A couple of weeks ago Giff invited me and Walt over to his house so we could meet before taking off on the trip. I think Giff's intent was to see how Walt and I interacted with one another. This is Giff's idea and I am sure he is feeling a little more weight on his shoulders than Walt and I. It is sort of like have a backyard BBQ and wondering if everything will be OK.
It appeared that all of us are easy going enough that traveling together should not be a prob. Giff set the initial tone stating "We are all grown ups here and we should approach the trip that way. If one of us feels like taking off to go elsewhere we will all know where we will be staying for the night and can meet up there". Very wise words and he may have been directing it to me because I just might take off and go looking for some Double Down towns up there.
With that said, last night I went to Giff's armed with my laptop and a loaded SD card with all of the Nova Scotia data that I had gathered including the BONE stuff, hotels I had marked in Google and other sites all loaded on MapSource. I created one big file with all of the stuff and we knocked out our preliminary routes last night. Giff had this giant PAPER MAP of Nova Scotia which I am sure will provide an invaluable resource while we are up there. He calls this his GPS, the Gifford Paper System. (he came up with that not me)(he is much clever than me)
What we started with.
Couple of finishing touches to clean the info up and we should be ready to load up our GPS's. Oh you see all those little P's in circles, those are the Double Down towns available.
I usually spend months researching a trip of this nature, develop, preliminary routes on Google Maps, and finally translate that research to MapSource for downloading to the GPS's.
EasyEd took over the New England Riders site some 4 or years ago. He developed a section on the site called BONE, Best of New England. This section has the best scenic places, restaurants, lodging, sites to visit and routes in a particular area all motorcycle centric. These are presented to the viewer/user in 3 formats; Google, Garmin DB file and a GPX file. What more could one ask for.
The BONE site is a really terrific resource and was the driver of our upcoming rides. Hats off to EasyEd.
Day 1 (Saturday) we plan to get to the Canadian border and stay in St Stephen for the nite. We booked a reservation at the Scoodic Motel right outside St Stephen. 420 relatively easy miles and we get off the interstate right around Bangor and mosey up RT 1
Day 2 (Sunday) we cross New Brunswick, pop onto the Nova Scotia and ride the coast to Antigonish. 370 miles for the day, but not scheduled stops. If we feel like we could push to Hastings putting us on the doorstep of the Cabot Trail.
Day 3 (Monday) is the Cabot Trail. We end up for planning purposes at the Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site. Short miles at 235, but I am sure there will be stops along the way. I have to figure out how to get one of my tripods packed.
Day 4 (Tuesday) the plans getting pretty loose. There is a short route at 237 miles or we ride around Bres D'or Lake for 349 miles, either way we end up in Hastings.
Day 5 (Wednesday)is to ride the coast to Halifax. 280 short miles.
Day 6 (Thursday) is the Crossroad decision point for this trip. We have 4 options here. Opt 1 simply head back to the US crossing at Houlton ME. Opt 2 head for Yarmouth and then either take the ferry to Portand ME. This option is pretty pricey since we estimate the ferry to be around $300. Opt3 is to cut over to Digby and take the ferry to St John. Price of the ferry is around $100. Opt 4 is to ride to Yarmouth, get up early Friday and head to Digby for the ferry. Giff are leaning Option 1, Walt may be heading to Yarmouth for the ferry. If we go option 1 I have planned straight Trans Canadian Highway and a back road version that will be a bit more leisurely.
Day 7 (Friday)This is either a blast to home or I may just take advantage of being in Maine and capturing some Double Down towns. The Double Down option is 531 miles and the blast to home is 391 miles. I could see spending an extra day in Maine and getting home Saturday. This is easily a decision that does not need to made right now.
So if you are looking and reading this, wish for a safe trip and eat a bunch of sacrificial chickens this week so we have nice weather.