Saturday, May 22, 2010

Trip - 3A (1185kms/11hrs.)

Leg 1 - Home to Fredericton (May 19th, 341kms)
It's the first trip of the season, and it feels great to get out on the road again. The weather forecast for Fredericton later in the day is rain, so I hit the road just after a great lunch (Mandarin chicken salad - thanks again to Donna). The trip starts off with perfect sunshine and temperature of 18°C/
64°F. My first stop is Blue Cross in Bathurst so I can cash in some medical receipts - which should pay for the trip. By the time I leave this small city, the temperature has already climbed to 22°C/74°F, and I should remove my jacket liner, but there's no room left in my tank bag to store it.

I leave Hwy.11 and swing onto Hwy.8 southward, and traffic is moving along nicely here. The new wildlife fences line this road most of the next 45 minute drive. The Allardville exit, then La Bonne Route are soon behind me, and as I roll down into Miramichi, the sky has become hazy and the temperature has dropped. I'm hoping the rain forecasted for later in the day doesn't surprise me sooner. After the usual slow ride through Miramichi, speed changes after the bridge at Derby Junction. The poor condition concrete highway would make an observer think I have a bad case of the hiccups, but finally after 5 minutes, it's back to normal asphalt.

Renous prison and Blackville skip by, then I loose some traffic as the Tim Horton cult get their fix in Doaktown. As I roll into Boisetown, the temperature has dropped to 15°C/62°F, and the clouds are dark. Hopefully the rain will hold off another 45 minutes.
After rounding the hairpin turn in Taymouth, the bends continue down along the Nashwaak River. As most traffic exits at Kilarney Rd., I continue lean after lean down into Marysville. As a change, I decide to continue straight down to the St. John River. It begins to rain lightly now, and by the time I make it to the motel, I realize how good the timing was, and park under the overhang to escape the wet night.

Leg-2 : Fredericton to Springhill (May 20th - 267 kms)
Expecting rain this morning on my 10 minute ride to the meeting at the Ramada, I'm surprised to see that it has stopped.

Once the meeting finishes at 3pm, the weather is beautiful at 21°C/70°F as I make my way up to my sister's place. She's been wanting to take a cruise for a long time, so surprised that she has changed her mind. I'm convincing enough to make her think straight, and finally, she awkwardly climbs up on the rear seat with her borrowed snowmobile helmet bobbing along. After we get our hand signals straight, it's out onto the Trans-Canada Highway.

This is only my second passenger on this bike, and have never had one longer than 20 minutes, so this 2-1/2 hr. trip should be interesting. It's not long before I realize it's no big deal having a 100 pound passenger, as I hardly notice her - other than the occasional banging of helmet on my back, and tug on my jacket loops.

After 45 mins., it's time for a smoke break (not mine) as I notice the temperature has peaked at 23°C/73°F.

My main concern with a passenger is crosswinds in known bad areas, so now is the time to explain the upcoming high bridges over the St. John River at Sheffield and Jemseg. Once we get going again, and reach those 2 bridges, it is surprisingly a piece of noticeable wind at all! It's one of the best riding days I can recall.

We motor on through the fast section to Moncton, where things naturally get a little congested. It doesn't help when people think they want to pass, and hang out there in the passing lane, creeping by the slower vehicle with no concern about the traffic behind them ready to climb up and over them.

Memramcook, then some a couple miles of single lane construction go by (no one in site), then we pull into Sackville for gas and a break. Sis is strung out a little, but excited at the same time. The snowmobile helmet and small sunglasses are no match for the road. She lets me know that the rear seat is comfy though.

After spending some time cleaning the bugs off the lights and helmet visor, it's time to give mum a call to let her know I'm near. I let sis know that we are about to cross the Tantramar Marsh/Aulac/N.S. border section, and to expect high winds - even if the day has been tame so far. To my surprise, the crossing is mild, and definitely the calmest in all my times through here on a bike. One thing that has stayed the same, and that's the drastic dip in temperature - now down to 13°C/50°F!

It's photo-op time as we cross into Nova Scotia and visit the Welcome Center. There's a smaller sign as we enter, but it is on a lawn. Oh well, a bike can scoot across the lawn easy enough, and as we take each others' picture, can't help but notice the warm weather has brought the black flies out, so it's time to get going.

Getting back out onto the Trans-Canada Highway from here is a little confusing, so we drive through Amherst as sis now has a handle on using the camera on the back of the bike. After winding our way through the town, it's onto the last leg of Hwy.2 down to Springhill. This is a much more enjoyable road for a bike with the rises, dips, and turns. After 3 hrs., we roll into mum's driveway, where the temperature has risen back to 18C/66F.

Leg-3 : Springhill to Truro/return (May 21st - 191 kms)
After learning that mum won a new digital camera, but needed to get it in Truro, I offered, since I also wanted to offload some pics from my camera, and the weather was great. Since it was getting late, and Carsand-Mosher was closing in 1.5 hours, I went down the fast/boring Trans-Canada Hwy. to Truro. After finding the location on Esplanade St., I picked up the prize, added some memory, then headed back. I wasn't in a hurry, and wanted a more scenic route, so decided to take Hwy.4 through Folly Lake. This is the old T.C.H., but is obviously wore down, and no traffic at all.

Folly Lake comes into view, and this is the most scenic part of the route. This area is notorioius for it's fog, but none to be seen this clear day. I stop to look at the abandoned ski hill for a minute, then I'm back out on the road and soon come to the merge onto the T.C.H. just before Oxford, then soon roll into mum's driveway.

Leg-4 : Springhill to Home (May 22nd - 385 kms)
It's a beautiful 20°C/68°F afternoon, but windy day on the Hill, and that means trouble crossing the border. Not much choice though, so I leave around 3pm. Like usual, Hwy.2 to Amherst is a pleasure to ride.... sheltered from most of the wind, but as soon as I get out onto the Trans-Canada Hwy., it's a different story - the wind smacks me around like a leaf. From this point to Sackville the cross winds are unpredictable, but expecting them from the Bay of Fundy side is the norm. I make sure I'm on the west side of my lane so I've got room to maneuver when a gust blows me east. I've dropped my speed to 90kph to stay in control, and finally get to pull off the highway for gas in Sackville.

The ride up to Moncton is still quite windy, but now it's time to leave this wide open main road and visit Jeff for his supper break. It's good to see Jeff again, and conversation comes between A&W grilled chicken burger, onion rings and root beer....mmmm. Half an hour goes by quick, and it's time to say goodbye.

I make my way out of the city and head for the woods onto Hwy.126 where I'll be protected from the winds. There's not too much traffic on this road, and I soon find myself alongside of the Via passenger train. We are travelling at the same 95-100kph, and it's a full 15-20 minute drive beside the train as I finally pull ahead when it comes to a stop in Rogersville.

Another 1/2 hour up the highway, I hit Miramichi and backtrack a bit down Hwy.11 to get gas at the Irving and wash the bugs off the visor. The temperature has risen up north, so I grab a popsicle and remove my jacket liner. Although I didn't have room to remove it earlier in the trip, I now have the tie-down netting attached to the rear seat, so the jacket liner fits nicely underneath. I'm cooled down now, and I cross the Centennial Bridge and head north on the fast Hwy.8 through more woods. The winds are calmer up north, and by the time I'm pulling into Bathurst, the temp. has climbed to 25°C/77°F.

Further up the road around Nash Creek, some fancy Mustang starts speeding up as I'm going by him in a passing lane. Mr. Mustang wants to play....little does he know what I'm sitting on..... goodbye Mr. Mustang.

There's lots of bugs out on this warm evening, and good thing I've got a visor since I see/hear the smack of one after the other against it. By the time I get home and pull off the helmet, I see just how many bugs there were since washing my visor an hour and half ago.

1 comment:

tam said...

I'll comment. Haha. I just wish there was a way that I could insert some information. Told u the weather was not supposed to be good, but u made me go anyway.
I hope all those bloggers out there see this, because I had the best few days of my life, once again. was on the back of a VFR!!!!!