Maritime Motorcycle Trip - 1985

My XJ900R Seca

This is my 1983 Yamaha XJ900RK (my heart is still stuck with the British Triumphs, BSAs and Velocette that I used to own) shown during a ride to the east coast of Canada in 1985. The soft saddlebags and the great tank bag worked very well and removed easily at night. I believe that the location for this photo and the next is just outside Sussex, New Brunswick. The ride, for me, included two trips around the Cabot Trail, once alone,

Near Sussex, NB

and then once directly after, with two other bikes. One of these was a Honda Aspencade (brother's), the other was a Yamaha Venture Royale (cousin's). It was a breathtaking trip at times, and a worthwhile ride (even twice).

Approaching Cape Breton Island Traffic backed up for miles after accident
Rugged coastline More rugged coastline
Big lumps Erosion happens
The Cabot Trail follows the shoreline A different view of the Cabot Trail
Stop for photos Taking a breather to appreciate the view
Cape Breton Highlands

The Cape Breton Highlands

For a short time, we had rain to contend with but this didn't really "dampen" the ride much. We did encounter heavy fog at one spot. We were rounding an outside corner at the time, on the edge of a precipice, on an unfamiliar road. It was a little unnerving, to say the least.

A thrilling ride at times, even at our leisurely pace.

Highland view

This photograph gives a small indication of how inspiring the combination of land, sea and sky were - always changing, sometimes threatening, usually uplifting.

Hopewell Rocks 1

Bay of Fundy

Later on in the trip, we visited Hopewell Rocks in the Bay of Fundy.

Hopewell Rocks 2

It is a wonder that these formations have survived as long as they have with the highest tides in the world wearing away at them.

The Forked Road and SUD

There is a short story behind this trip that stills seems remarkable to me. When the three bikes left home in Chalk River, we headed southeast on the TransCanada highway. After we passed Ottawa (Canada's Capital), the freeway divided, sending traffic to Montreal and other traffic along the Ottawa river (probably the more scenic route). I was under the impression that we would take the major road to Montreal. However, the other two bikes ended up in the "other" lane, and we split at this point. Over the next couple of days, each of us kept our eyes open for the others, but with no sightings (we even tried waiting on the side of the road, which after Montreal was common to both our paths). Nothing.

I visited a friend in New Brunswick. They (I later found out) made a side trip to Prince Edward Island. We each continued on our merry way, wondering. Then, three days after leaving home, as I was finishing my run around the Cabot Trail, in the rain, at a point where the "circle" around the island re-joined the main road, I caught a flash of the two bikes heading past on the highway in front of me. It was suprising at the time and it occurs to me now that at a conservative 60 mph (or 88 feet per second) for the bikes travelling across my field of view, which was likely not more than 1000 feet at the time, the time interval for visibility to me was about 11 seconds, with poor visibility to boot. Had I been several seconds later, I would have missed seeing them. After that, in all likelihood, I wouldn't have met up with them again until we got home a couple of days later. Amazing.

After catching up to them, stopping and discussing several times how SUD was French for SOUTH, we did finish the trip together, which made it quite a bit more enjoyable for me, having company. The probability for this chance meeting must have been very close to zero, and relied on so many variable factors of the previous two days.

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