|08-10-2014, 06:50 PM||#1|
aka Beer Scout
Joined: Nov 2008
Location: Extreme N.E. Tennessee = Motorcycle Nirvana
Father Son Trip to Nova Scotia
My Son Robert and I have been riding together since he was a little boy on an XR50. As he grew his rides progressed through XR80, XR100, TT125, CRF150R. We rode off road in places like the Hatfield – McCoy area, Brown Mt., Durhamtown Plantation, etc. He eventually grew up and moved off to College. I sold our off road bikes and we now take annual motorcycle trips together. His Freshman year for Spring Break we flew to San Diego and did a guided tour in Baja with http://www.gobajariding.com/ . His Sophomore year Spring Break we flew to Costa Rica and did a 5 day tour with https://www.mototourscostarica.com/ . Both of these trips were amazing, and as you might imagine fairly expensive. This year I decided we would go a different route, rather than pay someone else for a fly and ride, I would invest in some bikes and plan it myself.
Nova Scotia has always been on my bucket list and so I started planning. I purchased two used Suzuki DR650s, a 2005 and a 2009. Installed Acerbis 5.7 gallon tanks, Wolfman luggage, and Pat Walsh top racks. I also purchased some additional camping gear, new lightweight sleeping bags, head lamps, camp chairs, etc. I have an Aunt and Uncle who live in Vermont. The plan was to load the bikes in my truck, drive from N.E. Tennessee to Vermont, unload, ride, reload truck, and drive home. It all went according to plan; this was the best trip yet, exceeding all our expectations. One of the most important decisions was to take two weeks of vacation in order to do this. I have never taken two weeks of vacation together, I highly recommend it. I would like to thank and acknowledge all the other ADV inmates for the valuable information I got for planning this trip. This is our ride report.
We left on Saturday, July 12th and drove 15 hours straight through to Stowe VT arriving just in time to grab a meal and a brew at a local restaurant before the kitchen closed. My Aunt and Uncle were not in town when we arrived so we camped on their screened in porch.
Here are the bikes in the truck the next morning just before we unloaded them
We would be riding scenic dirt roads and come across true New England scenery like this
Classic New England barn, with a collection of vintage VWs and a Mopar.
Here is my Son on his DR loaded up with luggage somewhere in Maine.
Our first day we ended our ride in Stratton Maine. The Appalachian Trail runs close to here and we found a very reasonable motel/hostel with a room with double beds and bath for $60 cash http://www.thestrattonmotel.com/ my kind of place. There are restaurants within walking distance and a store across the street with a decent selection of locally brewed beers.
The next day arrived early, and we hit the road taking some dirt and some scenic highway across Maine stopping for breakfast and lunch at small dinners; and into Canada at St. Stevens. After passing through the border crossing we stopped at the information center to inquire where we could find a camp ground. We were steered to a great campground close by in the town of St. Andrews. The campground http://www.kiwanisoceanfrontcamping.com/ is right on the water front and within walking distance of the St. Andrews waterfront area. The waterfront area is typical tourist, but had a selection of restaurants with good seafood and beer. This is the view from our outdoor dinning
The next morning we woke up to thick fog and intermittent rain showers. We walked back to the waterfront area for some breakfast. We hoped the fog would burn off and showers would remain intermittent. That did not happen, this day proved to be very wet. We had to pack up our camping gear wet, although we did find some shelter at the campground to park under while we packed. Here is my Son in Frog Tog rain gear we borrowed for this trip. He said he felt like Condom Man.
We left St. Andrews in the rain and fog, visibility was very bad. We rode along the coast as we wanted to see the Bay of Fundy. This was a mistake as we remained in the coastal fog where our visibility was limited, but what we did see a lot of was Moose Crossing warning signs. We decided to get a room in St. Johns and dry out. We ordered a pizza to our room, ate, then decided to make the best of it and called a cab and went downtown for some brews. The next day the fog was still thick, very thick see pictures
After speaking with the Motel owner about the maritime coastal fog we headed inland away from the coast. This got us out of the fog, with only rain to deal with. With visibility and only rain to deal with we rode the highway into Nova Scotia. At the welcome center the sun was out, the rain was behind us, it was looking up.
We rode further into Nova Scotia along the Northcumberland Shore Sunrise Trail scenic road. We still had some intermittent showers, but there was sunshine in-between the showers. We decided to spend the night in the town of Tatamagouche. We stayed at a motel/bed & breakfast place that was a converted train station http://www.trainstation.ca/. It was nice, but the least expensive room, was the most expensive room stayed in for the trip. I should have looked for other options, but after a long day in the saddle we were ready to get off the bikes. They did have a unique fully restored dining car that served locally brewed beer and a fantastic mussel appetizer. We had a couple of brews each and split the mussel appetizer in the dining car before walking a short distance to another restaurant/pub for dinner and another brew.
The next day we woke up to mostly sunshine and got on the road following the same scenic highway along the coast all the way to the Canso Causeway and onto Cape Breton Island. We stopped at local diners for both breakfast and lunch.
Upon crossing onto Cape Breton we stopped at the tourist information station to inquire where we could get on the Ceilidh Coastal Trail http://www.your-nova-scotia-holiday.com/ceilidh-coastal-trail.html This is an abandoned railway bed that is now a trail for bicycles, walkers, snowmobiles, and motorcycles. We followed this for some time, planning to ride it all the way to Inverness. It was scenic in some parts but mostly a ‘tunnel of trees’ with a lot of driveway crossings. The speed limit is also very low on this shared trail. We left the trail after a while and back onto the scenic highway that follows the west coast of Cape Breton Island. We planned to spend the night in Inverness but a stop at the tourist information station revealed that there were no rooms in town. We found help at one local motel who recommended and provided contact information for a motel in Margaree Forks http://margareeriverviewinn.com/ This was one of the best value rooms for the trip. It was clean with hard wood floors, room bathroom with its own window and fan, and extra power outlets for us to recharge our phones and helmet to helmet communicators.
One decision we did make was to use our phones as cameras during our trip, but didn’t consider how often these smart phones require recharging. Our helmet to helmet communicators also required overnight charging in order to last an entire day. When we stayed at campgrounds, charging was not an option except for short periods in the bath/shower house. We will get 12v to USB adapters before our next trip.
We had the best dinner of our trip on a recommendation from the motel owner in at the Margaree River Inn. We rode up to Margaree Harbor and had a Lobster Dinner. It was an amazing meal with choice of soup or salad, the main meal of Lobster/potatoes/vegetables and a choice of a decadent desert.
The next day was when the scenery truly got amazing as we entered the Cape Breton Highlands National Park
This is a shot of the only moose we saw on our trip. It was in the park up on French Mountain in French Lake. We saw lots of moose tracks when stopping along roads in Maine and Nova Scotia, but this is the only moose we saw and got a photo of.
Here is a shot of my Son at Meat Cove. This place is truly like a post card, the water so deep blue, the sky so ‘sky’ blue, the trees so green. Just looking around everything was in High Definition.
The campground at Meat Cove was amazing, just beautiful, and the weather couldn’t have been better. The campground has a small takeout restaurant that serves, mussels, clams, lobster, lobster rolls and beer. We did a short hike to the top of a nearby ridge where we took some of the above photos. We met two other guys traveling by motorcycle Matt was from Toronto and Mike was from Australia. Matt had a real camera and took the following photo of my Son and I and e-mailed it to me.
The next morning I took the next shot by just unzipping the screen window in my tent. The sun was rising right over the center of a small island on the horizon. It was so perfect it looked photo shopped, but this is just how picturesque it was.
We made the decision to move on the next day, it was a hard to leave what I would call paradise, but we had miles to ride and lots to see. We left the campground and stopped for breakfast in Dingwall at the Dingwall Dinner, don’t bother to stop here. From there we continued south along the eastern coast on the Cabot Trail. The scenery on the eastern shore is good, but not as dramatic as the western coast. We wound down and eventually left the National Park and turned on the scenic highway that follow the shores of Bras d Or Lake. Here are a few shots of this massive inland body of water.
After our ride around the lake, we headed around the south shore and out to the town of Canso which is on the eastern tip of the south shore. That is where we met ADV inmate Bluenoser who is a police officer. He said he saw us ride past his office and headed out after us. We had stopped to check the map when he rode up and introduced himself. He is an avid ride who has ridden to Alaska on his way to Argentina. He really wanted to quit for the day and ride with us, but that wasn’t possible so he gave us some advice on the route along the southern shore. He told us that he was patrolling the section we were in and that no one was patrolling the section to the west where we were headed so we could ride the bikes as we wish.
We rode the scenic highway along the south shore until we reached Murphy’s Cove where we camped at Murphy’s Camping on the Ocean http://www.murphyscamping.ca/ This is a very nice campground right on the water. Take note that the south shore is more remote than the north shore and you need to think about where you want to dine for supper and if you want to purchase any adult beverages earlier in the evening than in more populated areas. We were able to find a place to dine on a nice seafood platter, but were not able to purchase any beer that evening. Here is a shot of my Son relaxing on the dock of the campground.
The campground has a communal fire pit and the owner cooks mussels over the fire for the enjoyment of all campers who would like them.
The next day we continued west on the scenic highway on the south shore to Halifax where we stopped at the harbor there. It is pretty much a tourist trap, but there were some things worth seeing. We continued on heading north on scenic highways that follow the north shore of the Minas Basin. We left this scenic highway to take a dirt road that went north over Lynn Mountain to Mapleton and then onto Amherst where we got a room for our last night in Nova Scotia in the downtown area within walking distances of restaurants and pubs.
From there we headed back into New Brunswick and down the Fundy Coast. For those who aren’t familiar with the Bay of Fundy, it has the highest tides in the world. There are areas where the tide fluctuates 40 feet from low to high tide. We visited one area named the Hopewell Rocks where we walked on the floor of the bay at low tide. Here are some photos from there.
We then rode down the coast of New Brunswick and back to the waterfront camping in St. Andrews. Our weather upon waking up the next day was much nicer then our first morning in Canada, there was some coastal fog, but it burned off and we had a great ride back to Stratton Maine. We did get into some afternoon showers as we got close to Stratton, no big deal.
On the last day of our trip, the eleventh day in the saddle, we were both ready for a break and looking for the shortest route back to my Aunt and Uncles house in Stowe VT. I just put Stowe in the GPS and the route that was the shortest time took us north into Quebec, go figure. We decided to take the route back into Canada in order to have lunch in Quebec and check the box that we had been there. Here is the photographic proof that we visited Quebec.
After lunch in Quebec at a brewpub we made our way to Stowe, arriving mid afternoon. We were greeted by my Aunt and Uncle, and their two Labs, one chocolate and one yellow. We loaded the bikes, had a few locally brewed beers, great conversation, and dinner. More conversation and catching up followed dinner, but not for long, Robert and I were quite tired and were in bed asleep before 10:00 pm. The next morning came early and we were on the road by 6:00 am for the long ride home. This was the trip of a lifetime. 11 days, 2639 miles, 3 states, 3 provinces, 2 countries. The most gratifying thing my Son said during this trip was “Dad, you just keep outdoing yourself” meaning that this trip topped both the Baja and the Costa Rica trip. It’s very gratifying that the trip I planned even compares to the professionally planned trips previously taken. This trip will be hard to top, but I’m already planning next summer’s trip to Colorado. This photo sums up the trip, my Son and I are more like best friends on these trips, rather than Father and Son.
Well, I don't know, but I've been told
You never slow down, you never grow old.
Tom Petty - Last Dance with Mary Jane
2010 Ducati Multistrada, 2007 KTM Superduke, 2005 DR650
|08-10-2014, 07:08 PM||#2|
One wheel wonder...
Joined: Aug 2004
Location: Moneyapolis, MN
Dad used to say, "we really wore that day out didn't we."
D.T. screwed with this post 08-10-2014 at 07:19 PM
|08-15-2014, 01:39 PM||#3|
Joined: Sep 2009
Location: New Market,MD.
I am going to NS next week to visit my family. I grew up there and moved away in 1985. It is a very special place to visit. I have a nieghbor here in MD that is a Merchant Marine who has travelled all over the world..he told me that Nova Scotia was the most beautiful place he has seen so far! Glad you guys enjoyed yourselves and left with some good memories.
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