'01 Trip to Atlantic Canada
First Leg: before Newfoundland

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Tues, July 31, 01. From Hamilton, Ontario to Ocean Grove, New Jersey. 830 km

J.: We left Hamilton around 9 a.m. That day was meant to be uneventful, mere driving.

G: However, it was nice to see Pennsylvania’s country site and the Appalachian Mountains, very picturesque ride.   

Pensylvania sign

J: Sure. We reached Ocean Grove - Asbury Park, right after sunset. Colorful houses well taken care of beautify the resort. Greg's family was awaiting us anxiously. Greg's brother-in-law generously paid for the room we were staying at.  

Hotel in Ocean Grove, NJ

Wed, Aug 1, 01. New Jersey: Ocean Grove. 0 km

J.: Beach time. In Ocean Grove America seemed to be a family oriented country so the only people we encountered were mothers/fathers and lots of kinds and retirees. We met a few young people from Eastern Europe who came to Ocean Grove to work. They were complaining a bit that there is nothing to do there. The place is very religious. You can't buy any beer or liquor either in a store or a restaurant.  

In the evening Greg's sister and her husband gave a great recital.


Thu, Aug 2, 01. From Ocean Grove, New Jersey to Hammodasset Beach State Park, Connecticut. 295 km  

G: After a short visit to the beach we packed our gear, said good bye to my family and left the resort town around noon.

J.: Interstate highways are long and boring. A highway of that type took us to New York. Lucky me, it was my third visit to New York City this year. This one was the shortest: just a few hours driving around. The drivers seemed relaxed and tired most likely because of quite high temperature (32 C).

G: New York is a fast paced city.  We did not want to stay overnight, rather we just wanted to take some pictures with our bikes in front of the most popular landmarks and quickly leave. Still, it took us a couple of hours to navigate the one-way streets to get to the points of interest.  

A bull in the financial district   In front of the Letterman show theatre

J: We left Manhattan taking a bridge from Harlem. A complicated set of highways under construction followed but we made it through never getting lost.

G: We reached the campsite around 10pm and still there was a lot happening. We even managed to watch a movie in the outdoor theatre. 

J: Again, the campsite was populated with crowds of RV's and families.


Fri, Aug 3, 01. From Hammonasset, Connecticut to Bay Point, Maine. 501 km  

Rhode Island sign   Massachusetts sign

J.: Boston used to be a beautiful city. And it will turn into a handsome one again in 3-4 years. Right now though, it is a huge construction site. You could compare Boston to Lisbon 3 years ago: comparable amount of detours, roadblocks, etc. 

G: Again, we did not plan to stay overnight. We took a couple of pictures and left the city of the BIG DIG.

J: Bunch of highways followed again. We found this nice (privately owned, though expensive: $US20 per site) camping located in the forest.  


Sat, Aug 4, 01. From Bay Point to Arcadia, Nova Scotia. 253 km  

J.: America lives off commercialism. The ferry that operates from Bar Harbor, Main to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, is advertised as a once in a lifetime experience: the Cat - the fastest ferry in North America. Perhaps it is, but the same type of ferry is used to cross Gibraltar Strait. Big deal: 40 mph. With the commercialism comes the price: $US 118. 

Ferry Terminal in Bar Harbor

The weather was definitely colder and more damp in Nova Scotia that on the continent - an influence of the Atlantic Ocean.

The owners of the camping ground in Arcadia were very friendly. We attended a party in a barn.

G: It was a night out for most of the locals. We were approached by a friendly fisherman who offered us beer. An amicable and pretty educational conversation ended when he exhausted his topic (fishing). By that time most of the party was already boozed, it was better to leave to avoid an unnecessary confrontation.

J: I learned a lot about lobster fishing. A lonely fisherman's wife asked me to dance - I did my best to avoid that but could not refuse - a fisherman's shift lasts for few weeks. My shift lasted only one dance. 

Sun, Aug 5, 01. From Arcadia to Peggy's Cove, Nova Scotia. 443 km  

J: We took the scenic route that followed the coast. 

Blue Rocks, Nova Scotia   Near Blue Rocks, Nova Scotia   Small local ferry

It was very picturesque but from time to time there was a wave of fog that was 5-7 C colder than the air around. Sometimes the visibility was diminished to 50 meters or so. Peggy's Cove, Nova Scotia's most photographed place, was also foggy. We decided to stay overnight and to try our luck the next day.

At the campsite we met two riders from North Carolina on their huge machines: Honda Goldwing and BMW RS. The amount of equipment they had, suggested that they were doing RTW (round the world) trip. We call ourselves minimalist bikers - take as little equipment as possible. Ben and Tad belong to the opposite team: take as much as you can carry. The funny thing is that we all are happy traveling the way we do.

G: Friendly dinner and conversation followed at night. It is great to exchange biker stories.

Camping near Peggy's Cove - with American bikers: Tad and Ben

Mon, Aug 6, 01. From Peggy's Cove to North Sydney, Nova Scotia. 578 km  


G: Peggy's Cove - still foggy but at least we could see the lighthouse. 


Lighthouse. Peggy's Cove


We wondered around smoothly water washed boulders for a while, took some foggy pictures and set of to Halifax  We spent 3 hours in Halifax. It is a rather small city but very inviting. The vicinity of the harbor makes it more interesting for the tourists and there were quite a lot of them. 

Clocktower in Halifax, Nova Scotia   Souvenir Store in Halifax


We set off towards North Sydney hoping for the overnight ferry. Again, we took the scenic coastal route before we entered the Cape Breton Island. 

Open for interpretations   Entering Cape Breton Island


The ferry was waiting for us. Also it was much cheaper that the American Cat - $CAD 56.


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