I could start by saying that I don’t have a lot of stories to tell today because I really did very little riding. However, as I review the day, I always have much more to tell than anticipated.
Having had a forced, but much needed rest and early end to yesterday’s adventures, I was up early, packed up and off to the breakfast room in good time. I can recommend the Highland Motel (if you don’t mind basic) for their reasonable price, clean room and complimentary breakfast that included boiled eggs and sausages, along with the usual suspects of toast, cereal, juice, coffee, etc.
Knowing that I was supposed to arrive at the ferry to Newfoundland two hours early to keep my reservation, it seemed prudent to give myself time to get lost. A quick breakfast and back to the room to load up Fury. As I was doing so, several people stopped to chat. I was pleased to be able to have the B & B in Levis, Quebec to suggest to Suhkwinder and Rod, who were travelling across the country from Alberta with their two children. They had some suggestions for me too as they were travelling the opposite direction. Another couple from Quebec stopped to say hi and spoke much the same Frenglish as me, though I forgot to ask for names! Then, just as I was finishing my loading, Donna said hi. She used to be a rider and misses her bike, so was interested to see mine and hear about my adventure.
And that was all before I got out of the motel parking lot! Even I would have had trouble getting lost on the way to the ferry, so Fury and I arrived in good time and were the second bike to be lined up. The couple in front of me were headed over to visit his father (I didn’t get their names either. ☹). A short while later, Peter pulled up on his quad. He was headed over to do a trek through Newfoundland – not the first time for him. He had a hotel suggestion and some good sight-seeing suggestions as well. We had a good visit while waiting for our loading instructions. Eventually four trikes pulled in behind us, but by then, it was almost time to prepare for loading. Got to chat a bit with those folks when I got off the ferry.
Whole new game on the Marine Atlantic ferry. These ferries feel like they are the size of a small cruise ship and I looked askance at the mechanisms for securing my bike. I haven’t been on a ferry yet that secured bikes the same way. Watching the guy ahead of me lock his down, I thought I could figure it out. Then Danny from the deck crew came over and cheerfully gave me all the help I needed! And I’ve taken pictures, so I should remember for the trip back.
These ferries were apparently purchased from Norway and are absolutely beautiful. Not being familiar with how busy they would be and fully aware that it is peak season, I reserved a seat, as well as my vehicle spot on the boat. The “reserved” area was like flying first class. Not too many people were in the room, reclining seats, lots of rooms, washrooms on our level and a little café and a key card for access! Felt like I should have changed into an evening gown! My seat was right in front, looking out of the window, which I thought was fabulous. It was fabulous except that the sun was shining in and it got quite warm. Fortunately, the reserved area was not all booked and I was able to sit back one row in the shade. While it was kind of fun to feel like the rich and famous, I’m not sure I would bother reserving a seat again. It was very warm up there and having seen the rest of the boat in the 7-hour journey across the North Atlantic, the other areas looked very comfortable too.
The boat had a nice little gift shop and helpful reception staff. In fact, all the staff on the boat were very friendly and helpful. There were a variety of food and beverage opportunities and a sundeck at the top. I explored it a bit and then went back to my seat and had a bit of a doze while my system adjusted to the sway of a slightly rough sea.
Before I knew it, it was time to go back down to the vehicle decks and prepare for unloading. This presented more opportunities to chat as others arrived to unload. As I was figuring out how to release the straps securing the bike, Peter and another gentleman helped me get them off the bike and in no time I was ready to go. It wasn’t much of a riding day, as it was already 7:00 p.m. and I had booked into the St. Christopher Hotel for the night. It is a very nice hotel, perched up on the hill overlooking the harbour. Got all checked in and then went for a walk.
Seeing a little boardwalk, I took a little stroll and read the story boards about Channel Port-aux-Basques. On the way back, I ended up at the pub in the basement of the Harbour Restaurant. It has great ambiance and good food, but be prepared to wait a long time for it. The bartender was quick to take orders, but the kitchen was extremely slow in delivering them. The bonus, though, was visiting with a bunch of people in the pub! Two couples were travelling through on vacations and there was a table of locals there as well. Everyone was friendly and helpful and fun and I enjoyed our visit very much. The one couple is travelling in the same direction as I am, so I may see them again and get their names this time.
Back at the hotel in a very comfy bed with enough pillows to satisfy even my exhorbitant pillow requirements, I am ready for a good sleep before starting my Newfoundland discoveries!