MapMaster's Maritime Meander

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by MapMaster, Jun 27, 2011.

  1. MapMaster

    MapMaster Human Compass

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    Mumbled mutterings of many miles mixing melancholy memorial memories with minor mishaps, magnificent mountains, mega-sized Maine Moose, marvelous meals, meeting manly Maine motorcyclists at Meat Cove, maddening monsoons, machine malfunctions, and a multitude of magnanimous members of the human race that made this trip a memorable one.

    Saturday, May 28
    On the road slabbing to Connecticut, two days later than planned and a day too late to make the start of the Angel Ride (a two day, cross-state fundraising bicycle ride that I was assisting by being part of the motorcycle safety crew for the third year in a row) when a car passed me and then slowed down. As I pull along side, the driver's window rolled down and a pretty lady started gesturing to me with what looked like a smile. Things are looking up I thought, did she used to have a VFR?, maybe she had a thing for first responders and thought I was a fire fighter (clad in my riding suit with the hi-viz yellow accents), I pulled into the rest area that was just a couple of miles up the road and she followed. It turned out that she was trying to indicate to me that one of my saddle bag cases was opened and she saw a tennis shoe fly out. I had hit a nasty pavement break a short time before. Assessing the diminished contents of the bag, a clear faceshield for the helmet, a spare pair of riding gloves, and an Angel Ride ball cap had preceded the tennis shoe in the ejection sequence. I pitched the now superfluous sneaker into the trash and headed on with the added impetus to make it to the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp where the riders were overnighting before darkness fell, since I was now limited to a tinted faceshield.

    One last coffee break (all the ones at the interstate rest areas were shut down, thank dog for the Boy Scouts):
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    I arrived at the camp in the gathering gloom to find it gated, but a gentleman was on hand to let me in and I carefully made my way to the staff housing area where most of the motocrew was staying without further incident. Mike had a spare clear faceshield, so I was covered should tomorrow be foggy and for the rest of the trip. Dan had new hats done up for the crew, so I got a spiffy white Australian styled 'digger' hat should tomorrow be sunny, and I got the upper bunk in a room with Dougs Sr and Jr. Senior declined the offered set of ear plugs, much to his distress. His emphatic accusation of me being a snorer could not be denied, but it was definitely a case of Mr Pot describing the color of the kettle. And I had earplugs! So it was a toss up as to who caused who to lose more sleep. I bailed out of the room around 0400, too tired to do it as quietly as I might have, causing more loss of sleep to the plugless - my bad.
    #1
  2. MapMaster

    MapMaster Human Compass

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    Sunday, May 29
    The pedalers were awakened by a reveille call from a fife and drum corp marching through the compound. After breakfast, motocrew got put to work early to clear the cabin area so that a CT National Guard Blackhawk helicopter could put down in the center. A fitting counterpoint to the call for veterans from the crowd to come forward on this morning-before-Memorial day. The Sunday morning comments made by Dave Gruendel (Angel Ride exhorter extraordinaire) and the Hole-in-the-Wall-Gang Camp director are a key factor in why I like to support this ride. Major motivators who've managed to touch my head and my heart with their past speeches. The bicyclists and many of the volunteers raise money for the Hospital Outreach Program that brings a camp experience to children combatting cancer in hospitals across the region. Kids who may or may not have a chance to partake in an actual summer camp experience at this facility founded by Paul Newman. The ride itself is more of a reward for the fundraising efforts, cyclists get a well supported, two-day, 132 mile ride across the state and I'm happy to do a small part to make it as pleasant a pedalling experience as possible, so that they come back next year with more buddies raising more money for the cause.

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    I also enjoy the camaraderie of the Motocrew. An eclectic mix of dedicated riders and their rides united in our efforts to help the cause and protect our charges. I got stationed at an intersection deep into the day 2 route, to tell riders whether it was clear for them to go through or not and managed not get anybody hurt, though after a few hours, one driver did make a serious attempt at preventing the achievement of that goal. Hannah, one of the other motocrew members coming through at the time of that incident, came back and correctly pointed out what I could do to mitigate the chances of a similar event occurring and offered to take over and give me a break. The poor night's sleep was taking its toll, so I accepted the offer. That was pretty much the extend of my efforts for the day, no one else needed a break, so I rode up and down the route encouraging those bringing up the rear of the procession to keep it up. The ride finished early enough for motocrew to eat at the finish line picnic. I was happy enough with the Ben & Jerry's ice cream bar, so the bbq chicken and sausage sandwich were icing on the cake. After gathering gear that had been trucked to the finish from the camp, I rode with Tim to his house in New London. Missing the first day of the event, I wasn't as enervated as past years, but I was still quite grateful that I didn't have a long ride facing me that evening. The gear assist was needed so that I could devote a saddle bag to water and Power Ade carrying duty. It also let me spend the day riding w/o lugging along the camping gear that I had packed for a planned 10 to 11 day journey through the Canadian Maritime Provinces that was commencing tomorrow and ending the following Friday back in CT, so that I could help with motorcycle safety duties for another bicycle fundraising ride, the Jim Calhoun Cancer ride. I committed to help with that ride because I was going to be in the area the next day for a 60th birthday party celebration.
    #2
  3. MapMaster

    MapMaster Human Compass

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    Monday, May 30
    I started out from New London under overcast skies and soon a light rain began to fall. I had two days to get to the vicinity of Agusta, ME, so a relaxed pace suited the conditions and my mood just fine as I motored north, musing on this Memorial Day morning.

    Paxton, MA
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    The original plan to start this trip was to leave Pittsburgh on Thursday, camping somewhere in northeast PA or the Catskill region of NY the first night, and then get to the Angel Ride starting point in Norfolk, CT early Friday afternoon. That way I could be well rested for the longer, more tiring, first day of the event. Things didn't quite work out that way.
    Late last Sunday evening, a couple of hours after I had completed the return ride from the first of a series of 60th birthday parties in CT, my son called with the news that my father had died.

    The arrangements my sister made called for a viewing Wednesday and a funeral mass on Thursday. Word from the Angel Ride camp was that a few other motocrew members had to bail, so I thought I would try to slab up all the way on Friday to be there for the whole event. Catching a batch of food poisoning Wednesday evening after the viewing that had me up most of the night effectively scuttled that plan. I needed Friday to rest up and that led to the highway yard sale on Saturday.

    My father had been in poor health lately. A life of alcohol abuse, a major stroke a few years ago, and 81 years of living were exacting their tolls. For the past two months he had been in hospitals or nursing homes. I rode the motorcycle down when I first visited him in the last nursing home he ended up in, a long term care facility where most, if not all, of the patients had little or no chance of ever going home again. I left there in tears. It was a while before I could start up the bike and as I began the ride that would eventually get me home, I thought that there are some situations where motorcycle therapy isn't likely to do much good. But it did help. Focusing on the immediate needs of my survival on the streets allowed the raw emotions to calm a bit.

    The news of his passing induced more of a sense of relief rather than grief and I felt a bit guilty about that. Today's ride on a rainy morning, over back roads and through little towns in eastern CT, and under clearing skies through more little towns in Massachusetts, passing Memorial Day displays in nearly all of them, allowed me to gain an acceptance with these feelings. I lost my father May 22. I lost my dad many, many years ago. There is no defined date pointing to that passing, little bits and pieces of Dad went away, at first without my even realizing it. As time went on, I grieved the gradual diminishment of his capabilities in commensurately sized little bits and pieces. When he finally died I had sadness, but no grief left in me. I'm at peace with myself on this.

    I stopped at the Vanilla Bean cafe in Pomfret, CT for lunch. It's a popular motorcycle stopping place, but only on nicer days. There were just three other motorcycles there when I pulled in for a late breakfast, and none when I left.

    A camp site at Lake Dennison State Park marked the day's travel end point. Twas not the end of my riding though. After setting up the tent in the now sunny and warm late afternoon, I headed back toward town and a likely looking roadside establishment with ice cream on my mind. Note-to-self; the next time a menu item appears to be over-priced, get a look at an actual serving if you can, or ask about the portion size. A small cone, for almost four dollars seemed a little excessive to me, but hey - things are more expensive in Massachusetts, right? Thank dog I didn't order a large cone. I asked for two scoops, one black raspberry, one chocolate chip cookie dough. The bowl they gave me had a cone stuck on the top of it. There was no way that amount of ice cream could've been handed out the walk-up window if the orientation had been reversed.

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    Back at the campground, all who had been there enjoying as much of the day as they could before the end of holiday home trip was required, were now gone and I was the only one in that half off the park. A peaceful night.
    #3
  4. donnymoto

    donnymoto Long timer

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    I have to say it would be very cool to see that Blackhawk. BTW nice meeting you at the gas station in CT, on my way back from a ride to Meat Cove (among other places) where you'd just grabbed the tag. Small world isn't it? I got the moto oil a few exits down, smooth ride back here to VA.

    So more of this report on it's way soon?
    #4
  5. MapMaster

    MapMaster Human Compass

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    Hi Donny, nice running into to you as well. Glad you got sorted out with the oil and home okay.
    Regarding the routes I suggested, 326 is the best one to play on and 653 is the e/w route across the southern tier that I like.
    More of the tale will be added later today.

    Cheers,
    #5
  6. EvilClown

    EvilClown Reality show stunt double Super Moderator

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    Hi, Greg! :wave






    :lurk
    #6
  7. MapMaster

    MapMaster Human Compass

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    Yo Mike!
    Was going to send you the link when I got to the "manly Maine motorcyclists" part. :D

    Loved the pictures of your daughter's first ride on her new bike. Those pants make her butt look fast :lol3
    #7
  8. MapMaster

    MapMaster Human Compass

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    Tuesday, May 31
    Today was one of those fantastic days of riding that leave you with nothing much to write about. Good adventure stories come from adversity and there was precious little of that today. Weather was gorgeous! Scenery was spectacular (not hard to come by in NH). Fellow riders were friendly and the cages were non-obtrusive. With all this going on, the only fly in the ointment was that I had to get to the ending destination by late afternoon, so I couldn't spend more time soaking in the beauty of the day. Candy and Willie, my hosts for the evening, were the early-to-bed-early-to-rise types. (Nine p.m. and four a.m. early!) A dusk arrival would not allow much conversation time.

    This trip was a bit out of the norm for me in regards to the daily stopping points. Instead of my usual practice on long trips of having almost nothing pegged in advance in regards to where I would be sawing logs at the end of each day; visits with friends, and a couple of set destinations in Nova Scotia meant that I had a fixed end point on more than half of the riding days. This was not a bad thing, just different.

    I didn't take many pictures during the day because my landscape photography is generally blah and I've been through NH frequently enough to already have numerous non-remarkable images from every overlook and pullout along the Kancamagus Hwy.

    ME Rest Area
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    The night's destination:
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    First greeter:
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    Candy and Willie
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    #8
  9. MapMaster

    MapMaster Human Compass

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    Wednesday, June 1
    Rolled out early in the morning and put a few back road miles behind me before breakfast beckoned. A Skowhegan policeman told me to proceed in the direction I was pointed for a couple more blocks and I was soon ensconced in a booth at Alice's Restaurant without having to go all the way to Stockbridge, Mass.

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    Alice, vertically challenged though she was, had no problems manning the stove.

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    Monday's ice cream cone lesson was not recalled until after the order of two blackberry pancakes was placed in front of me. I gave it my best effort, but had to throw in the towel with half of one still on the plate.

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    Nasty looking clouds gathered overhead as I fought my losing battle with the pancakes, so I ended up waiting out an intense, but short-lived thundershower. Once it subsided I headed out on wet roads that soon dried and even though most of the day was overcast, the rain gear was not needed.

    Lincoln, ME was the location of this not-so-friendly looking officer. No particular story behind it. The owner of the Why Not Stop shop collected statues and picked this one up somewhere in Florida. Somebody should make up a good story for it:

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    Heading for the Vanceboro-St Croix border crossing on route 6 east of Topsfield, I met a massively muscled Maine moose, commensurate in size to the morning flapjacks! There was no problem seeing this guy even though the drop off from the shoulder of the road meant that he was visible only from the chest up. Antlers in velvet looked like the wings of a small plane, unfortunately he took off before I could get the camera out.

    After the border crossing, where I was quizzed on my life's history, I came upon this turn-of-the-last-century combination train station/hotel/restaurant in McAdam, NB. Quite an impressive collection of granite. They're in the process of raising funds to restore it.

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    Today's ride ended in Fredericton, NB where Paul a fellow VFR rider, past We Don't Give A Hoot participant, and appropriately named ADV inmate (Moosie) had his abode.

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    Paul, Kathryn and Sunny:

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    #9
  10. MapMaster

    MapMaster Human Compass

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    Thursday June 2
    Having ridden around most of northern NB on a ride two years ago, Paul took me on a ride through the river region southeast of the capital.
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    We criss-crossed many branches of the Saint John, catching two ferry rides, passing both ends of another ferry, and meeting a couple of very talkative ladies along the way.

    The Evansdale Inn near our first ferry crossing:
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    The first non-laconic female was the waitress, cook, cashier, and community commentator at our lunch stop at Reed's Point. Wondering what a donair meat wrap was, I was informed that it was like a gyro, but with a sweeter sauce and that I should order the sub instead of the wrap because the wrap wasn't big enough. Not wishing to run counter to her orders, I obliged. It was okay, but too sweet to make a repast repeat likely.
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    We didn't take a seat at the Liar's table.
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    Our hostess
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    Lunch was too filling, so the ensuing postprandial dip (more like a chasm for me when I've had a large meal) required a Red Bull stop at a small market near Chance Harbour. The conversation with the lady in charge there touched on the lack of family doctors, the Stanley Cup, the dominance of the local economy by the Irving corporation, the ex-boyfriend, Christmas party funding (unrefunded can deposits) and all kinds of other things. After that we stopped at the working dock in the harbour (spell checker be damned - that's the way they spell it in Canada - eh) and talked with a couple of fishermen who came in off the bay while we were there. A great day's ride for getting some of the flavor of the region.

    We finished with a couple of shopping stops. The first was at Eldridge's, a Honda/Harley dealer near Saint John, where I got a pair of rain gloves. The second was the Walmart in Fredericton for some travel sundries. We caught a just little bit of rain before that last stop, but coming out of the store, a whole lot more appeared to be in the offing. Leaving the parking lot I looked west and thought, "I don't like the look of that". We turned east and Paul and I both had the identical reaction of, "I really don't like the look of that!" Fortunately, an immediate left headed us north and we threaded the needle to get back to his home dry.


    Final ferry:
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    Even though it's red, I don't think there's any chance of mistaking the VFR for a lobster:
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    #10
  11. geoduch

    geoduch Adventurer

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    Mapmaster,
    great ride report! You certainly have a gift for the written word. I look forward to reading more
    #11
  12. MapMaster

    MapMaster Human Compass

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    Friday June 3
    Sunny didn't seem too upset by my leave taking in the morning:
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    As part of an excellent meal Wednesday evening, fiddleheads were the vegetable du jour. Previous botanical instruction from my girl friend Clare had made me aware of what fiddlehead ferns were, but I didn't know that they were edible. The river road heading southeast from Fredericton (route 105) was part of the New Brunswick designated River Valley Scenic Drive which was signed with stylized fiddlehead symbols.

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    So when a roadside stand featuring the namesake nosh appeared, a photo stop was in order. Ms. Palmer, the proprietress, was a font of fiddlehead facts and another of those quirky characters that made for an enjoyable off-beat, encounter.

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    She had names for her ferns, but I forgot them:
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    The morning's moments also included the sight of four bald eagles flying low over some fields lining the highway. After that the already gray skies darkened further and rain began in earnest east of Coles Island. It was wet the rest of the day and a bit blustery as I crossed the Confederation Bridge onto Prince Edward Island. :yikes
    It was not my first visit to the province, but it was the inaugural isle incursion to the land of Anne of Green Gables fame on two wheels. This necessitated a stop at the Gateway Village visitor center where the required souvenir patch, up-to-date-map, and campground information were obtained. The plan was to cruise the coast on a clockwise course over the next day or so and exit via the ferry to Nova Scotia. It was still rainy and cold, but too early to end the day just yet. So I headed for Cap Egmont, about an hour's travel time west of the bridge with the Moonlight Campground set as the pitch point for the tent. Had I known I was going to be abducted by aliens and forced to drink their local liquids and eat captured crustaceans, :eek1:eek1 I would've arrived much sooner. :lol3

    The start of the summer tourist season was still a week or so away, so Tim, the head honcho at the campground, still hadn't set up his credit card processing account. I didn't have much Canadian currency, but he was willing to discount the price if I didn't need to use the shower (the heater for it hadn't been turned on yet - and I certainly hadn't worked up a sweat today), and accepted a Hamilton for payment. He said I could set up the tent inside the vacant bingo parlor, told me that wifi was available on the porch outside the office, and that the store would be open til around nine if I wanted to get anything to eat. Events transpired that rendered those last two options unused.

    After placing the camping gear inside the dry confines of the game shed, I assessed the lay of the land and saw that some folks were inside a screened dining tent next to the nearest of the permanently moored campers on the site.

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    It was still early, and I like to chat with fellow campers when I can, so I walked over and gave my standard hail of, "Hi Neighbor."
    "You want a beer?" was the elicited response and things just went downhill from there. :lol3
    I had struck hospitality gold in the company of Earle, his brother Jim, and fellow campground resident Arnum. Labatt's Blue was the offered libation. They were tending a large pot of boiling lobsters and the education of this land-lubber lad was about to begin (yes, I rode submarines in the Navy, but the only direct exposure to aquatic critters I had during my confinement inside of a steel tube was to a few barnacles and a sole shrimp-sized shrimp while cleaning a heat exchanger once).

    Lobster lessons learned (as best as I can recall):
    Now was the best time of year for lobster, the summer shell shedding season was yet to occur, so for a given size the crustaceans are crammed with meat.
    'Canners' and 'markets' was the lingo used to describe the size of the ones they had bought from a local lobster-man that day.
    Cook a lobster by boiling it in seawater - about 18 minutes for markets - use tongs to grab an appendage, if the lobster loses it's leg lifting it out of the pot, it's done.
    Bottle lobster meat by putting it in a mason jar, fill the jar (not completely) with some of the seawater they were cooked in, put the lid on loosely and freeze it. once frozen, screw the lid on tight (it has to be loose to allow for expansion while freezing).
    Back in depression times a program was in place so that itinerant farm laborers worked for stamps in a booklet that entitled them to benefits. Meals were provided to the men when they were working and regulations mandated that they could not be forced to have lobster more than four times a week.

    Earle's wife Helen and another lady (I think Arnum's wife, but many beers later, I couldn't recall the name or relation) were the ones doing the bottling inside the camper. The last batch boiled were all markets and I was invited inside were the lessons continued. Arnum departed and another friend joined Earle, Jim, and I at the small table (the ladies had already eaten). Melted garlic butter and jarred bar clams were excellent accompaniments. The others finished their meals of two apiece while I was still trying to do justice to my first one. My sole previous attempt at complete crustacean consumption had been during a trip to Maine in 2000 and that wasn't a wholly successful attempt. I was cautioned not to eat the brain - "poison they are", but I did a credible job on the entire carcass and the second one went much faster. Another neighbor came in while this was going on and and was chatting with Helen at the front of the camper. I overheard a comment from her that it was going to be cold tonight and since it was so warm in the camper, I might sleep inside there for the night. I quipped that I would be more than warm enough in my tent, but at the rate I was going, I might still be eating when they went to bed. :D

    Finally finished, Earle and I went back out and continued our conversation. We talked about travels and he encouraged me to allow at least two weeks to explore Newfoundland as part of an as yet unscheduled future trip. Earle was born on PEI, Helen was a Newfie (I've heard differing opinions as to whether or not that's an appreciated term to describe Newfoundlanders, but they said it was fine). Paul had already told me of some Newfoundland traditions and Earle elaborated on those and extolled the generosity and friendliness of those easternmost folk. Saying that I'd be invited into homes, fed and plied with drink, and all-in-all have a great time. I have my doubts, after all the beer and lobster, it would be hard to top the Islanders, he'd set the bar pretty high. :clap
    #12
  13. MapMaster

    MapMaster Human Compass

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    Saturday, June 4
    Drizzle, mist, and fog all morning. I got away from the shore to search out breakfast and didn't swing back to the southeast coast afterwards because the views just weren't there. A coffee stop in Ellerslie at a market/hardware store was amusing. A young boy full of questions asked how many cc, if the bike was for sale, and if I had catwalked it. :huh That last one forced a return question cause I didn't know what he meant. His term for a wheelie. Don't know if that's a local phrasing or a term from his individual lexicon, but I like it.

    I made my way to North Cape and stopped at the deserted visitor center where the lonely lady on duty gave me a ribbon that when presented at the East Point Lighthouse, would entitle me to a "Tip-to-Tip" certificate attesting to the my travels from one end of the island to the other. While browsing the displays and gift shop, first one car pulled in and then another. With the arrival of the second vehicle I announced that it was time to leave cause the place was getting too crowded with tourists. :lol3

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    Rode south along the wet west coast and went through Skinners Pond. Earle had explained it's claim to fame as being the home of Stompin' Tom, a Canadian celebrity of some note. I didn't see anyone stepping on plywood, so I didn't stop. I also passed on a potential photo op and did not seek out the dot on the island named Alaska. It might have been a nice counterpoint to a picture I have of the VFR at the Arctic Circle, but the day was too dreary.

    Eastbound, I passed a shuttered roadside park near Cavendish, on the grounds was a full sized replica of the space shuttle Columbia. Wonder what the story behind that is?

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    Conditions gradually improved during the afternoon and an early dinner - very tasty local mussels at Rob Roy's in Scotchfort - had me in a fine mood. With the nicer weather, I went right on by the campground near St Peters that was going to be the night's stop and visited the East Point Lighthouse. It was completely shuttered at this time, so no Tip-to-Tip certificate for me, I was dashed. Another unofficially documented trip. :wink:

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    From the access road to East Point, it's route 16 west either way you go as far as the signage is concerned. I took the left hand turning and Camped at Red Point Provincial Park for the night. Not many neighbors this time (no year round campers in place here) and none of them were offering lobster suppers. Yet another disappointment for the day.:wink:

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    I really had no major complaints, thanks to the bingo shed I was in last night, I didn't have to break or set up camp in the rain, so it was a good day.
    #13
  14. MapMaster

    MapMaster Human Compass

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    (Sorry for the lengthy hiatus - a story in its own right. I'm back home and in need of some PMS Therapy (Parked Motorcycle Syndrome), so it's time to resume this summer time tale).

    Sunday, June 5
    Sunny skies and sea mist along the shore greeted me when I uncocooned myself at 0630. The sunshine was spotty and didn't last past the morning, but most of the day was pleasant. The evening was a different story.

    Deciding to make for Meat Cove today, I did a few hours of shore running before bee-lining to the Wood Islands ferry terminal. I got there two hours before sailing and made use of the time getting postcards and catching up on e-mail.

    PEI souvenir:
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    I was directed to park at the head of boarding lane 1 which was marked for handicapped vehicles. Coming back to the bike to get ready to embark, one car and a tour bus had queued up behind me. While chatting with the lady driving the car a tour guide from the bus that was out of Boston, came out and asked where I was from. She then went over a couple of lanes and asked a trucker what he was hauling. I heard her explain to the driver that she was just gathering info to pass on to the group as chit chat about what was going on. I called her back over and told to her tell her charges that I said, "Go Steelers!" I explained to the elderly lady in the car that that statement would be greeted with great glee by some and chagrin by others and right on cue a cheer escaped from the many peopled cage behind us. During the crossing a few folks from the bus with western PA connections sought me out. An older gentleman was impressed that I knew exactly where Youngwood, a little borough between New Stanton and Greensburg, was.

    First in line:
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    Rigged for sea:
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    Bye-bye
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    Wildlife today:
    One field flying bald eagle on PEI, three more higher soaring brethren later in the day in Nova Scotia.
    A seal popped up and down as the ferry pulled out of Wood Islands.
    Dead deer on the road just after landing on Nova Scotia - notable as a reminder that the deer/moose free PEI experience was over.

    Cloudy skies blanketed my first two-wheeled appearance on Nova Scotia. East and then northbound I made a gas stop and a stop at the entrance visitor center of Cape Breton Island National Park. Minor irritations at both stops, one from a likely source and one from someone who should've known better. At the gas station, an older rider, loaded up for adventure travelling, was parked in a corner of the lot gearing up to head out as I pulled up to the pump. He swung by and after the initial pleasantries were exchanged he started giving out with advice as though I had just let go of momma's skirt. Bad enough getting inane road warnings 'really tight turns with lots of gravel in them' from handwringing harbingers-of-doom cagers (as happened at the visitor center stop later), but getting an earful of unsolicited. already known, and basic info from another motorcyclist was a bit irksome. I would have enjoyed getting nuggets of info like where to pull off to see a tucked away little waterfall, or where likely looking whale watching points are, but that's not what today's offerings where about.

    Canso Causeway:
    [​IMG]

    After dinner in Cheticamp I entered the national park with no time to stop and read the plaques at the various pullouts along the way or explore any trails, I wanted to get to the campsite before dark and wasn't sure how much time is was going to take. But before the clouds closed in I was forced to make a couple of quick stops to pause for a moment and take in the beauty around me. Once in a great while, I get lucky with the camera:
    [​IMG]

    This is what was awaiting me ahead and it was even darker and wetter up close.
    [​IMG]

    The slog to Meat Cove was a dark, wet, slow one, but the end of the road was in a rain shadow today and this welcoming view greeted me as I came around the last few turns.
    [​IMG]

    The summer tourist season was not yet underway and it wouldn't have surprised me if it had turned out that I was the only camper, but four ADV ff's from Maine were set up and had a nice fire going. They had gotten there around noon and as I pulled in and dismounted they demonstrated that they were the finest kind of riders in the land. I was invited to plop down in one of their Kermit chairs in front of the fire and they gave me their last beer!

    After setting up the tent while they made a beach run for driftwood, we sat around the fire while darkness settled in and discussed bikes, beers, rides, and tag-o-rama. (Tag-o-rama is a game played by riders that usually involves taking a picture of your motorcycle at a specific location and posting it on-line, the next rider to get there, duplicate the photo and post it claims the tag and can ride to another location to repeat the cycle. Games are limited to specific states or regions, some involve a mascot that must be picked up and moved.) They told me that a friend of theirs had dropped the North America tag (w/ mascot) here earlier in the day and I was encouraged to claim it and take it back to PA with me. My adventures with the 'Egg' are documented here:
    http://www.advrider.com/forums/showpost.php?p=16095615&postcount=2718

    The crew and their ADV usernames (Evil Clown's picture):
    EvilClown, PWRCRZR, mikewillsmith and Internalcombust
    [​IMG]
    #14
  15. MapMaster

    MapMaster Human Compass

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,648
    Location:
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Monday June 6,
    Still dry in the morning while camp was broken, tag claimed and group pictures taken.

    I didn't get the memo about formal attire being a requirement:
    [​IMG]

    The Downeasters were heading back via the west side of the island and I was going down the east side, so we parted ways and I was soon enveloped in a blanket of fog and rain that made the morning trek to breakfast a long, slow, wet, not-much-fun, one. Conditions and my mood both improved after I plied myself with coffee, eggs, and a huge chocolate chip cookie. Rain was still a frequent companion during the day, so I called it quits early and settled in at the Harbourview B&B in Port Hawksbury for the night. John and Sharon Spencer were very pleasant hosts and good conversation was had with other guests during the evening.

    [​IMG]

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    [​IMG]
    #15
  16. MapMaster

    MapMaster Human Compass

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    1,648
    Location:
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Tuesday, June 7
    Still wet in the morning, but things dried out and warmed up during the day, so I finally got to play tourist and take in some sights.
    [​IMG]

    Riding along the Bay of Fundy shoreline, I was once again struck by how red and muddy things were at low tide.

    Around Walton, NS:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Near Blomidon (think "blow-me-down")
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Today I was heading for Kingsport, NS and the home of Slowphil, another ADV member who had listed his place on the Tent Space thread. I had pinged him before starting out on the trip and firmed up an arrival time a few days ago.

    [​IMG]
    Jan, Phillip and Ellie:
    [​IMG]
    #16
  17. MapMaster

    MapMaster Human Compass

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    1,648
    Location:
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Wednesday, June 8
    Sunshine and hot temperatures. What a concept! First time that the rain gear remained stashed all day in a week
    Jan set me up very well for the day with some homemade muffins in the morning.

    Juggling all of the routing options, giving proper weighting to weather and tire tread variables, and allowing something for the all important fudge factor in the time-distance equations that had to be solved to arrive at the fixed endpoints I had to hit, meant that Kingsport was going to be the highwater mark of this trip. It was time to start heading homeward-ish. There was some disappointment in not being able to explore more of new Scotland's southeast peninsula, but having already abandoned a visit to the Louisbourg historic site, wanting to return to more fully explore the Cape Breton national park, and still having Newfoundland/Labrador high on bucket list, it was easy to let it go. I'll be back.

    Lots of adventures today, most were good ones. The one bummer today was during the morning run on back roads heading east toward Maitland. A fair sized porcupine materialized from the bush to my left and began an unsuccessful transit towards the other side of the road. My first encounter with this spikey species was its last. Immediate application of copious amounts of the whoa lever was met by a solid double bump. Analyzing possible alternatives while plucking quills from the tires left me with no firm conclusions on any better action plans to employ should a future encounter occur. This porcupine was not particularly fast, so I might have cleared it if I had hammered the throttle instead of the brakes, but only having 750cc of combustion chamber it may only changed it to a single tire thump. I consciously don't try swerving around critters because they often do a last second change in direction as well. Many is the squirrel that continued to amass acorns after rethinking the idea of trying to fake me into a ditch. I don't know if porcupines are predisposed to keep going straight (as this one did) or not, but I'm not willing to chance a hard evasive maneuver and having a corresponding critter course correction resulting in a hit while the bike is heeled over.

    Continuing on I saw a bald eagle come to rest in a tree right above me. Another hard stop was no more successful than the last in achieving my goal. In this case getting what would've been a really cool picture. It zoomed away as I zoomed in.

    Stopped at what looked like a wildlife refuge area that I had noted the day before and it turned out to be the South Maitland visitor center which had just opened. I was their first official visitor for the season and was treated to a tidal wave of Fundy tidal flow information. Hostesses Kate and Morgan also treated me to their inaugural attempt at coffee brewing. Sadly, I had no wallpaper that needed stripping at that time. The taste of the caffeinated brew was more than compensated for by some of the best road chow information I've ever been given.
    [​IMG]

    Subsequent stops at the Masstown Market for fresh rolls and the "That Damn Dutchman Cheese Shop" for a hunk of their Old Growler Gouda, left me well provisioned for a great lunch break at a Five Islands provincial park picnic table. I ate overlooking the currently exposed tidal flats, observing folks in the distance clamming (I assume).
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

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    I was now heading west along the north shore of the Minas Basin part of the Bay of Fundy on route 2.
    [​IMG]

    I took 209 to continue hugging the shore until it swung north and ended at Sand River. The route designation is what ended, the road continued northeast through very sparsely settled country and I had a very frisky Fundy ride along the Chignecto Bay arm of the big bay. Fortunately, no moose jarred my jaunt to Joggins. Kate had recommended a seafood restaurant in Joggins and based on the other suggestions I'm sure it would have provided an excellent meal, but I wasn't ready to stop for dinner yet and an evening return to Fredericton was now on my radar. I retraced part of my outgoing route, heading back to Paul's house along 112 in New Brunswick, appreciating that road much more the second time around now that it was dry and I could see.

    I was too late to grab a quick dinner at Coles Island and also missed at Sheffield (New Brunswick country businesses close early), but I did get a picture of the duck hunter at the later spot before stopping for a good burger at Grill on York in Fredericton.
    [​IMG]

    I was the sole supperer so there was time to chat with the waitress. One for the small world files, she was from Easton, CT, a town bordering Redding where my girlfriend had grown up and had gone to the same high school as Clare (not at the same time though, there was a significant age difference.

    Pulling into Paul's neighborhood at dusk, I saw Kathryn walking Sunny. The distinctive V-four sound had her turning around to look my way before I even started to slow down and pull over to greet her.
    #17
  18. MapMaster

    MapMaster Human Compass

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,648
    Location:
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Thursday, June 9
    The day started off well, but the finish left a lot to be desired. I had a good breakfast at the Cabin restaurant in Fredericton and spent some time there updating my journal before hitting the road. The first waypoint was Nakawic because Paul had told me that the world's largest axe could be seen there. Tough to pass up a once in a lifetime opportunity like that.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    From there I aimed for yet another backwater border crossing, this one at Orient, Maine. The road to there, west of Skiff Lake was a brutal one, but the folks manning the border station were a friendly lot, though I was disappointed to learn that with the electronic processing of passport verification, they no longer had a stamp to ink a page in my papers.

    Some heat induced drowsiness necessitated a Gatorade stop near Bancroft where I had a nice chat with the elderly lady tending the shop.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    More sociable interactions occurred down the road in Lincoln. At a fuel stop there I managed to drop my key deep into the bowels of the fairing and it took some time to locate. After that I pulled into the McDonald's to check out weather radar loops because the skies were becoming very ominous looking and the forecast of severe afternoon thunderstorms looked like it was about to become an actuality.
    While sipping coffee and waiting for the leading edge of the front to blow over, I shared the weather info with a young couple pedalling from Quebec City to Calais and well beyond. They were touring regions of Acadian culture and Nova Scotia, PEI and Madeline Island where on the itinery of their six week camping trip with baby and dog. The baby's trailer was attached to Mom's bike. Dad had the dog's trailer behind him (it was the larger load).
    [​IMG]

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    The front passed through quickly without being too disruptive there, but there where a lot of trees down which, along with a combination of poorly placed and absent signs, slowed my progress to Milo even further. Clearing that small town, I finally started to make decent progress and was hoping to camp near the New Hampshire/Maine border to the night. Those plans were scuttled as I approached Dover-Foxcroft. My speedometer died (sign of a dead battery) nearing the town and the bike died as I got there. The wire connection plug to my regulator rectifier was melted and the r/r was toast. Worse, the spare r/r that I should have been carrying was sitting in my garage. Fackk! I ended up limping through several more bands of thundershowers to Newport where I got a room at Lovely's Motel for the night (it wasn't particularly, but it was clean). I got a battery charger from the Walmart next door in hopes that I could nurse one more day out of the current setup. If I could reach my destination in CT, I knew Marc had a spare r/r that would allow me to correct the problem.
    #18
  19. MapMaster

    MapMaster Human Compass

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    1,648
    Location:
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Friday, June 10
    With the bike's electrical system ailing, today was just a series of slab segments broken up by long stops to; charge the battery, replace the battery, charge the new battery.

    At the first charging stop I saw the cutest little 9 week old golden retriever. It was enjoying it's romp out of the car too much to for me to get a good picture of it.

    [​IMG]

    It was another warm day, so the 'stich got some much needed airing out.
    [​IMG]

    It's age and the series of complete discharges I forced on it killed the battery completely. A call to my buddy Pat to scope out the area I was stuck in revealed that there was Maine Turnpike maintenance depot just down the hill from me. Salvation!. I rolled into their yard and Joe Violet (foreman) helped me out by calling the local NAPA store to confirm that they had a replacement. He had Joe Freeman run me over to the store and back. Much thanks gentlemen. Back at the yard I added the electrolyte and charged it. came up to a good voltage in less than an hour. I didn't give it an hour to stand after that as recommended by the instructions, so far it has survived the abuse.
    Made it to Worcester, MA before stopping for gas and another charge session. One of the attendants there had a 70's era Batavus moped. A make from Holland that I hadn't heard of before. Cool piece of real retro machinery. That was the last stop I needed to get to Suffield, CT and Marc's well stocked garage. The bike died as I pulled into his driveway.

    After a shower, beer, and an excellent dinner that Sue forced on me, an electrical wrenching session and Marc's spare r/r had the bike pushing trons properly. Jasmine, another Angel Ride Motocrew veteran recruited to help with tomorrow's bicycle ride, turned up as we worked on the bikes and she kibitzed with us for a bit before turning in.

    Even with all the bike problems, it wasn't that bad of a day. Spinning wrenches (or crimping connections in this case) in company with like minded friends, swapping stories and sharing shop tricks was an excellent finish..
    #19
  20. MapMaster

    MapMaster Human Compass

    Joined:
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    1,648
    Location:
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Saturday, June 11
    Even though it would be three more days before I finally reached home, yesterday was really the end of this Maritime meander. I've spent so much time in Connecticut and would go on to spend most of the rest of year there, that all the travels between there and home are just a series of day rides to me.

    Motocrew duties for the Jim Calhoun Cancer Ride involved a well dampened morning and much encouragement to the bicycle riders.
    We were on the course till about 1430 and managed to get some ribs just before the food stand was completely closed up.
    Back to Marc's and after cleaning up, some wine, much conversation, and another fantastic dinner, I fell asleep watching m/c racing.

    Motocrew Jasmine, Pat, JR and Marc. Sue was part of the crew as well, but she was running late answering an EMS call out.
    [​IMG]
    Pat started blasting Queen's "Bicycle Race" from his Wing's stereo at the start line to stoke the riders, too bad it was as they were trying to give final instructions and he had to shut it down.

    Marc and Sue's other kids:
    Dinah
    [​IMG]

    Elise
    [​IMG]

    Sunday, June 12
    Today was a short jaunt to Litchfield for a birthday brunch with my girlfriend's family. Her sister-in-law Barb was celebrating her 60th.
    Party girls:
    [​IMG]

    Niece and hubby:
    [​IMG]

    More party girls
    [​IMG]

    After that it was an even shorter jaunt to Woodbury where I spent the night with other friends.
    They put me to work grilling steak tips and fillets. Tough job.

    Monday, June 13
    Finished the trip with one of the best riding days of the entire journey. Took the slab to get out of CT and across the Hudson, after that I had fun back road rambling almost the whole way to Pittsburgh and got home just before dark.

    [​IMG]

    4,600 miles was about the total for the trip. The rear tire was exhausted, but my appetite for Nova Scotia roads has only been whetted.
    #20