2023 The Ceilidh Trail! Twice!

 I really wanted to get out and go camping, and for the past couple of years, even though the heart was willing, the bike or circumstances didn't permit, and I'd only just gotten a night of camping in a couple of weeks ago, and I'd made a total shambles of that, being so out of practice that I could barely boil water for tea. 

My friend WobblyCat from Onterrible was still knocking about, enamoured as he was with the East Coast and all the lovely adventuring one could do, and he was desperate to ride the Cabot Trail, and I thought the idea of a fall colours ride was enticing and I was really looking forward to seeing what Cape Breton Island had in store for us this end of September and beginning of October.  What follows is three days of motorcycle riding, and motorcycle stopping, with lots of motorcycle loitering for want of a better expression. Remember the philosophy: 

"Smiles per gallon, 
 Miles per gallon." 

Now that I have set the stage, shall we continue? 

The Google MyMaps route

Day 1 - Charlottetown PE to Linwood NS - Drive 406 km, 5 hours, 21 minutes

Charlottetown PE to Linwood NS

WobblyCat was bunking with a mutual friend over in that cesspool of a metropolis Moncton New Brunswick and wanted out of there in a bad way, so we arranged to meet up in Port Elgin the following morning for 1030ish, which I was going to try to make, but I still had some packing to do, which is why I put the "ISH" on that one, and I felt bad leaving as I had to fess up and tell him that I was running a bit behind and would try to make up time on the road. The elevator in my apartment building is undergoing a retrofit, so hauling all my gear up and down the stairs really was the lack lustre moment of the morning, but I managed and I was finally away! 

I rode like I was on a mission, with about a half tank of gas too, so when it hit a bar left on the confederation bridge, it was easy to think of the only two stations en route that I could stop at, one at Hardy Road, Allen's gas & Grocery, the Petro Can, or the newer Shell station at the Port Elgin roundabout up ahead.  
Mainland Ho!

 I skipped all my fun routes, and as the traffic was comparatively light for a change, I stuck it out on the main highway, just playing dodge 'em and weave until I was at the head of the pack seeing clearly the road ahead, right up until I caught up with everyone in Port Elgin and pulled in for gas, about an hour's worth of riding, and just under a hundred K from home. Now to see if I could spot WobblyCat's new to him distinctive 2016 Triumph Tiger 800 XRT, but all I found was a couple of Islanders on their way Home with a new toy, a used 2011 KLR that had about 28K on the clock IIRC. 

WobblyCat had really slept in and was going to arrive at 11:45! I had plenty of time to chat and grab a tea, so I went over and chatted them up. 

2011 Kawasaki KLR 650 going to a new home on PEI

I talked so long about bikes that I found myself wondering if I was meeting him at the Bistro Le Chat Bleu or at the Shell! Darn it, he didn't say, so I jumped on my bike and lit out towards Baie Verte, just a hop, jump and a skip down the road, and we passed each other.  

Fletcher Island
Baie Verte New Brunswick

Baie Verte is a marsh extraordinaire
and in the fall months
a riot of life and colour

We hit the road again, heading East along NS 6 

Under Construction


2023-05-07 Sea Cow Head for lunch

 Yesterday we took someone special out for their birthday lunch, so today we thought we would have a picnic somewhere on the island, and of course there was no destination, it was just an excuse for a ride once again. 

Caroline at
Sea Cow Head Lighthouse
Prince Edward Island

We pieced together some food items, I offered up "meat sticks", and she contributed a can of Kirkland tinned chicken that had seen better days. I tossed my gear into my top box and sent her a last message to say that I was out the door and on my way, but I also took the precaution of sharing my live location with her as I might have a used power bank purchase on Facebook Marketplace... Or perhaps not. lol. If he was awake and on my way, I'd ask if I could e-transfer the cash and pick it up on the way from Charlottetown out to Tryon, or so I thought. I did manage to make it as far as the MayPoint Road Ultramar before I heard the facebook messenger chime, but he lived in the wrong direction out past Stratford, so I transferred him the money and made arrangements to pick it up on Tuesday of this week when I would be free. It's an Anker 20,000mAh li-po pack that I'll be using to upgrade my off grid power for camping and general riding, with an eye towards bringing power up into my tank bag in future. (And he miss labelled it, turns out it was 10,000 mAh, but for $20 for an Anker branded battery I deemed it worthwhile)

Augustine Cove
High Tide
Caroline uses a Quadlock mount with anti-vibration dampener  to mount her phone for use with Google Maps for navigation about the island. There aren't many spots without coverage so it's a great tool for riding around, but it's not ideal unless you have a back up plan such as Maps.me with Open Street Maps (OSM) installed for offline routing if needed. Quadlock is a great system but you really need the anti-vibration dampener component or you can kiss your phone camera focus goodbye. iPhone Optical Image Stabilization OIS can be destroyed if you don't ride with the anti-vibe mount. Ask Caroline or myself for details on that gem. **Sigh

Anyhow, she was very kind and waved me ahead of her for the technical twisty bits as she was still feeling her way out for this start to the season, but soon found her pace or happy place if you will. 

Caroline at Carleton PE

It was near 1300 so it was going to be a late lunch. lol. And once I'd settled down and pulled out my gear, I found that I'd messed up. I my imagination, I was going to use my SVEA123R Swedish Flamethrower to cook lunch in my brand new stainless steel cook set, an upgrade over the older aluminum setup that couldn't be used over a campfire, while these could be if you wanted to use them as a 1.1 litre billy can. What could go wrong? 

I could have completely forgotten to fill the tank with fuel, that's what could go wrong! 

SVEA123R with zero gas
Caroline to the rescue with her wee 110gr ISO butane cartridge and mini gas stove that I'd bought for her back in 2019. Lol. I felt like such an idiot, lunch was back on the menu, and it was now 1322 and we hadn't even begun to boil the water for lunch. 

Caroline enjoying her Special Ramen. 
Caroline brought along a tin of Costco chicken, and I'd prepped some onion and garlic before hand at home, so Caroline got the first pot, then it was my turn to wait for lunch. 

1350 and mine is ready. Clearly we should have started this all earlier. lol. 

You can see the topsoil, the clay, and the porous sandstone that makes up much of the island

I love this place almost as much as I love this girl. 

Sea Cow Head Selfie!

Do you see that blue bag attached to the Caroline's rear rack? When we put our kickstands down, there was a bunch of trash that had been discarded by people using this spot, probably teens who forgot to bring their mothers along to clean up after them. How they expected aluminum beer cans to decompose is beyond me, but I love that Caroline isn't content to leave a place full of litter, and we both filled the bag, and included our lunch litter. I'm proud to be with someone who  likes to leave the place better than when she found it. 

Of course I had to spin out to the end of the point to get this shot with my bike. You might recall seeing me pose it here in the past? :)

2009 Versys KLE650
Sea Cow Head
Prince Edward Island

We had to head back to Caroline's as Erika had planned to pick up her 1984 Honda CM250  that was stored for the winter in her garage. 
And she showed up with her friend D'Anyil late in the afternoon. Thankfully I'd installed a battery tender on the bike earlier in the season, and put her bike on a charge so it was full, because it was obstinant and did seem to want to spark into life. Bikes need fuel, spark and air, and I was fairly sure of the spark, but it was discovered that the tank was dry, so the solution was to top it off with some premium gasoline Caroline keeps for her lawn mower, and then wait until the carburetor had a chance to refill. 

Probably a good time to air up the tires, and Caroline has a portable battery operated air pump that is ideally suited to the purpose. Yep, they'd lost some pressure over the winter. 

And it needed a top off of oil as well. A bit of Shell Rotella T4 15W40 and it was good to go. 

Hunter is happy to be part of all the action

Erika got the bike running well with lots of choke and prayer, there was a burst of smoke and noise, and a shout... "IT'S ALIVE!!!". In spite of offering a stay for supper, Erika rode off on the Trans Canada Highway towards town followed by the purse driven by D'Anyil. 

And of course Tazo and Hunter needed their customary loving at the end of the day. Awesome. 

That was a great start to the season, and I'm hoping we can do a repeat soon. Perhaps with an expanded menu. :)

What do you take on your moto picnics? 

P.S. The chocolate dessert I brought melted in their wrappers, and needed to be refrigerated in order to be eaten later on. Caroline was most pleased with the Icy Squares I'd brought with me. :)