​​​BamaRider






Day 6
September 9th, 2005
KOA Campground
Near Bar Harbor, Maine



I woke up this morning to cool, partly cloudy skies.  The first clouds to appear of the trip.  I had a semi long day of back road riding coming up.  At the end of the day I will be at my turn around point, with a day off on Saturday, to recharge for the ride home.

A van with New Mexico plates was camped near the playground.  I remembered seeing it back in New Hampshire on I-95.
Back over the causeway I went to a clogged up Ellsworth.  School traffic was mixed in with commuters and it was a mess.  I eased to a Exxon station and topped off the tank, and checked the on board computers to note a 52 mpg return since my last fill up, my average speed was 48 miles per hour.

U.S. 1 North served as my route north, it serpentines along the coast all the way to Canada.  I'd never been north of Bar Harbor so was looking forward to seeing something new today.

Not long after leaving the city, I found a school bus.  Young children in the back clamored to the rear windows to wave at me. 

The partly cloudy skies gave way to clouds, thick rolling billows that darkened the landscape a few miles north of Ellsworth.  It seemed odd after so many days of endless sun and blue.

I lost myself in the rhythm of the road, as the highway took me past ocean inlets and old bridges.  The air was cool, I had at last crossed over the jet stream, that had somehow swung far north of its normal setting.  Gray skies dominated the horizon, and and cool air sought to enter the open vents of the Roadcrafter.  I stopped on a chalky driveway to add a sweatshirt, close the vents, and go to lined gloves in the 54 degree air.  "Dayum where'd the sun go with all those warm temps?"  I asked no one in particular.

The RT seemed to float over the road at 65 mph.  Maine is thick in evergreens and they seemed to have absorbed what little heat there was.  A fine sea mist came in to muffle the woods and lay over the land like a dirty sheet.  I was lost in thought, thinking about all the things I like to dwell on when on a long ride.  The road is always changing, always something new, or at least different.  Many who are addicted to those feelings of freedom ride motorcycles, they just seem to go together. 

The road surface was rough in many places, so I hit the button to soften up the RTs rear end, and absorb the bomb holes.  I brought the screen up and hid behind the excellent wind protection, to ward off the cool wind.  With the rear shock on comfort I was no longer banged needlessly.  ESA is a great gadget on a touring bike.
The fishing villages along U.S. 1 were quiet.  This far north the population thins out dramatically, here most people live within a few miles of the coast and U.S. 1.



























                                           U.S. 1 along the Maine Coast


While making my way through a eerie spruce forest, a few buildings called Jonesboro came into focus.  It was like a blue glob of light on the RTs wind screen.  I saw a cafe with a few cars in the dirt parking lot and stopped for my morning break.  This time I wanted to go inside for toast, and to mingle with the locals.

The cafe was a faded blue metal building.  A Greyhound bus sign dangled from 2 chains on a pole near the road.  The air was still cool and I kept my coat on.  A lady with a young girl by the hand stopped and helped the youngster blow her nose.  

A window booth looked good so I went there, and a middle aged lady came for my order of toast and diet coke.  "Is that all?"  "Yeah, baby all I'm good for this morning."  I pulled my cell phone out, but had nothing close to a bar.  The only place with less bars then this part of the U.S. is Salt Lake City.

A stony faced man sitting on stool wheeled around and said. " Long way from home?"

"yeah, from Alabama, looking to get to Prince Edward today."

"Long ride but you should make it by days end."

He asked me if I survived Katrina.  "Yeah, I'm fine, I was on the fringes."  I wanted to ask him if the Greyhound Bus still came here, but forgot.

While I was sitting in the booth 3 Harleys rumbled by, loaded down.  The riders wore half gloves and cotton shirts, and I wonder how they stood it in the cold air. I was cold just looking at them.  Like Vikings, they seemed inoculated against cold weather.

I ate 4 pieces of toast, made a few notes, and listened to locals talk about everything from politics to farming.  
I rode on north skipping through a series of coastal towns.  U.S. 1 is not for someone in a hurry, traffic was absent, but lots of driveways and and towns to get through.  I liked it.  

A green sign announced Calais was 65 miles away.  I looked over the gauges and decided to top off with cheaper American gas before crossing the border.  I decided to to do that when I entered the town.

In Machias I came off the highway to check the harbor out.  I brought the RT dock side and gazed around.  Fishing boats were making their way out to sea, and a few old men sat around watching them disappear in the distance.  A few seagulls screeched over head, and danced in the wind.  I saw all this from the saddle of the RT.  When I finished counting old men, (there were 5) I hit the starter and rode out.  

I passed the Harleys a few miles later.  

At last the sun reappeared, with blue sky for a partner.  

An official brown looking sign came into view.  The kind you see pointing the way to a National Park.  "Historical Landmark Ahead."  I was curious so pulled in to see what all the fuss was about.





























St Croix Island.  The French attempted to colonize here,
but the effort failed.  Later they were successful, and their
presence is still prominent today.


This was St Croix, not that ONE, but a island just off the coast, first settled by the French.  In 1604 France decided to start a colony north of Florida, so they came to this island just off the mainland.  They didn't have much luck, and the colony failed.  The area is well done, and I was fascinated walking among the statues and reading the story.  

A short ride later I was in the border town of Calais.   I topped off the RT and got my passport ready.  The city seemed to be vibrant in the sunny weather, and looked optimistic.  Several boys on bicycles were on the shoulder and I wondered why they were not in school. 






























                                                                                 Calais, Maine


Shops with big windows looked out to Main Street, and I caught my reflection in a glistening furniture store showcase.  I followed the Canada signs into the que line.  I was 5 vehicles back.  Sometimes vehicles were waved quickly,  others stopped and quizzed, and then there was me.  I handed my passport over then was asked a series of questions.  I had to take my helmet off, and a guy walked around my bike.  He looked at my passport, and darted back to my face, this went on for what seemed like 5 minutes.  "Ok, you can go."  I always get something extra when I enter Canada, I think it stems from the fact my home is a "gun" state.

In New Brunswick I picked up Route 1.  A long, stretching highway to Moncton.  I was surprised to discover Route 1 was smooth and fast, and not cratered out like the roads near Bathurst.  I was last in Moncton in 2002 and recall the bone rattling road south to Nova Scotia.  But this highway was nothing like that.  It was creamy as butter, and quick.  It is a interstate type highway with few exits.  I set the cruise on the RT and leaned back against the Moto Fizz bag and belted down the miles. 

I took one of the Saint John exits and bobbed over and around a long construction site.  The pavement was gone, but the dirt was hard packed.  I was glad not to get the RT muddy.  

Lunch was at a fish and chips place called the Deluxe.  I skipped the greasy fish for a small hamburger.  No fries, but I did sneak in a bag of baked potato chips to enjoy with the small meat portion.  

I noticed a local paper at a nearby booth and snatched it up.  I was scanning the paper when I saw an add for Atlantic BMW in Dieppe.  I needed some BMW oil for the RT.  Those that ride the boxer twin said the bike will burn oil the first 10-15k miles.  So far, the RT has burned .25 quart in the last 3000 miles.  I figured I'd just go ahead and have the oil changed instead of buying oil.  I noted the address in the Axim, and hoped to find the dealer when I passed through.  

Saint Johns is a big harbor city.  Ships and boats were coming to and fro, and big cranes were unloading cargo by the tons.  The air was still cool in New Brunswick, but not cold, so I went back to leather gloves.  I was glad the sun had returned.

Riding through the vast timberlands of New Brunswick was comforting.  The population density is much less than in America.  The divided highway was mostly empty of amateur drivers, and I was left with only 18 wheelers and banged up delivery trucks for company, and they were few and far between.  I passed the exit for 144, the only road that connects this section of 1 with the coast. 

At Dieppe I went off looking for the BMW dealer. I was lucky to find the shop on one of the main streets of the city.  It is only a short ride from Route 1.  I knew the address and ran the numbers down till I found Atlantic BMW, and eased around the rear looking for the service manager.  

"Hey can y'all change the oil in this babydoll?"

"might take a while but we can get ya in."

"Thanks bro"

I went up to the sales floor and looked at the bikes.  Lots of nice accessories too.  A man near the parts counter noticed I was a long way from home and starting picking my brain.  He had just bought a scooter and was new to riding.  He wanted a few pointers.

"I know you must ride alot of miles. What are some important things to know?'

I gave him what I thought were the most vital things, and wished him luck, and that I hoped he loved the 2 wheel experience.  "It's not for everybody, but for those of us that love it, ain't nuttin like it."  I said.

The oil change hit me for almost 60 dollars U.S. after labor, filter, and  extra quart of oil.  "Dang, thats HIGH."  "In this Province there is a 15% tax on every single thing."  "The cost of socialism brother. Until y'all demand the government to get OUT of your life, its ONLY gonna get worse."

The RT hit the road with a big smile with fresh oil in the case.  In Moncton I went to Route 15 and looked forward to crossing that engineering marvel known as Confederation Bridge.

A few miles later I hit something in the road that made the RT  shift a little, the first thing that came to mind was the kid that changed the oil left something off, but it was just a small rock.

Traffic began to build on the other side of Moncton, and my butt was getting stiff so I took a break at a small store in Shemogue.  A French flag with a gold star was flying high in the parking lot.  The RT rumbled to a stop and I stepped inside for bottle Coke. The store was a throwback to the old days.  No shiny overflowing cooler, with bright diamond floors, only wood and more wood.  Not diet this time, but the REAL thing.  We don't have glass in Alabama and I love the way Coke tastes in old fashioned glass.

I picked up a muffin and went outside.

The highway was busy in front of the store, and I enjoyed counting cars zooming by from my picnic table perch on the east side of the building.  































                                  The RT takes a break at Reg's Variety Store.

A middle aged lady parked near me in a small Toyota, that was making death defying sounds under the hood.  The valves were ticking like a wind up clock, and her polka dot blouse made me think any moment she would break out in a square dance.  I called out to her-

"hey! You from around here baby?"

"Nah PEI.  Why?"

"I was gonna ask ya about the flag flying from that pole, and what it meant.  I see it all over."

She told me it was how the Acadians showed their French Heritage. 

A short ride after my break I was at the foot of Confederation Bridge taking a few snap shots.  The Confederation is a  pretty bridge.  Big and important looking.  It seemed to go on endlessly to Prince Edward.  









































                                     The late afternoon sun shines on Confederation Bridge.


Another great ride about to go in the book.

The wind was swirling while riding the RT up an over.  My shadow followed me on the rails.  The bridge offers a 10 mile ride before dumping a guy on Prince Edward.  I set anchor on the island at the first con store I came to.  I was here, and had to decide what to do next.

I thought things over while looking at the map.  I wanted to tour and visit the island before calling it a day, and continue the next day, so I made up my mind to over night in Summerside, located east of Charlottetown.  I could only ride half the island this tour, before moving on day after tomorrow.  I guess I could have tried to blitz the whole thing in a day, and instead of seeing a few things well, I'd end up seeing nothing.

Late afternoon caught me on Route 2, laying down the last few miles of the day.  My shadow suddenly popped far out in the fields.  I was surprised to see so much agriculture on the island.  It was green, and warm looking.  The ride was quiet in the late afternoon, as I finished off the last few miles of a great day.









































I could feel the winds of fall crossing Prince Edward on
a late afternoon ride past green pastures and tall grass. 
The sweet scent of fresh cut hay was thick in the sea air.


Smells.  I love the smells I receive riding.  Passing this scenic land my nose sniffed green fields, cut hay, salt air, and peat.  The ride was quiet and reflecting.  I was here, and at the terminus point of my trip.  Tomorrow I will take a break from the road.  I was over 2500k for the tour so far, and on the road 6 days.  Time for a break.  My plan is to sleep in, run 10 miles, take a 50 mile ride to I don't know where yet, visit the library, go to Mass, and eat a nice meal.  In between I hoped to watch some college football and wash a few clothes.

Peak season was over for Summerside.  The winds of Autumn were blowing and in a few weeks it would be cold here.  I found the Baker Lighthouse Motel on the east side of town. The price was right and I went in. 

I was in the motel checking in when a man left the road, got out of his car, and looked the RT over.  

The room set me back 39 a night CDN, tax and all.  

The day ended with 395 miles on the trip meter.

Two Gold Wings were parked a few rooms over, but I didn't see the riders.

After a shower it was a quick walk to a next door diner called the "Starlite."  A 50s throw back kind of place, with a nostalgic them for decor.  It even had table jukebox, that was still functional.





























                  The Starlite still has working table jukeboxes


The young lady informed me the grill was down, but I could order anything as long as it was fried.  Uh oh.  Chicken fingers and fries would kill my morning run with all that fat that is so hard to burn.   But that was my choice and I was sticking with it.

Man was it good.  Been so long since I had a good meal like that.  I could feel it sticking to my ribs.  "Going to be awful in the morning."  I reminded myself.

Four teenagers at a nearby table played the jukebox.  A collection of 60s songs mostly.  Songs by Simon and Garfunkle, The Association, and Procol Harem were punched up and played.  "How do they KNOW 60s music?" I wondered.
After supper I went back to the room and debugged the RT.  The screen and fairing were a mess. 

I called home and had to keep it short.  No free roaming or long distance here, all revenue snatching was in progress if you dialed up.  I was off the phone in 1 minute.

I went to sleep after a little TV, and got ready for the next day




Next- Prince Edward Island
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