Today, we ride almost nowhere, but we cover a lot of ground because we take the ferry from Newfoundland to Nova Scotia.
As riding day’s go, this one was going to be a bit anticlimactic. We were taking the ferry from Newfoundland to Nova Scotia today, and we were starting from a hotel about two miles from the ferry terminal. After we landed in Nova Scotia, we’d already reserved a hotel room about four miles from that ferry terminal. The end result is that we cover a shit-load of ground, but spend almost none of it actually on the bikes.
The ferry was due to leave at 11:45am and they tell you to get there two hours early. We knew from the experience on the ferry ride out to Newfoundland (11 days ago), that you really only needed to be there about an hour early.
Consequently, we did not jump out of bed a the butt-crack of dawn this morning.
We started moving around 9am, got our selves checked out and loaded, planning carefully what to leave on the bikes and what to take with us up to our reserved seats. (We didn’t have a berth for this trip because we moved the crossing back a day just two days ago.)
It’s a shame we weren’t doing more riding today, because was another gorgeous sunny day with uncharacteristically light winds for Newfoundland.
The Ride (Bike and Ferry)
The ride down to the ferry was uneventful. The signage is very clear and the Trans Canada 1 highway basically dumps you directly into the ferry parking lot.
At the check-in gate, we identified ourselves and were pleased to find that our recent itinerary changes were all exactly as we wanted. With boarding passes and reserved seat cards in hand, we proceeded to the customs food check station.
I reported to the customs agent, that the only food we had was from Timmies (Tim Hortons) and that is had already been eaten. She gave us a smile and waved us through.
The czar of the ferry parking lot did a bar code reading on our boarding passes and told us to pull into lane 11 in the parking lot that was fairly full of all sorts of vehicles already waiting for the ferry. We rode to the far end of the lot, where the lanes started, counted to 11, and turned into a long empty canyon between behemoth recreational vehicles. A lot of these campers where huge Class A units. More than a few of them were the multi-million Prevost and Newmar chassis units. Way down at the end of lane 11 was two (2) motorcycles. We tucked in behind them.
It felt like we’d just cut in line in front of 2000 people. Sometimes, riding a motorcycle has its advantages.
We met the riders in front of us, two dudes from Quebec who had ridden the Trans-Labrador highway and had traverse the coast (which has no road) by having their bikes loaded in a container and being ferried from one coastal town to another. That would be a very cool way to do the Trans-Lab without having to ride it back or ferry to Newfoundland and down the Nova Scotia. Something for a future ride.
We we waited for the signal to board the ferry, I took the time to install the soft straps on the hard points on the Nightowl. Once on the ferry, I’d use these soft straps to bind the bike to the deck with cargo straps. The straps eliminated the problem of attaching worn and rusty cargo strap hooks to the nice painted parts on my bike.
After about 15 minutes, the loading crews started getting organized and we were directed to ride onto the ferry. They position you inside a square or rectangle created by in-floor tie-down points. It’s then up to the rider to strap down their own bike. When you’re done, your bike looks like it’s wearing a bondage outfit, spread-eagle on a steel bed.
With the bike stowed, helmet lashed to the bike, and chaps wedged into the handlebars, it was time to take my jacket and wander upstairs. We’d parked on Deck 3 and our seats were on Deck 9. Can you say Stairmaster workout? (I knew you could.)
Points of trivia: Our final tally for our time on Newfoundland:
- Days riding on the island: 11
- Total miles ridden on the island: 2,170 mi (3,492 km)
- Average miles per gallon: 41.87 mpg
- Gasoline consumed: 52 gallons
- Gasoline purchased: $282.40 (US)
- Average miles/day: 197 miles (317 km)
Up on Deck 9, we found the isolated area, accessed by key card, that held the reserved seating. These reserved seats are a $12 upgrade from the cattle-car general seating down on Deck 8. The seats are similar, but up here they’re further apart from each other and you have the key-card access to keep the unwashed masses in the lower classes from wandering through.
We settled in for the trip to Nova Scotia.
As we departed Port aux Basque, I went on deck and took a few photos.
About an hour into the trip, we elected to grab a bite of lunch. We timed this well, towards the end of the lunch service, so there was no wait in line to get seated.
After lunch, I went out on the upper deck and took a few more photos. As you can see, our gorgeous day continued. The swells in the open Atlantic weren’t bad at all.
After a nap in my nice reclining reserved seat, we pulled into the North West Arm and neared our destination of North Sydney. On the way, we passed a famous Nova Scotia (former) racing boat, the Blue Nose II.
As we neared he dock and slowed down, I took a few more photos of another ferry leaving for Newfoundland.
After the captain expertly inched our way up against the dock (if you weren’t watch the progress, you probably didn’t feel us impact the dock), the order came over the public address speakers that it was time to return to our vehicles.
We paraded down the stairs with everybody else and found the bikes in good shape (no surprise; it was a very calm crossing). The bondage outfit came off and the soft straps got stowed. I had just enough time to put on my gear before the ferry officials were motioning us to exit the ferry.
Off the ferry and directly dumped onto TC1, we rode the four miles to our hotel for the night.
We had dinner at the hotel’s restaurant. They were way understaffed. One waitress and one cook trying to serve eight (8) tables of hungry customers. We were in no hurry, so the wait wasn’t a problem. The food was just fine.
We walked over to the next-door convenience store for drinks and snacks for the night.
Time to write that riveting ride report about a seven-mile ride.
Today’s map comes courtesy of my tracker app, FollowMee, which I usually use to provide a live tracker of my position during rides (see the Where is Ghost? link). This was the only thing I had live and tracking during the ferry crossing.
Ride the Cabot Trail on Nova Scotia and then head west as far as possible. The new goal is to be at our friends’ place in New Hampshire in three days; tomorrow is day 1 of that stretch.