Thursday, August 12, 2021

Day 3, Scenic Summer Ride - New Brunswick

 Day 3 - Moncton to Fredericton via the Fundy Coastal Drive, "Every Brew Tells a Story!"

We woke to another beautiful day, the sun was shining and the weather in Moncton was perfect! A morning view from the Chateau Moncton helps to describe the day!

2021 Summer Ride
Beautiful Morning in Moncton, NB

After a quick breakfast, we loaded our bikes and started getting prepped for the day.  We had a pleasant conversation with another rider in the parking lot who had rode 2-up with his wife to NB from Ontario.  He told us that he was having brake light issues and was heading to the local Harley Davidson dealer, Toys for Big Boys to have it checked out.  We were heading there as well, so he followed us to the dealership. After a short visit to the service department and the purchase of a couple of t-shirts, we were on our way.

Our plan for the day was to head to the Village of Alma via Route 114, then through to the Town of Sussex and the Funday Trail Parkway.  The 80 kilometre ride to Alma was was quite enjoyable and traffic was light, which made the ride even better!  Keeping with the theme of our 3-day New Brunswick tour, we made a stop at the Holy Whale Brewing Company in Alama!  We have been there on several occasions prior and it's just a cool place to stop!  The brewery is located in an old church, hence the name the Holy Whale!

2021 Summer Ride
Holy Whale Brewing Company - Alma, NB


Every Brew Tells a Story - to our disappointment, the tap room was closed.  It was 11:00 am and they did not open to 1:00 pm.  Luc walked up to the door, made a quick knock and to our surprise a gentleman answered the door.  This is where the story gets good, Luc has the unique ability to charm people and that is exactly what he did!  Luc explained, we had ridden 1000+ kilometres around the Province and the Holy Whale was one of the key stopping points on our tour and is there any way that we could get a beer.  The gentleman said that he did not work there and he was just visiting his brother (who was the owner/master brewer), he said to give him a few minutes and he would see what he could do.

The gentleman came back and said that he could not let us in as they were closed and if they let us in, they would have to let others as well and staff wasn't readily available.  Next came the key point...he said, "the best I can do is sell you a crowler (large beer in a can), but you can't drink it on the premises."  Luc and I looked at each other and weren't sure what to do. The gentleman noticed our unsure response and said, "you can have the beer on the property next door as my brother lives there."  We quickly responded, you have a deal!
2021 Summer Ride
Chica Cerveza - Organic Spanish Blonde

We moved to the property next door, the gentleman poured us each a beer from the crowler and then stayed and talked to us for the next 45 minutes.  During our conversation, it was discovered that Luc had taught school in the same community that the gentleman and his brother grew up and in fact, Luc taught at the elementary school that the owner/master brewer from the Holy Whale attended.  The owner/master brewer joined us for a minute and it was fun to watch Luc connect the dots to the two guys!  Although, Luc did not teach them, there was a connection.  What a small world and stories like this add to the travel experience!  We finished our beer, which was excellent, said our thanks and good-byes.

We proceeded through Fundy National Park to Sussex and then to the Fundy Trail Parkway via the Eastern Park Entrance.  Again, the traffic was almost non-existent which made the ride much more enjoyable.  The Fundy Trail Parkway is so scenic and the views never get old! If you haven't had the chance to ride through the Parkway, you should plan on doing it.

2021 Summer Ride
Fundy Trail Parkway

2021 Summer Ride
Fundy Trail Parkway

2021 Summer Ride
Fundy Trail Parkway

After riding through the Funday Trail Parkway, we proceeded to the Sea Caves in St. Martins and ordered a feed of seafood at the Caves Restaurant.  The food here is excellent and the view of the Sea Caves at St. Martins makes for a memorable experience.

The Caves at St. Martins
The Sea Caves at St. Martins

We finished our mid-afternoon lunch and it was time to journey back home. We followed the Fundy Coastal Drive into the City of Saint John and decided we needed to make one last stop before heading back to Fredericton.  By this point, you probably guessed it, another brewery...and you are correct!  We stopped at the Moosehead Small Batch Brewery on Main St. in Saint John.

Moosehead Small Batch Brewery - Saint John, NB

As most New Brunswickers are aware, Moosehead is one the oldest, privately owned domestic beer manufacturers in Canada.  What is unique about the small batch brewery is they have new beers that they brew that are only available in the tap room.  For those loyal to their domestic beers, you can get that too!  I decided to try one of their craft beers, a German Lager and being an IPA fan, Luc went with the Small Batch East Coast IPA.

Moosehead German Lager

After our beer, we made the 100 kilometre ride from Saint John to Fredericton via NB Route 7.  The 3-day ride took us approximately 1500 kilometres and the views along the River Valley Scenic Trail, the Appalachian Range Route, the Acadian Coastal Drive and the Fundy Coastal Drive were fantastic.  Sometimes we forget how beautiful our home Province is!  Also, travelling with my good friend Luc is always fun.  Some day, we should figure out how many kilometres we have travelled would be in the 10's of thousands for sure!

I hope you enjoyed our experience and until next time, ride safe!

Sunday, August 8, 2021

Day 2, 2021 Scenic Summer Ride - New Brunswick

 Day 2 - Bathurst to Moncton via The Acadian Coastal Drive

We woke to a beautiful day, had breakfast and prepped for our ride along the Acadian Coastal Drive. We did most of this ride before, but it was in the opposite direction and on two different occasions.  The morning air was crisp and the sun was shining.  We followed Bridge St. out of Bathurst to Salmon Beach and then Route 11 along the coast into the town of Caraquet.  The ride did not disappoint.  Once in Caraquet, we stopped for a break and took a few minutes to enjoy the view.

2021 Summer Ride
Caraquet, NB

From there, it was on to Route 11 for a bit until we reached the town of Tracadie-Sheila. We exited Route 11 and enjoyed a ride down the strip in Tracadie-Sheila.  This was Luc's first visit and he was thoroughly impressed with the view and the town in general.

We followed Route 11, which is adjacent to Miramichi Bay into Miramichi City (Chatham).  We decided that we would stop at O'Donaghue's Irish Pub for lunch as we know the food and service are good.  We had a bit of excitement here, when I stopped to park, my right foot slipped on some loose gravel and I had to gently lay my Street Glide Special on the ground.  The fully loaded 900 pound Harley won the wrestling match as I couldn't hold it up! Fortunately, the only damage was a scratch on my crash bar (it did it's job) and a much bruised ego! 

At the pub, Luc and I both opted for fish & chips.  We also tried some locally brewed craft beer.  I opted for the Timber Ship - Irish Red (see below) and Luc, the New Maritime - IPA and both beers were excellent!  5 star rating for O'Donaghue's Irish Pub!

Photo Credit - O'Donaghue's Irish Pub

Timber Ship - Irish Red

After quick tour of Chatham, we jumped back on the Acadian Coastal Drive via Route 117 through the small villages of Bay du Vin, Baie-Saint-Anne and Escuminac.  We stopped for a quick break at the Escuminac Wharf and then continued on the 117 through Kouchibouguac National Park.  This route is in very good shape with lots of to ride!

2021 Summer Ride
Esuminac Wharf

The next part of the a Acadian Coastal Drive takes you through various communities along the coast and the roads are well marked with the Acadian Coastal Drive Starfish.  The ride along the coast via the 505, 475, 535 and 530 into Shediac was scenic and enjoyable as there was virtually no traffic. 

Traffic was very heavy in Shediac as it always is in the Summertime.  We slowly rode through town and then jumped on Route 15 into Moncton as this was our end of day ride destination.  We arrived at the Chateau Moncton, unloaded our bikes and checked in for the eve.  The Chateau Moncton sits on the banks of the Petticodiac River and has an amazing view!

Chateau Moncton
View of the Petticodiac River from the Chateau Moncton

Staying with the theme of trying out local craft breweries, we opted to go to the Pump House Brewpub.  Luc and I have been to the Pump House on several occasions and know that the beer and food is good! We both had the wood oven pizza and several of their locally brewed beers...the food and beers were great!

Fire Chief's Red Ale
Pump House - Fire Chief's Red Ale

Pump House - Blueberry Ale

After dinner, it was a short walk back to the hotel.  It was a great way to end a 450 kilometre ride along the Acadian Coastal Drive!

Stay tuned for Day 3 - The Fundy Coastal Drive with the sub-title of "Every Brew Tells a Story!"

Thursday, August 5, 2021

Day 1, 2021 Scenic Summer Ride - New Brunswick

Finally, after two Summers (along with my good friend Luc), I was able to get away for a multi-day motorcycle ride!  The Summer of 2019 was a washout for me as I was recovering from a rather serious cycling accident and last Summer, a multi-day motorcycle trip was hampered by lockdowns and the Covid-19 pandemic.

Recently, Luc and I met to discuss a 3 day ride and decided that we would stay in our home province of New Brunswick and explore the beauty of our own region (and check out local craft breweries).  The plan was to ride a 1500 kilometre loop around New Brunswick.  This loop included portions of the River Valley Scenic Drive, the Appalachian Range Route, the Acadian Coastal Drive and the Fundy Coastal Drive

Photo - Courtesy of Tourism New Brunswick

Our plan was to wait for a 3 day window of good weather before hitting the road.  It took about a week to receive that forecast and once we had it, we met at the Trailway Brewing Company in Fredericton to finalize plans for the ride. 

Trailway Brewing Company, Fredericton, NB

After our planning session and a local ale, I returned home to pack and load my Harley for the ride.

Road Trip 2021
Loaded Street Glide Special

Day 1 - Fredericton to Bathurst via the River Valley Scenic Drive and the Appalachian Range Route

We had originally planned to depart Fredericton early in the morning, but we were delayed an hour or so due to wet weather.  Once the weather cleared, we hit the road following NB Routes 105 and 102.  We stopped for a quick breakfast at the Acorn Restaurant in Prince William and then proceeded on the 102, TCH 2 and the 165 to Woodstock.  The ride along the St. John - Wolastoq (meaning beautiful river) River never gets old.  Once in Woodstock, we veered onto Rte 103 and enjoyed a country ride to Hartland.  When you arrive in Hartland, you have to take the time to ride across the World's Longest Covered Bridge, it's well worth it and that is exactly what we did!

2021 Summer Ride
Hartland Covered Bridge

After a quick stop for a picture, it was back on the road to Florenceville-Bristol and Rte 105 to Perth-Andover.  This road is a hidden gem and if you haven't had the chance to ride this route, I suggest that you do as I highly recommend it.  This was the end of the River Valley Scenic Drive of us and the start of the Appalachian Range Route via NB Route 109.  This is another great ride that follows the Tobique River into Plaster Rock.  Once in Plaster Rock, we decided to take the 108 into Grand Falls - Grand Sault for a quick break at the Grand Falls Gorge.

2021 Summer Ride
The Gorge at Grand Falls

After a quick break, fuel and coffee we reconnected with the Appalachian Range Route via TCH 2 and NB Route 17.  NB Route 17 was a real treat as I have not been on this road before.  Road conditions were excellent with virtually no traffic.  There is not much to see other than woods for the first part of Rte 17 and after you pass through the communities of Saint-Quentin and Kedgwick, you again return to a ride through the woods.  The beauty of this ride is the descent into the Campbellton region, the views are spectacular!  In hindsight, I wish I would have stopped for a pic, but I was just enjoying the ride and the scenery.

We stopped in Campbellton for a quick break and then made our way to Rte 134. This route follows the coast of the Bay of Chaleur and is also very scenic.  There were a few detours along the way due to road work, but we were on the coast for most of the ride.  This is also where the Appalachian Range Route meets the Acadian Coastal Drive.  The ride took us through many small communities, including Belledune, Petit Rocher, Nigadoo, Beresford and then our final destination, the City of Bathurst! 

We checked into the Best Western in downtown Bathurst and the receptionist told us that we could park our motorcycles under the canopy at the hotel entrance...we have been fortunate in our travels throughout Canada and the USA to stay at many motorcycle friendly hotels!

Best Western Hotel - Bathurst, NB

We unloaded quickly as we wanted to check out a craft brewery called the 13 Barrels Brewing Company.  It was only a 5 minute walk from the hotel and we wanted to get there before they closed. We made it with 45 minutes to spare before they closed for the evening.

13 Barrels
13 Barrels Brewing Company

Testing 13 Barrels Brew

The deck at the 13 Barrels Brewing Company overlooks the Bay of Chaleur and we had time to enjoy a beer after a 600 kilometre ride.  We followed with dinner at the Au Bootlegger Pub and called it an evening after an awesome day of motorcycling.

Stay tuned for Day 2 - the Acadian Coastal Drive!