2021 The Taco Bell Tour

 Caroline enjoys camping and riding her motorcycle and we've been having fun since 2019 camping and riding together. Last year we stayed at a lovely little campground on the Sunrise Trail in Nova Scotia that sits on a body of water called Linwood Harbour adjacent to McCall's cove near Havre Boucher NS.  We enjoyed the experience so much that she thought to invite her son and his friend to join us for a camping only weekend. We'd ride, they would arrive in the cage, but we would stay at Hyclass Campground just for the camping experience. It was fun, and we thought it worth repeating this year as well. 

Now that's a fire!

This year Caroline picked the 11th and 12th of September to reserve the campground, but as she needed to sign up for a welding course she will be taking this fall, she had to be in Summerside while the boys headed to Truro to dine at Taco Bell, a simple matter of driving 2 hr 40 min (234 km) to Truro NS for this, then why not add in a stop in New Glasgow because it's on the way?! 

Le mappage du la google:

Day 1 - Charlottetown PE to Linwood NS
Day 2 - Linwood NS to Charlottetown PE
630km, 9.5hrs approx.

Day 1 - Charlottetown PE to Hyclass Campground, Linwood NS - Drive 354 km, 4 hours, 28 minutes

Charlottetown PE to Linwood NS
along the Sunrise Trail and Rte 256 NS

Meanwhile, back on the Island, Caroline had succeeded in signing up for her welding classes, and I'd managed to shift my lazy butt on down the road to "Not Anna's", our new name for an old local restaurant in Crapaud run by my friends Anna & Sandy, but they had retired and sold the restaurant to Bakers Dozen Donuts. It's been give a coat of paint and they've made some changes inside, but sadly the food isn't quite as good what Anna would have served. The bacon was wafer thin, you could almost read a newspaper through it. Oh well. When I finished up I headed up the road to get some gas and saw that Caroline had just pulled into Ceretti's and was on her phone to someone... Then my Scala started ringing to announce an incoming call, I wonder who would be calling me on a Saturday?! 

We topped off our fuel tanks, then headed over to the Confederation Bridge toll plaza to find that we might be following a large camper and truck over the bridge, but lucky for us they got confused and tried the truck lane only to change their minds at the last minute and opt for the auto booths, by which time Caroline and I had scooted up to the agent. "I'll pay for both, She will go first." to save her from having to tell us that she was only allowed to open the gate for one at a time. We may have done this a time or two... :)

It was cooler today than much of the summer, and I had done up all my vents in my leather jacket back at the gas station, but the breeze was ever so chill on my knees, and I sort of relished the colder air, as we'd had quite a hot summer this year, when it wasn't raining. Murray Corner awaits! 

Murray Corner, Little Shemogue, Port Elgin, then Tidnish Bridge
and onto the
Sunrise Trail

This little route of ours is so much nicer than queuing up behind a tractor trailer or an RV heading west on 16, one right after another, with cars packed in so you aren't able to safely pass, and have to follow like sheep. Baaaaaah!!! Sure this route adds a few more miles, but they are quality sMiles. 

We followed the Sunrise Trail until I whinged to  Caroline that I would appreciate a lunch stop at some point before we hit the campground itself. She is adept at skipping meals while riding, so it's my job to suggest that we stop before late afternoon turns into an early supper. lol. That worked out well as she wanted to stop in Wallace at McMahon's restaurant to see why their parking lot was so large. The East Coaster burger was appealing, as was their large selection of diet soda. I was pleasantly surprised that I could enjoy a diet ginger ale as opposed to the usual diet cola, and Caroline wanted to add a side of potato salad to the order as well. Fine by me. We placed our order at the take out window, and retired to a picnic bench to chat up some fellow riders that were out enjoying the weather and roads. 

The East Coaster

McMahon's family restaurant
 Wallace NS

After lunch it was back onto the Sunrise trail and Eastward towards Tatamagouche where we turned south on Rte 311 NS then east again on Rte 256 NS that I was eager to try as a means to avoid the highway and the coast. 

Route 256 NS

That was a fun little romp through the interior of Nova Scotia. For the most part that route is well paved and maintained, with lots of turns and elevation changes that keep you interested in the road and your surroundings. As you can see we managed to avoid taking the highway out of Pictou, but it was later in the day, and time to make some miles and get to the campground, or rather get to our gas stop in Monastery where we had planned to do our "Six O'Clock Charlie" and top off the tanks, get some water for supper and breakfast, and add to our meal with some dessert or similar. I guess Caroline's cell had lost service at some point, for she received a message while riding from Shamus to say that he and Daniel were at the campground waiting for us. Oops. We were still about thirty minutes out, but we had figured they might have announced themselves and registered knowing that we would be joining them shortly, but they chose to wait instead. 

Just after leaving the highway and now back on Highway 4, the Sunrise Trail, I spotted a sign "Sweet corn" and thought some corn would be perfect with the hamburgers we'd planned for that night, so while Caroline waited up the road for me, I swiped a bit of cash from her and headed back to find four kids sitting around a big pile of corn on a picnic table, eager to sell me a dozen cobs of freshly picked corn for $5. I strapped the corn on top of the tent and lit out down the road after depositing another $5 in their tip jar. :)

Waugh's River
as seen from Balmoral Road
Nova Scotia

We pulled up into the campground to find Dave in the office, and he was only too happy to take our money, offer us some firewood, and talk about the site we had reserved and the motorcycle that he had almost bought from someone in New Brunswick. Apparently his 1100 VTX isn't as exciting as an 1800 VTX could be. We chatted for a bit, then headed down to the campsite to start setting up. 

Caroline and I have our procedure down pat. Take off some gear, then get the tents up as our first priority. Caroline enjoys it when I do the camp cooking, so seems quite happy to inflate two air mattresses and our pillows, while laying out the sleeping bags. Meanwhile, I'd be setting up our kitchen and getting the stoves going, cooking hamburgers, ramen, chicken and rice, whatever we had on the menu for the meal. For tonight it was going to be the luxury camp stove that the boys had packed along in the car. Real pots and pans tonight, so I wouldn't need to fire up my stove all except to make some hot water for tea or similar. Maybe get something going for washup? We reminded the boys that having a tent up during daylight was a "good thing", and they efficiently set to work erecting the four person tend Shamus had bought on sale last year when camping here. They had that up fairly quickly, so we cracked open some bevvies and thought to check on the sunset for today... 

Whoah! Sunset was now 19:30! We normally start on supper while there is still light, but the tents were up and it was only fiveish, and Caroline offered to go canoeing with me as she knew I loved it, but I opted out as I figured that if we did head out, that supper would be made and eaten in the dark, and that is not nearly as much fun as it sounds. Thinking back, as a kid dad would always light the coleman lantern and get that going to shed light. I knew how to pre-burn a mantle and how to light those old lanterns like a champ, as we used them quite extensively while in the militia as well, but on a bike our lights were only headlamps and led flashlights, and while they work great in a tent or heading for the washroom, they tend to suck when eating at night. Sunset was was less than two hours away, so it would be a great idea to sort out what we were doing for supper before we lost our light. Caroline had planned for hamburgers and had sent the boys with a shopping list for them to get in New Glasgow where they had planned on stopping to check out a pawn shop in the area, similar to the one in Charlottetown where you can find Daniel most days. 

Daniel got to light a campfire for the first time, but only after I called off Caroline who had snuck in and tried to get the fire going herself. I'd prepared for this by collecting some dryer lint into a paper bag, then smushing a bunch of vaseline into the lint. You unroll it from the ziploc bag, tear it open a bit, get it lit then build your kindling and fire wood above it. Done like dinner. Daniel was very pleased to have the fire going, and it was better entertainment than a television set. :D

The hamburgers were fun to help out with. I got to husk four cobs of corn, then cut them in half so they would fit into the pot, and then slice up some onion on the dollar store cutting board that I haul everywhere with my moto camping gear. In fact, Caroline had forgotten to pack utensils, so we made do with my miniature weight saving tongs and spatula for the weekend.  Caroline had baked a loaf of homemade bread to come with us, so the four of us enjoyed cheese burgers with onion, fresh bread and butter, and sweet corn on the cob. Fantastic! All while drinking my "No Boats on Sunday" cider. After dinner, we boiled some water, cleaned up from supper, then put away the kitchen for the night, while Caroline got the marshmallows going over the fire and her chocolate covered cookies ready for S'mores, while I got some hot water going to share out the hot chocolate packets that I'd hauled along with me, complete with mini marshmallows. 

The sun sets over Linwood Harbour, Nova Scotia

The boys were reluctant to cover the tent with the rain fly, and Caroline was keen to swing from the trees in her hammock tonight, and I was completely out of cider now, so there was nothing left for it but to head over to the washroom, then roll into my sleeping bag for the night. Caroline figures we were in bed at 2115 and I was snoring fifteen minutes later. Hahaha. She ended up spending the entire night in her hammock and was quite pleased with the result, and bemoaned the fact that many of the prepared sights we went to had no good hammock trees available. But they have washrooms and showers... ;)

Day 2

Linwood NS to Charlottetown NS -  Drive 276 km, 4 hours, 54 minutes
Linwood NS to Charlottetown NS -  Drive 276 km, 4 hours, 54 minutes

Caroline plotted out an insanely fun route that yes, took us off the beaten path in favour of beating a path of our own south through Guysborough and into the interior, and onto secondary and tertiary roads to get us roughly back to Caribou Ferry in time for the crossing. I had so much fun on this trip that I bought her a new Quadlock cell phone mount (highly recommended by our friend Mikayla B.) for her motorcycle for Christmas this year to encourage more behaviour like this. Lol. Full tank of gas, time to kill, lets go explore!

Good morning! 

This is what I woke up to in the morning, Caroline peeping out from her hammock wishing me a good morning in return. I'm still amazed that there were no bugs nor any rain last night. Lol. I'm not brave enough to sleep under the stars. I'm sure I'd be eaten alive or wet come the dawn. 

Let's get this breakfast show on the road!

Daniel and Shamus love the No Frills Smoked Bacon Hashbrowns, and our whole morning was going to be a leisurely breakfast featuring them, along with cheese, and some extra bacon. 

Daniel and Shamus love this stuff

We had this last year for our breakfast and they must have developed a liking for it, for it featured highly on our menu for this year. I admit, I enjoyed it as well. :)

We're on track for breakfast!
Come back in an hour or two!

I'm kidding, it was more like three hours... :P While the boys made breakfast, I retired to my picnic table to get a brew up going, tea for me and hot water for Carolines AeroPress coffee maker. 

The D-Power stove
The Lixada 750ml titanium mug with lid
The butane to lindal valve adapter
A 227gram butane canister
The MSR stowaway 1.6 L pot and lid
A melted and useless piezo igniter. **Sigh

I've used this setup for a few years now, pretty much the season after Caroline joined me and became part of my misadventures. Last night when we where cooking up the hamburgers, the wind was a bit brisk and I used the windscreen to shield the stove. Well it got so hot in there and under the fry pan, that it crisped the piezo igniter, and it is sadly no more. I'll have to bring along a lighter for this stove now. It gets bumped back to backup stove and it's replacement will get used for camping in 2022. 

Crispy critter

Well, once we'd cleaned up from breakfast (brunch) the boys were off to Truro and Taco Bell for the trip home, and Caroline had this awesome route plotted that I was eager to try as well. The boys packed up there gear and set off for Truro again, and Caroline and I were ready to go, but it seemed to take a bit longer this morning to get our butts into gear.  We were out the gate but stayed to chat with Dave and his wife for a bit before finally throwing a leg over and heading over to NS 16 South and into Guysborough NS. 

Caroline chatting with our host Dave

Our after lunch saunter through Nova Scotia's highways and byways. 

From Guysborough all the way through to Greenwood NS 316 is a bit of winding lazy magic. I'm hoping we can add this in to more of our riding plans for this area. Have you ever retraced your route going the opposite way? It's a whole new road with new challenges. :)

All too soon we found ourselves back in civilization and hit the highway on the other side of New Glasgow where you get funneled onto the NS 106 if you are heading to the Ferry. We skipped out of the queue and filled our tanks and stopped for coffee at the Pictou Tim Hortons, then headed the long way through the center of the town on West River Road, that changes to Denoon Street, which changes to Beeches Road, and later on Three Brooks Road before it joins up with the Ferry terminal again. lol. It struck me as the same road the whole time. 

We were quick with the banter and repartee... "Two Prince Edward Island residents returning from a short trip, both vaccinated, lane 3?" (This time I had the right answer!!!) and off we went to wait our turn to board the ferry. 

One of the hogs had a hood ornament on his beer box. Lol.
A flying pig

We got our pink slip to avoid the lineup at the Wood Islands PEI COVID screening center, that announced to the world and to whom it may concern that we had met all the requirements to skip isolation and did not need to be diverted to the screening center queues and lineups. HOORAY!!! Now to wait to arrive. 

She's a bit tired today. 

Can you see why I love her? Such beautiful eyes. 
And she rides a Kawasaki...

And after an hour or so, we were back to our island, and homeward bound. Yes, they let us board first, and exit first on the ferry. I think Caroline and I were the first to arrive in Charlottetown of that whole passenger list. ;)
There's no place like home!
There's no place like home!
There's no place like home!

Catch ya next time!