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Off-Road Lessons: Riding in Sand

I’ve owned my TW200 for over a year, so I’m still a novice when it comes to off-road riding. As confidence-inspiring as that bike is, there are still situations where I feel anxious and completely incompetent as a rider.

One of those situations was riding in sand. What better place to conquer that fear than in Musgrave Harbour, with its miles of sandy beaches!

Mark literally grew up riding on the beach, and had these words of instruction: “keep your feet down in the soft sand, then get closer to the water where the sand isn’t as loose.” OK then.

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Weeeeeeeeee!

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Sand as far as the eye can see!

So I managed to get through the soft sand without going down in a pile, and gradually picked up some speed when I got on the firmer sand. Though I *know* that it’s a fact that a bike is easier to control when it’s going faster, there comes a point when that fact gets pushed aside by the thought of “if I’m going any faster than this and crash, it will ruin my entire summer”. So I found a happy balance, puttering down the beach as the waves gently rolled in.

Learning to ride off-road as an adult can be a daunting task, but good instruction, determination and the promise of a soft serve afterwards can do wonders for self-confidence!

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Nothing to it, sure!

 

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Two Yammies on the beach. The IT200 is looking good for her age!

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.

Read the rest of this entry

Baycation 2013, Part III: Musgrave Harbour

We left Fogo Island on August 8th, catching the 1:45 ferry back to Farewell. As much as I loved Fogo Island, I would NOT be able to live in a place where I had to depend on the ferry system. The day after we left, Fogo’s Brimstone Head Festival kicked off, bringing hundreds of visitors to the island. When the time came to sober up and go back home, many people found themselves in a ferry line-up of 300+ cars, and many had to sleep in their vehicles overnight so that they wouldn’t lose their place in the line.

We had another spectacularly calm crossing that day, and made our way from Farewell to Mark’s hometown of Musgrave Harbour on the Kittiwake Coast, where we would spend the next few days relaxing and eating home cooked meals. Thanks again Ena & Reg for the wonderful hospitality, as always.

I don’t know why this town doesn’t publicize their 10km of white sandy beach, maybe they don’t care for outsiders and want to keep it for themselves.  Too bad, their secret is out now! Read the rest of this entry

Dead Ends and Gravel

After spending the past ten days exploring Central-ish Newfoundland by motorcycle, I’m back in my own little corner of the city, relaxing and reflecting on our vacation. It was spectacular to say the least, every day I saw something so breathtakingly beautiful that my pictures really don’t do it justice. Read the rest of this entry

Update from the Road

Since leaving on our “staycation” last week I have realized that updating this blog via cell phone is NOT easy, so I have waited until now when I have the use of a laptop to publish an update of our travels. We have seen and done so much over the past few days that it will take me awhile to organize pictures and put together a complete run-down of our trip, but here is a quick update of our adventures so far.

We spent two nights on beautiful New World Island, staying in Dildo Run Provincial Park. We had severe thunder storms on the second day we were there, but managed to get out for a ride around the area when the storm cleared in the afternoon.

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I *think* this is Moreton’s Harbour

We caught the 9am ferry to Fogo Island the next day. As I get horribly seasick I was quite relieved that the seas were impossibly calm for both our crossings. I will eventually  be devoting an entire blog post to this beautiful little rock in the North Atlantic. It’s a place that was never on my radar to visit, but I’m so glad I did! We had an amazing stay, so much to see.

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Joe Batt’s Arm, looking across at the new hotel

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Taken at the “battery” in Fogo.

After our night on Fogo Island it was back to Mark’s hometown of Musgrave Harbour for the annual “Scuff & Scoff” festival. This is the point where we turn around and hopscotch back towards St. John’s, and right now we’re trying to decide where our next stop will be…Eastport? Bonavista?  As the forecast for today is rain and wind, today will be a good opportunity to nail down our itinerary.

Stay tuned folks! 🙂

The Healing Power of a Mini-Vacation

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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. Read the rest of this entry

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