From Alberta to the East Coast

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by thedopplereffect, Jul 8, 2021.

  1. fasteddiecopeman

    fasteddiecopeman Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2008
    Oddometer:
    227
    I have a copy of "ZEN AND THE ART OF MOTORCYCLE MAINTENANCE" by Robert Persig, that I've taken w/ me on ALL my D2D rides, as well as the 'cross-Canada' one (and probably several others), so I've read it MANY times, and it DOES do well in a "re-read"...!
    #61
    dickosaurus and thedopplereffect like this.
  2. staticPort

    staticPort Meditrider Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2001
    Oddometer:
    1,016
    Location:
    east tn
    Well young man, I submit that this engaging and thoughtful travel report is proof positive that you have the writer's gift! Just keep reading, thinking, observing, interacting and writing down your thoughts as you polish your craft. And please continue to share the results on this forum!
    #62
    yamalama and thedopplereffect like this.
  3. thedopplereffect

    thedopplereffect Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2021
    Oddometer:
    88
    Location:
    Alberta, Canada
    August 18, 2021

    After a quick breakfast I took off from Glace Bay, back towards Louisbourg.

    I think it was actually a good thing that I didn't end up getting into the Fortress yesterday. I would have only given myself about half an hour to walk around and there's just so much there to see that it would have been a shame to short change it. The Louisbourg Fortress is a fortified townsite that was established by the French in the early 1700's. It was meant to supply the French with a source of cod and the fortifications were mainly meant as a way to protect the fisheries.

    What exists there now is a recreation of about one fifth of the original town. Similarly to Port Royal, the recreation was done as traditionally as possible while still meeting current building codes. They certainly didn't condense the whole thing because there is a lot of walking involved in seeing all the different buildings.

    Overall I highly recommend it. The actors were excellent and the history involved with that location is also quite fascinating.
    20210818_105837.jpg 20210818_114007.jpg 20210818_121028.jpg 20210818_131501.jpg
    It was while I was at the Fortress of Louisbourg that I ended up ordering a new set of tires for my return trip. I had estimated that my total mileage for the trip was going to be around 15000 kms but has certainly bloated since then. I'm already near 12000 and I haven't even gotten all the way to the other side yet… Oh well, that's part of the adventure! A big thank you to David who I stayed with in Moncton for helping me find someone with a tire machine and for letting me ship tires to his house as well. Much appreciated!

    After Louisbourg I made my way back to Glace Bay to check out the Miners Museum. Terry had been a coal miner and he recommended it to me, and I'm very glad he did!

    I wasn't there till late in the afternoon and as I arrived there was a mine tour being kicked off. The museum sits at the mouth of the Ocean Deeps Colliery and visitors are able to take a guided tour down into the mine. The tour guide was a retired miner named Ken and it was fascinating to hear his stories and explanations of what it would have been like to be working in an active coal mine. Being down there all hunched over with the water dripping off the roof and down your neck really helped to put the stories into proper perspective. It also made the memorial to the workers that died that much more meaningful because it was easy to imagine how things could go wrong that deep underground.
    20210818_171854.jpg
    There was a miner in the 2B Colliery who tended to a garden down underground. This garden is a tribute to him, as he has since passed away. Unfortunately I didn't make not of his name and I can't remember it right now. 20210818_172035.jpg
    The mine here was about 5 feet tall. Being stooped over all day resulted in a lot of injuries over time, as I'm sure you can imagine.
    20210818_172330.jpg 20210818_174351.jpg 20210818_175436.jpg

    After touring the mine it was already 6, so I wasn't able to go through the museum itself.

    My ferry wasn't scheduled to leave until 11:15 but I made my way to North Sydney anyway and stopped for some lasagna before going down to the terminal.

    There were already half a dozen bikes lined up when I arrived. A few people were residents of Newfoundland returning home. One fellow on a GS 800 was visiting family, and another named Alexander was touring around before going up to do the Trans Labrador Trail. He had a really nicely kitted out Tiger 900. I could maybe see myself picking one of those up…
    20210818_211814.jpg
    After a couple hours of waiting, we were all on board and the ferry took off. I think I was asleep before we were out of the harbour.
    #63
  4. thedopplereffect

    thedopplereffect Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2021
    Oddometer:
    88
    Location:
    Alberta, Canada
    August 19, 2021


    And I woke up as we were pulling into the harbour at Channel-Port aux Basque. After disembarking we had to show our Newfoundland check-in email and they let us loose.

    20210819_081515.jpg 20210819_081540.jpg

    My goal for the day was to get as close to St John's as I reasonably could so that I could work my way back across the island with the rest of the week that I'm here. I was riding with Alexander for most of the day up until Gander, where he was stopping for the night.


    Unfortunately, about 20 kms before Gander I went through a very extreme wind blast from a semi that cracked my already cracked windscreen. With the placement of the cracks I didn't feel safe continuing to ride. I made my way to Canadian Tire and the manager, Gary, was kind enough to lend me a drill and some drill bits. I bought some gorilla tape, grabbed some stir sticks, and went to work in the parking lot to try to come up with some sort of support. It turned out okay! I think it should make quite a difference but eventually the paint sticks should be replaced with metal bar stock I think.
    20210819_171634.jpg 20210819_183757.jpg
    The fix! Your thoughts and prayers for it to all hold together are much appreciated :ricky

    Working on the windscreen ate up most of the rest of the day though so I only got as far as Gambo, where I'm staying at the Mint Brook Campground.


    Tomorrow I'll be hoping to get to Cape Spear, Signal Hill, and spend the night in or near St John's.
    #64
  5. thedopplereffect

    thedopplereffect Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2021
    Oddometer:
    88
    Location:
    Alberta, Canada
    On a different note. I've mentioned how this trip has grown to be quite a bit larger than I'd initially planned for so I have a few questions for those of you with experience doing trips that went for 10's of thousands of kms.


    The first is about chains. I generally don't put on more than a few thousand kms per year, so I'll maybe clean my chain once in the middle of summer and once in the fall. I didn't bring brushes or specific cleaners with me, just lubricant. Is there a good arosol cleaner anyone would recommend? Could WD-40 do the job without any adverse effects? How often should one actually be cleaning their chain when they're out on the road?


    The second question is about wheel bearings. I was told today by a gentleman at Canadian Tire that he always carries a set of wheels bearings with him. I've been on some rough roads and some gravel roads, so should I be worried about wheel bearings? I have no idea how many kms they've been in use for so should I be changing them out when I change out my tires?


    Is there anything else that I should be especially concerned about since I still have about 10000 kms to go? Thanks in advance everyone.
    #65
  6. Phoenix101

    Phoenix101 Long timer

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2008
    Oddometer:
    4,355
    Location:
    Right Side of WA
    Really have had great experiences with Canadian Tire, the last time was in PG and they helped me resolve an electrical issue my F650GS was having...
    #66
    thedopplereffect likes this.
  7. Maggot12

    Maggot12 U'mmmm yeaah!!

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2010
    Oddometer:
    21,241
    Location:
    Canada's ocean playground
    For those checking in. This is what the views look like from the top of those mountains.

    Pretty cool!!!

    20210801_120522.jpg 20210801_120805.jpg


    And the view looking back at the location of the pics above.
    20210801_125357.jpg



    #67
  8. thedopplereffect

    thedopplereffect Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2021
    Oddometer:
    88
    Location:
    Alberta, Canada
    #68
    Maggot12 likes this.
  9. Maggot12

    Maggot12 U'mmmm yeaah!!

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2010
    Oddometer:
    21,241
    Location:
    Canada's ocean playground
  10. Plane Dr

    Plane Dr Long timer

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2005
    Oddometer:
    1,235
    Location:
    North TX Metromess
    Nice ride report. My brother took our old KZ1000 to Grand Manan from Calgary once (91?). I did Calgary, Estevan SK, Kimberly BC, Calgary on an RG500, talk about pain even at 18.

    I've had two possible rides from Dallas to the Vancouver Island cancelled due to Covid, I had hoped to do PEI from here by now as well.

    Awesome adventure lifetime memories.
    #70
    thedopplereffect likes this.
  11. Banditryder

    Banditryder What I used to ride.

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2011
    Oddometer:
    17
    Location:
    Pittsburgh, PA
    I feel your pain, Plane Dr. This wonderful ride we're taking vicariously with thedopplereffect makes me yearn for my Pittsburgh (PA USA) to Saskatoon to Whitehorse, YT and back that was planned for last year, then this year, and now next year. Learning valuable lessons with every post.
    #71
    thedopplereffect likes this.
  12. Cal

    Cal Long timer

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2008
    Oddometer:
    4,501
    Location:
    Calgary
    I have long distance experience in 43 countries. Yes WD 40 can be a very good cleaner and I usually clean the chain whenever I feel or hear it clunking, not very scientific but works for me. I found 520 chains are usually good for about 20,000km sprockets about twice that and yes I have changed chains and not sprockets on the road many times. 525 chains last a lot longer 40,000km and more! There is an inmate here Sjoerd Bakker who told me he got 70,000km from his last 525 chain!! He rides more than almost everyone on this site.

    I carried wheel bearings with me in Mexico and Central America and never used them. My F650 had 115.00km on them when I traded to a v strom which now has the same kms 115.000 on the original wheel bearings. When you change tires you can feel the bearings with your finger.

    I am loving your report Thank you
    #72
  13. thedopplereffect

    thedopplereffect Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2021
    Oddometer:
    88
    Location:
    Alberta, Canada
    Thank you so much! That sets my mind at ease a little with regards to the bearings. I'll have to pick up a little can of WD tomorrow. I changed the chain in Ottawa and the sprockets both looked completely fine, so I didn't end up changing them out. But everything down there has definitely gotten a little scummy since then.
    #73
  14. Phoenix101

    Phoenix101 Long timer

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2008
    Oddometer:
    4,355
    Location:
    Right Side of WA
    what usually does in rear bearings is running the chain too tight.. Chain maintenance I use a brush, WD 40 and a rag to clean and then chain lube on the clean chain... Me at Eagle Plains

    upload_2021-8-20_22-15-1.png
    #74
    Cal and thedopplereffect like this.
  15. thedopplereffect

    thedopplereffect Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2021
    Oddometer:
    88
    Location:
    Alberta, Canada
    August 20, 2021


    I packed up my things and took off from Mint Brook Campground at around 10 am under a bleary, gray sky.


    I stopped in Charlottetown for brunch at the Clode Sound Motel. There was a couple there as well and they had a young son named Nathan. He had a stuffed bunny rabbit with him that had two heads. There's a Ripley's Believe It Or Not in Charlottetown, PEI that they ended up buying it at and he had named it Mac and Cheese, with the left head being Mac and the right one being Cheese.
    20210820_105032.jpg
    Isn't that just a perfect breakfast?

    After brunch I was back on the road and I had a proper reason to try out the rain gear I picked up in Halifax. It turns out that it is not totally waterproof, especially in the legs. But still a definitely step up from the great I had before.


    For anyone else thinking of crossing Newfoundland, be prepared for construction and the long waits associated with it. I think I was standing completely still on the Trans Canada for nearly an hour today. But, it's the only way through, so what do you do?


    My first stop in the St. John's area was at Cape Spear, the most easterly point in Canada. It's home to a heritage lighthouse as well as an abandoned military complex. I walked along the cliffs, hoping to see some cetaceans, and then toured the light house keepers house.
    20210820_154439.jpg
    Remnants of military activity from the Second World War. 20210820_155258.jpg
    Out towards St. John's.
    20210820_155420.jpg
    The original lighthouse and home.
    20210820_155018.jpg
    The modern replacement. 20210820_154223.jpg
    Another view towards St John's.

    I also met a gentleman named Mark there who had worked as a parks Canada guide for a while and had retained a love of history because of it. He gave me an impromptu lesson on the history of Newfoundland as an independent colony and how it came to become a province of Canada. The fact that blew my mind was that it did not become a province until 1949. That was done through a referendum that had less than 1% difference between joining Canada and staying independent. I found it really interesting.


    After Cape Spear I headed for Signal Hill. Signal Hill was also a military base at one point, and it was also the site where Marconi received the first wireless signal from across the Atlantic. There was an exhibit dedicated to Marconi in the Cabot tower but it was closed due to COVID. The hill offers an incredible view of the city and the harbour though. I didn't realize how narrow the mouth of the harbour was until I was there looking down on it. There was a plaque that said the largest ship to ever enter the harbour was the Hope Clipper, which is 224 metres long and 30.5 metres wide.
    20210820_165917.jpg
    Cabot tower.
    20210820_165852.jpg
    Looking out towards Cape Spear. If you zoom in you should be able to see the lighthouse. Pictured in the bottom right is Fort Amherst and the harbour authority. 20210820_165933.jpg
    Looking back at the harbour.

    After that I went down to the waterfront to find some supper. I ended up at a place called The Underbelly Speakeasy, which is a basement bar underneath of Yellowbelly Brewery. It kind of takes you by surprise how dark it is when you first walk down the stairs but it had a great atmosphere and really friendly staff.


    While I was at The Underbelly I was also trying to sort out where to stay for the night. There is a campground right in St. John's but a storm was supposed to be rolling through that I didn't really fancy seeing my tent up in. It being Friday night I wasn't able to find any hotels with available rooms in my price range either. I ended up going back to the parkade where I parked my bike and hung out there while I tried to sort things out.
    20210820_210306.jpg
    The Water Street pedestrian mall.

    I was glad to be inside when the storm finally hit. There was thunder and lightning and crazy wind. It was actually raining so hard that a manhole cover down below the parkade was overflowing to the point that there was about ten inches of water on the road at the exit of the parkade.


    While I was sitting and waiting for the storm to subside I briefly considered just sleeping in the parkade beside my bike. But thankfully, after going through all kinds of hotel-discount-last-minute-clearance sites I found the Elizabeth Manor. It's a bed and breakfast right downtown. I think my call actually might have gotten, Rob, the owner, out of bed, but he was happy to help me out. He is also a motorcyclist and has done some extensive touring around North America. And I was very happy to have a dry place to sleep for the night.
    #75
  16. staticPort

    staticPort Meditrider Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2001
    Oddometer:
    1,016
    Location:
    east tn
    Outstanding! I did not realize that Newfoundland did not join Canada until 1949--thank you for enlightening while entertaining!
    #76
    thedopplereffect and Railrocker like this.
  17. Dennis Grzybowski

    Dennis Grzybowski n00b

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2018
    Oddometer:
    2
    Location:
    Buchanan, MI
    I am enjoying your travels very much! The pictures are awesome! Thanks for sharing!
    #77
    thedopplereffect likes this.
  18. Fordfixer

    Fordfixer Semi Old Fart

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2009
    Oddometer:
    59
    Location:
    Midland, New Brunswick, Canada
    You are doing a fine job of hitting the best spots to see , from natural beauty to historical recreations ,with great pictures and descriptions. The first time I saw Fortress Louisburg all there was there was a small interpretative center and multiple trenches where they were doing discovery archeology . If close to Sussex NB on your travels , give a hollar as we have camp space or a bed (15-20 minutes from Sussex). If using WD-40 to clean your chain I recommend lubing it with a motorcycle specific chain lube or John Deere chain and cable lube afterward. Should be done at 800-1000 klms intervals. WD-40 was never designed as a lubricant but to displace water.
    #78
    thedopplereffect likes this.
  19. thedopplereffect

    thedopplereffect Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2021
    Oddometer:
    88
    Location:
    Alberta, Canada
    I'll keep you in mind if the return trip takes me through there! And that's a good point about WD-40. My father is an avid cyclist and he always cautioned us against using it on bicycle chains so I wasn't really sure if it was a good product to use. Fortnine has a video promoting it as a good cleaner but a poor lubricant so what you say tracks with that completely.
    #79
  20. thedopplereffect

    thedopplereffect Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2021
    Oddometer:
    88
    Location:
    Alberta, Canada
    August 21, 2021


    I didn’t get into the Elizabeth Manor until late last night so Rob was perfectly fine with me taking my time to get going in the morning. That was actually the first time I ever have stayed in a Bed and Breakfast and I really enjoyed the casual vibe of just getting up and making my own breakfast when I was ready. They have a top notch establishment there.


    While I was eating my breakfast and admiring the towering maples in the backyard, Rob came through the kitchen doing some cleaning. We had a short conversation about motorcycling and storms and the adventures involved with them and he mentioned that he had a place in Whitbourne that he offered to me for the night tonight if the weather wasn’t good for camping. I’m not one to turn down a dry place to sleep so I was more than happy to work that into my plans for the end of the day.


    The plan for the day was to tour the area south of St. John’s, which goes by the name the Irish Loop or the Avalon Peninsula, depending on who you ask. Or maybe it’s both, but the Irish Loop is the name of the road. Either way, the road goes south along the coastline from St. John’s and passes through a number of little towns that used to be fishing villages. Some of them still have a fishing industry but the main draw these days is tourism, so lots of them have whale and puffin watching companies.


    The first stop that I made was at an overlook at Tors Cove. Tors Cove is situated in a sheltered cove that also features three (or maybe four?) islands. The islands are significant because they are host to thousands of breeding pairs of puffins during the summer months. Newfoundland in general is the hub of puffin activity in the summer months. Their season is just winding down now but I’m still hoping I’ll see some in the next few days. One thing I also learned about them today is that they spend their winters in the open ocean. From September till March they won’t see land at all, and the only reason that they do return to land is to breed. New chicks stay out in the open ocean for the first three years of their lives until they mature. Quite the birds!
    20210821_133028.jpg

    My next stop was at the Colony of Avalon historic site. Avalon has the oldest ongoing European settlement in North America. Some of the towns along the Avalon coast were incorporated as early as 1610, which absolutely blew my mind to read. 400 years old! Crazy. There were some old photos from the late 1800’s on a few of the information signs as well and you could still see some of the same houses standing there as in the photo. Tors Cove was probably the best example of that, but just the fact that you can clearly see that people have been living here for so long, in much the same way, and would be able to trace their ancestry back for that long without having to cross an ocean is astounding to me.


    The historic site is close to Ferryland, which has a lighthouse situated at the end of a small peninsula. You can only take your vehicle part of the way out and then the road becomes a walking path. But it is a delightful little walk through an absolutely breathtaking coastal scene. There was a stiff breeze blowing that was generating some good crashing waves as well as stirring the clouds into this dynamic mix of lights and darks. So the combination of the crashing waves and the dancing shadows on the cliffs and down through the trees made it an absolute treat to just stand and try to take it all in. You could also order ahead and have a picnic lunch around the lighthouse, which I thought was a great idea. The ocean surrounding the peninsula is home to lots of humpback whales in the early summer, but I wasn’t able to spot any while I was there.
    20210821_140813.jpg 20210821_142428.jpg 20210821_143627.jpg 20210821_144308.jpg
    I can hardly believe that this is a real place that I was at. And truly, the pictures don't do it justice at all.

    Shortly after Cappahayden, the road crosses inland for 30 kms or so. That corner of Newfoundalnd is where the Gulf stream meets up with the Labrador current, creating a collision of warm and cool water that produces a harsh and unpredictable climate. That is clearly evident as you cross the short inland stretch going from Cappahayden to St. Vincent’s-St.Stephen’s-Peter’s River (which is a real place). That stretch goes through the South Avalon Burin Oceanic Barrens, which is a landscape that doesn’t have a whole lot of anything aside from rocks. The ground is covered with moss and lichen and there is the odd fir tree that’s been twisted and shrunken by the wind, but overall it is not a hospitable environment. But still, it’s a stunning sight to behold because of its emptiness and its hostility. But it's hard to capture that with a cellphone camera. This whole day made me grow a tremendous amount of respect for photographers that manage to capture that kind of emotion in landscapes. But I'm just going to recommend that you take a visit and expereience it for yourself, in person.
    20210821_163015.jpg
    20210821_155647.jpg

    I’ve been trying to find the words to describe the feeling that I get when I take in a lot of the landscapes here in Newfoundland. I get this sense of unforgiving aggression. The sense that this is not a place where you will thrive without working hard and being vigilant, and even then your survival is not guaranteed. There’s something about those hard environments that changes the people living in them too though. Nature is always lurking in the background, waiting for an opportunity to step in and take over once again, so you have to watch out for each other.
    20210821_173344.jpg 20210821_173032.jpg
    Nature is reclaiming this bridge. The date on the end of it said 1926.

    That was something I failed to mention after touring the coal mine in Cape Breton too. Because there too, the lives of the early coal miners were so bad that all the families had to stick together and help each other out in order to survive. That kind of “today you, tomorrow me” community culture is so pervasive here and I think the environment might have helped to foster it. Even if I’m way off base, I’ve felt incredibly welcomed here and have loved how warm and friendly the people have been.


    I made my way north to Witbourne as rain started to fall again. I stopped in at Monty’s Place for a late supper of onion rings, fish cakes, and coconut cream pie before heading to Rob’s place where I’m spending the night. A big thank you to Rob for all his hospitality! There was a definite chill in the air as I rode the last few kms. It is getting to be near the end of August I suppose, but let’s hope it doesn’t get cold too quickly...
    20210821_202534.jpg
    The view from my home for the night.

    Tomorrow the plan is to go see the Salmonier Wildlife Park and then possibly head towards Bonavista, but also maybe take a day to relax, I’m not sure yet.
    #80