Day 2 – Tuesday June 5th
My alarm woke me up at 4:30am Atlantic time, so it felt like 3:30 to me. It had rained all night, so I had the distinct pleasure of packing up a wet tent… And since I will be on the ferry tonight, it will stay in my bag wet and rolled up for two days. I got the tent all put away and the bike packed up before remembering that I actually wanted to take pictures this trip. Oh well, no point in taking a picture of the bare ground. The first day was mostly a wash for taking pictures because I was trying to make big miles for the day and it was cold, rainy, and miserable.
Too bad that today was no different weather-wise… No, actually I lied. It was much, much, much worse. The rain was nonstop, the temperatures were much colder, and the wind through New Brunswick was fierce and it was all I could do to stay in my lane. During gusts, I could see the rain sliding off my helmet visor sideways as I was leaning into it just to keep in a straight line. Earlier in the morning I scraped a small hole in the arm of my raingear top, and the wind turned the small scrape into a pretty large hole, and rain found its way in. I pulled over and duct taped it, and the tape was gone about a mile down the road. It was too wet for the duct tape. I will have to fix that later. My feet were soaked, despite the overboots which should be more accurately labeled as ‘slightly water-resistant,’ not waterproof. My gloves were still damp from the night before. With the cold weather (in the forties) and wet conditions, I was miserable. I needed to do about 450 miles today, which normally wouldn’t be a hard ride, but every mile felt like ten miles today.
I found myself pulling over about every 80 miles or so just to warm up a little… But the plus side is that I actually got a few pictures today, since I was pulling over a lot anyhow. Yeah, yeah, I suck at pictures… But at least I got some. Usually I don’t!
I looked in the mirror and saw this miserable face staring back at me.
Nova Scotia visitors center.
There’s not much of a story to tell today. It was just pure misery going from point A to point B in the cold rain. It was foggy most of the day, so the views weren’t that great for most of the trip either. I had about a thirty minute reprieve from the rain when I hit Cape Breton Island, but then right back to the rain…
Some photos from Cape Breton Island (during the few dry spells I saw all day).
I stopped for lunch along the road and had my first meal of the day (skipped breakfast). Obligatory food porn picture:
Okay… So this is the way too hairy, with bad camera angles, 70’s porn version of food porn… It was about 45 degrees out, and I unwisely packed my stove on the bottom of my dry bag. I decided not to spend the time to get it out and reorganize, which meant my ‘meal’ was also at about that temp. If you thought canned ravioli tasted bad heated up, try tossing a can in the fridge and having a go at it! Lol
About 45 minutes from North Sydney, which is where the ferry to Newfoundland leaves, I finally stopped in and had a meal from Tim Horton’s… I was surprised to find out it was a donut shop. I thought Tim Horton’s was a burger joint all this time. I grabbed a chicken salad sandwich, a donut, and a coffee. That was a damn tasty sandwich and donut. A bit better food porn pic:
I made it to the ferry terminal at about 5pm-ish. That gave me about five hours until the boat left (and from what I heard, they’re always late). I finally got my wet weather gear and leathers off and changed into some dry socks and dry shoes. Wow, what a relief! I briefly contemplated going into town to check it out… But it was still raining, and I was loving the ever-living shit out of being dry. I decided to just stay here. Besides, there’s free internet here. What more could I want?
At 8:20pm they announced that all passengers should go their vehicles to begin boarding the vessel. I was surprised we were boarding so soon (as departure time was 10:30pm), but I wasn’t going to complain. Since I heard motorcycles are loaded on first, I rushed to put my stuff together and get out to my bike. All I had on was my leather jacket and plain clothes, as the rest of my gear was strapped to the bike. I went outside and it was pouring! The wind was blowing, it was cold, and the rain was coming down hard. My only pair of dry shoes and the dry clothes I was wearing were slowly getting drenched.
When I got to the ferry terminal, I was the only motorcycle there. When I got back outside for boarding, I saw that about ten other motorcycles had shown up. There was a husband and wife from New York that were going to ride up the west coast of Newfoundland and then take another ferry into Labrador and then ride the unpaved trans-Labrador Highway. They were planning to take about two weeks to do their trip. There were also three guys from Toronto that were planning to do basically the same trip as I was doing, except they were going to do it in a month, not two weeks, like I was. The married couple and the three guys all had BMW adventure bikes with proper hard luggage. I had immediate bike-penis-envy. All the other guys had really nice waterproof suits, boots, and gloves as well. I had my regular leathers I commute in, a cheap Walmart two-piece rain suit, some rubber overgloves, and some shitty overboots (which seem to do a better job of holding the water in than out). I was definitely outclassed in the bike and gear department!
After about twenty minutes in the freezing rain, I asked one of the dock workers when they were going to board us, as they had been sending a steady stream of cars onto the ferry before us. He told us ‘very soon.’ Well 40 minutes later, ‘very soon’ was finally realized. By this time, I had been out in the rain in a pair of sweat pants, a t-shirt, my dry (not any longer) shoes, and jacket for an hour. I was a bit peeved… But there wasn’t really anything I could do about it at this point.
Once on the ferry, we had to strap down our bikes. I am very glad that I brought my own ratchet straps. I was told that they had straps available, but to bring your own just in case. Well, we were exactly two straps short to get all of our bikes strapped down. Since I had my own two straps, it was a non-issue. I’m sure if I didn’t have them, the crew would have been able to muster us up some, but this saved us (or at least one of us) the hassle. After strapping down the bike, I grabbed my camelback and a book and headed up to the seating area. Once the ferry left port you couldn’t go back down to the cargo deck. I forgot to take pictures of my bike strapped down. I'll have to remember on the ride back.
When reserving a seat on the ferry, you must pay for yourself, your vehicle, and your accommodations. The cost for me was $45 and the cost for my bike was $50. General seating was free and options ranged from $15 for reserved seating (basically chairs that recline all the way) up to about $100 for a single-occupancy cabin. I went the el-cheapo route and got general seating. Literally every other rider on the ferry with me paid for a cabin. Every single person who I had talked to (over the internet) who had taken the ferry said to pay the extra for a cabin… Or at least the reserved seating. Well, I was on a bare bones budget, and any extra for accommodations had to come out of another part of my trip. I decided that the six hour ferry wasn’t worth spending the extra money.
The general seating was about like airplane seating, except there was plenty of leg room… In fact, there was a ton of leg room. The seats did not recline very far, but at least I could stretch my legs.
The vessel left port right at 22:30, as scheduled. I was surprised at how much the boat rocked through the waves. I was expecting a smooth ride, but there was quite a bit of turbulence (or whatever you call it in a boat). Maybe I was unrealistic in my expectations, or maybe it was on account of the storm. Either way, it wasn’t terrible, but it was definitely noticeable. In fact, it was quite difficult to walk around the ship once we left. There were signs all over the general seating area that said sleeping was prohibited. The crew told this as well, and the safety video again mentioned it. With this in mind, I reclined my seat as far as it would go and tried to get some sleep. After about an hour of unsuccessful sleep attempts, I took my book out (Alter of Eden by James Rollins) and read for an hour or two. When I looked around, I noticed there were at least a dozen people around me sleeping on the floor. Many had brought sleeping bags and pillows for the occasion. Well, despite all the signs, I figured when in Rome, do as the Romans do. I was quite cold due to being pretty wet and not having a blanket of any sort. I had put on a dry fleece shirt, so I pulled my arms inside of it, covered my legs with my leather jacket, and used my soaking wet camelback (later I found it was leaking) as a pillow. I fell asleep within minutes of lying down. The rocking of the boat that I wasn’t crazy about earlier in the ride ended up rocking me to sleep. It was actually quite nice!
Total mileage for the day: 472 miles