Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Port Aux Basques to Corner Brook

Leaving Port Aux Basques we stopped by the 'welcome' sign for the customary photo.

For the next 40km or so the road was undulating but not too bad for cycling. Then the bigger hills started at the same time as the rain. A local guy told us Newfoundland had had a great summer and it hadn't rained like this since May. Just our luck. We were soaked through by the time we got to the campsite at Crabbes River.  It was a another poor campsite.  So many campsites are set up for huge recreational vehicles which are so popular in Canada.  This means that washroom facilities and showers for campers are not properly catered for.  You wouldn't believe the amount of chipboard constructions we have had to endure on our trip across Canada.  I could go on but let's just say if you visit Canada don't take a tent. 

The following day the sun shone and it was hot. We put on our wet clothes from the previous day to get them dry and we cycled to Barachois Provincial Park where, again, the camping facilities were poor. At this site we even had to boil our drinking water for 5 minutes before it was safe. Thankfully, I was a Boy Scout and never travel without my water purification tablets. 

To get to this campsite we had to leave the main highway and cycle down a steep winding hill, dropping about 300ft.  In the morning we spoke to the Park Ranger and loaded the bike and trailer onto the back of his pick-up truck.  I then jumped onto the flat bed and held the bike whilst Susan sat in the passenger seat.  Off we went with the speed of a bullet.  The bike immediately lurched back and I just managed to hold it and onto the side of the truck whilst wrapping a leg around the trailer.  I would have knocked on the widow for them  to slow down but I couldn't let go of anything. 

After a few minutes we reached the junction but before I could draw breath the vehicle turned right and started down the highway. Thankfully, we were now going downhill and I could let go and knock on the back window.  We stopped and both Susan and the Park Ranger got out smiling. Where were we going? I asked, trying to not swear and be calm.  'Oh he volunteered to drive us to the top of the next hill and I said that would be nice thanks' said Susan smiling before adding 'I have no scruples!' 

You see Susan knows that I would regard that 'lost' quarter mile to the next hill top as 'cheating'. This is the same Susan who wanted to get the ferry from Thunder Bay to Saulte Ste. Marie and cut out 9 days of cycling.  She actually called me 'clif the b*****d' for a few days after that. 

Many people would agree with her I know but you either cycle across Canada or you don't. Both Susan and the Park Ranger were now having a good laugh at my expense especially when I insisted that we cycle back up to the junction to start where we had left off.  I could tell the Park Ranger thought I was barking mad. 

As we later cycled down the road I asked Susan if they had given a thought to me in the back of the truck as it raced up the hill. She replied 'we were just chatting away and yes I thought he was going a bit fast and I would have been cold on the back if it was me'!

On we cycled through another hot day and the road continued to go over hill after hill. The scenery looks a bit like how I imagine Scotland looked before they cut down all the trees. 

By the time we reached the Glynmill Inn at Corner Brook we had climbed over 7000 feet of hills since Port Aux Basques. That night, we dined on a feast of beer and marvellous homemade burgers. Nobody said it was easy. 

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