Well, my last day in Moncton has been absolutely lovely. Zane made breakfast and showed me around their property. It is a lovely spot, backing onto a valley that provides privacy within a pretty and well-kept neighbourhood. I loved the little log cabin built in the trees and thought if Bronwyn saw that, I might never see her again! Zane is a guy who likes to keep busy and showed me some of his projects, from making his own miniature cannons to the ottoman made from his father's WWII trunk. They have an interesting collection of antiques and unique items acquired through family over the years.
Through Claire's work, they have travelled to Europe and had so many great experiences. They had lots of great stories about their travels and experiences and I was very happy that we ran into each other (no injuries sustained). Zane and I share an irreverent and somewhat smart-ass sense of humour and fortunately for me, Claire tolerated this nonsense with extreme grace.
Claire and Zane took me out for a drive and we made it out to Cape Enrage, stopping on the wind-swept, pebbled beach to appreciate the beauty. Along the way, we stopped at an old cemetery where they knew there was a bald eagle next. We saw the huge next, but no eagles were at home. We also found a pottery shop with an artisan that Claire knew of, and also stumbled upon a glass blower’s studio on our route. Pleasant little detours that got us out of the car to meet cool people.
Making our way to Alma, we stopped for lunch at the Alma Boathouse Restaurant. The food was fabulous and we left feeling we would survive until supper time. Alma has a few lobster stores and we stopped at one to have a look at the poor beasties that were destined for lobster rolls and other dinners. I have never seen lobster so big!
Claire had said there was a bakery in Alma that sold the best sticky buns ever. Thinking we would pick some up after lunch. While the place only had one other person in it when we arrived, it filled up right behind us and there was a collection “AWWWWW!” when we heard they were sold out of sticky buns. So we left empty-handed and determined we would stop for ice cream on the way back to Moncton. We (or rather I), were so busy yakking away that we passed several ice cream places and never did manage to stop in time.
Back at “home”, we had a bit of a break and freshen up before heading to the Blue Olive in Moncton for supper. Goodness knows we don’t want to starve to death! This was a Tunisian restaurant with a varied menu and the food was great. They were a little haphazard about service, but we enjoyed ourselves anyway and had another good meal.
Martha and Ellie (the household pets), were a bit disgusted with us for leaving them alone most of the day, but readily forgave us once we were settled for the evening. I bored Zane and Claire with videos and pictures of the kids and my trip before heading for bed.
This morning, I was treated to Zane’s blueberry pancakes and eggs and coffee. After some last-chance pictures of us all, they drove me to the airport and we made our farewells. Their hospitality has been above and beyond anyone’s expectations and I hope there will be a chance to repay it in the future. While I am looking forward to being home, it will feel strange when I am boots-on-the-ground at home again. I suppose I had best make use of the travel time to adjust my mind to “normal” life again. Grand finale post still to come. 😊
I said goodbye to Fury today as I left her at the Moncton motorcycle store. They are going to give her a 50K service and then crate her up for shipping. The crew over at Toys for Big Boys have been amazing at helping me figure out what I needed to do and how to do it to send Fury home to Vancouver. This included a visit to Armour Transport, where Barry ensured everything was arranged to have Fury put on a truck when she is ready. While awaiting my ride at the motorcycle shop, word had got around about my adventure and I had a talk with Steve, who is planning a big trip next year and had questions about Bc. Peter came out for a talk as well and gave me a company hat, letting me know that sometimes they get criticized for their name. But it has been the TM for Toys for Big Boys for 50 years. Not being over-burdened with political correctness, I will be happy to wear this hat and let people think what they may - after all, what people think of me is none of my business. I laughed this evening when I realized that the hat also says "Est. 1968".......the year I was born!
I feel a bit like I'm in shock and don't know what to do with myself. It is very weird not to have a "plan" for tomorrow that involves a new destination and a motorcycle ride. This transition is being aided by Zane and Claire, whom I met in Nova Scotia a couple of weeks ago. In spite of not knowing me from a hole in the ground before then, they picked me up at the motorcycle shop and have taken me into their home for a couple of nights, fed me and given me a bed. It's been a jolly evening of visiting, swimming, eating and philosophical discussion.
I expect there will be a period of adjustment as I return to real life. Although, I have to say, life has never been more "real" than the last 3.5 months of exploring Canada's landscape and people. Stay tuned as I create my finale of this experience over the next few days.
After almost 2 years of planning, a chaotic year of change and the last few weeks of frantic work and preparation, tomorrow is departure day! Yesterday, a friend said something that reminded me of an interaction I had about the trip.
Almost a year ago, I was asked what made me think I could do it. I asked, in return, "What makes you think that I can't?" (I don't do well with "can't"). This individual said it was a crazy thing to do by myself and they would never do it. Then rattled off of a list of red herrings in the guise of reasons - bike problems, weather, road conditions, accidents, scary, dangerous, etc.. My response was "Well, the difference between you and me is that you have a problem for every solution and I have a solution for every problem. Which is why I can do it and you probably can't".
Today, as I throw myself into tying up loose ends for work and prep, the anticipation of the peace and solitude of the road creeps upon me. That feeling overrides fear and doubt. I begin to long for that feeling as I attempt to stay focussed on these last things to do.
Had a "trip launch" evening with some friends. Great visit and lots of fun conversation about my route plans, packing, etc. My friend says "riding is not for me", but I'm thinking her face tells a different story! :) Thanks to Henry for his moral support and wearing his t-shirt over for dinner!
One of my goals for this trip was to learn a bit about the history, industry and tourism of the provinces and territories that I travel through. Yes, I will be adding photos and experiences of the places I stop, but wanted to go a bit further and provide an overview of each province and territory. With the business of Life interfering, I began to despair of achieving this task.
So I asked my mom to help. A retired school teacher with an interest in history, she has researched and written my "big picture" stories for every province and territory! Beginning on Tuesday, May 29, a specific page will appear for blogging the area I'm travelling through (starting with British Columbia). As you follow the blog, please take a moment to reward her hard work and click the Trivia Bits fly-out that will appear when the page is published. Her neat, short blurbs may just pique your interest to learn more! Each will end with a link to the region's tourism site.
Only 6 days to departure! Ready or not, Night Fury and I head out on May 29 for our grand adventure. Weather is supposed to be fabulous. I know it is the recent loss of my sister, Tracey, that makes me feel so emotional and I find myself tearing up as I think of the feeling of freedom and exhilaration that comes to me when I get out on the bike. The idea to do this and the planning for it began almost 2 years ago and Tracey and I had many long, animated conversations about its possibilities. The plan began as a grand adventure to see as much of the country as I could achieve. It now is also a resounding reminder that there is only one chance at life, so make it count. Here's to you, Tracey, for once again adding meaning and courage.
After much experimentation and a couple of days of letting it tumble in my head, I think I'm going to get a larger top case to use as a "suitcase" and go with this configuration. Seems to give me the best capacity while having the bulk of the weight centered on the bike.
With my mind on the K.I.S.S. principal, I booked an appointment to have a bunch of hair wacked off. With my fine, thin hair, this curly style will dry in no time on its own. More importantly, it will not find a way to come un-tucked from my helmet to stick in my eye or flip in my face!
Got a used satellite phone for some of the remote areas I will be travelling through. As well as the car charger, the accessories include some doohickeys and diddlywhats (those are technical terms). Apparently I need to install a cigarette lighter port on my bike.........and read the phone manual......
Added some reflective tape to my side cases to raise my visibility. By the time I'm done loading the bike for travel, the reflective bits of my riding suit won't be much help!