North to South America on a Honda 250

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Joris van O, Apr 26, 2019.

  1. roadcapDen

    roadcapDen Ass, Grass or Gas, no free rides.

    Joined:
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    Welcome to Canada Eh!
    Bed, BBQ and Beer here at the NW end of Lake Ontario if you're out this way.
    Between Toronto and Niagara Falls.
    #21
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  2. Joris van O

    Joris van O Been here awhile

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    Some pictures to keep it interesting.

    I first flew from Amsterdam to London on this turboprop plane, never been in one before so that was nice. When I exited the plane I could see my bag in the cargo hold, together with a couple other checked bags. No wonder there were few bags as it cost me 40 euro to check in the bag.
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    From London City I had to get to London Gatwick. Reason, I wasn't paying attention when I booked these flights some months ago. With 16 hours to entertain myself I might as well head into the city. I sat at the boulevard, reading my book while overlooking the Thames. With on the left the HMS Belfast museum and on the right the Tower Bridge. [​IMG]

    Eventually it got dark and cold so I borded the train to Gatwick. Once there the hunt was on for a good place to spend the night. Well, there wasn't any. I settled for a restaurant with comfortable benches but ridiculously expensive food and beer. After midnight I walked over to a quieter area and tried sleeping on my Thermarest. That was reasonably successful until the customs opened and a whole line of families with strollers and kids formed.
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    After what seemed an eternity we were allowed to board. I managed to get some more sleep and before I knew it we were on Canadian soil. Took a bus to Halifax, checked in at the Halifax Backpackers hostel and went straight to the customs office to temporarily import the bike. That was all very easy. I only had to show the notice of arrival and my passport, she asked the mandatory questions about bringing in unwanted items and that was it.
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    There was only one thing left to do get this adventure going, retrieve the bike from the harbor. So the next morning I walked to downtown Halifax and took the Woodside ferry across the bay. Waited for the bus to the Autoport, that took to long so I decided to walk the five kilometers. Of course the bus passed me after three minutes, oh well. Made it to the office, handed the nice lady behind the counter the papers and waited for the bike to show up. Didn't take long, the hardest thing was to find a helmet for the guy to ride it to the office. I signed for delivery and was finally reunited with my little bike.
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    #22
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  3. Joris van O

    Joris van O Been here awhile

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    Thanks! That sounds to good to pass up on, I'll probably be there in a week or two. I will send a message when I get near!
    #23
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  4. roadcapDen

    roadcapDen Ass, Grass or Gas, no free rides.

    Joined:
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    https://binged.it/2PZI1tm May 10-20 Tulip festival in Ottawa that you may like to see, or not...
    The Canadian Tulip Festival was established to celebrate the historic Royal gift of tulips from the Dutch to Canadians immediately following the Second World War as a symbol of international friendship. The Festival preserves the memorable role of the Canadian troops in the liberation of the Netherlands and Europe, as well as commemorates the birth of Dutch Princess Margriet in Ottawa during World War II—the only royal personage ever born in Canada
    #24
  5. RedDogAlberta

    RedDogAlberta High Plains Drifter

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    Interesting trivia tidbit. When Princess Margriet was born in 1943 in Ottawa, the maternity ward at the civic hospital was temporarily declared to be Dutch soil ensuring she would be born a Dutch citizen and not a Canadian.
    #25
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  6. RolyKBiker

    RolyKBiker Road Worrier

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2014
    Oddometer:
    325
    Location:
    Foggy London Town.
    Looking forward to this RR; best of luck to you.
    Did I miss the purpose of the box below the front of the engine? Tools perhaps?
    #26
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  7. Joris van O

    Joris van O Been here awhile

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    Sep 11, 2015
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    After three nights in the hostel I can't wait to get on the road. The last two days were used to find some items that I didn't bring, like a gas bottle for the stove. I also walked around a lot, to get some movement and to see all the sights (not that many if I'm honest).
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    Today I will ride south following the lighthouse route along the coast. At Yarmouth I will head north up to Sydney and start the Cabot Trail. Then follow the water into New Brunswick all the way down to Toronto. From there I start heading west to the Icefields Parkway. Hopefully I can make it to Dawson in time for the Dust2Dawson gathering. If the weather looks good I might try to reach Tuktoyaktuk.

    Then down to Vancouver and back east to the big Apple and the Blue Ridge Parkway. From the Tail of the Dragon I want to head west again. Via which route I have to figure out yet.
    #27
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  8. Joris van O

    Joris van O Been here awhile

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    I did not know that, thanks! Not sure if I will be there before it ends but will try my best.

    Haha :) Great! Learning more and more, will look into this soon (when I'm at a Tim Hortons with wifi).

    Correct! Space is quite limited so I made a box to hold the tools and spare parts. It contains tire levers, two tubes, pump, toolroll, spare chain and some smaller items.
    #28
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  9. coldoughboy

    coldoughboy Will Ride anywhere

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2007
    Oddometer:
    5
    Location:
    East Coast
    Thank you for taking the time to post your report. I am a big fan of nighthawks (have had numerous 750s). I look forward to your trip.
    #29
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  10. DRO4

    DRO4 Adventurer

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    Cluj-Napoca, Romania
    Good luck @Joris van O

    How did you managed to have your european insurance cover you in Canada/USA ? Or did you get insurance on the spot in Canada using euro plates ?
    #30
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  11. RedDogAlberta

    RedDogAlberta High Plains Drifter

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    Look it up. Absolutely true. She was born in the Netherlands except it happened in downtown Ottawa. There are a couple sites in France which are permanent Canadian soil as gifts from WW1 and WW2 and are maintained by Canadian military personnel stationed on Canadian soil within France.
    #31
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  12. Joris van O

    Joris van O Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    First day is in the books, and what a great ride. I set of from Halifax around 10:30 and followed the Lighthouse route to Peggy's Cove. Once out of the city the riding is great. The road winding its way down the coast, with a speed limit of 80km/h which is perfect for the 250. The morning was chilly but once the sun came out I was sweating in my winter riding gear.

    Peggy's Cove was nice to walk around on the rocks, felt like a big playground. Lots of tourists around the lighthouse but a bit further it got really quiet. I layed down on the rocks to listen to the sea, and when I opened my eyes after a few of minutes a thick fog had rolled in. It was very local and after a kilometer or two the sun was out again.
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    I passed the memorial for Swiss Air flight 111 further up the road and stopped to find out what happened. The crash must have had a huge impact in the local communities who where first at scene to start the rescue/recovery.
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    I slowly made my way further south, took the ferry at LaHave and the end of the day decided that wild camping would be a nice way to finish this first day. Via Ioverlander I found a place on Cape Sable Island which turned out to be indeed very nice. I waited for the sun to go down before I pitched my tent on the beach. Scared some deer that had sneaked up on me.
    Then noticed that the tide might come up high enough to reach the tent. Not eager to wake up in the sea at midnight I moved the tent to higher ground.
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    Woke up early because it was freezing cold, the sunrise was a nice though.
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    Found this engine on the beach, maybe I can swap it for the 250. Could use a little more power. Only needs a tune-up I reckon?
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    #32
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  13. Joris van O

    Joris van O Been here awhile

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    I arranged insurance for Canada/USA prior to leaving. I contacted Fernet Insurance and they helped me just fine. I did had to supply a mailing address in the US so I contacted the Tuckers. He received the original copy but all communication is via mail/online portal.
    #33
  14. DRO4

    DRO4 Adventurer

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    #34
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  15. Joris van O

    Joris van O Been here awhile

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    From Cape Sable Island I went to Yarmouth and continued my circumnavigation of the peninsula. The Annapolis Valley was very beautiful, although it was still chilly. Spring has only just arrived here so in a couple of weeks everything will be in full bloom and hopefully the temperatures will also rise.
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    At the end of the day I picked another Ioverlander spot to set up camp. This one was on the shores of the Bay of Fundy, perfect! There was already an overlander couple parked when I arrived but there was enough space for many more. As I was setting up my tent the man walks over and introduces himself. Turns out he's Dutch but is living in Canada for thirty years now. They invite me for a glass of wine which I gladly accept. They have traveled the around the world on motorcycles when they were younger but have now switched to a custom build Mercedes Sprinter. After two years traveling through North America they are shipping it to Europe. It was very cool to meet them and I left with lots of good tips and new information. Was a bit jealous as their rig had a heater and my tent did not.
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    I woke up early, got on the road and a light drizzle started. Combined with the low temperature and the wind it was pretty cold. The rain stopped but it remained cold for the rest of the day. From the Bay of Fundy I followed a road that led me to Mosquodoboit Harbor on the Atlantic shore. There I continued on Highway 7 and then Highway 211. Everybody's telling me it's a bit early to be on a bike, most campsites and parks are still closed as well. Despite being here early it is incredibly beautiful.
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    Around 5pm I was feeling miserable and had enough of the cold so set up camp near New Harbour Beach (another Ioverlander spot). In the evening the wind finally died down and I was able to enjoy it again. Cooked a simple pasta in the sun, put on some music and made a fire to warm me up when the sun went down.
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    First problem on the bike, the metal rod holding the handguard broke. Not urgent but need to get it welded sometime.
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    Oh and I saw my first live Porcupine this morning on my way to Cape Breton Island. I've seen dozens but they were all pretty flat and not in a state to move anymore.
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    #35
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  16. Reaver

    Reaver How Did I Get Here?

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    Same here when you get this far South. I have a shop and hotel in Costa Rica.

    :thumb
    #36
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  17. Joris van O

    Joris van O Been here awhile

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    I had high expectations of Cape Breton National Park and the Cabot Trail. After two days riding around in low temps, fog, rain and very strong wind gusts I would advice to go a bit later in the season. Yesterday I was heading north and although cold it remained dry throughout the day.
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    It was already quite late so it was time to set up camp somewhere. I followed a steap dirt road to what was supposed to be a nice place but halfway the road was blocked by snow. There is still quite a lot of it along the roads. There were more places to camp towards Meat Cove so I continued until I reached the end of the road. The campsite and restaurant there where still closed and as I was in no mood to ride back I pitched my tent on Meat Cove beach. Not the greatest of places.
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    Early in the morning the wind started blowing ripping half the pegs out to the point it the tent almost rolled over. I waited for the rain to stop, which it never did so packed everything as good as it went and got on with it. From Meat Cove I rode through the mountains to Pleasant Bay where the rain stopped and the winds were ferocious. At first it was fun, I was happy that I was out of the rain. I stopped for a picture and to switch for warmer gloves and the bike was blown over onto my leg which tackled me and broke the phoneholder in the process. It gradually got worse and when I reached Cheticamp it became downright dangerous. I've never experienced such strong winds. I was riding along the coast and they were coming down from the mountains hitting me right from the side. There were multiple times it almost blew me off the road and I had to give it all to stay upright. I was afraid the next gust would be the one. Then I came across a semi that was just blown on it side and only wanted to get away from the coast as fast as I could. At Margaree Forks I went inland and back into the rain but less wind.
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    I stopped at a Tim Hortons to warm up and booked a motel in Pictou. After four nights of wildcamping it was about time for a shower. I made a beeline to the motel and crashed on the bed. This was definitely not my best day hahah :)
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    I've been in Canada now for one week and despite the weather I really like it. The nature is incredible, there is quite a diverse culture and the people are super friendly. Everytime I stop for a bite or to fuel up someone comes up to me asking where I'm from or how I'm doing. Some have some funny stories themselves.
    #37
  18. Joris van O

    Joris van O Been here awhile

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    I've been recuperating in a hostel in Quebec City for a couple of nights now and tomorrow I'm off to the next big city, Montreal.

    When I left the motel in Pictou it was still raining. The rain front was circling the Atlantic coast for a couple of days already and it didn't look like it would clear up soon. In an attempt to get away from it I got on the Trans Canadian Highway and didn't stop riding until the evening set in. I passed Moncton and Fredericton and eventually found a spot to camp on the riverbank of the St. Johns river just outside of Woodstock. There were birds singing, a beaver swimming in the river and even a sunset!
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    Following the St. Johns river I stumbled upon the longest covered bridge in the world (391m) . It is indeed quite big! I rode through it twice and then walked it, admiring the woodwork that went in to it.
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    The road meandering along the river was really nice and a welcoming change from the long straight (and a bit boring if I'm honest) Trans Canadian Highway I rode the previous day. At Grand Falls there was a waterfall, a big one! That's a lot of water passing through every second.
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    When I reached the St. Lauwrence Bay the clouds finally parted and for a couple of hours there was blue sky. When I reached the outskirts of Quebec it rained again though. I made myself comfortable in a hostel for three nights and met a lot of superfriendly people. After practically being on my own for a week it felt good to share some time and experiences with other people again. We did a walking tour through the old city, went to a waterfall just out of town called Chute Montmorency and ended the day in a bar somewhere. Gave me a slight headache the next morning.
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    Oh and I tried the local cuisine, apparently Poutine is the thing to try while you're here. It's fries and cheese covered by some greasy substance. This one also had minced meat as an extra. I wouldn't really recommend it to anyone as eating it will probably cost you three years of your life.
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    When I arrived at the hostel they told me I could park the bike at the back as long it was out of the way. I shoved it in a corner and that was fine, could hardly see it. Today someone else told me it wasn't allowed and I should park somewhere else. Parking on the street is not allowed and dealing with a towed bike is not something I fancy so it's now in a carpark costing me who knows how much. Quebec isn't motorcycle friendly and I don't expect Montreal to be any better. Oh well, city's are costly.. Have to get used to that. Before I moved it I did manage to change the oil, good for another 3/4000km.
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    #38
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  19. roadcapDen

    roadcapDen Ass, Grass or Gas, no free rides.

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    Montreal and QC are really not biker friendly, sorry, Ontario will be much better! But they do have some great tittie bars!!!
    Hope to see you soon and thanks for the great updates!!!
    #39
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  20. roadcapDen

    roadcapDen Ass, Grass or Gas, no free rides.

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    Poutine done right is mucho beuno!
    #40
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