Newfoundland 2022

Day 03

July 16

  I get SweetTreat all packed up and hit the road early as I am meeting Obo, a friend from for breakfast in St. Stephens.  
Today should be much more pleasant as I will be on Maine Highway 9 until I reach the US/Canadian border. It is a peaceful two lane without a lot of heavy traffic once you get out of Bangor proper.  
The only threatening thing is this wind mill that looks like it is hiding just over the hill, waiting for it's prey to come within reach.  
It is a lovely, lonely run to the border and after the traffic of the past few days, it is a very welcome relief.  
As I make my way along, I can't help but notice this old house. It appears to be falling into itself with the middle section slowly sinking in.  
I arrive at Calais, the US side of the crossing and find my way to the Milltown Canadian Customs station. It is the least used of the three local border crossings so I get across with no wait and no drama. I have a pleasant conversation with the border agent and she wishes me well on my journey.  
  When I get into St. Stephens I decide I like it already since it is 'Canada's Chocolate Town'. Seems like my kind of place!  
Since I am so heavily loaded I do not get off the bike to get the New Brunswick sign.  
And as I pass through town, I notice that have a Chocolate Museum. I wish it was open and I had more time but I've got a ways to go and appointments to keep.  
When I get to Carman's Diner I see once again the reminder that I am in 'Canada's Chocolate Town'.  
I love diners when they are the 'real deal' and Carman's has all the makings of one such place.  

I go ahead and get a table as I am a little early. The waitress lets me know they just had a big party land and it will be a bit before they can serve me. I tell her

"Ain't no big deal as I am waiting on someone anyway."

Obo pulls in and I walk out to greet him and give him a big hug.

As we wait on our food, we talk about all sorts of stuff - what we both do for work, rides we've taken, and what the plan is for the day. The food comes and it is fresh, tasty, and good - a winning combination in my book. Aint' nothing much better for breakfast than a good old ham and cheese omelet with some fried taters and toast on the side.  
After we have solved all the world's problems, we decide we'd better hit the road before Carman's starts charging us rent for our table.  
The scenery along Highway 1 is interesting and varies from marshy areas ...  
to pretty lakes and every now and then ...  
a glimpse of the ocean in the distance.  
Obo is in the lead so I follow him into Saint John proper - not to be confused with St. Johns on the east coast of Newfoundland.  
It's coastal town on the Bay of Fundy which is known for the highest tidal range in the world of about 52 feet.  
As we head toward Amherst, I just wonder how would you pronounce this ...  
or this? Strange enough but not as bad as the ones I saw during my New Zealand trip that would tie your larynx in a knot.  
  And I see that the poor local moose are commanded to pay attention when most drivers around them obviously do not.  
  When we pass the Sackville sign, it brings back good memories from my last trip this way and the killer restaurant located there.  
I'm low on fuel and see a sign for an Irving Big Stop up ahead - similar to a Love's or Pilot back in the States. I whizz by Obo, pointing to my tank and we get it sorted out.  
Our beasts wait patiently after being filled for us to be 'de-filled' and consume a few tasty vittles.  
We finally cross over into Nova Scotia and I know I only have a little over 300 miles to my motel in Baddeck.  
With the wind that blows around here, I understand the locating of these windmills. But as always, they sort of 'interrupt' the views in a dramatic fashion.  
Obo and I had talked at breakfast about how far he could ride with me. I had found a Telus phone store in Amherst so we decide that will work out nicely. But the best laid plans of mice and men often go astray as Mr. Burns would say. The Telus store is closed on Saturday and the Rogers store across the mall does not sell telephones - both which are a little hard to believe.  
Since he has to get back home, I hug him and we both get back to the business at hand. Once again I'm alone but I should be in Baddeck soon and catch up with some more riders going to Newfoundland.  
There is a way around this toll booth, but I've got to make time so I pay the till and move on. I hear a strange sound coming from SweetTreat but it sounds like gravel caught in tires. When I pull away from the toll booth it seems to go away so I figure that's what it is.  
This so much more enjoyable and relaxing riding than I have experienced for the last two days.  

But I have figured that 'sound' all wrong. Running right along on cruise control, all of a sudden there is a loud pop and SweetTreat loses all power. I coast as far as I can but there are still no exit signs in sight in either direction. I finally come to a halt and put her up on the centerstand. When I see the antifreeze spilling on the ground I know exactly what has happened. On the ST1100s, the water pump is run by the timing belt and if it fails, the bike gets out of time. And when it does, it usually bends most of the valves which trashes the engine. When I hit the starter and the motor spins freely I know I ain't riding her any farther. So here I stand, no working cell phone and no visible place to walk for help. I guess if push comes to shove, I can pitch my tent on the side of the road til somebody has mercy on me and stops. Meanwhile, all I can do is to stand behind SweetTreat with my hands up in the air and hope someone realizes I'm in trouble. Finally a local elderly couple stops, backs up, and asks me -

"You having trouble?"

"Oh, yes - the motor just blew and I do not have a working cell phone. Could you possibly call a towing company for me?"

Cell service is very week but after a couple of tries they get through and a tow truck is on the way. I thank them very much and they go on about their business.

I have the good fortune that they have called the best towing company in the area - Tri-County Towing. The truck has to go by me on the other side but honks his horn and I wave back. The driver is very knowledgeable and professional and we get poor SweetTreat loaded on the flatbed and strapped down and get all my camping stuff stashed in the truck.  

They take me, SweetTreat and all my stuff back to their shop. The owner is there and when he hears what has happened he tells me -

"We'll put the bike and stuff inside the garage and we can settle up when you come back to get it."

They provide me something cold to drink and we sit and chat for while about all sorts of stuff. I feel like I am among friends and I really appreciate their many kindnesses. Then the owner offers to take me back into town to a motel - which is beyond kind.


Since he knows the area, he suggests several different motels and I pick the Holiday Inn Express in Stellarton. He drops me off and I tell him -

"I'll call you as soon as I get something figured out."

As it fortunately turns out, one of the benefits of my room is free long distance phone calls. So I set about canceling as many reservations as I can by phone and Internet. I also find that there are a couple of UHaul places in reasonable proximity but they are all closed until Monday. I post on ST-Owners about my predicament so those expecting me in Baddeck will not be concerned. Then I realize it's been a long time since breakfast so I walk outside to see if there are any 'dining' options.

It's so late that everything is already closed down, so looks like it is going to be vending machine dining for this evening.  

This is not situation that I am particularly looking forward to dealing with, but it is what it is. It is not the time to let my emotions and disappointment overtake me as that will not get me and SweetTreat any closer to the Holler. One of my favorite quotes comes to mind from General Stonewall Jackson -

"When your duty is clear, do not consult your fears."

My duty at this point is to get me and SweetTreat back to the Holler in a timely manner and in one piece. I finally get in bed and eventually dose off with more questions than answers floating through my tired brain.