After a long sleep in the castle loft, I check my bike over and realize that the brakes are rubbing the front wheel! With that fixed, my speed starts improving and the 50km ride to Terra Nova goes by quickly. In the park I meet a couple of gents from Australia who have been driving around North America for the last five months, and a couple girls from Ontario, one of whom has biked from Ontario to BC! We chat into the evening and it’s great to have company.
The next day I finally hit that endurance endorphin high. The hills are fewer and seem easier, and as I sit eating fries and enjoying the view at Joey’s lookout I wonder if I’ve ever been happier in my life. That evening in Gander I eat an entire pizza in company of my fantastic host Paul, who completely understands – he cycled across Canada last summer.
The next day calls for rain but it holds off and I make good progress. I try to buy an apple in Appleton but they’re all out of fruit – produce is hard to come by in rural Newfoundland. Instead I get a coffee and some popcorn in the next town over at Johnny’s Place – the restaurant/grocery store/gas station/hardware store/ ice cream parlour/liquor store. Later, while eating some lunch by the side of the highway, a conservation officer named Bill pulls up and offers me an apple! It’s the biggest, greenest, roundest, most perfect delicious apple I have ever eaten.
When I reach my campground early after 100km of riding, I decide to bike another 40km to the next campground, just west of Badger. I can’t find anyone working there but the rain starts coming down so I head to a campsite and hope they don’t mind. Just as I’m putting my tarp up, my day is made by a lovely couple from Grand Falls who offer me their trailer for the night! Thanks Sean and Dawn! I’m warm and dry tonight because of you!
I’ve now biked 540km – the longest I’ve ever ridden in a single trip. I’ve seen some incredible suff but the last few days have shown me that the best thing about this island is the kindness of the people who live here.