Yet another Nova Scotia trip plan (this one from NJ)

Discussion in 'Americas' started by NJ650, Jan 5, 2009.

  1. NJ650

    NJ650 Been here awhile

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    I'm planning my 1st big ride. I'm sure these "I'm riding Nova Scotia" trips are pretty common, but in case anyone is interested and has some good advice, here it is...

    NJ to Nova Scotia, most likely in August, but June or July aren't out of the question. The original thought was September but family commitments are preventing that. I'll be camping along the way.

    I'm pretty anal about researching & planning things, but I'm also very flexible so I may just wing-it as the trip evolves. I've done lots of searching on this site reading through the existing NS trip reports, etc.

    Tentative Itinerary:
    Day - Approx Mileage - Route & details
    • Day 1 - 285 Miles - Leave Central NJ at lunch on Friday. Super-slab it to New Haven, CT for some pizza at Frank's or Sally's. More highway riding to Lowell, MA area. Camp at an ADV inmate's place.
    • Day 2 - 391 Miles - Lowell area to Saint John, NB (Rt 1 through Maine - Is it worth it or should I Super-slab it?). Camp at www.rockwoodparkcampground.com
    • Day 6 - 283 Miles - Antigonish, NS to Pictou, NS via Cape George - ferry to PEI, back to NB, camp in Fundy National Park.
    • Day 8 - 486 Miles - Mt. Washington to Waterbury, VT - Ben & Jerry's tour then long ride home.
    I should end up with 2600+ miles.

    I have a good handle on my packing list, including tie-downs, bug repellent and rain-gear.

    Any advice/input on camp sites is welcome.

    I'm not planning on much in the way of activities (this trip is mostly about exploring on the bike), but I'm interested in hearing about the Must See things, the Must Miss things, specific roads/routes to take/avoid and veggie friendly restaurants, etc.


    Thanks!
    #1
  2. geetarrider

    geetarrider Adventurer

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    It's going to be great trip; you're going to love it. Two of us from Cumberland County here in Jersey went for 11 days in early September and did Nova Scotia. Wow!! Good food, Great People, Awesome scenery. 80% of the trip was back roads.

    If I do it again, and I'm sure I will, I would ease up on the miles/day in NS, especially on the Cabot Trail and take in the scenery and shoot more pictures. A Few Pix
    Leave more time for the Cabot Trail; Stop by at Hometown Kitchen in Cheticamp for Lunch, mmm.....

    .
    #2
  3. NJ650

    NJ650 Been here awhile

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    Thanks geetarrider. Nice Pix.
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  4. g®eg

    g®eg Canadian living in exile

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    me & the Merc did the tour in 2006 LINK
    we didn't take any ferries (cause we're cheap) and turns out the New Brunswick shore is pretty damn cool :thumb

    RT 1 through ME is just evil... but a necessary evil I guess. If you can route around some of the small towns while you're south, it's not a bad idea.

    I think you gotta camp at Meat Cove! very cool place to spend the night... buy beer / etc before you get there (DAMHIK).

    other than that? have a great time.
    shoot me a mail if you want my GPS files.
    #4
  5. debaisley

    debaisley Long timer

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  6. NJ650

    NJ650 Been here awhile

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    Thanks. I read your report. Nice. I'm glad you got back alive. Not because of the riding, but because of all that bacon! :rofl

    Was Rt 1 through Maine at least scenic? If it's not, then I'll just opt for the fastest route to Saint John. I can always do a Maine trip another time.

    I'll PM you about the GPS tracks. I'm interested in learning about the bit between Saint Martins & Fundy National Park along the cost.


    #6
  7. NJ650

    NJ650 Been here awhile

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    What are you riding? I'll keep an eye out for you if I end up going in July. I've downloaded the .gpx files for NB & NS. Some of the roads and dirt roads on my route are part of the Trans Canada Trail.
    #7
  8. debaisley

    debaisley Long timer

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    Will be on a Honda Transalp , and an NX250 . We are going up through maine , crossing the ferry at st. john. and mostly keeping on the west side of NS all the way up to meat cove. from there , we will ride land all the way back home. The entire trip will span 9 days.
    #8
  9. Avocet

    Avocet Been here awhile Supporter

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    I did a similar trip from Long Island NY last September. As someone suggested, You might want to avoid Rt 1 in Maine, especially on a weekend. It's bumper to bumper for much of its length, especially in southern Maine. North East of Mount Desert Island (Acadia National Park) traffic is lighter and it is more scenic. Make sure you go up Cadilac Mountain in Acadia.

    One of my favorite roads in Maine is Rt 9 (known by the locals as The Airline). It runs from Bangor to the Canadian border just north of Calais, where you can cross into NB. Its a run of about 85 miles of high speed sweepers, nice scenery and very little traffic. Try it, you'll like it. It's also a nice ride to cut across Maine from the Bangor area through Skowhegan to Mt Washington. Much of this ride is on Rt 6 which takes you through various small towns and shows you what rural Maine is like. You'll love Mount Washington.

    Another thing to consider is taking the ferries along the coast on your way to (or from) Saint John NB. go to Lubuc (I think thats how it's spelled) in far eastern Maine, cross the bridge to Campobello Island, cross the island and take the ferry to Deere Island and the next ferry to the main land just SW of St. John.

    When you're in Nova Scotia, consider taking the ferry to Long Island which is SW of Digby, riding out along Digby Neck. It's really beautiful and the place where the ferry crosses is spectacular.

    Have a great trip. I'm sure you'll love it.
    #9
  10. bluenoser

    bluenoser I'z da by that gets da UI

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    Last couple of summers, Aug, early Sept seem to be the drier months - starts getting a little cooler in the evenings mid Sept.
    Don't forget your free Motorcycle Tour Guide Nova Scotia book at - http://www.motorcycletourguidens.com/
    #10
  11. Boondox

    Boondox Travels With Barley

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    I'll second the recommendation to camp at Meat Cove after stopping for beer. One of my best memories of last year's trip was sitting on the edge of the cliff sipping Merlot and watching the whales a couple hundred feet below. A lovely place with excellent chowder, clean and open, with just enough of a breeze coming off the ocean to blow the bugs away.

    We took the ferry from St John to Digby going up, and rode around the Bay of Fundy from the Annapolis Valley all the way to Maine coming back. The ferry was okay, but I liked the ride better.

    If you take the ferry don't eat till you get to Digby, then stop at the Royal Fundy Seafood Restaurant right there on the waterfront. It looks like a little dive, but OMG the seafood is phenomenal!

    Let me know when you leave and I'll give you my cell #. I work in Waterbury so the Ben and Jerry's stop will be on me.

    Pete
    #11
  12. BUZZARD II

    BUZZARD II Old Geezer

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    1+ on Rt. 9 in Maine. Your schedule calls for entering Maine on Sat. I've seen it backed up through NH and into MA on a weekend. Hit the NH/ME border before 10 AM maybe 9. On a tour in late June I once hit rain/drizzle 24/7 for 8 days. Rain sucks when your camping. It will also cut into the mileage a lot. Allow extra time or less travel if you hit a bad dose of weather.
    #12
  13. markbvt

    markbvt Long timer

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    I second what Pete said. (Of course I would, we were riding together.)

    The scallops in Digby are unbelievable, but since you mentioned veggie-friendly restaurants, I assume you're a vegetarian. That's a shame, because the seafood in Nova Scotia is excellent.

    Definitely camp in Meat Cove if you can. Best camping spot of our entire trip (see link in my sig if you want to check out the RR).

    Also, I really loved the northeastern portion of Nova Scotia between Sherbrooke and Canso -- Rt 211 and Rt 316. Fun roads, incredible scenery, very remote, virtually no traffic.

    And as long as you're up around Antigonish, I would strongly recommend taking the ferry to Prince Edward Island, doing a day loop through PEI, and then heading back across the Confederation Bridge. PEI is beautiful.

    --mark
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  14. NJ650

    NJ650 Been here awhile

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    Thanks for the tips. Looks like I'll avoid hugging the coast in Maine and take 9 - that seems to be the consensus. I don't have lots of time so the last thing I want to do is be sitting in traffic.
    #14
  15. NJ650

    NJ650 Been here awhile

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    I've been rearranging my itinerary/route and will be incorporating as much of the Trans Canada Trail as I can. I 'm probably going to do whatever I can between Meat Cove and Antigonish (about 55 miles of trail):
    • Judique Flyer Recreational Nature Trail
    • Inverness Rail Trail
    • Ceilidh Coastal Trail
    I'm assuming motorcycles are not excluded on these sections.

    I'm also thinking about some large sections of the Confederation Trail in PEI.

    #15
  16. PapaD

    PapaD Been here awhile

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  17. kelamity

    kelamity Been here awhile

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    +1 on the Atlas. It's very useful for dual-sport riding. I also used the Lonely Planet Guide and one of those big fold up Nova Scotia road maps. The free Motorcycle Tour Guide to Nova Scotia(mentioned in post #10) was on the Cat Ferry and I wound up using it a lot to find campgrounds and scenic roads, definately try to get that.

    I don't think you need to plan too much as far as which campgrounds you"ll be staying at. When you're on a schedule it's kinda like whatever's closest at the end of the day is fine. The Provincial Campgrounds are nice, very natural and the sites are spread out nicely. There's a pamphlet with all the Provincial campground locations and descriptions that they give out at the check-in booths. I planned on staying at Meat Cove but it just didn't work out timing wise. We stayed at Corney Brook, right on the Cabot Trail within the Highlands National Park. It's right on the ocean with 12 sites and it's first come first serve and you put cash or check in a drop box to pay. Showers can be had at Cheticamp campground if you stay at Corney Brook. Meat Cove is worth going to even if you don't camp . There's a little restaurant shack with an amazing view and a fun ride to get up there.

    You should really try to explore Cheticamp Island. It's on the Highlands National Park map that you get at the toll booth. There's one hard pack dirt road and it takes less than an hour to see both ends of the island. It's really beautiful. Make a left once you get on the island and go all the way to the end to a single gravestone on top of the hill. On the hill there's a grass road and off the cliff towards the ocean is where the best whale watching is. It's practically guaranteed that you'll see many whales there. We did the tour boat thing before riding Cheticamp Island and the boats go right to the base of those cliffs. Look for eagles and cormorants too.

    The Trans-Canada Trail from the Canso Causeway to Inverness was really fun and one of my favorite parts of the trip. It runs next to the ocean and then to an inland lake. Spectacular! I don't think they love the idea of motorcycles riding on there but it's definately allowed. There are posted speed limits. A couple of times we ran into some trail work and we were told that they would "prefer" it if we turned around. It's easy to hop onto highway 19 as needed and then right back onto the trail. There's a turn off about every half mile or so.

    As far as vegetarian food goes.. Good Luck! Try to shop at one of those CO-OP supermarkets and cook at camp. There's one in Cheticamp, a good place to stock up on food and drink. All the campgrounds seem to have a fire grill at each site. Bring tin foil squares to cook on and grill up some peppers, onions and pinapple and serve over quick cooking couscous with a side of beans. Very easy. All the stores sell really yummy fresh bread made locally. Bring healthy PB and J and some health food store dried soups and that should be fine to fill in the gaps. There's always Subway veggie sandwiches too.

    One more thing. The hostel in Pleasant Bay is really nice and a welcome break from camping if you've had it with the mosquitoes. Some nights there were none and others nights it was just unbelievable. As in keep the helmet and gloves on until the mosquito net hat thing comes out. When choosing a campsite ask for one away from the swampy standing water section.

    Like I told you at Dr. Rocks party, even if you have to take the highway a little bit here and there to make up time, it's really not that bad. It's not like the New Jersey Turnpike or anything. There are farms and open spaces and really good drivers that only use the left lane for passing.

    :norton
    #17
  18. EvilClown

    EvilClown Reality show stunt double Super Moderator

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    Not the best picture but Meat Cove is a must stop.

    [​IMG]

    Camping is on the edge of the farthest cove. Take your time. We did a whirl wind tour a couple of years ago. Hope to swing through again this year and see more of it.
    #18
  19. NJ650

    NJ650 Been here awhile

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    I'll check into the Atlas. I ordered the Motorcycle Tour Guide to Nova Scotia a couple of weeks ago.


    This sounds great. I'm definitely going to do this!

    I downloaded .gpx files from the Trans Canada Trail website and plan on covering at least these sections; Judique Flyer Recreational Nature Trail (13.9 miles), Inverness Rail Trail (24.8 miles), Ceilidh Coastal Trail (12.1 miles) as long as they are passable. I'm still researching other sections including some on PEI.

    Hope you had fun ice climbing last week.

    #19
  20. debaisley

    debaisley Long timer

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    The Inverness Rail Trail is one that I am 100% sure that I will be hitting. I think it will be Wednesday July 1st when I get to that point.
    #20