Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Day 5: Blanc Sablon, QC to Deer Lake, NL - 330Km

Route: 330Km

I was glad to see Eldor at the ferry. He stayed in Port Hope Simpson last night and took an early morning ride to Blanc Sablon. He got rained on pretty heavily, but did those rough 200km fine nevertheless. Kudos to him, the road is challenging enough when dry.
We met a couple of riders from Quebec at the ferry, as well as some other fellow travelers. The crossing was quick thanks to fun getting acquainted, exchanging stories and jokes and taking a group picture under the Apollo sign (the name of the ferry).
  
Eldor and I took off on a leisurely, scenery soaking ride down Viking Trail towards Gros Morne National Park. This coastal ride is very relaxing. The road is not technical and the scenery is just grand. We stopped for a delicious lunch at the Anchor Cafe  in Port au Choix and had a very friendly chat with the charming lady owner (she has an equally charming name that I forgot :().
We stopped over at Arches Provincial Park. It's quite a sight, but the sun was on the wrong side so pictures are not the best. I checked the water temperature and found it surprisingly warm. I wouldn't hesitate a swim if I felt like it. You can camp here by the ocean just like almost everywhere else in the maritimes. Note to self: bring a tent next time, even if you are not going to use it.

Eldor and I then reluctantly parted ways. He will camp in Gros Morne and explore Newfoundland more in the next few days while I'm on a tighter schedule and will sleep on the ferry to Nova Scotia tomorrow night.
Just as the sun was setting and I was approaching my destination I had an opportunity to pull over a tractor trailer (he had no lights in the back and all his reflective stickers were covered with dust). I also CHASED AWAY A COP, but I'll have to tell that story in more detail later.

Details later :): At dusk, as I was climbing the mountain from Gros Morne I caught up with a tractor trailer whose lights were all out in the back. Not only that, but the trailer was covered in dust, so none of his reflective stickers were visible either. It was like approaching a grey brick wall in the middle of the road. I passed him, slowed down and signaled him to pull over. He didn't get it at first, but I managed to get him to stop and tell him that he is dark as death from behind. He seemed thankful, but I didn't stick around to see if he's going to do anything about it as I continued on.

Further up the road I caught up with a police cruiser that was closely following a convertible at just below the speed limit of 80. I came to an idea then to flag the cop down and tell him about the dark trailer just in case the trucker decides to continue on without lights. Well, I can't overtake the cruiser because I would be going over the speed limit and he can give me a ticket for that, so I pit out the right turn signal, wave with my left hand to pull over and flash my high beams at him several times. He applied his breaks a couple of times, but did not stop or pull over. I kept flashing him, and after a while (Majesty has excellent dual headlights) he just sped up, passed the convertible in front of him and disappeared in the distance. WTF?! Did he just ran away from me?! Why would he do that? I was dumbfounded, to say the least.


Just a few kilometers later I was at the Thickwood Inn for the night. Had a beer with the owner Wayne on the deck and hit the sack. This was the first good uninterrupted sleep I had on this trip - the rest were just restful enough to keep me going. Only about 300km, but one of the most relaxing and rewarding days of this grip. You noticed the ongoing "friendly chat" theme. People here are easy-going, friendly and a pleasure to talk to.

In the morning we continue our little talk over breakfast and Wayne shows me some of his antique collectibles, like a 100+ year old collapsible brass fishing rod in perfect shape. I'm not a fishing person but I appreciate the fine craftsmanship. I tell Wayne about my cop episode from last night and the first thing he asks is whether the cop was alone in the car. I really didn't know, but he probably was. See, Hells Angels have moved into Newfoundland recently and the cop might have thought I was one (my seating position is low, feet forward, headlights very bright and it was getting dark). Since he was alone, he chose to take off instead of finding out why I was flashing and waving. That's the only plausible explanation.