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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by DYNOBOB, Dec 19, 2015.
Waiting for more and enjoyed so far....Dave
This is fun. We went to NS a few years back, but at the time the ferry wasn't running. I guess it used to be operated by the Canadaian government but they gave it up. There were rumors that it was going to open up again, but in June 2012, it hadn't happened yet. We opted to go up thru Maine and stop at Bar Harbor. We then went up into Canada thru Calais and on to Saint Johns in NB, where we took a ferry over to Digby, NS.
We'd heard it was possible to go east and do a combo island hop/ferry thing to get in to Canada via the Lubek/Eastport area, but we were there early in Summer- about 10 June. The local ferries weren't running, as they operate only seasonally and hadn't opened yet. So we had a wee bit of back-tracking to get up to Calais and a fast motorway run out to St Johns, arriving just before sunset at a B&B not too far from the famous market there, where we had breakfast the next morning while waiting for our noon ferry.
We had freak weather on our trip- mild temps and wide open blue skies the entire time we were on Nova Scotia! Over 3000 miles and only a tiny rain shower on the very first day, going into VT from NY state at Bennington.
Thanks for following along and for the kind comments - it helps keep my ride report mojo going
I think you have to accept you will be in fog about 50% of the time up there.
I'm about to post links to our spreadsheet of trip/lodging details and the daily gps route segments, hopefully they be of some help.
You are correct, the ferry stopped operating for several years. It is a private operation now and the ferry is brand new. Interesting story... the ferry was originally built for operation in the English Channel but couldn't pass stability tests for that area, that's how it ended up here. Hmm.. .. If you noticed the picture of the dinner table, there are names of European cities on the glass wall.
Yes it is possible to island hop from Lubec, that's coming up in a few days .You were lucky on the weather!
Spreadsheet of our lodging arrangements and mileage breakdown.
https://www.dropbox.com/s/n966h8w8gz8usjc/NOVA SCOTIA ITINERARY SHARED.xls?dl=0
Our daily gps segments. These were built in the City Navigator version my Garmin 478 uses so prob wont work for you without converting to your version in Basecamp, etc. I believe there is a way to convert them to .gpx files also.
https://www.dropbox.com/s/8pmgrp8xv23ksi7/Maine - Nova Scotia waypoints.gdb?dl=0
Ferry cheat sheet. You don't want to miss a ferry by five minutes..
https://www.dropbox.com/s/f81k6xtvmul8hk7/FERRY CHEAT SHEET.doc?dl=0
Day 8 - Thur July 23 - Ingonish to Meat Cove - 45 miles
A little different perspective..
I've kept the miles easy since we're camping tonight and really want to enjoy the Highlands without rushing. The weather has improved somewhat this morning (it quit raining), but the forecast isn't great. We really don't want to camp in the rain at Meat Cove so we'll have to play it by ear. The last 8 miles to the campground are gravel so that's a concern too..
Before breakfast, I wander down to the ocean and catch a few minutes of fantastic light.
Time to saddle up..
Neils Harbor is a nice photo opp.
It's rained on and off and now it's decision time on camping. Looks iffy, but we take the turn to Meat Cove. We've come too far to skip this!
And this is what we came for.. Meat Cove Campground!
Yeah, we got a little muddy
A few thing about Meat Cove.. The campground is first come first serve, all the sites are nice, but if you get here early you get your pick. There are four camper cabins that can be reserved, $75/night. The property has been in the family for a long time (100yrs?). In the 1970s, so many people were driving up and asking to camp on the cliff that they cleared a few spots and started charging. The Chowder Hut is staffed by the daughters and the food is excellent! The facilities are basic (but clean), I don't think any of us opted to shower here though. They do have decent wi-fi. There you have it - now I'll show you around!
We pretty much had our pick of campsites - and we've lucked out, it's not raining!
Dad and Jim/Vicky got cabins and start relaxin'.
Wynette and I wander down to the beach.
So many fantastic views from the campground.
We walk up to the Chowder Hut for dinner..
and retire to the tent to put some pics on FB. ... That's a pretty good view.
Heavy fog rolling in, time to zip up and turn in. Goodnight.
Thanks for your RR. I'm inspired! It has been on my ride bucket list for a few years now so I think 2016 is the year. Appreciate your posting the waypoints and routes too - it'll make route planning that much easier! I've ridden both sides of the St. Lawrence seaway on prior trips. But this will round out my Eastern Canada travels.
I really love the pictures...enjoy looking at them ... and the narrative
Thanks for sharing.
You're welcome and thanks for following. Stay tuned, at the end I'll comment on a few things I might do different next time...
Thank you Husky brotha
Day 9 - Fri July 24th - Meat Cove to Canso Strait (Frankville) - 158 miles
Today we'll make our way down the north edge of Cape Breton Island on the Cabot Trail. This takes us thru the remainder of the Highlands Natl Park and the picturesque towns of Cheticamp and Inverness. Cape Breton is truly the highlight of this trip, don't be in a rush, slow down, soak it in... Today was the best weather day we had in Nova Scotia, a little overcast in the morning but some blue skies in the afternoon.
Not a bad view to start your day - think we'll lay here a bit.
The riding starts with the northern section of the Natl Park.
The Skyline Trail - if you're into hiking that looks to be pretty good..
Cheticamp is our stop for lunch and a car wash.
Inverness is the next super cool stop.. good place to get some ice cream and enjoy the ocean-side boardwalk.
Inverness to Port Hood..
and finally, back across the Canso Causeway to our lodging in Frankville.
The cabins are 1960's vintage but clean, and located out on a cool peninsula in the Canso Straight. I prefer these little places with character and local feel over big anonymous boxes.. ..PB&J picnic for dinner, a welcome shower, and turned in - tomorrow we catch the early ferry to Prince Edward Island.
Happy New Year! Thanks for sharing your great photos. Great memories. Keep up the great report!!
Thank you Sir!
Happy New Year to All and sorry for the delay - been busy w/ holiday stuff and deer hunting :)
Day 10 - Sat July 25 - Canso Straight to Hermanville, Prince Edward Island - 158 miles
Today starts by burning out a quick 80 miles to catch the 9:30am Northumberland Ferry. A couple things to note: If you're coming from Cape Breton the ferry saves ~100 miles of driving to reach PEI vs. the Confederation Bridge. The ferry and bridge are free going to PEI, you only pay when leaving the island. Curiously, it is much cheaper to leave by the bridge than the ferry. So, it's a no-brainer, take the ferry to the island and the bridge back.
We hit the road before 8am and it's all interstate so we pull into the staging lanes well before 9:30. However, it ends up being 45 minutes before we roll on the boat - their website must say 9:30 departure because that's when they want you in line. It's a large ferry and doesn't load in 5 minutes I guess.
Dad goes on the upper deck..
and we're on the lower deck with the combines and tour buses.
With the bikes strapped down, we wander up to the observation level. Wish the sun was out but hey, we're having fun!
After a 15 mile/75 minute crossing, we saddle up and roll off the boat.
We hang a right on Shore Rd and head for the Cape Bear Lighthouse and Murray Harbour. This part of the island is less commercial and gives you a feel for the real PEI. I love the detail in their churches and have Wynette shooting every one we pass.
We decide this is a good place to break out some lunch and then check things out.
The Cape Bear Marconi station was the first to hear the distress call of the sinking Titanic .. http://www.capebearlighthouse.com/
Lighthouse had recently been moved to a new foundation..
Nice view from our picnic spot..
Murray Harbour is a quiet little spot.
Montague is a tourist stop.
Interesting churches - they must sell a lot of white paint up in these parts.
It's Saturday and we pop into Souris to find out where a local ceilidh (kaley) might be happening tonight. My trip research said to catch one of these Gaelic singing/dancing events out in the country for an authentic experience. Apparently, the ones around Cavendish are tourist shows. We're in luck, there is one ten minutes from where we're staying tonight!
On to our bed and breakfast for the night, a neat little place on the north shore of the island. Gps says it's at the end of this dirt road..
I don't see it, maybe it's that place up there..
Nope, but this is some two-up fun on a Wing. Back down we go.. ... (credit Wynette w/ hanging on and getting pics)
So, after some unintended dirt road exploring, we discover that the Johnson Shore Inn is not on Johnston Rd and call for directions.
Here we go..
Success! Hey that was fun - and this place looks pretty sweet!
We settle in, get cleaned up, and then pile in the Jeep to find some dinner and get our ceilidh on. Unfortunately, we got some faulty info and there is no ceilidh at the community center tonight.. ..but we did find a nice place to eat with some cool views.
Back to the Inn to relax, soak it in, and watch some locals stop by..
Tomorrow we'll see some more of PEI.
Day 11 - Sun July 26 - PEI to Hopewell Rocks - 200 miles
Today we start by riding the north shore roads to Cavendish (Green Gables), and then turn south to cross the Confederation Bridge and enter New Brunswick. We end our day near Hopewell Rocks and hopefully get to see the famous tides in the Bay of Fundy again.
I start the day wandering around the grounds for some pics.
Back inside we have a delicious breakfast of some sort of berry crepe (beat the hell out of the quiche in Louisbourg). This is a great place to stay, just keep in mind the 1/4 mile, somewhat rutted, gravel driveway.
So we hit the road at 8:30 and our first stop of the day is just a few miles west at the Greenwich PEI Natl Park. . http://www.pc.gc.ca/eng/pn-np/pe/pei-ipe/visit/greenwich.aspx . We didn't spend a lot of time here, just walked a few trails. You could spend several days or a week easily on PEI exploring the park systems. (Note: you have to pay to enter each park)
Today is Jim and Vicky's (35th?) anniversary. Congrats!
We stop in St Peter's Bay to fuel up. Worth noting, this is a great spot to ride the Confederation Trail if you're a bicyclist. . https://www.tourismpei.com/pei-confederation-trail
Next we enter PEI Natl Park and ride around the Rustico Bay region.
For lunch we stop in Cavendish, and then split off from Dad for the rest of the day as he wants to tour Green Gables. Doesn't interest me and I'm trying to make it to Hopewell Rocks in time to get pics.
Meanwhile, we're rolling south to the Confederation Bridge.
Gentlemen beware - the mother of all gift shop complexes is located at the entrance of the bridge - that cost us an hour.
The eight mile long Confederation Bridge, reminds me a lot of Seven Mile Bridge in the Keys.
The riding from here to Moncton is unremarkable, Moncton is a good size town.
So our lodging tonight is a family run hotel located near the entrance of Hopewell Rocks Exploration Site. We get checked in and I make tracks down to check out the tides.
We've arrived shortly before closing and missed all the shuttles, so I have to double-time it a mile thru the woods to get to the shore.
It's approaching high tide. Ideally, you'd like to spend 6 hours here so you can catch low tide also, when you can walk around all the rock hoodoos.
Back to the hotel for some dinner and rest..
Day 12 - Mon July 27 - Hopewell Rocks to Grand Manan Island - 200 miles
Today we explore the Bay of Fundy coastline some more and catch the ferry out to Grand Manan Island. We'll end up at Hole in the Wall Campground which has come highly recommended from numerous people. This was one of the days I was most looking forward to on the trip.
Just a short distance from Hopewell Rocks are four pretty cool points of interest, starting with Harvey Bank Shipyard Park. Way cool!
And right around the corner is Lars Larson Marsh.
Mary's Point Shorebird Refuge.
Now we'll make our way down to Cape Enrage.
You may have noticed I like barns. ..
Wynette really nailed these next three..
At the top of the cliff is the gift shop and lighthouse.
Next we make our way down to Alma.
Alma is a neat little town and would be a good place to overnight. I've been hoping to catch a harbor at low tide and we did so here. It's got to be interesting tying up your boat with a 20-30 foot vertical change in water level...
Departing Alma there was some serious road construction going on. Gravel was always a concern for the drive belt on the CanAm - the dealer puts the fear of god in you about catastrophic damage. We take it slow on gravel..
The remainder of Rt 114 to Interstate 1 was pretty cool.
After this we bust out 100 miles of highway down to Blacks Harbour to catch the ferry.
For those keeping score, this is ferry number six.
It's foggy, but at least it's calm. This pic was shot during a rough crossing - we spoke with crew that remembered it vividly.
Skip to the 1:30 mark.. They forbade customer crossings in these conditions afterwards.
As we curve around Grand Manan to the harbor, we pass the cliff-side campsites we're heading for.
It's just a few blocks to the campsite entrance.
Once you check in they lead you back to your site on a four wheeler - it's a large campground.
Happy Campers! ..
Nice! Still following along, now using my road atlas. We left Cape Breton Island and did a massive motorway slog, riding the 2 across New Brunswick, over to Quebec City. Great place to visit, don't get me wrong- but afterwards we all felt like we'd sort of cheated ourselves by not staying around the Maritimes area.
It's such a haul to get up to that area. We'll definitely go back and when we do, we'll hit PEI and hopefully Newfoundland while we are up that way. Newfoundland and Labrador are a real commitment tho! Looks like,it is possible to ferry off the NW tip of that island into Quebec.... But then it's wilderness.... Probably no place for a big sport touring bike heavily loaded and two-up!
Awesome trip you guys had! Looking forward to more.
I struggled a little with whether we should have spent more time on Cape Breton and skipped PEI - like you said though, it's so far up there that if you don't see it while you're right there, when will you. The weather kinda shorted us on the Cabot Trail experience but honestly it could have been way worse - and even if we'd spent a week, might not have been any different. I make hay and everytime I saw hayfields up there I wondered how they do it. 60 degrees and foggy at the end of July. In Lunenburg I was talking to the horse&carriage proprietor and he was quite proud to show me the nice green color of his hay. Rightfully so I'd say.
I've done some reading on a trip to Goose Bay and also come to the conclusion that it's not a trip for two-up on the Wing. Hundreds of miles of loose gravel. I'm toying w/ the idea of this setup for a 2016 run to Alaska, 7000 mi on the Wing to/from Whitehorse and 3000 mi on the Husky in Yukon&AK. Could also work for Noufoundland/Labrador...
We were very blessed on this trip, no illness, accidents, mechanical probs, and no really bad weather!
Day 13 - Tues July 28 - Grand Manan to Bar Harbor, ME - 175 miles
After nine days in Canada, today we'll take three ferry rides and return to the United States. After the ferry back to Blacks Harbour, we'll skip around to the Deer Island Ferry followed by the Campobello Ferry. We'll re-enter at Lubec, ME which puts us right next to Quoddy Head Lighthouse and the easternmost spot in the US.
We get packed up with the idea of spending the morning touring the island. However, no sooner than we get suited up it starts raining. We decide to catch an earlier ferry and get a jump on the rest of the day. It only a mile from the campground from the campsite to the ferry where we stand around in the rain for a while. At least we got to pack our tents dry..
It rained a bit on the 25 mile/1.5hr crossing but stopped by the time we pulled into Blacks Harbour. It actually turned into a pretty nice day.
Letete - Deer Island Ferry (ferry number eight).
Deer Island - Campobello Ferry (number nine).
While on Campobello you have to stop and check out the Roosevelt summer home. Many of the wealthy had homes in the north to escape the summer heat of New York.
This is where FDR became sick in the summer of 1921 and was diagnosed with polio at the age of 39. He walked in the front door and was rolled out on a stretcher, never to walk again.
This is where FDR lay in bed.
Mrs. Roosevelt's room
The wealthy were not interested in electrification early on, but they were early adopters of indoor plumbing.
Next stop... the good 'ol USA. Lubec, Maine is a sleepy little town.
Wynette was amazed at how many unmanned produce stands in the Northeast had a money jar just sitting there, wouldn't see that at home.
Quoddy Head State Park is 500 acres at the tip of America's easternmost peninsula. Quoddy Head, named by the Passamaquoddy ("People of the Dawn") tribe, means fertile and beautiful place. It's also the spot where the sun first rises on the United States.
Next we make our way into Bar Harbor. Located on Mt. Desert Island (home of Acadia Natl Park), it's a big time tourist destination so get your reservations well ahead.
Our lodging tonight is the Seacroft Inn, a sweet B&B right in the heart of town. The proprietor will even do laundry for $5 a load (12 days on the road - we had some dirty laundry ).
Settled in and cleaned up, we walk around town to find some dinner. This will do..
When in Rome...
After dinner comes the inevitable "Christmas tree ornament shopping". Hey, I did get a new hat and it's a beautiful evening .. and we're in Bar Harbor, Maine!
Tomorrow we tour the island and end up on "the quiet side".
FYI... A member has informed me that the Nova Star ferry from Portland, Maine to Yarmouth has ceased operation. Bummer, it was a nice ship.
It appears that Bay Ferries may take over.
Beautiful report and pictures. I was down to Nova Scotia and New Brunswick a few weeks before you guys. We camped in Fundy Bay park overlooking Alma and spent a couple of days there before heading to PEI going the opposite direction that you took. We got lucky and had two days of clear beautiful weather on the Cabot Trail. We did Louisbourg in the rain.
You won't need the Husky for Newfoundland but definitely for Labrador . . .
Day 14 - Wed July 29th - Bar Harbor to Southwest Harbor - 50 miles
Well it's nice to be back in the USA .. land of sunshine. My feet hit the floor at 6am and I'm out the door to get some pics of a quiet Main St and the Shore Path. We're staying on Albert Meadow, a sleepy little side street to Main.
Once everyone's up, we head down Cottage St for some delicious blueberry pancakes at Jordan's Restaurant.
(Had to steal this one from google)
And then we hit a few more shops as we wander back to the B&B.
A quick snip from Wiki about Acadia Natl Park.. More info here. http://www.nps.gov/acad/index.htm
Just a few miles outside of Bar Harbor you can enter the one-way Park Loop road.
Egg Rock Light
View back to Sand Beach - don't think that water is very warm though..
Park Loop completed, we make the turn for Cadillac Mountain.
If you're visiting Acadia NP during peak season, expect a bit of gridlock near the peak.. Views are worth it though!
Back down the mountain and around to the "quiet side" of Mt Desert Island.
We pull into our hotel about noon.
After we unpack and eat lunch, Wynette and I ride around to Bass Harbor.
Bass Harbor Light
Manset, I stayed at this B&B back in 1991.
This is fast food in these parts, I don't remember seeing any chain restaurants on the island.
So, back to the hotel where we collect the others, pile in the Jeep, and head to dinner at a cool place we spotted earlier in Bass Harbor. Thurston's Lobster Pound is famous and very busy, it's an authentic Maine lobster pound.
Another great day! Tomorrow we head for Freeport, LL Bean, and Recompense Shore Campground.