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Monday, August 11, 2008

Trip report summary

If you're thinking of touring on the bike into places unknown, just do it. It's an experience in itself and I felt like it was more an adventure than a vacation or a trip. I hadn't planned anything, I didn't know where exactly I was going and didn't know when I was coming back. It was great freedom to just do what I wanted, go where I wanted and when I wanted to.

days travelled -- 17
motels stayed at --13
nights i camped -- 1
provinces travelled in -- 5
total Kilometers ridden -- 8030
total kilometers walked -- probably around 4
liters of fuel used -- ~375
total cost of fuel -- ~$500
number of animals avoided -- 22 (forgot the chicken type bird)
number of large unidentified dead animal run over -- 1
pictures taken -- ~ 1600 (about 200 used for panoramic)videos of ocean taken -- 2
times i swam in the ocean -- 1
close calls because of morons on road -- 1
close calls beacuse i'm a moron -- 2
times bike died -- 3
times i push started it back to life -- 2
times it was charged with a trickle charger -- 1
number of wasp stings while riding -- 1
Number of stops from police -- ZERO
visors scratched -- 3
ferries crossed -- 6
number of other M50s i saw -- 2

I overpacked some things (since it was my first overnight trip) and underpacked others. i'm dumb.I totally believe in having a mascot on the bike for good luck. I put on a mini A&W bear on my handlebars. i called it MR. Weeble. i'm calling the Bike Mr. Wobble now (until i can get that fixed) so they make a great team of Weeble Wobble. Either the mascot brought me luck, or just gut instinct or Saint Christopher (patron saint of motorcycling) was looking over my shoulder...
But i had great luck... and i'm not religious.

A few things i learned from this trip. -i like dirt roads.
-the road less travelled usually has something really interesting at the end
-cruisers and beaches don't mix-trust the locals for interesting things to see
-easterners are great people
-i want to do an Iron Butt challenge
-i like churches
-i like old graveyards
-i like monuments commerating the dead
-i really like camping
-donation/community museums are great (i give money) and the museums you have to pay for, suck.
-there are more diary bars/ice cream shops in the east than any other type of outlet. those maritimers like their ice cream
-ziplock bags and kitchen garbage bags are a godsend (a tip from a buddy of mine)
-the coast is really windy
-fog sucks more than rain.
-chatting with service people (gas station, waitresses, etc) give the best advice on what to do, go see, etc.

1st's I did on this trip
1st time that i've ever
-been stung by a bee/wasp/hornet
-swam in an ocean
-camping with my motorcycle
-taking a big ferry with my bike
-going overnight with the motorcycle
-being totally alone for my birthday...and I was happy
-had the bike break down
-push started a bike
-run over a dead animal
-eaten dixie lee food (gross)
-been east of Quebec city
-eaten fresh cold lobster (very good)

Had a blast. I think everyone should go take a trip like that. no planning, no destinations, just point the bike in a direction and go for a few weeks.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Day 17, August 4th

Today is a happy/sad day. Happy because I'll be home by the end of the day and sad for the same reason. I don't want to stop riding. I feel like just getting back on the bike and riding across Canada. not gonna happen as I have to work to support this addiction.

I rode through Levis/Quebec and decided to stay on the south shore of the St Lawrence as I stayed on the north shore from Ottawa to Quebec city on the way to New Brunswick at the start of my trip.

I crossed the St Lawrence at Trois Rivieres and rode through the town. Nice town actually and saw a few picture worth things. A monument to the dead, the eternal flame which has the famous slogan "je me souviens" meaning "i remember". The internet says it's a political thing, but as seen on this pillar, i'd like to think it has more to do with a memorial to the dead in a long forgotten war in 1634. this was erected in 1934 i believe.

What was really neat in this town is that they had dedicated motorcycle parking!! The downside to this is that motorcycles aren't allowed to park in regular parking spaces or else they'll get a ticket. I wasn't so fond of that. I saw a bunch of places i would have stopped to take in the sites in Trois Rivieres, but gave the city a big F.U. and left. they don't even treat motorcycles as a regular vehicule, and i wasn't about to take a 15 min walk where cars can park right out front. not very fair. the Smart thing to do would be to spilt up regular parking spots and have three meters. 2 for bikes and 1 for cars. Why I like monuments for the dead, i don't know... I figured that if someone erected one for a reason, the least i could do it read about it and pay my respects for war veterans, fisherman, et al.

The quebec side of things were starting to piss me off. not one sign was in both official languages, only in french. Why stop at a historical site when everything is written in french?? All the signs in french only and the motorcycle parking fiasco pissed me off, so I left Trois Rivieres and took the country rodes south west, leaving the St Lawrence and taking a more direct route to Ottawa. Along the way i stopped for a coffee and there were quite a few bikes there already. A few more came and the riders came over to talk to me. He knew all about my bike, which is odd, since most harley riders know nothing about it. It turns out his riding buddy had a 2005 red M50 which he bought in 2005. The sad part was that in 3 years of riding, he covered only 4800km wow. I was at 29,000 at that time and mine was just over a year old. Guess he just rides from coffee shop to coffee shop. :) The harley guy did the same trip i did, but in 1977, which I found kind of neat.

The ride home was quite nice on the country roads and only had about 60km left till I got home. I stopped over for a smoke, in a little sightseeing spot which is just a little gravel patch. It's pretty much just the river and bogs which i've seen countless times riding past this point.

I got back on and tried to start the bike. No go. I tried to push start it, but i think i screwed something up and the back wheel locked up. I pushed it up the hill (seen over my shoulder in the picture below) unloaded everything on the bike and pushed it down. booya it started!

Road all the way home and i was having big problems with the headlight, the console and the signal lights flickering and mal-functioning. Once home I figured out what the problem was...loose wires going to the battery.

Took this picture before the 2nd try to get the bike started. I wasn't in a good mood and the sun was going down fast. Over my shoulder you can see the little gravel slope I got the bike started on.
In all, I had all kinds of weather, all kinds of terrain and saw all kinds of things. Now it's time to go through what I brought and what i needed on the trip so i'll be ready. I'm thinking of bringing a battery, just in case :)

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Day 16, August 3rd

I noticed my headlight was flickering when the bike was in high revs and vibrating, but the bike started up every time I stopped it, so I wasn't too concerned. I headed up on the smaller roads again towards Edmunston. I had planned on going over the world longest covered bridge and it is quite long, at 1282 feet. Here's a picture overlooking it from a timmies a little ways away. Gotta love those wooden statues. :)
I decided to stay on the smaller roads and headed to plaster rock. It looked interesting on the map and had an interesting name. Heading into the town a sudden downpour came down so fast and hard I could hardly see so I pulled into a gas station and got myself a coffee (attendant didn't want me to pay!) nice folks in these parts :)
Having a smoke and coffee i looked up and what do i see? the World Largest Fiddleheads! I like roadside attractions like this one, and it was a pretty sweet find.
I left there and headed towards Grand Falls. Again I didn't know what was there but it was on the way to Edmunston and the name looked promising. Got to Grand Falls and stopped for a coffee. When you stop for coffee and you're on a motorcycle with out of province plates, people talk to you. I talked with a guy who used to have a Volusia and we talked about bikes for a bit and asked him what's there to see in this town. It appears I rode over the bridge where the grand falls are and I didn't even see them! I went back down and took in the sights. It was nice to watch the falls for a bit.
From Grand Falls, I followed the river on the border of Maine and New Brunswick. This was a nice ride as well and finally wound up in Edmunston. I was getting ansy on getting home due to not trusting the bike as much so i opted to take the trans-canada between NB and Quebec. This turned out to be a good thing, since the other road which i was leaning towards (highway 289) had a huge problem. Seems the night before at 9:30pm a car was travelling down it and the road gave way, the car and road both slid into the river. I may or may not have taken that exact road, but many roads in the area were a complete washout. If I hadn't crashed I would have to backtrack quite a bit.

On the trans-canadian I entered Quebec and instantly froze. I crested a large hill and on the other side the temperature must have been at least 5degrees C less and there was intense fog.

I stopped at a timmies along the highway and chatted with a biker couple that had just come from where I was going. They said after 30 mins of being inside they were still freezing from the cold and some of their gear was totally soaked.

Thankfully I had my full rain suit on, rain booties rain gloves, and put on a fleece sweater under my riding jacket and put the rain liner in the jacket for an added layer. I love my Aplinestar SR2 drystar gloves. They would soak up water like a sponge on the outside but kept me dry on the inside without losing feeling or grip. great gloves.
I kept popping on and off the trans-can trying to find better weather as it was really really foggy along the trans-can, as well as the smaller country roads. At around La Pocatiere, I stayed on the smaller country roads and decided to head inland. you see some of the oddest stuff in these small towns. I don't even know what this religious crap is supposed to be, but it's kinda creepy if you ask me.

It was really foggy so i decided to call it quits for the day and get a room somewhere. All the rivers, lakes and streams i passed were swollen. Even the St Lawrence (pic below) was pretty swollen and up to the grass. Good thing today was that i didn't get soaked, but everything was humid and some gear in my bags got pretty wet, even with the rain covers on them. I wound up in Montmagny.

not impressed with the weather.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Day 15, August 2nd

Packed up everything, jump on the bike and try to start it. Bike was totally dead this time, even though i must have stop and started it about 15 times since the last time it died.

I called KROW back to tell him i'd be late meeting up and had to get the bike going again and he called a buddy who was in sussex (fellow RCMP officer and rider). Rick came down with a small battery charger and helped me boost my bike. It just wouldn't charge and went into 'trouble' a few times. I noticed one of the lights on the lightswitch i added kept going on by itself so i figured the switch must be fried. Upon opening it up at least a tablespoon of water came out. Wow. they build electrical devices to put on a motorcycle that isn't waterproof? great. $90+ spent well on a switch. :( I ended up cutting the bottom switch off the battery and kept trying to charge. the light for the switch kept coming on, tripping the relay for the lights. son of a... I cut the whole switch off so i would be running without lights until I got home and figured out what to do about it. Now I was charged and ready to go.

I need to thank KROW and Rick... without their help I'm not sure what i would have done, but I'm certain I would be in a pissy mood for a while. It would have put a big cloud over this trip if I couldn't get it going again. Note to all. be nice to law enforcement, even when not in uniform, they are great people. Always give these people the respect they deserve.

I slabbed it down to Saint John and met up with KROW. We rode up to his place and his wife made us a great lunch and we chatted for a while. It was great to meet KROW and his wife, great people... We chatted about Newfoundland where she is from and now I want to go more than ever.

I decided that with the bike acting like it was, I should make up as much ground as I could and get home as soon as I could without having to slab it the whole way. KROW showed me some of the country roads out in the area and we followed the Saint John river up to Fredericton. It was a great ride, nice scenery and pretty good roads. During the ride I felt a bug hit me in the face and it hurt, then it hurt even more. Looks like a wasp hit me in the face, and when I looked I couldn't see it, but it was under my sunglasses. I didn't see it when looking down, but it stung me while riding and it hurt like hell. I got the wasp off, i pulled over for a little bit to see if i was allergic or not. I have never been stung by a bee or wasp that i know of, so I wanted to see if I was going to swell up like the elephant man. About the size of a quarter, not very big bump and it throbbed only a little bit so i figured I wasn't. KROW and I stopped for a coffee in Fredericton and we chatted for a while. We parted ways as he had to get back home, and I had to get on my way.
I rode through Fredericton very quickly and I think it would be a nice town to visit if I had the time. Took a few snaps and kept going.
Alternating between country roads and slabbing, I wound up in Woodstock and it was getting near the end of the day. Got rained on a bit on that ride and avoided most of the storm (see pic above), but the rain suit held the water at bay. I couldn't find a room in town as there was some sort of country fair in progress and everything was booked solid. I slabbed it for about 5 KM when i saw a vacancy sign on a motel. Got a room for the night in a motel that looks like it was going through renovations. The room had 3 beds, was quite large, but no coffee maker. heh.

I crashed pretty early that night, being drained from the last 2-3 days of riding and since it was raining on and off I was pretty tired from riding that day. I took a pic of myself, hoping to see the wasp sting bump under my left eye... nope, all you could see is a bit of ugly. :)

Friday, August 1, 2008

Day 14, August 1st

I still haven't slept and kept riding through the night. Why get a room at this time only to wake up in a few hours? I kept to the slab for a little bit since I was worried about my battery failing again, but right out of Truro there's a toll road. I didn't want to spend any more cash so I took route 2 by Minas Bay and rode through some light fog. The road was in good condition (except for 8km of construction so it was all dirt/gravel) and went through some nice towns. Maybe it looks better at night, I don't know.

unattractive, i know... but i had been riding for 24 hours straight!

Taking the 106 out of Moncton I took route 890 and followed that country road in the hill sides. I was pretty much lost but I didn't care since I was enjoying the ride. I couldn't see any motels, let alone any towns, gas stations, etc. I was pretty much in BF nowhere. probably around 8am i rounded a crest and saw a cute little down with a big steeple. I figured they would have rooms there!

a wonderful sight to see when you've been riding in nothing and need to sleep badly

I found a room at the Covered Bridge Inn. Cute little place with a babbling brook behind it. I knew nothing about this area and never heard about it until I got there. Seems this area is well known for the many covered bridges and painted murals on the buildings. When I got the room they warned me that the local militia group were doing military exercises. I feel to sleep with the sound of rapid machine gun fire...quite relaxing actually as it sounded like an old WWII movie.

I took a nap for about 5 hours and got up for some more riding. Rode around town and drank from the naturally carbonated fountain. tasted like sulphur and it was gross. There's more history to the fountain, like being the first to have carbonated ginger-ale.

I rode around town and small country roads in the area and it was a nice ride for the most part. I got in contact with my friend (KROW) I was going to meet up with the next day and all was set. I hit the hay for the night and wanted to wake up earlish so I could get the bike packed up and get going to meet KROW.