Friday, April 11, 2008

Trip - 1A

Long's Creek to Home (Apr.11, 2008 374km)
After doing lots of reading and settling on a new motorcycle, I found one for sale. It was located at Long's Creek (west of Fredericton). After getting a drive, I looked at the 2003 Honda VFR 800cc, and everything was RIGHT, so 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, 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 and hot chocolate (in hindsight). 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).