Posts By Country




September 3rd, 2013 | Africa

Place-marks on the Planet…

I have begun what feels like a mammoth task of tidying up my website and completing the many posts I never got around to writing. I have no idea how long this will take me, but will persevere until it is done to my satisfaction…

To this end I have finally placed all the “balloons” on the Google Map I used to let people know where I was at any given time. After zooming out until the entire world map filled the screen of my laptop, I was able to sit back and stare in wonder at the 580 place-marks I had put there… Each place-mark represents a town or place that I spent at least a night in.

Placemarks on the Planet... 103 countries on six continents... How the hell did I manage it...??

Place-marks on the Planet…

As you can imagine, I am grinning from ear to ear !!

It took the Big Fella and I, 36 months to visit 103 countries on six continents. We covered 168 000 km by road, 4 500 km by boat, and 42 500 km by air, for a total of 215 000 km all told. I never counted the many flight I made to visit Patricia, as part of my journey, only those that physically took me onto the next leg of my ride. For the record, I covered 136 000 km by air, between September 2011 and October 2012, to visit the woman who was to become my wife !! Clearly my persistence paid off !!

I will in due course, publish the many statistics of my journey, which I have been asked to do by many of you who have spent the last three years following my exploits, and (mis)adventures as I circumnavigated the world.

Looking at the map above, and in my mind’s eye seeing myself aboard the Big Fella in hundreds of special places around the world, I am able to hold my head high, and proudly say,

“This thing we have done !!”

©GBWT 2013

August 30th, 2013 | Africa

Back to the Future…

It has been a while since last I posted an update, and with good reason !!

The last few weeks have been filled with both highs and lows; excitement and disappointment… At times I operated on high energy, and others, relatively “low voltage”…

I missed out on riding through Newfoundland and Labrador, but managed to ride the Cabot Trail and reach Madawaska in Northern Maine and thereby complete my visit to the “Four Corners of the USA”.

Madawaska - The final milestone on my journey...

Madawaska – The final milestone on my journey…

My plans to ride down the St Lawrence River to Montreal and Toronto, and see the Niagara Falls, were dashed by Officialdom and red tape, when I was informed that I had only 10 days  to leave the USA or fall foul of the US Immigration Authorities…

This resulted in a period of head-spinning anxiety and moodiness on my part, while I tried to find ways to prolong my stay and make my exit a more peaceful and well planned one. All to no avail…

With my exit deadline looming, I was forced to change my plans for the next few months, and make a last and long dash back to New Jersey to crate the Big Fella; find a suitable freight agent, and arrange to have the bike flown back to South Africa…

A bedraggled and disgruntled Big Fella, finds himself in a crate for the last time...

A bedraggled and disgruntled Big Fella, finds himself in a crate for the last time…

I had to bid family and friends a hastier than planned farewell, and hardest of all, leave Patricia behind to continue with the plans we had laid out for the following few months down in Georgia…

I slipped quietly back into a wintry South Africa yesterday, and am now awaiting the arrival of the Big Fella, who is currently languishing in a Customs warehouse at JFK Airport, New York. He is due here in a few days, and in the interim, I will endevour to bring my blog up to date, detailing the Canadian part of my ride, and my last few days in the USA.

Flight SAA 204 - The Airbus that would take me on the final flight of the Gypsy Biker World Tour.

Flight SAA 204 – The Airbus that would take me on the final flight of the Gypsy Biker World Tour.

This is also a time for me to reflect on the journey I began three and a half years ago; a time to remember the many amazing people I have met and befriended; the hundreds of special places I was able to visit; and, it is a time to be thankful that I have made it back “alive and kicking”, something that many thought I would not do !!

It is also of course, a time to consider the future and decide on the next chapter of my life, and this could well prove to be far more stressful than the last few years at times have been !!

Any advice on coping with “Major Wanderlust Withdrawal Symptoms” would come in handy right now !!

GB

Gauteng, South Africa

 

August 11th, 2013 | Canada

BIG Birthday, No Bash !!

Since the day we started out on our epic ride, the Big Fella and I have marked our journey by the numbers…

The exact place wher the Big Fella reached a huge milestone of his own. This is on the Nova Scotia / New Brunswick border.

The exact place where the Big Fella reached a huge milestone of his own. This is on the Nova Scotia / New Brunswick border.

We figured it would be easier to say things such as “103 countries”, or “6 Continents” or even “5 Oceans”, than to actually list them !!

Like many people I know, I have taken note each time the vehicle I was driving or riding clicked over another 10 000 km. It somehow signifies the “age” of a vehicle, and “age” is obviously linked to birthdays, so each time one of my vehicles reached another 10 000 kms on the odometer, it had a “birthday”…

The amazing machine I have had the good fortune to be riding around the world, today celebrated his 20th such birthday… It is his 17th since we left home on our World Tour, and during this time, I have celebrated four of my own. (Mine being marked in years, mind you, and not tens of thousands of kilometres !)

Barely 100 kms after the Big Fella’s last “birthday”, we collided with a pick-up truck in Idabel, Oklahoma… That was seven weeks ago…

As we reached the Nova Scotia border with New Brunswick, my ever reliable companion celebrated another big day, and thankfully, this time there was no “bash” to go with it…

Although we did come close to running into a Black Bear on the Cabot Trail, earlier this morning !! And that would have been a “bash” to remember !!

There are not too many bikes that have made it this far without having their engines opened,... But is IS a BMW after all !!

There are not too many bikes that have made it this far without having their engines opened,… But is IS a BMW after all !!

When I left home more than three years ago, I remember somebody asking how many kilometres I thought I would have to do to complete my ride. I had already made an estimation, so I was ready with my answer…

“About 160 000 km…”, I had replied as nonchalantly as I could.

A low whistle had greeted my response, and I think there might also have been a, “You’ve got to be joking !!”, thrown in for good measure…

Today, we exceeded that prediction, and still have another 5 000 km or so to go before we are done !!

The Arisaig Lighthouse on the shore of Nova Scotia's Northumberland Strait, and the Big Fella were both built in the same year...

The Big Fella and the Arisaig Lighthouse, on the shore of Nova Scotia’s Northumberland Strait, were both built in the same year…

As I sit here in my pokey motel room in Muncton, New Brunswick, I am going through the Big Fella’s many other “birthdays” and the places we were when they took place.

For the record, here is a list of those places:

Barberton, Mpumalanga, South Africa. March 2nd 2010 – 40 000 km

Lilongwe, Malawi. April 9th 2010 – 50 000 km

Dongola, Sudan. June 15th 2010 – 60 000 km

Anould, Belgium. July 31st 2010 – 70 000 km

Tabor, Czech Republic. September 9th 2010 – 80 000 km

Limassol, Cyprus. November 22nd 2010 – 90 000 km

Luang Prabang, Laos. March 14th 2011 – 100 000 km

Noonamah, Northern Territory, Australia. September 11th 2011 – 110 000 km

Triabunna, Tasmania, Australia. October 18th 2011 – 120 000 km

Gilgandra, New South Wales, Australia. December 14th 2011 – 130 000 km

Barra do Ribeiro, Rio Grande du Sol, Brazil. February 27th 2012 – 140 000 km

Canon del Pato, Peru. April 14th 2012 – 150 000 km (We both had a birthday on this day !!)

Ocotlan, Guadalajara Province, Mexico. June 8th 2012 – 160 000 km

Junction 37, Yukon Territory, Canada. July 19th 2012 – 170 000 km

Norris, Montana, USA. August 11th 2012 – 180 000 km

Perry, Florida Panhandle, USA. June 20th 2013 – 190 000 km

Amherst, Nova Scotia, Canada. August 11th 2013 – 200 000 km

"Keep going, and the flag flying, you good thing, you !!"

“Keep going, and the flag flying, you good thing, you !!”

It won’t be long now before the Big Fella and I will ride the trails of our home country again. And hopefully celebrate many more birthdays together…

GB

Madawaska, Canadian/USA border.

August 11th, 2013 | Canada

The Cabot Trail…

The weather had improved, and after checking to see how long before the next cold front would come tearing down over Cape Breton, I saw that I had a very short window of opportunity available to me.

We took the short cut to the start of the Cabot Trail via the Englishtown Ferry

We took the short cut to the start of the Cabot Trail via the Englishtown Ferry

Although the Atlantic side of the island was due to be bathed in full sunshine for most of the day, it was predicted that the western side on the Cumberland Strait would probably receive more rain and high winds.

Apart from continuing to enjoy the wonderful hospitality available at Heritage Home, there was no other reason to put off my ride, so I loaded my kit and rode slowly down the main road into town and then out onto the highway that would take me to the Englishtown Ferry.

We retraced the route we had ridden into town on; around the northern edge of the St Andrews Channel; across the long trestle bridge over Bras D’Or Lake; up the steep and winding mountain climb beyond it; and then down to the edge of St Anns Harbour.

Instead of riding around this body of water, I decided to take the short cut across St Anns Bay, by making use of the Englishtown Ferry. The road to the ferry saw us doubling back along the coast and eventually coming out on a level patch of shoreline where the ferry stood waiting.

I didn’t even have to slow down, but rode straight up onto the waiting ferry and was followed by three other cars before they closed the rear gate and prepared to cast off.

The crossing took all of three minutes, so narrow is the channel at this point ! A week before, an old geezer had actually driven his car off the ferry and into the channel, with fatal results for both driver and car… I have no idea how he managed to do this, unless the safety chains were not in position when he rode onto the ferry…

On the Englishtown ferry across St Anne's Bay. It cost just $5.00 and saved me at least half an hour of riding...

On the Englishtown ferry across St Anne’s Bay. It cost just $5.00 and saved me at least half an hour of riding…

 

Riding towards the most northern point on Cape Breton.

Riding towards the most northern point on Cape Breton.

There was hardly time enough to hop off the bike and take a photo before the prow of the ferry ground into the dirt on the far side, and we were being ordered by a gruff voice over the loudspeaker system to “start your engines”…

Another catchy name for a small business...

Another catchy name for a small business…

The SUV in front of me must have thought he was at the Canadian Grand Prix, because he took off like a bat out of hell, kicking up dust and gravel as he powered away along the narrow tongue of land that led to the mainland proper…

Normally, just to cause a little mischief, I would have torn after the car, shot past him, and then pulled in front of him and slowed down sufficiently enough to annoy the hell out of the driver… Just my way of saying, “Thank you for flinging stones at me…”

The road ran close up along the coast, at times barely metres away from the surging ocean, through Indian Brook, North Shore and Breton Cove. I stopped at French River, a small settlement where a number of bikers had pulled over to have what I can only assume was “brunch”… I was still loaded down with Juana’s breakfast, that would probably carry me through to late afternoon so did not bother looking for a meal.

I had expected a much more testing ride at that point, but had found the narrow road to be rather tame, with just a few gentle bends to contend with. A short distance up the coast, past Wreck Cove, things finally got a little interesting.

Up ahead I saw the road slung up against the steep mountains that marched down to the sea, and knew that we would soon be climbing high above the cliffs on a road that I had been told I would love to put the Big Fella through his paces on…

There was a short section of tight corners and sweeping bends just before Ingonish and beyond the town, on the way to Neils Harbour and Cape North, it got really twisty and steep. I passed a lot of riders on their Harleys, who were clearly there for the scenery only, and not prepared to do any leaning on their bikes whatsoever…

High up on the Cabot Trail, a great ride but not as spectacular as I had hoped...

High up on the Cabot Trail, a great ride but not as spectacular as I had hoped…

I did mange to hook up with a few guys who like me, wanted more out of the ride, and together we zoomed up the coast, stopping occasionally to take a few photos at the various view points, but mostly enjoying getting the most out of our bikes and the freedom of riding them through this wonderful part of the country.

The Cabot Trail is named after John Cabot, an Italian navigator and explorer in the employ of the King of England, and who is credited as being the first European after the Vikings, to set foot on the mainland of North America. History tells us that he first landed on Newfoundland in 1497, but many Cape Bretons believe he landed here first, and have claimed him as their own…

The entire northern part of Cape Breton has been converted into a National Park, and is home to moose, black bear and packs of coyotes that have been responsible for at least one recorded death of a hiker…

The Atlantic shore of the Cabot Trail was a great ride in itself, but cannot be compared to the Great Ocean Road in southern Australia or the ride along Big Sur on the Californian Coast. Riding the trail on  Sunday when there was more traffic than usual, also did nothing to increase my enjoyment of the ride.

Ready to do some whale watching at Pleasant Bay..

Ready to do some whale watching at Pleasant Bay..

The whale tours were not that ready though...!!

The whale tours were not that ready though…!!

 

Tiny artists studio near Pleasant Bay

Tiny artists studio near Pleasant Bay

The peninsula is split by a fairly high range of mountains, and on the ride from Cape North to Pleasant Bay on the western coast, I was buffeted by some of the strongest winds I had ridden in for a long time.

Finding a comfortable rhythm to ride fast by was impossible, as the strong head winds pushed me off-line on so many occasions that I gave up trying to dominate this stretch of the route and settled instead for a pace at which to remain on the bike and with bones intact…

Pleasant Bay is famous for it’s whale watching tours and I was keen to experience what other guests at Heritage Home had described to me the night before, but on arrival there, I discovered that all tours from Pleasant Bay down to Cheticamp and beyond had been cancelled due to the high winds…

Every fishing boat was safely tied up to their docks and fisherman stood out on the breakwater of the little harbor, watching the waves pound up onto the shore nearby or smash themselves into the rocky walls of the harbor…

 

 Heading down the western coastline towards Petit Etang...

Heading down the western coastline towards Petit Etang…

The road left the rocky coastline and ducked inland through the National Park, looping back and forth along the ridges of the mountains in this region… I was leading a small group of riders that I had met at one of the viewpoints and had just entered a long straight, when a medium sized Black Bear lumbered into the road in front of me…

I had no time to take a photo, as I wanted to be sure that it did not stop and run back across the road and into my path, but the riders behind me slowed down at my frantic signaling and managed to get a few photos of the bear, clambering up the opposite slope. It was a good sighting and the second time that I had come close to colliding with a bear, the last time having been near the town of Jasper in British Colombia, western Canada. I managed to catch that incident on my onboard video camera…

 ..and along the coastline north of Creignish...

..and along the coastline north of Creignish…

 Leaving Cape Breton and getting back into Nova Scotia...

Leaving Cape Breton and getting back into Nova Scotia…

I enjoyed the ride down the western side of Cape Breton as much as I had the Cabot Trail on it’s eastern side, but by the time I got close to the Canso Causeway, that would take me back into Nova Scotia, I was feeling tired and in need of sustenance…

I stopped at the tourist office, bought myself a sandwich and sat on the bike while I studied my map of the province and punched options into the GPS to see what Gi-Gi figured we could manage before the sun went down…

It was by now almost 3.00 pm and with all the stops I had made to view the scenery on the trail and chat to the many interested bikers and other tourists along the way, I had only covered 365 km !!

 I decided to forego another ride down Marine Drive, and push on into New Brunswick...

I decided to forego another ride down Marine Drive, and push on into New Brunswick…

I wanted to get at least as far as the New Brunswick border, which was still 300 km to the west, and despite not feeling up to it, I did not want to spend more days than was necessary to get to my next important destination, Madawaska, near the border of Maine USA and the Canadian province of Quebec.

I had refueled in Cheticamp, having once again got there by the skin of my teeth after using all my spare fuel along the way. I knew I had enough fuel to get me somewhere beyond Truro and settled myself in for a long hard ride.

Two hours later we stopped near the town of Debert, quickly refueled and hit the road again. It was all highway riding, and although the wind was blowing like crazy, an hour later we crossed into New Brunswick, and 45 minutes after that, having been pummeled by wind for most of the day, I cruised into Moncton.

The glory days of the Glory Inn had long since passed...

The glory days of the Glory Inn had long since passed…

Wrestling the big bike through the twisties on the Cabot Trail and the long stretches in high wind had me fairly knackered by the time I finally found a place to stay…

Moncton, or the part I ended up in anyway, was a rundown town if ever I saw one… The sidewalks were overgrown and riven with deep cracks. An open lot across the road from the Glory Inn, harboured rats that ensured that there were no cats within miles…

I watched one drag a large banana into it’s hidey-hole, as if the banana was no more than a stalk of grass… I began to wonder if the Big Fella’s wiring would last the night !! Or if he’d be in the same place I left him when I awoke the following morning…

Protect the water from what ??

Protect the water from what ??

The place my wallet selected after numerous calls to other high profile establishments, turned out to be a B&B run by a Chinese family. It doubled as an import/export company on the side, and even though the service was friendly, the three houses that made up the B&B, were very sparsely furnished and in need of some serious TLC…

The floor in my room sloped alarmingly towards the front of the house. I dropped my deodorant on the floor and watched in amazement as it rolled to the far side of the room, gathering speed as it went !!

I called Juana back in North Sydney, telling her that I had arrived in Moncton after my ten hour ride, and thanking her again for the wonderful stay I had enjoyed at Heritage Home. She was amazed at how much ground I had covered, and wished me well. After ringing off, I looked around me and thought what a massive change this place was from the one I had just left in North Sydney…

The promised internet signal never materialized and I sat fuming in my room until I finally flopped over and fell asleep… It was like sleeping on a boat, because my body kept trying to make corrections for the sloping bed…

Despite not ending well, I had enjoyed the day, and the highlights that had gone with it… (See the next post that I wrote before this updated one)

North Sydney, Cape Breton to Moncton, New Brunswick, via the Cabot Trail and Nova Scotia. A 720 km ride that left me tired to the bone...

North Sydney, Cape Breton to Moncton, New Brunswick, via the Cabot Trail and Nova Scotia. A 720 km ride that left me tired to the bone…

Breakfast the following morning consisted of fried eggs on toast, and half a watermelon. Enough watermelon to feed a small family, anyway… Although the chef had asked how I wanted my eggs (or rather I think that was what he was asking, in his sing song Chinese pidgin-English…) he seemed to have no idea that fried eggs come in various guises besides being fried to the consistency of the tyres on my bike…

The French couple seated at the table next to mine, (who had also had the misfortune to end up at the Glory Inn, had ordered their eggs “soft to medium) had received eggs that were difficult to cut without a samurai sword…

I was glad to leave Moncton and be on my way, heading first west and then due north to Edmundston…

©GBWT 2013

August 10th, 2013 | Canada

North Sydney and a Change of Heart…

The few days I spent in North Sydney at the Heritage Home B&B were both pleasurable and frustrating.

 Heritage Home, a stones throw from the shores of  Syney Harbour Sound..

Heritage Home, a stones throw from the shores of Sydney Harbour Sound..

Pleasurable, because I was made to feel at home by the owner Juana, who went out of her way to make my stay as comfortable and interesting as was possible. She gave me tidbits of information that helped me plan my days there; made her personal lounge area available to me where I was able to do some writing in peace and quiet; and provided breakfast spreads that were both lavish, and sumptuous enough to set me up for the remainder of each day…

I ate enough at the breakfast table each morning to carry me through to dinner time each evening ! My heartfelt thanks go out to Juana who made my stay here so memorable.

If any of my readers ever find themselves in North Sydney, and are looking for accommodation, look no further than Heritage Home on Seaview Drive.

Tell Juana that the Gypsy Biker sent you… I have a feeling she will remember me !!

My thanks also go out to Juana’s housekeeper Helene, who, on the morning of my departure, presented me with a large package of Canadian treats and curios which I will always treasure and make use of… The umbrella hat has raised eyebrows wherever I have worn it, Helene !! Thank you so much for your thoughtful going away gift… Your unexpected generosity will remain with me always…

Juana's beautiful Heritage Home Bed and Breakfast, best one in town !

Juana’s beautiful Heritage Home Bed and Breakfast, best one in town !

But my stay in North Sydney was as frustrating as it was pleasurable…

For two days solid, gale force winds lashed the coast, and this, combined with heavy rain, meant that I was effectively prevented from leaving town. The wind whipped the waters of the bay across the road into a maelstrom of “white horses”, driving waves up onto the shore that sometimes splashed onto the road…

The weather finally broke on the third day of my stay and I was only then able to move about more freely on the bike.

 View from the front porch while the storm raged around us.

View from the front porch while the storm raged around us.

 I'm thinking I might qualify ! Where do I sign up ?

I’m thinking I might qualify ! Where do I sign up ?

For a few hours the previous two days, and in between heavy showers, I was able to ride down to the harbor area to try and find out more info on the ferry saga. I was told that traffic to and from Newfoundland was so backed up, that they had stopped taking bookings online and instructed all vehicles to get to the harbor and join the massive queues that wound their way around the entire harbor area and out onto the highway outside it.

The weather which extended across the entire north Atlantic, was battering Newfoundland too, and was set to hang around for days to come according to all available weather reports…

I had heard that riding Newfoundland was an experience that few wanted to miss if given the opportunity, and I befriended many local bikers (who seemed to hang out at Tim Horton’s every afternoon) and they provided me with invaluable information on the conditions there, provided that I could make the six hour ferry crossing to Port Aux Basques.

The longer 14 hour ferry ride to Argentia, which I wanted to do, had been cancelled due to one of the three ferries servicing Newfoundland having collided with the sea wall…

These bikers spent much of their time regaling me with stories of collisions with moose on the island. Apparently the moose on Newfoundland outnumber people by as much as twenty to one !! I was told how they sometimes picked a fight with the huge trucks that ply the road to St Johns, and that I should not ride the Big Fella during the hours of darkness.

We parked in the little fishing harbour and watched the Newfoundland ferry being loaded for yet another sailing... At this point I was still keen to give Newfoundland and Labrador a bash...

We parked in the little fishing harbour and watched the Newfoundland ferry being loaded for yet another sailing… At this point I was still keen to give Newfoundland and Labrador a bash…

“And if you see one alongside the road, the last thing you gotta do is honk your horn !! That just plain pisses them off, and they’ll come looking for whatever it was that was honking at them !!”, said a grizzled old biker who I assume had enough experience of riding in Newfoundland to impart his advise with some conviction.

Rollies is a very popular eatery on the northern edge of the harbour.

Rollies is a very popular eatery on the northern edge of the harbour.

I spent a great deal of time checking routes that would take me through to Labrador, and then began asking around if there was anyone who had made this ride from Red Bay on the Atlantic, through to Goose Bay on Lake Melville, and on to Churchill Falls.This would to my mind be my last big challenge on my ride, one that I had never really planned to do, but circumstances had presented the opportunity to me, and if it was at all possible, I wanted to take advantage of it…

The news and advice was not good however.

I was told not to attempt the ride alone, as the area was far more inhospitable that the ride to Prudhoe Bay in northern Alaska was. There was precious little traffic between Red Bay and Goose Bay, and the entire distance of almost 500 km comprised of a dirt road in various stages of disrepair, depending on weather conditions… The trans Labrador highway was not for the faint of heart…

“If it has rained up there, you don’t want to take on that road on your own. If you take a fall, you might well have to spend hours waiting for someone to come by and help you…”, I was told by one head-shaking biker when I explained what I wanted to do…

Not the first time I have seen a salon with this name, but still makes me smile.

Not the first time I have seen a salon with this name, but still makes me smile.

“The last place you’ll see people is at Port Hope Simpson, about 150 km up the coast from Red Bay, and on the last 400 km to Goose Bay, you’ll be on your own, Buddy !! And it’ll take you at least 8 hours to cover that section, and that’s in a pick-up truck. And if you’re thinking of camping, there’s bears and wolves to consider… No way’s would I do it alone !!”, said one of his mates.

“I did that ride in a 4 x 4 a few years ago to do some hunting up there, and man was it tough !! If you can’t find anyone to ride with you, or hook up with a convoy of some kind, I wouldn’t do it if I was you…”, yet another biker chimed in.

From Goose Bay to Churchill Falls, I would have to cover another 400 km or so on dirt, and from there to Labrador city yet another 300 km of rough roads. The ride from Churchill Falls to the banks of the St Lawrence River at Baie Comeau was a total of 1200 km of adventure riding at it’s very best, through the vast Canadian Tundra, and a part of the world that very few people I questioned could tell me anything about.

Canada is such a vast country that it was a rare thing indeed to find somebody who had ridden all of the “north-country” and could give me any decent info on…

All of the advice I received, mostly about concern for my safety, combined with the weather front that had moved north over Newfoundland and Labrador, and the fact that the ferry wasn’t going where I wanted to start my Newfoundland ride, made me consider why I wanted or needed to make this ride in the first place.

This was the route I planned after reaching North Sydney. Taking on the Trans Labrador would have been the final "challenge" of my journey...

This was the route I planned after reaching North Sydney. Taking on the Trans Labrador would have been the final “challenge” of my journey…

I spent a large part of my second day secluded at the Heritage Home, mulling over my options… In the end, after lengthy discussions with Patricia, and taking her own concerns for my safety into consideration, I decided it was not worth putting my body and life on the line for this particular challenge. It was only the second time on my journey that I regretted having to ride on my own. The first being the road from Isiolo in Northern Kenya to Moyale on the Ethiopian border…

I also realized at this point, that I no longer had just myself to think about. I was no longer the “happy-go-lucky” adventure rider, taking on rides to places where I either didn’t care too much about the outcome, or wanted to go to places just for the sheer hell of it… I had Patricia to think about, and she had over the last two years since we had met, showed me that  I was not an island, drifting alone on a sea of constant uncertainty, and that despite my past experiences, still had a responsibility to my family and friends…

Even though had set my heart on it, I reluctantly gave up on my Trans Labrador ride, and made peace with my decision. I had enjoyed the planning of it, and I have to admit it had fired up my enthusiasm to ride, which I had lost a little of over the past few weeks.

On our last day in North Sydney, we went down to the harbour to watch the ferry sail... I stood for a long time watching it sail out of sight towards the open sea. I wistfully accepted that this very spot was the place that I would be turning for home. From here, all roads led back to South Africa, even tough they would be via parts of Canada and the USA. It was an emotional moment for me, realizing that it was the beginning of the end of my last long ride in the USA aboard the Big Fella...

On our last day in North Sydney, we went down to the harbour to watch the ferry sail… I stood for a long time watching it sail out of sight towards the open sea. I wistfully accepted that this very spot was the place that I would be turning for home. From here, all roads led back to South Africa, even tough they would be via parts of Canada and the USA. It was an emotional moment for me, realizing that it was the beginning of the end of my last long ride in the USA aboard the Big Fella…

Nevertheless, with my decision made, I spent a relaxed last day in North Sydney, riding out along the coastal roads and watching the ferry to Newfoundland leave on yet another run to Port-Aux-Basques…

I decided to head east towards the St Lawrence River, through New Brunswick and Quebec, down to Montreal, along the northern banks of Lake Ontario to Toronto, and then cross back into the USA at the Niagara Falls. From there I planned to join Patricia in Brunswick, south Georgia, and spend some time relaxing and taking stock of our future plans.

I rode back to Heritage Home and packed my gear in preparation for an early morning start the following day.

My first task of the day would be to ride the famous Cabot Trail…

©GBWT 2013

August 9th, 2013 | Canada

Bad Weather and Blind Ferry Captains…

After a week spent on Prince Edward Island, I am back in Nova Scotia, with hopes of getting to Newfoundland. I arrived in Cape Breton last night, and today the weather has closed in, with heavy rain forecast over the next few days…

To make matters worse, one of the three ferries that service Newfoundland from North Sydney, is out of action…

On leaving the dock in Port Aux Basques, the ferry captain mistook the harbour wall for the open sea, and gave the order, “Full steam ahead…”

The engine room duly obliged and after barely a  minute, the ferry came to a shuddering halt, with its bow resting on what was left of the harbour wall. It easily broke the record for the shortest trip ever made by a ferry in Nova Scotia…

See the story on the link below…

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/story/2013/08/06/ns-ferry-delays.html

The ferry to Argentia, which I was due to take, has now been canceled until the 27th of August, and is working on the shorter run to Port Aux Basques, until the damaged ferry is re-commissioned…

I am unable to hang around for two weeks and have regrettably decided to give Newfoundland a miss… Although I am hugely disappointed, I have come to accept that not EVERTHING is under my direct control after all… I discovered this soon after I married Patricia, as a matter of fact… But I digress…

Newfoundland

With time running out , this was my latest plan to ride Newfoundland… The blind ferry captain has conspired to thwart my plans…

I could take the ferry that covers the shortest route to the island, but then getting to St John’s and back would involve riding on the same road there and back, a total distance of just under 2 000 km… There is only the one road crossing the island, unless of course, you are a moose, which then opens up a much wider variety of paths you could follow… Being on two wheels instead of four legs, sometimes has it’s disadvantages…

I will wait out the weather here and then ride the famous Cabot Trail, a 380 km loop around Cape Breton’s northern peninsula, before riding back across Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, to get to Madawaska, the fourth corner of the USA…

For the next few days I will update the website with photos from our stay on Prince Edward and my rides around Nova Scotia…

GB.

Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.