Thursday, October 22, 2009

Newfoundland T'railway Adventures

A couple weeks ago, our buddies Dale and Steve embarked on an 8-day journey to Newfoundland to ride the T'railway. The T'Railway is the railbed of the historic Newfoundland Railway that stretches from Port aux Basques in the west to St. John's in the east. Abandoned in 1988, the trail is more or less in a state of disrepair and is, at best, considered impassable to anything on two wheels because of its Appalachian Trail-like terrain. Enter Dale and Steve in their 3000 mile roundtrip journey. Read about the entire trip here on ADVrider...

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Almost exactly one year after I read the article about the T'railway on Newfoundland in the September/October issue of Road Runner Magazine, my buddy Dale and I were finalizing plans to make the trip ourselves. Our plan seemed pretty straight forward - 8 days total - 2 to get there, 3 to ride the T'Railway, 1 to ride back across the island, and 2 back home. The article suggested that 3-4 days was a good duration for completing the ride and figured sure, we can ride a bit faster, a bit longer, and do it in the shorter "3". This would also mean 500+ mile days back to back getting there and getting home. Well, we nearly did it...

Good number of bikes on the ferry. Talked to one guy briefly that was on a tour from California. He had logged 15K miles in the past 25 days - damn.

The coastline was just amazing and we were no less than 10 feet from it at times.

We both manage to navigate through this mess with minimal issue. Good moral booster!

No wake zone...

The rain lets up long enough for us to setup camp and get to sleep. We start a fire that was lame up until the point where we decided to give up on it and get some sleep. It then picked up and was great - so we put it out. That'll teach it!

So we had heard great tales of finding abandoned rail cars that have been converted to cabins that are more or less open for public use. Great tale indeed. While cool, the only one we found "open" was nasty as all heck and we decided to stick with our tents. Though, a nice fire inside a little fireplace did sound good, the mouse crap was a different story.

The Gaff Topsails region was the most remote and boy was it remote. Not a human in sight. Plenty of gravel though.

All in all, this was an unreal trip. My longest for sure and a true adventure. I do wish we had done the trail in the opposite direction because the landscape and trail condition seem to be better towards St John's. Live and learn I suppose. Nova Scotia and Newfoundland are still on the list as far as places I need to ride since we pretty much just blew through them on this trip. I think I can consider myself a bit of a gravel expert now too....


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