2019 Caroline rides the Gaspe Peninsula

I think I should have titled this, Ron loses his wallet in yet another Atlantic Province, but as that is nothing new to you folks, I thought I’d best run with something new to both you and Caroline.

Caroline on the bank of the Grand Cascapedia River
Route de la Parc Gaspesie QC

Small wonder that she was enthralled with the Route de la Parc Gaspesie 299 as was I. It is an incredibly scenic route that bisects that Gaspe Peninsula that follows the course of the Grand Cascapedia River in the south, and Riviere Sainte-Anne to the North. Couple that with the scenic vistas and winding roads along the North Shore, the only ingredient you will need is yourselves and a smattering of basic French to order coffee and ask where is the washroom?

Google Maps Link

We had heard a bit of chatter on the Facebook Group Motorcycle Maritimers about “hitting the Cabot trail” this weekend, and I thought it was going to be a madhouse, so convinced Caroline that our destination for the weekend could be Gaspe, as we both had a long weekend, three days on the bike sounded great.

Grand Tour – Charlottetown PE to St-Anne-Des-Monts QC to Cap Forillon QC and Return – 1678 km – 20:15 hours

Grand Tour – Charlottetown PE to St-Anne-Des-Monts QC to Cap Forillon QC and Return – 1678 km – 20:15 hours

Day 1 – Charlottetown PE to Nouvelle QC – 502 km – 6 hours

Day 1 – Charlottetown PE to Nouvelle QC – 502 km – 6 hours

The last trip we did, to Shubenacadie the CSBK motorcycle races, I was almost an hour and a half late, so late in fact, that Caroline had finished packing and showed up to see what was my hold up (Packing food for her was the excuse I trotted out). This time I had packed the night before, even laying out my clothing for the next day, and had gone to bed at 2300, a bit late pre trip, but my normal “School night” behaviour, and I woke to my alarm at 0630…

The is just about ready to go
Photo Credit: Caroline

Suffice to say, I was dressed, packed and ready for breakfast at 0745 and off to McDonald’s to meet Caroline in her driveway with her arms still full of gear as she multi tasked while talking to her son Shamus, and me, who was full of coffee and breakfast, and raring to go. I’m afraid to say that Caroline got no coffee that morning, and it’s partly my fault as she didn’t want to hold up the circus as I was a bit desperate to avoid the typical long weekend conga line queue of cages at the Confederation Bridge toll plaza.

My Versys is about to roll 90,000 kilometres!

We got to the mainland without incident, and headed out through Murray Corner NB along 955 NB, then pretty much slogged up North along highway 11 from Shediac all the way up to Miramichi NB, where Caroline wanted us to stop for a quick photo op.

There are a couple of other bikes heading this way

It was definitely time for a pit stop, and Caroline finally got her coffee, the poor thing, and first sign that my kickstand was not going to behave became apparent, as it started to bend ever so slightly on this incline, and I asked Caroline not to park beside me just in case we needed one good bike to get us both home.

Saint Ignace Station NB

Once in Miramichi, Caroline had an agenda to be photographed in front of a branch of the Public Service Pay Centre, as she works for the Prince Edward Island branch of the same. It was only a short detour, and I was happy to do it, as we had hoped to stop in Matane QC this trip, but that had to be cut from the itinerary as we would have had to added another day to the tour to fit it all in.

Rising from the ashes… Or in her case, Riding away from the ashes… (for the weekend)

Back out onto the highway, and across the Miramichi River.

Crossing the Miramichi River

The highway is inland, not in fantastic shape, and frankly, rather boring so when Caroline asked for some respite I was more than happy to pull off and head for the coast where 134 NB would take us where we needed to be, but slower and much more scenic than the highway. Today we only needed to make about 500 km so we had plenty of time to get to our destination.

Uh, it looks like there is a 70% chance we can duck through there without getting wet.

Local 7085 of the United Steelworkers is out on the picket lines at the Brunswick Smelter… 

“No end in sight for Brunswick Smelter’s dispute with workforce”

Local 7085 USW mans the picket lines on the long weekend

It was 1330 and as I was getting hungry, I did a u-turn after spying a local Cafe with a number of cars in the parking lot, so Caroline and I settled in for lunch. A grilled cheese with bacon for me, and a 1/4 chicken with rice for her. Let me tell you, they were both good choices, but whatever they were doing to that chicken in the kitchen was magic! It was crispy, tasty, and I was very happy that my girlfriend is so quick to share.

Waiting for our lunch at Chez Zezette, Petit Rocher NB
Well fed and almost ready to go.

Caroline’s Shadow has a horribly small luggage rack behind her sissy bar, and the pack which sat on it, was sagging down and bouncing around when under load, so to prepare for this trip, she’d gone to home depot and picked up a chunk of plywood that she’d rigged up into a support for the pack, in imitation of a fellow biker, Mark Victor from Biker Bits Australia that showed how he had done it on his Suzuki Boulevard C50, Harry. Thanks Mark! You can just see an edge of it under the pack and over her taillight.

Luggage Rack – Mk II
Photo Credit: Caroline

This is where things get a bit nasty, as we knew that there was a 60% chance of running into some rain up this way, but I never expected it to be coupled with storm warnings, so when we stopped at gas station south of Dalhousie, we fueled up and opted to get into our rain gear, and just as I was doing the rain dance, it started to come down. We watched lightning strikes in the dark skies ahead of us and off to the left of us, and wondered how far we had to go an if we could ride out from under it.

Charlo NB for another pit stop
Photo Credit: Caroline Kelly

We didn’t make it very far, only as far as Darlington in that deluge, as it was coming down so hard, that it was not safe for us to be on the road in it, and when I spotted a wash bay ahead of us at the intersection of 134 and 275, I got Caroline’s attention and had her follow me into one of the large, empty wash bays to wait this out. We’d only come six and a half kilometers from our fuel stop, but the rain was so fierce that I was having a hard time seeing through it as was Caroline, and I could feel the puddles of water splashing up and onto (INTO!) my leather boots. *sigh*

I think they just need a wax and a buff now…
Darlington 24 Car Wash

So what do you do when you have all this time on your hands? Caroline wants to get Weather Canada on the phone and complain that their forecast of “60% chance of rain is now 100% chance of I’m soaked through!”

Caroline is my weather forecaster of the hour

It’s much worse than I was expecting, in fact if I had seen this warning, we would have been at home with our feet up on the couch, or riding the Cabot Trail. 😉

Partners in adversity Actually, we had a bit of fun, not that I want to do it again exactly the same way.
Yep, I’m still wet!

Now the bad news, is that even now that the storm front has passed over us, it is possible that we will ride back into it, as we still had to head north and then east to get to our campsite for the evening in Nouvelle QC.

The storm has one last attempt to get us wet
Photo Credit: Caroline

The rain had died down enough to encourage us to get going again, although I kept telling Caroline that if it had kept up, I was going to pitch our tent right there inside that wash bay for the night. I think she thought I was joking.

About an hour to ride in uncertain weather to get to the campground.
We set off along 134 again, and found the rain had done some damage, as we found run gravel and mud run off washed across the roads along with downed bit of trees, nothing serious, but a few leafy branches and the like.
My college pal Lisa O. had folks that lived (or had lived) here, so I couldn’t help but wonder if they had a spare shed that we could camp in for the night. 🙂
Once through Dalhousie it was a nice run along 134 and the Restigouche River, as we could see the Province of Quebec just there on the other side, covered in fog and rain clouds, but oh so beautiful. Dalhousie Junction NB looking across the Resitgouche River, Northwards to Escuminac QC
Dalhousie Junction NB looking across the Resitgouche River, Northwards to Escuminac QC
Dalhousie Junction NB looking across the Resitgouche River, Northwards to Escuminac QC
Dalhousie Junction NB looking across the Resitgouche River, Northwards to Escuminac QC
Caroline patiently waiting for me to take those pictures

We rode into Cambellton NB straight to the Sobey’s where we had a very short shopping list before heading to the campground,

  • 4 litres of water
  • milk for morning tea
  • cheese curds
  • vegetables (red pepper and onion)
  • bread
  • fruit (cherries)

I love riding with this girl, we have fun with simple things like shopping while both of us are dripping water onto the floor from our rain gear. I had to use the facilities while there, and had to do some acrobatics in order to make it happen. lol.

It was time to get moving, and we did indeed catch back up into some of that system, but thankfully it was almost done when we arrived in Nouvelle QC and the campground,

“Société de Restauration et de Gestion de la Nouvelle Inc” translates to “Restoration and Management Company of Nouvelle Inc” although I think it may be
“Zec Riviere Nouvelle” as that is what the sign says out front.

Once again my french was insufficient to the task of renting a campsite for the night, but the young gentleman in the office spoke very good heavily accented English, and I manged to get us a nice spot close to the river, and in spite of the rain, I thought I’d order some bois de chauffage (firewood) and see if I could make Caroline a wee bonfire for the night, as she had her wee bottle of fireball and camp chair with her.

Zec Riviere Nouovelle QC
Caroline helped me get the tent up quickly as the rain was still coming down a bit, and I was desperate to ensure that our tent floor was as dry as possible as I wanted us to be dry and comfortable. It went up quickly, and once the fly was buckled on in all four corners, all I had to do was peg it out and fine tune the tension a bit. $300 Canadian worth of tent that was now on it’s third use, so in effect it has paid for itself already, and now each night we spend in it is a bonus. This is an Alps Mountaineering Chaos 3, and my older, smaller Lynx 2 is still in great shape after eight years of use, so I hope to get many more years of use for Caroline and I out of this new one.
I am Gumby dammit!
Photo Credit: Caroline
Home Sweet Home.
There isn’t a lot of room with wood on the bike. Maybe I can carve a new kickstand out of it?
Photo Credit: Caroline

I love this tent! It’s not perfect, but you can leave the rain fly doors open in light and moderate showers without water dripping on inside! The rain fly just sheds water like I expect it to, and it pools only slightly before running off and away.

It keeps you dry.

What do you do while waiting for the rain to subside? You air up all your mattresses, and if you are a prima donna like me, your pillow as well, then you take some selfies (twosies?) and Facebook a bit until the drumming of the water on the roof of the tent dies down to nothing, while your tummy rumbles and reminds you that supper time is past due.

I think she likes me.

Did you know that Quebec follows the Eastern time zone even though this part of it is clearly just as far east as all the other Maritime provinces? Well clearly I forgot, as it was an hour behind, but my tummy can’t tell time, and it was screaming “empty!” so I crawled on out and started playing with my cooking gear.

Levitt’s smoked meat – Not bad!

I was going to have to heat up some water to steam our Levitt’s smoked meat that I’d found yesterday while out shopping at Giant Tiger with Caroline. Ten dollars worth of yummy meat that simply needed to be kept cool for the day, then boiled to reheat it in the package.

I’d opted to haul along my SVEA123R again, as it just works and keeps on working. It nests in the pots I would be using, can run on gasoline in a pinch, and only has two moving parts, so it bombproof and simple to operate.
It’s all packed up inside
The SVEA123R
Another reason why I wanted to get at the stove, was that I was going to need some liquid boy scout if I wanted to get this firewood firing…
Success! But I no longer have any hair on my hands.
Working on supper
Photo Credit: Caroline
A cheesy grin for a cheesy sandwich!
Now it’s a campsite!
There is something wrong with your fire Ron, I think you need to call Coleman and complain about their camp fuel.

We turned our attention to getting our sandwiches done, and Caroline prepped the veggies and bread while I got the meat ready and cooked the onions. Along with her cheese curds, peppers, onions and some McDonald’s hot mustard that had made it’s way into my camping condiments, we feasted. I even had a wee dessert prepared for us, but Caroline opted out and I was forced to eat my strawberry pop tart as well as hers. Bringing her along has been a total win-win! 😀

Our neighbour dropped in to talk about bikes. He rides a Ninja 400 while his girlfriend is on a Honda CB500, the street model, and tells us that her bike pulls harder at lower revs, but handles nothing like the 400. Gotta love that. Caroline wants to test ride the CB500X soon and thinks she might be able to do it next year if she can work enough over time.

Now that’s a fire.
I’m sure you will see me again in the morning. Night all!

  Day 2 – Nouvelle QC to Gaspe QC – 424 km – 5:45 hours

Day 2 – Nouvelle QC to Gaspe QC – 424 km – 5:45 hours

I warned Caroline that I wake up early at the campsite, and so it was this morning that i was up with the sun, had been up to the showers already, and came back down to get a small breakfast of tea and oatmeal going, but this morning I wanted to let Caroline sleep in, so I opted to use my alcohol stove that fits into a 750ml titanium mug. It’s basically a cat food can with holes punched into it that runs well on a couple ounces of alcohol to “Boil or Burn” whatever you place on top of it.

Mug, stove and windscreen

I need to find a smaller alcohol bottle to fit inside of it

Breakfast of champions, Tea, and Oatmeal

Unlike my SVEA123R, this does not make a helicopter noise, and is very quiet actually, although it only burns with about a third of the heat though, so takes much longer to boil a half litre of water.

I’ll be drinking tea again in no time!
This is how we do it in Quebec. (and Newfoundland, Nova Scotia and Northern Ontario come to think of it)

I can hear Caroline’s lady like snoring in the distance, so I’ll take you down to the river Saumon and get some photographs for you.

I’m not as pretty as Caroline, and clearly in need of a new hat.

Alright, enough of that, let’s get back and see if Caroline is up yet. Yep, she’s awake, so I can haul out the Swedish flame thrower and get her a Cuppa as well, and some oatmeal. (Blech! She prefers the Banana Nut)

If you haven’t figured out, I’m a bit of a stove-a-holic, and I took this opportunity with a captive audience to show Caroline how to serve the stove. Here’s a bit of the preheat cycle…

The Swedish Flamethrower in action, SVEA123r. I just wanted to demonstrate how lovely this wakeup call can be, the promise of hot tea!

The tent went down with Caroline’s help, and I was very careful to leave the floor saver packed around the tent with the wet fly on the outside of the bundle, so that our tent inside would remain dryish. I was already to gear up when Caroline pipes up with

“Am I going to get to see the river in person or shall I just like your Facebook post too?”
“Read the blog baby, it’ll all be there this week.” 

She laughed but I clearly got the idea that my personal well being would be enhanced if I were to give her a guided tour of the river. 😀

Ohoh, here’s trouble again!
I never used to do this sort of thing when riding with Suzi!

Caroline enjoyed the facilities so much that she wanted to save these for posterity. Tonight I am supposed to look for a campsite closer to the washroom. 😀

They are well appointed bathroom/showers. Quite nice actually.
When you are used to pooping in the woods, they are awesome!
Why bother with dry socks and wet boots?
I wanted Caroline to ride ahead of me as it was her first time here, and I thought she would really enjoy it all the more by being up front where the action was, and she could set the pace, which I was pretty happy with. We ride much alike in that regard, although once in a while I like to charge harder into the corners.
Riding into Carleton-Sur-Mer QC
Just outside of Carleton-Sur-Mer, Caroline said she wanted to put another layer on, and I was deliriously happy, as I was too Macho to want to ask her to stop, yet my nipples were starting to get cold, and we all know what happens then. My kickstand isn’t trustworthy, so Caroline snapped some shots after handing me my sweater, and left me to balance precariously on two wheels while I struggled into it.
If I can just find the sleeve…
Photo Credit: Caroline
Looking out towards the Saint Omer bird sanctuary, Carleton Sur Mer QC
Photo Credit: Caroline
Photo Credit: Caroline
I like to think I taught her this technique, but whereas I dabble, she owns it. I love this pic and wish I’d taken it.
Photo Credit: Caroline

There isn’t any fuel up into Parc Gaspésie on 299 so I wanted to ensure that we stopped at the Irving in New Richmond that I knew would be up ahead of us. (It turns out I was wrong and it is located in Maria QC)

  1. Had some hot coffee
  2. Got some fuel
  3. Washroom break
  4. Had some hot coffee
You can see now why it’s a struggle to get into that sweater, eh?
Photo Credit: Caroline
I figured why I am so hungry again… My tummy is on PEI time, but I’m living in Quebec time. A snack shut it up for a while longer.
Quebec has much more of an ATV culture than Ontario and Prince Edward Island, and it is not uncommon to see quads being driven in town, sometimes across the flow of traffic, and even with it once in a while. I really was tickled to see the passenger of this side by side.
The passenger guards the quad from theft and nosy cats.

Caroline is still excited that her pack is behaving and her fix worked. I’m excited that she is excited. 😀

The Mark Victor method. 😀
Photo Credit: Caroline

People have been coming up to chat with us, and I enjoy it, although I wish I understood more of the french language so that I could converse in it, still most people are able to flip into English, so we have been enjoying the trip.

A short eight minute ride and through the Gesgapegiag First Nation, we crossed the Cascapedia river and turned North onto 299. Let the fun begin! I should mention that Caroline cheated and did not wait at the lights, but cut through a parking lot and beat me onto the 299, but she will be laughing a different sort of laugh that sounds much more like crying when I inform the Sûreté du Québec! Lucky for her I ain’t no rat, and so she gets off for today… Watch it girl! I have your number!

There is fog up ahead… Or my camera is still wet.
The fun is about to begin
Yes, it is this nice only better. Get on your bike and go now.
299 QC – Route 299 Parc National de la Gaspésie

I thought I would map that once more to show you how much you are missing by not visiting Quebec once in a while.

I encouraged her to stop and take pictures, but now I was very happy that she was heeding my advice as I needed to whiz something fierce. Apparently you just rent coffee and tea…

I must have taken ages to pee, for I was surprised to see all the shots Caroline took, and reminded how fortunate I am to have her in my life.

Caroline on the bank of the Grand Cascapedia River
Route de la Parc Gaspesie QC
Photo Credit: Caroline
Photo Credit: Caroline
Photo Credit: Caroline
Photo Credit: Caroline
Photo Credit: Caroline
There may be a few other people who know about this road, or perhaps they got lost?
Photo Credit: Caroline
My bike is THIS wide!
Photo Credit: Caroline
No matter what road you take, the camper vans will be on them, but this time they were going the wrong way!
Some parts of the road aren’t in as good a shape as others.
I may have made a mistake when I promised no gravel on this run!

Not to worry, it was only a short stretch, 100 feet or so.

Moose really are a danger. I’ve seen them on this road before.
Wet roads and dark clouds ahead


We were seeing water on the road ahead now, and it seemed that we were fated to ride into the rain again so Caroline pulled over near a road maintenance building where we once more did the rain dance.

All dressed up and looking for rain.
“I feel like a large sausage with all this rain gear over top my riding gear.”, complained Caroline.
“A sexy sausage.”, says I.
Photo Credit: Caroline
I think the gold wing and company had a good idea.
Photo Credit: Caroline

We weren’t the only ones here, as it looked like these riders used this as a rain coat.

Photo Credit: Caroline
I do not make this look elegant at all
Photo Credit: Caroline
Everytime she asks me to help her with her boot cuffs, I giggle a little and wonder if I should attach a string to her riding gloves. Shhhhh! Stop laughing!
Photo Credit: Caroline

Even in the rain these roads are fun!
Caroline’s big moment, and all she gets os a drippy foggy picture. :'(
We were into the rain again, and needed to get another 50 km to Saint Anne Des Monts for lunch and gas, as it was getting on in the day. At some point we had left the Cascapedia River and were now following the Saint Anne river on it’s way into the Gulf of Saint Lawrence to the north.
Gas up before Tim Horton’s

Tim Horton’s across from the gas station in Saint Anne Des Monts had a long line up, and when  couple who were obviously bikers walked up, I started to chat with them, as did Caroline, and I’m glad we did as they were a fun loving couple who clearly enjoyed riding as much as we did (Is that even possible?!) They invited us to sit with them, and smiled even more when they found out they were chatting to another Ron, same as the first but a little bit worse, And both of us hailing from Ontario, so it was a good common ground and we chatted back and forth, but I simply couldn’t match Ron and Susan story for story, and we were laughing constantly as they described some of their adventures in their 36 years of marriage together.  They used to do long haul trucking together, both with Class A licences, so took turns doing the driving and ran loads all across North America, to places such as Sacramento California, then running a load of cookies down to Salinas. They did seven pickups in two and a half days, and I don’t know what all else. I’m sure I got some of this wrong, but lucky for me their is no test.

Ron and Susan had ordered Chicken Noodle soup that seemed to have been replaced with Seafood Chowder, and neither of them cared for that, so they traded it in for potato and bacon soup. Yet another thing in common. Seafood, in my mind, comes out of a blue box marked “Highliner”. 😉

Misadventures. Ron was telling us about the time the truck started rolling backwards down a mountainside while he was outside taking care of business while Susan was in the passenger seat waiting for him.

Ron & Susan S.

They’d been riding their Goldwing and trailer up to the Cabot Trail and then around the Gaspe and were on their way home again to Iroquois Ontario. I didn’t have to heart to tell them that all the good stuff was gone once they passed Riviere du Loup but they were only about three hours away, so it was going to be a short enough day for them. How we managed to get out into the parking lot to make a getaway I will never know, as I’m sure Caroline wishes they had been going in our direction as opposed to the opposite way. I’m sure we will meet again, as I’ll try to convince them to come out to PEI and tour around the place a wee bit. 😉

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, now that the weather was looking grim, we still had another three hours to get to Gaspe, and it would be very helpful if we could then get south and back west again so tomorrow would be an easier day. 132 EST beckoned, and we rode onto the North shore of the Gaspe Peninsula and toward Cap Forillon.The scenery is so amazing here, that I have to apologize for bombarding you with so many photos. Feel free to skip through them if you can’t take it…

An old Cougar turned into a monument. Fitting.
Some sections of this road get pounded by ice and storm inspired waves, and clearly were replaced at some point.
It seems that every sheltered bay or inlet has a small town on this side of the peninsula.

Google calls this next bit “Grand Étang” which translates to Large Pond in English, and at the foot of the hill is “Halte routiere Grand-Étang” or Road stop large pond”  It’s a quick down the hill and stop into the picnic area. I’ve stopped here each and every time I’ve done the Gaspe, the first visit was Suzi and I back in 2009, and she celebrated by rolling on some dead crab down on that beach. Caroline opted to take some lovely photos instead.

Suzi Bandit enjoying the beach 2009, Grand Étang QC
Anse de l’Étang
Photo Credit: Caroline
Photo Credit: Caroline
Photo Credit: Caroline

When she saw me doing this, she said:

“Maybe I should stick with shaft drive for a while longer so I can take pictures while you do chain maintenance instead of joining in alongside of you. :)”
I really need to fit that chain oiler I bought this year
Nemo 2 by Cobrra
Sorry to ruin your shot
Photo Credit: Caroline

It was 1645 and we we still had more than an hour to go just to get into Gaspe via Parc Forillon, and we planned to stop at

Route 132 is beautiful
We are playing tag with those clouds, hoping to ride out into clear skies soon!

Pointe-à-la-Renommée is located about an hour away from Gaspe, and boasts a museum and souvenir shop, but as it is four kilometers of gravel up and downhill, it can be a challenge to get to it on a motorcycle, but Caroline is no stranger to dirt roads, and in no time we found ourselves at the hundred year old lighthouse, restored by the people of Quebec.

Almost there! We had to share the road with a couple of cars in a tight, lane and a half section, and Caroline swore that her handlebars would have knocked off his mirror if he hadn’t pulled over and yielded to her downhill progress.

Filtered and popped by Google Photos 😀

The Pointe-à-la-Renommée Lighthouse

In 1904, the pre-fabricated cast-iron lighthouse at Fame Point, near Anse-a-Valleau on the Gaspe coast, became the first maritime wireless (Marconi) station in North America. In 1977, this lighthouse was dismantled and became a tourist attraction in Quebec City, but it was returned to its original site in 1997 and the whole light station, known today as Pointe-à-la-Renommée, has been restored.

Built in 1904, this station was first operated by the Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company of Canada . It was therefore very near here that the first wireless signals in North America dedicated to the saving of lives at sea were transmitted. Its call letters, VCG (Victor Charlie Gulf), soon became known throughout the maritime world due to the signal’s excellent range and the personnel’s devotion to navigational safety. The exhibit presents the story of Guglielmo Marconi, the radio operators, and visual (semaphore) signalling. Equipment used in Marconi’s time is on display. 

I think Caroline captured the moment where I lost my wallet.

Photo Credit: Caroline

Did you read that bit? We will come back to it later on, I’m sure.

Photo Credit: Caroline
I believe the chimney is the last remaining part of the original Marconi Laboratory
Or I might have dumped the wallet here by the fence. *sigh*
Photo Credit: Caroline
And another four kilometers back out to Route 132

We were riding back into the rain a bit, so it was time to stop and gear up again, the short respite from the Lighthouse to Pointe-Jaune was all we were going to get for the moment.

Photo Credit: Caroline
Photo Credit: Caroline

I made a wee mistake in Riviere-au-Renard and took us through the industrial fishing area, before hooking back up with 132 on the other side of the industrial park. I call it a tourist shortcut…

Le Capitaine

Wikipedia had some interested things to say about this town:

Rivière-au-Renard is a village in the Gaspé Peninsula, in the province of Quebec, Canada, part of the Town of Gaspé.
Originally settled in the 1790s by French-Canadian and Irish families, Rivière-au-Renard is located on the banks of a large open bay on the Gulf of Saint Lawrence at the eastern end of the Gaspé Peninsula. The town was originally populated by immigrants from Ireland, mostly those who remained in the area following the sinking of the Carrick in 1847.[1]
In 1971, this former municipality was amalgamated into the Town of Gaspé.

The wreck of the MV Carrick of Whitehaven:

Around the middle of the 19th century, the great Irish famine brought thousands of impoverished families to America. One of the immigrant ships, the Carricks of Whitehaven, went down off Cap-des-Rosiers in 1847. Of the 187 passengers on board, 87 perished at sea and 100 survivors were taken in by families in the village.
In 1900, St. Patrick’s Parish in Montréal offered the Carricks Monument to the Cap-des-Rosiers parish church in memory of those who died. Later, in 1966, the ship’s bell was found far away in Blanc Sablon and enshrined in a small monument next to the original one.A plaque, put in place in 1977 by the Canadian Parks Service, recalls this tragedy. It is located in the north sector of Forillon National Park. 

Sadly I couldn’t discover the origins of this vessel, Le Capitaine, but the cross leads me to believe it is a monument for those who lost their lives in the fishing industry at sea.

It’s official! The second phase of “Operation Gaspe” is underway!
It was 1820 and we still had another hour to go before we cleared Gaspe and made some headway back East, but it was looking like my deadline of “tent up after seven” might not be possible OR we were going to have to stay in Gaspe itself tonight.
Pointe Navarre, Gaspé
Is it just me or have we rode out from under the rain at last?
We are heading right down into the heart of Gaspe, and I am tired and hungry, so I asked Caroline to stop for a coffee at the Tim Horton’s in town, not far from the bridge you can see up ahead.
Gaspe QC as seen from the park bench at Tim Horton’s
Photo Credit: Caroline
Photo Credit: Caroline
We talked about where we were going to camp, and I suggested we head back up the road and see if that campground we had passed had free spots, and so it was we retraced our steps a bit and found a spot at the Fort Ramsay Motel and Campground, Gaspe QC
My kickstand is worse, and I have to ensure the bike is in gear and will not roll forward, then position the kickstand so it is exactly perpendicular to the bike to take up the strain. We are not quite at the leaning it against a telepole stage yet, but I’m getting there.
I found this out about Fort Ramsay today on Wikipedia:

HMCS Fort Ramsay was a Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) base located at Sandy Beach on the southern shore of Gaspé Bay, several kilometres west of Gaspé, Quebec. Its construction was commissioned in 1940 and the base was inaugurated by the RCN on May 1, 1942. Several shore batteries were linked to this base, such as Fort Prével, Fort Haldimand, and Fort Péninsule. On March 31, 1946, the base was decommissioned, almost a year after the Second World War ended. Today the base property is operated as the Sandy Beach Terminal of the Port of Gaspé and is primarily used for industrial and commercial purposes.

 The priority was getting the tent up, our sleeping and riding gear safely into it, then get some sort of supper on the go. The tent went up quickly with the two of us familiar with it by now, and after staking and guying it out, I headed over to set up the camp kitchen and sort out what was going to happen for supper.
Photo Credit: Caroline

Caroline wasn’t terribly hungry, so the can of chili I offered to heat up for her was turned down in favour of snacking on cheese curds and cherries, while I opted for some hot chili with some cheese curds finished off by a strawberry pop tart, and a few cherries for dessert.

Photo Credit: Caroline

The tent is up, the bikes are unpacked for the evening.

Photo Credit: Caroline
Photo Credit: Caroline
Photo Credit: Caroline
Just one final trip to the washroom

I just had to heat up one more pot of water to clean out the chili properly, and put away the stove and the pots back into the side cases of the bike. We were almost all done when it began to rain buckets down onto our campsite! I rushed and dumped a few things by the door of tent that we were going to need for tomorrow, while watching our neighbours scramble to clear their late supper from total ruin.

With both of us in the tent, it really was a great test of it, as it was really raining hard for a few minutes before it passed over us and on out over the Bassin du Nord-Ouest.

And I finally became aware that I had parted ways with my wallet sometime today after our stop in Sainte-Anne-Des-Monts QC, and with the kickstand failing again, it was a bit too much, as I’d already done this bit to Caroline and myself two weeks ago at the Canadian Superbike races in July at Atlantic Motorsports Park in Shubenacadie NS. Damn it! I think what happened is that I pulled it out of my pants pocket when we donned our rain gear again in Parc Gaspesie, so I wouldn’t have to reach down under three layers of clothing (rain jacket, riding jacket, rain pants and into pocket) so I instead loaded into my riding jacket pocket and promptly zipped it up. Until the lighthouse, where I distinctly remember putting my cellphone into the same pocket, so when I pulled out my silicone covered cellphone to snap a couple of shots of the lighthouse, I bet you it parted ways with me then. *sigh* Caroline is going to have the patience of a saint if this keeps up.

Photo Credit: Caroline

Tomorrow was gong to be the long haul to get home, and I was a tad worried as I don’t think Caroline had ever done a full day like that before, most of it “super slab” and as i think of it, super boring. Half the day would be spent riding through every small town along the south shore, then the other half a rip straight through New Brunswick and back onto the Island.

 Day 3 – Gaspe QC to Charlottetown PE – 752 km – 8:32 hours

Day 3 – Gaspe QC to Charlottetown PE – 752 km – 8:32 hours
Photo Credit: Caroline

I’m not sure why Caroline likes taking photos of the facilities, perhaps to highlight the fact that she prefers civilisation over pooping in the woods. I love this girl. Between the two of us we spent about $25 dollars each on campsites, and yes Honey, I did enjoy the showers and flush toilets. 😉

Photo Credit: Caroline
Photo Credit: Caroline
Photo Credit: Caroline
The tent is all packed up and we are ready to roll!
Photo Credit: Caroline
We rolled out about 0830 after a quick breakfast of oatmeal, tea, and the last of the hard boiled eggs that we had picked up in Campbellton NB. The milk held up as well, and we used the last of it for our tea. I seemed to have a lot more spare room in the side cases today. Oh well, it was time to hit the road and stick close to my Sugar Mama for fuel and lunchtime snacks. 😀

We could have arrowed across and saved a wee bit of time by taking 198 out of Gaspe, but I thought what the hell, in for a penny, in for a pound and we stuck to the 132 up and around on “Montee de Sandy-Beach” until it met up with 132 and carried us on our way to the south west.

Leaving Las Vegas

For a time we got caught up behind a wind turbine blade being escorted down the 132, but they were moving along quite quickly, and as we didn’t really want to belt past the Surete du Quebec escort vehicle, we simply followed along behind.

Following the green energy thingy, burning fossil fuels to get there.

It really makes me wonder, with all the fossil fuels etc, at what point will this blade reach the balance and pay for itself ecologically? Sure it represents green renewable energy, but it took a ton of fossil fuels to get there, in the manufacturing, and maintenance of them.

Don’t bother, it’s a long way to go yet.

If you only have a single lane highway servicing an area this large, of course it has to be maintained and you are guaranteed to run across at least one such site on your trip.

Les Trois Soeurs Percé Quebec 

We rode through Perce QC without stopping, although we did butterfly watch as it is very touristy. Sort of the “Friggin Cavendish” of Prince Edward Island. 😉

The turbine blade convoy pulled off to the side, and we managed to get ahead of it! Clear sailing for a bit!

We stopped for fuel in Saint-Siméon-de-Bonaventure QC, and had a cuppa coffee as well as adding a layer for warmth, as it was still quite cool, right around noon, but I wanted to hold off lunch until Campbellton NB, and Caroline was content with sharing a protein bar with me, as I snacked on a bit of teriyaki sausage I’d grabbed at the counter.

Ready to roll Ron?
One of the bikes pictured here is stuck behind a logging truck.

There were always more vehicles to pass, someone else up ahead that either couldn’t read the speed limit, or had no ability to maintain it (cars pulling trailers and campers), so we would pick them off one by one, but there were always more.

Now this lady is hard core!

We finally made to Cafe Chez Wes in Cambellton New Brunswick, just on the other side of the bridge, and while Caroline was able to park out front, my kickstand began to seriously bend, and I had to make other arrangements before climbing off of it and resting my butt and filling my now empty tummy, much happier now that we were back in Atlantic time.

Speaking of Atlantic time, our phones had gone forward an hour, so it was 1430 according to my iPhone but I think it may have been on Quebec time as it  three hours to Miramichi NB, but those photos are showing up as 1700.

The kickstand done broke again.
Viande fumée avec frites!

All the while in Quebec I keep thinking about all the cantines I visited and snacked on smoked meat while on previous trips, but this trip I brought my own into Quebec, and waited until New Brunswick to have more. The fries are very good here, as is the smoked meat.

Just at the end of main street we stopped for fuel at the Ultramar on Ramsay street, then made our way

And now it was time to get our heads down and ride the “Drive through Province” and get back to the Island PDQ. Caroline was doing great, and we’d done the best part of over three hundred kilometers to get here, but traffic on the south shore had been slower than I had figured, and our time back on the Island was going to be later with each stop we made.

Caroline has a goal. On the Confederation Bridge by 2000!
So it was time for another gas and ass break just on the south side of Miramichi NB, and the optional route that Caroline proposed much earlier in the day, NB 126 that would have gotten us onto a secondary road off of this highway,  (I’d completely missed the turn off back there on the highway as we came through Miramichi), we decided against as we were feeling the urge to just get there at this stage of the game, with two hours and 45 minutes to go until the bridge, with at least one more fuel stop before we got home again.
This is how I roll… I mean lean.
Photo Credit: Caroline

We are only five and a half hours too late to meet up with my friend and colleague Kate who was visiting near Miramichi NB with her parents for the weekend, but it wasn’t going to happen this trip, and as she works in Halifax and I in Stratford, it was going to be a Skype Meeting or nothing on Tuesday.

Photo Credit: Caroline

I love this girl. We finally pulled off 11 and onto 15, and she took the 955 through Murray Corner for me. As you can see it’s late in the day, but we’re going to cross before dark, and I prefer that then to ride in the dark on the mainland in this area.

Route 955 through Murray Corner NB
I stopped for one picture here, right in Murray Corner NB

And my camera, still on Quebec time tells me that we were back on the bridge at 1836 EST, so 1936 AST or 7:36pm for you am/pm people out there.

Caroline waving at her fans
Confederation Bridge selfie!

I am continually amazed that Caroline loves me, and I’ll let you in on a little secret now that we are so close to the end of this… It wasn’t all sweetness and light, as we both got a bit out of sorts with one another at times. Rain, idiots in cages, lost wallets, broken motorcycles, and not being able to pass to catch up with the other. We weathered it, felt our relationship mature yet again, and held hands most of the way through the weekend.

Charlottetown at last

I’m very happy that I live in this part of the country, and that I have someone as lovely as Caroline to share in my misadventures.

She’s a keeper!

P.S. Thank you so much Annie for finding my wallet and turning it in at the Lighthouse souvenir shop! The kind staff there just mailed the wallet home to me C.O.D., and Caroline is going to make me wear a Trucker’s wallet and chain or put me on an allowance next time! 😀

Thank you Annie!
Monday at 12:17 I was in Saint-Siméon-Est
on my way home to Charlottetown PE

2019 No Tea for you in O’Leary Today

Seeline and I were determined to get out and go for a ride this past weekend, and we came up with  a ride along the Sunrise Trail in Nova Scotia, perhaps even as far as the Cape St. George Lighthouse, then the Pictou ferry crossing back to the island, but after breakfast and a cuppa, we found ourselves caught up in another Island Exodus to the mainland!

Brae Harbour Road looking out towards West Point PE
And when we hit the Irving at Borden-Carleton, the lineup for the Confederation Bridge toll plaza was so long, that it was backed up right through the lights there!

There is simply no way I want to be a part of that today.

I’m not used to being caught in the act:

Yep, that’s me, riding the ocean waves…
Which way do you want to go?

It was a no brainer, we just needed decide whether it was going to be a ride Up West or or Down East or Friggin’ Cavendish… Her conscience must have been bothering her as she suggested we hit up the O’Leary Tim Horton’s where she was going to finally buy me that tea she’d promised me about ten months ago, the weekend we first held hands and started parking in the same spot together.

Day Tripping – Charlottetown PE to O’Leary PE and Return – 350 km – 5 hours

Google Maps Link

Day Tripping – Charlottetown PE to O’Leary PE and Return – 350 km – 5 hours
And it was off through Bedeque and out into Summerside where we cleverly avoided the construction (Constriction) up on Highway 2 and Granville by heading through the center of town and heading out to Linkletter via Highway 11 which follows the coast and runs past Miscouche on the south end. It’s a lovely little road that winds it’s way along the coast for some time, but eventually it kicks you back out onto Route 2 at Mount Pleasant, but we like riding to Alaska so left the highway in favour of the Beaton Road that runs up through Alaska PE and on into Brae.
Following the Shadow up to Alaska (Prince Edward Island)

I can’t figure out if that is a drone, seagull or mosquito captured in the picture above. 😀 The last time we were on this road, there was about an eight inch dry track to ride down, as it had been raining and the road was covered in about an inch of mud but for the two dry tire tracks down the road.

We were just entering Brae when Caroline asked me “What is down that road?” indicating the Brae Harbour Road to the south, that was paved but in fair to rough shape for most of the visible distance. Quick with the repartee, I toss out “The Harbour, I think.”. With that I turned off the main road and headed on down it, comfortably flanked on the left with hydro poles, which to us, meant that there may be some civilized people out this way. Google calls it “Hwy 170, Coleman PE”, but they are optimistic at best. Still, someone had come down this road and graded it recently as there were no weeds at all in the spoil, and it was still loose, so maybe one or two light rainfalls? I figure it was done within the past two weeks, so there were no potholes, just deeper sandy patches and a bit of buildup of sandstone that might give you a jolt or roll out from under the front tire.

Seeline is motoring right along.

We found out that it was basically used as an access road for some cottages, and trailer sites, as well as a public beach further East. A beautiful bit of coastline with shallow beaches.

Looking East towards Enmore PE
Looking West towards Hebron and West Point
Caroline has roll bars. I’m envious.
Dual track on a Shadow anyone?

Caroline and Google Maps were determined that this road met up with another and would cross a bridge then take us back into Alaska just about a kilometer and a half to the north, but if it was there, it isn’t anymore, and all you will get is grown over bush with no sight of an older road. DEAD END, again.

I like the Versys a bit better than the Shadow, but I will admit to being envious of her shaft drive…

So it turns out that I am not the only one who admires the bike that they ride. 🙂

2004 Honda Shadow 750cc
Photo Credit: Caroline
Caroline catches me tire kicking
Photo Credit: Caroline
Video Credit: Caroline
Lets blow this popsicle stand!
The ride of shame… We have to go out the way we came, past all the campers and cottages
Caroline takes the lead and sets a brisk pace back out to the main road.
I like to call this the town of Brae, but the road signs tend to differ.

Once we hit Route 11 we were back on familiar ground, and in a short while we’d meandered our way up and into O’Leary where Caroline’s grandparents used to live, and she still has a number of family in the area, so I got a wee guided tour over the comms units as we closed in on our destination of the Potato Museum, as Caroline had heard good things about their restaurant, so we parked the bikes and wandered in to have a look through the gift shop, and finally at the menu. Caroline wanted to sample the Lobster Potato while I was interested in the Classic Poutine, with bacon added as an additional topping.

Classic Poutine – Xtra Large picture, because this is an extra large meal!

The poutine for $7 is so large that you really should be sharing it. After eating the poutine, and sharing the seaweed pie, I nearly slipped into a food coma and fell from my chair to the restaurant floor. Now I know why my riding jacket is becoming so tight this season. :'(

Lobster Potato with chips
Photo Credit: Caroline

The chips were freshly cooked to perfection! Fantastic, to finally be able to taste them fresh from the fryer as they should be, a real game changer.

Seaweed Pie with Blueberry and Strawberry
Photo Credit: Caroline
We were discussing the seaweed used in milk such as Carageenan, when Caroline said it was “Irish Moss” that used to be harvested on the island, until the shoal waters became polluted or contaminated and you could no longer harvest food safe Irish Moss for consumption in the waters off of PEI. It is an industry that still employs a horse and human to wade the surf and dredge up the moss. Wikipedia has this to say about Irish Moss:

“is an industrial source of carrageenan, which is commonly used as a thickener and stabilizer in milk products such as ice cream and processed foods, including lunch meat. It may also be used as a thickener in calico printing and paper marbling, and for fining beer or wine.”

From https://canadasfoodisland.ca/export/productajax/irish-moss

“Irish moss (Chondrus crispus) is a small seaplant that looms large in the make-up of many of our favourite foods and useful products. When we consume ice cream, chocolate milk, salad dressings, beer, or use insect sprays, water-based paints, shampoos, toothpaste or cosmetics, we are almost certain to be using carrageenan, a starch-like, non-caloric substance extracted from Irish moss. Irish moss is a perennial plant with many branches near the top. It ranges in colour from yellowish green to brown to reddish purple, and grows attached to rocks to heights of three to seven inches. It is found from the low tide mark to approximately 30 feet of water.

HistoryThere are two methods of harvest: by drag rakes or by gathering storm-tossed moss along the shoreline. The harvest is taken by drag rakes towed behind boats. Large quantities of Irish moss, sometimes mixed with Furcellaria, are washed ashore during gale force winds. This storm-tossed moss can be gathered either by picking it up from the shore or scooping it from the tidal wash with handrakes or with baskets towed by horses. Prince Edward Island has a long established history of seaplant harvest. On Prince Edward Island, the industry is centred on the western shore of Prince County, where the largest production of Irish moss is harvested and local buyers have drying and packaging plants.”

And now the bad news:

Irish moss now a dead industry on P.E.I.
Eric McCarthy (eric.mccarthy@journalpioneer.com)Published: Jul 03, 2015

So you probably drank some seaweed in your coffee today, or had some with dessert last night in your ice cream cone, but it was probably not from Prince Edward Island.

It was time to climb back into the saddle, and continue the trip, but please take note that we never made it to Tim Horton’s where my cuppa tea still waits. One day I’ll call her on it…
Photo Credit: Caroline
Just a few more minutes, Honey, please?
Photo Credit: Caroline

O’Leary has a “Only game in town” Shell station, so we sat in the shade waiting for the pump lineup to thin down, and chatted with an older gentleman from the area who used to ride, still has the bike, but can’t manage it at the moment. I have a lot of respect for these guys, as I figure one day I’ll be doing the same thing, only able to chat about riding as opposed to doing it. Caroline was apologetic that there was so much dirt on her bike, but he countered with “A dirty bike runs just as well as a clean one!” and I bet you have more fun getting it dirty too, I bet.

Photo Credit: Caroline
It was time to start heading for home, but rather than take the highway, we opted to follow Highway 12 south, or so I thought, until Caroline turned onto Canadian Road aka 168 just the other side of Foxley River, because she wanted to see the end of this one too. I got to follow along in her cloud of dust.
Caroline simply must find out what is at the end of this road too…
Gulf Island Peat Moss harvests Peat Moss from an area just to the north of us on this road, and it looked like a brown bare landscape. Google satellite shows it as a manmade scar on the island:

“P.E.I.’s peat moss industry harvests and ships millions of kilograms to countries around the world”

Gulf Island Peat Moss
Caroline was busy taking some pictures, then I grabbed a short video of here riding Canadian Road back out to 12… Some prompting of the actors was required, but due to a technical error, was never dubbed out in editing.
Keep going… just a bit more… more.. and stop.
My friends have always taught me that a video is always an excuse for “HMBAWT”… 😀
HMBAWT No wheelies. :'(
Video Credit: Caroline

Time to head back out to the main road and head on back home.

Photo Credit: Caroline
Foxley river in the distance.


Foxley River seen from Canadian Road
Photo Credit: Caroline

Caroline decided to take us on yet another one way adventure, but to be fair it was heading East, on 163, and we ended up riding out onto Lennox Island, a Mi’kmaq community, doing a u-turn right in the middle of town and heading back out to 12.

Following Caroline on the Sweetgrass Trail over the Lennox Channel

Back out to 12, along some fabulous coastal roads, straight on through Miscouche and Linkletter again, Summerside, then a bit of misadventure again that kicked us out near Dunk River when I was trying to pilot us to Kinkora, but we managed the Kinkora road, and on into Charlottetown to end the ride.

Both bikes are covered in dirt, and Monday night’s plan is to hose ’em off and love them a bit.

See you next time!

2019 CSBK Round 4 at Atlantic Motorsports Park

It started out as a great mini vacation that was supposed to start with a ride out to watch the races at Shubenacadie, then perhaps a couple of days around Cabot trail, but it got cut a bit short.This is a work in progress…

CLine teases her Facebook followers with hints of misadventure
This was the route that I had planned on taking to get to and from the races this weekend, but my plan seldom survives contact with reality.

Google Map Link

Reality rears it’s ugly head. 699 km

Day 1 – Charlottetown PE to Atlantic Motorsports Park – 398 km

Day 1 – Charlottetown PE to Atlantic Motorsports Park – 398 km

Call me a bit old fashioned, but when I ordered the tickets I ended up with a couple of QR codes instead of a printout. Okay. I’m not that old, and I figure it’s a brave new world. so I ensure that I have a visible PDF available to my phone even if there is no internet available, I’m going to be able to show them my QR code and let them sort things out. (Try saving a PDF to your iPhone, go ahead, I dare you. )

QR Codes are the new tickets

So late Thursday night, I’m supposed to be packing but instead I’m watching a movie. How this is going to help I don’t know. Still, it’s only five days and four nights, I should be able to do this standing on my head. Except I haven’t stood on my head since last year, and the apartment is not “hand stand” proof, and I seem to fail miserably when Friday morning rolls around and I am still in the process of packing the food for the trip. *sigh*

Caroline is all packed and eager to roll
Seeline has a new AquaQuest 30L drybag that she is trying for the very first time, along with a couple of Rok straps to secure it on her passenger seat. I was supposed to be in her driveway helping her at this point, but I was busy sorting my own junk out (our food for the weekend).
Trip tradition, breakfast at Anna’s before leaving the island.
Speaking of food, Breakfast at Anna’s Country Kitchen in Crapaud PE

We finally got moving about an hour later than I had hoped for, but that is all on me, as Caroline was waiting on me to finish putting the givi cases onto my Versys so I could get rolling.

Breakfasted and ready to roll!
Paying my carbon tax. At least I pay less than Trudeau when he flies out in his jet. Errr..Is that fair really?
The object here is now a rush to the Bridge toll plaza, and to beat any large vehicle, or you will get trapped behind it for the entire crossing of the Abegweit Passage. Oops. Looks like we that didn’t work out too well for us.
Time stands still as you cross the confederation bridge

Seeline hates traffic as much as I do, so we opted to take NB 955 through Murray Corner, then out through Little Shemogue NB, and then out on Hardy Rd to rejoin Highway 16 congestion just before it enters the roundabout at Port Elgin NB, and headed East on NB 970 and on into Baie Verte where I took a couple of photos to highlight the patches on patches that you will see on many East Coast roads. I’m telling you now to ease up on the preload, or you may end up with some back pain.

NB 970 through Baie Verte
McKay’s Creek on NB 955

NB 970 dumps you out into Nova Scotia at Tidnish Bridge where we headed south on Tyndal road aka 366 NS

Welcome to Nova Scotia

I’d seen some advertisements for D&E smoked meats, and this was my chance to grab some smoked beef brisket on our way through for the campsite that night.

D&E Smoked Meats

So I asked Seeline if she had remembered to bring the frozen wonton dumplings for our lunch tomorrow… I had visions of Ramen noodles with egg drop, and wonton dumplings, and had brought the ramen and the fresh eggs with me, but Caroline admitted to forgetting the dumplings at home. “You had one job!” I said, to which she replied, “And I forgot the hotdogs too.”
“Two jobs! You had two jobs!” I said to her
“So it’s like that eh?” She grinned as she said it, but I really was looking forward to the dumplings, they are really good, and Carline had gotten me hooked on them! At least I now had the smoked beef brisket to look forward to.

At this point we had enough fuel to bypass downtown Amherst NS where I usually refuel, so we made pretty good time and ended up on the Glooscap Trail aka NS Highway 2, but I had plotted a route to Bass River NS and it looked really interesting, but in order to get there, we first had to roll into Springhill NS and our rest break at the local Tim Horton’s.

Raspberry Lemonade selfie.
Photo Credit: Seeline

Yep, it’s hot. Hot enough that we were able to share a a lemonade slushy, and not have to wait for it to melt.

Yep, that’s a bike…
Photo Credit: Seeline

We headed out of Springhill on the main street heading north, and ended up on NS 321 over into River Phillip, where we decided that we should hit the highway and make up the 70km into and beyond Truro for sake of time, but once on the 104 Trans Canada heading with all the other Halifax bound traffic, neither Seeline nor myself were enjoying the rush, so when she said she’d like to hop off the highway, I found that we could still strike out for Bass River, and lead her south on the Wentworth Collingwood Road, happily thinking of gas and another coffee stop in Masstown Market NS… What a fool I was! I’d love to call this another adventure by Garmin, but I have to wear this one squarely on my own.

Wyvern Road

At the end of the road the GPS was saying to turn left and south onto Wyvern Road, so that is where we went…
The asphalt ending should have been my first clue, but Seeline was motoring along behind me, and I wanted to give her my confident “I know exactly where we are and where we are going” demeanor, but it wore a bit thin when the trees closed in a bit, and the hydro poles disappeared along the side of the road, indicating that only off-the-grid hillbillies lived out this far…

Here be Wyverns!
Wyvern Road NS

And abruptly it all ended and Seeline immediately saw through my charade… The road groomed road ended in a fork. Take the left fork and enter the gravel pit, take the right fork and enter the unknown, but just as I was about to head off down the road, a truck pulled up and the driver spoke to me, but I got the feeling he was pitching his voice to carry to Seeline as well… “You may not want to head down that road.”

And the part that really got my attention, was that the road got worse, basically turning into a logging road further down the hill, so I took it off my list of places I wanted to take Seeline on her first multi-day tour, with visions of “the Hollah” from deepest, darkest West Virginia appearing in my fevered imagination. It took no time to convince me to turn around and perform the “Ride of Shame” past all the local residents, including that woman and her dog, busy in the garden burying the remains of the last ADVRider that headed in this direction. Let’s face it, we already had about all the adventure a fully overloaded Versys and Honda Shadow could handle up to this point, just getting to the top of the hill.

Wyvern Road, to Old Economy Road to Maple Avenue

I think one name for this stretch should be enough, and the fact this road had three names, was yet three more reasons to do the Ride of Shame all the way back to the Wentworth Collingwood Road & Wyvern Road junction.

She’s pretty hard to keep up to once her mind is made up

So this becomes the story of how I led Caroline through the heart of Wentworth, then right back onto the highway where we had started, and almost to the side of that highway with an empty fuel tank. She can worry a tad about fuel, and I just wasn’t in the mood to be told that she would like to fill up when I knew that we would have to back track to Springhill to get gasoline for sure. I wanted to keep heading for Truro and Masstown Market, so in my dream world we could continue the journey South East and get everything my heart desired, gasoline for Caroline and a washroom for me. Perhaps you will even forgive me when I told Seeline

“I don’t even want to hear about it unless you hit reserve.”

There! That shut her up… Four minutes later as we retraced our route over the Cobequid Pass,

“I just hit reserve.”

Crud. That gives us about forty kilometers to find fuel but it’s still further than fifty kilometres to Truro. How far is Masstown? Maybe there is fuel before it?”

We left the highway at the first sign for fuel, Highway 4, where the sign showed us fuel either way we turned, north or south. Sure, to the south was a Petro Canada card lock. Great, to the north it was, but there was NOTHING north on 4 right up to Plains Road, so we turned back yet again, and oped to stay on NS 4 south and were fortunate enough to ride right up into Masstown Market as Seeline’s trip meter showed 248 km, up from the 207 it had been when she informed me she had switched to reserve.

After apologizing to her, seeking out some porcelain, and spilling coffee all over her waterproof notebook, we headed into Lower Truro and found the 236 that I favour as it brings you along Cobequid Bay and then on down the Shubenacadie River. That sounds really nice, doesn’t it, but has it slipped your mind just who is the ringmaster of this circus? Of course it went all pear shaped just after we passed the Harley Davidson rider who thought he owned the road, as he must of figured that noone is going to overtake just so they can ride off the asphalt and onto the gravel along the Shubie. Somehow I led us from the 236 and on through Clifton onto Riverside Road, and on through Princeport. Seeline didn’t complain too much though, as she had almost a full tank of gas. Did I mention that she is a keeper?

The view from Riverside Road looking out over the Shubenacadie River
Trying to make myself look like I’m enjoying this.
Seeline, so frustrated she’s shaking

Yeah, so I think it best if I actually get moving…

Hey you up ahead! Camera away and get moving!
Photo Credit: Seeline

That didn’t last very long, as I saw another view from the road that had me stopping and pulling out the camera again.

I give up, the helmet comes off as I relax a little

We finally got rolling again, and I was relieved when the gravel met the road and we headed back onto 236 NS and across the Shubenacadie River.

Just on the other side of the river is 215 NS, where we turned south and headed along the opposite bank of the Shubenacadie where I knew from past experience that it would take us into the town of Shubenacadie NS itself.

Did you know there is about a four kilometre stretch of gravel before you hit the gates of Atlantic Motorsports Park?

We made it!!!

My friend Zac of Canada Moto Guide fame had ridden his Yamaha WR250X across the Trans Labrador Highway, crossed over to Newfoundland, then rode south to catch a ferry to Cape Breton in time to make it to the races this Saturday, and there he was at the gate collecting his media pass. Perfect timing as I was looking forward to a chance to hear about his adventure across the trans lab. Read about his adventures for yourself here.

  1. Destination Labrador: Getting Ready
  2. Riding the Road North to Labrador
  3. Black Flies and Loathing in Labrador
Zac after more than seven days in the saddle
The Vagabond himself
We are
Yes, that is a fishing rod and a canteen jammed into the back of his pack

We had a wee look around for a campsite, but Zac is a special needs case, and needed something to connect his hammock to, while Seeline and I liked how empty and remote turn 9b-10 was looking… so we parted ways and set up our home away from home.

Seeline followed me out to the site, but as she left the gravel for the wee asphalt track on the inside of the track, she rode over a hunk of firewood that someone had left on the pavement, and that was nearly the big spill that I thought I was going to cause by having her follow me over so much gravel!

The log
She’s been checking out this Women’s ADV rider facebook group, and I keep telling her that she has done more ADV riding then some BMW riders I know. 😉

I was setting up my new Chaos 3 tent by Alps Mountaineering for the very second time, as I’d previously set it up on the lawn outside my apartment building, and it went up almost as fast as my old Lynx 2, but when you start tossing gear inside it, the interior volume shrinks quite a bit. It wasn’t as roomy for two as I had hoped, but I think part of that was what Seeline and I were hauling into the tent. I’m used to lots of spare room for my own helmet, jacket, boots and tank bag

Once the tent was up, we unloaded some gear from our bikes and headed back into Stewiacke NB for groceries and the local NSLC store, then came back out to the tent where we lay down on the picnic blanket that Seeline had packed (against my advice to pack light) cracked a couple of cold ones and enjoyed a chat with Zac who had dropped by shortly afterwards. We shared out our seedless grapes and our pint of fresh local strawberries, and snacked for bit (Shall we call this supper? Lets), and after a bit of chit chat, Seeline and Zac started the familiar “Whose yo Daddy?” conversation that only fellow Islanders can understand and follow, while I closed my eyes and tried to enjoy the 30% DEET that Seeline had brought with her after the abortive “Coleman” product that she had purchased earlier this week, claiming it smelt of skunk. I can attest to that, as I walked into her bedroom later that weekend, and it reeked of the repellent.

Photo Credit: Seeline

Anyhow, Seeline managed to climb into the tent and being inflating and sorting while Zac and I got back down to the business of talking about bikes again, the glue that binds our friendship, and chatted about his recent ride out to Labrador and Newfoundland, as well as the Saint John River and it’s affect on property values.

As the sun set, the heat of the day faded and I found myself wrapped in the contraband picnic blanket that was oh so warm, and waterproof on one side, so doing very well at keeping my bum dry that night while Zac wound down, and finally wandered off into the twilight to find his own hammock.

I relocated to the tent to find that Seeline had thoughtfully inflated my mattress and laid out my sleeping bag! Perfect, as all I wanted to concentrate on was climbing out of these clothes and onto my mattress. Did I mention that she is a keeper? And on that note, I was so tickled to have her on this adventure with me that I grinned like a schoolboy and told her so before falling asleep.

Sunrise over our new home
Sunrise over turn 7

It was early, and it was getting warm already, and I was having trouble getting back to sleep.

The diamond shaped gear loft. It’s sort of a hammock. Stuff needs to be in the center or it tumbles off the sides, more so than a proper square shaped gear loft.
Seeline hasn’t figured out that when camping I am up with the sunrise. 😀

The tent rain fly sagged a touch in the night, it might be the guy ropes stretching for the first time, so something to look at in the future. It made me wonder if a heavy rain would push the fly down into contact with the mesh.

We aimed the tent slightly wrong on that on the hill, as our heads should have been on the high ground with our feet aimed at the bottom, but we are slightly crossed up at an angle as we opted for extreme ventitalation through the sides of the tent and Caroline accused me of rolling into her last night on purpose. She calls it lies, I call it groping. I love this girl.

Righto! Enough of this sleeping stuff, it’s time to make some breakfast, and this trip I’d gone back to my trusty old SVEA123R, running on a tank of naphtha gas from a couple of years ago, as last year I toured using butane cylinders, but this stove packs away very compactly and has an integral windscreen… Besides, who can resist that brass finish?

Priming the SVEA123R

I was also running a “cat can stove” on alcohol right beside it for comparison and giggles. The nice thing about the alcohol is that it fits right into the 750ml ti pot pictured here, and has no moving parts, so if you can get the alcohol lit, you are pretty much guaranteed hot water.

Vienna sausage tin and a hole punch
Five bucks at the dollar store…
Spend another dollar for a foil backing tray aka windscreen

It was slow and quiet, but that was alright, as it was only about 0630 and the races weren’t going to get going for a few hours yet.

I wanted to boil some water for tea, and some for oatmeal, with the alcohol being more or less an experiment as I’ve never used this stove in the field prior to today, and I think I used 2.5 ounces of alcohol in it, which is a fairly large amount, but I’ve been rooked before by windy days that drive the heat out from under the pot and the alcohol stove flames out before the water boils. I wasn’t taking any chances this morning.

Breakfast of Champions – Instant oatmeal and a Cuppa
Can you see it merrily burning away?

Of course the flames are invisible during the day, so I was checking on it more than I would the SVEA, and the SVEA sounds like a helicopter taking off, which Seeline commented on, from inside the tent still in her sleeping bag. 🙂

Alcohol took about three times longer to boil than the SVEA. I love my Stove, it boiled water twice before the alcohol stove was done, but it is noisy and Caroline commented on it. 0715 snoring coming from the ten, so it wasn’t THAT noisy. I love her.

That looks promising!

It took twice as long for the alcohol stove to do it’s bit, which is fair as the SVEA kicks out about 4,700 BTU while the alcohol stove burns with a much cooler flame.

And that is a boil!

But the pros are there… It all fits inside the 750ml ti mug, with the exception of my alcohol bottle, so I gave Seeline this to put into her mug, as I would be hauling my SVEA123R around and I felt she needed something that would be lightweight, yet still do the job at our next campsite. I figure we can cook on the white gas, and cleanup or wash-up on the alcohol stove.

Freaking mosquitoes got me last night and again this morning. What do they eat when they can’t get me?

Frack, I forgot to take my insulin last night, so I made sure I dosed myself this morning. It’s Tresiba, a long lasting type that works best when added slowly to the body, like tossing on a log every once in a while to keep a campfire burning. I don’t want to have a problem while out camping, so I try to behave when I’m out and about with regard to blood sugars.

The New Brunswick Air Force strikes again (and again)

It’s supposed to get up to 30 degrees celsius today, so Seeline and I have twelve litres of water stored away underneath the tent vestibule. I think between Friday night, refilling our hydration packs, and this mornings breakfast, we are already down four litres. When I was in the army we used to haul a jerry cans of water and my Quartermaster would say “Four litres of water per man, per day, minimum,  for washing, drinking and eating.” It was looking as if we might need to head back for more water in Stewiacke perhaps, especially if the heat hit the forecasted high for the day. I’m lathered in sunscreen, head, neck and ears especially. I crisped my ears one year out here, and felt like a rotisserie chicken with blackened little nubs on my head. Not this year! Crap! Do you apply insect repellent over top sunscreen? If you want to live you do…

Time marches on

By the time the track marshalls had taken up their posts for the day, Zac had joined us with his coffee in hand, a combination travel mug and coffee press, so all he had to do was toss in the grounds, add boiling water, then press the interior down to the bottom and put on the lid. A nifty little solution and I think I located the model at Wally Mart, but of course it is no longer available. It seems that MEC offers something similar, in the GSI Commuter JavaPress. Anyhow, Zac was happy with his coffee, I was happy with my tea, then I got to do it all over again plus boil a couple of eggs for Seeline and myself over the alcohol stove. She likes a three minute boil, then twelve minute sit, but I think I prefer a slightly longer boil as the yolk was a tad soft for my liking, still it was very tasty along with the remains of our strawberries from last night.

It was time to shift this show from the shadeless corner of turn 9b and 10 over to the Turn 3 grandstand where Zac had strung his hammock in true vagabond style, between the trees and his favourite vantage point for the races.

The kit bomb… It’s too late and exploded.
Zac has a style all his own…

Zac had some fun setting up his hammock stretched between the grandstand and a tree, with his kit bomb between his motorcycle and the hammock. You have to be pretty trusting as a motorcyclist, for you can’t stand guard 24/7 over your gear, and the more ultra light you go with your packing, the less likely it is that you have lockable containers for it all, especially if you are hauling camping gear with a kitchen.

It was so warm up in the stands, that I almost became physically ill, and later on discovered a couple of other people including Seeline were having trouble coping as well. Thankfully, after the first race or two, the sun left a bit of shade overhead.

It was lunchtime, and Seeline and I decided to have a look at this Fish n Chips truck that Zac enjoyed, so we headed up into the Paddock and opted to get one plate and share it out between the two of us, conveniently sitting on the podium in behind the fish and chips truck. Seeline took 1st, but I was disqualified as DNF and lost out to a Seagull. The fries were fantastic, and the fish was good, so we enjoyed our meal with a can of pop, and headed back over to the grandstand on Turn 3 to rejoin Zac and watch the feature races of the day.

Over the years I’ve learned not to bother taking millions of pictures from the stands, so I only got a few of my friend #707 Jacob Black who was competing in the Lightweights, and had qualified a respectable 5th which put him in the second line on the starting grid which he was very happy about, although I must admit at the time I knew very little about the starting grid formation, and may have been slightly less enthusiastic than the situation demanded. Most of the pictures below were taken by Seeline, except those featuring a green bike with a red helmeted rider. 😉

There was some pretty exciting action out in front of the grandstands, and even though turn 2 and 3 aren’t ideal passing spots, a few moves were made that made the day interesting out in the stands.

#707 entering Turn 3

We spent a lot of time on those hard wooden seats, and Seeline put her unauthorized picnic blanket to even more use.

Don’t let Ron see you with that.
The holeshot
Video Credit: Seeline

As I mentioned, Zac had been on the road for the past week, and he had to get home tonight in time to meet his wife when she came off shift, so he packed up his Giant Loop and his tail pack, stuffing whatever wouldn’t fit on the inside into loops and crannies to be lashed on tightly for his highway run straight back to Saint John, which was 3.5 hours and 370 km away, and as he was leaving at 1615, figured he would be home sometime before 2100, so when Jordan Szoke crashed out of Saturday’s feature Pro Superbike giving it to a hard working Trevor Daley, he was off and running.

All packed up and ready to roll

He was using more of a trials helmet this year, and I bet we will see something pop up in a gear review later on this year, but it left his chin uncovered, and he’d figured out a way to avoid a sunburn and cool himself off at the same time, or to rob banks, by wearing a water soaked bandana around his face.

Nobody move, this is a stick up!
Badges? We don’t need no stinking badges!

Zac’s new quad doesn’t even need a trailer. He straps this on top of his Giant Loop bag.

CMG is branching out and reviewing Quads now

He’s got so much gear on the bike, he has to be careful getting his leg over the saddle.

And he’s away!!!

Back to the races…

A family outing to watch the CSBK

You get to see the whole family turn out for the races, Dad, Mom, brother and sister. It’s one of the reasons I really enjoy this sport, even though I’m not such a dedicated fan to follow it rabidly.

The holeshot!
Those suits are torture on a day like today.

Once the races were over for the day, it was still stinking hot, but we made the best of it, and waited until it was safe to walk on the track, then headed over to the treeline and laid in the grass so the mosquitoes had something to snack on. In fact, we lay down on her unofficial picnic blanket and as I recall chatting, doing a bit of snacking, then a nice nap.

Seeline opined that we had bought too much food, and I agreed, as at the time it was simple to plan meals in the aisle of the store, but with the summer heat, our supper consisted of some locally made beef jerky, more seedless grapes, and some corn chips. Haute cuisine for sure, eh? I made sure I refilled the hydration packs with water to find that we had consumed about five more litres of water between us, and we would be going into Sunday with about three litres left. Understandable as we had been drinking so much throughout the day. Speaking of drinking, we didn’t even bother with any of our stash that night, and instead waited until the tent was in more shadow, pulled the rain fly part way back to let more of the day’s heat escape the interior, and lay down as our neighbours decided it was time to run their quads round and round in circles. Fun wow. Some days I hate waking up at 0530 in morning.

Looking at our tent in Turn 10

The big question now became how were we going to handle the heat tomorrow? I knew that Seeline was uncomfortable to the point of headaches developing during the day, and I was having issues myself, so I volunteered that I would be fine with packing up tomorrow morning and heading to the coast. Anything to escape this heat!

So basically we moved from the picnic blanket into the tent where I once again fell asleep in the summer heat, it was a decidedly early evening for us, even with the neighbours doing circles around us on their noisy quads.

The bikes at Sunset
Photo Credit: Seeline
Caroline takes pictures of the tent features as well. Here is her led lantern brick thingy hanging from the gear loft of the tent. I didn’t have to use any of my three flashlights all weekend long. 🙂
The gear loft

Night all!

Day 3 – Atlantic Motorsports Park to Charlottetown PE – 301 km

Day 3 – Atlantic Motorsports Park to Charlottetown PE – 301 km
Here is the cruddy part of the story. I woke up, headed off to the lav to have a pee, and noticed my wallet was missing. After a cursory search of the tent, the lav, and where Caroline and I had been sitting on the verge of the track last night, I headed back to the Grandstand to check under our seats to see if it had fallen out of my pocket then. The last time I remember having it for sure was when paying for lunch yesterday at the chip truck. Damn and blast! I headed back to the tent to find Caroline had gone through our gear with a fine toothed comb and wasn’t able to find it either, so there was nothing for it but to pack up the tent and our gear, get our socks and boots back on, and head on up to the gate to see if it had been turned in to the lost and found. We’d talked about cutting the ride short, but Caroline was enjoying the trip and thought as I did, that once on the move it would be considerably cooler, and besides, she was able to pay for our gas and campsites, and we had most of the food we would need for the next couple of days… Life wasn’t all that bad after all. I’ll just go report the wallet missing and move on.
Meanwhile, back at the gate
Photo Credit: Seeline

At the gate they commiserated with me, and advised me to report the loss of my wallet to the Guthrie building where Registration was working away.

Caroline said “I’ll wait down here for you. I’m not too worried about losing you, as I figure you can only get a couple of hundred k without me before you run out of gas.”

Jeez, that set off the whole chain of thought about how I would have fared had I been alone today instead of with Caroline for company. I would have had to head up and hit up #707 Jacob Black for a twenty to make it back on a tank of gas, ’cause I’d have needed at least one more fill to make it into my driveway. Wow. Just the thought of how much I’d be depending on her was a bit humbling.

The Guthrie building is right next to the track marshalls office, and there were a few there enjoying a coffee over their breakfast, as I stopped the versys, set down the kickstand and rolled right off the bike as the kickstand had snapped off at the top, and the bike kept going right onto one of the side cases… Frick! I jumped off and up to right the bike and get it back onto it’s wheels, but as I did, I saw two of the while clad marshalls dash over and assist me in righting the bike, then suggesting that I push it back against the podium as a temporary stand.
“Don’t worry, we have plenty of experience picking up bikes.”

I really appreciate the assistance, but this was the straw, and the camel’s back was darned sore at the moment…


I registered with the Track officials, then headed back down to see Caroline and told her the bad news. I wasn’t abour to ride the Cabot Trail and look for a convenient tree everytime we stopped, so if it was all the same to her, I wanted to ruin her weekend and head straight back to the island where I could sulk and drown my sorrows in popsicles.

Find the doe
There it is!
And again!

We wanted to avoid the highway, so I led her onto Highway 2 and into the outskirts of Truro where I found a nice convenient telephone pole for a rest stop at Tim Horton’s where we poured a much needed coffee down the hatch.

I think this is the shot she posted to facebook as a tease for the weekend
Photo Credit: Caroline
Parking lot selfies… The coffee was too hot. 😀

Route 311 north of Truro is a ton of fun to ride, but getting to it always seems to be a challenge for me. From 2 I took us all over hill and dale until finally managing to get us onto the road. Here is a list of the roads I had her take:

  • Highway 2
  • Prince Street
  • Waddell Street
  • Queen Street
  • Salmon River Road
  • Brookside Road
  • Mountain Lee Road
  • Highway 311

It follows the North River up into the hills, then switches over to following the Waughs River on the north side right into Tatamagouche and onto the Sunrise Trail. Seriously, if you have the choice between Highway 4 and 311, take 311 as it is far more fun.

311 North…ISH

We had our first bit of fun in Pugwash, where we fuelled up and Caroline covered my butt, thank you dear. 🙂

I always get told that I have to report to the weigh scale… I think I need to diet, eh?
A short stop for lunch

We decided to stop at the HandPie Company that renovated an old bank branch into a bakery where they make the most fabulous Cornish Pasty’s ever, but upgraded a bit. Caroline and I both got the Bacon Cheesebuger, and we shared a Breakfast Pasty with eggs, sausage, peppers and cheese. Mmmm! They are more filling than I suspected, and taste wonderful, my favourite being the Breakfast Pasty at the moment, but that may change when I sample more of their wares.

Well, I dropped Caroline off at her house, and while she unloade her Shadow, I would find a place to park (LEAN) my bike, until she could come join me and help me wrestle this beast up onto my rear stand.

A handy piece of plywood just when you need it.
Speaking of unloading, the Reese’s Pieces that I had snuck into our grocery cart back in Stewiacke on Friday evening as a heat proof snack was missing and I wondered if Caroline had repatriated the candy snack when she rearranged the groceries this morning?! It had all been a ruse! I’d been duped, and would miss out on that peanut buttery goodness! About that time she showed up with the remainder of the groceries, and we enjoyed a wonderful supper together followed up with, you guessed it, a package of Reese’s Pieces that was shared out to the last piece. :DAnd that’s it but for the fallout of unloading and trying to get my id and bank cards replaced. That took up Monday, and on Tuesday, Caroline and I played tourist right here in Charlottetown where we walked the boardwalk and stopped to smell the roses.

Here is my lemonade… 😀

The Chaos 3 Backpacking Tent by Alps Mountaineering

The day finally arrived when I found a girl that wanted to share in my misadventures! The trouble is, my seven year old Lynx 2 just isn’t large enough for two people AND their jackets, helmets and boots… So I opened the wallet, blew out some of the dust, and placed an order for the Chaos 3 tent by Alps Mountaineering.

The Alps Mountaineering Chaos 3

After paying for the floor saver, taxes and shipping charges, I think I am into this tent for $300 Canadian. You can do much better than the manufacturers suggested retail price of $279 USD, so shop around.

Pictured with rain fly
Chaos 3 by Alps Mountaineering

Why the Chaos model? It has more interior mesh than the Lynx 2 so it should offer more ventilation for hot summer weather. The cross bar supports the sides, so in addition to more available headroom than the dome, it also keeps water from dropping down INTO the tent which imho was the Lynx 2s single biggest failing. During a rain shower in the Lynx 2 you had to keep the rain fly zipped 1/2 way to channel the water down away from the inner tent. It’s a dome shape, think about it.

The Lynx 2 set up at Soldier’s Bay Nova Scotia

It’s a couple of pounds heavier, but basically the same pack size and should give us enough room to store our helmets, jackets and boots inside the nice dry tent with us.

Optional Accessories:

You may find as I did, that the Alps tents can benefit from items such as a footprint, some better engineered tent pegs, etc. I did this with my Lynx 2 and have already bought a new footprint and a set of decent tent pegs. I’ve plenty of 550 paracord to make my own guy ropes if there are any needed for the Chaos 3. (It needed them)

  • Footprint
  • Tent Pegs
  • Guy ropes

I purchased the tent from Motorsport.com a week and a half ago, and the floorsaver from Amazon.ca and they just arrived at work today, so now I have dreams of pitching a tent on the Company lawn after work! Yeah, I can get a bit weird like that. 😀

Unboxing and first pitch:

The stuff sack they pack it in has a couple of friction buckle straps on it with a carry handle, and when I slackened them off to get the tent out, found they were stitched onto the bag, and I found myself silently applauding their design change.
Next I found that the tent poles, do to their single pole design, were a bit bulky, and that was proven again when they went back into the bag from whence they came. I thought of myself standing in a downpour with water dripping off of my nose as I tried to slide the poles back into the bag.
Setup is very straightforward. Lay out the floor saver, lay the tent on top of that, set up the poles, then place the foot of the four poles into the grommet in each of the four corners of the tent and floor saver, then clip the hooks onto the poles and Voila! The tent is up and you just need to sort out the rain fly.
The Alps Mountaineering Chaos 3

Shown with the spreader pole installed, this is the magic of this tent… My old Lynx 2 would allow rain to drop straight down onto the tent floor if the fly was not zipped up to within 12 to 18 inches of the ground, while this tent uses the spreader to allow you to have the rain fly doors rolled up and out of the way if the rain is not driven sideways.

Setting up on the lawn outside my apartment building
Unboxing the tent, the rain fly does not have the guy ropes attached, so I quickly fastened them on using a secure bowline for each one, but as I noticed with my older Lynx 2, Alps Mountaineering still leaves two guy rope attachment points on either end of the tent, but with no guy ropes for it. I was prepared and quickly fashioned a couple of three foot guy ropes out of some spare para cord that I had brought down for just that purpose.

The pale guy rope in the centre is one of two I just added. When the tent is guyed out, you want to stake these two ropes out so the rain fly stands off of the interior tent.

One of the elements I loved about the Lynx was all the guy ropes were on the four corners of the tent, with none in front of the doors themselves, but not so with the Chaos 3, so I’ll ask everyone to kindly watch their step when entering and exiting the tent.

I miss the “window” that the Lynx 2 boasted, but I think my girlfriend wouldn’t have been so happy with a window in the Chaos… I still can’t figure out why not though. I like them on a rainy morning or in the evening when you hear something stirring close by.

The included gear loft needed to be hung up, and I had to have a do over, as it is a diamond pattern instead of square, and I hooked it up incorrectly the first time.

Disassembly and Put away:

It went down fast, and when I say fast, I mean in under ten minutes I had my brand new tent rolled up and back in the stuff sack ready to roll.

  • Remove the ten tent pegs used to secure the tent and fly
  • Place the tent pegs into the stuff sack
  • Remove the four rain fly buckles
  • Remove the rain fly, and from the top, fold the wings in half and half again until you have a long narrow sausage of a rain fly.
  • Remove the clips from the spreader pole
  • Remove the spreader pole and set aside
  • Remove the clips from the main pole structure
  • Remove the poles from each of the four corners of the tent.
  • (Reinsert the “ferrule” portion of the poles)
  • Collapse the poles
  • Place the poles in the stuff sack


These “ferrules” may pop out on you. I was three for six today.
  • Fold the tent lengthwise in thirds
  • Place the rain fly on top of the tent
  • Place the poles (already in stuff sack) on top.
  • Roll the tent using the poles to keep it taut and tight, pulling towards you, keeping the guy ropes off the fly inside the roll.
  • Knead the air out of the tent roll, and place into the stuff sack.
  • fold the floor saver and return it to it’s stuff sack
  • Close the tent stuff sack after inserting the floor saver and tent pegs.
Getting ready to put it away.


  • It goes together fast. You can have this up and standing in the rain less than five minutes if you forget about the tent pegs for a minute or two.
  • Lots of mesh, and with the spreader bar, you can ventilate the tent in a light rain shower.
  • Roomy for two people, with extra room for motorcycle gear. Alps reliability. Well made for a decent price.
  • Freestanding. Erect it, then decide where it needs to go on your campsite.
  • The rain fly buckles on and off.
  • Fantastic quality and durability that I’ve come to expect from Alps Mountaineering


  • The tent is not a backpacking tent and is quite heavy, but if you were hauling this up a mountain and spread the load between those three people, I’ll take those words back and hope you will all be comfortable.
  • The “ferrules” pop out of the poles when disassembling the tent, and are a minor annoyance to deal with.
  • There are two guy points that will need user supplied guy ropes and pegs.
  • Supplied pegs are waiting to hit a rock and become pretzels, and won’t do well in a sandy soil.
  • The tent stuff sack is on the small side, and you will have difficulty getting a wet tent back into it. A dry tent can be a struggle to get into it.
  • The complete tent and floor saver have some weight to them.
  • Two doors, but with two guy ropes needed right in front of those doors.

Would I recommend this tent? Absolutely, but as I did with my Lynx 2, I give it four out of five stars.


Update: 2019-07-29

I’ve only spent two nights in the tent so far, so hope to have more for you later on this summer. It goes up easily and performs as intended in hot weather, and seems better ventilated than my Lynx 2 which is what I was hoping for with this design, two days and nights with only a touch of rain, and highs of 30 degrees Celsius in Fahrenheit that is HOT! Damn hot!

2019 Bike Night – Kierstead style

My brother Shaun was visiting the island, and he made arrangements to borrow my sister Wendy-Sue’s 2010 Triumph Bonneville for a ride ont the island, so Caroline and I invited him on a wee ride out to Canoe Cove then into Charlottetown for the Red Isle Riders weekly event known as bike night, which we use as an excuse to get out and ride, then meet up for supper and some bench racing and tall tales.
What would bike night be without a burnout or two?

Caroline had the great idea of having us meet up at Kelly’s Cross for 1800, which is just down the road from my sister’s place, so convenient for Shaun and my sister’s two boys, Ryan and Tyler who would be riding with us.

Drive 87 km, 1 hour, 21 minutes

It’s not a real store anymore… So don’t be fooled

Of course it turned into a wee family reunion, especially when my sister and Shaun’s wife Doris pulled up in the Jeep to say hello before heading off to Victoria for supper.

From left to right,

  • Ron on the 2009 Kawasaki Versys
  • Ryan on the 2009 BMW F800GS
  • Caroline on the 2004 Honda Shadow
  • Shaun on the 2010 Triumph Bonneville
  • Tyler on the 2016 Triumph Scrambler
Yours truly, Rotten Ronnie
Photo Credit: Shaun Kierstead

Wendy’s bike is the loudest on the parking lot. 🙂

And we rolled out of there and headed across on 246 aka South Melville Road at a sedate pace, then crossed the Trans Canada Hwy in De Sable and jumped onto 19 that heads past one of my favourite parks, The Argyle Shore Provincial Park (visit this at low tide) through Canoe Cove and on past Nine Mile Creek Road and on out to Rocky Point to the site of Fort Amherst.

From WikiPedia:

“This location has the double distinction of hosting one of the first Acadian settlements in present-day Prince Edward Island, as well as the first military fortification on the island while under control of France as well as the first military fortification on the island while under control of Britain.

From 1720 to 1770 Port-la-Joye, later named Fort Amherst, served as the seat of government and port of entry for settlers to the island while under both French and British control. As such, it played an important role as a colonial outpost in the French-British struggle for dominance in North America.” 

In fact, Prince Edward Island would still be known as Ile Saint-Jean if the French had not lost Fortress Louisbourg and later on Port-la-Joye to the English and New England irregulars (militia). Imagine what the Island would have been like if the French and their Mi’kmaq allies had successfully defended their settlement and fort?

Shaun enjoying the curves at Fort Amherst PE
Boss! Boss! The Cruise Ship!

There were two cruise ships in the harbour today when I got off work, almost doubling the downtown population of Charlottetown, or so it seemed to me as I rushed home after work, and now they were both leaving and heading off into the Northhumberland Strait and away from the island. You can see why this would have made an excellent site for a battery of naval cannon…

Do you think it will buff out?

Mike and Eli join us in the parking lot for the ride into Charlottetown. (Back into Charlottetown for them)

Park it in the shade next time. No one will notice.

Caroline was gracious enough to ride out ahead of us and grab a wee video of the extended family ride…

And, it was time to let the the fast group head out while the slow group took our time getting to the meet.

Ryan leads the pack…

We headed in through Cornwall on the Trans Canada Highway, did a couple of roundabouts, and on into the parking lot at Boom Burger on the causeway to join the already large group that was there. I pulled in behind Mark’s Ducati and Derricks Triumph Thruxton, and decided I needed to get some photos before heading in for supper with Shaun and Caroline.

It’s the largest Bike Night of the Year!
Photo Credit: Shaun Kierstead

It was off to Boomburger for supper, then Shaun treated us to dessert at Cow’s Creamery across the way.

By the time we got back out into the lot with Kyle in tow, everyone was gone but for Tiffany, Jason, Kyle and our featured stunter who put on a wee smoke show for us as he left the lot on his 2017 Ninja 636.

Wendy-Sue and Doris showed up to see how we were doing, and as it was getting later and cooler, we waved fare well as they headed back to my sister’s place in Stancel, and Caroline, Kyle and I tore up a couple of roundabouts on our way back into the city, with Caroline’s Shadow throwing sparks as she set the pace for us.

It was a great night to be out and about, and I’d like to thank Jamie and Ryan, and the Red Isle Riders for organizing it.

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2004 Honda Shadow 750, 2009 BMW F800GS, 2009 Kawasaki Versys KLE 650, 2010 Triumph Bonneville, 2016 Triumph Scrambler, Bike Night, Boomburger, Cows, Day Tripping, Prince Edward Island, Red Isle Riders
Published on
10/07/2019 19:00

Atlantic Daylight Time

9 Milky Way, Charlottetown, PE C1E 2E2, Canada

2019 The North Cape Ride

The weather hasn’t been fantastic here on the Island this spring, and we were lucky to get a day this long weekend with a bit of sun in the forecast, so when I laid my head down on my pillow on Saturday night, I was ready to roll out of bed Sunday morning with plenty of time for breakfast, then an early morning start on our unplanned trip to head somewhere (on island) for much of the day. 
CLine had other plans, such as “Sunday morning sleep in!?” but we compromised and found ourselves geared up and waiting in line at Tim Hortons in Cornwall for a morning start of a coffee and breakfast of sorts to start us on our day. This was about 10am, and because we got out a bit later, the day was warmer than if we had left earlier. This proved to be a good thing, as it was brisk enough on the bikes for me to be wearing a medium thermal layer under my riding jeans, as well as my heated jacket (not plugged in). CLine opted to remove her heated vest, but was happy that she had on a long sleeve base layer under her jacket. 
North Cape PE
Breakfast done, now to “Get out of Dodge”. All roads seem to end up taking you to Charlottetown or into Summerside, and our ride wouldn’t really start until we were on the West side of Summerside in a town called Miscouche where we would leave the Trans Canada 1 and strike north on Lady Slipper Drive North aka 12 and head out to the North coast and follow it along right up to North Cape.

Charlottetown to North Cape and Return – 426 km – 7.5 hours
Seven and a half hours to cover four hundred and twenty six kilometres… Granted, a lot of that time was used up by stuffing our faces with breakfast, lunch and an Dairy Bar stop… Totally worth it! 🙂
Nebraska River as seen from Route 12

We got to ride up along the coastline of Malpeque Bay, or at least the Ellis River/Grand River portion of it. (Can someone please explain to me why none of the blue water in Google Maps and OpenStreet Maps is named? I’m sourcing Hydrographic charts to name some of the rivers we crossed. )

CLine pushing it through the corner at Ellis River PE

CLine has a problem scraping her floorboards going into a corner, or rather, she has no problem scraping her floorboards at will. It’s trying not to ground a peg and pivot or catapult the bike round a grounded peg that she is trying to avoid.

St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, Grand River
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We had just turned the corner on 12 when CLine told me that “I saw you looking, so if you want to stop and take pictures, I’ll wait for you up ahead.”, no sooner did she let that slip, and I managed a U-turn to head back to get the picture below. 😀

Foxley River PE
Round Pond PE
Turkey on whole wheat with mayo

It was around noon when we rode into Alberton, and the signs for the Alberton Bakery & Cafe had me wondering just how good their sandwiches were. CLine and I sat down and ate an egg salad on white and a turkey sandwich on whole wheat, with a scoop of wonderful mashed potatoes shared between the pair of us. That and a cup of hot coffee, and we were set for lunch. That should hold us for the rest of the afternoon, so it was time to throw a leg back over the bike and get to it once more.

I’m falling off the edge! Save me!
Hair by Icon and Shoei. 

North Cape at last! There were a few more visitors than I was expecting, but far short of the summer crowd that will visit here later on this year.

“Are those seals out there? ”
“Those black dots out to your right.”
“Birds I think.”
“Why do they call it ‘Sea Cow Pond’ if there aren’t any sea cows out here?”

Whoops! I got totally distracted here. 😉
North Cape – Photo Credit CLine
Ron on North Cape – Photo Credit CLine
Clearly I am having a bad hair day today. 😛
The harbour at Sea Cow Pond

I stop to take pictures, and CLine takes advantage of it to adjust her gear. That’s fair.

It’s a cold day, so the fans have been turned off. 

Another U-Turn to drag CLine back here so she can claim her very own road.

If the grass had been wet, this would have been an exciting ride for the Versys – Photo Credit CLine

The lengths to which I will go to for the perfect shot… Sadly, those shots didn’t make the cut.

Photo Credit CLine
CLine finds her very own road!

I made a wee mistake here. We headed south on 14 which takes you south-west to West Cape PE, then you swing back in to the East as you reach West Point PE. I took us off of 14 and onto Beaton Road that would take us trough the wee hamlet of Brae, on on through Alaska PE, and from there back out onto the Trans Canada 2 and back towards Summerside… Completely forgetting that the road on the other side of Alaska was a few kilometres of clay road, and it had been raining much of last week. Of course there was mud on that road, but CLine didn’t hesitate and kept right on trucking, trying to pick the dry line along the road.

Beaton Road East of Alaska PE

Afterwards, as I was apologizing for taking her down that bit, she said “I wasn’t worried about it, so it wasn’t that bad or I’m too stupid to know any better.” Did I mention that she is a keeper? She was more worried about running out of fuel when she hit 215 km on her tank, and hadn’t even had to flip it over to reserve.

I’ll be the first to admit, when I followed her into that rut up ahead and the front decided to slide right instead of track straight, I got a bit nervous and put away the camera.

CLine had this to say… “Yeah, I hit that too. I figured throttle would get me through it or make it a whole lot worse…”  Can you see why I love this girl? It’s almost as if she listens to me once in a while.

She was at 250 km when we hit Richmond for the pit stop, and not even on reserve, so I figure she could have gone at least another 20 or so on reserve. One day I’ll bring some extra fuel and see how far she can go til bone dry.

Running on smiles and fumes… 

Double fisting the ice cream… Here, hold my ice cream and watch this!

We opted to head out of Summerside on Blue Shank Road, then bypassed most of 1A over to Kinkora where we stopped at the Somerset Ice Cream Bar for a couple of cones. CLine couldn’t make up her mind, and when I offered her a taste of my strawberry soft serve, she tried to trade me for her twist. No deal!

Selfie time!

Hey! I just want you to know that if you do ride on the island, that roundabouts can be dangerous as tourists and Sunday drivers use them too. Watch out for lane drift and try to minimize the risk when you enter them with other vehicles.

CLine showing off her impressive roundabout technique
We had a wonderful day in spite of the cool temperatures, and are already planning our next adventure, but that one is going to be off island, I think. 
Cheers from the Island!

2019 The Panmure Island Ride

Caroline was recovering from a brief illness, but was still coughing inside her helmet as we set off for an afternoon ride. It had rained all of last week, and Sunday looked to be the best day of all for us to get out for a weekend romp on the Island.

Panmure Island lighthouse

It took us longer than we would have like to get sorted, as our gear wasn’t quite as squared away as it should have been. C-Line forgot her sunglasses, and needed four inches of leather chap cut away from the bottom of her chaps, and I misplaced my sunglasses and forgot the rechargeable batteries for my GPS in the apartment. Just a prelude to another fantastic season, I suppose. 😀

Charlottetown PE to Panmure Island and Return – 163km  2.5hrs

 Hah! It’s 2.5 hours if you have your shit together! We headed to CLine’s place to look for her sunglasses, with no luck, then across the Hillsborough River to the Esso for a fill up of McDonald’s coffee. Once we had that out the way, the ride went pretty well. In fact, CLine started to shed clothing as she found it pretty warm. I had cunningly left my pajama bottoms on, and worn my heavy denim riding right overtop of them as it was only supposed to be a high of 13 degrees today. It might have been a mistake if we were to sit on a curb sipping hot coffee all day, but once we got out onto the roads it was the right choice for me.

CLine mentioned that she felt rusty, perhaps worse than she did the first ride of the season, so once we were out of Stratford and off the Trans Canada at Orwell, the pace picked up and we enjoyed the roads and sights of spring on the eastern side of the island along 24 through to Murray River. 

As we drew closer to the coast, that sunny cheerful 13 degrees Celsius dropped away lower and lower until CLine and I discussed stopping and adding a layer of clothing, but as the park entrance was so close, we kept on keeping on for a bit.

You’re blocking my shot!

 Wikipedia has this to say about Panmure Island but I’ll tell you that the land bridge out to the island is a shallow bar of sand that can be a bit fragile in nature, as all it takes is a good storm and the sand is picked up and deposited elsewhere never to be seen again, which is why you may see signs asking you not to walk on the grass or disturb the dune as it is a fragile ecology. The grasses, shrubs and trees keep all that sand in one place for decades.

Can you see the lighthouse North of us on the coast? 

It was a popular spot with the four footed crowd, and we got to say hello to a couple of furry friends and their companions out for a Sunday walk after lunch, and I found myself reminiscing about similar walks with Suzi years ago. I was a bit envious.

That grass is all that holds down tons of sand. 
Beach selfie! Photo Credit CLine
Gearing up. Photo Credit: CLine

That wind can shift an awful lot of sand around, and it is quite common to see dunes develop on the parking lot, but the busted up picnic tables had me wondering if vandals had a hand in the park upkeep over the winter.

I love this land in the fall when the colours are at the peak, but the spring always seems to be a canvas of what was, and what will be. I am continually fascinated by how the lands hibernates, then rejuvenates once the warm sun is out again.

Mission accomplished, horses and lighthouses. About face, forward march!

We headed into the interior briefly, gassed up in Montague, then had a tea and shared a piece of lemon poppy seed cake at Tim Hortons before heading home North up through Pooles Corner (Now a roundabout with no corners at all) and on up to 48 Road aka 5 and I followed CLine along that until we hit the Trans Canada as far as Tea Hill, where we turned a bit south onto Keppoch Road through Stratford, then across the bridge and home.

Next time I want to take along some gear for tea and have a roadside brew up to prepare for this summer. 🙂


P.S. I went home to make a lazy supper of hotdogs and leftover wings while CLine started work on a labour of love for her son who was turning 19 the next day.

Oreo 4 Layer Chocolate Cake 

This is THE cake that when they warn you it’s “Very Rich” and “You should only have a small slice”, well this is that cake. It takes a good three hours of effort though, so while I was uploading and sorting, another creation was taking place.