A 3000 mile trip for a bowl of chowder

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by Scourge, Jul 11, 2017.

  1. Scourge

    Scourge Long timer

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    On July 5th 2017 a friend (Mike) and I (Walter) set off from north of Scranton PA on a quest to have a bowl of chowder in Meat Cove Nova Scotia. There was no real plan or agenda other than to get there, camp, eat and be back at work on Monday the 10th.

    Day 1 was a slog to get as far as we could, as fast as we could so we could slow down once we got to uncharted territory for us. So, it was I84 to I87 to the mass pike and over to 95 thru Maine. We had a general plan to ride thru Bar Harbor but the line of campers blocking the exit for route 1 and backed up all the way down I95 convinced us to roll on to Route 9 and cross at St Stephen post haste. Big signs said "No Photography" and the agent was curt but polite... and we were the only people there but still sat for 20 minutes waiting for whatever they do in the back room with your passport.

    From there we rolled to St. Andrew and put up for the night right on the shore of the Bay of Fundy. A 700 mile day.

    The tiny town near the campground had everything you could want to eat or drink but it all closed at 8PM in the middle of summer in a resort on the bay. So, we grumbled a bit about that. Then adapted and overcame by creating a dinner out of a handful of peanuts and two pitchers of some dark local ale on tap at the Red Herring pub. We chatted with some locals about why we didn't have goofy upper Maine accents, what sort of idiots ride motorcycles 3000mi in 5 days, then walked back to the tent and passed out.



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    #1
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  2. Scourge

    Scourge Long timer

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    Day two, we rolled out to the 1st Tim Horton's on the GPS and horked down some breakfast, gassed up ( an all too frequent need on my S1000XR ) and got busy getting as far as we could. This was mostly a run up Route 1 across New Brunswick to the Trans Canada and on into Nova Scotia. The road is wide, empty and runs through beautiful pines with the occasional 50 mile view of more pines and a water feature. It's beautiful and vast looking. We were really hauling the mail but my 160 mile fuel range made the Irving/Circle K a regular occurrence. The weather was perfect - high 70s, perfect visibility no humidity.

    Somewhere in the early afternoon we approached the NS border. At this point (around Aulac) a fact that does not appear in any literature on Nova Scotia border crossing reared itself. Holy F**king Wind! I mean, there were clues... there is a massive wind farm off to the right of the highway. I was, however, not really expecting such strong gusts that I needed to ride at a 30 degree angle in a straight line or all of the tandem tractor trailers to suddenly start weaving across the road like they were in an invisible slalom. Riding next to anything big and square for more than the second it takes to scoot by as you approach the border is a surefire recipe for getting pushed into the water. Aside from that little eye opener it was smooth sailing. I only took one pic before 4PM and it was a bit of a compromise. WE had ridden the bikes right up to where I'm standing in the pic ... but before we could set the kickstands and get a pic a surly woman came out of the lighthouse to shoo us away - threatening some sort of thing I couldn't make out with ear plugs in. But, as guests in a country where I didn't really want to be delayed by a Mountie over a gratuitous picture... we settled for this cheese.

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    From there - straight on to Cape Breton and up the east side of the Cabot Trail.

    A rolling selfie at the very start of the North Loop of the Cabot:

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    Then a lot of miles of some very pretty coastline, slow riding and deep breathing. The air is delicious.

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    It goes on and on - there were a lot of great twisty bits to get off the seat and ride like the XR was made to and almost no traffic as we got closer to the north-most point of the trail. I was able to smooth off the squaring that was starting to show on my tires after 1200 miles of interstate and get the blood pumping but I was pretty freaking tired. So... a quick stop for beer for later, a sandwich and off we went to find the campground at Meat Cove.

    The road out to the cove is beautiful, curvy and changes from asphalt to dirt back to asphalt a few times. Along the way there are amazing overlooks of which I was too tired to bother with photos. But, we rolled into the place around 7:30 PM or so. We were told they were full ( 1st come, 1st serve, no reservations ) but we could throw a tent anywhere we could find a spot. The folks running the place were very nice. While we were busy choosing the flattest piece of grass on the side of the hill they mentioned they had a cabin no-show and we could have it. Exhaustion and opportunity trumped tent camping on a steep angle and so that was that :)

    There was a scot with an EXC450 kitted out with the business camping before starting on the TCT we chatted with briefly but I think he was put off by my stuffing a cold cut sandwich in my face like an animal after not eating all day and he wandered off after pleasantries. I was too tired to be more than mildly inquisitive about his trip or remember to ask if he was a member here. I'm almost positive I saw an ADV sticker so... so, Scottish guy... nice meeting you!

    Here is the view from my parking spot in front of the cabin... not too shabby for a last minute grab!

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    #2
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  3. Scourge

    Scourge Long timer

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    Day Three, woke up a wee bit late. The Chowder Hut does not open until 11am and there was a little remnant of Crown Royal in a chair on the beach staring at the moon until way too late in the night that I needed to sleep away anyhow.
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    Gratuitous selfie:

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    Click for large size:
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    But, packed and ready to roll at 11am we made for the grand prize.

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    And, the ultimate goal of this whole hair-brained ride ...and because no ride report is complete without a food picture... here is the $14 bowl of CHOWDAH! It's pretty damn good chowder too.

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    So... now it was mid-day, bellies full, the weather was fantastic and we had the whole south loop of the Cabot Trail to ride. So, off we went. This is Mike's first appearance in a photo on any of my cards. Ha. My attention to detail is quite poor ;)

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    For all the pictures of beautiful curves and ocean vistas ... and there are many of those, there is more of this...

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    ... and this ...

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    ... and this...

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    But, just when you start to think there is only a few little bright spots and a lot of mundane in this whole Cabot Trail hype you come across this again...

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    And more and more of the same sort of things that a point-and-shoot cannot grasp the scale of to really represent how awesome it is for people who have not seen it themselves. But, we wound our way all the way down the west coast of Cape Breton on 19 and went back over to the mainland.

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    We were heading for Prince Edward Island but realized there wasn't going to be any time to ride it left in the trip so we went looking for a hot meal and a campground by water.

    We ended up eating steaks as Mother Webb's Steakhouse in Antigonish mainly because of it's proximity to gas and the exit ramp but it turned out to be a pretty good meal. Our waitress gave us some tips on a campground near by so after dinner we went to have a look.

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    It was at the end of about 20 miles of some awesome dirt roads on the water, right on the Northumberland Strait and we were expecting something great and got something that was just ok. It was a family place with lots of kids, dogs, RVs and the like as well as the highest concentration of blood sucking insects I have ever encountered. There was a fire ban and we had no cigars so we had a nightcap sequestered in moto gear and hit the hay early.

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    This coast might look pristine but do not eat at the local raw bar.

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    #3
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  4. bobw

    bobw Harden the phuck up

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    What a a great run!, been way too long since I've been up there. Everything looks picture post card perfect too, did you guys pay off Mother Nature?
    #4
  5. Scourge

    Scourge Long timer

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    I was just getting to that part :lol3

    Day 4 began with an auspicious start. It was drizzling a little while we packed up so the gear went away wet. Then we headed off expecting it to clear as the weatherman said it would.

    But... gray drizzle on the strait

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    Turned to cold and hard rain with a little bluster to make sure it got down your neck and up your cuffs for the next 170 miles...
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    So, we found a McDonalds near a gas station and sat like a pair of wet rats and drank coffee for a while until the traffic heading from the west started to arrive without headlights lit before setting off for the border again. That did the trick... and we got a few hundred more miles of sunshine and happiness.

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    The crossing into Maine was uneventful but the weather wasn't through with us yet. We ran back down route 9 from St Stephen from sun to steel to black and onto route 2 near Bangor when the gods let us really have it. I think I saw animals pairing up for the ark between dodging tree branches. We stumbled into the Angler's Inn at Sebasticook Lake just as it cleared, dripping like a pair of used mops.

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    I'd like to say that we then had a great meal and went on our way but we had expensive, greasy fried seafood with some sketchy looking clams and then went looking for a campground with the remains of the day. The campground at Dummer's Beach on Webb Lake was another of those RV, family, kids, dogs places but we were VERY DONE, options were zero, so we paid the price and went to start a fire to dry out. People here retire early and it was pretty quiet just a few minutes after we got parked. So, It wasn't a bad way to end the day afterall. Fire is good.

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    #5
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  6. bobw

    bobw Harden the phuck up

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    :lol3 I somehow feel like by asking about the weather I jinxed you guys retroactively:jkam
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  7. Scourge

    Scourge Long timer

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    Day 5... I woke up at about 3AM with my guts all twisted. A 4 day diet consisting of Clif bars, jerky and gas station food hadn't bothered me but a plate of greasy seafood certainly did. I had to make a hasty dash to the camp head where after taking care of business I found this hanging over the sink.

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    You know you are in a classy place when there is a serial Upper-Decker on the loose.

    Mike's stomach wasn't much better than mine but once we got underway again I felt pretty good. We heard from our nextdoor neighbor in the camp that you could take some forest roads to a cool overlook on the other side of the lake up on top of Saddleback Mountain but we didn't find those forest roads. We found some forest roads though - and it was a great ride up and over some unknown mountains on decent sandy dirt in the general direction we wanted to go where you can just look over a tiny one lane bridge and see stuff like...

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    or top a rise and get a view like

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    After lots of that - about 50 miles in all - my spirits were good, my stomach better, the weather was great and we popped out on 26 near Upton. Then rode past the south end of Umbagog Lake into Errol NH.

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    After a fill and a morning coffee we rode like a pair of jackass squids down 16 to Berlin, then down past the entrance to Mt Washington Auto Road where Travis Pastrana was busy setting a record in the hillclimb. But, this is about all I saw of that...

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    From there we went up over the Bear Notch to the Kanc and ran that west. Once we got there we ran 112 to 118 and should have bailed for the interstate at that point but I had had enough of it and suggested we run down thru VT. That turned out to be a colossal error in judgement and we slogged along in heavy tourist traffic down thru Woodstock, Killington and were just enduring so we could crossover to 87 in NY at Troy and get home before the sun went out.

    One brilliant bright spot on this slog was the Back Behind Restaurant and BBQ at the intersection of VT 4 and 100. The food was ridiculously good and all made from scratch on the premises. Unfortunately for another biker... we also saw the life flight helicopter land in the parking lot next door. I didn't hear or see the crash but according to people who smoke outside restaurants he/she put it under the guide rail right across the street. So, I hope they made it.

    From there - the sky was getting really dark. A strong storm was just below our route so we made haste. I was also eager to escape the traffic... and so in an effort to shorten the time and outrun the clouds I wicked it up a bit. Leaping past lines of cars doing under the speed limit and letting the XR stretch it's legs a little when the sight lines were good. The sight lines were not good enough though. I missed a key detail and just about doubled the cost of my trip in the process. The gentleman in the strong hat was courteous and businesslike.

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    He issued me my prize for impatience and we were back on the way albeit a tad slower. DOH.

    200 miles later around 10PM I was taking a hot shower in my own bathroom after dodging deer across Pennsylvania. Fini.
    #7
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  8. viajero

    viajero Too old to be a nOOb

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    Nice trip for a very expensive bowl of chowder.

    But those memories are priceless.
    #8
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  9. Toyman01

    Toyman01 n00b

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    Nice ride. Tasty looking chowder.

    Thanks for shooting us a link over at GRM. :thumbup
    #9
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  10. scootac

    scootac Just a Traveler

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    Seafood Chowder????
    Looks like just taters n carrots n celery!!!!
    Coulda stayed home for that!
    :D

    Shoulda offered the popo a donut...looks like he's had a few!
    #10
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  11. liv2day

    liv2day Is Anyone Here a Marine Biologist!

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    Great report and pics, haven't been to that neck of the woods before - looks awesome. Have family on the east coast and have visited Maine several times - great state.

    Sorry about the road tax on your way back, never enjoy seeing those lights. These pics and that scenery make me want to get a street bike again (or a more street-worthy bike...lol).

    Thanks for taking the time to post the pics and craft the report, love New England style clam chowder:thumb:thumb
    #11
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  12. CaptnSlo

    CaptnSlo Derelicte

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    Great ride report!
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  13. FadinFast

    FadinFast Adventurer

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    The
    There is no better way to plan and execute a trip than the way you guys did it. That looks like one I am going to do myself. Thanks
    #13
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