Thursday, August 14, 2008

(M+M) Aug 10 - 13: Newfoundland Touring

Not too much to relate on this section of our trip. The weather has taken a grey and unsettled turn. We have been riding mostly along the TCH and, while it does give a speedy ride, it is not full of "scenic wonders". This is especially true when the sky is overcast -- grey skies, grey water, grey pavement. I don't think Newfoundland gets a lot of sunshine anyway, and this August has been particularly poor in the sunlight department so far.

However, we have been pleased to meet a number of interesting people and they have made our days fun. Also, NFL has by far the largest number of honkers on the highway. These are people who honk and wave, encouraging us onward.

Aug 10: Deer Lake to Springdale Junction. 122 km, 7 hrs on the bike. We stayed at Stella and Francis Hull's Riverview Bed and Breakfast. They are both keen birders and Francis had some fantastic bird photos on display.

Aug 11: Sprindale Junction to Grand Falls - Windsor. 110 km, 17.5 km/hr average. Easy riding on this section of the TCH. Grey skies again. We met two other riders, Aidan and Tyler. They started a few days after us in Victoria. Check out their blog at

We stayed at Beothuck Campground outside of Grand Falls - Windsor. It was 18.00, but not the nicest place. Just generally unkempt. We should have stayed at the slightly more expensive RV campground closer to the downtown. We had a fine Chinese smorg for dinner and could barely roll back to the tent and get into bed.

Aug 12: Grand Falls - Windsor to Gander. 116 km, 15.6 km/hr
Another grey morning with some sunny breaks in the afternoon. We spent the morning trying to find the big waterfall on the Exploits River in Grand Falls. It looks like there used to be one, but it is now behind a dam. The Abitibi Bowater mill hides quite a bit of the riverside landscape.

We traveled on to Bishop's Falls and found remnants of another set of rapids and falls, again behind a dam. Then it was on to the highway with a lunch stop down on highway 351 at Norris Arm. The Valley Lounge does all day breakfasts!

We camped that night at the Country Inn Motel and Trailer Park. Very nice facility. It looked like rain, so Mike tarped the site. Sure enough, it really dumped over night. We fell asleep with the sound of rain on the tent and tarp.

Aug 13: Gander to Glovertown. 70 km, 16.7 km/hr
Grey morning in Gander, but our gear was fairly dry, so we packed quickly and headed into town. Mike had found a set of keys on the highway yesterday so we turned those in to the RCMP in Gander.

Today was the greyest day of all, and as we stopped for lunch at Square Pond, the skies opened in a thunderstorm that lasted for at least an hour. We were also pleased to meet up with another cyclist - Greg from Montreal. We heard about Greg from some folks at the Tourist Info stop in Springdale Junction, so we knew he was just ahead. Like us, Greg is riding an old bike. Unlike us he has had only one flat (we got flat 29 today -- my bike, front tire, sharp metal spike).

We stayed at Square Pond until the worst of the rain had passed, then rode for Glovertown and the Lilac Inn B&B. Here we met Keith and Elaine, our hosts for the evening. We had some fruit, wine, and crackers and chatted with Keith about updating an old house (like the Lilac Inn), then it was off to bed, again with the sound of rain.

Tomorrow we head south through Terra Nova National Park. Hopefully the weather will improve a bit.



Anonymous said...

Has been a fantastic journey so far. I have been reading up as much as possible, most interesting to hear the flat tire totals (FTT) for the trip. We will need a complete breakdown of the FTT's per cyclist on your return. Are any of you still on your original tube?


Mary Sanseverino said...

Hi Duncan
There are one or two original tubes left in the kit -- but with many patches.

Mike has had the lion's share of the flats -- 2 for Mark, 5 for me, and the rest for Mike. But, since Mike got the new wheel in Orillia Ont. he has only had one or two of the flats.


Michael Collins said...

Unfortunately, Newfoundland's scenic wonder and its history is on the coasts, and the Trans-Canada generally stays away from them. I often worry that people will go across the TCH and assume it's a good marker of what NFLD is like, having never been to places such as Cape St. Mary's, Bonavista, Burgeo, Ferryland, or Fogo!

Mary Sanseverino said...

So true Michael:
The TCH through Newfoundland is a wonderful travel corridor, but not much for showing off the beauty of the province. You have to head out to the capes and bays to see the real show-stoppers this place is famous for. We got to Bonavista, Trinity, Brigus, and Cupids. We'll have to come back and do more coastline riding in the future.

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