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.