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Old 08-31-2013, 10:05 AM   #76
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Anton's Photos - Wednesday, August 21 and Thursday, August 13, 2013















Our route was only 133 miles for the day, but they were strenuous ones.

[IMG][/IMG]
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Old 08-31-2013, 10:55 AM   #77
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Thursday, August 13, 2013: Shipwrecks, Wind, and Gravel

The headline should read 22 August 2013.

Already a hazardous place for seafarers, Newfoundland's coast became more so in the Second World War. As Great Britain relied on sea traffic for much of her food and material, ships from Canada and the United States would travel these shores on the way to war-torn England.

Many films have been made about combat soldiers of the Second World War. It's a little-known fact that the Merchant Marine suffered the heaviest casualties of any service. Thousands served on the seas from maritime ports from Newfoundland to the southern tip of the US. British mariners gave in full measure, as well as men from many other allied countries. Although governments provided benefits to those in combat when the conflict was over, the Merchant Marine was largely ignored. There have been efforts recently to remedy this wrong, but they have been far too little and too late. It was more hazardous to be a Merchant Mariner than to be a combat Marine. Casualties in the Merchant Marine were 50% higher than the combat Marines in the US, and even higher in the Commonwealth countries.

Great Britain used convoys with success in World War I, and reestablished the system at the beginning of the Second World War.

Usually between 30 and 70 merchant ships formed a convoy, with various combinations of warships and aircraft providing protection from enemy attack. Although Germany used surface vessels ranging from battle ships to specially outfitted commerce raiders, their greatest successes came from submarine warfare.

The wreck of the Empire Energy is on the rocks less than a mile from Big Brook. Large portions of the superstructure have been torn apart by wave action, and there is a debris trail for hundreds of yards in each direction. There are pictures available on the web from the '50s that show a much more intact hull. If you wish to see the wreck, don't delay. At some point, it will disappear into the Gulf.

On 3 November, 1941, the Empire Energy was part of SC 52, a convoy composed mainly of steam cargo ships capable of speeds of about 8 knots, or about 10 miles per hour/15 kph. The 440 foot Empire Energy was carrying a cargo of grain for Belfast. After departing Sydney, NS, the convoy was attacked approximately 100 miles northeast of St. Anthony. This was before the US entered the war on December 8th. Canada's Navy was tasked with escorting the convoys to the best of their ability in the northwestern Atlantic. Britain's Navy was engaged across the globe. The Canadian Navy was courageous, but small, quickly assembled and lightly armed. The Great Depression had a devastating effect on Canada's armed forces, as it did on the civilian population.

Even after the United States declared war, the Canadian Navy had responsibility for much of the Northwestern Atlantic.

U-Boats U 202 and U 203 torpedoed four vessels, sending them to the bottom. These were steam merchants Flynderbourg, Gretavale, Empire Gemsbuck, and Everoja. 41 lives were lost, and over 17,000 tons sunk.

The convoy returned to Sydney on Nov. 5. The Empire Energy ran aground on the shoals that evening. There was no loss of life, but the vessel was a total loss and was abandoned.

Some sources indicate that the ship may have been run aground to avoid torpedo attack. The proximity of the wreck so close to what is the only settlement for many miles seems to support this theory. The Empire Energy was grounded neatly as well. If I had thoughts, I suspect that the captain cared for his crew more than glory, and put his vessel in the best position he could to insure their safety.

If I were in his position, I'd let the west wind take her (it usually blows from the west here ) have it carry me onto the shingle and keep backing and filling until she touched.

I'll bet the lads were in warm blankets with a cup of tea in their hands within an hour.

















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Old 08-31-2013, 12:01 PM   #78
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I've never been to Big Brook, but I might just have to go.

Strange that a community with road access was relocated, most of the resettled communities were isolated, water access only communities.
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Old 08-31-2013, 12:22 PM   #79
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It was peculiar to me, also. The road from the north was actually in very good shape, and it's obvious there's still a lot of activity in the area. As I mentioned, Big Brook appeared far more substantial and prosperous than many of the villages that are still occupied.

If you intend to run the abandoned highway, I'd suggest doing it during a dry period. The water crossings are challenging, particularly at Big Brook.

If you PM me your email, I'll send you the GPX tracks for that section.

I forgot to note that we swept the house and mopped the floors, as well as wiping the sink and counters down to the best of our ability. I would truly hate to see the place vandalized.

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I've never been to Big Brook, but I might just have to go.

Strange that a community with road access was relocated, most of the resettled communities were isolated, water access only communities.
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Old 08-31-2013, 01:05 PM   #80
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My thought would be more of an "economic" resettlement.
Joey's "Government Game" as it is referred to here was an attempt from "above" to tell people what was best for them.
Economic resettlement is because without work or new blood to keep things going the people age and die and the few that are left have little choice. Not unlike ghost towns in the western USA.
Families still own the places but are kept as summer homes or hunting/fishing cabins.
Grand Bruit and Petites fell in the last few years the same way. Daniels Cove near Old Perlican still has one lady who stubbornly refuses to move and the dept of highways maintains the dirt rd because of her determination but when she passes on.......so will the community.
Keep going as you are telling a history that few Come From Aways have ever been able to grasp.
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Old 08-31-2013, 01:12 PM   #81
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Leaving Big Brook behind, we continue on gravel for a period before joining the 435. We're pointed toward St. Anthony, as we all need gas. Gas stops are far between here. Although it's initially windy and damp, the sky clears, and soon it's properly hot. The wind continues unabated.

Adam peels off from our group. He's off to Harbour Breton on what we've termed an Inter-Provincial Goodwill Mission to Promote Canadian Relations. Seems that a lass of his acquaintance is at Harbour Breton. . . He won't rejoin us until we meet again at Port Aux Basques.

We pull into an Irving gas station with a Subway, and fuel up. It's the first premium gas we've seen in a long time.

The Newfoundland accent is extremely thick. The gals working the Irving counter are conversing loudly and laughing. It's hard to pick out the conversation, and there's a word that they're using that doesn't seem Celtic at all. "What's so funny?" I inquire.

"Ohh, we be talkin' about badoinkadoink, m'love." They grab one another and howl.

I go to order a sandwich. The gal at Subway is red-haired, stocky, and cheerful. She's equipped with a hair net. She looks me in the eye and says "Six inch or twelve inch, m'dear?" I feign shock. "That's a very personal question between people who've just met." She laughs so hard she has to wipe her eyes. "I've never thought of it that way, but I will from now on!"

The climate may be cold up here, but the people make up for it.

Our original intention was to visit L'Anse Aux Meadows and the excavated Viking site. It seems that many of the others from "away" have the same plan. There's a stream of vehicles headed toward the northernmost tip of the island.

We decide to bag the Viking settlement. We are behind on our mileage, and none of us particularly want to walk around in the heat in our gear. We point off toward the eastern tip of the peninsula, known as The French Shore.
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Old 08-31-2013, 01:34 PM   #82
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Thank you, Murph. I take that as a high compliment. Simply riding through Newfoundland isn't enough. One needs to understand the soul of the place, and that soul is substantial.

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Keep going as you are telling a history that few Come From Aways have ever been able to grasp.
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Old 08-31-2013, 04:53 PM   #83
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A note on the Newfoundland slab.

As with most of Canada, the pavement here is of a remarkable standard. With a fraction of the population of the big place in the south or continental Canada, the roads are generally better than what one finds elsewhere.

Road bikes outnumber dual-sports by a significant margin. Everywhere we go, there are numerous touring bikes, cruisers, and large adventure bikes. It's a very scenic place to ride, even on the pavement.

However, there are several things to note. In many places, there is a narrow shoulder followed immediately by a very deep ditch. You don't want to go there. Moose and caribou are frequent. We see six moose in our travels, which is far less than I expect. However, we're not on the roads at after dark. We are frequently cautioned not to ride at dusk or at night, and it's sound advice.

Even though pavement is much easier here than the off-road portions, it's not to be taken lightly. With wind and rain, we were often more comfortable on resource roads than on the slab.
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Old 08-31-2013, 05:09 PM   #84
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bigger than 12"??

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Originally Posted by Canuman View Post
...
Just after entering the park, we stop at an overlook and pull out stoves to cook lunch. We draw quite a crowd. A family from Ontario stops to chat and take pictures of the four funny guys on little bikes. ...[/URL]
This'd be a hoot for them: ct90's on TAT
http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=881177

Thanks for sharing an awesome trip!
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Old 08-31-2013, 05:36 PM   #85
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It all depends how you talk to the bike, I guess. I'd take a CT90 with the dual-range or a CT 110 to The Rock. They'd do fine!

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This'd be a hoot for them: ct90's on TAT
http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=881177

Thanks for sharing an awesome trip!
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Old 08-31-2013, 06:42 PM   #86
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We get back on the 430 and grind down the tarmac. The winds are punishing. We're looking for some resource roads that we have ADV tracks for. At a certain point, toward Croque, the Provincial Highway turns to gravel. After a short time, we pull off onto a resource road cutting across the rippled strata. This is fantastic riding, and for the first time in the trip, I feel that Rich is really enjoying himself. The surface here is much like we expect in New England -- a hard-packed clay surface without the omnipresent loose stuff. It's narrow, twisty, and the way riding should be. I know that Rich is an accomplished rider, but he's been heavily-laden on a new bike, and he's taken a beating. We roost and red-dog along, and Rich is giving it Hell. When we stop, he's grinning broadly.

"I'll bet you didn't think I could ride like that."

No, Ace. If I didn't know that you could ride like that, you wouldn't have had an invitation. Besides, the service you did for Devin last year was above and beyond. Every team needs a voice of reason and a clear thinker, and you proved your worth then.

I'd take a whole week exploring the resource roads in this area. It's unfortunate that accurate maps are so hard to find.

There's not too much more to say about about the 22nd. We cut back into the woods and camp not far away from where we were two nights previously. We choose a new location because the firewood was pretty much picked through at the first camp. Although Rich is worried about rain, the sky clears, and we're treated to a nice moon and bright stars.

Since this segment lacks excitement, I've decided to post some pictures of boobies, which are a guarantee of jacking up the hits on even the most boring thread. We've seen no boobies up to this point, so here y'all all go:



Damn, it's almost like Sturgis.
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Old 08-31-2013, 07:07 PM   #87
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Around the French Shore



Anton's broken screen. Field repair coming soon.



A numbered gravel highway headed towards Croque. You can keep your Trans-Lab.



More boring scenery.







Once off the resource roads, we stop at a small convenience store. The electrical inspectors must not pass this way. That outlet is used up.



Anton borrows a drill at the local garage, and sutures the windscreen together.



Nothing to see here. Move along.



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Old 08-31-2013, 07:13 PM   #88
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We've seen no boobies up to this point, so here y'all all go:



Damn, it's almost like Sturgis.
The bird pictured is fine and all but the bird at the credit union was, um, well equipped.
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Old 08-31-2013, 07:20 PM   #89
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Lord, that's a fact. I was trying to keep that under wraps lest I wake up screaming. I'm a worried sleeper. I'm generally not a fan of purple sweaters, but that clerk had a warm personality.

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The bird pictured is fine and all but the bird at the credit union was, um, well equipped.
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Old 09-01-2013, 03:21 AM   #90
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Lord, that's a fact. I was trying to keep that under wraps lest I wake up screaming. I'm a worried sleeper. I'm generally not a fan of purple sweaters, but that clerk had a warm personality.
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