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brianinpa

Nova Scotia and back again...

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brianinpa
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In 1992, when I was stationed in Brunswick, Maine, a few friends of mine took a few days off to ride to Nova Scotia and ride the Cabot Trail. At the time, my sons were 3 and 1, and my wife was not hearing anything about me leaving her for a week with two small children, so I didn't even mention it to her. When my friends returned, they told me about all that they did, and it put a desire in my mind to one day make the trip. When I was diagnosed with MS, I started to give up on those desires, but life changed for me and I am once again able to ride and do the things I want, so the idea of a ride to Nova Scotia was rekindled.

So six months of planning and 4 weeks of packing, packing, and repacking, and I was on the road... Nova Scotia or bust. I was really hoping it wouldn't be that bust thing like it was the last time this bike and I planned a long trip, but I had a good omen. The first words I heard on the radio was Steppenwolf's: Get your motor runnin', Head out on the highway, Lookin' for adventure, And whatever comes our way… Ah it's good to be out on the open road! To get ready for this trip, I pulled the pegs and installed floorboards and also put the Vetter bags and trunk on so I could have most everything inside a locked case, the only things I had outside were my tent bag and my bike bag full of other stuff.
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Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire... Not a single problem. When I get to Maine, a major problem. How do you know you are in Maine? Simple, you look for the stopped traffic and the Moose signs. These I sat in a 5 mile stretch of traffic waiting to get to the toll booth, but the temps stayed low and when it started to climb, I just flipped the fan on to keep it low.

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Now, when you get to Maine, there are a few things that are required. A lobster roll, some New England clam chowder, and a Sam Adams. I took care of all three of those at one shot!

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After a long day of riding, it was time for a motel rather than a campsite, so I suffered through it.  For day 2, travel was a little better because I got an early start and beat most of the tourists out of bed. When you get off of the Maine Turnpike and start riding on Route 1 along the coast, it doesn't take lone to see why so many people come here during the summer... If you live in Maine in the winter, you also know why people usually do not visit during the winter... I was making better time than I expected so I kept pressing on. A quick stop at Johnson's True Value in Calais Maine to lock up a firearm, and I rolled into New Brunswick Canada. My new destination was a Provincial Park along the bay of Fundy, and it did not disappoint. I had heard the stories of how drastic the tides are there, but nothing really prepares you for what you see when you get there. I tried to take a before and after shot, but unfortunately, the after shot was nothing but fog.

Zoom in (real dimensions: 1200 x 583)The water that you see in the picture above turned to land in the matter of time it took me to set up my tent and then ride two mile to the nearest gas station. This was home for the night, and imagine trying to sleep while listening to a fog horn all night long. Yep, you guessed it: ear plugs!

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Day 3 started the way day 2 ended... FOG, so on when the rain gear: smart decision because it was a wet ride: more about that later. I started ticking off the miles - 330 were planned for today and the bike was just humming along. Wet or dry roads, it was just rolling. Then I come over a hill and there is the sign I was looking for!

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The weather seemed to always be changing because one minute it would be over cast and the next the sun would be out and then just as quickly, it was raining. It wasn't a great day for riding but it was still fun taking in all the sights. Home for the night was Boylston Provincial Park. I snapped this picture and 15 minutes later, it poured.

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Day 4 started with checking off one of those bucket list items... when you give up on some things due to an illness, and then you are able to rebound and fulfill those dreams, you tend to get a bit emotional, so I took this one feeling really good!

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The road was smooth, the road was rough, and when I hit those rough spots, I was reminded that I was loaded a little heavy. Riding along the ocean and then suddenly climbing to 1500 feet was a lot of fun, but when you run out of road completely... well that's a different story.

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Done for the night I stayed at one of the campsites inside the Nation Park and had another one of those 7&7's... The Canadian Border agent asked me if I was bringing anything into Canada I do not intend to bring back with me: my answer was a bottle of Seagram's 7 :smilie_happy: 
 
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Day 5 and 6 were more of the same... riding, pictures, rain, sun, repeat... If you want to know what is happening in the local area in the US, you go to the local McDonald's and you can get caught up on all the days news that's not fit for print. In Canada, that place is Tim Horton's.  A good cup of coffee and a tasty breakfast sandwich to go with it.

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I met a lot of nice people and had several conversations (most were about the bike and how it reminded them of an early GoldWing they had back in 19??), but when they turned to politics, well that was my que to leave.

Day 7 was the last day, and when I got to Newberg, NY, I stopped at a rest stop and saw I still had 170 miles to go.  Ugg, that hurt because I was felling beat from the 1000 miles from the last two days, so I think I just killed about an hour there and started a conversation with a guy that called my bike a Road Warrior because of the age of it... I think it fits.

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Back on the bike and a few more miles down the road and i am looking on the Delaware valley. New York under my feet but Pennsylvania is in my sight. Almost there!!! Then I roll across the bridge and see the sign I have been waiting to see for two days

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1 1/2 hours later, not including the time I spent eating a big steak dinner, I pulled into the driveway after 11 hours in the saddle. What a day, what a ride, what a bunch of memories!  Not one problem from the bike that I didn't expect. I have a valve cover gasket that leaks a little on the right side, so I kept an eye on the oil level.  I added 1/4 of a quart on day 3 and that was it.   I also had to put some air in the rear shock to account for all the extra weight, and I had to keep cleaning bugs off of the wind screen.  A few weeks before this ride, I went double dark on this bike - the rear tire has been a car tire for a while, but the front tire was worn out so I put a rear tire on the front, the tires performed flawlessly in the wet weather. On the dry roads, I was dragging the floorboards. This bike is more fun to ride than any I have ever owned, and I thought dirt bikes were a blast when I was a lot younger. All totaled, I rode 2,606 miles from start to finish. When I got home, the next morning... I pulled the Vetter gear off, pulled the floorboards and put the pegs back on, and I gave the bike a bath: it needed it!

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I mentioned to my wife that I do not look at other things the way I look at her, but darn, this takes a close second...

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Throw you leg over sometime and get out on the open road for a long solo trip: you'll enjoy it. What's next for me? Something out west, and maybe north of the border.
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Steed

Great pictures and quite a nice write-up, thanks for sharing...

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Liam

Super write up Brian. Great pictures. On my bucket list too.

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