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Old 08-27-2009, 05:15 PM   #1
NJ650 OP
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Yet another Nova Scotia Ride Report (this one from NJ)

Some background
I started planning this trip in August 2008 shortly after buying my KLR650. The previous year I spent bicycling (I’m a “retired amateur triathlete”) when I needed to get to work and occasionally using my wife’s car in a pinch. We had not renewed the lease on our 2nd vehicle when it came up in hopes of reducing our monthly expenses. After a year of bicycling I thought I’d get back into motorcycling. It would allow me greater mobility and not be as expensive as purchasing a car (or so I thought!). I spent lots of time researching locations, routes, mileage, etc.. After taking a stab at a full itinerary including start and end times and mileage I decided it would be a good idea to check in with others on the forum for their feedback. You can read my Trip Planning post, Yet another Nova Scotia trip plan (this one from NJ) for more info. I received lots of good advice and decided it would be best to ease off on the strict planning and large amounts of mileage and try to play it by ear as much as I could allow myself. The final itinerary called for about 2500 miles over 7 1/2 days.

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Old 08-27-2009, 05:25 PM   #2
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Friday - Day 1

Friday - Day 1
The revised plan was to leave home in Central NJ at 12 noon. I hate not being punctual, so I was bit disappointed in myself when I pulled out of the driveway at 12:20. I quickly reminded myself that I needed to shrug it off. One of the goals of this trip was to “correct” my obsession with punctuality and planning. The first break was to be in New Haven for some pizza at either Frank Pepe’s or Sally’s Apizza about 3 PM. I hit some very heavy traffic in NY and CT in the 90+ degree heat. After baking in the heat for quite a while I arrived in New Haven just before 4. Sally’s was closed so it would be Frank’s now and Sally’s on the return trip. By time I left just before 5, there was a line of about 30 people outside the door.



The next stop would be Nan-Lo’s place. I previously arrange for some “tent space” with her. Shortly after leaving CT, the sky darkened and the rain from Hurricane Bill started to fall. I was traveling on I-84 as I pulled into an underpass to put on my rain gear (N 42 deg 05.628, W 72 deg 05.251). As I started to pull out I quickly noticed something wrong. I had flatted the rear tire. A cursory look didn’t reveal any obvious puncture on the brand new Kenda 270 tire. I set out my Powerflare and got on the phone with AAA. I made sure to purchase the Plus RV coverage that is apparently only available in limited areas. I needed to explain this to the AAA operator who did confirm my motorcycle was covered. I provided her with my coordinates, which apparently don’t mean anything to them, but then had to turn on my GPS to locate the nearby cross roads so they could locate me.



While I was trying to talk with AAA a pigeon falls from underneath the overpass right in front of me.



As I waited for AAA I noticed the jawbone of some animal lying next to me.



About 20 minutes later the pigeon recovered enough from the fall to walk over and settle in next to the front tire.



I got on the phone with my wife who PM’d Nan-Lo to let her know about my dilemma. Nan-Lo promptly called my cell to check to see if there was anything she could do to help. Sometime later, MissTwisties from the New England Streetriders forum pulled over to check on me. Once she knew I was ok and just waiting for AAA she set her attention on the pigeon placing him safely in the bushes.



About 8:30 PM AAA called and realized that I was not in CT, but in MA. They needed to contact a service provider in MA to arrange for my pickup. A few moments later a Mass State Trooper pulled over. He said if it wasn’t for the Powerflare he would never had seen me. He was very impressed with it and wrote down the website. I think I would have been better off with 2 or 3 instead of just one. With 3 I could set one on top of the bike, one about 20 feet away and the last about 100 feet away. On a rainy dark night you really need more visibility. The officer called into dispatch to expedite the tow service who arrived about 30 minutes later.



Day 1 ended with me at a cheap motel in Sturbridge, MA about 1 ½ hours south of Nan-Lo’s.


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Old 08-27-2009, 05:47 PM   #3
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Quote:
One of the goals of this trip was to “correct” my obsession with punctuality and planning.
I like how this line is followed up with when and where you plan to eat lunch! Maybe the flat tire is just what you needed!
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Old 08-27-2009, 05:53 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bemiiten
I like how this line is followed up with when and where you plan to eat lunch! Maybe the flat tire is just what you needed!


Exactly!

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Old 08-27-2009, 07:54 PM   #5
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Saturday - Day 2

Saturday- Day 2
I woke to a light drizzle, which gave way to a hot, hunid and sunny morning. The tow service suggested 2 motorcycle shops to call in the morning about repair. They don’t allow any repairs at their facility and I wasn’t inclined to tackle the job in the humid heat since I still didn’t see any obvious puncture. I chose the shop, Motorsports International in Auburn, MA that had a 21” rear tire on hand just in case I needed to replace it. They only had a street or motocross tire to choose from, but that was better than nothing. By time I was towed to Auburn, MA and the repair was made it was noon. We never did identify the exact cause of the problem. We suspect a bad valve core.

I hopped back on the highway and headed north along with Hurricane Bill off the coast which began to drop rain on me as I entered Maine. I pulled off the road to eat a Clif Bar and get my rain gear on. As I reached for my helmet to get back on the bike the sun came back out. Damn! I sped on hoping to get back on schedule in time to make it to beerjonny’s place in New Brunswick before dark. I reached the border in Calais just before 8. A quick pizza and 15 minutes of interrogation at the border ensured that I would be driving in the very dark and cold night trying to find beerjonny’s house. Unfortunately the incredibly dense fog in the area made sure I wouldn’t make it there. I could barely see 20 feet in front of me and I was in the middle of nowhere. Thoughts of running into a moose and thinking “Fucking Moose!” as I hit it ran through my head. I thought it would be best to pull into the 1st place I could find . I was about 45 minutes short of beerjonny’s place. The hotel clerk said it was a wise choice to stop because the fog gets thicker down the road. Any thicker and you could cut it with a knife.

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2008 KLR650
2009 New Brunswick/Nova Scotia/PEI
2009 Mount Washington/Vermont
Planning 2014 Gaspé and 2014 COBDR
Fuck cancer!

NJ650 screwed with this post 08-27-2009 at 08:03 PM
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Old 08-27-2009, 08:01 PM   #6
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Sunday - Day 3

Sunday - Day 3
The fog lifted overnight and I woke to overcast skies. As I headed out just after 7 AM a light rain started to fall. I decided that I would drive by beerjonny’s place just to say I was there, as I headed north. I got there at 8. It’s a shame I didn’t get to camp there. He is literally on the water’s edge. If you stumbled out of your tent in the middle of the night for a bathroom break you could literally fall into the water! It was an incredibly peaceful and remote area.

I stopped at Tim Horton’s in Saint John for a bagel and coffee. Someone told me Tim’s was like Starbucks. I have to disagree. Maybe in concept, but their coffee doesn’t compare. Tim’s doesn’t have espresso based coffee drinks. I’d say they are more like Dunkin Donuts from a coffee perspective. I wish I had nicer weather and more time to explore Saint Johns, but I was off again heading north on route 1 turning onto 114 into Fundy National Park. The rain was still holding off for the most part, only drizzling every once in a while. This is Cape Enrage just north of Alma and Fundy National Park.



I explored some dirt roads as I headed north to Hopewell. I wanted to stop and take some pics at the Hopewell rocks, but there was an $8.50 admission fee. I didn’t feel like paying the cost of a meal just to photograph some rocks in the middle of some less than favorable weather.



So after balking at spending $8.50 at Hopewell I went ahead and spent way more for lunch in Moncton at the Calactus Café Restaurant Végétarien. The Oaxacan veggie casserole, salad, garlic bread and chocolate chaud avec espresso was worth the expense.



Back on the road I headed into Nova Scotia as the winds picked up and the rain continued to stop and start. The winds continued to increase as I took the Sunrise Trail towards Antigonish. The gusts were easily exceeding 50 MPH as I leaned the bike hard to the left to stay on the road. The young kid in the pic below is from MA. He was heading out of NS after spending some time at a friends. He was riding an old Honda CB 400 or 450 braving the weather with no rain gear.



WARNING: This link is for a 15 Mg clip. Don’t click on it if you have a slow Internet connection. https://plus.google.com/photos/100548881856505089249/albums/5374488234039698625/5374737027151480290?banner=pwa&pid=5374737027151480290&oid=100548881856505089249

The last few miles into Antigonish were on some dirt roads. As I pulled into the Whidden’s campground the rain stopped. I should have searched out another less expensive place because this was $33! I was so exhausted from fighting the wind that I just wanted to get the tent setup so I could relax. In the middle of the setup the rain came heavily. I rushed to get the rain fly on and secure things, but in my haste I put it on upside down and didn’t secure it well. Because of this and the heavy wind, I started to get some water in the tent. After a long hard day in the saddle this was the last thing I needed. I was not having a good time. It was at about this time that my cell phone rang. It was my dad. I hadn’t mentioned this trip to him because I knew what he would say. Sure enough, he made me feel guilty about leaving my wife & kids behind “all alone”. Keep in mind that my 2 oldest are not young, they are 14 and 12! You’d think as a grown man you wouldn’t have to deal with parental guilt. You should be the one handing it out to your kids. I guess if you get to dish it out, you should expect to take it from your parents as well. So with some fresh guilt from dad and the bad weather beating down, I laid in the tent seriously thinking about turning back the next day if the weather didn’t change. The rain stopped about an hour later. I waited another hour for the heavy wind to help dry things out before flipping the rain fly and properly securing the tent.
__________________
2008 KLR650
2009 New Brunswick/Nova Scotia/PEI
2009 Mount Washington/Vermont
Planning 2014 Gaspé and 2014 COBDR
Fuck cancer!

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Old 08-27-2009, 08:55 PM   #7
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Monday - Day 4

Monday - Day 4
I woke around 6 AM to overcast, but dry skies. The first item on the agenda was to hit the on site laundry. Unfortunately it was locked and there was no one in the office. I was pissed. I don’t understand why they lock the damn thing. For $33 a night for an “unserviced” tent site they should wash and fold your damn clothes! I left the tent to dry out and headed into town in search of a Laundromat. I found one quickly, unlocked and unattended, just across the street from a restaurant where I ordered some pancakes and got change for the machines. The 1st machine I chose took some of my money before jamming. I was able to get my money back and moved to the machine next to it. It was happy to accept my money but was unwilling to do anything else. Onto the 3rd machine. Success! I finished off my pancakes across the street then headed back to dry my clothes. Nobody ever showed up at the laundry in spite of the sign saying it opened at 8. I headed back to pack up my tent and hit the road.



Because the weather was still less than favorable, and still feeling some guilt from my conversation with dad, I decided to cover the next 2 days of riding in just 1 day. I came too far to turn back now just because of some rain. My thought was I could have my cake and eat it to. I could still cover the same ground and get back sooner than expected to make him happy. After all, this is really not a big challenge by any stretch. When I was younger I bicycled across the country covering 2700 miles in 20 days. Now that was a challenge. I needed to just get on with it. So, I would not be camping in Meat Cove. Instead I would just stop for a few pics and be on my way back down the west coast of the cape.

The rain held off all morning as I traveled counter-clockwise on the Cabot Trail.






Here are 2 video clips of the road into Meat Cove.

WARNING: This is a 7 Mg clip. Don’t click on it if you have a slow Internet connection.
http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo...eat=directlink

WARNING: This is a 17 Mg clip. Don’t click on it if you have a slow Internet connection.
http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo...eat=directlink

Finally, Meat Cove.



I stopped to eat a Clif Bar and enjoy the view.




Heading down the west side of the cape I was fortunate enough to spot a moose. I think if I hadn’t seen one on this trip the journey would have seemed a bit incomplete. A couple of cars had come to a stop in front of me. As I rolled up on them I spotted her (I’m assuming because there were no antlers) on the side of the road. As I came to a complete stop about 25 feet from her, ready to reach for my camera in the tank bag, she turned and looked directly at me. She seemed less that happy so I decided to keep my hands on the bars in case a quick getaway was needed. I was hoping she would stay put and focus her attention elsewhere to give me enough time to snap a pic. Unfortunately, she just turned away and headed straight into the woods.

I continued traveling down the west side as the rain started again. I think the west side may be the prettier side.





Because I changed up the schedule I was unable to make my planned stop at Glenora for a tour and sample their Scotch. Perhaps one of the more significant low-lights of the trip!

I found about 15 miles of dirt roads to keep me amused on the way back to Antigonish. It was late afternoon and because of the rain the skies were dark and visibility was poor. I was in a very remote area when I really got to thinking how it probably wasn’t very wise to be doing these back muddy dirt roads on my own. And when I say roads, I use the term loosely. Some of them were verging on being single track. If I had an off or a mechanical now I’d be F’d.

As soon as I crossed over the bridge and off of the Cape, the weather completely changed. The sun came through and the rain stopped. Made it back to Antigonish just after 6 PM. It rained later that night.

Total for the day about 400 miles.
__________________
2008 KLR650
2009 New Brunswick/Nova Scotia/PEI
2009 Mount Washington/Vermont
Planning 2014 Gaspé and 2014 COBDR
Fuck cancer!

NJ650 screwed with this post 08-28-2009 at 09:35 AM
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Old 08-28-2009, 05:54 AM   #8
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Tuesday – Day 5

Tuesday – Day 5
So during my “down” moment sitting in the wet tent a couple of days ago I thought I would be skipping PEI and heading straight back home. Well the weather this morning was so beautiful that I said to myself, there is no way I’ve come this far to not at least cross over to PEI and ride through. Chances are I’d never be back this way again on a motorcycle, if at all. I skipped my planned route on the back roads in favor for the fastest route to the PEI ferry. I arrived with just minutes to spare as I was the last one loaded onto the ferry.



Here are some shots from the ferry.




I started out towards Charlottetown following 4 guys from Ohio. Two were on Harleys, and I think the other 2 on Kawi Concourses. In just a few miles I spotted a dirt road to the right, called High Rd, that I thought I would use to take a “short cut” and explore the island. Big mistake. The red dirt in the area becomes a very slippery mess when it is wet. All of the rain the past few days ensured there were lots of deep muddy puddles covering the width of the narrow dirt “road”. After making my way around a few downed trees, through some smaller mud puddles and around some major mud puddles, I nearly dumped the bike in the slop just at about 1 mile down the road. Reality quickly set in and I decided it would not be a wise move to continue down the road. I turned back and made it safely back on to the paved road towards Charlottetown taking some pics along the way.



I caught back up with the 4 riders from Ohio in Charlottetown as they rode up and down the streets. I followed for a bit taking in the sights, then headed towards the Confederation Bridge.



After a long high speed slog, being blasted by insects along the way, I arrived in Bangor, ME around 6.



Bangor is clearly the local bike hotspot. As I headed toward the Paul Bunyan Campground http://www.paulbunyancampground.com/ I past several dozen bikes gathered at a local eatery. I setup my tent and headed back into town in search of a meal. On the way I pulled up next to a couple on a Kawi Vulcan who offered up some suggestions. I ended up at A Taste of India for a good meal of Chana Masala, Naan and a Kingfisher.

Total for the day 470.6 miles.
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2008 KLR650
2009 New Brunswick/Nova Scotia/PEI
2009 Mount Washington/Vermont
Planning 2014 Gaspé and 2014 COBDR
Fuck cancer!

NJ650 screwed with this post 08-28-2009 at 09:33 AM
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Old 08-28-2009, 11:27 AM   #9
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Wednesday – Day 6

Wednesday – Day 6
I had a good night sleep at the campground, waking to some beautiful weather.







Some evidence of PEI.




Once I had everything packed up I headed back into town for some breakfast, then hit the road. All “superslab” on my way home via New Haven. I arrived at New Haven to find Sally’s Apizza doesn’t open until 5, so it was off to Frank Pepe’s again.



The next couple of hours between New Haven and NYC were almost as brutal as they were at the beginning of the trip. Tons of traffic and 90 degree heat. I decided that I’d rather keep moving so I detoured through parts of the Bronx before crossing over the GW. The NJ Turnpike was very good even though it was rush hour. I was home around 7 PM to the surprise of my kids who were expecting me to arrive 2 days later. Total for the day 511.3 miles.

Some Numbers
~2500 miles
5 ½ days
5 states
3 ½ days of rain
3 provinces
2 countries
1 quart of oil
1 flat


That’s it. I wish I had something profound to say about the trip, but unfortunately I can’t think of anything. I can say that I learned solo riding, off-road, in desolate areas isn’t the thing for me. I prefer to have some backup or support. I would have more confidence to do it if I had a lighter bike and more money. Lighter bike, because picking up a fully loaded KLR isn’t easy. More money because if I had some more money to burn I wouldn’t care about the cost to get someone to come and tow me out of the sticks. Of course I’d still be a bit concerned about laying in a ditch for hours waiting for rescue.
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Old 08-30-2009, 06:07 PM   #10
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Nice report and GREAT pix!!

Glad you followed through and made it to PEI!
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Old 08-31-2009, 07:34 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Nan-Lo
Nice report and GREAT pix!!

Glad you followed through and made it to PEI!
Thanks.

I'm glad I did as well. If I'm fortunate enough to get back up there I'd like to spend a bit more time in PEI, than maybe head into Newfoundland, then Quebec on the way back around.


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