The Blue Fin Motercade: Day 89 - Deer Lake to Springdale NFLD - And Then We Pedalled...... Cross Canada 2015 - CycleBlaze

August 30, 2015

The Blue Fin Motercade: Day 89 - Deer Lake to Springdale NFLD

It's so worthwhile getting an early start. We did today and we were finished by 4 pm even after having a couple of good breaks during the day.

As we've been told several times, to really see Newfoundland you have to get off the Trans Canada as the communities are centred on the coast and the TCH runs inland. So today we decided to make Springdale our target. It's a little village on Green Bay, about 10 km off the TCH. It will mean about 10 km of bad tracking tomorrow but it will be more than worth the effort.

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Today's ride was very good. It started with a light drizzle but calm and cool, a really nice change from the sun and heat we've experienced most of the trip. We made great time with very little traffic and after a couple of hours biking we were thinking of taking a break and having a snack.

The part of Ndwfoundland we're going through is pretty sparsely populated and since leaving Deer Lake we hadn't seen anything except trees and lakes. Almost on cue though we saw a sign for the Junction Rest Stop and Restaurant 5 km ahead. Perfect.

We pulled in, grabbed a table and were just going to have a cup of coffee since none of us were really hungry after the big breakfast we had in Deer Lake. However each of us decided to order a bowl of oatmeal since it was still cool and drizzling outside. Well, there's a reason why oatmeal is so popular for breakfast. With a little (ok a lot) of brown sugar and honey in it it tasted great and when we got back on the bikes we set off at an even better pace for another 2 1/2 hours of pedalling.

The scenery was nice, not spectacular, the road conditions were good, and it was starting to clear off. We were thinking of pulling off to the side of the road to make some lunch when , again, on cue we came across another sign for another junction restaurant 5 km down the road. A hot lunch and chair to sit on rather than a cold tortilla and wet roadside grass won out. Four and a half hours of biking and almost 100 km done. This was turning out to be a good day for making making some mileage.

After a pretty good lunch we made short work of the remaining 30 odd km to Springdale, which turned out to be a really pleasent little village on Green Bay. We got a room at Pelly's Narwhale Inn, a place that has seen better days, .... like last night when they had over 180 people in the Bar and a local band, Whiskey Business, playing until 5 in the morning. Sounded like a lot of fun, but we wouldn't have been biking today if we had been there for it!

Our good cycling weather gave out on us about 5 minutes before we got to Springdale and we got rained on pretty heavily just as we were coming into town. We looked pretty wet and disheveled when we walked into Pelly's but the folks there were incredibly friendly and welcoming. They were still making up some of the rooms so we decided to have a cleansing ale while we waited.

Melissa, who checked us in, was also working the bar. We had a great chat with her and the rest of the staff. They were all very interested in our story and trip, and they were very happy to share their stories about Springdale. When Kirsten noticed the Narwhale tusk mounted behind the bar, this got us into the conversation about why the hotel was called Pelly's Narwhale Inn.

Turns out that the original owner of the hotel, Cyril Pelly, was responsible for saving a pod of grey whales, and one Narwhale, that had become trapped in the bay during the winter of 1979. The bay had frozen over with the whales trapped. Cyril kept a breathing hole open from January through April and all of the whales survived. His feats were documented in a Land and Sea episode (a CBC television series that celebrates the people who live off the sea in Atlantic Canada). The folks of Springdale also honored him by presenting him with the Narwhale tusk that is in the bar (it's not from the Narwhale that he saved!). Cool story ..... And if you hang around a bar, or any group of Newfoundlanders for more than five minutes, you are going to hear a story!

We got cleaned up and had a really good dinner at the C&L Cafe, including lots of joking around with our waitress (who's name we didn't get). After supper it was down to the harbour to check it out. The late evening light was fantastic against the dark and threatening sky and there was a little bit of fog starting to form on the water. Really beautiful and peaceful.

Now Springdale looks like it has a population of about 500 people. However, as we were walking down to the harbour, a procession of about 30 cars passed us. This was about as much traffic as we saw on the TCH all day. What was up? Checked the time, and asked a local passerby to confirm and yep, mass was done and the congregation was heading home.

We checked out the harbour and about 20 minutes later we decided to head for home (the hotel!) too. This is when we saw the strangest, funniest, and in some way, sweetest thing all day.

It started with a siren, then two sirens. We're thinking that the fire departments been called out. A few seconds later we see the red and blue light of a police car coming down Main Street, being followed by a fire truck with its lights and siren going. We were starting took around for smoke when we saw that there was a very long string of cars and trucks following the police and fire truck, all of them honking thier horns, all of them filled with people hanging out the windows waving and singing, truck boxs filled with kids singing and dancing. There were at least 50 vehicles or more and it looked like most of Springdale's population was involved. We had made it back to the hotel just as the procession was coming to an end. Melissa was outside watching it (like everyone else in Springdale who wasn't in the procession) and we asked her what it was all about?

"Oh, that's the Blue Fin Motorcade. That's our local swim club and they must have done good at the swim meet they were in at Gander." Melissa explained. "We're real big on sports here so any time one of our teams does real well, there's a motorcade!"

You've gotta love it!

Looks like a mini Mount Rundle between deer lake and Springdale
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Good roads, very little traffic and pretty nice views along the TCH east of Deer Lake
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Lots of lakes that we cycled by today
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Nice rolling hills and very little traffic on the TCH
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The Narwhale tusk at the bar at Pelly's
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Melissa..... Super friendly and helpful lady working at Pelly's
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Fantastic light at the harbour in Springdale
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More pics of the Springdale harbour
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Beautiful light playing off the clouds and the water looking east from Springdale
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Looking southwest, you can just see some fog forming at the surface of the water
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Song of the day:

Jailer by Asa

No particular reason other than I like this song and it just made me feel good hearing it today

Historical moment of the day:

The Cryil Pelly story and the Narwhale tusk.

Apparently you can get some of the older episodes of Land and Sea from the NFB. We're going to look this one up!

Today's ride: 127 km (79 miles)
Total: 8,191 km (5,087 miles)

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