An invitation to my co-worker’s son’s wedding in Digby, Nova Scotia was all I needed to put into motion a motorcycle trip to explore Nova Scotia and New Foundland. The furthest I had ridden in this direction previously was to Bar Harbor, Maine on a trip 4 years ago.
After reaching Digby, the plan was to take the ferry into Newfoundland, stay there for at least 4 days before circling back toward home in North Carolina. I had traveled in Canada the previous year and wasn’t worried about going through customs and other assorted problems as I had been then.
I did my usual pre- trip work at the bike shop; checking the brakes, changing the oil, spark plugs, replacing the chain and sprocket (as usual) and a new rear tire. My mechanic discovered that my rear wheel bearing was just about gone (the bike did have almost 98,000 miles on it). This was also replaced. However, I was waiting for a new bolt that held my radiator at the top that had not yet arrived. So this was tied down with four or five zip ties. It was jerry rigged but it worked.
The day I was to leave, my mechanic called to let me know the bolt came in. Of course, I didn’t want to take any chances. The plan was to have the biked packed and ready to go after I got off work. But, with the new part available, I would go home, pack, then take the bike 25 miles away from my route, then go 25 miles back before getting on to my grandmother’s house in Virginia.
   

I hurried home, did a final packing, checked everything, and proceeded to get on the interstate only to hit heavy traffic immediately. Of course, there was a wreck and it was 90 degrees outside. I hadn’t even gone 5 miles and I was already hitting traffic! To make matters worse, once I was able to get through, I called the bike shop to tell them I would be a little late and my cell phone broke in half. It was at this point that I thought maybe I should just get these things taken care of and take off tomorrow without staying at my grandmothers. But I had gone through 48 states in the past without a cell phone and I knew I could get a replacement sometime on my trip. After getting to the bike shop, the bolt was inserted quickly and I took off at 5. The rest of the trip took the afternoon and into the evening (it was a 3 hour ride) and even though it was hot, there was no traffic and once I made it through Durham, NC, it was a straight shot North on I85 to Dinwiddie, VA. I arrived at my grandmother’s at 830 pm. It’s amazing how the first day of a long trip can sometimes be the most stressful. I will never start another trip in the afternoon after work, especially on a Friday.
On Saturday, the plan was to head up on I85 to I95 (give or take a few bypasses) and eventually make it to Neptune, NJ (just North of Asbury Park) and stay with my Aunt. The trip would take 7 to 8 hours. The weather called for an 80 to 90 percent chance of rain the entire way. I also wanted to stop by a Verizon store to replace my phone. I awoke the next morning to another humid day. I hadn’t even left yet and I was sweating profusely packing the bike. Since it was overcast and cloudy, I put on my all black rain gear so I wouldn’t have to stop when the rain started. I left at 8 am, heading 30 miles to Colonial Heights, VA and a Verizon store. As soon as I walked in, their system went down and after waiting 20 minutes, I said "the hell with this" and headed back to the interstate.
 

 

After making it through Richmond, the traffic started getting thicker and by the time I was nearing DC it was 3 lanes of stop and go. To make matters worse, the HOV lane was closed. It’s times like this when I wish other states would follow California, where you can ride between the lanes (not that I’ve done that a lot). Traffic is not fun in any vehicle but especially on a motorcycle. You are constantly shifting gears between 1st, 2nd, and 3rd; braking; and you have to deal with the weather elements. It can just wear you out. Especially on hot days like today.
   

The directions I had on my GPS and map took me along I-395 to DC before getting back on I95 toward Baltimore, Md. I soon realized that this is not a good way to go and would highly recommend anybody traveling this way to avoid it, unless you plan to visit DC, because I- 395 literally takes you within a mile of the Capital.
Still no rain but hot and heavy traffic; I was able to go the speed limit for maybe 20 or 30 miles before slowing down again. It was this way through DC and into Baltimore. After getting past Baltimore I felt that I would be good for the rest of the way but low and behold, I started hitting traffic again. This was because of the tollbooths. After getting through this, I hit traffic again nearing the Delaware Memorial Bridge. I have gotten better driving my motorcycle in heavy traffic. Even though you aren’t allowed to split lanes in 49 states, you can weave into other lanes (as long as you do it quickly) and if there is a long line of traffic at an exit ramp, you can merge in at the last spot without cutting people off (again, do this quickly). You’re on a motorcycle so you need to take advantage sometimes. After making it to the Jersey Turnpike I hit more traffic about 30 miles from my last exit before getting onto the Garden State Parkway (GSP).
It began raining while I was completely stopped, waiting to get on the Parkway. I was able to get to my exit and from that point on, even in the rain; it was smooth sailing (even though it was only 40 miles). I finally got on Parkway and arrived at my Aunt and fiancé’s place at 5. Instead of the usual 7 hours, the trip took almost 9 hours because of the heavy traffic.
Sunday was another trip to the Verizon store and again their system went down. It’s like they knew I was coming. Luckily, my Aunt’s boyfriend’s son had an extra phone that he gave me and I was able to get it registered in my name. I now had a phone I could use to communicate. It was still hot in Jersey and the plan was to stay there Sunday, and take off Monday morning for Maine. My GPS and directions had me staying on I95 through New York City. Having traveled through there 4 years ago I really had no urge to go through NYC again, let alone spend any additional time on I-95 than was necessary.
I decided to take the parkway instead and connect to 95 in New York, north of the city.
Monday, I woke at 6 am and was out the door at 7. I wanted to make it above Bangor before the day ended. As soon as I got on the parkway traffic was heavy. I thought that maybe this wasn’t such a good idea. After a mile of traffic, I saw one cop car with its lights flashing and something covered up with a tarp in the left lane. I had no idea what the heck it was. After this, the traffic started to move again. I continued North through Newark, exited into New York and road across the Tappan Zee Bridge spanning the Hudson River into Connecticut and back on I-95. There are a lot of 50 cent tolls on the parkway so bring 5 dollars in quarters and you’ll be okay. Make sure you have them readily available. You don’t need to be holding up traffic scrounging for the change in your pockets. In addition, I-95 in Connecticut is not fun. The road is rough, and there is a lot traffic heading into Bridgeport and Hertford. It was thick but moving and I made it through. From that point on, the highway is a little more bearable. You can cut through Massachusetts taking I-90 which will save you some time before getting back on 95 near the New Hampshire border. You’re only in New Hampshire for maybe 25 miles before crossing into Maine. As soon as I hit Maine, it started to rain. I decided to take an exit to change into my gear (I never do it under the bridge on an interstate highway) forgetting that if you take an exit you have to pay a toll to get back on. It’s only a dollar but it’s a pain for just trying to be safe. The toll booth guy was nice enough to let me go with that famous "No chaagh, get outta hea" Maine accent.
After I got past Bangor, the rains stopped and the roadside turns into wilderness broken up by small towns. This part of 95 was the only part worth riding on. I was able to use my GPS to find a nice campsite 20 miles from the interstate in the middle of nowhere. The campsite was a nice size with all of the amenities of a KOA. The difference being I was the only one there (must have been a slow day). I was able to pick my campsite, use their computer and eat a great meal (cheeseburger of course) at their restaurant. They even had a camping hut with an open top so I didn’t have to pitch my tent (I took a chance that it wouldn’t rain).

I built a fire that I had been looking forward to doing since a trip last year. This was the first time I had camped in a secluded area with no one else around. I guess I was little paranoid watching "The Hills Have Eyes" too many times. And even though I had a head lamp, I got lost returning from the showers that night. It was about this time that I felt that if I turned around somebody would be there with a hatchet. I eventually found my site and went to bed leaving my lamp on for the rest of the night, which either protected me from any critters (not that there are any bears around this area that I knew of) or let every person know where I was that night. Ah, the wonders of nature. Tomorrow, I would be crossing the boarder, riding to Digby, Nova Scotia and the wedding. I was both excited and nervous.
I awoke to a lovely Tuesday morning. Although I wasn’t planning on eating breakfast at the campsite, I couldn’t say no to a cheese omelet. After breakfast, I rode 20 miles back to the interstate. After 35 miles, I approached the Canadian border and had no trouble crossing. After showing the border guard my passport, he asked the usual questions, "Where are you going?”How long will you be in Canada?" etc.... When he asked if I had ever been to Canada before, I told him I came through on my way to Alaska last year. He replied, "Our roads are much better here than there." The first day in Canada was a beautiful day, there was no traffic and I knew in less than 10 hours I would be hanging out in a lovely coastal town in Nova Scotia, staying in a motel, and relaxing for a couple of days. Little did I know that a series of events would make my trip that day not as exciting as I planned!
My troubles started at the first place I stopped for fuel. Refueling was no problem, my credit card worked and after putting my gas cap back on I discovered the key in the ignition wouldn’t turn. I pushed the bike out of the way and begin to investigate the problem. The key slid into the ignition just fine, but just wouldn’t turn. The 750 Honda Shadow had done this maybe a half dozen times in the last 4 years but usually after a few minutes at most, it would turn and be OK. This time, it just wouldn’t turn. I tried spraying WD40 into the lock to no avail. I called my bike shop and when they picked up, the key turned. I explained to them what was going on and they replied that due to constant use, the ignition was stripped inside and would need to be replaced. However, since the key did turn, I felt I wouldn’t have any trouble again for months and I would take care of when I returned home. Escaping that scare, I found myself back on the road looking for a bank to exchange some US dollars for Canadian bills. I used the GPS, which took me off of Highway 2 into Frederickson. Even though my GPS has the most updated downloads for North America, it still gets confused in Canada and I found myself stopped at a barn outside of town instead of the bank I was looking for. I turned around and headed back, stopping at a pet grooming store to ask for directions. The lady was very nice and told me to ride about 3 kilometers up the road. I found the bank and as I was exchanging my money, told the teller about my trip to Digby and to Newfoundland. She asked if I was planning on taking the ferry and I answered "of course,” somewhat confused by the question since the only way to get to Newfoundland is by ferry, unless you’re flying. The trip to the bank threw me off course from my map directions and I used the GPS to get me back on the right track. The GPS said that I would get to Digby by 2 pm. It was 10 am and I was a little confused by that since I thought my trip would be at least 3 hours longer. I continued on my way toward St John. I refueled and again the key decided not turn. I knew now that I had something bad going on. I wrestled with the key again and after about 15 minutes, spraying WD40 in the ignition, it finally turned. I began thinking maybe I should just head home because I needed a new ignition. However, I noticed that as long as I kept the key in the ignition, it would turn. And I had a spare key on my chain which would allow me to open the gas tank. Being that I was in Canada, I didn’t feel like anyone would steal my motorcycle. So for the rest of this trip, I planned to leave the key in the ignition.
I followed the route to St John and soon realized what the bank teller was asking. She was talking about the ferry in St John that takes you to Digby. My GPS had actually taken me to the ferry stop. I found myself driving up the ferry dock looking for a bridge. There obviously wasn’t one so I thought since I’m here I might as well ask when the next ferry was leaving. The person at the counter told me it would be 11 pm. That was not good news. I asked, what’s the best way to get back on the road to Digby? They told me to take Hwy 1 north, then head east back onto Hwy 2. From that point, I discovered that I had gone almost 100 miles out of my way.
My trip would be much longer than originally planned, however the rest of the trip went rather smoothly until about 50 miles from Digby when it began raining. I pulled over at a gas station to put my rain gear on. By the time I made it back on the highway, it stopped. It was just one of those trips. I arrived at the Digby Pines Resort at 830. It had just gotten dark. I had been on the road for 12 hours but the motel was beautiful. It was old, majestic and sat along the coastline. A pre-wedding dinner was going on downstairs as I rode up with my leather jacket on, wearing rain paints and displaying a windburn face. I stuck out like a sore thumb.
I immediately found my co-worker friend, Melissa, who was wondering why I hadn’t called. I explained that I didn’t have her number on my replacement phone. She showed me where the room was and I proceeded to unload all of my gear and cover the bike up. I knew I wasn’t looking my best so I stayed at the upstairs bar and ordered some fried calamari and beer while watching the Canadian version of "So You Think You Can Dance." After that torture, I went downstairs, met the bride, groom and the rest of the family. They were all very friendly, asking about my trip, what kind of bike I was riding and where I was going after the wedding. It felt great to be around such wonderful people and I was a little embarrassed at being put on the spot. After hanging out and drinking for a while, I finally went to bed at 1:30am. The long day had finally gotten hold of me. After sleeping on a hard wooden floor the previous night, it felt nice to be in a soft bed, knowing the wedding wasn’t until tomorrow afternoon and I would be able to sleep in and relax until then.
 

 

I woke up around 10 am. I knew the wedding was at 3 pm, so I spent some time checking the bike out (oil level, chain) and basically relaxing. Melissa was very nice, bringing my shoes, slacks, tie, and shirt with her on the flight from North Carolina. I was looking somewhat human in the suit compared to when I arrived the previous day.
The wedding was a lovely ceremony. While pictures were being taken, I went over to the bride’s friends and family and hung out for a while. What super nice people. Along with asking me questions about the trip, they were also curious about the US. After a little get together and cocktail hour it was off to the reception followed by a DJ and dancing. Although I hadn’t "gotten down" in a long time, I couldn’t remember the last time, I held my own and it wasn’t the nightmare that I remembered when I danced at my high school prom, although it probably helped that most of us were intoxicated. You can’t say no to free booze. After the reception we went back to the cabin and hung out. My ferry to Newfoundland was scheduled to leave at midnight the next day and I needed to be there by 930. I ended up going to bed at 330 without even changing clothes.
I awoke at 10 with a "slight" headache and not feeling very movable. However, we had to be out of the hotel by 11, so after a quick cup of coffee and shower, I was okay and began packing the bike. Everyone was scurrying around; I couldn’t find Melissa to thank her but I did pass a message to her son, knowing I would see her at work when I got back.
The day after the wedding was sunny and beautiful. I had a 7 hour trip planned to North Sydney, Nova Scotia to catch the ferry to Newfoundland. It was a little chilly and windy as I headed North but I had no trouble making the ferry.
I arrived at the port around 5 pm; ready to relax for 4 or 5 hours, get something to eat, read a book, etc... However, when I reached the ferry office, I was told that it was running behind and would not arrive until 3 am. Oh well, guess I had to wait a little longer than I thought. I parked the motorcycle and left everything on except my tank bag. It was in front of the security office so I wasn’t worried. I checked out the ferry terminal which basically looked like a very small airport terminal. After touring the facility, which took about 5 minutes I ordered a cheeseburger and fries and knew this wait would be a lot longer than I thought after watching a local TV station reporting on the remnants of Tropical Storm Danny. It was heading my way.
I went outside and smoked a cigar and watched the sun set. As I waited, a Goldwing pulled up and a couple got off. The man saw my bike and we started talking about where I was from and where they were from. His name was Rick and his girlfriend’s name was Florence and they were coming from Halifax on their way to Gander located in central Newfoundland. Rick went back to his motorcycle (I thought he was just getting something to eat) and he came back with his address and phone number. He gave it to me and told me if I needed any assistance or a place to stay to give him a call (what great people!).
There was a movie playing in the lobby called Fool’s Gold, however I wasn’t really into that movie and decided to go to the bar upstairs and grab a beer and relax for an hour or two. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. There were a couple of truckers in the bar yelling at the top of their lungs and repeating the F bomb every other word. I don’t mind offensive language but I don’t like listening to it while trying to relax. I left the bar about 11 pm and went downstairs to see what the next movie playing was about. It was August Rush, another movie I severely hate, so I went back upstairs and found a corner across from the bar, put my bike jacket over my tank bag to form a pillow, and attempted to sleep. I actually fell asleep until about 3 am when I was awakened by some bikers making fun of their buddy, who was asleep across from me. By that time, the ferry was showing up and I thought we would be boarding soon. Boy was I wrong; as I went downstairs, I was told there would be at least 2 more hours of waiting before leaving, about 5 am. I went back to the lobby to see what movie was playing. It was “Miley and Me,” Geez I thought, after this crapfest of movies, I’m surprised a riot doesn’t break out. I ended up joining Rick and Florence outside. In the meantime, a collection of ten bikes lined up waiting to board. Of those ten, four belonged to the same loud biker idiots that were in the bar earlier. It was loud outside, music was blaring, while many people were trying to sleep in their cars. The bikers were smoking pot, which you could smell from 100 feet away in front of the security building. I don’t care if people want to smoke pot, but I was just wondering how they could do this so close to security. I began to wonder if my bike was protected. I became paranoid, thinking that maybe they stashed their stuff on my bike so they wouldn’t get caught with it and the first thing you know; I would be me doing a recreation of "Midnight Express." I calmed down after a few moments, reasoning that I was probably getting overly paranoid from of lack of sleep. Five am came and went and we still had not boarded... It appeared that the security scanners were broken because they had to look at our tickets and punch them in their portable recording system. By 6:30 we began boarding. I knew I wasn’t out of the woods yet because you must tie your own bike down, they provide straps and the hooks. After boarding, I watched a couple of the other bikers do it and thought I had it figured out. However, another biker, not one of the idiots in the bar, came over and told me there was no way my tie down job would work because it was attached too low. He then proceeded to show me how easy it was for the bike to tip over and helped me get the bike tied down properly making me feel better because the ocean was rough from the tropical storm that had passed through a couple of days before.
The ferry was very nice, with a lobby, bar and rooms where you could rent for sleeping, but they cost another 60 bucks and I didn’t want to get one for a short 6 hour ride. I met up with Rick and Florence upstairs in the lounge area where we fell asleep with many other passengers. A lot of people had been up all night watching crappy movies and where just now getting to bed. The ferry ride was rough due to the storm I didn’t get sick and after 6 hours, we reached Port Aus Basques, Newfoundland. I walked downstairs with Rick and Florence and told them there was a chance I may be heading their way when I returned from the East side of the province.
Getting off the ferry was an adventure in itself as I hurriedly removed my hooks and hopped on and started my bike up. It started up immediately and I was careful not to slip on the wet metal ramp. However, before I got off the ferry, the bike stalled. I tried to start it to no avail and cars began to stack up behind me. I panicked as I reached down and realized I had not turned the gas on. I guess I was just a little nervous.
Riding off the ferry, my plan had been to head northwest to the furthest point on the map; however I didn’t arrive until 6 hours later than planned. The only thing I could do at this point was ride to a KOA located 5 hours away in Rocky Harbor. The weather was cooler, in the 50's, windy, and overcast. On my way were signs were everywhere warning drivers to watch out for Moose, something Rick had warned me about earlier. One sign said "660 Moose Related Accidents Last Year." That’s almost 2 wrecks a day! By the time I made it to the KOA, it was close to 6 pm, I was cold and tired. I really hadn’t had good nights sleep since leaving Digby. With the poor weather, I didn’t really want to camp and the KOA had no cabins available. However, employees at the KOA told me about a woman that ran a youth hostel downtown. Arriving there a short time latter just as rain began falling; I found a room for $40 Canadian bucks. That was cheaper than camping so I took it. I parked the bike and unpacking.
I had never stayed at hostel before and found it a little weird. There were a dozen people there from different countries. I needed something to eat so I made my way across the street to a convenience store and feasted on a couple of frozen burgers and a bag of chips. I eat so well when I’m traveling.
My room was nice and had a bathroom. The shower was upstairs, but it was a good deal for the price. For a cheaper price I could have shared a place with 4 other people, men and women which I would not have minded, however I am very protective of my stuff. After writing a few words in my journal and listening to the carp fishing problem on the BBC, it was the only thing I could pick up on my radio, and nothing on my portable TV, I decided to head up stairs and be sociable. That worked out well and I had the opportunity to talk to people from Japan, the Netherlands, Australia, all right there in Newfoundland. I even got to share some pie with them. At 11 pm, it was time to call it a night and I headed off for a good night’s sleep before tomorrow’s journey across Newfoundland. I was also hoping the weather would improve as I kept an eye on Tropical Storm Danny.

My thought was to awake at 7 am, however I always seem to sleep later than I plan and the first thing you know, it was 9 am when I awoke. I went upstairs to shower but found someone there so I just washed up, packed, and rode off. The weather was sunny and around 60, nicer than the day before. My plan for the day was travel along Canadian Highway 1, cross the province and head south to the small town of Fortune.

The ride went well. I hit a couple of nice bumps but nothing compared to what I had been on when I rode to Alaska. The highway goes through the central part of the province with four lanes most of the way. I took an exit onto highway 199 south, consisting of a somewhat rough paved road through the woods for 100 miles. From there I rode west into the town of Fortune. I arrived in good time and found it a ride although very windy along the coast. Here it was just a question of finding somewhere to stay. I got a free companion book at the ferry terminal and planned on staying at a bed and breakfast or a campsite. I found the campsite first, a very basic place for $10 bucks. It had shower facilities but I was concerned about the approaching storm and decided to go for the bed and breakfast. The bed and breakfast was empty when I arrived, however I walked inside anyway looking for someone. I called a number listed inside and a man answered telling me he would be there in 10 minutes. He arrived and showed me the place. He told me with the weather being like it was, nobody would probably stay there that night and I would probably have the whole place to myself. I was fine with that since it had a huge kitchen, lobby, TV, and internet. He then drove me around town, showing me the various restaurants, bar, convenience store, and even the school he attended. The price was $81.00 and I took it with much glee. After a shower, finally, I walked downtown to get something to eat. On my way, people were waving and saying "Hi" from their front yards. I will never forget how friendly the people were in Fortune.

After a meal in a small chicken restaurant, I walked to the convenience store to grab a six pack. I was tempted to go to the local bar but opted instead to and just get back to the bed and breakfast to relax and catch up on some things. I was able to watch a preseason football game and send some emails to friends and family. There was a small garage that the owner said I could use, so the bike was parked there, safe from the threatening weather that appeared to be coming. Before I went to sleep, I watched a weather report stating the storm would be in this area in the morning packing winds of 50 to 60 kilometers, knowing tomorrow would be one an interesting day.

I awoke the next day, Sunday at 6 am to wind and rain. I thought it would go away after another hour or two of sleep so I dozed off. When I awoke at 8 am, it was even worse. The electricity was still on so I got out of bed and checked out the latest weather forecast. It appeared the storm was going to be hanging around for awhile. After breakfast at 10, I knew I would have to take off soon or spend another night, however the ride to the ferry, if it was still on schedule, would take about 11 hours from Fortune and there was no telling what type of weather I may hit. There was also a ferry that left on the other side of Nova Scotia from Argentina. That was closer but I wouldn’t be able to change my reservation and it was a 14 hour crossing and more expensive. The storm wasn’t unbelievably bad causing major damage or preventing people from driving. It was just very windy and rainy. Rain, I can ride in, heavy winds, I don’t like as much.
The town of Gander was located roughly 250 miles away and Rick and Florence had told me that all I had to do was show up and I had a place to stay so I decided to visit them.
I packed the bike, opened that garage door and rode off to brave Mother Nature on my Honda Shadow. Leaving Fortune, I could tell it wasn’t going to be an easy day. The speed limit was 60 kilometers but I wasn’t able to ride that fast. I could see okay but had to lean the bike into the wind because wind gusts kept trying to push me across the center line. There wasn’t any flooding or high standing water that I could see, but some spots you could feel the bike rev up as it crossed into several inches deep of water. The wind was also causing the rain to strike my face hard. I knew I had 100 miles to go on this two lane highway and hoped that once I got to Canada Hwy 1, it would be easier going. I was also hoping the weather would improve and the winds would calm down before I had to ride the ferry tomorrow evening. I finally made it to the Hwy 1 and fueled up. I rode into the station totally soaked. Even though I was wearing my rain gear, the rain had begun to seep into my feet and back. "Just another 150 miles" I said to myself. Even in Canada, somebody told me at the station, "You picked a bad day to ride eh" which is what they say in the US except for the "Eh" part.

The next 150 miles went faster but the weather still hadn’t improved. I was just able to maintain the speed limit and when I reached Gander, I was wet and cold. I followed my GPS to the apartment complex where Rick and Florence lived. From their parking lot I called Rick and he immediately came down and helped me unpack. We went upstairs and while I changed, Florence put my wet clothes in the dryer. And after a warm shower I felt much better. After unpacking Rick took me around the town of Gander, showing me the area and where he worked. He also took me to the memorial for the Arrow Air Military Plane crash that killed 256 US Military people. Rick had worked for the fire and rescue department at the time of the accident. We then went to Wal-Mart, yes they are in Newfoundland and picked up a few things, we had coffee at a Tim Horton’s; this is the Waffle House of Canada. We then went back to Rick’s home where Florence had dried my clothes and made a great dinner. By this time, the wind and rain had subsided to the point where it was just a sprinkle. I felt very blessed and thankful to meet these wonderful people. We relaxed and watched "The Rundown," finally a good movie. By this time, I was getting tired and went to bed in their spare bedroom. I’m glad I took the trip I did this day.

The next morning Rick woke me around 7 for a great breakfast of ham, biscuits, and scrambled eggs. We called the ferry and amazingly, discovered they were on schedule! I said goodbye with many thanks to my new found friends and departed at 8 am. I had an 8 hour trip before me and wanted to make it to Port Aus Basques by 6 pm at the latest. The weather was overcast but the rain stayed away. Temperatures were in the low 60s. I really wish the weather had been when I was there; it prevented me from even making it to St. Johns and visiting the far East side of the province. But there will be more opportunities in the future.
I made it to the ferry at 5 and proceeded to relax for the time being. It was good to see they were on time with no sign of delay. I had dinner, another cheeseburger, and proceeded to locate a bench to nap for an hour. I awoke at 10 and I went outside to check the bike. It was still there and I found another 10 or so bikers waiting for the ferry. I met other gentlemen riding a 2006 KLR 650, one of the bikes I wasn’t to get. He had been traveling for the past 6 months throughout the East Coast of the US and up through Canada. In our discussion of travels, I told him I was from Winston Salem and he told me how much he enjoyed riding the Blue Ridge Parkway and how beautiful the state of NC was. Good to know our state is being recognized around the US as a great motorcycle destination. He mentioned riding to OBX bike week. I have to admit I was jealous of Tim because he had traveled the past 6 months on hardly any interstate; just riding back roads. He was a stock broker on the side and had decided to quit his job and see the world on a motorcycle.
The ferry arrived on time and we all boarded. Now I knew the routine and I was able to tie down my bike with no trouble. I walked upstairs, found a couple of seats that I was able to sit across no divider in between them. It looked like this was my bed for tonight. The ferry served alcohol and had a bar with live music; however I wasn’t in the mood. I opted to get some sleep since my plans were to ride into the US the next day. It was Monday evening when I boarded. I fell asleep lying across my chair and placing my legs on a table next to it; I’m proud of the fact that I can sleep anywhere. I was awoken several times during the night by an older lady that must have had dementia; she kept on asking about her purse.
The ferry arrived on time and as the sun was rising everyone was unhooking their motorcycles. At 6 am, I was sitting on my bike waiting for the gate to open.
As the door opened, I shook Tim’s hand and wished him the best on his journey. The sun was just coming up and I could tell it was going to be a beautiful morning for the 11 or 12 hours of riding ahead of me that day and I wanted anxious to make it South of Bangor, Maine.

I rode 5 miles down the road and pulled into a parking lot to change into rain pants. It wasn’t raining outside but it was chilly and the rain pants keep the wind off of the legs. I rode another two miles and the motorcycle began to sputter. It felt like it was running out of gas, even though I had just filled up at Port Aus Basques before bordering the ferry. Immediately, I thought, "I got water in the freakin gas tank again" I couldn’t believe it. I turned around and sputtered back to a fueling station. This time, I had brought a container of "Heat" fuel tank water and moisture remover. One container is good for 20 plus gallon gas tank so I only poured a small amount in. I restarted the bike and went another mile down the road and it started sputtering again. I turned back around and was beginning to think maybe I should get this taken care of before I go any further. However, the bike seemed to jump back to life so I turned back around and rode on. I could still feel it pulling somewhat but it wasn’t sputtering as much and when I gave it throttle it would maybe choke but not to the point of stalling out. I rode another 50 miles, refueled and put more Heat in the tank. It ran better. This would be my routine for the next 6 fuel stops. I also made sure to avoid putting the bike on the reserve tank. It was water, it would be at the bottom of the tank, water is heavier than the fuel, I didn’t know that myself until last year.

My nerves calmed as the day progressed and even though the bike wasn’t running well, it was running and I was headed toward home and I figured that as long as it was running, I was going in the right direction. Besides, the day was beautiful, it was one of the nicest days I had ridden on this trip. If only it was like this in Newfoundland.

I made one more fuel stop in Woodstock before arriving at the border. This time, the first question from the custom’s officer was "Where are you from?" I had been asked this at least 50 times on my trip and didn’t expect it going back to the US. I actually stuttered a bit. He laughed at me, didn’t give me a hard time and let me cross the border. I was now back in the US, riding through Maine on Interstate 95.

Although Maine is known for its coastal towns, I really enjoyed driving through the wooded areas. Just a lot of beautiful wilderness as far as the eye can see. I rode another 100 miles south before refueling. During the stop, I called a few people to let them know I was back in the US. I rode through Banger and found a KOA. It was the first KOA I had stayed at this year. It was almost 7 pm and my total travel time that day was over 12 hours, But I felt great (and very hungry). After feasting on some canned Chef Boyardee Raviolis, chips, and two Mountain Dews, I relaxed for the night next to a big fire that I had built. The weather was suppose to be nice from here on out and I prayed the bike would make it through these last 800 miles.
I awoke at 6 am, cleaned up, packed and was on the bike by 730. The plan was to head back to Jersey and spend the night with my Aunt. The bike was still jumpy when I left that morning so I kept using the fuel cleaner but had stretched it out to every other fuel stop. Even though it was still acting up a little, I felt confident in the bike since it hadn’t got any worse and I was able to keep up with traffic just fine. I bought another container of Heat in New Hampshire to be safe.

In Massachusetts while fueling up, I actually had a motorist come over to me and say, "It’s a great day to be on a motorcycle isn’t it?" I couldn’t believe I was actually asked about a nice day of riding. As I entered Connecticut, the traffic on I 95 increased and soon I was riding in stop and go. I was thinking, (boy I sure missed driving in this). Luckily it didn’t last for long and as I crossed the Tappan Zee Bridge into New York, (wasn’t feeling 95 through NYC again); I was cruising fast along the Garden State Parkway.

Sometimes when you ride for a long while, you just get a good feel for the road and think your bike can do no wrong. Even though I was riding in 5 lanes of traffic, I was moving fast and it felt good. I had my change ready for the 4 or 5 pay tolls ahead and time seemed to moved quickly as I pulled up to my Aunt’s home at 3 pm. Really couldn’t have asked for a better driving day. I was able to relax and check the bike out before the last 450 miles. I noticed the weather had cooled off since the last time I was here two weeks before.
I awoke at 5 the next morning, thanked my Aunt and her fiancé for their hospitality and was on the road by 6 am... This time, instead of fighting I 95, (which I was completely over with), I chose to get on the Jersey Turnpike for 20 plus miles and then take the Pennsylvania turnpike to Philadelphia. Although I wasn’t going to Philly, the turnpike directs you South of the city and after riding through some of the local commuter traffic; (but not stop and go), I found myself on a scenic ride through the beautiful Pennsylvania countryside as I road toward I-81. This will be the route I take from now on to get to New Jersey. The entire ride back to NC took about 10 hours. I made a stop at my local bike shop and ordered a new ignition; the key in my ignition had not been removed for 10 days and had them check for water in my gas tank.

I arrived home on Thursday evening and proceeded to unpack, order some Chinese, bought a 12 pack of beer and watched the opening college football season game. The fall was approaching. My total mileage was 5,524. My earlier trip this summer was 5,054.00, making my total travel mileage ridden this past summer about 10,578 miles. However, this was still almost 2,000 miles less than the Alaska trip the year before. It just shows how far that state is from North Carolina. I was correct about the fuel problem. It was water and over a quart of it was found in the reserve tank! I’m beginning to wonder if my bike just likes H2O in its tank. However, this time, my mechanics gave me some pointers on how to drain the tank in case it happens again. So on this trip there was one replaced ignition and drainage of the fuel tank. Everything else was okay (I changed the oil and filter myself). Final notes: Even though I was riding in "Moose Country" I didn’t see a freakin one. I would also like to add that I met some of the nicest and gracious people on this trip. My only regret is that I didn’t get to see more of Newfoundland. The weather didn’t help and when I add in the ferry delays I discovered it shortened my trip by a day, but I’ll go back. Special thanks to: Aunt Di and Tom in New Jersey; Melissa, Jessica, and Caleb in Nova Scotia, Rick and Florence in Newfoundland; Wall To Wall Motorcycle Repair; and all of the great people I met on my trip.
One more thing; Interstate 95 sucks!