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.