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Old 07-29-2013, 04:23 AM   #166
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No problem. I hope it will be helpful to others. I also like to keep track of this sort of data. I'm a bit of a nerd.
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Old 08-07-2013, 03:52 AM   #167
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Coming Back To Life

Completion in November of 2012



Shipping The Bike Back To Canada

Before leaving the shipping agency in El Salvador, we were told that the motorcycle would ship within a week and that, after it had, it would take around thirty days to reach port in Canada. Almost two weeks after arriving back in Canada, I had heard nothing from the shipping agency. I emailed several times and got little response other than they were working on things. Becoming increasingly frustrated and concerned about the return of my motorcycle, Paula and I decided to contact the Salvadorian Embassy in Toronto. We visited the embassy in Toronto and placed a call to the owner of the shipping company. Unbeknownst to him, someone from the embassy was in the room and listening to the entire conversation over speaker. The owner of the shipping company seemed quite surprised when the embassy employee introduced himself. This conversation seemed to help clear things up and get the process moving. The shipment of the motorcycle took far longer than we were told it would, and we were charged by the shipping company for things that we shouldn't have been charged for. Nevertheless, I was glad to see the return of my motorcycle when it did finally arrive back in Canada.

The details of the shipment are as follows:

Motorcycle left at shipping company: January 13, 2011
Shipping time, according to agency: 1 week to ship, 30 days in transit (37 days)
Quoted price: approx. US$975, based on weight, dimensions, and other standard fees

Date motorcycle arrived in Canada: April 27, 2011
Actual shipping time: 3 months and 14 days (104 days)
Actual cost: US$1,288.10
Method of transportation: El Salvador to New York via cargo ship, New York to Toronto via transport truck


The following needed to be paid prior to pick up of the motorcycle in Toronto:

Terminal fee: $65.00
Dock Fee: $40.00


Ordering Parts

It took close to four months for the motorcycle to arrive back in Canada. After finally receiving the bike, I was able to start ordering replacement parts. The main item required for the rebuild was the frame. The original had been completely torn apart at the steering column from the impact during the accident. A possible option would have been to have the frame welded together, but I decided that I would prefer a brand new frame due to the level of damage to the original one.

The front wheel was also badly damaged, and, though not visibly obvious, I was told that there would be damage to the front forks. I ordered a new wheel, front body kit, steering column rod and bearings, and was able to get some used fork from a guy in Austria (thanks Lukas!) who does front-end conversions.

I was offered some shop space by Les, the owner of my local dual sport motorcycle shop, Dual Sport Plus, so that I could work on the motorcycle and have access to their mechanics if I had any questions. After picking the motorcycle up at a shipping warehouse in Toronto, we dropped it off at the shop and I began to disassemble the motorcycle the following week.

Having had a really difficult time seeing the motorcycle returned, I was now dealing with difficulty ordering the new frame. I placed an order with an online dealer who had the frame on sale for US$750. I thought immediately that the price was too good to be true, but the order was proceeding. I was contacted by this vendor and was told that I would need to cut the VIN from my existing frame and send it in before a new frame could be ordered. This was a requirement from KTM, who would ship a new frame out with the existing VIN only when the old VIN had been received. I agreed and was given shipping details for where to send the piece of the frame with the VIN, and was told that they would proceed with the ordering of the new frame. A day later I was contacted again by the dealer. This time the call was to tell me that the part number for the frame I had ordered had been superseded by a different part number, and that he was only able to get that part for US$1,500 - double the price of the one I had originally ordered! I was asked if I wanted to go ahead with the order or cancel. I opted to cancel and look for a better price.

After a bit of searching online, I found the frame, with the original part number, from another online dealer for roughly US$975. I placed the order for the frame and the order began to be processed. Having previously been told that KTM required the VIN, cut from the original frame, before they could proceed with shipment of a new one, I specifically asked about this when purchasing from this dealer in order to confirm this detail. I was told that this was absolutely NOT a requirement. The following email transcript illustrates the headaches that were experienced in ensuring the shipment of the new frame:


On Fri, Jun 1, 2012 at 11:39 AM, Rocky Vachon wrote:

I was able to successfully complete the ordering process.

Can you please provide an update for this order: Google Order #224055459555985

Thank you.



On Fri, Jun 1, 2012 at 3:08 PM, Customer Service wrote:

Yes, it looks like your order has been processed yesterday, and should ship out next week. We will send you a tracking number as soon as your order ships.

Thanks,
Adam



On Fri, Jun 1, 2012 at 12:11 PM, Rocky Vachon wrote:

Before shipment, can I confirm that this is a new OEM frame? I assumed that it was since the description didn't specify.



On Fri, Jun 1, 2012 at 3:19 PM, Customer Service wrote:

This is 100% brand new directly from KTM.

Thanks,
Adam



On Mon, Jun 4, 2012 at 10:08 AM, Rocky Vachon wrote:

Can your provide a mailing address just in case the VIN from my original frame needs to be shipped before a new frame can be issued? I would like to have this ready since almost every other vendor has told me that it is a KTM requirement to receive the VIN cut from the original frame before a new frame can be issued.

Here is my original VIN in just in case it is required to keep the process moving: (VIN)

Thanks.



On Mon, Jun 4, 2012 at 2:03 PM, Customer Service wrote:

Our mailing address is: (mailing address)

Also shown here: (website help page link)

I am really not sure who has been telling you to cut out a VIN number - that just cannot be true. Please don't listen to them. You cannot be expected to cut out a VIN from the old frame as that would not even be legal. We deal directly with KTM, and there is no such requirement. Usually with frames the manufacturer may want the paperwork (pink slip, registration, etc) and they wouldn't let us even order without that. In this case they did not want anything except make and model. Again, I have never heard of any manufacturer asking to cut up your old frame.

Thanks,
Adam



On Thu, Jun 7, 2012 at 7:51 AM, Rocky Vachon wrote:

Thanks for all your help Adam.

A few more requests/questions:
• Can you provide me with the new VIN of the new frame that will be shipping once that becomes available?
• Can you add a shipping note to "Hold for pick-up."
• Is there any new information as to when this will ship?

Thanks again for all your help.



On Thu, Jun 7, 2012 at 10:08 PM, Customer Service:

Rocky, we are still waiting to receive this frame from KTM. We will have any information from the frame once its in our warehouse. I can contact you once the frame is here and get you all the info. I will get an update on when it should arrive tomorrow (it should be in the next few days - unfortunately KTM is one of the slower manufacturers we deal with)

Thanks,
Adam



On Fri, Jun 8, 2012 at 3:47 PM, Customer Service wrote:

Rocky, per KTM your frame should be getting to our warehouse early next week - most likely Tuesday.

Thanks,
Adam



On Wed, Jun 13, 2012 at 12:04 PM, Rocky Vachon wrote:

Any word on the frame yet, Adam?



On Wed, Jun 20, 2012 at 2:51 PM, Customer Service wrote:

Rocky, we were trying to find out what the hold up with KTM is, and it turns out you were absolutely correct. They now want the get the vin number physically cut out from the frame. I have asked KTM several times when the frame was ordered and was assured this is NOT the case, but when it came time to deliver, they changed the story. Honestly I have never heard of any manufacturer asking a customer to chop up their frame. Most manufacturers simply want the old VIN number and sometimes copy of the registration and driver license / ID.

So once again, I do apologize, but we would need the VIN number physically cut out from the old frame in order to ship this frame. If you cannot do that, let me know and I can cancel this order.

Thanks,
Adam



On Mon, Jun 25, 2012 at 9:46 AM, Rocky Vachon wrote:

Adam,

I cut the VIN from the frame last week. I still do not have a shipping address in order to ship it directly to KTM. Please provide me with the shipping address so that I can ship the VIN directly to KTM USA.

I know that it can be difficult dealing with KTM. If you provide me with contact information (name and telephone number) for your KTM sales rep., I can see if I can get this process moving. I have already lost 4 weeks of build time. I disassembled my motorcycle in shop space that is only being rented until the end of this month. I am now left to deal with transferring a completely disassembled motorcycle to a new location to finish the rebuild.



On Mon, Jun 25, 2012 at 1:36 PM, Customer Service wrote:

Rocky, I was sure someone has gotten back to you on this, I apologize.

You cannot send this VIN KTM directly. It has to be sent to us and we have to forward it to KTM Austria. We have tried to get KTM to accept the VIN directly from you (the customer) but they will not do that. We need to get it to us first and then it will go to KTM. We are the sales rep and are affiliated with a local KTM dealership, so the same day we receive your VIN, will be the same day it will go out to KTM Austria.

Our address is: (address)

Please write your order number "44192" on the package.

I know these are some crazy rules KTM has, but there is no way around it. We sell frames for Honda, Polaris, Kawasaki and other brands of bikes and ATVs and never have we ran into a situation like this. Lets hope we can resolve this quickly and get the frame out to you ASAP.


Thanks,
Adam



On Thu, Jul 5, 2012 at 9:37 AM, Rocky Vachon wrote:

I sent you the VIN last week. It should be arriving any day now if it hasn't already. I wrote the order number on the package and made the it out to your attention.

Please let me know when you receive the package. I will send the tracking number later today if you need it.




On Thu, Jul 5, 2012 at 1:14 PM, Rocky Vachon wrote:

Tracking number is: CX 468 493 962 CA

According to Canada post, my VIN has been successfully delivered as of July 02.

Please confirm that you have received the VIN and have sent it to KTM.

Thanks.



On Thu, Jul 5, 2012 at 4:16 PM, Customer Service wrote:

Yes, it shows as delivered. This week we have a holiday, so we should be able to take care of it today.

Thanks,
Adam



On Thu, Jul 19, 2012 at 11:54 AM, Rocky Vachon wrote:

Are there any updates or tracking information for the frame yet?



On Mon, Jul 19, 2012 at 4:25 PM, Customer Service wrote:

Rocky, the VIN / neck has been sent to KTM, and as of yesterday, we were told by KTM, that worst case ETA would be 2 weeks most likely sooner (it sounds like the frame is coming from Austria).

I really feel bad that this is taking so long, but unfortunately this is KTM and this is how it works with them. KTM is probably the manufacturer that gives us the most headache with many of our orders with them.


Thanks,
Adam



On Thu, Aug 1, 2012 at 11:59 AM, Rocky Vachon wrote:

It's been almost two weeks. Do you have any more updates on where the frame is? Is there any sort of tracking or concrete way of knowing its location?



On Mon, Aug 1, 2012 at 4:01 PM, Customer Service wrote:

Hi, the frame should be here (our warehouse) today. We will need to arrange for freight shipping to you so it will probably be going out via Fedex Freight or UPS Freight tomorrow. I will send you a tracking number as soon as it ships.

Thanks,
Adam



On Mon, Aug 2, 2012 at 11:33 PM, Customer Service wrote:

Hello Justin Vachon,

Great news! (Dealer) has shipped part of your order. It should arrive soon.

Track FedEx package #726810215013242

Order date: May 30, 2012 1:30 PM EDT
Google order number: 224055459555985
KTM OEM Part - FRAME "FD07" 990 ADVENTURE 07 (6010300110033): $976.79
FedEx: #726810215013242
Additional Shipping of oversized item: $78.05
Shipping & Handling (Ground Shipping): $20.90
Tax (NY): $0.00
Total: $1,075.74



The frame was finally delivered on August 9th, two months and 10 days (71 days) after placing the order. Paula and I knew that there was no time to complete the rebuild and prepare to head out again on the trip that summer. We set a goal to work through the winter and prepare to leave the following spring.


The Rebuild

Three years earlier when I first bought my motorcycle, I was extremely intimidated by it, having never done any real mechanical work before. I remember taking the front fairings off for some reason and being really nervous and uncertain about whether or not the bike would start up again after reinstalling them. Over the next few years, I did more work and continued to familiarize myself with my motorcycle. I was given a lesson on how to perform an oil change, which involves the removal of the left side fuel tank. Using step-by-step tutorials form the internet, I performed a valve clearance check and rebuilt my water pump. During the trip, I met my motorcycle guru, John, who showed me how to change a tire. I performed another valve clearance check in Arizona, and changed a few tires along the way. While in Mexico, I changed out my sprockets and chain for new ones.

This rebuild was going to be a lot more involved than anything I had done before. It required the complete disassembly of the motorcycle in order to move all of its parts from the old, damaged frame to the new one. I approached the rebuild with the idea that, if someone else could do it, there is no reason why I couldn't. I try to approach most things with this mindset. Understanding that it wouldn't be easy, I knew that what would be required was the right level of effort, thoroughness and focus.

I began by slowly disassembling the motorcycle, piece by piece, while taking photos of everything and carefully placing every nut and bolt in a labelled baggie. I drew diagrams showing the general routing of cables, wires and hoses and their locations relative to other parts on the motorcycle. Being very thorough, it took several days to disassemble the motorcycle to the point where the only thing left on the old frame was the engine and swing-arm.

Les was only temporarily renting the space he had offered, and, since the new frame was taking longer than expected to arrive, I decided to take the pieces of the motorcycle and store them in my mother's garage until I was able to start the rebuild.

After many headaches and a lot of waiting, the new frame finally arrived in August. It had been almost seven months since returning to Canada. It was far too late to complete the rebuild and prepare to head out on the trip by the end of summer, so Paula and I decided that we'd have to get our own apartment and wait until the following year to begin our trip again.

We moved into our apartment at the end of June, and it wasn't until the end of October that I got up the motivation to tackle the rebuild. I transferred all of the parts of the motorcycle from my mother's garage to the garage where we were living. My landlord, Peter, helped me remove the engine from the old frame and place it in the new one. I began assembling the rest of the motorcycle using an ordered list that I had made during disassembly as a guide, starting at the bottom and working toward the top. Slowly, piece by piece, the bike began to take shape. I removed the SAS (secondary air system) equipment and placed engine block-off plates over the openings in the cylinders left bare from the removal. When I finally had all of the pieces mounted and all of the nuts and bolts accounted for, I placed a charger on the battery, filled the bike with its necessary fluids, and prepared to start it up. The removal of the SAS equipment causes an error that prevents that starting of the motorcycle, so I purchased a communication cable and connected my laptop to the bike's ECU (computer) and disabled the SAS equipment check, effectively disabling the error that prevented starting. It was ready to be started up. I was a bit nervous. After several laboured attempts to start, the bike fired up. She sounded beautiful.

The rebuild, other than a few snags, went smoothly and took place over the course of three or four weekends. Going through the process of rebuilding the motorcycle allowed me to become intimately familiar with the bike, and it made the work I had previously done on the bike seem much easier. It also gave me the knowledge and confidence to be able to tackle almost any repair necessary in the future. When the day comes that I do a compete engine rebuild, I'll almost be able to call myself a real mechanic.


The Accident


All of the nuts and bolts from the bike were meticulously labeled and placed into sealable baggies. Many photos were taken in various states of disassembly, and diagrams noting relative locations of parts and the routing of hoses, wires and cables.


With some help from my landlord, Peter, the engine was lifted from the original frame.


The old frame and the new one


The engine, swing-arm and rear mono-shock were the first parts placed onto the new frame.


Other than the pesky foot-peg springs, the wire and cable routing was the most challenging part of the rebuilt, as was expected.


Piece by piece, the skeleton of a bike started to look like a real, live motorcycle.


Back from the pits of despair, Almeida came back to life. Here she stands (leans) in all her glory.
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Old 08-08-2013, 03:26 AM   #168
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Preparing To Leave

Autumn of 2012 - June 9, 2013

It took over four months for the motorcycle to arrive. That ruined any plans to leave that summer. Rocky was eager to start the repairs and fortunately we were offered a place to fix the bike at Dual Sport Plus. It's a local motorcycle shop owned by Les. Him and his staff were extremely helpful. Rocky assessed the damage and began ordering parts. I am amazed that he was able to completely take the bike apart and put her back together. He even got her running better than before. As soon as the bike was completed, we were able to place much more focus on preparing to leave. My first step was to get back on the motorcycle. I hadn't been on the bike since the accident and I felt nervous. It wasn't so bad. I was surprisingly comfortable and I was able to thoroughly enjoy the ride.

After a lot of organizing we were finally able to start packing. One would think it would be easier the second time around. But, now that I know what to expect, I caught myself over packing. It is difficult to travel with the bare minimum. Traveling through different climates definitely doesn't help. If I had forgotten anything, I could always pick it up along the way. I'll just have a heck of a time finding room for it though. Maybe I could find room for just one pair of my favorite high heels!

I definitely went through some mixed emotions. I felt excited, nervous, sad, happy. A shrink would have fun diagnosing my current state. My poor mom was in denial. She refused to acknowledge we were leaving. My brother was having dreams that I had changed my mind. I just wish that my cats could've spoke just once to tell me that they forgive me and they'll be waiting for our safe return. I have been so fortunate to have so many amazing people in my life but it makes it so much tougher to leave their side.

We will miss everyone. I am sure that I will cry and so will Rocky. Only he will pretend that a bug got in his eye.




Shortly after moving into our apartment, our landlords, Peter & Haarika, had a baby boy named Kushal.


Nikita, Haarika's daughter, & her baby brother, Kushal


Paula and I drove to Toronto to see Romi Mayes (pictured here) and Jay Nowicki. We first met both of them while couch-surfing in Medicine, Hat Alberta. Romi was awarded Song Writer of the Year and Album of the Year at the 2007 Western Canadian Music Awards. "Mayes' style has been described as edgy, bourbon-infused country blues and bluegrass, characterized by sympathy and honesty." -- Wikipedia


Romi & Jay rocking out the Dakota Tavern, in Toronto, Ontario.


Paula, Giovanni & Grace dressed up for Hallowe'en


Paula dressed up for Hallowe'en as a belly dancer, only to be told several times that she was actually Jasmine from the Disney animated movie, Aladdin.


Princess Jasmine


Paula & her friend, Grace - Grace is a paralegal and one of the most well-read and knowledgable people I know. She also like to talk a LOT.


Paula and I spent New Years eve at Hess Village, in downtown Hamilton.


New Year's Eve


Happy New Year!


Paula on New Year's Eve


Paula & I on New Year's Eve


Belle


My grandmother lived to the ripe, old age of 94. She was only a few months away from her 95th birthday when she passed away in 2009. I use to visit her on weekends and she always baked me delicious pies - apple, peach, berry, custard... After the new year, I decided to take up baking. This triple-berry pie was my second attempt. It was delicious (if I do say so myself).


On March 15th, my niece, Maddy, turned four years old.


During the almost year and a half back home, I was able to see my favourite band, Sigur Rós, twice. - photo by Balzz


Paula's niece, Josephine, turned five years old in April. Paula's sister and brother-in-law, Maryline and Dennis, have four children in total.


Paula's niece, Madison, is one of twins.


Sophia is the other half of the set of twins.


In April, Paula's friend, Catherine, had a baby girl named Avielle.


Paula's mother, Lucilia, hibernates in winter, but, at the first sign of spring, she is out all day working in her garden. She has one of the best gardens I have ever seen, full of plants, flowers, herbs and vegetables. She also makes amazing chicken wings.
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Old 08-09-2013, 05:41 AM   #169
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It was great to see your ride report pop up again. Not only did i enjoy your rebuild endavors but also your family pics. Can't wait for you guys to get back on the road!
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Old 08-09-2013, 06:11 AM   #170
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Thanks! We are back on the road, but, of course, we're being in blogging. I guess we're just not good at it. We got behind while at home working, and we're always behind while on the road.

We left two months ago, on June 9th. We just got to Iceland this past Monday, and are waiting for the motorcycle to arrive from New York. Cargo only ships out Saturdays and they've been backed up for weeks. Hopefully my motorcycle papers will clear US customs soon and, with any luck, the bike will arrive here on Sunday. We've been tented out in a park in the middle of a small town (Keflavík) a few kilometers from the airport, waiting for the bike and trying to catch up on the ride report.
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Old 08-14-2013, 10:19 AM   #171
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On The Road Again

June 9, 2013 - June 16, 2013

We left a week and a day late but it was nice to have a little extra time with everyone. We had everything packed at Rocky's moms house but we spent the night at my moms. I tried to cuddle my cats as much as possible before leaving the next morning. Saying goodbye was obviously tough, I cried. My mom wasn't about to make it easier on us. She tried a few guilt trips, hoping I would change my mind, but her and I giggled at the attempt. My brother, Mike, drove us around the corner to Rocky's mothers house. Rocky's brother Jay was there with his wife Andrea and their daughter Mady. My best friend Greg showed up with his girlfriend Eden, and our friend Peter, who lives next door to Diana (Rocky's mom) was also there with his two children. I cried, again. We left there and headed towards my sister, Maryline's house. Her husband Dennis and their four children, Lucas, Josephine, Madison and Sofia were all there. I was glad that my tear ducts were completely drained, otherwise I would have bawled. I'm going to miss everybody.


Our next destination was Tobermory, Ontario, a really cute town with an unspoiled countryside. It is known for its relaxed pace of life and fresh water scuba diving. There are numerous shipwrecks that lie in the surrounding waters, but we stayed on land. After splitting an order of delicious, fresh White fish and chips and clam chowder soup, Rocky and I rode around in search of a place to camp. We found the perfect spot by the water, next to a historic lighthouse. Just before we began unloading the bike, we met a guy named Ivan. He mentioned that he was also from Hamilton, Ontario. He lives in Tobermory with his girlfriend and pet dog and works as an engineer on the Chi-Cheemaun ferry.


We woke up early the next morning but it was a bit chilly and I didn't want to get out of the sleeping bag. Rocky warned me to get up because it would rain, I should've listened. We got a bit wet packing up the gear and loading up the bike. We were going to take the Chi-Cheemaun ferry. It traverses Lake Huron from Tobermory to Manitoulin Island. $51.50 was a bit expensive but it was an hour and a half journey and I'm not a good swimmer. While waiting to dock, we met a young man named Marty, who was from Austrailia and also touring on a motorcycle. He flew to British Columbia and took a train to Toronto, where he bought a Kawasaki. He is also heading to Eastern Canada and I wonder if we'll bump into him again along the way. Ivan, the engineer on the ferry, found us and offered us a tour. I don't know much about boats but I found it really interesting to look at. He took us through the engine room, all the control rooms, along with the bridge, where the captain was. I felt like I was on a really awesome school trip.


As soon as we reached Manitoulin Island, it was raining pretty hard. We rode at least 5km up the rode and stopped at a Home Hardware store for refuge. We were soaked. The rain didn't seem like it was about to stop, so we decided to ride a couple of kilometers up to a restaurant. We found a great little place called Musky Widows where we met Matthew, the owner. After a hot meal and a few cups of coffee, it was still pouring rain outside. Matthew mentioned an abandoned barn a few minutes away and said he would take us there if we were interested. We were excited to sleep under a shelter.


We peeked into the barn where we were prepared to stay until Matthew mentioned the Hanger a few meters away. We chose the Hanger instead. It was easier to unpack all of our things and bring the motorcycle inside. We kept the large doors open to watch the storm. Our belongings didn't dry well because of the moisture in the air but at least they didn't get any worse. It ended up raining all night. Although I enjoyed sleeping there, I have to admit I was a bit scared. Raindrops and every other small sound echoed loudly. It got a little bit scary in the complete darkness.

We took our time getting out if bed in the morning. Once we packed, we took a ride back to Musky Widows for breakfast. We left the small town of Manitowaning and headed towards Sudbury, Ontario. It was getting late and we almost settled for a place to camp. I'm glad we kept searching because we found the most perfect location. Ramsey Lake is extremely pretty and surprisingly quiet. We walked across large rocks were we found a patch of grass just big enough to fit our tent. It was simply a perfect place to be.


Our plan was to go visit Rocky's dad. He recently moved to Cobalt, Ontario. The ride was only a couple of hours from Sudbury, Ontario, and it rained on us the last hour. At least this times we were prepared. We pulled over to put on our rain liners just before the rain came down. Cobalt is a small town with a population of 1500. Known as Silver City, it is the Silver Capital of Canada. The only other thing that could be said for Cobalt, Ontario is, it had delicious tap water. Conrad, Rocky's dad, is in his 70's and looking for love, ladies. He is a really nice guy with a funny vocabulary. He uses words like gee willikers, gosh golly and darn tootin. When he addresses me, he either calls me Sis or Salami. He is hilarious. Even when he is sleeping, he is funny. We've caught him talking in his sleep. He has full conversations.

We were there a few nights and decided not to leave until Fathers Day. It was tough saying goodbye but we got everything prepared for Conrad to get his passport. Since he is a French Canadian we assume France would be an easy sell. We would love for him to visit us in France.




After a year and a half of being back home, working, saving and rebuilding the motorcycle, we set back out on the road. We left Hamilton on June 9th and headed north.


Our second day on the road, we crossed over to Manitoulin Island on the ferry from Tobermory. The crossing took about two hours and cost $50 for the motorcycle and two riders.


While waiting for the ferry, we met Marty. Marty is from Australia and purchased a motorcycle in Toronto to ride across Canada.


The night before taking the ferry, we met Ivan. Ivan mentioned that he was the lead engineer on the ferry to Manitoulin Island, called the MS Chi-Cheemaun. He told us to find him onboard and he'd take us on a tour around the vessel.


Shortly after arriving on Manitoulin Island, a torrential downpour also arrived. Paula and I found a restaurant in a nearby town to hang out and dry out our soaked gear. Matthew, the owner of the restaurant, called Musky Widows, offered to take us to an abandoned farm where we could spend the night out of the rain.


The farm had an old barn and a hanger, where we decided to set up our tent.


The rain poured down throughout the entire night, pinging the metal of the hanger roof until morning.


Morning came and the sun finally broke through the clouds as the sky cleared up.


We spent the next night in Sudbury, Ontario. One of the best parts of traveling the way we do is trying to find a spot to camp for the night. With the sun going down, we found this perfect little spot on the edge of Ramsey Lake.


Ramsey Lake


Our next stop was Colbalt, Ontario, where my father had recently moved after separating from his wife.


The last time I had seen my father was almost two years prior, during the first part of our trip. He had aged noticeably since, but hadn't lost is lively spirit, despite battling bouts of depression over the break-up of his marriage.


We met "King Ross" at a Tim Horton coffee shop in the nearby town of New Liskeard. I don't know whether he was the craziest or one of the most intelligent people I have met, but he certainly was entertaining and interesting to talk to.


My father's diet consisted of beer and cigarettes (though he didn't inhale). He woke up one morning and got a beer from the fridge at seven in the morning. I mentioned that there was already a freshly-opened beer on the table. He thought it was mine, as though everyone had a beer first thing in the morning.


After a four-day visit with my father, we left Colbalt and headed towards Montreal. While with my dad, we applied for a passport for him and made tentative plans to meet him somewhere in the world, maybe Paris, France.
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Old 08-14-2013, 03:35 PM   #172
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Old 08-18-2013, 08:22 AM   #173
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Québec

June 17, 2013 - June 23, 2013

The sky was threatening to rain when we left Cobalt, but we only got spit on. We rode all day until we were ready to find a place to camp. Pembroke, Ontario had a good flat field next to a school and we decided to spend the night there. I tried to set up the tent quickly because I was getting attacked by mosquitos, but they were about to quickly disappear anyway. Just as the sky became black, lightning began brightening up the sky. Thunder followed, causing the earth to shake beneath us. It was very exciting to be in the tent as the storm traveled past us.

Early the next morning, we continued riding until we reached Baie-d'Urfe, Québec. We were going there to visit Alex, who we had previously met while traveling in Mexico and Guatemala. He had also stayed with us as he traveled through Hamilton. Alex just purchased a motorcycle and made plans with Rocky to join us on our trip through eastern Canada. I like to hope that we inspired him to travel by motorcycle but I think he decide to do so because he couldn't turn down a $400 motorcycle.

Baie-d'Urfe is a beautiful suburb of Montreal. Alex was currently living there with his father, Patrick. Patrick is a great guy and cook. He treated us to a delicious duck dinner our first night there. After a few bottles of wine, the conversation somehow turned to health insurance. I learned that, although we have health care in Canada (OHIP - Ontario Health Insurance Plan), we needed to request an extension (for a maximum of 2 years) if we were planning on being absent from the country for more than seven months. If we didn’t, our OHIP coverage would expire, and we would be denied medical treatment upon our return to Canada. The following day, we turned around and rode 45 minutes back into Ontario to apply for the extension. Before heading back to Alex's, we stopped in Montreal for a few last minute necessities. Montreal is a great city. We were unable to take advantage of the awesome nightlife or shopping but we were still able to peek at all the beautiful people. Montreal is known for its lovely looking ladies.


After spending a couple of nights in the suburb of Montreal, Alex, Rocky and I packed up and hit the road. As we followed Alex through the thick traffic in Montreal, I began questioning if he was ready for the road. Alex is a great guy and he's very smart, but he is in his early twenties and he just got his motorcycle license. We were trying to follow his lead but he was weaving in and out of lanes, squeezing through places we wouldn't be able to follow. I was glad when we were finally able to get out of the city.



We contacted couple, Katie and Raymond, on couchsurfing.org and planned on staying at their house for a couple of days. They live with their cute dog, Complain (which means companion in French), in a suburb called Sainte-Redempteur (Levis), on the south shore of Quebec. It was pretty late when we had arrived, so we didn't do much until the following day. Raymond is in the Military, Katie is a Veterinarian, and both of them were gone for the day. Alex, Rocky and I, decided to take a bus to Québec City for the day and Katie said that she would meet us out for drinks once her shift was over.


Québec City is one of the prettiest cities I've seen. It is full of culture and character. More than 90% of Québécois (the people of Québec) speak French as their first language. I was warned that many of them weren't pleasant towards English-speaking people, but I never did experience that. It is often said that the people in Québec are very arrogant and rude because they want to be separated from Canada because they are different. The central cultural argument of those who wish to separate is that only sovereignty can adequately ensure the survival of the French language in North America, allowing Québécois to establish their nationality, preserve their culture identity, and keep their collective memory alive. I personally love that Canada has its unique twist of cultures.

After spending the day exploring the streets of Québec City, we decided to meet up with Katie and a few of her friends. A large street party was happening and we were ready to have fun! Quebec city knows how to throw a good party and Katie and her friends know how to have a great time. I didn't drink too much but I'm glad I wasn't hung-over the next morning. We had a long day of driving as we got back on the road.

The ride from the city up along the coast of the St. Lawrence River was really beautiful. By the end of the day, we all imagined that sleeping by the coast would be ideal. As we rode around searching for a place to set up camp for the night, Alex followed behind. Rocky signaled to make a left hand turn, and just before we had fully crossed the street, Alex cut us off and almost crashed into us at a very high speed. I don't fully understand Alex's perspective of what had happened but I do know that it was a mistake he didn't make intentionally. It is just hard to ignore something that could've put an end to our trip, or even our lives.


We pitched our tents on the shore of the St. Lawrence River along the coastal Highway 132. It was a great place to gather our thoughts as we enjoyed the view. Early the next morning, we headed towards Gaspé, Québec. After a few incidents, we all realized the difficulty in riding together. Alex continued in his own direction without us. Rocky and I remained in Gaspé and found an abandoned house to set up camp in the backyard. I love camping but I've been getting eaten alive. Mosquitos bites annoy me but black flies are attacking me, biting me repeatedly, taking small chunks of my skin and leaving me bloody, bruised and intensely itchy. It is tough being delicious. ;)

Not far from where we slept was a small city near the tip of the Gaspé Peninsula, called Percé. We decided to stop there on our way to New Brunswick, Canada. Percé is mainly a tourist town particularly well known for the attractions of the Percé Rock, translated to English as the pierced rock. It is one of the world's largest natural arches located in water. Percé is known as one of the most beautiful villages of Québec. It was a perfect location to remind us of the beauty of Québec before leaving the province to visit New Brunswick for the first time!




We arrived in Baie-d'Urfe, a suburb of Montreal, on June 17th where our friend, Alex, lives with his father, Patrick. We first met Alex while traveling in Mexico, and later randomly saw him hitchhiking at the side of the road in Guatemala. After arriving in Baie-d'Urfe, Patrick cooked us all a delicious duck dinner.


The next day we were invited by Patrick, who is an avid sailor, to the local sailing club for dinner.


Twinsies - Paula and I are often made fun of because, while traveling, we look the same since both wear blue jeans and the exact same hoodie. We don't mind so much since we wouldn't give up the best sweater either of us have ever worn. At $135 it's a bit pricey, but worth every penny. p.s. - MEC sponsorship is welcomed - call us.


Alex's father, Patrick, is also a motorcycle rider. He is also a bit of a workaholic, but planned on meeting up with us for part of our trip through the eastern part of Canada.


After several days at Alex's, Paula, Alex and I set out on the road. Our first destination was Québec City. A food that was popularized in Québec is Poutine - french fried potatoes topped with gravy and cheese curds.


The three of us spent the day walking around beautiful Québec City, situated alongside the St. Lawrence River.


Historic Québec City


The three of us had planned on meeting Katie, our couch-surfing host, later that evening. The streets were being readied for a large street party that was taking place that evening, and we had planned on meeting up with Katie and a few of her friends.


With some time to kill, Paula, Alex and I walked over to the park to relax and to take a nap in the warm sun.


Alex & Paula In Quebec City


In need of our daily coffee fix, we searched for a Tim Hortons coffee shop, but, unable to find one, we had to settle for Starbucks. Later that day, we stumbled across a Tim Hortons that didn't appear on my GPS. Tim Hortons quality has suffered a decline in recent years, but it was still our go-to coffee shop for its selection and price. The chain also originated in our home town of Hamilton, Ontario.


Our couch-surfing host, Katie, was a veteranarian, and, after a long day of work, we met up with her at the street party. Earlier that day, Katie had performed surgery on a dog. There were complications during the surgery, and the animal didn't make it through. Already saddened by the turn of events, Katie had to deal with the devastated owner of the pet who blamed her for what had happened. We tried to cheer her up with a few beers.


We met several of Katie's crazy friends.


While at Alex's house in Baie-d'Urfe, Patrick introduced us to a type of honey wine. We liked it so much that we decided to stop along the way at the Vieux Moulin, located along highway 132 in Québec, where the wine is produced. Since we couldn't carry a lot on the bike, we only bought one bottle of wine, but would like to have stocked up on a lot of their delicious goods, which range from different kinds of wines to various types of honey, honey-filled chocolates and other honey-based products.


Following the southern shore of the St. Lawrence river and up to The Gulf of The St. Lawrence, the ride along Québec's Route 132 was beautiful. It was spotted with small fishing villages, hills, mountains, cliffs and waterfalls. We were surprised not to have heard anything about it before.


Alex Along Route 132


The day before, while looking for a spot to camp, we were almost in an accident with Alex. We're not certain exactly what happened, but, for whatever reason, Alex didn't leave enough space while following to notice that we were making a left turn. We narrowly missed hitting each other at a high rate of speed. The stress of riding together got to both of us, and we both decided that it might be better if we split off on our own.


Later that evening, Paula and I looked for a place to set up camp. We found an abandoned house in the town of Gaspé that seemed perfect. We waited until dusk and spent the night in the yard behind the house. We packed up in the morning, had some breakfast and headed on.


Our next destination was the small, tourist town of Percé, Québec. Percé is known for the Percé Rock, one of the world's largest natural arches located in water.


Paula at Percé


I found a gravel road on my GPS that appeared to ascend the hill overlooking the town of Percé. We rode up a steep gravel road and found a lookout that gave a great view of Percé.


After leaving Percé, Paula and I headed on towards New Brunswick. We had spent almost a week in the province of Québec, but could easily have spent much more time there.
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Old 08-22-2013, 10:21 PM   #174
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It's great to see you guys on the road again
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Old 09-02-2013, 02:28 PM   #175
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Old 09-02-2013, 02:43 PM   #176
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The Maritimes

June 23, 2013 - July 5, 2013

It became obvious when we had entered New Brunswick because most of the street signs were also written in English. Campbellton, New Brunswick is situated on the south bank of the Restigouche River opposite Pointe-a-la-Croix, Quebec. We found a perfect spot to camp, located on the top of a hill, overlooking both coasts. Eastern Canada has no shortage of great spots to camp.


I contacted a guy, named Ryan, on couchsurfing.org and he welcomed us to stay with him in a small suburb of Moncton, New Brunswick. The Petitcodic River separates Riverview, New Brunswick from Moncton. In the late 1960's, a controversial rock-and-earth fill causeway was build between Moncton and Riverview to prevent agricultural flooding and to carry a crossing between the two communities. Before the construction of this causeway, the river had one of the largest tidal bores, which ranged 1-2 meters in height and moved at 5-3 km per hour. Ryan's backyard had a beautiful view of this chocolate coloured river.

The day after arriving in Riverview, Rocky and I made a coffee run in the morning while Ryan was at work meetings. About 300 meters from us returning to the house, the motorcycle lost all power and Rocky had to push it the rest of the way. After spending some time problem solving through the electrical, Rocky noticed that the exhaust had melted some wires. We were lucky to have been such a short distance away with a nice large garage to do the repairs.

Ryan is a charming character with an abundant storage of information. As the CEO/owner of Chatham Biotec and Mega Chaga, his background is in innovative forestry products. He lives with his dog Mocha, a pretty Shepard/Boxer mix. The four of us took a ride down to Caladonia Gorge, a protected natural area. We hiked through the forest until we reached a creek. The water squeezed and crashed down through a narrow slot, it's wake churning into a deep cold pool.


Ryan told us we'd be swimming at Crooked Creek, so I came prepared with my bathing suit. Although, I didn't come prepared to jump off a cliff into the water. I'm such a chicken. It took me quite a few minutes to mentally prepare for my pathetic attempt of a jump. But, I did it, and after I did, I realized that in order to get out of the cold water, I was going to have to climb up the cliff I had just jumped off of. Ryan made fun of me. He said that I was hugging the cliff all the way up, holding on for dear life. I'm such a coward.

Spending a few days at Ryan's was a lot of fun, but we needed to get back on the road to maintain some sort of schedule. We were on our way to discover Nova Scotia. Rocky's friend Kathy, who he had lived with in Taiwan, now lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia, with her husband Ryan. The both of them live with a few roommates in North Halifax, a great area named The Hydrostone. The moment we arrived, Kathy greeted us outside and embraced me with a big hug.


As I began unpacking the motorcycle, Rocky noticed a hissing sound coming from the front tire. It had a strange hole on the wheel wall where the air was escaping but after removing the tire, no hole was found on the inner tube. The tire was placed back on and seemed OK but we weren't comfortable keeping it. We had planned on getting a new rear tire because ours was low on thread but we then decided that a new front tire was also necessary. Although the front tire was fairly new, it was the same tire used when we were in our accident. Rocky and I agreed that there was a good possibility that the tire was unsafe and should be replaced.

We had planned to spend the long weekend with Kathy and Ryan. Ryan is in a band called Three Sheet and was booked to perform at a few venues throughout Nova Scotia. Ryan also owns a motorcycle and had the weather been better, the four of us would have gone on a great little camping road trip. Instead, Ryan went by van with his band members because the weather called for heavy rain all weekend. Rocky and I couldn't do much but wait for the sky to clear up. After relaxing all weekend, we finally decided to take our chances against Mother Nature and our faulty tire. We took a short road trip to Peggy's Cove and it was well worth it. The rain had stopped for a short moment and the scenery was incredible. It was definitely one of the prettiest coasts I have ever seen.


The following day remained somewhat dry as well. Rocky and I rode to the motorcycle shop to pick up our tires because they had finally arrived. Without any other choice, I placed each arm through a tire and held on tight as I sat on the back of the bike. We rode from the shop for just under one minute before lights began flashing behind us. We were being pulled over by an undercover cop. He asked us where we were going and said that carrying the tires wasn't the safest idea, we could get charged. He then asked for the tires, said that he would place them in his car and he would follow us to where we were going. Amazing! I laughed the entire ride. Especially at the thought of the paranoia Rocky must have felt from a cop following behind him for 20 minutes. Once we arrived at Kathy's home, we enjoyed a good chuckle with him. We exchanged info and he told us to call him if we had any troubles. In case you are reading our blog, Mr. Detective/Constable Upshaw, we did not inhale. ;)

Rocky and I spent a while changing both tires. With the bike ready, we were excited to get back on the road. It had almost been a full week spent with Kathy, Ryan, their roommates Andrea and Adrienne and the household dog, Jetson. The night before we planned to leave, Jordie Lane, an amazing musician from Australia, came to stay at the house with his beautiful girlfriend Clare. Although it was nice to relax and spend time in such an interesting household, we said our goodbyes and got back on the road the following morning. It was too bad that we didn't stick around to watch Jordie on stage. He is extremely talented.


Our next destination was Cape Breton Island. Although it is physically separated from the Nova Scotia peninsula by the Strait of Canso, it is artificially connected by a rock-fill Canso Causeway. We rode until we found a place to camp in a field near an industrial section of Port Hawkesbury. Just as I was setting up the tent, I began to realize that we were in the center of millions of Mosquitos. I tried to hurry but it was futile, I felt as though I was getting eaten alive. I was happy once we were in the tent, but I still spent a long time killing the mosquitos that snuck there way in. I don't like to kill anything but I felt no guilt as hundreds of them pressed against the mesh to watch the bloody massacre.

Located in Cape Breton, the Cabot Trail is considered one of the world’s most scenic drives. It truly was gorgeous. After riding for most of the day Rocky pulled over for a bathroom break. A gravel driveway led us to an outhouse but to our surprise, it also led us to a beautiful place named Neil's Harbour. A small river found its way into a larger body of water. A few meters away was a sandbank that separated the freshwater from the ocean. We set up our tent in the small, designated picnic area along side of the Harbour and listened to the ocean waves crash against the opposite shore. I didn't imagine it could get any better until some of the locals lit up some fireworks visible from where we camped. When the fireworks were over, the black sky was filled with billions of stars. It was a perfect place to admire.

We packed everything up the next morning and headed towards Sydney, Nova Scotia. We camped in a large field and planned on taking The MV Blue Puttees Ferry to Newfoundland the following afternoon. Everyone kept saying how amazing Newfoundland is, but I get really seasick and was not looking forward to the long Ferry ride.





We left the province of Québec and crossed into New Brunswick on June 23rd. Entering the town of Campbellton, we rode around and found a spot to camp next to a radio tower, atop a hile overlooking the town.


We awoke the next morning, packed up and headed for the city of Moncton.


We had contacted a guy on couch-surfing, named Ryan, and he agreed to host us in the town of Riverside, a suburb of Moncton.


Ryan took us to a great spot off the beaten path, called Crooked Creek.


The three of us took turns jumping into the river from the rocks on the bank. The water was cold.


Ryan's best friend was Mocha, his pet dog.


Ryan, Mocha & Paula


On June 27th, we said goodbye to Ryan and headed for Halifax, Nova Scotia. My friend, Kathy, whom I had met ten years earlier while living and working in Taiwan, was now living with her fiencé, Ryan, in Halifax. They had invited us to come and stay with them as we passed through the area.


Paula and I endured a long stretch of rainy whether when we arrived in Halifax. We had ordered and were waiting for two new tires to arrive, so we hadn't planned on doing much travel anyway. Ryan is a musician in a band called Three Sheet. They had several gigs on the Canada Day long weekend. Kathy decided to tag along with them.


Ten years prior, I had lived with Kathy in an apartment with many other roommates. Kathy and I quickly became good friends.


On Canada Day, the skies finally cleared up and Paula and I decided to ride out to Peggy's Cove. Peggy's Cove is a small fishing village 45 minutes outside of Halifax.


Peggy's Cove Lighthouse


Peggy's Cove


Paula At Peggy's Cove


Adrienne was one of Kathy's roommates. She was the best friend to Jetson, the household dog. Adrienne planned on traveling to New Zealand and invited us to come stay with her if we made it that far.


We left Halifax on July 3rd and headed north, towards Cape Breton Island. The following day we rode along the world-famous Cabot Trail. The drive was certainly beautiful. We had heard so much about it that our expectations were set very high. It was a stunning ride, but it was a short ride, and Paula and I both agreed that we preferred the ride along Route 132 in Québec much better.


Somewhere Along The Cabot Trail


We decided to head off the main road along the northern tip of Cape Breton Island. It was a nice detour that lead to some great scenery.


Cape Breton Island


Nearing the end of the day, we found a great rest stop on the outskirts of Neil's Harbour. It had a beautiful stream and a fresh-water lake that was separated from the sea by a small strip of beach. We knew we had to camp there for the night, so, we waited until dusk, after the park ranger made his last round, and set up camp.


While waiting for the sun to go down, we took a dip in the lake to wash off. We headed out the next day for North Sydney, Nova Scotia, where we had planned on boarding the ferry to Newfoundland.
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Old 09-02-2013, 04:41 PM   #177
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Rocky and Paula,
Nice update!! Your report is always an interesting mix of people and places spiced with great photography. I like the way you present things: Paula does the initial text followed by Rocky's take on things along with his photos. Great stuff! Glad you're having such a great time in Eastern Canada. I am wondering if you thought about popping over to France while you were in the neighborhood. There is a little bit of France, the islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon, just off the southern Newfoundland coast, what remains of New France that was lost to the Brits in 1763. I always thought it would be fun to be able to tell people "I rode all the way to France....from the US!" Of course there is a ferry, so it's not totally true...but still....good for a laugh.
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Old 09-03-2013, 05:03 AM   #178
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We're definitely going to be visiting France soon (the European one). As always, we're way behind in posting on the ride report. We try to keep our Facebook page more up to date since it's much quicker and easier to do (we just post a few photos and update our status).

We didn't visit that side of Newfoundland when we were there. We kept to the east side and rode up the Viking Trail.

We're currently in Iceland! We've been here for over 4 weeks now and we're headed on the ferry to mainland Europe tomorrow.
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Old 09-23-2013, 05:26 AM   #179
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Newfoundland

July 6, 2013 - July 16, 2013

Over five hours on the ferry and I didn't get sea sick! Either the small patch behind my ear worked or the ocean was calm enough not to make me feel queasy. We finally arrived in Newfoundland and it didn't take long to notice people spoke very differently on the island known as The Rock. We also quickly learned to pronounce Newfoundland as the locals call it, New-Fun-Land. The ferry docked in Port Aux Basque, a tiny town that took us just minutes to ride around. We were in search of a bite to eat and our options were limited. We surprisingly ate a Subway sandwich. It has been well over a year since I've been able to stomache even the smell, but it actually tasted delicious. I'm not about to eat one (or two) every day like we had on our last trip, but I'll definitely enjoy one every now and then.

It was late in the day by the time we were ready to search for a place to set up the tent. Even though there was enough sunshine still out, we were warned by many to keep off the roads during dusk to avoid hitting moose. There is a large population of moose living in Newfoundland. We decided to stay near Port Aux Basque for the night and it didn't take long to find a great place to camp. Newfoundland once had a railroad that traveled across the entire province. Since it was no longer in service, a gravel path is left where its tracks once were. Locals find this useful to ride their off-road-vehicles on. It seemed like everyone owns an ATV or a skidoo.

We rode for a few minutes down the gravel road until we reached a wooden deck just big enough for our tent. It was perfect. We unpacked as quickly as possible so that we could admire the incredible panoramic view before it got dark. It didn't matter what direction we looked, the view around us was breathtaking. As the sun began to set and we both just stared in awe. It was one of the prettiest moments I had ever experienced. We were speechless. Early the next morning, we continued down the gravel road until it became sand and knocked us over. It was a gentle drop and we got up easily but the sand got deeper as we continued, and we eventually got stuck. Half of the rear tire was buried and moving the motorcycle felt impossible. Rocky and I removed our bags and the panniers as two kind strangers offered to help push the bike out. Riding through off-roads always seems to be a crazy adventure but it was well worth the view we witnessed. As we pulled onto the highway, we learned that we had just spent the night in JT Cheeseman Provincial Park.

After a beautiful but windy ride, we arrived in Corner Brook, a small city on the western side of Newfoundland. We sat in a parking lot next to a park waiting for the sun to set because we planned on setting up the tent somewhere nearby. As we waited, we were approached by a man named Delano. He was riding a Kawasaki KLR and asked a few questions about our KTM. We shared a few words, and shortly after he left he returned to tell us of a really great place to check out. We followed him up a hill to an area named Cooks Lookout. The site was used by Captain James Cook as he kept an eye out for smugglers and privateers from 1763-1767 when he charted the coast. It offered a fantastic view of the Gulf of the Saint Lawrence. After a short walk around, we came to a memorial monument boat, built of stone. It was the perfect size to fit our tent and motorcycle. It seemed like the perfect place to set up our tent.


The following morning, we decided to stay in Corner Brook. We stopped at the local YMCA for a shower and enjoyed the rest of the day laying under the sun at a local park. Since we really loved where we had camped the night before, we decided to spend another night in the boat. Even though it was a popular place to visit, the locals were very friendly about us being there. Some even complimented the idea of camping there. Early the next morning as we were packing up the tent, we were approached by a man on his morning walk. He spoke with us for a few minutes and invited us to his house for breakfast and a shower. There was no way that we could possibly say no. I love meeting kind strangers. We finished packing and met with Dennis at his house. While sitting on his back porch, we enjoyed a great view of the city. He made us coffee and brought out bowls of fruit, including a fruit we had never tasted. Cloud berries, also known as Bake Apples, are an orange looking blackberry with a tart taste to them. After freshening up, filling our bellies and sharing some stories, we exchanged hugs and he wished us well on our journey. What a great, friendly city.


We got back on the road and planned on going to Gros Mourne National Park where we would pay to camp in a campground. We usually don't pay for camping because we can't justify paying $30 to sleep on the earth and also because we can't afford to, but it was a special occasion. Rocky had never tried a hallucinogen and I found us some magic mushrooms before we left home. Unfortunately, they weren't as strong as they should've been but it was enough to heighten our senses. During an evening walk past another picture perfect scene, we ate the 'shrooms and eventually made our way back to our campsite. We gathered the wood to build a fire and lit up a joint. It was really dark and it took me a second to notice that there was a man standing beside us. Initially I was startled. He appeared out of the darkness and, once my eyes properly focused, I realized that he was the park ranger. I looked at Rocky to warn him but he was busy smoking the joint and that made me want to laugh. Suddenly, the park ranger began to speak and I could barely contain myself. Apparently, I can't understand anything Newfoundlanders say. It is English I assume, but I began to understand why they are called 'funny talkers'. To make matters funnier, the park ranger stood there talking to us long enough for us to wonder if we were supposed to offer him a few puffs. Rocky and I laughed for a while after he had gone.

The next day we prepared to go on a hike. I've been on many hikes before. I thought I knew what to expect but Rocky decided to create his own path that day. He wanted to climb to the top of a mountain but we had to walk through thick dry brush. I like to be adventurous but I was wearing knickers, I had just shaved my legs and moisturized. I bitched and complained the entire climb up that mountain. Once we reached the top, I realized it was worth every scratch. The view was incredibly beautiful and we even found a lake up there. We laid on on the grass for a while (wink wink) with not a person in sight in all directions. Rocky took the opportunity to say something romantic, along the lines of "See...I told you so. Isn't this awesome? You should just trust me from now on."


When we returned to the campsite, we were charging our electronics under a large overhang and met a couple from New Brunswick. Martin and Cynthia were riding throughout Eastern Canada on a BMW. We exchanged stories over a bottle of wine they were sharing and Cynthia made me laugh to tears. We found out, weeks later, that Martin and Cynthia were related to Adrienne (their niece), who we stayed with in Halifax, Nova Scotia. What a small world! We hung out with them for a while and then Rocky and I headed back to our site for a nice big campfire to toast some marshmallows. I wish we could have a campfire everywhere we camp.


The next morning, we packed up all of our belongings so that we could continue traveling north. I wasn't feeling well and I wondered if I was experiencing an allergic reaction to black fly bites. I had over ten bites just on my neck and scalp and all of them were extremely swollen. After searching on-line, I am convinced that I had black fly fever. I felt weak, nauseous and feverish. We left Grose Mourne and rode for a few hours until we reached Hawkes Bay. Rocky was annoyed with the way the motorcycle was riding and wondered if the problem was coming from the wheel or if it was electrical. He said the the motorcycle has been riding weird for a couple of weeks, just after we spliced the electrical wires together or since we replaced the tires. We pulled over to investigate and Rocky noticed that the ABS sensor was slightly rubbing against the ABS grill. That could've been the cause of the surging and wobbling he was feeling, but everything was assembled properly. He couldn't figure out why it was scraping. As the sun began to set we decided it would be best to spend the night next to an abandoned office across the street where we had a perfect view of the Bay. We weren't the only ones to think it was a good spot to stop. The coast guard helicopter parked there as well.

We enjoyed a lazy morning and continued riding north towards Saint Anthony. It was a beautiful ride with the ocean to our left showing many shades of blue. Saint Anthony is a small town on the northern reaches of the Great Northern Peninsula of Newfoundland. We rode through until we reached the furthest tip of the town and decided that camping beside the lighthouse was a great spot. We were on a cliff top, high above the ocean with the view of icebergs in the far distance. It was a great place visually, but it was also intensely windy. But, then again, most of Newfoundland has been windy. Early the next morning Rocky took the bike apart as I packed everything. I knew he was stressing about what the problem could potentially be because he woke me up numerous times throughout the night saying "I wonder if it's...". As I packed up our things, I took a moment to look out at the ocean as I folded the tent and noticed a bunch of dolphins swimming past. That was probably the coolest thing I have ever waken up to. I was mesmerized, staring out into the distance.

After waiting a while for Rocky to work on the motorcycle, I warned him that I really had to pee. Rocky told me he would be a couple of hours and that I would have to find somewhere outside. What? Not only am I in a very open touristy area with no bush to hide behind, the morning sun shining bright and the wind blowing hard, it is difficult to be unnoticed especially if I was squatting with my pants around my ankles. There was no bathroom for a couple of kilometers and I hadn't peed in more than nine hours. I was upset that he couldn't have waited to take the motorcycle apart at a more convenient time and location. I must've looked annoyed because a man approached us and asked if everything was ok. I asked him if he knew of a nearby bathroom and he offered to drive me to one.


Richard was a sweet man (much sweeter than Rocky, hah!). He drove me down the street to his house and let me use his restroom. Before driving me back up the cliff, he stopped at a Tim Hortons and insisted on buying Rocky and I a coffee. Once we reached Rocky, Richard told him to put the motorcycle back together, just enough to be rideable down the cliff. We were invited to use his garage, take a shower and wash our laundry. He even offered us some jarred moose meat and drinks prepared with iceberg ice. The thought of drinking something that had been frozen for thousands of years just blows my mind!

With the bike taken apart, Rocky re-spliced a few wires with hopes that it would stop the surging. He also changed the spark plugs just in case that may have had something to do with it. And, in the process of all that, he discovered and fixed an oil leak. Rocky had worked on bike for hours as we all hung out in the garage. Richards brother Todd was visiting and many of their friends would stop by to say hello but I think Richard became concerned with me being bored. He invited to take me to the top of a cliff that offered the best view of St. Anthony where he shared a lot of the local history with me.

Shortly after arriving back at the house, Richard prepared dinner and invited us to join him and his beautiful wife for a meal. His wife Gay had just finished her day of work at the hospital and she was just as friendly as Richard. During a hot cup of coffee with our bowl of dessert, she told us stories of Saint Anthony and how there was once a Polar bear in her back yard. Ummm.... Polar bear? I never imagined Polar bears in Newfoundland. Supposedly, the Polar bears that visit the area are from the Davis Strait population (a strait lying between Greenland and Nunavut, Canada) which is estimated to occupy 1400 bears. They accompany the heavy pack-ice that occasionally drifts further to the south than normal during the spring break-up. Whoa! I would be super scared if I ever had a Polar bear roaming my yard.

With the bike fixed and ready, Richard suggested the route that we should take to return towards the ferry. But first he suggested that we pitch our tent in his yard or garage instead of searching for a place. After hearing that there was a Polar bear in their yard, the garage sounded like a lovely spot to sleep. Richard, his wife, Gay, and his brother, Todd, were a fine example of the hospitality in Newfoundland.

We were on our way through L'Anse Aux Meadows, the only confirmed Norse/Viking site in North America outside of Greenland. On our way there, we stopped for lunch and enjoyed a meal I have been anxious to have for a very, very long time. Fresh crab is my absolute favourite and there was no way I was about to reject the cheap price. With our tummies full, I was ready for sleep but it was still early. After all the work that Rocky had done on the motorcycle, he was still experiencing what he described as a feeling of surging and a wobble in the front tire. Rocky became obsessed with fixing this problem. He took the wheel off in the parking lot of the restaurant and still found no problem. Once we arrived in L'Anse aux Meadows at the most northern tip of Newfoundland, Rocky took apart the tire once more. People always gathered around to offer their help. As everyone exchanged ideas on the potential problem, I could see the frustration in Rocky's eyes, and then a hint of hope. When Rocky replaced the front rim, after the accident, he used the old spacer. Maybe, just maybe, the spacer was slightly smaller than the new one. He reached in his tool bag for the spare spacer and compared it to the old one he had installed, it was slightly different. That would definitely cause the abs sensor to rub against the plate! But would it cause the surging and the wobble?


Richard had told us of a place he called, the Salmon Hole. We planned on camping there for the night. The Underground Salmon Pool is where we witnessed an Atlantic salmon river, surfacing from an underground cave. Thousands of years of physical weathering and erosion to the limestone has formed an underground river and the continuous water flow has widened the river channel which has become a resting stop for the Salmon. It is the only known place in the world where Atlantic Salmon swim through underground river caves to get to their spawning grounds. I was having vivid thoughts of diving in and catching one with my bare hands. I even went as far as to wonder where I could find some soy sauce, ginger and wasabe. It's a good thing I had eaten all that crab earlier, otherwise, I'm not sure that I would have been able to control my urge. That could've been the best sashimi in my lifetime.

Our ride back south was windy, extremely windy. There were many moments that I thought we were going to blow over. It was early afternoon and as we were riding past Grose Mourne National Park for the last time, we pulled over so that we could hike one of the trails. It took us approximately 3 km there and back to complete and the last 10 minutes threatened rain. Luckily, we only felt a light mist as we rode south, away from the storm. After an expensive meal the day before, Rocky punished me with Subway. As we were eating, we were approached by a guy that politely asked to talk about our motorcycle. Troy was a true motorcycle enthusiast. When he spoke of the hundreds of bikes he had owned, he reminded me of John, our motorcycle guru, we had previously met in Calgary, Alberta. Troy was a really nice guy who shared many stories and was very interested in hearing ours as well. Just before leaving, Troy told us of a cottage he was building for his family. He said it was under construction but it had the most incredible view of a lake. We were given the address and were told where he kept the key hidden. He wasn't kidding, it definitely had the most incredible view of the lake. It was a beautiful place to spend the night.


On our way back south, Rocky pulled over to take the tire off once again. The surging and wobble still existed. This time, we decided to remove the rim strip. When we put the new tire on in Halifax, Nova Scotia, we applied rim tape to the tire because the rubber rim strip kept sliding to the side. After applying the tape, we kept the rubber stip over top of it because we thought if anything it would be added protection. Maybe the surging was caused by having them both on? We removed the rubber, left the tape and crossed our fingers. Nope, but at least the wobble in the wheel was gone!


We were sad at the thought of leaving Newfoundland. We made one last stop in Corner Brook to shower at the YMCA before riding to Port Aux Basque to catch the late night ferry. Newfoundland is such an incredible place. It is breathtaking at every corner, an absolutely stunning place to visit. When Rocky and I imagined this trip, we always talked about the beautiful landscapes we would see. But, throughout our adventure we are also constantly amazed by the beautiful characters we meet. Newfoundland is one of the friendliest places we have visited. We were greeted by everyone, if not with words or acts of kindness, we were greeted with big smiles. Everyday we were greeted by strangers. I have never met kinder, more caring people who are genuinely interested in at least saying hello. It was a very sad moment as we left The Rock.




There are two ferry routes from Nova Scotia to Newfoundland - a short crossing that arrives in Port aux Basques and a much longer route that ports in the western part of Newfoundland in Argentia. We boarded the ferry, operated by Marine Atlantic, from North Sydney, Nova Scotia to Port Aux Basque, Newfoundland on July 6th. The crossing took roughly 6 hours and, for a motorcycle and two passengers with reserved seating (recommended), the cost was CA$165.22.


After getting off the ferry in Newfoundland, I found a gravel road on my GPS just outside Port Aux Basque. I set it as our destination and this is where it lead us.


We watched the sunset in awe and snapped photos. We were definitely thankful that we made the choice to visit Newfoundland.


Our camping spot was a wooden deck just off the trail that was likely used by locals to gaze at the scenery as we did the night before.


We packed up in the morning and continued down the gravel trail that, according to the GPS, looped around back to the main highway. Being near the ocean, the gravel path suddenly turned to patches on sand, and the bike went down. Paula and I picked her back up and continued along to the next, much bigger patch of sand that we got stuck in. A couple of locals passing by helped us dig the bike out of the sand, and we were able to make our way back to the main highway.


Our next stop was the town of Corner Brook. After arriving, we met a local resident, named Delano, who rode a Kawasaki KLR and took us up to a hill that overlooked the entire town. With the skies darkening, we thought that the hill, called Captain Cook's Lookout, was a great spot to set up the tent and camp for the night, despite being a bit of a tourist attraction.


Down a small walking path, we found a seating area made from slabs of rock. It seemed like a perfect spot to set the tent up. We woke the next morning and descended the hill into the town of Corner Brook.


After our morning coffe at Tim Hortons, Paula and I visited the local YMCA and asked to use the shower since we were both in desperate need of one. After washing up and feeling refreshed, we spent the day at the park, relaxing in the warm sun.


The view from Captain Cook's Lookout


We liked our camping spot so much that we decided to spend another night there. The following morning, we met a local who passed by our tent on his morning walk. Dennis was his name, and, after a short conversation, he asked us if we wanted to go back to his place for breakfast and to get a shower. We were starting to get a good idea about the kindness and hospitality we were told to expect from the people of Newfoundland.


Paula, Bob, Jeanette and Peanut - We met this couple at a rest stop while traveling through Gros Morne National Park. They were from Québec, and were traveling in their caravan with their dog, Peanut.


While visiting Gros Morne National Park, we decided to stop at a paid camp site, which we rarely do. We just can't justify spending $25-$30 per night to sleep outside, especially since we usually find much more beautiful spots to camp out for free. Nevertheless, paying for a spot to camp allowed us to leave our gear and enjoy the surrounding areas. The day after arriving, Paula and I decided to go for a hike. I like to make my own path, so I took Paula on a hike up a mountain that most people don't climb. Paula rarely likes to get off the beaten path, so she followed me kicking and screaming the entire way up the hill. We reached the top of the mountain to discover a beautiful pond. Though she won't admit it, she then realized it was worth the climb.


While camping in trout river, we met Martin and Cynthia. As we waited for our electronics to charge, we shared a bottle of wine and were later invited back to their camp site for a smoke. They definitely were not the snobby-types that you'd expect BMW GS riders to be.


We left Trout River on July 11th, and headed north along the Viking Trail towards St. Anthony.


Leaving Trout River, I stopped to snap a few photos of the awesome scenery. Paula wasn't feeling too well. She is very susceptible to bug bites, and she thought that she was suffering from a case of Black Fly Fever.


The next day, we arrived at Fishing Point in St. Anthony.


There is a traditional Viking Hut at Fishing Point in St. Anthony. It is a theme restaurant where viking reenactments are performed.


Without a place to stay, we thought that, though it was a bit of a tourist location, we would camp out at Fishing Point and stay hidden behind the lighthouse. In the morning, it seemed that it was a spot where the locals came to drink their coffee and watch the sunrise.


We had been experiencing problems with the motorcycle for a while. There was a jerkiness at certain range of RPMs, and I was experiencing head-shake (wobble in the handlebars). While starting to work on the bike ay Fishing Point in St. Anthony, a stranger, named Richard, offered us a place in his garage to work on the bike. Seeing that I was tired and hungry after many hours of work on the bike to fix an oil leak that we had discovered after tearing the bike down, Richard made us dinner and gave us a place to sleep for the night.


While I worked on the motorcycle, Richard took Paula up to a hill that overlooked the town of St. Anthony.


We camped out that evening in Richard's garage.


We left the next morning and said goodbye to Richard.


After saying goodbye to Richard, Paula and I left for L'Anse aux Meadows, on the northernmost tip of Newfoundland. "Discovered in 1960, it is the most famous site of a Norse or Viking settlement in North America outside of Greenland." -- Wikipedia


Paula at L'Anse aux Meadows


Burnt Cape Park Reserve


The winds along the coast of Newfoundland are very strong. Stiff crosswinds prevented us from riding upright and forced us to lean into the wind.


The Coast of Newfoundland


Since before arriving in Newfoundland and all through Newfoundland we were told to be careful of all the moose. This was the only moose I had seen the entire time in Newfoundland.


On our way back south, we decided to make the trek out to Western Brook.


We met Troy on our last night spent in Newfoundland. We were eating at a Subway sandwich shop and he asked us if we'd be upset if he asked us about our motorcycle. Troy was a motorcycle lover who had owned over 200 different motorcycles in his life (according to him), and crashed many of them. As we were leaving, Troy offered us a place to stay for the night in his cottage, which was only 30 minutes away. He gave us the address and told us that the key was hidden under the stairs if we were interested in spending the night there. We were, and we did. The view of the lake and the sunset from his cottage were spectacular.


Southern Newfoundland


Leaving Newfoundland


The ferry back to the mainland of Canada was booked, and we left Newfoundland on July 16th. Paula and I were both sad to be leaving this beautiful place.


This time, we took the overnight ferry, which had been recommended by several people. After crossing through the night, neither Paula nor I would recommend it. It is very difficult to sleep on the ferry and having to ride in the morning after only a few hours of sleep wasn't too pleasant.
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Old 09-23-2013, 08:40 AM   #180
_cy_
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Joined: Sep 2011
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hey Rocky & Paula .. finally had a chance to browse your RR a bit .. hope things are going well again with 990.
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