Most people would consider us mad taking a 10,000km detour via eastern Canada when riding from Chile to Alaska. But when you come from a big family of fun-loving, big-hearted Newfoundlanders, there was no way we were going to miss out on a visit to this wild and beautiful province!
Our first stop in Canada was to visit my aunt and uncle in Halifax before boarding the plane to Newfoundland. We had considered taking our bikes on the ferry from North Sydney (Nova Scotia) to Channel-Port aux Basques (Newfoundland), but after looking at the distance and the weather forecast we decided to fly to St John's instead. Maybe we were getting soft, but after 32,000km on the bikes, we figured we'd earned a week off! Richard was bracing himself not only for the cold, but also for meeting my extended family. My Dad was one of 14, so there would be plenty of aunts, uncles, cousins and second cousins to meet.
As expected, we were welcomed with open arms! Canadians, and I think particularly Newfoundlanders, are generous, warm and welcoming people. We had a ball and my cousin Dennis relished the role of tour guide, showing us some amazing places in the few days we were there. We experienced every climatic condition - sunshine, rain, sleet, snow and freezing cold winds. But even the worst of the weather couldn't conceal the incredible beauty of this wild North Atlantic island. Here's a little of what we experienced:
We have already decided that we will return to Newfoundland on motorbikes in a few years time to explore more of this amazing place - we'll plan the riding for July and August next time!
Richard was "Screeched In" by my family so has obtained unofficial Newfoundlander status giving him the right to return any time. Screech is a dark Jamaican rum (akin to petrol) that will muddle your words if drunk in moderation and stop your heart if drunk in excess! Luckily Richard is a man of moderation :)
In true Newfoundland spirit, Richard downed a slug (or two) of screech, kissed a cod (cleverly disguised as a salmon) and when asked if he was a Newfoundlander, replied (with only a little muddling of words) : "Deed I is me old cock and long may your big jib draw."