May 29 - Port Aux Basques to Corner Brook, Newfoundland & Labrador

I woke to a knock at my door indicating it was 6.30am. As I peeled myself out of bed and into the shower I had a feeling this would be another tiring day.

Breakfast of cereal, toast, juice and more freshly baked muffins went down a treat. By 7.45am I was on the only bus going west towards St. John’s. I was only to go as far as Corner Brook today, which was to take around 3 and a half hours.

My dozing session was ended abruptly to the sound of the in-coach movie. Looking about in a daze I realised that I was not the only one to have been woken up suddenly.

At about 9.30am we pulled into a motel at the side of the Trans Canada Highway. It looked like the only building for miles. It turned out to be a bit of a mad rush for the only washroom in the building. On these bus rides everyone gets off the bus at any opportunity. There are the people who go straight to the washroom, those who go straight to the tuck shop and those who light up next to the bus. This stop was no exception.

I’m not sure if it was the rocking of the bus between potholes or the movie that sent me back to sleep, but I woke as the bus made a sudden stop at an intersection and then turned off the highway to Stephenville Crossing. A huge beach replaced the rugged bush landscape with fishermen spotted about and people driving their ATV’s kicking up dust storms as they raced across the dunes.

The bus didn’t stop until we reached the old airbase at Stephenville. The road into the town began across a huge stretch of tarmac that was obviously where military aircraft rested, lined up for over a kilometre in each direction.

Corner Brook was not far from Stephenville. The road to the city left the highway and the rolling bush behind and as the city appeared below the ridge, mountains surrounded the area in spectacular fashion.

Half the bus departed along with myself to the Irving gas station overlooking the city. Across the road I spotted the tourist office next to an unusually placed lighthouse. There is something about the Atlantic Provinces and their small lighthouses located far from the water’s edge.

The tourist office proved little use despite their enthusiasm. I managed to score a free map, which is always useful. With my new map in hand I made my way down the hillside along a road straight into town. By the time I reached the downtown area and a payphone the heat was becoming so unbearable. I decided to only call the accommodation providers at the bottom of the hill so I didn’t have to carry all my stuff much further. This plan failed. I ended up walking up the largest hill in the city and then over the top to the place I booked.

Stepping in the door to the luxurious bed and breakfast, it was worth the wait. I was hurriedly shown to my room and I dived straight in the shower.

Refreshed and not smelling like the street anymore I headed back out into the increasing temperature that had already exceeded 28 degrees. My walk took me along the ridge overlooking the Humber Arm where the Humber River flows. Rounding the hill back towards the way I came up from downtown I could see over the city and the unusual small, colourful wooden hospital building perched on the side of the hill at the north end of the city. From here I could see Corner Brook lines a basin with an open face into the Humber Arm to the west. I was standing on the north side and had come down the hill from the bus to the east.

For some reason I decided that I should walk back down the hill, through the city and up the south side hill. With a couple of stops in each of Corner Brook’s small malls for some cool air I headed through the winding, steep residential streets. 2 hours after setting off I made my way up the gravel road to the top of the hill overlooking Corner Brook from the south. A dedication memorial paid homage to Captain James Cook and provided a unique viewing point in every direction.

I soaked up some sun and all the water from my water bottle before heading back down the hill and back up the other hill to the bed and breakfast.

The owner of the establishment offered me the choice of 3 bicycles, which I hurriedly took her up on so I could go and get dinner. I had the choice between a child’s bike, one with 2 flat tyres and one that clicked and clunked. I opted for the latter.

Within 5 minutes the back brake pad of the bike flew off. Bad timing. I was just coming to the a very steep downhill road. Leaving rubber marks down the road I put my feet down in an attempt at decreasing speed. This was not working. An old lady slammed her brakes on as I flew through a 4 way stop and on down the steep hill increasing even more speed.

Realising a car was coming up behind me limiting my manoeuvring ability I pulled onto the grassy verge at the side of the road. The boneshaker in warp speed passed straight over a fallen tree sending bits of branch flying across the road as I rocketed through another 4 way stop between 2 cars.

My stopping options were now coming to a critical stage as I saw the next street crossing the one I was flying down at a serious rate of knots was full of traffic. At the last minute I made a sharp turn into a graveyard and crashed straight into and through the hedge lining it and a neighbour’s garden. Shaking, I picked myself up and wheeled the bike back up the hill. I had suddenly lost my appetite but fortunately that was all I had lost.

Related Pages

Travel Guide - Getting Around in Canada
Travel Guide - Newfoundland and Labrador
Travel Guide - Port Aux Basques
Photographs of Port Aux Basques

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