Sunday, July 8, 2012

Flat Bay to Port Aux Basque to North Sydney and Home!!

I was up at 5AM and packed up my stuff.  It felt good to be heading home.  It had been a grand trip and there are not many motorcycle trips where you can say that in seven days you only had 2 hours of rain!!  We had luck!!

I wandered downstairs and put the kettle onto boil - saw the fresh bread and could not resist!  Two slices with some jam on them sure hit the spot!  I read the departure note from Walter and could not find words at the moment to reply.

I drank my coffee and watched the morning unfold in Walter's front yard - hoping to see a moose or two (there had been two in the yard the day before and I am told there were two there later on the morning we left!).  No moose sighting for me though!  As before, the only moose I saw in Newfoundland were on plates...

I checked my email and caught up on the news and make a second cup of coffee.  Al wandered down, used the washroom and then went back up to bed - checking with me as to what time we needed to leave in order to catch the ferry.

About six Al was up again and ready to go - barely!  We loaded the machines and set out with Al leading the way.  Things got interesting when he forgot to turn at the Church.  Both he and I came into a tight turn a little too fast... glad the brakes were working!  We eventually got turned around and got out to the highway.  No traffic to speak of - and we set our sights on Port Aux Basques.

At South Branch the landscape started to change and became much more hilly - mountainous even.  Just past the signs warning of high wind speeds I ran out of gas.  I had not filled up when we met Walter and Ernie at the Ultramar the other day... luckily I had filled up my 5 litre can earlier - "just in case" - and well - "in case" happened!!

As we rolled on toward the ferry terminal I continued to be impressed with the ever increasing size of the hills!  Dirt biking in the back country here would be amazing!!

We gassed up in Port Aux Basque at the Irving and then made our way to the ferry terminal.  We were in the compound ready to load at 7:58AM - two minutes ahead of the deadline!  As we shed some gear other bikers arrived: the three lads from Quebec who we had met in Churchill Falls and again in Goose Bay who had lost their companion in a crash, a guy from Michigan on a V-Strom who was ending a three month ride across Canada, a guy from Moncton on a cruiser... all who were fascinated to know that Al had done the Trans Lab on a Harley Softail... he will be a legend for years to come...


He may be a legend... but as soon as he found a comfortable chair on the MV Blue Putees ferry he was lights out... sleeping for 3 of the 5 hours of the crossing - waking only to eat!!  I was going to take a picture - but - decided against it... he looked too peaceful to be blackmailed!!

We each had a breakfast sandwich from the cafe before the ferry had departed.  I warned Al not to waste his money - was awful - don't waste yours either.  Toast is a safer option from the Cafe!  About 11:30 (Newfoundland time) we made our way to the Restaurant had lunch - pan fried cod.  It was pretty good - the fish was - the vegetables however were rubbery and tasted old and the potatoes I am sure came from a box!!

Again with our bellies full, Al went back to sleeping and I settled into reading a book and dozing with occasional glances out the window.

We landed at 3PM and were soon on the road out of North Sydney in the thick of ferry traffic.  I don't know why they don't put bikes on the ferry so that we can get off first - because you spend the first hour off the boat passing all the slower traffic!!!

By 5:45PM (Atlantic) we were in New Glasgow getting gas.  It had been a spirited ride!  Al had decided to visit a friend in New Glasgow before head home so, with a hug and a commitment to do a ride together again next year we parted company.  I called Anna to check in and found out my mother-in-law was there, so I opted not to go home by the Sunrise Trail - I jumped back on the Trans Canada and before too long I was getting hungry as I neared Masstown.  I remembered John Tonks saying good things about the new fish and chip place there - I pulled off...  and man was it good!!

I ordered a two piece haddock and fries and it could have fed two people easy!  The pieces of fish were huge!  It was cooked to perfection and the fries were pretty darn good too!  I could only eat one piece so I tucked the other in the saddle bag and brought it home.

I pulled in the garage and was soon after greeted by a limping dog, a nephew who had shot up in height, a son that looked weary from work and a smiling wife who was happy to have her husband home safe and sound.

It was a grand trip.  We travelled 4307KM.  A little less than 25% if that, 1,083KM was gravel!  We covered an area of 543,102 sq kilometers and we both returned home with no injuries (besides Al's stubbed toe), no significant mechanical issues or fractures in our friendship!  It is a "big land" get out there and enjoy it!

4307 KM (including 3 ferry crossings)
1038 KM of gravel roads!!
1,000's of memories to last a lifetime!
On the Sabbath Road... home nursing a cold!

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