Go Back   ADVrider > Riding > Epic Ride Reports
User Name
Register Inmates Photos Site Rules Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 09-06-2013, 09:27 PM   #16
Joined: Jul 2013
Location: Middlebury, Vermont, USA
Oddometer: 68
Day 9: Meat Cove

Day 9: Meat Cove

As of last night the forecast was for rain, so I wasn't too surprised to wake up to a downpour striking the rain-fly of my tent. I checked the weather report -- rain and fog all day -- and went back to sleep to wait for the worst of it to pass. I was at the end of the road and there was nowhere further to go on wheels without backtracking. There is something freeing about being at the end of the road or the top of a mountain; you've now seen what lies over that next hill and the inability to continue forward [or upward] provides a check against continued progress only for the sake of continued progress, providing space for a pause and reflection. This part of Cape Breton was my goal and where I'd envisioned traveling to, so there was no need to rush off. I'd rather spend the day hiking at Meat Cove rather than have to creep around the most scenic part of the Cabot trail in the rain and fog. With nowhere else to be, I ate breakfast in the tent and emerged to chat with the very damp foursome from Maine -- the guys whose hammocks couldn't be used without any trees and had slept on the ground with a tarp partially covering them. Luckily the rain only caught them after dawn and they weren't tired as well as wet. I wished them safe travels as they spun off in the muddy drizzle for their own Cabot Trail ride. After processing photos and writing for a few hours I found the campground manager, Justin, and got set up for a kayak rental. If figured the misting rain wouldn't be much of a bother if I was getting wet from splashes anyway.

Wearing flip-flops I unsuccessfully scrambled down the steep path to the beach -- managing to cover my full backside with reddish mud in the process -- then forded a small stream to meet Justin where he had dropped off the kayak on the beach. The sea was quite calm as I shoved off, with no chop and just some gentle swells. About 300 meters from shore I was watching a cormorant when beside it rose a large fin that started waving back and fourth. I paddled closer to investigate. I got to within about 10 meters of the fin which appeared to be attached to a whale of some sort that was laying on it's side just under the surface. I didn't want to get too close as I had no idea how big it was, but it disappeared beneath the surface before I could see its full outline. It came back up a few minutes later, but then disappeared completely before I could get as close as the first encounter. Later I was told that it was likely a Minke or Pilot whale as those are the two species they've been seeing a lot of recently.

After bobbing about for quite some time hoping the whale would return I paddled east across the cove to a decent-sized waterfall that tumbled over a final escarpment and onto the beach. I hung out at the waterfall for a while taking photos and just watching the shifting patterns of light as the clouds continually broke their grasp of the sun and reclaimed it. Eventually I got back on the water and began to paddle out to be able to see around the eastern point of the cove only to find that while I was on the beach a ripping wind had picked up out of the west. Not wanting to get blown around the point I headed upwind for a few minutes with the rising chop breaking over the bow and spraying back in my face. This aspect of sea kayaking was distinctly less pleasant than my calm paddle to the waterfall so I turned toward shore to get some protection from the headlands. Eventually I got close enough to the cliffs that the chop subsided and I worked my around the shoreline to a second waterfall before peeking out around the wester point of the cove. The view to the west was of even bigger rusty-red cliffs dropping into the sea. I wasn't able to really enjoy the view due to the high winds blasting me in the face with spray, but I imagine it would be a great sight on a calm and sunny day.

After bobbing about some just enjoying being on the water I decided I'd had enough and paddled back to the beach with no idea what time of day it was. Upon climbing back up to the campground I found I'd been on the water for 4 hours -- not a bad way to spend a rainy day. A bracing shower later I no longer felt sticky from the salt spray and headed to the Chowder Hut for an early dinner. As the afternoon progressed into evening other travelers stopped by the Chowder Hut for some food and a view before heading on their way. I had a nice chat with four guys from Quebec doing the Cabot trail on adventure bikes who confirmed my fears about the weather, saying that the whole western side of the island was thick fog broken only by rain. They were followed by a couple from Toronto that had hiked the Skyline Trail (supposedly one of the best views in the park from the top of a massive cliff) only to find that they could see roughly 10 meters through the fog. My decision to stay and relax in Meat Cove looked better and better.

While I was having dinner the rain picked up again and I spent most of the evening in the Chowder Hut processing photos and chatting with new arrivals. Around 7pm I was quite surprised when I recognized the faces walking in the door: the young woman from Canso and her French boyfriend that I'd met on the County Harbour Ferry several days before! Kind of wild to encounter the same folks 350 miles and several days away.

Here are few notes about Meat Cove in case you are thinking about heading there. The campground has 35 "spots", but only 3 or 4 have a large enough flat area to park a small camper-van on the level. Of the rest, about half can have a car or bike parked beside them and a few more can be accessed by a very careful 4WD operator. The remaining spots require leaving the car on the road above and walking down. The facilities lean to the Spartan and jerry-rigged end of things, but the price is good, the food at the Chowder Hut decent, and the view magnificent. They also have several cabins available that have a few beds and mattresses if you prefer that to a tent. One last note: the campground is first-come-first-served, so get there early if it is a beautiful holiday weekend.

Day 9 stats: no riding

AdamVT screwed with this post 09-07-2013 at 03:24 PM Reason: Fixed messed up grammar.
AdamVT is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-07-2013, 08:43 AM   #17
Gnarly Adventurer
Serp's Avatar
Joined: Mar 2006
Location: Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
Oddometer: 267
Great write-up and pics. Enjoy your ride.
my bikes: R1200GSW, WR250R & Gas Gas Raga Trials
wifes bike: F700GS
Serp is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-08-2013, 04:29 PM   #18
Joined: Jul 2013
Location: Middlebury, Vermont, USA
Oddometer: 68
Day 10: Cabot Trail - West

Day 10: Cabot Trail - West

Labor Day arrived with the sun peeking from the horizon under overcast skies. It wasn't the gorgeous bluebird day I was hoping for, but at least no rain or fog were present. I had made it to bed early last night and woke up refreshed at 7am. For the second time on this trip I was able to get rolling before 9am, though I almost dropped the bike 3 feet later while spinning on the sloping wet grass of my campsite. Luckily the tires bit in as the bike started to lean and I was propelled up the hill and out of the campground. The road from Meat Cove back to the Cabot trail was even more lovely than I remembered from the way in with the paved sections hosting numerous tight curves that I'd had a hard time appreciating while riding into the glare of the setting sun. Rejoining the Cabot Trail near Dingwall, I followed it southwest through a long valley that reaches into the heart of the highlands. Along the valley floor I spotted a bull and cow moose standing in a field, but they had disappeared by the time I circled back with my camera ready. Toward the southwest end of the valley the Cabot Trail begins climbing to the flat-topped plateau of the highlands in a lovely stretch of serpentine asphalt. Approaching the top of the 1,300-foot plateau, the road climbed into the low clouds. The going was slow for several miles while the mists were thickest, but soon the road dropped out of the clouds again toward the coast at Pleasant Bay. I didn't stop at Pleasant Bay, but the view from the Trail was mostly of signage for various tourist attractions of the sort that mainly market to the tour-bus crowd.

South of Pleasant Bay the Cabot trail climbs a lovely sequence of eight switchbacks back up to the top of the plateau. I couldn't help myself and went back for several more passes up and down the mountain. Once it had climbed from the shore, the Cabot Trail continued south along the coast toward Chéticamp, rising and falling along the mountainside with wonderful views the entire way. This section of the trail didn't have the exciting hairpins of the climb from Pleasant Bay, but the scenery more than made up for it.

I stopped in Chéticamp at the most promising restaurant I saw, the Restaurant Acadien. This turned out to be a funny place where the waitresses were dressed up in bonnets and period costume while a fiddler played various jigs. The menu was limited to traditional Acadian foods and I'd had my fill of fish-cakes, so I had a piece of the reasonably-tasty-though-somewhat-bland meat pie. The most interesting part of the meal was that the bread was served with butter whipped together with molasses. I'm not a huge molasses fan -- far preferring maple syrup for flavored sweetness -- but the butter was better than I was expecting.

Soon after Chéticamp I left the Cabot Trail for the Ceilidh Trail as the former headed inland and the later hugged the coastline. The Ceilidh Trail didn't have the majesty of the Cabot Trail's highland cliffs and tight switchbacks. It was a pleasant route none the less, with a few curvy sections and many lovely coastal views. I reached the Canso Causeway at 1:00pm and left Cape Breton for the mainland, riding west on the highway toward New Glasgow under darkening skies.

I was now at crossroads both physical and metaphorical; Cape Breton had fulfilled my quest and I was torn between avoiding the rain by buzzing home on the highway or continuing along a semblance of the route I'd planned and making a brief crossing of Prince Edward Island. While I was not looking forward to more rain and not feeling up to camping in it, pounding the super-slab home for two days didn't sound particularly appealing either. Figuring that I might as well see what I've been missing by not leaving more time for it, I hopped on the ferry to PEI.

The ferry to PEI took longer than I had expected and I disembarked in the evening under a light drizzle. A brief look at the map indicated that the closest significant village was Murray River, about 15 minutes away. Hoping that this village would contain accommodation, a quick Google search for "Murray River Bed and Breakfast" led me to the immaculate Country Charm Bed & Breakfast run by the very friendly and laid-back Joan and Glenn Saunders. After dropping my bags in my room I headed out in search of dinner. Due to the holiday most restaurants were closed, but I managed to find a passable dinner in a newly-opened establishment in Murray River. I've been trying to eat as much of the local seafood as possible on this trip and was a bit disappointed that the bowl of PEI mussels I ordered tasted almost exactly like a bowl of mussels anywhere else. I guess seafood that's transported alive really doesn't change much when shipped. Nourishment satisfied, I returned to the B&B for my first hot shower in 4 days and an extremely comfortable bed.

Day 10 stats: 279 miles, 5:55 moving
AdamVT is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-08-2013, 08:17 PM   #19
Joined: Jul 2013
Location: Middlebury, Vermont, USA
Oddometer: 68
Day 11: PEI to Fredericton

Day 11: PEI to Fredericton

Since I was so cozy in the the B&B and had power as well as internet I stayed up way too late writing and processing photos. Keeping up to date with the ride-report is surprisingly tough on the road if one is as particular as I am about geotagging, keyword-ing, ranking, and editing every photo. On top of that there are the HDR merges and multi-shot panorama stitching that take quite a while to process. Writing takes about an hour per evening and is easy on the battery, but photos are another story. On days when I've been shooting heavily and need to import and sort through hundreds of photos the laptop will use up its battery in about an hour, making photo-processing in the tent a nonstarter. Most of the trip I've tried to fit in a bit of photo processing during lunch or dinner, but pretty soon the backlog would pile up and I'd have to wait until I could get a long evening in a motel to finish up processing. Anyway, having stayed up too late I slept in a bit and made it downstairs for breakfast at 9am. In addition to myself there were two guests from Toronto at the family-style breakfast. Joan and Glenn made a fabulous meal of scones and fruit-filled crêpes. It turns out that Glenn is avid photographer and we had a long conversation about all things photography. It was raining most of the morning and I wouldn't be seeing too much of PEI anyway, so I thought I might as well enjoy myself relaxing through an extended breakfast.

Around 11am the rain paused and I packed the bike and headed up the coast with the intension of seeing a few sights in eastern PEI before heading to Charlottetown. My first stop was Panmure Island, the site of a beautiful sandy beach and attendant lighthouse. As I turned onto the peninsula connecting the "island" to the rest of PEI I was confronted by a driving wind. I stopped for a couple quick photos of the beach and then hopped back on the bike as the rain started up again, in ernest this time.

I stopped in Montague for gas and the checked the weather -- rain all day in PEI, clear in New Brunswick. I decided that with horizontal rain there wasn't much point trying to sight-see so I bailed on the distillery tour and additional lighthouses and headed straight for Charlottetown. I've been told that PEI has a lovely bucolic charm. The gently undulating landscape of farms certainly seemed like it could fit that description, but I had a hard time appreciating it while leaning south into the winds and rain that were gusting over 30mph.

I rolled into Charlottetown at about 12:30 and found that open parking spaces on the main downtown street, Queen Street, were just about impossible to find as numerous cars circled the block looking for openings. I decided to risk a ticket and tucked the bike between two spaces behind a little tree before dripping my way into Sims Corner Oyster Bar for lunch.

I ordered one of each of the available oysters for lunch and honestly couldn't tell the difference between any of them except the Colville Bay oyster. That one was much more sweet and meaty-tasting than the others and was my favorite. The oysters weren't cheap and I wasn't up for paying what it would take to fill up on them, so followed the raw starter with a lobster roll and salad. What is it with the bacon-bits on Caesar salads? All through maritime Canada I've found my Caesar salads to be heaped with bacon instead of garnished with anchovies. I'm a big bacon fan, but I've never seen such an addition to the Caesar. Is this a Canada-wide thing?

After lunch hopped back on the bike and made my way across southern PEI to the 13km Confederation Bridge to New Brunswick. Almost as soon as I hit the mainland the rain stopped and the skies cleared. I pulled over and wrung a cup of water out of my left (upwind) boot and open up all of my vents to air-dry at 75mph. The ride across New Brunswick was a gently undulating sea of trees, scenic here and there but mostly pretty boring.

It was a beautiful evening and I was itching to camp for the night now that I had dried off, but a line of thunder storms was forecast to cross the region at 1am and I wasn't too keen being in my tent for their arrival. A quick Google search found a cheap motel that reviews called "clean if well-worn" that would do the trick at a good price. Before pulling into my motel for the night I did a lap around downtown Fredericton and found the capital of New Brunswick to be a surprisingly pretty and vibrant town, hugging the banks of the broad Saint John River.

Day 11 stats: 281 miles, 5:00 moving

AdamVT screwed with this post 09-09-2013 at 06:29 AM Reason: Fixed grammar
AdamVT is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-10-2013, 05:50 AM   #20
Joined: Jul 2013
Location: Middlebury, Vermont, USA
Oddometer: 68
Day 12: Northern Maine

I rolled out of Fredericton at about 9:30 and hit the super-slab for two hours, the highway flanked by an undulating sea of trees. Crossing the border into Maine the flat horizon became broken by the massive peak of Mount Katahdan standing alone far in the distance. Soon I reached Millinocket and headed north toward Baxter State Park to get a closer look at this mountain which marks the end of the Appalachian trail. Having never seen northern Maine I didn't really know what to expect except that the only roads in the area were logging roads on which the logging trucks have right-of-way. That seemed reasonable enough, so I set my GPS to allow dirt roads, then threw in a few via-points to take me from Millinocket up to Baxter, then across something called the Golden Road for 23 miles before turning off on a smaller logging road for another 15 miles to Frenchtown where I'd pick up the pavement again on the way to Moosehead Lake and Greenville.

My dad had been telling me about a particular spot with good views of Katahdan that he used to visit a lot when he lived in Maine, so upon entering Baxter State Park I walked into the visitor center to figure out how to get to there. While looking at the big park map I asked the slightly-grumpy ranger about how long it would take to get to Sandy Stream Pond, to which I got the abrupt reply, "You can't ride there." I was a bit confused and asked if what looked like a road on the map was actually a trail. "No bikes are allowed in the park", he said, "The guy who gave the state the land for the park had rules: No pets, no motorcycles, no running water. Even though he's dead he still pays my salary so I enforce them." All right then. I guess I'm not getting closer to the mountain and will be on my way. "Which way are you headed?", he asked. I said I was going to take the Golden Road for a while and then turn down to Greenville. He asked what I knew about the Golden Road. I answered truthfully that I didn't know much other than it was gravel and to give the loggers right-of-way. He gave me a stern look, saying "You better have good tires because it's a private road and there is no cell service, no help, and no one is going to care about you. You should just turn around and head back to I-95." Seeing as this information source was likely a dead-end I turned around and headed out of the park before swinging onto a small connector to the Golden Road, figuring I'd at least take a look at it first before making a decision as to which way to go.

At the junction with the Golden Road I stopped for a bio-break and looked at the road. At this point it was partially ground-down asphalt, nothing particularly bad. Given the many miles of gravel roads and jeep trails I ride in Vermont I wasn't hesitant about a bit of gravel, plus I did have some good 80/20 tires on the bike that hadn't seen enough dirt yet. While I was contemplating the road an empty logger passed, followed by a little RAV4 mini-SUV towing a wooden sailboat. The off-road "capabilities" of the RAV4 and boat combination sealed the decision and I followed the RAV4 at an easy pace, watching his movement for signs of approaching log-haulers. For my 20 miles on it, the Golden Road wound along some pretty rivers and lakes with a surface that was mostly ground-down pavement and several stretches of gravel.

Three times the RAV4 dodged to the side and I eased off the road to allow big rigs to pass by at full speed. Unfortunately I never had my camera running, but the loaded trucks were quite a dusty sight barreling along at 50mph on the gravel.

Near Caribou Lake my route took me off the Golden road and onto a smaller road that didn't seem to have any current logging activity. The surface was firmly packed gravel that hadn't been graded in some time, leaving some stretches washboard and others beautifully smooth hard-pack. The scenery on this road was mostly the road and trees with only fleeting glimpses of lakes and distant mountains.

At Frenchtown I joined the pavement again after riding 35 miles of logging roads without incident. Later when I got to an internet connection I did some more research into the Golden road and after several hours of searching and reading am still not sure if the section I rode is really open to motorcycles or not. What is clear is that no motorcycles are allowed in Baxter State Park, the North Maine Woods, or the KI Jo-Mary area. From all of the maps and GIS data I've found, it seems that the Baxter State Park boundary stays on the northern side of the Penobscot River, while the Golden Road is to the south of the river. The large area south of the Golden Road is owned by The Nature Conservancy which doesn't list motorcycles as prohibited, but that point is likely moot as it doesn't look like the Golden road actually enters their Debsconeag Lakes Wilderness Area. North and west of where I turned off the Golden Road is the North Maine Woods, an area with entry check-points that specifically prohibits motorcycles (shown in blue-outline with markers on the check-points):

Long story short, I didn't see any obvious signage on the section of the Golden Road I was on that prohibited motorcycles, though there were signs warning that motorcycles were prohibited in Baxter State Park. No one hassled me and I didn't pass any checkpoints. That said, the status of motorcycle usage of this section of road is still unclear to me, so I can't fully recommend it. If it isn't open to bikes, then as far as I can tell the most northern route a motorcycle can take across central Maine is ME-16 near Dover-Foxcroft and ME-11 to Millinocket. It's quite a bummer that such a huge area is closed to motorcycles, but that seems to be the state of things.

Once I hit pavement again I wound south along the beautiful Moosehead Lake and past Greenville before turning west again on ME-234, ME-4, and ME-16 to Rangeley. These roads were quite scenic with many vistas of forests, lakes, and distant mountains. A few sections were fun and twisty, but nothing worth going back to ride again and again. Even though I was well out of the reserved wilderness areas, there didn't seem to be too many people living in north-western Maine outside of the Kennebec and Strong river-valleys. There were a few villages here and there, but not many and not large. When I entered the 1,200-person town of Rangeley as the sun was going down, it was the most significant village I'd seen for quite some time.

I followed ME-16 through Rangeley until the lake-side cottages petered out and more logging activity lined the road. Every half mile or so there was a gravel turn-off where in years past loggers had loaded their trucks when cutting on the hillsides above. These were now disused and slowly returning to forest with grass pushing up through the gravel. I picked one that had a nice bend out of sight from the highway and after verifying that it was free of "No Trespassing" signs, set up my tent for the night.

My stove likely needed some cleaning and was acting up, but I hadn't disassembled it before and didn't want to get into that in the dark while exhausted and with rain clouds threatening. I nursed the flame enough to get my water close to a boil and sat down to a dinner of Mountain House beef stew. I hit the sack right after dinner at about 8pm and was asleep in moments.

At 3am I woke up a bit chilly. My normal bedding stack -- Thermarest mattress topped with a flannel sheet followed by me with my down mummy bag thrown over like a blanket -- wasn't quite enough. The temperature had dropped in the night and I climbed into the sleeping bag and zipped it up tight. I'd already gotten seven hours of sleep, so I lay awake for a few minutes waiting for sleep to come. Just as I was about to dose off again I was startled awake by the crack of large branches snapping in two and heavy, plodding footsteps headed my way. Bear or moose, which was it? I didn't have any food in my tent, but I'd just packed my food and trash on the bike 3 feet from the tent -- not particularly good bear-country practice. With my bright flashlight and swinging my tripod as a club I figured I could scare off a 300-pound black bear at least once if needed, though likely not successfully from within my mummy bag. Moose were a different story though. At close to a ton and with antlers to boot, an angry moose is a dangerous foe that I did not want to be playing tag with in the dark. Since I had a little mobile service from my campsite I quickly Googled "moose attack tent" in case that was what was out there. The results were encouraging: "Moose and elk know that you are there by smell, but seem to consider tents and vehicles inanimate parts of the landscape and nothing to fear." One poster in a camping forum related that a moose walked through his laundry lines and left with his socks stuck in it's antlers, but didn't bother the tent. I waited and listened for sounds that would differentiate the beast outside the tent. After a minute or two that dragged on seemingly much longer I hear a snapping of saplings, a crunching of woody plants, and phhffbbbbbffhhbbb sound like a horse makes blowing air out it's lips. A moose not a bear! It let out a big horse-like fart in confirmation. Now I just need to stay quiet and not startle it. I had a strong desire to see the animal, but an even stronger desire not to be gored, so I kept the flashlight off and hunkered down in my sleeping bag. After a few minutes the crunching and heavy steps dissipated and I fell back asleep.

Day 12 stats: 350 miles, 6:32 moving

AdamVT screwed with this post 09-10-2013 at 07:12 AM Reason: Fixed some typos.
AdamVT is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-10-2013, 06:41 AM   #21
The Examiner
ClearwaterBMW's Avatar
Joined: Jul 2005
Location: Clearwater, FL USA
Oddometer: 5,972
still enjoying every post and pictures
thanks for taking us along on your journey
i really appreciate it
'11 R1200 GS Adventure with a DMC M72DX Sidecar
'14 R1200 GS & '14 R nineT (march, 2014)
Live life like you mean it... but take your family and friends (and DOGS) along for the "ride"
ClearwaterBMW is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-10-2013, 08:28 PM   #22
Joined: Jul 2013
Location: Middlebury, Vermont, USA
Oddometer: 68
Day 13: Return to the Green Mountains

With the early bedtime I woke up well-rested at about 7am and went out to look for tracks left by last night's visitor. The hard-packed gravel near the tent didn't allow any impressions so I followed the bent grass to where the moose had emerged from the woods. There I found a line of 8-inch cloven-hoofed prints as well as the 6-inch diameter log whose cracking had startled me last night. I'd finished my oatmeal packets and was in the mood for eggs anyway, so I backtracked a few miles to Rangeley and stopped at Moosely Bagels for a sausage, egg, and cheese sandwich and several mugs of coffee.

After breakfast I continued west on ME-16 as it wandered along the lovely Androscoggin River near Umbagog Lake in a long chain of sweeping turns.

My last visit to this area was about a decade ago when I attempted a springtime whitewater kayaking run of the Rapid River with a group of friends. Unfortunately it was still mud-season when we arrived and the logging roads back to the river were closed and gated. Given the inability to travel on terra-firma we proceeded to paddle our stubby little whitewater boats 11 daunting miles into the wind across Umbagog Lake, only to find that the Rapid River wasn't flowing due to stockpiling behind the dam. The trip as a whole ended up being quite an adventure and a lot of fun even though this was the only smidgin of whitewater we saw:

In Errol, New Hampshire NH-16 bore south and I turned west again on NH-26 toward the Dixville Notch. Dixville Notch is both a mountain gap as well as a small community of 12 inhabitants that is usually the first to certify their presidential votes each election, when 100% of the votes are counted within several minutes of midnight on election day. The road through the notch wasn't particularly long or twisty, but it was quite scenic with granite spires guarding the pass and the pretty "Balsams Grand Resort Hotel" holding court over a small lake just west of the pass.

Like northern Maine and New Brunswick, northern New Hampshire is full of mountains, lakes, and a sea of trees broken only by the former and the few roads that cross the region. There are farms here and there in the river valleys, but for the most part the villages seem small and remote. After two solid days of riding across this forest I was struck by the change in landscape that occurred almost as soon as I crossed the Connecticut River into Vermont. Vermont's "Northeast Kingdom" is the most isolated part of the state, but in comparison to the stark wilderness I'd been riding through it was a veritable Eden. Vermont is 75% forested and certainly doesn't lack for trees, but here the forests dominate the tall hills and mountains while giving way to a patchwork of farms large and small in the lowlands. While it is still remote and sparsely populated by western Vermont (let alone metropolitan) standards, the tilled landscape supported villages and economic activity at a level I hadn't seen since Fredericton.

Over the course of the long morning I wound my way across the Northeast Kingdom through the towns of Island Pond, Orleans, Lowell, and Eden before crossing the northern spine of the Green Mountains on VT-109 to Jeffersonville. As I cruised through the rolling countryside I thought a lot about this trip and its imminent end. On the practical side, I was feeling great after 13 days on the road and would be happy to just continue at this pace indefinitely. While this trip hasn't had a lot of downtime and there were no long days lounging on the beach, I did quickly loose track of the day of the week and feel quite mentally restored. I'm quite pleased at how well it worked out given my choice to do this trip solo. While the camaraderie of tackling an adventure with others and conversations around the campfire would have been a nice, I was surprised that when I was most alone -- on a wilderness road or camped far from others -- I never felt the hunger for human contact. I'd like to join with others for future big adventures both for the camaraderie as well as to have help close by, but I no longer have the same trepidation about traveling solo. Another big question I had going into this trip was whether or not camping would be a comfortable long-term option. While thunder storms and multiple days of heavy rain may still chase me into motels, I really enjoyed the camping -- especially in the out-of-the-way spots. The new air mattress has soothed my horrible memories of waking up knotted and sore on a foam "RidgeRest" and I look forward to much more tenting on future trips.

Even now I'm not sure that I have an answer for the bigger question of what I was hoping to gain from this trip. Whether they were what I was looking for or not, I did get a chance to see a few things: what's over the next hill, and the next, all the way to the end of the road; the mountains meeting the sea; some of the largest beasts on the continent and off its shores. I also got a chance to verify that yes, I can be continue to be at peace with myself while alone and away from people and places familiar. I'm not ready to set off on a multi-year round-the-world trip yet, but a month or two on the road now seems within the realm of possibility. I can find a bit of adventure and come out the other side.

Arriving in Jeffersonville, I enjoyed a late lunch at the 158 Main Restaurant happy to be out of the woods and back in the world of solid restaurants serving a wide variety of locally grown meats and veggies. I'd told my friend that was house-sitting that I wouldn't be home until mid-afternoon, so I took my time and wound my way south through Underhill, Jericho, and Huntington on various back roads. Truthfully, I didn't want the trip to end and extending it by taking the scenic route seemed like a nice compromise between the part of me that was ready to get back to normal life and the part that wanted to turn west and continue across the country. Along the way I got a text-message that my house-sitter was still cleaning, so I detoured back up into the mountains and explored a couple of miles Class-4 roads (TH-25/Green Rd) near Lincoln to delay my arrival and to test out my gear on more challenging terrain. These were by far the roughest "roads" I traveled on this trip and the bike handled the washouts, water bars, and mud surprisingly well for being so heavily loaded. The extra weight did lower the clearance a bit and the skid plate got a solid workout as I scraped over many spots. After a couple of miles on the jeep trail I was back to smooth gravel and turned down the mountain toward home.

Day 13 stats: 246 miles, 5:13 moving
AdamVT is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-10-2013, 08:53 PM   #23
Eat my shorts
squonker's Avatar
Joined: Dec 2006
Location: Yellowknife, NWT
Oddometer: 4,059
Nice RR!

Ride Report: Canada North to South 2008 here
Drive Report: Ice Road Trucking 2005-2014 here

squonker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-10-2013, 09:12 PM   #24
Joined: Jul 2013
Location: Middlebury, Vermont, USA
Oddometer: 68
Summary Statistics:

  • 2629 miles on the odometer, roughly 100 miles of which were dirt/gravel roads
  • 5 ferries
  • 13 days and 12 nights traveling
  • 5 nights under roofs and 7 nights camping
    • 1 night in a dojo, 1 night in a hostel, 1 night in a B&B, and 2 nights in motels
    • 3 nights camping in public campgrounds, 4 nights camping in out-of-the-way spots
  • 3 states in the U.S. and 3 provinces in Canada
  • Usual daily riding time: 5.5-6 hours
AdamVT is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-11-2013, 05:46 AM   #25
Gnarly Adventurer
worgoose's Avatar
Joined: Feb 2007
Location: Seacoast NH
Oddometer: 421
I just saw your report for the first time today. I am sorry I was late in seeing it as I was going to ìnviteyou to my dojo in North Hampton NH on your way back. My family is from Cape Breaton and I've riddin there any times (twice this summer) it would have been interesting to exchange stories. If you are ever in the area feel free to stop by my Karate school.
worgoose is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-25-2014, 09:28 AM   #26
Joined: Apr 2008
Oddometer: 6
just found your report, it was terrific. i'm headed to n.s. this july or early august. only have 8 days from central mass. so i'll probably be skipping pei. will camp about 50% of the time, depending on the weather. hoping i don't get the amount of rain you did. thanks for the report!
bgiff17 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-25-2014, 01:00 PM   #27
Gnarly Adventurer
Joined: Jan 2011
Location: Nova Scotia, Canada
Oddometer: 100
Ya nice report. Good photos as well. It is neat to get a persons perspective on Nova Scotia since I am from here. Too bad I missed you in Digby, that where I live. Would have liked to say hello.
Take care.
Easier to ask forgiveness than permission!!
Antennas is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-25-2014, 07:36 PM   #28
Joe the Rider.
scfrank's Avatar
Joined: Oct 2005
Location: Upstate SC
Oddometer: 9,792

Outstanding report. Thanks.

It's a great topic for discussion, but the participants need to act mature.
scfrank is offline   Reply With Quote


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump

Times are GMT -7.   It's 04:04 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.5
Copyright ©2000 - 2015, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright ADVrider 2011-2015