Wind 20 – Hills 23 – Jeff 0
Okay the hills are just nuts on this route!
It was a horrible day but I figure I would get creative with my rant. Please note the countryside here is extremely beautiful so look at the pictures after the rant.
Poor little Jeff started out the day early
with dreams of grandeur and thoughts of joy surely.
But the big bad wind had other plans
and swept over the land.
This left poor Jeff with a dilemma
try real hard or ride like a lemon.
But Jeff was determined and so was the wind
it was a beautiful day so let the battle begin.
Jeff floated like a butterfly but the wind stung like a bee
So many times Jeff almost lost his sanity.
At the end of the day Jeff made it clear
I won’t give in and wont shed a tear.
So Jeff is now 130 kilometers from St. John’s,
With a bottle of screech his anguish will be gone!
Tuesday August 28th
Pathetic ride but still a ride.
I had a bit of a late start since I slept in and had to do laundry on the other side of town. I think it was after 11 by the time I checked out which meant no big day today but I figured I could at least make it to Gander which was 100 kilometers away. For the first 20 kilometers I had a bit of a wind which helped me but it wasn’t long before I had a headwind. I had no energy, there wasn’t a lot to see and my legs were sapped for strength. I eventually made it and checked into a motel. I simply didn’t feel like camping and there was nothing near town.
Sunday August 26th
Map a ride had some wind working for me today!
What a coincidence that I rode 185 kilometers today and Ironman Canada is also today. It is no coincidence that Derek Leung is riding his heart out in his first Ironman which took months and months of training and discipline: I should know I finish 2 of them and failed to finish my first . This is not the case for Derek though, he finished his first Ironman today, way to go!!!!
Saturday August 25th
Map my little ride!
Sorry but more ranting. It is suggested you arrive 2 hours before the ferry leaves which it states on the ticket and also the person who did reservation said the same thing. Since the ferry sailed at 7:30 that meant being up just before 5am and riding to the ferry in the dark. This is one of the few times I felt unsafe because I have no lights and there are no street lamps. It was hard to see when there were no cars around. Eventually I get to the ferry and there is no line up and I ride up to the section designated for motorcycles. One of the guys there had to wait 5 days to get on but still a bicycle had to wait an extra day. One thing I noted right away is how incredibly slow and seemingly disorganized the loading process was. The bikers and I finally got the go ahead around 7:30 but we didn’t leave the dock until an hour later. They had no hot chocolate and when I went for breakfast no one was working the till. Okay I am done ranting but the service and treatment of passengers is crap.
Okay the exciting bit, I made it to Newfoundland!!!! Pulling up to “The Rock” was very exciting and I took a lot of pictures. You are not allowed on the car decks until after the boat is docked which is another oddity. This meant I didn’t have any water for the ride but that was quickly remedied. As expected the coastline is rugged with grey granite rock with houses speckled along the ridges hanging on for dear life. The were all very tidy and newly painted giving a very cute and clean little postcard. There was hardly a tree until you looked very closely.
As soon as I got off the ferry I went to Bob’s Chicken which is right off the highway when you turn off for Port-aux-Basque. There was a Tim Hortons but I wanted support a local shop instead of a franchise. I ordered and ate 3 burgers before heading off down the road. I smarty pulled into the Tourist information building where I got a detailed map of the area showing campgrounds and small towns. Google maps doesn’t show any of these so it was a critical stop for me. They also had a small print out they made for the first 300 kilometers of highway listing campgrounds and restaurants and the distances from here to there and also between the listings. It was just what I needed and finally I got a free pin. The beauty of Newfoundland showed herself with a view of the Tabletop Mountains which are literally taking up the view North and are covered with lush green forests of decidious and evergreen. The “Twin Hills” though poorly named were another breathtaking sight.
Newfoundland is surprisingly beautiful already and I just started. Passing Wreckhouse I was reminded of the stories of big rigs being blown off the highway. Though very windy in Port-aux-Basque it was not bad here and as I progressed through the day the wind wasn’t much of an issue.
I rode a little bit into dusk but I am behind, the road is excellent and there is virtually no traffic. I would say one car every 20 minutes at the most. I am so happy to be here and look forward to tomorrow which will be my first big ride on the island.
I’ll keep the rant to a minimum but when I arrived Thursday I called to make a reservation with the ferry just in case. The other cyclist I met did say it was filling up which didn’t make sense to me. Anyway when I called the best they could do is put me on the Saturday morning ferry. The guys at the bar had a good laugh over this one and had suggested I ust throw my bike in someones pickup. Instead I stayed in town and cuaght up with blogs. North Sydney is really tiny but also a little picturesque.
Thursday August 23rd
Big Smokey eh!
Last night I had briefly spoke with another cyclist from Cape Breton. His name is Jimmy Cambell who is a teacher in Sydney. He has only been riding 5 -7 years but he has done the Cabot Trail many times. I would put him in his 60’s but he is in solid shape. He is currently promoting riding in Nova Scotia so please check it out:
He left earlier and we played tag a bit since we had different stops but we would catch up to each other later in the day. After Ingonish you sweep into a long bay and then head up Cape Smokey which is not too bad a climb in this direction but heading counter clockwise on the Cabot Trail would present a challenge. The view is not bad at the main pull out but I found a little outcropping just down the road that you can not get to if you have a car because there is no where to pull over. I had pulled over because the cars are going to slow on the steep downhill.
The ride from there was a windy long downhill which I flew down but going the other way would suck as I mentioned because there is no shoulder plus you would be going very slow up the mountain. After that there wasn’t much to see since there were houses and forest between the road and the sea shore. Once and a while you would get a glimpse but pretty boring riding if you ask me. Finally you come out of there to very large inlet with a causeway and a ferry to the other side. The ferry only goes about 50 meters and it has a tether due to the strong current. After about 6 kilometers you join back up with the Trans Canada where I met some cyclists near the top of the hill. They had left 2 days after me from Victoria but they rode almost every day which I think is very tough to do. They had a lot a of gear and even a fiddle!!!! They were going to the Rollies Wharf in North Sydney for a fiddle jam. Not too long after Jimmy Cambell pulled up and we chatted for a good half hour before I pressed on.
There was a another big downhill all the way to the bridge to Seal Island. The bridge has no shoulder and gusty winds. Not for the faint of heart or inexperienced cyclists. You are not allowed to cross on foot because it is so narrow and dangerous. Up the other side I pulled into a service station for some chocolate and fluids since I had run out about an hour ago. I saw Jimmy ride by so I hopped on the bike and tracked him down. We rode for a little ways but I had a little more energy up the hill and the other side was a huge downhill with a tailwind. I hadn’t been in the big rim on a slight downhill for a while and I didn’t wait up since there were big rollers too. I really kept my speed over most of them making the climbs easy. It was nice to finish the day like that as I saw the campground not too far after.
I booked in and then called the ferry service to Newfoundland. Bad News The next reservation is for Saturday, can’t fit little me on the ferry I guess! I showered, did laundry then went for dinner at a local pub. There was hardly anyone in there so I chatted with the bartender (he actually came to my table and sat with me) for while. Nice guy who was into kayaking. Jobs are pretty scarce around here but he ran the pub so he was okay. After having the second best burger on the trip I went back to camp discover that my tent had fallen in on itself. This was a first. When I set it back up I noticed something had gnawed through the back and had gotten to all of my bagels, what is it with bagels??? All things considered I have been pretty lucky animals but those pesky Scottish Chipmunks!!!!
I took a cab to Rolliee’s Wharf to catch the fiddle off. There was a good 7 or 8 fiddlers, a piano player and at times small wind instruments. It was pretty good but the songs are long and I sensed that not all the participants know them or the lead is simply extending the song on and on. Other than having to wait an extra day things are good. Please note there are only 8 more days to donate. People have been very generous so far and we are closing in on $12,000 so I am very happy.