Gravel Pit Camping…and Riding!

I know it’s oh so cliche, but I did actually spend May 24th weekend “up on the highway in the gravel pit”. And it was absolutely fantastic (thank you again, Ena and Reg!). We were away from the coast just far enough to stay out of the fog, and the trees around the pit made a great windbreak. The weather co-operated beautifully, with three days of blue skies and warmer than average temperatures.

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Relaxing after a day of riding

The excursion was a well-deserved mini-vacation, and a great opportunity to gain some off-road experience on my TW 200. I found out that gravel pits are wonderful places to learn off-roading skills, and I got a taste of water crossings, deep mud, badly rutted dirt roads, and even sand.

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The fine, powder-like sand of Musgrave Harbour. That’ll take some getting used to.

Thanks to our friend Mandy, the TW and DR made the 400km journey via GMC pick-up. We repaid her by lending her Mark’s 1984 DT 200 for the weekend, and she proved herself a very capable rider on the old two-stroke. The three of us spent Friday, Saturday and Sunday exploring the area between Carmanville and Musgrave Harbour, off-road and on.

We arrived in Musgrave Harbour on Friday evening around 4, and within 15 minutes we were geared up and gone. We rode out to Aspen Cove and Ladle Cove, and I thought about the last time I was in that neck of the woods. I was on my Sportster, and the condition of the pavement made me swear that I’d never go back unless I was riding something with better suspension. The TW is no pillow, but it soaked up the bumps pretty well. We hit a couple of dirt roads that brought us out to look-out points. I love riding down a road for the first time, not knowing where it leads. The thing is, every road is there for a reason, they all go somewhere. 

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According to the map, this place is called Ragged Point.

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Mark’s DR650

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We met this little guy wandering around on a dirt road in Aspen Cove.

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Tiny bike with tiny berg.

On Saturday we stuck mainly to cabin roads. Some were in great condition but others were awash in soupy mud. We also spent some time playing in the numerous gravel pits along the Gander Bay Road.

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Some cabin roads go far inland.

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Mark had a bit of fun on the old DT. Photo credit: Mandy B

On Sunday morning we set off for the Carmanville area, as Mandy had never been out that way. Our first stop was Gaze Point. It was an incredibly calming experience to ride along the dirt road underneath a perfectly blue sky, looking out at the ocean, icebergs lining the horizon.

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The view from Gaze Point. Photo credit: Mandy B.

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The cold North Atlantic. Photo credit: Mandy B.

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Brown is the colour of spring in Newfoundland. Photo credit: Mandy B.

We left Gaze Point and continued on to Frederickton, and decided to have lunch overlooking the Ahern Trader shipwreck. She’s been slowing disintegrating since she ran aground in 1960.

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The Ahern Trader, Frederickton’s point of interest. Photo credit: Mandy B.

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Our lunch spot. Beans, tuna and bananas never tasted so good.

After lunch we continued through the communities of Beaver Cove and Davidsville, and then Mark (being the tour guide as per normal) decides to veer off onto a road that he hadn’t been down before. That road turned into the most picturesque trail either of us had ever been on. We later found out that it was the old highway (listed on Google Maps as Forest Grove Road), abandoned to atv’s for decades, and tied in with the Gander Bay Road.

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Beautiful, alder-lined trail. Photo credit: Mandy B.

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Mandy going “ring ding ding”!

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Beaver lodge with satellite dish…I can’t explain it either. Photo credit: Mandy B.

This past weekend has given me a new perspective on the versatility of dual-purpose motorcycles. You can leave from almost anywhere, and go almost anywhere…and have so much fun doing it. It can take you to places you would otherwise probably never see, and brings out the outdoorsy-ness in even the most city-loving riders. Move over Vstrom, I have a feeling that the TW is going to rack up a lot of miles this summer.

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The sun sets on my mini vacation, but the riding season is only beginning.

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Posted on May 21, 2015, in Roads of Newfoundland and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. “I love riding down a road for the first time, not knowing where it leads.” Well-said, Krista, and ain’t that what it’s all about?… A road left unexplored can leave a rider with sleepless nights, just plain haunted.

    That shipwreck is soooo cool! What a great subject for photographs. And the dish on the lodge–too funny. Thanks for sharing your discoveries and your successes on the new bike.

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