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Old 08-22-2007, 02:24 AM   #1
beerjonny OP
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Atlantic Canada Loop

Over the next little while I will be posting the ride report from a recent journey a few of us have had up here in our little corner of the world.

Here is a 15 minute video to get things started... enjoy:

Sorry for the pixialtion, a higher resolution host is in the works as well.
- I don't want a pickle, I just wanna ride on my motorsickle -
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Old 08-22-2007, 04:12 AM   #2
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Excellent stuff, Jon...

You da man!

Can't wait to see some of the high rez stills.

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Old 08-22-2007, 05:48 AM   #3
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Very nicely done! thanks for posting
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Old 08-28-2007, 10:19 AM   #4
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- I don't want a pickle, I just wanna ride on my motorsickle -
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Old 08-28-2007, 11:00 AM   #5
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Well, this whole thing started a while back. During my first ‘big trip’ with Rod and Dave (freinds from Nova Scotia) on The Long Ride Home (, my mind was opened to a whole new world – one where I felt complete freedom wandering around on my dualsport bike. Since then driving around Atlantic Canada on a dualsport bike has always been a dream of mine.

Jay and GT committed to this trip form day one, and I knew that having so much in common we were a well matched group. We are all single, and do not have any children which helps with the whole time thing. We all have very similar driving abilities and enjoy the same pace and terrain. We all enjoy driving day after day of long miles on our bikes, and all enjoy wilderness camping (well 2 out of the 3 of us is not bad ).

There will be some things that stand out in the report that follows, things like gas locations, distances between gas stops, etc. that I have been asked to include. I hope that it’ll be helpful for anyone else who is fortunate enough to make this trip.

More work went into this trip that most would imagine, but after nearly a year of planning, months of bike prep, and tons of research we were down to the last couple of days. Some final ferry bookings, printing of maps, and repacking of all my gear for the fourth time, it was now the day before departure.

The guys arrived at my house around 6pm. I still had a lot of things to get done on my bike as luck was just not going my way with it. As long as all of my problems come out right now and not during the trip, it was a good thing, right? After getting my rim welded and installed, I had an unknown issue with my bike on the first test run in had after 3 weeks of work. I had done a lot to it in 3 weeks. The bike died after about a kilometer of running stronger then ever, and I was stumped. After pulling near everything on my bike off, I had one of the most humbling and embarrassing moments in my life when I discovered a nice clean towel got left behind in my airbox….

So now an oil change and a new rear wheel bearing (that just landed today after a 2 week back order) and I was done. But of course, the down tube drain bolt broke off changing the oil around 11 pm... :smt100 so some JB weld was called upon to hold the other half of the bolt into the frame. My bike fought me to the end, and with a worn rear wheel bearing still left we were out of time and I was out of patience and energy. Or maybe the beer was getting to me... either way I was done for tonight.

We talked about the trip and had a few more wobbly pops for an hour before hitting the hay. It was surreal that the day we leave for this trip that has been in the works for so long, is tomorrow. Only a few hours and we get to actually be able to get on our bikes, and ride out of here. I will ride away from my house heading North, and will ride back home from the East. Only one more sleep.

It was 3am when we all got to bed.
- I don't want a pickle, I just wanna ride on my motorsickle -
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Old 08-28-2007, 11:23 AM   #6
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DAY 1: July 26th, 2007

A few hours later, a cup of Timmy’s and we were dressed and ready to go.
There is a feeling, if you ever do something like this, that you will never forget – the feeling that you have rolling out of the driveway, actually starting a trip like this. This is the point where you go from visualizing what the trip will be like to in experiencing what the trip is like. I have been fortunate enough to have had this pleasure before, and the feeling this time was one of relief, anticipation of things to come, yet complete calmness. I felt very peaceful and knew everything would be just fine with my bike, the bike that worried me so much last night I barely slept an hour.

Get us the hell out of New Brunswick!

I don’t want to sound ungrateful, because I will be the first one to stand up and preach about the greatness of our province, but we want to explore new lands. We love riding throughout NB all year, but this is our one chance to branch out a bit.

So we hit the tarmac and burned all the way to Fredericton Junction from my place none stop, first along the dreaded highway, then the back road which is a nice road to cruise on. The weather was unbelievably hot, and at 11am we were baking fully dressed in our gear with a 33 degrees temperature. We took advantage of a covered bridge, down across a stream and through a farmers feild to stop and shed some layers. Man was it hot!

The railbed that begins in Fredericton Junction was our first sign of dirt and the bike felt weird with 70 lbs of gear on it (and me). Jay forgot his knee pads at home, and lives just minutes off the trail, so we took a swing there and back. His pooch was some glad to see him one last time.

When we hit the Rusagonis River there is a little place to pull off down the trail into a cleared out spot under some birch trees that provided good shade. We stopped there and had a snack, some water and took another layer of gear off. The hottest day of the year, I swear.

After packing up, I took the little shoot trail back up to the railbed, with Denver following suit. I’m not sure how it got started, but when I looked back down GT was standing at the bottom eyeing the hill up for a push. Where was my camera…

Well he ran with it, veered left and stepped off the bank. As long as there are no injuries, we will abide by rule #1 – Pictures First, Help Second.

We carried on to Fredericton, drove through town and stopped on the North side at the new ‘Franks Finer Diner’, a 50’s replica diner. There was a mint BSA out front, I have no idea what kind though, but it was nice and shiny.
We decided that we would impose another rule, rule #2 where we could purchase one meal per day only, and the rest we had to cook for ourselves with dry meals and oatmeal. Jerky, protein bars, and peanuts filled the gaps. I think alcohol fell in there somewhere too, but I’m just not sure.

With a full belly and a full tank (gas @ Fredericton, 129km mark) we found our way to Route #41 of the snowmobile trail guide, which is an abandoned railbed. Sort of intentionally I only brought a few vague maps of entire provinces, no details, with rough guidelines how far we should make it each night in order to stay on track to catch our ferries. Although Jay had a GPS we only used it once to check the height of a Mountain in Newfoundland. Most mornings included mention of how far we had to go today, and then that was that. Rule #3 – follow your gut.

We rode at a good pace, through a lot of farm land until we hit a burnt out railbed. Damn kids.

There were two options, go around it by back tracking out to the road and using the car bridge, or by taking the newly formed trail down the bank and back up the other side. Day 1 is a day where a lot of rules are created to help keep some structure to the trip, and so here we have rule #4 – no roads when there is a trail, after all we were on vacation.

GT had us in stitches laughing with his first approach, but made it up no problem.

I love this picture of Jay on his KLR. Did I mention he was running Continental (TKC’s) touring tires! That bike looks so damn cool when it is doing hill climbs, going through mud holes, or anything else it wasn’t meant to do.

When we first decided that Grand Falls was a good destination for day one, we had called Rob (Robbz on the website) and asked if he had any secret spots he was willing to show us for some good camping. He got a last minute request last night after I broke the bolt off in my down tube to ask if there was a spot where we could do a rear wheel bearing as well. He of course said that he’d look after us.

The railbed takes a nice turn down to the river and follows it for a little while, leading into Hartland (the home of the worlds longest covered bridge). We grabbed an energy drink and went down by the water, under the bridge, and out onto someone’s dock. It was nice and breezy here, and the shade felt good…. I could have drifted off….

But no, it was time to re-gas and hit the woods again (gas @ Hartland, 238km mark).

So we drove on the railbed, stopping wherever we could find shade. We found a very nice spot under an overpass that was for the highway (I think), where the railbed ran underneath it. We walked up to the top corner of it, and sitting on the cold concrete felt like heaven.

It was here where we started to wonder ho much further Grand Falls was. We called Rob and he told us another 45 minutes to an hour. Not bad.
A liter of water, and back into the heat.

So almost two hours later (including a couple of stops – one in a nice cool government sand shed), we pulled over in Arthurette. Now remember what I said about maps and not carrying any, well it adds a certain level of fate to the adventure, and this is where my beleif of Karma comes in to play. I went into a store to ask how far to Grand Falls, when she told me ‘an hours or so’. Huh? That is what Rob said 2 hours ago.

So we called Rob back - he had a good laugh when we told him where we were. Apprently, we took a wrong turn on the railbed and headed inland, instead of carrying on North. It was getting late, we still had to swap a wheel bearing and then ride to our camp site (wherever that was going to be), so the decision was made to hop on the road and put the hammer down.

We met up with Rob and followed him back to his place. In the back yard, we propped up the pig on a 2x4 and I pulled the rear wheel.

Before I dug my new bearings out, Rob had already removed the old ones. He pressed the new ones in as we asked if he’d like to come and camp with us, since he was going ot ride out and show us the campsite he had in mind.

After handing me the wheel to put back on, he went in and grabbed a tent and sleeping bag. The entire ordeal of swapping bearings and getting him packed took merely 15 minutes.

We followed Rob out to a field, down by a little river. It was a bright night under an almost full moon, and was still very warm. There was a neat old bridge across the river and we walked around a bit to explore.

The bugs came out, so we had a bonfire. We sat around and told stories about biking, and ideas of where to go next year on the seemingly now annual bike trip. We may have had a couple of beer as well, but it was only to help re-hydrate from all the sweat we lost today. Water is the main ingredient of beer you know.

Not sure exactly when, but surely too late, we bunkered down for the night. After not being able to sleep last night, it didn’t take long before I was dreaming of what the next two weeks would hold.

Tomorrow nights destination – across the St. Lawernce, into Quebec.

Depart: Saint John, NB
Arrive: Grand Falls, NB
Start: 9am
End: 10pm
Total: 399 kms, (280 kms dirt)
- I don't want a pickle, I just wanna ride on my motorsickle -
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Old 08-28-2007, 11:35 AM   #7
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I was just saying yesterday that I hadn't heard of any adventure riders in New Brunswick....even had a query in GWN.

Guess now I've heard of one!!!
Great minds think alike;small minds seldom differ...
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Old 08-28-2007, 07:26 PM   #8
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I'm going to explore out east this spring, looking forward to more pics and stories!

Great stuff sofar! keep it up!
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Old 08-28-2007, 08:01 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by ZZR_Ron
I was just saying yesterday that I hadn't heard of any adventure riders in New Brunswick....even had a query in GWN.

Guess now I've heard of one!!!
Check here:
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Old 08-28-2007, 08:32 PM   #10
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This looks good.

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Old 08-29-2007, 07:07 AM   #11
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Hello Beerjonny.
Nice Ride Report you've got going here.
Mind if I tag along?

I've always wanted to do that loop that you are talking about.
It's the Alaska of the East Coast.

I'll be watching.
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Old 08-29-2007, 11:01 AM   #12
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great story so far!

I want to do some Gaspe next year
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Old 08-30-2007, 02:55 PM   #13
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good stuff guys.
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Old 08-30-2007, 05:27 PM   #14
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Ok, sorry for the dealy - been a busy week...

DAY 2: July 27th, 2007

When we got up at 7:30, there was still a bit of fog in front of the sun, but it was hot already.

We decided that the meal we were buying today would be breakfast, as Rob had a prior commitment and we had to break camp. We packed the bikes up, got a group shot and Rob led us across the bridge, then another and through a few fields.

We said our goodbyes and he pointed us towards Quebec. Thanks to Rob for help with the wheel bearing, showing us a great spot to camp, and hanging out with us for a night. It is always a pleasure.

Today we wanted to sleep on the other side of the St. Lawrence so we booked the 5pm ferry from Matane to Baie Comeau, and were told to be there one hour early. After getting a fresh tank (gas @ Grand Falls, 408 km mark) we decided to hit the road, get some miles under our belts and then look for some trails. If we missed the ferry, it’ put us a day behind already… All GT wanted was to find a place for breakfast – but he’ll never refuse a ride.

Off we went down a secondary road that would eventually lead us all the way to the border. We stopped a few times in the heat, looking for shade to rest in or little trails off the road to see where they went. Doing this, we found a road that was stripped and all the pavement was left on the side. That road must have been a foot thick.

After a while, we saw a sign that had a city’s name with QC after it. Not recognizing the name, we did a series of synchronized u-turns and took the exit. A short time later, and we saw the Restigouche River and entered Matapedia, Quebec.

"He look Jay, that means we are in Quebec!"

A few of the trails we took were just small hill climbs to cell towers. We stopped for breakfast in one small town called Causapscal, QC and filled up the tanks (gas @ Causapscal, 635 km mark).

In Quebec they mark all the intersections that the road has with any ATV or snowmobile trail, so they are easy to find. We took some and they were hilly but dry, and it was a nice break from cruising down the road. Plus my ass hurt so it was nice to stand up.

One of the stops in the shade:

Looking up:

More in the trials:

We tried to break up route 132 with some trails until we hit the ferry in Matane. Perfect, we were 20 minutes early – 3:40pm. So we headed to the check-in booth, but it was closed. Must open in 20 minutes. So we took a group picture, and relaxed in the shade, on the bank facing the ocean.

At 4pm we went to the booth and it was still closed. Jay then remembered that it wasn’t 4:00 – it was 3:00, we had forgot about the time change! So we waited it out. Rule #5 – Relax.

After a little bit, the booth worker arrived, and came directly to us. He told us we could drive closed the building and park on the left hand side. We noticed a sign that said ‘Motos’ so we parked there.

I love the picture of the Harley dude.

We went into the main building and spent almost hour napping inside the somewhat air conditioned ticket office. When waking up, the lady behind the window informed us that the boat was running an hour or so behind schedule. But that was fine. We sat outside on the rocks now in the sun, jacket and boots off, relaxing. It was nice.

A BMW pulled up and the rider was from PEI. A first trip, on a brand new bike, and he was set up to go camping – nice.

We saw a ferry come into port, and watched it turn around and back into the middle of two docks. The captain put the back end against another dock, after a great deal of maneuvering. We thought it was our ferry.

But then we heard the sound of screeching wheels, very distinctly a train. It was a train ferry. Very cool.

While down looking at the trains coming out, we saw another couple of dualsporters all loaded up, one on the same bike as Jay. We would get to talk to these guys a few other times in the trip, but for now it was a simple nod and hello.

Our ferry did arrive just about an hour late, and it too had to swing around and back in. We were not the first ones on, but did get put in the front left had side of the boat.

This was the first ferry I have ever been on that does not supply tie downs. The crew told us not to worry about it, so we left them just like that. After all, they are dualsports and crashable. I’d be worrying if I was the Harley dude though…

Jay and I found a place to have a couple of beer, and GT waited in the line for food. That man can eat. We chatted with the guys riding dual sports a little bit, and they seemed like they had been on a trip or two before. Our conversation again did not last long, as they went to eat in the cafeteria. Up on deck as the boat begin to depart, we saw another KLR with the same paint scheme as Jay’s.

Leaving port at Matane:

The ferry ride was short, only about two and a half hours, so we landed in Baie Comeau around 8:30pm. On our approach to land, the sun was directly in front of us and if you leaned way out, you could see it. It was large and red.

So after getting off the boat, we got some gas just in case (gas @ Baie Comeau, 755km mark) we started our soon to be nightly ritual of riding of finding a pristine camping spot. What we did was drive until we see fresh water (river, stream, brook, pond, or a lake) and then look for a nearby trail or dirt road. If there isn’t one, keep going. After finding one, take it, look for a field, beach, mossy area, clearing in the woods – anything that we can plop a tent on.

Over the course of the trip, we developed a list of things we could use to evaluate a campsite. By the end of it, we decided that there were five crucial elements to a good campsite – 1) fresh water, 2) source of dry fire wood, 3) soft, dry, flat ground, 4) privacy, and 5) a great view or setting. Not every campsite had all elements, but that is where our rating system came into place – we’ll get into that later.

We took a few turns off the road to find something, but nothing was working out. We then took a turn off onto a ski-hill but decided to climb it tomorrow as the sun was now setting and we wanted to find a good spot. I think the hill was Mont-Tibasse, but I am not sure. There was a trail along side a river to the right, very nicely packed with a fine sandy like substance. We drove it for five or six kilometers, then the wear in the trial seemed to follow the left hand turn over the homemade bridge, which was 20 feet in the air over the 50 foot wide gap, river below. We all drove over it, cautiously.

The trail then got difficult, up and downs, all grown over with grass that hid the rocks. We drove through this as the sun set, and it got dark. After a few more km’s we saw another bridge on the right. We took it back to the nice sandy path, and saw an opening leading down to the rocky shoreline. This was it. A nice river, fed from and feeding large pools to fish, a beautiful full moon rising out of the clouds, a soft sandy place for out tents, and lots of wood around. It wasn’t the most private spot – but we did not see a soul the entire time.

We set the tents up in between the bikes and the beach.

Jay messed around with his stove for a while to get some boiled water, and we all ate a freeze dried meal. Pasta primavera, beef stew, and chicken and rice were on the menu tonight. Life of kings I tell you…

We had a fire, and a few drinks. It was a warm, bright night and it was nice to sit here knowing that this is where the real adventure begins. The Quebec - Trans Labrador highway begins tomorrow with a couple hundred km’s of tight twisty pavement, then 1100 kms of mainly dirt. Labrador, Newfoundland, and Cape Breton…

It was a nice night, and I slept straight through until morning.

Depart: Grand Falls, NB
Arrive: Baie Comeau, QC
Start: 8:30am
End: 9:30 pm
Total: 354 km, (59 kms dirt) + 62 km ferry
- I don't want a pickle, I just wanna ride on my motorsickle -
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Old 08-31-2007, 09:10 AM   #15
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Super Duper

More please
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