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Old 02-23-2012, 08:53 PM   #1
Daners5150 OP
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DC to Matane, New Brunswick

I'm in the beginning stages of planning my first long trip and have set my sights on Matane, New Brunswick from Washington, DC. The general plan is to get to Maine as fast as possible, then take my time on the dirt from Maine to Matane - or somewhere near there and drop back down to Montreal before heading back to DC.

I will be riding a 2011 F800GS. By that time it will probably have close to 9000 miles or more on it. I've got the Rallye 3 suit and it has been worth its weight in gold already this winter. I'm currently planning to do this trip lone wolf.

The time frame I have for this is late July/early August and I'm looking for advice on a range of stuff in no particular order:

Luggage - was originally opting for hard cases (I have HappyTrails boxes on my KLR650 and like them) but have been leaning towards soft bags recently. Was contemplating the BMW cases but they are extraordinarily expensive

Gear - I'm pretty set for camping stuff - have a tent, decent sleeping bag, stove and cookset. I don't have extra lighting yet and welcome ideas

Tools - Currently I have a very basic set of tools but are there any tools that you have found to be useful/indispensable, especially for an F800GS

Replacement parts - Was planning to take extra tires and tubes but is there anything else that anyone has found to be particularly useful/necessary for the F800GS. Any thoughts on the rotopax accessories? They look great and I hear good things, but a gatorade bottle full of fuel can go a long way as well

Weather and Environment - Heard the black flies are terrible but tend to be gone by the end of July. I assume mosquitoes are a problem, but what about the affectionately termed "charismatic megafauna" ie, bears, moose, etc. Would like to know more about the general weather patterns in that area at that time of year

GPS/Comms - I have the Nuvi500 but am thinking about replacing it. I will also be getting paper maps for the entire route (they don't run out of batteries or break). What do you suggest for emergency communication? I am pretty sure there is little to no cell service so...satphone, something else?...I will be riding solo

Adventure Motorcycling Resources - Any books or websites (besides this one of course) that are particularly useful in giving practical information on roadside repairs or solving problems unique to this form of motorcycling

Any thoughts or advice is more than welcome. I've been prowling the GravelTravel website and its great but would like to hear some specifics and preferences. It's also a bit grueling trolling through all the posts for bits of info. Thanks for any and all information you guys give out.

Perhaps I'll see some of you out there.
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Old 02-24-2012, 04:59 AM   #2
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sounds like great trip Daners, one of these days you should make it to a local ADV ride to eat or campout weekend.
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Old 02-24-2012, 08:21 AM   #3
markbvt
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For the record... Matane is in Quebec, not New Brunswick.

It's also not in the middle of nowhere. You're not going anywhere super-remote. Go ahead and bring an extra set of tubes -- always a good idea on a bike that runs tubed tires -- but I wouldn't bother with spare tires.

For that matter, don't have illusions about the area you'll be riding through. There are certainly a good number of nice dirt roads, but this area is relatively populated. If you want remote gravel, go to Labrador.

Best resources for adventure motorcycling? This website. Read lots of ride reports. You can check out mine by clicking on the link in my sig below -- I've ridden in New Brunswick and the Gaspé Peninsula of Quebec (where Matane is located), and Labrador and Newfoundland.

--mark
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Old 02-24-2012, 12:54 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markbvt View Post
For the record... Matane is in Quebec, not New Brunswick.

It's also not in the middle of nowhere. You're not going anywhere super-remote. Go ahead and bring an extra set of tubes -- always a good idea on a bike that runs tubed tires -- but I wouldn't bother with spare tires.

For that matter, don't have illusions about the area you'll be riding through. There are certainly a good number of nice dirt roads, but this area is relatively populated. If you want remote gravel, go to Labrador.

Best resources for adventure motorcycling? This website. Read lots of ride reports. You can check out mine by clicking on the link in my sig below -- I've ridden in New Brunswick and the Gaspé Peninsula of Quebec (where Matane is located), and Labrador and Newfoundland.

--mark
Ouin!! MARKBVT is right, Matane is au Québec brother... Not in New Brunswick...! And Matane is barely on the peninsula... Nothing remote there, but some roads through NB that are very well paved, just in the middle of no where...! And dude, people use their cell phones there, don't worry!!! Maybe bring an English-French dictionary for emergencies () but like MARKBVT said, there's nothing that remote there. As for wildlife, you can see moose from far away during day-time, could be a problem at night (definitely was for a friend of mine!!). Watch out for the random White-Tail deer, and bears? Maybe at campsites... But the fog in the Matapedia Valley at night!!! OMG! You don't want to ride at night when it settles in, it's like riding through clouds...

The only Motoradd dealership you'll come close to will be in Dieppe, New Brunswick, which is close to Moncton. But people in NB and QC are resourceful, so if you break down, you'll get help for sure. Will you be riding the I-95 up to Houlton (Me)?
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Old 02-24-2012, 04:15 PM   #5
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15 minutes mash up for you:

http://maps.google.com/maps?saddr=Co...,19,20&t=m&z=5

bits of VT and NH: scenic 125, camels hump, smugglers notch, groton forest, kancamagus, mont washington (15$, check web site for special day).

bit of maine: I dont know yet.

bits of nova scotia: cabot trail, if you dare go that far. Just ride 800km, not much else to see but the cap breton. New brunswick is boring to me.

bits of quebec: 299 across gaspesie, some shore 132, cross at CNM evolution fast ferry (http://www.traversier.com/accueil.html) to north shore of st laurent river, charlevoix back to mtl.

bits of NY: mount whiteface lake placid, hurricane road, tracy road, ensing pond road, then go west to leechworth park.

just a thought..
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Old 02-24-2012, 06:02 PM   #6
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Ya can read some of mine too: http://advrider.com/forums/showthrea...benteuerfahrer
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Old 02-25-2012, 06:48 AM   #7
Daners5150 OP
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Thanks guys...and apologies for the geographical naivete...I'll definitely put a french-english dictionary in my pack for those emergencies. Maybe I'll swing by the Canadian embassy to get acclimated before I leave as well...

I'd like to get as remote as possible but I don't have a lot of time on this trip so I won't be making it up to Labrador although that is in the works for a later trip. On this one, I do want to stay on as much dirt as possible, even if it's really nice gravel roads. I'm pretty flexible on the route so if you guys know of anything I'm all ears. I'll be heading up 95 to Maine so that I can get to Canada (and Quebec, hahaha) as fast as possible then take my time there. On my drop back down to DC I wanted to branch off 87 through NY and was looking at highway 30 and 28 through the Adirondacks.

Montreal is still on the list as I have plans to meet people there and I've heard it's a fantastic city (hopefully that makes up for my New Brunswick faux pas!)

As for DC ADV club...when and where do you guys meet? I'm just off the Hill in NE and will definitely come to the next meeting.

Thanks also for the ride reports. They're great and I'll be going through them more thoroughly in the coming days. Perhaps today while I wait for my dealer to check out my bike after a hit and run yesterday evening. No damage to me but not sure about my bike, he rubbed me pretty good. That's adventure riding...DC style!
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Old 02-25-2012, 12:23 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daners5150 View Post
Thanks guys...and apologies for the geographical naivete...I'll definitely put a french-english dictionary in my pack for those emergencies. Maybe I'll swing by the Canadian embassy to get acclimated before I leave as well...

I'd like to get as remote as possible but I don't have a lot of time on this trip so I won't be making it up to Labrador although that is in the works for a later trip. On this one, I do want to stay on as much dirt as possible, even if it's really nice gravel roads. I'm pretty flexible on the route so if you guys know of anything I'm all ears. I'll be heading up 95 to Maine so that I can get to Canada (and Quebec, hahaha) as fast as possible then take my time there. On my drop back down to DC I wanted to branch off 87 through NY and was looking at highway 30 and 28 through the Adirondacks.

Montreal is still on the list as I have plans to meet people there and I've heard it's a fantastic city (hopefully that makes up for my New Brunswick faux pas!)

As for DC ADV club...when and where do you guys meet? I'm just off the Hill in NE and will definitely come to the next meeting.

Thanks also for the ride reports. They're great and I'll be going through them more thoroughly in the coming days. Perhaps today while I wait for my dealer to check out my bike after a hit and run yesterday evening. No damage to me but not sure about my bike, he rubbed me pretty good. That's adventure riding...DC style!
It's all good!! We won't hold it against you!! The Peninsula is nothing like what Abenteuerfahrer went through in Labrador. It's mostly paved, and the unpaved roads you'll find are very remote backroads leading to farms or dead ends. You might find the odd logging road once in a while in the mountains. Much more chances in NB than in QC. Nothing like the Prairies or the Midwest. 75% of the Canadian population is settled within a 100 miles from the US-Canada border. Which means if you want to find unpaved, rugged roads, you'll have to go further North.

Yes, Quebec City and Montreal are worth seeing, but the Belle Province spells like this: C-O-N-S-T-R-U-C-T-I-O-N...!
There's a lot of road improvement going on and it's just going to get worst this coming Summer. But like I said, you're never far off the States if you decide to change your mind!! And rush hour can be very much like Washington's, but I guess you're use to it!!

Have a nice trip!!
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Old 02-25-2012, 01:39 PM   #9
Daners5150 OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dddd View Post
15 minutes mash up for you:

http://maps.google.com/maps?saddr=Co...,19,20&t=m&z=5

bits of VT and NH: scenic 125, camels hump, smugglers notch, groton forest, kancamagus, mont washington (15$, check web site for special day).

bit of maine: I dont know yet.

bits of nova scotia: cabot trail, if you dare go that far. Just ride 800km, not much else to see but the cap breton. New brunswick is boring to me.

bits of quebec: 299 across gaspesie, some shore 132, cross at CNM evolution fast ferry (http://www.traversier.com/accueil.html) to north shore of st laurent river, charlevoix back to mtl.

bits of NY: mount whiteface lake placid, hurricane road, tracy road, ensing pond road, then go west to leechworth park.

just a thought..
That's great, I'll factor that into my planning.
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Old 02-25-2012, 02:43 PM   #10
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I live in Maine and have done extensive traveling in Canada.There are lots of remote gravel roads in Northern Maine (Paper company roads that are open to the public) that stretch endlessly and will more than satisfy your desire for gravel. On these roads you will see plenty of Moose, some bear, deer, and everything in between except people. There won't be any cellphone coverage, but I would not spend the money on a Sat phone. If concerned, I would bring a hand held CB for emergencies. If you take these gravel roads be sure to figure correctly your gas needs and your food needs in advance. We Don't want Hollywood making a movie about you. : )

When in Quebec or New Brunswick it would be nice to be able to speak Quebecois. Some of the French people don't or won't speak English. Some will tell you out right that in Quebec it is French or nothing. Don't get me wrong, other that the language bone of contention that some French Canadians have in Quebec, the French Canadians are very nice people, but for some, the historical antagonisms between French and English peoples are still strong. That applies to the English speaking Canadians also. It is sort of like the antagonisms that exist between Southerners and Yankees except we speak a common language for the most part (sometimes I wonder about that) .

If you have health insurance, make sure it will cover you in Canada. Some plans will only cover you in the US. If needed, you can buy good affordable coverage from a Canadian company for the time you will be in Canada.

I love Canada and Quebec. It is great riding. Montreal is IMHO is the best city in North America. Montreal has a large French speaking population, but also has a sizable English speaking population. In Montreal everyone is bi-lingual and can switch from French to English without a moments hesitation.

Getting back to wildlife, when I travel alone in remote areas I bring bear spray just in case. You can take it across the border legally as long as it is labeled as being for animal repelling. I have never had to use it, but it does help me sleep better.
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Old 02-25-2012, 04:44 PM   #11
Abenteuerfahrer
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Merlin III View Post
I live in Maine and have done extensive traveling in Canada.There are lots of remote gravel roads in Northern Maine (Paper company roads that are open to the public) that stretch endlessly and will more than satisfy your desire for gravel. On these roads you will see plenty of Moose, some bear, deer, and everything in between except people. There won't be any cellphone coverage, but I would not spend the money on a Sat phone. If concerned, I would bring a hand held CB for emergencies. If you take these gravel roads be sure to figure correctly your gas needs and your food needs in advance. We Don't want Hollywood making a movie about you. : )

When in Quebec or New Brunswick it would be nice to be able to speak Quebecois. Some of the French people don't or won't speak English. Some will tell you out right that in Quebec it is French or nothing. Don't get me wrong, other that the language bone of contention that some French Canadians have in Quebec, the French Canadians are very nice people, but for some, the historical antagonisms between French and English peoples are still strong. That applies to the English speaking Canadians also. It is sort of like the antagonisms that exist between Southerners and Yankees except we speak a common language for the most part (sometimes I wonder about that) . This is true..even me who is deaf...I always try a few words in French or write them down just to break the ice..no problem...never had a problem. You are a guest there and be a good Ambassador of your country! Love it there...

If you have health insurance, make sure it will cover you in Canada. Some plans will only cover you in the US. If needed, you can buy good affordable coverage from a Canadian company for the time you will be in Canada. My first 10,000+ mile trip about and around the USA including Canada...in the Gaspe(Gaspesie) peninsula I had an accident which totaled my BMW. Ended up in a French speaking Hospital for one week with collapsed lung; broken rib, etc. Did have USA insurance(Bc/Bs)...dunno they paid...the Hospital there. Due to Universal Medical Care there I only had to pay $1000 for my stay there with all medical attention. I believe they have a universal pool of medical assistance for outside country travelers?

I love Canada and Quebec. It is great riding. Montreal is IMHO is the best city in North America. Montreal has a large French speaking population, but also has a sizable English speaking population. In Montreal everyone is bi-lingual and can switch from French to English without a moments hesitation.

Getting back to wildlife, when I travel alone in remote areas I bring bear spray just in case. You can take it across the border legally as long as it is labeled as being for animal repelling. I have never had to use it, but it does help me sleep better.
Love Canada....
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Old 02-26-2012, 05:41 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Abenteuerfahrer View Post
. This is true..even me who is deaf...I always try a few words in French or write them down just to break the ice..no problem...never had a problem. You are a guest there and be a good Ambassador of your country! Love it there...

If you have health insurance, make sure it will cover you in Canada. Some plans will only cover you in the US. If needed, you can buy good affordable coverage from a Canadian company for the time you will be in Canada. My first 10,000+ mile trip about and around the USA including Canada...in the Gaspe(Gaspesie) peninsula I had an accident which totaled my BMW. Ended up in a French speaking Hospital for one week with collapsed lung; broken rib, etc. Did have USA insurance(Bc/Bs)...dunno they paid...the Hospital there. Due to Universal Medical Care there I only had to pay $1000 for my stay there with all medical attention. I believe they have a universal pool of medical assistance for outside country travelers?..
Good advice on learning a few Quebecois phrases to show that you are trying.

I based my statement on about insurance coverage on information in a Canadian government WEB site that warned travelers to make sure you have coverage in Canada from your American Insurance Company or to buy short term coverage from one of the Canadian Companies. Last year I believe I paid 200 dollars for 3 or 4 weeks in Canada for full coverage. Fortunately, I never had to test the system.
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Old 02-26-2012, 05:26 PM   #13
markbvt
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Merlin III View Post
When in Quebec or New Brunswick it would be nice to be able to speak Quebecois. Some of the French people don't or won't speak English. Some will tell you out right that in Quebec it is French or nothing. Don't get me wrong, other that the language bone of contention that some French Canadians have in Quebec, the French Canadians are very nice people, but for some, the historical antagonisms between French and English peoples are still strong.

In my experience, the main thing the Francophone Quebecois object to is the automatic assumption that they should speak English to you. If you make an attempt by initiating the conversation in French (no matter how broken), they nearly always either switch to English if they can speak it themselves, or call over someone to translate. Remember that you're a guest in their province, of which many regions have been exclusively French-speaking for hundreds of years.

--mark
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Old 03-01-2012, 06:11 AM   #14
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Matane weather

Some statistics for you http://www.meteomedia.com/statistics...7395/caqc0342/

Have a good trip
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Old 03-01-2012, 09:36 PM   #15
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Not entirley sure which way you will be cutting across Maine, but if you are looking for some dirt roads check out the Stud Mill Road. Runs from Milford (20 minutes above Bangor) to Princeton (eastern ME, rt 1) it would be 65-80 miles of DESOLATE dirt roads, no towns not even and wide spots in the road. You will see all kinds of wildlife, could camp just about anywhere along the way and may see a handful of people. You can check it out on google maps, there are a lot of side roads that branch off.

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