Monday April 13, 2015
The first stage was not easy for Michael. Climbing and yet more climbing. I was very curious how he experienced the second day. This is what Michael has written down:
"I've slept from 8:00 pm to 07:00 am. I feel a lot better than yesterday, but I'm not in shape yet. After having dressed, I go to the desk where I meet Darlene, the owner of the hotel. I was not aware that I have been given the room where Terry Fox also slept 35 years ago. That felt special for me. I talked a while with her and her husband and I found myself again. Nice people!
Today I am going to cycle to Clarenville, which is a distance of 102 km. There are many elevation changes in the stage, with the topper the climb to 1,186 metres: 'The gates of hell'.
I'm being addressed by many people because they have heard me on the radio. Many find me brave and strong... or disturbed. There is no one riding here in this season. And certainly not from East to West...
I'm leaving all in all late and not before 10:45 am I am riding the bike. It's going to be a lot better than yesterday and I can enjoy it a bit for the first time. The temperature is better then yesterday, around 5 degrees and rising up to 10. I stop every now and then and see more life along the road. Moreover, it is a lot quieter than yesterday. There was more traffic, because the Easter weekend ended over here. That explanes a lot.
Today the road is narrowed from 4 to 2 lanes, but it is quieter. One seems more considerate with me. I'll be on my way troughout 'The gates of hell' and the descent is fast, a bit too fast ... 53 km/h and I really have to brake carefully. The emergency strips are small and there is a lot of junk on the road. I'm really proud of myself that I climb these terrible mountains, but it is very heavy. Local residents report that there are few people who do this and certainly not now!! The weather can be very unpredictable and rugged, ruthless even.
A special ice hockey tournament this week in Clarenville is underway and all hotels will be fully booked. I have gotten the tip by Darlene for a motel in Clarenville. "If that is full, you need to call us. We will pick you up with the truck and you can sleep here. And then in the morning we bring you just right back where you left the stage." Incredible, how nice people are over here!
After 60 km there is no petrol station or hotel. After 78 km I'm in the neighbourhood when it is 5:30 pm. I decide to get something to eat at a restaurant near a gas station. It says "Home cooked meals". Beautiful, a healthy meal, that what I need. Unfortunately, it's different. Burgers and pizza rolls and that is it. I go for the pizza and that was delicious.
I have to cycle 4 km more before I reach the hotel and I have 'had it compltely'. Fortunately, they have a large room available and my bike may stay just inside. Again I am going to bath first and then I washed some clothes. I went to the bar to get a drink. The people there are really enthausiast about my story and want to know everything. I'm getting a 'Moose' sausage at the bar. "You have to taste it!" And it was delicious, really delicious ...I give the residential manager a few purple straps and I want to pay for the drinks I want to take to my room, but that should not be: a donation!
I tell everybody that I really would like to write something for my blog before I go to bed. I notice that the drivers and other attendees prefer to spend an evening at the bar with me, but I really need to take care of myself. I'm going to my room at 8:15 pm and go to sleep at 9 pm."
Han Schomakers, editor
Translation by Han Schomakers