2018 CSBK Round 5 - CTMP or "How I bought a bike trailer in Quebec City"

My friends and I used to head out to Mosport as it was known then to watch the Canadian Superbike Championship or CSBK races. It started as a day trip back in 2006, then year after year a camping trip on the inside of Turn 2. Turn 2 Carnage it was dubbed, as many a rider found they'd missed the racing line out of turn 1 and ended up cartwheeling through the grass of the corner on down the hillside.

It got home on two wheels... Didn't it?
This year I planned my entire vacation around the event, and gave myself lots of extra time to get there and back, the idea that one or two people in Ontario might actually like to see me again after my five year absence from that province.

Packing was a bit last minute as always, but this year I had a fool proof plan! I'd stop after work on Friday and grab a cup of coffee on the way home, that way I'd stay awake and git er done!

Err, Saturday morning at 0345 I was still awake, granted I was all packed and ready to go, but I hadn't been able to get to sleep as I'd imagined I would at 2300. Clearly this was a fool proof plan, but I failed to realize that while I am nobody's fool, I am in fact, an idiot.

The Plan: Charlottetown PE to 

Day 1 - Charlottetown PE to Dipper Harbour NB - 490km

Day 1 - Charlottetown PE to Dipper Harbour NB - 490km

Start mileage - 79135 km
I decided to start the ride from the parking lot of Anna's Country Kitchen, but she was closed as it was the Annual Crapaud Tractor Pull at the Exhibition grounds, so I left the parking lot and headed down to fuel up before crossing the Confederation Bridge and entering a light mainland fog off of Cape Jourimain NB where I peeled off onto NB 955 to avoid the traffic on 16 and enjoy the coastline through Murray Corner.

That takes you past a lime green food stand that I've passed for years, but as it was now just after lunch, I thought I'd take a wee break for lunch before heading onto NB 15 bound for Moncton and points further East. It turns out that M&G are the initials of the original owners, Majorie and Gwenn, and the burger wasn't half bad. The view of the shale beach off of the Northhumberland Strait was nice, and I enjoyed the brief repast. I'm kinda glad I did stop, as when I was checking over the bike I found that in the parking garage I'd left my portable speaker on top of my tent bag on the back seat, and it had moved back and fallen in between the tent bag and my givi top box, whew! I saved $17 dollars worth of chinese bluetooth magic from my own carelessness!

Gotta love traffic jams in New Brunswick...
I was well past Moncton now on the TransCanada and making good time, but in no particular hurry now that I'd left the island, as I didn't have to be at CTMP until Thursday night, so after a Timmies stop in Salisbury just off the highway, I decided to head down NB 111 over hill and dale into St. Martins NB. It's a wonderful stretch of road for motorcycles that I've been on a couple of times in the past, and I should mention that the chip seal portion is now pretty clean of loose gravel. Last year I slid out the rear a couple of times as I powered through the loose bits.

Speaking of last year, I made a horrible mistake and ended up running straight up into St. John and spending far too long caught up in city traffic... A mistake I would not repeat this trip, but I would hit some of my favourite spots along the way...

Tynemouth Creek covered bridge, circa 1927
The fog adds a bit to these pictures, as the last time I passed this way it was much clearer, and low tide. These were taken off of Shore Road just south of St. Martins Road NB 111.

Tynemouth Creek circa 1927

I After leaving this area, I began to ride into one of the many St. John Fogs, which anywhere else, we would call a light rain shower. :) Thankfully by the time I was off Gardner Creek's NB 825 and once again on the TCH 1, I had ridden out of it, only slightly moistened.

Once out of St. John, the twisty coastline road called to me, and I followed NB 790 off of the TCH headed for Chance Harbour, out onto Chemin Breakwater Road to the wharf out in Beldings Cove NB.

Chance Harbour Wharf
I've been riding this season on Shinko 705 tires, and as they are past 1/2 done, decided to monitor them, hoping they would make the anticipated 4,000km trip before causing me to open my wallet for a new set at the end of the ride. So far the set is close to 7,000km and wearing fairly evenly, with just a bit of scalloping noticeable on the front tire, making them sing along when on the highway, but in otherwise great shape. I'm running 36psi in the rear and 32psi up front.
Front 120/60R17 at 7k

Rear 170/70R17 at 7k

NB 790 takes you past Back Cove in Dipper Harbour NB, where you will find a little turn out for viewing the rocky coast. I loved how the fog made this a fresh view for me, and stopped for a few minutes to get some photos. 

Back Cove, Dipper Harbour NB

Back Cove looking East

Back Cove looking West
Some might call this fog "rain"... 

Back Cove Selfie!
Remind me to get a haircut before I go on vacation... 

I met a man from Moncton that had a cottage in the area, and his two dogs who seemed pretty happy to meet me. This is how I account for the mysterious "3rd Person" shot included here.

Right, time to swing a leg over and get on down the road... It was nearing 1800 (That would be 6pm for you 12 hour clock types) and I began looking for a spot to camp. I chatted with my friend Zac who proposed a couple of sites, but one he mentioned was just back down the road a ways, at Cemetery Loop road, just across the bridge over Moose Creek. It was only a couple of kilometers back, and pretty secluded with a couple of mowed parking areas off to the side where I could pitch my tent on relatively level ground. It seemed ideal a the time, but why were there piles of shot shells off to one side and no sign of skeet or any other targets?

Hmmm. 410 gauge shells, piles of them.

Luxury, the chair I mean... :)

Why when I camp do I almost always forget to bring enough fresh water?! I had about 1.5 litres left, and if I was careful it would do the next couple of meals and wash ups before I could replenish my stock. I find that 2 litres or more is the sweet spot where I can cook, wash up and repeat, complete with brushing ones teeth tossed into the mix. I decided to be lazy and take my first meal straight out of the can, Stagg Chili Classic cooked over my Trangia knock off on a Lixada stick stove used as the pot stand and windscreen.

The grill is to keep small mugs and cans from dropping down into the flames below. 

Mmmm! Chili
The trangia clone is a great stove, but needs a decent windscreen, which this Lixada stick stove provides easily. I was also using a cut down tomato soup can as a simmer ring. The trangia by default runs full steam ahead for a boil, or in this case a burn, so I made sure that the soup can bottom would tame the flames for enough of a simmer so with stirring the contents of the can wouldn't burn to the bottom, or that I could cook rice over a lower heat. It is a bit slow, but then I wasn't going anywhere, and neither were the mosquitoes for that matter.

In fact, the Off Skintastic I was spraying myself with turned out to be more of a marinade than a repellent, and I was on the receiving end of so many bites, that I figure those shotgun shells were local boys defending themselves in a losing battle against the New Brunswick Air Force. Still, they must have beat an orderly retreat, as I saw no cast off arms in the area.

Dipper Harbour NB
Zac has been out this way, and convinced me that there are some nice views up the trail, but suggested that I not take the Versys in as I may not get it out again. Damn straight! Green mossy rocks and lots of leg dragging uphill runs. If it rained overnight, I'd still be there, boiling my boots for sustenance, and hunting shellfish along the shoreline. WILSON!!!

The Versys can do this!!!

Close to Lobster Cove but not quite

Yeah, great views, Zac. If you love fog. 
I'd never have made this mud hole loaded with touring gear. Splat! Just like a Fundy Adventure Rally Participant.
Hmmm. They could run the FAR here as an A route, but only after a torrential downpour. 
It was a peaceful place afterall, and I only got a bit of rain passing over the tent late at night.

Day 2 - Dipper Harbour NB to Israel River Campground Jefferson NH - 680km

Day 2 - Dipper Harbour NB to Israel River Campground Jefferson NH - 680km

I woke to the hum of the mosquitoes once more, and decided it was time for less Off Marinade, and more bug hat. I had brought along a butane gas stove setup that comes highly recommended by an Australian named Mark Victor. If you haven't checked out his YouTube Channel, do a search for "BikerBits". I've watched him setup and use this from everything to brewing up a cuppa on the side of the trail to baking nachos with it, or Cake in a Cup.

$37 dollars worth of gear in this shot. The beer cozy I got for free. 
This was an easy one, a cuppa char with milk, and then boil some water for the breakfast of champions, instant oatmeal. It's a very efficient setup that only requires a windscreen for strong wind. I'm pretty happy with it, although I miss my old SVEA123r flamethrower... More on this later.

Mmmm! Tea!
It wasn't an incredibly dry morning, as a rain cloud had passed over the tent late last night, and there seemed to be a few more clouds in the direction I was heading, further West. But it meant that I was packing away my tent nice and damp, so I was hoping for a dry night tonight to air it out.

Looks like rain ahead... 
Last year in this area I visited Lepreaux Falls, but i messed up and visited what I thought were the falls, but found more of a rapids, so I was bound and determined that I was going to find the larger falls... And while I did find Little Lepreaux Road and the covered bridge on it... 
Lepreaux Road
I managed to completely miss the falls access road, and found myself on a one way trip out to Boyles Cove! Adventures by Garmin.

Little Lepreaux Basin

I was quite taken with this older home and utility vehicle parked here.

Finally I found myself at a fork in the road, and opted to head out to Boyles Cove on Boyne Road to see what what shaking out that way... And I'm glad I did for not only did I find the wharf, but there was a large flatbed there with a hoist that was lowering huge bags of feed out into the waiting boats.

Boyles Cove NB

Don't drop it!
Rick was busy on a Sunday morning lowering bags of Salmon feed down into the boats equipped with special hoppers and augers that would head out into the penned salmon farms and spread the feed under water for the hungry salmon.

Rick taking care with his load. 

They must be hungry little things! Please sir, may I have some more?
Rick told me that the fish take almost 18 months to mature in the farms before they are harvested, at a weight of 14 lbs to as big as 21 lbs! These fish farmers work 365 days of the year, but most will take a day off at Christmas time.

Rick is done for the day and eager to get back to St. John and his family. 
I really enjoyed the time he spent filling me in on what he was doing. Yet another reason I live on this side of the country. :)

I delayed a bit, and cut ahead of Rick before he could rob me of all those glorious corners on Boyne Road, but once back out near NB 790 I opted for a shortcut that Garmin said would hook up with the highway, but it turned out to be a dead end on some pretty beaten up pavement, so bad in fact that had Rick beat me to the highway, but that was okay as I was able to pass him fairly easily and wave farewell as we headed in opposite directions on the TCH.

'Murica is thataway!
Now it was just a superslab slog to get to St Stephen NB where I was going to stop for a nice long Timmies butt break, and I got the chance to meet up with the local bikers and talk my favourite subject (No, NOT FOOD!), bikes. Food is my second favourite subject. While there I fell in love with Sheri, my server, but didn't have the guts to reveal my new found passion while ordering second breakfast and a coffee. Wuss. There was a whole ton of bike traffic headed East, and I wondered what was going on, but it must have simply been touring time.

I swung a leg over and headed into the center of town for the old border crossing that is now closed to commercial traffic, and found myself with absolutely no line up and the cutest little brunette border guard that made me forget all about Sheri. After a few questions and smiles all round I was waved across and off I went straight to the gas station at the intersection of Maine Route 9 and US Route 1 where I met a couple of day trippers, Justin and Sean out for a blast down to the Coast and back on a pair of Triumph motorcycles.

Justin on the Bonneville and Sean on the Thruxton...
Did I mention that I love riding?

My goal today was to rip down ME 9 but avoid Bangor and it's outskirts, and at Justin's suggestion, avoid the returning weekend traffic that would be heading back inland from Ellsworth and Bar Harbor. <--(Note the spelling? I'm in the states now and must resort to using the language. Google spell check is happy with that. :P )

The Army doing it's thing. 

I have to admit, I still find it a bit sad to see so many of our NATO allies military vehicles still sporting desert camouflage.

I had no intention of riding ME Route 9 all the way into the outskirts of Bangor where it gets slower and slower, but opted instead to turn south on Jarvis Gore Drive aka ME 46. I got across 1A successfully, but then made the classic mistake of heading further south, and when I caught the error, began to head for the nearest bridge across the Penobscot River which turns out to be the Interstate 395, pretty much the fastest way of crossing the river and getting to my lunch time destination of Dysarts Truck Stop. But along the way I saw a sawmill by the roadside, and as my old man is a bit of a nut with a chainsaw, I thought I'd stop and ask permission to take some photographs of his setup.

Pat's Sawmill, Near East Orrington ME
Pat had a neat little setup, a gasoline powered bandsaw mounted on a slide that would run down the length of the pine or spruce log and whisk off the four sides. The problem he had to overcome was that the setup didn't accommodate real trees, assuming that the diameter of the logs was the same at both ends, which never happens in real life, so Pat set up a couple of jacks underneath his rail table.

That container up top is the lubricant, not the gasoline. Yep, I made that mistake too. 

So he drops the traveler bars and uses the peavey to roll the log onto the work bed. Then he measures up the log diameter, and uses a pair of jacks to fine tune the height so that the top and butt end are in alignment for the first slice of the saw. The real improvement he made over that system was going from a manual scissor or hydraulic jack was to "Air over Hydraulics" so he could use his air compressor to quickly make height adjustments with very little labour at all. If the butt is 12" in diameter, an the top 8", he would need to raise the top so the first and subsequent cuts result in a perfectly square post.

A Kick Ass thickness planer

Wood lathe

The current run, 8x8 posts

He can't get rid of the off cuts fast enough.
There aren't many people willing to take the off cuts as they are softwood and will soot up the chimney double quick time. Creosote and all.

I got the special $75 rate. 

Chain oil, not gasoline as I first thought. 

I think this is a 1984, Dad would know, not I too many wheels. :P
Pat's family are originally from Prince Edward Island, or I should say, originally from Ireland, and settled on PEI for a number of years before pulling up their roots and heading for the New England coast where he lives today. He used to ride a Harley, and visited the island long ago, but by car he was quick to admit.

It's not too late Pat, you can visit again by bike! ;)

Pat is pretty proud of his innovation, as he should be. Manually jacking each log and fine tuning it would be a right pain!

I said "So long" to Pat and headed out of Orrington and across the river, then opted to ride a short bit of the Interstate to my exit for Hampden and the Mecca of all truckers, Dysart's Truck Stop. They've got a full facility their that caters to their needs, and the store is stocked with all the luxury items that you might expect to find in a long haul cab, plus a few that might amaze you.

I was more interested in their food at the moment, as it was about 1400 and I had nothing but a wee bit of oatmeal at breakfast that morning to sustain me.

Real Corned Beef Hash (Hache)!

Stinky bikers get sat at the Trucker's table at the restaurant where you can order part of the all day breakfast. Corned Beef hash was my order, and it was fantastic! They list this as "The number one special!" on the menu, and after a couple of bites it was clear why.

There was a mother sitting with two small children in the booth opposite me, one of them a little girl wearing a red super cape. I told her I wish I had one for my motorcycle riding, but she was a bit shy and shuffled her feet while her mother laughed.

Now it was going to be a bit of a superslab slog as I wanted to make good some distance before jumping off onto US Route 2 and heading for Mount Washington NH, but I still had a long way to go yet, and a few more exciting roads to ride before I got even close.

Orrington ME
US Route 2 isn't the fastest way to get you there, but it does let you explore some of Small Town America and enjoy the twists and turns as it cuts its way across the states, East to West. Riding solo on a bike I was able to pass anything ahead of me without issue.

Canaan ME

You know that Maine doesn't have a helmet law, right? Well, I'd ridden a wee bit without a helmet before, and thought I'd try it again for giggles, so from my gas stop in Farmington ME to Bethel ME I rode without a helmet, and remembered why I don't very much like it. 

  • The wind noise was okay for a while, but over time it was too much, and I would have ended up wearing ear plugs or getting a bigger and better windscreen. 
  • My hair hurt. I had sort of a moto mullet, and it felt like it was being tugged on by the wind. Down right unpleasant and I can see why a bunch of riders where bandannas etc. 
  • The sunglasses bounced down my nose driven by the wind. 
  • I felt vulnerable (Go figure, hitting a deer in '07 might have had something to do with that)
I think that experience was enough so it might take another eleven years before I try it again. In my defense, it was a stinking hot afternoon. Warm sweaty helmet hot. 

Moto Mullet! (I need a haircut)
More Maine riders without helmets, but you will have to zoom in really tight to see their mullets. 

Around Dixfield ME I started running into more road construction, but as it was getting later in the afternoon on a Sunday, I had the roads pretty much to myself and was able to power on through them. 

This could be fun... 

Naw, it's too well groomed for it to be anything more than a quick rip. 
I used to visit the Route 2 Diner when riding through Rumford ME, but it's under new owners and they've gone through a name change, as well as rarely being found open when I pass it, I now tend to ride on by and took a souvenir shot to remember old times and to see if I could zoom in and make out the new name. 

"No food finer than the Route 2 Diner" as it says on my T-shirt. Suzi and I used to love their Corned Beef hash... 
The River Valley Grill
Last helmetless selfie before I put the camera away and arrived a tad early in Bethel ME at Smokin' Good BBQ!

The best stuff in the world comes out of those smokers!
I was a tad greedy and made sure that I ordered a sandwich for a late lunch, early supper, and I ordered a full pound of their smoked beef brisket to go!

Smoked brisket on a bun
Mmmmm. It was so nice to have a goo noshe and sit and watch the world go by, then I ran into a couple of local lads in the parking lot that got another one of those conversations going... I really do need to make up some business cards and get a "rottenronnie.ca" sticker set for my Versys. Reflective black would be cool, no?

Ducati Multi-Strada and a Honda
I wandered over to the Good Food Store, a health food store that shares the same gravel parking lot and then bought some yogurt peanuts and dried pineapple for dessert and snacks later on. 

Time once more to hit the road, and in previous years, I knew of a sidecut through the town of Bethel that would run parallel to US Route 2 as far as the bridge at Gilead ME where I would cross Route 2 and run south through Evan's Notch on Route 113 from Maine into New Hampshire. I couldn't for the life of me remember the name of the road, and crossing the bridge from the North side of the river to the south side didn't seem right, but I wasn't prepared to U-Turn as it was now about 1800 and I wouldn't have a lot of light left if I decided to camp here. I figured I still had time to make the ascent on Mount Washington if I kept going...

The White Mountains ahead

Clearly I am not the only one who knows about this road... :)
Once onto Route 113, you might want to pull off your sunglasses, for the road is lined with trees as it winds it's way through the forest and into a ravine, the "Notch" in Evan's Notch. 

Looking South along Evan's Notch

I had a brief look for a campsite, but they are all the dirt and pine needle forest type, and I figured I could still get some miles behind me.

Google Maps in Terrain Mode shows how much fun this road is... 
I stopped in to a National Historic site off of Maine Route 113... Brickett Place, a historic family farmstead in Oxford County Maine, made of handmade red brick.

There were several large cleared areas around the homestead, presumably cleared for cultivation and livestock by the Brickett family back in the day. The amount of work this represents is staggering given the technology of the time.

I enjoyed the twists and turns of the road as it crosses state lines and back again, then finally, given the choice, I opted to head on 113B into Chatham New Hampshire, but this time I found the sight of barnyard livestock captivating, as I rarely see free range chickens so close to the road, with no fences in site at all. I thought it worth a U-turn to get this...

Can you spot Foghorn Leghorn out there at all?
I love the age and feel of that old shed.
A wee bit further, I saw a huge porker out in his mud pit, and when I saw his kin just down the road, I had to stop and get a picture. They must love motorcycles, or photographs, for they lined the fence almost before I could get the camera out.

What is that thing he's on?

Curious, but smart enough to stay back from the electric fence. 

Piggly Wigglys
"Th-Th-The, Th-Th-The, Th-Th... That's all, folks!" 

Welcome to New Hampshire! "Live Free or Die"
Whoot! While messing around on these roads, I came across "Hurricane Mountain Road" in North Conway NH, and relived a trip I did across this thing back in 2008 with a few friends when attending Cromag 2008 with a bunch of ADVRiders. Of course I was on my KLR back then, and this road was much easier to ride on the Versys, even entertaining as I caught some air time over some of the bumps of the road. A wee bit of oncoming traffic and a jogger saw me yield for a spell, and long enough to catch my breath. Fun fun fun!

Just as I came down t'other side, a crew of about ten Harley Davidsons headed up the road, and I was damn glad I'd avoided them while ripping through the fun bits as the lanes get pretty narrow up there, and I've known some guys who think they own the road when cornering. 

This is the lame bit at the bottom. :P
This dumped me out near Route 302 and 16A, so I took 16A as the most direct route to the north, headed for Mount Washington, for I've passed it about 6 times over the years, and this year I was going to get that darned sticker and a view from the top! Just why have so many cars sported "This car climbed Mount Washington" over the years? I heard it was a twisty road complete with hairpins all the way up to the summit and I was on a mission...

That cloud reminds me of North Carolina's Great Smokey Mtns, as it looks like the forest is on fire. 

Getting closer... 
And it turns out that they close the road to the summit sometime before 1930! I was going to have to go camp for the night and try to get back here again for around 0800 if I wanted that sticker... 
NOOOO! The gate is closed!

I dropped into town (Gorham NH) and asked at the local gas station if there was a campsite nearby,  as I was looking for a campground with a shower and got lots of directions, some 40 minutes away! Bugger that, 20 minutes to Israel river campground where I quickly registered and put up my wet tent, and by the time I'd come back from swimming in the campground's pool, it was already mostly dry. Folding the ground sheet over the tent, then placing the folded fly on top of the ground sheet before rolling it all up works well. I must have killed five or six mossies in it while camping in New Brunswick, and smuggled their bodies across the border to depose of them here in New Hampshire. I'm an international criminal now.

I dashed into my swimming trunks and spent time in the pool with a bunch of kids and flies, More dead flies in this pool than I've ever seen before. No diving allowed, so I cannon balled my way in. There were three girls, and their mum swimming around in all those flies with me, and they, along with dad and their dog had all been up the mountain today. Tomorrow they are going to Santa’s village. I told them it’s a long drive to Bracebridge Ontario. I closed out the pool, and shambled my way back to my campsite, and decided that now would be the perfect time to add a couple of mini bottles of baileys into some hot water and enjoy it as a night cap. I really enjoyed the ease of use of the butane setup I was using this year, but I miss my SVEA123R and the nesting pot and cup setup as it was quite compact compared to the butane rig and kitchen I was hauling this year. Once everything was put away by light of my LED headlamp, I crawled in on top of my sleeping bag, and commenced reading one of the many books I'd hauled along with me on the trip, but these days all in digital version.
That rechargeable USB LED headlamp I bought for this run? It lost it's charge after 15 minutes of use tonight, darn it! I'd left my AAA headlamp at home, so now it was back to the "Flashlight in the mouth" hands free system again. I think I’ll go back to the Fenix 10 single aaa headlamp. Love that one, left it at home! 

Earlier today I'd waxed up my chain in Bethel ME after supper. I'd stretched it though, and figured I would need adjust it before climbing the mountain in the morning. When riding with my helmet off earlier today, I could hear a bunch of drive chain lash when on and off throttle. 

My mind was filled with a lot of thoughts about where I should go after the summit of Mt. Washington, who I should visit... I really do need to get better at lists and plans, but I find them so confining. It was wonderful to lie back and think about where I was going and what would happen in the days ahead without a worry of the when. Having lots of fun on my "No Agenda but the Mountain" tour. 

Bed at 10.

 Day 3 Israel River Campground Jefferson NH to Whitby ON -902KM

Day 3 - Jefferson NH to Whitby ON - 902 km
Asleep at ten, awake at 0500. It seems that I will never get a full nights sleep when camping. :)

Time to make a dash to the washroom, get my breakfast started and tighten that chain up before packing away my tent and gear and hitting the road. Today I decided that I was going to master the art of using dry skim milk powder in my tea. I'd tried dumping it in after the tea was made, but that instantly curdles it and you end up straining cheese curd with your teeth, so this time I mixed in with the cold water and put it on the burner to boil up for the tea. Have you ever burnt milk? Yeah. It boiled over and scalded the bottom of my titanium mug, and tasted horrible! Burnt milk tea... Ugh! Then I had fun scraping the bottom of the mug with my spoon, making more of an artistic star shaped figure rather than actually cleaning it. Note to self: Buy milk before going for a swim.

Breakfast of champions
Does this menu strike you as a bit bland? Milk tea and oatmeal every morning? Mix it up and take some different flavours with you to remind yourself why you love the Apples and Cinnamon so much. :P

A collapsible wash basin
Rather than live like a filthy pig, I opted to add a wash basin to the mix this trip. It folds out into a 5L basin, and with a dribble of dish soap and that 1/2 of a scrubbing sponge, it works nicely to keep me from dying of salmonella or botulism. I've a couple rags with me that I use for drying, but I will have to colour code them, as I used one for wiping bugs and road dirt off of the bike this morning, and one to wipe out my mug. Yuck!

Battery Tender USB charger putting a charge on my power bank
In the tent I've been using power banks to charge my devices, namely my iPhone and my Cardo Scala G4 so I can listen to music while riding. A couple of power banks do the job nicely, although I may decide to upgrade to a 20,000mah pack as opposed to an older 9600mah so I can charge two devices in the tent at the same time, probably about three times based on my current use. (Current use! I'm killing myself!)

It's now 0730 and I'm ready to roll. My dirty laundry is now in a spare dry bag all by itself strapped on top of the tent as the heavy riding pants I was wearing won't fit into my sidecases. I really need to learn how to pack less for these trips. The sun is up and it’s warm and its warm enough to cause a sheen of sweat to break out on my arms as I lather on some sunscreen so I don't crisp up like a sun dried tomato today. The chain was at 3 and after tightening, now 3.5 marks. It stretched like taffy the last couple of days, and I need to pay more attention to lubing it. I say that every trip, but with the cheaper chains I'm running now, it might be beneficial to purchase a chain oiler so it happens automatically. 

Back on the road and heading through Gorham NH, I decided it was time to gas up again, and met a couple on a new Victory motorcycle with Alaska plates! Brad and Andrea aka PigPen (Right down to the custom plates). They purchased a 2017 Indian Roadmaster, in the Dark Horse trim, with a custom front fender, had flown down to Missiouri to pcik it up, and were touring around before heading up into Norther Vermont to visit Andrea's family, then heading back to the west coast and home. I was tickled as my friend James aka WobblyCat was currently riding in Alaska, and I told them to look out for him when they finally headed home.

I hit the gate just behind a Harley rider and paid my $17 and got the coveted sticker handed right to me! I was a bit miffed that I'd have to follow the Harley up as I've a bit of experience riding in the Austrian Alps from back in 2012, and I was fairly certain I would be held back by him, but as we sat at the gate fumbling with our change, he waved me on ahead of him and off I went!
Sorry about these next two videos. I took them by hand and google photos won't allow you to rotate video yet.

It's a fun road, and reminds me of Stelvio Pass for a while...
Once out of the treeline you aren't treated to the sight of snow capped mountains in August, or the sight of a glacier, but you do get a good view of the surrounding mountains, and it pretty much looks like rock, rock and more rock with some green stuff clinging to it.
Tour bus!
I got 7/8th of the way to the summit before running into the back of a shuttle van. After that the brisk ride up was over and I was forced to take it easy and limp along in second gear with a touch of throttle now and then.

The summit draws near
The parking lot is gravel, and was fairly windy that morning. The sun still nice and bright, but all that warm air left far below in the valley, and as I wandered a bit to get pictures in my t-shirt and mesh jacket, I was cool bordering on chilly! It felt so good to be cold again after weeks of hot summer weather!

I think that is the museum and weather station up there in the clouds

The Versys made it!
This bike climbed Mount Washington!!! Whoot

Reunited with Brad and Andrea, with thier new Indian


They were off to the museum so we parted company and as I saw no one had left to descend the mountain, I thought this an opportune time to get rolling on down hill before a minivan could get ahead of me and ruin my descent. Off I went.

There are all sorts of warnings about over heating of brakes, aimed at automatic cars, advising them to turn out and let their brakes cool off before continuing down the mountain. There must have been over six turn outs for cars and trucks to take advantage of, but as I was using engine braking, and braking only just before apexing then getting off the brakes completely, I was fairly sure that it wouldn't be an issue for me, although I would rest the bike fully at the bottom to let the cooling system return to normal, as much as it could on a hot day like this.

The road ahead. Now I am reminded of the Alps... 

They even have a nice gravel stretch to keep you amused, but most of it is paved and there are no aggressive corners in the gravel. I am pleased that I wasn't doing this in the rain though. 
And that was that. After passing this way over six times, I'd finally climbed Mount Washington and had the sticker pasted onto my top box to prove it. :P I did a wee bit of shopping down at the bottom in the National Park shop and bought one or two stickers more, chatted with large group of riders that were taking a break before heading up themselves, and thanked my lucky stars that I'd hit the park close to opening and light morning traffic!

I headed south on 16 into Glen NH, where I finally decided that I'd sucked the life out of my Garmin 60cx batteries as every time I shut down the bike, the GPS would cut out too, so I found a shady spot off in the back, pulled out my electronics bag out the top box, changed the batteries, had some water, then fired up the bike and headed East on Crawford Notch road aka NH Route 302 until I saw this old farmstead on the roadside and had to do a U-turn to get a couple of good photographs of buildings that I felt represented an era of settlement and expansion of family run farms.

Off of Crawford Notch Road, Glen NH

Quite the farmhouse!
Back in Glen I'd set my destination for the Kancamagus Highway Route 112 NH, and as it starts in Conway NH, I was already a fair ways North and East of the start, but there are all these wonderful roads that are "Up and Over" the mountains in the area, and sure enough Garmin said there was one up ahead a few miles in the town of Bartlett that would get me onto the Kancamagus and headed East again. I turned off of 302 and onto Albany Road, crossed the train tracks only to hear the open top box behind me clatter shut as it bounced over the tracks. CRAP!!! I pulled over and quickly checked the contents to find that my electronics bag complete with charging cables, flashlights, headlamps, chargers for my phone and chargers for my camera battery were all gone! I couldn't even remember putting it back into the top box at my last stop! Blame it on stupidity, but I closed the top box and rode back what seemed about seven miles into Glen where I had replaced the batteries, all while keeping an eye glued for the distinctive red and black zippered stuff sack full of gear that I've hauled hither and yon for years. I was depressed and pissed off with myself. Later back on Albany road I stopped at a brief turn out and sank into a bit of depression over how much I'd lost and what effect it was going to have on the trip. A total loss, for I didn't have my contact info on any of that gear, and it was gone forever. Someone had to have picked it up, as it was heavy enough not to have bounced once it hit the ground. Oh well, such is life. time to take a sanity break, shrug off this riding jacket and try to find a spot in the shade.

The view as seen from Bear Notch Road
Bear Notch road is closed in the winter season, which to me is always an indication of a good motorcycle road, but gravel tyres may be mandatory on some of them. ;)

I won't bore you with the Kancamagus as I've been there many times and taken dozens of photographs. In fact, now that I had lost my camera charger, I was going to have to conserve the battery power and take most of the shots with my cell phone, so I'd a self imposed limit on what I was going to be taking snaps of from now on.

I was enjoying the ride East, and decided that I'd seek more of the same and head North East as much as possible when I crossed the river from New Hampshire into Vermont, and I can't even remember where that was, but it did put me next to a Wally Mart and I needed to spend about forty dollars to get an ac charger for my cellphone and scala, a charging cable for my iphone, a headlamp and a bunch of batteries, as well as a pack of three stuff sacks found in the camping section. RIght, I felt a bit better about the future of this trip as I now had enough gear to pull it off.

Heading North East through Vermont, I turned out and found myself in a very familiar setting, that of Danville VT where I used to sit and chat with an old timer that would tell me stories of the changes when the French Canadians would drive down 15 with their chainsaws and change the nature of the lumber industry forever. He was missing this year, as was his moped, and to be frank, I was missing my Suzi who used to lie in the shade under the picnic table for a good long break from the bike, as she had passed away a couple of years ago. I couldn't help but wonder if that was the same fate as the old man? I took a picture of the hydro station more for me and memories than to share with you. :)

Danville VT 
The General store, Danville VT

What the hell? Why not ride North on 15 and possibly head up into Sherbrooke Quebec? There isn't anything stopping me, and the thought of getting caught up in Route 2 traffic wasn't appealing so off I went!

I was quite taken with some of the older homesteads in the area, and couldn't help but stop to take a couple of photos of this working museum.

I was hot and down to two bars of fuel, which represents about 75 safe kilometres, and usually where I like to fill up, so I pulled over and found that if I stuffed Super Premium in there, there wouldn't be any nasty Ethanol in the mix. A treat for the bike.

The good stuff!
$3.399 per gallon works out to $1.17 per litre before conversion from USD to CDN.

I was riding on 15, but now it ran South East and I wanted to get more North out of the equation, so I jumped onto VT 100 for a bit. It's a great stretch of road that runs almost the length of Vermont, and I'd ridden it with my friend, David years ago one long weekend. Good times, and it was a wee romp down memory lane for a bit, but I opted to cut more easterly by hopping onto VT 58, which quickly put me in mind of those West Virginia roads that start off all prestigious, then leave you on a gravel road heading up to a "Knob" somewhere far from civilisation, with banjos and guitars duelling in the distance.

Right, I'm riding through the foot hills of Vermont in their ski area, what could possibly go wrong?
Your GPS is wrong!

Yep, this got me wondering what was in store if I kept going on this road, but remember I had a full tank of gas? Why not? Adventures by Garmin can be interesting, and I fully expected to reach the end of a cottage access road that lead to a trail head, with Garmin advising me just to get over the summit on the trail, and I could hop back onto a real road... Only four kilometres to go! Yep, it's happened to me in the past, so with that thought in mind, I pulled over and put on my "I don't want to crash in the gravel!" gloves, and to get this shot above for the blog. Besides, Vermont 58 is called "Hazens Notch Road" and who doesn't love riding through Notches, Knobs and Hollahs?

Darn it! They'd been grading this road during the past week or two, and it was all loose stone over about an inch of sand in some places, so the front tire was in danger of washing out, and at times both the front and rear wanted to drift sideways on me coming out of the corners, and as this road went through the Notch, there were a number of corners! I'm forced to admit that I didn't end up going as quickly as I would have liked to. Yeah, dirt tires on a Sport Utility Bike. I can be something of a poser... Until I throw a leg over my XR400R, then it's a rip with as many wheelies as I can get away with. :)

Loose surface... Lots of it
Once through the Notch, I came across metres and metres of blue plastic tubing running down the trees along the side of the road, and thought perhaps it was a sap collection system, nothing like the old taps and buckets I was used to as a kid, and when I saw a truck parked by the side of the road with someone out working on the verge, I pulled in to ask, and had it confirmed that it was a Maple Syrup operation, with the collection point being the barn downhill of me.  

The view from Hazens Notch VT
I gotta admit, I was pretty happy to be back on the macadam and I made some good time in the hot weather up into Enosburg Falls VT, roughly aiming for Rouse's Point NYS and the bridge that would take me there... 

Enosburg Falls VT USA

I made the corner onto VT 105 East, and saw a street lined with large shady trees, and decided I deserved a nice rest break by the roadside, and lubed up the chain again to be on the safe side as it had been more than 300 miles ago when the chain last saw some wax, and in this hot weather, I was sure I was stretching that chain again somewhat.

Shady rest break
Do you ever notice that we've modernized ourselves and no longer need shady trees in favour of electricity and air conditioning? Most of the parking lots are now bereft of trees lining them, and to stop at a coffee shop or gas station means you are out in the hot sun unless pumping gas or in store purchasing something. I think we are missing out on something here...  I had to stop, my butt was on fire and the heat was sapping my energy. I'd been drinking water all day long out of my camelback and I was very happy I had it with me.

You come across evidence of wealth
Wealth, by nature of hard work and effort, and possibly generations of work that leads up to a commanding structure that shows just how prosperous this farm once was. I love seeing this sort of thing and trying to imagine how it got built and the generations of additions and changes that took them from gas lights or kerosene lamps to electricity...

The tires are near the 8 or 9k mark
My tires are definitely showing signs of wear, and I've a nice flat spot on the rear tire with signs of scalloping that isn't going to be nice for handling or noise and vibration on the highway. The front isn't looking fantastic either, but I'm still impressed with these Shinko 705s and will order in a new set once I get back to the island in a couple of weeks.

A bit uneven now, and noisy. 
So as I was passing cars in a huge conga line heading out of Vermont towards New York State on VT 225 and US 2, I passed a sign saying Noyon Quebec that way. I'd never heard of it before, and thought I'd do a U-turn when safe to do so and head on up that road and see what there was to be seen... A tiny little border station with a Canadian Customs official waiting for me to approach, without another vehicle in sight! I could get to like this. I even struck up a wee conversation with the guard, and when asked if I had anything to declare, I told him about losing my electronics bag, then shopping at Walmart to replace it with about $40 dollars worth of stuff. When I told him that I would be visiting family, friends, then camping out at Mosport, he told me that he and his mates used to race cars there, but now that he had kids it was a thing of the past. I laughed, and said "Well now you should take them with you! They'd love it!" He smiled and waved me on my way, and with that, I was back in Canada, and able to use my Cellphone for more than just a flashlight. :)

Bienvenue au Quebec!

I was back on the metric system again!
As I've never crossed at this border crossing before, I was relying on my old Garmin GPS maps to provide me with directions to Autoroute 30 which didn't exist in 2012 when I bought this set of maps. Doh! However, I knew that if simply headed north towards Montreal I'd run smack dab into it, so the only real difficulty became heading West, but not far enough to get stuck on a dead ender and have to retrace my steps and run straight into the developing storm front ahead of me.

I want to ride into the sunlight!

I figured if I aimed myself at Beauharnois QC, that I would hit Autoroute 30, but I was heading towards that storm, and the lightning strikes over Montreal were nothing if not impressive and ominous! At last I found my way onto Autoroute 30 Ouest, but as just before the toll plaza, I ran into the edge of the system, and spotting a couple of other riders with the right idea, parked on the side under a bridge, doing a rain dance, so I pulled over to say hello and join them.

Success! I'm headed in the right direction now!

Doing the rain dance in good company 
I introduced myself to Kevin and Oscar who had been out visiting family in St John NB, and now were bound for London ON and Oshawa On respectively. Kevin was going to stay overnight in Cornwall, but Oscar was going to push on through to Oshawa that night. After a quick introduction, they headed for the Autoroute 20 Ouest whilst I muffed it, missed my exit and ended up needing to make a direction change in the rain on the way towards Vaudreuil-Dorion. By the time I was on Autoroute 20 heading towards the 401, the rain was now so heavy that I had difficulty seeing, and ended up in behind a transport truck with my head down and visor open. Just a little bit less visibility, and I would have pulled over to the side and waited out the rain.  

Is this the end of the rain?
 Eventually I rode out from under the system, and found myself stopping at each EnRoute on the 401, and at the first one I stripped myself of my rain gear, and allowed my sweaty juices to evaporate, until I rode back into the rain again near Ingleside, where I pulled off the highway and under the canopy of a commercial Petro Canada cardlock canopy to redon my rain gear, and I'd stay in it all the way to Oshawa.

I met Coco at the Bainsville EnRoute, a 3 year old Cock-a-poo that reminded me so much of my Suzi, but Coco was a bit bigger.

I bought a litre bottle water to refill my camelback, but almost didn't as they wanted $3.69 for a SINGLE LITRE OF WATER!!! That is almost twice the price of refined gasoline! And as it was at an Ontario OnRoute, it truly was Highway Robbery!

And the sun goes down on the 401, but the ride continues...

Day 4 Napanee to Oshawa - 180 km

Napanee ON to Oshawa ON - 180km
Near Belleville a flashing light tower put relections up onto the low cloud cover that looked exactly like lightning. I thought it was rain that I was riding into again, and I cringed.

So basically a night ride in the rain that put me in Oshawa at 4 am where I stripped off my rain gear and froze in the air conditioning while waiting until my brother Richard would get up early to head into work in Toronto. I figured he'd be up and out his door at around 6am so I had a bit of time to kill, and spent much of that brushing a cherry cheese danish pastry explosion off of my damp riding jacket. 

I pulled up at Rich's and headed into the back yard, and pulled off into the grass to park so I wouldn't be blocking his cars, and when Rich came out the door and saw me there, he offered me his sailboat down at the Whitby Yacht club for the week, but when I tried to get my bike off his grass, I found it was largely a mud pit and ended up roosting some of his back yard up onto his driveway. Sorry Rich, but it could be a wicked motocross track if you made the hills a bit bigger back there!

Once down at the Yacht club he gave me a brief tour of the boat, and also let me know that the toilet wasn't working, so I'd have to use the clubhouse washroom, that luckily also had showers available, and he had to rush off to work, and would see me afterwards.

I was on such a caffeine high, that I slept most of the day through then joined Richard and Kay for an early supper, had a shower and did some laundry And headed back to the Marina to find some of Richards friends in the race committee ask me to stay in the club bar as their guest for a beer and when the talk turned to smoked meat, regattas and motorcycles, I was quite happy to sit and contribute for a while. Rich has done a lot of work for the club, with ceramic tile, and renovations on the kitchen including drywall and drop ceiling for them, and has earned a lot of respect in the club for his efforts both on the racing yachts and as a member. We called it at ten and off I went to sleep on the boat. I have to admit I quite enjoyed meeting his friends and being "Richard's brother" for an hour or two. :)

The Jabberwocky
A Beneteau 32'

It was the ideal little hideaway for me, as I had arrived in the GTA stoopid early for the races, and made arrangements to meet a few of my friends while I was in town. 

I was envious of the kids in the sailing camp

Day 5 Whitby ON to Markham ON 

Woke up on the boat, and watched as a light rain began to fall. A couple of fishing boats headed out at 0700 this morning out into the lake, and I laughed to myself to think what my fisherman friend Danny would think of that, as he and Roger are out on the water by 0430! I’ve water and milk for tea, and quite happy about that, although have no idea where to find the induction heater and kettle in the "pit of despair" Kay told me about last night, referring to the storage bin under the countertop where all the pots and pans get stowed away.  I found the kettle! With a bit of milk in the refrigerator that I'd brought along with me last night, I could brew up and have some oatmeal. Fantastic!

Mmmm! Tea!
It began raining in earnest that morning, but that system passed over and by the time I was ready to leave for Markham to visit my friends Karen, Scott and their young family, it was sunny and I didn't need to worry about my rain gear, but just as I was getting ready to leave the boat, I got a call from my friend at work, Ken in Moncton, who began by pulling my leg and telling me that they needed me back in the office tomorrow... Hahaha. Like that was going to happen. 

When riding on the 401 Monday night, the bike got hot, and I burned some oil, enough that I topped off with about 500ml (overfilling the crankcase somewhat) and later, when pulling into my brother's driveway, I heard my coolant gurgling, so there must have been some air trapped in the cooling system. On the Versys in order to inspect the coolant level and top off the overflow tank, you have to pull off the side fairings, so I wanted to get some coolant, pull the fairings off with my toolkit and top off the coolant while Karen was picking up her kids from school.  That, and a stop at the grocery store for some pineapples for dessert, and when they pulled up, there I was, parked out front with my bike in little pieces, to find that I was chock full of coolant, and it must have just been the extreme heat, and I'll further suppose that the climb up and descent of Mount Washington might have been a contributing factor as I was using engine decompression as opposed to brakes to slow myself down. 

I had a fantastic time catching up with Karen and Scott, and meeting their little rug rats, although they'd grown quite a bit bigger than when I last saw them. I really have to do this more often. 

My friend Karen B. and I - Photo Credit - Scott B. 
Riding back to the boat was accomplished in very light "on again, off again" rain, and I was back on the boat ready for another night of reading to the gentle rocking motion of the hull, although I didn't get far in the book that night. 

Tomorrow afternoon I'll be riding to Orangeville to meet up with my friend Rich and his new wife Vivian. It's going to be a damn long ride there and back again through Toronto.

Day 6 Whitby ON to Orangeville ON and Return

After another lazy morning of tea I asked Kay if she was interested in meeting up for a late breakfast, early lunch, and it was off to Johnny's Original Eatery in Oshawa. Did you know there was two King Streets in that area? Apparently you have to be careful with the "W" for West. Mmmm! Late breakfast, my favourite! As Rich and Kay were heading across the border that weekend, I was very happy to sell my remaining US funds to her for the family exchange rate. :)

My GPS told me that I was about two hours away from Orangeville, so in order to make it for 1600, I left early after lunch and headed out on the 401/410 which took me right past the Forks of the Credit, so of course I rode up to Belfountain for a drink and chat with other motorcyclists. I did have to follow a car up through the hairpin, and found after all the riding I'd been doing in Atlantic Canada, that it was a too little and far too short a run. I met with Dennis whose wife rides a street triple, so he went with a KTM SuperDuke so she couldn't spank his butt anymore. It's a small world, as I found she also rode in the Honda 250 cup challenge for a season or two. My chain is loose yet again and needs an inch of slack pulled up. Trying to keep it greased regular, but this heat is hard on the bike, and it makes me think more and more that an automatic chain oiler would be a good investment. 

I'd still an hour and a bit before Rich got off work, so I took the slow way north and
got a bit turned around as I was searching for 25 instead of 65. Duh! Got here with a half hour to spare. I can relax under his shady tree and get caught up. Nope, not to be as I met him in his driveway as he pulled in, got introduced to his lovely wife Vivian, and watched her making her homemade Chinese dumplings that would be for supper later that evening after Rich and I went out for a boot through our old stomping grounds, Hockley Valley and maybe a bit more. 
Rich and Stoopid, his 2003 Yamaha FZ1 that he's had for a good long while now
 Rich and I headed North out of Orangeville, but the sky was gray to the north, and foretold of a rain front sweeping it's way towards us, so we headed East on Hockley Valley, then opted to turn South down Airport Road, and shortly turned West again to head back towards Orangeville on 5th Line, but for some reason or another when Rich asked me if I wanted to do a favourite gravel road of his, I said sure thing, and we ended up heading North through the tree cover on hockey valley 4th sideroad, a gravel and clay hill climb that took us back out to Hockley Valley, and coincidentally, that rain front. 

4th Line with Rich in the lead...

Now it's getting interesting!
A deluge. That's how I would describe that rain front that swept over us, soaking us both. Fortunately it was quick, and we managed to ride out from underneath of it, and by the time we were back in the driveway, Vivian had supper ready and it was time to eat. 

Homemade Dumplings!!!!
I watched her slice up what seemed an entire head of garlic for the dipping sauce for the dumplings which was basically soya sauce and garlic. What a fantastic meal! Thank you so much Vivienne! 

Can you see the scalloping on the tires? It must be the extreme heat cycles I put them through

The rear doesn't look that much better. 

That stupid chain! It had so much slack that it was bit of a chore to tighten it up in Richard's driveway before heading back down to the Yacht Club. The chain itself isn't looking all that great, as it was subjected to intense stress when climbing Mount Washington, then doing 902km from New Hampshire to get me here to Toronto. Richard played umbrella girl while I did the last few adjustments as that rain swung by to catch us again. 

Rich and Vivian
I got rained on from Brampton through to Pickering. It was worth it. Thanks so much for the dinner and the company. 

I had forgotten how much I enjoyed riding with Richard. 

Geoff was messaging me about the site and how little room there was. I’ll see tomorrow after I close out the boat and get rid of the garbage. 


Day 7 Friday - Whitby ON to Canadian Tire Motorsports Park

Mmmmm! Tea! Now that Kay had shared the location of the electric kettle with me, a brew up for tea took no time at all, and I was able to watch part of the sunrise on the boat, but I had my work cut out for me, as I was going to have to pack up all my bits after grabbing a shower at the yacht club, empty the boat of my garbage, and move these bits and pieces back down to my bike before heading over to CTMP to watch the qualifying on Friday, well to choose a campsite and meet up with my friends who were arriving later that day. 

Dn01 do not own 1 lol. 
Day 7 - Off to the Races! 52 km

Raingear hung to dry

My home away from home. 

The boat is locked up, all my stuff is ready to go, sitting on the deck, but with a cool breeze off the lake, I found I needed to wear my rain jacket over my mesh jacket for the first time this trip. Right, off to Rich and Kay's to drop off the boat keys... 

Mosport today!  Qualifying! 

Terry, Eric, Willie and Darryl - The Usual Suspects

I was at Mosport for what seemed minutes when I spied a number of my friends here. Eric and Terry run The DoubleHeader Adventure Challenge  and he had coerced his long time friends Willie & Darryl to help out and guide the ride in the local area. Think of it as Darryl's backyard and you might know how these two know the terrain. 

Darryl rides a Honda Africa Twin, and one of his mods included a reserve tank. It sips from the reserve tank first, then empties the main tank, according to Darryl. 

Africa Twin with Reserve Tank Mod
Camel tank. 7.5l gives him a total range of 550km, and the fuel system pulls from the camel tank first. 

Darryl seems pretty happy with this one. 

Or maybe Darryl wants an upgrade? 

Willie's Tiger

My friends Geoff and Viv were signed up for the rally, and had already pitched camp up on the crest of Turn 2, and had headed down to put Darryl and Willie to work. 

Geoff on his DRZ400

You have to hand it to a girl who gave birth not so long ago, and wanted to be at this weekend adv rally so badly that she brought her breast pump with her. Now that is hardcore. 

#707 Jacob Black checking everything cause his gear shift fell off on Shannonville. Race series last weekend, so he is making absolutely sure that everything is right this weekend. 

He runs 3 pounds down as the tires heat up and will gain three pounds over the course of the race, in the Dunlops he favours that give him great traction. And this weekend he brought rain tires, which historically on this track is the right choice. 

Ask Jacob. I have no clue why they are all riding with a sticker glued to their bikes. 

Tosh and Tom are here!

Meanwhile, Darryl bins it in the mud while leading his group. Adventure! 

A day-care outing to the track. Too cool!

Eric & Terry working hard or watching movies? 
I went for a ride around to see if I could spot any friends at the park, and ran across a campsite with this gem parked in it, a CD175 1968 Honda. James from Beeton Ontario, trailer-ed it out the race as his pit bike for the weekend. His Dad bought it in 72 and was on the 401 when he lost a rear tire. He parked it in the barn and there it stayed until his son fell heir to it. It still has 1925 original miles on the odometer, and James hopes  it will belong to his grandson someday, which may take a while as he is only four and a half at the moment. 

1972 Honda CD175 with 1925 miles

Meanwhile, back at the ranch...

I admit I was a bit dispirited to find Turn 2 so empty after all the years we'd camped and partied there, so when Tosh asked me to pitch my tent near them, I made certain that the invite included my friends John and Sarah who were on their way out to the park later that day, but Geoff and Viv had already set up camp at the very top of Turn 2, and seemed likely to be there for the duration. I was pretty excited and looking forward to seeing John and Sarah this year. 

Georgia is here! 

There was a crowd at the site, now with Tosh and Tom, and her brother and his wife, Jeff and Alison. They were easy to get along with, and used the right to shake hands, and the left to pass you a beer. My kind of people! I'd given John a ton of cash to ensure that I didn't run out of the good stuff this year, and he very graciously did the dirty work and filled half his cooler with ciders and Smirnoff's Ice, woodies, and radlers. Fantastic! I may have gotten a few Canadian as well in the bargain. 

Jeff started cooking what turned out to be one of his favourite camping meals, beef curry with boiled potatoes, and he was justifiably proud of his recipe and his skill in making the meal. I got invited to help myself to a plate, and I recalled that I had something a little special to share with Jeff and the gang that seemed to be very fitting, some fennel candy that I'd added to my wee camp kitchen as a mini dessert that needed no refrigeration. 
Fennel Candy

I might have made the mistake of sitting down to watch him, then getting stuck into some Strongbow Dry cider that Johnny had brought up for me. Oh yeah, I was feeling no pain at all. 

I'd also asked Johnny to pick up some more pineapple and a couple of steaks, but now that would have to wait for tomorrow night instead, but I had a slight problem as I had no cinnamon or brown sugar... Hmmm. Problems to sort out another day. We could always do steak and eggs for brekkie.


Georgia is a lovely old girl that is about 9 years old iirc. I'd met her earlier this year at Shubenacadie in July, and she really liked the beef jerky that I'd bought to share with her. I just had to wait until Tosh was busy before I could sneak just one or two pieces more.

Lalah's Madras Curry Powder
Available at Costco

It was an awesome beef curry!
Thanks Jeff!

Geoff is all done the Adventure Riding for the day, and is looking forward to parking his bike and getting stuck into a few beers. 

Georgia got put inside. What a beautiful dog, but all action and no pet. Kinda reminds me of honey in that regard. An athlete first and for most. Time for another beer and some lip gloss. I’m burnt. lol. 

Jeff, Allison, Tosh and Tom had brought bicycles with them, and rode off to check out the track while I collected my pile of empties and sorted out just what I was going to be doing with them. 

In fact, I'd started drinking around noon, and now it was around 8 in the evening and as Sarah described it, I was "White girl wasted" and it was all I could do to make sure my gear was weatherproof, make a trip to the toilet (considerably closer this year, within easy walking distance, then crawl into my tent and start snoring after I'd blown boozy air into my air mattress.  

Video Credit: Sarah Demianuk 
So guess who missed out on the freestyle show that evening? Yep, you guessed it. Sarah showed me this incredible video she shot and allowed me to add it here for you. 

Day 8 Saturday

The warm ups are out the of the way, and the races are beginning! I can't remember the order, but I do remember not to take thousands of pictures from a hill top. I think you will mainly see hole shot pictures and checkered flags from me this year. 

I was out there rooting for #707, and he had really improved since Shubie! Maybe he had finally sorted out his suspension problems from Atlantic Motorsport Park, but he was now running in the top six, and even leading the race a time or two!

Jacob was in second behind Cameron Walker in the lead on lap two! I think in Lap 8 in turn 8, Colin Campbell didn’t downshift whereas Jacob Black did and Colin got by him to take second away from him. Fantastic! 

Met up with Geoff and Viv up on turn two and watched a couple of the races with them from the hilltop vantage. 

Jacob has to rush to get his bike prepped for the next race

This is the only way I'm going to rember the schedule of events. 

Just a fantastic, hot day, although I was hoping my brother Shaun was going to come out to the races with me, he's said he may be out later in the day tomorrow to see some of the action. 

I sat down to striploin steak with John and Sarah for supper, cheese and Cesar salad. Mmmm! Fantastic! Thanks so much guys! At 2100 we were sitting down to get drunk as the sun sets over the track, and make friends with a visitor, Leo the male one year old retriever. Cutie, nosey little bugger. 

Tosh has got me rationed really well with Georgia, and I am going to have to remember to bring cat treats next year for the dogs. Rationed. 

Everyone is referring to Tom's van as the pedophile van, and it finally kicks in... A white panel van... I bust a gut laughing. 

Georgia at her favourite game

Okay, so I managed to fall asleep after supper, but this time I woke up and joined the fire for a good while of story telling and laughter. 

Tom and Jeff know how to make a good fire. 

Oops, maybe they need to head to bed? 
Another fantastic night with my friends at the race track. 

Day 9 - Sunday

Brother and sister working on the breakfast
It was early yet, and I thought I'd tour the pits again before watching the races.

C & C Racing, out of Kensington PE and Moncton NB. 

I finally convinced my brother Shaun to join me at the track, and we went on a tour of the pits. 

Whoot! I get a fan shot with #56, Amy Szoke! She's competing out there, and when I asked her what would make me cry if I were out there, she told me the heat and the endurance. Trying to stay on the bike as the acceleration out of the corners tries to drive you backwards...

She made it look easy out there. 

My friend Brian Peterson has this to say about racing:
"Get the kids interested in racing, 
then they won’t have money to do drugs. 

Start saving for tires now."

The Honda Team does well this year, and I got a free hat signed by them!


I honestly need to stop taking pictures with my point and shoot at these events. :P

Jeff does some great work

And Georgia is up for her favourite game. 

And it's time to pack it all up for another year, and head back to Rich and Kay's for supper, then another night out on the boat. 

My adopted race family

It's a wrap for 2018 and time to hit the road and head on into Oshawa. 

Front step selfie

Rich and Kay had done a shopping trip into the States with a couple of friends, so I beat them home and was taking a "I'm sitting in front of your house" selfie, when they rolled up into the driveway. 

Pineapples! You get a pineapple! You get a pineapple! Everyone gets a pineapple! Yeah. I forgot to eat the darn things, so I started gifting them to RIch and Kay so I didn't have to haul them back to Prince Edward Island with me. 

I took advantage of Kay's offer of a shower at their place, then Richard came down to the boat with me. Other than a broken toilet, I really enjoy it as a home away from home. 

Richard has become the spider assassin. Lol. Spraying with his salt gun or American chemical agent.  Bug-A-Salt! He'd picked up a pump action salt gun as Kay can't stand spiders on the sailboat, and they were kings of the marina, weaving webs anywhere and everywhere. He loaded up the gun then spent some time testing it out on the local arachnids. 

The price for freedom from spiders is never ending vigilance

Now it was time to have a look at the boat, and Rich was a bit nonplussed to discover that a hull fitting had cracked and was in danger of failing and sinking his boat right there in the marina! He made a jury rig repair and told me that he might have to have the boat lifted out the water to replace the fitting. Was it a season ender already? 

Thanks for everything Rich!

I really enjoyed the boat and hanging out with you and Kay. Come on out the Island again soon!

Day 10 Monday

Whitby ON to Keswickistan ON
Woke up on the boat for the last time this morning. Watched some fishing boats head out at 5 am, then went to sleep again for a couple more hours. Made my tea and cleaned up. Watched a pair of herons fly across the lake, then trucked a pizza box and garbage bag off to the garbage and away to breakfast and farewell with Kay at one of her (and now mine) favourite restaurants in the Shwa, Johnny's Original Eatery at the North West corner of King Street West and Thornton Road North. 

I headed North and West on all the back roads I could find, and pulled up in front of Dan and Carries at noon, so now I’ve got to kill four hours before they get home, so in True time honoured fashion I’ll drop in on Stacey and Kyla to say hello, and maybe ask for a doggie trim haircut. I’ll be good and try not to squirm or bite. 

The charge light was flickering yesterday, and it scared me , but seems to be showing amber charge today, although I have yet to see green yet. 

I love my Versys. Go almost anywhere, but get there in sportbike style

Stopped at Timmies in Keswick then rode out to see Stacey and met her dad there as well. He owns a model a ford, and knows my fathers friend and co-worker Don Mossey quite well, which sort of came as a surprise to me, but the antique car world in York Region is smaller than I think. Stacey has an old apple orchard and new, very well appointed kennel, as well as Fergus, a cute little rescue! Tea on the patio with the dog farmer. Her daughter Kyla is on dialysis and is in need of a donor kidney, and Stacey is going under the knife in September to give a kidney to Kyla. Wow. A mother's love. 

Stacey of Country Cuts n' Kennel

Country Cuts n' Kennel if you are looking for someone who treats animals with better care than humans. ;)

Seriously, both of my dogs, Honey then later on Suzi would abandon me in favour of her attention.

I took all the backroads I could, including Catering, Homestead, and ended up riding through Baldwin where my friend Garth used to parachute jump. There is lots more traffic on Ravenshoe now that 404 highway extension is in, and I wasn't exactly pleased, but it means that Keswick is now a suburb of Toronto, and property in Keswick has gone up in value as a result.  

Well it was off to Tim Horton's in Keswick, that happening place to grab a lemon slush and sit in the shade waiting for the work day to end.  There was a beautiful old convertible in the lot, and I chatted with the owner for a while. A 1966 Chevrolet Impala 396. He turned down an offer for 90k at one point! 

Well, the plans are all in place for the next three days, then I’ll need a map of Quebec to sort things out as I want to head into northern Quebec and void anything to do with a highway. Lol. The bike is running well, thankfully it’s cooler today, although the chain has stretched again and needs to be seen to. The Shink 705s aren't wearing as well as I'd like, and there is a strange tread thing going on, especially on the rear with lifted blocks compared to others. Interesting, but it must be the heat cycles getting to them. 

1966 Chev Impala 396

I cleaned up my garbage... :)

It was time to go hang out with my friends Dan and Carrie to meet Hannah for the first time (second, as I held her as a baby the day after she was born. )

It was great fun catching up and sharing a meal with them, as when I think of all the friends I left behind to relocate to the East Coast, they come to mind frequently.  

Good times
I got to tease Hannah and Jules over supper, and it was a special moment. 

Day 11 Tuesday

Said my goodbyes to Dan, Carrie and Hannah while Julien spelt in, finished my tea, and an had an awesome Hannah hug goodbye. 

Keswick ON to Emsdale ON - 215 km 2.25 hours

I headed up to my brother Shaun's by back roads, and managed to wake up Shaun and went head out for breakfast at the Simmering Kettle, after tossing a load of laundry into his machine... I had to change my plan, 'cause when I volunteered with Eric and Terry to work the Fundy Adventure Rally I thought it was the weekend following, not THIS weekend! Shoot! I was gonna spend the night here, then head up to my Dad's cottage, but it made more sense to do the boating with Shaun in his Sea Doo, then head straight up to Dad's place for supper and overnight there, then leave tomorrow morning bound for Sussex NB via QC. 

The Simmering Kettle in Barrie ON

Gonna go boating and swimming with Shaun this afternoon once laundry is started, and I'm really looking forward to it as I haven't been on a power boat for years! I think the last time was in Shaun's older, larger boat back with Lisa in 2008? Shaun owns a Bombardier that makes 255 hp with a blower. Max speed is 60 mph. Fun wow. Hair by bombardier! 

It's faster than it looks... 

Hair by Bombardier

This boat was so fast that it would leave the water crossing another boats wake! Thanks Shaun, that was brilliant, and the best time I've had on the water in years! 

I feel like Bilbo with this pipe of Shaun's 

Shaun's been taking guitar lessons and used me as a captured audience... 

So long Shaun and Doris! I gotta roll!

Time to make like a banana and split, so straight up highway 11 aka Yonge street into Huntsville to have supper with the old man. 

I passed an Indian place on the through Huntsville and convinced him that it would be wonderful! The Marigold Indian restaurant in Huntsville for supper, where I had Lamb Rohan josh with garlic naan and a mango lassi as dessert. Mmmmm! The diners beside us were pastors from the Salvation Army church, and we had a good conversation with them, as we had all been East Coasters at some point. Dad was born in New Brunswick, Dennis was from da newf der bye! and I lay claim to Charlottetown as my new abode. My weather app was saying it was 31 degrees today on the island! It was no better here in Ontario, and I was drinking water faster than I could sweat it out to be on the safe side of dehydration. 

A unique parking spot for the Versys

I think this was taken near Arrowhead Lake Provincial Park

Getting from Huntsville to Dad's cabin at night was not my idea of fun riding, even though the temperature was cooling off a bit from it's daytime meltdown... Call it deer fear 'cause the 
592 is a teal hoot to ride, when it's not 2030 and coming on dark.

Once into the cabin, I couldn’t find my trusty old .177 pellet rifle in the closet that I'd acquired as a teenager.  I didn't want to confess to the old man how many times I'd sat on the roof the his garage and shot at anything and everything, like the television antenna on the house... Pa-ting!!! I was heartbroken for a minute or two. 

Dad now has five sheds, plus an outhouse and a gazebo. Wow. Talk about outbuildings... I had a lot of fun catching up with Dad over a cup of tea, and talking about the improvements he had made to the cabin to make it a 365 day home. If only he had a septic and running water! Now the goal was to get some sleep on the couch, and have breakfast with Dad in the morning. 

Day 12 Wednesday 

Emsdale ON to Parc National Plaisance QC - 440 km and about 5 hours

I woke up to pee, stumbled my way to the outhouse, then slept and woke up yet again, but this time in for real. 

Figure his guests can only last 90 minutes before they cross their legs and head into town where they can get some porcelain. Had some tea and found myself heading for the sink to rinse out my mug hahaha! Lol. I messaged my sister Wendy-Sue who was glamping in Ontario with her brother-in-law Gary Jr. up in Sault Ste Marie. They would be heading back to the Island soon, but I had a good head start on them. I tried to convince Dad to clear out and head to PEI to live. Lol. He even made me some homemade pancakes in celebration. I found I really enjoyed visiting with him, just the two of us, and I promised myself I'd spend a bit longer next time I came to visit. 

Maybe he could turn them into cottages and earn a living...

The old man

I finally left Dads at 1030 and was through the Algonquin park just after lunch. No trouble on the construction gravel sections with the Versys... :D

Give me any excuse to pass these cages

These guys have the right idea. 

Algonquin Park

Northern Ontario is so beautiful, and the roads are in fairly good shape

I knew where I was going, Eganville and its Granary restaurant where I was hoping for a Mushroom Schnitzel 

I met a fellow motorcyclist and wanted to get a few shots of his single wheeled trailer. These are brilliant, and I've a friend who used to ride with one of these behind his sport bike for long tours. 

All geared and ready to roll. 
All done and ready to go. I’ll be camping in Quebec I’m sure. Waxed the chain, but it’s stretching like taffy at the moment. I’ll have to tighten it tonight or first thing in the morning. Yummy! 

I should be about 40km from the bridge over the river at this point.
Time to throw a leg over and get  er going! 

I crossed over the border from Ontario at Portage du Fort along the Ottawa river, and made a mistake that and went Northwest on the 303 instead of East on the 301, so ended up taking a long gravel road to get put back onto the 301 that would take me into the Gatineaus north of Hull QC as I had no desire to get caught up in rush hour on the highway in Quebec... 

A Log barn. You don't see many of these still standing

Crossed into Quebec and took nord instead of sud and crossed 4km of sandy gravel to correct it. Nervous nelly on this gravel. 

That gravel is loose, and really rolls my front tire left and right

I was pretty happy once I was off that gravel and back on the pavement, as it was loose, and rolled easily under my 120 front. I admit to a couple of white knuckle moments, but I was okay and powered out onto Route 303 QC and away. 

I used to drive one of these back in the old days. 11 Metric tonne, 6 wheel drive truck, the MLVW or
"Medium Logistical Vehicle Wheeled"

Ummm. Sorry. 

Yep, Shaun the sheep in the loose... :D

Next stop the Gatineau mountains in Quebec... 

I think I'm on the right road

More of that loose gravel, but now I was a target for cars making a getaway from Hull and the nations capital, Ottawa. 
Cutting across the Gatineau range put me on 366 QC Est, and I made some good time into Wakefield QC but here is where I made my mistake. Quebec doesn't have many great "East to West" roads the further away from Aut 50 you get, and while I'd managed a nice bit of Northing, when I stopped for gas, a fellow biker working at the store told me that I'd have to head back south again towards Montreal as there really was nothing like I desired. *sigh* 

Rode across the Gatineaus off of 148. Onto another 4km stretch of gravel, but it was so windy I had to let a car pass me twice. Made me feel like a wuss. 

The roads to Val des Mont were fantastic! Met a rider in the variety store  who told me that I can’t avoid Montreal, but I can take 148 and 158 well nord of the city to get by. It’ll be slower than the highway, but much more of an adventure. I must be overdrawn as my debit is being refused at the cash register. Payday tomorrow! :)

I made it as far as Parc national de Plaisance along the Ottawa River and thought it was an ideal solution for the moment to park the bike, set up and tent and get some sleep. The lady at the Parc office gave me the usual biker tent area, and I had the whole place to myself!

My $7 dollar china stove is up to the task

Campsite all set up at 7, sitting down to a supper prepared by the chef of boyardee. Pasta italien. Mini ravioli with blue cheese pretzel combos apres. No milk. I forgot. 

So I had breakfast in Novar ON, lunch in Eganville ON, and supper at Presquile Parc Nationale QC and I'm about 143 km west of Montreal, sitting on a picnic table watching the sun go down as I eat my supper.

Darn it! I forgot to get some milk for my morning cuppa! *sigh*

Sunset over Parc Plaisance

Woke up at 4am to pee and never got back to sleep. It’s 545 and I’ve a big cup of tea brewed with instant milk. Ugh!  Water for oatmeal on the boil. The tea mug is fantastic as is the butane for cooking it. I love the lid on the cup. It’s a chilly morning. 

It's windy, but you can still cook without a windscreen
I've been using a butane setup this trip, and I started with a full canister, and I've cooked three meals plus brew ups and still have gas left, with a second canister untouched, so I'm impressed with this setup. 

Day 13 Thursday

Parc Plaisance QC to Quebec City QC - 390 km 4 hours
This morning steel cut oatmeal maple brown sugar isn’t as tasty as the apple cinnamon, being somewhat gritty and salty as well as being a bit too sweet. 

The tent is away, but the morning is actually chilly and I need to put my sweater on! I've had fantastic weather but for a couple nights of rain. 

I’m 150 km north west of Montreal and going to bypass it on 148 and 158 as much as possible to the north. 

I used full 1.5 litre of water for supper and breakfast with cleanup. Just enough left to brush my teeth but no rinse, and there is a a bird here that sounds like a cat meowing! It's 7am and time to leave the bird and the Parc behind, and get back to heading East to make that Rally in time. I want to be there Thursday night if possible, but I have a long way to go yet, 1,000 kilometers and ten hours in the saddle... I think I'll be camping once more before I get there, although this year I'll be following Route 138 then switching to Route 132 on the other side of the river, but that won't be for a while yet. 

My silicone collapsing cup. 
I've come to the conclusion that this cup is a waste of space and weight as the titanium mug is doing all the heavy lifting on this trip. This will join my pile of "Meh.." gear. ;)

It was time to refuel, take a leak and grab a cuppa coffee to keep me and the bike rolling along today, when I ran into J
osh on his 2016 R1200GSA at the Timmies in La Chute QC. We started trading some stories and I couldn't top this one. He'd gone head over heels while riding down hill through a wash out. Bent his brake lever and bent his pannier as the bike did a flip and landed on the tires.  Crazy! His big plan is to ride down to Mexico in this year. 

Josh... Rubber side down and Shiny side up! 

The Tires:

Checking up on my Shinko 705s. I think they will get me home, but I'll need something the next weekend I decide to go for a ride. 

Squared off the 705 rear, weird scalloping see pics. Lots of road noise now. Chain is dry again, and I’m going  to shell out for the Cameleon chain Oiler for next season to save on chains. Four marks plus 1/8th of an inch. Third time tightening chain this trip. 


Gps fun left aut 50 est and wandered on to 640 est to 40 est bound for trois rivière. Highway is boring so dropping down the to st Lawrence river to  make my way with some scenery. About 100km left before I cross the river to the south shore. 10 hours to Adairs and the FAR. 

I still have to get past Montreal, but I will admit that riding along the Saint Lawrence River is enjoyable, on Route 138 QC Eastbound.

At Trois Rivieres I opted to cross the St. Lawrence onto 132 QC and continued the ride Eastbound. I'm really looking forward to seeing Quebec City from the south shore.

In Trois Riviere, they had an information booth that made a good place for a break, although I really wanted a paper map of Quebec, but they didn't have any free maps, so I decided I'd just get some photos and be on my way again. 

The Tires:

Now I'm concerned about the Shinko's as tread blocks have begun to lift, and I can see micro cracks in the stressed rubber. Just under one thousand kilometers to go before I'm home again. I'll cross my fingers and pray. 

Rear tire starting to look bad. Air at 36psi, I aired it down to 32 psi to allow for expansion of hot air. Kinda worried. 

148 along the Ottawa river was beautiful! 

Crossing over to the South Shore of the St. Lawrence... 

I saw a fair number of cars at a local cantine, so decided I'd make a quick u turn and dine at Casse-Croute Du Fleuve Restaurant Du Fleuve. 

Smoked meat poutine. I could barely finish this, and it was just about perfect. 

Poutine viande-fumé
It’s been a cold ride! I put on a sweater last gas stop at 1030 and am thinking about donning my vest! My lips have been chapped for days now. 

Zipping up my jacket was a bit harder to do, but I managed and was on my way again shortly after 1300, eastbound on 132 again, about an hour away from Quebec City which I had no interest in getting caught up in as I was considering cutting the corner and heading into Maine on my way to Sussex NB. 

Translated from The Directory of Quebec's Cultural Heritage website:

"The Notre-Dame-de-Grâce Chapel is of heritage interest for its historical value. The small building was built in 1867 and 1868 at the initiative of Benjamin Pâquet (1832-1900), priest, theologian, professor and administrator of Laval University. Its construction follows a promise to the Virgin for the healing of his brother, Father Louis-Honoré Pâquet (1838-1915), very fragile health. Located on the family land of Pâquet, it is first of all a place of private worship. A sacristy is leaning against the west wall in 1896 and an imposing porch is added the following year, to accommodate more faithful during liturgical celebrations. Near the former Hermitage Notre-Dame-de-Grace, vacation home built in 1890 for Bishop Benjamin Pâquet."
I can't read French well at all. :'(

You see a lot of these in Quebec,
but they are manufactured here by Bombardier,
 so it makes sense

I stopped for a shot about 30 minutes west of Quebec. Is this Mont Belair in the distance? 


So here I was trying to start the bike at the roadside and it just cranked and cranked but there was no spark at all. The fuel pump was merrily whirring, but it wouldn't catch, and I had to resort to using my little battery boost pack that I'd purchased from AliExpress.com after watching Mark Victor on Biker Bits YouTube channel describe how they could start his DR650E with the battery completely out. I paid $35 dollars for it, and had only used it to assist a rider who had stored her motorcycle improperly all winter in my underground parking lot at the building. 

The trouble was, I didn't have anything that would let me boost the bike without taking the seat off to get to the battery terminals, so I found a stainless steel wire from my cookset and used it as a probe so I could boost the battery from the battery tender I had installed ages ago. SUCCESS!!! It was awkward holding the battery pack clamps and the "C" curved little wire jammed into the SAE connector, but it was enough extra oomph and I was able to get the bike going again, and I headed straight in to the Canadian Tire in St. Romuald, QC, about thirty minutes away, where I bought an SAE pigtail so I could boost the bike again easily. My plan was to boost the bike and try to get it back home or to the rally which ever came first...

It was a hard start even with the improved connection, and while the bike was running, none of the electrics were on, horn, signals, headlight... I chatted with Zac Kurylyk at his home in New Brunswick and he was able to locate the Kawasaki Dealership for Quebec City, Moto Vanier, which was about 13 km to the North on the other side of the river. This wasn't looking good, but perhaps if I got onto the highway and kept the revs up I could make it? It was worth a shot... 

Nope, not my day. I got couple of blocks to the south, when the fuel pump and then engine just quit on me, and I was able to use the forward momentum to coast into the Metro Charny parking lot and try to get into a visible position, as I was pretty sure I needed a tow to the dealership now. *Merde!!!* 

My notes from that day: "I did a u turn to take a picture of Quebec on the other side of the river, and the bike refused to start with dead battery. I boosted it with the sae connector and my battery pack to get it going again, and pulled in to a Canadian Tire to look for an SAE connector to make boosting easier as I was using my cooking pot hook to make the connection and get it working while cranking the engine over. Asked Zac for some help getting the name of a Kawasaki dealer, and called them, then arranged a tow to them. One hour wait, so it looks like I’ll be here for a bit, and the garage said they can’t look at it until tomorrow. So it looks like I’m a guest in Quebec City for the moment. Got the bike running and got about 1/2 a km further towards the dealership when the fuel pump cut out and I was able to coast it into the parking lot. I’m praying it’s just an old battery with a dead cell as this one is five years old at least with about 70k on it that I know of. Bet you it’s original to the bike. Bugger me, this is going to cost."

The Versys is dead. 

After calling and speaking with the service manager at Moto Vanier, they gave me the contact information for a tow truck that was experienced with motorcycles and charged a not unreasonable fee for a tow. About an hour later my bike was on the bed of the truck, and I was practicing my Fren-glish on my tow truck driver. :)

That bike is tailgating!!!

Traffic jams are the same in any language. Merde!!!
After about thirty minutes we arrived at Moto Vanier, and I helped unload my bike, then I paid the tow fee, and after parking my bike next to the picnic table in the service area round back, went inside to chat with the Service Manager who spoke very good English, thankfully, although if my stay in Quebec got any longer, my french was sure to improve. "Une Chambre pour la nuit, s.v.p." etc etc.

Man there were some nice bikes out there in the lot waiting for service or to be collected by their owners. 

I'll take it to go!!!

$138 and it wasn’t the original OEM battery as I had thought. I bought a new Yuasa they had in stock and put it in, and it’s still not charging. Had a hard time getting the bolts to seat due to accessories heated grips and battery tender harness. Buddy took the battery into the shop and inserted two wee bits of fuel hose under the nuts to lift them up. Got it perfectly. He poo pooed my choice of screwdrivers. :)

These guys are awesome. They really went to great lengths to help me out, and get me back on my way. They brought out the rectifier that they had pulled off the showroom floor Versys, and installed it temporarily on my bike, but even with the bike running on the new charged battery, it was being drained, so it meant it was most likely the stator and not the regulator/rectifier and definitely not the battery. And that is it. They don't have a stator in stock, and they want to look at it tomorrow to double check that it is the stator before ordering the part it. 

Extracted from my notes:
"The boys at Moto Vanier also tried a brand new rectifier off the 2017 model 2018 model? Up front and it didn’t work either. They think it’s stator and that will take until Monday or Tuesday of next week. Fuck me."

Topping off the fuel for delivery of a new bike

The big V... 

I feel like a gypsy now, as I strip off from the bike the gear that I'm going to need for a night in the hotel, and while I try to keep it to a minimum anything that can't be locked to the bike has to come off and with me, so helmet, jacket, tank bag and canoe bag with tent, as well as some clean clothes and my toiletries.

The service manager, Dave Bibeau is fantastic and volunteers one of the guys to take the pickup and find me a motel down the strip. We get lucky about and I was able to get a motel room at Hotel Bonaparte, just 1.3 km away down Wilfred-Hamel Blvd, complete with a pub where I'll be dining after my shower. The bike may be kaput for now, but I've a place to stay temporarily. 

The Zenith Resto Bar is at the front of the hotel, and while the only staff was the bartender and cook, it had a decent menu and I ordered the Le Suisse burger avec frites for supper, and that was pretty much my night.

Le Suisse burger avec frites
A bit of tossing and turning in a motel room, lots of reading and then blissful sleep.

Day 14 Friday

Today they were going to have a look at the bike, but the dealership wouldn't be open until 9 am, and they needed time to take a look at my bike, so there was no use in rushing. The temperature was on a decline and looked like the heat wave was over for the time being. 

After checking out of Hotel Bonaparte, and arriving at the dealership, Dave had some bad news for me, but I was half expecting it. It was a bad stator, and the replacement would have to be ordered in as an express, so the part alone was going to run me about $750 after shipping, not to mention that I may expect it on Tuesday, more likely on Wednesday though, which meant that I was going to have to stay in Quebec City with no transportation for another five nights at about $120 per night, so it was going to cost me $600 for hotel, and about $35 a day for food, or $175. Grand total would be  well over $1,500!!! That was three times the money I had budgeted and already spent on this trip! 

Dennis and his highly modded KLR
Dennis, at 75 has a really nice KLR with a bomb exhaust, hot cams and 16t sprocket and modded rear. He claims it drops the rpms, and along with a rejetted carb he gets 450km per tank. It turns out we both hate pirelli tires. Lol

My Shinkos do NOT look good. 

Bunch of guys riding through Quebec, one on a 94 gs found his rear shaft leaking oil on the rear tire. Stopped here for service and bought a 2017 GSA to continue the trip and will return later on to pick up the old gs after it is repaired and sell it most likely. His mate is on a 2012 pikes peak special edition with carbon fibre fairings, ohlins shocks and 166 numbered engine. Fantastic! Ducati Multistrada. 

Moto Vanier

This is where my tent is getting pitched tonight. 


Remember my sister Wendy-Sue and husband Kirk were heading back to the Island in their motor coach, towing a jeep behind them? Kirk suggested that I rent a trailer and pull it back to the island with the Jeep that they could drop off late tonight or tomorrow morning... 

Well, Uhaul wanted over $600 for a one way rental! That was before they added taxes and optional insurance and all that jazz. A brand new trailer from Canadian Tire was ony $1,150 and Kirk suggested that I could always buy the trailer outright, get the bike back to the island, and sell the trailer once I got here. Even if I sold at a considerable loss, I'd still be ahead of the UHaul or Hotel and dealership game. 

I asked Dave to cancel the order for the stator, and began getting my gear ready for trailering.

Extracted from my notes:

I woke up to stats can at 8 calling me. Ugh. Showered and changed my clothes, McDonald’s then checked out and started walking to Moto Vanier. They had ordered the part, but I cancelled as Wendy and Kirk are coming to get me. Bought a draw bar and ball for the Jeep, and paid the one hour diagnostic charge on the Versys, they confirm it is the stator. Dave warns me to check the voltage regulator after putting in the new stator so I don’t fry the rectifier. Gonna go with aftermarket and have Bolger’s install it for me. 
Gotta sit tight TIL tonight through the rain. Gonna have to locate a u haul dealer and rent a trailer for the haul. 
MotoVanier Client wifi moto1234 for the win! 
Now to find a uhaul dealer and get a trailer. 
First gear rain jacket red black with waist belt. 
Found a spot to pitch my tent.lol.
Tough being in a dealership with so many new bikes and gear. It’s all so expensive! 

Uhaul wanted 600 for an enclosed uhaul trailer one way to Charlottetown! A new one at Canadian tire costs 1000 so at Wendy’s suggestion I’m going to buy the trailer tomorrow and tow it behind the Jeep to resell on the island for a couple hundred dollars less. Crazy money! Hotel costs 152 per night, can’t afford to stay, can’t afford to have repaired, go and come back. RMStator has the part for 184. All I need is a gasket, an oil change and away I go! 

 First job was to get a receiver and ball that would work with the Jeep's 2" hitch.  A six minute walk away from Moto Vanier there was a hitch sales and installation place...  

Call it $55 dollars

And now we wait until Kirk and Wendy arrive. They crossed the border into Quebec and expect to be here much later tonight. Possibly around 2200 or 2300. 

Now I've plenty of time to kill and I've been checking up on my emergency post to facebook in the Kawasaki Versys Club to see if anyone has a lead on a stator for a 650 Versys that can ship immediately, and Ib Ra Him responds as he has exactly the same bike I do (in much better condition) and lives in Quebec City!

Ibrahim emigrated with his family from Morocco when he was a young lad, and speaks English fluently which is great as my French is 3rd grade stuff and what I read on a cereal box. Farine ble entire (whole wheat flour) etc. He had suffered a concussion while riding his mountain bike, a 6 foot 30 foot long jump that he failed to make, ouch! Serial Killer. Hey Ron do you want some candy? :) He used to be a bicycle mechanic for 12 years but is now in insurance business at a local call centre. Last year he toured out to Bar harbor, Skowhegan then Montreal, before heading home.  

Yeah, Ib Ra Him really is this cool. 
Ib Ra Him invites me to kill some time with him and see some of Quebec City as he was currently off of work, and had some time to kill, and so did I so I took him up on his kind offer. He arranges to meet up with me at 1630 at Moto Vanier. If I don't look like a serial killer, I'm good to go.

Next thing you know I'm being picked up at the dealership in a Honda Civic that is almost identical to mine, but a much nicer shade of cobalt blue. A 2008 iirc whereas mine is a 2009. 

I finally got to see the Plains of Abraham where the future of Canada was decided by Wolfe and Montcalm in the "Battle of the Plains of Abraham"

Église Saint-Michel de Sillery

My tour guide

The landing place of Wolfe's army, 1759
Remember my visit to Fortress Louisberg and later Fort Amherst? It's all tying it together into one long struggle between England and France for control of North America. 

This monument is erected on the spot where General Wolfe of the British Army lost his life in 1759

The rain that was threatening became a reality and it was much harder to be a tourist while the water streamed down our car windows. 

We enter the old city
Note that sign?
No Motorcycles!!!

Le Chateau Frontenac

Le Chateau Frontenac

Now Ib Ra Him is going to take me out of the city and along one of his riding routes to the best poutine in Quebec. I'm pretty excited as I think I've already sampled it, fries, cheese curd, and wonder green peppercorn sauce up along the Gaspe somewhere, but Ib Ra Him is confident that this place is better, until we run into a massive traffic jam trying to get out of the city, and he asks me if I'm up for the Second Best poutine in Quebec... And away we go down the rabbit hole. 

He took me off the main highway and up roads that he claimed were marvelous for a day rip out of the city on a motorcycle, and they were incredible, but not nearly so much fun as a passenger in a cage. :) I think it was largely the 371 through Saint Gabriel de Valcartier up and into Stoneham QC for supper, then back into the city on 73. 

Chapelle de Saint-Jacques-de-Tewkesbury overlooking the Jacques-Cartier River

Chapelle de Saint-Jacques-de-Tewkesbury is a church located just to the south of Parc National de la Jacques-Cartier

Ib Ra Him brought me to "La Souche" Micro Brasserie Artisanale where we had to queue up for a table. Fortunately for us, getting a table for two was far easier than some of the other parties who were four or more.

The second best poutine in Quebec. 

And it was fabulous. I sampled a pint of their rhubarb beer, and raised a glass in toast to Ib Ra Him who flatly insisted on treating me to the meal. Let me recommend the "Second Best Poutine in Quebec" as it is fantastic! 

We talked about riding and our past experiences, and Ib Ra Him may have mentioned a few of his favorite roads in the area: 

Extracted from my notes:
371 nord is incredible 46°59′17″ N  71°22′11″ W
La Souche Restaurant
Try 367 and 361. 369
369 or 367 to 371 for fun. 367 saint reymaund for poutine all the way to rivière la Pierre 

363 to shawinagin and then pac Maurice then 351 then 349...

He's frustrated from spending too much time on the computer at home, as it aggravates his concussion and gives him migraines, so he enjoyed getting out and showing off his town. He also is a member of the UK based Versys forum was eager to share his participation in the upcoming International Versys Meet that was happening next year in Truro Nova Scotia. He also has a passion for collecting old film cameras and can be found at garage sales elbowing aside the senior citizens to get at the likely bargains. 

Get thereitis. The disease suffered by those who mount their motorcycles and just can't seem to stop until they get there. I'm a recovering member of that club, and was able to pass on some pointers to him. :D

Ib Ra Him dropped me off at Moto Vanier, where is was pretty solidly raining now, and I found a nice sheltered bit at the front of the building where I could still access the Wi Fi, and with my battery pack, I was able to charge the phone and surf to my hearts delight. 

So what just happened here? A total stranger had given me a gift while I was down and depressed, that of exploration and adventure that I would otherwise never have had, and it turned the situation around for me. I can't help but look back on that mechanical disaster and smile when I think about random acts of kindness. 

Moto Vanier... My home away from home. 
Sat in a dry spot at the dealership and waited about half an hour and too many cigarettes for Kirk to arrive. He was on the other side of the river in Levi QC at a Walmart parking lot, and had to unhitch the Jeep in the downpour. Got driven to Walmart at Levi’s where we spent the night in the parking lot. Got reunited with Mosby aka Nippy and took him out for a stroll so he could do his business. 

Captain Kirk to the rescue!!!

Day 15 Saturday 

Levi QC to Charlottetown PE - 905 km - 9 hours
The torrential rain finally seemed to be over, but I woke up around 5 am with all the boys taking their turns to go pee while Wendy slept on seemingly oblivious. 

Mosby crashed with me on the sleeping pad on the floor for a couple of hours until we all decided it was time for another pee and a walk over to McDonalds where my French was insufficient to order my egg and sausage combo, but I did well on the coffee! Wendy used the machine to order for her tribe. After breakfast it was the IGA where they have a wonderful selection of meat and cheese that puts the island to shame. Les Souers en Vrac display! It immediately made me think of Natalie Catherine Provost, a now retired Canadian motorcycle racer that I'd been following for some time on facebook and in person, so I bought some anise stars to add to my collection and admired the magnetic spice rack. Coolio! 

I can order coffee, honestly I can

Wendy and Kirk dropped me off with the keys to the Jeep, and I headed up to Canadian Tire not too far from Moto Vanier, and proceded to purchase a trailer off of their lot, and a 1-7/8" ball as the 2" wouldn't fit the trailer at all. 

I'll take the wee one please.
It was a hassle, and took far longer than I thought it would, but eventually I was able to haul the new trailer back to Moto Vanier and load up the Versys and toss the luggage into the Jeep. I tied it down securely and even safety wired each strap as I knew what happened when straps let go on the highway.

The Trailer is a bit short, and the bike has to go cross ways on it in order to lift the tail gate. 

I am ready to roll!

I went back into the dealership for the last time and said thank you and farewell to Dave and asked him to get some coffee for the boys who had assisted me on Thursday and Friday. I was really happy to be on my way at last, and with a honk of my horn as I accelerated away, I waved farewell and adieu to Moto Vanier. 

The city traffic on a Saturday! It reminded me of Toronto, but I knew Toronto backwards and forwards, and all I had today was my motorcycle gps in my hand, so tentaively made my way across the St. Lawrence and 20 Est and away from Quebec City at long last.

Extracted from my notes:
"Well, with the phone dying and using maps.me I found my way back to the dealership and loaded the cases and draw bar onto the Jeep, then headed over to Canadian Tire just up the road to buy the trailer and found out that it was a 1-7/8 ball vice 2”, bought a locking pin for the tongue, and attached my lic plate from the bike and headed off to pick up my bike from the dealership with four 1000 pound straps bought on sale at ctc. 
Loaded the bike up kitty corner as the tailgate wouldn’t close on the bike rear, and headed to SAAQ Quebec to register the trailer but couldn’t find a parking spot so I hit the highway and tried to maintain 6th gear at 2100rpm 110 kph for the rest of the trip along aut 20 and down into NB on tc 2."


At 1300 on Saturday was on my way home again, all thanks to Wendy-Sue, Kirk and Visa!

I was envious. Mine was broken. 

Bienvenue aux Noveau Brunswick!

My phone started ringing on the seat beside me just after I had left Edmundston NB behind me, wth? It was Wendy-Sue... I thought they were a good four hours ahead of me near Florenceville-Bristol NB.

Uh oh. They had blown a tire on the Trans Canada and were on the side of the road up ahead of me, and asked if I would stop and take Gary Deboer Sr. on with me to the Island where he needed to be back in the nursing home.

I wasn't as far behind them as I thought, and the tow was there when I arrived. 

Hi Wendy-Sue!

So with my new chatting buddy, I hugged Wendy-Sue goodbye and got going. 

You need a big tow truck for this package. 

Halfway mark, only 471 km and about 5 hours to go. Gary is going to be back in his own bed tonight. 

Another pit stop for Gary and I near Fredericton, and it's island bound again! 340 km left to go, about 3.5 hours now. 

Motorcycle plate... :D
The Bridge!!!

I breathed a sigh of relief when we hit that bridge. Almost home now. I swung through Crapaud and dropped Gary Sr. off at the South Shore Villa, then went and dumped the trailer at Captain Kirk's place, and headed onto the highway that would see me at home in half an hour.

For you, the trip is over. 

Garmin tells me that the trip took 4849.97 km, of which the Versys did 3990 without the help of a Jeep and a trailer. lol. 

After getting home I immediately had to head back to Captain Kirk's as I'd left my apartment key exactly where they needed to be to load the motorcycle onto the trailer... In the ignition. Sigh.

Dropped the trailer at the farm came home to find no apt keys in the Jeep at all! Locked out! Went back to Wendy-Sue’s to find the keys in the bike ignition and the fuel light on in the Jeep. Drove to esso refuelled and finally got to lay down and sleep at 2:45 am. 

And of course the internet will always one up yah... Here is how another enterprising Canadian solved his problem of a bad stator... 

Damn! I could have had myself a Generator instead of a trailer!

Day 1 Saturday 490km 
Day 2 Sunday 680km 
Day 3 Monday 902km
Toronto area 582 km
Monday 169 km
Tuesday 217 km
Wednesday 459km
Thursday 423km to failure
Saturday jeep and trailer 929km

I was glad to be at home and in my own bed... Now to source a stator and get those tires changed...

Ah, adventure riding. Not all it's cracked up to be.