Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Trip - 2B

A repeat of Trip-4, but in reverse direction :

Leg 1 : Home to Springhill, NS (May 23, 381km)
This was my first long trip of the season, and since rain was forecasted, I decided to leave 18 hours early in the evening after supper. The weather was sunny, light winds, and the thermometer read a comfy 16°C/60°F. It wasn't long before someone decided to lead the way, so I obliged by following - which continued until they turned off at Nigadoo.

Construction season is starting, so this leg has the odd stop along the north shore, but nothing like last summer. In the usual hour and a half, I'm crossing the Centennial Bridge in Miramichi and pulling into the Irving to gas up, and stretch my legs. Since it's the evening, there's plenty of insects that have been on a suicide mission with my visor - in a checkerboard pattern even!

After leaving Miramichi, I soon find myself behind another driver who wants to lead, so I oblige by tailing....all the way down to Bouctouche, with its well-known white sands on the western shores of Northumberland Strait.

As I approach Moncton, the highway opens to 4 lanes, only to be taken away, as Hwy. 11 turns into a 2 lane Hwy. 134, and I ping-pong through the rough sections of Scoudouc. Fifteen minutes later I'm taking the on-ramp of the Trans-Canada Hwy. south of Moncton. Unfortunately this section of our country's pride and joy highway is terrible for a motorbike with it's ruts, patches and potholes, but the upside is I get some practice in dodging.

The sun is getting low now, and the temp. has cooled to 10°C/50°F. I pass by Memramcook, and it's awesome community sign, then in a blink, I pull into Sackville's Irving for gas, another visor cleaning, and a call to mom to ease her worrying that I'm travelling by motorbike!

The border crossing into Nova Scotia is always a concern to a biker since the winds are always twice as strong as surrounding areas. But today the winds are ok, and the big concern was the bridge at Amherst, where the joints were making me think I was on a bucking bronco! No warning signs at all here!

The temp. dipped further to 6°C/46°F, and the final section from Amherst along Hwy. 2 through the woods to Springhill was a pleasure, and good to get back to moms' place for a visit. In hindsight, I've obviouslybecome accustomed to this awesome bike, as I was more comfy than previous trips.

Leg 2 : Springhill, NS to Fredericton, NB (May 26, 274km)

After a few days on the Hill doing some maintenance around the house, Fish & Chips at JB's, and no success with the starter on Pete's ride-on mower, it's time to head out. I'm taking an extra back-pack tied down on top of my other one on the rear seat, so the bike is fully loaded.

The first thing I notice riding up Hwy. 2 through the woods, is the trees! The leaves are out, and everything is green!! What a great feeling riding up to Amherst on a sunny 18°C/65°F day. Here, I pull into Canadian Tire for some chain lube, then stuff the can into the back-pack behind me - only to lose it somewhere up the road.

Crossing the border, the wind seems to be tame, but surpisingly, when I pass the Tantramar Marsh and Sackville, the wind picks up a little. Once I hit Moncton, and expecting the wind to die down, it actually picks up more as I climb in elevation along Magnetic Hill. A few more miles, and it's time to gas up and stretch at the Irving Big Stop in Salisbury (Home of the Silver Fox).

The Moncton to Fredericton highway is the Autobahn of New Brunswick, at least the truck that I'm following seems to think so. It's not long before I'm climbing the bridges over the Saint John River at Sheffield and Jemseg (where I recall the only fear expressed by my father many years earlier). On the bridges, the buffeting winds make me lay down on the bike. Luckily theres 2 lanes to play with for position.

Leg 3 : Fredericton to Home (May 28, 355km)
After visiting more family, and hanging out with friends, the next day is filled with a course on emergency restoration for work. Showers were in the forecast, so I double-check at lunch time. Only clouds are in the forecast further north, so I'm hoping to skip most of the wet stuff. At 3pm, it's time to pack up the bike (with less gear this time), and try to beat the rain.

As usual, the twisty ride along the Nashwaak River is great, and the rain is holding off. Unfortunately there's plenty of slow moving traffic north of Taymouth, but nothing the VFR can't take care of.

For years I've driven by Davis Equipment and meant to take a photo, well now, I have one!

Boisetown skips by, and I'm rolling into Doaktown to gas up and empty the bladder (yes mom, I forgot to go BEFORE the trip started). Another hour goes by, and I'm shaking along the terrible concrete road leading into Miramichi. My heart beat is slower than the hops along this stretch of road.

Miramichi means that I stop in to see my son Jeff - who is preparing to move in a few days. After resting for a bit and meeting a few of his friends, I head out to Burger King for supper, where I get off the bike to sit down and eat inside. I'm ahead of schedule, so I take my time here to enjoy the meal.

Back on the bike, I turn onto Hwy. 8 (aka portage) through the woods where the road is in great shape, and the bike cruises along at a good clip. After Bathurst onto Hwy. 11, there's some construction which slows things down, and after passing Jacquet River, I pull over at the rest area to make a phone call. Of course an ambulance isn't long showing up, since this is where they spend many long hours sitting, waiting for a call. Like other health care, ambulance services have changed for the worse.

Back on the bike again, and I'm in the final stretch, and arrive home a little later than expected. Oh well, another trip under the belt makes it all worth the while.

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