North Coast at Last: Twillingate

July 26, 2013
Posted on November 9, 2013

Twillingate Lighthouse

This morning no one brought up the idea of taking T’Railway further. Even though from here on the trail passes through towns all the way to St. John’s, we thought there way just no point. Perhaps it was finally time to explore the coastal villages of the northern shores.

Before leaving we cleaned our bike chains and did an overall inspection of the bikes. That’s when I noticed that while my luggage rack was still hanging, it was hanging by one less screw than originally intended, and the rear bracket containing 3 of the 5 screws holding it in was cracked completely between two of the screws. I decided from now on not to tempt fate and avoid large potholes, especially at speed. And no gravel, either. So we headed up to Twillingate and decided to check that area out before rejoining the TCH near Gander and heading for Clarenville, our planned stop for the next night.

This area was different from both the west coast and the interior we saw along the trail. The first curiosity we stumbled upon was this odd location in the community of Campbellton, the original purpose of which is not quite clear to me.

Notice several odd objects in the background – was it for moonshine production?

There was a couple of these huge sections of concrete pipes there. One was all open and filled with empty beer bottles and other trash, the other was locked. We knocked, no one answered.

No idea what this is, but it’s RED and looks awesome!

Now I know what’s been missing in my life: a success grinder!

The whole place was overgrown with knee-high grasses

There were inhabited houses right across the road

Road 340 towards Twillingate passes through several islands over numerous causeways. The scenery was very interesting passing near Boyd’s Cove, with lots of yellow flora in the water.

This style of stabilizing the electrical poles with a pile of rocks is used throughout Newfoundland.

Then there is the obligatory photo of the Dildo Run Provincial Park sign.

Further research suggests that great views can be found inside the park, but it’s always the issue of so much to see, so little time.

It got colder passing near the ocean along all the small islands. I put my rain gear on for wind protection. Alex decided it was warm enough for the mesh jacket alone and long story short, in Newfoundland you better put your rain gear on sooner rather than later, especially if it’s cloudy. Not surprisingly, it soon started to rain.

Outskirts of Twillingate

Cleaning fish in Twillingate

Our breakfast consisted of cold leftover moose meat we originally bought in Rocky Harbour, and by the time we got to Twillingate, it was way overdue for lunch. Sophisticated travellers that we are, we were intent on picking a well recommended location for lunch. There were a couple of them we considered, but the unfortunate truth is that we could not find them despite there being only one main road in the whole town. The rain kept drizzling, Alex kept getting soaked, the GPS kept playing tricks on us.

That’s the road the trusty Garmin told us to take back to town when we strayed too far. It was in “car” mode.

Although not drivable, it’s a rather pretty trail, with great views.

View from the top of the trail back towards the road.

Even after taking an alternative route we still could not find the restaurants we were looking for. Twillingate was very busy in general, full of slow moving cars, probably all tourists with a very faint idea of where they were headed (just like us). It was raining harder. Having soaked halfway through we stopped at J & J Fish Market for lunch. The place was right on the road and quite impossible to miss when you enter the town, so we decided to give it a try. Can’t say it was bad, but after all the time spent eating seafood in the Maritimes and Newfoundland, it takes more to get impressed. Fortunately, the rain took a break as we came back on the road, so we spent a bit of time in the town taking photos. This time Alex decided to play it safe and put his red rain jacket to some good use.

Making the lobster pose

A patch of blue sky – a false hope for sun

Fishing houses in Twillingate

We stopped at a souvenir shop and after long deliberations, picked up a pair of embroidered T-shirts. Made in Nicaragua. This really sometimes depresses me, but what can you do? The only place I visited where the souvenirs were actually made in the same country was Greece. You can also find some “Made in USA” goods in the States, but they will make sure to mark them prominently and charge you extra for the privilege, so it feels like an exception rather than a rule. I wonder what I will see in souvenir shops if I go to Nicaragua? Made in Canada, perhaps, part of a cultural exchange program 🙂

Steep cliffs near Twillingate

The last item on today’s to-go-before-dark list was the lighthouse, in Crow Head, just north of Twillingate. It’s a rather uniquely designed structure, surrounded by a large hiking area with tons of great views of the steep cliffs, small islands and the ocean. It’s a popular spot for iceberg watching, but the season for that ends in June, and this was almost August.

Not a good spot for cliff diving

Hiking trails around the area are quite extensive

As we headed out we spotted a few of Twillingate’s many root cellars. They are dug into the sides of the hills and often are quite subtle. There are supposed to be over 200 of them all over the village, but you will not find them unless you look very carefully.

Root cellar, Twillingate

Root cellar, Twillingate

As we headed south towards the Trans Canada Highway the rain restarted. We stopped only once when we saw a creepy house. It may have been a church in its previous life, but looked abandoned. The crooked top of the red tower made it look like a witch’s hat.

Rain was going on and off, and the light was rapidly decreasing. As we were riding through Terra Nova National Park, it was getting into the nighttime territory, and by the time we got to Clarenville, it was way past closing time for any decent restaurant (in other words, no dinner tonight). We stayed in a cute B&B and the hostess was apparently worried as to our whereabouts. I left only my home phone when booking, so when she called, all she got was the answering machine. She promised french waffles for breakfast and with that thought we called it a night.

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