Tuesday, January 8, 2019

2017 Pics - Argentia to Port Aux Basques

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This year's trip was another variation of our Argentia to Port Aux Basques run and it was fantastic! We rode about 1200 km in 7 awesome days. We had 12 people this year, which is the most we've ever had. Everyone had a great time and the there were no issues aside from a few flat tires.

This year's trip went like this:
Argentia to Clarenville, Clarenville to Gander, Gander to Badger, Badger to Deer Lake, Deer Lake to Corner Brook, Corner Brook to Robinsons, and Robinsons to Port Aux Basques.

2017 Newfoundland ATV Trip

Day 1 - Nova Scotia to Argentia
A road trip to the terminal and then a 16 hour boat ride to NL!

My neighbor and me getting ready to drive to the ferry terminal.

The Ferry is visible in the background as we approach the terminal

A picture of all the machines before heading to the terminal to check-in

We had 2 Can Am Comanders, 2 CF Moto ZForce 500's, 1 Can Am Outlander 650,
1 Can Am Outlander 1000 Max, 2 Kawasaki Teryx 4, a Honda Rincon 680, a Honda Foreman 500, and a Suzuki King Quad 750!

Having a drink in our room after check-in

Exploring the boat

Day 2 - Argentia to Clarenville
First day on the trail. It was foggy, sunny, then foggy, then sunny.
Half of us stayed at St. Jude's Hotel and the others camped at Shoal Harbour Pond. Its about about another 20km past St. Jude's or so.
**2018 UPDATE** Camping is not allowed at Shoal Harbour Pond anymore.

Total time including stops 8 hours 54 minutes
Distance 175 km to shoal harbour pond. It's about 142 km to St. Jude's.
Average speed 36 km/h, top speed 78 km/h

We stopped shortly after getting off the boat to get our gear organized.

A group of people we met that came all the way from Ontario to do the trip!
Diane Bailey and friends.

Pit stop at Placentia Junction. Time for water and snacks.

BBQ time. The weather kept changing from sunny to foggy.

Gas at the Ultramar in Goobies.

The trail to Shoal Harbour Pond.

Half of our group camped here and half stayed at a Hotel.
**2018 update**
Camping along the beach is not allowed here now.

BBQ sausage, hamburgers, and hot dogs - camping grub.

Day 3 - Clarenville to Gander
It was an early morning for the campers. We didn't bother to cook breakfast and opted to pick something up along the trail later. 
It was only around 140 km to ride and we made several stops to talk, drink water, bathroom breaks etc.

We got stuck behind a group of much slower vehicles for about half an hour, it was almost painful. They were going as slow at 15 km/h in some places. We were glad when they finally pulled over to go to a warming hut and we could scoot by them. We stopped at the Trailway Lounge in Gander and had a drink and take a break from the trail. 

When we arrived in Gander we stayed at the Comfort Inn. I think the first thing everyone did was to take a shower and wash off the trail dust. We had supper at the Jungle Jim's Restaurant that's attached to the motel, the food was good. Quadapalooza started that night and it's a weekend event in Gander. Some of us took in some of the events and some of us were beat and went to bed early. 

Total time including stops 8 hrs 21 minutes
Total distance 140 km
Average speed 38 km/h

The wind picked up and distorted my tent a bit!
Bruce's first flat of the trip - there would be many more.

Gas at Port Blandford

Another flat for Bruce

Pit stop in Gambo for a drink

A plane crash memorial site just outside Gander

We finally made it to the Comfort Inn

Hmmmm what to have at Jungle Jim's?

Day 4 - Gander to Badger
We left Gander early and headed toward the Sabena plane crash site. It's quite something to see the old plane from 1946 in the middle of the woods like that and the shell is still in quite good shape because of the aluminum. We stopped at a river crossing and had a drink and a snack before getting to the Plane. 

We spent about an hour at the plane site and then continued on towards Grand Falls to get gas. The roads from the plane site to Gander are in fantastic shape as they are mostly new roads for power lines. We were travelling at a fast pace through that section and covered a lot of distance in a short time. We probably averaged 60+km/h and more in a few places through those roads. It was good that we could travel faster through there because we had a long way to go that day.

We had to ride a few kms on paved roads when we got to Grand Falls until we got to the gas station. We went about 50 km/h and stayed together. The trail goes right by the gas station.

If you follow the rail bed from Gander to Badger it's about 145 km. Since we made an excursion to the plane that added about another 55 km for us. Some of us spent the night and Trailblazers and some of us spent the night at Badger Motel.

Total time including stops 10 hrs 34 minutes
Total Distance 200.45 km
Average speed 41 km/h

Getting ready to leave the Comfort Inn. It was a wee bit foggy when we left!

Ernerst's turn to get a flat

Time for a pit stop since we were making great time.

That river wasn't deep and it was easy to cross.

St. Martin's in the woods (the Sabena Plane Crash site from 1946)

The victims had to be buried at the site. 
It was far too difficult during that time to get them out.

The parking area at the bottom was quite full that day!

Almost to Badger

Everyone's all smiles before eating fish and chips - later that evening - not so much.
We won't be eating there again.


Day 5 - Badger to Deer Lake
We made breakfast for ourselves at Trailblazers, well except Paul, he ate at Robin's Donuts. We stopped to patch a few flat tires, slammed on the brakes to avoid a few rabbits and birds that decided to walk on the trail instead of fly over it, we visited the granite quarry and had lunch at the Gaff Topsail. I never get tired from the view up there. This year was the calmest I ever saw it there. There was absolutely no wind at all - I couldn't believe it. 

Then we continued on to Howley, where half of us stopped and camped on the beach for the night. It was a short day and we got in early so we had time to BBQ supper for everyone before half of us drove to the Driftwood Inn in Deer Lake. Duane hit a rock while he was playing around in a mud hole and bent his tie rod. Luckily mechanic John took it off, straightened it like new and put it back on in about 30 minutes. We were able to take in the sunset before Duane broke out the fire works.  Another great day!

Total time including stops 6 hrs 53 minutes
Total Distance 105 km (about 130 for the guys that went to Deer Lake)
Average Speed 41 km/h
Max elevation 546 m

Another flat for Bruce, all on the same tire. This time a sidewall puncture.
You can see all three patches so far in this photo.

A few photos at the Granite Quarry

The granite quarry was a great spot for photos but people with
cans of spray paint ruined it. I removed most of it in this picture with

The top of the Gaff Topsail - about 1800 feet at the peak.

The beach at Howley where some of us spent the night in tents. We love this spot.

Moose meat that a wonderful woman in Badger gave us! It was fantastic on the BBQ!
John and Dan can cook!

Moose sausage!
Paul and Joey grab some firewood!

We had a great fire

It cooled down quickly when the sun went down. The fire kept us warm and
luckily I have a warm sleeping bag.


Day 6- Deer Lake to Corner Brook
Those of us that were camping left the beach a bit early and met up with the rest of the crew in Deer Lake. We stopped at an Irving Big Stop for a huge breakfast then traveled together north to the Lomond Sinkhole. The sinkhole is an amazing site to behold. Photos just don't do it justice at all. You can never capture the size of it in a photo. Many of us went down into the hole and you have to use ropes to get down and even then it's quite slippery. 

After that we went south to Cloudy Pond to cook up some food, then to Old Man's Pond for a few more photos, then Cox's Cove for gas and pictures, and finally we stopped at Marblewood Village for the night in Corner Brook. We splurged and rented luxury condos where we each had our own rooms - no one was kept up by the snorers that night. Another great day with lots of great scenery and great company! This was long day.

Total Time including stops 11hrs 49 minutes
Total Distance 214 km (about 190 for the guys that started in Deer Lake)
Average Speed 36 km/h
Max elevation 472 m

5:30 a.m. before the sun came out. The campers had to get up early to meet
the guys in Deer Lake for 8 a.m. We had to pack our gear up and
drive about an hour to Deer Lake.
Deer Lake Dam

The Driftwood Inn - a cozy spot with a Jungle Jim's Restaurant attached.

This is the parking lot of the Irving Big Stop we had breakfast at.

Dan reads about the Lomond Sink Hole.

John ponders going down to the bottom

There are people in the lower right section in the cave. Take a look
at them to get an idea of how big the waterfall is.

After the waterfall we stopped at a mountain peak with a cell tower.
The view was fantastic. Pictures don't do it justice.

We stopped at Cloudy Pond for a break, and cooked up some more moose meat.

This picture was taken in 2003 from the same place as the one above taken in 2017.
The trees grew up so much in the last 14 years you can barely see the pond from the road anymore.
We drove to the edge of Old Man's Pond for a few more photos
(like we didn't already have enough)

We stopped at Cox's Cove for gas and a few photos of course.

On our way to Corner Brook. That's Marble Mountain in the background.

As we got closer you could see the trails on the ski hill in the back

Bruce needed to top us his tire - we are not far now from Marblewood Village.

I added a tonneau cover and spare wheel carrier this year. I loved both.

We had to drive a few km of paved roads to get to Marblewood Village.
Luckily it was a secondary road.

The view of our condo. I wish we spent two night there so I could have more time
to relax and enjoy this place.

Day 7- Corner Brook to Robinsons
There is a big section of trail missing around Corner Brook. If you're riding the rail bed from Deer Lake to Corner Brook you have to be trailered. We went north of Deer Lake and took mountain roads to Corner Brook but we come out on the East Side and instead of getting trucked to the other side of town we took a snowmobile trail as a by-pass route. It worked fine. It was a little muddy in a few spots due to heavy rain a few days before but we all made it through okay. It made for some interesting video though watching the guys sling the mud and skeg. 

Full rain gear needed today as it rained all day. After a few hours on the trail we stopped in Gallants for a drink and a break from the rain. Then we stopped and got gas in Stephenville Crossing. We came upon a steep sandy embankment and some of us took turns climbing it while the others watched. It was good fun. 

Half of us stayed at Pirate's Haven and half of us stayed at Cliffside Cottages just up the road. We had a good supper at the Pirate's Haven Restaurant and a good breakfast too. You gotta love their cottages - they have everything you need - even a washer and dryer and a hot tub. The owners, Paul and Ruth, are the kind of people that go the extra mile and they are great ambassadors for ATVing.

Total Time including stops 9 hours 4 minutes
Total Distance 145.2 km
Average Speed 32 km/h
Max elevation 349 m
The beginning of the snowmobile trail by-pass route
Duane blasts through the mud with his 1000 XTP

Bill shreds the mud with the King Quad

John has no problem getting through the mud

Howie charges through with the Rincon

Exterior picture of the pub in Gallants. I used a picture from last year
as no one took one this year.

Some sand dunes around Stephenville Crossing

A huge sand pit we decided to try this year. Other years past we didn't bother.
It's steeper than it looks in pictures.

Me almost to the top.

Pirate's Haven Pub for supper.

Day 8 - Robinson to Port Aux Basques
This is usually our shortest day so we didn't hit the trail until about 10:45 and arrived in PAB around 8:30. It's pitch black at that time in September. If you follow the rail bed directly from Robinson to PAB it's about 110 km. This year I found two new places for us to check out on our way to Port Aux Basques and we ended up doing another 50 km. It was totally worth it. We did get in a bit later than we thought though and there was a third place we didn't get to because we ran out of time. Next year we'll be on the trail about 8 a.m. to get it all in. 

The extra places were both up in the mountains and they were quite a trek up but it was completely worth it. We BBQ'd food at the top of the first mountain, took a ton of photos at the second mountain and stopped at Sugar Loaf Mountain like we usually do and got to JT Cheeseman Park just after sunset and pulled into PAB after dark. It would have been nice to hit Cheeseman Park about an hour earlier to catch the sunset over the sand dunes and the ocean. Oh well, we saw it last year so check out 2016 pictures if you'd like to see that beach at sunset.

We stopped at Mary Brown's in PAB around 8:30 and everyone was hungry. The ferry is only a few minutes drive from there. We checked in went to bed.

Total time approx 11 hrs
Total Distance 152 km
Average speed 29 km/h
Max elevation 473 m

Getting ready to leave Pirate's Haven

The bluffs at Robinson's Head

Someone used an excavator to ruin the road into Codroy Pond

Luckily someone made a by-pass route into the Pond

The first new spot we went to up in the mountains.

Good thing Paul brought a spare wheel and tire

The second new mountain we went to

Stopped in Doyle's for some guys to get gas

Not far from Port Aux Basques

Day 9 - Road trip back home
The boat arrived about 7 a.m. so we were on the road pretty early, which is nice because some of the guys had a long drive ahead of them. The weather was sunny and clear which was a bonus.

Getting packed up to get off the boat

One last picture before putting the bike on the trailer.

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