Two Weeks Solo On My Bike - Pennsylvania to Newfoundland Ride Report

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by GravelRider, Jun 15, 2012.

  1. John Nash

    John Nash Bluenoser

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    Max I grew up in NS & was born in PEI. My Dad was in the RCAF(airforce) My first trip to Nfld.was in 1977 on my Honda CB750.It rained almost the whole week there.I stayed with my Aunt & her family in a fishing hut just 50 miles north of Porte Basque on the beach for a couple of nights.Went out in a dorry jigging cod one evening.I will never forget the fog,the wind,& the chill to the bone cold at times.My last night was spent on the way to Saint Johns in the pouring rain in my tent.I woke to rain and decided to go home to Nova Scotia to my warm apartment.The week previous to the Nfld.trip I was in PEI for my first week of vacation & it also rained every friggin day.

    Then in 1984 I bought my first BMW 1981 R100RT. I was so excited to travel by MC I quit my job at Michelin Tire after 8 years.Went camping in PEI with some friends.Met two guys on Harleys from Nfld who wanted to travel with me to the USA.We spent a week in Maine,NH,VT,& NY states.They invited me back to thier home in Saint Johns,Nfld. I had the best time with these guys and thier friends and families in Nfld.They are the nicest people I have ever met anywhere.They love life and know how to enjoy every day to the fullest.Got "skreeched in" on Signal Hill at 5am one morning also before coming home.Met a nice nurse there who later came to NS to visit with me..she had never been off the Rock.

    In August 2010 I bought a new HD RGU and went home to visit my family in NS.I have lived in Maryland for 22 years now and get back to the Maritimes every couple years to visit.What you described about the Cabot Trail were my thoughts exactly in 2010 as I spent the whole day around the trail.It takes a good 8 hours to do the loop and most of it is on bad roads with construction stops and alot of trees with no scenery.Mind you,like you said ,what scenery there is...is spectacular! I would love to go back to Nfld since its been 28 years for me and try and find the two Harley guys Greg & Bill who were from Saint Johns.I have such fond memories from that time in 1984.

    My recommendation to anyone travelling to the Maritimes on MC's is to go either July,Aug. or Sept for the best weather.Nova Scotia has some of the nicest scenery along the coastal roads that you can find anywhere.Life stands still there..people will stop what thier doing to talk with you and help you out with any questions you might have on the area.B&B's are the best overnights.The seafood is fresh and spectacular as well.There are nice secluded sandy beaches everywhere along he coastline.The Provincial Parks are amazing as well along the Atlantic coastline.

    Max I have to hand it to you the way you travelled through NS & Nfld roughing it like you did brother...your like a Viking on a MC. I liked your story about Larry in North Sydney helping you out with your broken bike.That is a true testament of Maritime hospitality.Great pictures as well..you stopped to smell the roses! I hope you take your family back to the Maritimes for a holiday sometime.All the best to you and ride safely.:D
    #81
  2. Dirt Freeak

    Dirt Freeak Adventurer

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    Effort is BORING. Nothing to see here. Seriously.

    However 534 through Hickory Run is rather fun.

    I have some gear like that. Cheap, functional, but not optimal.
    #82
  3. Fire44

    Fire44 Old, Slow and Tired

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    Thanks for sharing you ride with us Max, I have spend a big part of the day sitting here in my office reading and not doing work!!!

    Someday I hope to make a trip up there. Great pictures.
    #83
  4. dresda

    dresda Long timer

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    I've done the trail twice. Its got beautiful scenery but its not a technical twisty road, its more a huge roller coaster with corners.

    We've found that there was way more traffic than we'd have liked. Its a great destination but I know of lots more interesting roads that have a lot less traffic on them. For example, the road out to Trout River on the south side of Gros Morne.

    I had much the same feeling as you did after riding it the first time. I thought, what's the big deal? That's the problem when there's too much hype!
    #84
  5. GravelRider

    GravelRider AKA max384 Supporter

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    It seems my soggy experience going to Newfoundland was far from unique! After the first few days of nonstop rain, I didn't dawn the rain gear for the rest of the trip, so really I lucked out.

    That sounds like a great time on your trip where you met up with some other bikers... and you took a nurse home to boot!

    I didn't get to spend too much time in NS, but I could definitely see myself coming back and spending a few days riding that area.

    I wouldn't really call the way I traveled roughing it because I enjoy traveling that way. If I'm having fun, it's hard to call it roughing it! I've only had good things to say about everyone I met along the way. The people of the maritimes are definitely a friendly bunch! I already told the wife and kids that we'll be taking a vacation to Newfoundland one day. It probably won't be for a few years, but with such a good experience, I can't think of a reason why I shouldn't come back.
    #85
  6. GravelRider

    GravelRider AKA max384 Supporter

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    I've gone through Hickory Run a few times and it is good riding. Maybe I passed through Effort without realizing it.

    That describes most of my gear!

    Glad to help you out with not doing your work!

    I'd definitely recommend Newfoundland as a riding destination to anyone... Just watch out for the damned moose... Or as Murph calls them 'swamp donkeys.'

    Having already rode 'the Dragon' at Deals Gap, I loved the low traffic volume... But I also expected a road about as technical as Deals Gap... Or at least a higher percentage of the road like that.

    I was going to ride all the way out to Trout River, but only made it out as far as the Discovery Center. I guess I should have continued all the way out there.
    #86
  7. Moosehunter

    Moosehunter Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2011
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    Max,
    Again, thank you very much for sharing this RR. The next time you go you'll have about ten of us following you! And as for the Moosehunting, PM me if you want a recommendation. <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
    ..
    #87
  8. JNXPILOT

    JNXPILOT Adventurer

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    Thanks for letting us 'ride' along with you. Great RR. I was wondering if you would share with us what you had packed in your bag/top case. I was on a 4 day trip last month and from the looks of it, I toted more stuff than you! :huh
    #88
  9. GravelRider

    GravelRider AKA max384 Supporter

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    Thanks! lol

    Now that I met two guys who are moose guides there, if I ever go there to hunt moose, I'll go with one of them. Thanks anyhow!

    Sure! I was actually thinking about going through what I brought, but decided not to... But since you asked... Why not!

    Tankbag
    -toilet paper and shit shovel (very important)
    -extra visor
    -camera and cell phone chargers
    -DC to AC inverter
    -leatherman
    -lighters
    -zip ties
    -550 cord
    -camera
    -ipod
    -reading book
    -small notebook and pens/pencils
    -other tank bag stuff

    70L waterproof bag
    -tent (el cheapo 3 man tent that packs WAY too big)
    -sleeping bag (-10F bag that also packs large, but was definitely nice to have this trip)
    -blowup mattress (waste of space, only used it twice the whole trip)
    -tarp (waste of space, never used it)
    -two pairs of pants (should've only packed one)
    -two t-shirts
    -four boxers
    -seven pairs of socks
    -fifth of vodka
    -extra reading book
    -camp towel
    -small tool kit that includes DC air compressor
    -rain gear (cheap Walmart pants and top, overgloves, and overboots)
    -Alite Monarch camp chair
    -bear spray
    -camp saw
    -extra jetboil canister
    -walking shoes
    -trash bags


    Topbox
    -laptop (17" one - way too big)
    -laptop charger
    -GSI Solo cook set w/ stove
    -first aid kit
    -food (one to two days worth of food at a time) and coffee supplies
    -coffee cup
    -souvenirs (grew as I went along)
    -extra hot (or cold) weather gloves
    -passport and extra money
    -pacsafe security net

    I may have missed an item or two, but that's most of what I took. This isn't much different than my two day setup and if I did a two month setup, I don't think I'd really add anything else.
    #89
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  10. jdunay

    jdunay time travler

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    thanks for sharing max.
    #90
  11. conchscooter

    conchscooter Long timer

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    That was some tough reading/ I was shivering from the com fort of my home. I really enjoy reports about places I'll probably never visit. Sleet in summer is beyond what I can manage. Very well done, and a great read.
    #91
  12. Klay

    Klay dreaming adventurer Super Supporter

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    right here on my thermarest
    Thanks for the great report. It brings back memories of when I passed through there a number years back. But I didn't encounter any rain at all. I was on an SV650, too.
    #92
  13. cyron

    cyron Adventurer

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    West Chester, PA
    Awesome ride report!
    I'm a little west of Philly, just bought a used Wee-Strom (great bike) for a trip to NS.
    I plan on doing a solo ride around the entire coast of Nova Scotia, on a budget like yours at the end of July.
    The plan is to head up and ride for a week and a half then stop at the family Cabin in VT for a few days before trekking back home.
    I have contingency routes in case I run late on a day or two.
    You're report makes me think heated gear maybe a good idea, although NS in july should be 50f-75f.
    I wasn't planning on eating any hot food, but now you have me questioning that.
    How'd the wife take you being gone for two weeks? Mine is freaking out, a little. A week she can handle, but two is going to be tough on her, and me.
    #93
  14. GravelRider

    GravelRider AKA max384 Supporter

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    Thanks for reading!

    Thanks. I can handle the cold much better than the heat fortunately. I'm a big pussy when it comes to that! :lol3

    Thanks. That bike certainly wasn't the best tool for the job, but in the absence of something better it certainly got the job done.
    #94
  15. GravelRider

    GravelRider AKA max384 Supporter

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    I really like the Vstrom bikes. That is likely to be my next one. Sounds like it will be an awesome trip. I wish I had more time to explore the coast of NS. I was glad to have my heated gloves... But I don't know about NS in late July.

    I think my wife was happy to have me out of her hair! In all honesty, it was a non-issue. I'm in the army national guard and while we've together I was deployed for a year, go to my two-week annual training periods every year (except this year due strange schedule), and have gone to numerous several-week training events... So a couple weeks was just a drop in the bucket... For both of us.
    #95
  16. kojack

    kojack AMF!

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    god's country, AKA. Newfoundland!
    Murph, dat you?
    #96
  17. kojack

    kojack AMF!

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    god's country, AKA. Newfoundland!
    To all that are coming is way, please drop me a line and I can take you to some nice spots.
    #97
  18. Old_Lion

    Old_Lion Crotchety Biker

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    Talking and mingling with locals is the essence of a motorcycle trip.
    Top notch ride report

    George
    #98
  19. Litespeed602

    Litespeed602 Going in Circles

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    York county, PA
    Enjoyed your report, Thanks for the time and effort. May be going there next year. Hope you have a good ride on the James Bay Rd.

    Oh, move that PA. Tag down here next time.
    #99
  20. GravelRider

    GravelRider AKA max384 Supporter

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    Ha! Just got a letter in the mail from New Brunswick today. Apparently they're assessing three points to my license for "speeding 25 km/hr or less over speed limit." Good luck. :lol3

    Looks like the cop did actually give me a break, considering I was going more than 25 over the speed limit.


    That'd be him!

    Agreed. Thanks!

    Thanks. Turns out I just couldn't squeeze James Bay Rd. in this year. It's too bad. I was really hoping to make it up there this summer too. Hopefully next year though. I read your ride report and enjoyed it BTW!

    I keep meaning to grab a tag, but I've been really busy. The few that I've thought about grabbing seem to get grabbed before I can give it a second thought!