Tuesday, June 8th.
It was cold (somewhat less than 40 degrees F) overnight and Dennis suffered in
the thin, narrow sleeping bag he had brought. And it was a rather cold ride up
the fairly boring Maine route 11 into the north country. We crossed the border
at Fort Fairfield into Canada ... and it sucked
. In all the times I've
been into and out of our fair northern neighbor country, I have never
experienced anywhere near the grief we got that day. Normally, it has been,
"[Standard questions about guns, alchohol, etc.]" and "Enjoy your visit!," but
this one time it was, "Pull over there!" and a whole lot of questions and
examining of saddle-bag contents, etc. plus a mandatory visit to the folks
inside the office for an "interview." Said interview began with the immigration
officer shouting "William!" (or something sounding roughly like it - nothing I
had ever heard before) down the hallway to the area where I was standing and
beckoning me to join her. So I followed her down the hall and into the
interrogation, er, interview room and preceeded to answer a zillion questions
("How much money do you have?" "About $60 Canadian." "No no no, how much money
do you have access to?" "Oh, well, maybe $10,000 in cash via ATM, maybe $50,000
on limits on my credit cards" - (sotto voice: "Yes, witch, I'm not some random
lowlife American trying to steal a good job from some righteous Canadian!"),
which seemed to confuse her (along with the denial of any criminal record in the
US of A.) Well, it turned out that Dennis's real name is William
E****, so they confused me with him and on top of that, somehow managed to find
an arrest report on him from 1961 (yes! 1961!
) for setting off a fire
cracker in the lobby of his dormitory in college (Note that! No charges! No
conviction! And from 49 freakin' years ago! - You think there is such a thing as
privacy in this world?). Anyway, we were stuck there for more than an hour while
they satisfied themselves that we were worthy of entering Canada. And of course,
with the time change from Eastern (in Maine, etc. USA) to Atlantic (in New
Brunswick, Canada), we lost an additional hour and that made lunch in the
nearest town, Perth-Andover, really late.
Perth is on one side and Andover on the other of the Saint John's River:
Floods from ice jams have clobbered the area in the past:
Large dark clouds moved in and rain poured down ... while we were eating lunch,
warm and toasty, in here:
Finally remembering to follow Advrider trip report requirement #2 ("Photograph
your food" - #1 must be "Salute the cameraman.") I herewith show you ...
... a Donair sandwich, something unique to the maritime provinces although
sometimes also found in the far northern midwest US. Donair meat is beef or lamb
finely ground with garlic and spices, turned into a paste, and then rolled out
into thin flat layers and cooked. They're served with Donair Sauce, which is
basically runny mayonnaise with sugar added. A real treat, if you can get over
the sweetness of the sauce. Dennis had a respectable Chicken Caesar Salad.
After lunch and with the rain ending, it was on to Plaster Rock for groceries:
at which point I lost Dennis for the first time. One moment I was shopping for
dinner and the next not only didn't I see Dennis anywhere in the store, his bike
was gone! WTF? Turned out he needed to use the bathroom but he hadn't seen one
in the store and hadn't just asked
the folks who worked there where one
was. Instead, he jumped on his bike and rode down to a gas station somewhere
else in town. So our quick stop turned out to be 45 minutes. Back on the road
again, we hit a provincial liquor store for essentials (wine, lottery tickets,
canoe - you know, the usual stuff you take with you on a motorcycle camping
and continued up 385 to Mount Carleton Provincial Park. All along the way, in
New Brunswick and in Maine earlier and Quebec later, lupins were in full bloom:
The road was paved all the way to the park entrance. That completely baffled me,
because I had visited this park twice before, the latest time just last August,
and I was sure 385 from Plaster Rock to the park was gravel. It certainly was
when I was there in 2001 and I deliberately did not take it in 2009 because it
was a muddy mess as I left the park in a pouring rainstorm, so I bailed and went
around on the paved route 17 to the north. But, it was paved now!
After an unusual argument with the park's administrative staff (they wouldn't
let us put two (backpacker-sized) tents on one site - who ever heard of
restriction?), they finally relented and we entered the park (that's
Mount Sagamook, 777 meters, in the background). (They also apologized for the
all the rain. Dennis and I looked at each other like, "What rain?" We had
successfully missed a week's worth that had passed through ahead of us. The dirt
roads were a little gooey but otherwise we had a dry time.)
We chose the Williams campground (one of the tent-only ones) and in fact stayed
at exactly the same site where I had stayed last August. Dennis had made an
adapter to connect his bike's BMW-type accessory connector to a regular
cigarette lighter socket so he could charge up his cell phone, but he hadn't
tried it out before he left, and it didn't work. Here, he's discovering that he
had hooked it up backwards, and that in turn apparently fried his charger.
Which was not really a terrible thing, since there was no cell service in most
of the places we were and his wife was mad at him for taking the trip anyway and
had told him not to call her while he was away. I taught him how to play
cribbage that night. He pick up the rules and vocabulary pretty quickly and,
being a pretty sharp guy, got a handle on strategy too, which made him a more
interesting opponent than most beginners.
Our campsite the next morning. I had won the coin toss and got the platform. He
camped in a flat spot on the ground.
Anti-bear measures in bear country (we did this everywhere, garbage and
groceries up in the air):
Mount Sagamook from our campsite, looking across Lake Nictau:
275 miles for the day.
More to come.