|Westhead Point, East Green Harbour Nova Scotia|
|And the Plan was not so Good. But this ride was EPIC!|
Day 1 Crapaud PE to Annapolis Royal NS
|Day 1 Crapaud PE to Annapolis Royal NS|
|I woke up stoopid early|
|All over-loaded up and ready to roll!|
Anyhow, breakfast is getting cold so I'll say 'Cheers' for now and I'll get on with it.
|Crossing the Confederation Bridge|
I rode at a fair mile munching pace on the roads I'd been over before, was looking forward to riding south along Route 4 through the Folly Mountain area towards Truro NS and my planned start of the and enjoyed the cool morning air as I rode towards Truro NS where I would begin my ride up along the Glooscap Trail. Zac suggested an alternate route late last night, but it never got into my GPS and I was a bit disappointed at the condition of some of the roads leading to Route 4, which was pretty darned straight right on through to Masstown where I stopped in Masstown Market for a cup of coffee at Tim Hortons, sat down by the curb and met Lexis, a shy pit bull cross with a beautiful tan coat. And I to my horror, found my front right fork seal leaking enough to concern me. It looks like it's time to replace both seals, and I'm not looking forward to the fork spring compression tools I'm going to have to buy to do this job. It's nowhere near the brake pads which is fortunate.
I met another gentleman who wanted to talk bikes, and at 63 years old, the proud owner of a honda CBR1000. He had his knee operated on this year, and was sad to say he's only put 2 km on the bike this year, he just can't ride it safely Yet.
Once outside of Truro and on the Glooscap Trail proper, I really began to get into the ride, trying to alternate between a spirited pace yet still being able to "butterfly gaze" as my friends call it.
|He hits the gravel shoulders with his trailer.|
|The Schubenacadie River at low tide|
These next shots are from Burncoat NS and Burncoat Head as it overlooks Moose Cove
The Walton Lighthouse area was particularly scenic, with nearby camping on the opposite side of the Walton River. There were quite a few tents pitched there this weekend.
Hants County NS, which Glooscap Trail on Route 215 is a hoot! Watch out for hay wagons and manure trailers!
White Head NS is well worth the stop. I met a local family out for the day, and we talked a bit of bikes and the history of the area. Sad to say I didn't get their names, but we must have spent a good half and hour chatting happily away in front of Indian Rock aka White Head rock. They were camped right on the beach in an old camper van, along with a diftwood campfire, so I'm going to guess free camping if you like rocks. Not so great for pitching a tent, I'm afraid.
It gets a bit more urban around Windsor NS, and I find that when the road leaves the coastline that I tend to take fewer pictures. :D
|My camel back is awesome!|
Outside of Windsor my lack of mapping began to rear it's ugly head as Garmin had decided to avoid the highway and route me on a tertiary road outside of town, just off the main highway...It was a bit broken up, but fun to ride. I tend to get nervous when Garmin tells you to constantly turn and turn again withing kilometres of the last turn.
|Dragons be here!|
It looked like I only had to follow this for about two kilometers before it hooked up with what I thought was a larger road...
|The Ole Homestead|
|It's fun as long as the puddles aren't deep and plentiful|
|Ummm. No, not on a bike I can't pick up by myself with plastic cases.|
On the way out of town I found a chip truck at the town limits and I had to stop in and try the fish and chips...
|Nippers, Like them on Facebook... ;)|
|Fantastic Fish, and the fries are hand cut just begging for malt and salt!|
|Sadly the fork is still leaking. At least the rim won't rust|
When my 81 year old father found out I was headed this way, he sent me on a mission to locate the headstone of his Grandfather David A. Corkum, who used to teach in a one room schoolhouse in Scots Bay NS until his passing in 1913. His great gradfather was also a David Corkum, and I think he also was a school teacher, but I may have misheard. Anyhow, he was under the impression that his mum was born there, and left around the time of her father's death for New Brunswick, so he sent me on a mission to Scots Bay to find lost family ties...
On the way you have to cross the valley through Canning, then climb a steep hill to the Look Off. As you can see I was caught behind a logging truck that was rolling up it slower than clutch out first gear, and I had cars in front and behind, so it became quite a balancing act complete with hot clutch and overheating motor. Once you get to the top you have to stop at the Look Off...
|Caught behind a logging truck on this spectacular ascent to the Lookoff NS|
|Looking out over the Annapolis Valley NS|
Yes, it was a pretty popular spot, so you will see bikes, cars and people there.
|The road to Scots Bay|
|Cape Split NS in the distance, and its worth riding out to it.|
|The cemetery where my Great Grandfather David A. Corkum is supposed to lie|
|There is a David Corkum laid here, but it may be my GREAT GREAT grandad|
|The school house was moved and renovated and is seen before you.|
I could never be described as shy, so I accosted the first local I found and asked them if they were born there in Scots Bay, but she pointed to a gentleman across the street sitting on the porch shucking peas... "Go ask Oliver, he was born here." and with that I crossed the main road and talked to Oliver about the history of the area, and of the schoolhouse that had been moved and converted into a community hall way back in 1916. Today there is a tin warehouse standing on the spot.
Right, lets play tourist and ride out to Cape Split.
|Cape Split looking back over Scots Bay|
Two brothers had emigrated from Germany aboard the Pearl and had landed at Lunenburg Nova Scotia in or about 1752, where one of the brothers was sent to work on the island of Tancook, on a farm. He hated it so much that he worked his passage off the island with a fisherman, collected his brother in Chester NS and walked all the way to Scots Bay from there a distance of 85km as the crow flies, but with the brush and scrub back then, only crows could fly in a straight path. The cemetery shows a large number of Corkums were laid to rest there, along with other founding families.
I really enjoyed that moment (after given probationary family status) sitting on the porch and talking of David's father, a local fisherman in Scots Bay who had to leave the industry back in the 70's as the government bought up the fishing licenses and put a stop to the weir fishing that went on along the coast. At the time they were offering a couple thousand for licenses that today are worth 1.5 million dollars!
Things have really changed in this Province since the fish stocks became depleted and limitations imposed. A way of life the supported families for generations was coming to an end. You can see it as you ride round the coastline. Large towns and villages that surround a once thriving fishing industry and cannery that now seem weather beaten and in decline if you look for the signs.
I know a few fishermen these days, and two of them only do it part time to put food on the table, both younger men, while the older one works with a partner who holds a second license, so that between the two of them, they can support a home and family. I'd really like to have seen this place back in the 1900s, when boats and horses would have been the transport of the time. David's father would have had to get his fish from Scots Bay to a market in Wolfville, the rail station, or perhaps ship it out, but where to? Salt cod and herring? Who was buying it? I could have stayed for hours... I had to get moving before I made a pest of myself. Did I mention that I love history?
I bid my new family a fond farewell and set off for Harbourville NS.
The roads on this part of the mountain are iffy, a combination of paved and gravel that will frustrate street bikes and have the adventure types really enjoying the ride, but not many of them connect in a straight line and I had to do a U-turn when I saw a lemonade stand...
|At 50 cents a cup, who could resist a bargain like that!|
|Note the cradles under the boats to prevent tip overs.|
|I made it! The Annapolis River|
I saw a beautiful hay field and cow pastures along the Annapolis River, and turned up a driveway to ask the farmer if I could have permission to camp in the field below the house. After she found out that I loved her two dogs, and they loved me, she told me not to lick the electric fence and to kindly refrain from cow tipping. I'd been so worried that I'd be turned away, I was rather embarrassed, but I've found that everywhere I travel, it's the same all over. The people that I meet are on the whole wonderful, and we all have stories to tell.
You are probably saying to yourself "This guy can't afford a $35 campsite?!" It all adds up. I spent $350 a couple of weeks ago riding around the Cabot and Fleur-de-Lis trails in Cape Breton, and if I spent the same on a three day trip, there is $700 right there. I really wanted to do three days for under $200 so that I could prove that camping and riding every other weekend was possible.
|Beautiful camping spot!|
|Just me and ole Bessie|
|Note to self: do NOT wizz near the fence!|
|What a view to wake up to!|
|This tent peg went in easy, and pulled easy. I wonder why?|
|Six years strong, and it fails this trip!|
|Ramen, and Turkey Sausage!|
|Flashlight runs on a single AA battery|
Below I'm bored and took a picture of my RavPower 6700mah powerpack recharging my Cardo G4 Scala so I can have music for tomorrow's ride. When I bought this it was to talk via cellphone on a trip with my Dad into the interior of New Brunwick, now I hate to ride without listening to my tunes.
|Charging up the scala|
Note to self: in the future place the tent along the furrows, not across them as I feel like I'm trying to sleep a camels hump. (Just kidding, I have a nice thick Thermarest I bought last year that is working out pretty nicely)
|The view from the supper table.|
|The cows might drop by for a drink later tonight|
|It's looking like I'll be riding into some rain today.|
Day 2 - Annapolis Royal to West Head Point NS
I hate to be so miserable, but I woke up to some rain showers and drizzle on an overcast day and had to pack up a wet tent before making my breakfast of tea. I just wasn't hungry and wanted to get moving before the rain that was heading my way actually hit.
I'm guilty of following my Garmin and not studying the paper map as closely as I should have, and when I missed an exit for Digby Neck, I took the next turn indicated by Garmin onto Lower Cross Road that skirts St. Mary's Bay... The asphalt quickly petered out and became gravel, then potholed, then a bit iffy, but there was farm equipment around in the fields, and and a pickup truck headed towards me who stopped to chat, and when I asked "Does this road get me out to Digby Neck? My GPS says it links up with the main road.", the old Farmer laughed and said "I've seen so many guys like you who ask the same question, and yes it'll get you out there." That was reassuring even if I felt a bit foolish, but with last nights rain, trying a u-turn on this heavy bike with it's essentially street tires was daunting, especially if there was wet clay ahead!
|Hay fields by St. Mary's Bay NS|
|I met the farmer just round the bend as this road started looking a bit worse.|
It was only about three kilometres, and one slightly bad stretch in the treeline where I was forced to stand on the pegs and throttle up, but otherwise good. On a dry day even the GSXRs could have done it. ;)
|St. Mary's Bay NS heading towards Tiverton|
When I hit the ferry wharf it was at the end of a hairpin corner and the line up of vehicles caught me a bit off guard as I'd been enjoying the 20kph corner perhaps a bit too much.
|The Tiverton Ferry|
|Yes the fog was pretty thick!|
|Boats anchored just off the wharf|
With all this fog and two cable ferries to get out to Brier Island, I opted to save time and skip the ferry rides and head back down Digby Neck towards the town of Digby itself.
A quick rest stop and a chance to don an extra layer of heated goodness, as I have a heated vest that I take along on all my trips, as you might be surprised how cold it can get in August while riding in the rain. This morning it was a damp 15 degrees Celsius, while yesterday it had been closer to 30 with the humidex factored in. And that is exactly what this turned into, fog with a bit of rain that made me THINK about donning rain gear, but not enough for me to want to stop and do a rain dance by the roadside.
|That's the mainland!|
|This is Sea Foam, not a fuel additive.|
|House for cheap, features include skylight for natural lighting!|
|Digby NS, a picturesque little town with a rich history.|
|This is a destination for a lot of the cruiser crowd, me not so much.|
It's about ten and if you look at the map, here I am in the parking lot of Tim Horton's chatting up the bikers that showed up for a poker ride that had been cancelled, when a Mustang showing off ran through the intersection right in front of the RCMP cruiser that had left the lot. We all laughed, and secretly I was glad that it hadn't been me that they were after.
|Drama in the Tim Horton's parking lot.|
The next stretch of coast was nice, and further on down Route 1 you come upon the homes of very proud Acadians who flew their flags on the front lawns of their homes. Happily it was a Sunday morning, and most of them were still in the cathedral parking lots, so I was able to make good time out to Cape Forchu. I stopped only a couple times as the fog was thinning, but obscured much of the detail I wanted to capture.
I did hit some light rain just outside of Digby and pulled over to do a rain dance and get into my gear.
|Still a very pretty sight, the camera doesn't do it justice.|
The roads leading out onto Cape Forchu were fun, with twists and turns and elevation changes. This was a refreshing change after the Acadian shore, and my bum was thankful for it.
The farmland gives way to the ocean and sights like this greet you from the road as you speed your way out along Main shore Road which is a nice gravel road, but there were plenty of washouts to keep a wary lookout for as I later learned they'd been hit with thunderstorms and lightening while I was sleeping in my tent, and enough rain to sweep away parts of the road into the ditch and surrounding marsh.
It was time to get out of this rain gear, and I found a nice grass verge next to Allen's Lake where Eric pulled up with his Kayak strapped on top, and we chatted for a bit about bikes, ethnic foods, and Kayak racing as he used to compete in the Halifax K1 kayak races, although he didn't do as well as he liked, he was still very proud of it. Today he was going to do a bit of fishing out by that lone pine in the fog you can see.
He did pass on that he and a group of friends had done a dirt riding adventure tour from Thailand to Cambodia, rough camping every night, buying geese and chickens from farmers as they passed through, turning them on a spit over the camp fires. It sounded very enticing and I asked about pricing etc, as it's something I'd love to do at some point.
|Allen's Lake NS|
|That's a loon, he doesn't care for motorcycles or kayakers.|
|Eric is owning this shit!|
|That looks just so appealing|
I'm a bit claustrophobic, and having my feet and legs inside the kayak isn't the most appealing thing in the world, but I used to love to canoe, and I once did three kilometres up a river while my bowman did nothing but fish. I simply loved it, and the thought of being in a kayak without the huge sail area of a canoe and single paddle is very appealing but for the cramped condition. I have to convince my sister to let me have another go at hers when I get home.
I hit asphalt again in Overton, and shortly found myself at this memorial to sailors who worked the sea and had perished in the pursuit.
|Looking across the Inner False Harbour|
|Doesn't she look just a bit like Darryl Hannah in Splash?|
|Just a rock, but it's a rockin' rock.|
|Cormorants on the Atlantic Ocean side|
|Cape Forchu Lighthouse|
|The rock again. Seeing makes me feel all warm inside.|
Okay, enough of the Rock, time motorvate myself and head into Yarmouth... And out again. The fog has been burning off, and is largely gone as I ride towards Wedge Point NS along the 334.
Sorry gang, not much to see here, I got a bit bored.
|This is how we roll. Improved air flow on the legs|
|Wedge Point NS|
|Goose Bay NS|
|Forms at a nearby boatyard.|
|Goose Bay looking towards Comeaus Hill|
I got rid of the heated vest and stuffed it back into my side case as the day began to heat up, and I was looking forward to Pubnico, but I was hearing a rhythmic clicking sound whenever I was on throttle steadily, not while coasting with clutch in, just when the throttle was maintaining or accelerating. Thankfully it was simply my O-Ring chain protesting at the lack of lubrication and I was able to quickly put that right at the next suitable gas stop in Pubnico.
|Fork Seal needs looking at|
|I'm not really happy with the chain way on this trip|
|Gulf of Maine, Pubnico NS|
The Lighthouse Route does not fail to please, in fact, this whole coast right up to the York Redoubt in Halifax was simply awesome in terms of road condition, twisties and scenic vistas. Gaspe and Cabot Trail may have the views and the news, but I found this much more engaging and technical on two wheels, with a lot more going for it that a brief rip down Deals Gap. I can really only compare it to Skyline Drive and the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virgina. These roads are as well maintained with no frost heaves, although some sections you need to pick a line as the asphalt has deteriorated a bit, but there were no surprises and I scrubbed my tires in nicely while maintaining a safe non-license threatening pace on what is essentially a Sport Utility Bike or SUB as a friend calls it. Now I was in love with those 120/17 front tires as the Continental tires just gripped curve after curve for the rest of the day. We are talking about riding twisties for five hours until I started to lose my light around 7 pm that evening!
|Shag Harbour NS|
He beat me out of the lot, but I later made up for it with a pass and was happily on my way along the Lighthouse Route once more.
|Another fixer Upper for you!|
I passed the road to West Green Harbour on my way out to Western Head, and the hour was getting late enough to have my head swivelling looking for a good place to camp. As I rounded the curve, I saw a mowed field with a car and lobster traps, so I u-turned and asked the owner Frank for permission to camp out by his lobster traps. I had to repeat myself as clearly he couldn't figure out why anyone would want to sleep in a tent and feed the mosquitoes, but he okayed the idea, and I left him to set up the tent and let it dry out in the evening sun and breeze.
|Trying to dry off the morning's rain|
|My home for the night|
|The gate and guestbook|
|This is a cow and sheep pasture, and it looks as if they prefer to graze the point itself judging by the grass.|
|Looking out over George's Rock into Roaches Cove|
|Waves cross the Hell Hole and strike the rocky shore|
|So much colour, although my eyes are drawn to the thistle|
Marcy pointed out that a badger was paying my tent a visit, and I turned to see him scuttling away across the short grass into the bush. I must admit to never having seen a badger before, but it looked more like a porcupine to me.
|Badger or Porcupine?|
|Blurry, lousy photo either way. lol.|
Both the badger/porcupine were hungry, and I made my cordon bleu meal of mini ravioli over my SVEA123r and ate it while watching a fabulous sunset over the pines and scrub bordering the site.
|Keens also make a handy windscreen|
|The camera just doesn't do this justice.|
|The moon is very bright tonight|
|My flea bay special|
The weather took a cold turn that night, and it was refreshing to fall asleep bundled into my sleeping bag as opposed to the previous that had been quite humid and warm, the caveat was my tent had moisture both on the inside and outside of the rain fly, and after a quick meal of oatmeal and tea, I had the tent rolled up damp and inside the canoe bag, ready to roll the moment I sorted the rest of my lazy body out.
Day 3 - Western Head NS to Borden-Carleton PE
|Day 3 - Western Head NS to Borden-Carelton PE|
|I carry a rag just for moments like these|
The road was so engaging along the Lighthouse Route, that I gave that title to the blog, for if I were to visit Nova Scotia again, I would be quite content to ride from Yarmouth along Route 3 all the way along to Coastal Route 7 where you would need to ride the 211, 316 and 16 all the way to Canso. That ride would be epic, and Route 3 is currently in fantastic shape, and I can honestly say it is one of the best rides I've done in North America.
|Townsend Harbour NS|
|Apple Cove NS|
|Apple Cove NS|
|Crescent Beach NS|
|Crescent Beach NS|
|Last year the bike would have been taking a dirt nap if I tried this|
|One of my absolute favourite shots of the trip|
|Dublin Shore NS looking towards Bull Cove NS|
|West Dublin United Church|
|Bull Cove NS|
|1604! Four hundred years ago!|
|The Town of LeHave NS|
|The ferry from the Western Shore to the East LeHave|
|The commercial fishing wharf of LeHave|
Mike and I talked about the truck, and how much my 81 year old father would enjoy the pictures as well as my Island family, and a few friends back in Toronto. He said "I've got something else you might like in the barn." and with that he opened the door and led me through his well equiped shop to this gem... A 1972 BMW R75/5 with 55,000 original miles on the odometer. This is a combination electric and kick start, with no decompressor, so Mike told me that it would take a beefy man about four full weight good kicks to get it going from a cold start, and that he much preferred to use the electric start. Lol. Having some experience with kick starts, chiefly my 2001 Honda XR400, I agreed with him, although I commented that it certainly was handy to have it on a touring bike, to which Mike agreed, and way back when it was new and shiny, he'd ridden it from Nova Scotia clear across to British Columbia, down the Californian coast into Mexico, turning around in Central America's Panama to ride it back up the opposite coast of Mexico, on into Texas, then Florida where he was able to do a few laps of he famous Daytona 500, and right back up the Eastern Seaboard home to Nova Scotia! An epic trip carrying the aftermarket cases you see in the photos, with one case set up as a kitchen, the other with clothes and gear, and a pup tent strapped to the back. Mike's other ride is a newer 2002 1200RT that he gets out on, but he hasn't put nearly as many miles on at as he had the older BMW, and it was in immaculate condition!
|The proud owner|
After finally saying farewell to Mike, I left Bridgewater and I skipped a bit of coast and headed for Mahone Bay NS, and stopped for lunch in the town of Western Shore NS to a Lebanese meal of Fataya and chips. I'd been riding for five hours, and a cup of coffee with the food made perfect sense, as the pace I was setting was spirited enough to get me back to the Island that day provided I didn't stop too often.
|Fataya & Fries|
|New Harbour looking towards Tancook Island NS|
|Looking back towards Blandford NS|
|This was the good section of road|
|Twists and turns complete with beautiful views!|
|Northwest Cove NS|
|Northwest Cove NS|
|It's a Ural, don't hold it against him... :P|
|Near Boultiers Point NS|
|Bored again, can you tell?|
|Middle Point Cove NS|
|Middle Point Cove NS|
|Looking form the memorial towards Peggy's Cove Lighthouse.|
|Looking out over St. Margaret's Bay towards Southwest Island.|
They've chosen a beautiful spot for the memorial, and the search efforts of the local population, their kindness to the families of those who lost relatives in the disaster is well remembered. It makes me proud to call myself a Canadian, yet sober at the loss of more than 200 passengers of crew of the doomed flight.
|A closer view of Peggy's Cove|
|Oh the humanity!|
|No thanks, I'll just slow down and keep on riding...|
|Clam Pond NS|
|Long Cove NS|
|Martin having more fun than luck as the incoming tide swirls at the foot of the bridge.|
|Note the antlers on the hut, and more on the side!|
|Ketch Harbour NS|
|This is how we roll as we follow the flag vehicle|
The York Redoubt NS
I figure I'm the only history nut out here, so I'll try to post the best of the best of this remarkable defensive point that has been a stronghold for the British Empire's foothold in Canada for over 150 years of active use, since the days of that fellow Napoleon misbehaving back over in Europe and abroad. I wish I had more time to explore this site, and I vowed then that I would be back not only to ride the roads once more, but to take more time to visit LeHave and The Citadel in Halifax, but for now a quick whip round to see the highlights and tread the ground that others had walked over 200 years ago in service of King George.
|McNabs Island, the narrows.|
|The base of the original Martello tower, both headquarters and signal station for the battery.|
I got to play fetch, but sadly when he realized I wasn't going to give up the ball, he made me throw it instead and he got to play fetch. His companion warned me that the ball was all covered in goober, but I told her of my dog Suzi and revelled in watching him fetch and fetch again until he was thirsty. See the ball he dropped in his water dish?
|The docks of the Eastern Passage|
|MacDonald Bridge, Halifax NS|
|Wind'er up and get plowing!|
|Mikhaels Cafe makes good pizza!|
|The highway is somewhere up ahead, or is it back there?|
|A cup a joe to make me go|
I stopped into the MacDonald's parking lot in Amherst for a small cup of coffee, and spotted two bikes out in the parking lot with Alberta plates, a cruiser and a battered GS500E very similar to the bike that started it all for me years ago.
|A GS500E! Now that brings back some fond memories!|
I went in to find them sitting down and I pulled up a chair and started chatting about the cucumber. Nick told me that sadly they had started the trip that morning with two, and were plotting the best route back to the Cabot trail to search for it. Lol. I gave them some fun roads to do down in the states as they were now headed into Maine for a border crossing after finding a hotel in Moncton, and was able to suggest all my favourites until Lake Erie, where my local knowledge ends. I must put that right some day soon. Nick, Adam and I talked all to long, and I hadn't even had the coffee I went in for as we got booted out and into the parking lot where we carried on our conversation. They'd graduated that year, and Adam had studied Electrical Engineering of all things, so we spoke of the arcane mysteries of Electrickery that you mere mortals know not of. Nick graduated with a Science Degree, majoring in Physics and Chemistry, and had to concede that I knew nothing of the latter.
|A long road ahead and behind!|
I've got just over 1800 kilometres on the odo for this trip, it's 2 am and I'm going to wake up my sister when I roll up and driveway and set off the early warning system aka Zippy the Jack Russell Terrorist.
|One more stop before home.|
|Zippy, Odie and Ron relaxing on the porch...|
In my travels this past weekend I saw a sign in front of a travel agency that spoke to me enough to share it with you now: