Thursday, August 18, 2011
We started early, and as we rolled along the shoulder of the Trans-Canada, all I could think of was the song by The Arrogant Worms that goes “We’ve got rocks and trees and trees and rocks and rocks and trees and trees and rocks…..” (Click here and press arrow for song) The island of Newfoundland is bigger than Ireland, smaller than England, and has a population of fewer than half a million souls. There was virtually no access to the interior until the 1960s. The emptiness goes on and on. We put our miles in.
We stopped to pose with Morris the Moose outside the visitors’ centre in Goobies. Morris was the only moose we saw, despite the island being literally overrun by them. Moose were deliberately introduced from Nova Scotia in the 1930s as a food source, and since a bounty system meant they’d finished killing all the wolves a decade earlier, the moose did very well. Too well.
We passed the big oil refinery at Come by Chance, and dove into The Tanker Inn, frequented by drilling crews at Arnold’s Cove just as it began to rain. It rained hard all night.
2011/08/16: 69km to South Dildo
It was raining as we left, and the rain steadily increased as we rode. Water trickled inside our wet weather gear from above, splashed up from below, and drenched us in heavy sheets from the side as trucks passed us. Some hours later, we pulled into a “K” restaurant for lunch, and the waitress brought new place-mats because we’d drenched the table as we undid our clothes. She also got a mop to dry the floor near our chairs, in case someone slipped.
We discussed our options, and decided to get a room at the motel beside the restaurant. To our great disappointment, however, it had no room left. The visitor’s centre helped us find the next nearest haven against the horrid weather: an “efficiency unit” in South Dildo, 12 km to the north. Daniel wanted to go there anyway so we could see a small whaling and sealing museum the next morning, so off we went, crossing slurries of brown water that washed across the road where creeks had overflowed.
Stopping to buy food to make darned sure we wouldn’t have to go out again, we rode up a gravel track to our unit and began to spread out our gear. We had two bedrooms and a living room, there were loads of hooks on the wall, and there was even a washer and dryer. What a relief!