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Thread: Nova Scotia June 2013

  1. #1
    Registered User Brian-NC's Avatar
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    Nova Scotia June 2013

    I had previously asked for advice on NM regarding an upcoming retirement ride from NC. Since then, plans have completely changed. FWIW, Summer is the wrong time of year to be traveling across west Texas and into southern NM. High winds and heat will be the order of the day. It would be ok once you reach northern NM and into CO but my wife suggested another plan, Nova Scotia.

    I like the idea. I'm going to ride the motorcycle north into WV (motorcycling's best kept secret), then meander over into PA and stop by some historical sights. One in particular -Gettysburg. Once I get my fill of history, I'm headed for CT and on further northeast to Maine. My wife will fly into Hartford or maybe Portland and then we'll continue over to Nova Scotia.

    Anyone that has any experience with this region, I'd love to hear from you. Where you stayed, what to avoid, etc.

    Thanks in advance
    Brian-NC
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    Out There Somewhere bmwrider88's Avatar
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    Btdt- go!

    We rode to Nova Scotia in June 2012. It was quite memorable, and I suggest you DO IT. June is an excellent time. Later in the summer, things will be more crowded all along the way.

    WE:
    stuck to US & state Highways from PA to VT, and for much of the 3000K+ trip- but often rode the major motorways in Canada to make better time.

    rode the Kancamagus Highway across the White Mountains in NH, but enjoyed the road even more BEFORE it became the "Kancamagus".

    spent the night at The HighBrook Motel IN Bar Harbor, and ate breakfast at Two Cats.

    rode up Cadillac Mountain- but NOT to watch the sunrise.

    took the ferry from Saint John to Digby.

    Stayed in Lunenburg.

    rode the LaHave River cable ferry to the LaHave Bakery for lunch.

    Rode the Cabot Trail counter-clockwise.

    THINGS I'D DO DIFFERENTLY:

    Spend at least one night in Digby to see the 40-50 foot tides.

    Take a Whale Watching trip.

    Spend less time on the peninsula & MORE time on Cape Breton Island.

    Spend 3 days on the Cabot Trail, and ride it all ways, stopping more often.

    Get out east on Cape Breton Island to see more of the coastline.

    Spend more time in Nova Scotia period- it's an amazingly wonderful place with SO much to see. You could spend a month there and still not see everything.

    I really cannot recommend the Kancamagus Highway too much- it's fantastic. But the roads leading up to it are as nice or better- largely because there's nobody on them. If you hit it in Early to mid June on a weekday, you'll probably have it to yourself. The Highbrook Motel in Bar Harbor is awesome- clean, large rooms, relatively inexpensive, and super friendly. There are only two ferries each day from Saint John to Digby- noon, and two PM. walk around town, and go to the main farmer's market in the city. The tides in Digby and the Bay of Fundy are legendary. Lunenburg is a quaint old fishing village- but it's an early town- everything closes by 9:00 PM. The local seafood is awesome tho! Spend a day or two in Halifax. Yes, it's a city, but I feel there's a lot to see there- museums and such. Cape Breton Island is endless. From my limited perspective, it seems there is much to see there, tho you could also spend a good deal of time noodling along the coast-line down on the peninsula as well.
    Up on the Cabot Trail, lodging is limited. We stayed at the Maven Gypsy, a B&B. Breakfast was fantastic! Mostly, it's B&Bs up there. So you're staying in someone's house. It's largely quite rural, with a few small villages here and there. Find a place, stay a couple days, and ride the heck out of the Cabot Trail, do it frontwards, backwards, and sideways. In Early June 2012, we basically had it to ourselves. We didn't do the "middle", overland section, because we got in a rush to go ALL the way over to Olde Quebec. Quebec City is wonderful, but it's a WORLD away from Nova Scotia. STAY on Nova Scotia- save Quebec or anywhere else, for another trip, another time.

    One thing about being up there so "early" is that the tourist season is JUST getting started. This means that some stuff isn't open yet. For example, we'd heard from a local rider whom we met riding up the US 1 out of Bar Harbor, that it was possible to go out east and take a series of bridges and ferries across some islands to get into Canada. TOO EARLY for that one, so we rode on up to our intended crossing, after going pretty far out of our way. We barely made Saint John by sunset- and it really isn't that far from Bar Harbor. US 1 between the two cities isn't all that- basically a fast ride thru the woods, with a little coast time- there are small loops out to the coast all along the way. When we got up to the Cabot Trail our B&B was just getting opened up for the summer. So take some time to plan the trip- esp. that northern section, making sure you'll have places to stay etc.

    Here's my RR from ADVrider.com- it includes Quebec City. Any questions, just ask, and I'll try to accommodate. Also, I got LOTS of help & advice from folks on this forum and also from ADVrider. I'm certain someone will be along shortly to add their two cents. Best of luck, safe travels, happy trails, bon voyage... and POST PIX!

    http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=803180

    One last note: The weather up there has a rep for being "changeable" IE: WET & COLD. We got lucky and hit it just right, with warm temps and NO rain for over 2 weeks, and over 3000 miles of riding! We literally had less than one hour of anything resembling rain on our trip. I am QUITE certain we got the anomaly, not the norm. BUT we sure enjoyed it!
    Pack rain gear, and layers so you can deal with all temp ranges and wet weather. If Texas & the desert is going to be too hot, get ready to be MUCH cooler up there.
    Be The Change You Want To See In The World

  3. #3
    Registered User tourunigo's Avatar
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    check out some of our Salty Fog Riders Rally info for lots of pictures, many ideas, some mapping etc. See the link in my signature below to last year's Ride Report (which will link you also to some other related info). June can be chancy but ya never know. BTW, ferry between Saint John, NB and Digby, NS is a tad expensive and schedule might not be to your advantage BUT if Digby is of interest then ferry is otherwise enjoyable. Ride out Digby Neck (two free ferries) if you have some time. Ride across route 8 to Liverpool and up the coast to Lunenburg and Mahone Bay. Also, that little bakery in LaHave is a MUST DO and, as stated previously, is located next to the little cable ferry. If you get to Cape Breton, two cable ferries are also a bit of fun (Little Narrows and Englishtown). Stop at the Clucking Hen on the east side of the trail for some fine food. Take a look at my Salty Fog reports for more info on all of this. - Bob
    saltyfogriders@gmail.com
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    Out There Somewhere bmwrider88's Avatar
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    Hi Bob

    Quote Originally Posted by tourunigo View Post
    check out some of our Salty Fog Riders Rally info for lots of pictures, many ideas, some mapping etc. See the link in my signature below to last year's Ride Report (which will link you also to some other related info). June can be chancy but ya never know. BTW, ferry between Saint John, NB and Digby, NS is a tad expensive and schedule might not be to your advantage BUT if Digby is of interest then ferry is otherwise enjoyable. Ride out Digby Neck (two free ferries) if you have some time. Ride across route 8 to Liverpool and up the coast to Lunenburg and Mahone Bay. Also, that little bakery in LaHave is a MUST DO and, as stated previously, is located next to the little cable ferry. If you get to Cape Breton, two cable ferries are also a bit of fun (Little Narrows and Englishtown). Stop at the Clucking Hen on the east side of the trail for some fine food. Take a look at my Salty Fog reports for more info on all of this. - Bob
    Not to hijack this thread at all, but if I didn't get the chance earlier, I wish to thank you now for your info & help in planning our trip last June. We had a really nice time! I can only look back and wish we were in Nova Scotia longer.
    Be The Change You Want To See In The World

  5. #5
    Out There Somewhere bmwrider88's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian-NC View Post
    I had previously asked for advice on NM regarding an upcoming retirement ride from NC. Since then, plans have completely changed. FWIW, Summer is the wrong time of year to be traveling across west Texas and into southern NM. High winds and heat will be the order of the day. It would be ok once you reach northern NM and into CO but my wife suggested another plan, Nova Scotia.

    I like the idea. I'm going to ride the motorcycle north into WV (motorcycling's best kept secret), then meander over into PA and stop by some historical sights. One in particular -Gettysburg. Once I get my fill of history, I'm headed for CT and on further northeast to Maine. My wife will fly into Hartford or maybe Portland and then we'll continue over to Nova Scotia.

    Anyone that has any experience with this region, I'd love to hear from you. Where you stayed, what to avoid, etc.

    Thanks in advance
    Fly her into someplace where you can both go to Bar Harbor and ride up Cadillac Mountain. The Kancamagus (worth the ride!!) might be a tad west of your "planned" route- and it really is a haul out to the coast from there but it's a nice ride across Maine (through the Lakes Region).
    Be The Change You Want To See In The World

  6. #6
    Registered User Brian-NC's Avatar
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    My wife will only have about 8-9 days of vacation to play with so we'll have to make the most of it. I'll be retired so I'm more flexible. I plan on riding up solo and making a stop in Gettysburg PA for a glimpse into my country's history. For some reason, I've suddenly had an urge to learn more about history. I guess maybe it's because I'm so proud to be an American and damn proud of the men and women in our armed forces risking EVERYTHING for us.

    I've been pouring over weather charts and it' looks like June might be iffy when it comes to fog and rain. I can't think of a more miserable trip than going that far north and have it ruined by the weather. I might wait until late June or sometime in July to embark. I wouldn't mind so much if it was just me but the expense of my wife's part of the trip would be a terrible waste. Plane fare, hotel reservations, etc...

    That's the only thing that's causing me to second guess my original idea to head west to NM and into CO.
    Brian-NC
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  7. #7
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    It's not my intention to "rain on your trip" but if you head for the rockies(one of my fave places on earth!) it often rains in the afternoon(maybe a short snow too!) at elevation where the temps will be more agreeable-and scenic. Nova Scotia is a beautiful place(reminds me of where I live-E KY) but honestly, my wife & I have agreed that next time we're up that way we would forgo NS & spend even more time in Maine, a beautiful place of its own.
    Ferries can be scenic but are pricey and time consuming too. NC to the front range in CO will be 4 days minimum of your ride, out & back, leaving 4-5 days to tour,etc.. NS being closer maybe New England instead? June weather is as about as good as it gets in the most areas of the USA & the Maritimes have wind lots of the year-do they not?
    "If I had my life to live over, I'd dare to make more mistakes next time...I'd relax,I'd limber up... I would take fewer things seriously...take more chances... take more trips...climb more mountains...swim more rivers...eat more ice cream." Jorge Luis Borges at age 85.

  8. #8
    Out There Somewhere bmwrider88's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian-NC View Post
    My wife will only have about 8-9 days of vacation to play with so we'll have to make the most of it. I'll be retired so I'm more flexible. I plan on riding up solo and making a stop in Gettysburg PA for a glimpse into my country's history. For some reason, I've suddenly had an urge to learn more about history. I guess maybe it's because I'm so proud to be an American and damn proud of the men and women in our armed forces risking EVERYTHING for us.

    I've been pouring over weather charts and it' looks like June might be iffy when it comes to fog and rain. I can't think of a more miserable trip than going that far north and have it ruined by the weather. I might wait until late June or sometime in July to embark. I wouldn't mind so much if it was just me but the expense of my wife's part of the trip would be a terrible waste. Plane fare, hotel reservations, etc...

    That's the only thing that's causing me to second guess my original idea to head west to NM and into CO.
    My guess is it's probably 50/50, as for rain or fog V sunshine. Remember we had brilliant sun and zero rain last June 2012. My advice is to keep Nova Scotia on your "list" because it truly is fantastic. I've been many places on this old planet. Nova Scotia is uniquely lovely, and absolutely perfect for mellow motorcycling. I'm going back ASAP.

    One consideration on timing and destinations- later in the summer, everywhere you go there will be FAR more people out n about- if you are looking at any place that may be even remotely tourist-y. Gettysburg is no exception to this rule. It's a complete tourist town visited each year by millions. The visitor's center is pretty fantastic with the restored Diarama, and I'd recommend either a solo "audio" tour, or some sort of guided excursion through the battlefield, so you get the most out of your experience there.

    Pennsylvania, in general, is much like Western NC, western VA, & WVA in terms of remote mountain and scenic country riding. I live here so I spend lots of time tooling around on our great roadways. The big benefit of riding in PA is there's just nobody here! With fracking now prevalent in many parts of the state you'll have big truck traffic near their work sites. The same goes for any area where there will be logging, but I often find myself marveling at how empty our roads are.

    As of now, you've just gone from one end of the continent, to the complete opposite corner. I'm certain you'll figure it out soon enough. Where ever you end up, ride safely and have a great trip.
    And remember to post some pix so we can ride along vicariously.
    Last edited by bmwrider88; 02-14-2013 at 03:52 PM.
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  9. #9
    Unfunded content provider tommcgee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bmwrider88 View Post
    One consideration on timing and destinations- later in the summer, everywhere you go there will be FAR more people out n about- if you are looking at any place that may be even remotely tourist-y.
    Tourist traffic drops way off in Atlantic Canada at the beginning of September. Same in coastal Maine and northern New England, though not as much. New England does get psycho crazy Columbus Day weekend with the leaf peepers. You can forget about finding a room that weekend unless you booked one way in advance.
    Salty Fog Rally 2007, 2009, 2011, 2012, AND LOOKING FORWARD TO 2014!

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    Alexander Graham Bell Museum. College of Celtic Arts. Shediak- lobster capitol of eastern Canada (or so they say. cold lobster with hot drawn butter was "different").
    Ride Safe, Ride Lots

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    Out There Somewhere bmwrider88's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikerfish1100 View Post
    (snip)....lobster capitol of eastern Canada....
    One word:
    McLobster.


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  12. #12
    Registered User Brian-NC's Avatar
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    Thanks to all for your sage advice. If I go to NM and CO, it will be first through the southern part of NM. I'd like to meander south west from NC and go through Vicksbug MS (more civil war stuff) picking up I-20 into TX, then drop further south from there and hit the Texas Ranger museum in Waco. What retired cop wouldn't want to stop and see that if they find themselves in Texas? Anyway, continue on through southwest Tx and come up into NM around Carlsbad. Gotta go see the caverns, right? Then, of course, stop off for some wierdness in Roswell...maybe get an alien head sticker for my helmet. It would have to glow in the dark you know, safety first!

    Probably pick up my wife in Albuquerque at the airport then have a go at northern NM and CO. We're both very interested in the art that can be found in NM. maybe pick up some great art work, pottery or paintings and have it shipped back. We did just buy a new house...

    The plans continue to evolve, so thanks again for the input. I think I might need a new camera...
    Brian-NC
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    We'll be riding that way from Florida>>>> http://goo.gl/maps/hlPwA Leaving FL 6/13 via Amtrak to Lorton VA, then on up to the Maritimes. NS will be right behind PEI... guessing 6/26-30 for NS....

    PM me and I'll pass contact info

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    Out There Somewhere bmwrider88's Avatar
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    Registered User Anyname's Avatar
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    I'll add the following to the thread. If you're flying the wife to the north east, I'd recommend Manchester, NH as the destination airport. The ride up from Hartford CT. through Mass. is nothing special (that is a euphemism) and Portland, Me is probably going to be more expensive. The Manchester airport is easy to access by road, no real traffic to speak of.

    I'd second Bar Harbor/Mount Desert Island as a worth while detour and I would also recommend my fair city of Portsmouth, NH as a place to spend a day or overnight before heading north. Max BMW is nearby and is a decent dealer if you need any BMW parts or service. Second Wind BMW in Merrimack, NH is also good.

    In Nova Scotia, Halifax is the major city and also worth a day or so to visit.

    My son attended university at Dalhousie in Halifax and I can attest that the ride to NS is an easy one, but long. The usual route to NS from New Hampshire is to drive up the Maine Turnpike to Bangor and then take Rt 9 to Calais Me. The usual advice for route 9 is to make sure you have a full tank of gas, food and water. It's a nice enough road, but there is less than nothing on it for services. Calais is the border with New Brunswick and from there the only real road north is Rt 1.

    The highways in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia have fairly frequent Irving gas stations and they all seem to have small Subway and Tim Hortons shops, so you won't starve or endure coffee withdrawal on the long haul up New Brunswick RT 1.
    BMW R bike rider, horizontally opposed to everything...

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