i apologize for the delay on this post, but there have been some issues...mainly with a particular cage we own. needless to say the bike has become the main transportation for the time being. anyway, on with the post...
the alarm worked this time, but we really didn't want to get out of bed. it was warm and cozy...everything that being on the road wouldn't be. but it was the last day we would be on the road...we would soon be in our own bed.
i look out the window and my spirits drop. it's just as bad as it was the night before. thankfully everything we had to wear was dry and warm, so at least we would be comfortable for the first part of the day.
we got everything together and i backed the bike right up the door to make loading easier and dryer. i would have backed it right in the room, but i couldn't get the rear tire over the step.
with new bags in our boots and bags over the suit case, we hopped on the bike and went for gas.
the main plan was to find rubber gloves. we needed something to cover our hands and prevent them from getting wet. we couldn't find anything at the gas station so we had to continue our hunt else where.
a while down the road joey spotted a town with a wal-mart and a canadian tire. couldn't ask for better places to get rubber gloves. i'm not a big fan of wal-mart, so we pulled into canadian tire. keep in mind that everyone there spoke french and we didn't. let's just say it took a while to find some gloves.
joey got a large pair of red garden gloves. not the prettiest things, but they would keep her warm and dry. i couldn't find a damn thing to fit over my riding gloves. they are thick to begin with and with the gauntlet style...nothing was going over top. i opted for the thin rubber gloves to go inside. at least my hands would stay dry.
it was cold, miserable and the highway was trying at the best of times. we were using transport trucks for occasional shelter from the wacky cross winds.
hunger pains started to set in, so it was time to get something to eat. we had been riding for about an hour or so since getting the gloves. i grabbed the next turn off that had a sign with a fork.
still dripping wet, we walked into the restaurant and got led to a seat. i didn't get all my gear off, just my rain coat, gloves and helmet. i was too damn cold to take off my leather.
the breakfast was big, warm and quite filling. i couldn't have asked for more except, maybe, a good cup of tea ;p
as we sat there chatting and warming up, we were watching all the other bikers out there. i was surprised at the number of them running on such a cold and ugly day, but then again...when you ride, it's the riding that matters, not the weather.
we realized, after a while, that this place seemed oddly familiar. a glance out the window revealed why. apparently, we were just up the street from the hotel we stayed at at the beginning of our trip. at least now i know there is a good restaurant and hotel right next to each other...hehe.
the usual gas and butt breaks occurred along the way, but one really nice thing happened once we got near quebec. the weather cleared. not only did it clear, but it got really warm. it was so nice to feel warmth through my jacket again. the exchange of bugs for rain was also nice...well, not nice per say, but a welcome change. ;)
for the most part, the rest of the day was uneventful. i found that i was starting to get tired and had some issues with my concentration, though. i was thinking about pulling over for a break when the unthinkable happened. i usually watch my mirrors intently to make sure that nothing is sneaking up behind me or beside me. either i wasn't watching, someone was hiding in my blind spot or someone was moving real fast. i pulled into the passing lane to pass a car ahead of me and found a mini-van so close to me that i could touch it.
my heart jumped and so did joey. i heard her say my name over the bike and the wind noise. i quickly pulled the bike back into the proper lane while my heart frantically tried to pop out of my chest. minutes later we pulled into a rest stop and joey asked me what happened back there. i just didn't see him, i wasn't paying attention, i didn't belong on the road. i walked away from the bike and called my parents to do my usual check in. with no answer i told joey i was going to take a nap and laid down on a picnic table.
my phone woke me up and i sat up to see joey asleep face down in her arms. it was mom and we spoke for a bit. i didn't mention the near death experience and probably never will. i felt much better and very awake though, it's amazing what a 20 minute cat nap can do for you.
we took our time getting back to the bike and decided to put away the rain suits. i opted to keep my wet pants on to help protect me from the bugs and road debris. it was turning out to be a beautiful day and i only hoped that it would stick with us for the rest of the trip home.
at a gas stop is where we found out about our little hitch hiker from montreal. i was checking the bike over while joey was getting a drink and saw something shiny on the back tire. my heart dropped as i realized it was a nail stuck into the tire. the angle that it was stuck in made me realize that it would have entered the tire while backing up. the only place i could have picked it up was the wrong turn in montreal.
i had a decision to make; would i leave it in or pull it out and use the tire repair can that my uncle so generously donated to our trip. i gave it a little push and found that it had indeed gone all the way through. if i used the repair can i would have to go straight to a tire place to get a new tire. if i left it in, i risked losing the back tire during the trip. it was sitting between the treads on an odd angle at the upper curve of the tire. it would not make contact with the road as long as we were on the highway and there was no loss of pressure. i took a chance, i left it in.
one of our gas stops kind of took us by surprise. we pulled off the highway and noticed a number of old style buildings on a rise just past the gas station. joey got out her camera after we filled up and a detour was made.
we found ourselves in la pocatière, a small town with a big old school. joey kept snapping pics as i rode along slowly. we couldn't go too deep into the town because of how time we had lost, but it was a very nice detour.
as we left, joey kept the camera out and managed to fire off some shots while on the highway. to give you an idea of how comfortable she had gotten with being on the back, she even changed her roll of film when she ran out. that's my biker mama...hehe.
finally we made it to riviere du loup, the turning point in the trip. this is were we would bid farewell to our old friend highway 20 and move on to the 185 (also know as the TCH 2). it was now approximately an hour and a half from the quebec/new brunswick border.
when hunger set in, we stopped off for a bite to eat, but time was running short. it wasn't going to take long for shadows to start getting long and we still had around five more hours to go. with long shadows comes cold bubbles; places where the cold from the woods on the side of the highway creep onto the highway itself. you've felt them...it's all nice and cozy warm and all of a sudden it's practically winter for a few minutes as you pass through it.
mind you, even with time being short, we still couldn't resist stopping off to pick up a hat. hehe.
the next four hours on the road was pretty uneventful. it was dark, it was cold and our biggest worry was a big black moose wandering in front of our path. the road we needed to take has flashing signs warning you to be watchful. gotta tell ya, it's hard being watchful when you are stiff from the cold.
we warmed up at a gas stop in waasis, new brunswick. this would be our last stop before we made the last straight shot into saint john. joey sat back a took some pics while i clean the bug graveyard off my visor. as you can see, Selene was one filthy girl. 99km left to go, one hour before we could hit our own bed.
this is where i started using a rabbit driver. i would hover at least two car lengths behind pretty much any vehicle i could find with hopes that they would meet a moose before me. i know, i know...that's kind of harsh, but hey...they definitely had more armor then us.
ok, by this time, we were freezing. it's pretty sad that you think about getting another hotel even though you are only an hour away from home. some of those spots looked really really warm as we zipped by.
we stuck with it though and were more then happy when the signs for Saint John started to show up. driving into the city was an odd experience, kind of surreal. it was around midnight and everything was dark and empty. adding to that was me hearing something akin to singing, but i couldn't make it out. i passed it off as just background noise, but it turned out to be something else. apparently, joey was getting a little tired on the back of the bike, so she was yelling and singing back there. what i had mistaken as me going nuts was actually her going nuts...lol.
home...at last. we tore everything off the bike and dragged our asses into the apartment. we just tossed everything on the floor and couldn't be happier to get out of the riding gear. showers were in order and so was the bed.
and that was that!
total distance: 3363.2 km (2089 miles)
we had done it. something that had been a dream was now true. we had officially done a long distance trip on a motorcycle and made it back in one piece. oh...and the tire survived the entire trip...including a trip to the shop to get it repaired. needless to say, they were surprised that it made it that far.
Safe journeys all