Friday 5 July 2013

Postscript - July 5, 2013

Is it the US Army Rangers whose creed is 'No Man Left Behind'?

Well, we felt very much like that about our beloved Goldwing as we bid it a temporary farewell in a warehouse in Laval.

We are happy to report that as of today the separation anxiety is ended!  A call to Trev Deeley here in Vancouver revealed that it had, in fact, arrived yesterday and they weren't quite sure what to do with it.  Being a Goldwing it probably didn't make enough noise to register with them as a motorcycle and thus they had parked it off in a back corner awaiting some kind of intervention.

Anyway, we got it this lunchtime and of course it started first press of the button and completed it's journey back to the North Shore where it is now resting comfortably in the garage with its V-Strom pal awaiting a well deserved clean up.

That's it - for now - the team is back together.

The and LZB out!

Monday 24 June 2013

Day Final - Planes, trains, and automobiles....

...oh, and boats and motorcycles too!

We both were awake early, keen to get the day started and to ensure we kept our appointment with Chantal at PROCAM.  The packing was essentially all done last night so all we needed to do was wake up, have breakfast and get the 'Wing and our rental car all of a 3 minute drive to our appointment.

Chantal arrived as promised, and after a brief scare in which it looked like the door had jammed or been double locked we were in.  This is the lovely lady, a biker herself, who gave up part of her statutory holiday to help us get home.

Safe travels on your own trip to New Orleans this weekend!

The bike is sleeping warm and dry in a nice warehouse tonight and they will prepare it for shipping later in the week.

From there it was on to Dorval where we dropped off our rental car and were ridiculously early for our flight.  So early we got to watch a non-stop to Vancouver depart that we never thought we would have time to catch.  But thanks to WestJet our connections to Toronto and on to Vancouver went off without a hitch.

We celebrated with wine and WestJet's gourmet sandwiches on the plane, and before we knew it we were landing in Vancouver.  Resisting the urge to kiss the ground we hightailed it for the Canada Line and Seabus and then a cab home.

Of course, it was raining!

It's great to be back, this odyssey seems a little overwhelming as we look back on it, but it's done.  We got there and back safely, saw so many sights, met so many great people, have so much better grasp of our nation's regions and geography  it will take weeks or more to process.  It was an adventure!

Look forward to catching up with you all!

The and LZB

Day Final - Bike with......

..... shipper. PROCAM. 
Next stop, Dorval airport!

Sunday 23 June 2013

Day Thirty One - We make preparations...

..... and see Montreal.

Planning is front and centre now. We want to be in Vancouver tomorrow night and there will be nothing undone from our end to stop that from happening!  From here it is up to ProCam to get the Goldwing back and Westjet to return us to where we started.

After breakfast today we cabbed out to Pierre Elliott Trudeau (Dorval) airport to see how to get there and also to rent a car.  The car took us into downtown today and will pick up LZB at the shippers sans bike tomorrow morning on our way to the airport.

Getting into downtown was surprisingly easy, even uneventful, and we were soon parked.  And look what we found in the lot!  This T-Rex is 14 years old if you can believe it.
It has a Kawasaki 1100 engine although you can now get them with a 1600 BMW.  Pretty cool!  Scott, you need one of these!

From there we went to the Tourist office, past a war memorial to Canadians who fought alongside the British in South Africa - who knew?
And from there we walked, along St. Catherine's with its shops, past the festival being set up for St. Jean Baptiste Day tomorrow, down and through old Montreal where we enjoyed both coffee and lunch.

And finally up to the Latin Quarter to see what that was all about.  Downtown Montreal has a lot going for it, but also a lot of pan handlers and street people.  You see them in every city but here there seem to be more than the usual. (And yes, we are worse in Vancouver, but in a more concentrated area)

You will recall that we missed the blessing of the bikes yesterday in Colebrook.  So we decided to have our own little ceremony tonight and pour the last of our trusty Jack Daniels on the windshield of the 'Wing to wish it a safe and quick return home.
We've packed as much as we can, now its time to hit the sack and get ready for a big day tomorrow.

Saturday 22 June 2013

Day Thirty - Live Free or Die......

..... Is it possible to do both (or nearly) on the same day?

First of all, it seems incredible to be typing Day 30.  We always said we would be away 4 weeks or so, but neither of us really knew what that meant.  We are in Laval now, the place where they have GUARANTEED they can ship our bike from - and they had better be right because we can think of no other reason why we would possibly want to spend 2 nights here!

Well, maybe one reason, The wanted a room with a bath and so I picked a room with a whirlpool.  Little did we know!
This thing will easily hold 6, so if any of you want to come out this way for St. Jean Baptiste day we can entertain you!

Now for the real entertainment of the day.  We left beautiful, sleepy, peaceful Bethel this morning after what was undoubtedly the best breakfast of our trip made by Fred, the owner of the Chapman Inn.  Fred, you are an artist with omelettes, french toast, muffins and probably much more.

We rode up north by northwest through northern Maine and into New Hampshire.  On the way we passed through Dixville Notch with this beautiful resort.  

Today's quiz ( and possibly the final quiz of our trip) - what is Dixville Notch famous for?  (Hint- possibly only a political junkie like LZB would know this!)

New Hampshire - the live free or die state - and just as LZB said on the radio that he didnt't think we had a hope of getting a latte out here we hit the town of Colebrook and the Moose Muck cafe and...... the Creators of Chaos!
At first we were a little apprehensive about this tough looking motorcycle gang, but their kids seemed friendly and before long the matriarch Barbara engaged us in conversation.  By the way, we were enjoying a wonderful latte!

Their full name is the SANBAR Creators of Chaos and it turned out that Sanbar comes from Sandy and Barbara, the leaders of the pack!  Grandparents, parents, children and many awesome sounding motorcycles.  It turns out there is to be a blessing of the bikes in Colebrook tomorrow at 'the Shrine'. The roads coming into town were increasingly packed with bikers arriving by the minute.
Barbara can be seen above in the blue denim shirt.
They are a wonderful family and they certainly seem to embody the motto of the State!

From there we finished off New Hampshire, got into Vermont for just enough time to get into 3rd. gear and lo and behold, we were at the Canadian border.  Pretty soon the rain started again and it got increasingly worse as we headed down the Autoroute into Montreal.  As for the nearly die part, I really don't want to talk about the drivers  here.  Neither of us can understand what suicidal urge compels them to drive as they do.  Perhaps lemmings would understand it?

You all know what care The takes in life with her diet and exercise program.  Here is today's bill of fare for her.  French toast for breakfast, a mid-morning latte, skip lunch, Jack Daniels on ice on arrival at the hotel, then white wine when the bar opened.  Finally back ribs with veg for supper before a scary cab ride back to the hotel. What have I done to you The?

And so here we are, less than 2km from the bike shipper who has promised to come in on the public holiday of the year here at 8 am to take possession of the ' Wing. We have flights booked on Westjet for noon and so should be back in Vancouver Monday afternoon.

It's time.

Friday 21 June 2013

Day Twenty Nine - Down memory lane.....

...... with a twist!

Tonight's blog is really for the Fukawi  - specifically those who tried to get to the Maritimes and ended up touring New England some years back.

We set out from St. Andrews NB this morning headed for St. Stephen/Calais ME.  We toured into St. Stephen and made straight for the bridge.  I had forgotten how short it was and how close the two countries are across the river.  The US Customs guy couldn't have been nicer and within seconds we were on our way.  Calais hasn't changed a bit!

The day's ride was a wonderful contrast to most of our time in the Maritimes. Gone were the TCH and 4 lane super highways.  We spent the day riding beautiful back roads which were partly familiar to me. Through Bangor ME, and on to Bethel, scene of one of the most hilarious Fukawi nights ever. 

 Sadly, the Victoria Inn has fallen even further into disrepair and neither The nor I felt like staying there.

  We're in the Chapman Inn at the top of town and our host, Fred, couldn't be more accommodating.  He even let us use his washer and dryer - which we sorely needed!

Dinner was at 22 Broad and was just first class.

  Also guys, how come we never found the pub at the foot of Main St.?  Outstanding Guinness!

Hmm. Are we starting to drink a lot?

So the whole day was a replay of part of a Fukawi ride.  The twist?  We became the first Fukawi to cross that bridge on a motorbike!

Montreal tomorrow - and the end of our ride?  I wonder (but feel pretty confident).

Thursday 20 June 2013

Day Twenty Eight - The Bay of Fundy.....

..... and a familiar place.  Yes, we're back in New Brunswick, but only just, as we are nearly out of it agaiin!  We're in St. Andrews, a beautiful heritage town just a little south of St. Stephen which the Fukawi will remember well - the border crossing where our hopes of an Atlantic Canada ride were finally dashed!  Andy walked over the bridge to try and get permission to enter Canada as we didn't dare get the bikes impounded!

Anyway, it is a beautiful spot and we saw some lovely Fundy scenery on the way in.

Turns out that when the British and the US went to war in 1812, the locals on both sides decided they really had more in common than they had differences.  These guns and the blockhouse were built to defend against the US just the other side of the bay, but were not used as the locals on both sides declared a truce.

We did collect a few signs that our friend's ancestors have been here for a while.
Apparently the first summer hotel registered in Canada

Yep, that sounds like Andy!

Oh, and we met the couple from Missouri riding this trike.  Nice folks up here enjoying what Canada has to offer.  Shawn, you might really like this one!

Tomorrow first thing we are heading in to Maine.  Fukawi guys note we may stay at the Victoria Inn in Bethel!  What could possibly go wrong?

Finally, a sign that the lobsters are getting angry at this constant abuse.