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Author Topic: New Brunswick, Canada - The Chuck Palahniuk Ride  (Read 999 times)

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Offline Brian A

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New Brunswick, Canada - The Chuck Palahniuk Ride
« on: August 01, 2017, 10:36:07 AM »
So who is Chuck Palahniuk and what does he have to do with me riding to New Brunswick, Canada?

You can Google him and read about him but you won't know what he has to do with me and this trip. You'll have to stick around to the end of the ride report to find that out.

The who and the what of the whole affair....

Me
Mulley
Lincoln
Darrin

We left Birmingham around 9:00 Saturday morning, July 22nd...........

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


I had no idea at the time - couldn't have known it at the time - but it all started in April of 2016 on the ride to Key West. Specifically while enjoying drinks and food with good friends at Mallory Square in Key West, Florida.

And it all ended with the pic below.

The details?

Well.......... those will come as I find the time and mental state-of-mind to tell the whole story via the ride report.
Stick around if you want to. No guarantees, but I'll do my best to make it worth your time.



« Last Edit: August 01, 2017, 01:46:12 PM by Brian A »

Offline Nice Goat

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Re: New Brunswick, Canada - The Chuck Palahniuk Ride
« Reply #1 on: August 01, 2017, 12:27:23 PM »
Fight club!
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Offline Brian A

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Re: New Brunswick, Canada - The Chuck Palahniuk Ride
« Reply #2 on: August 01, 2017, 12:59:01 PM »
Fight club!

Yep. He wrote Fight Club which has nothing to do with me and the trip.
Stick around.  I'll get to it............

Offline Brian A

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Re: New Brunswick, Canada - The Chuck Palahniuk Ride
« Reply #3 on: August 01, 2017, 01:45:40 PM »
The road trip to Key West was great. We rode from Birmingham to Key Largo in one day, then spent the full next day enjoying Key West.
I loved Mallory Square. I think it was my favorite part of the trip.

We watched this guy ply his trade and watched the sun set. It was a really, really good time.




Fast forward a few months. I called Mill and bounced the idea off him. The subject had come up briefly while I had been riding with him in Idaho in late 2015. In early August of 2016 I met him in Anchorage for a week of riding in Alaska.
It was yet another fantastic trip.
We rode a lot and saw some really, really cool stuff. We got to go to Seward and Delta Junction and Valdez. We rode the Denali Highway and saw the Alaska pipeline and glaciers and loads of other neat stuff.

We ate fresh fish on the waterfront in Seward.






Fast forward another few months. Mulley called me and extended an invite to go with him and a group others. In January of 2017 I was riding in Baja, Mexico. Yet ANOTHER awesome trip. We had a blast! Great riding, great guys and some great food. Despite dining at some really nice establishments along the way, I think the best food I had the whole trip was the fresh sashimi we had. Fish Mulley and I caught on a 1/2 day fishing trip was prepared by the crew we had booked our trip with and it was absolutely fantastic.




On Tuesday, January 31, 2017, Mulley and I boarded the 737 that would carry us home from Baja. He had the window seat.
The plane taxied to the runway. Very soon the takeoff roll was behind us and we were headed home.

I stuck my earbuds in and listened to some music.

I was daydreaming, thinking about how good the trip had been. How fortunate I was to have been able to make the trip and enjoy all the good times.

And then...... then I got to thinking a bit more.....

Hmmmmm........

April of 2016 I had been in Key West.
August of 2016 I had been in Alsaka.
In January of 2017 I had been in Baja.

There had been great times in all places and I had enjoyed some very fine food in all three locations.

So the seed had been planted in Key West. It had been watered in Alaska and Baja. And it was on the flight home from Baja that it had sprang to life.

"I've been to Key West (SE), Alaska (NW) and Baja (SW). I'm going to Maine (NE) to eat lobster."

BOOM! That was the initial plan in my mind. Maine for lobster. 

I didn't mention it at the time but a few months later a few messages were sent and soon enough the group was set.
(Two others - Scott and Tony F had planned to go, but in the end, life events dictated they could not make it.)

And so it was, that I, Lincoln, Mulley and Darrin would be headed NE.

Initial plan had been Maine, but heck, you can't be THAT close and not go the little extra distance to spend the night in Canada and eat their lobster instead!


Offline speedfire

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Re: New Brunswick, Canada - The Chuck Palahniuk Ride
« Reply #4 on: August 01, 2017, 06:31:06 PM »
This guy tells a good story!!! :)

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Offline Brian A

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Re: New Brunswick, Canada - The Chuck Palahniuk Ride
« Reply #5 on: August 01, 2017, 09:07:06 PM »
This guy tells a good story!!! :)

Thank you. I hope this one doesn't disappoint.


The initial plan had been ride to Bar Harbor, Maine, eat lobster, then ride back in a general westerly direction to cross into Canada, spend the night in Toronto, come back into the states at Buffalo or Detroit and make our way back home.
The ride would be called "The Maine Event".

I laid out a rough route and it all looked good. Except for one problem....

Mulley and I got to discussing it all one night and closer scrutiny revealed a fly in the ointment: Time.

We would not have enough time unless we committed to longer days than we wanted to. So, the plans changed. We'd skip Bar Harbor, opt for Portland and ride into Canada from Maine and spend the night there, then backtrack a bit until we turned off for a different segment for the ride back home.

We poked around the web looking for a place that might strike our fancy when we came upon Saint Andrews, New Brunswick. I found this video and the deal was sealed.  We'd be headed to Saint Andrews for a night on The Bay of Fundy and some Canadian Lobster for dinner.

https://vimeo.com/137926119

I was jazzed. Really excited and counted the days until we would be leaving.


Saturday morning the 22 of July found the four of us meeting at Jack's in Springville for breakfast. As is the norm, I arrived early. It's something in my blood I guess.

And as is the norm, Mulley arrived last. I joked with Lincoln and Darrin that Mulley lived the closest but he'd be the last to arrive. But he made it and we all had breakfast. It was soon after breakfast when Mulley realized he did not have his credit card. He rode back home, fumbled around in his truck, found his credit card then rode back to Jack's.
We left a little later than planned but it didn't matter. We had about 1,250 miles to cover between then and Sunday evening. What difference would a few minutes make in the whole scheme of things?

None.


The four bikes.




My bike waits patiently.




Darrin waits patiently.




Lincoln waits patient but fumbles around with something while doing so.



With Mulley arrived back on the scene we rolled out and hit I-59 North. Our first stop would be Rising Fawn for some gas and something to drink.

We rolled through Chattanooga and Knoxville and sometime later we were in Abingdon, Virginia, eating lunch at Hardee's. I had 2 soft chicken tacos and a small order of chicken fingers. Their chicken fingers are really good. Jam up good.

It was hot Saturday afternoon. At each stop I would put on my jacket, zip it up and pour cold water down the front and back to soak the inside and provide cooling while riding. It works pretty well. Mulley did the same thing.

On we rode. As the shadows grew long and day turned to night, we ran into rain. Not extremely heavy but far more than a gentle shower.

We decided to call it a day at Winchester, Virginia. We stopped and ate at Outback then got two rooms for the night.

I showed about 685 miles for day one.

I slept a good sleep that first night.

Sunday morning found us up and going. The weather looked more promising.




You know, the front end of the 1st Gen Versys is really kinda ugly. It's my bike and I can freely admit it. The front end is ugly.

But for me, when it comes to the 650 V, function trumps a pretty face and from that standpoint, I think it's a good looking bike. Besides, when I'm sitting on it rolling down the road, I can't see its face so what difference does it make to me at that point?

None.


« Last Edit: August 01, 2017, 09:17:56 PM by Brian A »

Offline speedfire

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Re: New Brunswick, Canada - The Chuck Palahniuk Ride
« Reply #6 on: August 01, 2017, 09:18:04 PM »
"You know, the front end of the 1st Gen Versys is really kinda ugly. It's my bike and I can freely admit it. The front end is ugly."

I concur, but it sure is fun to ride. :)

Waiting on more story please.....

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Offline Fencejumper09

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Re: New Brunswick, Canada - The Chuck Palahniuk Ride
« Reply #7 on: August 02, 2017, 07:55:23 AM »
Awe Yeah Boi!! Here we go with another great story about some pretty cool guys!!

Looking forward to the rest of this one!

Offline Brian A

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Re: New Brunswick, Canada - The Chuck Palahniuk Ride
« Reply #8 on: August 02, 2017, 11:15:58 AM »
Awe Yeah Boi!! Here we go with another great story about some pretty cool guys!!

Looking forward to the rest of this one!

Hmmmm..... more pressure to deliver....

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I'll go ahead and throw this out there as a teaser.

There are a few places in this world I have been that I never, ever want to go back to.

Quevedo, Ecuador is one.  The country of Ecuador is a great place. The city of Quevedo, Ecuador is not.

Los Angeles (the entire greater LA area) is another. Stupid place in my book. All the people and traffic. Like somebody tried to stuff 10 lbs of flour into a 5 lb sack.   And succeeded.

Two more...... Newark, NJ and The Bronx, New York.

It's about 30 miles from the west edge of Newark until you hit I-87 and are headed north, free and clear, with The Bronx behind you, fading fast in the rearview mirror.

Careful plans had been made to get us through this area with as little hassle as possible. No need to exit the interstate. Just blow right by and continue on towards Portland, Maine.

But lots can go wrong in 30 miles.





And it did.
« Last Edit: August 02, 2017, 11:27:59 AM by Brian A »

Offline Nice Goat

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Re: New Brunswick, Canada - The Chuck Palahniuk Ride
« Reply #9 on: August 02, 2017, 11:37:00 AM »
I am Jack's impending sense of doom....

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Offline Brian A

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Re: New Brunswick, Canada - The Chuck Palahniuk Ride
« Reply #10 on: August 02, 2017, 11:58:20 AM »
I am Jack's impending sense of doom....

Applicable in this instance? Yes. And a reasonable guess as to the relevance of Chuck Palahniuk,

But the tie-in is purely coincidental in this case.

Offline springer

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Re: New Brunswick, Canada - The Chuck Palahniuk Ride
« Reply #11 on: August 02, 2017, 01:38:27 PM »
Awe Yeah Boi!! Here we go with another great story about some pretty cool guys!!

Looking forward to the rest of this one!

Los Angeles (the entire greater LA area) is another. Stupid place in my book. All the people and traffic. Like somebody tried to stuff 10 lbs of flour into a 5 lb sack.   And succeeded.


Yep, MOST of the Los Angeles area is a PISS pot as far as riding goes but there are some really great roads up in the hills and canyons. One or two are sort of famous. ........but I am sure they are patrolled a bit moore heavily now then when I was there in the late 80's.




Thanks to the interwebs and a certain YouTube channel. ;)






BTW, the mountain roads east of San Diego. .........going up and over ..............von debar.

Offline Brian A

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Re: New Brunswick, Canada - The Chuck Palahniuk Ride
« Reply #12 on: August 03, 2017, 07:59:19 PM »
Sunday morning was nice. The rain had moved out and it looked like it was going to be a good day. We ate breakfast in the hotel, had several cups of coffee and then got ready to roll out.


Lincoln, getting ready.




Lincoln's bike, plus mine and Darrin's.
The guy in the background appears to be crying, but I think he probably just had crusty morning eyes and was working to get himself better vision.




And soon we were on the road. This is what was planned for the day. The bright red line shows us starting in Winchester, Va (just off the bottom left corner) and ending in Portland, Maine.

Both of those events did in fact occur. We left Winchester, Virginia and ended the day in Portland, Maine.



On Sunday we rode in Virginia, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine.............. and New York............... and..................

New Jersey!

We stopped for gas and a short break along the way.




We stopped for lunch in Easton, Pa. I seem to remember it was the last exit before entering New Jersey. In any event, it was our last stop before crossing into NJ. We ate at Subway then prepped to leave.

Darrin strolling to his bike.  ( I think that is a piece off somebody's car lying in the parking lot)



As Lincoln and I were getting ready I joked (but was serious) about the comments I had made earlier.

I do not like Newark. I am sure there are some fine folks that live there and call it home. I am sure there are some positive things Newark might have to offer. That's all fine and dandy.

But, I do NOT like Newark.

The interstates are the worst I have ever been on, both in layout and in quality of the road surface. The single worst pothole I have ever hit was in a rental car on the interstate in Newark. I didn't hit a pothole so much as I drove off into and then back out of a small crater. How it did not pop the tires on that rental car, I still do not understand. It really was brutal.

The layout of the interstate system.......

There isn't any.

It's as if somebody, some time in the distant past, grabbed a handful of cooked spaghetti and dropped it in the middle of a table and said "There. There is your road system. Figure out a way to make it work." 

I guess in a way it's like the written Chinese language. If you know it, all the characters make sense. You can understand. But if you don't know the characters then it's all just a bunch of lines arranged in some seemingly random way.

Crooked lines in this case. But to the same effect. (and this is but a small sample)



So anyway, back to my joking/serious comments to Lincoln.

"I do not want to stop anywhere in the state of New Jersey. I do not want to wind up in Newark. In any way, shape, form or fashion. I don't even want to slow down as we pass through New Jersey and by Newark. I want to get through there, on to the other side of New York City and headed north towards Maine."

HA HA HA HA HA!! The joke was to be on me (actually all of us.)

We pulled out of the Subway parking lot and hit the interstate. Mulley was in the lead and had my GPS track on his Garmin. I had it on mine and we all had Portland, Maine in our devices as the day's destination.

None of which would make one bit of difference once we hit the greater Newark area.

This. This is what we had. It was well thought out, planned and should have been at least marginally within the realm of being seen as reasonably possible to execute.

Nope.

Not a chance.



The unmitigated disaster that was to be our journey in, around and through Newark, New Jersey, USA lay just a few miles and a few minutes ahead.




« Last Edit: August 04, 2017, 09:10:46 AM by Brian A »

Offline Brian A

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Re: New Brunswick, Canada - The Chuck Palahniuk Ride
« Reply #13 on: August 03, 2017, 09:18:41 PM »
And there it was, right there in front of us.  Newark.

Mulley was in the lead but it wouldn't have mattered had anyone else been in that spot. I don't believe Newark discriminates nor picks favorites.

I honestly believe the wheels came off at the very first split in the interstate system. We took the wrong split. You'd think it would be so easy. We are all reasonably bright, educated guys. Many, many miles of riding all over North America and some additional riding in a few international destinations. We had prearranged routes and tracks running on nice GPS devices.

Didn't matter.  We went the wrong way.

The Interstate signs should all just read something like this:  "I-95 North Ahead. Pick a lane. You might get lucky"

One really neat thing about the Newark interstate system: If you make a mistake you need not worry, there will be another opportunity in about 10 seconds to make another mistake and before you know it, you have no clue where you are.

The GPS is constantly saying "Rerouting".

At one point in time I remember seeing a sign along the lines of "Last Exit before Holland Tunnel".  I think it was Holland Tunnel. Might have been Lincoln Tunnel. But in any event, a ride through the tunnel into Manhattan was not on my "To-do" list that day. We exited.

Maybe it was then. Maybe it was some other time. I honestly do not know. It was all, the whole thing, one miscue after another. Despite my desires and my attempts at proper planning, execution had failed and we were on the surface streets of hot, congested Newark, New Jersey, USA!

What a treat!

(Darrin pic)



We couldn't help but laugh and joke about it. The one place I had NOT wanted to be was EXACTLY where we were!
All part of the experience and nobody got the least bit bent over it. We just laughed about it and plowed ahead.

And were soon back on the interstate.

To add a further element of delight to the experience, these interstate roads are often toll roads. At some point in the debacle we came to a toll booth. Unmanned. Just machines and empty booths and a little button to push to get your ticket.

Yep. You guessed it. My little button, no matter how many times I pressed it, the result was the same: a blank stare on the part of both me and the ticket-spitter-outer machine.

Nothing.    No ticket.    Screw it.    I pulled way from the hibernating ticket machine with no ticket on an interstate road that I wasn't certain even took me where I wanted to go in a city I had not even wanted to slow down in. Things could, and would, continue to go downhill.

Darrin was behind me. Same thing for him.  No ticket.

Mulley and Lincoln had hit a different booth. Their machine had been awake and friendly towards them. They both had tickets.

We all pulled away from the toll booth area. Our next opportunity for a mistake smacked us in the face about 10 seconds later. 

There's an exit ramp onto some other interstate looking road! Let's take it!
Doesn't matter where it goes 'cause we don't know where we are going!

I do not remember how it came to be but we all came to an abrupt halt on the shoulder of that exit ramp. The exit ramp we had just split off onto immediately split again for yet another opportunity to play Roll the Dice. We discussed right vs wrong for a minute or so and Mulley, still in the lead, sped away. Nobody else followed. We realized he had (Surprise!) chosen the wrong way.

He had taken the right fork and we needed to go to the left fork. Interstate traffic buzzed by and there was one of those concrete island things, a few inches high, that are found where roads split. It's like a little slice of cement pie that serves to help define the two options.

Our desired option was on the other side of one of those little cement pieces of interstate pie. No worries. We were on motorcycles and when you gotta go, they will go.

And so we did. A gap in traffic, whack the throttle and it's just a hop, skip and a jump over the piece of cement pie and we are on the proper road.

Problem was, Mulley was long gone. Somewhere. Headed in the wrong direction.

The three of us stopped again.

Mulley and Darrin both have fancy Bluetooth gadgets in their helmet. They can listen to music and... make phone calls.

Darrin called Mulley.  I wasn't privy to the conversation but as Darrin related it to us after the call was over, Mulley had found himself approaching yet another toll both. Apparently his sense of direction was good enough that day to let him know that passing through that toll booth would have him committed to going way the wrong way.

A venture through the median offered a solution to that problem and so Mulley availed himself of the opportunity, crossed the median and found himself on the same interstate we were on, just 5 to 10 miles behind us. Darrin told Mulley we would ride a little further and stop and wait for him.

I was in the lead.

We came to the other end of the section of road that was the toll road that I did not have a ticket for. I explained to the lady.......
 
"Me and the guy behind me. We pushed the button over and over. Both of us. At the blah blah blah booth. No ticket.
No ticket."

Sorry. I'll have to charge you the maximum.

"What!? Your machine won't give me a ticket and because it won't work I have to pay the maximum?"

Sorry sir. $14.50

"$14.50 to ride about 4 miles of interstate? That's the most expensive 4 miles I had ever traveled in my life."

She smiled. I paid the $14.50 and waited on Darrin to do the same.

When Darrin had talked to Mulley he had told Mulley we would ride a bit further down the road and wait for him and that is what we did. As we started across the bridge over the Hackensack River I pulled off onto the wide shoulder where we three stopped to wait.

Mulley rolled up a few minutes later.

We had a few laughs but by golly Newark was behind us. NEWARK WAS BEHIND US!!

But we were not out of the woods yet. Not by a long shot.

We had reasonably thought Sunday afternoon would be a good time to traverse the Newark/New York area. We would miss the busy commute times and busy day traffic of the work week.

Yes. Sunday afternoon should be a good time.

We found out later

Just.
How.
Wrong.

we had been.

« Last Edit: August 03, 2017, 09:32:40 PM by Brian A »

Offline Bamagator

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Re: New Brunswick, Canada - The Chuck Palahniuk Ride
« Reply #14 on: August 04, 2017, 10:25:24 AM »
Keep it coming Brian, great storyline man.

I used to have a Ninja 650r.  Same engine as your Kawi V.  Maybe you could do a review on your bike one day or hit me with a PM on your thoughts on it.
« Last Edit: August 04, 2017, 10:53:50 AM by Bamagator »
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