May 9

May 9th, 2007

I wasn’t planning on waking up quite so early today, but I was up by 6:30. We took our time getting ready and having breakfast. After yesterday’s 130km, I deserved to relax a bit. It was a nice change to see the sun streaming through the windows in the morning.

 

My skates were on and I was in my shorts by 8:30. Such a beautiful day. We entered Terra Nova Provincial Park first thing in the morning. The road through the park was 50 km long, so I was hoping to get through it before lunch.

 

The roads inside Terra Nova were perfect. Well maintained with a 6 foot paved shoulder. I was warned ahead of time that I would face a few challenging hills. And I wasn’t disappointed. The longest incline of my journey so far was about half way through the Park. It was a 4km climb. Fortunately, the amazing conditions and beautiful weather helped me to the top with no trouble at all.

 

About 3 or 4 km from the end of the park, a small SUV went flying past me honking like mad. I watched them drive away as I was coasting down a hill. But then they stopped. When I caught up to them again, a couple from St. John’s got out to meet me. It turned out that they had heard about me on the radio a couple days earlier. They felt compelled to stop and offer a donation. They were great people and very encouraging.

 

When I finally reached the end of Terra Nova Prov. Park, there was a sharp turn in the road to the West. The instant I came around the bend, I felt like I skated into a brick wall. A sudden gust of wind almost stopped me dead in my tracks. But the ‘sudden gust’ wasn’t a gust at all. It was a long, sustained wind that wouldn’t let up the rest of the day. But I had reached my first goal of the day… 50 km through the park before lunch.

 

I had lunch and a nap and was back on the road around 2:45. My dad was pretty excited because our generator had been stalling and he finally found the problem (low oil).

 

So off I headed into the hurricane-like winds with 70 km to Gander (my original goal for the day). It only took me a few minutes to realize I wasn’t going to reach Gander today. The wind was atrocious. I have never experienced such a constant powerful wind. People call Chicago the Windy City, but it has nothing compared to Newfoundland. I’ve been to both, and Newfoundland wins the title hands down. I was only able to skate about 5 km at a time before needing a break.

 

During my last break, we had our first run-in with the law. A cruiser passed us going the opposite direction but quickly flicked on the lights and turned around. When they pulled over behind us, my dad seemed a bit on edge. Were they going to tell us to get off the Trans-Canada? It turned out that they had passed us earlier while I was on a break and they just wanted to make sure everything was ok. Again, really nice Newfoundlanders. I shook their hands and was on my way.

 

When I reached my final destination of Gambo, I had only managed to cover 20 km since lunch. I was extremely disheartened and exhausted. But after relaxing a bit and having dinner, I feel much better. Gander is still 40 km away, but I can make it there by lunch (as long as the wind lets up a bit for me). It’s a good thing I did the 130 km yesterday, because I only covered 75 today. I suppose I could have gone another 10-15 km today before the sun went down, but I was on the verge of a mental meltdown. I’m looking forward to tomorrow. I’m just looking out the window of the RV and the wind has almost completely died down.

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