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A friend of mine and I set out to Nova Scotia in July, 2019. I was on my 2018 Multistrada PP, him on his 2001(?) Honda Interceptor. We took 4 days to ride to Nova Scotia, camping along the way. Once there, we parted ways to do our own thing. I picked up my SO at the airport (no idea why she didn't want to ride 2000 miles to get there). The lady friend I stayed at inns moving from place to place most days. After I dropped her back off at the airport, I met back up with my friend and took 5 days coming home a different route.

Day 1, July 20, 2019: We rolled out of Chattanooga, TN and spent all day on I-75 making our way to Toledo, OH. It warmed up quickly. By lunch it was in the 90s. All of Ohio was >95F. It was a mostly unremarkable day of burning miles on highway. Northern TN and southern KY are pretty, but scenery I'm used to. North KY and Ohio are pretty bland. North of Dayton, I spot a friend from Chattanooga on his ZRX heading south- what are the odds. After ~550 miles on I-75, we finally pop off the interstate. On the exit ramp, I have a bird hit my helmet Iannone style. We set up camp at a KOA. Nothing grand, but easy enough.


While unwinding, we get the inevitable guest that wants to make sure we know he rides motorcycles too. I asked the heavily intoxicated individual what kind of bike he has. He informed me he has a REAL BIKE. He was not amused when I inquired as to which model Ducati he has. Enough for day 1. Tomorrow is another long day in which we enter Canada.
 

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He was not amused when I inquired as to which model Ducati he has. Enough for day 1. Tomorrow is another long day in which we enter Canada.
I don't suppose he was referring to a MV or Aprilia either :p
 

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Our inebriated friend wanted us to know how reliable his AMF Harley was. 80,000 miles and never had to touch a thing on the bike. He replaced the crank at 10,000 miles, so I'd really hate to hear what he considers "touching" an engine. There is a special crowd that hangs out at KOAs. They are the same in Ohio, Maine, Utah, or anywhere in between.
 

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Day 2, July 21, 2019: We survived a few storms over night. My buddy and I seem to catch bad weather when we travel together. Tornadic weather at COTA earlier in the year. Hurricanes at Barber the year before. I guess its our thing.

We pack up and get rolling pretty early. I've never been through the rust belt before. Riding through Toledo up to Detroit, we get a full dose of what was America's life source. Automotive, oil, and shipping all crammed into one place for such a definable part of America's history. It is astounding to see so much industry left to rot. Inspirational to despondent.

We cross into Canada at Windsor. This is my first time out of the country. Getting into Canada was straight forward and simple. The guard didn't even want me to take my helmet off. I was a little shocked by how easy of an interaction it was. We get on the 401 and make our way towards Toronto. The scenery immediately switches from rusty heavy industry to rolling farms and wind turbines everywhere. How fitting given the stereotypes of the two countries. Its interesting seeing signs with English and French. We stop for gas and grab some food. I do the necessary and eat at the legendary Timmy's. I can't for the life of me figure out why this mediocrity is revered.


We continue on our way. We bypass Toronto, but can see it in the distance. Its size and sprawl is more than I've ever seen. Something that jumps out to this southern boy is the diversity. Every gas stop, we are surrounded by endless cultures. Everyone is doing their own thing and getting along. Its refreshing to see, coming from a place where racism still remains so strong.

We pass Lake Ontario and get our first view of the St. Lawrence. A modest, respectable river. The world changes from a metropolis to tourist trap casino towns, to rural. We eventually find our way to the Long Saults Parkway. It is a park comprised of about 13 islands in the middle of the St. Lawrence all strung together with causeways. This is where we will camp for the night. I had picked a campsite that backs up to the water, but is heavily sheltered by trees. Now, I feel like I'm on vacation. This was the view from our campsite:


We settle in and roam around. After two long, hot days on the bike, we find ice cream in the park store. Life is good.
 

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Day 3, July 22, 2019: Long Saults is a beautiful place to wake up. The last two days were some big mile days (~550 miles each). We have a little bit shorter of a day (~450 miles) making our way to Grand Falls, NB. We take a slow start wondering around the islands before really hitting the road. I can't get over how clean and clear the water is. The rivers are so murky back home.


We make our way up the Trans-Canada Highway. I'm not going to lie- when I hit Quebec and all of the signs went to French only, it freaked me out a little bit. A modest St. Lawrence River grows to a might force. We bypassed Montreal and made our way to Quebec City for a late lunch. We enter the city passing a beautiful set of waterfalls. We found a quaint part of town with some nice restaurants. Neither of us speak a word of French, so we fumble our way around. I find an item called "smoked meat" which amuses me. Pulled pork and brisket are both taken so seriously back home. To have an unlabeled meat cracked me up, especially to find its just ham. We find a wonderful bakery and grab delicious treats to take with us.


Back on the road. We see the St. Lawrence River grow to a size making the Mighty Mississippi look small as it starts to change into the Bay of St. Lawrence. A beautiful mountain range is on the far side of the water. We finally reach our northern point and turn the bikes east. The landscape changes dramatically. We are firmly in northern forests. They are a much deeper green than the forests of the south. We ride through some mountains and finally land in Grand Falls, NB. Yet again, we have a beautiful place to rest our heads. Our campsites looks over the water again:


 

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I'm definitely riding along on this one!

As a Northern New York boy, one thing I notice every time I go south is the water is murkier, the trees not as green. We may have some shit weather for half the year, but it really is beautiful up here. Last summer was hot as hell though! You may have noticed that.

Also, I cross over to Kingston fairly often for lunch and to explore on nice days. Canada has a really cool vibe to it. It's a whole different world.
 

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I'm going to follow along with you here. Cool trip plus you've got some great photos.

Back in the mid-70's, a buddy and I made the same trip starting from Northern Indiana. Both of us riding 60's vintage BMW R-69S's. We did take the ferry from N.S. to Newfoundland but stayed only 2 days due to a major storm. No matter, N.S. was/is a special place to ride.

Looking forward to the continued story. Thx for the memories!
 

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Chuck,

Murky water is what I get for living in the land of TVA. They dammed up everything. Its a blessing and a curse. Downtown Chattanooga doesn't flood multiple times a year, but our water quality is crap. The ecosystems are turned on their head. Our reservoirs are shallow, flooded farmland as opposed to the much deeper lakes you have that were naturally formed by glaciers scraping the land. That's what we get for trying to control mother nature.

The greens are different. We have our beauty, for sure, but as my yankee fiancee says, you have to look just a little harder to see it in the south. We are nearly done with spring, and it was a gorgeous one. Meanwhile, you are probably still getting occasional snow. I know you flirted with the idea of moving down this way several times. I love the south for many things, but I get why you want to stay in the north. We've been kicking the idea around of moving up north.
 

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Canada used to have a tourists industry. Seems the Feds invested it all in Casinos.
Timmies is owned by a South American conglomerate they used to make the donuts fresh now it is frozen shipped to the stores. The Coffee is Mother Parkers brand. Global Donuts does the real donuts.
I prefer Dunkin Donuts coffee, sadly we only have 1 bag left so panic mode will set in a couple of weeks. Until we can get back over to the U.S.A.
I found in Halifax N.S. there is a bar on every corner and Prince Edward Island has a Church on every corner.
Multiculturalism is not be feared, (if it wasn't so cold here we would have more new Canadians from everywhere.
North of Kingston Ont. Are some very good riding roads and the scenery gets wonderful.
Happy you got to experience some sights.
 

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The greens are different. We have our beauty, for sure, but as my yankee fiancee says, you have to look just a little harder to see it in the south. We are nearly done with spring, and it was a gorgeous one. Meanwhile, you are probably still getting occasional snow. I know you flirted with the idea of moving down this way several times. I love the south for many things, but I get why you want to stay in the north. We've been kicking the idea around of moving up north.
I've lived the north my entire life in rural and urban settings. I'm in a Boston suburb and this is the furthest south I've ever lived. I think the grass is always greener (pun intended). When I went down to ECM, I was impressed by the scenery. I thought Smoky Mtn National Park was more scenic than the parks up north, I thought the creek by Telico plains was cleaner than the ones around here, same w/ Bald River Falls. The weather in the north wears you down over time. 6 months of winter takes it's toll, our brown & white season is longer than our green season. Spring (if we have it) is maybe a 4 week affair before the heat sets in. Sept and early October are pretty nice.

What we have in north are a schools and tech industries. But its cold, crowded and expensive so that's the balance.
 

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Smoky Mountain National Park and that whole general area is beautiful. But you are seeing the best the south has to offer. Tellico River and Bald River are clean. They are headwaters that haven't been regulated. Go downstream to where they flow into Hiwassee and its a different story.

I'm sure that winter wears you down. Over Christmas/New Years I finally experienced real snow when I went back up north. It was absolutely wonderful to see all of the snow, but we were on vacation with no schedule and nowhere to go. I'm sure it goes from fun to burdensome quickly. But damn, the White Mountains are gorgeous, especially covered in snow.
 

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thanks for sharing the adventure Thomas, stoking the desire for an adventure. As soon as we have the all-clear for travel I'm gonna post up about a group touring ride to Nova Scotia, I reckon there's some folks around here who'd be up for it...
 

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Day 4, July 23, 2019: We wake early, unused to such long days. I swear the sun was up before 5:00. This is my last day with my buddy for a while, but tonight I reunite with my SO. We start the day off by walking a trail along the river. before hitting the road.


We've had nothing but highway for the past 3 days and are itching to hit some good roads. I find a minor road that will take us somewhat in the right direction. It ends up being mostly paved. Some graded dirt, some chip and tar, but all wonderful. Its a logging road that takes us through the serious backwoods of New Brunswick. We see logging trucks, and that's about it. We eventually stop at a beautiful creek. Wildflowers are popping everywhere. The creek toodles along. This is the most peaceful place I've been in a while.







This road is exactly what we were looking for. It eventually takes us to some fishing towns where we enjoy a simple lunch at a diner. We make our way towards Moncton enjoying the occasional glimpse of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. After burning some more miles, we stop for fuel and find ourselves in a lovely little fishing town. We venture out onto a pier to sit and watch the boats come and go for a while. Life is slower and peaceful in this part of the world.



We reach Moncton where we part ways. He is heading on to the Bay of Fundy for a few days and then to Prince Edward Island. I head on to the airport at Halifax. We've had great riding weather (except being hot) so far. But as I pass into Nova Scotia, I'm greeted by deep green rolling hills with a heavy overcast. This is what I picture Scotland looking like. I ride in and out of the rain. I make one last gas stop in Truro. I make it a few miles down the road and realize I have forgotten my tank bag at the gas station. If only this were the only time on this trip of forgetting my tank bag. I finish up at the hotel attached to the airport. A warm shower and a real bed are well received. My SO eventually arrives at some ungodly hours in the middle of the night after fighting the airlines all day.
 

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Day 5, July 24, 2019: We sleep in a bit and have a slow start. I've had 4 long days on the bike and she spent ~18 hours traveling the day before. We load up the bike and leave my camping gear behind at the hotel. Its misty everywhere with splotches of rain in places. We shorten the day's planned route given the weather and late start as we roll through some tiny back roads I had picked out. The countryside reminds me of home. Small farms scattered on the rolling hills, but these all seem well taken care of. We find a small park to take a break and stretch our legs. A beautiful field with a creek meandering through it. We can't help but notice how well kept the park is. No trash or graffiti- what a novel concept.

Back on the bike, we hop on a highway and boogie along until we stop at New Glasgow for a late lunch. It is a beautiful, midsized town. We grab lunch at a cafe called Baked Food. It is a hippie place with amazing food. A nice change from the fish and chips that I've already had enough of. We go for a walk through the town afterwards. The town sits on a river that dumps into the Northumberland Strait that runs between Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. Despite being the end of July, it is still spring. Basswoods are in full bloom.


We get back on the bike to finish up our ride today. The ride has been pretty so far, but the beauty at the Strait of Canso is outstanding. The mountains are becoming more prominent with a busy waterway in between. We cross the strait on the Canso Causeway into Cape Breton. We find our inn for night sitting on the strait. I was pretty skeptical of where we I had booked, but options were minimal. We stayed at the Harborview Inn and it was absolutely wonderful. It has some age on it, but it has been well loved over the years. After unloading the bike, we take a walk through town looking for dinner. The old town is beautiful. It is apparent that the industries have left the area. The town in struggling, but the Irish and Scottish sure love a good struggle. It is what makes their stories so good. We find a restaurant in a hotel in downtown. Again, skeptical, and again, pleasantly surprised. We are treated to a lovely meal. Afterwards, we walk back to the inn along the water. We venture out onto a pier to catch the sunset.
 

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That is a beautiful road trip for sure. We did a similar one in 2018 from NJ to Cabot Trail and back. Spectacular roads and scenery!!!!
 

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Day 6, July 25, 2019: The Harbourview Inn serves a made to order breakfast in their building that overlooks the strait. The place is in no rush. Its a long, pleasant breakfast. We are looking at the pier we ventured out onto the night before.


We had some like minded neighbors in at the inn. Out of the picture is a Moto Guzzi Norge as well.


We load up and head out on some small back roads up towards Lake Bras d'Or. We wind around on some lovely roads until we end up in Baddeck. It is a massive lake with extensive beauty.

Baddeck is a tourist town, but its still not that busy. A wonderful visitor center is filled with helpful people- well spent 5-10 minutes. We found a sailboat that tours Lake Bras d'Or several times a day. The captain's shtick is that he hand feeds bald eagles. We tried to go on the tour, but he was rented out for the whole day. It sounded like time well spent, tough. Instead, we went to the Alexander Graham Bell Museum. He spent a lot of time in the area. The museum included the well known audio parts of his life, but also included a substantial portion on his lesser known hydrofoil experiments. There are some remains and reconstructions of the hydrofoils he ran on Lake Bras d'Or.

One other notable feature in Baddeck were GIANT birch trees.


Back on the road, we continue north. We catch the start of the Cabot Trail. The first few miles are quite twisty as the road climbs some hills along the edge of a deep cove. This portion of the Cabot Trail is a must. It then turns into running along the coast with dramatic views from a few hundred feet above the ocean.

This road is what I have based this trip on. I've been wanting to ride this road since 2013. It is as good as I ever imagined. We stop in Ingonish for dinner at a seafood shack that juts out over the ocean. We are looking back at the mountain we just came over that is right on the coast. The top of the mountain disappears as the clouds come in.

The other direction is pretty dang good too.

We continue on northerly on the Cabot Trail and enter the Highlands National Park.

We stop at a beach with beautiful pink granite.

A nice waterfall flows over the granite into the beach.

The day is getting long, so we move on to our final destination. We stay the night a Four Mile Beach Inn near Cape North on the Aspy Bay. The Aspy Bay is a decent sized bay protected from the Atlantic by a sea wall. The inn is a late 1800s general store/inn. The general store has been preserved with lots of interesting pieces of yesteryear. It is also filled with books relevant to the area. On one side of the inn is the Aspy Bay. The other side of the inn is looking at an escarpment of the Aspy Fault. Interestingly, the Aspy fault is part of the Great Glen Fault that runs through Scotland!



We walk out to the bay to catch a beautiful sunset over the mountain before calling it a night.
 

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Day 7, July 26, 2019: We start the day with a delicious breakfast at the Four Mile Beach Inn. We consult with the innkeepers are places to hike for the day. Before leaving the inn for the day, we take their kayaks out on the Aspy Bay. We paddle across to the sea wall and pull the boats ashore. On the far side of the sea wall is a beautiful granite beach on the Atlantic that we have all to ourselves. After spending some time wondering the beach, we get back in the kayaks and paddle back to the inn.

We get on the bike and run back to a little grocery store for some supplies for the day before making our way to Meat Cove. The road to Meat Cove is a bit on the rough side. Some is paved, but much is graded dirt with substantial potholes. It follows the northern coast offering continued dramatic views. Meat Cove is a strange place. It is a rather busy campground with no order. There is a seafood restaurant. Several trails leave from here. We are running short on time, so we take an easy hike to a bald knob that juts out several hundred feet above the Gulf of St. Lawrence. We park ourselves for a scenic lunch.

Looking behind us is the Aspy Fault.


We finish up our hike. We've seen no more than 8 people on this hike in 2.5 hours. Crowded in Nova Scotia carries a whole different meaning than crowded in the states.

Back on the bike, we make our way to the community of Bay St. Lawrence. We are scheduled to go on a whale watching tour. I was a bit skeptical. I expected to be on a fairly large boat full of people and maybe see 1 or 2 whales tops. Silly me. We arrive in Bay St. Lawrence to find it is a rather typical fishing town. There is a small snack shack and the "office" for the whale watching tour. Some locals on dirt bikes and quads are running the road back and forth as hard as they can.

Our boat arrives from their last tour. It is a Cape Islander, just like every other boat in the wharf. The father and daughter pull the pods at the end of lobster season and bolt down some seats. We load on the boat with two other groups of people- one group French, the other Middle Eastern. It amazes me that people have come from so far away and ended up on this little fishing boat together. The small boat with 16 people aboard allows a much more intimate experience. We pull out into the Gulf of St. Lawrence and start heading back up the northern coast towards Meat Cove. It is interesting getting to look back at where we had just been riding earlier that day.


Here we pass by where we had lunch.


A fun little arch has formed.


We make it around the northwest tip of the island where the daughter find some pilot whales. The captain puts us right in the middle of about 40 whales. He kills the engine as we come up on the whales so we just float among them. All you hear are waves crashing and the whales clearing their blowholes.

The whales are curious and come visit with us.


After spending some time floating around with whales, the captain points the boat home.


We offload a bit before sunset. I pull out my camp stove and a freeze dried meal. We enjoy a relaxing dinner on a picnic table watching the sunset over the wharf.

We pack up and head back to the inn. There may not have been much motorcycling today, but it has been packed full of wonder.
 
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