Let me first go into what I learned from the two trips this past year.
NC to TN, MS, AR, OK, NM and on to Boulder, CO returning via WY, SD, NB, IA, IL KY, TN, NC
1. You can almost never pack too light! My trip out to Denver on the TAT from Tellico Plains, TN was a bust for much of the route from MS to CO. Massive amounts of rain made enjoying the ride very difficult. Flooding everywhere and police instructions to stay off secondary roads.
2. Won't do that again in May!
3. Won't go into MS again!
4. Spend more time in AR with wonderful parks for riding in the NW corner of the state. I will go back to see this area in the fall when it is dry.
5. The return from Boulder, CO back through WY, SD, Neb and IA was a blast and I would do that again. Loved SD with lots to do and see. The people in NB were very helpful and easy to talk to.
That pretty much sums up the May trip. 5,500 miles over 5 weeks and excited every day getting up and discovering what is out there. Got to spend a week with my son in Boulder.
NC to Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, Labrador, Quebec and home via OH to NC
1. Try not to have a final drive fail the day before departure, it caused me to shift the front end 3 days to the back end so no harm done except a lot of stress.
2. Always build into your schedule some spare days, things happen. On one or two days I decided to add a day of rest because the riding was challenging that day and I needed to rest and check the bike over.
3. I think I packed right for the range of weather I could have experienced. I packed for 4 days of changes planning on washing my clothes every 4th or 5th day. It worked out perfectly. Almost every place I stayed had a washer and drier, some even included the soap. I got this one right. I would point out that when in Port Hope Simpson, Labrador the lady at the hunting lodge/hotel told me I should be getting on home because winter is almost here......That was Aug 23th. By the third week of September a blizzard shutdown the TransLab Highway. Timing is everything.
4. Stay in the B&B's in Canada. They are cheap, clean and breakfast is wonderful and you meet some incredible people. A hot shower really makes the next day better.
5. You really don't need a GPS in Newfoundland and Labrador. You can't get lost.
6. Out of Port Hope Simpson I carried plenty of water, sandwiches and snacks. When I would stop to eat the black flies would be all over me. When it was cool they didn't come out but as the temperatures rose so did the flies.
What did I miss that might have been fun had I one more week.
You know you are going to miss something on a first trip. What did I miss?
1. Twillinggate - going East to West on CDN 1 in Gander take 330 North to 331 North to 340 on to Crow Head. Many bridges to many islands and bays. This is the area you will most likely see Icebergs all summer. It is a giant loop so take 340 back south all the way to CDN 1.
2. If you liked the Cabot Trail in Nova Scotia you will love Gros Morne National Park. At the B&B in Deer Lake others there had flown in from Japan and Austria just to see this park. I am sorry I didn't spend more time there. Take Rt. 430, the Viking Trail heading North and you go through it. It is beautiful and I would have loved spending 3 days just touring it. Rt. 430 will take you on to the ferry to Labrador in Saint Barbe then on to St. Anthony the end of the road. Centuries old settlements can be seen there.
3. Between Red Bank in Labrador and Port Hope Simpson is Mary's Harbor on Rt. 510. There ferries can be taken to Battle Harbor on islands offshore. These are centuries old settlements where battles took place and original settlers established their new homes.
Of the three, I would go back for Gros Morne. Remember when crossing Labrador you are all alone unless you have friends traveling with you. In 300 miles of gravel I saw maybe 5 trucks going in the opposite direction and other than that there was no one and no services. You are all alone. But enjoy it, I did!