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Old 06-25-2012, 06:03 PM   #1
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Dream Ride Of My Life- 3100 miles to Nova Scotia, Quebec, & Home

Before we begin:
I'm cross-posting this RR on a couple other forum sites, and here on as well. Prior to this trip, I had a couple threads here asking folks to chime in with info about all the places we went. Many ADV-ers got back to me with a LOT of great suggestions, and one guy even sent me a fab book!. SO- THANKS to all of you. The trip wouldn't have been the same without your input!

June 2012. Almost two weeks and 3100 miles.
The cast of characters are me, my GF Cynthia, AKA The lovely Miss C, my buddy Lannis, and his wife Fay, AKA Miss Fay. The bikes: Lannis' Moto Guzzi Stelvio, and My 2002
BMW K1200 RS.

I'm calling this yarn "The Hard Way Round". A rip off? Maybe but I offer FULL apologies to Charlie and whats-his-name! SO grab a beer, coffee, scotch, coca-cola, water, or whatever suits ya, and settle in for the ride of my lifetime!

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Ya know how sometimes when you're dreaming out loud about something - just trash talking maybe, over a coupla beers? And then the dream comes true, and you find yourself wondering exactly what you've gotten yourself into?

That NEVER happens to me. Tho I'd almost bet it happened to the Lovely Miss C once.

NO, but really. It all began last summer, when some friends were visiting from England. A bunch of us were all dug in at the Country Retreat of some other friends in Pennsylvania, hanging out and having fun. My buddy Lannis and I were going over his "new" Moto Guzzi Stelvio, and he commented about how his wife just LOVED it, and was actually asking him why they can't go on some longer trips.... I was all, "Well, let's ride up to Nova Scotia together then." Lannis responded with positive noises and raised eyebrows, nodding his head with a dreamy look in his eyes. "Could happen. I've always wanted to go to Nova Scotia." (or words to that affect)

And so it began, out of a bit of chit chat. It really sounded so... so... easy. Simple. Painless. FUN even, which it really was. It grew into the epic, 3100 mile adventure that would leave our butt-cheeks screaming NO NOT AGAI... well never mind THAT, let's focus on the positive aspects.

Things like beautiful scenery, good food, fantastic roadways, great motels, and an unexpected Vintage Motorcycle Museum. The shared joys of friendship and sweet running bikes, and well, The Cabot Trail at the zenith of it all... HMMM. Thinking back, the Kancamagus Highway held up to its rep too. And Cadillac Mountain was also pretty fanflippntastic, while we're at it. Sure, there was the mundane woven into the weave as well- like those first hundred miles out of the house- that seemed to take forEVER. The mad two-day dash from Cape Breton Island to Riviere Du Loup in Quebec, that had poor Miss C in tears. The CRAZY 500 + mile run out of Quebec City down to Seneca Falls NY- when I got us "off track".

Yes, dear readers, our heroes were UP! Quite literally- up in the mountains- and yes, they were also DOWN- Again, literally- as in when my flppin GPS routed us over a hill on a dirt road tryin to get into Lunenburg- and Lannis accidentally dropped his bike..... ON HIS FOOT (can you say OUCH)! From the the old, weary mountains of Pennsyltuckey to the shores of Maine. From the splendoriferously abrupt White Mountains in New Hampshire to the docks, waterways, and beaches of Nova Scotia. From the Shores of the St Lawrence River up to the Hotel Frontenac. AND from the grape jelly "Jersey" omelet to endless seafood, from McLobster (I kid you not) to Lobster Rolls, From the Village Diner to Tim Horton's to Toast! restaurant- we were up, down and up and down. Again. Some more. Out of humble beginnings, great things are born.

This, then, is the tale of such. It was great. It was Epic. It was an ADVENTURE. It was, dear readers, all that AND a bag of chips. We have, quite literally, BT&DT. We got the hat (Lannis bought a cap in Quebec), and we got the shirt (I bought a T-shirt at L'Epopee de la Moto), and we all got the saddle sores. Our weather was AMAZING!!! Out of 3000 some-odd miles, I'd estimate a total of 15 minutes of that which resembled rain- but wasn't REALLY what you'd call RAIN- like not proper rain, just a little shower... well TWO little showers. Mostly, it was sunny and fantastic! Well, OK it was fantastically HOT at the end. Could it have been better, though, in all honesty? I can't imagine how.

So, Stay tuned for a bit of photo-documentaion, from A to Z. Of course I'll insert some commentary as I weave the yarn, along the way.

The weapons of choice:
Lannis' Guzzi Stelvio, and my K1200RS, packed, stacked, and ready for the off:

That first day, we rode from our house in South Central PA up to Grafton Vermont. We wound up thru the local mountains, on one of my fave roads, to US hiway 209, which we took all the way up into New York State. Then began a succession of route changes that would boggle the mind- IF one HAD such a thing as a mind... I mean, maybe it's more like mind over matter- If you don't mind, it won't matter? I don't know! Hey, ROLL with me people, ROLL with me.

Along the way we wound thru Pennsylvania towns like Coaldale- where we saw a sign that said "Everbody's Goal Is To Mine More Coal"! Seriously, I mean, you really can't make this stuff up! I think it was the town motto or something. AND we rode thru the famous Delaware Water Gap, coming up along I-84 just west of the PA/NY border- where we found the AMAZING Village Diner. A stop for lunch was a TOTAL no-brainer! We couldn't get off the bikes fast enough.

It was everything one hopes for in a diner. A real, live, actual vintage diner that has been there since the 1950s- no trumped up nuevo wanna-be diner schtick, but pure diner chic- honest-to-goodness, complete with waitresses from New Jersey! Well, except for one girl, who turned over her shoulder and said LOUDLY, "I AIN'T FROM JERSEY!" Snookie would have smacked her sideways, believe me.

Lannis, being the brave and adventurous soul he is, HAD to have the New Jersey Omelette... which featured both American cheese and GRAPE JELLY!

I had a reuben

and I think the girls had breakfast. (I'm really kinda off kilter here, as my pix got COMPLETELY scrambled like so many eggs, when I loaded them into this thumb-drive ) The Village Diner was pretty doggone good- as good as one could expect from a fantastic slice of roadside Americana. Perfick! -in other words, to borrow a phrase from a friend from England whose pen name is The Kent Correspondent. I recommend that f you're ever headed east on I-84 in PA, and you're about to cross into New York, exit off, and button-hook back a few feet to this diner. You won't regret it guys. Have the Jersey Omelette and say hey to the girls. Tell 'em I sent you.

The rest of the afternoon was great, as we found our way up into New York, riding across a big bridge into the Rhinebeck area. We passed many many cool old bikes- so I assumed it was time for the AMCA club's Antique Meet up there, which I know some of our BritBike buds would be at or near- but we were on a mission, so no time to lolly-gag about. We rocked in & out in darn near the same breath, as the weather started to look like showers building. We did get a bit wet as we crossed the very edges of a thunder storm, but it wasn't bad and we kept on going, due north now, towards the NY-Vermont line, and the town of Bennington, on the very southwest corner of Vermont.

From The Vermont line over to our stop for the night it was a hop, a skip, and a jump.... then a BIG LONG STRETCH over the river, thru the woods, and WAY past grandma's house to the sleepy little village of Grafton, where we spent the night at my Girlfriend's folks' place.

The added excitement of the last few miles ON A STATE NUMBERED "HIGHWAY" being DIRT roads (!) made getting off the bikes even sweeter than it would have been otherwise- after 380 some mile of travel- tho it's a wonder that we all didn't have to be pried off the bike seats simply due to the sheer pucker power X 4, after that last stretch, lemme tells ya. Well, I SAY "dirt" roads- but actually it was MUD after all the rain that had passed thru, and that WE had passed thru. Hard-packed, slick LOOKING mud. BUT- we made it without incident. Vermont is great, with all the country charm you'd expect, and Grafton personifies it in pure form. Old school, too with the dirt state "highway". Again, 100 pre-cent Americana, with a Yankee twist.

Here we are the next day, ready to launch- after coffee and fresh-baked muffins at the Grafton Village Store. Folks, it don't get much more real than this! I mean, we actually had to darn near Indian leg-wrestle all the old codgers who came down, just to see who'd get first shot at the coffee and muffins!
What more can one do than "stick a feather in your cap and call it macaroni"? Seriously.

What a way to begin another great day of mo-sicklin!


Next up:
The ride from Grafton To Bar Harbor, with the Kancamagus Highway and (believe it or not) Maine Bar-B-Q!

Last edited by bmwrider88; Today at 07:30 PM.

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Old 06-26-2012, 06:35 PM   #2
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Day 2 - Grafton VT to Bar Harbor ME

Day 2 dawned and we found we didn't have the means for coffee, so we lolly-gagged about a bit waiting for the Grafton General Store to open. It was your typical small town country store scene- a handful of old codgers came down to sip coffee and much on donuts or whatever, and to solve the World's problems.
We darn near had to fight them for 1st dibs on the coffee the lady was making! I think Cynthia & Fay ran interference while us guys slid in and snagged a couple fresh-baked cranberry muffins...

Anyway, we'd weighed our options for the day's ride, after finding that it was about 340 miles or about 8 hours on secondary roads to get to Bar Harbor, according to Google Maps. We chose to speed the process a bit and do a straight shot up I-91 for about 1 & 1/2 hours, then hop off and pick up VT rte 116 over to RTE 112- the famous Kancamagus Highway.
It's a well known motorcycling road running smack up the middle of the White Mountains- kind of a must-do since we were riding thru the neighborhood. It was a sunny Saturday, and I guess t'was also the weekend prior to the Laconia Bike Week debacle. In any event, it seemed the ENTIRE motorcycling world wuz out enjoying the weather. We had a blast just the same- and the riding was out of this world! The good thing? No motor homes!

Here are a few pix from this stretch of road:

It truly is a beautiful part of the world. New Hamphire's White Mountains are COOL! And if the truth were to be known, we had a better time on 116 and the western portion of 112- before it turns into the Kancamagus Highway- because we had the road to ourselves. After riding the Kanc for about 3/4 of its length we got stuck behind what I call a "rolling roadblock"- 25 people on Harleys riding in a very loose "group" at below the posted speed limit, all of them spread out like so much debris. We wound up following them into the town of Conway, where they all turned north, and we went straight on thru, onto US hiway 302.

By now we were starting to get hungry. I used to hang out up this way back in the day, and I recalled a slammin Mexican joint that was a bit of a surprise back then- before the Mexican population more or less exploded, and Mexican restaurants became a dime a dozen. This place had fab margaritas and super good food. Since we needed to stop anyway, I thought i might be worthwhile to see if the place was still there, but when we passed a Mexican joint, it seemed so uninspiring that we rode on. In fact, nothing sparked us in Conway, so we thought we'd roll on until we saw something interesting. Maine was a shorty hop up the road. We knew there was a small town right there at the state line, and figured we'd see something there, but had no idea it was going to turn out so well!

Lemme tells ya dudes- the small town of Fryeburg Maine has something I would never have guessed of it in a million years- a Bar-B-Q joint. Now, here's my thing- I am NOT one to go somewhere and have some food-stuff from outside the area- I ain't havin no Philly Cheese Steak in Peoria Illinois, for example, no Key Lime Pie in Toronto, AND I wasn't gonna be havin no Maine Bar-B-Q. I mean, honestly? Who ever heard of such a wanna-be, blasphemin kinda thing as THAT?!

But it was truly fantastic (even tho I had the cheeseburger- I ain't fuckin kiddin around here! ), and I know this because Lannis and Fay BOTH ordered Bar-B-Q. Being from The South, I figure they're qualified to offer an unadulterated, edumacated opinion- and they both were there to testify! Not only was the food extra special good, but there was what I'd call GOBS of "personality" in the joint as well! Kind of an odd mix of hippy schtick and country-cutesy, with a classic rock edge(!) - figure THAT one out!!!

SO without further ado, ladies & jellybeans, I present:
The 302 West Smokehouse which is truly worth a stop, if you're ever up that way (and hungry). The sleepy little burg of Fryeburg, Maine. Heading east on US 302, it's just past town center on the left- kinda back in, off the road. Here's a few pix from lunch:

The owner? in effigy:

My burger, which had home-smoked bacon, AND they let me have it on a ciabatta roll!

The bar (they also feature several local microbrews on tap and in bottels):

I'd'a never guessed that such a thing as amazing bar-B-Q could be had so far north of "the border" but wonders never cease, it seems, and it's never too late to amend one's ways of thinkin or lookin at stuff! Pop by next time you're in Fryeburg. WhatEVER you do, do NOT eat before drivng thru.
You DON'T wanna miss the 302 West Smokehouse.

So meanwhile, back at the Bruce Wayne Manor-
We had only made part of the day's journey, and we still had some serious git-along comin. So back onto the bikes and we shot out across Maine's "Lakes Region" (I THINK that's what they called it- region? district?). And I mean, there's a lake, a pond, or a puddle every 10 feet or so. Heck- there's even a good bit of SWAMP! Just beautiful, so it was, but the road seemed to go on forever. And ever. on. Eventually, tho we wound our way further and further east, until we came upon THIS:

The brand-y new B.A.B. (that's the Big @$$ Bridge- if you hadn't guessed yet) at Bucksport, crossing the Penobscot Narrows.

Here's a quickie vid crossing the bridge, posted on youtube by somebody else:

BAM. This ain't no ordinary bridge, no siree, Bob. There's some special stuff goin on here, all kinds of cool structural shit- and simply by clicking on this Wiki linky, you can read all about it, and edumacate yerself...
Turns out you can actually go up INTO the one tower and "observe" the surroundings. Too bad we didn't have time for that, cuz that's my cuppa tea, dontcha know. Next time.

The road stretched out forever, and I swear those last few miles down to Bar Harbor were THE longest we'd done yet. It wasn't too painful, tho, as we were on holiday and all. So we stuck it out (DUH!) and eventually found our way to our destination for the night- The Highbrook Motel, just on the outskirts of downtown Bar Harbor. I really can't say enough about this little slice-o-paradise. The nice folks there really went the extra mile in communicating with me by phone and email in order that our reservations were secure, and we were pleasantly pleased to find that the Highbrook Motel is one of the cleanest and nicest motels in the area- AND just as cool as all get-out with a dynamite retro vibe, straight outta the 50s or 60s!

Large, extra clean, spacious rooms! Our was even painted a cool and funky color like sea-foam green!

The rooms even had screen doors on em! this place is pure style all the way, and no doubt!
Bangin, right? I'm tellin ya. So. When in Maine, ya gotta have lobster, no? Well, heckfreakinYEAH, ya do. SO we hopped back on the bikes and rode back out the road a ways to a restaurant for exactly that:

AND it's imperative that you ALSO wear "The Bib":

I had the STUFFED lobster myself

And Miss C, an old hand at lobster cracking, carefully 'splained the technique to Lannis & Fay, who were noobs to the game, showing off her chops, as she went. Here she is, taking care to document the meal!

After supper, we rode down into Bar Harbor proper, for Ice Cream! Needless to say, we all went to bed fat & happy. We was tired and sore, from two solid days of riding. Nighty nite, sleep tight. Boom. Lights out Betty. See ya in the morning.

Here's a shot of the only moose we saw on the entire trip. I'm starting to think this whole "watch out for moose" thing is all bullshit.

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Old 07-06-2012, 03:12 PM   #3
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Bar Harbor Maine is a great little town. And breakfast at 2 Cats Restaurant was one of the best meals of the entire trip. We had a gas looking around town, talking to people and enjoying the sights. Really, one of the best things about it was the fact that there really wasn't anyone there... Back when I was doing research for this trip, several people suggested we wait and go in August! Boy were we ever glad we went in mid June. Just about everywhere we went, we had the place virtually to ourselves. In August it would have been an absolute ZOO!

Here are a couple more images from Bar Harbor:

I REALLY liked this boat! Anyway, we had some time to kill on this day- as we didn't have a big distance to cover to get up to Saint John, hence the leisurely bit here- hanging out in town, then the ride into Acadia National Park up to the top of Cadillac Mountain... With its pink granite and absolutely stunning views!

Anyway, soon enough, we figured we'd better get crackin'. So we rolled back down Cadillac Mountain and hit the road outta there, picking up US Hiway 1 North- which turned out to be somewhat anti-climactic after Bar Harbor and the amazing splendor of Acadia Nat'l Park. On a break, we "met a guy"
who told us of a slight detour....

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Old 07-06-2012, 07:55 PM   #4
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Hey there Ricochetrider.... I'm in for this RR. I'm the guy that sent you the book!
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Old 07-12-2012, 08:29 AM   #5
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Maine: My old stomping grounds
Quebec: My favorite roadtrip when I lived in New England.

Have fun, be careful and don't forget to try the Poutine (French Fries with cheese and gravy) when in Quebec.
Big Trip to Washington, Vancouver Island and British Columbia
So Cal Day Trips
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Old 07-13-2012, 07:42 PM   #6
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Time for an update, Rico!!!
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Old 07-18-2012, 05:36 AM   #7
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Here's some contributions from our travel partners:

MORE Bar Harbor & Acadia National Park/Cadillac Mountain

So we had a bit of a mooch around the old resort town of Bar Harbor. It’s sort of like a Carolina beach town without so many of the sleazy bits; found a nice piece of amber jewelry for Fay in one of the shops, and the harbor scenes were pretty:

Had an excellent breakfast outside a little café (Two Cats, and there were in fact two cats there, they were moving fast so I took pictures of food and the coffee mug instead:

Then it was back on the bikes and a run through Acadia National Park, lovely mountain and ocean scenery together there ….

Acadia National Park, worth a trip to see!

If you haven’t been, you can’t beat this scenery on a bike:

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Old 07-18-2012, 05:47 AM   #8
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Bar Harbor to Saint John

Here is the local guy we met.

He was full of info about the area we were riding in, and told us enough to sway us off our intended course. Since we had some extra time anyway, we went for it. The "plan" was to detour off US 1 to see those big low frequency towers. If time permitted and the ferries were running, we'd enter Canada not at Calais, like we'd planned, but in a series of island/bridge/ferry hops over to Saint Andrews... Turned out the ferries weren't running- guess it's a seasonal thing, but we really didn't get too far off course, and we bolted back on wide open, empty roads to Calais, where we crossed the border into Canada without any hassle at all. Was it "worth it"? Not sure about all that, but we DID see some cool stuff...

Like the towers that Lannnis posted a pic of- that the US Navy uses to communicate with submarinse:

And a cool little fishing village with its colorful boats:

We rode thru some amazing countryside, and boy! in case anyone is wondering, Northern Maine is sure enough a remote wilderness! The funny thing about it was, you'd fly past a sign that said something like "such & such Town Line"... only to continue riding thru weeds, woods, and bushes, with no town, house or anything within eye-sight! When you finally DID see a house or three, most every one of them had piles of wire lobster traps in the yard or driveway, stacked up neatly, like so many big metal bricks.

The crossing into Canada was so down-tempo, easy and laid back.
We easily found our way onto Canada's Hiway 1 and had our first taste of the big, open roads up there. We finally came to Saint John and the city was gleaming in the late afternoon sunshine like Oz, or like a city of pure Gold! It seemed amazing to me, as we zigged and zagged our way over the freeways and across the bridge to our exit point. We easily found our way to the "hotel", tho I was busy looking at my [real, actual] GPS, so we rode RIGHT PAST IT(!) and had to circle back around the block... oops! Boy, you can bet we had a laugh or two over that move! Anyway, Chipman Hill Suites is a series of old houses that are fixed up into small suites. I guess they cater largely to business travelers who are in Saint John on work stop-overs. it was a COOL old house:

We had the place to ourselves, in any event- AND it seemed as if we had the entire city of Saint John to ourselves- as it was Sunday night, and VERY quiet. We had a place for supper that was recommended to me from someone off the ADVrider site, and it turned out it was an easy-peasy walk down the hill from our place. Britts, was both good, and friendly. It was also darn near empty- so we had the FULL attention of one of the owners, who yacked our heads off telling us about his small city! While it was WAS all good info and all, he carried on to the point of distraction- his OWN distraction. We no sooner got back to our room, and Cynthia & I were hanging out in the Living Room, when she heard the phone ringing in our suite. When I answered the call, it was a C.H. lady asking< "Did you just have supper at Britts?" I was like "Yyyyeeessss, we sure did." Turned out dude messed up my credit card transaction! so we gathered ourselves and hiked BACK down the hill, to square up and as a reward, he gave us some fab Oat Cakes from- I kid you not- The Cape Breton Oat Cake Society! Which we enjoyed over coffee the next morning.

My Buddy's story & pix:

To end the day, the city of St John, where we stayed in a nice old house converted to hotel rooms, and had an excellent meal at “Britts”. Scallops with chowder, seafood galore,

And “Poutaine”, which is a Canadian specialty consisting of Cheese Curds topped with French Fries, covered with gravy, and sometimes with meat on top:

I’m glad I tried it once, anyway …..

A nice walk through the town in the evening, and then to bed:

Next day, our ferry ride wasn't until NOON! So we had another laid-back morning strut about Saint John. The city awoke before we did, and by the time we hit the streets, the joint was fairly jumpin- we were ensconced directly across from a school- and there were people everywhere as we popped out into the sunshine!

The City Market was BANGIN! In short order, we made a currency exchange and gobbled down more coffee, and some breakfast:

Now look at the roof of the market:

Our effusive host at Britt's told us that the old City Market was built back when, by out-of-work shipyard guys- so the roof of the place features construction techniques similar to that of a boat- bottom! Not sure whether to believe that or not, but the place was COOL, and you could buy many things for every day livin in the place. We dug it, but had a boat to catch. So we rolled out and found our way down to the docks to catch our ferry.


The St John city market was an interesting place – just about anything you wanted was there. Fresh food, jewelry, book stores, butcher shops, little cafes, clothes, you name it. If I lived in the city I probably wouldn’t shop anywhere else:

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Here's a parting shot or two, of Saint John, New Brunswick, as we were leaving port, and the morning's blanket of fog was lifting off the city- giving way to glorious sunshine:

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Old 07-18-2012, 06:07 AM   #9
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Nova Scotia!

The ferry ride to Digby was, in many ways, not unlike the "other" big ferry I'd ridden across the Irish Sea from Liverpool to the Isle of Man- EXCEPT here, these ferrymen were MUCH more laid-back- and friendlier than the ape-like thugs who operate the Steam Packet Ferries. The contrast was stark! We had a nice 3 hour ride to Digby, so we socked in, and soaked it up. Nova Scotia, our primary destination, awaited!

We landed in Digby and saddled up for the ride into town:

We quickly found lunch, and I ate the Scallops! We left the Blue Lobster

for another customer and rolled out for our next destination:
Lunenburg, the Olde World fishing village- a Unesco World Heritage Site!


Then it was 12 Noon, time for the once-per-day ferry over to Nova Scotia. The deckhands were MUCH less stressed and MUCH less loud and pushy than the Isle of Man guys on the Steam Packet system. Fay still had her jacket liner on, it was a bit chilly, hard to imagine in the heat today:

We landed in Digby and headed straight across the island:

There’s a lot of empty places in the middle of Nova Scotia!

I imagine that the world’s supply of moose lives among these bogs and swamps all across rural Nova Scotia, looks perfect for them:

Old buildings abounded; hard to tell if some were still in use:

Right after here, I whacked myself on the leg with a motorcycle and limped painfully into Lunenberg, someone else was taking pictures I hope!

************************************************** ************************************************** *******

As he mentiones above, going into Lunenburg, my GPS routed us across a hill top on a dirt road. Coming down the hill to the stop sign the road was a bit off camber. Lannis slid his bike a bit when braking. Before he knew it, it had slid out from under him. Fay (his wife) managed to step off the bike and out of the way, but Lannis was pinned. Cynthia, looking back said, "He's down!" in about half a panic. We got off our bike and ran back to get the big Guzzi picked up, and to see how bad it might be- all manner of visions raising their ugly heads, in our minds.

Turns out the foot wasn't broken (far as we know) but it was sure hurting. Lannis, to his credit, got up, saddled up, and we finished the ride into Lunenburg! There, we'd booked 3 days at our hotel, so he took it easy for a bit, while Cynthia and I explored the area and rested ourselves after a good several days of hard travel.


Once in Lunenberg … as always, first things first – Breakfast! They know how to do it here, you can see traces of a Full English in some of them, along with smoked salmon, lobster Benedict, and other treats!

Then up and about for a mooch around this pretty place. With my ankle “hors de combat”, I found me a place on the docks and chatted with various people that walked up. The guy standing in this pic talked for about a half hour – he was a VERY “liberal” environmentalist, with all kinds of ideas about the government taking everything over, limiting the number of people there would be, going back to the land, etc. Interesting to listen to, and I’m sure he told people he found this American who agreed with him on everything. I didn’t agree with much of it; I just listened, but that’s how you do, isn’t it? I didn’t see what he drove off in ….

Sidewalk artist painting something very artistic, I’m sure …

Lots of colorful buildings and nice little shops –

Lots of working fishing and pilot boats here, and lots of painting to be done:

You could go down into some of them; they certainly have more room for people than your average USN man-of-war ship:

Then after a couple relaxing days here, it was time for the off, to Halifax and points north to the Cabot Trail …

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Stand by for the next installment on this epic adventure!

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Old 07-18-2012, 06:09 AM   #10
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Lunenburg and the surrounding area

While Lannis was laying low with his foot, Miss C and I took a field trip out to the small village of Lahave- south of Lunenburg.
I'd heard about a small bakery there from some guys on the BMW MOA site- and we HAD to check it out, as these small local points of interest appeal to us! Miss C wanted to do some walking, and we found a nice little private park and campground, where we paid a couple bucks, to do a SWEET little 40 minute hike along the coast! The day was truly fabulous, with more sunshine and wispy little clouds.

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Old 07-18-2012, 07:01 AM   #11
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After replenishing our souls on the hike, we jumped back on the bike for the quest to find the bakery. We'd met a local guy who'd told us we HAD to ride BOTH sides of the Lahave River, but when we rolled in, we found there to be a cable ferry! Well, who can resist that? Not us, so we jumped aboard for the VERY smooth, & fast crossing.

Once ashore, we parked the bike for lunch and a mooch about the small village of Lahave. I mean LAhave PROPER- forget North, West, South, & East Lahave, Lahave Moors, Little Lahave, and all the other ones we passed thru or noticed on the map! Sheesh, as nice as those folks were up there, they aren't a real imaginative bunch.... !

The bakery was GREAT!


Just awesome with a real mellow, old-school vibe to it.

We lingered over lunch and coffee.

and OF COURSE we HAD to have dessert, right? It truly would have been a crime not to!

We were free to look around and boy it was muy fab!

So yeah, Lahave Bakery was a highlight fer sure man!
Here are some more pix of the day out, in Lahave, up along the Lahave River and back to Lunenburg.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Cynthia had seen some bags fro sale in town- cool bags- made from previously used, and retired, sails from actual boats. we passed the shop cpming back into Lunenburg, and she wanted to stop. I was totally game, so we rolled in, to find this nice lady, working away- cutting (by hand) pattern bits for the bags. She was sitting in a PILE of old sails!

It's the Windbag Company!

Started by a FIFTH generation sailmaker, a woman who just couldn't bear to see the old sails go into the landfill- so she dreamed up the fantastic idea of making bags of every shape, size, and description out of the colorful discarded sails! VERY cool, and hip. They're even pretty swank- in a down-low kinda way.

Back to Lunenburg then, for our last night in town. We wanted to have some good food here, and there is at least one special restaurant- all foo-foo-ey and French- and apparently VERY expensive. Turns out, there is a second place in Lunenburg owned, staffed, and operated by the same chef! much more laid back, we opted for supper at the Salt Shaker Deli. It was fantastic. I had the scallops, caught fresh by a fishery a few doors down...

BAM! also, some mussels, from PEI- shown in apres-moi mode:

Lannis had an up-scale Lobster Roll:

and we all had fun

while we enjoyed our food and sipped more of the amazing Propeller Brewery's Bitter Ale!

Here's a few last shots from Lunenburg, Nova Scotia- a Unesco World Heritage Site:

Next up- Halifax, Cape Breton Island & The Cabot Trail!
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Old 07-18-2012, 07:10 AM   #12
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The next episode covers the distance from Lunenburg up to the Cabot Trail.

The Pre- "ramble":

Funny (ha f*ckin ha), but looking at our timetable, you know- comparing distances from point to point, etc., our original "plan" got amended, again & again, and perhaps then even again some more! In fact, the entire holiday almost immediately took on its own life as we went! It morphed, shifted and changed- you know- like a leftover dish in your fridge that you forgot. Yep, this trip wasn't QUITE "science project" material- but it WAS a good lesson in both Geography and Logistics!
We also began to build a bit of loose database as we compiled stats on each day's ride, coming to understand what we were and weren't capable of accomplishing on our daily ventures, riding from place to place.

We had originally thought we'd go as far West as Niagra Falls, but almost immediately realised that was NOT gonna happen. Then, we hoped to maybe stick more to the coast of Nova Scotia as we moved North past Halifax up onto Cape Breton Island. Remember, we'd already had a taste of Canada's "BIG" (such as they are) roadways, as we wound from the Border Crossing over to Saint John. Figuring out that it was going to be crazy not to take advantage of easy-peasy, quick-moving larger roads up there, we chose to dead-head it out of Lunenburg and hot-foot it over to Halifax. Once there, we would stop downtown for lunch. After lunch, we'd then pop back out onto the bigger roadways and ride like demons were chasing us up to the Island and towards the Cabot Trail. This became a pretty big day all totaled, and we finally arrived at a small B&B on the Cabot Trail, at about 7:30 PM- after a fairly early start out of Lunenburg! The story continues from that juncture (it aint' over til it's O-V-E-R)- but let's get on to some pix of the ride that day....

Halifax, Nova Scotia's Capitol City, was kinda awesome! We made our way easily into the city, riding thru the outskirts, and down to the waterfront. We quickly parked the bikes, and popped right into a tourist information station there! Those nice folks gave us maps and directions, and told us of a nice restaurant darn near right across the street from where we had parked! The joint was fairly jumpin, as lunch hour ensued and the city came out of the offices to seek food. Thankfully, we were slightly ahead of The Curve on our lunch order!

The fish & Chips place we did NOT eat at:

The place we DID eat at:

Fish Chowder and a Lobster Roll, and oyster shells...

NO, I did NOT have any of THIS with lunch

but man- if I could have somehow hijacked that truck.....

Stay tuned kids! There's more to come on this day's adventure.

We are on the way to Cape Breton Island & The Cabot Trail!
Hailfax was cool, and no doubt. Easy in, easy out. Mellow vibe. Propeller Ales! One more place to revisit sometime, well hopefully in THIS lifetime. But we lolly-gagged around enough and now had to cover some serious ground. Back out onto the major motorways we went, and I set the cruise control at 75 MPH. Not much to see, or to relate on this section of the tour, tho we DID pass the exit where the mid-way point between the Equator and the North Pole is! Sure wish we'd'a stopped there- we actually wound up stopping not too far past that, for gasoline.... Ah well, should'a, could'a, would'a. Another one for The List!

The Trans Canadian Highway is not only long and boring, but it is, at various points, under construction; bigger & smaller, and faster & slower. Going out to Cape Breton ISland, it eventually chokes down to practically nothing, as you wind out onto a spit of land with water immediately on either side of the road. This leads to a small-ish bridge. You cross, and Voila! You are Now on Cape Breton Island. A few long-ish miles out lies the world famous Cabot Trail!

Believe me, it was darn near agony on those last few miles. There's a whole lotta Island out east of this pint, and as we had chosen to ride the "trail" anti-clockwise, we had to ride up near the one-and-only road to get out there, Not only was it long and kinda boring-

it was virtually PACKED with trucks coming from out there, headed down to the mainland. Sooner or later, tho, it was inevitable that we were gonna stop to get one of these shots:

Eventually, after passing enough "teaser" signs, we FINALLY turned onto the actual Cabot Trail. The first few miles weren't too exciting, tho there was absolutely nobody there! Admittedly, it WAS about 7:00 PM or so....

We rode on, (and on)looking for a B&B- we'd checked into the tourist info place when we first got on the Island, and they confirmed what TripAdvisor seemed to indicate- there there were no "motels" out there, only B&Bs. We passed a goodly handful of 'em, and then came a looooong stretch with just wilderness... Then two B&Bs, with a restaurant (which was open) in between, then back out into nothingness again, as the sky grew closer to dusk... Suddenly, we came across the one single place mentioned by the nice lady at the tourist info place... The Maven Gypsy. We slammed on the brakes, took a moment to assess the steep, dirt drive, and vaulted up to the door!

YES! They had nice rooms and vacancies a-plenty! Ah heck! They wouldn't feed us. The suggested the one place we'd passed, and the lady called down there. They were closed! SO, with much reluctance, we got back on the bikes and rolled out further- over a big-ass mountain to what turned out to be a really pretty nice place. We had a nice supper and a beverage, and rolled back to the B&B, where we wasted no time in getting to bed! It'd been a mighty mighty day of travel, and we were BEAT! We knew for certain that the next few miles in the AM were gonna be Fan-flippin-tastic- back up over the mountain and into the sun we would ride! We slept the good sleep, with the sounds of the ocean booming just across the road.

Here's a couple pix from supper that first night along the Cabot trail:

Waking up, from a sound sleep at The Maven Gypsy B&B, just North of Ingonish, the first sounds I heard were those of the Ocean, of waves crashing on the shore, just across the road. THE road. The Cabot Trail.
Here's the view from the room:

Well... the view of the WINDOW SCREEN anyway! It really looked more like this:

We got up to the smell of coffee, and I quickly showered, dressed and went downstairs to chat with the hosts. they poured me some coffee, and I began soaking up the day.

The day was amazing! There was a bit of fog lingering, but it was quickly burning off, and the sunshine was brilliant! As was breakfast. It began with French-pressed coffee, and moved on to home-made granola with peaches, and fresh-picked strawberries.

Boom! moving on, we then had really good blueberry pancakes, and bacon! OK, more coffee, too. AND maybe an Aleve...It was uber fab and a wonderful way to begin the day.


Back up to coming into Halifax.

So off we went along the Nova Scotia east cost toward Cape Breton, with no particular stopping place in mind, just ride till it was time to quit. First stop, Halifax, a really neat old harbor town first settled in 1750-something?

Then some pretty seaside sort of country, with blue water and well-tended farms ….

They’ll let you know that the Cabot Trail is coming up soon, pretty often! But there’s lots of scenery to see on the way there:

There’s only one way to get on and off Cape Breton Island by road – across a stone causeway:

Cynthia and I unfolded the portable GPS to look and see where we were and what kind of riding we might have in front of us before dark. Answer – Nice Roads! In these pictures, by the way, the weather is just as pretty as it looks like it is – clear blue skies and warm temperatures. We hear that it CAN be very different up here !

We kept seeing “Moose Warning” signs, and believe me, there was enough lakes and swamps to make you believe that there would be moose around every corner, so we kept an eye peeled. No joy on the moose however.

Ghost riders among the lupins? These flowers are Lupins, and there are a lovely million of them along each mile of road up here ....

And NOW we are just getting onto the Cabot Trail! The first thirty miles is "Canada in her Working Clothes" and the road surface shows it, but then it starts to look like THIS:

We stopped for the night at a little B&B just off the beach. Tom’s already done the outside of it; here’s our room:

These little motels and B&Bs are FAR superior to any “off the freeway” chain motels like Holiday Inn Express, Comfort Inn, or Microtel. Luckily, Tom and Cynthia had exactly the same idea as to what makes for a nice motel, a good meal, or a reasonable day’s riding as Fay and I did. Matter of fact, they were so happy about it they were dancing in front of the laurel bushes:

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Old 07-18-2012, 07:14 AM   #13
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It didn't take us long to saddle up and get rolling. The first move was to ride back over the mountain we'd ridden back and forth on last night. You kinda wind around this bend, into a tight button-hook, and begin the steep climb to the top. We were riding into the sun going up, and it was glorious!

Fay sent me a thumb drive with her pix on, so I'm tossing in some of them as I go, from here on out, and also including some of Cynthia's pix too! BTW.

Here Me and Cynthia are, laying over, going into the button hook.

When we got to the top, there was a pull-off, so we popped in for a look-see. It was pretty darn fantastic, the first big, open views of the day- and the first of many to come. Gotta up load more pix. Stay tuned for more of the Cabot Trail.


Now HERE we go up the Cabot Trail:

It just keeps getting better the farther you go. But it’s not the Blue Ridge Parkway, mind you; you’re sharing the road with a few big lads like this:

But there’s not much traffic … and it winds on and on …

On we rode, beautiful weather, beautiful roads, beautiful scenery:

Ingonish – we saw a whale out in the bay here, too quick for a photo though!

And we needed documentary evidence that I was actually here on a motorcycle …

Thousands of these working fishing and lobster boats here – our grampus breached the water right behind him …

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Old 07-18-2012, 07:24 AM   #14
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I’m sure there are other parts of the world (the Pacific coast, Dalmatia, the Hebrides) with similar scenery, but none that I can ride to on a motorcycle in three days from home:

Most of these pictures were taken by Fay as we rolled down the road, although we stopped on the roadside at times. Some folks had told us that it was best ridden counter-clockwise so that we wouldn’t have to cross traffic to get to the ocean-side of the road, but there was so little traffic that it really made no difference …

You’re right on the ocean for so much of the road …

And we were happy with that. I was ECSTATIC, although you can’t tell it from the picture. I’ve got to work on this glum visage of mine …


We definitely had a "Magic Moment" on the Cabot Trail....
and on the entire holiday, in fact. Our timing simply could not have been better- no way, no how.

I have heard that the Cabot Trail is ranked among the top 10 roads for motorcycling in the world. I could almost believe it! Unbelievable views -both of shoreline and inland mountains- and great stretches of roads with a mix of terrain combine to make for a pretty fantastic day or two!

Here, the gang are checking out an overlook spot, with a sign depicting various forms of wildlife one may expect to find along the way. This depicts the type of whale we spotted earlier.


Tho it seems endless, it really isn't. Wiki lists the Cabot Trail at about 180 miles +/-. In truth, we didn't ride the entire thing- at the south seat corner, it turns inland, and I think we may have missed a pretty dramatic section of mountain riding- but alas, we had some serious ground to cover, and we opted to instead stick with the coast-line, thereby expediting our exit off the Island, and making some headway over towards our final destination of Old Quebec- which was indeed a serious haul from where we now are.


Loc: Rocket Fuel! So we just kep’ on ridin’, as you do when you just can’t get enough. My eyes were getting full, but the Russell seat was keeping Fay and I perfectly comfortable and on we went:

People DO live here, it’s not all parkland although it was time to turn across the top of the island through Cape Breton Highlands where nobody lives and the mountains are still green and nice, without chalets and cell towers and wind turbines on every ridge:

Some deep glens and steep hills up in these parts, and wonderful motorcycling roads:

We navigated by dead reckoning; Tom was pleased to find a sign telling us where we were!

A bit of road construction to keep the rocks off the road – it wasn’t easy, building this road, I’m sure:

And the roads were REALLY good!

Magnificent vistas wherever you looked!


Our exit off the Island was not completely hasty. We needed to stop for lunch, and I'd been told that of all places on Cape Breton Island to check out, chief among them was the Glenora Distillery. Well, indeed! In our hunger, we missed a turn outward, and thus rode inland for a bit in search of a small cafe our hostess at the Maven Gypsy had mentioned- tho in truth, I had kinda cut her off, thinking no way would we see the village she said it was in. Turns out, in our trek to get back out to the coast, we passed what may have been one of THE only signs indicating we were on track for the distillery.
S we rode on. And on... and on, into the village of Inverness.

I had heard that at Glenora Distillery, you may eat, and also stay the night in their cabins... But man we'd worked up quite the appetite riding all morning and by now it was mid-afternoon. We stopped in Inverness, where we found a little honky tonk with decent food.

Turns out that we were just a few miles down the road from the Distillery, so we hopped back on the bikes after refreshing ourselves and rode the few miles for our next stop.

We popped into the Gift Shop there, and well... suffice it to say, that we took a li'l sumpin sumpin along with us for future reference. DAMN little, in fact- I bought two small sample bottles of 10 year old Glen Breton scotch, and folks, lemme tells ya, it tasted pretty darn good, later that night, MANY miles later- in our hotel in Amherst after supper. Here's the qualifier:

I'm not really a whisky or scotch drinker, but there was NO way I was going to pass this up, I mean it'd have been downright rude not to take some along. The Distillery, in fact, was one of the many many recommendations I'd gotten from lots of folks on two other forum sites, while researching this trip. In a way, it was a nod to all those guys,too!

Couple other final notes about Cape Breton Island- There are SO many lobster boats plying the coastal waters, it's kinda... crazy, even unimaginable. There were times when we could see many boats, all working darn near side by side. It was fun to see, and to watch these guys hauling their lobster traps up and into the boats. It's no wonder that lobster is so prevalent up there that even McDonald's sells McLobster! No kidding- while we didn't stop for it, we actually saw signs coming & going to and from Cape Breton Island, advertising McLobster!

Also, there is a direct link between Nova Scotia and Scotland. It is most evident up on Cape Breton Island, tho- with its mountains (Cape Breton Highlands Nat'l Park) and the Glenora Distillery. Some of the villages are even named after Scottish towns or cities- such as Inverness- or have Scottish sounding names, like Ingonish, Dunvegan, or Margaree. Heck- they even make their own Scotch Whisky! I've read that there had been some dispute between Glenora and the Scottish Scotch Whisky Association (or whomever) that took the form of a years-long court battle. Don't recall the focus of the dispute but in the end, Glenora Distillery won out.

Note the sign in the background:

So we wound it down and headed back to the little bridge across the causeway, to make good our exit off the island. A stop back at the Tourist Info Station was called for, as a bathroom break was needed by all. Here we met two guys which Cynthia called "Motorcycle Pirates" - and I don't mean doo-rag wearin' Harley types, but real live, honest-to-goodness life long motorcyclists with a couple hard-ridden machines.

In retrospect, perhaps I should have gotten them to stand by their bikes to record the image of these grizzled, road-weary characters. Here's their bikes, tho- it's all I came away with. Shaun me laddie- here's one bike after your very own heart my man!

Dig the bike in the foreground. Dude has owned it from new, in 1977. He says it's NEVER been washed or cleaned in all those years! The bike, apparently has dirt on it from Spain, Germany, all over Europe, England, and the Isle Of Man, and who knows where else! Looking at this HUGE guy, I believe his jacket was of about the same vintage and state of cleanliness- he, it, and the bike appeared as though an apparition right out of the vault of time itself. Heck this cat could even have been father time on his own motorcycle. He,his buddy, and their bikes, made quite the impression. NICE guys. We chatted for a few, then saddled up and pretty much bolted. We had a serious haul to get over to Amherst, our target stop for the night. A hard dash of 170 miles more or less. Off the Island and onto the highway we rode. I put the cruise control at 75, and we set to- riding west into the late afternoon sun.
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Old 07-18-2012, 07:29 AM   #15
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We actually rode into this town from all the way back on the western edge of Nova Scotia- We;d stayed the night in Amherst, in the Comfort Inn or some such mundane place as that. A ride distance or 620 KMs or about 385 miles.

Riviere du Loup is a great small town on the St Lawrence. We picked it as our final stop before rolling downriver to Olde Quebec city. I'd done some internet research the night before and had a motel in mind. We knew the name of the street but that was about it. Turns out, the little mom & pop place we found quite by accident, the Motel au Vieux Fanal, was one of the best stops of the entire trip! Exceptionally clean, small rooms, over looking the St Lawrence River, with a decent restaurant within walking distance!

Since Cynthia & I love that mid-century thing, this place stuck a special chord with us. My only possible complaint was that not all the old neon was lit. This place is THE shizzle! The owners are SO nice and accommodating.

That night we had a decent meal with lousy service. We went to sleep and slept well. Next day, we had a leisurely ride along the river, back on the small roads, headed south & west, to Quebec City- a distance of only 191 KMs or 118 miles, more or less. We were in for a NICE surprise along the way!


Well, all good things must come to an end. We eventually rode our way back to the causeway, and headed west out of Nova Scotia across New Brunswick toward Quebec.

Lots of wide-open spaces and lonely roads out here:

Did I mention the continuing perfect blue skies and mild weather under which we were riding? Although there were a bunch of poxy windmills messing up the ridgeline:

But plenty of really nice scenery to make up for it, everywhere around:

Some more big boys to share the road with. Must be billions of board-feet of lumber traveling this broad land:

And the Chamber of Commerce kept PROMISING us close-up views of big moose, but never delivered …

And now we’re approaching our next night’s stop, Riviere du Loup, as you can see …

Finally made it. A most pleasant end to another long day’s ride. A delightful French-Canadian lady as host, and pretty views of the river and the sunset:

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