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Saturday, 22 August 2015

24 Hour Mainer - Part Deux

I love the idea of camping, love tents, camping gear, however I have never been able to get a good nights sleep in a tent. My Little Guy trailer……..no problem. Maybe it was the four beer I had and the fact I woke up to pee at 2:30am. I guess in hindsight it wasn’t too bad, I did sleep from 9pm to 2:30am. I ended up reading for an hour before falling asleep again until 5am. The sun was now up, so I guess it’s time for me to be up. I unzipped the tent and low and behold it was foggy, really foggy.  

After a nice hot shower, and breaking camp I went in search of coffee. The sooner the better at this hour of the morning. Talk to anyone that knows me and I am not fit to be around until the first cup is gone. 

I headed west on Route 1 for the US’s version of Tim Horton’s, the Dunking of the Donut. America runs on Dunkin’, well so do I this morning. I chilled out in the donut shop for about an hour nursing a very big coffee and taking advantage of their wifi. Must update social media, and see which Kardashian is naked, in trouble, or transitioning to another gender.

Now that I was recaffeinated I headed for the famous Maine town of Bar Harbour and for a little cruise up Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park. This part of Maine is in stark contrast to the part I had rode through on the previous day. Busy traffic, wall to wall tourist traps, motels, and much nicer homes. For 8am, there was a lot of traffic in both directions. Busy, busy.

I stopped for a quick look at the Bar Harbour Airport, the ramp was packed with airplanes, a lot of smaller corporate jets, and a couple of big ones. I see the rich come here for the lobster too.

On the way to Acadia National Park, I catch glimpses of the sun thru the low overcast, maybe, just maybe, the top of Cadillac Mountain is out of the fog and in the sun. 

The ride up the mountain is fun, reminds me of a very small version of mountains the riders climb in the Tour de France. Starts out in the trees, and as you climb the trees turn to shrubs, and before long there are just rocks. The road snakes it’s way up the mountain, with a few switchbacks thrown in for fun. My pace was slow because of the thick fog. To make matters worst drivers coming down the mountain had no headlights on, so these dark objects would appear out of nowhere. Damn it people turn on your headlights in the fog. Not sure why U.S. cars don’t have day-time running lights yet. Maybe it interferes with they're rights or freedoms, like riding without a helmet. 

I reached the top, after passing some very energetic bikers along the way (note to self, come back again and pedal the road, looks like a good challenge, maybe even run it too) and the view from the top was breath taking. I could barely see across the parking lot. No sense hanging around here.

The summit of Cadillac Mountain

I descended back down the mountain, enjoying the road, and not having to worry about looking at the scenery, there was none. I headed in the town of Bar Harbour, taking my place in the long line of traffic, too much traffic for this hour in the morning. Geez, at this rate the town will be full to capacity by 10am.

Bar Harbour is a pretty little town, when you look up picturesque New England in the dictionary, this is what you see. However, it’s not your picturesque fishing village, unless the fisherman are all wealthy and dress like preppies and hippies. It's the home of Dockers, deck shoes and Tilley hats, with a mix of long grey hair,  beards and tie dyed shirts. Not too many hard working fisher types here. 

I head for the harbour itself, and pass countless cozy motels, B&B’s, art galleries, coffee shops and pubs.

The harbour is busy, full of boats, mostly sailboats, charter boats and the wealthy ones that flew in on their private jets to meet up with their luxury 100ft plus yachts. Oh and there’s a smattering of actual working boats filled with lobster pots. I imagine at this hour in the morning, they have been out and back and have unloaded their catch. 

Time is ticking away, and I have to get back to Canukistan to meet my family. I do a quick loop around the town and ride pass the seemingly endless road of tourist traps and lobster joints before once again joining US 1 northbound for the land of high-tax, expensive booze, and igloos. 

 Every lobster place had a boil going on, getting ready for the influx of hungry tourists later in the day, looking for a messy feed of the crustaceans.

I would have stuck around and maybe juggled some chainsaws, but my family was waiting on me. Plus it's difficult at best to ride a motorcycle with a missing limb or two.

Yes, my US friends once you cross that elusive border the land of Canada is covered in snow and we all live in igloos. No offence citizens of the US, but I have had some of you ask me the oddest, most non-common sense questions about living in Canada. The best one was………..”do you shovel the snow off your lawn before you cut the grass?” Yes really, this person was dead serious. 

Now you folk are worldly adventurers so you all know the difference, and that I am writing with a slightly sarcastic tone. I am a sarcastic arsehole most of the time anyway, so much so that my friends, all two of them, say I’m not just an arsehole……..I am the whole ass. 

Back to our regularly scheduled program. My original plan was to take US 1 all the way back to Calais, but the traffic was busy today, and it was taking the edge off my relaxed mojo pace. Looking at the backside of a big panel van for miles can do that. 

I decided to jump back Route 191 again, it was a nice road with little traffic and riding it from the opposite direction would make it different. Once again the further away I got from the coast, the better the weather got and sun started to peak out from the clouds.

The day before I had passed a small take-out place called Joshy’s, it was packed with cars and had a line-up of people at the order window. That’s a good sign. So when I came upon it again I pulled in. It was quiet, looking like they had just opened for the day. I ordered up my second coffee of the day and a tuna club sandwich. Damn good sandwich. I recommend you stop in if you find yourself in the area.

My belly was full and my brain was firing on all cylinders from the coffee, so I hit the road again. My family would be arriving in St. Andrew’s soon, and I didn’t want to keep them waiting. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, and I have three of them, five if you count the dogs. With all these women in my life, I surprised my body still produces any testosterone at all anymore.

A few miles down the road and the clouds had parted completely and the sun was shining, it was a glorious day, with a slight tailwind pushing me along towards the motherland.

I arrived at the border to another line-up, big motorhomes and several cars. Luck was on my side today, and they fine folks at CBSA had just opened another lane, and I swooped in behind one other vehicle. 

I handed the nice lady my passport and answered the usual questions, “How long have been gone? Where do you live? Purchase anything? Have a good day” 

Since my profession as a pilot takes me back and forth across the border many times each month, I claim everything, the last thing I need is an issue with customs, so like a good Canadian citizen, I claimed the two remaining beer from last nights six-pack . Now, you can only bring back a certain amount of booze without having to pay duty and tax on it, only if you’ve been gone more than 48 hrs. Certain, by the book CBSA officers, you know the ones with sticks in their arses would have made me go inside and pay the duty and tax on those two cans of beer. So I was fully prepared to reach into my pannier and pull out the offending cans of beer, and say “confiscate them” and be on my way.

Luckily the nice lady had some of that, not so common sense, and just shrugged off the evil US alcohol and let me carry on. 

Thirty minutes later I was pulling up in front of the Algonquin Resort right behind my wife’s car. Good timing they had just arrived too. No fury from hell was hathed.

The Algonquin is a beautiful old hotel that was recently bought by the Bill Marriott clan and put through a huge renovation. The end result is gorgeous modern resort that has kept the old world charm of it’s former self.

We spent the rest of our time exploring the small quaint town of St. Andrew’s, which looks more New England than New England, and relaxing on the huge front porch of the hotel or chilling by the pool. 

Lobster is popular here too

Skip Tim Horton's and hit this place for a nice coffee and great atmosphere.

Great place for supper or lunch, awesome food, and nice patio

Main street.  St. Andrew's is like the Bar Harbour of New Brunswick

Apparently there are whales around here that are worth watching

I highly recommend anyone on the east coast to take a ride up here, awesome place and for my US friends you’re dollar goes a lot further now. 25-30% further. Oh, but bring your own beer, ours is way too expensive. Hell, I don’t even buy booze in this province anymore.

Thanks for riding along. Next up is the most awesome adventure rally on the Canadian East Coast, well the only ADV rally on the east coast. Canada Moto Rally’s Fundy Adventure Rally. Less than three weeks away. Your’s truly will be trading the Guzzi for a BMW adventure bike and will be hitting the trails and dirt roads for a 500km 12 hour adventure.

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