Sunday, July 14, 2013

Torbay to Elliston. There and back again, a hobbit's tale... oops... wrong saga...

A switch of shifts at work resulted in an unexpected 5-day weekend for me. What to do? There's this lovely new Burgman scooter sitting in the shed, just waiting to go for a long ride. I'd been wanting to get out to Elliston to see the puffins up close and personal. This was my chance! Paul and his lovely red horse, the Buell Ulysses, are my travel companions. The trip began slowly with a dirt bike ride. Not me. Paul and his good buddy, Matt the Sailor dude. Paul's orange steed, the KTM, had been acting up and the boys had to do a bit of troubleshooting of the electrical system. A short ride had been planned and nothing, but nothing, would stop it. Noon departure from Torbay for the first "short" leg of our journey. A stay in Bay de Verde at a friend's weekend cabin. But wait! It's a hot day (for a wonder) and I've only got a pair of lined riding gloves! First stop, Toy Box in Donovan's. Success! Lightweight, vented gloves and advice from Keith to check out beautiful Port de Grave and a couple of other beauty spots/roads. Here's my new gloves. This is after I've used them for several days straight. They were soft and flexible from the start, so I'm very pleased that I bought them. Yeah, they were a bit pricey, but the old adage, "you get what you pay for" is often true. I wanted riding gloves. This is them.
After a quick trip through Port de Grave (did you see the peacocks, Paul?) and Bareneed, we picked up a donair at the Greco/Coffee Stop just by Spaniard's Bay. Refuelled the riders.
In spite of my mixed feelings about eating something I absolutely couldn't identify, nor did I really want to, it was delicious. (what's donair sauce?!) I wish there'd been a picnic table outside. There was no a/c in the place. Did I mention it was hot outside? We stopped off to take a quick pic of the bikes in front of this airplane. Where am I? Does anybody know where this thing is? Seriously... There's a ginormous boat stuck in the water somewhere behind the plane, if that offers some sort of a clue. We left our map neatly folded on the kitchen table.
Restored by the calories and riding with unzipped jackets, we continued past Old Perlican to Bay de Verde. There were a few rough patches of sand on the hill down into town. As always, on the worst corners. Baby Huey and I managed with only a few out-of-pace heartbeats. Did I mention this was only my 4th ever ride?! Paul is pushing my envelope. Hard! He says it's the only way to make my bike go faster. Smarty-pants. My bike got tired right at the end, in the parking lot of our accommodations. (fyi, when a rider says their bike got tired, it means the darned thing fell down.) Next time, I'm just going to hit the kill switch and hand Paul my iPhone for a fun photo. There's nothing quite like a sexy bike laying on its side, handlebars waving in the air, rider, also sexy, waving her arms in the air and crawling out from under the 500-lb Baby Huey. Damage: one questionable reflector and minor scratches along the bottom keel. Note to self: practice tight turns. Gravel not needed, but helpful for effect and built-in excuses. Our little campfire spot in Bay de Verde
Total time to reach destination? We left @1, arrived@ 6:30. This was the short day. My arse was numb, my wrist were humming, my pride was dented but still good. But hey! I'd just finished a 4 1/2 hour ride. My reward? Chicken satay with homemade peanut sauce, an assortment of cheeses and cold cuts, bonfire, beer, and Palm Breeze vodka coolers. Fresh lobster and crab for a late supper.
Gratuitous booty shot
Warming up by the fire. I look about as tired as I feel.
We spent the night in a surprisingly comfy bed in a short-ceilinged house. Remind me to tell you about Paul's light fixture fixation. Eh, heck. I'll tell you now. He and I are about the same height. About 6' tall. The ceilings in this teeny place were low enough, but if you hang a kitchen light from the same short ceiling... well, the resulting thump as a bald head strikes it is pretty awesome. The accompanying curses were colourful. The bathroom ceiling was low enough that I had to duck to get to the toilet. Paul wasn't so clever and didn't learn from his first encounter. He left multiple bald-head smears across the bathroom ceiling. The absolute best day-breaker is a plateful of bacon...
Day 2. Bay de Verde to Elliston. We had the breakfast of champions the next morning. A pound of bacon (Actually, I think it was 2 lbs), hash browns, a dozen eggs, tomatoes, and the gods' brew, French pressed coffee. Here's a pic of our lovely hostess, Corina, making our brekkie. Mmmm... (sorry about the blurry pic. I hadn't had my first cup of coffee and my hands must've still been shaking.)
Oh! Here's evidence that Paul does dishes.
Many pounds heavier and ballasted by our meals, we departed via the same darned slippery slope at 10 am.
Next stop: A friend's place in New Melbourne on the off chance that he would be in residence. Okay, to be honest, I didn't know that was our destination, so when Paul pulled up short in a driveway, I thought it was for a piss stop, aka map check. Lo and behold, Mike and Sara were there. We stopped briefly. While beers were admired, envied, and discussed, none were consumed. We gassed up at the big stop in Clarenville, bikes and riders. Riding is hungry work. Paul gloats about the best bathroom view. Sadly, I missed it because I did not enter the men's loo. (I've since been informed that there's a spectacular view out the ladies' window... my bad.)
We twacked around along the coastal route. Stopped here and there, but never for very long, and not nearly long enough for me to haul out more than the iPhone to take a quick photograph. We took Route 230 part of the way up towards Bonavista but then at the advice of our B&B host, Doug Cole, we veered off onto Route 235. He claimed that it possessed more of the beauty that Newfoundland is famous for. He was right. Kings cove, Knights Cove... All gorgeous. We went up and over the tip of Bonavista. Here's my first ever Lighthouse Shot!
What's the story on lighthouse pictures? There used to be a lighthouse trophy contest thingie on the Ride the Rock website. I don't know what's going on this year, but I'll find out. In the meanwhile, that's my FIRST LIGHTHOUSE PIC!!! We finally arrived at our bed-and-breakfast around 5 o'clock. This was still enough time for Paul to scoot down to the convenience store to pick up a six-pack of beer, but way too late to drive back up to Bonavista to the liquor store to pick up some coolers for little old me. A shame. I don't drink beer. Luckily the proprietor managed to scrape up some Captain Morgan's dark rum for me. Yum. Two glasses of rum and coke and my numb arse didn't bother me no more. lol... I just had to navigate the stairs to the 2nd floor bedroom.
I have to add a little blurb about our accommodations, Elliston's bed-and-breakfast. Doug Cole has been running the place for about three years, with the able assistance of Triffy (short for Tryphena), his cook and cleaner. She's amazing. Sings while making you breakfast in the morning. There are four rooms for rent, two small facing the backyard and two larger facing the front streets. We picked number one, tiny but nice, facing the backyard. It turns out that the road is so seldom traveled that the front would've been just as good for noise but we wanted the greenery. The common room, living room and dining room area, was of a good size and possessed of a television, refrigerator, comfy sofa, books and magazines galore, including this one written by our esteemed host.
Together with another guest, Daniel, a hardass motorcycle rider from Germany, we walked up the road a little ways for our supper at Nanny's Root Cellar Kitchen.
It used to be an Orange Hall. Now it's yellow. Bwaaahaaaaahaaaa!!! Sorry... Sometimes I amuse myself.
I had the Jiggs dinner. It was pretty good, but my salt beef turned out to be too full of gristle to eat. My dogs would've enjoyed it a lot if they'd been there. Oh well, it was the only restaurant in town. That's what happens when you arrive late on a Sunday.
Twacking two-up on the Bergman. Elliston to Port Rexton After a hearty breakfast,
... we started our day by layering on as much clothing as could before heading out. Paul decided that we would double up on the Burgman, since we were short-tripping and he claims Baby is better suited for low speeds. (I think he just really wanted to ride her... ) We stopped to take photographs of Elliston's famous root cellars. Root cellars and a few other odds and ends we found around Elliston
The sun refused to show its face, perfect for picture taking, not so good for the cold photographers. Compared to some of the bird-watchers, Paul and I were the lucky ones. We were "over-dressed" with our riding gear. The puffins were as cute as promised. I took lots of pictures, some of which actually turned out. We donated cash to their over-stuffed, under-emptied collection box, but later on we found out that the plan is to build some sort of rails at the cliff's edge in order to keep people from getting "too close" to the puffins. Now, that's fabulous, in theory, but if you put the railing too close to the puffins, they won't nest there anymore, and they're a curious bird, so they're going to gallivant on over to check out the railings anyway! What's the point? *sigh*
Here's a few pictures I took at the cliff-side. I've got more, but don't want to bore you too much. I know I'm pretty long-winded. Deal.
This little guy is nesting directly under the cliff, so he kept bobbing his head up and playing peek-a-boo.
aaaand ACTION!!
What'd you say?
You missed your CUE!!!
This little darling has a bunch of nesting material to take back to her place.
Big Mouth
Considering their propensity for waddling, those suckers move fast. My hands were frozen by the time we were done. Back to the bed-and-breakfast for a quick warm-up. Fortified by beer and orange juice, still wearing layers of warm clothing, we hopped onto the Bergman and drove back up towards Bonavista and then around and down towards Port Rexton. The Skirwink Trail awaits. But first, lunch at the Two Whales Coffee Shop.
Can I say "Best lunch ever?!" Two Whales Coffee Shop. Free-trade, vegetarian, blah blah blah... also, Really Freaking Good! It was so delicious, I wanted to stop in for lunch the next day.
By the time we reached the parking lot at the Trailside, the sun had decided to poke its head out a little bit. We tried stuffing our riding jackets into the capacious case under the Bergman seat, but no luck. Too small with the two helmets already in it. Luckily there was a group of people from Ontario who kindly allowed us to leave our jackets in the back of their truck. Off we went on our hike. 5 km. Thanks for feeding me first, Paul. Much appreciated. This was the handy trail map
Our first sighting of a sea stack, aka Skirwink
Paul found a few buried dead things. A bicycle and ... a car?!
I can't remember what was so darned funny...
Oh yeah. Now I remember...
He's a saucy bugger. If you ever have a chance to get down to the Skirwink Trail, go for it! We carried a bottle of water with us. (see above) If the day had turned out hotter we would've needed more. As it was, we were soon panting and sweating. At one point I had to strip down to take off my flannel pajamas which were underneath my jeans. The fleece sweater joined the pjs and the scarf tied onto my camera case. I traipsed the trail feeling very much like a gypsy with all my gear dangling from my back. Should've brought that darned backpack along instead of leaving it in the closet of the B & B.
Doesn't this look sort of like a tazer?!
I have to give a plug for the seats on the back of the Burgman. Normally when I ride behind Paul on any of his motorcycles, my view is all encompassing, if by all encompassing you are referring to the view of the back of his helmet. With the Burgman seat being higher, I can actually see what's going on around me. Because of this advantage I actually saw the moose on the side of the road well before Paul saw it. A quick grab for the iPhone and I managed to get a couple shots of the back of a moose. One side view. Paul says it's the skinniest moose he has ever seen. I don't care. I saw it first.
For the record, do not take route 238 from Bonavista to Elliston while riding a scooter two-up. (Both Paul and I are built slightly on the larger end of the slide-rule.) It's a kidney stone buster. That is, unless you're looking for some fun on an adventure bike! Paul saw some whales off in the distance when we came off 238, so we continued on down to the wharf. We weren't treated to a sight of whales, but a trio of local teens on their trick bikes! Paul kept calling stunts. They kept pounding them out. They all agreed that skateboarding wasn't feasible because of the dearth of decent pavement. They also tried to convince Paul to wheelie the Burgman. Um, no. I think not.
Back in Elliston with a few bevvies; Palm Breeze coolers and Mike's Hard something or other for me, a couple more beers for Paul, and we were happy campers. So to speak.
We relaxed for a few hours until realizing it was 8:15 and supper was 5 km away in Bonavista! Back on the scooter for a quick trip to The Captain's Quarters. It's a very good thing that somebody had mentioned that the restaurant was next to the fish plant. As it was we circled around trying to find it for about 10 minutes. The yellow building next to the fish plant, FYI. Cod tongue appetizers, Caesar salad, burgers and fries. I may not have to eat for a week. We watched the sun setting over the harbor through the picture window next to our table. Lovely.
Drove back to Elliston around 10 o'clock at night. It's dark out there. No highway lights. Luckily, no more moose either. Day 4. Elliston to Torbay Breakfast at 8 o'clock in the morning. Fresh made toutons. 7 1/2 years in Newfoundland, and I've never had toutons! This lack has been more than made up for. They were good. Yes, I had them with molasses.
We did a quick drive up through Bonavista, again, and then down to Port Rexton for a muggaccino (Double shot of espresso) at my favorite coffee shop. Two Whales. On to Clarenville, where Paul surprised me with a visit to the SPCA. I had donated a portrait of one of their rescue dogs last year. Max, the shepherd, but never made it out for any of their fundraising events. In case you're wondering, the couple responsible for Max's deplorable state were found guilty.
The drive home was uneventful. We stopped for lunch at Monty's in Whitbourne. Liver and onions. Delicious. Apparently I still had room for food.
Traffic was light for most of the way. Highway driving was more enjoyable than I thought it would be, though the curves in the road were still a little tricky for me, I had to slow down a bit for them. My driving and comfort level have improved. I think this is now ride 6 or 7 as a rider. Even my tight driveway turns are showing signs of improvement. Approximately 1000 km driving will do that, I guess. The only victim on this entire trip
That's all for now. I'm looking forward to many more trips on Baby Huey. I've got the summer to look forward to. :D

1 comment:

  1. The availability of Donair is one of my favourite things about living in Europe. Tasty tasty mystery food.


Wake up call

Wake up call
Sunrise over Torbay