Day 84: Crossing my own finish line

September 15: Butter Pot Provincial Park to St. John’s, 41 km

By ten in the morning, I made it to St. John’s.! I couldn’t even eat my muffin or yesterday’s breakfast sandwich at camp, I was so excited or anxious, not sure which. Google offered two ways to get downtown and I was stressed for about 5 km that the route that I selected, which took me off the TCH, would mean missing the city sign. What relief when I spotted it! There was a path through the tall and wet grass and I positioned my bike next to the sign in pure joy, just like other cross-Canada riders before me have done. 

After three month of being inseparable from my bike, Glory, I turned her over to the helpful bike shop guys to get her boxed up for the flight home. 

And just like that I walked with my bags to the hostel. A surreal feeling of completion and one that took some grit to accomplish. At some point, maybe this will all sink in but for now, I am going to drink some good coffee and beer and enjoy being a tourist in St. John’s on foot. 

Stats: 

ZERO flat tires

8100 km of road (5000 miles); 10 provinces; 6 time zones; 84 days on the road; 73 biking days; 49 nights of camping; 9 ferry boats, biggest day of climbing 1962 m (Cabot Trail); total trip ascend 47,643 m (156,000 ft or more than five times up Mt. Everest); one great riding partner, Jessica; support crew of so many, especially my Justin. 

Canada is a big country. Next time, I am biking across a smaller one!

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Day 82 and 83: The Final Countdown

September 13: Gander to Clarenville, 146 km; September 14: Clarenville to Butter Pot Provincial Park, 155 km

Blue skies and sun returned. Everything is more enjoyable when the weather is better. Take me out for a beer and I’ll tell you about the hill climbs, the headwind and the remoteness. I was grateful to see other cyclists, chatted it up with the few fellow campers and gas station attendants “enjoyed” my company as I finished my just purchased chocolate milk or coke. Highway motels with a “dining room” were appreciated when the sky stormed. It only seemed right to camp the last night of this journey and I rolled into the Provincial Park with about an hour of daylight. Although I planned to cook up the dinner I have been carrying since North Sydney, I ate my subway sandwich instead, showered and went looking for moose. The park attendant assured me that every evening at dusk there is a moose hanging around near the comfort station. Not having seen a moose since BC, I waited and waited but no luck. Just rabbits. I can’t believe I have cycled all of Ontario and Newfoundland without seeing a single moose. 



Stats: 

Two days of hilly miles 

Newfoundland beer 

Sharing stories on the side of the road with fellow cyclists and an Ironman 

49th night in this tent; Campground closes in four days

St. John’s tomorrow!!! 

Day 80: Jackets and motels

September 11: South Brook to Bishop’s Falls, 105 km 

I am starting to get worried that if this weather keeps up, I will bike across all of Newfoundland but not really “see” it. I salvaged the day by playing tourist in Bishop’s Falls, my destination for the day. 

I couldn’t resist a dam selfie. 

Stats: 

105 km
People are heating their homes; furnaces have been turned on

Wore 3 jackets

A motel stay; the rainy and windy night confirmed my good decision. Based on the forecast, I might have a few motels ahead. 

Day 79: Getting there

September 10: Deer Lake to South Brook, 135 km
I have carried this paper map of Canada with me for almost 5000 miles and for the second time on this journey I sat down to update this low tech option. It’s satisfying to see the end in sight. Canada is a big country. 

The first time I heard the term “brook”, it was from a construction guy who was telling me how close the cayote was. The conversation occurred somewhere between Cheticamp and Ingonish on the Cabot Trail. I don’t think I ever heard this word before this trip but between Cape Breton and Newfoundland, I have seen it on many, many creek signs and finally took a picture. One of two today. 

Stats: 

135 km

Roadside burger and fresh (potatoes were pulled out of the ground this morning) fries 

Another campsite by a lovely lake. Salmon jumping. Only two other campers other than the seasonals. Temperature is dropping but I wasn’t cold last night in my sleeping bag, down jacket, long sleeve wool shirt, tights and warm socks. 

Day 78: Soul Crushing Wind

September 9: Barachois Pond Provincial Park to Deer Lake, 120 km

The headwind on top of all the hills was soul crushing today. I moved slowly. 60 km of remote Trans Canada Highway with barely any traffic and no services. With all the lakes, rivers, hills and trees, this island reminds me of BC. It’s still early for fall colors. 

Corner Brook, a city with all the amenities, was welcomed. Tired, I took a long break. Traffic picked up as I got back on the road and a day cyclist came up next to me. We briefly chatted and he offered to take me on a quiet road, paralleling the highway. Richard and I rode side by side for the next 20 km and I learned all about his family, work, wife and Newfoundland life. We passed by a ski area. As a fellow cyclist, he had lots of info about the road and services along the way. 

It was a welcomed distraction from the headwind. When we were ready to part ways, he told me to take his number in case I have questions about the island or need some help. Such is the Newfoundland way. 

Stats: 

120 WINDY and HILLY kilometers

Honks of support (I think) from passing cars and trucks

First day of Moose hunting and I saw quite a few quads loaded on trucks probably going hunting 

Country music blaring couple camp sites over late into the night; it’s Saturday night.

Day 77: Solitude in between Mileposts

September 8: Port aux Basque to Barachois Pond Provincial Park, 152 km in Newfoundland 

Milepost 0: ferry dock; changed my watch half hour forward; breakfast and gear sorting at Tim Hortons


Milepost 1: Provincial sign & Visitor Center 

Milepost 57: gas station 

Somewhere in between still having fun 



Milepost 61: motel where I considered staying until I saw it and thought it looked like the kind of place where serial killers find their victims

Milepost 94: steep downhill to my home for the night where I managed to talk my way into some laundry detergent and a site near a picnic shelter. Laundry done and bike stays dry.