Monday, September 13, 2010

Sunday September 12, 2010

Day 6 (Sunday September 12, 2010)

Happy Valley Goose Bay to Pinware Provincial Park, NL

Total Km – 610km (3309km)
Litres of Gas – 20L (201L)
Cost of Gas - $26 ($220.50)
Hotel - $0 ($311, 3 nights)
Camping - $15 ($15, 3 nights)

This is the second time typing my Day 6 report. I just saved over the original text doing something else. I'll try to remember the good, juicy details.

Last night I met up with a very old friend named Gordon (Gord) Bargh. He is a doctor up in HVGB doing a rural outreach program in isolated northern Labrador communities. He has been here since July, and staying until February. He was very shocked, to say the least, to see a spicoli such as myself pass through town. This place is pretty isolated and weird – So I understand his shock.

Gord and I had a few beers and talked about the last 20 plus years of our and our families lives. It was great catching up. We met up again for breakfast the next morning and continued to chat like school girls. He was a gracious host to yours truly and I will always remember this part of HVGB as the highlight. (The hotel I stayed at was not a highlight – That is for sure.) See you again Gord!

With a full stomach, I pushed off by 10:00. This was going to be a big stretch. The sign says there is no service for 392km, but the gas station is like 25km before the sign.

I would see a vehicle every 40 minutes or so. The first 300km of this road was fantastic. I averaged about 110km/h over this gravel with little to no fear. I stopped every 80 minutes or so and took in the scenery and had a snack. This road is built up high. The ditches average about 8 feet high, and in some places the drop offs seem to be 20 foot down. Putting a bike down in that area would be horrendous. I would not want to be one of the 6 capable people it would take to haul it out. No way! The land is very marshy and bog like still. The further south you travel, the more hilly it gets. Blue skies were very welcoming during the entire day.

The last 200km or so of this road is terrible. The pot holes and sink holes litter the road. There really is no way to avoid them unless you drive about 40km/h. I took this section going about 80, I would say. It jars your arms, shoulders, hands, wrists..... It really is exhausting.

The last 100km gets to pavement. Twisty and turny and up and down. It was nice to hit that.

To summarize this part of the ride, I would rate it about 4 or 5 out of 10 in terms of “difficulty”. If you are reading this and have sort of been on a dirtbike before, you'd be able to do it. I think most novices could drive this terrain if they adjusted their speed accordingly and took their time. But in terms of mental and physical wear and tear on the body, I would rate it 7 to 8 out of 10. It is punishing. I am sure there are more difficult roads – I haven't been on them though.

I had a bit of a repair today. One of the main bolts on my crash bars lost its nut. I still have the bolt and zip tied it together. Not being mechanically adept, I was rather proud of my “fix-t” today, but glad that has been the worst of any failures so far. The bike is running great. Heated grips are working. I took all the fuses out and looked them over. None of them appeared fried.....

I was a bit disappointed that I haven't seen any more wildlife. Although, like an Aesop fable, one does have to be careful of what they wish for. As much as I 'd love to see a moose, I don't want to run into any. Lots of people see wolves, but they throw them bread out of car windows and whatnot so they come up closely. (Classic conditioning.) I am not willing to do that. But I still have 3000 more km to go.

I had a water leak which nearly devastated me. A water bottle broke open in the pannier with my sleeping bag. The bottom third of it was totally soaked. The park supervisors totally took care of it and we had it in their dyer for 80 minutes or so. Thankfully it got dry. I would have really been screwed if I was squatting and came across this problem. Lesson learned about packing.

But my thoughts have always brought me to think about Shelly. I have been showing the people I meet the pictures of her and us on the computer, or taped to the inside of my rear pannier. I am always saying, “My wife....” this and, “My wife....” that. Everybody always says how pretty she is, but I already know that. And I tell them how nice and loving she is too.

A few of the people I meet are surprised I am on this trip solo. A few understand that going solo is beneficial too. I suppose having company would be fine..... But I have no regrets so far and continue to enjoy the freedom I have.

The computer was really a good idea to bring. (Purists are cringing.....) But it is a bit of a safety net and I feel in touch with it. Writing at the end of each day is a very smart idea.

I have met a great deal of nice travellers and everyone is so happy and excited to talk about what they have seen and where they are going.

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