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Sunday, 9 June 2013

The Return Home

The things that go bump in the night.......or should I say, snap, crunch and rustle. That's what woke me up at 2:30 in the AM. Of course the mind begins to wander when it's in a rum induced fog, and you are in a tent for the first time in 20 years, Not to mention being in the middle of nowhere in a empty National Park. Bears, wolves, coyotes, do I dare make a move and wander outside for look? With my Swiss Army knife (it has sharp blade, and a plastic toothpick) and my flashlight I leave the protective sanctuary of my nylon tent and bravely venture outside to see what creature is so rudely interrupting my sleep.

With my heart beating out of my chest I shine the flashlight around ready to confront my worst nightmare armed with only a 3 inch Swiss crafted blade of steel. The beam of man made light illuminates the creatures of the night...............cute, fuzzy, man eating bunnies, I mean rabbits. I think one may have had rabies, so he was particularly dangerous.

I crawl back into my sleeping bag, reassured that I won't be eaten alive tonight, and fall back to sleep.

I wake up around 8am, headache from the rum, check. Tired and feeling like shit from a restless sleep, check. Yup, this is the camping I remember. First things first, get the pot boiling and get some coffee going. We start packing everything up under cloudy skies, the wind is light which is a good thing, but I think the rain is not too far off. Tropical storm Andrea is supposed to drench New Brunswick sometime today, hopefully later today.

We hit the road around 9am and decide to get some breakfast in Plaster Rock because neither Pete nor I felt like eating leftover Mr. Noodle and Vienna Sausages for breakfast.

A light mist has already started, and by the time we ride past the Mt. Carleton Park sign it has turned to light rain. Oh well, we will be warm and dry in our Olympia riding gear. The ride down the 385 was just as good as the day before, we passed one logging truck. Before long we pulled into Plaster Rock, time for breakfast, or so I thought.

The world's largest fiddlehead. For those of you that don't know, a fiddlehead is a plant that grows in the woods, and ditches alongside the road, and when boiled or steamed makes a mighty fine vegetable.

Back to breakfast, Pete says he knows of good place to go, so we pass three restaurants/diners enroute to a scenic place by the river. Ok, what kind of hotel/restaurant has plywood on the windows. A closed up one. Perth Andover is only 32kms away lets go there. 

Pete leads the way and takes us down the opposite side of the Tobique River from last evening. What an amazing ride, truly stunning scenery alongside the river.
 Some beautiful camps along the way.

 Another power hydro dam on the Tobique River

We arrived in Perth Andover around 11am, and both Pete and I were feeling like shit, tired, hungry and in desperate need of coffee and this place was like an oasis in the desert.

This place had one of the best breakfasts I've ever had. Staff and service were excellent. Highly recommend stopping in if you are in Perth Andover.

Leaving Perth Andover we continued south on 105 until we reached the Bath/Florencville area and headed east on the 107 for Juniper. Another incredible road, virtually free from traffic.

At the town of Stanley we changed over to Route 620 and continued south and about halfway to Fredericton we pulled into what was most likely an old weigh scale/truck inspection area. The two of us were starting to get the 10 mile stare going and needed a break before something bad happened. Pete was back on the phone again. Man it must be tough running your own business, you can never get away from it, always looking after customers, whether it's a heart catheter or a plastic testicle.

So while Pete was yapping on the phone, I got artsy with the camera, well as artsy as you can get when you're a little knackered.

After Pete finished up on the phone, and made another bit of money we continued on our way and never ran into any traffic until Fredericton again. It was bumper to bumper going through the north side, and it was starting to get warm too. I thought for sure we would have been in the rain all day after our wet start to the day up north. However after Plaster Rock the weather improved a lot, to the point I needed sunglasses. Not having any connection to outside world this morning there was no way to even see a forecast for the day which was weird, but nice at the same time.

Again Pete knew of good diner to eat at, just on the other side of Fredericton, well once again it never appeared, and we ended up crossing the Saint John River at Maugerville and picked up route 102 south for Gagetown. I guess it will be a stop at the Old Boot Pub for supper. Apparently the "good" diner was further past the bridge across the river.

 The Old Boot Pub is a great spot, whether you stop in by bike or boat, the marina is around back. The water was still really high in the river and the docks had not been put in yet. 

Unfortunately we didn't take too many pictures, actually any pictures from Gagetown to home, camera batteries were dying, and memory cards were getting full. We continued down the 102 to Evandale, then crossed on the ferry to the 124 riding northeast around the Belleisle Bay. We then rode on the 850 southwest bound which was an incredibly scenic road along the water, to connect to 845 where we got our last ferry crossing the Kennebecasis to Gondola Point and then the short ride back home.

Overall, it was an excellent trip, one of my best. Pete gained a lot of riding experience, some gravel road too. I don't think we ever rode outside of his comfort zone. I saw an amazing part of the province I had only seen from the air, and now have a whole new appreciation for the beauty of this province. The unfortunate part is that it was only a two day trip, another day up north would have been awesome. 

I wanted to hit more gravel roads, however neither one of our bikes have good skidplates, and a worry of mine was picking up a rock at speed and doing some damage. I got one good hit on the little bit of gravel we did do, and it smashed a piece of the factory plastic skidplate off.

Looking forward to the next trip already.

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