Day 14 CCR: CCR = Cross Canada Rain?
We left Summerside, Prince Edward Island, this morning in a light rain that lasted less than an hour. We then rode under ominously cloudy skies until we were about an hour and a half from our evening destination of Edmunston, New Brunswick, next to the northern tip of Maine. Then it started raining harder than anywhere else on this trip, so far. But since we only had an hour or so to the end of the ride, we pushed on.
Of course, one of the problems with such a ride is that there weren’t many photo ops, though I stopped long enough in the non-rainy hours to get a couple shots to show the kind of country we spent much of the day in.
So what I do I write about tonight? I think I’ll describe the ride on Highway 108 seen in the picture above. In western North Carolina where I live is a road well-known to bikers as “The Tail of the Dragon.” Now, this road, US 129, winds from Deals Gap, NC, to Chilhowee Lake in Tennessee. The Dragon is best known for its number-based slogan: “318 Curves in 11 Miles,” indicating its twistiness, tight corners and butt clinching exhilaration as riders seek to avoid serious injury while setting a personal speed record. Highway 108 in New Brunswick isn’t like that at all. In fact, in its nearly 100 mile length from Renous in the east to Plaster Rock in the west, this road probably doesn’t have more than a couple dozen curves. Some sections measure more than five miles without any curves at all. So what makes Highway 108 special? Potholes. That’s right. Potholes. Thousands of them, created by malign forces to bedevil motorcyclists who dare lay tread on its rough asphalt surface. If this road had a slogan it would be something like “4,873 Potholes in 85 Miles.” In fairness to New Brunswick road repair crews, workers do try to fill potholes several times a year, though smoothing them out after they fill them in seems not to have entered their minds. Potholes on Highway 108 are like mushrooms–they just magically appear overnight. And, like mushrooms, they grow very big, very fast.
While the Tail of the Dragon has its curves that must be mastered, Highway 108 has its potholes that must be avoided. Constantly. Indeed, it’s like riding through a virtual video game where you have to respond quickly and sharply to avoid hitting a pothole and having a tire go pfffft and the bike go **&^$&%%!#. And to make the game more exciting, let’s add shade to the road from the tunnel of trees you’re riding through so that distinguishing between filled and unfilled potholes is exponentially difficult. Oh, and let’s throw in occasional wet pavement from a recent shower, or maybe have a 1/2 ton moose dart across the road in front of you from out of the trees and bushes that crowd the road like spectators at the Tour de France. There are lots of variations to this motorcycle video game, all of them designed to ensure a final score of pfffft and **&^$&%%!#. I have to admit, though, it was an adrenaline pumping challenge to run the pothole gauntlet. I was glad, however, when I finished the 85 mile run with no pffft and no **&^$&%%!# because my neck and shoulders ached from tension and jarring around for an hour and a half.
Other than that, we didn’t do much today except look at the clouds and wonder when they would open up on us again. It was 1:30 p,m. if you’re keeping track of such things.
If you haven’t guessed, tomorrow’s forecast is for rain much of the day, but we’re headed for a stop at a Harley dealer for Steve to get a new tire (just worn, not damaged by potholes) and then on to Montreal where I’ll practice my French. Oui?