L’Anse au Clair’s Northern Lights Inn is conveniently located across the road from a Robin’s coffee shop; the perfect place to grab breakfast and hang out while we waited for the drizzle to clear off. Upon leaving the Inn, we noticed four more motorcycles in the parking lot, and judging from their state of relative cleanliness we deduced that they didn’t come from the northerly direction – they must’ve taken the last ferry from St. Barbe the previous evening. With Michigan plates was some breed of BMW GS and a Honda ST1300, and from West Virginia an older Honda Shadow plastered with stickers from all over North America…and a Harley Sportster 1200 with tires about two-thirds worn out. As we trotted over to Robin’s, I was picturing guy riding the Sportster. Some young American hipster no doubt…not much of a clue about bikes…bought this Sportster and thinks he can conquer the TLH on it. Boy was I wrong. On our return to the Inn we met the owners of these bikes. Read the rest of this entry
Labrador. The Big Land. North America’s Last Frontier. The idea of traversing the Trans Labrador Highway had loomed in the back of my mind since I bought my VStrom 650 four years ago. When Mark joined the league of “Stromtroopers” this spring we decided that we would finally take a trip off the Rock via two wheels –a first for both of us. It seemed like the right time to embark on a Labrador Adventure. Plus, at only $18 each for the ferry crossing from St. Barbe to Blanc Sablon, it made good economic sense! 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
July 1st turned out to be a perfect day to head to Cape Spear. It’s usually 5-8 degrees colder out there than it is in downtown St. John’s (only 14 km away), but on this day the weather was warm and not even overly windy! We even got to see a few humpback whales.
The pavement is in really good condition, and the road has some great twists and turns (especially the big turn heading up to Shea Heights! Weeeeee!). If you want to take full advantage of this, I suggest hitting the road in the morning (just watch for moose). The road gets quite busy this time of year as Cape Spear is a major tourist attraction being the most easterly point in North America.
As the last province to enter confederation with Canada in 1949, Newfoundlanders are sometimes reluctant Canadians. This is especially true on July 1, celebrated in the rest of the country as Canada Day. In a strange coincidence, Canada’s birthday shares this date with one of the most infamous events in the five centuries of Newfoundland’s history. On July 1, 1916, at the Battle of the Somme at Beaumont Hamel, France, the 1st Newfoundland Regiment was decimated by German artillery. On this date, 801 courageous Newfoundlanders were sent “over the top” towards the enemy trenches. Only 68 were able to answer the roll call the next morning. In a place with a population as small as Newfoundland, this loss amounted to a generation of young men wiped out, which impacted the economy drastically in the following decades. Since 1917, July 1st has been known in Newfoundland as Memorial Day, a sombre time of reflection on young lives cut short by war. In modern times this day is a strange dichotomy. A free outdoor concert on George Street entertains folks waving the Maple Leaf, while a parade marches towards the National War Memorial between Duckworth and Water Streets for a wreath-laying ceremony, the Union Jack flying at half-mast. Tourists must be utterly confused.
As a proud Newfoundlander and daughter of a peacekeeping veteran, I make a point each year of participating in the Canadian Army Veteran’s (CAV) Memorial Day ride. Read the rest of this entry