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Old 07-04-2010, 10:04 AM   #1
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Scodill's ride reports

I'm going to put together some reports from my travels over the past couple of years and post them here. Mostly North America and Europe, but Africa is coming up this fall

2010 Around the Lakes
2007 Black Forest
2007 London to Campania ............Part-2
2009 Ontario to Nova Scotia
2009 Ontario To Florida via Deal's Gap (TotD)
2007 Scotland
2007 Scotland & Ireland
2011 BYOB in WV and the new "Pyg"
2010 Namibia, Zambia, Botswana, South Africa
2011 Michigan's UP
2011 James Bay & Trans Taiga
2012 South Africa & Lesotho

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Old 07-04-2010, 10:11 AM   #2
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Around the Lakes

With the Long weekend coming up, and no real plans, I decided to head out Thursday morning (Canada Day) for a blast around Lakes Superior and Huron - roughly 2000 miles. Not a lot of pictures taken, but scenery was great. Here are my tracks as recorded by my Zumo 550 and displayed on Google Earth. Right at 2000 miles over the three days.

I considered taking the FXR, but 2000 miles in three days is a bit much on that bike I the Uly was the choice. Besides there were a few dirt roads I wanted to explore and the Buell can handle those faster.

Day 1 - July 1

I left the house at sunrise ~0600, and crossed the bridge at Sarnia into America. There was a bit of a back up and it was the first time that a border guard wanted to look in my saddle bags. Still pretty quick. I took the interstate though much of the lower peninsula as it's not that exciting of a ride anyway. At my second fuel stop for day, I noticed that the bike was leaning over way to much when I put it on the side stand so after fueling , I found a place to lean it against and investigated. Fortunately it was just that the two bolts holding the side stand to the crankcase had just worked themselves loose. No damage and a few turns with a 7/16 did the trick. Here's where I leaned it for the repair.

About a hundred miles south of the Mackinaw Bridge I got off the motorway, crossed into the UP at Mackinaw and took a bunch of minor dirt and poorly paved roads across to the shores of lake Superior. I then headed west along an unpaved forest road for ~30 miles. Very pretty but going was a bit slow as it was sandy. Not so bad but did have a squirmy front wheel in a few spots. Many of the side roads were way too sandy too attempt with this bike on PR2s though! I think that the FXR would actually be better at crossing the thick sand areas because it's so easy to put both feet down ad duck waddle it...can't do that on the Uly. Here's a shot of the bike on the maintained dirt road along the lake.

The park road ended in a closed for construction area so I had to back track. I tried and alternate dirt path for a bit but the sand was so deep that I decided it would be best to avoid and instead took the route around the forest. Spent the night in Marquette and ran into 3 older women who pulled up while I was checking in. They rode two Goldwings and a Softail - all purple - heading to Sudbury. Should have taken a picture, but their giant rigs dwarfed my little Buell as we commandeered the parking under the hotel awning.

Day 2 - July 2

Got on the Road early in the morning and took the back roads towards Duluth. Crossed into Wisconsin and realized it was the first time the that Uly had been there since it was shipped from the factory...a homecoming of sorts. I was pulled over by a Wisconsin Sheriff who said I was going 68 in a 55. He was a nice guy though and let me go with a stern verbal warning.....He was concerned that I couldn't convert from Kilometers correctly. I did slow it down from there least in Wisconsin.

Passing through Duluth, I had to make the Hajj to the Motorcycle Accessory Mecca .... Aerostich......

It is a must see and they welcome a lot of people, but it really isn't set up for it. Though, as I was wearing my Darien and CTB's it was like coming home :-) The catalogue showroom is a small room and browsing all the gadgets really isn't possible. It is THE place to try on a suit before you buy though and a customer care specialist (something like that) will help. They even insist on you wearing it out to your bike so you can get an idea how it fits while riding. I was looking at the one piece Roadcrafters and definitely wanted to try it on before I bought. Turns out a 42R with no mods fits about perfect. I was going to buy a grey suit with black ballistics if they had one in stock...they didn't so I ordered this and got the walk-in discount:

The orange ballistics are semi-custom, otherwise it's a stock suit. It should be completed in 4 weeks as they have a 60 suit backlog. My math says that means 15 suits a week (700 a year) is their total output......Hard to believe...more on that later.

I took the tour....they just grab a random, long-term employee (in my case the web-order stock picker) and off you go. It is an old warehouse that they've used from the beginning of the company. The ground floor is the catalog showroom, shipping and receiving...and a madhouse of activity. Next floor up is sewing, where all of the suits, courier bags and stuff like that are made. Instead of an assembly line, they use a unit construction process where a single worker sews an entire suit. For a Roadcrafter, this amounts to 10-12 hours as there are over 100 components. These are the same workers that handle the repair work as well. I asked about their output... how many suits they could make and no one really seemed to have that figure on hand, though they did mention the current backlog and how long it would take to complete so I guess 15 a week is about right.

The next floor up is where they cut the material from the patterns and make the armor pads. Also up here is the "catalog design department" which consists of one young guy in a cubicle with a PC working away. It also has the "office": 4 desks - Andy (founder - not there), Kim (General Manager) + accounting & payroll. Also on this floor is the design department where they create the patterns and try new things. That's it. Everyone was really friendly and I think they like the attention from customers. It's always cool to see where and how a world famous product like this is made.

I had lunch at a restaurant by the lake and continued up into Ontario. Beautiful scenery the entire way and I didn't capture it effectively, but worth the ride just for the 1000 miles of vistas.

The border crossing was quick and painless. I continued up 61 (Highway 61 Revisited?) to Thunder Bay and then followed the Trans-Canadian Highway North and East. Was getting tired around 1900 so pulled up in Rossport. I checked into a very nice B&B, cleaned up for dinner and headed to the only restaurant in town. It was unusually busy I was squeezed into a large table with other single diners... European style. Had local trout and a couple beers while I enjoyed the conversation with locals and other blues as well. Rossport was quite the find.

Day 3 - July 3

Up early again and out. Beautiful riding, but not challenging so I decided to take the 667 off of the 129 and then down the "Sultan Industrial road" on my to the 114. The Sultan road is not scenic and is 40 miles of partially graded gravel with dust and an occasional truck. I averaged about 30 MPH and acquired a nice grit layer on everything. I would probably avoid it on such a trip in the future, but did add some "challenge" and practice for this kind of riding on a road bike. I did stop along the way to have a lunch of canned tuna and crackers I was packing:

I got home around 2100, but this time of year there's light until 2200 or so.
I was tired, but that's to be expected after 3 consecutive 700 miles days plus stops.

For next trip remember to bring toilet paper, eating utensils.
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Old 07-04-2010, 10:24 AM   #3
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2007 Black Forest

This is an old report I did in the form of an email to friends and family, just copied verbatim it is ....warts and all

Black Forest - May 2007 I had a long weekend so I decided to take the bike into Europe for the first time to experiment with continental touring. One of my original goals when I decided late last year to buy a new bike over here was to basically tour ALL of Europe. For my first test run, I took a 4 day run out to the Schwarzwold…the black forest…..It was a 1500 mile trip through 6 countries…..First day out made it through 5…gotta be a record…for me anyway.

The Picture below was added to the previous email because I thought that I lost the data but was indeed able to find it. My GPS units (Garmin Zumo 500) stores all trip data so that it can later be reviewed, converted to routes, shared, whatever… the less useful, but more visual features is that route data can be displayed on Google Earth, so below is my actual track as recorded by my Zumo.

Zooming in on a section of the black forest, one can get the idea of the road quality below

And zooming even closer, you can see where I ran off the road……Not really, GPS just doesn’t provide THAT much accuracy. But I am fascinated how the actual path is so well recorded…good stuff.

I started off by crossing the channel on the “Eurotunnel” auto transport train. Cost £40 for me and the bike and only takes 30 minutes to go from Folkston to Calais. As you can see from the picture below, they load all the bikes together so you have time to BS with like mindeds for a while. There were about 30 on this load…unusually high as it was a long weekend. That’s a very nice African Twin right behind me.

Let me clear one thing up…..the dead thing lying on my seat is NOT a seat cover…it is part of a sheep skin I picked up in the Southwest that I throw over the seat for long trips (only £8, so cheap too). It’s a European thing and it works really well fighting numb bum….good at regulating heat and cold as well. You don’t even have to worry about it getting wet as it never really penetrates the surface….rain doesn’t bother sheep does it? I think it looks pretty good in it’s rough state even if it is a bit soft and fluffy…..wouldn’t have a fitted one though…gotta just be a dead animal part…much more masculine J

After the crossing I decided to use the motorways to get through France, Belgium and Luxembourg, so I could start the interesting part of the trip at Trier. From Trier I followed the Moeselle valley. This is a winding road that follows the riverbed up to Koblenz, where it meets the Rhine. This is wine country and is very scenic. I ran into lots of cruisers, but not a lot of spirited riding. Wow was it hot, my on-board computer showed an ambient 32 degrees….that’s 90 in American…so pretty damn hot! Below is a pic of the river…typical scenery.

I spent the night in Koblenz…nice small city with scenic river fronts. The main feature is that this where the Moeselle meets the Rhine. So the next morning I started following the Rhine southward towards “der schwarzwold”. The scenery (and temperature!) were similar, but the really neat thing about the Rhine valley is all of the old castles that are perched on the hilltops over looking the valley. It’s a B road so minimal traffic, but with typical German efficiency, there weren’t a lot of easy spots to stop and take GOOD photos. Below is a pretty good one to give the idea:

I followed the river and when I completed the scenic “castlely” portion, I had to ferry across to continue on towards the Black Forest. So I loaded up for another crossing…a truly multi-model trip.

Wow…The bike’s ass really looks big in this picture…don’t tell her OK?

So I meandered down into the forest and the roads starting getting very winding and technical in places. Lots of bikes, lots of BMs, the K1200s were the best ridden. Below is a typical road….this wasn’t like Scotland…the roads were twisty and seemingly remote, but they were German smooth….I don’t see how there could be better roads to ride on. I wish I had a better picture as this road isn’t really representative, but the ones that are more typical are fast and either I wouldn’t think of stopping for a photo, or there really wasn’t a good place.

I stopped in Frieburg, which is considered the southern gateway to the Black Forest and turned out to be a really nice city/town so I decided to stay Sunday night there as well and just do some local exploring the next the day.

On Sunday Morning I headed out towards Switzerland and really passed through some beautiful roads…the B500, B31 & B315 Deutschland highways are highly recommended for anyone in the area. I crossed over the Rhine into Switzerland on this picturesque bridge. Since I was leaving the EU, I expected some sort of passport control but was just waved though. Even if the border guard was an attractive young blonde girl, she was still a German with a machine gun, so I was on best behaviour J. Funny thing is I never needed my passport once…until I crossed the Dover straights back into England.?!?

Over is Switzerland here they have the Rheinfall which is supposedly the largest waterfall in Europe

Frieburg is fairly interesting town. They have little canals (like 1 foot wide) running down the sides of the streets by the shops. Supposedly these provided the medieval shops with non-potable water and they have remained for aesthetic reasons. Lonely Planet describes them as genuine “tourist Traps” as some drop a foot in them. The town is in a valley and a local hill/mountain provides a nice view if you’re ready for a bit of a climb…I was.

On Sunday night the rain started and on Monday morning I headed back in the down pour. No longer having worry about the heat, I got a bit chilly, but full credit to my Hein Gericke – Gore-tex riding suit….I stayed nice & dry. I started over the Alsace mountains…very technical in the wet conditions, but overall a nice ride. I then picked up the N roads and by the time I got to Nancy the rain had let off. I decided to take a break in Metz and it turned out that in addition to having a nice cathedral was quite a nice town in it’s own right.

So after getting warmed up and a little rested, I was ready for the penultimate leg through Belgium and into Calais to catch the train. An uneventful ride brought me to Folkston at about 6PM in in what seemed like a hurricane. I rode all the way back to London at what seemed like a 45 degree angle due to the wind. The GS could handle it and once again my gear kept me dry…so not too many complaints. I later found out that the weather had been real rough all weekend in “old blighty”….good time to be away.

The trip worked out really well and showed me that I was ready for longer tours in the continent. Italy, Spain…(maybe Greece?)....and Scandinavia beckon. The idea of riding up past the artic circle seems particularly tantalizing right now for some reason. It’s only about 1500 miles so a lot easier to reach from here than from anywhere I lived in North America….we’ll see.

I have a week booked off at the end of June and originally planned to run over the Alps and deep into Italy, but have decided to attend a GS rally up in Scotland over the first weekend they have dubbed “The Gathering of Clans” so will probably make due with another short continental run….may into the Alps or Pyrenees but no real far.
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Old 07-04-2010, 03:37 PM   #4
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Old 07-04-2010, 06:54 PM   #5
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Looks good... Did you get the "I Rode There" t shirt when you were at Aerostich?

The Euro report looks very interesting...
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Old 07-04-2010, 07:08 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Gadget Boy
Looks good... Did you get the "I Rode There" t shirt when you were at Aerostich?

The Euro report looks very interesting...
Hmmmm......NO...they didn't mention that...would have been nice

I'm working on my favorite Eurpoean trip report right now...London to Campania....will post before I turn in.....HINT: It includes the Ducati Factory tour
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Old 07-04-2010, 09:00 PM   #7
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London to Campanai Part I

Or as I call it ...... My Transapline trip.

Trans-Alpine - London to Campania and Back - September 2007

I had lived in the UK for about a year and half when Sherry decided that she need to go home to Texas. After a year in Chicago and 18 months in the UK without a bike.......something had to give!!! So with the girlfriend gone I bought a brand new BMW R1200GS (just like Charlie McGregor :-)) and moved from Basingstoke to London Proper. Two things that I always wanted to do...and I mean ALWAYS from being like 2 years old!!!.....was SCUBA dive in the Aegean and ride through the ALPS. The first was satisfied when Sherry and I visited Santorini (Thera), but that's a story for another day. I had this trip planned from mid summer, little did I know that this would be my last hurrah while I was living n Europe. I accepted a job in Canada on the day I returned. Anyway, I decided to combine my lust for riding in the Alps with my lifelong facination with all things Roman and make Pompeii my end destination. So...a route planned and I was off.
On the First day I did the typical early morning Channel crossing and blasted through France & Belgium into Germany where I made my first tourist stop in Cologne (Koln). I didn't stop long...and those of you who have ridden with me can sympathize.....but I did check out the Cathedral. I am fascinated by Gothic architecture, but it is always intriguing to see something different. This thing is massive.

I continued on to spend the night in Wurzberg. I had a good meal and was up-n-atem early in the morning for my trip through Bavaria and into Austria. On the way I made a protracted stop in Rothenburg. This is nice German walled city and is often describe as the quintessential medieval walled town. I snacked on Brezel (pretzel) and climbed the walls and such. I have lots of pix, but for this post, here's the central market.

Continuing on, I passed by Schloss Neuschawnstein in the Bavarian Alps. It was a hazy day but you can easily see how this was the inspiration for Cinderella's castle.

I crossed into Austria and made my way to Innsbruck for the evening. I only knew this town from hosting the winter Olympics when I was a kid, but MAN! what beautiful place. I still haven't made it to Vienna, but since I was in Austria, I dined on Wiener Schnitzel and was good. Here's a shot of the famous Golden Roof of the Ducal palace with the Alps in the background.

The next day gets interesting.

As I got into Alps to cross into Italy, my favorite riding finally began. Here's a shot of the pass heading down into Italy. HeeHeeHee...............................

Passing though Riva on my though Trento, I had my "incident". While I don't claim to be blameless, my insurance company insists that I am. I won't tell the entire story is my best motorcycling story and really needs the Italian accents to make it work...many of you have heard it. Suffice it to say that another motorcycle crashed into me and the rider suffered a severely fractured tibia from when it hit my Tourtech cylinder guards (ouch). My BMW suffered minor damage, but I was able to continue on the remaining 2000 miles of the trip with no problems.

I continued on from there to Verona for the evening. I had a great idea what it was, but I find that I'm pretty good at letting the locals pick me something good :-) ...... Nice town

It was raining the next morning...the only rain on the I headed out through the fairly industrial North East coast to one of my minor, but necessary, goals...crossing the Rubicon. It's funny, when my nephew graduated high school in 2005, I was working on my plans for my assignment in Europe and I remember during his graduation dinner telling the table that one the things I really wanted to do was to cross the Rubicon. I got a few blank stares, but my 18 year old nephew came back with "the die is cast"....I knew he'd be alright :-) So here it and the mighty GS crossed the Rubicon...just like Caesar (well, maybe not :-))

Here's a close up of the road sign "via Rubicone". It parallels the river.

I crossed through Umbria...beautiful country side. I didn't stop in, but Assisi from a distance is impressive

I continued on to Perugia for the evening....wonderful walled city in the mountains. It was Porcini mushroom season....need I say more? yum! Here's a shot of one of the narrow medieval alley's

I was near the apogee (incorrect usage..but you get it) of my trip and settled into my hotel in Naples the next day and dined on pizza Margherita as originally intended.

I spent a couple of days in Naples. All I can say is this place is nuts. I rode my bike through the city and felt like I was driving in ShenZehn. The only rule is that you are responsible for what is in front of you...not what for what is behind you. It is an experience....If you have driven in Naples..let's share experiences.......

I went on a day trip to Pompeii...WOW fucking WOW! I took about a million pictures and I won't bore you with them all, but I can't believe how much of real Roman life has been captured. I could go back, that's for sure. I also visited Herculaneum. If you can only visit one, do Pompeii, but do NOT miss Herculaneum unless you have to.
I told you that I won't bore you with tons of pictures of ruins, but here is one of the city with Vesuvius in the background. The clouds make it look ominous.

And I couldn't leave you without a shot of one of the castings that haunted me from when I was a kid and saw them in National Geographic

While in Naples, I couldn't pass up the museum which now houses most of the treasures unearthed in Pompeii and Herculaneum. OK, I'll admit it....I have a thing for Roman Mosaics....I seek them out. Here's one of the better known ones.

...and since this is going to be posted on ADVRider.....They have section of erotic art.....and yes....this is Pan havin' relations with a goat :-)

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Old 07-04-2010, 09:03 PM   #8
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London to Campania part II

This time with more bikes!

Trans-Alpine - London to Campania and Back - September 2007 - PT2

So, I had to start my way back. From Naples to Rome, I took as much of the Via Appia (Appian Way) as possible. I skirted Rome of course...been there, done that...too much traffic. I ended up in Orvieto for the evening and had a so-so meal with a so-so wine....I have since come to appreciate Orvieto there. There is a lovely Cathedral in the city center.

...and I stumbled across these bevel drives.... a foreshadowing of tomorrow?

I woke up early and headed to Bologna for my scheduled tour of the Ducati factory and museum. The tour is free, but you have to book in advance and specify English or Italian. I rode up on my BMW and asked the guard where to park. He pointed to a long row of motorcycles. I parked and noticed this:

I asked, but the guard assured me it was OK...Italians always seem to come off being cool with shit...... When I was leaving, some workers were passing by and started giving me hard time.....but obviously in jest...they are proud of their work, but are pretty laid back. It may have been cool with guard, but my German girls' fat ass sure stood out.

The only real grief I got was when I was in line waiting for the tour and started chatting with the other geeks. One guy...a Canadian of all things!?! asked why I was there since I was on a BMW? I mean WTF??? I had just recently become a Ducati owner, but since when is ownership prerequisite for visiting one the most significant motorcycle manufacturers on the planet? Anyway...on to the good is my tour guide.

I have posted this picture in various places because it is my Ducati art shot. Here is a close up on Hailwood's TT bike that I like.

Again....since this will be posted on is my favorite bike in the museum....a Dakar competitor

...and I cannot leave out the 999's.........won a lot of races......without a displacement advantage!

The tour was over around 1300, so I blasted up to Florence to find a gold ring with a Roman coin in it. The last time I was in Florence I became fascinated with these but didn't pull the trigger....lesson learned. I assumed that I would find them in one of the other cities I was passing through, but never did, so I headed back to Florence and made a deal...very happy. I then motored on to Pisa for the night. Pisa really only has one square of interest, but WOW. talk about three impressive structures. I won't bore you with pictures of the tower and cathedral we all know, but what I found fascinating was that there were dozens of tourists in the square ... all trying line up the perfect picture of their significant other trying to prop up the leaning tower. I took several shots to try and capture this, but this is the best I got. It was really funny in the flesh though.

Leaving Italy I cross the Saint Bernard Pass....just like Napoleon...though he was coming the other way......

I spent my last evening of the trip in Chamonix at the foot of Mont Blanc. Here is shot from my room. I ate Raclette...Yum.

I motored across France on their excellent motorways and crossed the channel to make it home to Richmond in the evening. Two comments on this:

1. It was hard to adjust form the chaotic Italian driving to the more structured French style where you are expected to follow the rules. I found that I had really adapted to the free flowing Italian style.

2. Three cheers to the French motorway for charging motorcycles half price. I never see that ion North America.

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Old 07-05-2010, 07:38 AM   #9
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Sounds like a successful trip, Scott! This is something I wouldn't mind doing in the future. I still need to decide what I'll be doing for my vacation...
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Old 07-05-2010, 11:33 AM   #10
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Excellent stuff, Scott.

Keep it coming!

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Old 07-05-2010, 11:52 AM   #11
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Nice reports Scott - you've done some great rides... I'm jealous

Enjoy the Africa ride
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Old 07-06-2010, 07:07 PM   #12
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Scott, that was a real blast around Superior,
2000 miles in three days,
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Old 07-07-2010, 04:39 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Witness
Scott, that was a real blast around Superior,
2000 miles in three days,
....don't slow down for no one
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Old 07-07-2010, 08:53 PM   #14
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Short trip out to the Maritimes last summer

Ontario to Nova Scotia - August 2009

Shelly was doing her annual summer visit to the family with Grace and invited me out. I was definitely going to do some riding, so we considered driving and trailering a bike, but in the end I dropped them of at the airport and started my trek the next day. She wanted time alone with her family and that worked for me.......Here's my breadcrumb trail from the Garmin.

So I loaded up my trusty Buell and headed out through Buffalo down into Pennsylvania to ride their twisty roads. On the way I had to make a stop at Ulysses, PA for the obligatory shot of my Ulysses at Ulysses

Since I was passing through New York, I also decided to make a stop at Orange County Choppers. They have a Ducati dealership now and their crazy creations are scattered around the showroom....but it really is pretty much just a t-shirt shop. I think it's safe to say that its been played out.

I had spent my first night somewhere in Pennsylvania and my second in Montpelier VT. On the way I rode through the Adirondacks and the White Mountains. ....very nice. I took the road up Mount Washington where the day's heat turned into cold cloud cover. The road up there is nice on a bike like a Uly. Saw the cog railway train arrive and chatted with a couple from Quebec on a KTM. I took a couple photos and a Japanese tourist offered to take a picture with me in it.

I decided to follow the Maine coast north, but that was a mistake. The road isn't close enough to the ocean to offer any views, but is close enough to offer beach traffic and dull roads. I crossed into New Brunswick and made my way up to St. John as it was getting dark. I enjoyed a seafood meal....since it wouldn't do any good to be eating that around Shelly :-) and ordered a local beer...they brought a Moosehead...who knew? New Brunswick is officially bi-lingual......I get that, but does a red octagon really need this much explanation???????

I had an appointment at noonish for the St John - Digby Ferry so I headed down and loaded up. I had used ferries before on my Irish trip, but this didn't get many bikes so only had rope to tie the bike in place. The seas were smooth, so no problems.

I then rode on over to Shelly's Mom's place in Liverpool. We split time staying there and at a local resort.

She has a really warm family and I had a good time. It's unfortunate that she gets so stressed out there. Many of our plans were upset by the arrival of a hurricane. I kept urging them to make some preparations...apparently in the Maritimes, "preparations" means that they make sure they have enough beer...... Fortunately it ended up not being to bad for us, but parts of Halifax were flooded and we lost some beachfront roads near where we were. Since I missed out on the annual shark fishing tournament, Shelly's father and uncle arranged to take me out on her uncle's fishing boat to do some sharkin'. The technique is pretty much exactly as in Jaws.......The water was a bit cool, but they knew what they were doing and we hooked a few, Here is a Blue that I reeled taken with my BlackBerry

I headed out early the next morning because I had to get back now in two days and still wanted to see a few things on the way. I did not take any meaningful pictures, but the trip along the St. Lawrence river was terrific. I spent the one night in Rivière-du-Loup and motorway'd much of the rest of the way home....left a lot of exploring out that way to do...............

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Old 07-07-2010, 09:27 PM   #15
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.....and thanks for the feedback, I still have a few more past trips to add.
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