The Healing Power of a Mini-Vacation
All it takes is a long weekend on two wheels to recharge your batteries and renew your soul. It allows you to break out of the mundanity of everyday life. Don’t get me wrong, I love my work and my life in general, and I do try to stick to a routine as much as possible. But sometimes I start feeling like a hamster on a wheel, and that means I need a break.
During the week leading up to the Discovery Day long weekend, I checked Environment Canada’s website religiously, trying to decide whether or not a trip out over the highway would be a good idea. As the weekend loomed and the forecast looked better and better, the plans became written in stone: Head out to the North East Coast of the island on Saturday, back in St. John’s on Monday.
As Mark can attest to, I absolutely loathe long drives in a car. If I’m a passenger I get really bored, and the fact that I can’t sleep (due to anxiety) or read (due to severe carsickness) just amplifies that boredom. I don’t particularly like being in the driver’s seat either, it wears me out physically and mentally. I still don’t know how I managed to drive from St. John’s to Edmonton, I’ll chaulk that one up to being young and foolish. When I’m on two wheels it’s a completely different experience. I can drone along the highway all day, stopping only for gas and food. I can’t explain why this is, I guess it’s just because I truly love being on a bike. It’s engaging, it can be almost meditative at times , especially when there’s not much traffic (ie off the Avalon). I was really looking forward to this trip, as it was our first long highway ride since we went to St. Anthony and back last year. Absolutely epic trip, I’ll never forget the feeling I had riding through Gros Morne. If you get the chance to tour the island, DO IT!
We arrived in Gander on Saturday afternoon, the weather was absolutely perfect. As it was the Ride for Sight weekend, we hung around the stadium for a few hours before we set off for the North East coast, where Mark’s folks had their trailer set up and generously offered to house and feed us for the weekend. The locals call the area “Shalloway”, it’s right on the ocean and postcard-beautiful. The grown-over road leading to the trailer was not exactly ideal for a Sportster with extremely short suspension travel, but I managed to navigate it without dumping her. If you’re fortunate enough to have a motorcycle trailer/camper thingy, or you’re tough enough to go tenting, definitely consider this area on your next trip. It’s free and you don’t need reservations. If you would rather camp in a serviced park, right between Shalloway and Musgrave Harbour is Banting Memorial Municipal Park. A short walk from the campsites is Musgrave Harbour beach, one of Newfoundland’s best kept secrets. The beach consists of about seven miles of fine, white sand. You would think you were down south until the North Atlantic water touches your feet and sends waves of pain through your central nervous system.
Our weekend accommodations can be seen in the background. Thanks again Ena & Reg!
As Saturday night was spent having a few cold ones, I went for my usual Sunday morning run in an attempt to clear the cobwebs. The peacefulness was intoxicating, the only sounds were the birds singing and my feet hitting the ground…very different from my usual route through downtown St. John’s. We spent Saturday afternoon taking advantage of the beautiful weather by exploring neighbouring communities, and enjoyed a camp fire later that evening.
Heading back to St. John’s under a perfect blue sky
We left Shalloway on Monday morning under blue skies and a temperature of around 20 degrees. By the time we got to Clarenville the temperature had dropped and the darkening skies told us we better get our rain gear on. We escaped the weather until just this side of Whitbourne, when the skies opened up on us. The wind and rain literally pressure-washed us, removing every trace of fly-splatter from our windshields and visors. At this point, I didn’t even care about the rain. I was on such a high from our amazing weekend that I wasn’t going to let 40 minutes of wet riding ruin it. As luck would have it, about two minutes after we got home the rain stopped and the sky brightened up. A great end to a wonderful weekend.
I went back to work on Tuesday morning feeling incredibly renewed and refreshed, all because of sunshine, two wheels, great roads and excellent company. Looking forward to the next mini-vacation!