Sunday, 9 November 2014

Knowing When to Quit

It's Saturday, November 8, and the last couple of hundred kilometres of the 2014 riding season passed 'neath the wheels of the Magna today.
I had planned to put the bike into winter storage today as any day now we could have snow or black ice, which will result in the dreaded salt on the roads. Once the salt residue is on the roads the bike goes into storage...don't want that stuff getting up around the axels, sprockets etc. and making for corrosion issues down the road. It wasn't the most inviting day for a final ride but none-the-less, ride I did. It was just a couple of hundred kms out over the TCH but probably the most challenging of the season due to the wind. The forecast was calling for gusts over 100 kms/h and while I'm not sure if I encountered those, the conditions certainly met my own category 4 standard of "blow your friggin' head off'" ( I talked about my four categories of descriptors for NL wind conditions in a previous blog). Actually, it could be described as a tale of two rides because heading west into the wind was most challenging. There were times I had the throttle at the bar and the most I could get was 120kms/h, when on a typical day the bike is easily capable of 170-180 when fully opened up; Such was the force of the wind. There were also the unforeseen lane changes. I am eternally grateful to the driver of the blue Ford Focus who had the wits to react when the wind blew me across the line into his lane as he was passing me. We rode side by side for a few seconds in the same lane. That same wind did not allow for an immediate correction on my part as I attempted to move back across the line. Sometimes you just have to be lucky. So, I'm not sure if the gust were at the 100+  range but I figure I was riding in consistent 70-80 km/h winds. Now, I realise that sounds imprudent. However, I do like to ride and I was curious as to what it would be like to ride in such high winds. In reality, once you get used to it, it just becomes part of the ride and you carry on. Not that you don't notice it but its just another of the myriad of factors your paying attention to as you focus on keeping 'er shiny side up.

I call it a tale of two rides because heading back into St. John's I had the wind at my back and it wasn't nearly as hairy. Oh, it was still interesting. In NL the wind directions can change on a whim, one moment at your back, next spiralling around and coming at you from the side. Alas, I made into into town without further incident and headed out to my brother's place in Paradise. He has a huge attached garage that has been the Magna's winter home for the past several years. It was a melancholy day for me. I enjoyed the ride but knowing that that would be it, at least for the Magna, until next spring is hard for me. I depend on the bikes to be an escape from the stressors that other areas of my life pose, especially work. The ST is still in my shed here at home and I will ride that as opportunity permits but I know those opportunities are going to become more infrequent in the coming days. The ST is better for these colder days as it does have heated hand grips and a heated seat.
However, it's a taller bike and the farings around the engine enclose the entire frame so that there is no place for wind to pass through. The bike is extremely challenging to ride in high winds, and typically here in good 'ol NL any day with sun that may be suitable to ride is accompanied by wind. I guess it has something to do with the variety of air and ocean currents that encircle this little island in the North Atlantic. 

I've come to accept that November is typically the end of the season, which starts in May (often late May, though there have been a couple of years I rode in April). I now need to find new forms of escape. This weekend did bring a couple of such opportunities. I saw, for the second time in the past couple of years, John Fogarty, who can still powerfully belt out the old CCR tunes. That was a great show on Friday night. Last night I took in another concert, this one by Amelia Curran, a NL artist. Her songs are available for streaming on her website and I do encourage you to have a listen. She is a brilliant lyric writer, very much in the style of Leonard Cohen.

So between finding opportunities for nights out, picking up an engaging book 
 (currently reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), hoping the Leafs put together the odd game actually worth watching, and maybe getting into a series or two on NetFlix, I have to survive another long, dreary NL winter. Until then, there is still, hopefully, a few days left to the season. So I will ride the ST as long as possible.

Until I have something further too share, so long!

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Wood Smoke

I have entitled today's post thusly because the beautiful perfume of wood smoke wafting through crisp cool fall air was one of the hi-lights of my fall day motorcycle ride. It wasn't the longest ride I've done, only about 230 kms, but it was my first ride in a week and as the days cool and shorten, these opportunities to wring the last miles from the riding season are something I look forward to.

It was overcast as I readied for the road around 10:00 AM. I've learned not to trust the online forecasts posted on such sites as the weather network or even Environment Canada, so I called a friend who will take a look at the radar to give me a better idea of what conditions I'm likely to run into.  The temp on the dash of my bike read 8 degrees Celsius . It is fall and heavy rain with cool temps like that makes for a less than enjoyable ride. Anyways, with the assurances I had a couple of hours before I'd run into drizzle and later heavier rain, I set off.

For the most part the radar report was right. I did get about an hour and close to 100 kms of cool dry weather before I started hitting light drizzle west of Whitbourne. For the most part, though the second half of the trip was characterised by light to moderate drizzle. I was heading west so I guess I met the leading edge of the weather that my friend Carl had seen on the radar and it just followed me back. I didn't mind it to much as any day to ride is better than not riding. With the exception of the most westerly edge before I turned around (when I hit actual rain) it was just drizzle with no major build up of water on the road... so, thus is Fall in Newfoundland.

I stuck to the TCH because I like to ride...ummm, quickly! The side roads may offer a bit more scenery but I've always been about the feel of the bike and the road. Still, I did appreciate the oranges, reds, yellows and golds of the maples, birch and other deciduous trees along the shoulder and down in the valleys as I made my way along the highway. The ponds were calm and the brooks and rivers were flowing pretty heavily after a week of rain. But for sure the smell of woodsmoke was a hi-light, as I said. As I passed places like Roaches Line, Makisons and Ocean Pond, people at their cabins for the weekend were putting another log on the fire,  either in wood stoves or back yards pits and I was the beneficiary. There is something very serene and tranquilising about a wood fire and the smell of wood smoke reminds me of that.

Anyways, I made it as far west as Bellvue Beach, about 115 kms or so west of St. John's before turning back toward the city. I did have a passing notion to go off the highway and take the "scenic"' route through Holyrood and the CBS access highway, but decided to stick to the main line. By the time I got back home my dash temp was reading seven and I was a bit damp, but still grateful for the chance to ride. I have to rememeber to pick up some of those heat pads that you can buy to stick in your boots. The ST has heated hand grips and seat which did make the conditions easier to deal with. Still, a nice heated vest to keep my core warn would be a nice addition to my collection of gear.

All in all, the weather was manageable, there was little wind, which always makes for a better ride and, oh yes, that wood smoke. A couple of hours and a couple hundred plus kms of rolling therapy, with nothing to think of but the next turn or the horizon at the edge of a straight-a-way; not a bad way to start Saturday after another draining week at work. Back home it's Saturday chores and looking forward to a nice evening with friends coming in for supper. It's Saturday night and the Leafs are playing Chicago. The past two games have been wins, but better yet, they have looked like they cared about playing, so I am hopeful for an entertaining Hockey Night in Canada...still don't care for the new team from Sportsnet who now dominate the commentary. The guys as CBC  are head & shoulders above them.

So, until I have a few more ramblings to share, I'll See Ya out There! Ride On...

Saturday, 25 October 2014

100 kms of Healing

The titles for my posts tend to just come to me and I go with it. I did have second thoughts about this one though, just because it seemed to be a bit melodramatic. Alas it reflects how I felt, so there ya go. I woke this morning at 5:00 AM. That has happened a few times in the past week...not sure what's up with that but I wake and then cannot seem to settle back to sleep. So by 5:30 I was up, coffee on and toast and PNB on the standard breakfast. To occupy  myself I opened the briefcase and did almost two hours of planning for work for next week. My job is very demanding time wise and the duties are quite diverse. I have found detailed planning is the only way to keep a handle on things or else the tail starts wagging the dog, so to speak. By 7:30 I was more than tired of work, physically tired as well, and yet unable to go back to sleep. For me this is  a recipe for a drop off in my mood. My go to pick-me-up is my motorcycle, which I haven't had a chance to ride all week because of late days at work.

Anyway,s the forecast called for low winds but a light rain, so by 8:00 I had called my frequent riding buddy, and notorious early riser, Frank, and we made a plan for some rolling therapy. Well, the forecasters got the wind part of their prediction right, at least. There was barely a breeze. But light rain...not so much! By the time we had geared up and headed out it was coming down pretty heavily and blue flashes of lightening lit the sky. The prudent thing to do would probably be to admit defeat and hope for better weather tomorrow. However, I'd already suited up and ridden to Frank's and after riding even that far, I was feeling better, such is the power of the bike. So, I persevered. Frank to his credit was willing to go along for the ride, literally. However, as we headed out the TCH the rain was creating rivers and hydro-planing became a real risk. We pulled of at a exit ramp and Frank seemed to exercise common sense and turned for home. Me...I needed that ride!

 I headed out of the city, albeit at a reduced speed compared to my usual pace. There was a lot of water on the highway. Still, heading out the TCH at between 90-100 kms/hr the elements made the ride enough of a challenge to make it an enjoyable adventure. Then, in the distance in my rear view I see this set of headlights that I know are from a bike. Before too long Frank pulls up along side in true one-for-all and all-for-one that's a friend. We continued on out the TCH in the rain and now fairly thick fog too. Our initial plan was Whitbourne about 75 kms west of St. John's but I was feeling kinda guilty about bringing Frank out in these conditions, so we opted to turn off at Holyrood, about 25 kms shy of Whitbourne, and take a secondary road back toward the city. Along the was we decided to stop and visit with another buddy and fellow rider. That too was part of the healing process. By the time we left Hap's place, fortified with a cup of coffee and chocolate chip cookie supplied by his lovely wife Denise, I was feeling much better. Slipping back into wet gear isn't a lot of fun, though.

Anyways, we made our way back into the city at a leisurely pace and my alleged water proof riding suit is  now drying out down in the laundry room. My boots and gloves are by the heater in hopes of better weather tomorrow. All told we barley travelled a hundred kms...a short jaunt for me. But the ride; Frank's sticking with me; and hanging out with our buddy Hap and the lovely Denise, all did wonders for my mood. Oh, I'm still tired but I came home to a nice hot lunch made by the world's best wife and I'm pretty sure I'll get through the rest of the day, hopefully no worse for wear. My mood is healed, at least for the time being and that's how I have to take day at a time.

Thanks for dropping by. I wish a few more of you would leave comments. I get anywhere form 40 to 60 hits per post and I have no idea who is reading, but apparently I have an international audience in addition to the local hits I get. 'Til next time, I'll see Ya Out There! Ride On...

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Refueling the soul

When I was a kid being raised staunch Catholic I was taught the soul was that part of you the lives on after you die; the entity that goes to heaven or hell depending on one's earthly lifestyle. I still like to believe there is something better after this life but I'm not sure what element of my being or with what  level of consciousness I will experience it. I have come to think of my soul, though, as my spirit, the piece of me that processes how I experience daily life and how I represent myself to the world in response to those experiences....and now a note about the weather. One of my posts from a few months back described spring as a season that nudges along. Truth be told, I don't think Newfoundland has spring, at least not like the season other places have, where one gets the sense summer is just around the corner. Fall here, though, it arrives differently and definitely; a clear precursor to the misery that is our winter. That isn't to say our Fall is miserable. It's actually much nicer than our spring.

 When the "dome of dullness that was August" lifted it was September and there was a definite feel of Fall in the air. Oh we still got a fair bit of sun and some days above 20, but the breeze had a coolness and the nights now required a jacket if you wanted to sit outside. of course, also with September came the end too of my holiday break. Year 28 as an educator began with the start of this school year. I have to be honest, I don't have the same enthusiasm for it that I once did. I think I still do a competent enough job but I do find the stress affects me far more than it used to and my belief that I will effect earth shattering change has long been tempered with a healthy dose of realism... though not cynicism, I hope. Anyways, it is in that context that I seek out and wring joy from the "moments" of escape, also the topic of an earlier blog.

This past two weekends provided several moments of happy distraction, with a little bit of white knuckle riding mixed in for Sherry & I. Last weekend Sherry and I headed out over the TCH under sunny skies with a forecast that promised a window of clear weather for a couple of hours. Within half an hour however, the sky had blackened and rain was coming in sheets. The wind gusts made the return trip back to town quite an adventure. The next day proved more amenable to riding. Though somewhat breezy on the TCH, my buddy Frank and I headed out and did make it as far as Goobies for  some lunch, a round trip of about 300kms.

Early October delivered another pleasant enough weekend this past couple of days. Yesterday was one of those rarest of rare days with virtually no wind. It was cool but not cold and the bike was running very well in the fall air. As I gazed over the windshield at the open highway ahead of me I had a strong feeling of tranquillity. For that couple of hours over those few hundred kilometres and at a rapid pace, all wearying worries of the week that was or the week to come were gone. There was only the thrill of accelerating into a straight-away or leaning into curves as though I was on rails. I need such times if I am to have any chance of dealing with the stressors reality throws at me. Goobies was again my destination and I had a great lunch at Breens before hitting the road for the return leg. Once back in town we were invited to supper and a fire at friends, Kevin and Loretta Toope. Outside of riding, the serene feeling of tranquillity I get from having a rum and staring into a blazing fire is one of my favourite experiences and another of those soul refuelling moments. As well, the friendship of kind and genuine people is a real blessing and I consider myself fortunate to have this.

None of the things I have written about here would have any meaning, however, if not for the fact that I have the foundation for  happiness and peace in the companionship, support and love of my wife Sherry. I frequent marvel in utter disbelief on the serendiptious events that brought us together in August of 1987. I am lucky and blessed beyond measure for the wonderful life she has given me. Everything we do together picks me up from whatever daily experience may have pushed me down. Today we had a grand hike of about 5 kms and racked up another 150 kms on the bike, although the weather network was again off in its time frame for good weather. We did manage to get back in off the highway without getting too wet and the rain held off hitting St. John's long enough for us to partake in one of our favourite simple pleasures, sharing a piece of dessert and a coffee/tea at the Rocket it was bread pudding.

So all in all it was a positive weekend. Work begins again tomorrow and I don't know what the week holds in store for me but I at least have the fuel to attempt to tackle whatever is week at a time is how I am approaching year 28.

See Ya Out There...Ride On!

Monday, 8 September 2014

September Road Trip 09/06/14

There's this guy named Vern Smith who apparently has scads of money. He must because he has a classic car collection that is estimated to be valued at more that $14 million. He lives in a little outport called Swift Current on the Burin Peninsula about 175 kms southwest of St. John's. It is there that he has his antique car musuem . I had often heard of the collection but never took it in until today. Two of my brothers who are avid car enthusiasts were going and mentioned it to me. I saw it as a great opportunity for a road trip on the bike to get in a few additional kms as fall and the approaching end of riding season starts to set in. Both my oldest and youngest brothers went out. My oldest brother has a couple of antiques including a '68 AMX of which he is very proud.

My youngest brother has had more muscle cars than I can count including, a couple of Trans Am's, a Plymouth Cuda, a Pontiac GTO Judge, a couple of big block Chevelles and a '69 Plymouth GTX, which you can see a piece of next to the AMX in the pic above. The copper colour paint from the GTX is the paint code I used when I had the custom paint done on my Magna. Right now his pride and joy is a yellow '68 numbers matching Corvette convertible. with original paint.
Very rare LS 7 Corvette with all original drivetrain, paint and convertible top. Youngest brother's ride.
 Me, my budget runs more to motorcycles but I do dream of someday having that coveted '70 Torino GT.
My preference would be the convertible but they are very rare.

My 2000 Magna V4. I bought it in 2009 when it had 18,000 kms. I have almost 100,000 on it now. It has custom paint job, one-of-a-kind tank & sidecover logos, and handcrafted leather seat, as well as a few other do-dads added over the years.

 The love of cars unites all my brothers and I and is one of the few connections we had with our dad. Growing up, dad always had a new car every two years; big Pontiacs and later Mercury Meteors.  I can recall from a very young age being able to distinguish one model year from the other by the sometimes smallest of details such as the design of the tail lights. This of course was back in the day when cars had style and were not the aerodynamic but sometimes bland models they are today, when they often go several years in a row without any significant styling change.

So, looking forward to a good ride, appreciating some classic cars and the chance to hang out with my brothers, I headed for Swift Current. Fortunately, mother nature cooperated and we had a reasonable day. I say reasonable purposely because truly spectacular days are rare for our climate on this little rock in the North Atlantic. To get a day in September with plus 20 temps, especially considering the drab August we had, was a real bonus.

The day started in a different vein though. I ride with a motorcycle group called CAV (Canadian Army Veterans). Our motto is ride, have fun and support veterans causes. The group is made up of vets as well as people like me, called supporters. Our major fund raising ride, Support The Troops ride took place today. It's a fairly big undertaking with over 120 riders and covering over 180 kms around the Avalon Peninsula. My contribution was to act as a blocker for the highway portion of the ride from St. John's to a secondary highway called Roche's Line. What is a blocker? Well, we don bright safety vest and ride ahead of the pack and pull in at any ramps where traffic could enter the highway and block said traffic so cars do not get mixed in amongst the parade of bikes. Having fulfilled my obligation and helped get the riders safety to the appointed turn-off, I peeled of and headed west on the TCH.

The Support The Troops ride left St. John's in bright sun filled skies. Unfortunately, that didn't continue for my journey out to Swift Current. The Avalon Peninsula,where the bulk of Newfoundlanders reside, is attached to the rest of our rocky island by a narrow isthmus. There is a section of highway along the isthmus known as the Dough Hills, where it is not uncommon to run into thick fog, even on a sunny summer day. I'm not sure where the name came from but I wouldn't be surprised if it is so named because the fog is so dense it can be like dough, thick and white. Anyways, I drove into thick fog at the Dough Hills, about 100 kms west of St. John's and it continued pretty much all the way to Swift Current. This did not deter me, however and I continued on, slightly more chilled. If one is to ride in Newfoundland, flexibility with regards to the weather is a must. Basically we get four kinds of days during riding season. Sunny days are rarest. Overcast but still somewhat warm are more common but we also get what we call RDF (rain drizzle and fog); cooler and with misty rain that varies in intensity from kinda damp to pretty heavy. Lastly is plain 'ol rain, although sometimes there is nothing plain about it as there are days one considers if construction of an ark might be required. Today's RDF was mostly fog with a light mist...a minor inconvenience.

About an hour after leaving the Support The Troops ride I arrived in Swift Current and met up with my brothers. The drive out, apart from the fog, was in someways like a step back in time. In addition to the cars in Vern's collection, many antique and classic car owners from around the eastern part of the province drove their wheels out to take part in the show. I was passing cars from the 60's & 70's like a big Chevy Impala, a '70 Plymouth 'Cuda and a 67 Ford Galaxy. When I arrived the parking lot of Vern's huge warehouse, where he displays his collection of over 50 cars, was full. Big old Pontiac station wagons were parked next to Corvettes, a 57 T-Bird, several Chryslers and the aforementioned Impala; a '73 hardtop that turns out was driven by its original owner. There was even a '70 Torino 500 with original paint and, perhaps oddest of all, a K-car station wagon...not exactly my idea of a classic no matter how old it was (but the owner was as proud of his ride as if it where a rare '59 Caddy).

Speaking of 59 Caddy's, a black convertible El Dorado with black & red leather interior was just one of the many stunningly preserved rides in Vern's collection. I've been to lots of classic car shows and I have seen my share of muscle cars but nothing compares to this collection. Each car was in pristine, show room condition; painstakingly restored to factory specs and shining like the day they rolled of the assembly line. I forgot to bring my camera but to get a sense of the individual cars click this link  and you a pretty good idea of what I'm talking about. The pics below show the larger collection and I "borrowed" them from a friends FB page....Thanks Wayne Byrne!

This display of a 50's era drive-in was really cool

what would a classic cars display be without a nod to the King!

Vern has recreated a stretch of route 66 for guests to walk as they view the cars
.By the time I was ready to leave, after close to an hour of drooling over the varied cars, the weather had improved...sort of. The fog had burned off but it seems to be a feature of our weather that with sun often comes increased wind. Again, after over 100,000 kms ridden, I have categorised the wind. Rare is the day when it is dead calm in Newfoundland. Our days go from just breezy, to kind of windy, really windy and finally blow your friggin' head off. I rate the days by their characteristics. Today the wind would get under the lid of my open faced helmet and cause the strap to bite into my chin and, I guess. I kinda looked like a bobble head. At least there were no unplanned lane changes or riding at 45 degrees to the asphalt. These characterise the blow your friggin' head off days and I often  am given pause to consider if I should slow down a tad, not something I like to do. The main problem with today's wind, was the awkward way in which it lifted my helmet and rolled it back on my head exposing part of my forehead. When I ride I wear glasses to protect my eyes and a bandanna to cover the lower part of my face from the wind and bugs. I depend on the helmet to cover above my glasses. On three separate occasions today I was nailed with some sort of bug square on the forehead. When that happens, as much as it might sting, one is reduced to a very minimalist response to the pain. Basically you think to yourself..."Ow, that hurt", but you just keep on riding.

Apart from the odd collision with bugs, I returned home safe and sound. All in all, it was a great day despite the nuisances mother nature put in my path. I enjoyed the ride and the cars and I added another 350 kms to my total for the season, which right now is about 12,000 kms since I took the bike out of storage in May. That's not a terrible season but still about 3000 kms below  a typical season and well below some of my better years, when I have managed to get in nearly 20, 000 kms of rolling therapy. As much as I enjoyed the family vacation in July, it was 10 days lost during the peak of riding season weather. Fogust too was a factor with its less than inviting and extended run of drab, overcast, rainy weather. I am hoping to get another couple of thousand in before November, when the cold and the dreaded salt on the roads bring riding to an end. If we continue to get the kinds of days in September and into October like we had today, that is a realistic goal.

So until another road trip presents itself, all the best! See Ya Out There! Ride On....

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Running Between the Raindrops

I've been cobbling this post together over the past several days. When last I wrote in early August we were cruising along to one heck of a summer, with daily temps in the mid to high 20s and sun a regular visitor. On August 5 someone flipped the switch and St. John's has seen four or five days of sun since then. The outport areas, at least on the avalon and most of the east coast, have not fared much better. Some people have referred to this month by a new and more descriptive name, Fogust. What I have found even more frustrating is the abysmal record of forecasters to offer any kind of reliable weather prediction. They kept posting long-term forecast of extended sun that have yet to materialise, and for me, with school starting next week, summer 2015, at least the back half of it, is a write off ; a write-off weather wise anyways. There have been some positives and that is what I'll chose to focus on here, my attempts to run between the rain drops to find the figurative sunny moments.

The hi-light of our summer, at least outside the great 10 day excursion to Ireland &  England  was the visit by our Korean branch of the family. Sherry's brother Matt, his beautiful wife Ji Yeon who is Korean, and our four year old nephew, Rian (great Korean name), visited from Korea from July 28 to August 26. Regrettably, most of their stay was during Fogust and that did put a damper on things but we managed to have many great evenings sitting on the deck (sometimes under the propane heater), enjoying beverages and company. We had an evening of fine dining at a local restaurant where I had the tastiest steak I have ever had ( a 40 oz. $111.00 item that I split with my brother). We had a really fun night downtown where my charming wife utilised all the weapons in her arsenal of wiles to gain our entry into a club where a private party was taking place, so we could hear the Quidi Vidi Dirt Band. During this time we had the pleasure of additional Korean visitors. Our sister-in-law Ji Yeon's sister, husband and nephew visited. They are based in Seoul but are currently in the middle of  a year long world tour to see the globe. They stayed in NL for about 10 days before heading to the U.S. and then they plan an extended travel through several South American countries. The husband, Kwan Ju, left NL with a new appreciation for rum and Wingin'-It wings. Speaking of rum, a lot of that was drunk this summer...that's all I'll say about that.

For me personally, another hi-light from the summer of 2014 was that it marked the occasion of my 50th birthday. Actually Sherry & I have the same birth date and it is on that date we met 27 years ago while each of us was out celebrating. I'm not one for big parties so we marked my milestone event with a family supper, just Sherry, my three kids and the Korean connection, along with my youngest NL nephew and his folks (my brother's family). I got the greatest present any father could ask for, a scrap book done by my kids with a letter from each of them. The memories were precious to look back on and the letters will always be amongst my prized possessions. Those three children will remain the best three things I will ever do in my life.

Here are some pics from that evening.
Me looking...not sure, along with my better half

brother-in-law Matt & I comparing bling

Nephew Rian

Sherry, my oldest, Emily and sister-in-law Ji Yeon

A collage of memories done by my kids

Serving up a tasty turkey dinner

My youngest nephews, Hudson & Rian

My wife created this for the event

My family

Bag of wind

Youngest brother, Des & sister-in-law Colleen

Reading my youngest, Erin.

A birthday hug from Rian

Cool card from the Korean branch of the family

Da B'ys
With the downturn in the weather in August riding opportunities were not as frequent. Later in the month, out of desperation I started suiting up and heading out over the highway in search of sun. Many days I did find it about 30-40 kms to the west. After Sherry's brother and family headed back to Korea on the 25th, we took a short road trip on the Cape Shore, which is about 50 kms east of St. John's, off of the Salmonier Line. One of Newfoundland's greatest tourist attractions is on the Cape Shore, The Cape St. Mary's Bird Sanctuary Sadly, the road has been poorly maintained. We were riding my Magna which is a cruiser. Riding two up, that bike is at it's weight maximum and so hitting potholes that are not marked, at full speed was a bone jarring experience. I had visions of  a popped tire or a broken axel but thankfully we made it without incident and even had time for a stop at one of our favourite restaurants, Philip's cafe in Placentia. The food is freshly made, all natural and the desserts and amazing. We had bread pudding with rum sauce. Next day we did an over night road trip to visit friends in Trinity. Loretta and Kev are two of our favourite people, genuine and easygoing. We stayed overnight at their place and chatted and drank around the fire into the early hours of the morning. Next day we did a coastal hike on the Skerwink trail.  It was a short trip but still one of the hi-lights of our summer. That we got to do it on the bike was even better. We had wanted to go out for our annual birthday trip during the previous week but the rainy weather restricted us to the truck. We still did manage to have a great stay on that trip too, with a nice birthday meal at the Eriksen Premises, as well as taking in a show by Rising Tide Theatre. Later on our friend Kev accompanied us to Rocky's club. The place was alive with visitors from all over participating in square dancing lessons. It was quite the cardio workout. Despite the rain, we had a great time.

Here are a few pics from our evening around the fire and the Skerwink hike. I highly recommend it if you are a hiker and happen to be out around Trinity. As well, if you get to Trinity, take in Kev's Trinity Historical Walking Tours. You will be very glad you did.

Start of Skerwink Trail

A proud Newfoundland Independence flag.

Old Barn

So, that's about all I have to report for this post. Sorry if it has been kinda long but I packed a lot of experiences in there. As I said at the outset, I have been writing this over several days. I began late last week before the Labour Day weekend and now it is the Tuesday of the first week of September. I was back at work for a few hours here and there last week, but today was for real as the new year got underway. No students today, just administrative duties but tomorrow the youngsters show up and I begin my 28th year in earnest. Only two years to retirment after this one but whose counting! I do hope to get some decent riding weather in September. Today would have been ideal, sunny but not too hot, but alas work did call. I'll write more as I figure I have something worth sharing. 

Until then See Ya Out There!  Ride On.....