Author Archives: ptarman1

About ptarman1

I'm a nearly 78-yr-old mostly retired United Methodist minister. I still work part time as a Chaplain for a local hospice.

Twisted Throttle and Beyond!

Epic Ride, Day 63:

It’s actually Day 64 now, but I didn’t get anything written yesterday.  When I left the Super 8 before I was half-way to Twisted Throttle, I had rolled over 19,000 miles for the Epic Ride and 25,000 for the year.

At Twisted Throttle, they were waiting for me with my new Givi topbox and the silver cover, lights for the Givi, and were ready to troubleshoot my driving light issues (they were blowing fuses pretty quickly).  I’d been sitting there in their lounge area, trying to resist the temptation to buy one of everything they had (and they had LOTS of stuff, all very well presented and very, very, very tempting.

I was talking to a man from Connecticut who was having his Wee-Strom worked on when a ruggedly-handsome, tall and lanky man walked in.  He and the Wee-Strom were talking and he looked over Wee-Strom guy’s shoulder and said, “Hi, Phil.  How are you?”

I said, “Do I know you?” and he ignored me.  About the same time Kevin from TT came in and I asked him who the guy was.  Kevin sat there and I said, “Does he own an NT?”  Kevin said, “Well, he did…” and I said, “OK, he must be on the Forum.”  Finally Kevin whispered, “That’s Mac.”

Mac only lives about 20 miles or so from Twisted Throttle and he knew I was going to be there so he came over to harass … excuse me, visit with me.  He hung around for two or three hours and I really enjoyed meeting him and the Wee-Strom guy (who, by the way, is running for King of the World).

Since Twisted Throttle did have a 120/70X17 Michelin Pilot Road 3 I decided to go ahead and replace my front PR3 which was at 18,982 miles.  I think it would have gotten me home, but this tire has a lot more tread on it.

The Givi installation went quickly, but the Denali troubleshooting did not.  Several times they thought they had things worked out and then the fuse would blow.  When I got there I had told them that there seemed to be moisture in the right light pod, but they didn’t think it was inside the pod, just behind the plastic lens.  As they were working, they seemed to be convinced that the problem was somewhere in my slightly-less-than professional wiring job.

After their 3rd or 4th try and still no joy, I asked if they’d looked at the pod with moisture in it and they decided to check that.  It turned out that the light was full of water and that was the short.  They replaced that light under warranty and I decided to also add an Admore light bar that has LED tail-light, brake-light, and turn-signal lights.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

One of the neat things about Twisted Throttle was the Project Bikes.  I saw several that I can’t tell you what they were, but the Wee-Strom and the NC700X were very impressive.  I should have gotten pictures of them and of Mac, but I didn’t.  My bad…

Finally by 5, they were finished and I left after an enjoyable day to ride to my old high-school friend’s house in Cataumet, MA, near Woods Hole and Falmouth.  Other than about 10 miles of backed-up traffic south of Providence, Rhode Island, traffic getting out to the Cape Cod area, it was an easy ride.

Today, Elliot and I went out for a brief cruise on his 24′ Grady White fishing boat.  It was great!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Elliot and I hadn’t seen each other in 52 1/2 years.  Obviously he hasn’t changed as much as I have.  🙂

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The Cleveland Ledges Light near the mouth the Cape Cod Canal.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Elliot’s family Herreshoff 12.  I’m hoping we’ll get some wind and be able to sail on Sunday.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The Merchant Marine Academy is off the Canal.  This is one of their training ships, the USS Kennedy.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A sea-going tug at the Merchant Marine Academy.

And some of the yachts on their moorings near Elliot’s family’s house:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Later in the day, Elliot and I drove over to Woods Hole and saw some more boats and watched one go through the drawbridge there.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Elliot, Dudley, and me.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Elliot and his wife Gail…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The family home.  Gail’s mother told me that she and her husband bought it in 1946 …. for $12,000.  Whatcha’ wanna’ bet they could get a few dollars more for it today?  It’s a beautiful place and I love the surrounding area.  On my way here yesterday I passed the sign for Fairhaven, the town where Captain Joshua Slocum built/rebuilt the Spray, the sloop he sailed alone around the world in the late 1800s, and the boat which inspired my Cape Breton Island friends, Fred and Margaret Lawrence to build their ship the Double Crow.

Stats:  Day, 97 miles; Trip, 19,090 miles; Year, 25,091 miles; Total, 76,949 miles.

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Back In the USA!

Epic Ride, Day 61:

I’m home!  Sorta’.  I left Moncton, New Brunswick yesterday morning and rode through St. Johns on my way to St. Stephens and the US Border.  It was a grim-looking morning with rain predicted, but I managed to miss all but a very few drops.  I got back to the US border and proceeded fairly quickly through customs (only about a 5-car backup and they opened a 3rd lane just as I go there, so it was nowhere near as bad as coming back into the country had been at Blaine, WA, back in August.

I rode 9 down to Ellsworth where I was meeting Dan Lux, a member of the NT-Owners Forum.  I had cleverly forgotten the name of the place where we were going to share pie, but could remember that it was a restaurant with a woman’s name.  So I asked my faithful sidekick, Shirley the GPS, and all she came up with was Sylvia’s.  That sounded reasonable, so I went to Sylvia’s.  No Dan.  I ordered a bowl of lobster chowder and a cup of coffee and went outside to try to call Dan.  I got him and he was waiting for me at Helen’s I chided Shirley and waited for Dan.  When he got there we learned that Sylvia’s closed at 3PM.  So, we went back to Helen’s and I enjoyed what Life magazine once called the best blueberry pie in the US.  It was pretty good.

Better was talking to Dan, a geology professor at the University of Maine in Bangor.  We not only share interests in motorcycling, but geology is a fascination with me and we’d both lived in (or near) Houston.  Dan had a meeting with the Geology Club back at U of Maine, so our visit was nowhere near long enough.  He led me down US-1, over the magnificent suspension bridge at Penobscot Narrows and then split back to the north, while I came on down to Belfast to spend the night with my Madawaska riding buddy, NT-Owners Forum member Alex.  He has a lovely and hospitable home and we enjoyed our visit.

Alex runs the soup kitchen here in Belfast, a unique establishment that offers not only food for the hungry, but the even more important ingredients of warm hospitality served with generous dollops of dignity and respect.  We’ll eat lunch there after he gets back from making a food run to Augusta.

Here are some pix from the ride:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The colors are just starting to change in New Brunswick.  If I’d have been a couple/three weeks later, it would have been spectacular.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Stats:  Day, 305 miles; Trip, 18,685 miles; Year, 24,686 miles; Total, 76,544 miles.

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Prince Edward Island

Epic Ride, Day 60:

As usual, I didn’t get an early start, but I rode to Caribou from Truro and learned that what someone had told me was true — you don’t pay to ride the ferry to Prince Edward Island.  They collect the toll when you come back, so if you do what I did and take the Confederation Bridge off the Island, you don’t pay for the ferry.

It was a smaller ship than the ones we’d taken to Newfoundland and Labrador, but even with all the wind, the trip was smooth and my tiedowns kept the bike from falling down and going boom!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I took back roads to Charlottetown and one of the things I noticed was a “Free Church of Scotland,” to go with the Anglican and Presbyterian and United Church of Canada churches I’d seen in other places I’ve ridden in the Maritime Provinces.

There were lots of pretty churches:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

and houses and farms:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Even though I didn’t do any of the “tourist stuff” on the Island, I did think about Anne Shirley, the heroine of the Anne of Green Gables stories.  I enjoyed watching those on PBS back in the day.  There was a beauty and neatness to the Island that made my visit very satisfying.

It had been very windy and I was worried about riding over the Confederation Bridge.  I needn’t have been — there was a high bulwark that made it the least gusty place I rode all day.

I’m back in a Motel 6 for the first time since August 22, Day 42.  This is the nicest Motel 6 I’ve been in yet.  And tonight at Jean’s, a restaurant about 2km from the Motel 6, I had the best clam chowder and blueberry crisp I’ve enjoyed anywhere on the trip.

Tomorrow I’ll be back in the USA, meeting Dan Lux and spending the night with Alex Allmyer-Beck, two members of the NT-Owners Forum.  Alex rode to Madawaska with me.

Stats:  Day, 213 miles; Trip, 18,380 miles; Year, 24,381 miles; Total, 76,239 miles.

 

 

Categories: Uncategorized | 1 Comment

The Cabot Trail

Epic Ride, Day 57:

Even though I slept well on the ferry back to Nova Scotia from Newfoundland, I was pretty tired.  I sat at the nice lobster place updating the blog for long enough to eat breakfast and lunch on Friday morning before finally starting up the Cabot Trail.

A gentleman had approached me as I was getting ready to ride away from the lobster place and told me to be very careful since the first few miles toward the Gaelic College in St. Ann’s was very rough.  Well, it wasn’t, but a few klicks up the road that was rectified.  Lots of frost heaves and potholes, but even with my weight and the weight of all my gear, the little NT’s suspension proved up to the task, letting me breeze through the twisty bits with confidence and joy.

Before getting to Ingonish and the Cape Breton Highlands National Park, I enjoyed some picturesque scenery, steep grades and some great views of the ocean:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

In this picture you can see the first part of road that I’d be climbing as I headed for Ingonish.

After Ingonish, I entered the National Park.  There was a magnificent golf course next to this church, but I didn’t get a good picture of the course (sorry, golfing buddies!).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

From Neils Harbour, I took a coast road that provided more views of the sea.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

And this lighthouse at Dingwall.

From Dingwall I rode to Bay St. Lawrence.  Lots of folks had told me I “had” to go to Meat Cove, but the road to Meat Cove had about 10 miles of gravel and, after all the rain of the previous few days, I opted out of that.  Bay St. Lawrence proved to be a serendipitous choice.

I got off the bike and looked at some of the fishing boats in the Harbour:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

and at this boat tied a different wharf:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Just as I was getting on the bike to ride, a woman pulled up and went down the gangway to the wharf carrying groceries.  I called out to her and told her how much I admired the boat and she said something back to me.  I killed the bike, pulled of my helmet, pulled out my earplugs and asked her to repeat what she’d said.  She said, “I told you to come on down if you want to look her over.”

So I did.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

As I approached the boat it seemed naggingly familiar.  When I got on and went below, I introduced myself and Margaret Lawrence introduced herself and I mentioned my sense that the boat was something I’d seen somewhere.  I told her it reminded me of the Spray.  She beamed and said, “It should, the hull is an exact replica, built from Joshua Slocum’s own plans.  We took liberties with the interior layout and the cabin-top and deckhouse, but the hull is exact… except for the fact that we’ve got an engine and the Captain only had a sculling oar.”

Most of you probably have never heard of Captain Joshua Slocum.  He was a clipper-ship captain who was “on the beach” as steam replaced the clippers at the end of the 19th century.  A friend gave him the wreck of a boat that was on the beach near Falmouth, MA, and Joshua rebuilt it.  As he did he conceived of a voyage around the world.  It took him three years, but he not only made it but wrote engagingly about it in his book, “Sailing Alone Around the World.”  Whether you’re a sailor or not, “Sailing Alone…” is a great read, a true classic.  I’ve probably read it seven or eight times.  The only comparable book I can think of is Lindburgh’s “Spirit of St. Louis.”

Margaret was cooking and a friend arrived, followed shortly by Fred, Margaret’s husband.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Fred told me that he and Margaret had neither one sailed before building the Double Crows, but they had taken her (and their two young children to Florida, the Bahamas and Cuba.  Both of them were fishermen, working the lobster traps during the summer, and catching other fish in the spring and early fall.

The Two Crows was loaded with history.  The anchor chain had come from a whaling station on South Georgia Island, just north of Antarctica, and the location Earnest Shackleton had reached when on his desperate rescue mission to save his stranded crew after the wreck of the Endurance.  There were also winches, blocks, deadeyes, and other pieces of hardware that had been on a boat built by Alexander Graham Bell, who was a Nova Scotian.  When I mentioned to Fred that Double Crows also reminded me of boats designed by a naval architect named Ackerman, he smiled again and said that Nate Ackerman was a personal friend and that his boats had been the inspiration for Double Crow’s deckhouse.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Margaret had a campground, the “Jumping Mouse Campground,” and I decided  to spend the night there.  I got a good sunset out of it, and a great night’s sleep.  I wish I could show the stars I saw at midnight.  They were incredible.  There was no light anywhere except what they provided and the air was dry and free of dust, smoke, and any other pollution.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Stats:  Day, 121 miles; Trip, 17,816 miles; Year, 23,817 miles; Total, 75,722 miles.

Epic Ride, Day 58:

I woke up, visited with Fred some more, got a chance to go into his boathouse, and rode south back to North Cape to head west on the Cabot Trail.

More magnificent scenery, some delicious twisty bits and more steep climbs and descents.  After riding though mountains, I ate a very late breakfast at Pleasant Bay, and saw more great ocean views:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I rode through the Park, down to Cheticamp, and continued south along the coast road.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Crossing the CANSO Causeway, I saw this big ship loading either coal or some other kind of ore.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I had planned on riding to New Glascow to be poised for catching the ferry to Prince Edward Island today.  But a fellow motorcyclist told me that it was forecast to rain all day today and I decided I didn’t want to see PEI in the rain.  And to further sabatoge my plan, there weren’t any motel rooms in New Glascow.  A helpful clerk at the Travelodge called ahead to the Super 8 here in Truro, which bills itself as the “Hub of Nova Scotia.”  It must be — this is the 3rd time I’ve been here in two weeks.

That turned out to work well for me, since the Empire Theatre is a block away and I’m about to go see “The Butler,” a film Joanne told me I had to see.  And there’s a good restaurant next to the theatre plus laundry facilities here in the motel.

So, tomorrow:  Prince Edward Island by ferry to leave by the bridge and head for Maine.

Stats:  Day, 351 miles; Trip, 18,167 miles; Year, 24,168 miles; Total, 76,026 miles.

Categories: Uncategorized | 8 Comments

The Cabot Trail … Ready to Get on It

Epic Ride, Days 56 and 57:

This morning I’m at the beginning of the Cabot Trail, a loop around Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, which several riders have told me is the best trip they’ve ever taken.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I’ve had an good couple of days getting here.  I left St. Barbe in thick fog and headed around the north coast of he upper peninsula of Newfoundland on my way to L’Ans aux Meadows, the oldest European settlement in North America, dating back to the voyages of Leif Erikson around 1000AD.

After the fog thinned a bit, I came as close as I’ve come to an accident.  I was riding through one of the little coast towns, Eddie’s Cove, at the speed limit of 35mph when a woman pulled out of a store right in front of me.  If I hadn’t had the good wet-weather tires (Michelin Pilot Road 3s and anti-lock brakes, I would have hit her or gone down missing her.  As it was, I came within about 3 feet of her and she never knew I was there.

She poked down the road at about 25mph and I just stayed behind her until she pulled off at the next store.  Then I asked if I could talk to her — right there in the rain.  She had no idea why I’d want to do that but when I told her how close we’d come, she was shocked and gave the classic driver’s reply:  “I just didn’t see you.”  I suggest she start looking twice for motorcycles and she told me that her husband rode a motorcycle and that she was VERY sorry!  I could tell she was and was grateful that we were having our conversation.

I rode on to L’Ans aux Meadows and followed Shirley’s (my GPS) directions to a dead-end road.  On the way out, I ran into Mickey and Dean, the two Australians from the ferry ride back to St. Barbe.  MIckey’s GPS was leading him to the same place.  They led us to another dead-end road and then I followed my common sense and went to the sign that said “Visitor’s Centre.”  Sure enough, that was the place.  Mickey and Dean missed it.

From the walk to the Centre, I saw a cow moose:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

She’s there.  Honest.  She’s the dark spot in front of the right-hand clump of trees.

I started walking down the 1/2 mile of boardwalk to the reconstructed Norse village, but it started raining when I was down about 1/2 the 60-100 stair-steps and I decided I didn’t want to walk that far in the rain.  But here’s a shot of the village:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This village was neveri intended to be a permanent settlement and was placed here because it was easy to find.  With no form of celestial navigation (or GPS, for that matter) the Norse needed places with unmistakable landmarks and Greenland, Labrador, and the northern-most coast of adjacent Newfoundland made L’Ans aux Meadows that place.

In the parking lot I realized that my Denali driving lights weren’t working.  I’d noticed the day before that my low-beam headlight was burned out and had been running with my high-beam on.  I’d seen a NAPA sign in the village before L’Ans aux Meadows and went there to find out that the NAPA store was in St. Anthony’s.  I hadn’t planned on going there, but I wasn’t going to head back down the road with only one working light.

So I rode to St. Anthony and checked into the Haven Hotel.  I got some time to trouble shoot the bike and figured out that the fuse for the Denalis was blown before the rain settled in harder.  Then while I was enjoying the Fisherman’s Feast in the hotel restaurant it really started to rain hard — sheets of rain with visibility down to less than 100′ at time, along with lightning and strong wind.  I was very glad I was in the Haven rather than the haven of my tent!

Yesterday morning I went to NAPA and got a headlight bulb and a couple of fuses for the Denalis.  It took me slightly less than a half hour to get the headlight bulb replaced (I really wish I had teeny-tiny hands for things like that!) and the fuse replaced.  Another few minutes to reload the bike and I was off.

I didn’t see any moose, but did notice this unusual thing (that’s not so unusual in Newfoundland) with utility poles:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I guess the bog is just too soft to hold some poles up, so they build these boxes around them full of rocks.  I also noticed that they don’t creosote their utility poles.  No termites, I guess.

The ride back along the north coast was beautiful, but very windy.  I could see Labrador and every little village (all of them named “something” Cove, which is also what “L’Ans” means.  “Cove.”)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Backtracking into Gros Marne, I took the road to Woody Point, a scenic little fishing village on Bonne Bay:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

By the time I got to Deer Lake, it had gotten cloudy and I could see storm clouds to my south.  I was three hours and 160 miles away.  I made it about half-way when I stopped for gas and met this fox:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

When I came out after paying, he was being fed jerky by two guys in a Mustang.

The rain hit not long after that and I pressed on.  What was I going to do?  I had a ferry reservation and there was no where to stop!  I made it to Tim Horton’s, the Canadian equivalent of McDonalds, in Port Aux-Basque at a little after 8, and started trying to locate Paul, my temporary riding buddy.  He’d gone Twillinggate, near Goose Bay to buy “ice” wine for his daughter.

I made it to the ferry right at 9:30 and was glad when they said unto me, “Enter into the boat!”  I got there, strapped it down, and went up to Deck 9, where Paul and I had $25 reserved seating.  The reserved seating has more comfortable chairs that recline more and is slightly quieter and slightly darker than the non-reserved seating.  I’d learned a bit and took my jacket with me (we’d frozen on the way to Newfoundland) and my U-shaped inflatable pillow.  I’d originally bought it from Travelsmith as a pillow for my recliner.  It didn’t work there but is great for camping…and sleeping on ferries.  I hadn’t gotten over an hour of sleep on the 7-hour trip to Newfoundland but probably got 6 1/2 on the way back.  I woke up once at 2AM and noticed that a lot of people had nice blue blankets.  Turned out that we could have asked for those at the reception desk.  I don’t know why they don’t tell you these things!

The crossing was slightly rougher than the trip over, but if we hadn’t tied our bikes down they would have still been sitting right where we left them.  It wasn’t a rough trip either way.

So, that’s it for now and maybe for a couple of days.  I think I’m going to be camping tonight at a Provincial Park and may not have WiFi.

I’ll get stats for Day 56 in later, but here are the ones for

Epic Ride, Day 57:

Stats:  Day, 480 miles; Trip, 17,690 miles; Year, 23,696 miles; Total, 75,651 miles.

Categories: Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Heading In a New Direction…

But before I explain that, I’ve got to catch up a bit; so, backing up to Sunday, September 1:

Epic Ride, Day 52:

I had met Paul Mater, from Somerville, KY, on Saturday night as we were checking into the Cape Breton/North Sidney, Nova Scotia, KOA.  We went to supper and discovered that both of us were riding to Newfoundland on the night ferry to Port au’ Basques, the southwest corner of Newfoundland.

On Sunday morning, after the single worst night’s sleep I’ve had on the whole trip (every joint my body ached, with the exception of my metal knees — don’t know why), I woke up at about 6 to the thunder of rain on my tent.  I stayed in bed, dozing on and off till 10 when it quit.  I got up, got dressed, packed all the stuff in the tent in its bag…and the rain started again.  So I sat there and read and it stopped pretty quickly.  I got up, got the tent taken down and packed and was putting my last and lightest bag on the bike when the bike just fell over on its left side!!  The kickstand had sunk into the mud.  Paul and the KOA owner helped me get it back up quickly, with no damage done to me or to the bike.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Paul and I had to be at the Ferry dock by 9:30, so we had about (or should I be saying, “Aboot” like the Canadians do?) 10 hours to fill.  We rode to Sidney, found a coffee shop, ate some breakfast, and then rode out (or “oot”) to Fortress Louisburg, a French fort and it’s neighboring village that they had started building in 1746.  It’s been greatly restored and archeological work is still going on.  Louisburg had been vital for the cod fish that were shipped from it back to France.  At the time, France, a mostly Roman Catholic country had 250-some days when meat could not be eaten.  The cod from the Grand Banks were a more important import from the New World than all the beaver hides ever were.

There were people in period costume to explain how things worked and it was a pleasant, if chilly and damp afternoon.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

About 45 minutes before the fortress closed for the day, it began to mist; by the time we’d taken the 5-minute bus ride back to the visitor’s centre, it was raining.

But we were out of it by the time we got back to North Sidney, the port of embarkation for our 7-hour ferry ride to Newfoundland.  There were quite a few Newfies and three Quebecois waiting to catch the boat with their bikes.  They’d all been to Digby for the Rat Wharf Rally there.  We enjoyed talking to them.  I especially enjoyed talking to one couple from Quebec who were both just blown away that a man of my age could be on a trip like the Epic Ride.  When we got off the boat the next morning they both made a point of coming up and telling me what an inspiration I was.  That was kind of cool.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

MV Blue Puttee (named for the blue cloth Newfoundland’s soldiers wrapped around their legs during WW-I), waiting for us to board.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Looking aft from the passenger lounge on Deck 7 to the vehicles parked on Deck 5, an open deck for trucks and trailers.  Our bikes were parked inside on Deck 3, and we ended up buying reserved seating on Deck 9, where it was quieter and more comfortable.

Stats:  Day, only 93 miles, a new “Shortest Day”; Trip, 16,623 miles; Year, 22,624 miles; Total, 74,589 miles.

Epic Ride, Day 53

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The light at Port Aux Basques, Newfoundland

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

After seven hours on the Blue Puttee, we docked at Port Aux Basques, and were off the boat by 7:30.  We immediately did what every one else getting off the ferry die — we rode to Tim Hortons for breakfast.  It took close to an hour to get served, but was a quicker way to get food (and coffee for me!) than riding to Corner Brook would have been.

Newfoundland was different — farther north, smaller trees, bigger rock than you see on the surface in Nova Scotia:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

It was a fairly comfortable 58F as we left Tim Hortons, but that deteriorated down to the upper 40s by the time we were an hour north.  The scenery continued to be stunning:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

But the weather went downhill…by the time we reached Corner Brook, it was 41F and raining.  We got to Deer Lake and left the Trans Canada Highway and headed west toward Rocky Harbour and Gros Marne National Park.  At Rocky Harbour, I was ready to quit for the day, but Paul convinced me that we could get father north.  So we booked passage on the MV Apollo, which would sail from St. Barbe to Blanc Sablon, Quebec, at 8AM on Tuesday morning.  We pressed on and the weather got better and back up to 56F until about the last 30 miles or so.  By the time we got to the Dockside Motel, it was down to 49F and felt colder.

Pictures from along the way between Deer Lake and St. Barbe:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Stats:  Day, 371 miles; Trip, 16,994 miles; Year, 22,995 miles; Total, 74,950 miles.

Epic Ride, Day 54:

We caught the ferry without any difficulty other than freezing (almost literally) during the 40 minute or so we had to wait in the loading area on the dock (which was a whopping 3/10s of a mile from our motel).  It was 34F.  We had an enjoyable ride on the Apollo, with a good breakfast and good conversation with Bill, from Michigan, who was riding a KLR650 around the Labrador Trail, planning on meeting his wife somewhere west of Labrador City.

Paul had wanted to go from here to Goose Bay and Labrador City on his way to his daughter’s house in Michigan.  He’d been told that it was paved all the way, but that conflicted with what I’d read and heard.  We got some confirmation that there was still a good bit of unpaved road from members of the NT-Owners Forum, and more from people on the boat this morning.  About 5-600 miles of gravel between Red Bay and Labrador City!  Paul definitely lost his interest in riding his $30,000 Ultra-Glide over that much gravel and his decision was confirmed when he realized that the highest grade of gas you can buy in most of Newfoundland and all of Labrador is 87-octane Regular.  His Harley has been tuned for performance and usually drinks 93-octane.  She wasn’t running so great on the 87-octane stuff.

Bill headed north from Blanc-Sablon about the time we did, but he didn’t stop for pictures at the Labrador border:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Paul Mater, my accidental riding companion, and….

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The ride from Blanc Sablon, Quebec, to Red Bay, Labrador, was only 53 miles, but it took about an hour and a half.  Red Bay is the end of the pavement northbound and it was the home of a great restaurant that a pilot who was on the Apollo with us had told us about.  Along the way:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

These gents, on their BMW R1200GS bikes will play into the story a bit later…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

As we were riding down a steep, twisty hill into Red Bay, I missed a milestone:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I didn’t get to see my odometer roll over to 75,000 miles.  That makes two significant numbers I’ve missed:  66,666 miles a few miles north of Grant’s Pass, Oregon, and 75,000 miles about a mile south of Red Bay, Labrador.  I’ll try to pay more attention and catch 77,777 on my way home.

The Whale Station was as good as we’d been told.  Their fish and chips featured fresh cod that was outstanding and we had a really good bowl of seafood chowder to go with the cod and the chips.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Part of the décor that went with the great food.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Basement rock, pre-Cambrian, part of the Laurentian Shield.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The Pinware River a few miles before it empties into the Straits of Belle Isle.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

MV Apollo, a much smaller ferry than MV Blue Puttee.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

SScooter Trash, from L-R:  Dean, an Australian machine tool maintenance guy, riding from Ushaiah to Prudhoe Bay, across the northern part of Canada, down the US, the Gulf side of Mexico and the Atlantic side of South America, a very nice, very funny guy; good ol’     ?    , an Americanized Brit who worked on Wall Street and now is doing consulting work; Paul Mater; me; and good ol’    ??    ,      ?’s    friend, another Americanized Brit, who worked on Wall Street, sold his company to Enron in March of ’01, managed to get jobs for all the 72 people who worked for his company after Enron fired them and then lost three of them in the Towers on 9/11 — the way our country came together after 9/11 was what tripped the trigger for him about coming an American citizen — now’s he started a wine-import business; and   *??*   , another Aussie who was riding with Dean.  They’d met while their bikes were on a sailboat being transported across the Darien Gap, the missing link in the Trans-American Highway.  He was another very nice, very funny guy.  Paul and I wished we could have spent a week with these four.

The two ex-Brits were the guys we met on our way to Red Bay.  They live in Connecticut and were doing the Labrador Trail clockwise.  They’d run into the two Aussies west of Labrador City and, although the four weren’t riding together, they’d run into each other five or six times after their first meeting.  Yesterday, the guy with the wine business had had a wreck when he hit a sharp edge of bladed gravel and went down.  His stock BMW pannier was destroyed, his handlebar looked like a pretzel, and his clutch’s hydraulic line broke.  You can shift a bike on the move without too much trouble, but since you’ve got to start a Beemer in neutral getting stopped and started was … interesting.  They were nursing his bike along on their way to Edmunton, New Brunswick, where the BMW dealer will have the parts they need on Thursday.  On the ferry, Dean, the Australian tool-maintenance-guy, picked up a pipe and straightened the handlebar so the bike will be more easily ridden.  If he’d had a bit more time than our hour and a half ferry ride offered, he probably could have crocheted a hydraulic clutch line.

Stats:  Day, 106 miles; Trip, 17,100 miles; Year, 23,101 miles; Total, 75,066 miles.

Tomorrow, I’ll ride to L’Anse-au-Meadows, the site of the first European settlement in North America — Vikings who came in 1,000AD.

Oh, I said I’d be heading in a new direction and that I would explain that.  I’ve now been as far north as I’ll go on this side of the continent.  I will be going farther east and it’ll be the farthest east I’ve ever been in North America.  But after I leave L’Aux-en-Meadow tomorrow, I’ll be heading toward home.

Categories: Uncategorized | 6 Comments

From Cape Breton Island…

Epic Ride, Day 51:

I woke up to rain in Lunenburg.  I don’t mind riding in rain too much, but I hate starting a ride in the rain, so I ate a leisurely breakfast and waited around Lunenburg till it dried up.  I finally got out of town at a bit after 12.

I rode past Halifax and back towards Truro, a town I’d gone past on Tuesday as I was going from the north side of the Bay of Fundy to the south side and Maitland.

From there north, the ride was pretty and fast.  I had the only delay of the day on the CANSO causeway over to Cape Breton Island.  A ship was being locked out of the Bras d’Or Lake into the Gulf of St. Lawrence.  The ride north was mostly along the Bras d’Or Lakes (I’m sure someone will tell me how to spell that!), a favorite cruising ground for American sailors.  I can see why… there looked to be many coves and quiet anchorages plus beautiful protected waters.

Not long after passing the last exit for the Cabot Trail, a much cherished motorcycle route that I’ll take later this week or early next week, I climbed up over the flank of Mount Kelly and dropped down to New Harris, where I can’t see anything but the KOA where I’m camped tonight.

As I was leaving the office after checking in, Paul, a Harley-rider from Kentucky was coming in the door.  We ate supper together and after talking to Paul, I decided to take the night ferry from North Sidney Harbor to Port Aux Basques, Newfounland, with him tomorrow night.  We’ll be at the ferry before 9:30 to start boarding.  The ferry departs at 11:45PM and the voyage takes 5-7 hours, so I’ll guess we’ll get to Newfoundland in the dark on Monday morning.

I’ll edit this post with more pictures tomorrow night.

Stats:  Day, 311 miles; Trip, 16,530 miles; Year, 22,531 miles; Total, 74,496 miles.

Categories: Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Lunenburg, Nova Scotia…

Epic Ride, Day 50

…is a town deeply rooted in its seafaring past.  So deeply rooted that it’s been designated as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site.  And for someone like me who has always loved the sea and the boats and ships that float on it and the men who have taken those ships out into its unforgiving waters, Lunenburg has a powerful attraction.

I’ll be here about 36 hours and I’ll have slept about 16 of those by the time I leave.  If I didn’t have places to go, things to see, and a loose sort of schedule to keep, I”d probably spend another day or two here.

This morning I started with railroading, not seafaring.  I went to the Lunenburg Railway Museum, which commemorates the Halifax and South West Railroad.  The H&SW started in 1901 and with the hilly terrain it covered between Halifax and Yarmouth on the southwestern tip of the country, it wasn’t the fastest train on earth.  Locals called it the “Hellishly Slow and Wobbly.”  Still, 14 hours was faster than boat or horse.

The museum has lots of artifacts and paraphernalia from the old line but it also has the biggest model train layout in Nova Scotia.  The layout is in S Gauge, just like the American Flyer train set I got when I was six.  Most of the major communities along the line have been reproduced with attention to detail and to the historical period represented.  There were four major viewing areas and each of those depicted a different season.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

To keep young kids interested in what they were seeing, the model builders have incorporated cartoon characters into the layout:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The biggest scene depicts Bridgewater, a town about ten miles from Lunenburg, which was the center of the line.  The whole area depicted on the layout and every building in it have all been replaced by the parking lot for a mall!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

When I left the museum, I saw a barber shop and decided it was time to get back to shorter hair.  After getting my ears lowered, I rode down to the waterfront.  As I was parking, there was a sign saying:  “Sail Lunenburg Harbour on the Eastern Star — nest cruise:  12:30.”

Since it was 12:05, I considered the sign a personal invitation and plunked down my $27 to go.  The Eastern Star is a 48′ ketch built in Denmark in 1948.  She’s got beautiful wood and was just refurbished last year.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Because of her flush decks abaft the main mast, it was easy to fit her with comfortable wooden benches which allow her to accommodate up to 30 passengers.  The wind was breezy enough today that, considering the ages of some of the passengers (there was a 70-year-old man, for crying out loud! as well as some young children), the skipper elected to sail with just the mizzen and the large roller-furling jib.

After we’d sailed out to the edge of the harbor

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

and started beating our way back to the dock, the skipper asked if anyone wanted to take the helm.  Well, you know I did!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

And so did the other kids — a seven-year-old boy and his five- and four-year-old sisters.  The five-year-old was a real natural, but all four of us did a great job!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

As we came back toward the dock, we were able to get a glimpse of the Bluenose II, a replica of the greatest of the Grand Banks fishing schooners and a symbol of Nova Scotia.  The Bluenose was in dry-dock so a glimpse was all we could get today, but she’ll be back in the water this fall.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

After the sail, I walked around downtown Lunenburg for a while,

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

ate lunch, and then headed for the Atlantic Fisheries Museum, housed in the same building where I ate last night, an old “fish factory” and ice house.

The Museum has an aquarium and many great exhibits but the keystone exhibits are floating at the wharf:

The Sable Island, a side-trawler built in Denmark 1962 fished until 1982 when it was replaced by larger and more efficient stern trawlers (which were then replaced by freezer/trawlers, which basically fished the Grand Banks until there weren’t any fish to catch.  And then they were too expensive to operate.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The other floating exhibit is the Theresa E. Cooper, the last fishing schooner to sail the Grand Banks.  The side-trawler put her out of business.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Both the Sable Island and the Theresa E. Cooper had ex-fishing captains in their wheelhouses to ask questions and tell you about the boats and their lives afloat.  They were fascinating to talk to.

But the museum closed and I came back to The Wheelhouse, my motel, for dinner and a bit of rest before riding again tomorrow.  After a long walk last night and a day spent climbing up and down ladders, stairs, and steep hills, I was almost (but not quite) ready to dig out my cane!

Tomorrow I’ll head north towards Cape Breton Island and the Cabot Trail.

Stats:  Day, 5 miles; Trip, 16,219 miles; Year, 20,220 miles; Total, 74,196 miles.

Categories: Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Shortest Day

Epic Ride, Day 48:

Today when I woke up at the Maitland Campground, I made the assumption that I wouldn’t have to drive too far to find a place to get that vital first cup of coffee (and a little breakfast).  I was partly right.  It wasn’t very far, but it took longer than I would have expected.  I rode through several communities that were large enough to have names — Densmores Mills, Noel, Tennycape, Walton, Cambridge, and Cheverie — but none of them had any place to get that cup of coffee.  It was 45 miles, and took over an hour before I got to Summerville and then I nearly rode right past the only place I’d see for another 40 miles.  I can’t remember the name of the place, but it was a combination Inn/Art Gallery/General Store/Café that had great food and service at very reasonable prices.

I ended up staying there for two hours, hoping the sun would break through the low overcast to take the chill out of the humid air.  That hope was about as forlorn as my earlier hope for a quick breakfast.

When I left, it was starting to rain.  It wasn’t the kind of frog-strangler I’d had in Florida and Georgia.  Those rains were at least warm, but this one was persistent and chilling.  After a few miles I stopped to dig out my heated jacket liner and my winter/waterproof gloves.

I also ditched my tentative plan to ride through Digby on my way to Cape Sable, the southernmost point of land in Nova Scotia, and the graveyard of a thousand ships.

Digby is the host to the Wharf Rats Rally this weekend.  In a town of about 2500, 50,000 motorcyclists show up.  Honda is one of the sponsors, as is Harley-Davidson, who will reportedly do the Canadian introduction of their 2014 water-cooled Electra-Glides in Digby.

I opted instead to come to Lunenburg, a UNESCO Cultural Heritage site.  Lunenburg was one of the major ports during the Grand Banks cod-fishing days.  It’s also the home port of the Bluenose, one of the greatest of the Banks fishing schooners, and the multi-time winner of the International Fisherman’s Trophy which went to the winner of a race between these working fishing boats.  Today, the Bluenose II, a replica of the original that was built in 1963 and rebuilt in 1997, is here in port.  I’ll see it and more of the waterfront tomorrow.

Tonight I ate at a very nice restaurant in the old “fish factory” which houses the Atlantic Fisheries Museum.

Lunenburg is one of the places I really wanted to see in Nova Scotia and I may stay another night.

Here are a few of the few pictures I took today (the camera isn’t waterproof and gets stowed away when it rains).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The angry and muddy waters of the eastern end of the Bay of Fundy; across the Bay, you can see some of the places I visited yesterday.  The muddy water is the result of the tide flowing back out of the rivers and creeks that feed the Bay.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This is the light at Minas Basin.  It and the two I saw yesterday, the Parrsboro Light and the Five Islands Light, were all a bit disappointing.  I had expected tall, majestic structures, but all of these lights were almost diminutive.  You can see that this one has open windows to keep the light from annoying the people who live on its landward side.  The Five Island Light had originally been mounted on one of the islands, but they kept washing away.  It’s current position is  7km, about 4 1/2 miles north (landward) of its original position.  It had first been a kerosene-fueled light, then electricity lit its bulb.  As far as I know, in these days of GPS and radar, none of the lights are maintained by the government.  At least the Five Islands Light and the Minas Basin Light are now being preserved by associations dedicated to local history.

Today was the shortest day I’ve had mileage-wise (except for the Saturday in Fairbanks when all the riding Jim and I did was to into town to find me a new pair of summer gloves and ride around the ramp on the general aviation side of the airport, looking at gawking at old airplanes.  And it was also the first day since we left Spearfish on July 14th that I have bought no gas for the bike.

Stats:  Day, 118 miles; Trip, 16,214 miles; Year, 22,115 miles; Total, 74,185 miles.

Categories: Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Nova Scotia and a Different Pace

Epic Ride, Day 48:

I’m in Nova Scotia, riding back roads through beautiful country at a much more leisurely pace.

I only did 177 miles Wednesday!  (I’m writing on Thursday morning after eating brunch at a lovely restaurant/art gallery/emporium in Summerville on the Avon Peninsula, which is part of the south shore of the Bay of Fundy.

I started to title this the “Fundy-est Place I’ve ever been.  From the time I rode into Nova Scotia yesterday morning, I was close to the Bay of Fundy.  I rode to Parrsboro, a pretty little town with a good restaurant right on the beach.

If you’re not familiar with the Bay of Fundy, it’s the site of some of the greatest tidal variations anywhere on earth.  I got to the restaurant about 1/2 hour after low tide and watched it rise several feet while I ate clams and enjoyed a conversation with a family at the next table.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I also talked to a young man from Montreal who was riding his BMW G650GS around Nova Scotia.  He spoke very little English and I speak very little French, but we both spoke “Motorcycle Touring.”  🙂

After eating, I continued east on the north shore, stopping to look at Five Islands and the Five Islands Lighthouse.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

While eating supper, one of the other diners was a young man pedaling a unicycle 70-80km/day.  For the technically-interested, he had a 36″ wheel and 110mm crank-arms.  I can’t even begin to imagine what it’s like riding down a steep hill on that thing!  He carries a tail-pack and a front-pack on the unicycle and a 27-liter backpack on his own back and camps in a hammock.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Stats for Day 47:  Day, 177 miles; Trip, 16,906 miles; Year, 22,097 miles; Total, 74,067 miles.

 

 

 

Categories: Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: