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Thread: Newfoundland in July - August

  1. #1
    Schwetzt du aa Deitsch? deitscher's Avatar
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    Newfoundland in July - August

    Hey fellow riders out there...

    Planning a ride up to Newfoundland this summer. I had a couple of questions that I hope I can get some answers to. We will be riding up from Pennsylvania through Nova Scotia and catching the ferry to Newfoundland.

    1. Any recommendations on the ferry? (benefits of crossing at night over a day-time trip)?
    2. How is the weather and insects in Newfoundland in late July-early August? Are we going to be attacked by swarms of black flies?
    3. Any recommendations for Gros Mornes NP? (Thinking about hiking to Western Brook Pond)
    4. Any recommendations for St. John's?
    5. Are groceries easy to find when we are camping?
    6. Must sees? or Must dos?

    We plan on camping the entire trip except for in St. John's. Any good cheap lodging in the "big" city? Any help and advice is greatly appreciated.
    Doug
    2009 F800ST

  2. #2
    Ambassador at Large JIMSHAW's Avatar
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    Question NFLD Weather

    I have been to Newfoundland, but am no expert. I have been to Nova Scotia any number of times. Both places carry the warning: If the weather is good, they are wonderful, beautiful, and cheerful. Newfies are the friendliest people on Earth, bar none. But, if the weather is going to turn bad, go someplace else. There are few drearier places on Earth during a rainy, foggy, cloudy day or night. I've found the trick is to keep your plans flexible. If you are stuck with a set trip schedule, check the weather, and if it looks bad, go someplace else. Bad weather doesn't just come to the Maritimes and go in a day. More like 3-5 days.

    I'll let others advise you on your questions. I've only ridden NFLD once, so I'm no expert. But, I was lucky enough to have a very good time. St. John's is a beautiful, friendly, amusing city. If you are like me, you won't be able to get your bike parked on a downtown street before a small crowd develops to find out all about you, and help you find your way.

    Jim

  3. #3
    04 1150RS bigsur52's Avatar
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    By all means go! I took a trip to Newfoundland in mid august of 1986, and it was great. If possible, go in July. I travelled in mid august, and believe it or not, summer was over! It was in the fifties during the day, and quite chilly at night. If you can afford it, stay at hotels/motels. You'll enjoy the nights much, much more.

    Take the overnight ferry from Nova scotia to Argentia on the east side of the island. See St. john area and one of the peninsulas jutting north to see iceburgs. When I was there it was rainy on the east end , and foggy, so I didn't see iceburgs. By all means see Gros Morne on the west side: it was amazing. I don't know what type of bike you have, but if you can ride for a couple hundred miles on gravel roads, see the viking settlements on the northern west part of the island, after touring Gros morne. I didn't make all the way, since my 1982 R00RS did not like the gravel. I still regret not going all the way. Then take the ferry back from the west side to nova Scotia. I hope you take this trip. It's not typical and you'll always remember it.

  4. #4
    sMiling Voni's Avatar
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    We left after the nationals last year so most of our touring was in August. The only black flies we experienced were in Labrador and they were really fierce. Weather was dry except for one day and the island is amazing! Great friendly people. We camped all the way.

    Lots of info and contacts here:

    http://www.ridetherock.com

    Voni
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    Schwetzt du aa Deitsch? deitscher's Avatar
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    Road to Viking Settlement?

    Does anyone know what the roads are like up to L'Anse aux Meadows to visit the viking settlements? Are they dirt, ok to ride without a GS?
    Doug
    2009 F800ST

  6. #6
    Registered User tourunigo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by deitscher View Post
    Does anyone know what the roads are like up to L'Anse aux Meadows to visit the viking settlements? Are they dirt, ok to ride without a GS?
    the roads are excellent. (1973 75/5 two up when I did it) Stay in L'Anse aux Meadows at a B&B and you will never ever regret it. To walk in along the old walls is almost magic and the reenactment is worth the whole trip. Enjoy. Really, do not pass up the opportunity to visit this place. I think of my trip there often and will return. It really is special. Do some research before you go because it will help things come alive for you. oh yeah, watch out for moose. - Bob
    saltyfogriders@gmail.com
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  7. #7
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    Its been 6 years since I was on the rock, in mid July.

    Went in from Port o Basques on the Friday midnight run and got off in a gale.
    The road on the western side of Newfoundland has a stretch about 40 km's long which is called the wreckhouse for a reason.

    If you try for the overnighter get a berth or cabin if you can.
    After a rather interesting arrival I had a chance to see part of the western side since I was waiting for a few friends who were delayed by a few days. I stayed at a provincial park called Blow Me Down outside of Corner Brook at the end of the Humber arm. I thought it would be relatively quiet and out of the way but to my surprise there was about 6 MC groups there. It seems to be a place that once you know it is there it's hard to pass it up if you have the time . An interesting paved road to get there and back. Rustic but with showers and the like, but get your food in Corner brook.It is about 2 to 3 hours from the ferry.

    I went back to P'O B to meet up with my group and we stayed at Cheeseman park just outside of Port o. They were renovating and it was a bit dirtier than the other park but I would guess that is due to its transit location. Still wasn't bad though.

    The next few days were a ride around the Transcanada to St John with a stop in Deer lake and at Dildo Run Prov park , no we couldn't miss the photo op. Nice park

    Made our way into St John in the rain and beleive it or not there is a provincial/city campground in the middle of St John called Pippy Park.Nice facilty and about a 5minute ride from the harbour. Spent 3 days there and were it not for other engagements I would have stretched it a few more days.

    We made our exit out of Argentia about 2 hours away from St John. Another park is not far from the ferry and this was the only one where bug life was an issue. This ferry it was suppose to leave at 8am but got delayed and we arrived in North Sydney at 11 pm ,there was not much to find in accomodations at that hour ,but we managed to get in at a KOA compground outside of Sydney.

    As for weather in July I beleive the locals say if you dont like it wait an hour and it will change . Heck go a km or 2 and it changes. Went from rain and 50 degrees F to sun and 85 on 4 seperate days, but bring woolies and good rain gear. As for a route you may note that it is 950km from P'O B to St John so most come in one way and go out the other and the T'can can be boring.,if not livened up by the odd moose by the highway edge . As for night driving , don't.

    Funny in the last 2 years I was touring in Nova Scotia and the urge to hit the ferry for a quick visit Blow me down was always in the background.

    Who know this year

    Snivly in Montreal

  8. #8
    F650GSTX
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    I have a lot of information for you

    I did a 2 month trip during July and August 2009 to the maritime provinces of Canada -- Quebec, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador so I have lots of information for you.

    We camped almost the entire time -- there were a few heavy rain days we opted for a roof over our heads. I have great recommendations on campgrounds. You can even camp at Pippy Park in St. John's.

    It's a spectacular trip -- you're going to have a blast. Feel free to send me a PM if you'd like more information. See responses in blue below.

    1. Any recommendations on the ferry? (benefits of crossing at night over a day-time trip)? I did it both ways and can give you pros and cons for both
    2. How is the weather and insects in Newfoundland in late July-early August? Are we going to be attacked by swarms of black flies? Black flies were vicious in Natashquan, but didn't have problems with mosquitoes or black flies in Newfoundland.
    3. Any recommendations for Gros Mornes NP? (Thinking about hiking to Western Brook Pond) I don't know about hiking, but I did the boat tour of the "pond" and really enjoyed it.
    4. Any recommendations for St. John's? I have lots of suggestions for St. John's
    5. Are groceries easy to find when we are camping? Never had problems finding food, after all everyone has to eat -- just be warned food prices are high.
    6. Must sees? or Must dos? Way to many to list here...

  9. #9
    saltj
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    Did nearly the same trip last year!

    and it was the best of my life. On my 2004 R1150RS. NH, ME, NB, NS, NF to northern tip (St. Anthony's), back through NS, NB, ME, to NH. Incredible. Answers to your questions:

    1. Any recommendations on the ferry? (benefits of crossing at night over a day-time trip)?
    - I took night ferry from N. Sidney to Port Aux Basque. Had plenty of room to stretch out on couch in lounge (free), slept all night, woke up to disembark and ride all day. Perfect.

    2. How is the weather and insects in Newfoundland in late July-early August? Are
    we going to be attacked by swarms of black flies?
    - Saw no insects in NFLD. And had good weather EXCEPT when the winds kicked in on the way south from St. Anthony's. About 200 miles of the worst riding in my life. The winds have been known to blow over trains. Yes, trains. And 18 wheelers. Be prepared to get a room and wait them out. I had to.

    3. Any recommendations for Gros Mornes NP? (Thinking about hiking to Western Brook Pond)
    - A local Harley rider said Trout River was best ride on the island. I liked it. Spent time in Woody Point; nice people, especially Scott and Nancy who run the hotel on the hill overlooking the town. As we say in Maine: Finest Kind of people (say hi for me if you see them).

    4. Any recommendations for St. John's?
    - I stayed on west side.

    5. Are groceries easy to find when we are camping?

    6. Must sees? or Must dos?
    - Spend time with the people. Nicest people anywhere. And get Skreeched! (don't be afraid: it's just a fish)
    - If you have time, go up around the northwest of NS, on the Sunrise and Cabot trails.
    - If going from Calais to St. Johns in NB, stop at McKay's blueberry stand and buy the very best blueberry pie and jam you'll ever have.
    - Road to viking village was about 12 miles of gravel due to construction. No fun at all on my RS; two Yamaha cruisers I rode with for a while had no trouble (heavier, wider tires).

    Have a great trip.

    Jim

  10. #10
    Schwetzt du aa Deitsch? deitscher's Avatar
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    Possible overnights.

    Hey guys and gals,

    Thanks so much for all of the help and advice you have provided. We have created a list of possible places to camp on our trip. Please let us know if anyone out there has experiences with any of these locales:

    Night 1 - Christie's Campground, East Newport, ME
    Night 2 - With friends in Truro, NS
    Night 3 - North Sydney Cabot Trail KOA, North Sydney, NS
    Night 4 - Zenzville Campground, Kippens, NL
    Night 5 - Shallow Bay Campground, Near Cow Head, NL
    Night 6 - Sir Richard Squires Provincial Park Campground, Deer Lake, NL
    Night 7 - Peyton's Woods RV Park and Campground, Twillingate, NL
    Night 8 - Hosteling International, St. John's, NL
    Night 9 - On the ferry back to NS
    Night 10 - Parlee Beach Provincial Park Campground, Shediac, NB
    Night 11 - Pawtuckaway State Park, Nottingham, NH
    Night 12 - HOME

    Any info or further suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
    Doug
    2009 F800ST

  11. #11
    Schwetzt du aa Deitsch? deitscher's Avatar
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    Ferry Reservations?

    One other thing I thought of: how far in advance is it suggested to make ferry reservations?
    Doug
    2009 F800ST

  12. #12
    F650GSTX
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    Camping and Ferry

    As far as the ferry, I would reserve as soon as dates are nailed down. We tried 2 weeks in advance to get a place on the ferry from Argentia and were told it was booked solid for several days. We tried the day we wanted to travel and got on with no problem. Reservations are safer. No fun to either not be able to get on the island or get off.

    A general comment on camping -- it looks like you have a several commercial camping places selected. We found the commercial places to be full of large RV's with loud generators and televisions. Not what we were on the trip for. The provincial campgrounds segregate the tents from the RV's for this very reason and provide a much nicer camping experience. And they are cheaper. I would stay at a provincial park whenever available. Muncipal parks would be my second choice way before a commercial campground.

    Kippens, NL - I'd suggest going a little farther to Blow Me Down Provincial Park on the way out to Lark Harbour from Corner Brook. If you do -- go out to the beach for sunrise. It's incredible.

    Twillingate - Dildo Run Provincial Park was my favorite campground of the entire trip and maybe 30 minutes from Twillingate.

  13. #13
    Schwetzt du aa Deitsch? deitscher's Avatar
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    Camping Reservations?

    Hey NL almuni:

    Do we need to make reservations for camp spots in the National and Provincial parks? Or are our chances good of finding a spot when we get there?

    Thanks,
    -Doug
    Doug
    2009 F800ST

  14. #14
    F650GSTX
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    Camping reservations

    Doug,

    We did not make any reservations to camp and the only place that was full was Meat Cove on the north of Cape Breton Island. Everywhere else we were able to get good spots when just showing up. Meat Cove is awesome if that fits into your agenda -- just make reservations a couple days ahead.

    Gale

  15. #15
    Benchwrenching PGlaves's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by deitscher View Post
    Does anyone know what the roads are like up to L'Anse aux Meadows to visit the viking settlements? Are they dirt, ok to ride without a GS?
    I would expect the road to be excellent this year, since they were busily tearing it up and rebuilding it last year: Construction zone, orange cones, road graders, and large piles of gravel.

    I assume, but don't know for a fact, that they finished it last year.
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
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