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).