ad-ven-ture noun - an exciting or remarkable experience (Merriam-Webster) About me: I'm a fairly new rider, having hopped on a bike for the first time in April 2012 for the MSF course and getting my license right afterwards. I've accumulated about 13K miles since then commuting into Washington, DC, first on a Ducati Monster 696 and then BMW R1200GS. My only real off-road experience was the BMW two-day enduro riding class a few months ago. About my bike: 2007 BMW G650X-Challenge Purchased in February 2013, I'd only put a few hundred miles on it. Bike modifications include: - Various Touratech protection farkles - Touratech pannier racks and steel subframe - Hyperpro rear shock and fork springs - X-Tank - BMW Navigator IV GPS - Rotopax 1-gallon gas container - BMW low seat - John Deere tool tube (manual canister) - Pro Screen Dakar windscreen - Woody's Excel A60 wheels - Continental TKC80 front tire - Heidenau K60 Scout rear tire - Adventure Spec Magadan pannier bags - Kriega US-30 tail bag - Giant Loop Diablo tank bag - Sea to Summit compression dry sacks About my riding gear: - Arai XD-4 helmet with pinlock visor and standard visor as spare - Sena SMH10-11 Bluetooth - Klim Badlands Pro jacket and pants - Klim Hydrapak - Sidi Adventure Gore-Tex boots - Held Air N Dry gloves - Held Warm N Dry gloves - Gerbing's GLT5 heated gloves - Gerbing's heated jacket liner - Buff neck cover About the trip: I'd been wanting to do a multi-day adventure ride that involved unpaved surfaces, challenges, scenery, and an opportunity to use the X-Challenge. I originally envisioned riding up to Nova Scotia and back and then began reading ride reports about the Trans Lab Highway, which stimulated my interest in a bigger trip. I expanded on the TLH idea to include the full loop of Newfoundland and Nova Scotia, as well as a number of Cold War relic sites in Maine and the ghost town of Centralia in Pennsylvania. I could only be away from work for just over two weeks, so I knew I was pushing the envelope of what I could reasonably do and see in that time frame. I solicited riding partners on Advrider and saw that Chris (Monnomania) was also trying to put together a similar ride. Chris is Canadian, and had just returned home to Fredericton, New Brunswick, after two years on the road driving to Ushuaia in his 4x4 minivan (quite an adventure). I would be hitting the road on June 22, 2013, and working my way up to Maine. Chris and I planned to link up at the Riviere-du-Loup ferry terminal on June 26 for the 2:45pm ferry to St. Simeon. From there: - June 26 - Overnight in Tadoussac or Forrestville - June 27 - Overnight in Relais-Gabriel - June 28 - Overnight in Churchill Falls - June 29 - Overnight in Goose Bay - June 30 - Overnight in Port Hope Simpson - July 1 - Ferry from Blanc Sablon to St. Barbe, Newfoundland, overnight TBD - July 2 - L'Anse aux Meadows and Hawke's Bay, overnight TBD - July 3 - Grose Morne National Park, overnight in Corner Brook - July 4 - Ferry from Port aux Basques to New Sydney, Nova Scotia, overnight TBD - July 5 - Cape Breton Island and Cabot Trail, overnight TBD - July 6 - Ferry from Digby to St. John, New Brunswick, overnight in Calais, Maine - July 7 - Overnight TBD in New Hampshire - July 8 - Overnight in Scranton, Pennsylvania - July 9 - Centralia, Pennsylvania, and then home Chris and I would ride together until some point in Nova Scotia. I also heard from Matt (Ms2uared), who was interested in meeting us in Nova Scotia for the Cabot Trail. Research and planning took a few months. We did reserve ferry tickets ahead of time, so those were the only semi-inflexible travel considerations. Overnight accommodations would be worked out on the road, and we both carried camping gear if needed. Although we had a general sketch of each day's ride, we built in some flexibility. I did a dress rehearsal camping trip with an almost fully loaded bike the previous weekend, and before I knew it, I was pulling out of my driveway for this first adventure. Did the adventure live up to the definition? Stay tuned. Day 1 - June 22, 2013 Manassas, Virginia, to West Grove, Pennsylvania ~141 miles I packed the bike the night before departure, but I was having some issues coming up with a good packing solution for my camping food and snacks. I settled on using two compression dry sacks from REI that I'd mount against the sides of the Kriega tail bag. It sounded good in principle, but in practice it was turning into a hassle. I finally got everything secured, looked around the house for anything I'd forgotten, turned on my Spot Messenger, and hit the road. This was intended to be an easy day, and for the most part, it was. My cousin and his wife were putting me up for the night, and it would be nice to finally visit their house. The ride was superslab for the first half and secondary roads for the second half, and since I left later than intended, the temperatures were quickly climbing into the upper 80s and low 90s. I stopped for a Gatorade break at 80 miles and made the final push to West Grove. Day 2 - June 23, 2013 West Grove, Pennsylvania, to Miller Place, New York ~248 miles I hoped this would be a fairly easy day as well. The plan was to ride on back roads that kept me far away from Philadelphia and then superslab over to Long Island. There didn't appear to be any good way to get to Long Island, so I opted for what I thought would be the least painful. I was going to stay with one of my college roommates and his family, who I hadn't seen in far too long. On the following day, I'd take the Cross Sound Ferry to New London, Connecticut. I got an early start and enjoyed the back roads through rural Pennsylvania. I saw a few (presumably) Amish buggies on the road, and I stopped for gas and a snack break outside of Allentown. That was the easy part, because the superslab was ahead of me. The traffic came to a standstill at Staten Island and really crawled along for about an hour getting across the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. Only one lane was open eastbound on the upper level, but I was able to get over for the lower level lanes. Getting through Brooklyn on the Belt Parkway also took forever in sweltering temperatures, and I made the mistake of getting off the highway near JFK Airport for a drink break. The GPS sent me on a very convoluted route to get back on course, and I finally pulled into Miller Place around 2:30pm. Almost 7 hours on the road and not even 250 miles covered. These first two days were a prelude to the real adventure and gave me a chance to get more comfortable riding on the fully loaded bike and spending several hours in the saddle. Speaking of which, the low seat was proving to be extremely uncomfortable, and I was worried about how I'd manage on the really long days. It was almost like clockwork that my butt would begin to hurt after 30 miles, and things became unbearable after 80. Full set of pics for Days 1 and 2: http://www.flickr.com/photos/98619696@N03/sets/72157634570935154/ Don't spoil the suspense by skipping ahead to the other photo sets yet. I promise to post new installments as quickly as possible.