Thursday, August 29, 2013

The Tableland Mountains and Rocky Harbour - a visual treat.

After a delicious meal of Cod Tongues at the Seaside Restaurant in Trout River, I headed back through the Tableland Mountains. The scenery is so stunning. On one side of the road is this lush vegetation and on the other, these odd colored mountains.

Heavily forested NewfoundlandThe Mountain View at forest

Newfoundland is noted for it's heavily forested areas and the stark contrast in the Tableland Mountains is caused by the ultramafic rock - peridotite - which makes up the Tablelands. 

Thought to originate in the earth's mantle and forced up from the depths during a plate collision several hundred million years ago, the peridotite lacks the nutrients required to sustain most plant life, hence its barren appearance. The rock is very low in calcium and very high in magnesium, it also has a toxic amount of heavy metals. Peridotite is high in iron, which accounts for its brownish colour.
Waterfalls coming down the mountain,
Waterfalls coming down the mountain, an odd visual considering the starkness of the Tablelands

After marveling at the stark and haunting beauty of the Tablelands, it was time for the scenic ride to Rocky Harbour...

I stopped in Woody Point for fuel and the gentleman who runs the station came out to make sure that I knew he only had regular gas to offer.  I thanked him and expressed that I carry Amsoil Octane Boost with me and that regular gas was just fine. I thought his consideration of a rider's needs to be absolutely wonderful.  

I headed towards Rocky Harbour marvelling at the varied beauty of the landscape. The wonderful rolling hills and sweeping curves accompanied the lush scenery and the glimpses of water.

As I entered Rocky Harbour, there was no question in my mind how this community got it's name.
Rocky Harbour is the largest community in Gros Morne National Park and is filled with opportunities to explore Newfoundland's culture and heritage.
The Sun Set

I was to stay at the Ocean View Hotel and take in the Anchors Aweigh show. 
Ocean View Hotel

I got settled into my room and went downstairs to get my ticket.  I was in for a treat and a half!

The Anchors Aweigh band is comprised of highly talented musicians who will keep your toes tapping and have you laughing so hard that tears are rolling and your belly hurts! They are a traditional Newfoundland band that gives you a true taste of the humour and culture that Newfoundland has to offer.

talented musiciansTalented musicians

Musicians Playing Guitar

I have never enjoyed a show so much. I encourage you to take this show in. 

You can find out more about how to get tickets for the show by visiting:

In the morning I had breakfast and then took in the Lighthouse tour at Lobster Cove just a few minutes outside of Rocky Harbour and I will share that experience with you next time...

Ocean View Hotel
Toll Free: 1 (800) 563 9887
Phone: (709) 458 2730/2967

Friday, August 23, 2013

Lark Harbour to Trout River - the Gros Morne Adventure Begins

After George, Dave and I parted company I headed out on my own to Gros Morne National Park to start exploring more of this magnificent province.

As I headed toward the Viking Trail, I noticed the subtle changes in the landscape.
I was amazed at the diversity in such a short period of time.

The scenery became hilly and filled with gentle sweepers and magnificent views.

Gros Morne National Park of Canada was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987 and it is stunningly beautiful - stark and imposing and yet...

Gros Morne National Park I spent some time at the Discovery Centre on the edge of Woody Point.  I wanted to get a Viking Trail Pass so that I could take in an abundance of attractions that are covered by the pass and I had been told this was the best place to get it.

The Discovery Centre is also where you can obtain units that allow you to find out more about what you are looking at, at the various stops along the way.  They take your driver's license info and allow you to take the units and drop them off in a drop box when you are done. If you don't drop it off, they have your info so they can reach you and remind you to send it back.

In the centre itself, there are many displays and many of them are interactive and describe the region, the history, the geology, the creatures and the flora and fauna.

On top of the amazing displays that explain the region, there is an abundance of stunning artwork to view and the staff are so helpful and   knowledgeable about the park.

Armed with a park pass, I headed off to do filming and photography and learn about this hauntingly beautiful place.

I rode to Trout River to have my supper as was recommended to me by Dave and George.
Along the way I filmed some of the most amazing scenery and look forward to sharing that with you through our TV show on Eastlink - Ride Like a Local. The Newfoundland episode should air sometime in December - I will also have some footage on Youtube later in December.

Riding through this gorgeous seaside village, I came across the Jacob A. Crocker Heritage House and decided to take a tour before I stopped for supper.  The young lady giving the tour explained that Jacob A Crocker Sr. who came from Dorsetshire, England, one of the original settlers of the region, built this Biscuit Box house, also known as a Salt Box house. The home was built in 1898 and is 
indicative of the traditional fisherman's home.

After the tour of the Crocker home, I went to the Seaside Restaurant and got my first taste of cod tongues and I want to thank Dave for having recommended I try them because I have a new favorite appetizer/meal.

Light, crispy and absolutely delicious are cod tongues!

The restaurant is another tourism must do spot.  Award winning, with magnificent views of the ocean, the staff is friendly and attentive and the prices were affordable - the meal was plentiful!  There is tons of history here too!

Cod Tongues
My meal of Cod Tongues
view from the restaurant
The view from the restaurant

After my wonderful meal I headed off towards the Tablelands Mountains and into Rocky Harbour...

Monday, August 19, 2013

Lark Harbour, captivating, quaint, folksy...lovely

 Rita the general manager and her assistant
(L) Rita the general manager and her assistant manager, Enid
The Comfort Inn in Corner Brook is no different than any other Comfort Inn; it is motorcycle friendly, filled with incredible employees and wonderful people in management.
Rita, the general manager and Enid, the assistant manager were both in when I arrived.  After introductions and hugs I was checked in and meandered to my room.  I opened the patio door, then went and rode my bike to the stall in front of the room where I unpacked my bike.

After I got my cameras and cell phone charged I chose to eat at the restaurant attached to the hotel.  Jungle Jim's is a chain you can find all over Newfoundland.

The food and service were more than decent and the place was full to the rafters. I sat at the bar to eat after giving up my table to a couple.  The bartender was quite the gal. She expressed that she was moving to St. John's to go finish her education - she is going to be a physical education teacher when she is done university and intends to continue working for Jungle Jim's because she loves the work and the tips.

I went to my room, tagged photos and answered emails and returned phone calls and then fell into an exhausted sleep.

When I got up at 4:30 in the morning it was to dreary skies that were still drizzling and wet pavement. Ugh...

I sure didn't want my first time in Newfoundland to be all rain.

I sat down to write and deal with the photos and video of the day before, and before I knew it, the sun began to shine.  I was a much happier gal as I headed for breakfast.
 Comfort Inn Lobby
The Lobby - all of the Comfort Inn's are being renovated
across the country, this one is scheduled for early 2014
View from the front of the hotel
The view of Corner Brook from the front of the hotel

Dave and George, my escorts for the morning were to arrive at around 9:30 am. George showed up first, riding a white 2013 Ultra. A short time later Dave showed up on his Yamaha. I was in the process of packing the bike up and importing video from my external hard drive to IMovie to do rough editing.  The process took longer than I had anticipated and it was 10:30 before we were actually on our way.

Today's morning destination - Lark Harbour!

The ride to Lark Harbour was utterly lovely. The roads were good, the company was excellent and Mother Nature smiled down on us with a great big golden grin...we were on the Captain James Cook Trail filled with lovely curves and spectacular seascapes.
George in front
George in front of the restaurant

The village of Lark Harbour is a post card, picture perfect fishing village.
The colors and characters make you smile!

We stopped at at place called Marlaine's Tide Watcher's Cafe. 

Quilts and artwork
Lovely quilts and artwork grace this tiny restaurant
Board of knots
A board of knots
Art on the side of the restaurant
A wonderful bit of art on the side of the restaurant
where the whale watching deck is
One of the most spectacular things about this
place is the view
The harbour is the search and rescue
Across the harbour is the search and rescue 
Pork  scrunchions and bread with molasses
Fisherman's Brewis - cod and hard tack with pork
scrunchions and bread with molasses

Amazing scenery at Lark Harbour
Amazing scenery all around you makes Lark Harbour a gorgeous place for a meal

I ordered a coffee and Fisherman's Brewis which is a traditional dish of cod and hard tack bread served with pork scrunchions, bread and molasses.

I figured if I am going to be here in Newfoundland, I want to experience the local foods and traditions.

Now according to Dave, Fisherman's Brewis came to be because of fisherman who were out in their dories who got creative.  Instead of just having the cod and hard tack bread to eat, they would take their Southwesters and fill them up with salt water, soak the cod and chunks of the hard tack in the water over night and then cook it up on their little stoves just to give them a different taste.  If they had molasses with them, sometimes they would pour molasses in with the brew.  If they had pork scrunchions with them, they would pour that in too.

Pork scrunchions are made from pork rind and fat - the rind is scored into little cubes and then cut off the fat, fried until the fat is rendered out of the cubes and the cubes are crunchy.

Now one wouldn't think that sounds all that appetizing, but I am up for trying almost anything and I was delighted by the meal.  It was yummy!  I had to laugh at the lady who served us - when she saw me putting butter on my bread she expressed that there was no way a Newfoundlander would put butter on their bread if they were planning on eating it with molasses as I had expressed that I would be.  I showed her my dad's trick - put butter on one side, flip the bread over and pour molasses on it - it gives the molasses a wonderful flavour - she laughed and said my Dad must have been a Newf in another life. I teased right back and said he must have been as he taught us kids to love fried bologna!

The guys of course, being locals had burgers!

As we shared our meal and looked out over this lovely, lovely bay, the guys told me about the whales that come into this harbour. They told me a little about this town of 500 and its offerings; like hiking trails and a good sized provincial park called Blow Me Down Provincial Park with close to 30 campsites.  They and their ladies often come here on Sundays from Corner Brook for a day ride.
I can see why - it is positively gorgeous.

After coffee and dessert we headed back to the bikes and were off towards Corner Brook again.

I find it interesting that even though you have to go over the same road you came in on, the views are so different in the opposite direction.

I supposed if you lived here it might get boring, but I sure was not!

Just outside of Corner Brook, the guys and I parted company but not before I got an interview for our TV Show, Ride Like a Local, about our ride from George.
I want to thank George and Dave for sharing the highway with me for a while - I truly enjoyed my time with these two guys!

I continued on my journey to Gros Morne National Park...alone, and I had no idea what a treat I was going to be in for....

To find out more about:
Comfort Inn Corner Brook
41 Maple Valley Rd,
Corner Brook, NL A2H 6T2
Phone:(709) 639-1980

Marlaine's Tide Watcher's Café
Lark Harbour, NL
May-September Open Daily until 5 p.m.
(709) 681-2140