The day after

Making lists…

I need to go out and take pictures of the carnage for the insurance. I’m going to take as many as I can. They’re free.

Making lists of damage (roughly in order front-to-back)  (also a cost of parts to replace from memory not including labor)

  • Beak – $250
  • Headlight assembly – $600
  • Headlight guard – $100
  • Windshield – $300
  • Windshield mounting bar – $230
  • Right fog light – $150
  • Telelever arm – $800
  • Front sub-frame – $1500
  • Forks (maybe – a lot of force on them) – $1500
  • Crash bars (both sides) – $1000
  • Cylinder-head-cover guards (both sides) – $250
  • Damage to left cylinder-heads – $500
  • Panniers – $1500
  • Pannier mounting frames – $800
  • Muffler – $600
  • Rear sub-frame – $1500

I know for certain that either (or both) the front sub-frame or the telelever arm is tweaked. That’s the only way that the steering on the big beemer would not be straight. The forks may or may not be good, I’m finding it hard to tell. They took a lot of force though. The rear sub-frame is almost certainly bent as well, visually it looks a bit skewed and I’m seeing rub marks on the mounting points where it attaches to the engine.

I’m sure there’s things I’m not seeing on there too.

That’s a lot ov damaged parts just there not counting transport (my gut-feel estimate is $4000 to get it to Cleveland) and labor (60 hours (likely more)  @ 50/hour: $3000). To fix the damage you basically have to take the bike completely apart – all that’s left is having the engine on a stand – and build it again.

You could probably make it a good rat bike for $3000 if you do the work yourself. Less if you can straighten a subframe yourself. All you might need is a headlight and maybe a telelever arm.

Poor bike… I’m sorry to see her go.  :’-(  Like a good steed, it did everything I could ask. It’ll be hard leaving without her. Almost 26000 miles on the clock. That’s a lot of time to spend with someone. If I added up all the time I was on her it’s close to a month of time all told.

Making of list of things to take off bike that I don’t want to leave here without. I want the bike to stay a bike, but if it doesn’t need it to run, I don’t want to leave it here. (roughly from back to front)

  • License plate – check
  • Seat – waiting until we get to the shed
  • P3 Lights – check
  • Oil cooler guard (might need to leave it if I can’t unbolt the beak from the crash bars) – It’s bent, but check
  • Engine bash plate – check
  • Hand guards – check
  • Autocom – check
  • Fuse box – check
  • Relay – check
  • GPS mount + wiring – check
  • Headlight ballasts + custom-made brackets. (The bulbs I’m writing off. One is broken, the other one would likely break in transport) – check

It’s probably around 3 hours of work to remove all the parts that need to be removed. Mostly since I need to take off the tank to get to some of the parts – the wiring. If I can’t manage it, no big deal. It’s $15 worth of wires. Nothing to cry about really.

I really wish I could bring the wheels with me. They’re true and great. It would be a crying shame if they get destroyed. If nothing else they are rebuildable.

I need to fix Wade and Blanche’s computer. Beyond paying for my room it’s the least I can do to show how grateful I am to them taking me in. Without their help I would be so far up a creek without a paddle it wouldn’t even be funny.

I need to talk to the reported. Wade called up a reported to interview me to help get the road made safer. I need to unpack the box to get out my helmet for a photo-op. The helmet saved my life pretty much.

Bike work

Well, after three hours of work (almost on the nose) I have all my bits and bobs in a box ready to take with me on the plane. Pulling the gas tank was a chore, but it was even more of a pain getting it on. It more-or-less confirms my suspicion that the front frame is bent.

Pulling the P3 lights required a removing the pannier racks – and reinstalling after I was done. An hour of work in total to get to the part that took 3 minutes.


Here’s my itinerary for getting back home:

From To Carrier Flight Date Departure Arrival
Blanc Sablon St. Johns Provincial 906 8/16 1:15PM 4:45PM
St. Johns Toronto Air Canada 693 8/17 12:45PM 2:40PM
Toronto Cleveland Air Canada 7905 8/17 4:25PM 5:35PM

Yes, I have a 20 hour layover in St. Johns. I could have shortened it to 14 hours for $300 CAD more, but I can wait. I think it’s one less flight too. I think I might catch a cab to a hotel or something for the night. At least I might be able to see a bit more of St. Johns that I did before. I’m just hoping for no rain in St. Johns.

I’m already trying to figure out what I want for dinner when I get back. I’m thinking Mexican.  🙂

Computer work

After playing around on the store’s computer for a bit (Blanche and Wade own the store next door as well) I got a good working install of Vista working on the machine. A lot of waiting around, but at the end of the process, the machine was working good as new!


The bike’s in the shed locked up. The spare key is in the ignition waiting to go. The real key is in my pocket as a memory of the poor beast. I have pictures from all angles. Last I took pictures of the panniers. That last bit was the hardest. In the shop taking the pictures felt like I was in a morgue. Throwing things away that couldn’t be fixed made me well up inside.

Even stupid shit.

The little oil jugs. One with 15w50, the other with cooking oil.

They’ve been to Alaska. Shipping them air would be a disaster. I gave them to Wade.

They were a gift from Ennie a couple years back.  :’-(

Tank bag: ripped from the fall. Burnt from the exhaust headers. Not salvageable. In the trash.

Liter of unleaded: in a four-wheeler.

.4 liter of white gas: ready to be disposed of.

Hell, even the spare key ahs been to Alaska in my handy hiding spot. Now it’s the main key in the ignition; no longer in hiding.

Like a morgue. Disposing of effects.

Having a good horse with a broken leg and needing to shoot it.

I have a big box packed with big stuff. I have a small box packed with small stuff. Ready to go. All I have to do is pack my backpack and my Seal-line bag. I’m all ready to go.

Without my poor bike.

/me is very sad to leave the faithful steed that got me here.  </weep>

My first bike.




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Epic fail

Today was a bad day. Ok, let me qualify that a bit: it was a bad day for my bike.

I went from Lanse Au Clair up to Red Bay this morning and it was a nice easy scenic ride. Everything was going good. All the while I was looking for rocks to see if I could some labradorite. I wasn’t having luck and I knew Red Bay was somewhat touristy I stopped at the souvenir shop to see if they had any. Sure enough they did. I picked up a stack of them.

As I went out I found myself surrounded by Danes. They were really interested in all the bits and bobs I had on my bike. They loved talking about the bike and we spent the better part of half an hour talking and having them get on the bike and what-not.

But it was time to leave.

Time to meet destiny.

I headed up the road back to the trans-lab and took a right onto the gravel.

The bike was skittish to say the least.

Knowing what I know now the right choice was to say “screw it” (or possibly far less polite words) and head back with my tail between my legs. But with both tail and legs intact.

The maximum speed on the road was 70kph and I was going around half that not wanting to push it.

Now here’s the events as I remember them plus what I can piece together from the evidence of damage and road marks (this all happens in just a few seconds):

  • I try playing with my speed to find a more stable speed that is more stable, I got from around 30 up to 35kph
  • The front end starts getting a bit less stable
  • I let off the throttle a touch to slow back down (no brakes involved)
  • The front end weave gets worse
  • From here on I might be doing anything with throttle or steering – I don’t remember since it’s all on instinct.
  • (here on in I’m just a passenger)
  • The rear-end loses grip sliding left
  • The front-end loses grip sliding left
  • Bike falls to the right
  • Right-hand engine crash-bar touches down
  • I dismount bike head-first (this I remember very vividly – the road surface coming closer and closer to my face and gravel moving past my eyes as I hear the sickening hollow sound of the gravel on my fiberglass of the helmet) I slide to a stop fairly quickly
  • Bike catches on something in the gravel an pivots on the right-hand engine guard
  • Bike rolls up, cartwheel style, hitting the right-side of the front beak, right-side of the headlight and right side of the windshield
  • Bike launches over the front-wheel torqueing the front sub-frame
  • Bike airborne rotating clockwise if looking from the top (road right-hand side)
  • Bike comes down hard on left pannier
  • Left pannier catches something in the road and starts to rotate counter-clockwise (looked at from above the road surface)
  • Tank bag comes off (rips off stitching holding the back-end of the bag onto the bike) and somewhat separates from bike
  • Bike continues to rotate counter-clockwise (looked at from above the road) as it goes off the built-up road onto the rocks on the left side of the road
  • Tank bag slides after bike landing slightly short of bike
  • As bike leaves the road surface it moves past vertical (tires down) and settles on its left side in the grass
  • Bike leans back onto tank bag breaking camera (and nothing else of note)

Epic fail.

After this point I quickly get up skipping the check of “are all systems functioning” based on the adrenalin.

First thing I do is try to right the bike.

No go. Too heavy.

Next, I take a picture. (Date stamp is 11:28 AM Eastern Time, 12:58 PM Newfoundland time)

Run back down, pull out the camera from the tank bag that wedged under the bike. In two pieces. :’-(

Try to right the bike again. It’s still too heavy. It didn’t lose any weight in the minute since last I checked.

Pull off some of my bags that are strapped onto the bike and get them to the road.

Go back up to the road and look for traffic.



Ponder pressing the 9-1-1 button on the spot since it’s near me now.

Look at road. It’s loose stone on hard-packed dirt. “No finds.” Marbles. This road is worse than wet red clay, snow or even ice.


Car comes from the north and I flag them down. A few guys get out and help me over the course of the next 20 minutes to get me back on the road.

As this is going on I smell the clutch burning as he’s slipping it to get it past some soft, marshy dirt. I look down at the rut he’s making and see a bakeapple growing next to it. Pretty little thing. Jam made from them is mighty fine. (Apparently you can make moonshine out of them too)

With a giant lunge the bike leaps back up onto the road. It’s an impressive bike when it’s moving like that. I never saw it third-person before.

With the bike on the road they hop back in their car and continue their drive. I never got their names but THANK YOU!

I get back on the bike and drive back to Red Bay. The steering isn’t straight. The bars are cocked to the left to go straight.

I drive back, very slowly, to the gift shop to see what I can do for a room. At this point I’m in shock. Thoughts are not coherent.

They don’t have a room but call the B&B down the road. They have a room. I go up there slowly. I go down the hill that’s the same crushed stone as the road I just did.


I check in. I drag all my crap into the room.

*Ponder options*

I need to get to a phone. The lady of the inn, Blanche, takes me to the community center where they have internet access.

Their internet is down. Has been for a week.

The guy there looks at me and decides this is an emergency and lets me use their phone. I’m on for around 10 minutes talking to En (first call) on their dime. I need a hug. They need a gift basket.

I call my insurance, Progressive. The woman on the phone has such a nice calming voice. I don’t remember my name, but she gets a +1 in my book. Things start rolling.

I call up Blanche and she picks me up and brings me home.

Her husband, Wade, shows up and we have lunch. Chicken salad sandwiches and some salmon. He gives me a beer, bitches that he’s complained that the road isn’t safe; the provincial government doesn’t do anything. He talks to a reporter and sets up an interview for tomorrow to talk about the road’s safety.

I wait a while and call Progressive since they haven’t called the B&B yet. I talk to Tiffany and she passes me off the Canada claims rep, Jennifer. I leave her a message.

Deciding that I can’t carry all my crap as carry-ons on a plane I start boxing crap up. I get a 28kg box together and we take it down to the post office. $402. WTF?!   !  ?  !!

Drive back to the B&B. Miss the call from Jennifer (Progressive) in the progress of the post office.

Call back 800 number and leave a message.

Call Air Canada and be shot down; they don’t fly out of Blanc Sablon. SOL?

Blanche’s cousin offers me a ride to the airport. We try to figure out flight back. He’s been to Cleveland a few years back! Small world, eh? We talk for a bit and we decide a travel agent would be the best bet. Gives me some clues about travel agents that are local.

I call the one he recommended and start working on that. First quote: just north of $2000 CAD. I told him I have some leeway. Second quote, $1760CAD. Full-fare, no cost to change flights (assuming availability), full refund if not used. Pull the trigger not knowing what Progressive wants. Leave Sunday. 18-hour layover in St. Johns. Arrive Monday around 5:45. Blanc Sablon, St. Johns, Toronto, Cleveland.

Get a call from Ennie! :-D  Y
AAAAY!!!!!  She tracked me down!

Much rejoicing!

Talk for a bit… everything OK. Progressive is fine with me taking pictures they told her. It sounds like they don’t want to deal with Labrador. I don’t blame them one bit. It sounds like they really want to total the bike. From the damage I think it’s warranted. The engine runs fine, but both sub-frames are likely tweaked. It’s fixable – almost anything is – but there’s a lot of labor between now and working. More than that is the transportation of the poor bike. Just to get the bike somewhere else would take thousands of dollars. Then getting the bike back to me in Cleveland. I think it’s a write-off myself.

Head finally wrapped around the situation. I’m here. Uninjured. Safe.

Have some dinner. Yummy soup. Another beer. A month ago I hear some old guy in his 70’s got medivaced out to St. Johns from a spill and died afterward from the same stretch of road.

Note to self: if someone ever comes to my door in the same situation: do the same thing. No questions asked. Karma thing. Really. Gotta pay this forward. What would I do without Blanche and Wade?!

I hear their computer isn’t working right. Yes! Something to do to repay! As sick as it may sound, I love to work. It must be a defect in my character. Their Dell computer at their store isn’t working right; the partitioning is all F-ed up. Need to find install disk and reformat. Not something to do without asking. Walk back down to B&B.

Ride out with Wade when he’s supervising some ditch digging. Really. The road is too wide and the ditches too narrow. We visit the back-hoe, then visit where the dump truck is dumping what the back-hoe’s dug up.

Go back to the B&B.

Head up to the store. We find the install disk for the computer and decide to fix things the next day.

Chat with some folks.

Look! There’s a petition to fix the damn road that’s unsafe! Sign it.

Back to the B&B. Al & Max show up and we chat for a while. Sit on the bike. Talk guns. Ruminate on the events. They say I should sue the government of Newfoundland and Labrador for making an unsafe road. Good guys.

They eventually head out… I chat with Wade a while more before going to bed.

Live every day like it’s your last. The world ends tomorrow you might die. Today I did. Today wasn’t my last. Tomorrow might be. Would I do it again? What’s been done can’t be undone. I didn’t get injured. If forced I would say yes. With a lot pain to wad up a perfectly innocent bike. I can’t live in a bubble. Shit happens. Shit happened today. Today you didn’t die, tomorrow, you might die. You have to live life while you still have it.

OMG, Wade’s been up to Iqualuit. Damn that’s cool.


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More waiting for a ferry

Well, the ferry is here. I’m watching it sit there waiting to take us on board, but the high winds are stopping us from setting sail right now. Everyone is sitting here waiting for the ship. I think it’s a good thing I got a ticket for this crossing since if I waited for the 10:30 AM one tomorrow this setback could throw all sorts of issues in the way of me getting up to Cartwright.

On a brighter note though, I talked to one of the workers here on the dock and she was quite confident that I’ll be able to get to Goose Bay even though I don’t have a reservation. While it’s not perfect, I’ll take her word over almost anyone’s at this point.

I started talking to the biker (bicycle biker), Guillaume (French for William), I spoke of before and if the ferry leaves tonight we’ll; likely split a double hotel room if there’s one available in town. No reason to spend more money than you need to. He speaks far better English than I speak French, we manage fine and chat for a few hours about our journeys.

We leave!

The ferry actually started boarding at 8:30 and we were on our way by around 8:45.

As I’m writing this it’s just gotten dark and we’re in heavy waters. I see people all around me going for the sick bags. All of this is in complete contrast with the ferry that took me over from Nova Scotia to Newfoundland which was a smooth and relaxing ride. This ride is not fun in any way. I’m just happy that I’m on it now. It gives me more time to get to Cartwright for tomorrow night.

The ride tomorrow shouldn’t be too bad – around 255 miles according to the map around two-thirds of it dirt. I figure around four or five hours aught to do it. From what I’ve heard the ticket office opens at the Cartwright terminal at 8:00 AM for the evening’s journey that leaves at 7:00 PM that night. That being said, I want to be there when they open! I don’t want to figuratively and literally miss the boat!

More bikers

As we were about to get onboard, a bike pulls up. It’s a big Victory cruiser. Atop are a couple that hop off and start taking to me. They are far more hardcore than I. Last year they circumnavigated the continent on their Victory over the course of four and a half months. Not just something like a four-corners thing, or just the United States and Canada, but the whole frickin’ continent. Down to Panama.


On the Kawasaki Vulcan!

Awesome! Hats off to those two! Congrats to Susan and Richard for following their dreams! You can see more of them at

They had other cool stories to tell too, like crossing the North Atlantic on a ship many years ago in very rough seas.

As we got closer to the other side and we were exchanging stories, they even had a question for me: about camping in Alaska, is it cold? When we were up there it wasn’t to cold. In fact the previous night seemed colder than any night we had in Alaska the year before.

Goodbyes said and internet information exchanged we mounted up our bikes and drove off the ship back onto the mainland.

Landing on the other side

We got a late start and the rough seas compounded things. We disembarked the shore at around 10:30. And it was dark. And the fumes from the ship had fogged up my visor something fierce.

Nothing worse than going through twisty roads, in the dark, with moose, and your visor up.

A few miles up the road, on the Labrador side (we landed in Quebec), I thankfully found a hotel with rooms! 🙂 I just didn’t feel like trying to drive up the coast without seeing the scenery or seeing where I was going.

The Northern Light Inn in Lanse Au Clair up inLabrador had the front desk closed, but a party was going in the bar. One of the employees was playing pool and came back to the desk to check me and another fellow in.

They promised internet access, but something is hosed up at the moment.

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Safe and Sound in Red Bay

Spoke with George this evening and he sounds good. He cannot make outside calls, but I have the number to the B&B now (Bayview Inn) and will be calling again tomorrow evening for the return-trip itinerary. An airport is only a half hour away in Blanc-Seblan. On Sunday he will fly from there to St. John and will have a long layover. Hopefully he’ll be able to step away from the airport and take in some more of the sites. Maybe get that squid burger?? From there on Monday he leaves for Halifax, stopping in Toronto, and arriving early evening in Cleveland.

I’ll let him re-hash the gory technical details of the accident itself. The important thing is that he sustained zero injuries. All of his safety equipment operated as advertised. After confirming he was in one piece, and that his bike was, well technically in one piece, but…well…I’ll let him post pics when he gets home, two guys came by in a car and helped him pull her out of a ditch. Though the front end was a mess, the engine started up. Our new friends drove slowly with George limping along behind them on the bike, and led him to the Bayview where the bike is currently parked.

A relatively productive game of phone tag with the insurance company is in progress and George sounds relaxed especially now that return plans are in place. Tomorrow he will remove any personal or sentimental items from the bike because it may be the last time he sees it, depending on the results of the insurance assessment.

As an added bonus, our brave traveller has found a bit of fame in the little town. The B&B owner has apparently been campaigning for improvements to the road that bested the GS. He contacted the local paper and George will be interviewed in an effort to get the attention required by the government to get this road repaired for future adventurers. While Googling for the B&B phone number, I stumbled upon quite a few blogs chronicling damage sustained on the same stretch. One was a Jeep that suffered 4 flat tires and a cracked windshield before arriving at its destination. So with any luck, George will have his revenge on this cruel patch of icy gravel.


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Well in Body, Down in Spirit. Homeward Bound

Just received a call from George who is currently at a Bed & Breakfast in Red Bay. He is just fine. Not hurt, not even a scratch. The bike and camera however are finished, along with his trip. Story is that he was carefully and slowly navigating some of the slipperiest gravel he has ever encountered. He said the stones were round and polished and felt like ice.

He was calling from a borrowed phone line at the local community center, so he did not have time for explicit details. All I know for sure is that he is unhurt, but the bike took a tumble into a ditch rendering it totaled. To add insult to injury, his camera lens was “forcibly removed” from the body, and the body now has a huge crack and also therefore totaled.  I am happy he is OK, that everything is insured, and happy that digital cameras have memory cards that save his priceless photos.

First step is to contact Progressive to square away bike & camera details. Next is to locate a rental car. Sounds like he has an idea of the flights involved, but he needs to book. He also needs to get a hold of some check-able bags into which he can stow his belongings on the flight. It’s going to take days, and without reliable phone access, is going to be a pain in the butt (understatement???). However, if he found a B&B that means there are people. He has help. In our travels together we’ve always been pleasantly surprised at how gracious and kind the majority of the population is. The mean people are just louder.

The biggest thing I’m worried about right now is his spirit. He was one day and one ferry away from his destination. I could hear the complete frustration in his voice. Wish I could have been with him, if for no other reason but to hug him. I think he has to just work his way through this initial slam to the spirit with his head going 100 mph trying to figure everything out. He just needs one thing to go right for his mind to settle down, and he can just fall into the rhythm of getting home. Anything…like car rental being simple, someone on the line at Progressive been helpful and efficient…something just working properly. Then the panic subsides.

Again, I just wish I could be there.


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Waiting for a ferry

Quick update while I have 10 minutes.

Last night was cold. Real cold. I’m amazed I didn’t wake up to frost. I guess the clear night that led to the nice sky let all the heat out. I’d take cold over rain any day!

Just want to say it again: Gros Morne is amazing! I need to come back when I have more time to spend. They even have guided hikes where they tell you what you’re seeing about the geology and wildlife. Cool stuff that I didn’t have a chance to do this time; I really need to make sure there’s a next time.

Waking up this morning was completely different. The sun warming my face game me a needed boost. The ride up the Newfoundland coast astonished at every turn with new views of the coast and ocean on my left, and mountains on the right. The mountains made the geology of the region apparent with the folds of rock being thrust up, then partially eroded away again.

The final bit of the ride to bring you up to date was windy. Riding at an angle while going straight windy.

I’m hear at least.

Talked to a local too, he doesn’t think I’ll have a problem getting to Goose Bay with my bike!

Speaking of bikers, I met up with a bicyclist from Quebec. He rode up here and is going to be riding up in Labrador too. He seems to be riding almost a century every day. He sold everything that he owns (except the bike and gear for the trip), quit his job, and is taking around six weeks to travel. When he gets back home he’ll get a new job and repeat next summer. Amazing dude!

Back to waiting for the ferry here in St. Barbe.

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Onto Gros Morne

It was a short day today. I only had around 350km to cover between Gander and Gros Morne. The weather today stood in contrast to the day before, sunny blue skies with a few puffy white clouds to add variety. I had nothing to hurry to and the amazingly good weather made for one of the most leisurely days of the trip.

I stopped to get a pint of fresh-picked raspberries along the way. (delicious by the way) In an atypical way, any time I saw something picture-worthy (and can safely do so) I pulled off to the side of road to get the picture. It’s a welcome relief from the previous “gotta get there” mentality.

As I got to the park I stopped at the information booth to get a general idea of where I should camp if I only had one day in the park.

The ranger-lady paused at the strangeness of the request… one day in the park? How can you even do that?

After it sunk in for a bit she pulled out a park brochure and started pitching various ideas. She settled on camping at Trout River since you go through the tabletop mountains and then the next day ride through the rest of the park on my way to St. Barbe. Walking back to my bike I noticed that next to the Canadian flag the United Nations flag was flying as well. So back I went to ask. Gros Morne is a UNESCO World Heritage Site! Coolness!

The ride through the park simply took my breath away. The natural beauty of the landscape unfolding after every turn made to pause to consider how lucky I was that I was here on an abnormally perfect day. The fjords to the right, some mountains with a bit of snow clinging to them in the background, hills covered in trees to the left. I couldn’t ask for more.

As I took a left to to to Trout River the landscape changes as dramatically as well. The lush greens gave way to a eerie moonscape of cliffs and boulders that is the Tabletop Mountains. The ranger said that the geology of this area is some of the most fascinating of all. Checking into it I read that the rocks that I was seeing were some of the best examples of mantle rocks in the world. I picked up a couple to go with the ones from Cape Spear. 🙂

On one of the stops I made as I got into the park itself I ran into some folks I saw a few days before on the mainland! It was Geb and Marie from Whycocomagh! They are both retired and can afford the time to go al slowly as they want. They were budgeting around two months for almost the same trip. That is something to aspire to!

Eventually I arrived at my destination camp site. I rode around to pick a suitable spot and settled on #8. As I was setting up another group pulled up and started setting up next door in #6. Loud people. I know we are all outside, but you really shouldn’t use your outside voice when the target of your conversation is two feet away.

I bit the bullet and moved to luck #13. As I’m writing this I can still hear them off to my left. I pity the people that are even nearer. It was a worthwhile half hour spent moving all my crap 100 meters down the road.

A few injuries to report as well. I got stung mightily by some flying insect. I don’t think it was a bee since I’ve had those before. It was an instant searing pain that felt like someone shoved a super-heated needle into me. Even after 4 hours I can still feel it like something is pulling on my skin. Lastly, a tent stake came and bit me on my knee while I was getting the tent set up. I think it was just feeling a bit ornery at the time, so I’ll give it a pass for now.

Another interesting person I met was Dave. I think I mentioned that the ship I came over on caught fire a few weeks ago. I heard all sorts of explanations about what happened, but now I know from someone who was on the boat when it happened! Some heat exchanger on the seventh level was the culprit. There were even flames coming out of the side of the ship! It’s a metal boat so nothing really bad happened and their voyage continued as planned. Dave and his wife, who are on their 30th wedding anniversary (if I recall) started it off with a bang! At least they got comped a lunch and their “Deluxe Cabin” (just like mine) was free after the fact as well.

Finally, looking up at the sky this cold late-summer night, I see the Milky Way. It’s been years since I’ve seen it last. Even with a camp fire going, the sky is dark enough that the galaxy overpowers even the light the fire that’s keeping me a bit warm.

This is a park that I definitely have to come back to with some more time. And more Ennie too.

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A victory!

Shortly after I wrote the last update the rain let up for a spell. It went from a light rain to a drizzle. I figured that would be a good enough time to break camp.

Tearing everything down has become routine again. From start to finish it only took around 20 minutes; 10 minutes of which was in the tent staging things to go outside.

It’s a good thing I started when I did. The rain started coming down heavier as the minutes passed. The sky teased with a patch of blue in the distance, but it was just that, a tease.

Driving up the east coast of Newfoundland I took a look at the map. It was strange looking at the Zumo with a checkerboard off the side; that’s where the map ends. I drove to the end of the map. Browsing the map between turns I noticed a bit of land that juts out just to the south of St. Johns, so I told the GPS to get me there and not St. Johns. I guessed right! Where the road took me was Cape Spear – the easternmost point in North America. I have pictures of the signs to prove it. (Aside: I can add to Wikipedia to f

Even with the light rain and hiking for what seemed like miles up and down the trails in my full riding gear I felt on top of the world! One of my goals has been checked off my list: to be the person most east on the entire continent. Why is that a goal? Beats the hell out of me, but it does sound kinda cool, eh? The persistent dampness didn’t lessen my excitement as I marveled at the Atlantic. A hunted down some rocks that seemed native to the spot to bring home and began the long and arduous trudge back up the hill in the rain to the bike.

It’s no wonder that the crews stationed at the defensive battery in WWII said that this was a damp and depressing place. If your job is to work there I would agree.

I punched in St. Johns as my next destination to see what there is to see there. As I approached the rain started getting even heavier, progressing from a light rain to somewhere between rain and a heavy rain. Much like the Eskimos née Inuit allegedly had dozens of names for types of snow, motorcyclists have a similar range when it comes to rain. It’s all annoying, but to different degrees.

I drove down what seemed to be the main drag, Water Street, but I didn’t have the motivation to stop anywhere. The heavy morning traffic conspired with the rain to spoil that affair. I’ve been told that I need to get a squid burger… unfortunately that will have to wait until next time. Such is life I guess.

The drive back across the island

I quickly decided that I, unfortunately, wasn’t going to do a whole lot I can do in St. Johns I set the destination back to the western half of the island. This consisted mainly of driving around in downtown St. Johns going up and down streets and hills. I was able to see several examples of the prototypical house style – the attached and colorfully painted buildings that one always associates to the region.

While navigating out of the city I had, what I would describe as, my first “traction incident” of the trip. The tires I installed on my bike, Michelin Anakee 2s, seem to “talk” more to me about traction than previous tires I had. I never really knew, I suppose, when I was getting close to the limit. Once I seemed to exceed that. In what is a gentle right-hand turn the front stepped out a good six inches. I guess a truck dumped some diesel or something on the road. Thankfully it was over as quickly as it began – and in the same state: both wheels on the ground. I thought for sure that the front would just tuck in and I’d be along for the ride.

Once I got out of town the road was for the most part the exact reverse route as yesterday. There’s one way in, and the same way out. Another peculiarity almost caught me out today: the lack of gas stations. I started off the day with a quarter tank of gas. I figured I’d get out of the hubbub of the city then get gas. The range countdown was down to 17-miles to go before I found a gas station. With the bike fueled I had to contend with me getting fueled too. If you notice I never mentioned breakfast up there. I figured that the rain we were having would end as I drove west and I would get some food when it stopped raining. I figured wrong. Some Red Bull in my tank would have to sate me for the time being.

The scenery was the same as the day before, but all the while different. The forest greens now gave way to a procession of muted pastel greens that faded into the sky with the distance. The layers of the scene piled on top of one another in a dozen different shades of gray-green. The sky illuminated the landscape with the silver and pewter clouds that soften the edges of the world with the mellow light they cast down. The blue lakes were now a nearly white blue-green that reflected both the sky and the rough water that was being kicked up by the fierce winds.

The beauty was tempered by the difficulty in driving the roads. The paving of the highways differs from that of that states. Commonly standing water is encountered during the rain here making the roads far more treacherous than what I’ve encountered in the past. Several times the tires told me without incident that they were starting to lose adhesion on the pavement.

Six hours in the rain were enough to get by the defenses of my riding suit. The one weakness – the zippers in the crotch – started to let in some moisture. Nothing bad, but enough to get really annoying. I knew from the previous day when I “stole” some Wi-Fi from the Comfort Inn that I can get Internet in Gander so that’s where I decided to go.

Landing at the Inn I got a room, cleaned up a bit and decided to take a suggestion from one of En’s coworkers: go to a Tim Hortons; “They have soup to warm you up.” That they did. A coffee, soup and salad did the trick of making up for both breakfast and lunch since it was already 2:30.

Getting back to the room I attended to the wet clothes and went online to check on the ferry again. More good news (kinda at least): they don’t book the ferries to 100% capacity, if you show up early enough the crew has some discretion to load you on. :-D  Much rejoicing!

A bit of surfing and it was time for dinner. This time another local (it seems) chain: Mary Browns. They’re famous for Chicken and Taters, eh. (Note, Canadians don’t like the possessive apostrophe (see also: Tim Hortons)). Not bad at all. The experience was made complete by the guy in the kitchen that made sure to suggest things in a very Beavis way. “Cole slaw! Cole slaw!” Cole slaw it was. He did it to the next customer too. It worked just as well.

The evening topped off by some good Canadian brew (Labatt in this case), I bid you all a good night!

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Wake up to rain

Ugh. I hate breaking camp in the rain. It’s the suck.

It’s a slow gentle rain like you get with warm fronts that are coming through. Not the violent rains of cold fronts.

I’ll see if I can find a break in the rain and quickly break camp. Until then I think I’ll do some reading.

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Sitting here at my camp at La Manche with a fire going I really realize I’m missing something.

The fire was built with dried wood procured from the camp for the princely sum of $10. (Up in the Yukon they had a pile they couldn’t give away). The tinder was petroleum jelly soaked cotton balls. The spark from a magnesium fire steel.  I have everything, right? (I didn’t even have to do things the hard way — like gathering wood myself)

The fire burning in the night, a little waterfall behind me, sipping some 12-year-old scotch… something is still missing.



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