On our last morning in St. John’s we had a particularly engaging breakfast conversation with fellow travellers. It was a couple from Québec who travelled on a GS1200. Although currently they were on a mellow tour of Newfoundland, the rider shared a more hard core story of going on his bike to James Bay. He travelled there alone and got stuck, but thankfully his wife was able to come to his rescue, after many continuous hours of driving and with lots of spare fuel carried on board, since provisions are hard to come by in that rarely visited section of Northern Québec. There were many stories exchanged, including a friendly note that if you ever ride in India, the elephants always have the right of way. It’s easy to get distracted with a good conversation, so we ended up late for our tire change appointment. Still in about 15 minutes my TU250 was perched up on the stand and got some new rubber on. By 10am we were ready to roll west, towards the “perfectly centred” Grand Falls-Windsor.
We had plenty of time to make it half way across Newfoundland by nightfall, so we took a side trip to Southport, a tiny finishing village at the end of highway 204. It was the birthplace of our Clarenville hostess and she suggested it for its beauty. Located between Bonavista and Avalon peninsulas, this area is full of tiny islands, low mountains, and is prone to rolling fog. The whole route 204 leading up to Southport was quite scenic, but the village itself was indeed worth the detour. Although most coastal communities in Newfoundland have a few boats and fishing houses lining up their shores, the layers of mountains and islands near the horizon made this village look somewhat different than the others we’ve seen. On the side of the small harbour was a wreckage of an old ship. The whole landscape was enveloped in thin fog and was eerily quiet.
After exploring the coast along 204 we made it back to the Trans Canada Highway and stopped at the Clarenville Inn for lunch. It would have been cool to have a bite in a small town along 204, but we did not notice a single sign advertising restaurants, diners, or anything of that nature. The food was decent, though the desserts did not come even close to those at The Rocket. Out on the road again we stopped for photos at the scenic lookout near Gambo, a logging town.
As the sun started to go down we passed a bridge that had a gravel service road running underneath. Alex decided to drop by and stress test his road tires some more (somebody clearly did not have enough dirt on the T’Railway yet). After that, it was a straight shot into the sunset 😉
We reached Grand-Falls Windsor while it was still light outside and were met by our B&B hosts. Apparently they used to live in North York (a neighbourhood in Toronto), and the hostess used to work as a librarian at the North York Public Library, a place I have visited quite a few times while in high school ;). There was lots of Toronto themed artwork on the walls and the feeling that we were getting closer to home became very prominent. Our ferry to North Sydney was booked for next evening, and our host mentioned that we should double check that it’s on, as there was some incident with a Marine Atlantic ferry in Port aux Basques so delays and cancellations were likely. Apparently a ferry coming out of the port ran aground and damaged a front portion of its hull. While there were no serious injuries, there was now one less ferry in operation, so their schedules were being re-worked. We tried calling, but the lines were all busy, so with a whatever happens, happens mindset we headed out for a walk around the town.