2022-06-19

2022 The Home Plate run

 Father's day, but I'm not a father and my Dad is 1700km back west in Onterrible, so I made plans with Caroline to head out to our favourite Island restaurant, The Home Plate in Murray River PE to visit our friend Caroline F. and enjoy a wonderful lunch of the best fish and chips on the Island. 


Heading north on County Line Road
Murray River
Prince Edward Island

Day Tripping - Tryon PE to Murray River PE and Return
Drive 215 km, 3 hours, 5 minutes


Tryon to Murray River

Spam, part of this incomplete breakfast. I actually had a lovely cuppa and fried egg 'n cheese with this, but Caroline was pleased to come down to a coffee and these four bits I'd saved for her. Her Aunt Sharon loathes the stuff, and Caroline grinned as she encouraged me to post this on Facebook and tag both Aunt Sharon and her mother, Esther in the pic.

I did the breakfast wash up while Caroline exercised the dogs, and she had her gear half on when she popped Hunter and Tazo into their crates. It took me a bit longer to get ready, and Caroline whipped out her phone to get proof that for once she'd beat me in the race to get ready, but her timing was off and I was away while she still had her glove off taking pictures of the awesomeness that is me. 

We took the detour through Stratford and along the Keppoch road that would bypass a straight road that takes two lanes into the roundabout, then surprises people when the lane ends on the right. Someone always trys to merge over at well below the posted limit. I despair of it and ride like a madman through that bit, thinking that if someone is going to try to knock me off my bike, it is going to be me. I want drivers to stand over top of me and instead of say "I didn't see him when I tried to merge into the lane.", rather "He was going so fast, it had to happen at some point. I guess his luck just ran out." That way I'd make the papers in a cautionary tale to other motorcyclists to be extra cautious in the the roundabout. Wait, we know all that, it's the other motorists that concern me. Do THEY know they need to be extra cautious? I doubt it, so we opted to cut through Stratford on the less travelled road and leave all the mid town madness to others. I love roundabouts, but on my own terms. 

It was cool when we started out, but at Pownal I wanted to check a message on my cell and clean my visor, and Caroline shed her rain jacket liner as she was beginning to perspire (I sweat, but she is oh so lady like on her toxic green KLR with the well loved creamsicle coloured side bags.). Back on the TransCanada... 

We turned in at Orwell Corners, but then headed across on 23 to Newtown Cross and took 211 north until we headed East on 24 again, that would take us  through the Caledonia roundabout and on into town, to the restaurant. Caroline pulled in, while I had a wee Marketplace item to pick up over on Floating Bridge road while her plan was to strip off her riding gear and grab us a table. 

I'd seen a "mandolin" vegetable slicer that my mom had used years and years ago. This lady had posted a used one for ten dollars, and I was so pleased to find it, that I paid her fifteen and asked her to hold it for me until Sunday when Caroline and I could drop in to collect it. I love these things! Somehow between 2007 and 2022 I'd lost mine in a move or divorce or a combination of the two, and I was super chuffed to be able to slice away potatoes and onion for a "Bev Kierstead" scalloped potato casserole. 

Hahaha. Anyhow, with that in the top box I turned round and negotiated their half mile long apple orchard clay driveway and shot back up the road to pull in beside Caroline's KLR and head inside to see her evil twin Caroline F. :)
 


We had a lovely reunion with Caroline F., and despite the lovely specials on the day, we opted for fish n' chips, but had to be different, and she had a cup of coffee, and I a pot of tea. (The tea mug came over nice and warm). The Home Plate serves a fantastic pot of tea. Just to be different I ordered two pieces of Hake, and Caroline ordered two pieces of Haddock. 

Caroline dashed off to crack the whip over the head of her kitchen slave, then returned to take her ease and get caught up us as the bikes had not been in her parking lot since sometime last season. Oh! But we'd been away for so long, and felt like little kids with our hands caught in the cookie jar trying to explain away about the dogs and how it was an ever changing dynamic, blah blah blah. And when she had gone back into the kitchen again, we asked ourselves soto voice why had we ever been away so long. lol. 

When the plates rolled out of the kitchen and were placed in front of us, I snapped a picture of mine. So much better "in the batter" then I had remembered, and that smell of vegetable shortening and chips, the battered fish, homemade tartar sauce, and red wine vinaigrette on the vegetable salad. Or was it pickled cabbage with the sweet peppers? I savored each bite before starting on the lovely creamy coleslaw. 
 
Hake fillets in batter
Restaurant made tarter sauce with capers


I hadn't even touched the fish yet! It almost fell apart, held on the fork by the batter and gravity. Lovely. Simply the best fish and chips on the island. 

One day I am going to try her hamburger, I promised myself I would, but it was not going to be today, and the next visit I am probably going to reacquaint myself with the Irish Breakfast.  

Caroline made certain I swapped pieces of fish at the halfway point with her, and I tucked into a piece of haddock to find that if I hadn't been told which was which, you could have served me either and I'd be none the wiser. The flesh of the haddock seemed a touch firmer and dryer, and a bit stronger tasting. The fresh cut fries were mixed with strips of potato, the real chips of the show, and with some malt and salt, they were absolutely lovely. We had to pack our left overs into a takeaway box, as we wanted some room for dessert. 

Second shot, same plates, less tea pot
It was time for a grand tour of the dessert cabinet, but that might have been a mistake, for she had five fruit based tarts and cakes, a salted caramel tart that Caroline (my Caroline) claims was a show stopper, but for me, I was lost as soon as I was shown the strawberry jam shortcake. It was like a Peanuts cartoon when the adults are speaking. "Wha wah wha, wa whan wah?" Slowly it penetrated my fevered brain that I was going to have to choose between Strawberry, Raspberry, Lemon, Apricot and Pina Colada! An impossible decision that I chose not to make and asked for the shortcake and two bakewell tarts. Caroline stepped up and ordered the apricot tart, and a caramel tart. We'd been warned that some of these incorporated a lovely butter cream icing, and I thought I knew what that meant, but all these years those Wilton's cake decorators have been deceiving me! Butter cream is brilliant, smooth, and not sharply sweet at all. In my opinion it more closely resembles a cream cheese icing for texture and sweetness. It defies description, so I'll say that I quite enjoyed it in the Apricot and the Shortcake. 

The Apricot "jam" in the tart was more of a compote really, with such bold apricot flavour, and not nearly as sweet as the North American apricot jams that I know and love. Caroline shared a couple of bites of hers, and I enjoyed it immensely. Here is a photo the shows both my restraint and how delicious the shortcake was... Was. It is gone. Every bit of it.  



Caroline F. drew our attention to a poster on the wall, the Fish Alley Music Festival. My Caroline was quick to draw attention to the J.P. Cormier who appears to be a headliner, as "That guy who sings the wrong version of Kelly's Mountain."  Back in 2021 I made a blog post that made a big deal of Caroline climbing Kelly's mountain in Bra D'Or Cape Breton, but according to her mother and Caroline herself I'd chosen the wrong song and artist. J.P. Cormier did this version, and I fell in love with the tune. Caroline and her mother Esther were quick to tell me that I'd chosen the wrong song. It should have been Kelly's Mountain performed by the McGinty's

But I put it to you, a tragic tale of love won and lost? Or moonshine and evading the King's tax? :P



We really couldn't make up our minds, and we left with a "to go" box of treats for tonights supper. Two lemon bakewells, a raspberry one, and a pina coloda cake? 

I can't wait to get this home!

Well, we sure had fun on the way back to the main road, kept on our toes by the odd wash out on the dirt road we chose, that would put us back onto 24. 



Then we wanted to head through Victoria and follow the coast until Lower Tryon. Just beautiful! 



The Lupins are in bloom and it's my favourite time of year to ride PEI

That's half a new roof up there, ain't it perty?
It sure has been an effort to find a contractor to do it. Two days work in, and they may have two or three days more to finish the other side. 
Perhaps we should have stuck to the highway for the ride home... The dogs were happy to see us, and even happier to chase their balls. 

They taste much better than they now look... 
Omg, that Pina Colada is amazing! 

Caroline made us a lovely cuppa tea, and we are going to get stuck into our dessert now. 

Cheers! 

Tazo and Hunter
The timeout... :)

2022-01-28

Dos Honduros


Bored yet? We've got another winter storm warning for the weekend on our island home of Prince Edward Island where the bikes are tucked away someplace warm and cozy on their trickle chargers. I'm stocking up on junk food, milk and something to entertain us, like these yo-yos. :D

Dos Honduros

Goldwing Motocross by Dos Honduros.

railing berms and Hucking jumps on two 1980 Goldwing GL1100 interstates.

 


Thanks to my brother Shaun for sharing this gem with me! :D

2021-10-17

2021 The Fall Colours of Prince Edward Island

 Caroline and I had been out for a day of riding the preceding weekend, stopping and taking the odd picture of the fall foliage, but I thought the colours would be closer to peak this coming Saturday, and as Caroline wanted to stop for lunch at the Home Plate diner in Murray River, I thought this a great excuse to get out for another ride and sample what mother nature had in store for us, and I was not disappointed in the least. 

Klondyke Road
Prowses aka Mike's Pond
Prince Edward Island

Day Tripping:

Charlottetown PE to Murray River, Cardigan, Mount Stewart and Crapaud by every back road we could find.  -  270 km 4 hours

Charlottetown and points East



Google Maps Link:
 

I asked Caroline where she wanted to go today, and her first thought was "Home Plate?" I countered with an idea of heading up to Cape North, and riding up the 12 through Alberton, and then home along the 14 on the opposite side of the island. It's a long day, but fun riding. Then I sat and thought about it, and said to myself, "Self, there are some lovely leaves out Montague way, AND we can grab some cider at MacPhee's Orchard while near Cardigan so I have something to share with the Clements at brunch tomorrow. Fabulous! (Plus I could see a plate of fish n' chips sitting in front of me while I do my best to drain the teapot). Now add in that lovely scenery that we'd sampled a bit of last weekend, and I think we were pretty much ready to hit the road, all except for meeting up as I'm a townie and Caroline moved further down the road to Crapaud, so I had all the time in the world to sit and drink finish my cuppa while I... Crikey! Is that the time?! I've got to start hopping if I'm to meet her on Water street for eleven! 

Riding across the Hillsborough River and through Stratford was pretty much uneventful but for my desire to get ahead of all the cars so I was in front. Caroline not so much, so it was a combination of hold myself in check while she caught up to me. I was going to take her on a mini adventure once we got closer to Uigg and Orwell... Or so I thought. 

Ummm. Did you know that there was a wedding in the historic village of Orwell and that the road isn't actually a road, so much as way to get to the parking area... I thought it shot below the village and would let Caroline and I hook up with Kinross Road, then I'd pilot us onto 23 or 24 and bob's your uncle...Nope, it was the ride of shame. 

The ride of shame. 
You can't go that way
(Well, I could, but Caroline's bike is too loud, and I had no bail money)

 We ended up riding back out to the TCH and over one more to Orwell Corner, where we got onto 23 PEI and headed over to the Iona Road (206) where we headed north until the 24 PEI... 

 And now for the bit about the fall colours et cetera...

The potato harvest is still going on
Looking east along the Selkirk Road near Iona PE

Ben's Lake Nature Camping lies on the other side of that fence
Prowses Pond
I'd seen what might have been some rich colour across the lake, and I thought a U-Turn while Caroline waited for me just at the crest of the next hill, was a great idea, but sadly the shot I'd framed in  my mind didn't work out with as much impact as I thought it would, but then I opted to scout a short ways down Klondyke Road (205 PEI) just to see what I could see, and I was in such a hurry to get my phone back out to get some pictures, that I even came away with a few that were surplus to requirement. 

oops!






I asked Caroline to come down and join me, but she wasn't having any of it, so I was forced to take a selfie or two. 




Prowses Pond as seen from Klondyke Road (205 PEI)






I think this was the best of the day. 

Klondyke Road (205PEI) at 24 PEI

It seemed like ages, but the exif data on the photos tells me I shot the first one at 12:53 and this last one (above) at 13:03, so I have to thank her for waiting so patiently for me at the top of the hill. Come to think of it, she had something of an agenda, as she was determined to take us off the direct route of Dover Road (24 PEI) and onto MacPhee Road (317 PEI) over to wet greasy County Line Road (325 PEI) that had me wondering how I was going to get Caroline to make a u-turn on this muddy clay road to come back and help me pick my bike up? I didn't like the answer so opted not to drop it in the first place, even when the mostly used up Shinko 705s that had been fresh 8,000 kms ago started to go into a two wheel slide once in a while. As I was following Caroline, I pretty much stood up when I saw her standing, up and giving it a bit of throttle while looking where I was going. She apologized for taking my Sport Utility Bike SUB (See what I did there? Do I need to put "X5" and "Four wheel drive" to draw you a better picture?) through the mud and promised me that it was only about 2 K until the end. I do exaggerate a bit, but I think it makes for a better story, and I'd happily trade up for a more off road capable adventure bike, provided I win the money in the lottery. :)


Back out onto Dover Road, and now only a short distance to the restaurant, I found another reason to stop and slow things down when I saw a flock of geese paddling sedately through the waters of Upper MacLure Pond just off to my right. The wee beggars fled my motorcycle though! Cowards! 

Can you see the Geese fleeing from me? 
Upper MacLure's Pond
Dover Road (24 PEI)

I love seeing the geese this time of year. 


We arrived at the Home Plate Restaurant in Murray River to find the parking lot full, but thankfully the diners were leaving and for once, Caroline and I were the lunch rush for a brief moment in time :)

Caroline's friend Caroline was there to smile at us and quiz us about our "Vax Pass", showing your papers to a restaurant before you can be allowed to dine within. This a new thing encouraged by the federal government, and they've also used their emergency powers to become dictators for life and levy fines to those restaurants caught in non-compliance of the latest orders to descend from their ivory towers. **sigh  I'll not descend into why I think this is undemocratic and violates the charter of rights and freedoms. Yeah, I've been poked twice, but don't you think our economy has been kicked in the arse enough without people need to be put on leave without pay and disciplined for opting out of the vaccine? The food was definitely worth flashing the pass though, so we got it out of the way and sat at our favourite window seat and began chatting with the staff about how much milk I expected to drink with my pot of tea. Lol. 

Caroline had trouble deciding, as she too loves the fish n' chips, but when I said I was going to get the fish, I think she decided to go for the special knowing that she was going to get some of my fish too. She ordered the special of the day, Chicken and Pork pie with a coffee. (No milk, so the owner might yet still come out in the black regarding the whole dairy situation at our table. I was going to do my best to get my monies worth.)


I agonized over my choice, but it had been so long since I had sampled Caroline's wonderful fish 'n chips, so it was a done deal. 


Then Caroline and I patted our tummies, asked for a takeaway box for our leftovers and made room for some dessert. There is always room for tarts, they're so wee! I was bad and ordered two kinds, a custard tart, and a lemon "cake" tart. Fabulous! 

Clockwise starting at three:
Banana Toffee
Custard Tart
Salted Caramel
Lemon "Cake" tart

I like to talk. And I like to talk about things I'm passionate about, and for whatever reason, I want to other people to get into something good as well, so I've made it my duty (habit? obsession?) with telling other patrons of the restaurant that the Home Plate serves "The best fish and chips on the island." In fact, the owner now turns to me and asks me if I have anything to add when she informs her clientele of the "special du jour". When I think back on it, I get sheepish and tend to stare at my feet, while grinning, but I'm only trying to share the love!  If you are undecided, or more to the point, I think you are undecided, be forewarned that I will leave you in no doubt about my high regard for the dish. 

We were bantering with Caroline (the owner and chef not to be confused with my Caroline, the not owner and not chef, but a very good cook and servant of the public in her own right) and a couple of ladies at the other table, discussing the desserts, and we were told about the mince tart and why it was so special, as if I recall correctly it was mince fruit with an extra blend of apple and toffee with whipped cream cheese topping. My jaw dropped. As we'd already ordered and consumed our sweets, I gallantly stepped up and ordered a mince tart cut into quarters to be shared out among the guests. Caroline refused to take my money and shared a wee piece of heaven on earth with us. Oh that I had this when I first sipped my tea! Cinnamon, nutmeg, perhaps some allspice and mace? Ginger? Wonderful and somehow creamy in texture. Everything autumn that I love in one little tart shell. If you think you get good pumpkin spice at Tim Horton's, then there is nothing for you in Murray River, so move along please. :)

We paid up, smiled a fare thee well and parted with a wave and headed off to our next stop, the apple orchard up north of us in Cardigan. 


A wee tributary of the Cardigan River
Cardigan PE

We gassed up in Cardigan before heading east along the Cardigan river, where I had to stop again just a wee bit off of the highway on Water Street (311 PEI) and grab this picture before heading further east along where Water street meets up with Launching Road but remains the 311 PEI just to keep you on your toes. 

I warned Caroline that I wanted to stop near the blueberry fields to get a picture, well to recapture a shot I'd made in November of 2012, but I'm a few weeks early I think. You can see why I might want to visit this again. 

Taken November 2012

Blueberry fields of Cardigan PE

Another reason for us to head back this way in future, right? 

We grabbed four two litre jugs of freshly pressed cider at MacPhee's, and loaded Caroline's topbox (green milk crate) with them, then headed off again, but this time north along Woodville Road (334 PEI) but I had to stop when I the colours bordering Fitzpatrick's Pond

Fitzpatricks Pond PE
Looking north from the bridge
Woodville Road







Fitzpatricks Pond PE
The view to the south of the bridge
Woodville Road


And north once more, because I just can't help myself!

Caroline was leading us back out towards Fortune Bay, sort of in search of some nice gravel roads to play on, but her real goal now was the desire to repeat Sunday's ride from last week, and take all back roads south of Morell PE all the way into Mount Stewart, if she could retrace the route I'd taken her on last week. 

I had to stop and take this one, but sadly the shadows made the finished shot darker in this media. I should really tweak the shot one day. A Rolls Royce parked out from of the Inn at Fortune Bay. 

The Inn at Fortune Bridge

I did cut out some modern vehicles off to the left. :)


The Inn at Fortune Bridge

Now we were riding into more shadow, I was leading but Caroline was telling me the directions she wanted us to be going, and if she was happy in back, I was more than pleased to be ripping the odd corner and seeing if I could keep the Versys upright and well ahead of the KLR that Caroline was piloting today. 

Our short term goal was to cross the Morrell River on the Indian Bridge Road, a gravel road that would serve as our kick off point for a long stretch of unpaved roads that Caroline is finding a passion for with her "new to her" KLR. Earlier this spring she admitted to being intimidated by the bike, as it's a heavy sucker to pick up, and she can only tippy toe that toxic green tractor, so she gets her kicks riding in company, provided that company is capable of helping her pick up her tractor if the need arises. I think the big things she's working on this fall is controlling the bike in sand and mud. Guess what I'm working on? Avoiding sand and mud because I lose control of my bike. Hahahaha! 

There were a lot of turns but the roads were fun, and the colours had much improved over last weekend along these same roads. We noticed a few parked cars just before crossing the Morrell River, and there was the reason, three fly fishermen out trying their luck. 


Caroline crossing the bridge on her KLR 650, followed fairly closely by a pair of ATVs as well. 


Fly fishing the Morrell River

Looking south west off Indian Bridge

I knew the ride was coming to an end shortly as Mount Stewart was up ahead of us, and we'd land in Pisquid or Mount Stewart proper, but I don't think I've ever followed Barr Road (352 PEI) from end to end, and we had to scooch over to let some machinery get past us, then a bit later we saw a hunter with his dog on the roadside, and he was kind enough to hold the dogs collar until we were safely past him. I wish I'd had a camera to take that picture, but it is going to be one of those remembered moments, the dog, the shotgun, the road, along with all colours and the season. I find if harder to describe the moment and the feeling than it should be, so call it my pumpkin spice of the moment. ;)

Warren's Pond and the last shot of the day as the shadows grew longer

The shadows were lengthening, and we were headed into the light, as we continued on our way to New Haven to drop off some fresh cider with Caroline's mother, and from there it was a dark ride by headlights and the Trans Canada Highway until we pulled into the driveway where Caroline discovered that an exposed zip tie end had eaten it's way through one of the jugs of cider, so we were forced to drink half a jug of it right then and there. Oh my. 

From there it was a quick change and a quick meal made of our Home Plate Restaurant takeaway, then off to celebrate a birthday with some fellow riders. 

The bikes aren't being winterized just yet as we hope to get a few more rides in before the bitter end, but it's getting there. The gear you wear at 1000 in the morning just won't hold up past 1800 in the evening any more. Winter is coming. 

Cheers!