Day 8: Port Aux Basques to Port Saunders
I woke at 5:15 and quickly packed up my gear and tent. I didn't want the owners of the shop or some passing police cruiser to give me any hassle. My first stop was the Tim Hortons on the highway for a good cup of coffee and some wifi.
After demolishing my breakfast and seeing the first light on the eastern horizon, I decided it was finally time to go explore Newfoundland :ricky
Riding north from Port Aux Basques, the Gulf of St. Lawrence is on my left and the Table Mountains on my right. These twin peaks really stood out but with the low light my picture came out a bit weak.
The highway was desolate and I passed a car every 5 minutes or so. The overnight rain had left a heavy fog which slowly burned off where the sunlight could penetrate. The highway wound gently along the floor of the Codroy Valley offering beautiful vistas on my right and left.
I stopped to smell some flowers and have a snack.
I also wandered through a gate in the moose fence. I think this sign has been here a while.
Speaking of which...this was advertised as the "Largest Moose in Newfoundland". The rock scat underneath was a nice touch!
I hit a big rainstorm which was heavy but predictably short. After riding out the other side of it, I cruised through the twisty valleys outside Corner Brook with ski resorts on the hillside and a wide long open highway along the lake for miles.
After Deer Lake, I turned onto...
This carried me down to Gros Morne National Park.
I stopped for a map at the information booth and chatted with the prettiest booth girl I've ever seen. She may have even been on par with Beard's customs agent :dunno She suggested I ride down toward the tablelands and Bonne Bay.
This is the view of Bonne Bay looking east.
The town of Bonne Bay is very colorful, no doubt to add some color to their long and dreary winters. The Old Loft Restaurant, I found out later from some other travellers, serves a delicious moose pie.
The Bonne Bay Light stands in slight disrepair overlooking the bay.
After making two short loops through town, I worked my way up toward the tablelands. The terrain here looks like a desert on account of the Peridodite thought to originate at the earth's mantle and driven up by a plate collision millions of years ago.
This area was absolutely spectacular. The waterfalls cascading off the tablelands and down into the valley reminded me of Norway or Iceland.
It's ME on Trout River Pond. The view here is just extraordinary in person!
This fisherman looked like he was enjoying the day.
I was getting hungry so decided the village of Trout River on this desolate coast would be a great spot for some seafood.
I stopped in and inquired about the Salt Cod. I only wanted a lb or so and she wouldn't split the whole cod. Makes perfectly good sense and I didn't need 4 or 5 lbs of cod stinking up my tank bag :nono
I stopped at the only restaurant on Main St. Went in and noticed that a fish sandwich was $12. :eek1 Oh Hell No!
From here I rode up the hill where I came across a small take-out restaurant likely frequented by the locals. This is more my pace.
This goat had slipped free from the electric wires. Nobody seemed to care - the goat, the restaurant owner or myself. He wasn't going very far anyway.
I downed the burger, left a tip and set back across the tablelands toward Bonne Bay. Along the way I noticed this stream resotration in progress. It sure is a little different than we do it in the states :deal
I worked my way along the East Arm and stopped for a photo oportunity of Gros Morne's Peak and the surrounding scenery.
After taking a family's portrait down by the water, I made my way over to Rocky Harbor, the tourist town for Gros Morne with many hotels, restaurants and shops.
This is the view at the end of the road looking south along the rugged coastline.
The Lobster Cove Head Light. I regret not getting off the bike and walking around to take a better shot looking back on Gros Morne and Rocky Harbour but the place was mobbed with tourists and I didn't feel like taking my gear off again.
This is my only shot of the famous Western Brook Pond. This spectacular fjord was formed by retreating glaciers and exhibits 2000 ft sheer walls and igneous rock. The Long Range Mountains pictured here and throughout this day are the northernmost remnant of the Appalachian Mountains I call home.
I saw a sign for "Cow Head". Now that sounds interesting so I worked my way over to Summer Cow Head and went for a hike to the old lighthouse.
My bike is down there behind my finger.
The trail was spectacularly lush. I don't think I even edited this photo:
View from up top!
How's that for some contrast?
I should note that the trees here were stunted. So much so that they were as tall as I was!
The wood piles are growing longer and longer as I travel farther north.
I continue north along the coast enjoying the smell of the saltwater and looking for any oddities along the way.
Say? What is that in the center of the photo?
Someone had a bad day! Story HERE
All sorts of bits and pieces of the Atlantic Endeavour were littered about the beach.
I continued along The Viking Trail till I saw a sign for The Arches.
It gets very windy here along the Straight of St. Lawrence as I will find out first hand later in the trip.
When I saw my name on the map I had to make a detour :clap
I saw this outside Port Saunders. They must be desperate!?
The small town didn't have much to offer but I continued down to Port Aux Choix for a stroll along the Phillips Garden Trail.
I returned to Port Saunders for some water, a bottle of whisky, a danish ice beer and some chocolate then returned to this small jut of land behind an abandoned motel and beside an ATV track between the two small towns. This should do for a camping spot tonight.
Port Saunders is seen off in the distance:
I don't know what happened to all the trees here. It didn't look like fire but it could have just been from a hard freeze or extreme winds?
A father and daughter on a quad rolled past and didn't notice me. An hour later as the sun was setting, they came back the other direction and immediately saw me. I waved and they waved back - both not sure about me. I bet it'd take a while for some police to show up anyway and I wasn't hasslin' nobody.
I made a small fire with the driftwood about in an established fire ring beside a rotten outhouse.
The sun sank low and disappeared from sight while I sipped my whisky and enjoyed a full pipe. This was a solid day of riding and some amazing scenery like none I have ever seen before. I rested soundly and enjoyed the sound of the waves hitting the shore throughout the night.