Yes Emily

Yes Emily, girls can ride motorcycles!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

The Eastern Chronicles: Burgeo and Ramea

Guest Post 3 by Art Rider

Day 7, June 14, 2014

Change of plan today. Rode to Rose Blanche this morning: Interesting road to get there, only 47 km, but rough. Diabolical roads in Rose Blanche, up-and-down, really up-and-down, and in terrible shape, I was worried about crashing.
Couldn’t find the B&B, or so I thought. Finally asked at a house in the area and put in a call to the gal who is supposed to be running it. After a brief discussion about the roads and the location, I decided not to stay there, so I moved straight on to Burgeo. The road from the Trans-Canada at Stephenville to Burgeois is what I would call a wilderness road. 148 km through the wilds of Newfoundland with next to no shoulder and a lot of that washed away into the ditch.
Potholes everywhere and of course the threat of moose. Absolutely no chance to relax. In addition, I was low on fuel, really low and coasted into Burgeo on fumes.
I'm here now, at the Burgeo Haven B&B for a good long stay, then off to Ramea and then next week Francois. Lovely people here.
It’s also going to rain for a day or so, so the timing is perfect, relax and do some reading.

Day 8, June 15, 2014

What a treat being here in Burgeo at the Burgeo Haven. Martine and Dorim are wonderful people, like old friends. Lots of great conversations with Martine about art (she paints also) and Dorim about the local culture and what's happening to it now. He was born in Ramea, where I’m going next. He knows whose places I painted in Ramea and Francois last time I was here. He’s related to people in most of those places. It's great getting that kind of insight into this wonderful place. They invited me for a cod dinner last night and it looks like we are going to have lobster for “supper” tonight. I've got to get this “dinner” “supper” thing right. I bought a trout
fishing license, $11 for the whole season. I’ll be doing some fishing for sure! More later - adieu.

This is probably the most unique trip I have done so far. Every day seems to bring something new. New people, new places, new insight, also new ways of travel and of moving from place to place. And speaking of “place” the whole idea of “place” is what this place is all about. It’s why people are trying so hard to stay here and in their home places. It’s where their lives and the lives of their families and ancestors, now long gone, are buried. When and if they must go, they’ll lose themselves and their culture and way of life. You feel it everywhere you go, the need to be part of this place. The people who have left the out ports, willingly or not, have a hard time seeing what they have left, or what’s left of it. And that’s the sad part. The decay of the old home place, “It's like a dagger,” someone said to me. "It would have been better to have burned all the houses. It’s too hard to watch them fall down slowly; like watching a cancer patient pass and waste away." This trip is going to change me in ways I can’t even imagine yet. It might be my last big trip but what a way to finish up!

Day 9, June 16, 2014

Today at breakfast met a couple from the U.S.; a pair of conspiracy theorists, what else ... on the verge of paranoiac lunacy! Could not believe the crap he was coming out with, I won’t go into that here, but, needless to say, I couldn’t wait for them to leave. Drove the other couple right out of the room.
Took a walk down to the harbor and shot
some photos, as the rain had stopped. Got a few good shots. Did some reading when I got back with one wee glass of scotch.
Dorim picked up a few lobsters in town and we had a major feast of the beasts. They were about 2 pounds each and there was four, two each. Yes there was leftover lobster for sandwiches for our trout fishing trip tomorrow. Can't wait. Can't get over the generosity of these folks, just amazing.
Quiet evening and to bed.

Day 10, June 17, 2014

Met a couple from Kingston who were on their way to Francois to see the house that they had just bought, sight unseen for $10,000. It's going to be a summer place for them and they are going to sail their sailboat from Kingston next week. They would be my age, roughly, and very nice people. The other couple at breakfast was a couple from New Brunswick who were on their way to St. John’s, or thereabouts, to see family. They all had a great time going through my blog gallery and especially the images of Ramea and Francois from my last visit. I may run out of business cards!
After breakfast, we made some lobster sandwiches and headed out of town to do some trout fishing. We both caught enough for supper, oh goodie! Wonderful day, gorgeous scenery and great weather, that can’t be beat.
Back at the B&B and I’m exhausted. I’m just relaxing with a scotch, doing my journal and a little reading.
Trout for supper, how good is that?
After dinner, Dorim took the other two guests and myself for a boat ride around the islands. The perfect end to a perfect day.

Day 11, June 18, 2014

Looks like a relaxing day coming up. Waffles for breakfast, Yum!
The couple from N.B. are off today, nice folks.
Did some reading this morning, but after lunch Martine and I headed for Sandbanks Provincial Park for a stroll on the Burgeo beaches, wow! Miles of beautiful find brown sand beaches. By the end of August I hear it’s warm enough in the water to swim or so they say. Bit of a hike into the beach, but interesting terrain, on a nice boardwalk then a nice long stroll along the west beach. I have to admit my legs are a bit sore from the trout fishing hike yesterday. Off to Ramea tomorrow for a couple of days and then back here again. The adventure continues.

Day 12, June 19, 2014

So much for the best laid plans, this morning it was blowing up the gale and the ferry to Ramea is canceled. When Martine called to Ramea and to the place I was going to be staying to find out if the ferry was running today, she learned they had no reservation at Ramea Retreat for me, that was a surprise, but I talked to them and we got it straightened out, so I’m heading there tomorrow, I hope.
Tonight or this evening anyway, I’m making my famous fish chowder for Martine and Dorim, should be fun. Nice to get to cook a bit on this trip, I really miss doing it.
Looks like a bit more reading and a Scotch or two, a good day for that.
Let’s see what tomorrow brings.

Day 13, June 20, 2014

Did get on the Ramea ferry this morning, with a nice jar of fish chowder and grain bread from Martine, such a sweetie. Still rough seas but she got underway at 11:00 am, on schedule. Once out of the harbor, 3 to 4 m swells and a good strong northwest wind blowing. No problems with sickness for me and I stayed on deck all the way. The fare is $2.20 for a senior, wow! One and a half-hour trip.
Here in Ramea at Eastern Outdoors; my hostess, Darlene is a sweetheart too.
I’m in a very nice two-story three-bedroom house, $89 per night with breakfast, great deal. Too bad I'm here alone. Still looking for some bakeapple (cloudberry) jam, but I'm on the trail, I'll get some to bring home some place. I’ve got a lobster lined up for supper tomorrow. Darlene, at the restaurant, is going to cook it up for me. It's going to be a big one I think - the gal at the store says they will all be 2 pounds or bigger tomorrow. Too bad eh!
Going to walk out to the Lighthouse tomorrow and around the loop. Should be fun, good weather too, I hear.

(All Photos copyright Ron Peter)

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Eastern Chronicles: Ride to the Rock

Guest Post 2 by Art Rider

A Church in Mabou, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia -Photo by Ron Peter

A covered bridge, near Moncton NB
Photo by Ron Peter
Day 1, June 8, 2014
Left Port Perry at 8:00 A.M., said good-bye to Lynne, I’ll miss her. Droned along the 401 all morning until I got to the new Montreal bypass. It’s really great!! $2.00 toll, worth every penny. I’m sure it’s busier on weekdays but, still, only a glimpse of the city. Made really good km‘s today, about 800, so I’m stationed in Beaumont, just east of Quebec City. Nice spot, next to a summer trailer park, but very well kept: snack bar restaurant but very adequate food, washed down by a Coors Light and a couple or three scotches, all is well.

Day 2, June 9, 2014
The Blue Canoe restaurant, at the Irving Big Stop, Oramacto NB
Photo by Ron Peter
Wonderful breakfast in Beaumont, Quebec, three cheese omelet, fruit, potatoes, rye toast, Yum!! On the road about 9:15, a tad late but, oh well! Great riding weather, low to mid 20’s, might be the odd scattered shower tomorrow. I’m here just east of Fredericton in the Robin motel, cheap, cheap, almost. You can make good time & kms on the Trans-Canada but boring, going to start cruising tomorrow, I’ve got lots of time now. Cover the bike and head out to dinner@ the Irving big store restaurant, “The Blue Canoe”. More later, now where is that Scotch? 
The Victorian Veranda B&B, Port Elgin, NB.
Photo by Ron Peter

Day 3, June 10, 2014
Left Oromocto around 7:30 A.M. in cool but dry conditions, threat of rain later in the day, but at 7:30 P.M. here in Port Elgin, still no rain, but very gloomy. I’m in a very beautiful B&B in Port Elgin, the Victorian Veranda, sooo charming. The ride today on the Fundy Trail and the Cape Enrage Loop was just fabulous, cruised through Shediac, but not a grabber for me. This place is really nice, but no place to eat that I would write home about. Going to cook my own breakfast in the morning, got to like it, and I do. Antigonish tomorrow, more later. 

Day 4, June 11, 2014
Supper with friends, Mabou River Inn,
Cape Breton - Photo by
Ron Peter
On the road by 9:00 A.M., lovely day, bright sun, cool temps, ideal riding on the Sunrise Trail, a little windy in places and very windy getting to Cape Breton. Decided to pass on Antigonish and headed to Cape Breton instead, so here I am at the Mabou River Inn. Dave, the owner, suggested that I pick up a couple of live lobsters at the Celtic fishers co-op and he would cook them up for me, well a couple from New Jersey also picked up some for themselves and Dave and his wife, so it’s lobster all-around. Might go to the “Red Shoe” for a beer after, who knows. Tomorrow North Sydney and the big ferry on Friday, yes bye. 

Day 5, June 12, 2014
The big ferry to Port aux Basques, Nfld.
Photo by Ron Peter

It’s a short little trip from Mabou to North Sydney and a sunny day in Cape Breton, what a treat! It’s definitely cooler here in the north end of Cape Breton and a little windy too. I’m checked into the North Star Inn. I can see the ferry terminal from here. I will look for some dinner later, stay tuned. Took a stroll around North Sydney not much to see really. Did have a very good meal at the Black Spoon Bistro, mussels and scallops with roasted red peppers, linguine and cream YUM!! Washed down with a big glass of Pinot Grigio. Next up is a nice glass of scotch and then ZZZZ. 

On the ferry, all tied down and ready to go.
Photo by Ron Peter
Day 6, June 13, 2014

I’m on to the Newfoundland ferry at 9:00 A.M. for my crossing to Port aux Basque. Met three guys on bikes from New Jersey. What is it with New Jersey and maritime Canada this year? Struck up a conversation and friendship that took up the crossing to Newfoundland and through the evening and many drinks later, good guys! On my way to Rose Blanche in the morning and what should be, more good, but cool weather. The weather gods are still smiling on me. Good dinner here at Hotel Port aux Basque along with many drinks. You must pardon my notes. Liver and onions, very well cooked. Off to Rose Blanche in the A.M., talk soon. 
On deck in fair weather, wonderful smooth crossing.
Photo by Ron Peter

Sunday, November 16, 2014

The Art Rider - Post 1

Meet special guest blogger Ronald Peter … the Art Rider.

Photo by Ron Peter
Ron is an amazing visual artist who has discovered many of the scenes and subjects he paints while touring North America by motorcycle. Ron is no neophyte to the riding scene having begun riding 51 years ago. He enjoyed a successful stint on the road racing circuit from 1970 into 2003 but these days Ron rides a Yamaha FZ1 down the ribbon of grey. The FZ1 might not be your typical touring bike, but it has carried him over 185,000 km and it's the Art Rider's style. Ron says riding allows him “to absorb the atmosphere and subtle nuances of an area unencumbered and unfiltered by steel and glass.”
Photo by Ron Peter
I had the chance to ride with Ron for a couple of days this summer while on Prince Edward Island and have invited him to share his daily journal posts from his 38 day, epic ride: Port Perry, Ontario to Newfoundland...and back.

Ron writes to remember the people and places he’s been, immortalizing them with an artist’s eye through the lens of his camera. I think you will enjoy riding along with him, and if you plan on riding to the Rock, Ron is a frugal traveller - you might want to take some notes.

Photo by Ron Peter

Here is the first excerpt: actually his reflections on the ride but a fitting prologue.

To say that this was a voyage of discovery, personal and otherwise, would be an understatement. One, because I spent almost as much time on ships and boats as I did on a motorcycle and two, because a whole other side of life was revealed to me as I traveled to and along the south shore of Newfoundland and its out ports. These places, that have changed so little in almost 200 years, are now changing very rapidly and may all but cease to exist in the next 10 to 15 years; maybe sooner.
With the average resident's age hovering around 60 years and almost no young people staying at home in these communities, the future appears to be pretty much spelled out. The sad part is no one really wants the story to end. Old age and failing health are slowly lowering the curtain. The provincial government would resettle the out ports tomorrow if it could, but won’t force the issue, so the communities themselves must agree, almost unanimously, to resettle and take the deal offered by the province.
Through all this the overwhelming sense of community and family connection is impossible to miss. I’ve never felt anything like it. And clearly that is how these small isolated places have survived all these years, through terrible hardship and adversity and done so with smiles on their faces. What fabulous people they are, welcoming and generous.

Photo by Ron Peter
The rest of Maritime Canada, different as it is, is also a very special place. The joyous positive outlook, even in the face of lean times and the changing fishery or lack of a fishery, is hard to miss. I love it! Coming home was a case of culture shock as I tried to fit back into a pace that I had forgotten.

I know that in many ways this trip will change me and my thinking in ways I may never realize, but that’s what travel is supposed to do; open your eyes, broaden your horizons and give you food for thought and that too is food for the soul. It’s been grand!
Photo by Ron Peter
** Although tagged VStarLady all photos in this series, the Art Rider are copyrighted by the owner Ronald Peter.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

It Is Time ...

It's that time of year when there are a few brave riders defying the below freezing temperatures to ride the still, snow free roads ... Today I saw one lone rider, his face grimacing, his eyes near frozen from the cold as he road past me at the lake. I admired him but didn't envy him.
But the time is coming when all but the most hardy will give it up for the season. Under the snow filled clouds, the lake's edges are crusty, leaves frozen beneath newly forming ice. The lake is whispering ... "It is time!"
But it is also that time to relive, revisit, rehash and enjoy the season just past. On that note I am lucky to have a guest writer/rider who has agreed to let me post snippets of his epic 38 day "Ride to the Rock" in a series he calls "The Down East Chronicles." Stayed tuned.