Thursday, July 31, 2014

Arrived in Newfoundland the Long Way

Riding off the ferry at 10:15, I have now officially visited all ten provinces of Canada. Without a room on the boat, we had a mediocre sleep, luckily a room will be available for our return.

First we drove into Placientia and got a room at the Ocean View. Then rode the bikes down to Cape St Mary to see the cliffs and the Gannet colony. While there we ran into Gilles and Josee, a motorcycling couple from Quebec. We met them the night before on the boat.

Yesterday, also on the boat, I met Barry from Peterborough riding his pedal powered trike from Halifax to Cape Spear. Today we met him again but we were going opposite directions on highway 91, aka the  "dirt road".  We were all on the road by mistake, and it was such a bad road, we might as well be meeting in Outer Mongolia. We stopped, chatted, exchanged horror stories about what lay ahead.

Pics: Barry and Mary Ann, a good road (hwy 92), and Gannets.

The Atlantic Ocean

We killed time today just waiting for the ferry. Now we're in the forward lounge sitting in comfy bucket chairs around a small table, looking out the forward windows at fog and waves, drinking Iceberg Beer, eating pizza, listening to a lounge singer, singing  "Don't tug on Superman's cape" .

This is what I think of that, and why I like it. Newfies know that there is only one kind of pizza, and there is no pineapple on it. Everybody talks to everybody else on the boat, even if they are from Quebec and don't speak English. Beer can be made out of anything, even icebergs. Newfies don't take advice like don't tug on Superman's cape seriously.

I might just enjoy visiting Newfoundland.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Burgie is Thirsty

We spent the day in North Sydney yesterday, and I picked up a litre of oil at Canadian Tire. I added about a quarter of it to Lost (the Vulcan 900) and Burgie took almost all the rest. The Burgman 400 has always used more oil than the Vulcan so I don't know if I should be worried. Although it also took a big gulp of oil in PEI  , we use Burgie as a taxi when we stay somewhere, and we put maybe 300 km on it in the Magdalen Islands, while Lost was parked. The scooter has done over 4100 km since Kitchener, and has about 50,000 km on the odometer.

It's not just Burgie,Mary Ann and I are having more physical problems on this trip than going west in 2012. After I added the oil yesterday I needed help to stand up, and had a backache all night. At least I got a seniors discount on the cruise ship to Newfoundland. Together, it still adds up to about a thousand dollars return fare. We are getting packed for the trip this afternoon to Argentia.

Picture: I hope this is North Sydney humor, and not what's happening to the place.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Still Waiting

We are resting today after going into North Sydney for breakfast at Robena's. Like much of North Sydney, Ronena's is down to earth. All day breakfast, coffee included in every breakfast item. But you can substitute.  An early bird special is also available all day. I guess it's always early somewhere.

I really wanted to make a suggestion to the ferry company that they allow standby for motorcycles, but after Googling all their other problems, I will just withdraw my suggestion. They have so many other complaints. Example, cotton tablecloths in the restaurant cater to luxury tourists, not the good kind of tourists like us. And when crossings are cancelled due to bad weather, or ships running into buildings, the help lines and reservation lines get swamped .

I actually feel lucky that we could get through to the reservations area three times without going through a phone tree, or having to wait while being assured my call is important to them.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Waiting for the Newfoundland Ferry

Arriving at North Sydney, we investigated the ferry situation, and found out there is no standby option. I guess that people arrive so early for their reserved booking, that they can fill up spaces in an earlier sailing.
Also, they didn't have any spaces available for the next three days.
So we went back to our motel room, checked the internet,  made a couple of calls to the help number, reviewed the calendar and decided on a new plan.  Our original plan was to go standby to the western side of Newfoundland (Port Aux Basques), drive across to the eastern end, and take the return ferry from there.
Instead of our original plan, we booked a return trip to the eastern side (Argentia), leaving Wednesday at 5:00 PM. Returning August 11. The ferry to Argentia had lots of room. It is a 15 hour voyage, and takes us to and from the East end of the island. If we still want to see the western part, it will mean doing a lot of driving.
Our new plan costs more, but we may avoid a lot of boring transcanada highway riding.
Pics: I have one of the ferry we're not taking, the "Highlanders". Instead, we will be on the "Atlantic Vision". Unlike the Magdalen island ferry, it does not have a movie theatre. (Update: It does have a movie theater - it's called a TV lounge, but it plays movies on a big screen just like the Magdalen Island ferry.)

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Four Provinces in One Day

Lost and Burgie drove in four of Canada's provinces, Quebec, PEI, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia, today. We woke up at 5 AM on the Magdalen Islands, (Quebec), rode to the ferry crossing to Prince Edward Island. Rode across PEI to the bridge to NB, then continued to finish in Tatamagouche, NS. We are now at the Balmoral Motel. Is there any shorter way to ride a motorcycle in 4 provinces?

Pics: army delivering hay to Tatamagouche? Wake of ferry. A small sailboat on the beach at Magdalen Islands.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

North end of Island

We took Burgie on a trip today to the end of the road going north. Tomorrow we get up early to catch the 8:00 ferry.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Extending to Sunday

We will be on iles de la Madeleine for six nights, after changing campsites twice. It rained a lot yesterday. This morning is sunny, calm, with mosquitoes. Mary Ann is headed to the IGA coop with Burgie for breakfast supplies .

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Exploring the Island

We decided to stay till Sunday. Changed campsite this Morning, 30 kph winds. Today we drove to la Grave at the end of Sandy Hook. Stopped at the Cafe Grave, a must see, according to our waitress last night at the Couvent. Then toured that island including some mountain trails. Stopped for gas and met Brigitte again. (We originally met her on the ferry, she has a Virago 1100).

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Parc de Gros Cap

We are waking up to a beautiful morning. I hope we can go sailing later. The excursion leaves from the orange shack across the street.

Ferry to Iles de la Madeleine

We are on a 5 hour ferry ride, so after we paid for our tickets, and we had a lunch in the bistro, and walked the decks,  Mary Ann settled in the Quiet Lounge, while I headed for the Movie Lounge. And because we have 2:30 left in the voyage, I will just review the movie, even though I missed the beginning.

The movie was Zookeeper, starring Kevin James and Rosario Dawson. Now for the bad parts.  As I said already, Kevin James. Also, the movie was dubbed in French, as we are now back in Quebec. Thirdly, the movie lounge in this  ferry vibrates so much like a Harley, it blurred my vision. But, it didn't really make too much difference, as the movie was only DVD, not high definition.

Now for the plot. I guess you don't need to be fluent in French to laugh at the part where the gorilla drives the zoo van right into the side of a parked car. (Belated spoiler alert!). But you may miss the more profound social subtext, so I will explain everything here in case you plan to watch the movie on this boat.

Kevin is a zookeeper who gets fed up with his lowly life shovelling elephant manure, and being admired by Rosario, and talking to the animals such as the wise old gorilla. So he quits his job and becomes an exotic car salesman, and gets a blonde  for a girlfriend, and moves into a fabulously decorated condo loft with her.
But then, wouldn't you know it, just before the mariachi band plays, he realizes his mistake and heads back to the zoo. But Rosario is GONE! (Guess I should have had another spoiler alert here). So the gorilla offers to drive him to the airport. Leading up to the best scene in the movie, that I mentioned earlier.

Overall, I give it a surprising 2 and a half out of five.

And now we can see the islands appearing over the horizon.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Charlottetown Rocks

Went to the Homburg Hall to see a musical production called Canada Rocks, in Charlottetown. We will be leaving the island on Monday.

Pics: Us with Anne of Green Gables cardboard cutout.  Mary Anne Talking to statue of John A. MacDonald.  John A went to Charlottetown to discuss confederation.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Still Here

Today we toured the south of the island by truck, stopping for tea at McPhail historic house. Then we visited Belfast Mini Mill. They make wool and the machines to make wool. Then drove by some dunes on the way home.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Brackley Beach PEI

Staying a few days with Joe and Pat.  Went to a Ceilidh tonight. Seems like an island tradition to hold weekly entertainment in the many community centres on the island.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Shediac, NB

We are staying at the Parlee Beach Motel. We walked to the beach, ate at the Parlee Beach Restaurant, then continued walking on the beach to the marina, then home.

We had a little rain today.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Camping at Carlton sur Mer, Quebec

We passed right near Perce rock today. Then went for a tour of the preserved fishing post at Paspebiac. I was able to get some important research done on my great grandfather, especially about the type of fishing boat he had. On the internet I had found a boat called the  Gaspe Schooner. It was the wrong type, mainly because it was too big.  The boat he actually had was called locally a fishing barge, or "Barge" in French.  All the local fishermen had them. They were a bit over 10 m in length. Any smaller and they would not be able to handle the sea.  Often fishing was done more than 30 miles offshore. Also, the barges were rigged with two masts, like much larger Schooners. But the sail layout was different. Finally, mysteries about my great grandfathers boat solved, thanks to a very obliging carpenter at the museum shipbuilding workshop. They had no less than 5 models of this type of fishing barge. A small tabletop model, a half? sized model, a full size skeleton, a partially constructed model, and an old partly preserved barge. Plus a movie from 1937 showing the barges actually going out fishing, and a very knowledgeable resource person to answer questions, although you would need someone to translate if you don't speak French.

Tonight we are tenting on a sandbar. Mary Ann and I were sitting on the beach eating our pita wraps when a whole flock of gulls flew in and around  our heads for about five minutes then suddenly flew away. Later we went back to the picnic table that was right behind our chairs, to put away the food. Our last pita bread was gone, taken right out of the bread bag by some enterprising and very quiet Black Backed Gull. (We don't say Seagull any more)

Sunday, July 13, 2014

At the Adams Motel, Gaspe Village

I think we had the best roads today. Mostly following the coast, not much traffic, plenty of scenic picnic areas, a few curves just for fun. Some steep hills. I don't have many pictures of the road, I was having too much fun driving to stop and take a picture. And I was not speeding either! The posted speed of 90 kph seemed more than enough for us.

I at least have a picture of the beginning of the day.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Camping at Cap Chat

We didn't stop for sight seeing today, but the road was scenic enough. Rt 132 follows the coast. Just after Rimouski, we turned onto a beach road, and because it's Saturday, and sunny, the traffic was stop and go until we reached 132 again. Rt 132 is usually a 90 kph limit and we were doing 100, but still all the traffic was passing us. Good thing there were frequent passing zones.

Now we're camped on the beach at Camping au Bord de la Mer, which means by the sea, and we are right at the edge. We went into town by scooter for a meal at Valmont restaurant. We're camped next to a couple from Switzerland, driving a pickup camper conversion that they shipped from Europe to Argentina, then drove it up to Canada, so they can ship it back to Europe from Halifax next week. We're meeting a lot of interesting people.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Riviere du Loup

We are camping tonight near the ferry dock at RdL. Across the road is some kind of Santa's castle. (Pic)
On the way here we lunched at Levis, across from Quebec city. Then followed 132, instead of the Trans Canada highway.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Camping at St Georges de Beauce

We started the morning with a walk in Sherbrooke. Then drove to Lac Megantic where there is still a gaping hole from the train derailment last year. We walked along the new boardwalk that was built to let people view the site.
Later, we continued to Beauceville, and found a tent site at Domaine de la Riviere, beside the Chaudiere river. At night we went to St Georges de Beauce, and had a local beer and salmon and capers pizza.

Everyone we encountered has been friendly and super helpful. Scenery is beautiful. Weather perfect.

If I had to pick a favourite, it was the girl at the campground desk, who drove us around in a golf cart to show us the available tent sites.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

End of Day Two: Sherbrooke

Our first day ended in Kingston Ontario. We had rain most of yesterday  afternoon and found a motel instead of camping. This  morning was sunny. We sat in comfy chairs on the lawn and ate cereal for breakfast. For the rest of today we travelled on surface roads (ie not freeways), due to popular request. As soon as we reached Quebec, we exited the freeway at Beaudette, then went through Valleyfield, Ormstown, Venise-en-Quebec, Waterloo, Magog, and here we are at the motel La Marquise between Sherbrooke and Lennoxville.

So we are in a motel again. We didn't get here until 8:30, and we are both too tired to set up a tent. Some of you may think we are wimping out (i.e. you, Marion W.)   According to popular demand, we don't need any excuses to get a motel. And I agree with her.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Lost and Burgie Go East

On Tuesday July 8, 2014, our trip will continue.  In 2012 Mary Ann and I went from Kitchener, Ontario to Victoria BC, and returned in 6 weeks.  This summer we are taking the same two bikes ("Lost", the Kawasaki Vulcan 900, and "Burgie", the Suzuki Burgman 400) from Kitchener to St. John's Newfoundland and back.

On the way we hope to visit the Gaspe peninsula, the  province of Prince Edward Island, the Magdalene Islands, and the island of Newfoundland.  This trip will be "Lost and Burgie Go West Part 2" or "This time it's East".  It is a good finish to the "Go West" trip, because in 2012 we turned back at Victoria, BC, and this time we turn back at St John's Newfoundland, the other end of the Trans Canada Highway..

What is the Trans Canada Highway?

The Trans Canada Highway, completed in 1971, is a confusing bit of road.   It is mostly numbered highway 1, but Quebec and Ontario give it other number designations.  There are branches off the Trans-Canada, and alternate routes that may or may not call themselves the Trans Canada Highway.  Looking at Wikipedia, I see a map showing a northern Trans-Canada through British Columbia that ends on the Queen Charlotte Islands (Which apparently now are named Haida Gwaiai)  I also see a loop that runs up to Baie Comeau (my home town) and back.  I have no idea why that loop was included, except to confuse people.  Or maybe one day they plan to extend that road to Newfoundland or Labrador.  Kitchener, Ontario is not on the Trans Canada.  And neither is Toronto, Canada's largest city.

Another surprising fact from Wikipedia is that the main Trans-Canada has Tesla charging stations along it's length, allowing an electric car like the Tesla to drive from Victoria to St John's.

On the subject of  Victoria and St. John's,  these two cities represent the original western and eastern ends of the Trans Canada Highway.  So even though we are not following the Trans Canada, and actually we are mostly trying to avoid it, they still make good end points for the trip.  Better than Kitchener, anyway.