The G.U.N.S.E. – Rhodefoundland


“Ladies and gentlemen, due to engine trouble during the night, the ferry will dock one hour later than expected. Apologies for the delay.”

Abi grumbled, “Would’ve been nice to know that earlier.”

Keith replied, “I’d rather have engine trouble on a boat than a plane. In a boat, you just float around…”

“Good point.”

Making our way to the front of the broken but still running ferry, Fiona and I took in our first sighting of Newfoundland.

Two things are obvious from these pictures, one isn’t. The obvious things: Newfoundland is beautiful, and Mother Nature forgot her Midol, because the weather sucks. The not obvious thing is, while the weather may be lousy, at least it’s cold too.

The good news, according to Steve, the new Buell Owner is the weather forecast had been upgraded from “really shitty to partial crap.”

In the interest of keeping her on my side, on the expedition, and in my life, I gave Fiona my electric vest. Most people go to an island for vacation, can I help it if I’m genetically programmed to seek out the cold, miserable ones? As I said in the beginning, this may have been one of my stupider ideas, but what adventure has ever come from an un-stupid idea? None. And besides, the stupid things are always the most memorable. That’s what I tell myself when I am faced with a 400 mile ride in 46 degree rain. That’s also what I told Fiona. Abi already knows about my genetic miswiring, and Keith was having too much fun to realize the weather was crap anyway.

Everyone took the cold in stride as we rolled down the slippery deck and out in to the Newfoundland drizzle. My iPod mocked me, serving up Led Zeppelin’s Fool in the Rain.

Newfoundland! We made it! Only 400 miles to Twillingate, and a much deserved day off.

But first, the whole island-claiming business required attended to.

Welcome to the Kingdom, Rhodefoundland!

We planned to blitz all the way up Rhodefoundland’s Route 1, but first we heeded some sage advice: if you see an open gas station, fill up! You never knw where the next open one might be. I bought a map and took it over to show Keith as he was filling Stormbringer, managing to distract him enough that he pumped about two liters of gas all over the bike. The tank, the seat, the whole damn thing was now primed for a spectacular pyrotechnics display.

“Dammit, Frenchy! I’m easily distracted! Don’t do that!” Then, in a quieter voice he continued, “Well… actually, that’s not the first time that’s happened, it’s just the first time you’ve been around to see it.”

Fortunately for me, Abi was right there to get a picture this time. For that little incident, Keith will forever be known as Unleaded.

With all our tanks – and Unleaded’s seat – full of fuel, we blazed up Route 1 though the rain, heading for the Twillingate cutoff. About an hour later, I reached back to lovingly pat Fiona on the leg, and I startled her awake. Yes, though it was raining, and we were traveling at a fairly high rate of speed, she’d somehow managed to fall asleep, snug, dry and cozy in the electric vest.

We stopped again for gas another hour up the road, and when we were pulling in, Fiona yawned, then asked, “Whaa…. Are we stopping so soon? Why? How long were we riding? Two hours? It seemed like just fifteen minutes. I must’ve dozed off.”

Later in that same ride, she nodded off so hard her helmet slammed into my back. I started thinking about putting some Velcro on my back and her helmet, to keep her from falling off. For her narcolepsy, Fiona will be forever known as Sleeping Beauty.

Abi is the only Expedition member left in need of a nickname.

The weather tested everyone’s resolve, as the temperature dropped as low as 39 degrees. Mother Nature threw it all at us, rain, fog, wind, just about everything but a tornado hit us on the ten hour ride to Twillingate.

Why Twillingate? Simple. Twillingate is the self-proclaimed Iceberg Capital of the World, and we wanted our ‘Best Day Ever’ toast on the rocks that night, or at least see one of the floating chunks of glacier out in the ocean.

But that almost didn’t happen at all.

The next installment of the Great Unsponsored Nova Scotia Expedition can be found here.

Categories : Motorcycle

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