Topic: New Brunswick, Canada - The Chuck Palahniuk Ride  (Read 1344 times)

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Offline Brian A

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« Reply #15 on: August 04, 2017, 11:01:22 AM »
Keep it coming Brian, great storyline man.

Maybe you could do a review on your bike one day or hit me with a PM on your thoughts on it.

Thank you. Appreciate the positive feedback.

I will be throwing in some comments/assessments of the 650 V later in the ride report.

Offline speedfire

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« Reply #16 on: August 04, 2017, 12:44:13 PM »
I told ya'll Brian tells a good story!!!  :)

Brian, I'm rolling laughing at your last post. I drove thru NJ a few years ago in my car, and I experienced almost the same exact things with the interstate, GPS, toll roads/booths, etc.etc
If I remember I paid around  $40.00 in tolls that trip. It was the stupidest thing ever.

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Offline norton73

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« Reply #17 on: August 04, 2017, 03:18:20 PM »
regarding the tolls in NJ, they are all on the roads leading out of the state, you can get in for free, but they charge you to leave.
Loose nut holding the handlebars

Offline springer

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« Reply #18 on: August 04, 2017, 04:29:21 PM »
regarding the tolls in NJ, they are all on the roads leading out of the state, you can get in for free, but they charge you to leave.

 But it IS the best money you will spend the whole trip.  ;D

Offline Brian A

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« Reply #19 on: August 04, 2017, 06:14:17 PM »
regarding the tolls in NJ, they are all on the roads leading out of the state, you can get in for free, but they charge you to leave.

 But it IS the best money you will spend the whole trip.  ;D

Springer beat me to the punch.

Offline JBMFT

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« Reply #20 on: August 04, 2017, 06:45:42 PM »
This is a GREAT thread. Thank you for sharing.

Offline Brian A

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« Reply #21 on: August 05, 2017, 07:11:01 AM »
This is a GREAT thread. Thank you for sharing.

Thanks. Your name and a comment you made came up during the ride. It was at the end of day two. I don't know why but for some reason my left butt cheek was killing me. It hurt real bad. Right on that boney pointy thing. Didn't bother me at all any other day, but at the end of day two I related my situation in this manner.......

"Reminds me of when we rode to Key West. We were on the way home and had stopped to eat when JBMFT made a comment that I found really funny then, but fits my situation perfectly now. 'Guys. Mentally I am OK. Really. Fine. But my ass...... It's dying.'"

That was me at the end of day two. But no more butt cheek problems for the rest of the ride.

Ah yes.... Day two.....

We were all back together. Sitting in the edge of I-95 over the Hackensack River.

It would have been fairly reasonable at that point to have thought we were out of the woods. To have thought that missteps and misdirection and discombobulated navigation were all in the rear view mirror.

It would have been reasonable to think that the were back on track and were headed for smooth sailing now.
And I think that is how we felt.


We were wrong.


We all thumbed our starter buttons and jumped into the flow of traffic.


Offline Brian A

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« Reply #22 on: August 06, 2017, 08:17:00 AM »
We were "back on the road". And the good thing was, we were on the correct road. The road we wanted to be on: I-95 headed for the George Washington Bridge where we would cross out of New Jersey and into New York.

It was at our next stop, on after we had cleared New Jeresy, that we would learn why we had run into the sea of humanity (in the form of untold numbers of automobiles) that we would encounter a few miles ahead, at the GW Bridge toll booth.

Traffic flowed somewhat smoothly for a few miles until we got close to the toll booth and the bridge. At that point it became a full fledged traffic jam with cars stopped, cars creeping and cars edging bumpers everywhere to get from one lane to another. It seemed like there was no merge area to go from more lanes to less lanes. It wasn't a smooth transition.

Lincoln and I wound up next to each other, inching along, and watching the wad of vehicles ooze forward. We both asked ourselves and each other:  "WHY? Why would anybody choose to live in such an environment?" I know there are people who are born there and live their lives in the big city environment, but there are also people who choose to move there. People who WANT to live there. I guess its all a matter of personal preference and what suits you. For the record, this doesn't suit me.




We paid our toll ($15.00) and cleared the toll booth and rode across the GW Bridge.

Construction on the GW began in 1927 and it opened in 1931. It is 4,760 feet long. The Port Authority website says the GW is "The Busiest Bridge in the World". It really is a pretty spectacular thing.


What we found out later on was that we had hit the GW Bridge at the worst time of the week. Tons of folks leave the city (NY) for the weekend and then the hoard all comes pouring back in on Sunday afternoon. So the four of us, along with countless locals returning from a weekend away from the city, made our way across the state line mid-bridge and were then in New York.

The whole road situation was again all discombobulated. Exits and merges and just a plethora of options for which exit/road to take that would, inevitably, be the wrong one.

To his credit, Lincoln seemed to be the one who had a better handle on things with his GPS routing. He jumped into the lead spot, we took an exit, went back toward the bridge, then took the next exit and were FINALLY headed in the direction we wanted to be going, on the road we had decided wanted/needed to be on.  Traffic was flowing smoothly and we could all breathe a collective sigh of relief.

The traffic hassles of the day were behind us. Things were going smooth now and we were headed towards Portland, Maine.


« Last Edit: October 02, 2017, 10:12:59 PM by Brian A »

gharshman

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« Reply #23 on: August 06, 2017, 10:20:52 AM »
I graduated college in May 1993, and my first duty assignment as a brand new Naval officer was Newport, Rhode Island.  The first time that I crossed the GW bridge was about 2:00am sometime around June 1993.  I timed it that way to avoid traffic around NYC.  What I didn't know was that they do most of their construction/repairs at night.  I was forced off the bridge to detour through the Bronx ... at 2AM in a convertible red Camaro ... with all my belongings stacked to the roof ... and everybody on the street corners watching me intently like lions watching a gazelle.  I ran a red light when one of them started walking toward me.  As bad as your bridge crossing was, I am glad that you didn't have to see the Bronx at night!

Offline Gam

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« Reply #24 on: August 06, 2017, 01:11:23 PM »
This NJ stuff is going to give me nightmares.

Offline Brian A

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« Reply #25 on: August 06, 2017, 01:20:32 PM »
I was forced off the bridge to detour through the Bronx ... at 2AM in a convertible red Camaro ... with all my belongings stacked to the roof ... and everybody on the street corners watching me intently like lions watching a gazelle.  I ran a red light when one of them started walking toward me.  As bad as your bridge crossing was, I am glad that you didn't have to see the Bronx at night!

Well, we didn't have to experience The Bronx at night but I did have to on a previous work trip.

I almost incorporated that experience into this ride report because it was even more info that would establish my credentials as one who wished to never revisit the place.

In short the work trip - about 2 years ago - was every bit as big of a mess as this trip. In Newark I was repeatedly on the wrong interstate, separated from the one I need to be on (which was just the adjacent lane) by a concrete divider. There were 2 or 3 individual number roads, all sharing the same road bed, but separated by dividers or guardrails. I would have to drive by my exit because I could not shift to that lane.

Later that afternoon I had to drive over into The Bronx to work at Bronx Lebanon Hospital. (It's the one where a doc carried a gun into the facility a month or so back and shot a coworker or two then killed himself.)  I won't detail the hassle that was trying to find place to park. What a firggin' nightmare.

The worst of the affair came sometime after dark when I was trying to get myself OUT of The Bronx. Traffic was very busy, I was in an unfamiliar area. One that was not the kind of place you'd ever want to take the family for vacation.

I wanted to turn left across oncoming traffic when a gap in traffic appeared. I mashed the gas pedal hard and then, in an instant, I saw a short black guy, in a black sweatsuit with a black hood right in front of me walking in the crosswalk.  I do not lie when I say I was just a few seconds from plowing right over him. Not just hitting him. I mean on the gas, plowing over him.  I slammed on the brakes. He paused and looked at me and kept on walking.

It was after that, when I was back in Newark trying to make my way to my hotel, that I hit the bomb crater pothole.

So I was 100% serious the whole time when I said I did NOT want to find myself on the surface streets of Newark or The Bronx.  But as fate would have it, both occurred.

And while I cannot say with 100% absolute certainty, I am pretty sure that at one point in time we were on our motorcycles at the very same intersection where I almost flattened the guy in my rental car a few years earlier.

Yes. I was very, very glad to be past New Jersey and The Bronx area. Very glad indeed.
« Last Edit: August 06, 2017, 01:29:07 PM by Brian A »

Offline IceCold4x4

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« Reply #26 on: August 06, 2017, 02:15:47 PM »
Everytime i'm driving in NYC at night I have visions of this....


Offline Brian A

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« Reply #27 on: August 06, 2017, 08:37:53 PM »
Not far after putting The Bronx behind us we found ourselves on the Saw Mill River Parkway. It is a 39 miles stretch of highway that was a welcome relief to the hassles we were leaving in our wake. We were back to actually making some decent time.

Before long we exited and stopped to buy gas and a snack. Must have been an uppity little suburb because in the course of 10 minutes or so I think we saw three different exotic autos. Ferarri and Lamborghini I believe they were.

Lincoln and Darrin get ready to head out.



So does Mulley.




Soon we were back on the road and heading NE.  Next stop was near Willington, Ct. It was pretty warm and I seem to remember dumping some water down inside my jacket again at this stop.







My cockpit for the 8 days.



The time stamp for the photos at this stop show 5:30 pm. We were about 185 miles from Portland (about 3 hours if you believe the GPS) so we were in pretty good shape time-wise.

On we rode. We stopped once again about dark to buy gas and have a snack. The next stop was in Portland. We ate dinner at Sebago Brewing Company then unloaded our stuff and retired to the comfort of our rooms at The Double Tree Inn.

We had covered somewhere between 1,300 and 1,400 miles since leaving home the previous morning. 1,300 - 1,400 miles in two days is not THAT many miles but when we considered the debacles of Newark and The Bronx, and several other toll booth/toll roads that didn't get mentioned and quite a few traffic snarls here-and-there, I think we all felt like we had made decent time.

There is something a bit satisfying about saying we ate breakfast in Birmingham Saturday morning then jumped on our motorcycles, rode NE and ate dinner the next evening in Portland, Maine.

Yeah. That's a pretty cool thing.

Tomorrow morning we'd head out to cross the US/Canada border into New Brunswick.

It had been a long day and once again, I slept a good sleep.



« Last Edit: August 06, 2017, 08:55:34 PM by Brian A »

Offline Brian A

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« Reply #28 on: August 11, 2017, 08:24:39 AM »
I've been out of town for work this week but am back now and have a few minutes to add another installment.

Monday morning arrived on the scene bringing with it a good bit of clouds. A check of the radar showed a mix of light rain and some heavier rain in our general area. Nothing too heavy. Nobody sweated it either way. We all had rain gear if we needed it.

We had breakfast in the hotel and got all loaded up and ready to go.




I found myself then, later on in the trip and still today, very happy with the 650 Versys. More on that later.
It is a fine bike even if it is ugly in the face.



We all rolled a block or two down the street to fill up our gas tanks. As had been the case a few other times, a random person would speak to us and strike up a conversation. Always centered around our motorcycles/trip and the Alabama tags. I remember at this gas station a fella looked at my tag and looked at me and then asked "You really from Alabama?" I told him yes and explained we had left Birmingham Saturday morning and had dinner in Portland last night. He shook his head and said something that indicated he was either impressed or thought we were crazy. I can't remember for sure which. It was probably a bit of both.

We pulled out of the parking lot and jumped on the interstate headed for our border crossing. Mulley had the lead.  We had not gone too far, maybe 30 minutes or so, when Mulley lead our group off an exit ramp and we pulled off on the side of the road. He had pressed a few buttons on his GPS and found we could ditch the interstate in favor of a backroad route that would allow for a bit more immersion into the local scenery and small towns. We opted for that route, ditched the slab and headed off down the two-lane highway.

It was a good call. My only disappointment was this: While we were still riding down the interstate I had been looking at the time/distance until we hit the Canadian border. I could already see that we would cross over into Canada almost exactly 48 hours after we had left breakfast at Jack's. In my mind that would be a "cool factor" but all-in-all, nothing to fret over.

The ride on the highway was a lot more pleasant. We had a few sections where we would be close enough to the coast to see the ocean, but never rode directly on the coast. No rocky shores or scenic vistas, just small towns along the coast.

We stopped further on for gas and a snack. Your average little country convenience store. Could have planted it back home in north Alabama and it would have been right at home.

The two women who were working, one older and one younger, were very friendly. I'm apt to strike up a conversation with a fence post and soon found myself engaged in conversation with them. I asked about the winter weather and we talked about that and a few other mundane topics. Nothing important. Just talk. The kind of talk that reinforces your experience and belief: Despite there being a lot of really rotten people in this world, when you slow down, get away from the hustle and bustle of many big cities, you often find there are many, many people who are friendly, warm and welcoming.

They were doing just what I do. They were living their life. Doing their thing. Not causing problems for society at large. More than willing to talk to someone from another part of the country who expressed genuine interest in them and their life. Somebody who joked around, showed them some respect and said "Please" and "Thank you."

Somebody for whom they could pull out a cell phone and show a pic of a really big snowfall from the prior winter.

They were two nice people. I wish I had asked permission and had my picture taken with them.

I got this picture instead.



Soon it was kickstands up and we were headed for the border. Somewhere along the way we crossed this bridge.



It was a neat thing. I'd have enjoyed a visit to the observation deck at the top of one of the towers but time didn't allow for it.







Wasn't long until we were there: The US/Canada border. The guy at the border crossing booth took us each, individually. Darrin was first and I think Mulley next, then me, then Lincoln. It was anticlimactic. He took my passport, asked for my tag number and asked a few questions. Guns? Alcohol? blah, blah... "No sir."
He asked me when was the last time I had been in Canada. I paused a moment, scrunched my nose in thought and answered "Uhhh... it was about 25 years ago."  He stamped my passport, handed it to me and said "Thank you sir. Enjoy your trip."  It was as if he knew when I had last been in Canada. Maybe he entered my name in their database and it showed I had been there about 25 years ago and when I confirmed that, all was cool.

Darrin took this pic of me and "Ugly Face" at the border crossing.



Once we were all in Canada we rode a mile or so into the small town and stopped for lunch. Cool little place. I believe we were the only patrons at the time.



Lunch was good. It was a "fish hamburger". I enjoyed it.





The lady working was nice and I enjoyed my first meal in Canada in about 25 years. We finished lunch and got back on the bikes and pulled way from the curb. Our final destination was not too far away.



« Last Edit: August 11, 2017, 09:21:24 AM by Brian A »

Offline Bamagator

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« Reply #29 on: August 11, 2017, 04:22:48 PM »
I was just about to pester you on when we would get the next post and when I'm gonna see that bike review.   8).  Keep em coming.
Life is always good in the BHM!