So close but still so far away. Spring snow anyone? Actually it feels more like winter. Today's ride was extremely cold. What started out as a dry, crisp clear cool morning rapidly turned into a freezing cold, wet winter's day with temperatures on the bike guage dipping down to 2 degrees. Add wind chill at 100 km/h and you can see why we were frozen, numb and fed up two hours into the ride. Temperatures due to whipping winds were down to minus 4.
We are so disappointed that the weather has dictated our destiny today. It is disheartening that we have ridden over 7,000 kms to get here but simply cannot complete the last 700 kms to see our family and be part of little Addi's christening in Bonavista on Sunday. To be this close yet so far from our next destination of Bonavista on the east coast, about 3 hours north of St. John's is killing us! The forecast for most of Newfoundland this long holiday weekend is snow, snow and more snow, clearing up by Monday. We're sorry, Les, Carol, Darryl and Leah, BUT the good news is you are all there until Wednesday, so if this
darn white stuff melts and the wind stops blowing and the air warms up, we can be on our way again and get this last 700 kms under our belt. Keep your fingers crossed for us!
So to our shortlived travels today, which started out dry in Port Aux Basques around 9:30 am. You can immediately see why Newfoundland is nicknamed The Rock. It is incredibly barren here, but incredibly scenic. You feel a mix of the Scottish Highlands and Alaska oddly enough: a landscape of dark rocky hills covered in heathers and grasses, sharply pointed small mountains overlooking table top hills with patches of bright white snow at the higher elevations, bays and inlets along the way, and stream and brooks galore. Yet there is no wildlife to be seen anywhere, other than the occasional bird that comes to check you out on the bike. As you ride along, you pass small villages with small clapboard houses built close to the water. It feels bleak, yet inviting. There are so many inlets and bays along the way. Oh, and brooks. I have already lost count of how many brooks we have ridden across and how many villages are
named "xxx" Brook. The road was fairly good, mostly two lane with adequate passing lanes. At one stage there was major roadwork, and we had a gravel section to ride through, with a metal deck bridge in the middle of the section (someone is out to get me), more gravel, then grooved for 2 kms that made the gravel and bridge deck seem easy. The grooves were so deep that both of us immediately slowed down to about 30 km/h, 4 way flashers on, for fear of sliding out on the bikes which were fishtailing and threatening to dump us at any moment. It was treacherous and dangerously slippery (as it was pouring rain at this point), and unfortunately there was no shoulder to ride on so semis were passing us much too closely for comfort. I did NOT have fun on the bike today. But fortunately she looked after me.
By the time we arrived in, you guessed it, Corner Brook, a mere 200 km trip, the temperature on the bike's gauge had dropped to 2 degrees, and my feet were numb, my nerves frayed and no desire to get back on the bike. Not knowing what this
town had to offer, we once again relied on our friends at MacDonald's for their free wi-fi and booked into a small bed and breakfast called Bell's beautiful inn. That's a slight oxymoron, but more on this tomorrow. Instead we are holed up in this little town that is actually a major city for NL. It is a typical Maritime town, centred around the bay with a large pulp and paper mill and fishing industry. The houses are incredibly tidy and neat, and it appears there is growth here in housing construction. This town provides the very basics: a Wal-Mart, a Sears, most of the major banks, and a cinema playing two movies. However the "downtown" mall we walked to last night reminded us a similar mall in Prince Rupert where its anchor store is a Dollarama, and all but two or three other stores in the mall closed down. We patronized the cinema and watched Star Trek:Into Darkness and highly recommend the movie. Great cast, and great entertainment. We will play tomorrow morning by ear as far as the weather is concerned. The weather channel keeps telling us to expect record lows in this area! In the worst case,
we will hang out at this lame bed and breakfast and maybe try to see some more of Corner Brook by public transit. We did discover a new coffee house this afternoon overlooking the bay, so may return there for tea and cookies tomorrow.
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