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Old 01-22-2011, 10:55 PM   #31
Maggot12
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Originally Posted by vivid dadas View Post
Serial killers love campgrounds.

Sure, but not likely in Nova Scotia, let alone Canada.

Paranoia, self destroy ya.
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Old 01-23-2011, 01:28 PM   #32
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...Great story so far but going from Rhode Island to NB isn't that much different in temps. The freezers don't turn on just cause you crossed the border.

Keep the great story and pics coming.

Cheers,


As for the cold, it was over 90F in Boston and when we were in St. John, it was in the 40Fs. This was the first time riding on dual carriageways on the DRZ, and I learned just how cold the wind is at 100km! I'm also a very thin woman without all that beer fat that a lot of the guys on this forum seem to have

Lesson Learned: Next time I'm bringing my heated gloves.
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Old 01-23-2011, 01:38 PM   #33
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Canada Day Seven: Cape Breton Highlands National Park to the Whisky Distillery (133 m


Cape Breton, NS

Look at this place. It’s beautiful. Today was all about exploring a little bit of Cape Breton. The plan was to camp for a few nights in the national park and ride around, looking for interesting things to do and see, maybe some dirt to ride, and oh, yeah, check out the whisky distillery.

Mother of Sorrows Pioneer Shrine, Mabou, NS

When we first rode up into the national park, we passed through a town called Mabou where I saw a sign for the Mother of Sorrows Pioneer Shrine. Let’s just say I have some eccentric interests. Marconi. Miners’ choirs. And shrines to the Virgin Mary. So now you know why we came to Nova Scotia. It has it all!

The shrine used to a full-fledged Catholic church that was moved from its original location, and looks like a traditional New England Congregational church from the outside with its white clapboards and tall, plain steeple. But then you open the door…and it’s Catholic over-the-top.


Mother of Sorrows Shrine, Mabou, NS

We spent some time here because, well, I love this kind of stuff. There’s a second floor that leads to the bell that you can ring. A sign asks that if you do ring it, please be considerate and only make it ring once, and of course I messed it up because I was so excited. Then I felt horrible. Perfect.

I lit a candle for my brother and my grandfather. It felt kinda cool trying to bring my brother along on the trip because my other brother and my dad ride (or used to), and if I think about it, I know he would have loved it, too.
I wanted to go into the attached shop because it hit me that I didn’t have my grandfather’s St. Christopher medal with me. I don’t have a keychain for the DRZ and here I was, riding around without a St. Christoper medal. Yikes! Unfortunately there was a sign on the shop door that it was closed, but someone would be right back.

When a car pulled up, the driver quickly parked and hopped out. She apologized for the shop being closed but she had to go into town for something. She then told us that one of the priests who says Mass regularly rides his Goldwing in from Antigonish. She was so hoping that he might just arrive. Now that would have been cool.

Got my two St. Christopher medals, one that I carry in my jacket at all times, and one for the boyfriend, who apparently, doesn’t currently know where it is (which may explain what happens in the not so distant future).


Mabou Harbour Road, NS

We rode around some more, without much direction because I had seen a sign for the Mabou Mines, until we found a gravel road that led us down to a dock. This ride was through a gypsum forest (see the post from day 6), where there were hills that were oozing white rock covered in trees. At this point it was getting late and we wanted to get to the distillery for the tour.

We headed to the Glenora Distillery where they make a single malt whisky, the only single malt distillery in North America. I don’t think the Scottish need worry. We arrived in time for the 4:00 pm tour with time to spare, so we popped into the pub to have a drink to fortify us for the grueling activity of walking through a whisky making operation. The barmaid told us about how global warming / climate change is affecting the climate in Nova Scotia during the winters. Something about ice and how it’s not as thick or not even where it used to always be. It was very interesting getting the perspective from someone who is seeing real changes. In Rhode Island, it’s weather as usual.

She also let me use the hotel guests lobby computer to confirm that our borrowed Spot (thanks Terry!) was, indeed, sending messages to my mom. And she recommended this great dive called the Hoff for a very late lunch / early dinner.


Glenora Distillery, Glenville, Cape Breton

The tour was really interesting as I’ve never been to a whisky distillery before (I know, can you believe it?!). Unfortunately the whisky wasn’t very good in my humble opinion. It tasted too alcohol-y. Mind you, this is coming from someone who drinks Laphroaig and Ardbeg (particularly the 17 so if anyone has any just sitting around…).

The guide was great, as were the other folks on the tour. We met a couple from British Columbia who were telling us something about the Homeland Security Act and taxes being 43%. But everything seems better in Canada, and that’s because the taxes are 43%.

We headed to the Hoff. Interesting place. We were travelling during the World Cup so I was very happy to be able to catch some highlights. Italy was out! Holland was doing well…yesssss! I had called them as the overall winner before the matches even began (despite how things ended).

Sitting at the bar, I ordered fish & chips. The barmaid asked me if I wanted gravy. I looked at her as if she were from another country and said, “Gravy? On fish? Why would I do that?” She looked at me as if I was from Mars and said, “On the fries.” Ugh, no, that sounds nasty. I even had heard about the poutine, but when confronted with it, oh no. “Vinegar?”


Ladies Room at Hoff Pub & Grill, Inverness, NS

So of course we get into conversation with the other folks at the bar. That’s why I sit at the bar. This one guy, who was stoned out of his mind, couldn’t get it through his head that we were not on horses. Apparently some newlywed couple had ridden across Canada on horses and he thought we were they. But we were on motorcycles. And we’re not married. Petty details. He told us all about some great dirt roads but then he wasn’t really sure where they were (something about a bridge) and seriously, he was really stoned. The back porch, when it’s cold, that’s where to go to get stoned.

Stomachs full, we thanked everyone for the good chat and the World Cup updates, and headed out toward the campsite. I did find a dirt road that led up a steep hill into a grassy field and to a house and barn. Um, better turn around. What you don’t see in this pic is that it’s a 30 degree angle. What is this like in the winter?!

Random driveway in Nova Scotia

Before heading back to the campsite, we stopped at Charlie’s Record Shop to pick up some firewood because the shop I had gone to before was running low. I couldn’t be without wood for a fire.

The boyfriend went into the shop to pay as I loaded up my bike. I’m the fire crazy and I have a large, flat rack so I carry the wood. As I’m loading up the bike, a guy comes up to me and starts telling me to be careful because there are coyotes around. Ok, I’m interested. Coyotes? What’s up?

He tells me this story about a woman who was hiking in the national park who was attacked and killed by coyotes. Really? That’s crazy. But I’m listening intently as I saw a coyote go crazy on a cat when I was in grad school in southern California and it will forever be with me (I saw the cat the next day wearing an Edwardian collar). He felt that the coyotes should be sterile to keep the population in check. He said to me, “They can put a man on the moon but they can’t make food that sterilizes the coyotes.”
So here I am, standing in the rain, loading wood onto a DRZ, about to head into the woods and sleep in a nylon tent. And there are bloodthirsty coyotes running around. I had no way to confirm his story (there’s a surprising lack of wi-fi in the national park) so I wasn’t sure if he was a loony or there really was a horrible incident (sadly, I was to learn when I got back home that the story was true). The boyfriend comes out of the shop and the guy begs him to not hike in the park. It was crazy. It required a stop at the LC.

We picked up ice and Strongbow cider (mmmm) at the NSLC in Chéticamp. As we’re getting on the bikes, a guy from the repair shop next door comes over to say hello. He tells us a story about a guy who was riding the Cabot Trail who hit a guardrail and fell down the side of a cliff because he was memorized by the scenery. The guy is paralyzed now but the bike is fine, he informed us. Actually the bike was in the shop.

With all this doom and gloom, we rode back to the campsite. But we had our St. Christopher medals.

At the Glenora Distillery on BMW F650GS and DR-Z400SM
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Old 01-23-2011, 03:42 PM   #34
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Canada Day Eight: Cabot Trail, Meat Cove, NS (132 miles)


Chéticamp Campground, Cape Breton Highlands National Park, NS

This our campsite at the Chéticamp Campground. The sites were tiny and very close together. We could see everyone else’s sites and thought, “Hmmm, this is sorta Euro.” Despite being so close together, everyone was very quiet. The far end site was occupied by a bicyclist tourer. These folks always impress me and I’m not always a fan of bicyclists. But the tourer people; more power to you with your 5,000 calories a day.

Immediately next to us was the cutest French-Canadian couple who obviously had no freaking clue how to camp. I wanted to go over and start their campfire so they could get romantic because the guy was so inept. They also crawled into the tent very early when it was still light out. Well now, that’s cool because they’re all in love, but then they were reading their books and went to sleep. That was disappointing!

On the other side were two guys who would leave in the morning to go fishing, and come back in the evening, make a big fire, cook up the day’s catch and drink some kind of cheap swill. They were awesome. Just what camping and getting into the woods should be.

Today’s plan was to ride into the national park and noodle around on the Cabot Trail, visit Meat Cove because, well, it’s supposed to be interesting, and spend a final night in the Chéticamp Campground. As we were finishing up our breakfast and coffee, a woman exited an official Parks Canada car and came up to us holding a clipboard. She wanted to know if we were leaving or staying another night. This is when we finally realized the campground wasn’t actually open yet. There is a nearby, much larger campground where the fire pit sites are spread out so you don’t see your neighbor. And that campground opens the weekend before Canada Day (July 1). There are also plenty of other campgrounds within the national park, but they don’t have drinking water. I didn’t want to deal with filtering or riding in water which is why we wound up at Chéticamp.


Cabot Trail, Nova Scotia

The Cabot Trail is a beautiful as everyone says it is. Windy roads, rolling hills covered with lush, green foliage, giant boulders, sea views. We were lucky as the day was sunny and warm, making the views truly outstanding.

Meat Cove, NS

I usually ride in second position, I really don’t know why, but that’s how we’ve always done it. The GPS is hooked up on the boyfriend’s bike, so let’s say that’s why. But man, he can be a slow poke. There were some fantastic curves where I could lean the DRZ400 SM way over, but I wouldn’t have enough room in front of me to throttle out. So I got into the habit if slowing way down and getting some space inbetween us, and then having some fun on this bike. Fantastic. The traffic was almost non-existent as we were, again, before season, and it was a weekday.

We rode the dirt road out to Meat Cove as we had planned to have lunch on the relatively new restaurant run by the same folks that run the campground. I took the lead here because, well, I was sick of being held back. The road had a lot of wash outs as there had been some recent heavy rains. It was fun, and I knew there would be something delicious to eat at the end.

Meat Cove Chowder Hut lunch

We went into the restaurant to order our meal, and the waitress/daughter of the owner was very friendly. She told us she had seen a bunch of whales in the morning so we should keep a lookout (unfortunately, we never saw any).

Meat Cove, Nova Scotia

I ordered up a fish chowder and the boyfriend had fish and chips. When it came to drinks, we ordered up Nova Scotia’s finest brew, Alexander Keith’s. Sitting in the sun, with the wind whipping, overlooking the water, was delightful. Just divine. And the fish chowder was goooood.

With bellies full we saddled up for a meandering ride back to camp. Again, I led the way. When I got back onto tarmac, I pulled over to snap a pic and wait for Captain Slowpoke. As I’m standing there, a very large group of cruisers (Harleys and Goldwings) ride pass me to head up the dirt road. I wondered what it would be like to navigate such heavy beasts over the washed out rivulets. I tried it once on my CB750 and knew enough about my limits to turn around.

My favorite road sign

Eventually Cap’n Slo makes his way down on the F650GS and we retrace our route back to Chéticamp Campground. We had passed this weird little hut thing on the way out and wanted to swing in to have a look on the return.

Replica Scottish crofter's hut at the Lone Shieling trail

If I’m remembering correctly, this is a replica of a Scottish crofter’s hut that was built at the request of the former owner of the land, who donated the land to be used as part of the national park. (A crofter is basically a farmer.) I think the land donator was a professor at one of the local universities. This part of the park was very restricted as it is an old growth forest of maple trees. The trees are up to 350 years old. They’re incredibly tall and it was really enjoyable hiking the short path. And it wasn’t raining!

Watch out motorcyclists!

There were a lot of roadworks going on this time of year, which makes sense as it was before season yet after the snow and mud melt. I was happy to see this sign, and after riding behind the boyfriend for so long, I thought he looked like the icon.

Fire pit at the Chéticamp Campground, NS

Our last night in the park, I made a big fire, cooked up a hearty meal, and we sat for several hours, watching the warming flames and the stars above.

Cute couple on the Cabot Trail, Nova Scotia
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Old 01-23-2011, 05:51 PM   #35
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Nice Ride Report

Thanks for posting about our part of the world. Glad you were treated well for the most part other then the extended delay at border customs. I am confused about the cold weather you encountered though. Isn't 40 F considered a warm day? I always thought it was.
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Old 01-25-2011, 04:59 PM   #36
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Location: Canoodia, eh?
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Awesome Ride Report!

Its always interesting to read someone's perception of where I live and ride. Its unfortunate that as a resident, you take it for granted. Your pics are excellent and I love your writing style.

I have to ask...the guy you spoke to in Cheticamp, from the Repair Shop next to the LC -- guy about 5'7" - 5'8", darker hair, heavyset and kinda dumpy looking? If so, he used to fill my Jeep every week, I used to work in Cheticamp and he'd be one of the "Special" people in the world. You wouldn't believe the gossip that man gets pumping gas!

Can't wait for the completion!
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Old 01-26-2011, 12:15 PM   #37
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Great report. Being a Canuck that's never been east past Quebec City, I'm totally jealous! And being a DRZSM rider it's nice to see others take one on a big trip.

What kind of racks and bags are you using on your DRZ?

Can't wait for the end!
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Old 01-26-2011, 12:53 PM   #38
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Great read so far. I'm planning to do a similar route this spring.
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Old 01-26-2011, 03:50 PM   #39
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Canada Day Nine: Chéticamp to Mira River, NS (140 miles)


Look at this beautiful weather over the Bras d'Or Lake (I think)

A gorgeous, sunny morning greeted us as we prepared to leave Chéticamp and head on down to the other part of Cape Breton. This entire trip was very loosely planned; there was only one day that required us to be in a particular place at a particular time and that was Glace Bay on the upcoming Tuesday evening. Today is Saturday. Our destination was the Mira River Provincial Park and we had all day to get there.

Seal Island Bridge, NS

After a hearty breakfast of farina and oatmeal (how does he eat that stuff?), we poured over our maps and charted a route to take us through every version of the towns of Margaree, through Baddeck, over a fantastic bridge, to Bras d’Or. At Bras d’Or the plan was to take secondary and tertiary roads on the very long way to Mira River.

Upper Leitches Creek, NS

We stopped for gas in one of the Margarees (seriously, there’s a Margaree Harbour, Margaree, Margaree Forks, North East Margaree, among a handful of others) and the friendly, jumpsuit-attired attendant apologized for not having premium gas. Um, I’m on a DRZ. My girl doesn’t need that fancy stuff. It was a little bit of how things used to be, with someone willing to pump your gas (I did it myself even though I’m from New Jersey), paying with actual cash, and a chat.

The ride was beautiful, yes. I don’t think there’s anything ugly in this part of Nova Scotia. Well, maybe some parts of Sydney, but that’s another story. We finally reached Bras d’Or where we exited the 105, a big, dual carriageway, to get on Peacekeepers Way to Grand Narrows Highway.
At this exit there was a large pull-off where we consulted our map again. The boyfriend has a GPS, but I like to write directions on a piece of paper. When we both agreed on the route, we took off again toward Upper Leitches Creek.

We pulled a left onto a small paved road. In short time, to my great delight, the road turned into gravel. Finally! There are a handful of houses, spread way apart, and fir trees, fir trees everywhere. The weather was comfortable, the ride invigorating, and things were gooooood, very good. This was exactly what I was looking for. Peace. Quiet. Fir tree smell. Me and my bike.

I was riding in lead position and was having a rip-roaring time with the gravel and rocks. Did I mention how much I love my DRZ? It’s such a hoot to ride. We both have communicators and as long as we have line-of-sight, we can talk to each other. I had gotten waaaay ahead (again, he’s Cap’n Slow) when a voice crackles in my ear.

“I’m down.”

“Oh.” I continue riding forward. “Um, do you want me to turn around?”

“Yes.” Ugh. It didn’t even occur to me that he may need help getting the bike up as it was laden with our camping gear. Yes, we have chairs with us. I gotta have a comfy place to sit.

But the ‘yes’ sounded, well, not like a normal ‘yes’. It sounded like a freaked out ‘yes’. I turned around and rode from whence I came, not really thinking about anything. Just, this is slowing me up!

I know, I’m a bitch. Because this is what I found.

F650GS takes a gravel nap in Upper Leitches Creek, NS
What you don’t see in this picture is the boyfriend who was lying underneath the bike when I first got to him. Now who’s freaking out! I managed to park my bike and ran over to him, trying to push the bike up off him to find out what’s going on. He said he was fine and that the bike was not crushing him. Point 1 for the Vario case.

Who didn't fall down?

He crawled out and over to sit in the grass on the side of the road, clutching his right arm. It was obvious he was in a lot of pain. And he’s a guy who doesn’t make a big thing out of anything, but this was, indeed, a big thing.

I get his helmet off and get him some water. “How about a granola bar?” I ask. He takes it.

He manages to get his jacket off and crawls into the shade. It was hot in the sun, real hot, not fake Nova Scotia hot, but America hot.

I go over to the bike and try to get it upright. But it’s facing downhill in slippy slidey gravel (there seems to be an abundance of this stuff in Canada) and no matter what I do, I can’t get it up. I’m being careful as I don’t want to hurt the bike and I don’t want to hurt me. So I go join him in the shade. I figure, someone has got to come by, eventually. If I had really thought about it, I don’t think I would have assumed anyone would come. Where the hell does this road even go?

After about 15 minutes, I hear an approaching vehicle. I jump up and run to the top of the hill as I want to both stop them for help and make sure they don’t come barreling over the hill and smash into the bike. It’s an old pick-up truck, you know the kind, all metal and real square looking. He jams on the brakes and swings open the driver’s side door. He runs down the hill, screaming, “Is everything ok?” I tell him I can’t get the bike up by myself, and he single-handedly wrestles the bike up onto its kickstand.

By this time, the passengers have also jumped out of the truck. It’s a guy, a woman, a young girl of about 7, and a dog, who remains in the bed of the truck the entire time. “Oh, he won’t hurt you. He wouldn’t hurt anyone. He’s a good dog.”

We’re all standing around, trying to figure out what to do. The guy is determined to repair the broken pannier as we’re discussing how to get to the nearest hospital. He finally asks me where we are headed and I say “Meera River.” “Meera River? You mean Meyera River?” “Oh, that’s how you pronounce it? In Irish it would be Meera.” Who knows why I said that.
Both he and the woman declare that we are very lost. I said we were looking for the long way to the campground, but they kept insisting we were very lost.

He asks where we’re from. “Rhode Island.” “New York?” “No, Rhode Island is a state, sorta above New York. You’re thinking Long Island.” After a little geography lesson that involved showing where Long Island is compared to Rhode Island, I think he did finally believe that we didn’t live in New York.
“I haul Christmas trees down to New York.” Well, now that’s a story. Do tell. He explains how he drives the big trucks laden with trees down to New York every year. “I’m the only one without a record so I don’t have a problem crossing the border. I meet the trucks at the border, drive them across where I meet up with drivers on the other side. I also make the drive in one of the trucks myself.” Having lived in New York and bought Christmas trees from French-Canadians freezing their cahones off on the street, I completely believed this story.

The woman goes back to the pick-up, returns to the group, and hands the guy a can of Alexander Keith’s. He was so drunk he could barely stand. When he suggested that we all drive to the hospital, he volunteered his girlfriend/wife as she “has only had a couple today.”

So what are we going to do? The boyfriend doesn’t want any hospitals. He is insistent that he can get back on the bike and continue riding to Mira River. The guy tells us that he was heading with his family to his “camp” which was further down the road we were on. Did we want to join them that night? Well, of course I wanted to join them, but the boyfriend didn’t and since he was in a serious amount of pain, we decided against that. We were going to continue our ride to Mira River. But how the hell were we going to get there?

Back on the bike, hurrah!

We both thanked the family for all their help. I’m still kicking myself for not getting any names or pictures but I was pretty shaken up. I’ve never seen the boyfriend like this and we’ve been together 11 years. I was sorta freaking out inside. They all climbed back into the truck and headed off down the bumpy road toward their camp.

I turned the BMW around and somehow, the boyfriend got his jacket back on, climbed on the bike, used his left hand to put his right hand on the throttle, and was ready to head out again. I suggested that I could ride him and his bike out to the paved road, walk back, and ride my bike back out, but he was insistent.

We backtracked to get back on the highway to get to Mira River as quickly as possible. We were about 40km away from our destination.

When we pulled into the campground, I practically ran into the ranger’s office. It turns out that the campground was under major renovation and most of the park was closed. I explained what had happened and that we needed a very quiet site, away from people, where he could just relax and try to heal. The ranger, Betty, put us in a part of the park that was closed. The road was a mess and most of the sites were torn up, roots and trees downed, as workers were redoing this section. I didn’t care; we were away from the RV section. Betty said, “He’ll be ok there. Go drop off your things and come back to see.” Turns out, Betty rides.

Look how calm I am, like nothing happened

One more hurdle. Navigating the super-thick gravel to get to the campsite. “Do you want me to ride you in?” I asked. No, he was going to do it. We get to our spot and I get a chair out. “Sit.” I quickly set up the tent, blow up the mat, and set up the sleeping bag. “Lay down.”

I wanted to go back to the ranger station and ask for help. I knew that I could get codeine over the counter in Canada. After he settled down, I rode back to talk to Betty. I walked into the station and asked a bunch of questions. “Where’s the closest pharmacy? Where’s the closest hospital? How does US health insurance work here?”

Betty hauled out the phonebook. She called the pharmacy. Yes, they have codeine and they’ll be expecting me. Here’s how to get there. She called the hospital. Not the one in Sydney. “Oh, you don’t want to go there. Go to New Waterford.” She was transferred and transferred and transferred until someone finally could tell her how our insurance would work in Canada. [We would pay out-of-pocket and then apply to our insurance for reimbursement.]

Damage to the BMW with me in the background headed out in search of codeine

I headed into Sydney in search of codeine at the Shoppers Drug Mart on Prince Street. The girls at the pharmacy counter were, indeed, expecting me when I stumbled in wearing my hi-viz jacket. 100 count bottle. Good-bye migraines.

I stopped in the LC, too, as I had passed it on the way into town. He was really in a lot of pain. I was tempted to pick up some Alex Keith’s, but I opted for my Strongbow.

Back in camp. I have no recall of how this night ended. I can’t even remember if we ate. I know there was a lot of adrenaline. He absolutely refused to go to the hospital. What was actually wrong with him?

I like how the butterfly matches my bike
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Old 01-27-2011, 05:13 AM   #40
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And then???
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Old 01-27-2011, 12:40 PM   #41
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...
The more time you spend in Canada, the more you love Tim Horton's! Being a life-long NewEnglandah, I get nervous being more than 3 blocks away from a DDs also. BUT...after a while... you wonder why Tim's doesn't come down here!!
Tim's did come to Rhode Island but we sent them packing with their donuts between their legs. DD rules here!
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FLy & RIde: Florida to Rhode Island on a Husky TE610
New England to New Scotland

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Old 01-27-2011, 12:47 PM   #42
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Location: Probbydense, RI
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Originally Posted by C-Stain View Post
Awesome Ride Report!

Its always interesting to read someone's perception of where I live and ride. Its unfortunate that as a resident, you take it for granted. Your pics are excellent and I love your writing style.

I have to ask...the guy you spoke to in Cheticamp, from the Repair Shop next to the LC -- guy about 5'7" - 5'8", darker hair, heavyset and kinda dumpy looking? If so, he used to fill my Jeep every week, I used to work in Cheticamp and he'd be one of the "Special" people in the world. You wouldn't believe the gossip that man gets pumping gas!

Can't wait for the completion!
I'm laughing my ass off that all the commenters are Nova Scotians! If you think I'm going to write something unkind, it's not gonna happen. I've travelled a bit, but I have never met nicer people in my life than in NS. You guys have a little bit o' heaven up there. I can only imagine how difficult it is in the winter, but you don't seem to let that get to you.

As for the gas station guy, your description sure sounds like him. He was really nice, chatty and friendly, and, if I'm remembering correctly, missing some teeth. He was interested in our bikes and one of the ones who thought I was nuts for riding this far on a 400.
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FLy & RIde: Florida to Rhode Island on a Husky TE610
New England to New Scotland

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Old 01-27-2011, 01:06 PM   #43
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Great report. Being a Canuck that's never been east past Quebec City, I'm totally jealous! And being a DRZSM rider it's nice to see others take one on a big trip.

What kind of racks and bags are you using on your DRZ?

Can't wait for the end!
We're thinking we may come up and ride Québec and Ontario this year. I'm very interested in this Trans-Canadian route the guys are working on. I wanted to do Labrador this year but we're sorta too broke to do a 2 1/2 to 3 week trip.

I absolutely love my DRZ400SM . I have both the SM wheels and a set of S wheels which makes it very, very versatile. I can pick it up by myself so I can take it in the woods, but I can also haul a ton of crap with me.

The rack is by TCI, made in the US, which is almost as good as made in Canada. It's great build quality and is made to fit my old saddlebags, the Cortech sports, which I use on my scooter. It was not cheap ($228). I got it from newenough (now motorcyclegear.com). My only complaint, and it's not really a complaint, is that because it has supports for the bottom of the bags, when I drop the bike, they get scratched. I would buy one again.

The saddlebags are the plain jane Ortliebs. I got them in the fleamarket for a very good price. I love them! Completely waterproof (we encountered rain in NS, go figure). The duffel is also by Ortlieb. I got it from a bicycle guy, who when I called and asked for the large, said, "You're on a motorcycle, aren't you?" I highly recommend thetouringstore.com.

When I'm done the RR, I'll do a write-up on the equipment.
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New England to New Scotland

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Old 01-27-2011, 01:15 PM   #44
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Originally Posted by Rotten Ronnie View Post
And then???
If you're wondering about the injury I'll relieve some of the suspense. I spent the rest of the trip slowly improving but I didn't go to the hospital or doctor until I returned home. After x-rays, consultation and an MRI it was discovered that I had fractured my right scapula. I was thrilled that it wasn't a torn rotator cuff which would've required surgery and months of rehab. As it was, I did everything a doctor could have done on the trip; I made a sling out of a pair of long underwear and used my arm minimally (although I bet a doctor wouldn't have recommended riding a motorcycle for another week and sleeping in a tent).

But it was painful, very much so. The worst things were getting dressed/undressed and sleeping. The funny thing is that it was easier to me to continue to ride to work after we got home rather than drive a car because it hurt so much more to shift gears in the car than to twist the throttle.
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Old 01-27-2011, 03:29 PM   #45
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Canada Day Ten: Mira River, NS (64 miles)

We woke up this morning to a tent covered in slugs. Let me get this out there right now. I hate slugs. They scare me. My dad taught me to be afraid of slugs. When he would go out to fetch some firewood for the Franklin stove that heated our house, if there was a slug on a log, he would come and get my mom to remove it. Great lesson, Dad, as I am exactly the same. And here I was, staring up at the top of the tent, and I could see slimy creature after slimy creature, crawling all over the tent fly and up the sides.

The boyfriend did not sleep well. I don’t think he slept at all. It really hurt him to lay down even with codeine and Strongbow pumping through his veins.

Homeville Milton Road, Homeville, NS

We got up and he made a sling out of his long underwear. It was quite a look; so disturbing that I didn’t take a pic. We decided that he would stay at the campsite today, reading, relaxing and recuperating. I would go for a ride. Now I know some of you may think that’s not very nice, but I am not one for sitting still and I would have bothered him. It was better this way.

I stopped in the ranger’s station, map in hand, to check in with Betty. She wanted to know how the boyfriend was feeling. I said he wasn’t doing particularly well. She suggested that if we decided he couldn’t ride home, we leave the BMW at her house and he could fly or take the bus back to little Rhody. And she meant it.

She said she would have the guys deliver firewood to the site when I was out riding. I showed her my map and asked about some of the little squiggly lines in which I was interested.

“Oh no, you can’t go there. I don’t think even a Jeep could do that.” Ok, strike that road as I’m by myself. I’m not completely stupid. “How ’bout this one?” She looks at the map and gives me a little route. I thank her and head out.

Homeville Milton Road, Homeville, NS

I took exactly two pictures. I wish I had had a better map because there were some nice roads that would have led me toward the water.
I rode all along the Marconi Trail, into Glace Bay and Port Morien and Mira Gut. I didn’t stop anywhere because the plan was for both of us to go to the Marconi Museum when the boyfriend was feeling better. I just sorta wanted a ride along the water to clear my head. The roads didn’t disappoint. The towns didn’t disappoint. The views didn’t disappoint.

At one point the Homeville Road goes from easy double track (my very favorite kind of riding) to super-wide dirt/gravel road. I decided to see how Elsa would handle on her Avon Distanzias. I was going about 40 mph, which is fast for me on this type of surface (learning every day), when I see I’m going to have to make a turn ahead. I stick out my leg, all super-moto style, and pull the bike through the turn. Yeah, that was fun. A Jeep laden with boys in their 20s passed me at one point along this road and I think they could tell I was having some fun. The road was pretty good, not too potholed, with some mud and puddles.

I stopped to get gas and pick up some food and ice to cook that night at the Shell / Rite Stop in Albert Bridge. The only food that I could find was frozen ground beef so I guess it’s tacos tonight. This was the first time I had to fill-up and go into the shop by myself. Everyone stared. I wish I didn’t look like a spaceman in my gear. But…they had Bounty bars! We don’t have Bounty bars in the US (if you think Almond Joy and Mounds are the same, you don’t know your head from a hole in the ground). I love, love, love Bounty bars. I grabbed a Coffee Crisp (the big king-sized one) for the boyfriend and headed back to the campsite at Mira River.

He had had quite a day, hanging out with one of the campsite worker guys. His pannier was all fixed, a giant pile of firewood was next to the fire pit, and he was sitting, relatively comfortably, reading a book and waiting for me.
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New England to New Scotland

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