This was our fifth vacation spent touring Newfoundland by motorcycle, so when we sat down to plan out this year’s trip we ran into a bit of a quandry. Where hadn’t we been? Or more importantly, where hadn’t we been that is still easily accessible, since we only had one week of holidays? Read the rest of this entry
One of the things I miss most during the winter months is day-tripping on the Vstrom. I love leaving town on a weekend morning-before most “Sunday drivers” get out on the go-with no destination other than a good place to grab a bite. I’m really not sure if checking out a new restaurant is an excuse for a bike ride, or the other way around!
I really can’t recall going for a day-trip this early in the season before, but the forecast looked promising. I set up a ride using the NL Adventure Rider Meetup group, and we had seven riders show up. The group is relatively new, with the goal of bringing together riders who enjoy longer trips and riding “off the beaten track”. If that sounds like you, by all means join up!
We set off from St. John’s around 11am, took the CBS bypass to Seal Cove, and continued along the lovely Route 60 with very little traffic. Bliss!
I’m not sure how many layers everyone else was wearing, but I had on four and I needed every one of them when we hit Conception Bay North and the wind was coming off of the water, a dense bank of dark fog hovering ominously. I’ll place the blame squarely on the weather forecasters who foretold a westerly wind. The fog was burning off as it hit land though, and I was just happy to be spending the day on the bike – despite the fact that my heated grips were threatening to ignite my gloves.
Our lunch destination was Crooked Phil’s Cafe in Carbonear. It’s a beautiful, bright little spot with a great menu, incredibly friendly service and very reasonable prices. I had veggie pizza and a salad, and of course about a gallon of hot coffee!
After lunch our companions all headed back to town, either turned off by the cold or having to see to other commitments, leaving just myself and Mark. We headed off in the direction of Heart’s Content, which was a good description of my mood at the time. Nobody to answer to, nowhere to be. Just me and the bike, with the sun shining down on the open road.
This is my eighth summer riding a motorcycle, but there’s still places on the Avalon that I haven’t seen. The Heart’s Content lighthouse was one of those places. It’s not particularly spectacular or remote, but a very pretty spot all the same.
We returned via Route 80, along the coast of Trinity Bay. It was much warmer than the Carbonear side, so we really enjoyed the ride back to meet the TCH at Whitbourne. It was hard to believe that it’s still pre-May 24: the unofficial start of Newfoundland summer.
If you know of any other great little restaurants I can use as an excuse for a day trip, I’d love to hear from you!
Back when I was young and foolish I packed up my belongings into my Oldsmobile and set out across the country, to seek my fortune in Edmonton, Alberta. What should have been an epic 6000km (3750 mile) roadtrip across Canada was reduced to a blur of gas stations, Tim Hortons restaurants and the seemingly endless Trans Canada Highway. I drove hammer down through eight provinces and I didn’t take one picture. I was determined to “make good time”, stopping so infrequently that when I finally did arrive at my destination I was so used to moving at highway speed that I was dizzy for a week. That was pre-motorcycle me.
For the past three years, our summer vacations have consisted of travelling Newfoundland by motorcycle, staying with Mark’s folks in their camper or sometimes in B&B’s along the way. This year, since we had such a good experience on the Bonavista Peninsula back in July, we decided to pack up the camping gear again and give it another go. With the forecast looking half decent for two days at least, we booked a camp site in Frenchman’s Cove Provincial Park on the Burin Peninsula for two nights and figured we’d “play it by ear” for the rest of the trip.
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.
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.
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.
My first guest post on this blog comes from fellow female rider Ania Todua, and contains good advice on things you really should be carrying when you head out on a motorcycle trip. You can find her on Twitter, @ania_todua. The pictures and links contained in the article are hers.
When you decide to take a trip on your motorcycle, you don’t exactly have a huge trunk where you can just stuff everything you need and then strap some more stuff to the roof. A motorcycle ride is definitely much more exciting and fun than driving in a station wagon, but you have to be smart about it and focus on packing the essentials, since you have limited space. We’re not talking about traveling for months across a continent here though – there are plenty of times when you need to hop on your bike and ride for several days, and it helps if you are prepared. A good saddle bag on each side is more than enough to keep you covered for up to a week on the road, as long as you remember to bring these six essential items.
I’m at the point in summer when I’m getting weary of riding the same roads on the Avalon weekend after weekend. With the forecast for this past Sunday looking spectacular, we decided to wander a bit farther from home and made the trek to Harbour Mille on the Burin Peninsula. Read the rest of this entry
After a truly miserable week weather-wise, we were all looking forward to the forcasted warmth and sunshine on June 14. By 8:30 am, the temperature was at 12 Celsius (54 F.), already higher than we had experienced in a week. We decided to head out of town early, and hit the highway to the Baccalieu Trail; a wonderfully twisty road that winds its way around the north west Avalon.
The first stop was Salmon Cove Sands, a beautiful sandy beach about 10km from Carbonear. It’s been rated one of the top 15 beaches in the country, and I can understand why. Read the rest of this entry
Harley-Davidson has recently announced it’s newest addition to the venerable Sportster line-up: A 1200cc touring edition. I’m absolutely positive that the HD top execs got the idea from reading about my adventures on my Sportster, and I shall be pursuing legal council immediately. I wish!!! Read the rest of this entry
For our first “motorcycle vacation” we decided to ride to the other side of the island, as the only other time I had been to the west coast I was making a beeline for the ferry in Port Aux Basques, and didn’t have the time to sight-see along the way.
If you find yourself on the west coast of Newfoundland, you MUST visit Gros Morne National Park. A UNESCO world heritage sight, the park takes its name from the second-highest mountain in the province. The natural scenery in the area is truly spectacular. Riding through the park with no roof over me to interrupt the view is an experience I will never forget. Read the rest of this entry