Showing posts with label Canada. Show all posts

Italian Beauty in Quebec City

East Coast Ducs ride to Ducati Montreal

The East Coast Ducs had a bit of a late start this morning.  A few of us were ready to go early, but everyone didn't congregate until about noon, so we didn't end up going to ride out of the city as we had planned. 

Summertime in Montreal: Jazz Festival and the Old City

Old Port of Montreal below:
 Spending the day at the Old Port of Montreal, checking out the famous Jazz Festival, then cruising for food on the Rue Saint Denis during the Circe Festival.

Bonjour Montreal! NYDucati back to Canada for July 4th

I haven't gotten out of the city for a while, and I've been getting restless (at least too far outside the city, and my wander lust has been kicking in)...
So, during my preparations for getting a bike night together for Ducati owners and enthusiasts with Stuart Parr, at Art of the Italian Two Wheel in Manhattan, I realized I had a long weekend coming up.
 I asked a few friends if they were interested in accompanying me on a quick weekend jaunt up to Quebec, but everyone already had plans for July 4th weekend.
 Luckily, my old traveling companion Jay was feeling similarly stuck in the city, and we decided Wednesday night to leave mid-day Thursday afternoon, and spend the week in Canada.
 I took off of work after lunch, went up to Harlem, and we were on the road by early afternoon.  Unfortunately, a cavalcade of holiday traffic especially getting through Albany, slowed us through the first leg of our journey.
 By the time we hit upstate New York, we were ready to drive FAST, and alas a northern Police officer took notice, where (somewhat unbelievably I got my first speeding ticket) which delayed us another hour or so.
 We finally crossed the US/Canada border around 10:30, and all of the signs abruptly turned exclusively to French.  I have been to Montreal before, but I was struck how foreign this wide-open country felt, although it was only a few hours away, and even the gas station attendants barely spoke English.
Jay and I checked into our hotel on the Rue St. Denis, where an exceedingly helpful innkeep named Pierre showed us to a massive double-room situated on a courtyard above a Jazz Club, in a kind of idyllic urban setting that reminded me more of Europe than North America.
After a few interesting cab rides (with a loquacious Greek gentlemen by name of Johnny), we finally ended up on Crescent Street (sort of the Quebecois version of Bourbon Street in New Orleans) for a few drinks, before finally returning to our hotel where Pierre graciously let us park our bikes under the stoop of the entrance of the hotel.

© 2015 Tigh Loughhead

The Long, Last, Lumbering, Leg Back to NYC: Mile 2472

The Somber Space between The Road and Home

Jay and I slept in late this morning.  The last few days have been filled with tension about our chains, tires and the inevitable deflation of realizing we're nearly home after to two weeks on the road (closer to three weeks for me, as I spent the previous week in Sea Isle City, NJ before we left).

Checking Chains and Retracing our Steps : Mile 2167

Au Revoir, Canada! Back in the USSA...

We woke up this morning to a blinding white fog enshrouding St. John..  A big riding day laid before us, and even after several dryer cycles, our clothes were still dank and musty from the day before.  Damp and sluggish, we pulled out of the motel and drove with our blinkers on down the Trans-Canada Highway, where we knifed through the cloud and drizzle, which restricted our visibility to less than 100ft (...hence no pictures).

Retread for the Watery Way Back to Fundy Bay: Mile 1849

A New Tire for Wet Weather

I called Red Line Honda in Antigonish first thing this morning.  They had tires in stock, but the service manager Dale claimed that they were backed up with bikes for about a week.  I've been in a desperate situation before though, and laid on a thick sob story about not wanting to risk my life if they couldn't take me. Dale asked me to call back in a few hours, and thankfully they fit me in.

Across the Cabot Trail By The Skin of My Tire: Mile 1534

Testing Treacherous Tread on Cape Breton IslandJay and I camped on the beach in Meat Cove last night.  Although we're quite far north, the temperature only went down to about 55 degrees, but the wind blustered around consistently, and neither of us got that much sleep.  As a result, we woke up before dawn and got to watch the sun rise over the bay.

Tigh's House of God to Meat Cove: Mile 1339

The Road to Cabot Trail on Cape Breton Island and off-road to Meat Cove

Meat cove after 7-8 miles of treacherous back roads.

Ducati on Campus- St.FX, Antagonish: Mile 1142

Halifax History (at the Citadel) to a St.FX dorm in Antigonish

The ride today was by far the best ride so far.  The weather was beautiful, and the roads were windy and gorgeous.  Halifax is a fairly cosmopolitan city, and two New Yorkers felt right at home.

Soggy Slog to Halifax: Mile 958

Bit of a late start this morning.  We checked out of Yarmouth at around 10:30, with warnings of thunderstorms from the hotel staff.  I had planned a leisurely, scenic coastal route (3) to New Brunswick, but as we rolled out of town the angry looking skies unleashed a torrential downpour for about half an hour, and we instead got on highway 103.

Boats, Bridges and Bikes on Beaches: Mile 726

New Brunswick to Nova Scotia

What a day! For the first time on our trip, we had less than a hundred miles riding planned, but ended up accomplishing more today by the seat of our pants than on a motorcycle.  Jay's Tuono's tire was looking pretty bare, which apparently gets only about 2500 miles per tire (about a third of what I'm hoping for, but understandable since his race-mapped Tuono is pushing something like 186hp to the rear wheel) so we rushed over to Eldridge's, a big Harley dealer/shop on the way to the ferry from St. John, New Brunswick to Digby, Nova Scotia. We had 12pm reservations and would be cutting it quite close, though they promised they could squeeze us in...

Maine to New Brunswick: Mile 651

We woke up and hit the road early, taking Coastal Route 1 north through Rockport, Belfast and Ellsworth.  I had plotted an alternate route around Arcadia National Forest both on the trip out and the way back, so when we were congested in traffic through most of the morning, we decided to get as much tarmac under our wheels as possible and save Bar Harbor for the route back. Jay and I had orignally planned on ending up in Maine, but as the day wore on we decided to make Canada.

Maine an Afternoon Away: Mile 321

Maine is less than an afternoon away (from NYC)

I woke up early yesterday, ready to begin a grand adventure around Nova Scotia. Unfortunately, my partner in crime Jay had a last minute work call, and we didn’t end up hitting the road till 3pm.  We’re booked on the 12pm Wednesday ferry from St. John New Brunswick to Digby, Nova Scotia, so with half the day gone already, I decided we would just push as far as we could, and make up any outstanding mileage the following day.  Leaving from Harlem, we criss-crossed across the Bronx, up through Connecticut, scissoring through EZPasses and traffic in central Mass and New Hampshire, making incredible time.

We hit I95 just south of Maine a little after 7pm, and when an eight-lane highway suddenly arrived beneath our wheels, pristine and empty, and when we began to see moose crossing and motorcycle caution signs (as well as notice of an apparent severe penalty for contraband out of state firewood), we knew we had entered motorcycle country…

We hit South Portland Maine sometime around 8pm, shocked that this great northern state was less than an afternoon’s drive from New York City by motorcycle.  Maine occupies some mystical, nearly foreign corner of this country in my psyche, like Montana or Alaska, a fallacy which I was happy to have dispelled by its actual proximity. 

With plenty of daylight left, we found the cheapest motel we could find and went looking for dinner.  Jay wanted anything but Mexican, as he and my buddy Cam, who recently went cross country on an Aprilia Tuono and a Ducati 899 Panigale, had eaten nothing but from Kansas to SoCal.  We got a drink at a place called the Maine Table, only to be informed that the Kitchen had closed since we sat down, and that he only place open was the Mexican joint across the street.

Next Day: Nova Scotia: Mile 651

© 2013 Tigh Loughhead

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