I was well rested for my final ride of the trek, the home straight from the ferry terminal in Argentia to St. John's, Newfoundland's largest city and provincial capital.
I was keen to make the last day's ride a big one, and as Les was driving the rental, I borrowed his cycling shoes and racing bike, the same bike which was used by the American who won the Tour de France last year, instead of hauling the mountain bike over the hills in sandles.
It was a completely different experience altogether riding the weightless road bike after pulling along over 100 pounds of luggage for so long, but it certainly felt good and was a high note to end on.
I drafted Les in the rental for a stint, but once we made it onto the main highway, it wasn't appropriate, so I left Les, vowing to meet him further up the line.
Les and I met again and agreed to meet at the end of the Trans Canada Highway.
I had reached St. John's, and was only one turnoff from the end of the highway when one of the fragile tires went flat. The heavy rain that had started about an hour ago meant that the tube was too wet for the patch to stick onto the tube, so I wheeled the bike to a gas station just off the highway and called for a cab to take me to the end of the highway.
I couldn't see any sign of Les and the highway didn't end in any clear spot so I got the taxi driver to take me down to the 'Trapper John's' pub, which I knew Les would come to as it was only landmark that we both knew in the town and we had planned to go there that night. As I had no money, I left the bike in the taxi as security and clunked into the pub in Les's bike shoes, soaking wet from head to toe.
I used the restroom's hand dryer to dry my clothes to a damp consistency and then sat in the bar for about an hour talking to the friendly locals in very high spirits as I had just ridden from Vancouver to the city I was in.
As predicted, Les came waltzing in, and within 2 minutes of his arrival we were being filmed by three lovely ladies from the local university as part of their school project. We had a couple of beers with them and before they guided us to the taxi driver's house to pick up Les's bike, before driving to Molly and Phil's house, where we were staying for the next couple of nights.
Molly, Phil and their son Malcom turned out to be very interesting people, having lived in some obscure parts of Canada over the years, and had many interesting tales to tell.
St. John's turned out to be such a fun place to end the journey in, and we made our way back to Trapper John's to be screeched in. Being screeched in makes one an honoury Newfoundlander (or 'Newfy' as they are commonly refered to as) and involves singing a tune in Newfounese, drinking the screech (a type of rum) and kissing a cod or a puffins arse. In this particular screech in our lips met with the bird's bottom (a fake wooden replica, but still authentic), we then received our certificates. What made the event even more memorable was the fact that Les, who had been disrupting the ceremony with a bag of nuts, had to french kiss the puffin from head to toe, which made him paranoid about catching a desease from one of the 8 or so before him who salivered on it including a leather pant wearing, sick-looking homosexual from New York.
We ended up staying for some more beers in Trapper John's befriending a group that were working on an oil rig off the coast of Newfoundland before leaving with them to go to another pub, Orieley's, down George Street, a neat little street filled with bars. Orieley's closed its doors and most of the other patrons cleared out, with only a few keen locals left, which included a handful of colourful characters who we talked to and sang Newfy songs with until well past 3am.
To start the next morning, we went out to the Cape Spear, the most eastern part of North America, for the cheesy photograph session and then made our way down the rugged south coast to Tors Cove, where a diddle shrinking nudey swim in the Atlantic amongst the icebergs was had.
A little cold from the bath in the ocean, we journeyed to Calver, a small village on the east coast of the Avalon Peninsula where Michelle, who we had met at the pub the night earlier, lived. Her mother, a lovely lady who had such a strong Newf accent we couldn't understand a word she was saying, cooked us some traditional Newfy Toutons, a heavy bread fried in pork fat covered with syrup, apparently great for the heart.
Michelle then took us to feed her horse a Newfoundland Pony, a minature black horse, one of only 250 left, and then a look around her town and the archeological dig going on in the next town, Ferryland. It was a most interesting tour hearing all of the gossip about the small town and its residents.
We drove back to St. John's, and took a walk around the rocky track around Signal Hill at the entrance to the harbour and then back to Molly and Phils' for dinner and preparation for the last night on the rock, a big night of Karaoke.
St. John's is a fun town to start with, but karaoke with Jickling was a riot, who I had last sung cheesy tunes with just before leaving Vancouver, with him wearing a tailored, white linen suit. Everyone was exceptionally friendly, and unlike most karaoke bars, people could actually sing, which made us look worse than usual, but the rendition of David Lee Roth's Just a Gigalow bought down the house, and I left the pub and Newfoundland a very happy man.