|Suzi in Parc Forillon QC
Preparation is the worst part of the trip for me as I tend to pack like a pessimist, then ride like an optimist, which means you pack rain gear, but don't put it on until just AFTER you figure out that this rain is not going to let up any time soon. Well, I needed to include Suzi in that mix, so I procured a fullbody rainsuit for her from Neo Paws in Toronto, as well as a pair of Doggles for her. I was most concerned about her eyes exposed to the wind as she'd be riding up front with me in a Dog carrier suggested by Liz Metcalfe that strapped over my shoulders giving her a stable platform up front for her to ride in. I think we were pretty set for this... Now were we going to be able to find hotels that would accept dogs or should we camp our way out? I brought all the gear we'd need for either option, although I also made the mistake of bringing food which bulked a bit too heavy. The bike was loaded down pretty heavily. :(
|Ready to roll
I was scrambling for last minute items to cram into my tank bag, and stuff into my luggage as was my usual habit at the time. It still is for that matter, lol.
I was about 21km into a journey that was going to top the 5,000km mark, riding east on Elgin Mills, getting used to the weight and handling of the loaded touring bike, when suddenly my rear tire blew right off the rim, and I found myself hurtling down the road with the rear end trying to beat me to the stop light ahead. Thanks to my experience in the dirt, I was able to ride it out safely and get the bike over onto the shoulder without trouble, but was unable to get it onto the kickstand as the back end was considerably lower than it normally was.
The bead on the tire was broken, the tube had a shredded hole slightly smaller than a credit card, and I'd no spares or tools to fix a roadside flat. Bugger!
Suzi was content to check out the grass on the side of the road while I examined my options... I knew my friend Mark was at home, so I called him and asked him to bring my car to collect Suzi and I, and when he arrived I unloaded the bike and stuffed everything into the trunk of the car and gave Mark a ride home after thanking him profusely for collecting us. Meanwhile the KLR was chained to a post by the side of the road.
|11:35 AM Houston, we have a problem
Willie went out of his way and followed me back down to Richmond Hill, helped me pull the rim off the bike, and get the tire sorted out so I could ride the bike back home and reload it to try to start out once more the following day.
I gotta tell you, I was really touched on how many people were willing to lend their time and help to get us back on our way.
Saturday was a write off now, so I opted to start my journey afresh the following morning...
And once more... We were off!
Day 1 - Richmond Hill ON to Cornwall ON - 436 km - 4:05 hours
After yesterday's flat, I decided I'd stick to the sideroads, and we found ourselves on Highway 7 for much of the trip, until I realized that I'd better get some miles behind us before sunset, so we dropped down to the 401 and booted on up the highway until six pm, when I checked my Garmin Nuvi 265W and looked for lodging. A motel in Cornwall said they took dogs and offered a reasonable rate, so rather than ride into the sunset and evening I opted to park it and take the room for the night, and while inexpensive, it was so old and musty that when Suzi jumped up into bed to curl up with me, she reeked of dirty carpet. That was the lowest we've sunk in accommodations so far, next time we'll hazard a tent by the roadside before we do that again.
|This is what Suzi thinks of superslab... I do too, but I can't curl up and sleep.
Day 2 - Cornwall ON to Rimouski QC - 663 Km - 6:30 hours
|Day 2 - Cornwall ON to Rimouski QC
|The rest stops in Quebec were a rest for me, playtime for Suzi and her new friends.
Once we left the Trans Canada Highway, and got North of Riviere Du Loup, Suzi perked up to the smell of the farms along the side of Route 132 in Quebec, and when she first smelt the Saint Lawrence river, it was a veritable orgy of sniffing for her. We would ride past a dairy farm, the cows grazing in the field beside us, but she would be sniffing the wind, looking for the source of the smells downwind of the farm, and I tried to point out the source of the aroma with limited success, but once we were north of Rimouski and the shadows began to lengthen, we stopped in at a motel along Route 132, and once the owner assured us that they did indeed admit dogs, and were shown the room, Suzi and I went down to the shore to explore a small section of the coast. I think I spent more time watching her explore the beach than anything else, for even her body position as she sniffed tidal pools for the first time showed she was ready for instant flight if need be.
|Sunset over the St. Lawrence Seaway
|Cautiously determining the source of that fishy smell
Day 3 - Rimouski QC to Kelly's Cross PE - 1172 km - 14:16 hours
|Day 3 - Rimouski QC to Kelly's Cross PE
|Is there room for one more?
Yes, you will see this more than a few times, as the winter's frost heaves the roads, leaving cracks upon cracks which are patched, and eventually the road is resurfaced, so if you aren't on a long travel suspension adventure bike similar to the KLR, then you may want to soften up your suspension settings and be prepared to ride on a bit of gravel through some of the sections.
|Parc National Forillon, Gaspé, QC, Canada
They call this Anse de l'Etang, and it looked like a perfect stop for Suzi and I.
Okay, the day is moving on, Suzi and I are beginning to get a bit tired, and I was wondering how much longer it was going to take to get to my sister's place on Prince Edward Island, as well as dreading spending a third night on the road as my funds were rather limited, as accommodations and meals dig deeper into ones pocket than any other expense on a trip like this. I recalculated the route on the GPS to fastest route to find that if I took it, I would arrive in her driveway sometime before midnight, so if I continued on this very lovely scenic drive after arriving in the town of Gaspe, I thought I had better take the most direct route, and let Garmin lead me inland towards the town of Murdochville QC
|Route du Lac Sainte Anne
|Which way do I go?
|Route 299 QC - Fun with a capital F!
|Campbellton NB, the bridge over the Riviere Matapedia
|Campbellton New Brunswick
|Do I really have to wear this thing?
|You rode 1800 kilometers in that thing?!
|And Suzi hangs out with her pack. Jealous little girl, isn't she?
I feel spoiled now, a guest bed for us!
|Zippy the Jerk Russell Terrorist
|A KLR makes a trip for a haircut in Cornwall exciting on the Island clay roads
|Sunrise over Kelly's Cross PE
|Confederation Bridge - They charge you to get off the Island, not to get on.
Day Tripping: Kelly's Cross to Alma NB and Return - 430 km - 5:17 hours
|Day Trippin' to the Bay of Fundy NB and return
|Mike added a home made foot rest to his DL-1000
|Ryan enjoying the ride.
|Cape Tormentine as seen from the Confederation Bridge
|The Petitcodiac River
|Shepody Bridge, Germantown NB
On the way back to the island, Mike had a stop for us planned at the Cape Enrage Lighthouse and let me tell you, it was some fantastic scenery for this Ontario boy! The immediate road to get from Alma New Brunswick is largely interior, but there are few views and vistas from the hill tops on the way in on "Scenic Drive" NB 915 that are lovely, although the road might not be in the best of shape.
Once you turn off of 915 onto Cape Enrage Road, you drop in elevation to just above the water level. It's quite beautiful, with a 30 kph corner at the bottom before you hit the beach proper.
|The corner is to the right, just out of sight.
We ran into a spot of trouble here as there is a tight hairpin in the road that takes you from Pebble Beach at sea level to the cliff tops where the Lighthouse stands. The corner was tight enough by itself, but Mike managed to find all the pea gravel in the world dumped right in that spot, and one minute he was upright and in a second, his front tire had folded out from underneath him and down he went, hard!
It wasn't until much later on, years later in fact, when riding to Saint Martins NB, that I realized what was going on. In New Brunswick they "chipseal" some of the rural roads instead of replacing the asphalt, and it had been done on this road no so long ago, and as this corner was downhill, the trucks climbing the corner had dropped part of their load in addition to gravity helping the uphill chipseal to drift down into the corner. I tell you, if Mike hadn't crashed, it would have been one of us following him!
|Our excitement for the day.
|Looking back toward Pebble Beach from Cape Enrage
|Cape Enrage and Pebble Beach
Mike led us back out to NB 914 and on down through the wee town of Harvey.
Shepody Marsh near the town of Harvey New Brunswick
Closer to Moncton you see the gems out on this lovely day.
Once back across the Confederation Bridge it was time to put the bikes away for a wee while.
This afternoon we were going to head to Bonshaw's wee amusement park and enjoy the day.
Things got serious, and the rivalry commenced out on the track.
|Kelly's Cross PE to Farmington ME
|Farmington ME to Richmond Hill ON