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Old 09-08-2010, 11:10 PM   #1
Rotten Ronnie OP
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2010 PEI and the Cabot Trail

Or as I like to think of it, two carnivores wreak havoc across the country.

I have a sister living on Prince Edward Island, so in an effort to save money on vacations, I have used her house as a sort of B&B and basecamp for my East coast adventures.

I ride a used bike that has let me down once or twice in the past, so I'm pretty diligent about renewing my CAA membership, and as I had an electrical gremlin that appeared to have been solved by examining the wiring harness connectors, tightening them and spraying them with contact cleaner, I wasn't totally pleased with the reliability of my KLR. Last year I had a tube fail blowing a tire right off the bead 21km into another 4,500km journey, so one of my side cases had everything from a spare front tube to a newfie credit card (siphon and hose). This is the first time I've mounted Kenda 761's for what is going to be largely a highway trip with a bit of PEI gravel roads and coastline thrown in here and there, so I opt for less vibration and better cornering, as opposed to the gravel and dirt friendly Kenda 270's that I usually favour.

Day 1
Here we are on the 21st of August finally packed up and ready to let the clutch out at around 1030 in the morning.


Yes, my passenger is a dog. Suzi Bandit is a part poodle and part cocker spaniel female, now about a year and a half old, and has been riding bikes since she was four months old. At first she was pretty leary about being around running bikes, but some dired beef liver and learning that the best people in the world ride up wearing helmets soon cured that.

Suzi doesn't care much for the 401, and tends to curl up in the harness strapped to my chest and try to sleep through most of the ride...


We all know that when it starts to get cold or wet we can always take a break at a Timmies or restaurant to warm up, or resort to heated grips and riding gear, but when you ride with a dog exposed to the elements, you need to reserve room for extra gear like a wind breaker to conserve body heat. So when in doubt, the windbreaker comes out, seen here at our second stop in Cornwall Ontario, having stopped near Belleville for lunch earlier in the day.


Every rest stop becomes a bit peculiar, for as soon as the motorcycle slows down from highway speed on the ramp, she perks up and has her head out of the bag sniffing and looking around. Later, when the bike comes to a complete stop, she wants the "Doggles", safety eyewear for dogs, taken off, and has become quite adept at using my arm, the handle bars or a convenient chunk of ashphalt to remove them. By this time she has pushed them back on her head, and is standing on the bag itself slightly straining the body harness she wears against the restraint, waiting for me to clip a leash onto her and attach it to the turn signal and let her to the ground where she stretches and immediately wants to walk around and check out who's who.

It's pretty important at these stops to ensure she gets access to water, so I try to make a habit of offering her water twice, once when she gets off, and once before she gets back on the bike, especially in hotter weather.

La Belle Province... I think someone from the board must have beaten us to it and broken it already. :(


I managed to make it through Montreal without taking the wrong exit although it was a close thing...


I want to know, is it because she likes chrome more than knobbies or is it a Honda thing? Here we are at a rest area East of Montreal before Drummonville Quebec.


She's spent her day on the bike, over six hours and isn't terribly happy with her bag now, and licks her lips abit as she resigns herself to it. Hopefully we can make Quebec City for around 2000 or 2100 tonight, which will put us in better shape for a days run to the Island tomorrow.

It's not to be, a guy in a pick-up truck let me know I had a problem with the bike as dusk began to fall while nearing Drummondville... We pulled over and I quickly found that while my brake signal was working, the Type 1157 bulb had a burned out run element, so no running lights while in the slow lane on the Transcanada trying to ride in the dark. The rear end has reflectors on each of the cases, and reflective tape on the side of the topbox, but I need to limit my risk and try Drummondville for a tank of gas and a replacement bulb.

I tried four gas stations, and had my quest been for Windshield washer fluid, lottery tickets, beef jerky or BEER! I would have reported success. I asked my gps for lodging and started calling around and asking in my horrible third grade french...
Parlez vous Anglais? Vous avez une chambre pour la nuit avec une petit chien? Seven calls later I ended up in Hotel le Granbyen on Rue Principale.

Now as I pulled into the hotel I noted a convenitently placed restaurant called "La Belle Province" that serves a decent smoked meat platter. Suzi wants to dig in, but I asked her if I could take a picture first...



Day 2:
In the morning I snapped this shot to illustrate my problem, but I resolved to try and get some mileage in before trying a Canadian Tire or parts store on a Sunday morning...


Rue Principale, Granby Quebec


When I passed this place, I new I had to try my luck, as these older stations know that cars do indeed break down once in a while. Sure enough, he had a plexi glass wall unit with a double bin heaped full of the damned things. I bought two 1157 and one 1156, one for the bike and two spares (I never needed them for the rest of the trip). Remember my horrible french? His Hinglish was no better but he liked the photograph of SIr Wilfred Laurier that I carry around in my wallet and I happily exchanged it for the bulbs and other specie. Now we can get rolling again!


I didn't really pick a route, I'm usually happy as long as I'm heading in the correct direction with a full tank of gas, so I told the GPS "Fastest Route" and let it plot me south into the States and along Route 2 through Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine on into New Brunswick and onto the Island, more than a thousand kilometres, and off we went. I did stop at the Duty Free to make use of the facilities as did Suzi. Well, I got to go inside, but she had to content herself with the lawn as usual.


Just as I was getting ready to go, it started to rain, more than enought to warrant rain gear, and it wasn't one of those "dark clouds surrounded by blue sky" that tend to roll over you on it's way wherever. Suzi models her full body rainsuit, specifically chosen to ensure that she stays as dry as possible, as you know what cold, exposed skin does on the bike, it gets very cold indeed.


As my friend Rich puts it, now we had some scenic, twisty roads in store...


I've been on Route 2 a number of times, and while there are much more exciting ways to get there, if you're trying to kill kilometres on your odometer, this is the way do it. I had to put the camera away as the rain had not yet let up until we crossed the state line into Maine, and soon we found a roadside sign that said "Smokin' Good BBQ", although to be honest, when I saw the trailer it was served from I didn't think much, but the number of cars in the parking lot decided me and I thought I'd give it a try for lunch.




He has a large smoker out back behind which is a large pile of hardwood. He uses oak to smoke his pulled pork and beef brisket, and let me tell you, the flavour was awesome! I've had better pulled pork, but I had to go to North Carolina to get it along Route 105 on my way to Deals Gap this past May, but when you look at this picture, the cornbread is homemade and served fresh and warm, the cole slaw is unique and pleasing, the beans have been slow cooked with onion and maple syrup... and the BBQ sauce is. well bbq sauce. I'm not really big on sauces. This was the best meal of the trip overall and I marked this stop in Bethel Maine as a waypoint in my GPS. This is the two item platter, pulled pork and beef brisket. Suzi and prefer the brisket over the pork. 8)


Suzi and I ate our fill, removed our raingear in the extremely light drizzle and headed East once more bound for the border...

There is something to be said for a lighter bike...




Now I'm sort of scratching my head and saying to myself, this can't be the way to Calais/St. Stephen?! Oops, I missed an exit and we end up stopping at a duty free for another short rest before crossing back into New Brunswick at Houlton ME/Woodstock NB. The easy part about this, is you aim East and generally you're headed the right way.


A volkswagen Jetta that rocketed past me on the I-95 got pulled over by the only state trooper I saw in the state of Maine, and now we met up with them as they pulled into the Duty Free several minutes behind me now with shiny brand new ticket. I told them that I never want to be that fastest guy on the highway for that reason, and when I saw them pass me with New Brunswick plates, I felt free to speed up a little now that I'd a Fuzz Buster ahead of me. ;)


The customs agent messes up and allows us back into Canada. When riding with a cute dog they tend to slow you down at the border talking about bikes and dogs. Go figure. :)


Now we've been making some good time towards Fredericton on these 110kph highways, but there is NO WAY that my KLR is doing 195kph! Breakdown number two, the speedo decides to give up the ghost, so now I'll have to set my speed by the gear and rpm, and I can always set one of the data fields on the gps to report speed as I did while riding through the states to convert to mph.


Day 2 Continued but somehow we find ourselves in Day 3:
Suzi and I stop in Moncton for gas, a snack and some energy, it's near midnight and we're still a couple of hours away from the Island.


Well, we made it past Port Elgin and we're nearing the Conferderation Bridge, but I'm on high alert for moose and keep my speed down following a car ahead.


Confederation bridge, a ten minute and thirteen kilometer trip to the Island and the all night Esso station in Borden-Carleton for the last rest before I arrive at my destination. But, I make the huge mistake of trusting the GPS to take me via the fastest route, and at two in the morning, fatigued with a heavily laden bike, get to do a bit of adventure riding as it's decided to send me on the most roundabout route via gravel roads, except that the roads are slightly wet and I opted for 80/20 Kenda 761's this year instead of the slightly more vibration prone 60/40 Kenda 270's that I usually favour for long distance rides, and front end is skating a wee tad, so of course the answer is more throttle... No worries, but it wasn't fun to realize that the end of an 1800km trip could be a stupid accident in the last 20km leg. Hahaha! Okay, it was fun. (Sorry about the lousy picture.)


And we've made it! Our home away from home for the next week and a half. Suzi is darned happy to be off the bike after a 1000km plus day, as am I, but we're both charged and happy to meet our friends and family. Suzi gets welcomed by Abby, a nine year old female black Labrador Retriever, and Zip zip, a four year old male Jack Russell Terrorist. The first thing out of my Givi top box comes three dried chicken strips to say hello the gang properly.


And then Suzi and I pass out on the couch, oblivious to the Call of Duty battle being waged by my nephews.


That's all for now folks! I'll have more when I get a chance.
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Old 09-08-2010, 11:25 PM   #2
Klay
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That's great! I always thought I couldn't have a dog and go on motorcycle trips. Maybe not the case.
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Old 09-08-2010, 11:34 PM   #3
Rotten Ronnie OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Klay
That's great! I always thought I couldn't have a dog and go on motorcycle trips. Maybe not the case.
Apart from highway speeds, she prefers it to the cage. This year she got braver and climbed most of the way out of her bag and stood for much of the time on the tank bag, of course she was harnessed in and strapped to me, but she experimented with spoiled air off the hand guards and fairings until she found "the sweet spot" which for a poodle meant more air flow and less ear flop. :)

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Old 09-09-2010, 04:10 PM   #4
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Great Pictures

My wife says the pictures of your dog are cute!!!

Nice reporting and pics - the brisket looked excellent and I know my dog would have loved it too.

all the best.

Yellowknife
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Old 09-09-2010, 06:03 PM   #5
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Day 4:

Enough lazing about. I decide now that I'm on the island I'll pop off the sw-motech racks and store them in the garage so my KLR is reduced to the lean beauty that she is. *insert laughter here* Now my assistant and I check the oil consumption and top it up carefully. It had 57,000 km on the clock when I started this trip, and has been a bit oil hungry since my airbox fire last year, but I digress. The tire pressures are good, the speedo SEEMS to be working again although it's out according to the GPS, reporting 10kph faster than actual, so perhaps speeding tickets are now a thing of the past? I doubt it. The Kenda's are looking really good but then 1,600km wear isn't really going to show, and I've been pretty easy on the throttle and braking.



In the meantime, my father, who is visiting my sister at the same time as my visit this year, continues work on what has affectionately become known as "Dad's Vacation".

Recognize any similarities here? You be the judge.


I have this sudden urge to do the tourist thing and visit Rustico located pretty much North of my sister's place, but I always remembered it as being much longer drive. Well, perhaps her mini van doesn't appreciate the same lean angle over these roads, or soak up the bumps quite as well with a Progressive suspension front and rear. We suddenly get caught in a PEI traffic jam and it takes ages to get through it all... We were too busy reading the labels on the 2 4's. ;)



Whatever the case may be, my nephew Ryan riding pillion and I find ourselves there much sooner than I had expected... What to do now? :twisted:
What the tour guide fails to mention, is that while the tires perform very well on gravel roads, riding through the seaweed to into the high tide mark may not be the best idea as the rear tire starts to dig in and wallow, and doing this two up is not allowing me to get my weight forward over the front end, but we make it, but alas, as I attempt to deploy the kickstand in order to conceal my fat stomach behind the bike, the kickstand wants to sink into the sand giving my trusty steed a dirt nap, so I've it propped up against myself here. Just for your amusement.


Rustico is still a working fishing and agricultural centre, but as Anne Shirley's Cavendish is along this route, they've tarted up the place a bit for the tourists. (I guess I'm one, I bought a sticker for the bike.) It's a picturesque place and I really need to clean the lens on my camera. *sigh*


Next stop, Clow's Gener L Store to lay in supplies for the remainder of my stay. Storemade potted meat and beef jerky from my favourite general store. With my very first visit to this store, I spoke with the owner, the now deceased Mr. Clow, for some time. We established out bona fides, ie I'm Wendy-Sue's brother Ron visiting from Ontario, talked about the weather, traffic and various other sundries until I'd exhausted my conversational skills, paid for my gasoline and beef jerky and left to return to Wendy's. Ever since that visit, I do my level best to buy out their stock and ship it home to my undeserving brother Shaun, who when tasked to return some to me earlier this year, ate the lot on his way home, mumbling something about "tardy collection of perishable goods".Best of all are the "short cuts" you can take to get there...



Now that my visit to Clow's is behind me and I've a full tank of gas, my nephew and I decide it time to brave the mid day traffic into Charlottetown and head to my favourite ice cream store, Cows Creamery. It's made on the island from local dairy, and they run a brisk souvenir trade on the side with parody T-shirts. On the way into the big city, we ran into all kinds of traffic, and my city road rage started to get the better of me, so we jumped off the main route and headed downtown via some side streets to find that the road we wanted was closed due to construction. We made a ride turn down beside the church, and a mini van driver decided to pull out in front of us. Take note, this was the closest I've come to a multi vehicle accident all trip long. It's a KLR, I have bark busters and rad guards on it, along with a Visa card, but hospitals are something I really want to avoid this time, as I've forgotten my PEI Charlottetown hospital card from my trip in 2006 when I separated my shoulder popping a wheelie over a ditch. I made it, the DRZ400 didn't. A quick check to make sure my nephew is alright and that my shorts are still fresh and clean, and we're off to cows at last!


Located out in front of Cows is a cannon buried in the sidewalk, breach down, with the muzzle pointing up at the sky. Whatever for?

I eat my ice cream and read the plaque...


Okay, time for the bookstore conveniently located next door for a couple of books to keep me occupied during my stay, we wave goodbye to the commissonaire about to start writing a parking ticket, and exit stage left already for a wee tour of the downtown core, now it's off on the Transcanada and headed for home!

That's a strange looking bi cycle ahead there!


This was in store to wrap up the evening. It's at times like this when I love the travel for I can count with my shoes still on how many times I've gone out in Richmond Hill to watch a sunset...


Later on I went out again to see the skies, the crackberry got this...
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Old 09-10-2010, 09:04 PM   #6
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Now where was I? Ah yes, I take you back now to place where it all began. The pivotal hub of my Island adventures...
The living room couch.


I stagger to my feet and head outside to the sound of a Yamaha 125 engine to find my 74 year old father decides his first adventure on a motorcycle will be without the supervision of his son and heir ( a motorcycle safety instructor to boot), and entirely without the benefit of hot, burdensome, restrictive gear. In short, my Dad is a Squid and I hesitated before posting this, but I need you to know that I begged him to put on at least a helmet. I think he's going deaf too. Well, he loves the ride, and comes back dragging some hay, but that's what happens when you don't look where you want the bike to go.




I can't be around if my sister gets home to find the old man has cracked up the plastics and mashed the controls on my nephews bike, so I head off to find a bit of shoreline as the tide is out and conditions are just right to get some good pictures on the Argyle Shore at the provincial park.










I found a new way home that was rather entertaining...


Well, tomorrow the gang minus the dogs are heading to Liscomb Lodge in Nova Scotia. My sister waxes enthusiastic about the Kayaks, canoes, bicycles, nature walks etc, but knows that she's lost me when I see on the map that Cape Breton is 1 hour and 42 minutes from the lodge heading North East.
"Sure Wendy, I'd love to go."
That being said, I now have to get my three pairs of dirty shorts and socks into the laundry so that I'll be ready to leave with the gang early next morning, which means a repack of the bike, as I won't need the full kit, just enough for a possible overnight stay if I can't get from Liscomb to Meat Cove and back to the Island in one day.

I figure I'll do this with just the top box and tank bag. Nice and light so I can get some decent lean angle, so the important parts of the gear are water, rain gear, heated jacket, toothpaste, tooth brush, extra "I've got no cell coverage" toolkit with spare tube etc, and a flashlight. All the rest of my junk goes into the canoe bag and into my sister's van. Btw, if you want to tour but really can't afford all that expensive luggage, canoe bags totally rock. They're made of PVC vinyl, and when rolled and fastened properly can be totally submerged for short periods of time. This means when bungee corded or tied to your bike, everything in them will arrive totally dry. I've two, a 35 litre, and new one for this trip, a 20 litre one that has for the most part stayed rolled up and in a side case. It's the insurance policy if I find I need more storage for the trip home.

Captain Von Trapp could give my sister some lessons in organizing a trip. I was downstairs with the bike loaded and my gear on a bit late I thought, as the sun was over the yardarm, but the family showed me how quickly they could gear up and be gone. By 1030 we were on the road bound for Confederation Bridge. Kirk on his 2010 F800GS BMW with my nephew Tyler, and Ryan and I on the KLR. Oh well. It's all good. Now to enjoy the ride.

We're headed towards Kinkora and my bike tuns 60,000km! I sing it a little song in celebration of this "milestone", although my thoughts turn to a friend whose Honda is over the 100,000km mark, and I'm momentarily distracted wondering if my bike will last that long, or will I get tired of it and want a new one before I reach that goal?


Kinkora whips past in a blur...


Lighthouse

Bridge

Yet another lighthouse

Mainland

Still no moose. I'm getting a bit sceptical at this point, having only seen Bullwinkle in person in Ontario and one in Maine. I'll be good and keep my eyes peeled for them. Off to Port Elgin we go behind a huge line of cars, trucks and Rv's bailing off the island.




Ryan, Kirk, (Tyler), and my sister Wendy and Dad are in the purse coming up behind. Kirk let me lead for a bit until I goofed "Oh sorry, that's the direct route to Cape Breton and we DON'T want to go that way? My bad." I pull in behind him like a whipped puppy, tail between my legs.


Hey! Detour! Sweet!


Are those Goldwings up ahead?


Detour is over. :( Mud Creek road was a bit wet and my tires were a tiny bit squirrelly. I was riding two up so I behaved mostly. We're back on the black stuff and the boys get a wee bit footsore.






Traffic stop...






Pictou Nova Scotia! Home to Grohmann Knives and PEI Ferrys. ;)






This knife has over 103 pieces and was made by Mr. Grohmann at the end of his apprenticeship.


Pictou has some nice examples of 19th century architecture. This type of structure makes me think of counting rooms, warehouses, docks, stevedores and ships ridding themselves of ballast to be in trim for the return voyage to England or most likely Halifax, then England. Mail packet ships carrying letters of trade and investment across the ocean from continent to continent. Yeah, I like to stop at historical plaques too.


Murphy's Fish and Chips is across the street, and I figure that the Atlantic coast is the best place to get it, so in we go.


The fries are hand cut and excellent, the fish was tasty and done nicely, and I find that my misguided nephews don't care for coleslaw! Score!


Let's get back on the road for Liscomb! Tyler opts to make the rest of the trip in the purse with Wendy and Grandpa, so I ask Ryan to pick the bike with the most horsepower, and sadly it's not the KLR. He mounts up behind his Dad, and I get to be a hooligan with socialized medicine and emergency trip insurance and AGATT.


Now that's what I'm talking about! I wonder how often he checks his mirrors?


I had asked him to take Route 374 from New Glasgow to Sheet Harbour, and he'd been down that road before, and spoke of huge pot holes and poor pavement condition, but agreed that it was twisty and fun provided we were mindful. Well, you get no pictures because the suspension was working, my speed was up and I was having fun! The road is in better shape than last year, as it's been patched and some sections have been replaced and are silky smooth, but I'd recommend a kidney belt if you have a stiff suspension.

More Irving Deforestation project going on. They leave the trees along the roadside, but once in a while you get to see this and it leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. I'd prefer to see replanted trees beside of stumps. Forestry is a renewable resource if you manage it properly with an eye towards your Grandkids future. Your Grandfather used sawn planks, we used Plywood, your kids are used to MDF.


Here are a couple of pictures taken from the bridge at the southern end of the Liscomb Game Sanctuary






And now we come to the moment you've all been waiting for:
I dump my bike.






So you've seen the pictures. Did you figure out what happened?
a) poor choice of tires
b) treacherous surface
c) too much front brake
or
d) idiot at the controls

DING! Times up, pencils down please,
If you answered all of the above, you win. I was pulling off on what I thought was dry earth, well the top 2mm was dry, and instantly whisked away by my sliding front tire. It was a very very low speed spill, and the only real trouble I had was extricating my ankle out from under the bike without wrenching it, as the passenger handrail was lodged just above the boot nicely digging into my calf, while the boots clip was stuck in the grass and resisted being moved. In my defence I had the foot out and the bike upright before Kirk could get a hand on it to help. My ankle was a bit tender, but it was time to get back on that horse, so I rode back up the hill, turned around and did exactly the same thing but using rear brake only. Yep, definitely rear on that mess of mud. lol. Now the excitement is over, and halftime begins as I'm for bed.

Cheers!
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Old 10-07-2010, 08:51 PM   #7
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I left you on River road just outside of Sheet Harbour Nova Scotia where I'd just dumped my bike while trying to take these pictures from the roadside:





The bike was fine, although my right ankle was a bit tender, a reminder not to use the front brake when in mud with the tires I'd mounted for this trip.

We arrived at Liscomb Lodge, which started off as quaint cabins for the outdoor enthusiast back in the fifties, and later they'd added a hotel to the establishment, complete with restaurant and indoor pool. It's located beside the Liscomb river along the coastal highway number 7 East of Moosehead.

We thought we'd have dinner in Sherbrook NS, about twenty minutes up the road from us, and perhaps have a look at the Sherbrooke Pioneer Village museum that we'd be going to the following day. I managed to get a couple of shots on the way in while riding the highly entertaining and picturesque Nova Scotia Marine Drive Highway 7...







So it turns out that there is very little open at seven o'clock, and if you don't care for chinese food, the locals will direct you back the way you came to the restaurant at the Sherbrooke Village Inn which we'd passed on the way in. I was having fun riding around the town and snapping a shot or two...



And I passed my sister in her cage, and gave her a clear signal to "turn around and go this way", and after pulling into the parking lot at the Inn, Kirk joined me and the four of us waited for my sister and Dad to follow in the cage. And waited. She'd driven right past us and was now in a no wireless zone so we had no way of contacting her, so we went in and ordered our meals and thought she'd either turn around and come back or arrive at Liscomb Lodge without us. :)

I very thoughtfully brought my mapbooks as I thought to attempt the Trail the following morning while the rest of the gang were busy pioneering and exploring the canoes and kayaks of the lodge, I imagined myself counter-steering through the twistys along the Cabot Trail, and traced the route with my figner tip, trying to pick an entertaining ride from Sherbrooke to the Canso Causeway, the only point of access to Cape Breton via the road. We ordered dinner and shortly afterwards Wendy showed up blaming me for "telling her to go back to the lodge". I showed her the difference between "Turn around and go that way" and the handsignal for "It grieves me to point out that you are in error" which is often mistaken for the ADVRider salute. Everyone ate, and I had a perfect fruit plate absolutely melon and cantelope free and had to capture it on film before devouring it.



Then one more picture before I put the camera away for the trip home along a road that was sure to have a raccoon or two if not moose and deer... I was very happy that I'd upgraded my headlight to the PIAA Super Plasma GT-X carried my aviciouscycle.ca as I joked with Eric, now I could see what I was hitting.



I can be an early riser at times, and as the cage was taking what I didn't need back to PEI, essentially all I had to have on the bike was what I'd need for a long day of riding to circumnavigate the Cabot Trail, then head for Pictou Nova Scotia and the ferry ride home. I made sure I'd raingear, water, and my heated jacket in case this balmy weather took a turn for the worst. I'd had the bike loaded and ready to go in the parking lot when my sister asked if I wanted to go for a walk with her and the nephews along the resort to the river. My start time of 0700 vanished and I imagined myself pulling up her driveway on PEI as the sun set in the West. "Sure" I responded and this was the result:









Wendy then suggests the breakfast buffet at the restaurant to which my stomach answered a hearty "YES", and now that image turned to a late dusk arrival on the Island. *sigh* But they're sure to have plenty of bacon at a buffet, no? HEAVEN! Wonderful bacon! I'm stuffed and can barely zip up my jacket and it's 0900 now. Two hours of daylight wasted, but then how often do you get to stroll along a river with your sister and nephews while in Nova Scotia? It's time to let out the clutch and make some tracks for the Canso Causeway! Garmin agrees with me that Highway 7 is the only way out of here, and i like the thought of taking a short "long cut" up route 316 back onto the TransCanada that will put me right onto the causeway across the Canso Gut and onto Cape Breton Island in Port Hastings.



Wouldn't you know it? The weather report had called for clear skies and more of this Hurricane Earl inspired stupid hot weather, but here I am on the TransCanada and getting a bit damp as a huge Atlantic rain cloud moved across the highway. I could see a bit of blue behind, but nothing close enough to ride through and towards, so I pulled over and donned rain gear ahead of a like minded cruiser rider bound for the Island with three of his friends, although they'd disdained gearing up and had left him there. I'm smart enough to know that if I can't see an end to the clouds, I'll gear up and expect to get home dripping wet as opposed to cold and wet. There IS a difference. lol.

Well, here's where I make my mistake. I draped my jacket over my topbox, and the ykk plastic zipper had come in contact with the hot exhaust, and when I tried to do up the zipper of my jacket, I noticed I'd melted a chunk out of it, and it was a struggle to force the zipper shut past the damaged part. More on this later. Rain jacket on, camera away, I put my head down and roll on under the clouds.

Now the sun is out again and it's time to get out of this gear before I sweat to death. Lol. There has got to be a better way! The zipper is holding, but there's a wee gap at my chest where the air is infiltrating through the gap in the zipper. It's not worth worrying about yet, and off I go.

Success!! The causeway is in site and I'll be across in no time!


There is a strip mine on the south side of the causeway, and they've had problems in the past using explosives to shear away the side of the mountain as it's located so close to the causeway. The previous year I'd spoken with a couple of guys who had a patent on a chemical process that caused controlled rapid expansion in predrilled holes that would cause just the sort of shearing effect desired to create a landslide, but with no explosive effect. They had an exclusive right to the process and were making their fortunes before it expired and became public knowledge. I thought I'd share that with you, as previously you'd see a tire and chain blanket covering a huge area on the mountain while traffic in all directions was stopped until the blast had taken place. I understand it really disrupts traffic flow on the only artery available to the island.




I took route 105 towards Baddeck and just put my head down and got going. I was hoping to be past Baddeck by lunchtime, but that goal looked like it was slipping away, and the clouds overhead said that I was not to enjoy the rain free state any longer, although at worst I endured a few minutes of light rain, and as I saw blue ahead and over the hills, I just ignored it and let my gear do it's water resistant best to keep me dry.


Here's a shot of Bra D'Or lake as 105 passes it north of Iron Mines NS.


I gassed up south of Baddeck and just stayed on 105 and bypassed it as I'd seen it detail and visted the Alexander Graham Bell Museum back in 2006. That museum alone is worth visiting, as not only did Alex invent the phone and improve the quality of life for the deaf, he also designed and built a boat that set a world speed record right here in Baddeck.

Those of you who have visited the Island know this next sight, the Red Barn.


In 2006 I stayed in Margaree Centre at a fly fishing resort along the Margaree River, and it is incredibly beautiful! Early morning walks along the river with my dog were stunning. I highly recommend visiting the lodge just off season where you can rent a two room with kitchen pine log cabin for $75 dollars a night and be within a hundred yards of one of the most tranquil spots on this planet. Here's a picture from 2006 at "Chip Hart pool" along the Margaree River:


Back to the present.




Made it! Now to have some real fun!


NOT! I'm sure that next year the cruisers will enjoy pristine blacktop, but for now I'm caught on a single lane gravel road that all the tourists are driving on as if they had no suspension on their cars. I'm overheating the bike, so shut it off and wait for the flagman to allow us to advance. It wasn't that bad, but now I'm seeing myself getting back to PEI by moonlight. I keep seeing myself riding past the cages and pulling in ahead of them, but I sit and wait my turn.


I had to stop and get these shots before heading up the steep ascent in the next few pictures.










An over the shoulder look at what's behind as the KLR struggles on up the steep ascent. Well, maybe not struggled, but I was certainly not in top gear red line!


By this time the jacket zipper has separated and I'm looking like a 250lb Sharon Stone wannabe as I race along the coast, wtih the jacket done up at the neck and flapping away at either side. Lucky for me the jacket has a bad weather placket, so I zip that closed and rely on it to keep the jacket together to see me through till the end of the day. It works and I can now try to forget about it and get some kilometres under my belt as I try to both take in the sights and maintain my momentum so I can finish the day on the couch instead of in a hotel room halfway there.








It's official, I've entered the national park itself, but there was too much traffic for me to park the bike in front of the sign and snap away. Perhaps I'll get my chance later on?












Now I leave the Cabot Trail at North Cape and try for Meat Cove, but I'd heard on CBC that the bridges had washed out in a flash flood and I'd not be able to get there. The flooding was so bad, that a visiting german couple had their CAR washed away and into the Atlantic Ocean, so it's understandable that a bridge may not fair that well.


I had to stop and get this panorama for you. It's breathtaking!












Well I passed a couple of riders on their way, then got stopped by the local constabulary and turned back. I did provide a distraction long enough for the two riders I'd passed go whipping past me, so he set off in pursuit of them, while I turned around and retraced my way back out to North Cape and back onto the Cabot Trail. Maybe I'll get to Meat Cove in 2013. :(


I'm sooooo close!!!!






North Cape, anitclimax...






There wre a few cyclists I saw making this trek. They have more time, energy and determination, but I didn't want to make the guy feel too bad as I passed him going uphill, so I dropped two gears and made it seem like I was having trouble making the hill too. :P


Here it is!!! I should have done some landscaping as well, but you can't have it all. I did this on a Bandit GSF600s back in 2006, and of the two bikes, this one has been much more fun and versatile. I'd be on a F800GS if I could afford the sticker price and maintenance, but for all it's vagaries and faults, the KLR is the bike that made this shot possible and puts a grin on my face.




I've seen signs for Moose everywhere! Now I see one in person, and all I have to show you is a Moose's arse, so pay close attention and imagine what this looks like at night. You imagine it, I've got other things to do.


Now we get out of the Highlands and the downhill section begins. The problem is the scenery becomes absolutely spectacular as well, so do you try to grind your pegs or take some great pictures? If the qualtity of the pictures is less than perfect, you'll perhaps understand the complexity in trying to do both.




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Old 10-07-2010, 09:40 PM   #8
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And here's the last I saw of my friends before making the final leg of the trip southbound into Cheticamp. Cheerio!


Back at the North end of the park, construction on the bridge has it reduced to one lane on a timed light. I did look both ways for the RCMP...




Cheticamp Tim Horton's for my first Tim Horton's tea break in two weeks. It was about four o'clock, and that bacon I'd had for breakfast was but a distant memory, so I followed it down with some chilli and a bun. Comfort food for me. I stopped a little longer than I might have, just enjoying sitting on a curb having a smoke thousands of kilometres from home while my friends might very well be doing the same thing at their local haunts.








It's getting late, and the interior, while pretty isn't nearly as nice as the coastline, so I put the camera away, and took some neat roads to get me back to the causeway and onto the mainland headed for Pictou Nova Scotia and the last ferry, but I was pretty sure that I'd have to use Confederation Bridge to make it as I think the last ferry runs at 2100.


The last picture I get as the sun sinks in a perfectly clear sky ahead of me. I'm close to New Glasgow, but all I'm doing now is allowing Garmin to plot me fastest route back to the Island via Pictou. I've missed the ferry, and as the weather is getting colder, I don my heated jacket, make one final stop before the bridge and I'm off along route 6 hoping to make Pugwash without any excitement.


The roads are dark, and the treeline is close, so if something did decide to cross the road like a deer or a moose, I'd best keep my speed down and my wits about me. It proved beneficial as I rounded a corner near Linden I almost collided with a cow staring at me while chewing it's cud, neck and shoulders over the yellow centre line into my lane. My heart was in my freaking throat, as it was one of those turns where you see nothing as your headlight dips down then as it rights up it illuminates the cow on the left side. I saw in my mind the forks of my bike folding, kinking, breaking and spewing fluid while the rear of the bike catapulted me over the spine of the animal onto the road surface beyond. That was the good scenario, the other involved life flights and notification to next of kin. It's amazing what runs through your mind in less than a second. Bessie didn't move and I changed from threshold braking to swerve to avoid and left the road for the gravel shoulder and powered around her with plenty of room to spare. If I'd stayed on the brakes. For Bessie, it probably would have meant milkshakes instead of milk, for me, the end of my vacation and perhaps the end of the bike.

That was it, the hardest part was getting the bike back up to speed and holding it there until I was through New Brunswick and across the Bridge onto PEI. You have to say, I can ride this thing at 15 kilometres an hour and give up riding as soon as I can take a taxi to the airport, I can ride this thing safely with reduced speed for the visibility, or I can flog it down the road straight into the back of an ambulance. I found a happy medium and made a gas stop at Borden-Carelton where I found that I'd been drawing too much power with my aftermarket headlight highbeam, heated grips, gps, and heated jacket. The bikes battery had not been charging and I needed to roll it down the parking lot to get it going again. I'm starting to think that a kick starter might be a good thing to have as well as a voltage monitor.

The voltage monitor is the next farkle sitting on the kitchen table waiting to be installed this weekend. 2milliamp draw to tell me that I'm under volt, breaking even or in the green.

Anyhow, the next twenty minutes were uneventful, but cold as I'd turned everything off but the GPS praying that I'd build enough charge in the battery to start it again in the morning.

I rolled up in the driveway to the delight of the dogs at about one in the morning, parked it and made for the couch as soon as my gear was off. A 964 kilometre day on the seat of a KLR is a long day indeed, but I'd enjoyed it.
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Old 10-08-2010, 01:58 PM   #9
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nice finish to the RR

thanks for finishing it up.
You had me smiling again thinking about the Cabot trail. I may need another run there next week.


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Old 10-08-2010, 02:02 PM   #10
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It's not over until I say it's over. :P

I still have a few days to go to get her back to Onterrible. :)

Next up, New Brunswick, then the ride home.
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Old 10-08-2010, 06:30 PM   #11
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Nice report and you're a great story teller.

I was a couple of weeks behind you on the Cabot trail... and I did make it to meat cove



thanks to these guys

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Old 10-08-2010, 06:59 PM   #12
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Nice report man, think we crossed each other a couple days ago Antigonish area?
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Old 10-08-2010, 07:17 PM   #13
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If you're headed for New Brunswick and have time to spare go to Cape Maringouin, its about 15 minutes from the Trans Canada, off the Sackville exit, head for woodpoint, and take the 935 to upper rockport about 10 minutes, keep on going till the road turns into gravel, and will eventually dead end at Cape Maringouin, its pretty awesome lookout on the Bay of Fundy, and if you have lots of time to spare..get a New Brunswick Backroad map book....best way to get lost
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Old 10-09-2010, 11:46 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hookeniggy
If you're headed for New Brunswick and have time to spare go to Cape Maringouin, its about 15 minutes from the Trans Canada, off the Sackville exit, head for woodpoint, and take the 935 to upper rockport about 10 minutes, keep on going till the road turns into gravel, and will eventually dead end at Cape Maringouin, its pretty awesome lookout on the Bay of Fundy, and if you have lots of time to spare..get a New Brunswick Backroad map book....best way to get lost
I've looked at that across the Bay from 144, a day trip with my brother-in-law and a friend in 2009. We stopped at Alma for lunch and hit Cape Enrage on the way back to PEI. Your route looks like fun, and I'd love to see that side of the Bay one day.

It can't have been me. I was on this trip Aug 22nd to Sep 3rd, I'm just horrible at catching up on my ride report. :(
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Old 10-10-2010, 12:24 AM   #15
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I returned my couch of contemplation, but found it was getting pretty crowded...


Alright, I'll nap elsewhere then, or better yet, I'll come home with a picture of a lighthouse so that friends will have proof that I'm on PEI.


Victoria-By-The-Sea










I dropped into Cornwall for a Greco's Donair. Just what a growing boy needs to stop up his arteries and cause premature heart failure. The garlic sauce is just stupidly addictive.Yummy!






More fun than slab, but a wee bit straight for my taste, so I made up for it by going too fast.


Remember that burnt zipper? Now I was on a mission into Charlottetown to find a ykk zipper, but of course I goofed off and had an ice cream with my nephew Ryan on our way back to my sister's place. I did my laundry, put the SW-Motech racks back on the bike, and packed my gear, as we'd be leaving for New Brunswick the following day to visit my father's birthplace of Hampton New Brunswick for a couple of days, after which I'd leave for Maine and the route back to my home in Ontario. Wendy sewed in the zipper for me, but first wanted to make sure I was okay with the women's zipper I'd bought. WELL DAMN! It works as well with four thousand kilometres on it as it did the night it was repaired.


The next day will put me in New Brunswick with my Nephew riding pillion, in stupid hot weather. I was envious of the people in the air conditioned mini-van. No, really. It was that bad out there. I could have taken my mesh jacket off and still been hot. :(
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