Friday, July 27, 2012

Just the stats ma'am

For those curious here's a breakdown of some stats.

Nights slept in Motels - 10 (manic 5, Lab city, port hope simpson, L'anse au Clair, Cornerbrook, Grand falls Windsor, Mount Pearl, Along the TCH, Truro NS, Bangor ME)

Nights camped out -6 (ranch in quebec, muskrat falls, pistolet bay, berry hill, cabot trail near cheticamp, wolf  point in fundy park)

I would have camped more had it not rained so much.

Kilometers travelled:
-6817km, I believe over 1000 of those were all gravel

Max speed:
-142 km/h (88.1 mph)

Ferries traversed- 4 (free one near tadoussac, labrador to NFLD, NFLD to NS, Englishtown ferry on cabot trail)

Problems with bike:
- needed a new chain.  The Last chain was put on in Texas in 2010.  Cause is neglect and riding Beast a little too hard.
-The topcase mounting brackets threatened to break themselves into little pieces but held on.  The trans-lab highway really banged away at the bike that the small fractures in the brackets became a real cause for concern.  I ignored it and had no further troubles with it.

I cannot complain as to the performance Beast gave.  I abused that bike more than I thought I could abuse it and it took it in stride.

Beast got a lot of compliments from Bikers (sport, Harley types, KLR fans) non riders (old people looking at the stickers and wanting to talk about where we've been) and kids.
The kids love the zombie stickers.  Army guys like the ammo cans.  Little kids like the horn. hah.

other problems
- bluetooth headset didn't work out of the gate. didn't use it the whole trip
- hurt my wrist badly along the TCH in Newfoundland.  Still freaking hurts like hell.

The rainy days:
At manic 5 I stayed at a motel but wanted to camp out overlooking the dam.
motel for lab city, although there was no real place to camp
no place to camp for L'anse au Clair, plus it was raining.
grand falls windsor, too much rain to camp
mount pearl and TCH, too tired and wanted someplace to dry out.

Number of bug bites:
- too many to count

Number of wasp stings:
- 2

Number of blisters:
- too many to count, but they all turned to callouses now anyhow.

What I packed too much of:
-camping gear, or more correctly, the right camping gear. forget the stove and pots next time, i'm going Full Hobo.
-electronics.  I had the bluetooth, statlite radio, GoPro, Canon camera, Laptop, cables, etc..  need to trim that down

What I didn't pack enough of:
- I had my bases covered.  only thing I didn't use was the majority of the tools, the spare tubes and cables and some camping gear.  I can always shed some of that too.

Over the years it took me a little over 57000 Kilometres to travel from Ottawa to the furthest reaches of Canada and the United States.  I've gone to Deadhorse Alaska, San Diego California, Key West Florida and now Cape Spear Newfoundland.  I've completed the four corners and as much as it seems a lame 'goal' to have, it was a goal nonetheless.  mission accomplished.  Now someone bake me a pie.

There are always things that one would do different... If I were to do it again, I would certain change some little things around in respect to the bike and things I did.  Overall, I think I did the best with the knowledge and experience I had.
Such is life.  life is pretty good.

Not camping overlooking the dam.
Not taking care of Beast and the chain.
Not being able to get more GoPro footage.
Other, more personal regrets. heh.

Now the planning for the next adventure is at hand.  This is dependant on a few things though.
1) the conditions of the Mexican Border.  2) If someone wants to go with me to Panama. :)

If those conditions aren't met, I guess I'll have to go solo again to places I haven't been before.  Right now I'm thinking southern Utah and Colorado.  hmm.. endless possibilities.  (Now how to I try to get the time off with my boss at work? heh)

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Bang 'er home, with a few mishaps

Day 20, July 26th, thursday

Today was the longest day of the entire trip.  It was also the last.

Fear not, for this brave adventurer did not crash of have any of the sort of problems of that respect.  This adventurer was sick of wet feet.

You heard it. Wet feet did me in.  I figured a few days off before going back to work would be prudent.

The day started off pretty normal... my alarm on my phone buzzing me awake as the jets overhead buzzed the motel.  Yes, it seems most of the motels I could find (decent ones) were all near the airport in Bangor. It was neat to see all types of planes come in for the approach the night before... everything from Lear jets, Jumbos and Cessnas.  I will say that the beds at the Days Inn were some of the most comfortable I've slept in.  It felt like the bed swallowed you up.  Is nice...

I got up and went to the motel lobby for the complimentary breakfast.  Waste not want not.  I took a bowl of fruit loops (generic brand actually), a raspberry yogurt (all they had), a small berry muffin of some kind and a coffee.  This time, I didn't drink out of the bowl... Still gives me shivers thinking of that feeling of wet paper to my lips. ack.

The day was nice and sunny, and partly overcast.  I guess the prevailing winds were going to change that for me and I was in a collision course with them as I was going west.

A friend (Logan/Al) advised on taking US-2 towards the mountains. He's a truck driver and always uses that route. I had planned on taking US-2, but this cemented it.

To the mountains!

A few pics along the way

 A nice twisty ride but you can't keep a constant speed.  It helps pass the time.

Along the way I came across a Tim Hortons.  Tims is really starting to take over the USA.  but alas, like most Tims in the states, they are always near empty.  Maybe Americans just don't like coffee.

Or maybe they can't figure out how to get into the parking lot with all the DO NOT ENTER signs and just give up.
More miles were added and I stopped over in Farmington as it was a decent sized town that should have a decent place for breakfast. I rode all over town and I gave up on my search. On the way out of town I spotted and Irving Big Stop/ Circle K/ restaurant.  bingo.

I was in the US, so I ordered something a bit American.
Biscuits and Sausage gravy, two eggs, bacon and toast.
Delicious. I ate it all.  Second breakfasts are always better than the first.
I spoke to a guy in the restaurant for a while about bikes and biking... then he says, good thing I didn't ride mine today, seems you're going to get a bit wet.
I overhear one waitress say to another, "it's about time we get some rain, it's been so dry lately"

I am the rain bringer.

It was a light rain and decided on only putting my top liner and forgoing the bottoms.  It was warm out and if my legs did get wet, they would air dry quickly.  This meant I had to put the camera away until drier times.

Off I went in search of mountains, specifically Mount Washington for the auto road where you can drive up the mountain to the peak.

Made my way in the wet to the town of Gorham, just north of Mount Washington on US-2.  Had myself a Dunkin Donuts coffee and warmed my feet a little by being out of the rain.  I was getting a little excited and didn't even finish my coffee.  Today, I climb Mount Washington with Beast.  Beast was running well, and had more growl than normal.  I think Beast was getting excited.  I had ridden from Ottawa to Mount Washington and back in one day with my other bike (the M50) and wanted to do it with Beast too.

Made my way to the auto road start where I was told that it was closed. WHAT?  It seems I brought too much rain which caused the gravel road on the mountain to turn to mud so no one was going up or down the mountain at this time as it was too unsafe.  I was tempted to ask him to just let me try with Beast (I know we would have done it, we're a good team) but alas I figured safety first and all that crap.  I wouldn't want to go 6000 feet the wrong way on the tail end of my trip.

I was a little dejected at this point for not going up the mountain and the rain was pissing me off.  It was at this time I hit the HOME button on the GPS and hightailed it home.  I was sick of the rain, sick of the wet feet and sick of not being able to take pictures.

The closest interstate going north was the I-91 and I headed right for it.  Before I got to it, I decided to fuel up as gas was cheaper.  After fuelling, I pulled the bike around so that I could have my last coffee and smoke in the USA.  As I was putting it on the side stand, the bike just tipped over, ever so slowly.  I think I was just exhausted at this point.  Before I had time to react, someone asked if I needed help righting the bike again and I agreed. Allez-oops and up it came. The random stranger was worried about damage to the bike, in which I laughed and said " No no, it's just tired... it was just taking a nap!"  he laughed.  Gotta love KLRs for that.

It had stopped raining at this point and decided to turn on the GoPro for the I-91 portion towards Canada.  I'm not sure if I was able to record my attempt to go back in time.  I did attain the magical 88 miles per hour (142km/h) but alas I forgot my Flux Capacitor at home.  No time travel today, just regular travel.

Right before I hit the Canadian border, the American border patrol had an operation going. When it was my turn, the agent asked if my camera was recording.  As I hadn't turned it off, it was still blinking red.  He asked me to pull off to the side.  fack.

They came over and asked me to delete everything of the camera. WHAT?  seems you can't record these guys during an 'operation'.  I didn't know that.  I told them I would delete the last clip which was from the gas station.  crap.

Deleted.  my time travel attempt was not caught on film.  dammit.  not a huge deal as there wasn't much of interest on it.

Beast was eager to get home as was I... I can't say I was speeding, but I will say I was passing a heck of a lot of traffic.  Montreal was a total blur and I think I took a few people by surprise. hah.

Before going straight home, I went to go see my dad as he was worried about this trip more than others due to the remoteness of Labrador and the east coast in general.

Like I told him, "Don't worry, you did your job and trained me well enough"

I think that made his day... It not only made my day, but made my trip(s) possible.

stay tuned for useless facts and statistics

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Bangor? I hardly know 'er!

Day 19 Wednesday July 25th - My birthday!

I got up out of the tent this morning, standing there in my boxers and yelled at the top of my lungs.
wait that wasn't me.  That was this guy.

As much as I liked the site at Wolf Point, I really wanted to get going... I needed the open road.
The sun was shining and managed to pull out all the liners and pack them away.  Today I wouldn't need too much protection from the elements.

Off I went in search of... food!

I suck at this photography thing.

I rode until I got to Sussex NB, a town I had visited previously in 2008.(sussex 2008)
I was just on the hunt for food and didn't want to go to a chain restaurant... so I did the only thing possible.

I went to a chain restaurant.  I went to another Smitty's for the second day in a row.  I had the Bacon & Egg & Bacon breakfast.
It had eggs.  It had bacon. I ate it all.

As I was finishing up breakfast, two women come in, and two kids.  (mom and daugther and her two kids i assume)

The mother of the kids kept eating an apple as she walked in to the restaurant and sat down to order breakfast.  really?  you walk into a restaurant eating?  Some people have no sense of class or humility.
put the apple down!

Not much else but a lot of riding until I hit the border to Maine.
Maine? what's in Maine you ask?  I actually don't know... that's why I'm here.
I put on the GoPro for a while since the weather was nice but the damn lens kept fogging up.

No great roads to speak of... One pickup truck thought he was in a rally race of some sort and was completely in my lane around a blind corner.  Moron.

My GPS tracker was blinking red.  Uh oh.  What does that mean?  I didn't bring the manual but I'd hope I could figure it out.  Power blinking red every 3 seconds.  Let's see, what if I took out the batteries and put them back in like the remote control for the TV when the batteries are dying?  Success for a few minutes and flashing red.

The highway is pretty slow all the way through so far, no more than 55 mph but slow in many points.  I ride pretty fast and one car passed me.  Quebec plates.  No wonder.

Got to Bangor Maine and got the first motel room that didn't seem sketchy but still not the most expensive.  The Days Inn usually fits the bill.

As the GPS messenger only takes Lithium batteries, I went out in search of a store that had them.  Walgreens... Walgreens must have them.  (For you Canadians, Walgreens = Shoppers Drug Mart)

With batteries in hand and back in the room, I went to a restaurant close by (20 feet away from the motel) called Ground Pounders.

I ordered some fried pickles as they looked different than what I've had back home.
not bad... Pickle chips really.
The ones I've had before are more like pickle wedges which are more like wet battered pickled slugs, slimy and gross.

The double burger.  Damn thing is huge.  See the bun under the rings?  that's a normal sized bun.  See the glass on the top right? MASSIVE.  I look like I have childs hands when drinking out of it.  Almost needed two hands...
The burger, cooked medium well, was good with the bacon, the swiss and cheddar cheese, pickle, onion, lettuce and tomato.  There was a LOT of delicious grease dripping from it and infusing the flavors into the ciabatta bun. I didn't even touch the fries.

After that monster... I couldn't move too much and just worked on the blog and tried to catch up with everyone wishing me a happy birthday.

Thanks all for the warm wishes.  Money is always prefered ;)

Now for an ancient and mysterious relaxation technique called sleep.

For tomorrow I run to the hills.

Chains, Whips, Traps and Name calling.

Day 18, Tuesday July 24th.
My Nephew's birthday today.  Happy Bday Jeremy!

The sandwich from the night before just didn't fill the hole in my stomach.  I needed more food.  After calling around for a chain for the bike (ok, I called one place and they had a chain) I went down to the hotel lobby to get some free breakfast.  It's essentially a continental breakfast but every little hotel (even of the same chain) offers something different.
I took a bowl of fruit loops, two hot boiled eggs and a mango yogurt. They had cold boiled eggs as well but figured warm ones would taste more like scrambled eggs if I mashed it in a paper bowl.  It didn't.  It tasted like hot mashed boiled eggs.
You know when you have milk left in the bowl and you drink it by putting the bowl to your lips?  The feeling of a semi-wet paper bowl on the lips is akin to Nails on a chalkboard for me.  Nasty stuff.

At least I'll have energy for the wait at the shop.  Not sure how long the wait would be, if they found other problems, etc.

I headed over to the shop which was about 2 minutes away.  This is Truro.  Everything is 2 minutes away.
They had a chain in stock and was able to work on it right away!  success!
The mechanic looked at the chain and agreed that the chain was finished.  Guess I got it changed just in time.

I'm going to need some heavy duty fibre to get that horseshoe unstuck at some point.

I took my tank bag and went out to the front lawn so I could use my jacket and tank bag as a makeshift pillow while the shop (Fundy Powersports) worked on Beast.

This is me napping.

This is what I would see when I opened my eyes.

Not much to look at in the Industrial section of town except a ton of heavy machinery.  I just dozed off for a bit enjoying the good weather (while it lasted)

In shorter time than I thought, the chain was replaced and the bike was ready to go.

So go I went, in search of more food.  Hard to believe I was hungry, but I was a bit.  I stopped in at a Smitty's restaurant.  I went many times in my childhood out west and always liked it, so why not.  Not much else around actually.

I ordered the big farmer breakfast or whatever it was called.  I wanted a little bit of everything so I got everything.
3 eggs, bacon, ham, sausage, back bacon homefries and toast.
Not a fan of ham, but meh. (I like Spiral hams though, those are good)
sidenote: server at Smitty's was awesome. (not just because he's a man ;) )  The dude liked his job and ran the place liked he owned it.  A real pro.  Gave him a nice tip. no, not that kind.

Ate everything but the ham and off on my merry way I went. I was supposed to meet trapper for the next day and thought I could putter around visiting the coastline and tour around until the next day.  I so underestimate the east coast and how close everything is around here.

I started off on the Trans-Canada highway and the wind today didn't like me.  not at all.  The wind hated me so much it brought out it's buddy Rain.  Rain and wind are just not fun to ride at 110kph with transports flying by you.  To add to the mix, my tires are really starting to go baldini on me.
I did get a few shots off before the rain though.

Boring for you? Imagine how it was for me.  yay.

I got off the Trans-Can, trying to hug the coastline where the wind wouldn't kill me.  I wasn't wrong, but the wind still tried.  Soggy feet, wet face and hands and blowing winds made the highway 2 not much fun.  I did see a bit of the coastline, but unfortunately when it rains this hard, the camera is kept tucked away to save it from drowning.

More rain... more wind, but at least the speeds I was going at weren't as fast and I'd have a higher survivability rate in a crash.
Then the next thing I know, I'm right outside Moncton.  WTF.  I was only supposed to be here the next day!  Hope Trapper isn't too annoyed that I'm going to drop by early.

Drop by I did and it was nice to finally meet him after all these years.  I feel bad I hadn't stopped in on my last east coast trip in 2008.  I checked out his shop Wag and Wash which is really neat! You can wash your own dog in their tubs, get your pet groomed and get them some food.  If you're in the Moncton area, you should go there for your pet needs.

Trapper invited me over to his place to get my wet gear off and dry up a little.  It had stopped raining by this time of course. heh.

Hung out with Trap for a while, met his family, dried out and had a delicious bowl of his hearty stew.  Not to many beans, like I like it.

Trap offered a place to stay for the night, but with the weather looking beautiful out, the road was calling my name.  Odd how the road pulls at me.  With the restlessness of ants in my pants, I declined Traps generous offer (Thanks a million bud!) and headed out to a spot Trap said I might like in Fundy National park.
Off I went in the glorious sun, much drier than before, fed and watered so to speak and off to get a camp spot for the night.
Then it started to get dark due to rain clouds.  Then it got dark due to the time of day!  I grossly miscalculated the time it was that I left Trap's place.

As I got near Alma, NB, the rains stopped.  It seems to always be the case that whenever I go to stop for the night, the rain stops.  My luck I guess... At least this is the worst of my luck for the trip. Since I'm not made of sugar, I'd rather be a bit wet than down in some ditch.

sidenote: you catch more flies with vinegar than honey.

I got to Wolf Point near 9pm... sunset.  I secured a spot for the night and some firewood.

I set up the tent and essentially sat in front of my fire until midnight. It rained a little but nothing much.

Pink Floyd's 'Time' rings true for today... for many reasons.

and no, it's not better on vinyl.

If you don't know the song, you should flog yourself with a wet noodle. Then listen to it.  Then flog yourself again for not knowing this song.

If you do know the song, listen to it again. you know you want to.

So I had myself a nice little song in my head playing while watching this... for a few hours.
life is good.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

mini update

Day 18, Tuesday July 24
mini update while i have internet access-

Wow, totally flaked out last night updating the blog that I forgot what happened during the course of the day.
If was quite life changing for a few people.

During the day we were about to go down to the beach on a path  John had just cut through, down to get access to the beach.  The day before Cameron got stung by a wasp and we suspected that there might be a wasp nest on the path.

I went first, as my eyesight is more keen than an eagle... about 20 feet in, the screaming started.  Both Peyton and Seth got stung.  I looked back and saw the two girls pick up a their boys and run up the hill.  I scooped up Seth and ran up after them.

Total damage; Peyton 3 stings, Seth 2 stings and I myself received 2 stings from the nasty buggers.
Guess my eyesight isn't that good.
There's good and bad news to this.  Good news is none of us is allergic and I received my 3rd lifetime sting.  Bad news is that we got stung.


Last night I was so busy updating the blog that I lost track of time and didn't think of food until it was near midnight.  For those who don't know, there just isn't anything open at midnight in downtown Truro within walking distance to the Comfort Inn.  Karla's Fish Stew/Chowder whatever it was, was great, but after many hours I needed more food.

So I picked up what I could find at the Circle K convenience store inside the Irving gas station across the street.

A ham sandwich, a couple of Fresca's and some pringles. not exaclty delicious but it filled a hole.  I dared not check the date on the sandwich.

This morning I called a shop and they should be able to help me. Woot.  My chain is sagging like a great grandmothers boobies right now.  It swings in the slightest of breezes.

Off to get a new chain and hopefully back on the road!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Maybe Tomorrow

Day 17, July 23rd Monday.

Today the itch to move on had come too great, but had to scratch it.
I needed to move, to be gaining miles, to feel the rumble beneath me, smell the air of the countryside and be one with the road.

But first, a Manor interlude.

 Peyton riding the beast with his trusty sidekick cousin Cameron.

Once Melissa and Karla found that my bike was a good diversion for the kids, they finally took a short break

Then the Three Amigos were at it.

Cameron riding the bike like a bat out of hell, Peyton hanging on for dear life, while Seth on the bike doesn't trust Cameron's riding skills.

Melissa and her boys left, the house suddenly a little quieter.  I think Cameron got a little sad.  poor fella.

Karla made up a really nice fish soup which I ate a big bowl of it.  

Meanwhile, in my head the tune to the Littlest Hobo played 

for the unlearned, the lyrics:

Song lyrics to Maybe Tomorrow (Littlest Hobo):
There's a voice that keeps on calling me
Down the road, that's where I'll always be.
Every stop I make, I make a new friend,
Can't stay for long, just turn around and I'm gone again

Maybe tomorrow, I'll want to settle down,
Until tomorrow, I'll just keep moving on.

Down this road that never seems to end,
Where new adventure lies just around the bend.
So if you want to join me for a while,
Just grab your hat, come travel light, that's hobo style.

Maybe tomorrow I'll want to settle down,
Until tomorrow, the whole world is my home.

So if you want to join me for a while,
Just grab your hat, come travel light, that's hobo style

Maybe tomorrow, I'll want to settle down,
Until tomorrow, I'll just keep moving on.

Maybe tomorrow, I'll want to settle down,
Until tomorrow, I'll just keep moving on.

There's a world that's waiting to unfold,
A brand new tale no-one has ever told.
We've journeyed far far and know it wont be long;
We're almost there, and we've paid our fare with our hobo song.

Maybe tomorrow, I'll want to settle down,
Until tomorrow, I'll just keep moving on.

So if you want to join me for a while,
Just grab your hat, come travel light, that's hobo style.

Maybe tomorrow, I'll find what I call home, Until tomorrow, you know I'm free

And onwards I went with the road calling out to me.  until i heard a big bang about 14km from New Glasgow.  I thought the chain fell off, or worse, snapped.

Thankfully it was neither as it was one of the chainguards that got wrenched into the front sprocket.
I took out the rubber piece that was wedged in and took a look at the chain again.  Wow.  extremely loose and with approximately 1300km to go home (if i were to go direct) the chain would not hold up much longer.

I planned on going through Maine after NB, but may have to postpone for a different trip.  Who knows.
Now I sit/sat writing up the blogs in a motel in Truro, NS, as I feel I owe it to a few.

Tomorrow, I check out if anyone can fix me and the bike up...

Maybe Tomorrow...

Zombie Apocolypse

Day 16 Sunday July 22nd.

My vacation from my vacation was still ongoing, Therefore no pictures.  I got up, got on the bike and went in search of smokes as I had run out the night before. Onward to Sherbrooke Village to a little gas station/store which I had gone to in 2008 for laundry.  I knew the place well as I had spent hours there.  Unfortunately as it was sunday, both gas stations in town were closed until 10.  The supermarket was closed until noon.

I needed gas pretty badly and saw on the GPS that there was a gas station in Liscomb, the next town over.
I rode over and saw that the gas station looked like it's been closed for nearly a decade.  Back I went to Sherbrooke village for Fuel, Food and Smokes.

on the way back, my primary tank went dry and had  to switch to reserve.  Would I make the distance with so little fuel?
Yes, yes I would.
I went to the gas station and picked up some much needed supplies that everyone (almost everyone) loves.  Smokes, hot dogs and buns.

Who doesn't love the lips and assholes of hotdogs you may ask? Vegans...those dirty dirty vegans.
Nothing with a face they say... Lips and assholes and chicken beaks don't have faces. heh.

Back to the Manor and we had a light snack of dogs.  After a few (many) beverages, I excused myself and took a much needed nap.  Life is hard at the manor. lol.

Everyone went to the secret beach with the humpback albino deer, but I declined and kept sleeping.  Supper was cooked and I slept through that as well.  As an insomniac, I take whatever blissful sleep I can take and take it I did.  Then again, I'm on vacation from my vacation dammit!

I awoke a little later and just relaxed some more.  Like I said.  Life is hard at the Manor.
Luckily for me, a plate of food was kept for me, which I polished off later in the evening.  Some delicious BBQ chicken with baked potatoes and corn.  Delicious.

The movie we were watching ended and I descended into another slumber.

You know what bugs me?  I can't for the life remember what the hell was playing!