Canada 2018

Day 06

July 26

  As is my usual habit, sleeping 'late' is usually about 6 AM for me. I quietly get up and clean up, then wander outside on the deck to see the sunrise.  
  I move on back to the fantail to get a little better view.  
  As we draw nearer to the land, the fog comes in. This fog business that we will continue to encounter will give rise to one of our new names for the place - 'Newfoggyland'.  
  Alain gets a few shots (he's a much better photographer than me) then we move inside. Since I'm about to land in Newfoundland, I figure I'd better get familiar with some of the local dialect. I do have to ponder if there is a connection to the sign right below the sign.  
  Soon the sit down cafe opens it's door and we are some of the first ones there.  
  They have a lovely buffet with the prerequisite pork products and hen fruit not to mention some mighty fine taters, rolls and fruit.  
  After disposing of the feast before us, we retire back to our room until close to time for the disembark announcement. Through the fog, we can make out some land so we know we should be landing soon.  
  Soon the announcement comes and we follow the herd down to the deck where our trusty steeds are waiting. We decide we'll just hang the stuff on and rearrange it once we get off the ship. Fortunately there are plenty of places to pull of just outside the gates, so we pick one and pull over.  
  With our knitting tended to, I stop for a quick shot of the Newfoundland sign and the we're off like a dirty, foggy shirt.  
  Since we plan on riding down south around a couple of peninsulas, we figure we'd best take advantage of the first gas we come to in a little village called Placentia. Not being familiar with the area, the last thing I want to do is to run out of gas in the middle of nowhere.  
  There are some lovely views as we make our way south but we encounter some not so lovely potholes. Soon we have another new name for this place - 'Newpotholeyland'.  
  There are some really pretty places we pass by but the challenge is to try to look at them and not get taken in by potholes big enough to get lost in.  
  Sometimes the fog does lift so we can get a bit of a clear view of what's around us.  
  Some of the scenes remind me of my trip to Ireland.  
  But then the fog comes back in and we are in the midst of the pea soup with no idea what beauty the surroundings may hold.  
  When we come to the village of Branch, it's a good time to take a break. There's little store with plumbing facilities and other ideal stuff. This appears to be a 'real deal' fishing village judging by the dock area.  
  There are lovely blue lakes scattered about that remind me of Crater Lake out west back home.  
  The road alternates from nice and curvy ...  
  to straight as an arrow, but the splendid isolation remains the same.  
  As we make our way through the various small villages, we see some boats bobbing in the pretty blue water ...  
  and some not bobbing so much.  
  But it's a pleasant mixture of blue water and rising hills ...  
  when we can actually see it.  
  Riding in thick fog is pretty intense, so we find a vacated place to take a break in hopes that Mr. Fog will forsake us.  
  Nearby is a patch of lovely roses sort of left to themselves. But they appear to be getting along quite well without human intervention. Their fragrance brings back pleasant memories of how my momma always loved roses and usually had one or two bushes growing around the home place.  
  Soon the fog lifts and we can see most of the way out to the sea.  
  There are some interesting sea marshes and backwaters along the coast.  
  Every now and then we see an isolated cabin on a lake shore. I have to kind of figure these are similar to old hunting lodges you sometimes see back home. Not the sort of place you would try to winter in, but used as the notion took you to wet a line or two.  
  Looking at some of the old houses along the way, you can see the long term effects of the wind and salt air as it acts like an unseen random grinder on painted surfaces.  
  But then we go quite a while where the only thing in view is open country and the seashore. Back home a view this nice would probably be overrun with condos and high rise hotels sold as 'ocean view' property with a price to match the magnificent view.  
  The blue of the water is an amazing contrast to the green that surrounds it. It's almost indigo in it's hue and shade.  
  This reminds me a lot of 'whale rock' off the coast on Highway 1 in California.  
  We're supposed to meet up with Rob, a local ST rider at Signal Hill, so Alain text messages him at our next gas and hydraulic break.  
  When we get in St. John's proper, we are back in the land of traffic. Rob latter tells us that 1/4 to a 1/3 of the Newfoundland's people call St. John's their home.  
  Fortunately our trusty GPS systems guide us right through the midst of it and ...  
  finally to our intended destination - Signal Hill.  
  It's a site that is deeply intertwined with the history of Newfoundland.  
  The imposing structure was started in 1897 and it took them almost three years to complete and open it. And the wind will almost blow you off your feet if a feller ain't paying attention. It's just not a very good place if you are wearing a toupee for sure.  
  There's a plaque just inside the door that explains all of that.  
  Upstairs is a little museum of sorts that gives you some of the history of the place.  
  On this hill nearby, Marconi received the first transatlantic wireless transmission on December 12, 1901 from Cornwall, England. The funny thing was that it worked not for the reason that he thought it would. But the important thing was that it did indeed work despite the naysayers and opened up a whole new world of communications.  
  Here on display are some of his original equipment that he used. His actual receiving station was down the hillside a bit from this tower in a former TB hospital that has long been demolished.  
  There's a beautiful view from the tower where you can see Cape Spear - the eastern most point in North America.  

When we come down from the tower we see Rob coming up to greet us. Unfortunately, he has bent his front rim on his ST1300 and he has to come in his truck. He graciously leads us in a 'less traffic' path to our motel.


He asks us -

"Do you want to go now or clean up a bit?"

Alain and I decide that cleaning up a bit would be a good thing unless we want to asphyxiate a bunch of folks in a restaurant. Rob is going to pick us up in his truck so we don't have to ride to supper and give us a local tour. We sort out about how long we need and get after the business. I settle Frost in for the night and then go get myself cleaned up.

  Rob takes us to a 'real deal' fish and chips place called Ches's nestled in a quite back street neighborhood.  
  We follow his lead on what to order but I skip the poutine offering and go with my old favorite - ketchup.  

Being from Tennessee, I ask Rob -

"Does the wind blow like this all the time? Do you ever get used to it?"

He responds -

"Well, you know we are in the midst of the North Atlantic. And yes it does blow like this all the time."

I like a good breeze, but I would think a constant, fierce one would get to be a pain in the anatomy after a while. It would be mighty fine for drying clothes in the appropriate time of year but mighty bad in the depth of winter. But at least now I know when I look down at my plate what must have cleaned it so completely.

  Rob also gets the server to make Alain and me a special certificate in honor of our first visit to Ches's.  

They have a free gum ball machine on the counter with a special rule - if you get a red gum ball you get a gift certificate. Rob and Alain go for it and come up with the wrong colors. Since I don't chew gum I figure I'll just pass. I'm moving a little slow so they are out the door before me. Then I say to myself -

"What the heck, I'll get a gum ball just for grins and give it to one of them."

Lo and behold what should roll out the chute but the much coveted red gum ball. When I catch up with them, I say with a big grin -

"Anybody want a gum ball? .... It just happens to be red."

We get a good laugh out of that I decide to give the gum ball and the certificate to Rob since he's local and would get use out of it before I would.

  Rob grew up in the city so he takes up into the areas that he knows well. I'm amazed at how they stack the houses right on top of each other on the hillsides.  
  He does an amazing job of maneuvering his full size pickup truck up and down the narrow, crooked streets.  
  But we've got to get all the way across the province tomorrow, so he gets us back to our motel a reasonable hour. I hug him and thank him for his many kindnesses shown to us. Once again I have benefited from local knowledge in a place unknown to me. With a full belly and sleepy head, it don't take me long to sail off into the windy sea of dreams.