Last night the German tourist told me that there was a good bike shop in Sydney, less than 20 miles off my route to the Cabot trail. I decided to work on my bike (clean and lube the chain) and other stuff (sending stuff home and checking on the Internet Service Provider) in the morning, ride down the coast and back in the afternoon and evening, take the ferry back overnight, and reroute with a trip to Sydney before going on to the Cabot trail tomorrow.
My morning was successful except for the fact that the Internet person decided to take a holiday (that's what the sign in the window said) so I continue to be cut off from the world. Not a bad thing except for when I accidentally delete stuff (the report on the Marine Route) that would already have been sent out if I had a practical way to do so. Port-aux-Basques is a nice place and I enjoyed my various errands. The German tourist joined me for breakfast. He is leaving late morning, heading north on the TransCanadian Highway.
After lunch I headed east on route 470. There are only two roads that leave Port-aux-Basque, the TCH and 470. 470 only goes about 30 miles along the southern Coast. To go farther in that direction you take a boat. Riding 470 was interesting. I had a good tail wind which I knew would be a stiff head wind when I was coming back, so I decided to ride east till 4 PM and the return. That gave me a comfortable time margin for getting back to the motel to clean up before going to the ferry. I also needed to go to the post office and post my parcel which included film that I shot during the ride on 470.
It was good to get out into 'the country' because it made me appreciate just how big (BIG) and how lightly populated it is. It also made me painfully aware of the problems of riding a loaded bike in heavy winds. The country around Port-aux-Basques is just a rocky sort of tundra, but as you head east trees start to appear, first in the lee of hills and later almost covering the hill. By 20 miles or so down 470, Nfld was looking a lot like near tree line in Colorado only with a rugged ocean coast to one side. Beautiful. Riding was hilly and windy.
Coming back I stopped at a convenience store in Port-aux-Morts (no, the towns are not all Port-aux-something) and talked with the clerk about Nfld. She said it was an economic ruin and had no hope of things improving. NS has some of the same problems, but Nfld was much more dependent on the, now essentially dead, fishing industry. The are few jobs and most of them are contract jobs rather than career jobs, so the younger people are forced to leave Nfld. Only older people who are not able to get jobs elsewhere are staying. Sad.
On the way out I checked out a restaurant (OK, the only restaurant on my route) in Margaree and found an old road that is now blocked off to car traffic which I really enjoyed riding. On the way back I went to that restaurant for supper. There I met a BMW motorcyclist who has been riding solo around the north american continent (17,000 miles so far) since February when he retired from the military. Nice bike and nice guy. I ended up spending the night with him on the ferry.
The ferry left at 11:30 PM and got to North Sydney at 7 AM. There was one other cycle tourist, a fellow from Michigan who drives his van to nice areas and then does short tours. His van was at North Sydney and he had done a few days in Nfld. Unfortunately he had gone up the TCH instead if riding route 470 which was much nicer. It is a two or three day ride ( for a strong cyclist) up the TCH to the Corner Brook area which is said to be pretty neat. This rider had not gone that far and had mainly experienced the TCH (not fun) and the wind (at least it helps keep the black flies off).
The ferry ride was not as bad as I feared it would be because (cyclists load first) I found the best 'seats' on the boat. Seats where I could stretch out and sleep. There were plenty of sleep deterrents, like screaming kids and some lady who regular folded and unfolded a bag of potato chips (damn noisy bag), but I actually got a few hours of sleep.