Monday, 8 September 2014

Goosey Goosey Gander

After 7,836km we have reached Gander, Newfoundland.

Gander is known for its international airport that was once the largest airport in the world.  Until the early 1960's it was the transatlantic refuelling point for piston aircraft and early jets travelling from Scotland and elsewhere. 

Today it is the refuelling stop for Susan and I but, unfortunately, we will not be visiting the famous Gander International Lounge.  Instead, we are staying at Sinbad's Hotel. What's that all about? Honestly, this place has a big sword as it's sign and it hasn't been decorated since the 70's. Our room has pink wallpaper and a green carpet. Nice. 

Our cycle here has been all ups and downs as we climb about 2,500ft each day. We cycled via Deer Lake (55km), Sheppardville (95km) Grand Falls Windsor (115km) to Gander (95km). Our stops each day are largely determined by where we can find accomodation. It's just hills and trees in between and nothing else. And I mean nothing. As our cycle to Deer Lake was relatively short, we enjoyed a day camping by the lake drinking beer and cooking burgers. It doesn't get much better. 

On the road from Sheppardville to Grand Falls Windsor we hit a southerly headwind. Yes it's the nature of the road across Newfoundland that we spend much of our time travelling either north or south! This was the strongest headwind we have had in Canada. Winds were strong to gale force. Added to that we had a 30km long hill to climb. It was astonishingly tiring. 

I have read about other cyclists crossing the Prairies against headwinds and getting to really hate the wind, almost on a personal level. Well, sitting on the front of the bike I began to understand what they were talking about.  I cycle along talking to myself (Susan gives up listening), moaning about the hills and the wind. If I could catch the wind I would have given it a dam good talking to. It's at times like these Susan just calls me DQ (drama queen). She does remarkably well and has a real inner strength to get through days like these (oh I know she will read this and tell me to take it out but she can't do it herself so she's stuck). 

At the end of a long day we made it to the Robin Hood hotel and ordered in pizza. The following day, as tired as we were, it was back on the bike to Gander. That's long distance cycling for you, keeping going day after day.  Thankfully, the wind had gone home (probably tired of me moaning at it). The skies were blue and the hills were still there but it's a lovely place to be. 

We now have just 345km or so to reach St John's and we aim to reach there Saturday morning (we don't fly out of St. John's until the 17th so no rush). 

Also, George Street, St John's, has the most bars and pubs per square foot of any street in the whole of North America. If you had read an earlier post you will recall that we cycle in accordance with my Plan. Now you really don't think it's a coincidence that we arrive in George Street on a Saturday!


  1. Enjoy a good drink you deserve it!

  2. Haven't been across Newfie since the 60s. One thing you missed because time
    flies and things change was the view of a number of outdoor "loos" with doors
    open facing the new highway, some with inhabitants!

    We'll miss you!

    Cheers from Burnaby

  3. Hi Cliff and Susan - have been away on holiday (again) so just catching up and can't believe the progress you have made - the journey really is just about over. Love the pictures of the journey through The Maritimes, seemed so very different, you probably can't even remember the Rockies now! At least you have had a much flatter terrain (relatively speaking) for the final section. Great to see you are still getting on, it always works best when you talk to yourself and Susan ignores it - 30 years of fine-tuning that skill has stood her in very good stead for this epic journey I suspect. Have really enjoyed following your progress and will miss the updates and the great pictures. Enjoy the last few days of the holiday. Best wishes Willie and Margaret

    1. My saving grace throughout this journey was that once Susan was on the bike in the Canadian wilderness she had nowhere else to go! Thanks for all your comments and support. Looking forward to catching up again soon.