2020-05-17

2020 The Cedar Dunes Ride

Caroline and I really wanted to get out on the bikes this weekend, and as I'd spent my Friday night sorting out a charging issue on my Versys, I was eager to see if I'd nailed the problem, or if I was just guessing at it.

Cedar Dunes Lighthouse, West Point PE
My very own curb monkey.


A couple of days ago I had to make a wee trip to the office, and Caroline accompanied me there, but the bike almost wouldn't turn over and i barely managed to get it started so I was forced to cut our proposed after work ride very very short and head straight home and get the bike put away into the underground that night, well before the battery was drained flat and the bike became a dead curbside liability with a ton of mass with a long way to push.



 The LED voltmeter I have, a multi-coloured LED, confirmed that all the time we were riding, the battery was discharging and not making anything above 12 volts DC. My first thought was that the stator I had replaced in the fall of 2018 had failed yet again, and that I'd wasted my money on the RM Stator for the Versys when I could have paid three times the price for the OEM Kawasaki one at around $600. Ouch!

I'd started out by plugging the battery tender Jr into the bike when I parked last Thursday night to bring the battery back up to a full charge, then did some testing.
At rest voltage 12.51V
 I think I found the culprit. When I routed a battery tender extension cord up and through the fairing into my tank bag, I must have loosened the Stator harness connector, which made the connection worse, and when I pulled it apart to test with my multi-meter, I could see one of the terminal connections had a bit of black discoloration to it. The stator tested okay, as it was infinite resistance from the three leads to each other and to ground as well, so I used my pocket knife to ensure that the female side of the connector was pinched tighter for each socket, then I hooked it back up and continued on with the oil change with my fingers and toes crossed that I'd sorted the trouble.

Oil change almost complete
With everything back together and the oil aboard, I tentatively sparked it into life, and found that I was making 13.9 Volts DC at 5000 rpm!! Right on the money, honey! My LED voltage indicator is the green light embedded in the right hand side of the dash. 

Whoot! Not only can I break them,
but it's nice to be able to say that I can fix them too!
 Now I had a fresh load of Shell Rotella T4 15w40 diesel oil aboard the Versys, and an urge to prove the repair in the best way possible... Ride far from home and see if your family would pick up the phone or would they let it go to voice mail when CallerID let them see who was calling to ask for a huge favour, or could I make it back home in one piece with my dignity intact?

But Saturday's forecast was gloomy indeed, and we opted for a day inside instead of dripping wet and chilled to the bone. Good call, that. Sunday promised better weather, so once it warmed up a bit, I was off to meet up with Caroline in her driveway.

Day Tripping - Charlottetown to West Point and return - 326 km, 3.5 hrs


Charlottetown to West Point and return - 326 km, 3.5 hrs




Google Maps Link

Caroline says the embedded map is wrong, as we went from Cape Egmont all the way up 11. I didn't have to heart to tell her that google maps is largely hit or miss for "tracks" of a ride. You need sooooo many waypoints to peg the route correctly.

Caroline rides a 2004 Honda Shadow, and is playing a game of "Photo Tag" in the HondaShadow.net forum, so it only stands to reason that as the only innocent bystander present I get sucked into the game as well.

This is in retaliation for a hot dog cart... "Food Truck"
And she takes the crown, and has a big cow... No, not a teary bleary meltdown, I mean a really big cow, over at the Cows dairy factory outlet store on the causeway.

Having a cow... 
She always says "Thank you" and "Please" when she gets me to snap a picture for the game, so I figure it doesn't take much time out of my life, and if it makes her happy, I'm more than willing to block traffic on a Sunday in the parking lot so that she gets to stake a claim on the latest tag in the game. :)

I wanted to blast up through Summerside and just take the highway all the way there before heading across Lady Slipper Drive and over to Route 11 that would follow the coastline up and around on the North Western side of the island. It's not the curviest road in the world, but it's much nicer than joining the conga line of cages driving too slowly on the main turnpike Route 2 that heads from Summerside up into Tignish "Up West" as they say. Caroline has family up around the O'Leary area, so we've been out this way more than a few times, and we thought that stopping at Arsenault Pond where we had first held hands three riding seasons ago for a picnic lunch a la "COVID-19" would be a magnificent idea. Earlier this morning before setting out, we'd stuffed a stove, water and some food into a bag, and added in a thermos full of strong tea and milk, with the idea of limiting our contact with others to the gas station pumps.

Caroline's cousin lives just at the crossroads there, and she thought he and his father might be up on the barn putting a new roof on it as we rode past. I turned in the parking lot and headed back down the road thinking she was angling her awkward shadow into a u-turn and would follow shortly behind me. I did a u-turn in front of his place and pulled to the shoulder finding that she was telling me that she WASN'T coming and that I was on my own! What?! I hope they didn't recognize me, as I thumped my Versys back into gear and headed back into the parking lot at the pond to find we had it to ourselves and all we had to do was find a nice spot as best out of the wind as possible as I'd neglected to add a windscreen to our stove kit for that day.

Caroline found a good spot where I could set up the butane stove behind the spillway retaining wall, and begin to boil up some water for our lunch of kim chee ramen noodles and ginger nut cookies.

Carefully reading the directions on the packet
You can't be too careful with Ramen
 Caroline has a new toy with a zoom lens and she's that eager to give it a go while I was sweating over a hot stove so it's now wonder that she gets photo credit for all the pond pictures today.

Photo Credit: Caroline

What is a pond without water?
Photo Credit: Caroline
 We each contributed our titanium 750ml mugs today, and the ramen only had to be broken in half to fit nicely inside with the boiling water. We ate the meal totally out of order, the ginger nut cookies and the tea first, Caroline had the first ramen, and I the second lot.
Photo Credit: Caroline
 She brought along some dehydrated garlic and onion that ought to go well with lunch, and I quite enjoyed the flavour "grit' once it had been boiled for a few minutes with my noodles.

Photo Credit: Caroline
 I'm running my butane cartridge stove with adapter and it performed well for two boils of 500ml each, but would have been much more efficient if I'd thought to haul along my windscreen.

Onion is what is needed here
Photo Credit: Caroline
 As we worked away at our lunch, we were joined by an older man and his pooch, both eager for a socially distant walk, and I was a tad disappointed that they didn't wander over and say hello, but I suppose that is the appropriate way of dealing with people these days. I hope it goes back to normal soon, although I really am enjoying sharing a bubble of domestic bliss by bringing along our own lunches etc. It can be fun, and a great test of cooking systems at the same time. :)  Dad showed up with his two small boys, two fishing rods in his hands as he set them to fishing in the pond on a Sunday. One boy worked his rod furiously and managed to snap the line and loose hook and sinker to the "biggest fish ever!" but I think all he caught was some rocks on the bottom of the pond. Lol. A neighbour showed up later on and chatted with dad, although he stayed in his truck and dad on his side of the guardrail, so the "six feet of daylight" rule was carefully observed. Mom pulled in later on to check up on her family, and tossed a sweatshirt at the wean before heading off, all while Caroline and I ate our lunch, then stowed everything away prior to throwing a leg over and heading further north along Route 11.

Caroline had been working on the route while I ate my lunch, and seemed to have it all in hand as to where and how we were going to get to Cedar Dunes today. I honestly had no idea if it was even going to be open as it's a provincial park, and many of them have been closed to prevent people from walking and taking in nature. I really don't know the reasoning behind it, as you come into more human contact outside of a grocery store or in the lineup at the boozateria. Right. Onward! Route 11 dumps us back out onto 2 in Mount Pleasant, then you head up through Portage (a very narrow bit of island where they may indeed have portaged from one side to the other), and eventually you can turn off the highway and out onto Route 14 that would take us past Glenwood Pond and off to the coastline once more, but you are pretty much inland until you arrive at the turn off for Cedar Dunes Provincial Park.

The gates were swung back, and there were a number of cars in the parking lot, so I wasn't too concerned about needing to sneak in all stealthy like while Caroline waited on the other side of a barrier for me to take some shots. In fact, there were a rather large number of cars here, but again, our fellow islanders seemed to able to self-discipline themselves, and I was happy to see everyone in groups of less than five, and more than two, as describing a single person as a group would be folly, wouldn't it?

I don't remember the parking lot quite this close to the beach, in fact, where where the dunes and cedars that I'd seen from my last visit here some eight years ago?!

These are from eight years ago...



You used to have to cross that dune in order to get to the beach proper to see the lighthouse and the ocean.



The dune on the right... 

The dune is fragile and signs are everywhere asking you to respect the eco system and stick to the boardwalk.


 The side exposed to the ocean...


Taken in 2012

Now lets see the changes that sort of floored me...

Cedar Dunes in 2020


The dune is missing, as is some of the parking lot. 





The concrete barricades keep motorists on the correct side of the parking lot.
Photo Credit: Caroline


Even the sign was blown away. 

I was sort of shocked by how much the landscape had changed, but a quick google search found that there had been a storm in November of 2018 that had eroded away the dune in one wind swept night. They had placed the temporary barricade there in spring of 2019  "to make it a little more user-friendly" - quoted from CBC News article "Temporary sand dune in place at West Point Lighthouse" dated August 19, 2019 by Brian Higgins.



Erosion of the shoreline is a concern here, as there is very little rock here on the island, as most of it is sandstone that erodes by wind and water. Caroline was born here and we talked about "Elephant Rock" which had lost it's trunk, and other parts of the island that had changed due to mother nature. It happens, but we'd really appreciate it if humans weren't part of the problem, so if you see a sign asking you to keep to the path, the reason might be that if the grass dies, so too does the habitat provided by the dunes and the protection they provide other areas such as low lying marshland etc.

Anyhow, now that I've sermonized and preached a bit, I'll share with you some more pictures that Caroline took, although I'm guilty of taking one or two of them myself with her new toy. :)

Whoops, these are still mine... She was taking her time wandering off to the North, up the shoreline.


Note the plastic straws... Yeah. Commercial fisheries again. Rope on a lee shore. 


Caroline: "I'm taking pictures the lazy way, with my new telephoto lens"
Photo Credit: Caroline


Photo Credit: Caroline

Photo Credit: Caroline

Photo Credit: Caroline
 I saw a post on this that Her Majesty's Canadian Ship La Ville de Quebec was in these waters and had passed under the Confederation Bridge that day. I think Caroline captured it later on as it steamed North in the strait!
Photo Credit: Caroline
On their way to Perce Rock QC and Bathurst NB





Her camera sports a fairly decent zoom, and what you see in the picture is slightly better than that seen by the naked eye. Much less detail would have been visible with my cellphone camera, which is why I didn't even bother showing you a gray blip on a gray sea.



Photo Credit: Caroline


Photo Credit: Caroline

Photo Credit: Caroline

Photo Credit: Caroline
We left Cedar Dunes bound for fuel at O'Leary, and then got back onto 2 and headed south to Portage where we turned East on 12 toward Foxley River, and headed back home via the slow route that would see us into Miscouche at the same intersection opposite Lady Slipper Drive. We were some miles away from Miscouche, and I was racking my brain trying to think of some sort of public restroom or even blue rocket that might be available on a Sunday of a holiday weekend. During the lockdown of COVID-19 to boot! We passed Caroline's cousins place, and I recognized her Aunt's home just down the road, and made a quick unscheduled stop... The upshot is it was just in the nick of time, and we managed to get in a nice family visit as well. (I had horrible visions of trying to make it home, hour and fifteen minutes of it, in butt clenching agony) A huge sigh of relief later and we were back in Miscouche and headed home.

I think that's all she wrote... I had some pizza dough proofing from the previous night, and Caroline got treated to homemade pan pizza with extra extra bacon once we'd put our motos to bed for the night. Mmmmm!

We had a great time on our outing, and I hope you enjoyed reading it half so much as I did living it. ;)

How did you spend Queen Victoria's Holiday weekend?

2020-04-26

2020 Wanna Try and Make it to Souris Again Today?

Sure... But I need some more time to finish these sandwiches and get dressed. The text messages were flying fast and furious, what with the ride starting soon and all. Saturday we'd been so lazy getting out the door, that we didn't really hit the road until after two, as Caroline took me up on my offer to ride my Versys in the event parking lot just down the street from my apartment, but today we were just using it as a meeting point to tie up some loose ends and gear.

All too soon it was time to roll, and we were off and rolling Eastward, with the idea of hitting East Point and looping back by the North Shore. Grandiose plans for what was now two thirty in the afternoon on a bright but chill Spring afternoon, but faint heart never, umm, If you never swing the bat... Nope. I can't think of the right cliche... We were having fun, and on our way at last!

You don't see these parked on the lawn in Ontario... 

Day Tripping - Charlottetown PE to Souris PE and return.

Charlottetown to Souris and back.

Today we opted to make time and take the Trans Canada across the river and make tracks for Montague, where we would try to pick up the trail that we'd left yesterday when we short turned and came home.

We got up to Pooles Corner just outside of Montague, (which is now a giant circle of a roundabout) where Caroline asked if I wanted to head to Georgetown, and I might have mentioned the Saint George pub in Georgetown Ontario, perhaps a bit eagerly as I fondly recalled their signature dish of Roast Beef served on top of a giant Yorkshire Pudding. Sadly, while quite scenic, Georgetown PE is a bit different from Georgetown ON. Ah, memories...

The George and the Dragon
 In fact, I think the first trip or two that I made to that pub was on my motorcycle back in 2005 or 2006.
It was good. No, it was great!


Everyone needs a fishing boat in their back yard. 
I stopped to get a couple of pictures, and Caroline pulled over to wait for me, then took the lead again where we had a wee adventure on the streets of Georgetown trying to get our bearings, then headed North East on Grafton Street where it meets up with Burnt Point Road, where we wanted to head North West and hook up with 3.  It was a T intersection, but it was covered from side to side in gravel. The only really clear bit was where the locals were making right turns. Caroline headed into it, warned me over the Scala G4s about it, and I watched helplessly as her rear tire swung out from beneath her, and down she went in a cloud of dust, but thankfully she'd scrubbed off most of her speed before the get off.

Did you get it? Are you sure?
Would you mind helping me get this off of my foot now?
This sort of thing never goes unobserved, and a local lady stopped her pick up truck and asked if everyone was okay, and Caroline assured her that she and the bike were fine, but the damage to the ego was  going to be the hardest to recover from. She preemptively posted this on Facebook, so my editor talked me out of the click bait titles for this post.

"She hit a patch of sand on the road and you will never guess what happened next!" 
"How do you keep the rubber side up? Three things NOT to do..." 

She's a trooper and a keeper. I love this girl. Read on.
There was an outpouring of support from our riding group.
I almost felt guilty snapping that shot of her patiently waiting for me to help get the bike off of her ankle.
Almost. 

We got the bike up where she took charge of it and moved it off to the side of the road while I got mine off the road as well.


Her highway bars took the worst of it, along with her mirror which had spun and needed to be sorted out. The only real reminder left apart from the bruised and sore elbow, was a huge crack in her windshield.

Note the crack

Jacob: It was the gravel wasn't it? Almost did the same thing last year coming out of work
Caroline:  Yup, it was the gravel/sand/dirt. Well... to be fair, it was my reaction that was the problem. It was just sitting there doing nothing. Hah.

I gotta tell you, if Caroline had not been leading, it might very well have been my bike lying on it's side in that intersection, and it would be even money as to whether I'd get through the intersection and head straight into the ditch on the other side of the road, or laid it down with too much brake or steering application on loose surface. Thanks for taking one for the team, darling.

Anyhow, I offered to end the ride and turn back, but Caroline wouldn't hear of it, as she was on a mission to get a photo tag, the same tag she'd hoped to get yesterday afternoon, it was the photo of a the underside of a bridge and a bike, so we pulled off at the launch just on the other side of the Souris River where the public launch ramp is, got Caroline her tag shot, then settled down to enjoy a nice cuppa tea, then some ham and cheese sandwiches made earlier in the day.


The Red Isle Riders group that we belong to showed that someone had gotten the tag already, ( I got corrected by Caroline, as it was NOT a Red Isle Riders post, but in another group she belongs to) but the new tag shot was a picture on a public beach, so after our lunch  we headed across the road and took a picture of her bike at Souris Provincial Beach, although with all the wood boardwalk, there isn't much beach to be seen from the parking lot at the moment.



Souris Beach Provincial Park(ing Lot)
Neither of us were enjoying the cool weather as it was clouding over, in spite of our heated jackets and grips, the cold was beating us down, so instead of heading further North along the coast, and up and around to St. Peters, Caroline suggested we head back down to Rollo Bay then turn East and ride a side cut out to Bay Fortune along the coast, where she felt sure she could score a new tag photo for the game, and hadn't seen that stretch of coastline in a dogs age. I was pretty sure I'd "been down that road before" but not recently enough to remember it, so this was another occasion when having poor short term memory can be a good thing.

Just off of 310 there is a fishing wharf out at the end of South Road, where Caroline wanted a tag picture of herself and not one, but TWO boats out of the water. Mission accomplished with perhaps a bit of overkill.

Bay Fortune


Moving pictures!

Okay, mission accomplished, she had her tag shot, and she pulled over to the side of the road to quickly upload it to the group so she wouldn't get tag scooped as had happened yesterday afternoon.
Point to Caroline. (I got an assist)

Tag! You're it!



Lobster season starts soon.
Google Photos suggested this Panorama...
I added it as it shows the lobster traps on the wharf waiting for the big day


And that was Bay Fortune. I quite enjoyed the 310, although both of us were now on high alert for dirty corners, and I could see that Caroline was still a bit shaken up, as she was holding back, and rightfully so, as it I'd really rather not ask her to help pick my bike up off of me today, so slowing down a bit made perfect sense.

There was one more bit of 310 that caught my eye, and it reminded me of  my rip across Northern Quebec and Labrador, en route to Newfoundland across the Trans Labrador highway, and that is stunted pine trees in a tundra like vista. I see it quite a bit out East, but usually on a very small scale, and it always catches my eye when I do. I made a point of going back for this one, but am rather disappointed how the camera seemed to catch all the foreground, but almost nothing of the background of trees short and squat in a carpet unto the horizon.



the tundra of the sub-arctic Prince Edward Island
I totally retouched that photo. Cropped in to eliminate the foreground, then increased the colour saturation so the vivid contrast of coniferous green pine would show against the browns and reds of withered and dry foliage of last year. Just for giggles, I'll show you a picture from the Trans Lab for comparison:

Somewhere between Labrador City and HVGB

Pretty much the same as above.
Should have just copied and pasted

Thankfully there weren't nearly as many black flies out on the Island as compared to Labrador, sort of none right at the moment, which suits me just fine, thank you, and I didn't resort to leaving Caroline for black fly bait while I skedaddled with my skin still covering my bones.

Caroline was pretty sure she was going to have a sore elbow for a couple of days following that ride, and we split apart as we crossed the Hillsborough River bridge as we entered Charlottetown proper, I to my bat cave (poorly lit underground parking at my apartment building) and she to her respite in the sun further down the road aways...

Tune in next time to hear how she sourced and replaced her windshield without my help. ;)

This coming weekend is looking nasty, but thankfully we didn't get the snow that Halifax and Saint John got today, just some wee flurries that are pretty much already gone and done that state change thing, solid to a liquid. Snow to rain.

Cheers!

P.S. Oh, remind me to do that darned oil change and sort out why my headlight decided to suddenly stop working.