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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by JayElDee, Jan 6, 2018.
Right on re: Garmin How they came to own the market is a mystery . . .
OK, I am back. I was away longer than anticipated, but sometimes life gets in the way of frivolity, and compared to "life" this is frivolity. I mean, like, there were two deaths this week, a friend's adult son, and a favorite aunt, my "nan-nan" in fact. And there was work, and did the Saints win?
Ok, I know about the Saints, but what a game, huh? What a roller coaster of emotion. We live in a time when we can watch LIVE two, Brady and Brees-3 if you count Rodgers- Hall of Famers, play. Amazing talents. And I still can't believe I saw what I saw at the end. Everyone down here has analysis, but almost everyone is proud of the way they played. Lots of people met them at the airport Sunday night, there are billboards of support for 43, Williams, who whiffed the tackle. No bags over heads. Then there was the snow and the freeze, It got down to 17 at my house. Man that's cold anywhere, but extreme for NOLa.
An event fueled week, and the deaths. Life rearing her head catches your attention, no, it demands your attention, and when it does, things like sweepers and twisties, induction coils, and tire brands take less than a back seat---they aren't even on the bus.
All that said, and here's Johnny, trying to remember the details that made up the more interesting parts of the Nova Scotia ride. So, andiamo!
Leaving the deep South to go anywhere involves choices, few of them good.
It is September and that is still very much Summer down here, and, this would likely be the longest day of the ride, 600+ miles to North Carolina. I could break it into a couple of legs and do some backroads, but that would add serious time and not add serious interest. My plan was to ride the Blue Ridge Parkway, the entire s'mitch, jumping on somewhere around Cherokee.
I leave at 0 dark 30, actually around 430, and I am heading out of the city on I 10, to 59 to 20, but wtf is going on with the danm garmin, why is it showing me that, I don't want that.
I stop at a Shell station in New Orleans East to check on the garmin and discover that it is not playing fair. Not the first time I am seeing that, for sure, and I did double check before I left home that the route was imported properly. This leg is not a hard one to navigate...NOLa to Murphy, NC, but what this burp tells me is the garmin is not going to be my friend on this ride.
A garmin ( I will rarely capitalize the G because in my mind that suggests some modicum of respect for the company and device and I have little to none for either) is like a former girlfriend's best friend. Let's call her Inez. You can ask 'Nez for information, but the veracity is highly suspect and Nezzie's motivation is anyone's guess. Inez is not someone you should trust. She proves it within 20 miles from home.
It is still dark when I pull out of the Shell and back on I 10. I hate I 10, yet here I am leaving the environs of the Gulf of Mexico, its sultry air, heading in the direction of Meat Cove which I strongly suspect lacks something in the sultry department. I 10 is fairly empty heading east at this time of the morning, but those fellow travelers are still doing 75, 80 over the slab that is only slightly hampered by the sinking of the wetlands on which it was built. Don't make the mistake at the split, don't go to Bay St Louis, head to Hattiesberg, and into the F O G.
I suppose fog anywhere is a hassle but now on I 59 northbound it is dangerous. There's not much traffic that I could see, I was slowed down to 40-45 mph, and I could count only 2 white stripes ahead of me at any time, you know, the white stripe lane dividers? Visibility was 2 of them, and at 40-45 mph, that was somewhat risky. On the other hand, I didn't want to stop and wait for it to lift, and I didn't want to be overtaken by a Peterbilt that doesn't see me until, uh-oh, too late. Two stripes. I remember counting them, because I knew I would write this report and I wanted to be able to say what the visibility was. I'm guessing 2 stripes was about 30 feet ish, maybe a bit more? 45 mph is 66 feet per second. So, I am on I 59 with about half a second or slightly more visibility, but afraid to slow down anymore, and stopping was not an option, and would have meant the shoulder--scant protection there.
At dawn, in an hour or so the fog started to lift and once it did the weather was beautiful all the way up. I arrived at the Days inn in Murphy, NC in late afternoon.
I checked in and I did as I usually do and asked the desk clerk for recommendations for food.
She looked sorta like Melissa McCarthy on a bit of a bloated day. Look! I am not shaming fat or bloat, ok? I am trying to add metaphors and analogies and, you know, tropes to the narrative. If you've gone this far without something shiny or a picture to keep your interest, I'm thinking you want tropes.
This is Melissa McCarthy and she is a very funny actress/comedienne.
The girl at the Days inn looked a bit like that plus a smidge of bloat. Soooooo, I figured she may know good places to eat.
I am surprised by her answer.
Do you know any places to eat that are in walking distance and not fast food (walking distance because there was a scotch with my name all over it, and not fast food because)
No, I really don't.
I am flummoxed, taken aback, incredulous, I tell you! Everything I had stereotyped about round girls, well, nearly everything, was being undone with those 4 words!
(and then she added, now driving a stake into my shallowness)
Yeah, (she tells me) I am one of those people who doesn't eat anything I don't fix myself, you know?
No, I don't know, and I tell her so.
I am thinking that I've never known anyone like that, though I would accept that they do exist, and even maybe outside of the third flood at Charity Hospital (closed psych ward). She's going on and I am thinking, being a native of The Crescent City, that there would be some in my hometown who would eat sewer rat if it were prepared properly, and cleaned well...first you make a roux.
She tells me, no, informs me, because surely I would or should know, that those people who make your food, well, you just don't know what they are putting in it, could be sewer rat I s'pose.
I always try to be helpful, it's what I do, and I assure her that no one is trying to poison her.
I am pretty sure I remember her telling me that she no longer eats food cooked by her mother. Well!
Dear reader, I am not making this up, but then she tells me that many of her guests like this place or that, and all involved riding to get there, so the scotch had to wait.
I ate at a BBQ place and it was pretty good, then had the scotch and relaxed for the evening...
I wanted to get to that area because I could then have the time to ride the Dragon the next day. The morning dawns foggy, but burns off pretty early. It is a non issue.
I've ridden the area many times, but not yet on the GS.
Readying for departure I shoo away a fellow traveler
The Dragon can be a LOT of fun if you catch it right. That means there is no one ahead of you and you can ride your ride. I plot out a big looping route that brings me the Deals Gap from the Tennessee side of the Dragon, but wouldn't you know it, I fall in behind 7 "cruiser" riders, 2 are two up and one is a girl on her bike. Ugh, and though they will not let me pass - eponymously "hogging" the road, they do point out everything on the road with an extended toe that represents DANGER and a HAZARD. WTF is all that about! Am I not going to see the flattened chipmunk, certainly posing no threat, or the subversive pine cone awaiting my passage, all prickly and sh!t. Please just let me pass.
I think back and remembering dear ole Nan Kerrigan
I am thinking, why me! And they were no Tonya Hardings, who at least had some interesting attributes in a, hmmm, "sort of" way. They were not her. I pull up, following too closely giving a hint that I want to pass. I didn't do it in a dangerous way, but definitely sending the message, Please let me through. Eventually, the Santa Claus like character leading this group sees me and reluctantly and with visible grumble, pulls over about 20 % and that's all I need to pass. With "flair" I blast past. I want to be clear, never was I outriding my skill, nor was I close to being dangerous. On Deals it is possible to pass, but a cooperative passee is necessary. These were marginal. After I pass within a minute or so and sport bike roars up behind me; I pull to the right and he passes by.
There are a few skills needed for Deals, but one of the most critical is bike awareness, knowing where you are in space and knowing where you end and the rest of the world begins, and that includes dealing with other bikes on the road. This group did not have those skills. Yes, they could do the road, but bike awareness was absolutely lacking.
This is me after passing The Bikers, courtesy of Killboy
I stop at the shop, because I HAVE to get the decal, right? And it looks like it's Harley Day at Deals Gap, complete with salad bowl helmets
I am getting ready for departure when, wait!, that's not! No, it couldn't be! I think that's Taylor Swift eyeing me; she's put on a couple of pounds, though I am sure she can Shake It
Ok, maybe it's not Taylor, but you weren't there, so it's my word against yours, and while I would agree that she doesn't look a whole lot like Taylor Swift in that picture, it could be what Taylor Swift would look like if she were a cross dresser and then trans. Are you following this? There may be a quiz.
And hit the Moonshiners Whatever, and heading to Cherokee, an odious town, where I will catch the Blue Ridge Parkway. I've ridden this area quite a few times, but I've always avoided the Blue Ridge Pkwy (BRP) for two reasons, both of which proved to be not good reasons at all.
1) I feared that the slow speed limit would have me riding the clutch a lot, watching for police, watching my speed, IOW "hindered."
2) I worried that I would be behind "The Sampagnaros" emblazoned, no, stitched, on the spare tire cover of the Leprechaun Trailer that seems to be able to predict my every move and prevent said move
Those were the 2 reasons I have never ridden the BRP until now; but when planning this trip, I thought this could be an ideal time to attempt it and if it doesn't work out, I'll jump off.
#1, the speed...It's fairly twisty-too strong a word--and there are at least a lot of tight sweepers. The road and layout is nice and it's enough to keep your attention. 45mph is, for me, fast enough for the road. There are certainly parts where you'd want to go a bit faster, and you could, but as a first time, and slightly-faster-than-leisurely traveler it was fast enough
it looks like this a lot
Regarding the 2nd reason...There was less traffic than I expected, and though Ma and Pa Kettle were on the road, there were so many pullouts that I was never behind them for any significant piece of time. They would see me behind them, pull over and I would pass. No biggie, no hassle
My two reasons for avoiding the BRP all these years are completely blown out of the water!
a fellow traveler on the BRP
Where's my Mule?
However, there was a problem with the BRP, though not # 1 nor #2...I've not seen anyone mention this before...it gets to be pretty monotonous and boring.
The scenery is fine, but the sameness of it mile after mile. One would think that minus my 2 concerns it would be ideal, and maybe it is for many, but I found for at least some of the time I preferred the bustle of a Main St in Anytown USA, seeing people doing people things, seeing an old movie theater or a church with a marquee with a cheesy/witty/profound message attributed loosely to Matthew, Mark, Luke or John. A school zone with a crossing guard, holding up a big red sign that says STOP and the little kids looking at you, you looking at them, noticing the rust F150 and the gomer, probably younger than me, driving it. Life, in the sense of Life Goes On. The BRP has none of that.
The BRP is far from sterile, it's green and teeming with life, I suppose, but there are no "edges" and it's the edges that keep you on your toes, pique your interest. Edges make you antsy, give you reason to complain or get angry, but nothing exists in a vacuum and by those edges, you can better see the joys and beauties and curves of the roadside, the vista, the smiles and the pace of human endeavor--and all that sh!t is interesting, you know? When you are on the road, there is the ride, but there is also the "texture." It's not just the lean on smooth asphalt, it's the rumblestrips (The figurative ones) that make you remember because of the contrast. I know I need the edges, I want a bit of the hassle to appreciate the other. the edges bring the ride into a sharper relief.
I get off the BRP for the evening and land in Mars Hill, probably named after the god and not the planet, though the planet was named after the god---oh, the circle of life in rural Tennessee.
I check in at some motel and, after-or because of- the culinary encyclopedic knowledge of my previous night's stay, this time I consult TripAdvisor for restaurants. Turns out the sushi place is horrible, according to TA, and, again, according to TA, the best restaurant in the greater Mars Hill area is The Waffle House, just down the hill (Mars???) from the motel!
One of the 'reviewers" mentioned how Gwendolyn was their server and "she was so sweet!" Wouldn't you know it, I look at the nametag as I sidle into a naugahyde booth, "GWEN," gotta be, right? She tells me she'll be right back. I look at the naugahyde and wonder what does a nauga in the wild look like? Bird? Reptile? Mammal? Google is everyone's friend and my friend tells me that is is an artificial leather made from, wait for it...plastic, a pleather, probably not too dissimilar to the food at The Waffle House; one or two amino acids changed here and there and the Waffa-Burger, transmogrifies into, you guessed it! Naugahyde!
Edward Hopper ate here and this was the basis of his famous NightHawks
Hopper's NightHawks--see the resemblance? I thought so.
Ok, basta! There's more to come, and now I have time!
Excellent and entertaining story telling with photos to match.
As a solo rider myself I enjoy your point of view about riding
The next day was a bit of a business day.
Baby, needed a new pair of shoes and I had contacted Frontline EuroSports in Salem, Va, just outside of Roanoke, before I left.
on the way, I stopped, thinking it was my kind of place this gas station, but alas. I mean... REALLY? Loitering, Loud Music, Profanity, but unauthorized parking??? I needed a break from riding in the Appalachians, those sublime vistas, cool breezes. I needed a break!
I stopped, filled the gullet of the GS with PLUS, and wanted to kick a bit loose, first, parking in some blue striped area (screw morbidly obese granny with two canes and supplemental oxygen), I wanna be hanging out- NO, I wanted to LOITER, gatorade in hand, singing along with Slayer or Judas Priest or maybe just turning Adele, REAL FRACKIN' LOUD. And I will be using a LOT of FAST language, Then, oh man, then I see the sign, again, and I utter, softly, whispering, the first word that comes to mind, " Fiddily-faacken-STIX!" And I ride on...greener pastures and all that!
I arrived at Frontline Eurosports around 3pm and dropped in. They knew I was coming, but likely in the next am, yet they accommodated me to slip on a set of Pirelli Scorpion Trail IIs, my current favorite tire. I chilled in the showroom, walked among the interesting bikes, spilled my coffee and no one saw me, and, like the tree falling in the wood, so it didn't happen. They had me out in about 90 minutes, I got lost in Roanoke traffic, found the LaQuinta, found they had double charged me, took forever to fix that, ate mexican and called it, for tomorrow is another day!
Lots of miles, pushing it, tires, loitering, hurricanes, though only a couple of days in and...
you get like that? What day is this? What town am I in? You think a second,
I woke up this morning
Didn’t recognize the man in the mirror
Then I laughed and I said, “Oh silly me, that’s just me”
Then I proceeded to brush some stranger’s teeth
But they were my teeth, and I was weightless
Just quivering like some leaf come in the window of a restroom
I couldn’t tell you what the hell it was supposed to mean
But it was a Monday, no, a Tuesday
No, a Wednesday, Thursday, Friday
Then Saturday came around and I said
"Who’s this stupid clown blocking the bathroom sink?"
___Kurt Vile, Pretty Pimpin'
I suppose that's your temporal lobe's way of telling you to slow down, and slowing down was what it was about now. I am in the jaws of the ride.
Before I left Frontline EuroSports I told the guys I was heading up into mid Pennsylvania, looking for ride recommendations. Back and forth, back and forth, but the take-away was Va311 west. Really a nice road, twisting and sweeping its way uphill into the Appalachians. Beautiful country, small farms, minimal traffic, exemplifying the best of these rides, and that's when I see it coming...
Closer and closer, and, B A M!!!, it hits my partially open visor. bounces away...I see it...heads back and disappears.
The brain is a remarkable organ, especially when on a motorcycle, doing 50-60 mph, sunny morning, trees, asphalt, left right left up down, and in addition to the functions that allow that to occur smoothly shifting your body this way and that, your eyes are picking up anything perceived as a hazard, or not, coming your way and your brain has the computing power to see what's coming, focus on it, project its path toward you, and know that contact is milliseconds away, all faster than the blink of an eye, or that it's going to miss you, or that you need to lean to the side a bit to avoid.
Everyone has seen the rock, bouncing toward you, football like, big bounce little bounce, and coming at you, and it's done. You can see it's round, or that it's brown. The power of your brain, a remarkable organ.
So, it was that ability that allowed me to see the big a$$ bee, the big a$$ bee, that was black with white stripes on it's abdomen, looked to be about an inch long, that bee that was coming right at my Shoei with the visor up a little to sample the late summer's sweet Virginia air, that bee, that first hit my vison, then bounced away, just in front of me, and then "disappeared," my brain telling me, "it went somewhere, and I didn't see it go roadside," and told me to "suspect" that that bee had breached the Shoei, with a chin curtain, that helped with road noise, but in this case prevented egress, if, if,
I don't slow down, well, maybe a little, but there was no real place to pull over ( I seem to run into that a lot), I open the modular helmet, and now totally aware that the little futher mucker was in fact stinging me on my face, in my beard. I reach up and grab it. I can remember the feel of it between 4 fingers of my right hand, pulling it out of my whiskers, and I throw it down and away to my left.
So far, I am not allergic to bees, having been the recipient of more than one gang stinging from wasps/yellow jackets over the many years, but this concerned me because maybe it was a different wasp, it was, with different venom, who knows, and knowing that any allergic reaction can be bad, having your throat swell while in the country, away from civilization, in now-rural Virginia, and on a motorcycle...ok, I was starting to freak a bit, and my face was throbbing. It hurt.
But, hey I lived. with no allergic reaction, just pain.
This is the guy that stung me, after I ran into him/her on my motorcycle. I easily remembered what the predator looked like and it was easy to find, via everybody's friend, google. A Mason's Wasp.
Feeling safe from anaphylaxis, the ride was now very enjoyable, riding up and down the foothills of and the Appalachians themselves hop-scotching between Virginia and West Virginia on little roads and eventually on US 220 into Pennsylvania.
Snowy Mountain Road in WV was a beautiful little side road going up and over Snowy Mountain. It snuck up on me and at first I missed it, turned around, took a right and it opened before me.
This was now a slow down and smell the roses ride, through hill and dale. Thinking about it along the way and I estimated that probably close to 50% of this day's ride, and subsequent days' rides, were under a canopy of trees, always a favorite, and making me think of the Tunnel of Trees in Michigan, a not yet realized bucket list item.
When I was stopped here a local LEO stopped and I am thinking he's going to tell me I can't stop there, but no...he asks if I am alright, told him I was just taking a picture, and smiling, because he KNEW it was so danm beautitul, he could understand. He told me to be safe and enjoy...Thanks officer! Appreciate that.
I mean, look at this:
It was like that a LOT.
A bit farther down the road are the Seneca Rocks, defintiely the stuff of legend and myth. Native American encampments in the area date back 10,000 years. They are gorgeous in real life and if ever nearby, a detour should be made. the best views are from the south, however these are from the north. I missed the photo op on the way up, and stopped to get a couple of snaps before departing
I cross into Pennsylvania, after midday, running a bit behind and not sure where I'll land that evening...
REALITY or God is a Pepsi?
Doing some real obscure Pennsylvania backroads, the sense of which I picked up over on advrider, then modified, I found myself on some easy dirt along the way for about 10 miles or so. Nothing was even close to gnarly. My gnarly days are behind me, if they ever were there.
I ultimately stopped in Mansfield, which for some reason had very expensive accommodations, but it was getting dark. I bit the bullet. The next morning dawned very foggy, I waited a bit for it to lift, and I was NY, Ct, Ma bound!
Unfortunately for the next day I have few pictures other than the before and after fog pictures from Mansfield, Pa, and they just look like fog and then little fog, so not included, but what I can tell you is that this was one of the prettiest rides, going from Mansefield, Pa. to Pittsfield, Ma.
In a nutshell, I went along the New York Thruway heading toward Connecticut, then up to Pittsfield.
To get from A to B I'd have to cross the Hudson River, which for this southern boy always seems to be a bit of a challenge. With one of the many New Orleans accents--and NO native has the Hollywood "southern" accent--I can "pass" for being a somewhat puzzling local in these here parts, and not immediately ID'd or stereotyped as a barefoot, drawling, worm infested, bible-thumping, sister-loving fan of Freebird and Sweet Home Alabama and ONLY those two. And, you know what? Rural is rural pretty much wherever you go in the 48, well, Texas may be a bit different, and "big city folk" infiltrate more up here than in Greenville, Ms.
I mean, I stop for gas in Anytown NY, and there's the Five and Dime, and Lacy's Furniture, and The Rialto. Men in khakis walk down Main Street, but at the gas station there's a Lexus with Connecticut plates, a couple inside, he, with the look, like The Mooch
and she in the style of Maria Bartiromo
Quite obviously NOT from Anytown; and me on the red GS, with Cabella's $17 bags strapped on, looking like a power ranger, though a little more scruffy, and I look at her, because she deserved a look, and they pay me no mind whatsoever. I am invisible either by nature or desire, but, you wouldn't see them in Greenville, Ms., I think. They are "going somewhere," and we could all speculate, but the message my stupid male brain gets is "available," like that scene in Dumb and Dumber, There is a Chance! Yeah!
I don't know how that relates to where I was going with this, but where I was going was How To Cross The Hudson River, and where?
It seems like nearly every passage across the Hudson can involve many lanes, people who know where they are going and tolls--often alerted at the last moment-- and then picking the correct lane, and believe me, you don't want to be in the lane reserved for truckers, with the Insta-Pass, with male pattern baldness, on Tuesdays.
Almost always I feel like I am taking my life in my hands, knowing de gloving, fishing for the suspected proper amount, putting it somewhere that is at once easily accessible, and secure and then merging, dealing, exiting, and then stopping again to put any change away that may have been necessitated by finding only a 5, when you need $1.45 for passage, and re-gloving, and looking for the proper lane, because if you choose the wrong lane, you may find it necessary to back track and the the prospect of dealing with the toll booths 2 more times.
You want to do it right the first time
And that's what crossing the Hudson is like. I suppose if you are local, or do it often, it's about as simple as making a grilled cheese sandwich, same number of steps, sorta. Totally off topic here, but I read yesterday that putting Doritos on a grilled cheese sandwich is sublime, not the putting but the tasting.
I cross the Hudson. I live to tell the tale.
Let me add right now something that does not get enough press. the roads in rural New York are often very good motorcycling roads and quite scenic. It seems that New Yorks roads are seldom mentioned when there are ride reports about riding in New England, but if you are planning such a trip, do not skimp on the Empire State's backroads. you will like them.
I cross over into Connecticut and then up to Pittsfield. I am doing backroads like 55 to 7 to 4 to 41 then back to 7 into P'field. This is some beautiful country, Straight out of Currier and Ives, horse country, canopies of trees. Slower speed limits, but you only want to go "fast enough." and for that the limit is just fine.
Aside: I have traveled with a valentine 1 for years, precipitated by some experiences out west, getting a couple of tickets for 72 in a 55, and stopped once for 17 in a 15, just a warning (no sh!t, really). On this trip though, I used it on the first day and then took it off, not really needing it because the roads that i rode did not need speed to make them enjoyable and ride-worthy. Could be that I am "maturing," but I think not. It was the route. Most of the interstates now have limits of 75, or higher, and with enough time, 75-80 is fine, and more than that can be uncomfortable, at least to me.
I arrive in Pittsfield, stay at a mom and pop motel I'd stayed at twice before, young American couple before, young Indian couple now. And the next morning depart for Portland, Me. One noteworthy road along here is. I think it was Ma8 -> Vt8, up to Vt9. 8 was beautiful, with fall color, winding its way through the woods. It was the one time I wished I had a GoPro to capture.
I arrive in Portland on a sunny Saturday afternoon and head downtown to a favorite, J's Oyster House. Portland is a great town, lots of activity, cutesy in some parts, a nice working waterfront and good food!
I sit at the bar. Whenever I've visited before I've always sat there and always a conversation is struck with my neighbor. It's a fun thing to do. You want to repeat it and at J's, it can be repeated!
I order steamed clams, yum stuff for sure. We don't get steamed clams down here.
I gave myself a day in Portland, actually it was a cushion day, Sunday.
My passage to Yarmouth, NS, was booked for Monday, a cushion just in case I was waylaid by something mechanical, or out of a Cloverfield movie. And I could use a day mostly off the bike.
I needed jeans and LL Bean is right down the road, and nothing replaces actually trying them on. My wife recently told me that my then current jeans looked like Old Man jeans--the kind like Obama wore. And LL Bean is a good place to walk around for the motorcyclist as much of their wares are suitable for long distance touring. Don't miss the Bicycle section if you go...lots of handy tools for bikes that cross-over.
They are hawking lobster rolls on the street, but at nearly $20 I pass. I like lobster, but I prefer the other seafood treats the area offers. I got my jeans, and my wife approved, No OMJ's for Bozo, and I head back to Portland to hang.
One of the more famous lighthouses is just south. The Portland Head Lighthouse is arguably the most famous, at Cape Elizabeth, and dates back to the late 1700s.
I am getting hungry, and I head back to J's (for "Janice" I discover), but as i am walking back to my bike, I see a guy with an LSU cap. You don't see many LSU regalia up here, you know? He's from Metairie, a conjoined area to New Orleans, just over the "Parish" line, essentially a native. We chat a bit, he is with wife and family, including in-laws and driving them around. we agree that we really like Portland and that the food is terrific--people from South Louisiana always work food into any conversation--and wish each other well. Whatdyaknow! Geaux Tigers and all that, far from home.
I take the long way back to Portland and J's, actually it's the sorta Lost Way, but who cares, right? This time it is mussels--some of the BEST I've ever had, the broth was absolutely outstanding and I recommend it without any reservation whatsoever. I had it's match the other night at Marcello's here in New Orleans, but I digress. And the "fish and chips..."
Fish and chips...Man, that's always good, you think?
Every area that has seafood has some variant of it, battered deep fried local "white" flakey light fish and pomme frites, "chips," French Fries. Along with the PEI mussels, local fish and chips, well, it doesn't get much better, I think.
Sunny Sunday afternoon, the food is great, and there are a few guys sitting around me at the bar, eating and rinking and talking loud.
The Patriots are on the TV, adding to the ambience and the din... and they are losing...until...Brady starts using his magic.
Here in Portland, Me. In J's Oyster House, Brady and Belichick could be playing Jesus Christ and his 12 Apostles, 12 men and One God on the field, and the bar would be for the Patriots, and very loudly, and unmistakenly, for the Patriots.
Truth be told, they are fun to watch, they are that good, and many South Louisianans are back-of-the-bus, veiled Patriots fans (unless the play the Saints) because they have over the years had many LSU players in their lineups. LSU fans travel well, so watching Brady bring back the Pats, as he did on this Sunday in the waning minutes, while having wonderful fish and chips, with a rousing bar of "fans.' was really pretty cool!
But, tomorrow is another day and on that 'nother day i will be ferrying across part of the Atlantic to Yarmouth and the ultimate destination of the ride.
Heading back to my transport, I pass others, before swinging a leg over and heading back to my bed.
(more to come)
Following along...great RR, as usual...
Did this trip a few times, loved it!
You sir, have this photography thing figured out. Thumbs Up! I lived and graduated from HS in New Mexico. Beautiful state. Thanks for the photos. You passed through my current state (VT) on your way to Cabot. Enjoying the report.
There are two terrestrial ways to get to Nova Scotia: over land, via New Brunswick and over sea, via ferry.
I chose both actually, getting there by ferry out of Portland (to Yarmouth, NS) and coming back over land, via Bay of Fundy.
I made the ferry reservation a couple of months earlier, not knowing whether waiting longer, or just showing up, would jeopardize transit...and I still don't know if that is a real worry. The ferry is a huge catamaran that was appointed very nicely, with food and souvenirs for purchase. You go through customs on the Canadian side as you get disembark.
The ferry was supposed to depart at 230-3p, but actually was late coming into port and we didn't get away until MUCH later. When I made my reservation I also booked a night at the Robb Hotel in Yarmouth, planning to depart the following morning. I was REALLY glad I did that.
The ferry was supposed to arrive around 8p, but because of the lateness of arriving then departing Portland, we didn't get to Yarmouth until around 11pm local time and by the time I got to the hotel it was closing in on midnight---not the time I would want to be in search of a place to sleep. And Yarmouth appears to roll up their sidewalks, or at least the sidewalks were certainly rolled up when we arrived. Dark and foggy was the night, but I am getting ahead...
Back in Portland, I had some time to hang until the "230p scheduled departure." But I got there a bit early. I was maybe the only motorcycle in the queue, and I had read so much about how the seamen, pulled motorcycles to the head of the line for entry and exit. That did not happen. I waited in LONG lines to embark just like everyone else, no biggie, but the sun was very bright and pretty hot.
waited and waited, and finally was allowed embark. I was directed to a nothing-special spot, where, on the sidestand, I was tied down. (sorry, blurry, but it was very low light there)
You see the black path under me? Thank goodness for that! That path was a gritty texture tread, like used on stairs for traction. That's the good news. The bad news is that the rest of the decking was metal, that was somewhat damp, and I feared, correctly, was pretty slippery. I say again, there was no special treatment for me on a big a$$ bike. Like so many other parts of motorcycle life: You Pays Yo' Money, You Takes yo' Chances. I didn't fall, yet.
I was "secured" by a couple of ratcheting straps attached to the crashbars. It did not look super secure, but I figured "they" knew what they were doing and not their first rodeo. Whether this trust was warranted or not was moot---the girl did not fall over during transit.
I went up decks. The passenger areas were appointed nicely, palatially spacious if compared to airplane or train. I could actually stretch out on some bench seating, and catch 40 winks, or maybe it was 36 winks, but it could be done. The food was passable. It was a long ride, 6 hours or so, like flying from New York to Paris. Mitigating was I could get up and walk around, buy stuff, watch a movie, there was a lecture on one of the decks about something aquatic, I think whales???, but I slept through it.
When we got into international waters, the channel pilot climbed down the side of the Cat onto a waiting boat to carry him away.
A DbLO (DeBlasio-Like-Object) takes a selfie as we are heading out, 2+ hours late
While underway we encounter bank fo "sea fog" and the captain comes over the intercom to announce that we have to slow down for safety sake, and the fog horns start sounding. Sounds dangerous I thought, and it probably is. It was nightime by that point and absolutely nothing could be seen. And it was very very windy outside. Anyone going over would certainly be lost. Hurricane Maria was to our south and these winds probably represented atmosphere rushing to Maria's low barometric pressure. There was no rain (yet), but the fog was drenching, everything was dripping.
We arrive in Yarmouth late. I hopethere's no drama reaching the hotel, and, there wasn't much to mention.
Oh, but there was Drama in disembarking. Remember the gritty pathways for the bike to rest? That extended a few feet in front of me then stopped, and it was slippery. To disembark I have to pull up, make a relatively tight U turn then start the descent to the ramp. the painted smooth deck is Oh-So-Wet, and cars all around me are jockying for position to get off the ferry quickly, weary of the transit and arriving hours late. On two wheels I did not share their eagerness, and my traction-anxiety was only made worse when I arrive at the sharply descending ramp with its no longer the smooth metal of the ship, but now, a dripping wet, slick metal grating. And there are right angle turns involved on the descent. I had both feet out as outriggers, easily sliding upon the grate's surface. My Pirelli's gripped fine though and I did not feel them once falter. My mind wasn't so sure-footed though.
Falling from a motorcycle has stages, similar to the Kubler-Ross Stages of Grief
First is Denial (not the river in Africa), Nah this is not happening--I was beyond that
Then Anger, in the form of "SH!T !, This is not happeing"
Then Bargaining, "ok, if I do this or that, or PLEASE?"
Then Depression, "Oh, faaack, why is this happening to me! It's so unfair!
And, finally, Acceptance, and that's where I was. I had reached the acceptance that i was going to go down from the lubricity of Sea Fog; brace for it.
the danger in this is that you are accepting something bad, that may not happen, yet takes over, or tries to take over rational thought. I could picture myself propelled deckward, dealing with the cars around me, someone helping me up and having to finish sliding/riding down the ramp after assuring everyone that I am ok, etc etc. That "state" of mind can become a self fulfilling prophesy, and that is dangerous. I can tell myself, Don't Let That Happen, and I hope my higher functions listen.
In sand, or mud those stages happen very quickly, not so leaving a ferry on a very wet and slippery gangway.You have more time to "savor" it.
I did not go down, maybe not even close, except in my head.
I reach customs, you stay on your bike, hand over your passport, answer a few questions, mostly of the Who What Why Where variety, you chat for a moment, and I'm on my way into the very dark night of Yarmouth in search of the Robb Hotel.
I'll add here that I did have a bit of anxiety about the customs thing because of my past experience with "Officer Creamer" who really gave me the incredulous third degree when i was on my way to Winnipeg on my Jefferson Highway ride (around the site somewhere) That experience was unpleasant; this one was peachy and what i thought transit from the US to Cannuckistan would/should be.
Briefly, the Robb was a very nice hotel, they let me park under the brightly-lit portico, the room was very nice, the breakfast was very good in a real restaurant, real eggs, not the Comfort 8 ones with epoxyed yellow discs resembling something yolk-like on a flat white discoid rubber material with an Exxon watermark.
Morning came at the usual time, no, actually for me an hour earlier because of Atlantic Time, but I got away and up the coast toward Halifax, heady with traveling the Maritimes for a week.
The coast is not as rugged here as I thought it would be, but green and rolling, skipping rather than tumbling into the Atlantic. The ocean is slate on this cloudy and foggy morning. It takes a few miles to figure out the maps, not that they are different, but the symbols are.
Ste Anne's Church was locked and is the oldest Parish in the region, dating from 1799.
I follow Rte 3 up the coast, the coast road, and explore the environs of a lighthouse along the way. There is no one around, it's like I have this part all to myself, a condition I experienced often. the skies remain gray representing the remains of Hurricane Maria headed in this direction.
After the lighthouse detour, I head back to rte 3, along a stretch of country road sporting tidal basins, small homesteads, fishing boats, and, a glimmer of blue sky.
I pass the memorial to Swissair 111, a grey windy, damp, quiet place
and you look out at the grey green ocean, big waves crashing, and think of going down there, and there is nothing but the smell of grief in the cold wet air. The bodies washed up all along here.
and continue the ride up to Halifax
North of the memorial, I start getting back into civilization, and especially the closer I got to Halifax. My plan was to spend a couple of nights in Halifax, doing local stuff and visiting the town center. That needed mods.
Halifax is a big city, and close to the water gets very hilly, seeming San Francisco hilly, but that was for tomorrow. It was late in the afternoon, so, I choose my sleep arrangements, a Comfort Inn along the Bedford Basin and search out food.
Although the raw materials are a bit different, the preparations are similar to what we have at home, and they should be.
Many of the "Cajuns" of South Louisiana are from the same gene pool as current residents of Nova Scotia.
The Cajuns (/ˈkeɪdʒən/, French: les Cadiens [le kadʒɛ̃]), also known as Acadians (French: les Acadians, [lez‿akadʒɛ̃]) are an ethnic group mainly living in the U.S. state of Louisiana, consisting in part of the descendants of the original Acadian exiles — French-speakers from Acadia (L'Acadie) in what are now the Maritimes of Eastern Canada. In Louisiana, Acadian and Cajun are often used as broad cultural terms without reference to actual descent from the deported Acadians. Today, the Cajuns make up a significant portion of south Louisiana's population and have exerted an enormous impact on the state's culture.
While Lower Louisiana had been settled by French colonists since the late 17th century, the Cajuns trace their roots to the influx of Acadian settlers after the Great Expulsion from their homeland during the French and British hostilities prior to the Seven Years' War (1756 to 1763). The Acadia region to which modern Cajuns trace their origin consisted largely of what are now Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island plus parts of eastern Quebec and northern Maine. Since their establishment in Louisiana, the Cajuns have developed their own dialect, Cajun French, and developed a vibrant culture including folkways, music, and cuisine. The Acadiana region is heavily associated with them.
That does not mean that EVERY denizen of South Louisiana is 1) a Cajun or that every present day "Cajun" is descended from the Acadian immigrants. And, New Orleans, although deep in the heart of South Louisiana, is by no means "Cajun." There aren't "Cajun" sections, no "Cajun" neighborhoods, and the "Cajun" brogue is NOT one of the many New Orleans accents. I don't know if the word "Cajun" has lost its proper noun status and a capital "C" is required or not, though I would never make that case in Abbeville, or Breaux Bridge, an argument I might soon regret.
Where do the Cajuns live the? IN a broad irregular swatch of Louisiana called, wait for it....Acadiana, the Louisiana equivalent of Acadia, way up here in Nova Scotia. I was a little surprised though, i admit, that Roman Catholicism was NOT more in my face. The Englishg and Scottish influences seem to be stronger at least in the number of churches and their denominations. I saw lots of Baptist churches, a fair amount of Churches of Christ, some Anglican and only a few Catholic churches. I thought they would be on every street-corner, as the Cajuns around my neighborhood are nearly 100% Catholic.
All that as preamble to what I expected before I left...the people up here are similar to, and slightly different from the folks in my neck of the woods, on my bayou, or swamp, but...they like seafood and they are proud of it. Rightly so! If you like seafood, you can eat very well up there. Everyone told me about this or that re LOBSTER, and hear me right, Lobster is Good, but not at all orgasmic as is often portrayed. And Lobster roll? First, they are not all equal, that is for sure, but they are essentially a lobster "salad" type preparation, sometimes, thickly served on something resembling a hot dog bun. And expensive. I don't understand that, here in the lobster capital of the world it is so chere? And I know those who will be chiming in that I didn't go to the right place or I didn't have the one that is your favorite, or whatever. Remember, I said they were good, but the other stuff, to my taste, was better, price notwithstanding.
I check in at the Comfort Inn, and start researching where to eat. It appears there are a few good restaurants in the city, but I really didn't want to change, or go into a "nice" restaurant wearing an outfit out of Marvel Comics
So, I search out a place with good ratings (4.5/5 stars is good) and one $ out of $$$$ ! YES! and decide that Freddie's Fantastic Fishhouse is where I will dine! 95% fantabulous or very good on TripAdvisor, and a diner looking like IronMan would likely not be a problem!
I ride over, it's in a big shopping center, a hole in the formica facade, big glass window a la Chateau Internationale Des Crepes. Their lobster rolls are reported to be seated at the Left Hand of God, Jesus being on the Right, and the Holy Ghost being somewhere classified on a "need to know" basis. IOW everyone is simply in ecstasy about Freddies Fantastic Lobster Rolls.
Formica without and formica within, a few tables, a bar, lots of chatter, almost crowded, young kids behind the counter, you get in line to order. Soccer moms are ordering for the family; old couples take their time, and you're on, Bozo!
I'd like a Lobster Roll
the pimply kid stops me short
we're out, sorry.
Oh, man, me too (before it was a hash tag, I was sorry they were out of lobster rolls...metoo!)
So, I order the fish and chips, and talk to the girl, older and not pimply, behind the counter. It could be that she is Freddies daughter, wife or manager, but she knows her stuff.
The "chips" are in their own container, she knows I am on a motorcycle from the IronMan getup, so she is packing my order special for travel in a VarioCase. I ask if there is katchup in the bag...Yes, and some vinegar.
Because it helps the salt stick to the fires...(yes it does, actually, and it gives a good flavor also). She adds that's what her grandfather (Freddie?) told her.
I pack things away and head back to the comfort of the Comfort Inn and much away, savoring the goodness of Freddies Fantastic Fishhouse. And the vinegar does help the salt stick.
The next day was planned...Peggy's Cove, and then around town on a walking tour.
It's gray in the morning, foggy, misting a bit, and I bet it's like that a bunch in The Maritimes.
Peggy's Cove is a touristy picturesque fishing village to the south. Some has taken the position "oh don't go, it's too touristy and everyone take the same pictures," and it is featured in full page spreads in Where To Go, Halifax But it's like being in Rome and not going to The Coliseum, you know? The ride is nice to Peggy's Cove and there's a huge parking lot right behind the huge tourist restaurant/souvenir shop, and the lot is again, almost crowded, with the Big Pink tour busses hogging the lot and spilling out Les Bussards who all loo to be between 50 and 80, all looking at the sky, all chattering to be sure their group is together and all heading for the lighthouse, and not exploring far afield from it.
It appears they didn't read the same cynical press as I did, or maybe as I did they chose to ignore it. When in Rome...
I'm glad I went, it was misting the whole time, but, well I'll let the pictures tell.
As I was leaving the parking area, and I was the only motorcycle there, I spy this truck, which to MY eye advertises
"Kettle Porn, Sweet and Salty" (just the way I like it) I jot down the number for "later."
seeing no black rocks and throwing caution to the waves, I climbed all over
IN every picture of Peggy's Cove you'll see, these two boats are in this position, perhaps prompting some cynicism, but it IS a tourist spot
and has anyone seen Millie? She can't be far!
and before departing Peggy's Cove, I present you the kid who's doing the dorkiest thing. His mother told him to hold these two lobsters, as his little bro looks on, can I assume, thinking's it's cool? But the look on the teen's face tells it all.
Yes, by a long shot, this is the dorkiest thing to do on Peggy's Cove, and he knows it.
The woman in plaid in front, and with the lobster ears (look! see them?) represented "local color" and she was clacking on about, who knows what-lobsters maybe?, but she was the instigator of young Bill's dorkiest moment ever. And, you know, Bill's mom, still calling him Billy, is not going to protect him because she still thinks of "Billy-Billy" in diapers, or learning to walk, so holding two lobsters on Peggy's Cove in the drizzle is not much of a stretch for Bill's mom, and she may have some mild regret when he tells her just how embarrassing that moment was, and she feigns a pout, looking a bit sad, but inside she's chuckling a little and thinking "he'll thank me later." Yeah, right.
One more shot of Peggy's Cove and that is of the Nova Scotian equivalent of the "lawn jockey." I'd see these all over, here holding a couple of big fish, but not always so occupied.
On the way into Peggy's Cove, I passed St Peter's Anglican Church.
I am always a sucker for cemeteries, are you?
On almost every ride I am in a cemetery somewhere and I don't know why that is. I like to read the names on the stones, and think about how a woman in her 20's would have died (likely childbirth) and was she pretty, or seeing the small blank markers that may or may not have initials on the top, probably signifying a still birth, or sometimes I see children who died within days of each other, likely an illness, strep or measles, or appendicitis, or... but when I visit one, I always leave a little more footed in the history of the place.
You feel the air and know that on some now obscure day in the past, a family was gathered here, August 1st or December 12th or March 23rd, where I now stand, in Power Ranger garb, and they were grieving; it is a universal sorrow, doesn't matter the culture or the language, it's the same, you know, or close enough.
And if I think about it just for a second, I can feel it. The loss. I would have never felt it when I was younger, now, though with so much water under the bridge, I can.
For a long while, we are all the younger generation. It's all we know. With passing years all the old ones, who you though knew so much, they die away, and we move up to become the Old Ones, knowing no more for decades now, the Old Ones at weddings and more frequently, funerals, and as aunts and uncles pass one by one, now it is the "cousins" who are in line. Not morbid, but just a realization of the passage of time, and visiting cemeteries on far flung motorcycle rides at once stares that time in the face, moved by its relentlessness, and taunting it by riding a dangerous machine, daring it to speak.
So, in a way, visiting cemeteries is a bit of the hair of the dog, a curse flung into space to whatever is listening. A taunt of sorts, with no real power to change one danm thing, but at least recognizing time for what it is , a sometimes very cruel b!tch.
Johnny and Ralph, both died
Lottie Stella died 2 years 3 months
made you look! more coming...
Come on keep it coming - enjoying report very much
Sir - Great writing and amazing scenery. I am always amazed to be enlightened by the sights we have available to us and I spend the majority of my time in an office seeing the same four walls. Thank you for sharing.
Thanks, StayFrosty, Appreciate it
I know I know I know, and it is coming, maybe in the next day or two, but in defense of myself...
1) I do feel guilty that I haven't posted,
2) I've been busy doing other stuff, and I'll share it here though it is REALLY REALLY OT
My location from my avatar is "the city that care forgot." A simple google search would disclose that THAT city ( and some wags have changed it to The City That Forgot To Care), that city is New Orleans. It is a party city. World Class if only in that regard, many would claim. Anyway(s), we have this annual party down here that goes on for a couple of weeks.
It's a thing.
There is no way to ignore it, and as a native the desire to be part of it is in our DNA, that and a fine regard for the Seven Deadly Sins.
We only hold in high regard four of the Seven: Lust, Gluttony, some degree of Sloth, and Pride ( of our regard for ourselves and for recognizing the best of the 7. I mean 4 out of 7! How many of the so-called "Deadly" Sins do other cities proudly display? Huh?)
We have no use for Wrath- too busy being tolerant of, well, most anything to be wrathful about and, of course, the 4 we like; Greed- a notably useless endeavor. We have no need for Greed. We have great food, great music, with any excuse to celebrate both, and beautiful women who know how to be , uh, beautiful; and Envy, that most boring of sins, I mean, why be envious, or better yet, explain to me who/what we should be envious of? Oh, you say good schools, low crime, being above sea level, sure that's all good, and should be aimed for, I suppose, but in the meantime, we have this Carnival Season celebrating a "farewell to the flesh" culminating in the bestest holiday of the year, Mardi Gras. And there ain't no Farewell about it...there's that, but we do go through the motions...with a party.
I partake. The Season distracts. I'm easy.
Alongside riding to adventures, taking pictures at Mardi Gras and the week or so before, is the main thing I do. OK, I do some work too, but being semi retired, I can pick and choose when work can rear its head. I decide.
This is from last year and gives you an idea of what I would need to ignore, IGNORE I TELL YOU, in order to keep up with the ride report.
Full screen please
I am much too immature, even at an advanced age, to do that, even if I wanted to ignore, and I don't.
Prurient interests still interest me, they've always been a favorite. It's on my resume. Having a good time, hey, I worked hard, I think, all my life to achieve bon vivant avec une camera ( that's "dirty old man with a lens").
So, that's a lot of excuse for an answer to "what have you done for me lately?"
So, here are some shots I took during the Season...for your enjoyment. This is what happened while I was out.
The ride report will now resume...promise
Quite an eclectic crowd!
Well alrighty, then! We'll be riding along whenever you're ready; in the meantime that was an excellent intermission, Sir!
Awesome Pics and Bike! Enjoying the life a ride.......gotta love it!
When do I get to see Sophia Loren? Great writing and pic are just as good.
Wonderful pics. Please tell me what focal length lens you were using. Thanks. Ben.