Tuesday June 15 2004
Welcome to Newfoundland!
It is a good feeling to arrive in Newfoundland, I have slept well on my dorm style bunk bed after a nice hot shower on board the ferry, first time I actually was able to sleep on a ferry, the crossing was relatively calm.
It is 6:30 am and cold hard rain awaits me as I pull onto terra firma and drive north on Hwy. #1 towards Gros Morne Nat'l Park, my first destination in Nfld.
It is cold, wet & dark and not the best welcome but I finally stop, gas up and have a nice hot coffee.
The landscapes are amazing as the morning light begins to uncover snow on the peaks of the fog shrouded mountains, I am a little disappointed as I have not seen one moose yet, they talk about seeing heaps of moose and be very careful.
I am sure I will see my share before long, hopefully at a safe distance!
On through Cornerbrook and then take Hwy. #430 at Deer Lake, take a hostel dorm bed in Rocky Harbour, a lovely fishing village just outside of Gros Morne Nat'l Park boundaries.
For many people Gros Morne National Park is the highlight of Newfoundland, a hiking and outdoor paradise, the mountains are awesome to behold.
I buy 2 live lobster at the local fisherman for $6.00 a lb. and treat myself to a home cooked lobster dinner back at the hostel kitchen, they are delicious!
A fine first day in Nfld.
Wednesday June 16 2004
I hit the road early to drive to St. Anthony, a days drive to the northern tip of the peninsula which straddles Labrador on the Strait of Belle Isle.
I am not disappointed this morning as I see about a dozen moose not long after starting out.
As I continue the rain & fog settle in, I know the ocean and the icebergs are just a few meters to my left, but I can't see anything for the thick fog, I hope I will see them further north or on my return south again, weather permitting.
I see many more moose and 3 caribou, I stop to take their photo and think that maybe they belong to someone as they are pretty much grazing like cattle, or just so used to motorists that they don't take much notice of me.
I stop at the Labrador ferry building and ask for info and ferry times, I think I will cross tomorrow to have a peek at Labrador.
Once I arrive in St. Anthony I find a B&B, check out the town, to the lighthouse for a walk around, I am told there are icebergs near but it is still thick with fog, maybe tomorrow.
The thing that I have always been told and that I find out firsthand about Nfld. is the local people, they are so genuine and friendly.
They really are the nicest people I have come across and I know all visitors to Nfld. feel the same as I do.
Thursday June 17 2004
Beautiful clear morning, I see icebergs in the bay, they are awesome to see.
I drive to the viking landing site of a 1,000 years ago called L'Anse aux Meadows, they have unearthed the remaining ruins and recreated their homes & buildings from their short few years in Canada from long ago.
It is very well done, with people in period costume, giving a good, light-hearted interpretation of life in their viking village, another must see in Nfld.
I see moose, icebergs and beautiful ocean views on my way back south again on the Viking Trail highway and just make it to the ferry at St. Barbe with 5 minutes to spare.
The crossing to Labrador is 1 1/2 hour long, we spot a large Minke whale off the port bow on the way across, an extra bonus!
Welcome to Labrador
The ferry lands at Blanc Sablon, just on the Quebec side of the provincial border with Labrador.
I drive as far as I can on the sealed road to Red Bay, Labrador.
The scenery, rivers & lakes, snow covered mountains is really amazing, everything is so pristine and untouched here, you feel like you are really somewhere isolated, it is a good feeling!
It is not so forested here, mostly scrub & brush.
This is a Speckled (Brook) Trout and Salmon fisherman's paradise.
The friendly locals fill me in on all the local happenings. The people are so friendly and funny too!
I stay at Barney's B&B in L'Anse au Loup, probably the best kept, cleanest and friendliest B&B I have stayed with.
Ask Mary to do you up a dinner and try her homemade jams, Bakeapple & Partridge Berry, you'll see what i mean.
This is a place that I definitely would like to come back to someday, there is so much to see and explore, hopefully sooner rather than later.
A real gem if you have the time.
Friday, Saturday & Sunday June 18, 19 & 20 2004
I wake up to more wet, cold weather. I catch the morning ferry back across to Nfld. and drive back to Rocky Harbour.
These next 3 days are spent exploring the beauty of Gros Morne National Park, walking & hiking, driving to Trout River, relaxing, doing laundry, emailing, talking with the other travellers staying at the same hostel.
I can't really explain on paper how special this place is, you have to see it and you will never forget it.
Monday June 21 2004
Today starts with more cold rain and very foggy.
I started out with intentions of driving onto Twilingate and then to St. John's.
My ferry from there doesn't leave for over another week and the extended forecast is more of the same, wet and cold.
The fog is so thick that I am just crawling along and hoping that Mr. Moose is not standing in my way.
By the time I reach Deer Lake I have changed my plans, decided to not finish my Nfld. portion and continue back towards Ontario.
The weather has been the biggest reason and I feel I have had a good look around the Maritimes, I have a long ways to go to British Columbia & Alaska.
It is a little disappointing, but I am happy that I have made the decision and look forward to the next leg of my trip...and hope for some sun and warm temperatures.
Once I make it to Port aux Basques the weather clears, 6 1/2 hours later I am back to North Sydney, Nova Scotia.
I drive to about 11 pm, not the wisest thing to do at night with all the moose lurking about.
I pull over and park behing a fuel station in Baddeck, Cape Briton Island, pull out my therma rest mattress and sleeping bag, lay down beside the bike...I sleep like a baby under the stars.
Tuesday June 22 2004
I wake at 5:30 am and start my jorney home, I am reserved now to drive straight home, just fuel & food stops.
I drove from Baddeck, Cape Breton Island through New Brunswick and finally pull over just outside Quebec City after I hit torrential rains.
I couldn't see and was for the first time wet underneath my rain suit.
I take a motel room for the first time, a treat I normally don't do, maybe just this once?
Wednesday June 23 2004
Not so much to tell today as I drive the 401 from Quebec City to Toronto and north to Owen Sound and home on Hwy # 10.
Strangely enough when I crossed the Quebec border into Ontario the sun came out and the temperatures soared to something I haven't felt for quite sometime.
After construction delays on the 401, rush hour traffic to & from Toronto, peeling off the long underwear, skiing turtleneck, leather jacket & chaps, I make it home to Owen sound.
It has been an amazing trip so far.
I wouldn't have changed a thing, even the weather...it is all part of the experience.
The first leg is over, I will rest a bit, not too long though as I plan to continue at a good pace to the Rockie Mts, then I will start to slow down and enjoy Alberta, British Columbia and hopefully the Yukon and Alaska.
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