Two Beards, Two Beemers: A Canadian Trip Too Short

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by HBN, Sep 18, 2012.

  1. HBN

    HBN lostwithmike.com

    Joined:
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    Seat of my Ruckus
    | LOBSTER | MOOSE | GHOST TOWNS | BOATS |

    New England, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrardor


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    There comes a time when we just have to explore and adventure to change the stresses of everyday life. Women, bills and work are replaced by sloppy mud trails, electrical daemons and sheer cliffs. We all strive to find that balance between work and leisure but many, myself included, have the bug to ride, learn and absorb the regional intricacies as we explore. This RR details a trip from Virginia to Canada, the sights and flavors along the way and breaking free from the constrains of everyday life, to ride and collect memories for the future.

    Dr. Beard and I rode together as far as Meat Cove, NS and had to part ways as he made for home and I made for Newfoundland and "The Big Land" - Labrador. While my photos are of exemplary quantity, Beard's speak for themselves. Fortunately, he is with me the first week to take the good shots while I point and shoot at trees and hay bales.

    A few shots to get things warmed up.


    Sandy Cove, NS
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    HBN (44.497669,-66.097061)

    Whale Cove, NS
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    Dr.Beard (46.425375,-61.142141)

    "Dude Where's My Road!?"
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    HBN (46.301554,-61.182396)

    Meat Cove, NS
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    Dr. Beard (47.026376,-60.55905)

    Sandy Cove, NS
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    HBN

    Trans-Labrador Highway Woodpile Boondock'n
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    HBN

    High Centered at Cape St. George
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    HBN (48.516349,-58.963347)

    Tablelands, Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland
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    HBN (49.479223,-57.977699)

    Cow in New Hampshire
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    HBN (43.842265,-71.394409)

    OOPS! :norton
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    #1
  2. HBN

    HBN lostwithmike.com

    Joined:
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    Friday finally arrives. Think I'll ride to Canada. The humid morning air doesn't seem too bad considering where I'll be by the day's end. The bike was packed the night before and I'm sure I have everything on my list. After a quick shower and a check of the weather (clear all day!) I push the bike out of the garage.

    Goodbye 73' Spitfire, see you in a few weeks. :wave
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    I pull Meine Frau out of the garage and set off to meet Beard off the GW Parkway along the Potomac River.
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    We take I-270 up to Frederick, MD then hop on 15 past Gettysburg and some other familiar locales before crossing the Susquehana River. Always intrigued by the bridges here.
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    I picked out a route passing through PA Coal Country since Beard hadn't ridden here before. The towns are past their prime but still holding on like much of Appalachia.
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    The homes in Jim Thorpe, PA reflect the homogenous construction along the twisty valley roads.
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    Beard and I chill for a bit in the middle of PA waiting for some road work. "Hey! What do you think about stopping?"
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    Yeah...I sorta plotted this route on purpose. Hey! It's on the way right?
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    Here's how I look when I'm riding...plus color
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    This town sucks! Matt and I kept cracking jokes about Coxsackie for days
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    We worked our way up from central PA toward NY on I84 to I87. Slabbing it can get old really fast, it can also get you there really fast. Our destination was somewhere in the Green Mountains National Forest in Vermont. Travelling into NY and then Vermont, the plant species, shape of the hills and height of the trees starts to look less familiar to these Virginia eyes. Birch trees and firs begin to stand out along the roadside.

    As we exited the highway near Bennington, VT the sky darkened. It was clearly raining all around us but in a weak moment we decided not to stop and put on rain gear. I don't really do the rain gear thing unless it will be torrential, guaranteeing dreaded Stich' Crotch Leak. Beard turns into a Chia pet and must keep dry or the consequences will be insurmountable.
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    It rained for about 20 minutes but was steady. I was a little damp but not too shabby. When I saw a sign for Arlington, VT, I figured it was as good a place as any to stop for dinner. Wet and dark woods are lovely for sleeping but cooking dinner or coaxing a fire they are not.

    We pulled in to this little family restaurant named Chauncey's.


    Step 1 after 470 wonderful miles: Beer.
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    Step 2: OM NOM NOM NOM
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    The waitress offered the pie selection but we were both too full and opted for a cup of coffee and tea.
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    Holding the warm mug close to my wrinkled fingers felt great. Beard and I relaxed with warm bellies and discussed the roads we traveled and Mt. Washington planned for tomorrow. At some point, Beard mentions the border crossing at Calais, ME in two days. "Got my ID and Passport Ready and in a waterproof pouch."

    My ears get hot, my heart races and the blood drains from my face as it slowly sinks in. My passport is on my desk at home in Virginia.

    :doh

    #2
  3. hppyfngy

    hppyfngy not dead yet

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Where the Skyline meets the BRP
    Sheesh Mike... :freaky

    Can't wait for more.
    #3
  4. Dr. Beard

    Dr. Beard Cenosillicaphobiac

    Joined:
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    934
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    NoVA
    And here's my miserable contribution to Day 1. :lol3

    Day 1 saw me getting up earlier than normal (does anyone get up earlier than HBN, who's under the age of 65??), meeting Mike on the GW Pkwy, and then riding north-ish. I'm not sure that you can describe the feeling of breaking the gravitational pull of DC & finally being free, unless you live & ride in the District. All the bullshit & traffic falls away and you're out in the beautiful world again.

    And that's about it. :ricky. I spent the day wrapped in the cocoon of f*#$ work, f$%# drama, and just enjoy the helmet time and the changing scenery.

    ...

    So cut to dinnertime. We're soaking wet, cold, and happier to be that way than ever. It was a damn good run from Arlington VA, to Arlington VT. It's small talk about the road & where we will camp tonight over dinner as we warm & fill our gullets with fried things & cold beer. Then, as I looked down to dip a fried something-or-other unnecessarily in ranch dressing, I hear Mike loudly exclaim: FU*K!!! Rather shocked, I look up @ him to admonish him for cursing so loudly in a family restaurant that is already wary of the weird dirty bikers, but when I see his face I stop dead: people BS all the time that someone “looked as if they'd seen a ghost”, but I've never seen someone THAT white; completely drained of blood. We spend the next 45min calling consulates, embassies, and looking up any info we can on our phones to find anything about getting into Canada w/o a passport, but it's nearly 7pm on Friday and we're more likely to harvest Unicorn farts before bedtime than talk to anyone who knows anything about it. We exhaust all options involving shipping, people driving up to meet us, skydiving, inventing teleportation, blackmailing superman, and everything else we can think of...

    Then Mike gets that sparkle in his eye. “I'll have to go back & get it.” I shake my head. “You're F*$#ing crazy man, we just rode 10hrs/470mi and you want to head back to DC @ 8pm in the rain?”. Mike says “I'll meet you tomorrow in Maine.” I shake my head and watch him ride off into the rainy dusk.

    So I head back south to closest town to look for a motel to dry out in. On the way down the gorgeous VT7A I stopped at an ancient cemetery as the last light faded for a couple of pictures. As I walked back to my bike, I looked down at the grave stone I'd parked my bike next to (the only stone I'd looked at in the entire cemetery) and the only word written on it is HBN's last name. I shuttered involuntarily and saddled up, not knowing what was actually in store for my good compadre on his journey south...


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    #4
  5. LadyDraco

    LadyDraco KillerSmileIHazIt !!

    Joined:
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    Some of the best roads in the east..
    A GREAT RR and Pic as always Mike !!! :rogue
    Thanks .....:clap
    #5
  6. Kawikazi

    Kawikazi Loose Cannon

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2009
    Oddometer:
    383
    Location:
    Shenandoah Valley, Virginia
    Looking forward to this as I plan a similar trip in June of next year. Not sure if I should take the KLR-650 or ZZR-600. Both get about 50 mpg. The KLR has more carrying capacity with the Happy Trails panniers, but I dread taking it on interstates. The ZZR is a sport bike, but has pretty comfortable ergos as far as sport bikes go. It was advertised as a mid-size sport touring ride, but it is certainly no Concours. It does have a very comfy Corbin saddle, Vario touring windscreen and pretty roomy soft panniers, tail bag and huge tank bag that combined will hold my camping gear and an extra pair of socks and undies. My decision will probably be based on how much dirt I see in this ride report :D
    #6
  7. XC Rider

    XC Rider Motorcycle Vagabond

    Joined:
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    Right where I need to be
    :clap WOOOHOOOOOooooo!!! :clap


    Great start boys! (or false start for HBN !? )

    Can't wait to see what Day 2 and the rest have in store!


    PS. HBN, your shot of Sandy Cove is mesmerizing!!! :eek1
    #7
  8. Elkhound

    Elkhound Hunting Dog

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2008
    Oddometer:
    996
    Location:
    SmokeTown, Virginia
    What a start for a trip! Looks like its starting out to be a very long day 1.
    #8
  9. bk brkr baker

    bk brkr baker Long timer

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    The Bluegrass
    HBN, whoops , you I.F.
    #9
  10. Burtwer

    Burtwer Adventurer

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    Apr 24, 2012
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    The District--Washington, DC
    I'm in. Can't wait for more.:lurk
    #10
  11. CaptnSlo

    CaptnSlo Derelicte

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    Jul 16, 2012
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    VA
    I gotta hand it to you - that is the definition of hardcore.
    #11
  12. dentrecords

    dentrecords Adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2012
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    15
    Location:
    The Great White North
    Have fun and ride safe. Labrador is amazing.
    #12
  13. Kawikazi

    Kawikazi Loose Cannon

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2009
    Oddometer:
    383
    Location:
    Shenandoah Valley, Virginia
    I would have called Pop Saunders who is retired with time to kill and asked him to high tale it over to the Arlington Condo, grab the passport and overnight express it to a nice Vermont B&B where I would be drinking expensive craft brews in the hot tub for a day or so instead of doing the iron butt thing home and back. :freakyBut thats just me. I know Mike too well to think he would even consider such an alternate plan. :D
    #13
  14. Dr. Beard

    Dr. Beard Cenosillicaphobiac

    Joined:
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    NoVA
    We did consider such a plan. :deal The problem was that it was after 6pm on Friday. Overnight wouldn't have been anywhere until Monday. And we had a Ferry to catch. So I went to a B&B and had a few beers and waited to see if HNB came back. :lol3
    #14
  15. HBN

    HBN lostwithmike.com

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    Who the F!*& is HNB? :gyro
    #15
  16. HBN

    HBN lostwithmike.com

    Joined:
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    Beard: "You're kidding right?" :huh
    Me: "I wish I was" :eek1
    Beard: "Whatcha gonna do?"
    Me: "Go get it!" :ricky

    Would my ID get me into Canada? I called the Canadian Embassy in DC, the US Embassy in Canada and a host of other geologically slow telephone prompts for 30 minutes only to find that nobody could give me a definitive answer if it needed to be accompanied by a birth certificate or social security card. Overnighting the passport would have it get to Maine sometime on Sunday. F that.

    Beard: "You realize there's the normal way of handling this, and then there's the bat shit crazy way of handling this. You always go for the latter." :norton

    With caffeine and chili in my belly, I return south with a strange sense of calm. My body knows I'm going the wrong direction...maybe the bike does too :augie

    I pull in to a kitsch tourist store on the VT/NY border for a sticker.
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    From here everything just seems like a blur. I set the GPS to "HOME" via the fastest route. Thank god for the EZ Pass:deal It begins to rain just outside NYC and continues long into the morning. I keep a steady 75mph or so for hours behind one or two cars. I'll let them catch the cops and deer ahead of me. I stop only for fuel and make it snappy.
    I aim to be home by 2:30AM, sleep until 5AM then turn around and head North again.

    Everything is going as (un)planned and I yawn from time to time, the music keeping me awake through my Chatterbox bluetooth. The rain streams down inside my faceshield and fogs refracting the brake lights and passing high pressure sodium lamps. On I-95 just before the Baltimore Harbor Tunnel, the bike begins to sputter. I immediately perk up, all my senses acute. "What the F was that? It's okay girl, I know it's raining but we can make it". I travel less than a mile down the road when the engine stops. The red oil light illuminated and ABS flashing. Clutch in, flashers on, I coast over to the right shoulder and turn the key off. The steady rain falls on me helmet much quieter than at 75mph. I take a deep breath. "Sweetheart what's wrong with you?" I ask. Following my pattern of luck with ladies, she must be upset because she isn't talking.
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    I check the fuel tank and have fuel.
    The airbox for water or oil but it is dry and clean.
    I check the fuses but they all appear to be intact.
    Maybe a relay went? Shit I don't want to pull out the multi tester in the rain in the dark to test em right now.
    Let me check for spark first. NO SPARK

    I pull out my iPhone under the dripping brim of my XD3 and begin searching ADVRider's GSPOT for any relevant articles. After about 10 minutes, I determine the likely cause is a failed Hall Effect Sensor. :lol3 I actually laughed out loud from a mix of curiosity, coincidence and exhaustion. Beard and I always joke that it's some voodoo mystery box we'll never understand and will fail on us at the least opportune time. Yup.

    I call for a tow at 2:00AM. The combination of exhaustion, frustration and boredom overtake me. I fall asleep on Meine Frau in gear and helmet using the tankbag as a pillow.

    BEEP BEEP BEEP
    I wake up to a two truck backing up. It is 5:30AM. Shit what a wait in the rain. Good thing I got some rest. Probably the most dangerous place I've slept.
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    Captain Hook Towing to the rescue! This is the first time I've had her on a trailer of any sort. It truly breaks my heart. Trailers are for boats :deal
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    He loads it up which takes approx 30 minutes, then we set off at a blisteringly fast 45 mph down I-95. I almost shit myself:eek1 I have him drop me 20 miles away at Bob's BMW in Jessup, MD. It slowly dawns on me that this malfunction could have occurred in a much more remote location with no cell reception or BMW dealer in the entire province! It feels good to be at the BMW dealer for once.

    As we pull up, who is there at 6:30 holding the gate open but Bob himself! "I saw the bike on the truck a few miles back and followed you over here" Now thatis customer service. He sets out a box of donut holes and brews a pot. "We'll get you taken care of and back on the road"
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    The shop opens at 9 and there are probably 15 bikes waiting for service. I am the second or third they roll in the shop. After 20 minutes, one of the techs comes out to confirm my suspicion and I give them the OKAY (Rob me blind dealer!) to fix it. By 11:00 it was repaired and I was back on the road! My mother was kind enough to drive to my house, grab the passport and drive the hour to meet me while my bike was being repaired. Gotta love family :D She kicked tires and chatted with the burly BMW riders at Bob's until my bike was done. Cool Mama!

    Okay, sun was out, day was new, bike was fixed. Nothing else to do but RIDE!!!

    I turned around and headed North on 95...for hours. I took one or two pics of random cars but really, 95 is not a place for pictures. It just plain sucks. It sucks your soul, your tires and your EZ-Pass.
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    Seriously? Your mini-suv has a backpack?
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    Eventually I made it to New Hampshire and met Beard at a campsite near Newburyport.
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    Dude rocks! He totally had me covered :super
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    My stats as of 7 or 8 PM Saturday evening after my roundabout way north.
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    My butt wasn't sore at all, I was just a bit tired and in need of a shower which felt amazing and well worth the $.25 :deal I ate a cold can of tuna, swapped stories with Beard and fell asleep flat for the first time in two days as the wind blew and crickets chirped.
    #16
  17. alcanrider

    alcanrider alcanrider

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2012
    Oddometer:
    113
    Location:
    Back in Superior, Colorado!
    I also ride a KLR 650. I put on a Cee Bailey wind screen, and it does wonders for the buffetting that goes on I am sure you know about. Don't know yet if it will affect my gas mileage, but I ride slow anyhow, so it doesn't matter I guess. I passes a couple big trucks, and the buffetting was almost completely gone. I really like it. I just hope it holds up when I am riding off road.
    #17
  18. alcanrider

    alcanrider alcanrider

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2012
    Oddometer:
    113
    Location:
    Back in Superior, Colorado!
    I didn't think that kind of Motorcycle ever breaks down! I still don't understand what went out on it, I guess it doesn't matter because I doubt my KLR has what broke on your bike. I still wish I had a GS........
    #18
  19. LadyDraco

    LadyDraco KillerSmileIHazIt !!

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    30,735
    Location:
    Some of the best roads in the east..
    OH may !!! HBN forgot something !!!!:eek1 And a very important thing for crossing boarders .. Your papers ... :norton

    Sorry about the break down... But so glad you got it fixed ,and back on the road for the trip..And kudos to Mom :clap .....

    Yes that sounds like the most dangerous place to fall asleep...
    #19
  20. Kawikazi

    Kawikazi Loose Cannon

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2009
    Oddometer:
    383
    Location:
    Shenandoah Valley, Virginia
    Hall Effect Sensor is actually a generic name for the magnetic sensor used in transistorized ignition systems to sense ignition spark. I don't know about the earlier KLR's, but the 2008 and on has fully transistorized ignition, so yes it has a Hall Effect Sensor, but probably cheaper than the equivelent BMW part. Transistorized ignition was preceeded by CDI or capactive discharge ignition systems which were preceded by the old points and condensor system.
    #20