Journal

DAY 1

September 11, 2011

Miles traveled: 285.7 miles

Location: St. Bruno, Quebec

High temperature: 75F

Left Keith's house at about 12:15PM after we checked the bikes out. Along the way we decided to travel into Quebec since we were making good time and the weather was nice. A little delay at the border. Our intent was to camp at St. Bruno Provincial park just south of Montreal. When trying to find the park we had to make a u-turn at which time Ed has the first incident dumping his bike. Keith hadn't even noticed and continued on. A scooterist stopped to assist Ed in uprighting his bike. We soon found out that one person cannot upright a bike by himself. A few scratches with the only major issue was the video camera. Later we found out that it is now junk. We still can't figure out how it hit. OK, onto the park. It closed 15 minutes before we got there, but we drove around the barricade and scoped it out. It was not really a camp site, but a nice French Canadian directed us across the road and behind a barn, so that's where we set up camp. We assessed the camera damage, started a fire and cooked steaks. Also, Keith's fuel gauge quit working. We went to bed around 11:00PM.


DAY 2

September 12, 2011

Miles traveled: 305.8 miles

Location: Paridis Marin, Quebec

High temperature: 75F


Got up around 6:15AM, made coffee and resumed the trip around 8:00AM. We traveled along the St. Lawrence for the entire day. The weather was great and the scenery was amazing. We ran into a guy that ended up taking the ferry with us across a major tributary. Our new found friend was heading to Gaspe Bay Peninsula. Small world, he is an Entergy employee from Palisades in Michigan, so he and Ed new many of the same people since Ed had worked there for several months. After the ferry trip, we found our camp site at Paridis Marin. Our site was right on the water which is several miles wide at this point. First off, we spotted a whale and got some pictures. Then we saw several more whales as well as several seals. Truly amazing. Keith went to check in at the office and discovered his bike was leaking oil again from the head, which he just had repaired a few weeks before. We then went into town to get food, beer, whiskey and oil. When we came back to the camp site, we saw more whales and seals. Now it's getting boring…not!!!!!


DAY 3

September 13, 2011

Miles Traveled: 293.2 miles

Location: Relais-Gabriel, Quebec

High temperature: 58F


We got a late start today. Got up late, took a shower and changed, finally. Got to see tail this morning. Whale tale that is, as well as dolphins (we think). Stopped at Walmart to see if we could find another camera for the bike. Couldn't find what we wanted and they were way too expensive. We ran into an English speaking guy in the parking lot , so we asked him if there was any place we could get WiFi. He didn't know the term, but he did understand Internet. He suggested a local hotel and just ask them. It worked and we posted the first journals and photos. We finally headed down the road and then North toward Labrador City. We ran into road construction delays numerous times and then came the rain for the next 100 miles of mostly dirt roads. We made it slightly damp, but not too bad. Keith does need a new pair of boots that are waterproof. We got to the campsite at about 6:30PM. We are camping in what appears to be an abandoned gravel bed or something like that. We set up camp, at and went to bed after trying to dry things around the campfire. BTW, no whales or seals, just two beavers. And we slept with bear spray, just in case.


DAY 4

September 14, 2011

Miles Traveled: 249.6 miles

Location: Labrador City

High temperature: 56F


Left today at around 8:30AM, still not as early as we would like, but there's a lot to put back together so we can leave. When we did finally leave it was only 40F. Fortunately, our jackets and pants dried out overnight. Ed's gloves were still a little damp and Keith's boots were still wet…baggy time. Both of us did decide to wear our long johns and additional clothing, since it was so cold this morning. We drove many, many miles on dirt roads with trucks barreling along at 60/70 MPH. The road turned into pavement just before the Quebec/Labrador border. We did stop at the border for a photo op. We spotted a truck that flipped over in the middle of the road, but didn't stop for a photo. We traveled what seemed like a hundred miles without even passing another vehicle. To say the least, we made good time…zoom, zoom. Keith kept it under 90MPH, because of his oil leak. We passed the 52nd Parallel. We got to Labrador City, Labrador at about 1:30PM. Gassed up and ran into a guy named Dan. He was actually from Newfoundland and gave us some camping and travel tips. He too was on an adventure heading in the opposite direction. While in Labrador City we stocked up on food and beverage, as well as going to a WALMART to get new mattresses. Apparently the air mattress we brought now has a leak. Neither of us slept well the night before, sleeping on stones. We headed to our camp site located 85 miles North of Labrador City. We set up camp at about 4:30PM, nice. Relaxed, ate steak again and went to bed.


DAY 5

September 15, 2011

Miles traveled: 270.1 miles

Location: Gosling Park, Happy Valley Goose Bay, Labrador

High temperature: 54F


Woke up this morning at about 6:30AM to find everything covered with frost. The temperature was about 38F, probably lower. We saw a demolished car along the roadside. Looked like it hit a dump truck or something large…maybe a moose? It did not rain but the down side was the dust. Some of the road had a one inch layer of fine white dust and when semis passed us it was a complete white out. Keith got a good video of an on-coming truck to demonstrate what we went through. The road was riddled with ruts and potholes that made the ride very difficult. We had to stop every now and then to clean off our visors. Everything was covered with dust. Several times we were close to losing the bikes on loose gravel that had been freshly laid by graders. We set up camp at an abandoned camp ground. It was real obvious that the only thing that ever visited there were bears. We slept that night with the bear spray handy. Our plan was to leave very early in the morning because the next day would be a long ride. We are staying at a provincial park the next day and we would be able to take a shower. Anyway, we made supper (steak again, of course) and went to bed.


DAY 6

September 16, 2011

Miles traveled: 373 (12 hours in the saddle)

Location: L'Anse-au-Loup, Labrador

High temperature: 48F


We woke up early, but it was pouring so hard that we decided to wait. It stopped raining at about 7:00AM so we packed up and headed to the gas station to top off our tanks. Based on Ed's current gas consumption rate, we expected to run out of gas about 40 miles short of the next gas station. We had two MSRs full of gas just in case, plus a siphon hose. Anyway, as soon as we got on the Trans-Labrador it started raining. This was the most grueling ride either of us has ever experienced. Between the ruts, potholes and poor visibility we nearly lost our bikes at least a dozen times apiece. You cannot imagine how bad these roads are. Then to top it off, we get hit be the remnants of a hurricane. A hurricane…really? In Labrador? It seemed like the wind was blowing 50MPH. We struggled to keep the bikes even on the road. BTW, if yo go off the road (which are all elevated) it would be impossible to pull your bike out, even if you survived the crash. This section of road was crazy, scary and dangerous. We can't believe we made it without crashing. However, Keith's tank bag came loose so he stopped to fix it. While he was fiddling, he lost balance and dumped his bike. So far we both had a dump at zero miles per hour. Again, this road was scary…no we mean really scary. Whenever we stopped and someone came by, they would always stop to make sure we were alright. Along the way we saw the biggest black bear we have ever seen and it was with a cub that was as big as the bears in NY. We get to the provincial park 8:00PM. The park is right on the ocean and with the wind and rain we thought we should motel it tonight. We road a few more miles and finally stopped a quickie mart to ask for directions to a motel. No motel for three towns but there was a B&B across the street. The cashier called and confirmed availability. We went across the street and met sweet elderly Mary. She set us up and gave us directions to a restaurant across the street. We ate and went to bed. Sleeping in a real nice warm bed was heaven. We were both glad we decided not to camp tonight. Mary informed us that the ferry did not come back from Newfoundland yesterday due to weather and that its status would be updated at 7:00AM tomorrow.


DAY 7

September 17, 2011

Miles traveled: 0

Location: L'Anse-au-Loup, Labrador

High temperature: 46F


We woke up this morning at about 7:30, so we thought. We had forgotten to take into account the two hour time difference. In any case, Mary told us that the ferry would not be sailing at 10:30AM and that they would provide another update at 1:00PM. Keith did reset his watch to Labrador time. Mary made us breakfast of eggs, a kind of weird bacon and homemade toast. It was all very good. Mary then allowed us to launder our clothes…sweet. We then sat around and listened to Mary's lifetime of stories. She is a very interesting person. She is 90 years old and sharp as a tack. She has her own snow mobile that she still rides. She also still goes ice fishing for trout, hand auguring her own fishing holes in ice six feet thick. She is one of fourteen kids and has nine kids of her own, twenty grandchildren and nine great grandchildren. One o'clock rolls around and we get the word that the ferry is canceled for the day and they would not allow us to make reservations, so we think they want to make sure that everyone that had a reservation for Saturday and Sunday are taken care of. We hope they have room for two bikes. In any case, we have a nice place to stay for another night. The wind is still very strong and the waves are kicking up. Mary had talked to her daughter that lives near the point and was told that the wind was 110KPH (about 66MPH). Did we mention how bad the conditions were yesterday on the road. You have no idea!!!!!


Since we now have time, some words about equipment and lessons learned:

  • AirHawk seat cushion was awesome. It made 8-12 hours of riding tolerable
  • Trax panniers are not waterproof, although they may have been overstuffed and affecting the seals, Touratechs were waterproof
  • Trax pannier locks do not stand up to dust and rain, Touratech locks had no issues
  • First Gear Jackets were excellent, pants too
  • Guardian and BMW rain suits worked well, just put them on before it starts raining
  • WetFire fire starters worked really well
  • Triumph branded Alpine Star gloves were terrible, not waterproof and hard to get on, especially when wet
  • Homemade grill worked great
  • Should always carry a clear visor
  • MSR Dragonfly stove worked well because of it using gasoline
  • RainX or some other product might work well on visors, or anti-fog spray
  • Alpine Star boots were watertight and warm
  • Windshield on the Tiger is too low, too much buffeting and debris hits
  • Steering stabilizers might be worthwhile for a dirt road trip
  • Drink a lot of water to prevent dehydration, alcohol doesn't work
  • Chatterboxes worked well, but need to be waterproof and custom mounts need to be developed
  • Using iPhone for navigation worked well, except during bright sun conditions, which we haven't seen much of yet
  • MotionX software for the iPhone needs a landscape mode
  • Don't lay your helmet right side up in the corner of a tent during a rain storm, it will suck up water. There's nothing like sticking your head into a helmet that is soaked and it's on 40F out.
  • ROK straps worked really well, elastic netting allowed your luggage to shift around somewhat
  • When you are wearing underwear, long underwear, pant liners, pants and rain pants, don't wait too long to stop to urinate. Five layers of clothing can take forever to get through. And then of course, the inherent problem with wearing five inches of clothing and only three inches of…
  • Keith has perfected cooking steak over a campfire
  • And did we mention that 373 miles in one day on the Trans-Labrador Highway during a hurricane was way grueling and dangerous


OK, so it's now 9:35PM and we thought there was nothing else that nature could throw at us. Well how about a little sleet and snow mix!!!! Man are we lucky or what?


DAY 8

September 18, 2011

Miles traveled: 82.6 miles

Location: Flowers Cove, Newfoundland

High temperature: 58F


We got up at 6:30AM and packed up the bikes. It was 33F this morning and there was ice on our seats, not frost but ice. Mary made us a pancake and bacon breakfast with partridge berry jam. Partridge berries grow wild in this area, apparently. We left for the ferry at about 7:30AM to get in line. Unfortunately, we were unable to get on the 10:30AM ferry and needed to come back at 1:30PM after we put our names on a standby list. Because the ferry was canceled Friday and Saturday, they were taking Sunday reservations first then Friday and then Saturday. It was quite the ordeal. As we stood in line for hours we heard many stories of other people traveling the TLH on Thursday and Friday. So many had flat tires, running out of gas and in one case the wind actually blowing the top off of a pop-up camper. We were told that on Friday Labrador City had six inches of snow and in some areas sixteen inches of snow. We are just glad we missed that, when we thought it could get no worse. Did we mention how grueling, nerve racking and dangerous it was for us on Thursday (Day 6). If you don't remember, read Day 6 again. Anyway we spent our wait time seeing the sites in the area of the ferry. We toured the Point Armour Light house (the tallest lighthouse in Atlantic Canada) and the L'Anse Armour funeral monument (the oldest burial site in North America, 7500 years old). After touring, we went back to the ferry only to stand in line another two hours, but we were the last two to get on the ferry, only because we were on motorcycles. Many others were left behind. The trip across to Newfoundland was quiet and relaxing, lasting about two hours. After getting off the ferry we headed toward our next PRIMITIVE campsite. All Keith had were coordinates from a guy that made the trip two years ago. That's how he finds most of his freebie camping spots. Well, this one is right on the ocean. We picked a site behind the dunes to block us from the wind. Although it was a gorgeous day, the wind was a little strong. We got a few supplies from a local store and set up camp. We took a stroll along the ocean and took some pics. Too windy for a fire, so we took our vitamins ;);) and went to bed after talking about the grueling, nerve racking and DANGEROUS ride we had on Thursday?


DAY 9

September 19, 2011

Miles traveled: 320 miles

Location: Corner Brook, Newfoundland

High temperature: 59F


We got up at about 7:00AM, had coffee and oatmeal, then packed up the bikes. We traveled North to the Viking Settlement and spent some time there. On the way we had seen many small gardens alongside the road and couldn't figure out why, but one of the tour guides at the Viking Settlement explained that the soil on the Rock is very acidic from the pine trees and nothing can grow. The Vikings came here to mainly harvest lumber and basically stripped thre land leaving it barren. Once the trees are gone nothing will grow. However, when they put the roads in, they turned the soil and that is the only place where anything grows. We then headed South to corner brook, got some good scenic pics and finally saw a moose that ran out in front of us. We went by a sign that said there had been 30 moose/vehicle accidents this year. We set up camp and went into Corner Brook to get some meat for dinner. No such thing as fresh meat in the area, so we had to buy some crab legs, pretty tough. We ate and went to bed.


DAY 10

September 20, 2011

Miles traveled: 280 miles

Location: Terra Nova National Park, Newfoundland

High temperature: 53F


We got up rather late today. Ate the usual oatmeal and coffee and left at about 11:00AM. We talked to a nice elderly couple from Ottawa. The happened to mention that most of the Provincial Parks closed on Monday. They were tent camping for six weeks on Newfoundland. They had to have been in their 80s. God bless them. We sat down do determine our strategy to try and make up the one day we are behind. Ultimately, we decided to take the ferry leaving from Argentia. Keith called and made reservations for the 10:00PM ferry on the 24th. We wanted to make sure we had locked that in, since it apparently only departs once a week. After we made reservation, we realized that we get to Nova Scotia on the 25th (it's a 14 hour ride) and that still means we are one day behind schedule. We'll have to try later to make up the day. The Terra Nova Park was, fortunately still open so we headed there for today. It rained cats and dogs the entire way. We arrived at about 4:30PM and set up camp. The facilities here were excellent with brand new showers and toilets. We were in seventh heaven. We set up our cooking operation in a pavilion and ate minestrone soup and mashed potatoes. Keith tried making pudding, but that idea didn't turn out well. Off to the laundromat to wash some skanky clothes. Fortunetely, we had exactly the right amount of change. While there we were able to get WiFi and adjust our fantasy football line-ups and enter into our journal. Then to bed at about 10:00PM. Weather tomorrow is supposed to be nice. We may stay in Terra Nova one more night depending on camp site availability closer to St. Johns.


DAY 11

September 21, 2011

Miles traveled: 130 miles

Location: Irish Loop Park, Newfoundland

High temperature: 57F


We woke at about 8:00AM, started coffee and oatmeal. We quickly ate and took another shower. As I mentioned, the facilities here are absolutely awesome, better than most four star hotels. We then took a hike along the coastal trail at Terra Nova. The sights weren't as outstanding as we thought so we changed our plans on stain another night. First we had to locate another campsite closer to St. Johns. We went to the laundramat for WiFi service and finally found two campsites that were still open near St. Johns. We had not anticipated the closing of many camping sites…lesson learned. We chose Irish Loop Parks, made reservations, packed our gear and headed out at about 11:30AM. It was finally a gorgeous day for a ride. The sun was shining and the wind swept through our hair. We arrived at the Irish Loop Campsite at about 2:00PM and set up camp. We began drinking our standard eight pack of beer, no six packs here where men are men and women serve them gratefully. Anyway, one of our campsite neighbors stopped to chat and offered us a bunch of firewood, which we questioned because open fires were prohibited. Frank said it would be OK (and free) and he and his wife invited us to a campfire down the way that evening. Half an hour later Frank returns with a cast iron chimney and said that now we would be legal. He also brought us a package of moose sausages for supper. Only in Newfoundland!!! We started the chimney fire and cooked moose over the fire and cooked some black beans 'n rice. Sweet Jesus!!! After the eight pack and what was left of the Gibbons we were too tired to visit with our new found friends and went to bed at about 9:30PM. We wanted to get an early start for St. Johns in the morning.


DAY 12

September 22, 2011

Miles traveled: 83 miles

Location: Irish Loop Park, Newfoundland

High temperature: 65F


We woke up at about 7:30 AM, what a gorgeous morning. We at our usual oatmeal and went to the community center for showers. Nothing like Terra Nova, but still better than nothing. We emptied everything from the bikes since we would be spending three nights at the Irish Loop. We then drove to St. Johns, got some quick info from a resident and parked the bikes. We spent quite a bit of time walking the streets of St. Johns, had a coffee at Starbucks, visited a pretty neat motorcycle museum and The Rooms (the official St. Johns museum. All was interesting and very informative. We then had a few pints of locally made beer at a good old Irish bar. Apparently there are quite a few Irish bars in St. Johns. The beer was so good we decided to have lunch before venturing to Signal Hill. Keith had Guinness beef stew and Ed had fresh fried cod with pork scrunchies on top. MMMMgood. While walking to the bikes we encountered a pub that was in the oldest building, on the oldest street in the oldest city in North America. Top that Bertha's. Off to see Signal Hill on the ocean, lots of sites and pictures. Alas, another tale sighting…and not a whale tale. This is where all the good looking Newfies come to run. Up and down the many stairs and embankments. Keith got lots of pictures. Keith's bike was throwing a lot of oil and smoking as we drove up to Signal Hill. When we got there, we met a biker gentleman that came over to talk to us. During the conversation, we mentioned Keith's plight and he recommended a brand new BMW dealership near St. Johns. Keith called and talked to the owner and welcomed Keith to come over to see what he could do. So we left Signal Hill and headed back to Irish Loop campsite. It was getting dark and everyone has told us that dusk is when the moose come out. We were a little worried because Keith had a blown headlight and made moose spotting difficult. But we made it without incident. We got back, decided we were too tired and not so hungary, so we just sat around the fire until bedtime.


DAY 13

September 23, 2011

Miles traveled: 80 miles

Location: Irish Loop Park, Newfoundland

High temperature: 58F


Got up early to make coffee and oatmeal. Oh no, we are now out of oatmeal, what to do. Took showers and packed the bikes up. Checked Keith's oil and sure enough done some, so topped it off and went to start bikes. Another problem, Keith's bike battery went dead. We jerry rigged some jumper cables and off we go, except Keith's bike is leaking oil like a sieve. We decided then that the BMW needed to get fixed right away or we might have to spend the winter in Newfoundland…too bad for us. We had a short drive to Mount Pearl and found the Toy Box BMW dealer. Keith (the owner) took Keith's (our Keith) bike in immediately. In about an hour Keith (the owner) came out with the problem in hand. Whoever did the repair work on the bike the last time had used a chisel to pound the cam tensioner tight. Keith (the owner) said it was pretty shoddy workmanship and the mechanic probably did not get the right torque on it. Another hour and the purchase of a headlamp and we were off with a perfectly running BMW again. We then got a little lost trying to get to Cape Spear. We went into a small parking lot to turn around as another gentleman stopped in his truck to shoot the breeze and give us directions to Cape Spear. He owned an engineering shop and offered his services and mechanics if we had any problems. The Newfoundland people are definitely the friendliest people we have ever met. Anyway, off to Cape Spear, which happens to be the farthest east piece of land in all of North America. We hike the trails, took pictures and talked to several other people, all interested in our adventure. One couple we talked to had ridden bicycles from Vancouver. For those that are geographically challenged, Vancouver is on the West coast of North America. But how could this girls ass be so big after peddling a bike thousands of miles? Keith suggested that maybe her ass was a lot bigger!!!! We again walked the trails around the cape and then headed back to St. Johns to try and entertain ourselves for the rest of the day. We looked around for a restaurant, but ended up back at the Bridie Molloy Irish Pub. We had dinner and a few brews. Food was excellent. St. Johns is a pretty rockin' place on a Friday night. Reminded us of Bourbon Street except you couldn't take beer into the streets. Well of course we imbibed too much and decided not to drive back to the campsite, so we stayed at a local hotel. Good night Irene.


DAY 14

September 24, 2011

Miles traveled: 170 miles

Location: Argentia, Newfoundland

High temperature: 61F


We got up around 9:00AM, took a nice shower and walked down to Starbucks for coffee and danish. The bikes were parked along the dock right outside Starbucks. No one stole anything off the bikes so we got dressed and left for the camp about an hours drive. We packed up camp and left there at about 11:00AM to head to Argentia to catch the ferry. We got to the ferry around 1:00PM and got the lay of the land. The ferry wouldn't be leaving until 10:00PM with boarding at 8:00PM. We decided to take a drive along the coast through Placentia and grab a bite along the way. Neither of us were feeling very chipper. It was a long six hours to kill. We got beck to the ferry early and just rested a bit until 8:00PM when they started loading motorcycles first. There were a total of five bikes. One guy with a BMW from Michigan had just rode the Trans-Labrador Highway also. We all strapped down our bikes and went to our room. Sweet, four beds and a SHOWER. Apparently, news of two bikers riding the Trans-Labrador Highway in a hurricane is slowly spreading across Canada. While we were eating our buffet dinner, a French Canadian biker walked up to our table and told us he had heard a women talking about two guys that had actually made it down the TLH on motorcycles during the hurricane and that they must be crazy. The French Canadian asked if that was us, which we obviously confirmed, and he then congratulated us on our accomplishment. Amazing, we hand't even talked to any women on the boat. After dinner we went directly to bed. It was a long day for us both. Sweet dreams.


DAY 15

September 25, 2011

Miles traveled: 120 miles

Location: Meat Cove Campground, Nova Scotia

High temperature: 64F


We woke up at about 8:00AM in the ferry cabin. The beds were extremely comfortable and both of us slept well. AS soon as we got up we took our showers and dressed in our last set of clean clothes. The shower was also excellent, large, nice pressure and real hot water. You miss those luxuries when you're camping. We decided to have the buffet breakfast on the ferry since it would not be docking until 12:30PM or so. The ferry ride is a total of 14-15 hours long. It gave us the needed rest and revitalization we would need for Phase III of our trip. Not sure we mentioned it but when we left Argentia that completed Phase II of this trip. We took the time to update our journal, although Internet connectivity was spotty and somewhat slow. We were both still pretty run down and could have slept more, but at about 12:30PM the Captain called for car loading after the ferry had docked. We packed the bikes, untethered them and left the ferry to start Phase III, the return trip home. We jumped almost immediately onto Cabot Trail towards the North of Nova Scotia. The sights were truly amazing. What a beautiful country. Canada should be proud of how great their country is. Keith took many photos along the way. The day was gorgeous, sunny and warm. It made the ride something people would be jealous of. Totally enjoyable. We arrived at Meat Cove at about 4:00PM, dropped our bikes again (enough said) and set up camp. The scenery from this campsite was absolutely amazing. Although windy, it was pretty warm. Ten steps from our tent door was at least a seventy-five foot drop-off. We were both concerned about getting up at night to whizz and falling to our deaths. It didn't happen, so aren't you girls lucky. We had stopped along the way there to pick up some food. Meat is slim pickings but we were able to find some rancid steaks at half price so we picked them up. Back at camp Keith cooked the steaks and we ate and went to bed at about 9:00PM. We still needed rest from St. Johns. Good night John Boy.


DAY 16

September 26, 2011

Miles traveled: 271 miles

Location: Amherst Beach Provincial Park, Nova Scotia

High temperature: 74F


We woke up at Meat Cove at about 7:15AM, made breakfast (we are now eating creamed wheat) and coffee. Keith feels like he might be getting a cold. We packed up the bikes and headed back onto Cabot Trail. We saw more amazing scenery and took some great photos. This was by far the most gorgeous day yet. Winding mountain roads, breeze in your hair (except for Ed) and sun. We stopped to have a burger at and taters along the way. We arrived at Amherst Beach Provincial Park at about 4:00PM, much earlier than planned. Great showers and bathrooms, but no laundry. Nearest laundry was about one hour away, so after we set up camp we did some hand-washing and hinge everything out to dry. This should be it for laundry. We did run down to a nearby store and picked up some hotdogs, buns, beer and Crown. We plan to eat the hotdogs for the next two days and the Crown should last the rest of the trip. The park has Wifi so we updated the website, ate dinner, showered, drank all the Crown and went to bed around 9:00PM. Sweet dreams. We can't wait to get back to the women. Sweet dreams.


DAY 17

September 27, 2011

Miles traveled: 385 miles

Location: Mount Desert Campground, Maine

High temperature: 78F


Got up at about 7:30AM, had breakfast of cream of wheat and coffee, then took a shower. What a gorgeous day again. We left Nova Scotia and drove right through New Brunswick and into Maine. We followed the coastal route through Maine. It was somewhat scenic but nothing compared to Newfoundland or as Keith has renamed it "NewFUNland". We drove 385 miles, the most ever in one day. We bypassed the New Brunswick campsite and went directly to Mount Desert Campground which was right on the ocean. We would finally make up the day we lost waiting for the ferry. Passed the 45th Parallel along the way. We dropped off our gear in the campsite and headed out to find some lobster tails. We drove to a very strange place in the backwoods, owned by an old ex-hippi that had a severe case of osteoporosis that sold clams and lobsters out of her garage. She told us she bought the place with twenty acres for $6K and everybody laughed at her. However, she had no tails and recommended Down East Lobster, so away we went. Down East only had frozen tails. We decided that frozen wouldn't do, but neither of us could kill a lobster, so we decided to eat there. This place was strange too, but the lobster was good. Afterword we ordered steamed clams. Nothing like we have ever seen. We think maybe they were Ipswich steamers. Dinner done, we headed back to the campsite, stopped for our beer along the way. No more Canadian eight packs, we had to go for a twelve pack. A few beers and cigars and right to bed. Good night all.


DAY 18

September 28, 2011

Miles traveled: 230 miles

Location: AMC Joe Dodge Lodge, New Hampshire

High temperature: 68F


Ed got up about 6:45AM and headed up to the main office to get some change for the shower. Of course the office wouldn't be open until 8:00AM. Meanwhile, Keith made breakfast, coffee and cream of wheat again, yum yum. We quickly packed up the bikes and left fairly early, since we plan to ride Mt. Washington once we arrive at Joe Dodge Lodge. We got to Joe Dodge Lodge at about 12:45PM, checked in and unloaded all the gear from the bikes, including the panniers. We wanted to be as light as possible for the trip up the mountain. The mountain road and the scenic views from it were absolutely amazing, a little scary, but amazing, especially on a motorcycle. Mt. Washington is the highest peak in the Northeast at 6288 feet and known for it's dangerously erratic weather. It holds the record for the highest recorded wind speed at 231MPH. Winter temperatures can reach -47F, but today the weather was nice, sunny and about 50F. It also has the world's first cog railroad. We got some amazing pictures and headed back down. Going down was much scarier than going up and can't imagine taveling this road with any kind of wind or rain (part of it is dirt). We made it down without incident, but we read later that a motorcyclist had recently been killed traveling that same road. We also saw that a guy from Napanee, Ontario had been killed hiking one of the trails. In all, they have recorded 144 people killed on Mt. Washington. But not Ed and Keith, not today. We got back to the lodge, showered and had a home style meal with a number of interesting people also staying at the lodge. After dinner, we went to the library, started a fire and discussed the day's events. It'll be nice to sleep in a bed tonight. Tomorrow is the last day of this journey, traveling from New Hampshire to home. It'll also be a long day at 372 miles. When we get back, we will be entering a summary of the journey, so please check in. Night, night.


DAY 19

September 29, 2011

Miles traveled: 372 miles

Location: Home Sweet Home

High temperature: 68F


On the last day of our adventure we woke up at 6:30AM to a downpour of rain. Keith quickly looked at the weather radar only to see that the entire Northeast battered with heavy rain and thunderstorms. The rain will add to our already long day, what a bummer. We took showers and ate our buffet breakfast at the lodge. Packing the bikes was fairly quick and we were off on our last day by 8:00AM. It essentially rained the entire trip home. At times the rain was so hard it was difficult to even see the road, but our anxiousness to get home kept us pushing forward. When we stopped to gas or eat several people commented on us driving motorcycles in such a strong rain. At one Thruway stop someone had asked about our journey and another gentleman overheard us mention Labrador and he said that his family was from Newfoundland. He asked if we had gone to St. Johns and Water Street to have a little fun and we laughed in confirmation. The GPS actually brought us by Max's BMW in Troy, NY so Keith took the time to stop and talk with them about the issues Keith had with his bike. The service manager assured Keith that he would make things right. Without getting into the details, Keith came away very satisfied with Max's customer service, a big relief. We got home to Keith's house in Constantia at about 4:00PM making excellent time. A little rain wasn't going to slow us down from getting home. A little disappointed that there was no welcome home crowd or banners, but it was good to be home. We unloaded the bikes and Keith took a shower while we waited for Amy to get home from work. Amy gave us a ride to Ed's house where we had dinner with Ryan, Ryken, Keith, Amy, Lincoln, Sandy, Ed and Izzy. We talked about Ryan's honeymoon to Costa Rica and the Keith and Ed adventure to Labrador, Newfoundland (and yes, Ed now knows that Newfoundland is part of the Province of Labrador), Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Maine, New Hampshire, Quebec and New York. It was good to have almost the entire family there. Our newest members of the family, Alisa and Rocco, were not able to be there, but they were in our hearts.


Ed's Commentary:


We included as much detail in our journal that we had time for. Internet access and weather limited our time on the computer. There are so many more highlights that we would be excited to talk about, so be sure to ask. For me, this was a challenging adventure, especially as a 57 year old man. I think I did pretty good keeping up with Keith. Keith was the impetus behind this journey. Originally we talked about a trip to the Arctic Ocean, but soon realized the time requirements and difficulty would be too much for our first major trip. Keith had reviewed numerous trip reports from other adventure riders and suggested we put together a route up to Quebec, across the Trans-Labrador Highway, down into Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and across the New England states. It is a popular journey for adventure riders. Once agreed, Keith put together a route and schedule. Keith did an amazing job at planning this journey, providing an amazing amount of detail that made this trip doable. We had options along the way, so we could take make adjustments for weather, interesting sites and unforeseen issues. Weather was the biggest factor when riding bikes and running into a hurricane was a huge impact to our plans and schedule. Did we mention how nerve racking and dangerously scary that part of the trip was? I think we did, I'm still shaking!!! With Keith's plan we would be able to make up the day we lost, so in the end, we started on time and ended on time and we saw almost everything we planned. The scenery in Newfoundland was absolutely amazing. We did see whales, seals, porpoises(or maybe they were smaller whales?), moose and black bears. We were disappointed we didn't see caribou, but maybe next time. I personally had an amazing time with an amazing person, my son. I would never had seen these sights or spent so much quality time with my son had Keith not taken me on this trip. I can now cross off a number of items off my bucket list. And, most importantly. I want to thank the two women that allowed their husbands to be away from home for almost three weeks, Amy and Sandy. I know it was tough, but the tough will always make it through difficult times.


Keith's Commentary:


Well I knew the TLH was going to be hard, but not as hard as some parts of it were. I can count a dozen times I thought to myself, "oh shit, I'm going to crash and its going to hurt". We didn't quite stick to the itinerary, but all in all I think it worked out for the best. It was an unforgettable trip and I couldn't think of a better person to go on the trip with, my dad. Dad deserves all the credit for this journal, if it were left to me I would of been too lazy to do it. I did however take over 700 photos during this trip, only uploading a few as we went due to slow Internet speeds. Over the course of the next week I'll be sorting through and adding some more to the site along with adding more thoughts on some gear. Everyone should take the opportunity to visit Newfoundland its a beautiful place with a long rich history. Every single person we met was extremely nice and overly helpful. Lastly I would like to thank my wife, she made many sacrifices that allowed me go, she's an amazing woman.