Just a Taste of the East Coast

August 1 2009

During the riding season I have a habit of trying to keep track of the different species of animals that I see on the side of the road and sometimes running across the road in front of me—which can be frightening at times depending on how close they are.

On June 19th we had the pleasure of heading to Atlantic Canada – which is one of our favourite places to visit. With scheduling two additional issues this summer it meant that riding was not an option, our journey would be for the most part a fly-in.

Arriving in Moncton we were greeted with a nice day which would be the beginning of a quick side trip to Cape Breton. Upon leaving the Moncton airport in the rental car, enjoying the luxury of an open window, lots of leg room and a Timmies in hand, I sat back and enjoyed the scenery. As I glanced out the window there he was, a black bear about thirty feet off the road. The second of my bear sightings of the summer; the first one being spotted at my neighbours bird feeder on May 24th.

Although I keep a lookout for additional wildlife that was about all I spotted all the way to the Cabot Trail. Once there however, bear sightings were quite common, three sightings in two days. On one of the evenings two bears tried breaking into a freezer that was stored on the deck as the owner of the home watched through a window. These sightings were all within a four kilometre area of where we were calling home for five days.

Although this was late June, the Cabot Trail was starting to see more and more motorcyclists as the days passed by. One of the favourite spots for them to stop was of course Leatherworks by John C. Roberts. John and Marion, Glenn’s brother and his wife are always ready to put us up when we arrive whether announced or unannounced—as we did in the summer of 1990. Glenn and I headed east on his 1985 FXRT and toured through the US, then ended up on Marion’s doorstep totally unannounced to be greeted with fresh seafood and a place to sleep. Although on this trip back in 1990, we learned that you should not store your sleeping bags in green garbage bags in the same shed which also houses the weekly garbage – they just might get left by the side of the road unintentionally.

It is always great to visit John and Marion, their leather shop is home to some of the finest work I have ever seen and just the smell of the leather shop makes you want to stay all day. I am always anxious to see the new items on the shelves and the variety of new colours available each year.

If you happen to arrive there, take a peak through the doorway into the workshop area. There you will find staff hard at work hand-making the finest quality leather belts, purses, wallets, bandanas, pillows, dog collars and a whole lot more.

If riding has got your rear a tad sore, a selection of sheepskins are also on hand to make your ride more enjoyable.

Since lobster season was in full swing we had a much anticipated feast on Saturday and Sunday. Of course for us, visiting the Cabot Trail always means heading to The Clucking Hen at the North Shore for breakfast and—something which I can only justify at this café—breakfast dessert. Yes, nothing like a butter tart or a decadent brownie to finish off that home-made breakfast. Of course when you get home you will kick yourself for having a lack of will-power.

I love the east coast and one thing that really makes it special is how helpful everyone is. While at The Clucking Hen on one of these days, a motorcyclist from Alberta appeared. He was in need of gasoline and his low fuel light was on. On the first leg of the Cabot Trail gas is not available until Wreck Cove, a twenty-minute drive away—and it happened that their pumps were undergoing repairs which were taking a few days longer than anticipated.

Upon hearing this gentleman was in desperate need of gasoline, a quick call was made to Wreck Cove to find out the status of the repairs. Apparently the gas was still not flowing from the pumps but the proprietor had stored some gas in cans for emergencies and would gladly help out the biker when he arrived to at least get him to the next location.

When our time was over in Cape Breton we made our way back again to Moncton where we were attending Atlanticade and having the opportunity to do some riding.

I managed to get out for two rides. The first on a Honda VTX 1300 which was loaned to me by my friend, Krista. On this ride we headed from Moncton, NB to scenic Shediac for a meal at Captain Dan’s on the waterfront. For this ride Glenn was on a Suzuki V-Strom 1000 that our buddy Gary, Krista’s husband, donated for the venture. The second bike I was able to borrow was a gently used Kawasaki Vulcan 900 from Toys for Big Boys. Larry gave me a variety of choices to ride, but seeing that I can’t touch the ground on many bikes this one seemed to fit me quite nicely. Glenn was able to snag a new Screamin’ Eagle Road Glide so he was extremely happy. On this ride we headed out to The Bay of Fundy to the Hopewell Rocks. Unfortunately it was high tide so we were unable to walk on the ocean floor this year. There were fifteen or sixteen of us on this ride which also included Heather and Tom from BikerTV who were both riding bikes on loan from Toys for Big Boys.

When we were on the first leg of this ride, I was in second position just behind Gary on his V-Strom and although I did not notice, there was a deer that ran out in front of Gary and an on-coming car. Gary thinks the car might have grazed the deer but he then continued into the wooded area so hopefully was OK.

So while riding is great fun, beware of the creatures that lurk on the sidelines— they are generally much bigger than we think. They appear out of nowhere and are much better viewed through a camera, not a windshield or face-shield.

Thanks to everyone who made our visit memorable. We’ll be back the end of July for some more east coast hospitality. This time on two wheels. 

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