Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Finally!

First glimpse of the bridge! In the distance!!




Close up of the structure
WHILE the rest of Canada has been enjoying summer like weather setting record after record, we here down east have been faced with abnormally low temps. 

Today, for the very first time... I have to say, we were almost warm enough on the Citicom in jeans and jackets.  There are so many things coming up this summer I've been itching to get out and do a little local riding.

Quite a marvel really... the longest Ice Span bridge in the world.


Of course I do remember one May long weekend leaving Fort Mac in the rain which became snow about 20 miles outside the Edmonton city limits and by the time we reached Judy and Dennett's place overlooking the north Saskatchewan river on Ada Blvd, it was like a blizzard.

Thirteen kilometers to New Brunswick


The next three days of our B.C. ride was spent watching TV and questioning how long this blast of winter was going to last?

On the fourth day, dressed in our cold weather gear, the then wife and I headed south to the Crowsnest Pass.  I figured the elevation is generally lower and several hundred miles farther south couldn't hurt.  We got as far as Blairmore if memory serves, only to be ushered off the road which it seems, was impassable.  Fortunately we were able to shack up in a not so cheap Motel.  The next day we waited for the Snow Plows to clear the road and we gingerly headed west on packed snow covered roads.  I was riding a Yamaha XS 750 triple kitted for long distance travel at the time.  I wish I had a photograph for you but this was in the days well before digital camera's.  If I ever find the photo I am talking about in my thousands of prints, I'll be sure to do a follow up.

Anyway... there was no snow today and we left home in nearly double digit weather.  We toured down to Borden on route 10, passing over the old overgrown causeway run up road that was axed in 1969 after 6 years, being deemed as too costly.



Gateway Village, the touristy "New"... Welcome to the Island, somehow seems extremely out of place to me, oh how I remember (and not very fondly either) what is was like back in the '80s heading to the ferry.  Borden at least I can say today, is a much tidier village than I ever remember it being in the hundreds of times I crossed the strait before!

Brenda doing her Abbey Road impression


We rode the Citi 300 to the photo op tourist off ramp where you can take reasonably good photos of the Confederation bridge without causing a traffic pile-up.  Besides a couple of young women, Brenda and I were the only two people there.  The Island doesn't begin waking up from it's winter hibernation until the May long weekend, what we know as "Victoria Day".

Gateway Village itself was mostly a ghost town, although there are no haunted mansions.
Yup, the Lobster Shack.


Most of the many tourist traps are not yet open for business but we did find one sit down diner, most oddly called "The Lobster Shack" pretty dang original I must say, where we had an okay cuz we were hungry meal.  There is no doubt that anyone would mistake this for gourmet dining!

Borden has changed a lot...


By the time we left Borden it had warmed considerably into the teens and for the very first time this year, it actually felt like 'heat'!

In between sitting on the scooter cruising along at 50-60 mph (80-100kph) and wandering around Borden, Mom was answering a flurry of text messages from Anna, who will just about do anything NOT to spend time at school; seems she'd earned herself a 1 day suspension for smoking on the school steps, I must say, a habit we dearly wished she'd not have picked up!  Brenda quipped to me that the "greater" punishment that the school could have inflicted on her, would have been to make her go to school tomorrow!  Being suspended to Anna is simply a bonus!

Mom and daughter texting.

We dawdled on the return so the little princess could have a little time to think about things (I'm kidding of course).  I hooked up with route 10 before taking a local cut-off that quickly turned from bumpy pavement to hard packed clay that dumped us out to the quaint little village of Victoria by the Sea.

... and again!


Once again, there were some early birds floating around including the second elderly couple we'd seen today walking hand in hand leaning in close to one another.  I wasn't completely convinced it wasn't to supply mutual support to keep from toppling over or maybe, after decades, there were still genuinely in love!  Being a hopeless romantic, I chose to believe the latter.

Low tide at Victoria By The Sea.

Pretty much all the activity in Victoria was in preparation for the beginning of the summer tourist season on, you guessed it, Victoria Day.  Even the ice cream shop was closed but we did manage to take a few photos of the surrounding area.

AT Crapaud, I took the highway 13 cutoff, this road bi sects PEI just about down the middle and is not only very pretty but  carries us past Brook Vale ski hill, which by the way, still had some scattered snow cover and is home to the highest elevation on the Island, just shy of 500 feet.

Wooden bridge at Tryon


I noted coming down the hill into Hunter River, the sign proclaiming H.R. to have been first settled in 1767, Indeed!  I'd bet there were no tourists riding scooters back then...

Hopeful gardener... owner of the Bakery, that's Hunter River in the background.
One of the few original lighthouses left on the Island.


View from the entry to downtown Victoria to the lighthouse

We stopped at our favorite Bakery By the River in H.R., had some pie, while Anna negotiated a later return via text with Mom.  I took 13 north to the cut-off which eventually brought us to Stanley Bridge, a very cute little village with fabulous views of the inlet and bay going all the way to the dunes on the Gulf side.  From here back in 1990, I had ridden a then new Yamaha Waverunner 500, with Holly on the back and Lisa in front of me, all the way to the outer dunes.  I remember being somewhat frightened that day when the placid early waters became quite choppy (three feet) on our return leg and we were in danger of capsizing.  Not generally a problem for a solo adult rider but with two small children would have been problematic to say the least!

Our favorite stop over spot, middle of the Island


We filled up in Kensington, and I will mention at this time that this being my second fill-up on the SYM 300i... I was somewhat disappointed with the fuel mileage.  The tank holds 10 L just over 2 Imperial gallons.  My first fill last week yielded 90 mpg (don't ask me what that is in L per 100km and who in the hell came up with that stupid standard anyway...?  Wouldn't it have made more sense to say km per liter???)

This fill up took 6.27L for a total of 196 km traveled... or in plain English, 88 mpg!

You read it right! 


Actually pretty impressive, and the bridge is nice too!  Scooting together brings a couple closer!
Not bad is it considering we were two up averaging 100 kph and into a stiff breeze much of the day.

We are quite pleased with the SYM, it's pretty much exactly what I thought it would be, with some surprises like the fuel frugality and the power of the 21 bhp 263cc engine.  Just for fun I ran her up to 130 kph at one point but I don't like to travel too fast here, there are lots of little critters, like that red fox that crossed seconds before I passed his trajectory, we had a close look at each other, he was quite stout, in good shape and mature.  I really hate seeing animals domestic or otherwise killed by motorists...

The SYM is back in the garage fueled up and we'll head out again Friday when the weather is reported to look like high teens!

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