Monday, 13 August 2012

Day 15 -ahhh the mishaps!

July 28


Time for us to get up and head for Gros Morne National Park!

We got our respective tents and gear packed up, and loaded the bikes. One of the few drawbacks of motorcycle travel, at least for me, is the unloading and loading of the bike which occurs everyday. For this trip, I decided that to save time I would leave the saddlebags zipped onto the bike each night, as there wasn't really anything valuable in them to be stolen. Also, I would unpack only what was absolutely required from the t-bags. That day I would only beed to pack my toiletries and a few other items. This saved on time greatly.

Steve and I got the bikes packed, but before departing, Steve wanted to check his tire pressure. The rear one was 32 pounds, down from 41 the night before. Uh, oh. This was not good. It meant he had a leak.

Steve explained he had patched this same tire months before and that the patch had been holding up. However it now it was giving up its seal.

We decided to ride into Corner Brook and find a Canadian Tire where Steve could buy a tire patch kit.

After getting his kit, we rode over to a gas station and Steve repatched his tire. He filled it up with air. Both of us hoped this one would hold up. It was a long way to Baltimore, Maryland afterall!

From Corner Brook we rode north. Shortly after embarking we rode to the town of Deer Lake. Here we decided to make a stop.
As luck would have it, the exit we took into town led to an A & W. I say this, because when we saw it, Steve yelled to me that he wanted to stop there.

Steve told me that on the eastern US A & W's were rare. At least, you could only find ones that were partnered with Taco Bell. Steve did not like this, he told me he missed the more traditional stand alone A & W.

I offered to buy Steve a big frosty mug of Root Beer, which he happily accepted. Steve was really happy to be in this A & W. He asked me to take a picture, using his camera, of him holding up his frosty mug of root beer. Steve was jacked. He told me that having a big frosty, in an A & W restaurant, was one of the highlights of this trip for him! I certainly could relate. I loved experiencing things, whether it be food, or even an old building, that were prominent in my life growing up. As much as progress is important, having a physical link to the past is important too. It just goes to show that you are never too old to feel like a kid again!

After A&W we rode to an Esso down the street. Steve checked the pressure in his tires. The patched tire was holding up! Good news. While he checked his tires, I walked across the street to take a photograph of a KFC, which had the old store front (i.e. it actually said Kentucky Fried Chicken, not KFC!!).

Then we were off. We steered our iron steeds back onto the highway. Back north we went.

I led the ride out. Periodically I would like in my mirror to check on Steve.   Except after a few minutes of riding, Steve was way behind me. Moments later, he pulled over to the side of the road. I had a sinking feeling of what this meant.

I doubled back to where Steve was. I took one look at his rear tire. It was as flat as the Saskatchewan landscape!

I don't know about Steve, but I didn't feel that upset about the situation. Steve didn't seem too upset either, or if he was, he certainly didn't show it. This was one of the things I really liked about Steve, was his even-temperedness.

Fortunately there was a gas station nearby on the highway. Steve slowly rode his bike, with me behind, until we got to the station.

Mintues after arriving, a fellow in a Honda CRV pulled up to us. He said in a Newfoundland accent, "having trouble?".

He introduced himself as Norman, and he said he spotted Steve's flat and wondered if he could help us out. We explained that we had patched it, however this was not holding and we would need a tire shop so as to get a replacement. Norman lived in a cottage near by and knew the area quite well. He told us there was a tire store in nearby Deer Lake. However, with this being a Saturday, he didn't think we would have any luck finding anyone who could fix it this weekend. He gave us directions to Deer Lake. Before he left, he asked us how we were going to fill the air with tire.

"Well, With that air hose over there", I answered, pointing to the hose on the gas station building.

"Ha, ha!" Norman laughed, half covering his mouth. "You're funny!"

"Why?" I asked, bewildered.

"Because that's a water hose", he replied flatly.

"Oh", I said, feeling like a total idiot.

"I've got an air compressor. I'll be back in a few minutes." And off he went.

A few minutes passed, and Norman returned. He opened the hatchback, revealing a large air compressor.

"That's a big one!" I exclaimed.

"I don't screw around", Norman said.

We hauled out the air compressor, and hooked it up and within moments, Steve's tire was full.

Then we got talking and learned more about Norman. He grew up in Newfoundland, and always lived in a city. It was only recently that he moved to the cottage, his permanent home. I asked him how he liked it.

"I loves it!" he said.

We learned Norman would soon be 65 and would soon after retire. He operates a rock loading truck, and spent a good many years in the explosives part of the construction business. "I like to blow up stuff" he told us, while putting on his most mischevious look.

Steve thanked Norman profusely for his help. Norman responded like this was something he did everyday.

"Well if I can put a smile on a man's face, then my day has been made", he said. "If a day passes without me helping someone, then my day isn't fulfilled". Norman was true and true. There wasn't an ounce of pretension in this man. He was completely sincere in his words. These were traits I was beginning to discover many Newfoundlanders possessed.

Then it was Steve's turn to return some kindness. "Norman you are the Prince of Newfoundland!" he exclaimed. He then reached over and stuffed a twenty dollar bill into Norman's shirt pocket. "Norman, I want you to take your wife out for dinner!"

Norman didn't want to accept. "Oh go on now, I can't accept this!" Steve insisted he take the money. After a few volleys of "no I can't accept this" and "no you take it", Norman finally accepted. As he did so, he took a step back and you could tell by the expression on his face that he was genuinely moved. "well", he said and held out his hand to shake Steve's. "Good enough.", Norman said. As they shook hands, I thought I could see a tear in Norman's eyes. This told me of the enormity of this man's character. And why wouldn't he feel the way he did? On this day he had taken the time to help his fellow man.

We said goodbye to Norman. "Well", Steve said to me. "You better get going to Gros Morne".

"I'm not leaving you", I said. "I want to make sure you get there ok".

So off we rode to Deer Lake.

I rode behind Steve this time, riding close so as to keep an eye on his tire. It seemed to be holding up.

Moments after taking the exit to Simmon's tire in Deer Lake, Steve started to slow down dramatically. I then heard the rear tire go pop. Well at least it got us to Deer Lake!

As luck would have it, the tire got us to an auto repair place. I ran down the street to look for Simmon's while Steve watched the bikes.

I learned that Simmon's no longer fixes bike tires, but the mechanic there gave me a number of a local guy who could fix it for us.

I got back to the bike, and Steve was already on the phone with his insurer. I took Steve's bag of clothes and went off to find him a hotel while he got his bike sorted.  The idea was that I would book a room for him and leave his gear there.

It turned out that finding an available hotel in Deer Lake was quite a challenge! It wasn't until I reached the third one that it was available. They agreed to hold a room.

I then rode back to where Steve was, but not before going on a wild ride around the highway and Deer Lake.   The GPS completely misdirected me several times.

When I finally found Steve again, he was still on the phone with the insurer. There was a holdup while they figured out how much he owed for the tow, as his insurance only covered part of the cost. He had been on the phone for almost an hour.

While I was gone, a biker had stopped by, as he noticed Steve's flat. He offered Steve a free place to stay at the nearby RB park he worked at!

I apprised Steve of the hotel situation. Then I noticed something which made me sick. Steve's clothes bag was no longer on the bike! It must have flown off! I was beside myself. I cursed out loud. Then Steve hugged me and told me not to worry about it.

By now the day was kinding of getting on top of us. We had been in Deer Lake for some hours now trying to get everything sorted, and it was very hot today too. We would later learn that the temp was in the mid 30's! To be outside in this all day, especially when you are not moving and are a bit stressed on top of that - well it's not fun.

Steve got a hold of a shop in Corner Brook which could replace his tire. Unfortunately with it being Saturday, the earliest they could do it for him was Wednesday! So that meant Steve would be stuck in Corner Brook until then!

At this point Steve told me that I should be on my way. He thanked me for my help. Without hestitation, I suggested to him that we ride two up to Gros Morne. He happily accepted my offer! He got back on the phone with his insurer (they were still getting the price of the tow sorted!), and I began to consolidate my gear, packing only the most essential items (yes, it included clean underwear!).

After a long, frustrating call, the insurer got the fee sorted. Steve spent a few minutes consolidating his gear. I then took the gear I was leaving behind and loaded it into one of Steve's panniers (these are storage boxes, if you will, that go on each side of the bike - kind of like saddle bags). As luck would have it, all of my gear just fit into it and Steve was able to securely lock the pannier!

Now came the task of getting all the gear I was taking - plus Steve's - onto my bike - and still leave room for a grown adult passenger!

Luckily for the trip I packed extra bungie cords. I pulled them out of my bag and commenced to bungying!

Never in my life have I so quickly packed gear, and loaded the bike for that matter. I had bags of gear piled pretty high, however it looked stable enough. The real test would be how the bike would handle with Steve on it. He's not a big guy, however he is a grown man, all 6 feet of him!
Eventually the tow truck arrived. Steve and I assisted in getting the bike loaded and secured on the flat bed. It then left for Corner Brook.

I looked at my watch. Holie, it was late in the afternoon! Earlier we had learned of the Gros Morne Music Festival playing in Woody Point, a village in Gros Morne. It was called Sherlock Homes and Bonne Bay, an old style 40's radio play. If we hurried, we might just make it.
So on the bike we got. As Steve got on, I could feel the added weight on the bike. I said a few quick prayers, kicked her into gear, then we sped off!

Actually the bike handled quite well! What a marvellous machine my Shadow is! I'm telling you this bike is the bomb!

Before leaving, though, we decided to do a run down the highway to see if we could find Steve`s clothes bag. We rode to the last hotel I checked out earlier. Steve ran in while I waited.
He was in there for a while, so finally I went in to see what was going on. Steve happily held up his bag of clothes - they had been found! He also was trying to track down accomodations for us in Gros Morne. I was growing anxious, as the clock was ticking and I was afraid we would miss the play.

After an unsuccessful attempt at finding accomodations, we made our leave of Deer Lake.
Eventually we reached the entrance to the park (it was only 20k's or so from Deer Lake). I was greeted to steep, twisty roads, with some nice rough patches that might bite you if you weren't careful. Being that I had Steve on the bike, I very carefully negotiated the turns, whilst riding as close as I could to the speed limit without killing us!

The scenary was beautiful. To the left of us was Bonne Bay - and forested hills! When I did take the time to look up, I was quite awestruck! However I spent most of my time watching the curvy roads - I was bound and determined to get us to that play!

Eventually we rolled into town. The theatre was on the main drag. We got off the bikes and ran in. The young girl at the door told us it started just 20 seconds ago. Ha, ha! We had just made it!
The play was alot of fun. There was one main actor who read from a script, playing the role of several actors. The other people on stage either played music or did sound effects - just like radio plays were done back in the 40`s! I thought this was totally cool!

After the play was done, we were quite weary. However our night was not done. A woman walked up to us on the street, Sharon was her name, and she invited us to the Legion down the hill for a music party! Despite our exhaustion, we decided we would go.

We got to the Legion and it was loud and hopping! We then tried to order drinks.

I say try because it was a good hour before we got served. Our side of the bar was continually ignored by the servers. Eventually we learned the drinks line up was on the end of the bar. And even then we waited, as the lady bartender served people who came after us!

I finally decided on a different tactic. I yelled out `hey darling`. That got her attention. I ordered two beers, and also asked her if Steve and I could get screeched. This is a Newfie tradition which officially, I`ll say, ` indoctrinates`, newcomers to Newfoundland. I knew little about it, but I did know it involves Jamaican Rum, the newcomer singing a Newfie song, and dressing up in a ridiculous getup. Culture is what we were after, and culture is what we were going to get.

Except she would not do it. She simply was too busy. Well we couldn`t blame her - the place was hopping busy!

So we found a seat and drank our beers. We met a local girl who didn`t have that strong of an accent. We learned that the Newfie accent differed depending on what part of Newfoundland you were from!
The hour reached 1 am and I was done for the day. We bid our goodbyes to the legion, and headed for our motel, which we had checked into after the play. Within minutes we were off to bed.
Fortunately for me I had had only one drink - I didn`t want a replay of Halifax!


Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Day 14 - Newfoundland!

July 27

After arriving by ferry the previous night at Port-Aux-Basque, we had checked into the local hotel, the Port Aux Basque Motel.

That night we stopped at Tim Horton's for coffee and to work on our respective blogs.

The two girls working there had Newfie accents.

The Newfie accent was unlke anything I had ever heard.  I had an incling of what it sounded like, but until you hear it in person, you cannot really appreciate how unique it is.

The accent is very thick, almost Irish like.  But at the same time, it is nothing close to Irish.

The one server in particular had a very thick accent. I really had to concentrate on her words to understand her, but within moments I understood most of what she was saying.  I ordered a bagel, with each slice containing a different cream cheese, at the recommendation of these two fine Tim Horton's ladies.  The one girl told me that afterward I should tell them which I liked better.  The other said I had better like her's.  We all laughed when she said that.

Fast forward to today, July 27th.

After spending the night at the Hotel Basque, we were ready to begin our Newfoundland adventure.
We filled our stomach's with a hearty breakfast from the hotel's restaurant, packed our bags, then checked out.

But before we departed, we had things to take care of on our bikes.

One of the things you have to deal with as a motorcyclist is that you have to take care of your bike.  This includes the time spent on vacation.  Steve and I both have chain driven bikes (his is a Suzuki V Strom 1000).  These both needed to be tightened.

Steve realized he did not have the proper tools for the bolts on his chain, and mine didn't fit his, so off he went across the street to Canadian tire. 

After adjusting our chains and running a few errands - getting cash, etc., we were finally off!  It was 1 pm and time to head for Gros Morne National Park.

As we left Port Aux Basque, we got our first real taste of the Newfoundland landscape.

What a site!  The landscape was hilly and there was green everywhere - you guessed it - fir trees.

Within minutes, the landscape went from hilly to mountainous.  The Turtle Mountains were everywhere.

I was excited.  It struck home that I was on Newfoundland soil.  The amazing landscape made me feel like we had just been transported - which we had by ferry - but what I really mean is that it felt like I had awoken and instantly found myself in an amazing place.  And what was really cool for me was that I was riding on an island.

Hours later We got to Corner Brook where we stopped at the visitor's centre.  There we tried to book a hostel or campsite, but we found that either there was no phone number to call, or the campsites were booked.

At this point I didn't feel well.  At all.  I started feeling sick the previous day, and now things were worse.  I had a really bad cold, and worse, I was really fatigued.  I could barely stand anymore.  We decided to call it a night in Corner Brook.  We found out the nearest campsite in Corner Brook, and hopped on our bikes and rode to it.

The route took us back on the highway which encircled the city.  And what a view!  Corner Brook is surrounded by huge hills, rich in trees.  It is also situated on a lake.  So far this island had offered nothing but great views!

We found our campsite and set up our tents.  I was feeling even more exhausted.  It didn't help that I had been up till late the previous night working on my blog (I hope you readers out there appreciate how much I have suffered to bring you this!  LOL!).

Steve offered to make supper.  With his handy pocket rocket camping stove, within minutes he create a delicious lentils meal flavoured with Indian spices. With a few cranberries and almonds thrown in, we had a feast!

We then decided to head to the McDonald's - so as to use their WIFI.  We wanted to check out the schedule for the ferry ride back home as well as figure out the rest of our itinerary.

The McDonald's is perched on top of a hill.  It offers spectacular views of Corner Brook!

Much of Corner Brook is situated in hills.  It was night time and we could see lights of the city everywhere, with the lake below.  It was a beautiful, peaceful site.

After looking at the Ferry schedule, as well as catching up on emails, we hopped on our bikes and headed back to our campsite.  It had been a great day, but a long one.  I hoped my cold wouldn't get any worse.

The Turtle Mountains

Friday, 27 July 2012

pics of Nova Scotia

Below - the Cabot Trail

On the Cabot Trail, outside of Cheticamp, Nova Scotia. 

Sunset in Cheticamp, Cabot Trail Nova Scotia.

The Cabot Trail.


Karen, Steve, Cheryl and I.

Steve's introduction to Tim Horton's.

Ashley on the waterfront - Halifax.

Ashley and Camilla - Halifax

Cow's Ice Cream, Halifax

The Picton Castle, Tall Ship Festival, Halifax

The Bounty.

The Picton Castle.  Goodbye sweet lady.....

The US Coast Guard

Channing and the Pirates on the Tall Ship Providence.

Day 13 - Riding the Cabot Trail

July 26

This day offered a reversal of fortune as far as the weather was concerned.  I awoke to blue skies and warm air!

Steve and I packed the bikes.  This was goodbye to the hostel and our new friends.  Today Steve and
I would ride the Cabot Trail!

Steve's agenda was slightly different than mine.  He would ride part of the trail with me, then we
would part ways and he would tour a monestary.  I would continue on and do the entire loop.

Well let me tell you, no words I write can do this trail justice!  It is a beautiful trail.  It concists of rolling hills, called the Scottish highlands, replete with thick green trees.  As I rode along the trail, I came across sheer drops off her rocky cliffs into the sea. Her waters belonged to the Gulf of St. Lawrence.  Along the shores were several rock formations.

After having stopped several times to take photos, I realized the time. It was 2:30!  Holy cow, it was late and I had to hussle my butt to North Sydney.  There Steve and I would board the ferry for Newfoundland.

I put my camera away and kicked my Shadow into gear.

Soon after departing, I came across a construction stop light on the highway.  While stopped, I heard a voice behind me. "James!"  It was Steve, he had caught up to me.  He too realized we were late. 

From this point on we would have to hurry.

And hurry we did!  We flew through the rest of the trail.  I hate to rush, as does Steve, but we had no choice.  It was not too bad though, as we had already seen the most scenic parts of the trail.

We eventually arrived at the North Sydney harbour.  Fortunately loading was still occuring so our spots were safe!

We boarded the ferry.  This thing was monstrous!  10 levels all told!  We parked our bikes, strapped them down, then made our way to our seats.  Time to settle in for the six hour ferry ride.

Steve had a long nap while I poured over the Newfoundland Labrador traveller's guide, taking note of places that caught my eye.

Another day, another adventure experienced.  A new day would soon arrive, and with it, the promise of a new adventure.

Day 12 - hiking on the Cabot Trail

July 25

The Cabot Trail.

This morning we woke to showers.  The weather was one word - miserable.  Steve and I wondered if we would be cottage ridden today.

Then Cheryl, one of our hostel mates, told us she would be doing a hike if the weather improved.
And the weather did improve.  It was still too crappy for a ride, but good enough for a hike.  Cheryl invited Steve and I to tag along, and so we did.

We found out the hike Cheryl wanted to do was very misty, so we decided Corny Brook would be our hike.

It was a nice, quiet, beautiful hike.  The path was alive with birch trees.

On occasion we spotted wild life.  Steve, and Karen, our Australian friend from the hostel, spouted some wild grouse and gave chase with their camera lenses.  It was a family, and as such, could not be left from being captured in time.

During the hike I got to know Cheryl.  She is a retired nurse from Calgary, and is passionate about travelling, especially when it involves a hike!

Cheryl was a very kind, generous woman.  Before leaving on the hike, she knew I had no breakfast, as I had not made it into town yet for supplies.  So she offered to make me one. And it was wonderful.  My meal of a turkey sandwich, with a banana and apple hit the spot!

\The four of us spent the afternoon hiking the quiet trail, stopping on a few occasions to photograph each other (or sometimes as a group) standing in front of picturesque waterfalls.

On our drive back to the hostel we saw a restaurant in Cheticamp (an Acadian town) offering free fiddle music.  We decided on the spot to make this our supper destination for the evening.

The company was great, as was the fiddle music.  While our two fiddlers played, a young girl from the audience in a pretty dress got up and danced an Irish gig.  Ahhh, Maritime culture at its finest!
I ordered chowder, while Steve had lobster and Cheryl white crab.  Karen opted for a seafood pasta dinner.

While we waited for dinner, I walked over to the window and snapped photos. The sun was setting over the water, and a fishing boat in the foreground made for a beautiful picture.

At 10pm we left the restaurant and headed home.  No ride occured today, but that hardly mattered to me. The four of us had a wonderful time.

Day 11 - off to the Cabot Trail

July 24

Halifax day 4

My alarm went off.

8 am was the time.

I was awake.  Barely.  I was able to find my pants, but my head was nowhere to be seen.  It was just as well.  If I did find it, the pain in it would no doubt kill me on the spot.

My cell phone rang.  Who would be calling me at this hour?

It was Steve.  He was staying at the HI hostel on the Cabot Trail, called the Bear on the Woods.  He said it was about to sell out, and asked if I wanted him to get them to hold a room for me.  I agreed (yes I would be leaving today).  We said our goodbye.  Despite my killer hangover, I felt happy.  It would be good to reaquaint with Steve again.

I packed my bags, and wandered downstairs for breakfast.  Thank God I had a role and a banana and apple left over from a previous meal.  And I especially thanked God for the fresh coffee!

To get my brain in gear, I decided to catch up on some emails.  I hoped that Ashley and Camilla would show, as I wanted to say good-bye before I left.

Eventually they did show, and we talked for several minutes.  Then it was goodbye.

Soon I was off for the Cabot Trail.

Except today the weather looked ominous.  There were alot of dark clouds, and it was starting to spit rain.

I decided to leave anyways.

But before leaving I rode up to Citadel Hill for a look over Halifax and to snap some shots. 
The rain was light, so was not bothersome. While parked, a man parked next to me and asked me where in Saskatchewan I was from.

When I told him Regina, he smiled and said he had just gotten back from there.  He was a pipe fitter and had worked there for 9 months.  Like many easterners, he had found opportunity in my grand province.

I snapped a few photos, then was off for the Cabot Trail.

I left Halifax feeling very happy to have visited here.  It was everything I wished for (well except the hangover!) and more.

North I went on highway 102.

However within a half an hour the rains came. 

At first it was a steady rain.  But by time I reached Truro, 100 km's from Halifax, the storm was an absolute wrath of God downpoor!

I took refuge under a canopy at a gas bar in Truro. There was a Tim's across the lot, so I made a bee line for it.

This one had free WIFI.  Seeing WIFI at Tim's was extremely unusual, but I took advantage of the crappy weather and worked on my blog of the trip.

I was soaked.  Holie cow, was I wet. I could not have gotten more wet if you threw me into the swimming pool.  It was going to be a long day or riding.

After over an hour and a half of waiting, the rains had let up a bit, but not much.  It was getting on in the day, and I wanted to make the hostel tonight.

So back on the road I went.

Eventually the rains let up.  In fact they eventually became a light drizzle.

I arrived at the Bear of the Lake hostel, tired, but happy to have arrived.

The hostel was a complete surprise to me.  This is because it is a converted cottage.
The hostel is 2 km's outside of the town of Aberdeen.  Out in the middle of nowhere and several yards from the highway, it was like being at your cottage at the lake. 

I was greeted at the door by Heinrich, a friendly German lad who worked there.  His kind demeanor was equally matched by his kind offer to help me carry in my wet gear.  I was only here a few minutes and felt like I was the member of a family.

Steve greeted me with a friendly hello.  He said, "I bet you're hungry".  Well that was an understatement.  I said, "yes, I sure am".  "How would you like some of the Indian food I cooked up?" he said. Warm Indian food.  The words were music to my ears.  After a quick change into dry clothes (they were packed into plastic bags inside my T-bags), I had a quick shower and sat down to eat.  I devoured the meal in minutes.

I spent the next little bit catching up with Steve and also meeting my new hostel mates.  I spoke for several minutes with Sam, a Montrealer who was fascinated by the happenings in Saskatchewan.  He is an International Studies student with a keen interest in Canada and it's economy.  We exchanged several ideas on the state of the Canadian economy and where things were going.  Despite my fatigue, I was enjoying the evening.

Soon it was time for bed.  This time I had the bottom bunk.  I was thankful, because the only way you would get me to the top bunk would be to haul me up!

Within moments of my head hitting the pillow, I was asleep.  I would sleep tonight.

Day 10 - fun and frivolity in Halifax

July 23

Day 3 in Halifax.  Today is the last day of the festival.  It would conclude with a parade of all the tall ships leaving the harbour.  This was something not to be missed, least of which the magnificent photos sure to be had.

Like the other mornings, I found myself in the hostel kitchen area.  Steve was leaving for the Cabot Trail.  I would be leaving for it myself, but not until the next day.  I hoped I would run into him again, as we were becoming pretty good friends.

I was getting myself sorted for the start of my day when I met a new hostel friend, Ashley.  She is from the grand city of Winnipeg, a city by the way, that I really like (so why do people dump on that city anyway?)

We got talking about our visit to the Maritimes.  Ashley mentioned she had visited Newfoundland, which I wanted to visit, but was unsure that I would.

There are two ways to Newfoundland - by air or by ferry. The ferry option offers two routes - one 14 hour ferry to St. John's, at a whopping $200 each way for a motorcycle and its rider!  Outrageous!
The other route is much cheaper, $94 each way, except you do not land in St. John's, but Port-Aux-Basque.  From there it is a 12 hour drive to St. John's, the provincial capital.

Not knowing much about Newfoundland, (I do little planning on my trips folks) I had kept my options open.

However after speaking with Ashley, the possibility of a Newfoundland trip took on alot of potential. She told me that the two national parks - Gross Morne and Lance Aux Meadows - weren't that far from Port-Aux-Basque.  Now I'm sure I would have arrived at this fact eventually, but like I said, when I travel alone I do things by the hip, so this fact was still undiscovered to me.

Ashley asked me what I was up to.  When I told her I was going to see the parade, she asked  if she could tag along.  "sure!" I said.  Then her friend Camilla from Australia asked if she could join.  Well, what do you think our answer was?

The three of us made our way to the waterfront.  A few ships could be spotted in the harbour.  The rest were probably around the bend somewhere.  All of the ships would do a loop of the harbour before heading out to sea.

We all stopped and took photographs.  Also on our agenda were beaver tails and Cow's ice-cream!
Then the Picton Castle appeared.  She was going at a terrific clip, and her appearance caught us off guard.  I excused myself from the ladies, and decided to try and chase it down for some shots.

It took a few minutes of sprinting, but I caught up to her in my photo lense!  After taking a few shots, I stopped and decided to just watch her for a few moments.  She was majestic as before.  And this time I felt something else.  In her sails I saw more than just her cloth. I saw adventure, history, even nostalgia.  In her hull and mast I saw adventure.  And in her wake I saw opportunity.  At that moment I promised myself I would sail the seas one day, and it would be on a tall ship.

Now it was time to rejoin my entourage.

I found the ladies at the Beaver Tail, getting, well, Beaver Tails.

A Beaver Tail is like a mini donut in consistency, however it is much bigger and also flat and thin.  The flavour, on the other hand, is out of this world fantastic! 

Camilia let me sample her cheescake flavour, Ashley her chocolate banana.  The line up, however, was very long, so I decided I would get one of my own later.  But now time was not to be wasted - we were off to Cow's for ice-cream.

Apparently some association voted Cow's the best ice-cream in the world.  Her lineups are often long, so there must have been some truth to it.

When we arrived, the line was actually fairly short.  As we stood in line I read a sign of interesting facts about the ice-cream.  The one that stood out for me was the line "lusciously high in buttermilk fat."  Oooh, that sounded awesome!

There were so many flavours to choose from, so I would have a hard time making a decision.  Or maybe I wouldn't.  I decided to go for a triple scoop - one scoop of Moo Madness, one of Mooberry (which had PEI strawberries, raspberries and blueberries), and one of (I forget the third, it had burnt sugar and caramel in it though!).  Piled on top  of a waffle cone, my taste buds were sure to be in for a treat.

Holy lick was it deliscious!  And runny too, as the heat of the day caused it to drip on my clothes. I didn't mind though, and neither did my company.

Afterward, we went to a restaurant on the harbour and each orderd a Blue Schooner.  It was Blue Caracoa with coconut and other fruity flavours.  It went down smoooooth!

After finishing our drinks we were off to Alexander Keith's brewery for a tour!

The tour was fantastic! You are treated at every stage to a talk by an actor dressed in the  clothes of the 1800's era.  They each spoke to the history of Mr. Keith and how his fine beer came to be in Canada.

The tour involved drinking as well!  Each person was treated to two Keith flavours of their choice.  You didn't have much time to drink them though - less than 15 minutes.

I downed mine, and half of Ashley's second drink.  Like Mr. Keith, I am Scottish, and as such, don't like to let things go to waste.  Especially a glass of his fine brew!

At this point I felt a little sloshed.  The tour was now done.  It was time for the three of us to move on to our next activity, making a lobster dinner!

We walked down to Superstore and each picked up a fresh lobster.  Off to the hostel we went to cook our meals!

But before going we stopped at the liquor store and each picked up a bottle of wine.  I could feel my liver starting to cringe.  I was already half cut and there was more to come!

Well our meal turned out well.  This was my first ever taste of lobster - and it was very tasty!

As we sat on the beautiful patio at the hostel digesting our wonderful meal, we met some new friends.  McKenzie, from Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta, and two German lads.  We all got talking, and invited them to join us for our pub crawl.  By the way at this point, there were three empty wine bottles, drank by three already drunk revellers!

So it was off to the Old Triangle pub.  There we ordered a keg of Keith's.  Ah Alexander!

Then it was off to bar #2.

Sometime later we were off to bar #3.  Except at this point I was not feeling well at all.  At some point I asked that we stop.  I sat down on the sidewalk, unable to continue for fear of getting sick.
After a minute I felt better, except now I was on water only.

This bar was very lively.  There was a band, a solo act, a fellow named Mike who performed cover tunes.  His playlist included U2, so naturally I was happy.

I felt good enough to dance, so I did.  I danced with Camilla, Ashley, McKenzie, other ladies in the bar, hell anyone who would dance with me.  Every one of us was having the time of our life.

Eventually the hour of 4am came, and the bar was closing.  I think we had kept drinking wel l past last call.....

After alot of stumbling, we arrived at the hostel.  It was 5am and time for bed.  And I was supposed to check out by 11 and leave for the Cabot Trail tomorrow(err, well, today).  I wondered if I would stay another day in Halifax instead.....