Riding in the Clouds

July 24, 2013
Posted on October 25, 2013

After three days of glorious sunny weather, the infamous Newfoundland rain and fog caught up with us. We woke up to a gloomy, wet morning, just as forecasted. Weather can be unpredictable near the coast, but for the time being it seems a large cloud descended over Gros Morne park and was here to stay for a while.

First things first, Alex came out for some quick grocery shopping, since we did not have time to replenish our supplies the night before (FYI: there are no 24 hour grocery stores in Rocky Harbour). Having purchased some fresh bread and eggs for breakfast, he tried to convince Earle to send us a parcel of his moose meat, since we could not really carry too much on the bikes. Earle did not trust the postal service to handle the jars carefully enough and declined ;). After breakfast we decided to stay in for a while, and made a few phone calls to arrange for tire change on both our bikes in St. John’s. Honda One in Mount Pearl promised to have them ready and reserved us a service spot. With that out of the way we headed out towards the Tablelands.

View from hwy 430 on the way to the Tablelands

There are quite a few lookout points along the highway, offering views such as thing.

It’s always fun to pass a huge truck, stop to take pictures, watch it swoosh by, and know that in a few minutes you’ll have to pass it again. On a wet curved road, no less.

The winds were high and the clouds numerous. Both the sky and the land were enveloped in mist, the landscape looked quite different from the previous few days. The main highway, 430 is all curvy in its Gros Morne section, with limited visibility, but the 431 that leads through the Tablelands has a long straight stretch that seems to reach into infinity. With the weather reaching for its local minimum, constant drizzle and lower temperatures, the area was almost empty, barely any vehicles on the road.

Views from 431

We stopped at the top of a small hill on the road, with long stretches of it visible in either direction and took a few photos. It felt a bit surreal to be there at that time, so empty and alone, as if we had the road all to ourselves. To the south, the bare brown earth of the Tablelands seemed alien. To the north, the lush green hills were the exact opposite. The rain and remaining snow meltwater was gushing from the hills into numerous streams, feeding creeks and ponds in the lowlands. The long slab of pavement separated the two sides in both literal and metaphorical ways. As we rode, we went in and out of the fog several times. It felt as if we were riding through the clouds on an alien planet.

The brown Tablelands with their soft cloud covers

The green slopes just opposite the Tablelands

Eventually the fog got thicker and condensed into constant rain. We got to Trout River, a tiny village at the end of highway 431, which faces the St. Lawrence Gulf on one side, and Trout River Pond on the other. The fog and rain felt somehow natural there, they did not detract from the quiet town at all. Everyone was going along their business, grocery shopping, out boating, chilling on porches, one of the kids was dirt biking around the town. It was perfectly fine weather for locals, although the tourists were notably absent. We went towards the pond and the dock to get some photos. The eponymous pond runs along the southern boundary of the Tablelands, so boat tours and hiking must be very beautiful there. Despite that, no one was out there having fun in the rain. I have already seen the effects of prolonged exposure to the elements on camera equipment, so the amount of photos we took was a little limited.

The village of Trout River

Trout River

Where Trout River Pond becomes a river

Trout River Pond

With no end in sight for the rainfall, we headed back to the cabin to dry up, warm up, and have lunch. We did not have high hopes for the remainder of the day, but surprisingly enough, the sky cleared out to the beautiful deep blue. We fried some potatoes for lunch and decided to enjoy the improved weather.

Rocky Harbour in the afternoon sun

Without any motorcycle gear we headed to the south end of the town on foot, towards the pier. This was our last evening in Rocky Harbour and it was great having a beautiful sunset for it. The ever evolving mix of golden, pink and purple was splendid over the town and surrounding landscape. We stayed out on the windy pier all the way until nightfall, enjoying the changing light and clouds over the Long Range Mountains and the sea.

Sunset in Rocky Harbour

Barn at the south end of the town

Lobster Cove Lighthouse

Sunset light display over Rocky Harbour

The pier with the lighthouse far in the distance

The red balls and the silver boat, as seen in purple light

A full rainbow of colours in the western skies as the sun hides behind the thick clouds near horizon. You can barely make out the lighthouse light on the right.


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