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August 9th, 2011 - Newfoundland By Blacks

We have said goodbye to our good friends Karol and Matt who had used their summer holidays to ride across Canada and spend some time with us. Although it may seem like their trip is over now that they are heading home but that is far from the truth. They still have a 5000km adventure through the United States to make their way back to BC. Erin and I wish them to “have a nice and good safe trip”. It’s been awhile since I wrote a Travel Log because I felt my time with Karol and Matt was precious and I didn’t want to spend it glued to a computer for half a day but now I find myself on a 15 hour ferry to Newfoundland with plenty of time to write.  If I could sum up the past few weeks with one word… drinking… but where did that start?

Erin, Karol and I were heading to Kemptville ONT, to stay with some of Karol’s relatives. As we neared the exit on the highway a red mustang waved us over, it was Karol’s uncle. He escorted us back to his place where there was cold beer waiting and we enjoyed sharing stories over drinks and food. The next day we were treated to a tour of Ottawa and I found it relaxing to be driven around in a car. It was a nice way to experience Canada’s capital city and I found the parliament building more impressive than I would have thought it to be. We made a short trip into Quebec and even more impressive than the parliament building were their local Costco’s 60 packs of beer for $56! We had another excellent night of food and drinks with Matt showing up late that evening. The next day was no different, a tour of the Thousand Islands, a beer run, and another great night of food and drink. The next day we were sad to leave the Szkwarek family’s hospitality, great food and soft beds but it felt good to get back on that saddle.

Matt had arranged for us to visit with some of his relatives in Montreal which isn’t that far from Kemptville but it proved to be an exhausting ride into the city. In all my travels across this county, I can say without a doubt that people in Quebec are the most insane drivers. One of the worst of which was someone who decided to go from 140km an hour in the fast lane across 4 lanes within a couple feet of our bikes to barely miss the concrete divider and sneak off an exit… all with no turn signal. That pretty much seemed to be the way most people in Quebec drove. Matt’s aunt and uncle showed us awesome hospitality with more beers, great food, and another comfortable bed to sleep on. We even got an extensive tour of Montreal from its amazing lookouts to it historic downtown. I really enjoyed my time in Montreal; it’s a fun city even for someone who speaks no French like me.

The following days seemed to fall into a routine, although I must say it was a pretty kickass routine. We would ride till around dinner time, find a beer store and then ride till we found somewhere suitable to consume the beer. We repeated this process for many days, what a life. Eventually we set up camp for two days just outside Hopewell Rocks, New Brunswick. During the day we went down and explored the rocks and at night we made gourmet camping meals, drank beer and played guitars. Matt had also hauled a guitar across Canada and it was awesome to have another person to play guitar with. Hopewell Rocks however crowded with tourists was an awesome experience and one that I would recommend to anyone.

Our final morning with Karol and Matt we decided on one last ride together to the greatly named town of Sackville in New Brunswick. After a picture in Sackville the boys rode away and I found myself feeling a bit lost. For the past few weeks Erin and I had been more or less following Karol and Matt’s schedule and now I was left to be a leader once again. We had told the boys that we where planning on riding up to P.E. I. but after talking to a fellow BMW rider in Sackville we decided to take advantage of the sunshine and ride to the eastern shore of Nova Scotia. Along the way we pulled over to take a picture of a Mastodon and Erin noticed an alarming jerking coming from the rear end of her bike. Her chain was toast… In all our time with the boys I had neglected Erin’s chain which was in need of adjustment a week ago. I cleaned, oiled and tightened her chain the best I could with hopes of getting one in Halifax. Somewhere in that process we managed to miss place a bag of wet wipes that we were using to clean our hands. I went for a quick ride to see if I had dropped them on the road and as I pulled over to take a look a bike pulled in behind me. It was a local on a 1200cc street bike and he started off with the usual questions. “Long way from home. Where you headed?”  I told him about our world travel plans and his next question was not so usual. “Do you have somewhere to stay tonight?”

I accepted his invite and we rode up to his house and parked on his lawn where he introduced himself as Stephen Densmore and showed inside. We enjoyed yet another great night of beer, food and a comfortable bed. Over drinks I also found out the town we were in was Stewiacke, population 750. The next morning Stephen made a complicated series of phone calls and managed to get Erin a chain brought up from Halifax. The Densmore family showed us amazing hospitality and that day we joined them at their cottage on a local lake. I was thrilled to go water skiing behind Stephen’s boat because it had been 13 years since I last water skied but to my surprise I got up on the ski’s my first try. I feel very privileged to have met and been a part of the Densmore family and may have to take them up on their open invitation to come visit them again. For now though my body is happy to end an 11 day drinking binge and relax on the ferry to Newfoundland.

So I leave you with these words… In bad weather the scenic route doesn’t really exist. Long beautiful views are nothing more than short grey blurry views and exhilarating winding roads are nothing more than long wet detours. Luckily it doesn’t rain in Newfoundland…

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