Saturday, August 21, 2010

Trip 3C - 1005kms

Leg 1 - Home to Fredericton (Aug. 18th - 341kms)

It's been 2.5 months since the last trip, and I haven't ridden too much lately, so after wrapping things up at work, it feels good to get back out on the open road again. It's a beautiful sunny/cloudy day at 24°C/75°F, and after crossing the bridge at Eel River, the water is noticeably missing after the dam downstream was dismantled. Only about 20% of the width is water now as it tries to find it's long-term path through the mud.

Time and miles fly by as I take the right fork at Bathurst onto Hwy.8 south. This road is still in really good shape after all the work last summer. Surprisingly I haven't met any construction on these main roads up north, and that's fine with me. Traffic is sparse today, so the trip down to Miramichi goes quick. It's warmed up a bit, so it's time to lose the jacket liner and gloves, as I stop to fill up with gas ($1.019/l) , stretch, and get a bottle of water. After also washing the bugs off the visor, windshield and lights, I leave the gas stop and head up Newcastle Blvd., which turns out to be closed to traffic. Trying an alternate route has me losing my way a bit (why didn't I bring the GPS?). Finally I find my way out and back onto Hwy.8 across the Miramichi River.

As I roll into Blackville, there seems to be truck after truck after NB Power truck with their buckets hoisted up to the distribution lines. Just as many are driving on the road in this small community. Obviously some major project is underway.

As I enter the last hour of the trip, clouds have overtaken the sun, and things cool down. The closer I get to Fredericton, the darker the clouds become, but luckily no rain as I check into the motel for the night. Ahhh....I'm wiped for some reason.

Leg-2 : Fredericton to Springhill (Aug. 19th - 267 kms)

The meeting is done earlier than expected, so give Tam a call to let her know I'll be by soon to pick her up. She is going to the Hill with me, and it's another great day that's mostly sunny, but a little warm at 26°C/78°F, so no jacket liner or gloves on this leg. We get our hand signals straight, then we head out onto the Trans-Canada Highway east.

The Sheffield and Jemseg bridges over the Saint John River are not too bad today - even get to sit up high to catch the great view over the concrete. Coming off the second bridge and seeing the old road winding through the trees is always inviting, so one day I'll take that alternate route.

The 75 mins. slips by, and it's time for a break. Pulling off the exit to the gas station at Salisbury, a couple young guys are begging for food/money. Their sign says their hungry, but a Tim's coffee cup is at the ready. I question why a coffee if you're hungry? Wouldn't food be better? We get talking to them and find out one is from Charllottetown, the other from California. Worlds apart, but not today, so I hand them $5. At the Irving, we grab a drink and relax in the shade while Tam puffs away.

Continuing east into Moncton, the wind picks up and the temperature drops to a comfy 23°C/73°F. Traffic has increased since the merge from Saint John, and continues until the T.C.H. swings south. Another 1/2 hour, and we descend into Sackville where the effects of the Bay of Fundy are obvious. Time for gas, and supper at Wendy's. After the meal, we relax in the shade as I give mum/mom a call to let her know we're near.

Back on the bike, and the wind is more of a force crossing the Tantramar Marsh and Aulac stretch as expected, but nothing severe. The temperature has now dipped to 20°C/68°F, but after getting into Nova Scotia, and onto Hwy.2 south, the temperature climbs a little as the trees protect us from the winds. Another 20mins., and we're rolling into the driveway for a couple days visit.

Leg-3 : Springhill to Home (Aug. 21st - 397 kms)
After the ritual dissection of the weather forecasts, and seeing only isolated showers on the horizon today, we're packed and ready to go at 3:15pm as Tam tries her best at "mounting the horse". It's a comfy 22°C/72°F, but a little windier after the rain, and after making our way back up Hwy.2 north, the wind is more obvious out on the open T.C.H. , and as usual, crossing the border into New Brunswick.

The ride to Moncton goes fast as Tam whines "we're here already?!" I'm dropping her off at the bus stop for her return trip to Fredericton. We're a little early, so lots of time to get her ticket, etc. We say goodbye, and I weave my way back to the Champlain Mall where I'm meeting up with Jeff on his supper break. I'm a little early, but he's able to break away, and we have a nice relaxing meal and chat over A&W food. It's great to see him again, and the 1/2 hour flies by super fast. He returns to work, and after gassing up and cleaning the visor, I decide to go up Hwy.126 since the isolated rain forecast was for the eastern sections, and some raindrops have already started here.

So much for "isolated", since the hour ride up to Rogersville is mostly rain. After a break in the rain midway, I pull over and put the jacket liner in and the gloves on to protect me more, then continue on tucked behind the fairing. It's isolated showers up to Miramichi, then after crossing the bridge and onto Hwy.8, the skies look much better. I'm dry by now, so just enjoy this speedier section through the woods. La Bonne Route, then Allardville exit fly by, and before I know it, I take the bend onto Hwy.11 at Bathurst.

The weather and road are good, so as the sun is getting low, I get into my laying position with feet on the passenger pegs, and chin on the tank bag. Time for a sleep ;) After passing Nash Creek, I meet a cop with lights blazing and breaking the speed limit! Further on, another cop.... this seems par for the course in this area each time.

Around 8pm, I roll down the driveway, and home once again.

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