Touring Nova Scotia on a KTM 625 smc
A few years ago, my friend (DSH) and I decided to visit Nova Scotia, on more or less a whim. We were on sportbikes, packed only a backpack, had no planned route in mind and headed to Bar Harbor, Maine to catch the ferry to Yarmouth. We planned a paultry 4 or 5 days to ride the entire way from NJ to Nova Scotia and back, and fit in whatever riding/touring we could once we got there. You can read more and see pics of our first trip here:
Needless to say, we needed to get back there to do a proper ride around Nova Scotia, soak in the culture, see more of the beautiful views we got a glimpse of on the first trip, and dine on as much lobster we could find!
The route. We trailered the bikes fromt NJ to Sackville, New Bruswick and parked the truck/trailer at a highway McDonalds for the 8-9 days we would ride the bikes around NS. We would ride mostly along the shore line starting with the Northumberland Shore, cross over to Cape Breton and head towards the Louisbourg Fortress, head north towards Syndey and then around Bras d'Or Lakes, pass through Baddeck and then up towards the famous Cabot Trail towards Meat Cove and then continue on the Cabot Trail towards the Eastern Shore towards Halifax. We rode only a little bit of the South Shore to see the most photographed Lighthouse in the world and then headed north to Fundy Shore. We planned to ride around the entire coast, but dediced on the road to skip the Yarmouth area since we rode around that area last time and was running short on time. We continued our coastal ride on the Fundy shore and ended the ride back at the starting point of Sackville, New Brunswick.
Hope you enjoy my ride report!
Packed up and ready go.
My ride. 2006 KTM 625 with a fresh set of Avon Distanzia SM tires. Perfect.
DSH's ride - 1997 Ducati Monster 750. He bought this bike a couple days before the trip. It had only a few thousand miles on it and got it for a steal of a deal....from a friend who recently got married.. :-/
We are ready to roll.
The truck's radio is busted so we rig up PC speakers to a car starter battery along with an ipod.
Getting through the tristate areas was murder...
I forget which bridge it was, but on one of them we have a close call where DSH almost rear ends the car in front of us when traffic suddenly stopped. Luckily, there was a break in traffic in the next lane over and he was able to quickly shift lanes and avoid a big mess. I think DSH got the message that this big heavy old truck and trailer does not handle like a normal passenger vehicle. By the way, he has NYC driving tendencies so tailgaiting is a norm..
We drive all night, taking turns through the night. Saw some wicked storms and lightening that would steak horizontally and light up the entire night's sky. That was cool. I was too tired to pull the camera out and try to catch one of these.
First gas stop in Canada! Woohoo!
This had to be the nicest looking diner I've been to that was attached to a gas station. The waitress was friendly, and the food was good too. Unexpectedly she guessed we were Korean; she said she used to teach English in Korea many years ago and was hoping to visit again soon.
MMmmm.....yummy. All gone in about 10 minutes.
We fill up the tank and hit the road towards Sackville, NB. It rained all night long and was gloomy when we crossed the border...but we see clear skies ahead.
Finally done driving.
It can only get better from here, right?
We need this in NJ.
LOL...that was one monsterous fart!
It drizzled a little bit but we suit up and hit the road anyway.
Everyone's curious about the aux gas tank.
One of many Provincial Parks we took a break.
Now this is a lobster sandwich.
This place is awesome. And the girls who work here are smoking hot!
View from our table. We're happy it's not raining.
Poop for sale!
:rofl NICE! :rofl
Still navigating our way along the Northumberland Shore, DSH spots a sign for Josh Vineyards. We decide to make an unscheduled stop. We were using Scala Q2 headsets to communicate on the road - they worked great!
Trenton, NJ is where we grew up!
Tonight's dinner was not so great. Not many choices in this area. Lonely Planet's guide didn't help much either. We settled on the Dine and Dash Diner. It was getting a little late so we wanted to eat and go find a spot to camp. We planned to look for Provinvial Land to camp for free after dinner.
We found this spot...that little stretch of land that goes into the water. It was a bit breezy/chilly and we got weird looks from the people living nearby so we decided to look for another spot nearby.
We found a little trail that was supposed to take us closer to the shoreline, where we hoped it would open up for some decent camping. The ride through the woods was easy enough...until we got to this bit of water. We should have left the bikes and left the bikes on the dry trail to see if it was worth crossing...but we didn't think to do that, instead we charged forward. Dumb. The mud was about 6 inches deep and there was barely any traction. We ended up walking the bikes through this....only to find the woods just got even thicker and less appealing.
New Glasgow's provincial lands thoroughly kicked our butts.
We decided to turn around and high tail it to the nearest hotel for the night. Night 1 camping fail. Oh well. We make our way back to a gas station down the road to assess the damage. The Ducati sufferred a bent exhaust and a tweaked shifter when it was tipped over in our off roading expedition. Luckily it wasn't serious and we managed to limp our way to the a motel for the evening. By the way, it seems all motels/hotels are $80+ for one night. A bit expensive for what you get if you ask me.
Too tired to get pics of the hot chicks too
This place is awesome. And the girls who work here are smoking hot! :sweeti
Day 2! Time for a fresh new start. We wash the bikes off, grab a few snacks and head out of New Glasgow and continue along Northumberland Shore's scenic shore route...
It's a bit foggy, but the roads are dry and the pavement smooth.
Our first lighthouse stop of the trip - Cape George Point Lighthouse. From this lighthouse, we were supposed to be able to see PEI if the fog weren't so thick.
It's just so peaceful out here. Everything is so quiet.
The road that goes in/out of this lighthouse has light gravel. It was a pleasure on my supermoto tires.
Yes, we have finally arrived!
DSH works on his shifter some more. Luckily nothing was broken.
Time to eat!
In case you want to check out the menu before you go.
Later we check out one of the beaches.
We ride some more..
Tried to keep most of our passes legal.
It starts to drizzle lightly, but we're still in good spirits.
Deep Fried Pepperoni? When I thought pepperoni couldn't be any more unhealthy...lol...we had to try it.
Woah. I wonder how often this gets ordered...
We settle to split a pizza instead.
We decided to camp at a Provincial Campground tonight. It's only across the water.
View from our campsite.
:clap :clap :clap :clap
Day 3! Time to get up, pack up our stuff and hit the road...
Shaping up to a very nice day.
DSH takes the precautionary route and puts on the top of his Frog Toggs.
Continue on the Fleur de Lis Trail..
Nothing too technical. Just a nice scenic ride.
Toad's Take Out. Sure, why not. Sounds like perfect road food. We haven't seen much else around here!
I forget what this is called now. It was similar to a gyro, but the sauce was very sweet...a little too sweet for my taste. I suggest you get the sauce on the side.
We made it to Louisbourg Fortress Visitor's center. We planned to do the tour, but was advised that we needed a minimum of 4 hours to walk around and really enjoy it...and 8 hours ideally. We decided to skip it. Later on, we met up with other tourists who checked out this tour and they were raving about it. The "fortress" is like a big village where there are staff dressed up like they would've been in the past, doing whatever they would be doing...and they all talk in the present tense. Pretty interesting. We probably should've taken the time for this, oh well. It's pretty huge as it stands today, but we're told that they've only renovated about 50% of what it used to be.
It was such a beautiful day. Perfect temps. A nice breeze. Great riding weather.
Back on pavement...I'm sure DSH and his Ducati are happier now.
Yes, much happier I can see as DSH picks up the pace.
Next stop, the Cape Breton Miners' Museum! This is located in Glace Bay, a little north of Sydney.
Our tour guide. He was a miner for 30+ years.
They had horses that lived their entire lives in the mines...what a sad life.
A 'crowded' beach we found along the way.
Time to start looking for somewhere to camp...
....and after an hour or so of wandering around some farm field areas, we were hoping to ask a farmer if we could set up camp for the night, but no such luck....until, we came across a kid on a home made bike riding around. he came up to us, and we asked him if he knew anywhere we could camp for the night. he invited to his house where we spoke to his parents, and they graciously offered their backyard. Woohoo! The father worked overseas and this month he happened to be in NS. He works a few months in Russia, and comes back home for a month or two; he's an oil driller. This was very typical of NS life. The economy is weak and so many of it's workers are going abroad to find work. I read in my travel guide that for the first time in NS history, they had more NS citizens leaving the province than babies born. With the population getting older and much of the work force leaving to find wealth outside of NS...NS's economy has sufferred. But despite this, the people are truly some of the nicest people I've met.
They had a nice firepit in the backyard too. Perfect!
We got a great nights sleep and work up early in the morning to get started. We packed up quietly, and rolled out bikes to the street before starting up the bikes. We couldn't have asked for better hosts.
Donair with sweet sauce is a distinctively east-coast Canadian thing. My local pub caters to the navy crowd (Cdn Forces base nearby), so they offer both sweet (for east coasters) and tzatziki (for everyone else) sauce.
More updates coming soon. Need to sort through my Go Pro pics so I can incorporate them into the report too.
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