|CLine teases her Facebook followers with hints of misadventure|
|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|
|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?|
|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.
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.
- Destination Labrador: Getting Ready
- Riding the Road North to Labrador
- Black Flies and Loathing in Labrador
|Zac after more than seven days in the saddle|
|The Vagabond himself|
|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!
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.|
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.
|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
|The gear loft|
Day 3 – Atlantic Motorsports Park to Charlottetown PE – 301 km
|Day 3 – Atlantic Motorsports Park to Charlottetown PE – 301 km|
|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!|
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.
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.|
Here is my lemonade… 😀