"Boy What a Night That Was"

    Since the beginning of the trip I had planned on obtaining some kind of small tarp to protect all my gear and equipment from the elements. The rain really doesn't bother me or the bike but I do have too many things that could get damaged. I pulled off the highway into the small town of Clarenville and stopped into a hardware store. I bought a small fiber/plastic tarp and as soon as I walked outside the building I felt the sprinkle. Did I just jinx myself? Everything was fine up until that. All the storms and rain were missing me all this time. So I packed up and headed down the highway again. It was getting close to dusk, which last for quite some time here, and I felt more sprinkles that looked as if they might get more intense. I quickly pulled off the highway into a small diner. I was a little hungry so I pulled under the eave of the building to protect the bike and I wouldn't have to worry about the tarp yet and the challenge of how I might wrap it around the gear. I had a nice meal and amazingly, ran into a young gentleman that I had previously met, several days before, on the ferry over. We talked for a bit and he invited me to join he and his friends in Grand Falls for the annual Salmon Festival. I was tempted but as time was that evil cloud hanging over my head I declined.

    After my meal the rain had slowed but was still coming down a little bit. I had to do something. I tried to wrap the tarp around everything but the wind was blowing it all over the place and making my endeavor almost impossible. The rain decreased for a bit so I headed down the highway in hopes that I'd find some kind of bridge or covered picnic area somewhere. I drove, the rain increased again. There was nothing. The whole area was empty. I found myself surrounded by nothing but highway and rain. I had to do something. I began to feel the water seep into my socks and my pants were getting wet. I was having difficulty seeing through my face shield as the water began to find its way pass the seals. I finally saw a sign with a picnic table on it and pulled in. The tables were a little way off the road down a walking trail. I took the bike between the barriers and down the path to find that the tables were conveniently located within a nice covered building. Four tables surrounded the house shaped structure with a wood burning stove in the very center. I was quite pleased with my new home and even went out into the woods to find some wood for the stove. Much of the wood was damp but I was able to get a small fire started and enjoyed the warmth for a bit.

    It was still a little light outside so I took my travel guitar out and began to play it. The guitar is a small "baby" Taylor that was so generously loaned to me by Pickers Supply in Fredericksburg. The action on the guitar had been bothering me a bit so I loosened the strings and took the saddle out. Grinding it on the concrete floor of the building made for a nice smooth edge. I replaced it in the guitar and tuned it back up. It played much better.

    I took the tarp back out and worked with it to find out a better way of attaching it to the bike, which I did and then neatly folded it back up and stowed it away.

    It had finally gotten dark and noticing that the rain had stopped I gathered all my things and headed back off. About ten miles down the highway it began to rain again. This time much heavier. Once again I found myself trying to seek shelter. Angry at myself I wished I had stayed back in my nice little home, but the urge to move on kept on me. I finally gave up and just pulled off on the shoulder. A little larger shoulder they use for the road signs made for a nice safe area to park on. I pulled out the tarp again and secured it on the bike. I was able to crawl under the tarp in the seat and hang out there where I dozed off a few times.

The rain had stopped once again. Frustrated I packed up and stowed the tarp and moved on. This was getting old.

   Again, about ten miles down the road, it began to rain. I pulled off on a closed off dirt road, set up the tarp, a little different this time. I attached it to the gear and hung the remainder of it off the back of the bike. I pulled out the sleeping bag and secured the back of the tarp under me and the bag making a sort of tent. The rain stopped again. I ignored it and stayed put this time. It took quite some time to doze off but I did. I awoke, as I normally do, several times. Wide awake I was tempted to pack up and move on. I decided not to. I could see that the sun was going to come up and could see the sky and clouds were light and it didn't look like it would rain. I still ignored my green light and stayed there. I dozed off a few more times. 

After quite a while I finally gathered everything up and resumed my course.

The sun came out and the day was looking to be quite beautiful. It was still quite cold and my feet and gloves and pants were still pretty damp.


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