Posted by: Silver | August 28, 2012

Deer Lake to Grand Falls-Windsor

Deer Lake to Springdale:
Distance: 129 km
Ascent: 685 m
Cycling time: 6 hours, 35 minutes

Springdale to Grand Falls-Windsor:
Distance: 106 km
Ascent: 605 m
Cycling time: 5 hours, 5 minutes

There is nothing more likely to break the heart of a triker than to see a beautifully wide, well-paved shoulder rendered completely unusable by a dirty great rumble strip hacked through the middle of it. And sadly, I’ve had my heart broken more than once as I’ve made my way through Newfoundland… Fortunately, however, that is all that’s been broken, despite the best efforts of an extremely inconsiderate dump truck driver who refused to slow down and wait until it was safe to pass me, despite the fact that I was doing a good 60km/hr down a good-sized hill at the time. I mean, seriously, it really wouldn’t have killed him to slow down that much for a few seconds, but instead, he forced me onto the rumble strip, which – at that speed – might very well have killed me, if I didn’t have such good brakes and so much experience of handling the trike these days. Because when something as light as a pedal cycle hits that sort of uneven surface at that sort of speed – trust me, you will lose control of it…

Happily, however, most drivers continue to be extremely courteous and sympathetic of my plight: one lady who stopped at a gas station at the same time as me said she’d been commenting to her children about the rumble strip in the shoulder and how dangerous it looked like it was making things for me. I could do nothing other than agree vigorously. I know I’ve said it before, but if they could just make them a little bit narrower, and put them a little bit closer to the edge of the shoulder, then they’d help keep everyone safe, instead of putting my life in danger every time they appear…

Once you get off the Trans-Canada Highway, of course, the rumble strips disappear – but then again, so does the shoulder. Fortunately, the road to Springdale was fairly quiet, and people certainly seemed quite excited that I was going there: most people who are simply ‘crossing Canada for charity’ never leave the TCH, but then again, as you all know, I’ve never simply been ‘crossing Canada’, and the residents of Springdale have as much right to know about how wonderful SOS Children’s Villages is as anyone on the main highway!

One of the disadvantages of this journey is that you never know what’s coming up: I’d already pulled into a very unscenic dirt side road to eat my lunch before I came upon this perfect picnic spot just a few miles further on. One of the advantages of this journey, however, is that it really doesn’t take long to work up sufficient appetite to justify stopping for a ‘second lunch’…

There are very few places where the TCH meets the coast in Newfoundland, but just after Springdale is one of them: although even then, I had to go down a little side road to get this shot

In common with many other salmon rivers all across Canada, the Exploits river in Grand Falls-Windsor has a fish ladder to help the salmon reach their spawning grounds above the hydro dam that’s been built at, yes, some Grand Falls. I was more impressed by the view looking downstream, however…



  1. What on earth is a ‘rumble strip’? Adair

    • Not something I ever saw very much of in Quebec, Adair! It’s a corrugated line of furrows dug into the tarmac along the edge of some highways (and sometimes along the centre line too) that makes a ‘rumbling’ sound if you drive over it in a car. It’s designed to bring you to attention and make you notice that you’re drifting out of your lane, but in order to be noticeable through a car’s suspension, the ridges and troughs have to be pretty bumpy, which for a light, minimally-suspended pedal trike is very bumpy indeed…

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