A special thank you goes to Rich and Brenda Wolfe of St. John's, NF
Sunday, July 14, 2002, 2:55:58 PM
Starting out my journey to Newfoundland I boarded the ferry. The ferry from Sydney, Nova Scotia to Channel-Port aux Basques, Newfoundland was like a cruise ship with all the amenities of a small city. Well, except for internet service.
I watched as the huge tail-piece of the ship slowly closed into place concealing all the vehicles inside. Vehicles ranging from cars, trucks, RV's, and yes, a small motorcycle.
On the ship there was lots to see and do. But not too much to see outside. Just water, and more water, and more water. But some of the cloud formations were impressive and much easier to see since there wasn't any obstacles in the way.
We were late getting to the island due to traffic in the dock. We arrived a while after sunset and it was getting dark. As all the vehicles left the ship I followed along and kind of missed the town all together. I ended up on highway 1 that stretches across Newfoundland to St. Johns on the other side of the island. It was quite dark but I could still make out the shapes and contours of the mountains silhouetted in the background. What an ominous and mysterious place this seemed to be. It truly appeared to be the land that time forgot. As I drove I could see the mountain tops present themselves and then some disappear behind shields of fog. I drove past a small house on the side of the highway that was all lit up with Christmas lights. As I got closer, although it was dark, I could see some movement on the front porch of the dwelling. A man was standing out front waving at all the cars and trucks passing by. A few miles down the road, I again regretted that I did not stop to talk to this individual. Surely that person had an interesting perspective on things. But the traffic was quite busy frm all the vehicles that had left the ferry on the only highway.
Since the temperature had dropped dramatically from Nova Scotia I had to pull off the highway and change into some warmer clothing. I found an open place and pulled in. It seemed very creepy. After I stopped the bike and turned it off, I noticed that it was pitch dark. No light from anywhere except for the passing cars which eventually ran out as all the travelers made their way down the highway. I had a weird feeling being out there in an unfamiliar place and it made me a little nervous. I found my little flashlight and got my garments out of my bags. I changed rather quickly as I didn't want to get caught by something with my pants down, literally. I did hear some odd noises coming from the dark. I quickly got everything together. Forgetting one extra sock, and headed down the road into the night.
Monday, July 15, 2002, 5:42:50 AM
I stopped in Corner Brook, drove around a little bit and parked just outside of town in a nice little secluded spot overlooking the town. Pulled out the sleeping bag and slept for a while. When it became light I awoke and began to put my things together. I was being swarmed by mosquitoes, BIG ones. I had heard them through the night but didn't get bit the whole time. I'm not exactly sure why but I rarely get bit by mosquitoes. I guess I don't taste good. From what I recall about Alaska the mosquitoes there are huge. My father use to call them the Saskatchewan Air Force. Let's just hope they have the same picky eating habits as these here. I drove on down the road, again enjoying the remarkable landscape. this place is truly breathtaking.
With lakes, streams, and ponds dotted all over the country you can't go too far and not find water. Lake after lake I was fascinated with how much water there was here.
I pulled over a few times to look around beyond the safety of the highway when I realized that the ground on a lot of these places is very soft. Much like walking on some incredibly plush carpet the ground was unstable like a giant sponge. It looked as if there was layer after layer of moss under my feet. I crept up on this small mound and clump of brush to lean out over the water and get a shot of this yellow flower. I directly felt something at my feet. No, more like ON my feet. I looked down and I was being covered in large, very aggressive ants. Looking much like army ants these things were on their way to battle and determined to take me out. I jumped back away from the mound and began to brush them off. I could feel them making their way up my legs. Since I had several layer of clothing they were not directly biting me. They were doing all they could though and I could feel them moving in and around my legs. Miraculously they never got a bite on me.
I got some pictures of some other flowers. Like the little pink ones here that looked a lot like the Mountain Laurel in Virginia but about a quarter of the size of the blossoms.
Lake after lake. Pond after pond, they all were strikingly beautiful. A very enchanting and surreal place this is.
Funny thing though. I haven't seen any animals. Well, lots of birds and insects but no furry animals. Like where are all the Kangaroos, and Wallabies and Dingo's? Anyway, I still haven't seen a Moose or bear or anything like that. I've seen lots of warning signs though. I'm still looking.
I though that I saw a bald eagle once so I hiked back into the woods and found that it was only a rock. I then thought I saw another one but it turned out to be just a group of Do-Do birds. I didn't take any pictures of them because we all know how common they are. Stupid birds.
Some seagulls were out in the woods enjoying the sunshine on the rocks.
Oh, and I almost forgot to mention. I pulled off the side of the highway to take a break. While I was sitting there an elderly gentleman pulled into the same turnoff from the opposite direction in a large RV. I was fascinated to find out that he was following his wife. Well, actually she was following him and he pulled over to wait for her. At 66 years old, she had ridden a bicycle, at different intervals, all the way across Canada. Newfoundland was her last part of the journey. I didn't have the time to wait for her to arrive so I resumed my riding and sure enough, about five miles down the road I passed a small lady on a bicycle. I honked and waved like the gentleman had told me to do.
Here's a nice little over-look of Gander, NF.
Somebody asked if would send more pictures of myself. Well, how about this one while I was riding. Hey, aren't you suppose to keep both hands on the wheel?
As the day was heading to an end I got some more shots.
Now, I must say a few things about the sunsets here. Something that I didn't take into consideration was the fact that the days are longer and the sunsets last longer here in the summer. Because of the location on the planet the sun sets at more of an angle than it does further south. I had noticed this years ago in Alaska but totally forgot and didn't expect it here. Yeah, I'm that stupid. But anyway, the sun was getting ready to set so I pulled over an got the camera out and ready. I waited and I waited and realized that something was wrong. I quickly headed to find a phone to report the problem so somebody could fix the sunset when it finally dawned on me. I then noticed that the sun was making its decent across and to the right. Amazing as I watched it. I got off a bunch of shots and headed down the road. I kept looking in the mirror and turning around to see it get even more incredible with every moment. I stopped a few more times and got even more shots. On down the road at a different angle I saw some clouds cut across the horizon that created some different effects.
It got real dark for a moment and I noticed that there was a fog in front of me. I slowed down and the fog got incredibly thick and dense. I could tell that the road was going up and I was climbing up a mountain. The fog was too thick and my face shield was getting drenched and made visibility even worse. I was constantly wiping the water off with my gloves and almost thought to pull over when it cleared and as I wiped the final amount off ad looked up I noticed that I was above the fog and on top of the mountain pass. What an incredibly foreign place this was. It was like I had come up through the clouds, through some portal and up onto a totally different planet. Or could this be a new world up in the clouds. I turned around and could still see the remnants of the sunset above the clouds I had just come through. It was like a fictional place. I thought places like this only existed in books and movies. I must remember this special place and how it moved me. I was glad that I had made it all the way up through the clouds.
I headed back down the other side of the hill and on towards
St. John's without the inconvenience of any more fog clouds. But this time with
much more clarity.
(Ha ha, I just couldn't resist)
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