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Old 02-20-2013, 01:23 PM   #1
Cerberus83 OP
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Ohio to St. John's, NL (~4,700 miles) - Help with planning, please?

I spent a considerable amount of time reading various RR’s and I got so inspired that I decided to a trip myself. I know this is not one of those “epic” journeys, but given that I will be doing this trip solo (potentially will have my buddy joining me) and it’s my 2nd “biggest” trip on a bike I wanted to ask all you experts for some advice(s). The trip is from Cleveland, OH to St. John’s, Newfoundland and back – roughly 4,700 miles in 12 days (this includes a few days that will be spent on ferries and a few more activities such as checking out the sites, whale watching and visiting some local breweries). What I am hoping to achieve from this trip is a sense of an accomplishment, but more importantly, to see the East Coast – on a bike! Although I am not planning to ride on the dirt roads, 90% or so will be on secondary roads which may or may not include dirt roads (first day of the trip is all highway just so that I can spend more days riding along the coast). I have never camped while on a bike trip either, but I got so inspired with people stories that I actually had purchased a new small-lightweight tent just for this trip. The plan is to camp every night which is something I’m looking forward to very much, but also the means to cut down on the overall cost (unless, of course, the weather becomes unbearable and I will have to sleep in a m/hotel). If some of you are still willing to offer your yard for me to pitch a tent, I definitely will take you on that offer (will pay for the beer!).

Here is the general plan thus far (this may change a bit once I get closer to the trip), but the general timeline is the last two weeks in June.


DAY..........MILES ACTIVITY
DAY 01.....680.....Cleveland to Hudson / Auburn, MA (camp or stay @ hotel)
DAY 02.....450.....Hudson to Ellsworth, ME or camp (Bar Harbor)
DAY 03.....60.......Stay in Bar Harbor for a day (camp)
DAY 04A...410.....BH to St. John - catch a 3hr ferry to Digby, NS and ride to Lockport, NS (camp)
DAY 05A...500.....Lockport to New Sydney, NS (camp)
DAY 06A...0.........Open day - ride to explore Cape Berton; catch ferry at 17h to Argentina, NL
DAY 04B...250.....BH to St. John - catch a 3hr ferry to Digby, NS and camp near Bridgetown, NS
DAY 05B...440.....Bridgetown to Halfax and camp at Murphy's
DAY 06B...250.....Murhpy's to New Sydney; catch ferry at 17h to Argentina, NL
DAY 07.....100.....Argentina to St. John's - spend a day / night here (camp)
DAY 08.....616.....St. John's to Port Aux Basques; catch ferry at 23:30h to New Sydney, NS
DAY 09.....430.....Sydney to Fredericton, NB (camp)
DAY 10.....430.....Fredericton, NB to Rumford, ME (camp)
DAY 11.....490.....Rumfrod to Utica, NY (camp)
DAY 12.....510.....Utica to Cleveland

So what should I be looking out for? I did read some of the posts on what to pack; however, considering my ride is 2011 Ducati Multistrada 1200S, I don’t foresee changing the tires myself while on the road so I won’t be brining spear tires. What are some other “risks” that I should consider? I realize I’m not riding in South America, Siberia or Dakar, but I this is still a big deal to me and would like to get your opinion(s).

I’ve done some research on New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, but can anyone of you gents that have either been there or live there give me some points as to what to expect or what is worth seeing? My biggest inspiration for riding out to St. John’s was the report a while back from a guy who has ridden over 40,000 miles (from S. America to pretty much North Pole to St. John’s and then south to Louisiana) – I literally enjoyed every single minute reading his report! Being the person who loves to travel (been all over the world, just never on the bike, sadly) I wish I was there riding with him. Maybe one day I will be able to do the same, but I think this is a pretty decent first step…

Thanks for your help!
-Sam


******
EDIT#2 - If my buddy does come along he will be borrowing our friend's bike -- 2007 Can Am Spyder -- since he does not have "touring" bike. Should be interesting...

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Old 02-20-2013, 04:16 PM   #2
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I live near enough Ellsworth -- your destination for day 2 -- that I'd suggest changing your destination for day 1. You start with a pretty long day 1 then a far shorter day 2. If you camp in the Catskills area of NY or a nearby spot in W MA or SW VT your first won't be so long and your second day won't be so short -- they'll be about equal. I can ride longish days, but the chances that I camp decrease as my day length increases. After I wrote this I understood that you want to spend more time along US 1 in NH and ME. I personally skip anything S of Camden but that's because I've seen it.

CT may be a fine state, but 84 has contentious traffic any time of day. There are many ways to go north away from the worst of the traffic. The closest that I'd go is getting off I-84 at the Taconic Parkway and go north in NY. The Taconic may be boring or it may be restful. YMMV. The Taconic ends at about I-90, the turnpike, and you'd need to continue N on NY 22.

If you'd still like to get through that area quickly, I-87 runs N/S just W of the Taconic. Using I-84, I-87, and I-90 has FAR less traffic than going through CT but it may take an additional 20 minutes.

From either the Taconic or I-87 you can turn east many places but I'll skip over most of the southern ones and suggest NY7 which becomes VT9 then NH9 and will put you at the coast at the same spot that you've already mapped. I like much of VT9 as it passes many ski areas. NH9 may be the same road, but it has been tamed unfortunately.

The rest of your trip looks fantastic.

EDIT: Although you list a camp in Rumford, MA the map shows perhaps Rumford ME. That's on 2 and since Rumford is a paper mill town with the paper mill smell I'd go the extra hour W to the White Mountains and Mt. Washington. Cleaner air for the night.
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Old 02-20-2013, 07:59 PM   #3
jmandrell
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Hi Sam,

Did a similar ride in 2009, rode from St. Louis, MO and spent two weeks riding around Newfoundland. Still didn't see everything and I'm itching to go back.

As far as advice, the first thing I would say is make sure you ride the Cabot Trail on Cape Breton. I always tell people my two favorite roads to ride are Beartooth Pass in Montana/Wyoming and the Cabot Trail. Spectacular scenery. Just make sure you watch for moose.

For the ferry rides, bring your own tie downs. Much more bike friendly and you won't get harassed by the crew for not bringing them.

In St. John's, you'll at least want to check out Cape Spear and Signal Hill.

It looks like on your map your riding the 1 across Newfoundland. If you can make the time, try to at least ride up to Gros Morne or at the minimum, ride the 27 miles from Channel-Port aux Basques to Rose Blanc. You'll be happy you did.

Other than that, have fun and be prepared for lots of rain and wind If you have any specific questions, I'd be glad to share what I know.

- Jon

Oh, forgot to say that if you hear rumors about how nice the people in Newfoundland are, it's all absolutely true. Some of the nicest people I've met anywhere. And Partridgeberry jam or milkshakes are awesome
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Old 02-21-2013, 03:45 AM   #4
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If you ride the Cabot trail take the time to ride to meat cove. When you get to Newfoundland take the time to ride the road to Burgeo, you wont regret it. I don't know if you can camp there but it would be worth checking out.
give yourself some credit, that's a heck of a trip you're taking. Have fun and good luck
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Old 02-21-2013, 07:44 AM   #5
Cerberus83 OP
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Thanks for the advice and words of encouragement -- I really appreciate it!

@Grinnin - I'll make sure I look up those routes tonight and update my plans/routes accordingly. Also, you're correct about Rumford.. it's ME not MA (updated the original post). I used motorcycleroads.com to plan the routs in US and just used my own instinct for CAD. I believe someone has their place listed in Rumford (under "Tent Space Map" thread) so I think that was the reason for camping at this location.

@jmandrell - I'm sure I'll be PM'ing you soon to get some scoop :)

@dragoon - The plan right now is just to ride across NL (this is day 8 and it's roughly 10hrs I believe?); however, depending on the weather and how we feel, we may decide to deviate from this plan and stop somewhere to camp and check out the rest of the island (as per your suggestion). I have no idea what to expect or what I'm getting myself into, but I feel like a teenage boy on his first date -- butterflies all over!


Quick question regarding the gear: I used weatherspark (link to the post) to check out the avg weather (will be using this again for more accurate weather as we get closer to the trip), but I wanted to get your gents opinions on heated gear -- is it needed on this trip? I actually do prefer 60s for riding since it's much more enjoyable (no sweating and I stay alert), but mid 40s is pushing it for me without some sort of thermal layers...

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Old 02-21-2013, 07:55 AM   #6
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Could you please leave the font color to default? For those of us that use different forum skins, it makes it extraordinarily difficult to read. I have to highlight the text to see it. Here's a screen capture from my computer:



Some readers will completely gloss over your thread because they can't read it easily. Not trying to bust your balls or anything, just letting you know.



I did Newfoundland last summer (see ride report in signature). It was a phenomenal trip... Though it's my only motorcycle trip longer than three or four days, so I don't have much to compare it to.

Maybe I missed it, but how long are you going to be gone?

If you have the time, I would add the Cabot trail to your ride. I will caution that although it's a phenomenal road, it's not as gnarly and awesome as internet legend will have you believe. I was very underwhelmed by it. It's still an awesome road, so long as you don't build it up in your head to be more than it is.

It seems like you're just blowing right through Newfoundland. I spent about a week and a half in Newfoundland and felt like I didn't have enough time to see nearly as much as I had wanted. Depending upon what you want to get out of your trip, I'd suggest modifying your route so that you'll have more time in Newfoundland.

Make sure that you visit Gros Morne National Park. There is some beautiful scenery there. A few miles north of Gros Morne is the iconic Western Brook Pond. I would definitely stop and see this. The Northern Peninsula is pretty awesome and definitely worth the ride up to see L'ans Aux Meadows. On average, the people seemed the friendliest on the Northern Peninsula (and that's saying a lot for Newfoundland). Be careful for the moose though. Although they're all over the island, they're VERY concentrated in the Northern Peninsula.

The trans-Canadian is pretty scenic, at least compared to the highways around your neck of the woods... but the coastal roads are much more scenic. I wish I would have spent less time on the TCH on my trip. Once you get to St. John's, I would suggest spending a couple of days riding the Avalon Peninsula. The scenery is extremely varied compared to the size of the peninsula.

Be prepared for cold weather. My trip was June 4-17. There were a few nights where it dipped below freezing and made for some cold camping. It also rains a lot there and the weather can be quite unpredictable. I was lucky when I did my trip and got all the rain out of the way in the beginning... But it was some cold, cold rain when it was raining.

Make sure that you call and pay for your ferry ticket before you get there. You can't just show up and buy a ticket at the gate.

Depending on when you leave I may be gone on my own motorcycle trip for the year. But, if I'm home, I've got a spare bed you can use for the night. I'm in Wilkes Barre only a couple miles off the highway, which is right along your route about 350 miles from where you're at. Depending upon how far you're planning on going the first day, this might be a good spot to rest for the night. The offer is out there. Let me know.

EDIT: Oh, and lastly, sign up at ride the rock. It's a Newfoundland motorcycle forum. They're extremely friendly and willing to help. On my trip I stayed three nights with a guy from that forum. He then showed me around the Avalon Peninsula during the days. Nothing like having a local rider playing tour guide and host! Also if you have mechanical troubles on the island, post up on that forum and you'll have guys fighting over the opportunity to come help you out. It's seriously unbelievable how friendly Newfoundlanders are. You have to see it to believe it. I had to turn down so many offers to stay the night at someone's house because I needed to do the miles in order to make my trip happen.

And when you're on a bike and other riders turn your head away from you, they're not shaking their heads at you... They're just doing the 'Newfoundland nod.' I found myself doing it by the end of my trip!
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Old 02-21-2013, 08:59 AM   #7
Grinnin
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Originally Posted by Cerberus83 View Post
@dragoon - The plan right now is just to ride across NL (this is day 8 and it's roughly 10hrs I believe?); however, depending on the weather and how we feel, we may decide to deviate from this plan and stop somewhere to camp and check out the rest of the island (as per your suggestion). I have no idea what to expect or what I'm getting myself into, but I feel like a teenage boy on his first date -- butterflies all over!
I don't mean any disrespect for the State of Maine, but I'd vote for spending less time in southern Maine and more time on NL. Is your trip a democracy? Do I get to vote?

Seriously, US 1 in southern Maine is nice. It also has plenty of tourist development because people can get there quickly from Boston or NY. There are LOTS of things to see and do there, butstarting at about Wiscasset and extending to about Ellsworth there is a huge reduction in the amount of purposely-twee building and a larger percentage of just small-town living. If you skip over southern Maine you'll have more time to see actual lighthouses instead of lighthouse giftshops.

Seems arrogant of me to suggest that you don't need to see southern Maine, but where you are headed is REALLY REALLY nice (and as said above, the people are nice too).
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Old 02-21-2013, 10:52 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Cerberus83 View Post
Quick question regarding the gear: I used weatherspark (link to the post) to check out the avg weather (will be using this again for more accurate weather as we get closer to the trip), but I wanted to get your gents opinions on heated gear -- is it needed on this trip? I actually do prefer 60s for riding since it's much more enjoyable (no sweating and I stay alert), but mid 40s is pushing it for me without some sort of thermal layers...
This post was posted after I started writing mine, so I'll reply to it now. The only electric gear I had was gloves. I used them nearly every day, at least in the mornings. I won't consider electric until it's in the forties at least. The mornings were cold... Of course a couple of weeks could make a big difference in temperature.
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Old 02-21-2013, 01:49 PM   #9
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Planning a similar trip from South Florida in August......so here is my 2 cents based on advice from others that have traveled and residents of NL. If you don't have a couple of weeks to meander NL pick a coast and spend the few precious days that you have on NL on that coast. They tell me there is not much for ride between the coasts, if you can't just poke along and explore. Its all good if you have time to meander around but if not, time is better spent.

I only have two weeks time to cover the near 6000 miles between Homestead, FL and Saint Anthonys NL and back. So we chose to stay on the west coast. Do the ferry to and from Port Aux Basques and pretty much do 200 mile days from PAB up to St Anthony, spend a full day/two nights in SA and then 200 mile days back to PAB. Puts us like 5 days on NL. The ferries are about 5 hours between North Sydney, NS and PAB and its like 12 hours to Argentia, NL. Its near 600 miles from St Johns to PAB, so basically you will just run across the island in a day.


I too was gonna do the US1 up the coast, but on some really good advice I had ditched that also. Being in OH you might be able to squeeze that in but I know I wouldnt time won't allow the slow pace up US1 along the coast. Beautiful area, way too much traffic.

So IMHO.......stick with St Johns and the Argentia ferry to and from and explore that side of the Rock in the short time that you have. I have been looking at this trip since about August and this is what my research has come up with so far.

Leaving South FLA August 2nd, stay in touch and if you do cross the rock we might cross paths.
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Old 02-21-2013, 05:26 PM   #10
Cerberus83 OP
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Could you please leave the font color to default? For those of us that use different forum skins, it makes it extraordinarily difficult to read. I have to highlight the text to see it. Here's a screen capture from my computer:

Some readers will completely gloss over your thread because they can't read it easily. Not trying to bust your balls or anything, just letting you know.
Oh crap! Thanks for the heads up Max! I had no idea you guys were not able to see this lol (trust me, I wasn't trying to mess around with your eyes)! Actually, I wrote the original post while at work, so it was much easier for me to write it in MS Word and copy/paste then type it all in an open ADVrider window (plus, it looks I'm actually productive while writing a "memo" )

I updated the original post - please let me know if that did the trick...
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Old 02-21-2013, 05:41 PM   #11
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Former newbie here(new brunswick), spent many years in freddie beach(fredericton) for uni and was born and raised on the Miramichi River. I highly recommend driving btw st. john nb, and Fredericton on the back roads, there is some beautiful scenery there(Belle Isle), rolling hills and small lakes, etc, as well as hit up the bay of Fundy to see the tides, etc, just do not venture to far out on the beach when the tides are coming in, they come extremely fast.

Nova scotia, definitely check out the cabot trail, and if you are able to stop at fort Louisburg. halifax is a great little city as well(not sure if that is n your route or not, its not coming up on my tapatalk for some reason)

The route you have around NF is well the only route you can take really. Check out the national park in NF(drawing a blank on the name at the moment). Aso when in NF, you maybe able to get out on a local boat and see the whales and potentially an ice berg. Watch out for moose in NB and NF the highways there are notorious for hitting them, I would avoid riding at dusk or dawn in those areas, they seem to be the worst times for the suckers.

Anything else or questions feel free to ask.


Steve

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Old 02-21-2013, 05:45 PM   #12
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Thanks for the replies once again! Looks like I have some homework to do this weekend...

Also Max, thanks for the offer - I'll be sure to ping you soon

As for the trip, yes, I'm basically "flying" through the island and not really spending too much time here. Sadly, this can be said about the whole trip, but that is because I only have 14 days (16 if I go solo) and if I do end up riding with my buddy (which I think would be great so I hope it works out) we have to be back by 6/28 -- reason being: his son is turning 2 on 6/30. Therefore, the trip would be from 6/15 - 6/28. I cannot do it July until late August due to work and I don't really want to ride out there in Sept or later.

My though process was to catch a ferry from Sydney to Argentina and back to Sydney via PAB since this will enable us to "see" more while riding across the entire island and we won't lose any time/days. I also wanted to make it out to St. John's (again, "accomplishment" thing, plus as I had mentioned earlier, I was inspired by some other RR's that I too want to see this city -- looks great). If go to PAB, ride out to St. John's and back to PAB, this will add additional two-three days I think. However, I do appreciate everyone's suggestions and I will make sure I try to incorporate this in my updated plan while maximizing those 14 days I have available. The biggest thing is that there's only one ferry that goes from Sydney to Argentina the week we will be there (6/21) so most of the planning was around that little caveat...

The ride through Maine is split between US1 and side streets (basically, getting as close to the coast as possible; thus, the reason why it's taking this long to get to New Brunswick) since I am trying to incorporate a bit leisure into this trip (if that's even possible)...

Again, I have homework to do and I will try to make as many updates over the weekend as possible and report back for your guys' approval

Thanks for the help!
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Old 02-22-2013, 02:56 AM   #13
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Understand on the ferry schedule. We have had to delay our start by one day and it has caused on issue on the North Sydney to PAB travel, its either a butt crack of dawn or late night ride over now instead of 2pm ride on the ferry. Miles are tight all the way up, especially since doing this two bikes both two up. With the ferry change I have to figure out how to shave about 150 miles and get to North Sydney sooner, all without making it unpleasurable for my pillion. I can do 600 mile days, she is done at about 350 to 400!! Not bitching, thats still respectable day!!

Let us know what you come up with......might give me some new ideas!!!
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Old 02-22-2013, 03:06 AM   #14
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Riding the slab across the island of Newfoundland means you see little. I am the guy that showed Max around for a couple of days and he did not see all of the Avalon Peninsula. NL was settled by the sea so the coastal roads are where things are. The highway was put in in the mid sixties to join places up. There are still communities where the only access is by boat.
And you are getting off the ferry in ARGENTIA (pronounced R-gen-cha) not Argentina. if you get off in Argentina.....you took the wrong boat.
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Old 02-22-2013, 05:00 AM   #15
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I cannot do it July until late August due to work and I don't really want to ride out there in Sept or later.
In June you can usually find warmer riding and camping by going inland or cooler riding and camping right at the coast. Sometimes it takes 5 miles or sometimes it's 20, but inland can be noticeably warmer.

For these coastal areas September temperatures are equal to or warmer than June temperatures. September is, in fact a wonderful month for a trip like yours (or for others reading this thread and doing their own planning).

The ocean warms slowly in the spring which can be pretty cold. Parks in OH and PA may open in mid-April, but many parks in NB and NS don't open until Victoria Day weekend (about the U.S. Memorial day).

When the ocean DOES warm up, however, it remains warm into the fall. Coastal areas have significantly longer and warmer fall weather. Islands and peninsulas benefit most.

I cannot make any plans for 2013 and I don't know if I'll be here when you pass through. (Or more precisely, my plan is to make many trips to Ohio and when I'm here I have to be ready to go on short notice.)
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