2020-05-17

2020 The Cedar Dunes Ride

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

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


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



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

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

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

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

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

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


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




Google Maps Link

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo Credit: Caroline

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

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

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

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

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

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

These are from eight years ago...



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



The dune on the right... 

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


 The side exposed to the ocean...


Taken in 2012

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

Cedar Dunes in 2020


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





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


Even the sign was blown away. 

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



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

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

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


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


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


Photo Credit: Caroline

Photo Credit: Caroline

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





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



Photo Credit: Caroline


Photo Credit: Caroline

Photo Credit: Caroline

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

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

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

How did you spend Queen Victoria's Holiday weekend?