Friday, September 26, 2008

Trip - 1F

Leg-1 Home to Miguasha, QC and return (Sept. 26 143km)

Today's small trip happened on a whim - I needed a building permit for my garage, so after motoring to Campbellton to take care of that, I decided to head across the Restigouche River bridge to Quebec. Here I could get a couple of pics of community signs - which I like to collect.

Since it was such a sunny day and perfect riding temperature at 15°C (60°F), I continued up the Interprovincial Blvd. through Point-a-la-Croix (Cross Point) until I hit the Jct. at Hwy. 132. Here I turn east for no reason (the best way to enjoy a ride). This road has improved a lot over the years, and is a pleasure to drive on this perfect day.

After entering Pointe-a-la-Garde, I decide to leave the main road, and end up in a campsite that is obviously closed. It still has the summer feel to it (minus the people), and it sits beside the river with a nice view. After passing the fire pit, I end up at the far end of the site, and instead of back-tracking, I find a small trail back down to the main road.

Next community is Escuminac - which happens to be across the river from my place. I leave the main road again, and follow a small dirt road down to a few cottages by the river. The cottage owners are nowhere in sight, but Adirondack chairs are still placed at the edge of the bank overlooking the river - enticing strangers like myself. I decide to get off the bike and take a few pictures downriver toward the Bay of Chaleur.

Back on the bike, I continue on past the mountainous piles of logs at the sawmill, and a few more miles I enter Nouvelle. On the eastern end of this community, I turn down a small paved road which rolls and bends it's way to a small peninsula. I see a smoke stack off to the right, and surprised to realize that it's the thermal plant in Dalhousie, NB., so I'm obviously near the mouth of the river. At the tip of the peninsula, is a dead end, with an old boat armed with fishing rods at the ready. I get off the bike and walk around a bit, enjoying the small sandy area.

After getting back on the bike and putting the camera away, I'm startled to see part of a large animal standing beside me! As I turn more, I see it's a large German Shepherd dog, only interested in sniffing me. I fire up the bike and slowly get turned around, and as I ride around the driveway of an old house, the dog follows along - until I hit the pavement, and crack the throttle.

Return Leg.....

I decide to stick to the river road more, and soon come to the Miguasha Ferry Terminal wharf. For years a ferry shuttled people and their cars between here and Dalhousie, NB, but has been decommissioned in the last few years and sold. Trains, ferry's....what next?

After leaving the wharf, I turn down Miguasha beach road, and see a bunch of people in the distance, then realize it's a bunch of tourists at the National Park, checking out the fossil tour. I get off for a bit to take a few more pics.

Next I head up the hill, but hang a left to stick to the river road. Here the road rises and falls over the hills, and it's fall, so lots of hay bails in the fields, and another opportunity for a photo.

There's an interesting tourist-looking place on the left, but after going through one gate, I see a "Entrée Privée" sign, so get back out on the road.

After coming to a dead end, I have to back track just a bit to get out to the main road.

Heading west, I ride until I'm back to Point-a-la-Croix, and notice a lookout sign, so I immediately turn into the road to L'Alverne. A road to the left leads up the mountain, but soon turns to dirt. It's kind of rough, then gets worse - major bumps that force me to slow enough that I have to stop. Maybe a mistake to stop, cause it's a chore to start going again playing with the clutch and gas on a steep hill. Finally I get going again, and make sure I stand on the pegs to get over the rough sections. Eventually I get to the top, but don't see any lookout....I only see a walking trail sign - which likely leads to the lookout, but I don't know how far it is, so I decide to skip it and take the loop around the top and head back down. This isn't as bad as going up, but I still have to pay attention. At least I can stop, take a picture, then get going ok.

At the bottom of the mountain, I turn back west, but decide to pass the turn off to N.B. with the intent of finding a road through Listiguj Reserve. I find a road that turns back east and runs parallel with Hwy.#132, then weave my way through the reserve. I've been through this reserve before, but this is a different route, and surprised that they have a full sized church and school. I finally come out by the river again, then head for the bridge back into New Brunswick. Another 20 minutes, and it's the end of my little adventure for the day, and what a great feeling to just point the bike wherever you decide at the moment....hope to have a longer version of this sometime in the future.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Trip - 1E

Leg 1 - Home to Fredericton (September 17th, 341kms)
This is a repeat of Trip 3, so I won't bore you with the same thing other than saying the trip came on short notice - I received a call at 1pm informing me that I had to go to Fredericton for a meeting the next day. I left work, packed at home and was away before 2pm. It was a great sunny day with temperatures in the 15-18°C (60-65°F) range.

Road construction was still a factor, but still got into the Ramada by 6pm - only to find out the meeting the next day was cancelled!

Leg 2 - Fredericton to Home (September 18th, 341kms)
Since there's no meeting, time to get going early (since I'm on company time). Temperatures on the trip home range from a low of 7°C (46°F) to a high of 20°C (68°F) . Road construction had me tied up about 4 times grrrr.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Trip - 1D

Leg 1 - Home to Fredericton (August 21st, 341kms) After waking at 5:15, showering and eating breakfast, I'm on the road at 6am. It's 9°C/48°F - a little cool, but not too bad, and the sky is starting to brighten. The first 40 minutes flies by, and then then I hit a set of lights for bridge construction near the Nigadoo exit. While I wait for the light to change, I decide to put on my sunglasses, and it's not long before they come in handy. A few miles down the road, and almost dead ahead, sunrise jumps out at me, so it's time to make more distance between me and the traffic ahead.

The temperature remains the same, until soon after I've passed Bathurst onto Hwy.#8, where it quickly drops to 4°C/40°F and stays there for about 10 kms (glad that I zipped in the jacket liner before leaving this morning). The road construction that I saw on previous trips now gives me new asphalt to cruise on. This lasts until I pass La Bonne Route, where the pavement is still tore up. To my surprise, I don't have to reduce speed like before since I now have new Bridgestone tires installed (sounds a little like an ad).

Miramichi River and Centennial Bridge come into view, so I make my way to Jeff's place to drop off some books in his mail box since it`s 7:30am, and he's still in bed. I gas up at the PetroCan across the street, and sip on a free cup of tea. After washing the bugs off my face shield, I notice the time is getting late, so I hop back on the bike to try to be on time for my 10am meeting.

It's strange how you can pass the same spot dozens of times, and for whatever reason, the location decides to really pop out at you. This one time happened to me while riding southerly down into Doaktown. Crossing the bridge over the Miramichi River, I take extra notice of the scenery. The river is calm, the temperature is perfect, and the old train bridge reflects off the water like I've never seen it before....this is a beautiful entry to a small town, and I wish I had my camera.

Down the road, I twist into Taymouth, where the Nashwaak and Tay Rivers meet. The pavement is very rough, but soon turns into a smoother twisty road into Fredericton, and is a biker's haven....especially when most of the traffic has turned off to the newer Killarney Rd. No traffic means I move along a little quicker, and I ride into the Ramada parking lot just in time for cinnamon rolls and tea before my meeting. 

Leg-2 : Fredericton to Springhill (August 21st - 267 kms)
After my meeting is finished early afternoon, I head over to McLean's Sports store where I previously ordered a helmet vent that fell off a week after buying it. They unfortunately have the wrong part, so re-order the correct one. It's not too late in the day, so I head across the river and up the Hanwell Rd. to visit Tammy & George. After a short visit, I continue out the Hanwell Rd. to get on the new part of the Trans-Canada Highway #2. The entire length of New Brunswick is now divided highway, so traffic moves along nicely. It's not long before I need a gas stop, so drop into the Irving at Salisbury and get a drink of water.

It's a great afternoon for riding at 23°C/74°F, and back out on the highway, a mustang soon passes me at a good clip, followed by a porsche from Georgia, so I oblige by tailing them, and it doesn't take long to get to Aulac near the Nova Scotia border. But this is very windy terrain, and I'm forced to slow down. The border usually brings cooler temperatures, and today it has dropped to 16°C/60°F!! Once across the border, I take the first Springhill exit, and head through the woods where the winds die down. Another great biking road with twisties and hills galore. I pull into mum's driveway at 6:30pm for a 2 day visit with her and Pete (before he moves to Ontario).

Leg-3 : Springhill to Home (August 23rd - 385 kms)
It's a hot day forecasted, so I remove the jacket lining, and head out at 11am with plans to stop at Jeff's place for the hottest part of the day. After riding through the woods on Hwy.#2 to Amherst, I'm out on the Trans-Canada Highway, and of course the wind here is strong. Crossing the border is nothing but treacherous crosswinds, so have to drive accordingly. With the new tires, I don't have to slow down to the point I had months earlier going through here, but still have to be concentrating on steering. I get past Sackville, NB and my hands are mega-tingling from gripping the handlebars so tightly (I need some kind of cruise control system).

Traffic is moving along nicely, and other than the strong winds, the ride up to Moncton is a good one. I leave the divided highway and take the exit on Hwy.#126 through the woods, but surprised that the winds are still noticeable here (good thing I never drove up the coast). The temperature is climbing, but still comfortable, and when I reach Coal Branch, it's time to gas up and have a drink. I try to call Jeff on the cell phone here, but no service available.

There's lots of road construction through here, but being Saturday, the crews are off, so no stops along the way. As I slow to go through Rogersville, the lower speed makes the warmer 27°C/80°F temperature more noticeable. Another 1/2 hour ride, and I pull into Jeff's place and quickly peel off the clothes as his excitable dog Grizzly greets me at the door. Time to stretch out and get a cold drink of water. After a little visit, Jeff has to work, so I leave during the hottest part of the day, so put the gloves in the tank bag.

I grab a snack at a gas station, then head down the King George Hwy. (such an important sounding highway, but just a regular 2-way street through the city). I pass the malls, and think about a former co-worker who recently had a car pull out in front of his motorcycle here, which totalled his bike, and he suffered a broken shoulder blade..... a reminder to drive defensively.

As I round the on-ramp in Miramichi, there are 30-40 bikes in formation ahead of me. I soon realize it's the Hell's Angels with their truck/trailer in the rear (Quebec plates), so I follow just to get a feel for the "situation" ahead. A couple cars pass me, but neither car goes any further, as it becomes very clear that the Hell's Angels own the road. They maintain their formation right up to Bathurst where they take the Tim Horton's exit.

After passing the bridge construction at Nigadoo again, it's time to get into the laying position with my feet on the passenger pegs and chin on the tank bag. Miles go by with not much happening - until a lime green Charger screams past me. Nothing a touch of the throttle won't fix for me to tail him. Next thing I know, an Intrepid passes me to tail the Charger. We continue on to the Lorne/Nash Creek exit where they leave the highway.

I've now had enough of the heat, so when the sign for Charlo comes up, I know home is near. I take the exit onto Hwy.#134 and drive the last couple miles home where it's time for shorts and vegging.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Trip - 1C

Leg 1 - Home to Fredericton (July 16th, 341kms)
Well so much for battling the cold from previous trips, now we're into the warm weather. I leave home mid-afternoon, and it's a nice 23°C, so I enjoy the ride the first hour down Hwy. 11 to Bathurst. As I roll into the city, bridge/road construction greets me, as well as a hot flagman/person/unit. It's about 2:30pm, and he informs me that he's 12 bottles of water so far today. This would be a sign of things to come, but I'm only waiting a few minutes and I'm on my way again.

Not long after rounding the turnoff to Hwy #8 and past the Bathurst High School basketball memorial, that I soon see my first road construction sign. Here they are erecting new moose fence along the highway - more efficient than the first fences that went up a couple years ago.

Soon past the moose fences, and I'm upon ripped up asphalt - the grooved kind that has a special motorcycle sign. A motorcycle can definitely not travel at normal speeds on this stuff, and it just goes on for miles and miles. Soon I meet another flagman/person/unit, and it's a bit of a wait, and I'm starting to feel the 26°C heat of the afternoon in my bike jacket, gloves and jeans. It's time to leave this stop, and dodge the loose asphalt along the way with more miles of grooved pavement. The temperature has now risen to 28°C, and as I approach the Allardville exit, I'm able to speed up on normal pavement. It doesn't last long as another construction site has many cars stopped. I wait, and wait, then decide to put the kickstand down, get off the bike, stretch, and look ahead. There's no cars coming the other way, so get back on the bike and head to the front of the line (gotta like these vehicles). The flagman/person/unit flags me to a stop with as much intensity as a state trooper, so I oblige. I get into a conversation with him, and he won't have anything to do with me trying to convince him that I could squeeze through the right hand side of the road. I shut the bike off, take the jacket off, stretch, yawn, and watch as not one, not two, but THREE groups of cars come from the other direction! When is MY turn I ask!?! He assures me it won't be too long, but minutes turn into many, and it ends up being a 15-20 minute wait!! That's like eternity when you're travelling and waiting to go!

When we finally get the go ahead, I crank through the gears out of there, but the damned grooved pavement limits my speed, and soon, a few faster cars are passing me. After many miles, I'm finally on normal pavement again, and I can drive without worry. After passing La Bonne Route restaurant/truck stop, another construction site comes up, but is nothing major, so I ride through and cruise into Miramichi and take the short cut through McKinnon/Williston roads.

Now the heat is up to 30°C and thankfully my Joe Rocket vent-through jacket lets me open 6 vents to make things more tolerable. I get off the bike in Blackville and gas up at $1.41.1 per litre!! (glad I'm getting 55mpg on this trip). Now I can get a drink and cool off a bit.

The heat continues down through the center of the province, and rolling through the towns, I stand up to vent my heated ass, and open my helmet face shield. The road gets more interesting heading into Taymouth, and by the time I hit the bridge to Penniac, I forget the heat as the road is twisty, and the trees bring alot of's a great final ride along the Nashwaak River into Fredericton, where I pull over at the Welcome To... sign to take another photo for my collection. Next stop is the liquor store for some cold ones.

By the time I roll into the parking lot after supper, my co-worker Alroy meets me on his way for a jog, and invites me to wings night with the boys at Cannon's Cross Pub....mmmm

Leg 2 - Fredericton to Home (July 17th, 341kms)
My meeting is done, and time to ride....

Another warm day....I leave the city and it's 26°C, but another nice ride up Nashwaak River valley on Hwy. 8 - until I hit the end of the Kilarney Rd. Here, I start to feel a "bug" crawling up the inside of my left sleeve, so after realizing it's not my imagination, I slow down to pull over and stop. I get the kickstand out, and the "bug" continues higher up my arm as I get my gloves and jacket off.....not good enough, as the bug has now gone under my shirt. I can't get my shirt off over my helmet, so I take off my glasses and helmet (which is not the quickest thing to do). The bug has now gone behind my shoulder, but I can swat at it knowing I can quickly take off my shirt. Finally, I get my shirt off and see a bee laying on the ground - he has stung me 3 times. The only thing I can do to bring relief to my shoulder is spit in the sand to make some mud and rub it on.

After getting dressed again, I continue my ride through the twisties up to Taymouth and Boiestown. Gas prices has dropped a little bit, and I'm getting low, so when I hit Doaktown, I pull into the Irving to fill up. The temperature has climbed to 30°C again, my sweaty pants are starting to stick to the seat, so getting off the bike and drinking some water is a nice relief. I leave the gas station and out of town, and the traffic is really moving along nicely. Soon I'm coming into Miramichi where I'm going to see if my son has returned to his apartment. Before I get to his apartment, there's a blockage on the main road due to a house fire. I follow some other cars around the block, but the road turns backwards. I try another road and end up at a ded end at Richie's Wharf. It takes me 4 tries before I find a connecting road beyond the blockage (no time for anyone to put up a detour sign I guess). I arrive at Jeff's apartment, but no one is around except his dog Grizzly. I wait around for 10 minutes, have a drink of water and run some over my head and neck, then head out again - up through the shortcut to bypass the businesses near the Centennial Bridge.

I'm back on Hwy. 8 again and am bracing for the mega construction like the day before. Luck is on my side, since I only have to wait a short time, or I drive right through the potential stops. New asphalt is down in one area near Allardville, and the bike sails through smoothly, I catch myself speeding .... oh oh ;)

The forcasted thunderstorm holds off, and after getting on Hwy. 11 at Bathurst, I stretch out with my feet on the passenger pegs and chest/chin on the tank bag. Sometimes in this position I have to snap myself to reality and realize that I'm actually in control of this machine, and not fall asleep.

No moose or deer sightings, and the final stretch of highway goes by fast, then I'm back home shortly after supper.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Trip - 1B

Leg-1 : Home to Fredericton (May 15th - 341 kms)
I thought my first trip on this bike was cold....well this morning at 6am I hopped on the bike and the thermometer showed -2C. The wind chill from driving on the highway sure woke me up! Although summer is only a month away, there is still patches of snow on the ground on the north shore. With a new tank bag packed with clothes, it makes a nice place for my chin to rest on and tuck behind the windshield. Changing riding positions helps a road trip, especially this morning where I can get a little shelter from the freezing cold.

At this time of day there is little traffic, so in a blink, I'm already in Bathurst to kill most of the first hour. The sun is now shining bright, and a little higher, so it helps to warm my lower back (where my jacket is creeping up from leaning over).

The new fences along the northern N.B. highways make riding at this time of day easier, not having to worry about being surprised by a moose or deer on the road....especially through the portage on highway 8.

An hour and half slide by, and I'm rolling into Miramichi, where kids are in shorts getting on the school bus - even though it's zero must be a warm day forecasted. I roll into the gas station where I pay $1.345 per litre of mid-grade, but.....I get 50+ mpg!! Like the last trip, after I pay for gas and warm up with a hot drink, I hop back on the bike only to start shivering. I guess warming up is not a good thing sometimes, but my muscles settle down after cooling off again as I leave Miramichi, crossing it's mighty river.

Cruising into Blackville, then Doaktown, the sun feels warmer - even though it's still only +3C. The road is rougher here, and I'm playing with the handlebars more - dodging potholes and ruts. After leaving Taymouth, the road gets interesting - nice and twisty. A coat of pavement sure would help though.

Four hours after leaving home, I arrive in Fredericton with the temperature much warmer. I make it to my meeting at the Ramada, just in time for a hot cup of tea and cinammon roll mmmm. My body gets settled into the meeting, but after a big lunch, the afternoon craves for me to take a siesta.

At 3:30, the meeting is done, so I return to where I bought my helmet to see about a vent that has popped off the top. Not surprising that I have to wait till they order the part in and mail it to me.

Leg-2 : Fredericton to Springhill
(May 15th - 267 kms) I leave Fredericton just after 4pm, and the temperature has climbed to 20C, so the trip won't have any cold side effects. The divided Trans Canada Highway #2 is a much faster speed, but a little boring. It doesn't take long till I'm crossing the new bridge at Canning, and faced with an awesome view of the Saint John River. A couple weeks before, this area was flooded badly, and competing with the record flood of 1973, but now, everything is returning to normal.

The traffic moves along this new road quickly, and it's not long that I'm now cruising into Moncton. The temperature drops 5°C and the wind picks up from the effects of the Bay of Fundy. It's business as usual until I approach Sackville and Aulac, and cross the Isthmus of Chignecto, where the wind really increases. This is where N.B. and N.S. are joined by a small strip of land with the Bay of Fundy on one side and Atlantic Ocean on the other - prime real estate for wind turbines spinning nearby.

I cross the border, leave the divided highway, and have a great ride through the twisties and hills from Amherst to Springhill. It's an unusually busy spot today, and after making my way to the top of the town, I turn onto South St., crank the throttle so the Vtec motor kicks in, pop a wheelie, brake hard, then smoke the rear tire as I pull into mum's driveway hehe (note: previous sentence may contain slight exaggeration for mum's benefit).

A beer, good meal and cup of tea await me, then I settle in for the night visiting mum, and watching Philadelphia beat Pittsburgh in the Stanley Cup semi-finals.

Leg-3 : Springhill to Halifax (May 16th - 181 kms)
After a good sleep, I'm ready to leave the next morning. Pete shows up to drool over my bike (he's soon on his way to visit Ontario for a possible career change), then I'm off on a cloudy, damp morning. The divided highway continues here, and after passing Oxford (Blueberry Capital of the Universe), it's not long before I'm at the Cobequid Pass section of Trans-Canada Highway. Here the fog is very thick and the road is wet. My face shield has all the signs that I'm driving in rain. A few miles later, the fog clears, and I hit the toll booths. Even though I've dropped $4 into the ol' gal's hand at the booth, she wants to chat up a storm, and tells me I'm the first motorbike of the day. After telling me the weather should get better, I say goodbye, and carry on.

After swinging south to "the only exit to Halifax", Truro is next up. The Bay of Fundy / Minas Basin funnel ends here, so the wind really picks up and I'm getting major buffeting coming up and alongside of trucks. I push on past Stewiacke (claim to fame : "Half way between North Pole and Equator"), then the road widens since the Halifax airport is near. After about an hour and half, I spot the Welcome to Halifax sign, so decide to pull over, but get a surprise when the pavement drops about 6" where it meets the shoulder.

After snapping a photo, I have to drive along the dirt shoulder a bit so the pavement drop off allows me to get back on the highway. Traffic picks up, I exit onto Hwy 118 into Dartmouth, then through the toll booth, and across the Angus L. Macdonald (you remember that guy) bridge. I finally pull into the Holiday Inn and find Donna to give her a big hug (I'm here because I haven't seen my wife for a week, and her mom is in the hospital).

Leg-4 : Halifax to Home (May 18th - 576kms)
I spend a couple days in Halifax visiting Donna and her mother Louise, then it was time to head home. Donna and I first make quick visits to see the horses by the museum, then walk through the great Public Gardens.

The hard rain the previous day broke into a nice sunny day for the trip, but the storm still had its hold on the weather - winds were nasty. As soon as I pulled out of Halifax, I could feel the crosswinds affecting the bike steering. By the time I hit Stewiacke, I not only was throttling back on my speed during gusts, but I was thankful for the full width of the lane. As I approached Truro, the winds turned nastier, and I had to reduce speed by 30kph at times just to keep control of the bike.

The wind never let up, and it was so bad, that by the time I hit Oxford, I decided to leave the Trans-Canada Highway, and take the old back road through River Philip to Springhill. Turning onto this old road, I was immediately faced with a motorbike-specific sign showing that the road ahead was not good. It turned out to be bumpy, tore up, and windy, but luckily only 19kms long. This back route into Springhill passes by the cemetery where my father was buried in 1989, so memories instantly hit me....he was a great dad.

I finally turn onto Mechanic St., and on the upper end, I dodge the pot holes and mud, before turning into mum's place. My sister Cathy is visiting mum with her friend Eileen for their ritual Victoria Day weekend, so it's good to see her after about a year.

It was lunchtime, and flounder was on the menu, along with broccoli salad, chocolate pie, and a cup of tea mmmm. After eating, then seeing Canada go ahead of Russia in the 1st period of the World Hockey tournament, I was off to try to make it to Miramichi to see the end of the game.

Heading up the old #2 highway to Amherst, it was as enjoyable as the trip down 2 days before. The woods protected the wind gusts, and the sun was holding the temperature about 15°C. Soon I was in Amherst - heading out onto the divided Trans-Canada Highway, and quickly hit by strong winds. I was surprised that the RCMP Station wind turbine wasn't turning. I knew this section was going to be windy (like it usually is), but my experience of driving in the high winds on this trip did not prepare me for the N.S./N.B. border section! I quickly dropped my speed to 100... 90... 80... but was still being blown around and fighting to keep the bike upright. I finally was forced to slow to 60kph and pull over to the shoulder of the road for the remainder of the Aulac/Tantramar flats. After crossing this bad stretch and getting back up to near highway speed, I still had to be extra careful in the strong wind, and slow quickly when a gust tried to throw me into the ditch.

I soon found my throttle fingers going numb from holding on so tight. This continued until I finally made it to Moncton. No way was I going to take the coastal Hwy. #11, so instead, I took the old #126 up through Rogersville to be protected by the woods. I finally had the feeling come back to my fingers, since I no longer was fighting the wind.

Even though the road was not that great, it sure beat the high winds. By the time I hit Harcourt, the dark clouds started spitting rain. Although my face shield showed I was driving through rain, my body didn't feel wet - I guess the small fairing was doing its job. This continued for about 20 mins. until I drove through the small acadian village of Rogersville where the red/white/blue flags are proudly hung.

The sun came out, the roads dried, and I had a good cruise through the twisting end of this road. Crossing the new bridge over the Miramichi River, the sun was shining, and the water was calm. Here I stopped in to see my son Jeff, who doesn't have TV, but he was able to tune in to the ending of the Canada-Russia gold medal game on the internet (too bad they lost).

Before long, I gassed up, then enjoyed the nice weather through the portage section of Hwy. 8 past the famous La Bonne Route restaurant/truck stop. At Bathurst, I swung onto Hwy. 11, and stretched out on the bike with my feet on the passenger pegs and chin on the tank bag for the final hour drive.

Before going home, I dropped in to see Bedou, have a cold beer, and tell him about his wife Louise in the Halifax hospital. Next stop was to pick up my house key from Dave who was nice enough to watch my dogs while I was away. Finally,
after 1365 kms, I'm back home, the key opens the door, and the dogs are hopping! I immediately scoop them up, walk down the stairs to our beach and enjoy the view!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Trip - 1A

Long's Creek to Home (Apr.11, 2008 374km)
After finding a drive to Long's Creek (west of Fredericton by the owner) and looking at the 2003 Honda VFR, I had to buy it!

It's been about 18 years since I owned my last bike, so this was going to be interesting.  I began the first trip with a lot of snow on the ground, but the road was clear and mostly dry. It was sunny, but the temperature was only 6°C, and quite windy (20-45kph). Although it was my first ride on the bike, after a few kms, I felt very comfortable and confident on this sweet sounding machine.

After stopping for gas early ($1.19/litre), I overheard people in the store talking about the bike, there still being snow on the ground, and all the deer out at this time of year. Since I saw many deer on a trip by car 2 days before, I kept the thought firmly planted in my mind.

I headed up the west side of N.B. along the Trans-Canada Highway #2, following the still frozen St. John river. The bike was steady at highway speeds (125-130kph), but the winds and buffeting from transport trucks kept my hands gripping the handlebars tight enough that I had to remind myself to loosen up for the long trip.

After an hour on the road, I was starting to feel the low temperature (now 3°C) plus wind chill of course. Although I had a t-shirt and hoody under my wool jacket, I was not as protected as much as I would've liked. I didn't want to get off the bike this early, so I kept going till I hit the 200km mark at St. Leonard. Here I filled the gas tank and got a complimentary hot chocolate and time to warm up. This only made me aware of how cold I was, since I started to really shiver! It was time to slip on a windbreaker over my jacket.

I left the divided highway, and headed through the woods on Highway #17. This route is well known for the wildlife along the road, so I had to be extra sharp while driving. The good part was this is a winding and hilly road that made me work the bike more, which warmed me up a bit along with the added windbreaker. The road really perked me up and made me realize why I bought this bike! This route has improved over the years, and traffic moves along at a good pace ;)

Things got real interesting around Adams' Gulch with elevation changes and great mountains (Squaw Cap Mountain sticks out like a sore thumb) . After blasting past slow moving trucks in this area, I soon cross the Upsalquitch River, and meet a group of snowmobilers on a hill by the highway - seems as though we look at each other to figure out who the oddball is.

As Hwy.#17 turns into Hwy.#11, Duff's Lake whizzes by, and I'm in the last miles headed for home. The temperature has dropped more in the last 3 hours, and assume bottomed out at 1-2°C. Unfortunately there is still 2-1/2 feet of snow on the ground this early, so Trip #2 may be a while yet. (thanks to Donna for patiently waiting to take my photo).