Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Preparing for "The Rock"

I'm getting ready for the trip to Newfoundland ("the Rock"), where Knox and I will be biking and biking for three weeks. Here are some facts: This, this, and this is why we're doing it. Take a look at some of the sights we hope to behold first hand. Look at this topographic map to see the hills we'll be up against. Here's information from Atlantic Cycle Canada's 2005 Newfoundland Tour Info (all emphasis in quotes has been added by me):
  • Seven full days and one partial day of cycling from Deer Lake to St. Anthony, at 73 km (45 miles) per day, which they estimate at 5 hours or less. Biking to work from Boston to the suburbs in traffic, I cover 15 miles in an hour, so given the hillier terrain in NF, this sounds reasonable
  • "Terrain on the western part of Newfoundland ranges from flat to rolling. Our days in Gros Morne National Park have several small mountains. These are challenging, but feasible, even for moderate cyclists."
  • Their tour goes through Gros Morne National Park and visits L'Anse aux Meadows National Historic Park, which has an original Viking settlement.
  • St. Anthony is the only real town on this route
  • They note that all their campgrounds will have warm showers. I would like to find out what their campgrounds are; I need running water for my contacts.
  • 'Known as "the rock", Newfoundland is forested in its interior, but quite rocky and barren along the coast. Often there are barrens, with vegetation and conditions resembling Canada's north. Winds can be strong. The prevailing direction is from the south, and strong tailwinds are expected for almost every day.' Although we were thinking of taking the ferry from Sydney, Nova Scotia to St. Johns, NF, and return from Channel-Port-aux-Basques, it seems better to take the ferry to Channel-Port-aux-Basques, do the northward tour with a tailwind, catch a ferry back to St. John, and bike West across the forested part of NF.
  • Archeological sites along the way
  • Here's their itinerary (more details here). We should be able to match this:
    Monday, July 4 - Deer Lake to Trout River Tuesday, July 5 - Trout River to Rocky Harbour Wednesday, July 6 - Activity Day in Gros Morne National Park Thursday, July 7 - Rocky Harbour to Cow Head Friday, July 8 - Cow Head to Hawke's Bay Saturday, July 9 - Hawke's Bay to St. Barbe Sunday, July 10 - Optional day ride to Labrador Monday, July 11 - St. Barbe to Pistolet Bay Tuesday, July 12 - Pistolet Bay to St. Lunaire Wednesday, July 13 - St. Lunaire to St. Anthony
  • Mostly camping: "A limited number of Bed and Breakfasts and motels are along our route."
From Eric Praetzel's vacation diary:
  • Prevailing winds are from the South; they let up later in the day
  • This, I think, refers to the bus: "When the bus driver dropped me off I was told that they do not take bicycles that are not in a box." Need to investigate bus line policies
  • "Ferry Terminals in Nova Scotia have showers"
From Great Canadian Cycling Adventure:
  • These guys mention winds from the NW(!) in the segment from Argentia to St. Johns
Accommodations: Sights to see:
  • Cape Spear National Historic Site, just south of St. John: the easternmost point in North America
  • Viking village at L'Anse aux Meadows National Historic Park
  • Signal hill
  • Western Brook Pond looks spectacular. Where is it?

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