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Thursday, 29 August 2013

Oxley's Account of the Wind, Rain, Ferries, and Gravel Road

After a great  night with Terry's relatives in St. Anthony - Shout out to Liz and Garl the best hosts north of Saint John. We packed our rides in Garl's huge shed and made our way to Terry's Mom's home port of Raleigh where it seems Terry is related to most of the folks standing and interned. In fact his 5th cousin Marina served us up a great cup of Jo and family history. At one point she dipped into the back room and produced a family tree from a manila envelope that had been compiled by another relative living in Fredericton. After a great visit we made our way to the Ferry at St Barbe which would usher us into the BIG LAND.
The Ride from Raleigh (Once known as Ha Ha Bay) to St Barbe was anything but Ha Ha. It was blowing 60KM per hour off the sea with rain. At points I was literally leaning into the wind at 20 degrees just to keep moving. My visor was always fogged up and my "water proof" boots ironically branded as Reign leaked like a holed dory. Some how on this hour and a half hell ride the wind managed to change direction 180 degrees and reek havoc from the other side. When we finally arrived at the ferry terminal I was spent. We popped in to a nearby restaurant and grabbed a bite. After a while we noticed a couple bikers. One an older guy on a Harley and the other a younger guy on a BMW. These guys were Oliver the German on the BMW and Darryl the Floridian on the Hog. Our new bad assed biker gang boarded the ferry, strapped our bikes down (remember the 60KM winds) and retired to the cafeteria for coffee and chat. The guys turned out to be great guys. We checked into the same hotel in Blanc Sablon and continued telling motorcycle stories until late in the evening.
The following day Darryl had to take off back to Florida by way of the grand kids in Pennsylvania. Good luck Darrel it was a real pleasure to meet you. As we would say on the East Coast - Real Good Guy!
We asked Oliver if he would like to join us on the Big Land campaign and he agreed. I know Terry and I both felt Oliver was a good egg and would be great to have along. Another Good Guy!

When we finally made it to the dirt road (AKA Highway 510) at Red Bay we hit the real Trans Lab. None of this tarmac crap for us. We are adventure bikers and we crave dirt. The ride to Port Hope Simpson from Red Bay is really no more than a dirt road with marble sized gravel and basketball sized pot holes for 130 plus KM. We cruised at 50-80 km/h and passed a few cars and a guy from Montreal on his mountain bike. The thing that struck me was how expansive the vistas were (The Big Land). You would look down a valley for what would seem 20 KM and not see anything but scrub brush, rock and water. It really is awe inspiring. Tomorrow we tackle the hardest part of the ride - the 400 plus KM's of gravel to Goose Bay.

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