Day Seven – St. Anthony NF to Port Aux Basques NF(482 miles)

After a restful night at The Haven Inn we grabbed some breakfast in the motel restaurant and headed up to L'Anse-aux-Meadows.  The park has the first historic traces of a European presence in the Americas, the ruins of a Norse settlement from the 11th century, with wooden and earth houses similar to those found in Norway. According to the Sagas, in 985-986 Bjarni Herjolfsson was blown off course from his trip to Greenland and spotted Newfoundland. In 995-996, Lief Eriksson went looking for this land and described Vinland. Thorfinn Karlsefin and Thovald Eriksson led an expedition to find Vinland and established a village for 3 years in what is now L'Anse Aux Meadows. While there the first child born to Europeans on the North American continent was born: Snorri Thorbrandsson.  A Norwegian team in 1960, led by Helge and Anne Stine Ingstad discovered the site while searching for Vinland, the first Viking settlement in North America. Helge met a local fisherman, George Decker, who showed him what locals thought was an aboriginal camp. Excavation of the site later discovered the Viking settlement. During the 1920s, Newfoundland author W.A.Munn in his book "the Wineland Voyages" first suggested the L'Anse aux Meadows area might be the site of the Norse Saga's Vinland. 

We arrived there early in the morning before the park was open, so we decided to give ourselves a self-guided tour.  We walked down into the village and had the place to ourselves.  We wondered around awhile and decided to head on.  We headed south back down the coast the way we had come the previous day.  We stopped at St. Barbe near the
Port-au-Choix historic site to catch a glimpse of the ferry to Labrador. We were a little low on gas so we stopped at Hilltop to fuel up.  We met some locals there and struck up a conversation.  The owner of the gas station was a former fisherman who had traded in his nets.  I think he missed his former occupation but he said there wasn't much money in it anymore.  It was exceptionally hard to understand him with his thick "Newfie" accent.  I probably understood only about half of what he said, and he probably only understood half of what I said.  He remarked at how slow we talked.  Back on the bikes the skies were growing dark and we were soon in a steady, cold rain that lasted all the way to Port Aux Basques.  All the great scenery we had seen on the way up was now shrouded in clouds and rain and the ride was fairly miserable.  We stopped near St. Stephens under a bridge for a reprieve.  By the time we got to the PAB ferry it had stopped.  We waited in line for the ferry with a significant number of other bikers who marveled at the distance we had traveled.  Most were from Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.  We conducted the same routine but with a little more certainty as we were grizzled veterans.  Steve went upstairs to stake out a booth where we could sleep and by the time he came back down my bike was secure and I held down our spot.  We drank a few beers before falling off to sleep.  It was not a particularly restful sleep in the booth but it beat alternative.  We sailed around midnight and reached Nova Scotia around 4:00 or 5:00 A.M.