The Cape Shore: July 6, 2013

Tail packs and tanks bags are very convenient for day trips on a sportbike

Tail packs and tanks bags are very convenient for day trips on a sportbike

This past Saturday was the perfect day to head out of town on a daytrip…warm temps, very light south-west breeze, and no precipitation on the radar! It was a day that absolutely MUST be spent on the bike, so I decided to accept an invitation to join a group of motorcyclists on a ride around the Cape Shore.

DCIM100GOPRO

The town of Mount Carmel, on the shores of St. Mary’s Bay

If you live on the Avalon, the Cape Shore should be on your “to-do” list at least once each summer. The road is rough in places, but there’s enough sections in good condition to allow more spirited riders to really have some fun on the twists and turns. If you enjoy taking pictures, plan on making lots of stops, because the scenery is truly beautiful on this coast.

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Twisty, hilly roads on the Cape Shore

Our first stop after leaving St. John’s was the Wilds golf resort on the Salmonier Line for brunch. I highly recommend the buffet, consisting of hashbrowns, toast, bacon, bologna, ham, eggs, baked beans and even cold cereal for the more calorie-conscious diners. The service was impeccable, and the price was so good that we’ll definitely be making another trip out there before the end of the summer.

After leaving The Wilds, we continued along the Salmonier Line, and turned off at Route 93 taking us through the towns of Mount Carmel and Harricott before intersecting with Route 91 in Colinet. A word of caution: Route 91 turns to a gravel road shortly after the intersection with Route 92.  We found this out the hard way a couple of years ago, when we left Placentia hoping for a “short-cut” back to Colinet. It was a short-cut alright, 35 kilometers of gravel road. The silver lining though, was that we discovered Cataracts Provincial Park on the way, a beautiful little-known piece of this province. If you’re not afraid of a bit of gravel (and you carry a plug kit and compressor), the waterfall at Cateracts is worth the ride.

cataracts

Waterfall at Cataracts Park

We took the paved (and I used that term loosely) Route 92, rode across the barrens and through the town of Branch, and took the turn off to Cape St. Mary’s. I’m a little ashamed to say that it was my first time out there, as it’s a major tourist attraction. I can’t say that I took in the full experience though. Motorcycle boots are particularly uncomfortable for walking any distance in, and I didn’t exactly relish the thought of being shat upon by the multitude of seabirds in the area. So instead I spent a few minutes stretching my legs in the interpretation centre before we headed back to the main road.

We continued along the Cape Shore highway through the picturesque coastal communities of St. Bride’s, Angel’s Cove, Patrick’s Cove, Gooseberry Cove, Ship Cove, Great Barasway and Little Barasway. It was right between St. Bride’s and Angel’s Cove that I spotted a moose about 30 feet from the highway, just hangin’ out. You ALWAYS have to be watching for moose on this island, and actually seeing one makes you extra paranoid about scanning the sides of the highway.

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I didn’t get a picture of the moose, but here’s a picture of some cows instead. And no, I didn’t mistake one of these for a moose!

Our next stop was the town of Placentia. History buffs will want to spend a couple of hours in the community, as there’s so much to see and learn about. Two years ago we visited the Castle Hill National Historic Site in the town, where ruins of English and French military fortifications from the 17th and 18th centuries have been preserved. There’s also a museum that contains the tombstones of Basque fishermen dating from the mid-1600’s.

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View of Placentia from Castle Hill

We left Placentia and headed for the TCH. The government must be trying to really impress tourists getting off the Argentia ferry, because this stretch of highway is one of the best on the Avalon. The pavement is in excellent condition, with many straight, flat sections. So watch your speedo, you may be going much faster than you think you are!

The round trip from St. John’s is roughly 400 kilometers. To get the most enjoyment from this ride, plan to head out by around 9am. The ride will take up most of the day, especially if you want to stop frequently for rest breaks, photo-ops, or a bite to eat. Keep in mind that there are areas where you may need to take your time due to rough sections of road. Be sure to bring warmer clothing than you think you will need, and if you’re planning on visiting Cape St. Mary’s you may need rain gear as well, as it’s one of the foggiest places on the island.

Do you have any additional tips or “must-see” attractions for visitors to the Cape Shore? Please comment below 🙂

 

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Posted on July 9, 2013, in Roads of Newfoundland and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. Awesome Ride Report! Have been down that way many times for work, but never on Bike (have Ridden Irish Loop a few times though) … will def have to give the Cape Shore a go one of these days!
    Anxiously awaiting your report on the Harley Demos … was nice seeing both you and Mark there this past weekend.

    • Thanks Perry! It was nice seeing you too. I’m working on a post about the Harley Demo’s, but I rode five different bikes so it’s taking a while to piece it together, lol!

  2. Great Article. You missed one of the best beaches on the Avalon if you did not drop down to Point Lance (between Branch & St. Brides). Add it to your next trip around the Cape.

  3. Hello there! Is that a street fightered Thundercat 600? I like it (and the ’85/’86 GSXR too)!

    How did you go about doing the street fighter conversion? I think it looks neat (as in tidy as well – wiring and stuff) and you got the bug eye headlights too! I would like to do the same to my GSXR one of these days.

    Do tell us how it was done!

    • Hey, thanks for reading my blog! Good eye by the way, that’s a 1997 Thundercat. The 1987 GSX-R belongs to a friend, he’s done a lot of work restoring it.

      I’m working on a post detailing the total streetfighter conversion. In a nutshell: Remove plastics (that’s the easy part), then figure out a way to mount the gauges and lights. It’s a little easier if you’re good with a welding machine.

      There’s an airbox modification that needs to be made as well, I think this is unique to the Thundercat though. I found it on the Custom Fighters forums.

      Other than that, it’s basically cosmetics. Stay tuned for pictures of the entire process 🙂

  4. Wow, almost like we were riding together. I was riding on The Rock for about a month and must have swerved around a gazillion of bumps and potholes. The posted speed limits are there for good reason.

    • Thanks for reading Gord! I truly enjoy your blog, I only wish that I had a month’s vacation to tour around Newfoundland. When I take my short bike trip this summer I will definitely heed your advice that dead-end roads are there for a reason, there’s something worth seeing at the end. So glad to hear that you enjoyed your experience here! 🙂

  5. I too would highly recommend the beach at Point Lance-about a km. in length, tons of sand and almost certainly deserted.

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