Canuck Chicks Conga T-Shirts!!!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Day 58: Sun., Aug 9: Grand Forks to Mission BC: HOME HOME HOME

Home again, home again, jiggety-jog (or sumthin' like dat LOL) ...

Start odometer reading: 11,145 km
Finish odometer reading: 28,347 km

That's 17,202 km for the entire trip!!!

Well, Big Daddy and I got ourselves on the road earlyish today, about 8:30 a.m. We decided we would NOT do the Hope-Princeton, it being Sunday and probably would be a zoo with all the mad weekenders wanting to get home asap.

Instead, we decided to take the Coquihalla, originally thinking on heading to Osoyoos and then northwards. Then, on the way, Big Daddy suggested we deke off at Rock Creek onto Hwy 33 to Kelowna. We had taken this route in the 4X4 one winter 'just for fun' ACK! and he thought it might make a nice detour.

Well, it turned out to be a fabulous ride! Hardly any traffic on it at that time of a Sunday morn and just so pretty -- lotsa nice views, a cute little village or two (Beaverdell looks like worth a return visit) and wonderful, wonderful twisties. We arrived in Kelowna thoroughly satisfied with our morning's 'outing', all due to that wonderful force, serendipity -- ah, yes, where would we be without it???

After gassing up and a brief Timmie's visit, we headed off for the first leg of the Coq. What can I say about it except that it was busy ... and windy, as usual, but the good thing was we had fabulous sunshine all the way -- the last time I rode the Coq, it was pi$$ing down rain!

Another brief stop in Merritt for people food and off we rode to Hope -- even busier than the first leg, but we arrived safely despite all moronic driver's best attempts to cream us, only to look at the clouds gathering and say, 'oh, oh -- we better get home quick, or we'll get wet'.

So, off we went, hell-bent-for-election and arrived home about 5:00 p.m. The nasty clouds were nowhere to be seen anymore we had a lovely hot-tub soak, complete with CCC libation and then a nice BBQ. We're both pooped and ready to go to bed early tonight I can tell yah, so will post more tomorrow when the brain is actually (hopefully) fully engaged!

Night-night, all my faithful followers! I could not have done this without each and every one of you cheering me on!!!

PS: I arrived home to a house freshly housecleaned (!) and a lovely huge bouquet of flowers on the kitchen counter with a Welcome Home card from my darling Big Daddy (this boy is definitely a keeper!).

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Day 57: Sat., Aug 8: Cranbrook to Grand Forks, BC

I cain't believe it! I finally met up with my own Big Daddy (mind you, he kept me waiting for 2 hours in Grand Forks -- what's new, eh?)

Had a fab ride from Cranbrook -- not much traffic, be-oot-iful weather -- what more could yah ask for???

We've just got back from a great dinner at a local pub -- be sure to visit the Station Pub here if yah get the chance -- excellent food and good beer as well as friendly quick service.

It was within walking distance of our very reasonably priced motel 'Western Traveller' and so lovely on the walk back - dusk, the hills looked purpley-grey and a fragrant breeze -- thinkin' this might be nice retirement country???

Off tah bed now folks, for the final leg home -- escorted, no less by the Big Daddy!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Day 56: Fri., Aug. 7: Foremost AB to Cranbrook BC

BC! BC! I can hardly believe it -- almost home again!

WELL -- Cindy and I started out this morning in the strangest weather -- it looked like it was foggy, but as we rode down the road, the 'fog' was ever-evasive. I think it was some kind of rain cloud that never touched down. Cin and I parted about 20 km up the road and I carried on up to Hwy 3. (I tell yah, what a fabulous hostess she is -- she fed and watered me and gave me a bed to sleep in; and then she let me play with her lovely doggies, Beaver and Mooch -- who could ask for more? What a star! And this, for some weirdo (me) she met on the Internet LOL)

I was really stoking along because I knew that the weather report showed clearer and sunnier weather the further west I went so ... I went!

By the time I got to Lethbridge, things were really looking up and with the exception of the odd cloudyness along the way, it was all great. When I got to Fernie, I thought perhaps I would stay there (it was hot, hot, hot), but nothing to be found so carried on to Cranbrook. Interesting aside: at the gas station in Fernie, a gal attired in bikerette fashion admired my bike and as we chatted, turned out she and her hubby were from B.C. ... in fact, from my home town -- how funny is that? I tell yah, six degrees of separation ...

Anyway, got to Cranbrook; booked into my fave hotel - the Prestige Inn; love it that I can practically park the bike in the lobby - they reserve the canopy out front for bikes; had a hot tub; had a swim; had a fabulous meal ... plus CCC libation and wine with dinner; had a great chat with Big Daddy ... now, thinkin' 'bout beddy-byes.

I do love that ride through the Crow's Nest Pass on Hwy 3 -- the Mountains as you approach are fabulous and the view on the ride through is amazing -- Santa better bring me that webcam this year, I tell yah!!!

Off to Dreamland now ...

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Day 55: Thurs., Aug 6: Moose Jaw to Foremost AB (aka the Long Way Round)

Ah, yes -- here I am in beautiful Foremost, AB with my bud, Cindy, who, I might add, has the patience of a saint!

Ole Willi really did the original 'Circle Tour' today; yep - got myself lost, if yah can believe it. Ride halfway around friggin' North America but ride around in ever-increasing circles in my own back yard BLUSH

My GPS refused to get a signal in Moose Jaw and when I went to use my map, I discovered the relevant portion was shredded off it. So I thought, 'What the heck', I know the way -- yeah, right Willi :-(

Somehow I forgot I needed to be on Hwy 3 and wound up driving way too far west on TC Hwy 1, then tried to get turned around near Brooks and just kept going the wrong way, due to road construction, dead end streets and gravel roads UGH.

Finally got some accurate directions from a fella and met up with Cindy -- we are at her house in Foremost now, having had plenty of libations and a wonderful homecooked dinner -- I plan to make use of that wonderful jacuzzi tub she has too -- oh yeah, these aching muscles will smile again.

Nighty-night folks!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Day 54: Wed., Aug. 5: Minot ND to Moose Jaw, SK

Yep -- you ARE seeing correctly -- yet another loo to enter in the 'strange' chapter of my travel memories (Does this stuff happen to other people? Or am I being singled out again, hmmm.)

So, here I am in Moose Jaw, where inexplicably, the Comfort Inn is full, the Days Inn is full, the Super8 is full ... So, I found myself at the Heritage Inn and Convention Centre. I noticed as I rode up that there seemed to be an inordinate number of Lincoln Town Cars, Chrysler New Yorkers ... and elderly folk. More hmmm. Anyhoo, sashayed into the lobby, up to the desk (more seniors there) and enquired about accommodation for the night -- they were most obliging; room on the first floor, no problem.

Great -- I ride around the building, let myself into my room and notice that there is an awful lot of space in the room. Then I notice the wide doorways, then see all the railings and so forth and realize -- TA DA -- they've put me in a handicapped-accessible room. Geez, mebbe when they saw my leathers, they thought I'd rolled into town on my electric walker LOL. Or wait, mebbe they figgered I was gonna ride the Harley right into the room! Too funnee!

However, there are many saving graces to this hotel -- first, see the lovely view from my courtyard window: the first picture. I am shortly going to go paddle around in that lovely pool. THEN, I will go to the even lovelier dining room, have a CCC libation first, then dinner, with a nice red wine. Then afterwards, if I'm feeling like it, I just might go to the nice quiet lounge and hoist a couple. Or maybe, if I'm feeling truly exciting, I'll go hang out at the cool nightclub for awhile (well, maybe not -- how cool can a nightclub called the 'Silo' be, after all ;-) ) Who knew there were such excitements to be had in Moose Jaw (AND I hear tell there's a casino if I feel like throwing away my hard-earned dosh ... which I don't).

I had asked the desk clerk at the Comfort Inn how come all the hotels seemed to be full -- was there something special happening? She said, 'No, it's just summer and everyone comes here in the summer." I asked why -- she replied, totally deadpan, "Because Moose Jaw is totally awesome!" Moose Jaw Tourism Oops -- guess that put me in my place LOL

OK -- so ya'll are prolly wondering why I'm here and not in Montana. Well, the weather this a.m looked dicey and the weather report looked worse - thunder and lightning and rain expected - so I decided to get outta Dodge and did a bolt north for the border, coming through Portal border crossing.

The young lad masquerading as a border guard and I had a great ole conversation -- he rides a Springer, but doesn't think it would be comfy enough to do what I did (ride across Canada and part of the States), but he thinks he would like a Deluxe. I tell him naw, prolly to low for him -- he looks tall; I suggest the Heritage Softail. He sez yah, his dad has one. I say, but why not sit on mine ta see if it will fit ... I suddenly hear a throat clear in the background and alluva sudden he starts back with the 'official' questions -- guess the boss heard him enjoying himself and brought him back to reality SNICKER

I headed north on Hwy 39 from the border (highly recommended -- great views) which took me through Estevan, Weyburn and the one-and-only Dog River. Well, it was Dog River on 'Corner Gas', but it's really Rouleau, SK. I stopped to fill up with gas there -- the gas jockey was a man of few words (read: no words ... and also, no teeth ICK) who just grunted when I asked, "No premium?". His compatriot, sittin' on a bench outside the store, was a silver-haired old-timer (also with no teeth) who only wanted to know where 'that plate' was from ... and dint believe me when I told him. (I was distinctly reminded of my late grandfather, who had just about as much couth ;-) ) Sooo, it's pretty clear ta me why they chose to film CG there -- all that 'ambience' LOL

OK - now, here is my question for the day folks -- I know that that pretty yellow stuff in the fields is canola. But what crop is it that has the lovely mauve-coloured tops???

Alright -- enough of this hilarity -- I'm going swimmin'!


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Day 53: Tues., Aug. 4: Bemidji MN to Minot ND

Who knew the geographical center of North America was in Rugby, North Dakota? Not me, that's for sure! I passed through Rugby on the way here, here being Minot ND. Minot, ND

Minot appears to be a fairly largish place and a busy one, it seems, as it was tough to find a hotel room; every one I tried was all booked up -- or so they said -- mebbe they just didn't like the look o' me ;-) I wound up at a Super 8 (not my fave venue, but it will do).

Seems clean enough anyway but there is something in the bathroom which made me do a huge double take. There appears to be some kind of attachment on the throne which, according to the directions printed on it, purports to turn it into a bidet ... I'm definitely givin' that device a miss -- possible electrocution via the nether regions is NOT on my bucket list, not today anyway LOL

Delilah and I clocked over 500 km today, so that was a very good day's work, I'd say. Not sure yet which way I will go tomorrow -- prolly best to continue on Hwy 2 awhile until I can head north into Alberta to get to Foremost to meet up with Cin-Cin.

Thinking about Hwy 2 makes me remember that today as I was ridin' along, I got to thinkin' about all the different kinds of pavement and/or patching materials I've encountered on this trip: gray stuff, black stuff, red stuff, all with/without gritty stuff in 'em. What are they all made of and why are different kinds used? Anybody out there know? I bet Motor Maid Laurie does ...

Monday, August 3, 2009

Day 52: Mon., Aug 3: Ironwood MI to Bemidji, MN

Started out this a.m. at 8:00 cuz the weather report was calling for thunder and lightening storms to start about mid-afternoon all across the state and I wanted to e in and dry before that happened. Arrived here in Bemidji, Minnesota (on the Mississippi River, the sign sez, but dunno if I believe THAT) just as the winds were picking up and the skies darkening, about 2:30 ish. It's now after 4:00, and still no thunderstorm or rain yet -- mebbee it missed us. Bemidji, MN

The ride across Hwy 2 took me through a couple of National Parks and a lotta resort areas - camping, boating and fishing being the specified activities, so lotsa trees around and a pretty straight road for the most part. Not exciting to see, but could get up to about 120 kmh in a lotta spots, so made good time.

Drivers -- aren't some of them funny? (I mean funny 'weird' NOT funny 'haha'.) Someone will poke along in front of you in the areas that you can't pass in and then as soon as it opens up into an area you are allowed to pass in, they speed up. OR, they dawdle along for miles, you then pass 'em when yah can ... and the next thing yah know, they're on your butt - no matter how fast yah go SHEESH

Talked to Big Daddy today and he informs me I will be a great auntie one day in the not-so-distant-future so congrats and much love to G & N! (Now I just have to figger out a way to wangle 'equal time' with the babe as my bro and sis-in-law, the grandparents HEH HEH.)

And our bro-in-law who had the heart surgery is doing nicely, so we are very pleased - way to go, T!

So, I guess dat's it from the road (unless I run into more oddballs at dinner tonight LOL) till tomorrow's riveting installment!


Sunday, August 2, 2009

Day 51: Sun, Aug 2: Manistique to Ironwood MI

... and elderly drivers!

OK, OK -- I know that looks strange, but that's the list of blog topics I had running through my mind while I was riding today LOL

First: pasties -- all the way through Michigan I've been seeing roadside stands that just say "Pasties" -- I've not yet discovered whether they are selling the pasties that you eat (as in 'Cornish pasties') or the pasties that you, er, ... twirl BLUSH

Second: spirits -- again, all the way through Michigan, near or in a lot of little towns, I keep seeing billboards that say only 'Spirits - 5 miles'. I kept wondering if table-turning or seances is a hot activity in this state, until I saw a liquor store and realized what they were referring to (!)

Third: deer: without a word of a lie, I counted about a dozen dead deer on Hwy 2, in about a 15 km stretch just west of Escanaba near a little place called Harris. I guess they lost their battle with the ubiquitous automobile ...

Fourth: wind: Today was the same as yesterday, wind-wise, presumably because we're on a peninsula here, which is between Lake Michigan and Lake Superior and getting the blast from both sides -- ye gawds, I feel quite deaf after 5 hours of riding. ICK

Fifth (and probably most important): Elderly drivers: Well, Ole Willi just about met her Maker today, and that is no lie, folks. A little old lady (presumably on her way home from church) in Crystal Falls, Michigan almost creamed me head on in an intersection ... and the sad and scary part is, I don't think she ever saw me a-tall.

I was sitting in my left hand turn lane waiting to turn into MacD's when she came at me head on, driving totally straight through her left turn lane, instead of turning left. The only thing that saved me is that I was on the extreme right hand side of my lane because I had zipped into it at the last minute. I could tell by the way she was peering through the windshield she couldn't see jack-you-know-what. Fortunately for me, she decided she was going somewhere on her right and went by me on my left, just about grazing me -- any closer and she'd have knocked me over. Jaysus!

So, I arrived here in Ironwood Ironwood about 2:30 p.m., or so I thought, till I saw a clock and realized I'd moved into the central time zone thereby losing (or gaining -- I can never figger that out!) an hour. I decided to call it a day as I'm pretty tired -- it was a noisy night at last night's hostelry and Ole Willi is short on zeds.

I think I will plant my butt and maybe read a book or somethin'

Ta Ta For Now!

EDITED TO ADD: Okay, okay -- it's about 3 hours later and I've just returned from the 'Twilight Zone' ... or maybe it was the 'Outer Limits', but anyway ... from someplace really, really wierd!

So, it's like this -- dinner time rolled around -- about 5:00 p.m., but I was ready to eat, having crosssd one time zone, so I strolled around the neighbourhood to see what might be good. The first two restaurants I tried, were both closed -- 'Sunday' is apparently not a popular day to stay open in beautiful downtown Ironwood, MI.

Anyhoo, I espied one, the 'Maplewood Bar and Grill', that looked open, so I decided to give it a try. In I went. The front of house staff were all at the front desk having a good old gossip, 'Like wow, Man ...' (you can fill in the rest).

Anyway, got seated by the teenaged hostess, got waited on by the teenaged waitress ... wait a minute -- am I in Hooter's? No, can't be -- everyone working here is so prepubescent, they hardly have boobs -- but what they do have is short, shorts up to ... wherever -- if they bend even slightly, you could prolly see what they had for breakfast, no lie!

So, I'm sitting in my booth, drinking my Merlot (no CCC coolers here, I'm afraid) and looking around and starting to realize that there are an awful lot of coke-bottle lenses looking at me. In fact, as far as customers go, well by golly, I'm the youngest person there. And all the rest of them are gawking at me through their very think lenses -- very thick cuz they are all about 90 yrs old. Wierdsville, Baby!

But that's not the wierdest part, folks -- as time rolls by and folks finish their meals and leave, they ALL stop by or wave to me and say, 'Bye Shelly, nice ta see yah, Shelly..." Frickin' frick -- apparently, I have a goppledanger ... oops, I mean doppleganger ... here in Ironwood -- very freaky. Either that, or there's only one redhaired person in town and all the oldies can't see well enough to tell the difference LOL

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Day 50: Sat, Aug 1: Grayling to Manistique, MI

OK, here's a Mr. Moose for you, Anneke! He looks a whole lot friendlier than some of the ones on the various warning signs (or real ones(!)), encountered so far along the way. And, at least this one is dressed appropriately LOL

'RANT' WARNING: I wish to express my fervent, wholehearted dislike of aircooled motorcycle engines -- I am extremely pi$$ed off with Delilah today. Why? Because I have a honkin' big blister about the size of a quarter and about 1/2 inch thick on a very delicate spot (ahem - I don't think any further description is required!) And this is not even from riding in stop 'n go traffic, but from highway driving ARGHHHHH. (OK - RANT over ... for now!)

I got started reasonably early this morning -- and a good thing it was too, because some pretty persistent rain started when I was riding to Charlevoix, where my great-grand parents farmed. The ride there was a gas, great motorcycling roads, well paved and wonderful big sweeping curves, up hill and down dale. Very scenic too, with lots of little farms along the way -- not sure what the crops were, but it almost looked like oats -- something with a chaff on it, anyway.

I got to Charlevoix to discover it has developed into quite a lakeside resort area -- the town centre and older neighbourhoods are still quite quaint in an 1890's fashion - very pretty really, but terrifically crowded today, it being Saturday. Charlevoix When it started raining, I beat a hasty retreat and headed north up Hwy. 31 to the Mackinac Bridge (once the longest suspension bridge in North America, I believe) Mackinac Bridge.

In spite of the rain, it was still a great ride up that highway and the bridge was absolutely breathtaking. The two inner lanes are metal grating (gives the bridge more stability, apparently) while the outer two are paved ... and you know that I chose the paved option, riiggghhht??? LOL

After paying the bridge toll ($3.00) on the other side, I popped off into the (handy) tourist Welcome Centre to check my map. Didn't really need to as the signage is terrific -- the turn-off for Hwy 2 (the selfsame Hwy 2 I was on in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and New York) was easy to find and I was on my way west again.

For awhile after joining Hwy 2, the rain eased and the (very welcome) sun made an appearance, but sadly, that turned out to be a brief interlude. The rain came down in torrents and the wind picked up unbelievably! There were times I thought I might not be able to hold 'er on the road, what with the gusts coming from almost every direction. Of course, it was to be expected that there would be a lot of wind right by the shore of Lake Michigan, but it was still quite extreme when traffic was diverted onto a long, windy detour off Hwy 2 near Cut River, which went about 15 km, curving seemingly every which way, until it rejoined the Hwy again.

At some point, I pulled off to gas up and encountered a bunch of riders taking refuge from the storm -- they were pretty impressed to see me jump off, gas up, do a few quick leg stretches and tear off back on the road again, I think. Buncha wimps -- guess they thought they might shrink LOL

But, lucky girl that I am, very shortly after, the sun came back out and this time for good, right up until I made it here to Manistique. I checked in to my motel, had a great meal at the restaurant next door and took a brief stroll and a few pics. As you can see, Lake Michigan is pretty darned impressive. We Westerners just don't have any idea of the scope of these Great Lakes until we've actually been in their presence -- pretty frickin' impressive, I'd say -- you'd think you were looking out across an ocean, not a lake!

Sooo, I put in a fairly long day's ride, so I don't think I'll be burnin' any midnight oil tonight LOL Hopefully will make it a good way through Wisconsin tomorrow.

Hasta la vista, Gang!

Day 50 Grayling to Manistique

Friday, July 31, 2009

Day 49: Fri., July 31: Sarnia ON to Grayling MI

Anneke and Offroad Ed and I parted this morning after breakfast in Sarnia -- me to hit Highway 402 west to Michigan and them to head north homewards. Sad to say goodbye -- these two are good folks!

Not a terribly interesting day riding-wise as I've been on interstates all day - first the I-65 out of Port Huron after I crossed the international bridge and then I-75 to get me into Northern Michigan. It was another windy day, so I'm pretty bagged -- early to bed it will be for this ol' chicken ... BOK BOK.

Tomorrow, I'll aim for Charlevoix, where my great-great grandparents farmed. I believe there is some scenic riding to be had around there, and then I'll head across the Mackinac Bridge further north. Not sure how far I'll actually get beyond that -- depends on how much fun I'm having, I guess LOL

Later, gang!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Day 48: Thurs, July 30: Mount Forrest to Sarnia ON

Well, the day started nicely with Offroad Ed cooking a yummy breakfast for us (with Elliott the Wonder Dog trying to mooch the whole time LOL).

Anneke and I got packed up as the two of us were riding off to Sarnia along the coast of Lake Huron with Offroad Ed to follow later in the evening to meet up with us. (As I write this, he hasn't arrived yet.)

It was beautiful weather, so we had a really pleasant ride. Anneke led as far as a place called Kincardine and I led the rest of the way.

BTW, we stopped for lunch in a place called Kettle Point near Ipperwash run by a tribal group - tax-free, yet :-) The food was scrumptious, so if you are ever by that way, stop in and enjoy!

Essentially, we just followed our noses along Highway 21 and then Highway 7 and lucked into a great hotel (the Village Inn) just off an exit on Highway 402 -- so it should be an easy getaway tomorrow morning -- them homeward bound north and me west to Michigan.

Day 47: Wed, July 29: Orangeville to Mount Forrest ON

Day 47 Orangeville to Mount Forrest

Hmmm, well, I guess you'll notice that pics of Niagara Falls are conspicuous here by their absence. Fact is, I looked out the window this morning at the crappy rain pouring down and decided to give it a miss. Instead, I did a little tour of villages and hamlets in Huron County, where some of Big Daddy's ancestor's hailed from, which is most of the pics you see.

Then I headed up a bit further north to Anneke and Offroad Ed's summer place at Mount Forrest. We had a great afternoon with their grandsons and Elliott, the Wonder Dog, followed by a steak BBQ prepared by Ed and sitting around the campfire.

Now, I should mention here, I had a leeetle bit of trouble getting into the 'compound' they have their trailer at. Anneke had said to stop at the barrier 'straight ahead after I came in the gate'. So, I toodled ahead, because I could see a barrier in the distance -- seems, however, I had the wrong barrier -- one which did not open AT ALL. So there I was, at the very end of a gravel lane, too narrow to do a UE and too uphill to back up, so I said the hell with it and did an overland scoot through a wide, shallow ditch, over a small curb, between two other barriers and hey presto, got in -- good thing no-one was watching, though LOL (Look out Steve McQueen!)

I finally wound up using the sleeping bag I've been lugging around, BTW. I woke up in the middle of the night freezing cold and finally remembered I had it with me, and hey, presto -- warm snugglies at last :-)

Tomorrow it's off to Sarnia in preparation for the cross to Michigan.

Hasta la vista

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Day 46: Tues., July 28: Port Perry to Orangeville ON

After a hearty breakfast with Sue, Bill, Edna and Bill, and fond farewells, I set off for Huron County and environs. Didn't quite make it, but close -- got to Orangeville about 3:00 and decided that was enough for one day. I didn't actually ride that far, but it took forever because I chose to go via Hwy. 7, which was just so slow and congested, I got fed up with it all.

Anyway, when I stopped for a break, I texted Anneke and Offroad Ed, cuz I realized when I lookin' at my map, that their summer place in Mount Forrest wasn't too far away. I thought perhaps we could get together for lunch tomorrow, but that didn't fit into their plans, so instead, they jumped in the car and headed up here to Orangeville and took me out to dinner - what a blast; Conga libations and lotsa laffs - just as if we'd never been apart.

So, yakking away, we started looking at some maps and Ed decided I couldn't possibly go home without having ridden down to Niagara Falls; so, weather permitting, tomorrow that will be the plan -- I will ride down there and back about to Burlington, where I'll meet up with Ed and we'll head to their place in Mount Forrest for the night.

Next day, Anneke and I will ride around Huron County, so I can get some pics of the area where Big Daddy's ancestors lived and then the next day or day after, they will both ride down to Sarnia with me, where I will cross into Michigan. (We may be joined by a gal from Windsor, if I can hook up with her too.) Sooo, tomorrow looks like being a busy, busy day!

Port Perry Pics

Monday, July 27, 2009

Day 45: Mon., July 27: Kingston to Port Perry ON

I was up bright and early this morning -- but not early enough to beat Michele and Laurie, who were up with the birds to head off for their early morning swim :-)

By the time they returned to the house, I had packed up my stuff and was just getting Delilah loaded to head off on a run through Prince Edward County. They got ready for work and we all had a big hug and said our goodbyes (as I said at the time, it seemed funny to be waving them off from their own house!)

What a fabulous time I had with these two lovely gals -- they are truly helpful and caring women to their sisters-on-the-road, as well as being able and welcoming hostesses -- thanks, Goils for making my stay so comfy and cozy HUGZ.

Laurie had suggested that, on my way to Port Perry to see my friend Sue from back home, I ride out on Hwy 33, also known as the Loyalist Parkway, which meanders along the shore of Lake Ontario from Kingston to the Elora ferry to Picton and thence to Prince Edward County, where there is a lotta great riding to be had. I got started out of Kingston about 8:00 a.m. and encountered practically zip traffic-wise, so it was really pleasant - sun and the lovely, curvy road all to myself -- mmm-hmm, don't get much better than that :-)

I arrived at the ferry terminal just as one was unloading and so didn't have to wait long; the ride itself was short too; a pleasant morning interlude.

Riding through Prince Edward County I was struck with firstly, how little traffic there was (seemed to be hardly any tourists around) and secondly, how many tiny farms lined the roadway -- really a pretty sight ... and most of the towns throughout the county were very quaint, with a lot of buildings from the early 1800's. Gawjus!

I continued on Hwy 2, which took me through Coburg, Colborne and other small towns and villages in between, until Port Hope where I headed north on Hwy 28, intending to make a segue onto Hwy 7A and thus onto Port Perry, but due to some road work at the junction of 28 and 7A, I couldn't get on at that point and wound up making a huge detour around it all -- luckily, Gertie the Garrulous GPS did 'er bit and got me there fine.

Sue and I had a great old natter after dinner along with her dad and some old family friends of theirs, Don and Edna, so it was a fine, relaxing evening -- no Conga libations there, but we sure made short work of a couple of bottles of wine ;-)

EDITED TO ADD: Day 45 Kingston to Port Perry ON

Video: Ferry to Picton

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Day 44: Sun., July 26: Kingston

Ah, this was a super day too. Laurie, Michele and Deb (who came back and stayed overnight with us Saturday) and I breakfasted together and then the three of them went off to ride to Deb's place in Port Hope and back, which wound up taking a good deal of the day.

In the meantime, I stayed home with the doggies, Idgie and Seely, and got down to business uploading over a hundred pics and videos via Laurie and Michele's much faster internet connection.

I also set up a photo album page for them, as well as doing some blogging, all of which took pretty much all the time they were gone. Soooo, I felt quite smug and virtuous that I got my 'homework' done (Michele is a TOUGH taskmistress LOL) and also had a little rest from riding.

They came back with shish-kebabs and fresh green beans for a BBQ dinner, as well as lots of lovely red wine (I'm really likin' that 'Fuzion' brand :-)

Off to bed fairly early as we all have to be up promptly tomorrow a.m. -- me to head off westwards to meet up with my friend Sue in Port Perry and them to 6:00 a.m. swimming and then back to work.

EDITED TO ADD: Day 44: Kingston - Michele Doubles Deb

Video: Michele Doubles Deb

Day 43: Sat., July 25: Kingston - Motor Maids Pool Party

Kingston Motor Maid Pool Party

We had a totally great day today. After imbibing excellent fresh-brewed, fresh-ground coffee at breakfast, along with my first taste of steel-cut oatmeal with brown sugar and cream (yum!), the weather cooperating nicely, we headed out on a lovely ride before heading off to the BBQ and Pool Party at Tammy's.

We (Laurie, Michele, Bonnie and me) first stopped by the CAA office to stock up on state maps for my Michigan-Wisconsin-Minnesota-North Dakota jaunt as well as maps for Laurie's Motor Maid contingent who will be heading off to AMA in Colorado in August.

Then we headed off on a circular jaunt from Kingston which eventually fetched us up a couple of hours later for an ice-cream/french fry interlude(I MUST remember NOT to buy small portions anymore LOL). We went up hill and down dale and around sharp curves by lakes and boat launches and farms and quaint villages and I don't know what all. At some point we stopped to meet up with Shannon, another Motor Maid and then headed off to the BBQ at Tammy's.

You can see from the pics that there was a good crowd attending -- the food was yummy - hot dogs, burgers and corn provided by our hosts, Tammy and John and pot-luck goodies by the rest of the gals. (I, as usual, was a freeloader ;-) ) A strawberry-cheesecake cum shortcake dessert worthy of Martha Stewart appeared as if by magic off the motorcycle of one 'Hooper', as well as salads and butter tart squares and such . Fabuloso!

Sadly, heavy rain threatened and we had to cut evening short so everyone could get home safely -- a number of gals came from very far away -- Ottawa, Toronto, Port Hope, etc. etc. Too bad, Goils -- maybe next year you'll get to see the planned fireworks!

We were very lucky to just get sprinkled on, on the ride home -- just as we pulled into the driveway, the heavens opened ... have I told yah yet, I'm lucky that way??? LOL

Friday, July 24, 2009

Day 42: Fri., July 24: Spencerville to Kingston ON

Well, up early this a.m. to get organized and get Delilah packed up and ready to go promptly as Norma and Colome (sp?) and Dottie were going to ride me to Gananoque to meet up with Motor Maid Laurie who would be leading me to Kingston.

It was my first meeting with Norma and Colome and they were both a gas -- well experienced riders with great senses of humour - had a great time coffeeing with 'em at Dottie's before we headed off. Norma's the only tailgunner I've met so far BTW who could do it from the front o' the line (ahem) ;-)

Not too long after we got on the road, as we got onto the Parkway, it started to absolutely pour. It wasn't bad as it was warmish, but was really pounding down so yah could hardly see. In fact, there were such deep puddles on the right-hand side of the road in spots, that poor Colome looked like she was water-skiing through a wall of water. LOL We had to stop, so she could take out her hearing aids, cuz she was prolly gonna get electrocuted any moment LOL (well not really, but maybe).

We met up with Laurie at Timmie's in Gan and my trio of escorts headed off in various directions, rushing off to do things in their own busy lives. I'm very grateful that they rode with me -- real troopers alla them -- it woulda been so easy to bow out of getting soaking wet -- but they stuck with me all the way :-)

So, Laurie and I headed off, she in the lead of the course cuz Ole Willi had no idea where she was or which direction to head off in ;-) We zipped off on back roads with practically zero traffic, that twisted and turned through the countryside forever -- a great scenic ride.

Then, we rode down to Kingston Mill and Locks, which is the site of a very old set of stone buildings and we watched some boats (very fancy cruisers) being lifted in the lock to the next level. I video'd a lot of the 'action' (watching water rise is not really terribly riveting, but I'll try to get the vid's uploaded for your viewing pleasure ;-) ). (Sadly, this is the location where recently three daughters and their aunt were found in a car under the water -- floral tributes were already in place from local folks.)

After that, we headed to Laurie's place in Kingston where we had a nice lunch and retired to the backyard deck for a libation or two. I amused Laurie with my word-for-the-day, 'devotee' (look THAT one up in your Funk and Wagnall's, gang LOL). I was also privileged to hear Koby, Michele's son, practising playing his flute -- a beautiful interlude :-)

Another Maid, Bonnie, popped by for a chat and pop and then when Michele got home from work, off we went for all-yah-can-eat Japanese food and a terrific drive around Kingston and Fort Henry. What a great day. We giggled and tee-hee'd a lot and had a lotta laffs -- these two are fabulous hostesses, making me feel totally at home - I'm being spoilt rotten ... yet again :-)

EDITED TO ADD: Spencerville to Kingston

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Day 41: Thurs., July 23: Upper Canada Village

Ah, what a life - sleep late, grab a shower, get served fresh coffee and breakfast, get driven all over site-seeing, get taken out to lunch, get taken out to dinner, get taken for more site-seeing -- a person could get very used ta this royal treatment LOL

As you can see, I've been having a little break from riding today. Dottie, her little 5-year old granddaughter, Jenny and I went to Upper Canada Village nearby and spent a good part of the day visiting the buildings and hearing what the conservators in each one had to say about it.

For those of you who aren't familiar with it, Upper Canada Village (at Morrisburg, ON) is composed of buildings which were moved from other areas along the St. Lawrence River in the late 50's, early 1960's for conservation during the building of the St. Lawrence Seaway. Because the river was widened and deepened in order to allow huge freighters to sail down the St. Lawrence to the Great Lakes, six villages/hamlets were going to be totally flooded out, so as many buildings as possible were moved out.

Some people elected to have their homes moved to new sites, some accepted expropriation money from the Government, but it was a real hardship for all -- these historical villages are called the 'lost villages' -- a very sad consequence of so-called 'progress' I think -- lotsa history just gone down the tubes.

Anyway, it was a great time and then Dottie and hubby John took me out to a yummy pub dinner at the Red George pub across the way in Prescott - a fun ending to the day.

So, now it's time to get packed up and be ready at 9:00 a.m. tomorrow to head off to meet up with some of the Motor Maids in Gananoque and thence on to Kingston for the weekend, where Motor Maid Laurie has kindly offered me a bed and some fun rides on side roads to do plus an MM BBQ and swim -- really looking forward to that and getting some pics up. (I did take a few pics today and will try to get them uploaded pronto.)

Sad to be leaving Dottie and John, (and their loving pooch, Babe) who are fabulous hosts and lots of fun as well -- we've had some pretty good giggles together and I'm really hoping I can convince them to come on a meet-in-the-middle trip another year!

So, hasta la vista, All, till tomorrow night!

EDITED TO ADD: Upper Canada Village

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Day 40: Wed., July 22: Burllington, VT to Spencerville, ON

Halleluiah, back on Canadian soil! Not that I didn't enjoy my American soujourn, but ain't nothin' that beats home, IMHO.

So, here I am sittin' yakkin' with Dottie ... again; stuffed with food ... again; and drinkin' Canuck Chicks Coolers ... again LOL (We are 'celebrating' how well her job interview went for her dream job -- workin' a local archive, so fingers XXX'd!)

I was a lucky girl yet again, with very little rain on the way here, just intermittent spitting -- thank goodness it wasn't raining when I crossed that wretched International Bridge at Ogdensburg, NY - the blankety-blank thing is surfaced with that metal grating stuff AGGHHHH. The sign sez 'slippery when wet' -- well, it was bloody slippery when dry! Hate it! Left Burlington about 9:30 a.m. and got here about 3:30 p.m. -- it was a longish haul all right.

But, Dottie popped down to meet me and escorted me to her place on her bike and we've been busy planning what to do tomorrow -- Upper Canada Village with grandaughter, Jenny and then to see the 'Golden Helmets', the Ontario Provincial Police precision motorcycle team -- sounds like a good time to me!

Laurie of the Motor Maids has also been in touch and we've made some plans to meet up on Friday and the weekend, so really looking forward to that too.

Ain't life grand!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Day 39: Tues., July 21: St. Johnsbury to Burlington VT

Hmmm, not a very long trip today, you say? Sooo right -- as Robbie Burns once said, "The best laid plans of mice and men gang aft aglae." (or something like that) and go 'aglae' they bloody well did.

Arose this morning, got ready to go, went out to pack the bike and do my (now) usual walk-around and my back brand, spankin' new, less-than-a-week-old tire is flatter than semi-truck road kill ARGGGHHHHH How could this happen???

One of the chambermaids very handily had one of those little electric compressors so I was able to pump up the tire and then headed off to the tire store I'd seen down the street. No dice there - they "don't do motorcycles" -- the guy obviously couldn'ta given a $hit about my plight - he didn't even have any suggestions about who or where I might get help.

I remembered I'd seen a Yamaha shop down the road, so off I went, PRAYING the tire didn't go flat and annoying the hell out of all the drivers, cuz I rode REAL slow, just in case. Anyhoo, made it to Yammy and the service guy took a look and didn't think they could help -- but he was on the phone trying to find me another tire, when the motorcycle sales manager got down on his hands and knees and took a look all over the tire -- he couldn't find any marks or punctures; he got the Windex bottle out and sprayed around the rim and found the leakage area. Then called the service guy back and they pulled the wheel and tire and (eventually) found a pinhole in the tube. Which they figure happened when it was installed -- apparently, it is very easy to 'pinch' the tube when installing it -- more GRRRR.

So, I'm now riding around on a brand new tire with patched tube, which don't make me real happy. I'd like to get a new tube installed asap, so will have to watch out for another HD place, I guess. I'd like to give someone at Red Rock HD in Charlottetown an earful, I tell yah!

Anyway, after all the to-ing, fro-ing and general frickin' about, I didn't actually get underway today until about 12:30; got to Burlington about 2:45, had a bite to eat, intending to head much farther north, when the heavens opened up and I thought, "Eff this -- I've had enough stress for one day," and booked into the nearest Best Western for the night. I'll try again tomorrow LOL

I seem to remember, back in the day when I was taking flying lessons, that my instructor's favourite saying was, "Time to spare? Go by air!", meaning the blinkin' machines break down alla time -- sounds like motorcycles are on a par with that, I tell yah!

Anyway, I'm eternally grateful to the great guys at All Power Yamaha in St. Johnsbury, VT who really went above and beyond to find and fix my problem.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Day 38: Mon., July 20: Bangor, ME to St. Johnsbury, VT

I wasn't too far along U.S. Rte. 2 this morning, when the sign "Welcome to Mexico", gave me real pause. "WTF", I thought, "Where the heck am I? Boy, did I take a wrong turn somewhere". But no, pulling over to check my map, I discovered that there really is a town in Maine called Mexico. Too funny. It was sorta duded out a bit in western-cum-latin theme stuff, very unlike the rest of the areas I passed through.

First of all, I had gorgeous weather all day (and it's supposed to more of the same tomorrow) and secondly, although there were occasional clumps of traffic, Rte. 2 is a pretty low-stress ride. Speed limit is anything from 25 mph in small towns along the way, to 55 mph on longer, clear stretches.

Rte. 2 (according to Wikipedia) started life as the premier east-west highway in America, and was originally known as the Teddy Roosevelt Highway (that really appeals to me; I've had a soft spot for Ol' Teddy ever since my first viewing of 'Arsenic and Old Lace' -- and if you haven't seen THAT, you must -- at once!)

Today, you can still traverse the U.S. on Rte. 2; it is in two stretches - one goes from Everett, WA to the shores of Lake Michigan (I believe) and the second goes from east of Lake Ontario (?) through to Bangor, ME.

Anyway, it runs up and down hills and around corners, through twisties and the White Mountains, wending its way through every little town (and there are many) along the way. I love the towns -- each seems to have a bandstand in the park and a flagpole and the larger ones have a colonaded building that is either the courthouse or a local government building. Lots of folks have the Stars and Stripes flying and there is often a Historical Society and/or a Museum open. Most towns seem to have been established in the early 19th Century and there are plenty of vintage buildings too.

I loved every minute of this ride today -- I kept thinking of the town (River City, Iowa) in the musical film, 'The Music Man' and expecting a band to burst out in front of me any minute playing '76 Trombones' LOL

Anyway, I'm ensconced here at the 'Holiday Motel and Annex' (mustn't forget the Annex LOL) for the night ... and an early one I think it will be as I'm pretty tuckered. Just grabbed some very mediocre Italian food for dins and couldn't even be bothered to walk up the road to a place with a liquor licence to have a libation (quelle horreur!)

Nighty-night to All!

(Tomorrow will head a little further west and then north in Vermont towards the border.)

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Day 37, Sun., July 19: Saint John, NB to Bangor, ME

Here SHE comes
To SAVE the day!
That means that Mighty Mouse
Is on her WAY!

Not really - just me! Heh, heh - I just love it when I can casually produce just the tool needed (in this case the right sized socket) to a stranded motorcyclist ... especially if it's a guy LOL (Acourse, I only have a lotta tools with me cuz Big Daddy insisted, so he should REALLY get the credit ...)

Anyway, I was zipping along Rte 9 through Maine between Calais, where I crossed at the International Border and Bangor, when I came across a Nebraska couple on a trike pulling a little tent trailer who were stopped at the side of the road, with him grovelling around on the ground beside it. I pulled in and asked what was the trouble and turns out his heel-toe shifter was acting up. I pulled out my magic 'bag o' tricks' and low and behold had the right socket (plus a fancy extension) which was just what the fella needed. (I think Wifey was pretty impressed)

Anyhoo, if you are ever riding in Maine, get on Route 9 -- what a fun road, lots of sweeping curves, speed limit 55-60 mph, lotsa passing areas so you have time to gawk at the scenery: plenty of evergreen forest and many little farms and garden centers. And when you have to reduce speed for the small towns in between Calais and Bangor, it's worth it to look at the lovely older homes, probably many from the 1800's and early 1900's with gingerbread trim and nice, big verandahs, mostly very well-kept. A very charming introduction to this part of the world.

And the weather was fabulous by the time I crossed into Maine -- sunny and bright, a little windy/gusty, but much better than pouring rain or the dense fog I had this morning all the way from Saint John almost to the border. I hadn't realized how much the topography climbed from Saint John to the border -- quite impressive and beautiful, actually. I'm very pleased I decided to come this away.

The weather is supposed to cooperate for the next few days, so I will be heading off tomorrow through New Hampshire, hoping to make it to Vermont and will report more then.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Day 36: Sat., July 18: Moncton to Saint John, NB

Well, another shortish day -- due to the wet, wet weather. It's not too bad here in the south side of Saint John, but I got pummelled all the way from Moncton to Sussex this morning, where I stopped for lunch and to wait for it to let up a bit, which luckily, it did.

It remained clear all the way to Saint John and I decided to stop for the night -- tomorrow it's supposed to be foggy in the a.m. and possible showers later on, mixed with some sun. I guess we takes what we gets LOL

On a more positive note, I spied an HD dealer down the road, so perhaps some fun may be had here after all ;-) ...

Hoping to head for Maine tomorrow.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Day 35: Fri., July 17: Charlottetown to Moncton, NB

Well, today's journey was a short one. It started to rain just as I was packing up the bike this morning, so I held off until about 10:00 and headed out when it looked like letting up. It stopped completely once I was about 20 km along, so that was great.

But that frickin' Confederation Bridge -- 13 km (well, 12.9 to be precise) of gawd-awful hellish WIND, WIND, WIND. The speed limit is 80 kmh and I was barely able to hold it at that. Sometimes the wind was head-on, sometimes it came from the side, but it was a white-knuckle ride, I tell yah. Campers and trailers coming toward me were pretty scary to behold as well -- I wasn't sure if I was gonna be picked up and chucked in their path or whether they'd be pushed in front of me, or mayhaps the tail-gating cretin behind me was gonna rear-end me but I was fairly certain Death was imminent!

Imagine my relief when I actually made it to terra firma ... that lasted about six seconds till I saw the huge yellow sign at the side of the road warning of EXTREME CROSSWINDS! Oh, no! Not again! So, I braced myself and waited and waited a bit more -- and very little happened. Oh yeah, there were crosswinds, but NOTHING like the ones on the Bridge -- trust the silly Government to get it wrong LOL

Tummy was grumbling after awhile so I zipped off at Shediac and found a great little homecooking joint called the Four Winds -- had a fabulous lunch of seafood chowder and haddock au gratin, served with real homemade coleslaw and real vegetables -- the last time I saw a cooked turnip on my plate was one I cooked at home ;-)

Well-fed and more energetic, I headed off again, thinking I might get as far as Saint John, but I only got a little way down the highway and it was all ripped up with those ribbed thingies, very slippery dry and thank Gawd it wasn't raining - it was a nightmare for about 10 km, so I got off at Moncton when I saw a Comfort Inn sign and here I am for the night -- I shall feast on my Uncle Ben's microwavable pseudo-food, drink a little red wine, route plan and maybe watch a little telly -- Boy, does Ole Willi know how ta live or WHAT, eh?? :-D

EDITED TO ADD: Just to let you all know, my mileage ('kilometerage'???) the day I left home was 11,145 km. It is now 21,186 km. You guyz can do the math LOL

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Day 34: Thurs., July 16: Riding all over PEI

I blasted off on Delilah this morning about 9:30ish, determined to see the Island and to shake off yesterday's blues ... and I succeeded mahvelously, dahlings, I'm glad to say :-)

With the able assistance of a PEI Touring Map I picked up from Red Rock Harley Davidson yesterday, I set off north on Hwy 15 toward Brackley Beach and then segued my way over to North Rustico and Cavendish on Rte 6.

This area is where all Lucy Maud Montgomery fans congregate -- there are various popular spots - Green Gables, several LMM museums, her birthplace, etc. etc. I have to say that the area around her birthplace almost brought me to tears, I was so thrilled to see the setting of my favourite of her books, 'Jane of Lantern Hill', so faithfully replicated. I could almost hear the Snowbeam family and the Jimmy Johns nattering at each other over something LOL (And if you don't know who THEY all are, well buy the damn book and find out! ;-) )

I continued West and then south to Kensington (lovely old verandahed homes there) and then got onto Rte 11 which took me west and north all around the North Cape Coastal Drive, although somewhere along the way, I made an unintended lurch eastwards and wound up going up Hwy 2 and then deked off to Tigmarsh (Irish heritage there) and then north again to North Cape -- lotsa windfarms in that area, )plus an old lighthouse), which Big Daddy and I have seen in Alberta and Hawaii, but these were extra-impressive, as they seemed HUGE.

I then made my way back to Charlottetown, following Rte 14 on the west coast as much as possible, finally crossing back to Hwy 1A around Summerside. That part of the ride wasn't all that much fun as it is part of the TCH and everyone drives like crazy, but most of the day, I had very little traffic to contend with (you were RIGHT, Indie). I arrived back at the hotel about 7:45 p.m. with 424 km on the clock -- not a bad day's riding if I do say so myself. Mind you, I can't feel my thumbs yet - they are still somewhat numb ;-)

Anyway, the weather was fabulous, although it feels like it might rain a bit tonight; hopefully that will be over by morning, when I shall set out over the Confederation Bridge to New Brunswick. Not sure exactly how far I'll go tomorrow - we shall see what we shall see LOL

I will now upload some photos from today's ride -- with any luck, they'll be online before I hit the hay LOL

EDITED TO ADD: Riding all over PEI

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Day 33: Wed., July 15: To the Repair Shop (Again!) and a Ride to Summerside

GRRRR ... I wonder if the world can hear the grinding of my teeth ... GRRR

I woke up exhausted this morning with all kinds of aches and pains in my arms, shoulder and especially my elbows ... and I realized that yesterday's ride to get here had been really taxing, and that in fact, riding had been becoming harder and harder physically.

I also realized that riding has not been as much fun as it had been previously. What is wrong, I wondered -- I then realized that is has just been plain hard work to wrestle around curves, etc. and the roads here are in quite rough condition in many spots ... and it has been plain hard work because the bike is not functioning as easily as it used to ... so, I abandoned my ride plans and rode Delilah straight over to Red Rock Harley Davidson to see if they could solve the problem.

I explained all about thinking that the front wheel is out of true, hard to steer, etc. even though tire pressure is fine, blah blah blah.

The technician took her for a ride and totally agreed that she was handling roughly like a 1946 John Deere tractor ... and then went to work on her for about an hour. Well, he pulled the cap off the steering column and discovered that the main bearing was loose, about 1 and 3/4 turns, which is quite a lot. They told me it was something that would normally have been done at each full service (!)

Anyway, I was happy about that; I took her for a ride but she still felt not quite right, although the massive vibration was gone, totally gone. Then he suggested to me that perhaps the back tire was the culprit as it was just about time to replace it, as it was getting that flat look. I told him to go ahead and do it - they did, I took it for a spin and it's like night and day. Thank goodness. So, all this tinkering and to-ing and fro-ing took about 3-1/2 hours.

So then I went off on my ride and wended my merry way to Summerside, a little seaside community. But I wound up on the way back to Charlottetown snarled up in rush-hour traffic and congestion (why is there always a semitrailer bearing down on me from somewhere???), so didn't really have as good a time as I'd have liked -- and I missed hooking up with the Steeletto's, which makes me a bit grumpy. Oh, well, maybe tomorrow.

I think I will eat chips, drink beer, watch violent, unredeeming shows on the TV and take my grumpy, sulky self off to bed ...

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Day 32: Tues., July 14: North Sydney to Charlottetown, PEI

Holey Mazoley -- I CAN'T BELIEVE IT, but I'm now in my 10th of 10 provinces!!!!

YEE-HAW, I did it, I did it!!! Helped hugely, along the way, I must add, by a bevy of generous Canuck Chicks and a select few Cabana Boyz! T'anks to you all from de bottom of my heart :-D I think we ROCK!!!

And PEI is no exception -- a phone message was waiting for me at my hotel from Sue of the Steeletto's Lady Riders -- I called her back and she picked me up and whisked me off to a fabulous place called the Dunes for dinner -- it's also a combo art gallery, pottery, decorative garden all in one, so an absolutely fascinating venue -- we had a great time over a meal and then adjourned to her home for a Canuck Chicks Cooler.

I got to tour her wonderful heritage home (150 yrs. old), which has been in her family for generations, meet her wonderful mutt, Skye, and see her gorgeous Vulcan 1500 - the yummiest metallic purple you can imagine (Tanya would go nutz over it!). Oh yes, and how apropos, find out she is related to PEI's L.M. Montgomery - very kewl!

Sue provided me with some phone numbers of other Steeletto's, so hopefully will be able to hook up with one/some of them for a ride while I'm here :-)

My entire day was pretty fantastic. I packed up and headed for checkout from my hotel in North Sydney, expecting to have a chat to the manager about the rotten restaurant service yesterday, when what to my wondering eyes, my dinner bill had been comped for me -- pretty hard to make much of a fuss after that, so I just rode off on my merry way.

The weather was absolutely gorgeous -- I intended to take highway 4, to take me via Big Pond, so I could visit Rita McNeill's tearoom, but I ran into a bit of road construction on the outskirts of Upper North Sydney, which sent me down a different road -- 223 West, which was one of the most fun roads I've ever been on -- up hill and down dale, left-hand curves, right hand curves -- miles and miles of it, through villages like Ironstone (with the gaelic below it on the sign) and Highland Village, culminating at Little Narrows, with a ferry to take me across (what I believe to be) a section of the Bras d'Or Lakes, west of Baddeck onto Hwy 104.

I really hate that highway, as it is horrendously windy all the way -- across the Canso Causeway and right up to New Glasgow, NS. But that was the price I paid for a fabulous morning ride on 223, I guess ;-)

Just after the turnoff at Exit 22 for the PEI ferry, a huge raincloud came over and pounded me for about 5 km, then disappeared as quickly as it had arrived, the sun came out and beamed down on me and I arrived at the ferry, steam coming off my damp jacket and pants, just in time to head onto the boat -- talk about good timing, eh?

The ride to Charlottetown was not too bad -- many parts of the TCHwy were in rotten shape, frost heave and patches everywhere, so it made for a lot of 'slaloming' or lowering of speed, but I made it. GPS even located my hotel in a reasonably timely fashion too, so all was good. :-)

Tomorrow I plan to explore a bit in town and around, I think. And I believe there is a Steeletto's ride somewhere tomorrow evening, so hopefully I can hook up with the gals to do that. Looks like the weather is going to stay lovely for awhile, so all is good :-)

Now, I just have to think a bit on my revised route home. I'm fairly positive at this point that I will NOT do the Gaspe and Quebec, but will head down south through New Brunswick to Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Upper New York and thence over to Dottie's in Ontario and carry on down through Kingston, London, Windsor etc. Have to get out the maps and think on it!

Anyway, time to get to bed -- night All!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Day 31: Mon., July 13: Port Aux Basques to North Sydney, NS

OK ... I'm only gonna say this once, right?

If a video pops up on Youtube, purporting to be on the MV Smallwood, from Port Aux Basques to North Sydney, NS, featuring a chubby redhead essaying a frenetic but abbreviated version of a down-east step dance, well, it's not ME, riiight? It's someone else who looks like me, my doppleganger maybe, riiight? ... And that's all I have to say on the subject -- DO NOT ask me any questions about it ... AHEM.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Day 30: Sun., July 12: Corner Brook to Port Aux Basques, NL

This morning, just after I'd had my shower and got my hair dried, the phone in my room at the Comfort Inn rang, "Are yah decent? A fellah here wants to come down and talk ta yah", sez Enid the receptionist. "Well, I'm almost decent", I said, "What does he want?" So, Enid puts this guy on the phone who sez (in a thick Newfie accent), "Jaysus, I'm sorry Girl, but I knocked over yer blue 'n white boik here in da parkin' lot and she's layin' dere on 'er side, with all 'er gas leakin' outta 'er and she's gota coupla scratches, looks like ..."

Acourse, he never got a chance to finish his sentence, poor guy, cuz I went absolutely ape$hit on him -- I won't repeat what I said, but there were a lot of short explosive high-pitched utterances starting with the letter 'F' - I'll leave it to your imagination!

When he could get a word in edgewise, he roared with laughter and told me it was all a big joke - he was 'Ern' (friend of Mikey), the fellah who worked on my bike in Grand Falls.

He and his wife, Maureen and their friend Terry (another friend of Mike's that I had met) and his wife were staying at the same hotel; in fact they checked in after I did the previous night and Maureen recognized the bike immediately but the night receptionist wouldn't give them any info. They had to wait to see the day gal who had checked me in ta get hold of me LOL

Anyway, we had a good ole natter and laugh and Terry's wife had a sit on my bike and loved it, finding it a way better fit than her top-heavy Sporty 883. So, a great start to the day :-)

We hugged goodbye and they headed off back east to Grand Falls as I headed off to Port Aux Basques and decided to just go the whole way without stopping (212 km). It was a wonderful ride. The TCHighway is mostly 2-lane the whole way with lots of passing sections and there was barely any traffic going in my direction (being Sunday, I guess), so I enjoyed it immensely in the beautiful sunshine. It was quite windy but it really got horrendous the last 30 km as we neared the ocean -- Man, I thought my helmet was gonna get ripped right off my head! The last 15 km I did, bent forward over my tank behind the windshield, slowing down to about 80 kmh. There were warning signs about the wind all that way, and boy, they weren't kidding!

But here I am, stealing an internet signal from someone called 'Allen' and staying at the Shark Cove Suites, which is the only accommodation I could get. Let's just say that it ain't the Ritz and leave it at that ...

I'm a bit disappointed cuz I expected Port Aux Basques to exude charm and old worldliness -- what it exudes is general unkemptedness (is that a word?) and grit. Your basic ICK, only relieved by the presence of a Tim Horton's and a liquor store open on Sunday ;-) Oh well, I'll be up with the boids and heading for my ferry ride to Nova Scotia tomorrow (after a caffeine run to Timmie's) :-)

Day 30 Corner Brook to Port Aux Basques

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Day 29: Sat., July 11: Rocky Harbour to Corner Brook, NL

Sooo, get a load of these two just getting ready to jump on their bike -- see the non-shoes she is wearing - don't they look like great protection? Just like her tank top. And the icing on this non-ATGATT pair is that their son and daughter-in-law were similarly attired. They thought it hilarious I had leathers and full gear on ... DUH!

This was a pretty easy day, riding-wise, as the trip was not a long one. After a 'hearty' breakfast (on the morning after the night before) (what happens on the road stays on the road ;-) ) at Rocky Point, Mikey, Tequila Sheila and I headed out back through Gros Morne Park to Deer Lake, where we parted company with many hugs (and much sadness on my part - they were great to me and we had a fab time together); they to return to Grand Falls and me to carry on down the TCHighway to Corner Brook.

I arrived about 12:30ish, which gave me plenty of time to devote to uploading all my pics to Photobucket -- thank goodness the connection at the hotel was a fast one - it took till about 5:00 p.m. to get them uploaded and linked to the blog (hopefully, this satisfies those who have been prodding me to git 'er done LOL).

I then treated myself to dinner in the hotel's restaurant, 'Jungle Jim's'. Yes, that name gave me pause too -- and it turned out for good reason LOL A Mexican-cum-Jungle-cum-I-dunno-what-kinda-theme. Dreadful service -- no-one looking after my table for about 15 minutes and then three different servers asking me the same questions repeatedly -- one seemed seriously DU-UMB. The food was indifferent but hey, the red-wine sangria was very good ... so I had several HIC and am turning in early.


Day 28: Fri, July 10: Grand Falls to Rocky Harbour, NL

Fisherman and brewis ('broos'). Ever heard of it? Neither had I, but Tequila Sheila knew I wanted to try some typical 'Newfie' dishes if possible, seal-flipper being out of season ;-). Last night we had this wonderfully big lobster feed so today she fixed this dish for our brunch before we headed out.

The previous night, she took a salted cod and soaked it in water. The only way to describe the aroma is to conjure up the smell of sweaty teenage-boy sport socks combined with a touch of parmesan cheese and that other smell that occasions accusing looks around a room which mean, "OK, who let THAT one???"

Woof, I'm tellin' yah, at that point, I was definitely NOT lookin' forward to brunch. ;-)

But, next morning, when I got into the kitchen, Sheila was frying up 'scruncheons' (which is little pieces of fat back pork) and onions and cooking the fish with the brewis (which is like a hardtack biscuit which softens as it is heated) and it all smelled mahvelous, Darlings.

And believe-you-me, it tasted out of this world. I oinked up two helpings topped up with molasses drizzled over it, I liked it so much. The cod tasted amazingly delicate, which I didn't expect YUM. Anyway, I know Big Daddy would love it, so Sheil will send me some brewis when I get home and I will get some dried salted cod and give 'er a go :-) More broadening of my horizons, eh????

We got ourselves off on our journey to Rocky Harbour (me managing to leave my spare keys sitting on their kitchen counter!), westward on the TCHighway and then, at Deer Lake, heading north through part of Gros Morne Park.

We stopped for a bit of an ice-cream break at Deer Lake and visited the Insectorium there. Absolutely fascinating! We loved the butterfly house and I took tons of pics of the butterflies, which landed on everyone repeatedly (very tickley feeling on the skin); I was really trying to get shots of these two lovely bright blue ones, but they were too fast for me and when they did settle, they closed their wings up, so all you could see was the black outer side SIGH.

There was also a honeybee colony set up, enclosed in glass, so you really got a great look at the operation of the hive and a very informative guide told us all about the whole process of the birth of a queen, how she is in fact selected as queen (the usual fight to the death scene) and so on. Big Daddy woulda love it!

Our ride through Gros Morne Park was very impressive -- the scenery is astounding -- I did get some pics, as you can see, but the best vistas had no stopping places for us. :-(

Once we checked into our hotel at Rocky Harbour, we headed to the Lounge for libations. NOT the most efficiently run establishment we've ever encountered. Sheila and I were easy to serve, as we ordered Corona and lime (they had no lime and never did turn up with the lemon they claimed they had), but Mikey's Caesar was a tough nut for the (seemingly) teenaged bartender gal. In the end, Mike had to go behind the bar and demonstrate the making of one.

He was quite hilarious about it, actually, calling for Worcestershire, Tabasco, celery salt and making them open a new Clamato Juice cuz the open one was past-dated (!) Sheila and I (naturally) offered streaming comments and criticisms, so a good time was had by all.

After a couple (!) of drinks, we retired to the dining room and ordered dinner from our young waitress who turned out to be from the same training school (NONE) as our bartender gal. (Obviously, help is hard to get in the nether regions LOL) Anyway, the food was GREAT and we had a fun time, getting louder as time (and wine) went on. We soon put a muffler on it when a whole wedding rehearsal party trooped in to the dining room -- turns out they had every table reserved except ours. As they were rather a sedate crowd (no alcohol served there), we took the first opportunity to sneak off to the Lounge with our bottle of wine in hand.

We had a heck of a good time -- I will miss these two great folks a LOT!


Day 28 Deer Lake, Insectorium, Gros Morne Park

Day 27: Thurs, July 9: Day Trip: Grand Falls to Twillingate, NL

Piece of iceberg video

Iceberg scene video

Now, this turned out to be an A-ONE-FABULOSO-HAPPY-HAPPY-HAPPY DAY! For a variety of reasons, but first of all ... because Tequila Sheila FORCED me into a shoe store (against my will, I might add ;-) ) ... and I hadda cheer myself up with a bit of retail therapy -- only ONE pair, mind you, as I can't carry any more on the bike LOL

But, second of all, cuz Mikey the STAR, whom I shall (probably) forever worship took Delilah -- she who has forsaken me with her mechanical upsets -- to Ern (the Harley Guy) for diagnosis of her ills ... more on THAT later.

Thirdly, cuz Tequila Sheil, Mikey and I had such a wonderful day -- doing the sightseeing thing -- to Lewisport (to pick out feisty lobsters for our dinner) and thence to Twillingate to sport with the icebergs and 'bergy bits'.

Fourthly, to come home and join the ever-ongoing party on Sheil and Mike's back deck with the 'hood' (AKA all the neighbours). Lotta fun people there, I tells yah!

Fifthy, to enjoy the lobster dinner with LOTS of garlic butter and BURP Corona's and lime.

And Lastly, to get the news from 'Ern the Harley Guy' that all Delilah needed was a to have her shifter mechanism cleaned and lubed thoroughly (which should have been done at her last service at the dealer in Chilliwack!!! AHEM) So, dat was dat, as they say here. No parts needed and Ern would not take a penny from me for his time, even. (So I got Mikey to sneak him a case of his favourite beer, at least!).

What a fab day, fab company, fab results for Delilah :-) I be doin' the Happy Dance once again!

Night All!

EDITED to add photos: Day 27 Twillingate

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Day 26: Wed., Jul. 8: Harbour Grace to Grand Falls, NL

Well, me boyos (and girlos LOL), such a bee-atch of a day, I cannot tell yez! Oy, it was H E Double L Hockeysticks!

After a delish breaky at the Rothesay B & B by George and Lynn, we headed off from Harbour Grace, thinking we would explore a bit on some of the back roads on the way to Grand Falls where Tequila Sheila and Mikey live. We soon ditched that plan and decided to head directly there on the main highway as expeditiously as possible because my bikey, Delilah Deluxe was just not cooperating today.

She started up fine, still idling rather high, but then we headed off down the road and I had a bee-atch of a time getting her shifted into second gear. The next shifts up were fine and on we carried.

But, after the first stop for gas, same thing -- then I would have to bang her down into first and start trying to upshift again, sometimes several times. She always eventually got into gear, but it's a little dicey when you're trying to get onto the TransCanada Hwy and semitrailers are bearing down on yah. ACK!!!

And the wind buffetting was something else! This is due to the fact that crossing the Avalon Peninsula, via an isthmus, is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean and the winds come from all directions ... a lot ... all the time. By the end of the ride, I felt deaf as a post and sort of as if I'd just got off a boat.

And of course, we several times had to stop for gas, food, comfort stops and the dreaded road construction -- so everytime I had to shift up or down, it was a dicey situation to say the least -- which of course raised the stress levels tremendously -- my poor old arms and shoulders were quite sore by the time we arrived WHOOSH

But, Sheila and Mikey were terrific riding companions through this -- I will be forever grateful for their patience as I really had to slow down quite a bit due to the wind and stress. Mike actually offered to ride the bike for me, but I felt I must be true to my 'mission' and do it myself. And, ultimately, I am glad I didn't wimp out and go all girly (although for a second I seriously thought about it ;-) ) I mean, I think there might be few of my 'buds' who might be giving me the gearz for some time to come if I had LOL

Anyway, safe and sound here at their home here in Grand Falls - have drunk their beer, eaten their food, patted and loved up their two doggies and am just preparing to drift off to sleep in their comfy guest room. And Mikey has arranged to have bikey looked at tomorrow afternoon while we all go sightseeing for icebergs, so things is lookin' pretty good for the morrow :-)

Maybe I'll actually get some of my pics posted soon ...

Night All!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Day 25: Tues, July 7: Argentia to Harbour Grace, NL

"Harbour Grace". Isn't that the most lovely name? I'm gonna do some research to find out the origins of the name -- I think it would be fascinating ... along with Heart's Content, Dildo and other weird and wonderful monikers ;-)

Anyway, we are staying here in this little town of 3,000 on the sea, at a fabulous B & B here, Rothesay House, built in 1855-ish (full of paneling, wood floors, bay windows etc., etc.) and run by George and Lynn, who are the quintessentially perfect hosts (plus Meggie the dog). Very highly recommended folks and place to stay, if you ever get to the Rock.

We arrived here in the late afternoon, after having had a very late lunch on the way and enjoying the views and (windy) ride in the burgeoning sunshine ('burgeoning' is my word for the day, yah see). LOL

First stop after checking in was to head for the local beer store -- Alexander Keith's Pale Ale turns out to be a perfectly acceptable substitute when Corona & Lime is unavailable, BTW -- aren't I just broadening my horizons sooo much, eh?

I see that I should back up here and say that the ferry came in about 1-1/2 hours later than advertised (what's up with that eh? Perhaps the captain was Mexican and we were on manana time?)

Passengers were not allowed down to the vehicle deck until she was completely docked and tied up, so then there was (somewhat) of a mad stampede to get down and get the bikes untied as well -- luckily for me, a fine young laddie parked behind me helped me wrestle the straps open and we jumped on our bikes and away we went off the boat -- where I promptly wound up pulling off in to the terminal area cuz I spotted what looked like two bikers waiting -- one with those wonderfully 'slutty' Drifter fenders I was pretty sure had to be Tequila Sheila.

Yep - it WAS them and it was like Old Home Week all over again. Both Sheil and Mikey are warm outgoing sorts and we've already had plenty of giggles. And the fun part is, they both are interested in exploring a bit off the beaten path as they haven't had the opportunity to do so before, so we will all be touristas together :-)

Once the formalities were over, we headed off down the road, where we stopped at the local Tourist Information Centre for maps and a guidebook and wound up chit-chatting to a fellow and his wife and trying to help him persuade her to learn how to ride -- don't know how successful we were, but at least we got her to sit on all our bikes -- just to try out the fit, doncha know!

Interestingly, Mikey quickly identified that my bike seemed to be idling too high and I realized he was quite right -- that is probably what is contributing to my difficulty with shifting smoothly -- happily, he was able to arrange an appointment for day after tomorrow for me to get 'er in to be computer-analysed in Grand Falls near their home, so hopefully that will get sorted out pronto. I will be doing the happy dance then, boyoboy!

Pretty bushed now, so will sign off and get some sleep. Oh, yes, I have taken a number of pics and will get those posted, hopefully tomorrow night.

G'Night All!

EDITED to add photos: Day 25: Harbour Grace, NL

Day 24: Mon, Jul. 6: Long Day's Journey into Night

Hi everyone,

Just a quick note (cuz the signal is crappy onboard the ferry) to let you know, that thanks to good friend Gravol, I had a reasonably good sleepy-bye in my dormitory bunk (no snorers, thank Gawd!) and we are now about 2 hours out of our landing in Argentia, Nfld on Tuesday morning.

Challenge was to get the bike tied down on boarding -- big thanks to Big Bob for the previous lesson in how to do it and to Wilf the Goldwinger, who demonstrated how to tie the tiedowns tight (and basically did most of the work!) -- aren't bikers grand -- really helpful folks!

Met a couple from Metchosin of all places, Gary and Carla, who are BICYCLING -- seems we stayed at the same place last night -- anyway had a nice old natter and I was even able to recommend a Metchosin restaurant to them, the Garlic Rose, where the Women's Weekend had dinner in May -- too funny.

Will be meeting up 'somewhere on t'other side' with Tequila Sheila and hubby Mike ... will try to blog tonight!


EDITED to add photos: Day 24 Voyage to Argentia, NL

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Day 23: Sun., July 5: St. Ann's to North Sydney, NS

Well, today's journey was a short one -- about 40 or so km., but holy Hannah -- the fog this morning coming up and over the mountain between the two places was absolutely pea soup. It was really scarey as you couldn't see very far in front at all. And what's up with these boneheads who DON'T put their lights on???? Sheesh.

Last night, we had a lotta thunder and lightning in St Ann's and lost the power, so hadda go to bed early.

Anyway, got here to North Sydney, which is where the ferry to Newfoundland will leave from at 8:00 p.m. on Monday night (tomorrow). Checked into the Clansman Motel, which is mentioned in the Motorcycling Guide to Nova Scotia -- has covered parking for bikes and a bike wash station and the owner is a rider and great enthusiast and there are a number of other riders staying here -- so felt right at home.

The only fly in the ointment (or one of them) is that I suddenly came down with a whopper of a headache, like I haven't had in years. The staff kindly let me check in early so I could have a lay down and get over it, which I eventually did. But didn't feel good enuf to do any sightseeing, so hopefully will get to that tomorrow in the daytime.

The other fly in the ointment, unfortunately, is that my clutch seems to be slipping a bit. There are not HD places here to have it looked at, so I'm going to wait till I get to St. Johns, Newfoundland, where there is a dealer who can have a look-see and figger out what the problem is -- hopefully, it will be a minor adjustment.

Hope you are all enjoying your Sunday and riding your sox off!!!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Day 22: Sat., July 4: Baddeck to St Ann's, NS

View from St. Ann's Motel

First of all, Happy 4th of July to all my American friends (and geez -- sorry we burnt down your White House all those years ago ;-) )

OMG OMG - I just rode the frickin' Cabot Trail ... all by my lonesome ... and it was GRAND, lassies (and laddies). Totally incredible. (I only wish Big Daddy had been with me -- he woulda absolutely loved it, I know!

Started off this a.m. from Baddeck where the receptionist informed me that we were in for thunder and lightening storms. 'No way', sez I, 'I'm lucky that way' ;-) How's that for tempting Fate????

So, what happens -- I get about 2 km down the road and the sky starts spittin'. 'Hmmm', thinks I -- better get that rain gear on -- then it won't rain. That's exactly what I did and that's exactly what happened -- until a pretty long way into the trip anyways :-)

VALUABLE NOTE TO SELF (and whoever else is listening -- ladies -- ) ENSURE that anything you put in your pocket is absolutely secure BEFORE you sit on the throne in the local Timmies ... lest you suffer the same fate as Ole Willi ... which is to have to fish your 'Buff' neck warmer outta the toilet AFTER you have done your thang!!! THAT's a big ICK, I must say -- and you get the darndest looks from other women LOL

I took quite a few pics -- now just have to get Photobucket to load them -- I'm barely getting an internet signal here, so hopefully can load them tonight -- otherwise, will try again tomorrow night -- some very nice view pics, especially up high on hills, looking back on the roads I've just ridden up -- AWESOME!

Most of the journey was reasonably good weather -- dull in most spots but occasionally the mist would rise and the sun would peak out and it was great -- sometimes I got a spot to stop off to record it, sometimes not. This is one heckuva ride, ladies -- hope yah get to do it sometime.

Anyway, real rain didn't start until I turned south on Hwy 105 for St Ann's -- had to really slow down from 80 kmh to 60 or less because of the frost heave on the road -- if I tried to ride over it, I got airborne, so tried to avoid it by zigging and zagging down the road -- luckily not much traffic, so pretty easy run, considering the ole visor was a little heavy with rain. Good news is, the rain gear kept me dry and toasty, so all to the good. :-)

Pulled in to the St Ann's Motel (at first glance, a cousin to the 'Bates' Motel in Carberry ;-) , but turns out the owner has been to my home town of Mission and fished (with result - he caught a big salmon) in the Fraser River, so I was welcomed practically like Royalty -- that made me smile, I can tell yah -- I've already met three people on this trip who've been to the booming 'metropolis' of Mission - what are the odds on that, I wonder????

Had dinner at a fabulous restaurant next door -- great seafood and great wine, too. I ordered a carafe of St Jost Cabernet -- that was a totally yummy local wine -- would give our BC wines a run for the money, for sho'.

Anyway, goodnight all -- gonna try to get some photos uploaded -- though it may take awhile , really want you all to see the beautiful Cabot Trail.

EDITED TO ADD: Anneke, in Cheticamp, just as I was heading into the Highlands Park, a fella warned me there were at least 10 moose per km (the park ranger later told me that was an exaggeration!). Sooo, of course I watched like crazy, but none of your 'friends' came out to play ;-) But I must say, the moose on the Nova Scotia warnings signs look a whole lot meaner than the ones in Ontario LOL

Hasta la vista, gang!

EDITED to add photos: Day 22 Baddeck to St. Ann's - The Cabot Trail