Thursday, August 24, 2017

Early morning adventure ride, the start of an amazing day!
I was on the road early the next morning.  The thermometer was headed into the low 30's and there were no clouds in the forecast.  Sounds ideal doesn't it.  Bright sunny day, little to no wind, no rain in the forecast, and I'm riding a Suzuki V Strom from the hills, to the Bay and back into the hills.  Of course at the time I really had no clue of this, my entire trip plan was to plan as little as possible.  I'd scan the map the night before and pick an area to explore.  Often once on the road, I'd change my mind anyway!

The first few miles were actually clearing the city and skirting St. John itself on rte 100 until I reached the Airport cut-off at 111.  I already had over 200 km on the trip-meter, but I wasn't worried at all about fuel.  The tank on the bike will carry me more than 500 km with some to spare, and this was after all a fairly built up region. 

Lots of steep hills and twisty tarmack.

ONE of the biggest differences riding Canada's east vs the west, were the multitude of villages and towns where I would spend the next week or so. I was never far from "civilization" at any point of my 2500 km riding trip, unlike Western Canada where civilization can be scarce.

Today I was going to do the bottom half of a loop that I'd hoped to do with Brenda on this same bike back in 2016.  Unfortunately on that trip, we were faced with a deluge and very high winds when we caught the tail end of a Hurricane coming up the Atlantic seaboard.  That wasn't a pleasant ride, we got soaked completely through our rain gear and I don't know about you... but I'm not the kind of rider that loves to drone along the freeway getting doused with water hour after hour!

Yes, this is the Bay of Fundy

ONCE past the Airport I wandered along the coastal route into Gardner Creek and then onto St. Martin's.  That mountain of gravel creek side would make me a rich man if I could beam it over to my back yard on the Island.  Gravel you see, is a very costly import necessary for construction of most anything on PEI.

The road was barely wide enough for two VW Beetles, steep hills giving me excellent Fundy views before dropping me down to virtually sea level the next moment.  I could see this being a very popular ride from the surrounding city areas if you have a sports bike with low bars.  That is of course with the exception of disaster if you put a tire wrong at speed.

Rugged coastline

THE road surface was much patched, with a variation of smooth asphalt recently laid for miles through the wilderness to pot holes that could bend a rim!  I was coming through on a mid week, so traffic was light except for a very short morning around commuter times.

GPS is pretty much useless out here, "Brandy" is always looking for the quickest straightest route.

THE hills were (alive with music but in reality the only music was from the V Twin exhaust) abrupt and steep.  The sensation was of riding a roller coaster and although I am not into that sort of 'thrill' (nor barfing my guts out) I did have some experience similar in SO-Cal a number of years ago.

At a 110 kph pace each summit felt like the bike was going airborne and each abrupt valley, the suspension would noticeable compress.  Needless to say I slowed my pace to a more stately 70-90 kph, which had the added benefit of being more enjoyable, especially with all the wild roses growing by roadside.  To complicate matters, but in a most enjoyable way, the corners were plentiful and tight as a dancers g string.

Yup, if I owned this gravel pile in my back yard, I'd be rich!

AT Fairfield I hooked back up with highway 111and that took me into St. Martins.  I completely missed the turn to Salmon River, but wasn't too upset with myself, after all, I live here! I can come back pretty much any summer day to do it again, and I will.

Cool standing there in the shade of early morning!

ROAD construction just north of StM slowed me with thick gravel, and when I mean thick... I mean ankle deep thick.  Remember, this is Appalachian mountain country, gravel here was miles deep!

A procession of vintage iron passed by on their way to a meeting in StM

A mid morning construction zone had me pulled over with no one behind me for miles. Coming towards me though were a long line of vintage cars, whom I think would have been less than thrilled with the road surface, on their way to a weekend gathering in SM as told to me by the very pretty and pleasant sign lady who stood shivering in the early morning shadow.  She did mention in our few minutes of conversation that she wished she could have been 50' closer to the equipment placing her into the rising sun and warmth!

First of many

I had no problem with the gravel other than I was experiencing some of my usual left shoulder Impingement and I wasn't talking about the roadway! I was a little sore in that regard.

I followed the lights flashing/leader's vehicle, eating his dust, wanting to bin it and pass him, but thought better of it!

Gets about 75 mpg and holds 22L/4.9Imp G  Your tank will outlast your bum!

BY the time I was getting near Sussex Corner, I was thinking fuel and food.  The odometer said I was approaching the 530 km mark and my stomach was approaching M T !

To say I was having a swell day wouldn't give it justice.  Nope, this was one of those singing into my helmet, laughing uncontrollably, whooping, smiling ear to ear, grinning, swell days!

If you have ever traveled anywhere by motorcycle on a bright sunny warm day seeing things you've never witnessed before, waving at everybody and returning waves from guys out cutting the grass but wishing they were me, kind of days... you know what I mean.

This things over a hundred years old, imagine the tales it could tell!

ONCE out the other side of Sussex, which I might ad is another very pretty little burg, I cranked up the throttle to 120 with the occasional 140 on route 10 N.  I wanted to see Cambridge Narrows and get back on the little three digit roads.

Having made short order of my highway jaunt with barely a car to pass, I pulled off  onto 710 where I found not only another covered bridge but also this very cool log cabin in the woods!  Apart from the stainless steel chimney, this could very well have belonged to Unca Tom hisself!

Check this out!

I crossed over on the Narrows Bridge and made the loop to Jemseg, then the bottom of the Peninsula before re-crossing the bridge heading to Shannon and Wickham before setting course on to Norton and a half dozen other little towns, any one of which would make a great postcard image!

Yep... no dude aboot it... I was having myself a ball!

Oh yeah... just another covered bridge this one at Codys

EVENTUALLY all this must pass, and as the sun dropped down over a long 12 hour day, I made it home to Rothesay* on a very satisfying first day's ride. I don't recall the actual mileage, maybe around 350-400 km, but in smiles per mile... this was one of the better days of my motorcycling career.  It was proof to me that I made the right decision to move east, where hopefully, I have many MC days left under my lid just as this one was.

For those people that think of riding I-15 or Highway 2 from Edmonton to Calgary at 90 mph is the biz... let me educate you.  The Maritimes has some of very best motorcycling in the world, and I should know.  I've ridden in about 30 countries in my riding career and you can take what I tell you to the bank pal!

Besides... if you're one of those people that will live to a 107, don't have a criminal record, just a hop skip and step away, you can be in New England, which is just like Nova Scotia and New Brunswick except for the stars and stripes and the unusual English you'll hear.

One Happy dude!

STAY tuned...

* There's a saying around our place, "home is where you hang your helmet"  For this week home was Lisa and Rick's in Rothesay.

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