Tuesday April 14, 2015
Michael will always remember the first days of his challenge. The stages were heavy, very heavy. The good news for today is that he arrived in one piece in a luxury hotel and was received with open arms. Read his contribution here:
"I woke up early and checked my e-mail first. The internet connection is bad. My photos do not arrive at the editor in Purmerend. At about 7 local time Han calls me briefly. It is fine how he supports me and his words do me good. The kitchen is not open until 9: 00, so I have to wait. That is a pity ...
At least it's very cosy. There are many truckers within that also enjoy breakfast. We get caught up in conversation about my trip and that it's really too far to cycle 130 km to Gander in a single day. It's rugged terrain, where even the trucks with heavy load may have trouble with it.
There is another village after Clarenville close at Terra Nova park, where I can spend the night. This is 20-25 km outside of Clarenville. There is no hotel room left available. This week the Eastern Cup Icehockey Games are being held and the supporters from all over the island come to Clarenvillen to see the local Caribous and other teams play.
The weather is good and the frost has gone as I depart at 10:15 am. Actually much too late. En route my sports watch stops working. I only see weird characters, etc. The beginning is nice and with a lot of runs and it's quiet on the road.
I come around Clarenville at 11:45 am and I decide to buy some stuff extra for I should be camping in case of emergency. It is not recommended doing so. It is too cold and there are coyotes around that are very active lately... FINE!!
At Canadian Tyre I buy some drinks and have someone to look at my watch. A new battery works wonders! Before I go any further, I eat a salad at a kind of fast food chain. I have to do something for the vitamins and I am more than fed up with the French fries etc.
I cycle back to the highway and continue my trip. There are some heavy climbings. After 30 km this morning I come around the motel the drivers called. I enter the terrain and it seems to be extinct. Closed. I walk around the building and I see a side entrance. The door is loose. I open it up and I shout something, but get no response. Only two small dogs barking come out. This is a living area and clearly not the hotel. What should I do? I don't go inside a stranger's home here. Therefore, I decide to go further, because there would be even a motel/hotel or will it be outdoor sleeping. That is not fine. I sweat properly while cycling and cool off when I stand still. How should that work out if I need to go camping again? In addition, there is little level ground where there is no snow.
I cycle further and after a while I come against a gas station. I go inside and ask if can stay anywhere near by. The Golf hotel Terra Nova has place yet. A visitor from the gas station has called for me and shows me the route on his phone. Another 3 km to go ...
Terra Nova seems to be a beautiful, luxurious hotel. After checking in and unpacking I have to put my bike in a separate room, I'm going to take a shower. I am so glad I can sleep here! I skype with my family for another half hour, because the internet connection is fine here.
Down in the pub I can eat. I order something and end up in conversation with Kim behind the bar. It is very quiet at this time of the year. Especially now that there is still snow. My Ceasar salad is ready in no time and is really delicious. For a main course I take the fish & chips. It's a delicious fish. And in two pieces. Fine food, with even some vegetables.
A bit later the cook is also present. He has heard of my visit and wants to meet me. Twice he has survived cancer and supports my initiative therefore warmly. I'll fetch a few purple straps for Kim and the cook. They are clearly very happy with it and go follow me on internet. Because I'm tired, I want to go in the direction of my bed, but the cook and Kim surprise me with $20. Here, we want you to have this from us for your tour and we hope that you can last! "I can not miss more", says Daniel apologetic. I get a big hug and I am touched. What a lovely people here, incredible! With warm feelings I went to bed.
I hope that there will be not too much rain tomorrow, as predicted. I will have to cycle a 115 km long climb according to the cook. Something like at St. John's... No, huh!!! "
Han Schomakers, editor
Translation by Han Schomakers