil change. After that was done, we hung around chatting with him. He was born in Newfoundland, but at one point lived in Ontario for several years, operating a towing business in Brampton. He told us that competition between towing companies in Toronto area was so fierce at one point, they got very violent, to the point of murder. Who needs that when you can live in Newfoundland instead? Another eye opening story was about icebergs. Apparently they are not only very old, but also very cold. If a large iceberg came ashore near a town in spring, it would mean no summer that year, as it would not melt fast enough. When an iceberg is spotted near the shore, many people try to get to it and cleave a piece off for themselves. They use that ice to cool their drinks and apparently a few chips of iceberg ice will stay frozen in a glass all night long, you just keep re-filling the beverage. On a more practical note, he mentioned how a motorcyclist passing through Rocky Harbour got a flat tire once, and it was a major hassle to fix it, because there are no motorcycle mechanics in the area. All the guys in this shop only deal with cars and wouldn't even know how to take the wheel off! Moral of the story: you better know how to fix your own bike when you come here. But as long as you know how, the locals would be happy to help out if they only can.
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Old 10-19-2013, 11:16 PM   #22
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Viking Trail

It was yet another beautiful day in Newfoundland's Great Northern Peninsula, so we took advantage of it by making a long trip north to St. Anthony and back, traversing the entire Viking Trail. It's about 3 hours each way, if you don't make any stops or side trips, which wasn't going to happen anyway, so we started the day fairly early.

Morning in Rocky Harbour

A mysterious something in the St. Lawrence Gulf

We passed the Gros Morne National Park and all the familiar scenery we have seen on the previous day. Near the northern edge of the park is a small community of St. Pauls, situated near a bay, with the highway marking a separation of the inland bay and the Gulf of St. Lawrence. We stopped for some photos, and chatted with a local man, who mentioned that seals often spend time in this inner bay, coming from the gulf. The bridge over the bay was grated metal, and a bit shaky to ride over, but no big deal (the bigger deal was still a couple days away).

A bay near St. Pauls

The landscape changed bit by bit and became more flat and grassy, with no mountains in sight shortly after passing the park boundaries. The highway became more elevated and there was now a cliff separating it from the shore. Occasionally it came back down to sea level, allowing us to see the picturesque empty beaches. On one of them we saw a motorcycle making its way through rocks and sand.

It was time to find fuel, and we planned to do that in Port Saunders, which is about halfway to St. Anthony. We had reason to believe there could be a gas station there, so we headed that way. It's only 6km from the highway.

Riding through Port Saunders

Port Saunders is a town where fishing is alive and large scale. There are many boats on the shore, both small, local vessels and huge, from other provinces and states. This was one of the best boating photography sessions we've had so far. We hung around a shipyard and admired the painted bows of the numerous ships. Despite not finding a gas station, we were still very glad to have turned to this town.

Clear blue water, lobster traps and fishing vessels in Port Saunders

Fish processing plant in Port Saunders

Large vessels in the shipyard

Pirate ships, arrr!

After that small side trip, we went back to the highway and continued north.*Soon enough, the mountains reappeared, in all their majestic glory, rising ahead of the curves in the road.

Definitely one of the most beautiful views on the northbound Viking Trail

Eventually we stumbled into two gas stations side by side. Seriously, in the middle of pretty much nowhere, when you are counting the meters left until your tank runs out of gas, and there is not one, but two fuelling stations!

After a while we were finally in St. Anthony, travelling all the way to the end of the highway, which gets renamed a couple of times, follows the southern side of the St. Anthony harbour and terminates at Fishing Point. This is where we stopped for lunch at the Lightkeepers restaurant, feasting on some seafood and bakeapple desserts (bakeapple has nothing to do with baking or apples, see additional info). Although we did not stay overnight, we still had time to hike around the area, which is a municipal park and has several trails and boardwalks with great views of the town and the ocean. The grassy hills were full of flowers, bakeapples, and curiously, pieces of crab shells and sea urchins. My theory is that birds catch those right in the water and bring them up to the hills for a picnic, so that the sea creatures have no chance of escape.

This aircraft is a memorial to flyers who served in the Fire Fighting Services, with a special dedication to a pilot who died while fighting forest fires in 1967.

Fishing Point Park

St. Anthony Harbour

View of the restaurant and gift shop at Fishing Point

Bakeapples. Red means green - ripe bakeapples are solid orange in colour.

An old lighthouse keepers residence at Fishing Point was converted into a gift shop, where we could not resist some bakeapple flavored tea and partridgeberry jam, apparently made by the shop keeper's mom.

View towards the ocean

It was time to head out if we wanted to make it back by nightfall, so off we went. Again we stopped quite a few times for photos as the scenery was just amazing, and the light was very different than on our way at midday. At some point the Labrador coast comes so close you can actually see it from the road.

Flower's Cove

The winds going across the coastal highway were very strong and we had to ride at an angle for quite a bit. Because of this wind we really couldn't go very fast and had to stick to the middle of the road so it wouldn't blow us off the lane. SV rider kept suggesting to line up the bikes to reduce drag on the TU. I did not feel it was worthwhile, and in the end (or rather in the middle) the low fuel light came on my bike 3/4 of the way it was expected. Wow, 25% reduction in range for riding in the wind and constant uphill/downhill conditions. A bit disappointing, but we did get to a gas station before it completely ran out.

As it kept getting darker we saw a pick up truck parked on the side of the road - apparently the driver spotted a large moose nearby. It was a male with huge antlers, the first we ever saw this way.

We stayed there for quite a while taking photos of the moose until it went into the forest. By that time we were still an hour away from Rocky Harbour, but the sunlight was almost gone. That meant that as much as we wanted to get back to the cabin faster, we had to drop the speed to avoid any wildlife surprises. And it was actually a great idea, as at one point we saw a young caribou on the road, just standing there and refusing to move even as we came closer. It only strolled off lazily when honked at. We thought it might have been a deer at first, as it was dark and hard to see, but in retrospect found out that there are no deer in Newfoundland. That's the first time we saw a caribou in the wild! Made it to the cabin at 10pm and went to sleep soon after (but not before tasting some of the goodies we brought from St. Anthony) in anticipation of the last day in Gros Morne the next morning.

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Old 10-20-2013, 07:09 AM   #23
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I ride the great Northern Peninsula yearly but the wind always blows and the scenery never gets old.
As for the crab/sea urchin shells...the gulls carry them and drop them from height to break them open on the rocks. Easy pickings.
The southern most caribou herd in the world reside here.
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Old 10-20-2013, 08:11 AM   #24
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This is a very interesting ride.
I long to explore this area someday in the future, so I really enjoy the photos and reports.

I noticed on your route map that you bypassed Prince Edward Island ? I would think that being so close you would have checked it out, or maybe you are saving that for another trip ?
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Old 10-20-2013, 08:39 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by GAS GUY View Post
This is a very interesting ride.
I long to explore this area someday in the future, so I really enjoy the photos and reports.

I noticed on your route map that you bypassed Prince Edward Island ? I would think that being so close you would have checked it out, or maybe you are saving that for another trip ?
It's always a tough choice - so much to see, so little time. We skipped PEI, skipped the often recommended L'Anse aux Meadows - there is just no way to see everything at once. I tend to try and give more time for each destination when traveling, so that means reducing the number of destinations to make it less of a rushed experience. Maybe will revisit some other time :)
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Old 10-20-2013, 04:49 PM   #26
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Thumb Great report

Love your RR. I live in NL but still love reading ride reports from people who make the effort to come here. Myself and my Wife did that trip a couple years ago. Did Western Brook Pond and rode all around the area. You have some great photos.

I have to go to St Anthony twice a year for work................its not so nice in February

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Old 10-20-2013, 06:54 PM   #27
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Excellent reporting!
Love the IF shots!
Cant wait for the next installment!
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Old 10-21-2013, 03:01 PM   #28
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Newfoundland 2012

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Old 10-22-2013, 04:59 AM   #29
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Nice trip report! I did Newfoundland in June and wished I could have done it on a bike. Once you were in Newfoundland, how much time did you spend there? You appear to have seen more than I did. I stayed on the west coast for 2 weeks and didn't see alot of the things you did. I guess I gotta go back!

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Old 10-22-2013, 07:23 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by TorontoAlex View Post
Nice trip report! I did Newfoundland in June and wished I could have done it on a bike. Once you were in Newfoundland, how much time did you spend there? You appear to have seen more than I did. I stayed on the west coast for 2 weeks and didn't see alot of the things you did. I guess I gotta go back!

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We stayed for about 2 weeks on the island, with a total of 4 full days on the west coast - not counting the day of arrival (which was short as we slept through half of it) and departure (which I will get to very soon, it's gonna be a pièce de résistance of sorts).

Really hoping to get another update soon, but it's not easy, as anyone who tried to write a good report will know. I think I may be getting better at it though ;)
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