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!

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