Two Beards, Two Beemers: A Canadian Trip Too Short
| LOBSTER | MOOSE | GHOST TOWNS | BOATS |
New England, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrardor
There comes a time when we just have to explore and adventure to change the stresses of everyday life. Women, bills and work are replaced by sloppy mud trails, electrical daemons and sheer cliffs. We all strive to find that balance between work and leisure but many, myself included, have the bug to ride, learn and absorb the regional intricacies as we explore. This RR details a trip from Virginia to Canada, the sights and flavors along the way and breaking free from the constrains of everyday life, to ride and collect memories for the future.
Dr. Beard and I rode together as far as Meat Cove, NS and had to part ways as he made for home and I made for Newfoundland and "The Big Land" - Labrador. While my photos are of exemplary quantity, Beard's speak for themselves. Fortunately, he is with me the first week to take the good shots while I point and shoot at trees and hay bales.
A few shots to get things warmed up.
Sandy Cove, NS
Whale Cove, NS
"Dude Where's My Road!?"
Meat Cove, NS
Dr. Beard (47.026376,-60.55905)
Sandy Cove, NS
Trans-Labrador Highway Woodpile Boondock'n
High Centered at Cape St. George
Tablelands, Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland
Cow in New Hampshire
Day 1: Arlington, VA > Arlington, VT
Friday finally arrives. Think I'll ride to Canada. The humid morning air doesn't seem too bad considering where I'll be by the day's end. The bike was packed the night before and I'm sure I have everything on my list. After a quick shower and a check of the weather (clear all day!) I push the bike out of the garage.
Goodbye 73' Spitfire, see you in a few weeks. :wave
I pull Meine Frau out of the garage and set off to meet Beard off the GW Parkway along the Potomac River.
We take I-270 up to Frederick, MD then hop on 15 past Gettysburg and some other familiar locales before crossing the Susquehana River. Always intrigued by the bridges here.
I picked out a route passing through PA Coal Country since Beard hadn't ridden here before. The towns are past their prime but still holding on like much of Appalachia.
The homes in Jim Thorpe, PA reflect the homogenous construction along the twisty valley roads.
Beard and I chill for a bit in the middle of PA waiting for some road work. "Hey! What do you think about stopping?"
Yeah...I sorta plotted this route on purpose. Hey! It's on the way right?
Here's how I look when I'm riding...plus color
This town sucks! Matt and I kept cracking jokes about Coxsackie for days
We worked our way up from central PA toward NY on I84 to I87. Slabbing it can get old really fast, it can also get you there really fast. Our destination was somewhere in the Green Mountains National Forest in Vermont. Travelling into NY and then Vermont, the plant species, shape of the hills and height of the trees starts to look less familiar to these Virginia eyes. Birch trees and firs begin to stand out along the roadside.
As we exited the highway near Bennington, VT the sky darkened. It was clearly raining all around us but in a weak moment we decided not to stop and put on rain gear. I don't really do the rain gear thing unless it will be torrential, guaranteeing dreaded Stich' Crotch Leak. Beard turns into a Chia pet and must keep dry or the consequences will be insurmountable.
It rained for about 20 minutes but was steady. I was a little damp but not too shabby. When I saw a sign for Arlington, VT, I figured it was as good a place as any to stop for dinner. Wet and dark woods are lovely for sleeping but cooking dinner or coaxing a fire they are not.
We pulled in to this little family restaurant named Chauncey's.
Step 1 after 470 wonderful miles: Beer.
Step 2: OM NOM NOM NOM
The waitress offered the pie selection but we were both too full and opted for a cup of coffee and tea.
Holding the warm mug close to my wrinkled fingers felt great. Beard and I relaxed with warm bellies and discussed the roads we traveled and Mt. Washington planned for tomorrow. At some point, Beard mentions the border crossing at Calais, ME in two days. "Got my ID and Passport Ready and in a waterproof pouch."
My ears get hot, my heart races and the blood drains from my face as it slowly sinks in. My passport is on my desk at home in Virginia.
Sheesh Mike... :freaky
Can't wait for more.
And here's my miserable contribution to Day 1. :lol3
Day 1 saw me getting up earlier than normal (does anyone get up earlier than HBN, who's under the age of 65??), meeting Mike on the GW Pkwy, and then riding north-ish. I'm not sure that you can describe the feeling of breaking the gravitational pull of DC & finally being free, unless you live & ride in the District. All the bullshit & traffic falls away and you're out in the beautiful world again.
And that's about it. :ricky. I spent the day wrapped in the cocoon of f*#$ work, f$%# drama, and just enjoy the helmet time and the changing scenery.
So cut to dinnertime. We're soaking wet, cold, and happier to be that way than ever. It was a damn good run from Arlington VA, to Arlington VT. It's small talk about the road & where we will camp tonight over dinner as we warm & fill our gullets with fried things & cold beer. Then, as I looked down to dip a fried something-or-other unnecessarily in ranch dressing, I hear Mike loudly exclaim: FU*K!!! Rather shocked, I look up @ him to admonish him for cursing so loudly in a family restaurant that is already wary of the weird dirty bikers, but when I see his face I stop dead: people BS all the time that someone “looked as if they'd seen a ghost”, but I've never seen someone THAT white; completely drained of blood. We spend the next 45min calling consulates, embassies, and looking up any info we can on our phones to find anything about getting into Canada w/o a passport, but it's nearly 7pm on Friday and we're more likely to harvest Unicorn farts before bedtime than talk to anyone who knows anything about it. We exhaust all options involving shipping, people driving up to meet us, skydiving, inventing teleportation, blackmailing superman, and everything else we can think of...
Then Mike gets that sparkle in his eye. “I'll have to go back & get it.” I shake my head. “You're F*$#ing crazy man, we just rode 10hrs/470mi and you want to head back to DC @ 8pm in the rain?”. Mike says “I'll meet you tomorrow in Maine.” I shake my head and watch him ride off into the rainy dusk.
So I head back south to closest town to look for a motel to dry out in. On the way down the gorgeous VT7A I stopped at an ancient cemetery as the last light faded for a couple of pictures. As I walked back to my bike, I looked down at the grave stone I'd parked my bike next to (the only stone I'd looked at in the entire cemetery) and the only word written on it is HBN's last name. I shuttered involuntarily and saddled up, not knowing what was actually in store for my good compadre on his journey south...
A GREAT RR and Pic as always Mike !!! :rogue
Looking forward to this as I plan a similar trip in June of next year. Not sure if I should take the KLR-650 or ZZR-600. Both get about 50 mpg. The KLR has more carrying capacity with the Happy Trails panniers, but I dread taking it on interstates. The ZZR is a sport bike, but has pretty comfortable ergos as far as sport bikes go. It was advertised as a mid-size sport touring ride, but it is certainly no Concours. It does have a very comfy Corbin saddle, Vario touring windscreen and pretty roomy soft panniers, tail bag and huge tank bag that combined will hold my camping gear and an extra pair of socks and undies. My decision will probably be based on how much dirt I see in this ride report :D
:clap WOOOHOOOOOooooo!!! :clap
Great start boys! (or false start for HBN !? )
Can't wait to see what Day 2 and the rest have in store!
PS. HBN, your shot of Sandy Cove is mesmerizing!!! :eek1
What a start for a trip! Looks like its starting out to be a very long day 1.
HBN, whoops , you I.F.
I'm in. Can't wait for more.:lurk
Have fun and ride safe. Labrador is amazing.
Who the F!*& is HNB? :gyro
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