Updated: Jun 30
We’d been married for over 20 years and had fallen into the routine that all married couples do: we took each other for granted, and the “spark” had died. But when we took our first motorcycle trip together, things turned around as if the clock had reversed those 20 years. We laughed, held hands, and the passion returned.
While that might make for a good movie script, that’s not what my wife and I experienced when we first started long-distance riding together (and we had been married 28 years on our first 10-day trip). Let me make a few things clear:
I love motorcycle riding. My wife does not. My wife loves travelling to far-off places to see different things. I do not (I travelled extensively for work for 30 years, and if I never get on a plane again, I’m okay with that). My wife loves hiking. Me? Not so much.
Because of this, we decided many years ago to take separate vacations. We’d have a 1 or 2-week vacation together doing something like renting a cottage where she could go on hikes with the dog while I went out for a couple of hours on my bike. Then we’d each take at least one vacation apart per year. She’d fly off somewhere with family or friends, while I stayed home and looked after the dog. Then we’d reverse and she’d stay home while I took off for a week of two-wheel fun either solo or with riding buddies. It worked. We were happy with the arrangement, but began to think: would it be possible to incorporate all the things we enjoyed into one trip together?
We started off with day trips of 100km or less, then progressed to overnights travelling no more than 120km/day. After a couple more iterations, we began to plan.
Both of us had always wanted to go to Newfoundland, but man, that’s a long way away. Our solution, which suited us both was that I’d ride for 3 days and then catch the overnight ferry to The Rock. She’d fly into Deer Lake, and we’d start our adventure. We dubbed it the “I’se the B’ye” tour, as we planned on visiting Fogo, Twillingate, Moreton’s Harbour and Bonavista. We started with two days in Grosse Morne, then worked our way west over the next 10 days. With only one exception we limited the distance to 250km/day. And oh the fun we had:
We stayed in Gander and did the 9/11 tour & met some of the actual people portrayed in the play Come From Away.
We took an Iceberg Tour out of Twillingate.
We spent Canada Day in Bonavista and built an inuksuk by the lighthouse.
We stayed at an amazing B&B in Dildo and walked up Signal Hill in St John’s.
It sometimes rained on us so hard that the animals were lining up two by two.
It was so cold some days, we understood why they called the month Junuary.
We rode up through a cloud into zero visibility.
We watched thousands upon thousands of Puffins at their nesting site in Elliston.
We learned to never trust a Newfie pothole after rain: it could be 2 inches deep, it could be 12.
We ate more fried bologna and cod with cheese than I will admit to.
We found out first hand why Newfoundlanders are renowned for their friendliness and hospitality; they truly are the salt of the earth.
We shared an adventure together that you just can’t get flying somewhere and renting a car. Did we laugh? Absolutely. Did we hold hands? I honestly can’t remember, but I don’t think so. Was it a fun shared experience? So much so that on our last night in St John’s before she flew home and I started my long ride back, we planned to do the same thing the following year, visiting all of the places we didn’t get to. Only problem? That was 2019, and we were locked out of The Rock for two years. We finally went back again in 2022, and included PEI and the Cabot Trail on our 3 week trip, but that’s a story for another time.
I’ll always like riding solo. I’ll push the envelope more and ride more freely without someone sitting behind me. But there’s something special about having someone tap your side when they need to stop to pee. To whack you on your shoulder when they think you’re going too fast. To feel their head bonk against your back as they doze off while you ride; that they feel safe with you, the same way you felt as a child in the backseat driving home with your parents late at night. You could go to sleep and you knew everything would be ok.
Riding as a couple can make wonderful memories. I highly recommend it.