Now, before anyone gets pissed at me for the title, it may not have been the fish.
Regressing. Our ride across New York to Maine was uneventful, except for the pesky bee that found it’s way into the top of my glove. Suddenly, I felt it. Another on of the little bastards. It had stung me on the top of my hand, and was still crawling around in there. I was frantically beating the top of my hand against my leg like in a self abuse mode. That didn’t work. So next was the against the throttle, surprised I wasn’t committed for my actions. Finally it stopped moving and I was able to find a place to pull over. Yep, the culprit was dead inside my glove, but the damage was already apparent as the swelling was increasing by the minute. I stuffed the now swollen hand back into the glove, after removing the squished bee, and continued on.
We crossed into New Brunswick at a small crossing, 5 minutes, and decided to haul ourselves quickly to St. John’s, Newfoundland. You see, our friend Kinga was there at the Georges Street Party wanted to see us. They were all having a blast. We changed our ferry crossing dates to get there on time, and catch what we missed on the way back south. The organizers of the Horizons Unlimited Newfoundland event live there, so we stopped as soon as we got to town for a visit at David and Karen’s house. Well Kinga was staying with Mark and Krista, co-organizers, also stopped by. Kinga had a surprise for us.
In her overly generous way she had made reservations for the three of us to be “Screeched In”. Now, many of you have either heard of, or done, the Dawson City version, “Sour Toe Cocktail”. Same idea, but it involves a big fish, a Cod, to be exact, and alcohol, Screech Rum. So, everyone, about 40 of us, all gathered together around a bar which looked as if it had been there for decades, serving your choice of alcohol to seamen just off the fishing boats.
Skipper Lukey, eerily looking like my brother, was at the helm. A good variety of Newfoundland music was playing, the beer and spirits were flowing and the mood was increasing to a good party level in anticipation. Skipper Lukey was knocking us over with his wit and singsongs of Newfoundland heritage. He asked for complete quite. Being able to hear a mouse farting in the corner was a good description of the quite he wanted. One by one, he progressed around the bar asking each of us our name and where we were from. Then, finished, he started pouring 40 shots of Screech Rum on the bar as we all assisted in passing them out. Then the song, a long lyrical rendition of life on the sea. Next, out of the cooler came the stiff, frozen cod. Around the room our skipper wandered giving us all to “Kiss the Cod”. for some, a quick peck was all they desired. Other wanted to become intimate with the cod. I don’t know if it was alcohol induced or just being in the moment, but I’d swear I saw some tongue, and not from the cod, once or twice. This was all followed be one or three shots of Screech Rum. Then, a most amazing thing. Skipper Lukey called each of us by name as he handed out the 40 Screech Certificates. A totally amazing afternoon. Thanks Kinga.
Mark and Kristy joined us for a couple beers and some amazing Fish & Chips downtown. We had a great evening crawling back up the hill to their house and all of us just passed out. The next morning Mark didn’t feel well, so Krista ran out to get a CoVID test kit, POSITIVE. Shit!!! Melanie, Kinga and I left and headed for the community campground in town. The next day Krista was positive, then Kinga didn’t feel well and slept most of the day. On the third day Kinga left for Labrador and eventually Montreal. Melanie wasn’t feeling well be then, so with rain coming we found a quaint little boutique hotel for her to recover for a few nights.
With Melanie improving we headed south toward a ferry that would take us from Bay L’Argent to Rencontre East, and on to Pool’s Cove. This could’ve been really cool. This was a passenger ferry that would hoist your motorcycle with straps up on to the boats for the crossing. But, two things happened. Severe fires had closed the road north out of Pool’s Cove. This meant you were stranded until the fires were under control. Second, the ferry never showed up. We were told it was delayed, but no one know for how long. Bummer, and on to plan, who knows.
We finally found a campground and then it happened. I felt off, but had an idea of what it was. We meandered towards Gros Morne National Park, meeting up with Mark and Krista along the way. Leaving them, on the second day at a beautiful campground on the water, we were riding in the rain and one of the cylinders of the trusty VStrom 1000 Donkey stopped working. We limped slowly into a town that had, amazingly, two shops. The first one, Big Land Motorsports, couldn’t have giving a shit about our problem and said three weeks to even look at it. The other one, Mid Island Motorsports, took the bike right to the back and mechanic Dylan and I, side by side, started dismantling and diagnosing. The people at this shop, including the owner, were great. We checked everything, replaced or changed what we could, put it together and pushed the start button. PERFECT, the Donkey lives another day. I hope you have a great wedding day this weekend, Dylan. Thanks for everything. If you are in this area you know where to stop in for service or just to say hi.
My friend Kith Birkenstock, from Georgia, had just arrived to “The Rock” that morning. He rode a Gen 1 VStrom about 435,000 miles. Yep, you read that right and it’s not a misprint. He rode straight to where I was working on the bike to offer his assistance, just as we were finishing. Good friend, that’s for sure.
We stayed in a little cabin for the night and then camped for the next couple nights leading up to the Horizon’s Unlimited meeting starting in a couple days. I was still feeling like I have a head cold, just can’t shake it. I did a CoVID test on the both of us this morning. Melanie is now negative, and me, POSITIVE. Two more days to go….
Failure is not the Opposite of Success, It is Part of Success.