We Get Soaked, then Ride the Cabot Trail. Woo-Hoo!

Well, Blogfans, it was a rainy day when TR and I packed up our crap and headed to the Cabot Trail.  At this point, we were about 150 kms from the start.  I was lucky having TR along, because she took me through all the back roads, no boring highways!  It rained pretty much constantly, and became heavier the closer we got.   

There are times when wind, cold rain, and slippery mud are enough to make you curse every plan you ever had to ride roads less travelled, and curse when you watch your mood descend into the depths of a deep blue funk.  Then there are times when wind, cold rain, and slippery mud are more than enough to bring out your lighter side, the side where you burst into peals of laughter, no matter the type of adversity you face.  I reckon it depends on the company, that is, who’s with you when that adversity strikes.  For us, it was the latter; TR and I could barely look at each other before roaring merrily at the absurdity of the situation:  both soaked (plus our gear), nowhere near the Cabot Trail, covered in dirt and mud, yet loving every ridiculous minute.  

Here we are on the gravel.  The gravel road was not part of the plan for that day, but it kind of made the day.  

  

Yucky

We're somewhere...This was ahead:  

 

Pondering the absurdities…  

 

We finally hit the tar after many kilometres of beyond careful riding.  TR, overwhelmed with the extreme concentration this took, showed her appreciation:  

  

  

That night we stayed in a motel in Baddeck, at the start of the Cabot Trail, and attempted to get our gear dry (with moderate success).  The following morning we hit the Frog and Toad for the Cabot Trail.  It was a lovely sunny day.  TR and I couldn’t wait.  Of course, there was the inevitable construction:  

  

 For you Aussies:  because of the harshness of the weather over here in winter, they can only do the road maintenance thing in the warmer months.  That means delays because of roadworks on pretty much every road you travel.  It was the same in Alaska. 

The Cabot Trail was beyond beautiful, better than my words could describe.  I will let the photos of TR and I do most of the talking here.  As motorcyclists, we love twisty roads with lots of curves.  Here are some of the Cabot Trail roads.  Very well maintained too: 

 

Great Road 

Great Road I

Great Road II

Great Road III

Great Road IV

Great Road V

Great Road VI

We ate at this yummy restaurant.  It was made for motorcyclists; good parking out the front, and food to die for.  We bought T-Shirts too: 

 

There were other nice sights to see.  As motorcyclists, you sometimes wonder what’s important:  should I enjoy these wonderful twisties, or get pics of the great roads to show I’d been there?  The twisties won out, however we did stop for a few Wow Scenes…had to:  *(Warning – lots of photos…) 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TR and I were well pleased after a successful riding day… 

 

That night, TR and I slept peacefully at the Silver Dart Lodge in Baddeck.  We stayed in a chalet.  For anyone wanting to explore this part of Nova Scotia, I highly recommend this place: 

 

 

View from our Chalet

After the high of the previous day, TR and I were brought immediately back to earth.  During our Cabot Trail ride, and unbeknown to us until the next day, the peanut butter had thrown up in my pannier.  It was time for Extensive Cleaning, the like of which I hadn’t seen for a couple of decades, a time when my children, now young adults, were babies.  Bill, Matthew, and Kimberlee, once upon a time you looked like this: 

Yucky Poo

More Yucky Poo

It was fun cleaning it out Blogees, but clean it we did!  More next time, when I tell you about the wonders of Prince Edward Island.  🙂

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Our progress thus far: setting up a campsite

We continued travelling east through Nova Scotia, our unofficial goal being the Cabot Trail.  This is one of the top ten motorcycling roads in North America, and TR and I were keen to sample its delights.  While I’m still getting the photos of the Cabot Trail together, I thought I’d show you a few pics and some commentary about the setting up of our campsite.

After the wonders of Halifax, and our slumfest at the Sheraton, TR and I went back to camping.  We ended up at a campground at Antigonish, our third night of roughing it.  I have to confess that, for the last two camp setups, I had engaged in some secretive and competitive gameplaying regarding the setting up of tents.  It was my aim to beat TR at the tent setup, thus giving me something entertaining to write about in this tiresome blog.  I did beat TR those first two nights, by more than a nose too.  With lightning-fast rapidity I would hurl the tent to the ground, fix the stays, bang in the tent pegs, all the while sneaking glances at TR’s progress to ensure I would win the race. 

However, by the third night, and prior to setting up, TR let on she was a wake-up to my childish game, forcing me to give up on the competition…

TR got into it straight away

Meanwhile, my tent site:

Thought I’d better look busy…

Bored already

TR kept on with her very efficient erection of the tent:

I decided I’d better get moving, so as not to be completely shamed…

But it was all too much:

TR powered on:

Still bored after the nanna nap, but got this far:

But all that exertion was too much:

Thirsty work.

TR is almost complete:

Super TR!

Finally I get my act together:

Done at last!

Okay, enough of the nonsense.  Suffice to say there were no more competitions happening for this part of the trip…not that I was aware of, anyway.  We woke the next morning to rain.  Lots of rain.  TR had a great idea:  we’ll move the tents to an undercover area nearby to pack up, thus saving us from getting soaked whilst trying to depart.  This worked well, apart from a visitor from a nearby RV who wandered over and made inane conversation with TR when she was trying to get things dry/pack the bikes.  Now, Blind Freddy could tell you this:  you don’t make inane conversation with TR when she’s (a) hungry, and (b) trying to get something important done in a quick and efficient manner.  TR made short work of him though (onya TR!); read more about how she did it here

Pretty good eh!  Tomorrow I’ll tell you more about our trip to the Cabot Trail (involving rain, gravel, and slippery mud), and the Cabot Trail itself.  ‘Bye.

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Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, and Rocks of Blue

In this edition:  

  • Lunenburg, Nova Scotia;
  • Rocks of Blue;
  • TR breaks the law (again);
  • We slum it in Halifax

The journey continues.  TR and I wanted to visit the south shore of Nova Scotia, so after a relatively efficient bikepackfest (we didn’t have tents to dissemble) we pointed the bikes to Lunenburg.  I keep raving on about beautiful Nova Scotia, but this particular place is a standout.  It’s called Blue Rocks, and is reached by an out of the way road.  It was not initially apparent that there was something worth seeing at the end thereof.  One day previous to this TR became lost, but found herself found when she found the end of this road, thus simultaneously ending her lostness and finding Blue Rocks (if that makes sense).  

Down the road: 

 

Parked the bikes… 

 

And went on a clickfest: 

 

 

 

 

 

We reluctantly tore ourselves away from this place, because (a) we wanted to keep riding, and (b) we needed to eat.  TR had neglected to bring the fishing rod, so we could not catch lunch there at Blue Rocks.  So it was off to Lunenburg to see the sights, get more piccies, and feed our faces.  We parked the bikes and ate here: 

Lunch place - Rumrunner Inn, Lunenburg

The food was pretty good too, prompt service as well.  Again TR and I left a good tip.  We got a few more photos of the surrounds of the Lunenburg wharf: 

 

 

 

 

 

I was happy to let TR do most of the photo taking… 

 

Halifax was the next place to visit.  I know this blog is kind of comically flitting from one spot to the next, but the main purpose of the Nova Scotia trip is to ride our motorcycles.  You, Blogees, must consider yourselves  privileged that we decided to not only take a few pics but also write about our journey  🙂 

We rode into Halifax late one afternoon, right on rush hour.  TR and I parked the bikes with some difficulty (TR’s sidestand does not allow for any kind of dip to the left), and by that stage were both tired and still had not found anywhere to rest our heads for the night.  It was probably not the best time to then commence looking through TR’s iPhone to secure some accommodation.  TR had a go (failed), then I had a go (failed also).  We dithered for quite some time over the cheapest/most comfortable, and we were both getting more tired and scritchy as time went on.  Finally, we gave up and decided to slum it at the Sheraton, just down the road and around the corner.  Nice place: 

 

We went for a walk with the cameras: 

 

 

Ended up at the Hart and Thistle pub and microbrewery for dinner that night.  This place, as you would have gleaned from the name, brews its own beer.  TR tried one of their in house specials, but it wasn’t to her taste.  I got stuck into the Clancy’s, went down well too.  Here’s a pic; nice place and good food: 

Hart and Thistle pub and restaurant

The next day, we revisited Privateer’s Wharf and got some photos there, and then of Halifax’s Historic Properties.  I loved the whole atmosphere of this place.  Anyone who visits Nova Scotia/Halifax, do not miss this place: 

 

 

This is the HMCS Sackville, the last survivor of 269 corvettes which fought the Battle of the Atlantic during the Second World War: 

HMCS Sackville

The historic properties: 

 

 

By this stage, TR had had a gutful of my incessant whinging: 

 

I’m sorry TR!  Have mercy…(immediately after the photo, I copped the bucket of rotten tomatoes she’d been saving for just this moment). 

We took lots more photos of the historic properties, but the above will hopefully give you the idea.  Sorry there are not more in this blog (I’m…yawn…tired), so you will have to visit Halifax and see for yourself! 

The next day TR and I hit the road for our next destination:  the Cabot Trail.  We didn’t get there that day, having messed around with piccie-taking, breakfast, and the inevitable packing until almost lunchtime!  We stopped at Bev’s Country Diner at Upper Stewiacke for the brunch version of what you have when you have had brunch, then get hungry mid-afternoon.  Great little place, lots of character and atmosphere: 

 

I hadn’t turned my back for more than two seconds when TR was at it again, breaking the law.  I was SO embarrassed: 

 

I immediately called the Police, who raced up with sirens blazing, arrested TR, and threw her in the paddy wagon: 

So, Dear Ones, that’s where the day ended.  The following morning, I bailed TR out of the clink and the journey continued.  More next time; I’ll try not to let the next blog descend into nonsense.  Thanks for reading and thanks also for taking the time to leave a comment.  Very much appreciated!

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Nova Scotia: Ferries, Great Roads, and Sunsets

After our stop in St Andrews, TR and I hastily packed the bikes, then burned down to Timmy’s to shovel some food into our heads.  The place was packed with golfers, and Timmy’s was a bit short staffed this particular day.  There were only three people to serve the golfers + us, as well as the never-ending queue of people in the drive through section.  TR and I left a handsome tip, and ate our food in the car park where there was a bit more space.  We hot-footed it to Saint John to catch the ferry to Digby, Nova Scotia.  We needed to be there at 11 for the sailing at 12.

For those of you who are ignorant to the wonders of this ferry, it crosses the Bay of Fundy between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.  There has been talk over the years of closing it down; thankfully that never eventuated.  TR used to live in Saint John, so knew her way to the Ferry terminal.  I was happy to trail along behind.  Here we are at the terminal.  The bikes get a lane all to themselves, and usually board the ferry first, as it should be:

Riding onto the ferry, and navigating the bikes below decks, was a particularly hairy moment.  Usually you have to take some care when riding onto ferries, because the vehicle decks are metal.  Never been too much of a problem for myself or other motorcyclists, until now.  This vehicle deck was not just metal, it was wet, slippery, greasy metal!  The hearts of both TR and I were in our respective mouths, beating furiously.  We rode with extreme caution.  The weight of the bikes made it even more difficult.  Fortunately, the ferry staff went out of their way to assist us in navigating and parking, then showed us how to use the tie-down contraptions so our bikes wouldn’t take a slide somewhere mid-crossing.

I’ve been on this ferry once before – about 12 years ago.  I loved it then and love it now.  It’s just a ferry, and as far as ferries go, nothing special.  I just like it.  It was a very peaceful and relaxing three hour voyage.  TR and I sat down below to charge our phones and communication equipment, then adjourned to the upper decks for some sun.  TR grabbed the camera and wandered off, clicking merrily.  I put my feet up, exhausted after the one hour ride:

View from the bow end of the ferry:

Approaching Digby, Nova Scotia:

The ferry ride over, we took off along the shore of the bay, not on the main drag (boring), but on a secondary road.  Prior to the ride, we stopped off in Digby for some photos of this place.  Nova Scotia is dotted with similar scenes, absolutely gorgeous.

 

Back on the road, we passed through some spectacular scenery and a myriad of small towns and villages.  The ever-present sun made the day just that bit more memorable.  Great ride.  That evening, TR’s mother drove us down to the Bay of Fundy shore for some piccies of the sunset.  This was quite a popular spot; groups of people and families had the same idea.  Some had made a fire (it was a bit chilly).  This is one of the things I love about Canada – they’re so laid back.  In Aussieland, if you tried to light a fire on the beach you’d have every officious mongrel under the sun up your clacker, you’d have passersby, with little to do, making a complaint, and you’d most likely find yourself smacked across the chops with a fine.  Not here.  You want a fire on the beach?  No worries!

The sunset was pretty good.  It wasn’t blazingly spectacular, but this particular evening the peace and beauty of this place was more than enough.  TR and I climbed out onto some rocks on the shore for a photofest:

Slowly the sun set, signalling the end of a perfect day:

The journey continues through Nova Scotia.  This has to be one of the most beautiful places in the world.  More soon Blogsters.  ‘Bye.

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TR and I head to Nova Scotia

Well Blogfans, you may not have realised this, but my tour across Canada is actually continuing and I have ceased my Freeloadfest with the Two Older Women.  For those who came in late, and I know there are many of you who initially failed to catch on to the wonders of this Blog, I am riding my motorcycle across North America, primarily Canada.  I am visiting three oceans in the process:  first the Pacific (done), then Arctic (done), and the Atlantic (still to do), and in the process am dipping my feet in each body of water.  Despite this, the feet continue to smell a bit iffy, so I’m hoping the Atlantic will work some wonders.  

To get to the Atlantic Ocean, it has been necessary to travel through one of the most picturesque provinces in Canada – Nova Scotia.  Although the province has long been famous for its beauty, Carly Simon made mention of Nova Scotia in her 1973 song “You’re so Vain“.  She petulantly trilled about a rejecting paramour, alleged to be Warren Beatty, who “flew [his] Lear Jet up to Nova Scotia to see the total eclipse of the sun”.  

TR and I were not looking for eclipses of suns or any other astronomical delights, nor did we want to swan around the world in Lear Jets.  We simply wanted to ride our motorcycles through some of the best and most scenic roads in North America, if not the world.  It was on a bright and sunny Saturday morning that we loaded our bikes, farewelled our fan club of one (thanks for your assistance with the packing Elaine!), and headed off to St. Andrews, New Brunswick, on the way to the ferry to Nova Scotia.  

You may be wondering why TR is joining me for this portion of the trip.  Well, TR was born in Nova Scotia and generously agreed to take some holidays to accompany/guide me through her home province.  I have to say, it’s been great not being a Nigel No Friends for a change.  Here are some pics of TR and I at Kilometre Zero:  

TR all packed and ready to go, thanks Elaine!

I didn't need any help

Ready to hit the Frog and Toad...

We stopped off at a beautiful spot which I would have missed had I been on my own.  Thank you TR!  Here it is, quiet, peaceful, and absolutely gorgeous.  I took a bunch of photos, as did TR.  TR’s photos are the ones that actually made it to this Blog, as below.  As for mine, sigh…  I need photography lessons.  Badly.   

 

  Presently, we arrived in St. Andrews, a little town in the southern part of New Brunswick.  Close to this place is the point where we catch the ferry across the Bay of Fundy to Nova Scotia.  So it will soon be goodbye to New Brunswick.  Here are some pics of the place where we camped: 

Near the campground

Also near the campground

View from the campground. Suffer, all you nine to fivers...ha ha!

St. Andrews is full of historical places: 

Historical place

Historical place sign, cool eh!

The town of St. Andrews:  beautiful and with a distinct absence of garish commercial places like Maccas, KFC, and other retail-like outlets: 

TR and I went to the wharf at St. Andrews.  I gave my camera a rest and let TR do all the picture-taking. 

Some wharf piccies: 

   

 It was a perfect day, soured only by one dismal event connected with blatant law-breaking.  You may be aware that TR, in her own blog, unjustly accused me of trespassing.  Well, I may have been led astray at that time, but it’s a case of the pot calling the kettle black, as follows: 

Where is your helmet?

Where is your helmet II?

Tsk tsk...

You’d think someone who was nearly 50 years old would know better…

Anyway, TR and I wandered around the town taking mega photos before retiring to our tents at the local campground.  The next day we took a ferry ride, with the bikes, across the Bay of Fundy to Nova Scotia.  Because I’m super-bored with writing this blog at the moment, I’ll tell you about the Next Bit tomorrow, or maybe the next day.  Or next week.  But stay tuned Blogsters.  I love youse all.  Goodnight.

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Covered Bridge Ride

Covered bridges are not something we see much of in Aussieland.  New Brunswick, Canada, has 62 of them.  I found this description which best sums them up: 

Covered bridges seem to promise all the best features of bygone country life:  a cool fragrant wooden space like an old barn, built of hand-hewn timbers, beside sunny fields or quiet forests, over rolling waters”

It was towards the longest covered bridge in the world that TR and I pointed our bikes one fine and sunny summer’s day.  The ride traversed a quiet country road alongside a river, with gorgeous scenery around every corner.  TR had her camera loaded and ready to go: 

As did I: 

Shhh...Master Photographer at Work

 

Almost immediately after we left Fredericton, we came across these views of the river and surrounding countryside: 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TR went to get some gas while I stopped down the road at this spot: 

 

After an excellent ride through the above countryside, TR and I approached Hartland, New Brunswick, home of the longest covered bridge in the world.  Before I show you the pics, I’ll explain why these bridges are covered.  Although they appeal to tourists, there is also a practical reason:  in climates where the snow and ice falls hard in the winter, the coverings offer a level of protection from the elements.  It is said that an ordinary wooden bridge in these parts will last 10 to 15 years.  A covered bridge, however, will still be standing after 70 or 80 winters. 

Here are a few photos of the covered bridge at Hartland.  It’s over 1200 feet long: 

 

 

TR and I took millions of photos (each) then crossed the bridge via this pedestrian walkway: 

 

TR took this one of the flowers at the entrance of the bridge.  Pretty eh? 

 

Actually, TR took most of the photos in this post.  She has a good eye! 

Views from the walkway: 

 

 

View from the other side: 

 

 

 

I went under the bridge and sat on a pontoon to get more photos.  I stayed there for ages, a lovely peaceful spot: 

 

Got these photos: 

 

 

 

 

 

It was a nice little sojourn in Fredericton with the two older women, and the above is just one of the scenic places in the area.  I have continued my tour and am now in Nova Scotia.  TR is with me, having offered her services as a guide through this, her home province.  Unbelievably, it is even more beautiful than New Brunswick.  I have literally hundreds of photos to sort through before I can upload the next post.  Stay tuned for these, as well as my account of our travels through Nova Scotia, TR breaking the law (again) – this time riding sans her helmet, tsk tsk, and our stay in a Posh Hotel.

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The Freeloading Continues…

Yes, the freeloading has continued ad infinitum, and I have remained at my lodgings with the Two Older Women.  Apart from free food, there have been opportunities for socialising and, best of all, riding our motorcycles.  The Fredericton area of New Brunswick is packed with roads friendly to motorcyclists; sweeping curves, little country towns, and always the gorgeous views and scenery.   

One very enjoyable socialfest consisted of the celebrations for National Beer Day.  Now, being an Aussie I of course enjoy the odd cold one, yet I was hitherto unaware that there was even a day of celebration for beer.  Oh, the shame of it!  It took the Canadians to show me how to really celebrate this very important aspect of Australian culture.  Here are some pics of the knees-up.  The hats, apart from their obvious class, were mandatory:  

National Beer Day Committee: (from left) President, Secretary, Treasurer

The entertainment was provided by this very acrobatic and intelligent dog, who spent a considerable amount of time trying to catch the bubbles.  Despite repeated failed attempts, his tenacity and persistence was admired by all:  

That night we sat around a campfire and were treated to these views at sunset:  

  

  

  

Wow!

We went on a couple of motorcycle rides around the area.  Here are the bikes in question:  

  

The riders:  

We stopped off at a little country town.  This particular town is pretty typical of the small towns in the area.  Quiet, charming, and with plenty of character:  

  

  

But what about these views!  The place was beautiful, and let me tell you Aussies, everywhere you go it’s much the same.  

  

  

  

On another day, I went for a burn with Triumph Rider, aka Biker 2 of a couple of posts ago.  TR led the way through numerous picturesque back roads, carefully observing every speed limit, traffic light, and crosswalk.  Alas, the pressure of this was eventually too much for poor TR.  Indeed, I knew it couldn’t last, and in fact was probably doomed before it even started.  Anyway, TR’s true colours eventually emerged; upon spying some bossy looking signs she willfully, deliberately, and in a typically contrary manner did thusly:  

No Parking. That means us...

No Parking. Oh dear...

 I had no choice but to follow TR to this parking spot, or should I say, NO parking spot.  I mean, I don’t know where we’re going.  My heart was in my mouth the whole time we were there.  Luckily, no Police caught us in the act.  Whew.  

Close by was a paddock which contained another bossy sign:  

I was able to use my Extreme Telephoto lens and capture some photos.  The hay here is rolled up, unlike in Aussieland where they are in rectangular bales.  

  

  

After that Scary Moment, we hurried off to get some more photos.  I had to speak to TR quite sternly, then thought it best to ride ahead at this point to find a LEGAL parking spot-  

Legal Parking Spot

– where we captured these views:  

   

  

  

This country continues to delight me:  the scenery, the people, the weather, all have come together to make this a most pleasureable ride.  Thus far, it seems I have been travelling a little too quickly through each town – which has been necessary because the country is huge and the summer does not last forever.  Therefore, I am fortunate to have spent some time here in Fredericton and to have had the opportunity to see the Maritimes in more detail.  What’s the best part of Canada so far?  Definitely the Maritimes! 

That’s all for now.  Next time I’ll tell you all about covered bridges, how we visited the longest covered bridge in the world, and the beautiful roads we took to get there.

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