The plan for the first part of the trip was to head northeast up through the Maritime provinces, on the way back down go through Madawaska Maine for the first corner of the USA 4 Corners ride, then down through Quebec back to my house for one day to change out sprockets, chain, and both tires. Started out with fresh oil, my old but still good tires, and a chain that I knew was bad but figured it would get me back home from that first 2800 miles. By getting those 2800 miles on the old equipment gave me a higher level of confidence that the new stuff would allow me to finish the trip without an additional enroute change.
Actual route taken
That first day/night I made it to Calais Maine about 704 miles. Late in the evening I was on Maine Rt 9 between Bangor and Calais, road was basically empty but I did come up behind a car and followed it for a bit, when we came to a passing zone I started to pass. As I came alongside the car he flashed his lights, I looked more closely ahead and saw the backside of a moose as it walked diagonally away across the road. Wasnít a serious situation and I donít think I even left off on the throttle as it was walking off the road to the right, but it was a wake-up call to never take my attention off the road riding late at night.
Gates along highway in New Brunswick that allow moose to get off the highway but they canít swing in to allow them onto the road.
Next day I made my way up through New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia, planning to be on the late night ferry crossing to Newfoundland so I didnít need to get a room for the night. Had hellacious winds near the northern coasts that day. Found my lightish bike combined with a big high mounted top case and big panniers made it real vulnerable to high crosswinds. In 40 years of licensed street riding Iíve never been blown across the road into the oncoming lane but it happened twice in about 10 minutes. If the timing was wrong undoubtedly I would have been killed but the other side of the road was empty at the time.
Confederation Bridge to Prince Edward Island
Was taking a pic of the very impressive Welcome to Nova Scotia sign while stopped under the pole with the no stopping sign on it because you canít get off the roadway at that point. Was sitting on the bike with the camera up, a gust of wind knocked me right over, the bike fell, I rolled into the traffic lane, my camera slid into the lane. I looked to see if anything was coming and there was, jumped up stepping on my camera and picked up the bike, put my head down toward the tank because I thought my camera might get run over and I would get hit with it. It didnít and I and it were fine.
Got the pic next to the no stopping sign on the pole.
Up to this point I ďHADĒ to adjust my chain twice a day because it would just get too floppy. I knew this was excessive but still figured IĎd be good to get back home. Crossed on the ferry and spent the next day riding around southwest Newfoundland. By the end of the day I was shocked to find my chain adjuster was totally maxed out at the number 2 on the adjuster. Visibly there was still about ĺĒ of adjustment left on the axle and I ďassumedĒ I would be able to adjust it down to ď0Ē on the adjuster, but no, not possible to go beyond 2. Now I was worried because I still had about 1500 miles to go and at the current rate I would NEED to adjust it at least 2 more times.
Loaded on ferry to Newfoundland
Crossed the ferry overnight again. Was going to do a bit of the Cabot Trail in Nova Scotia but decided not to because of the chain problem but also because visibility was near zero with heavy fog, mist, and light rain. This was one of the disappointments of the trip, but itís not that far from home and maybe someday Iíll get to do it.
Some views on Newfoundland
On the way to Madawaska now, a full day of riding with no chain adjustment, as I turned to enter customs the chain spun on the rear sprocket. Checking after customs the sprocket literally looked like snake fangs, they were all bent over at right angles, very long, very thin, and very sharp. I tried to adjust but couldnít, no movement left. Just a few miles later at Madawaska I checked again and now the sprocket teeth were short and sharp sticking straight out like they should, all the fangs had broke off. Late in the afternoon now I took my required 4 corner verification pics. Decided to cancel going into Quebec because my phone doesnít work in Canada, didnít want to break down in Canada, and I figured Max BMW in New Hampshire was my best chance to get this fixed.
Four Corners park in Madawaska, only one of the 4 corners to commemorate this ride.
So not going over 55 and being VERY easy on the throttle I limped back to Houlton Maine late at night. Called my Good Samís emergency road service. They said it was about 235 miles to a dealer in Portland Maine (if they had the parts) and may require up to 5 pass off tows to get me there. I said weíll deal with it in the morning. In the morning I called the Portland dealer and they said they probably didnít have the parts, Max said they definitely have them. Told them I would be trying to make it.
It was a bright sunny day so I headed out on the freeway. As I rode I thought is there any way I can make this better. The light bulb went on and I thought screw (forget) the adjusters. There is plenty of play left in the axle. So I stopped, loosened the axle nut and pulled the wheel back keeping it as aligned as I could, held it in place with only the tightness of the axle nut. I knew this was going to work as I could have adjusted it several more times doing it this way.
Big Kudos to Max, got there 4pm on Friday before Memorial Day weekend, closed on that Saturday. They had the parts, squeezed me in, and I was on my way home by 6pm with new chain and sprockets. At my request they even set me up with a master link so I could remove their stuff at home and put on my stuff keeping theirs as a spare. Was home that night.
Next day at home swapped out the chain, sprockets, and put on new Tourance tires. For sprockets I went from the stock 16/47 gearing to a higher 17/45 since the next several thousand miles would be freeway.
Some more pics here, Iíll be adding to them as I select and edit for the rest of the trip:
To be continued!