~Since 2004~
A site about memories, thoughts, photos, and unrepentant opinions about motorcycles and motorcycling after four decades of twisting the throttle.

Thursday, May 30, 2013


Cape Spear, Newfoundland lighthouse as seen from the original 1837 lighthouse.

I've been without a ride-able bike for five months now but that doesn't mean I've not been busy or that bikes haven't been a part of my life.  The vintage bike event back in March was great fun and I'm still knee deep in motorcycle stuff on the Internet via MotorcyclistCafe.com where I'm the admin guy.

I found myself in need of an escape from Arizona, a change of scenery after a few years with no real vacation and too much stress.  At the urging and invitation of a friend, and because I had a little money left from selling my V-Strom 1000, I bought a plane ticket and flew off to Newfoundland, Canada, of all places.  Why Newfoundland?  Why not?   Any idiot could go to Hawaii, it takes a special breed of idiot to go to Newfoundland for a vacation.   So go I did, the new Nikon D600 in hand.  As much as anything I wanted to take pictures of someplace that wasn't Arizona or the western States.  And via the joys of the Internet my network of friends-I've-never-met-person includes Newfoundland.

47° and a light mist do not deter riders in St. John's, Newfoundland

I hadn't thought much about motorcycles and Newfoundland, it's cold there most always, their summer temps are about the same as the dead of winter here in the Phoenix area, so I figured motorcycling would be less likely to find than snowmobiles or icebergs.   I was wrong, I saw bikes every day that the weather was even vaguely ridable -- more hopefully nice than actually sunny.

My first Saturday there the sun peeked through the gray skies and people flocked to be in it; I saw many people on sport bikes and Harleys out and about immediately and riding in clothes that would scarcely qualify as warm in AZ.  50° and sunny and I saw guys riding in windbreakers.  Brrrr!  Maybe people are right, Newfoundlanders are a little nutz and my friend confirmed "We all go a little nuts when we see the sun."   At my friend's house I was asked if I'd man the BBQ and grill steaks for dinner and I said "Sure!" I didn't realize that weather is no reason not to grill in Newfoundland.   That afternoon I found myself standing in 37° weather and light rain, holding an umbrella and grilling steaks on the deck.  Maybe I'd turned nutz already too?  My host and the other guests seem to think nothing whatever of it.  In the morning we had moose sausage for breakfast.  Definitely not Arizona.

Brigus, Newfoundland.  Founded 1610.

In the little seaport town of Brigus, when I got out of the van my host was chauffeuring me about in, there in front of the little gift shop/cafe sat a very nice Triumph Scrambler.  Having a long standing weakness for the Scrambler I snapped a few pictures when Geoff, the owner of the bike, came up.  We struck up a very motorcycle conversation about the Scrambler and the joys of riding in Newfoundland.  Geoff said the riding season is short, 3 months or so, maybe 5 if the weather is better and you push it a bit, but the variety of riding and terriain is quite wonderful.

Geoff later e-mailed some pictures of he and his buddies out riding rocky trails, gravel roads, paved roads, and even the beach.  Nice!  I think there must be fewer and fewer places in the civilized world where you can ride on a beach and not be arrested for it:

Geoff's Scrambler at Green Point, Newfoundland.  Geoff Smith photo.

Geoff also sent me some links to his riding videos on YouTube.  It's said when God made the earth He had a bunch of rocks left over so tossed them in the ocean and that became Newfoundland.  They definitely have rocks there but also fantastic vistas and greenery.  Here in my part of AZ we have mostly rocks and sand and cactus.

Below, a few more scenic shots of my own from Newfoundland.  I expect I'll make it back there one day, the people are all amazingly friendly and I've not even scratched the surface of the photographic possibilities.  And next time I think I'll see if I can rent a bike for a day.

Fishing cabins, Quidi Vidi, Newfoundland
Abandoned fishing dory, Brigus, Newfoundland

"Jelly bean houses" make up much of down down old St. John's, Newfoundland

The rest of the series are here and here.  Enjoy!

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"When my mood gets too hot and I find myself wandering beyond control I pull out my motor-bike and hurl it top-speed through these unfit roads for hour after hour." - T.E. Lawrence

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