The Flight of Bear Canada

Day 29 - July 29th
Fredericton, NB to Holyoke, MA

I really hate to do this but I have to push home. I also don't like taking the same route back, so I head back through the states. I cross the border at Calais without a hitch. I then hit the Maine Turnpike and start throwing the miles on. The only quirk with the Turnpike is that there are toll booths along the road every 40km or so. The toll increased as I rode towards Boston but still it wasn't much more that $1.75. Also some of the rest areas on the Turnpike are well done with a gas station and places to eat. I decided to take a bypass at Boston so I hit up a side road and got seriously lost. Mind you that's my specialty. And I have to say that the backroad scenery is beautiful, it's a pity I don't have time to explore. The GPS seems to have a better map of the US than Canada since the roads are spot on. But the display is too small to give me the "big picture" that I like. I'm still using the paper map of Canada on my tank bag but the roads aren't that detailed. My road atlas is too cumbersome to use while riding, so unplanned backroad riding is in order. But the roads here are well kept so it's all good. So I finally roll into Holyoke, MA around 11pm. Oddly enough I don't feel as wasted as I've usually been. Mind you the weather has been a bit cooler and a little less humid. But I did roll through some short rain showers. I do wonder how helmetless riders handle the rain. I think I found out as I passed a couple on Harley's huddling under an umbrella in a rest area. My friend Joe Rocket and I shrugged it all off and kept riding.


The train station at McAdam, NB.


An old house hidden in the woods.


Not as old house, not as hidden.

Day 30 - July 30th
Holyoke, MA to
Toledo, OH

Today was a bit of a chug on the I-90. I did get to experience various tollways in use. The Jersey Turnpike was nice in that you got a ticket at the start and didn't pay until you exited. The Chicago Expressway was ill named due to bumper to bumper traffic. The cooking heat was a nice touch as well. I did demonstrate the ability of a motorcycle to get around traffic. Then as a reprieve from the heat, there was a little cloud and a little rain.

OK it was more than a little rain. I think the proper term is "freaking horrendous deluge!" Seriously it was the worst rainstorm I've even been in. And I stress the words "the worst" Normally I zip up my jacket and close my visor. But no such reprieve for me. The Joe Rocket jacket which had done well so far, failed I was soaked through in about ten minutes. The visor fogged up. I opened my visor and was stung by the wind driven rain. Yes the wind had picked up as well. Traffic slowed to a crawl. I flipped on my four-way lights so I could be seen. I soldered on. (Stubbornness is my specialty.) I did see crowds of helmetless riders miserably huddled under the few overpasses there were.

A full day of riding and I found a hotel outside of Toledo.

Day 31 - July 31st
Toledo, OH to Billings, MN

Another fine day of riding. The skies were beautiful, mostly blue with a few wisps of clouds. The scenery seemed to flatten out and open up. I rode west. I had changed my riding style to put miles on. I had asked for a month off worth and I wanted to get back by Monday so I could return to work. So I was putting on long days in the saddle. Which was about eleven to twelve hours riding. And I was staying hotels to help save time. I saved a couple of hours each day not having to set-up and tear down camp.

The Montana badlands were beautiful. I felt that John Wayne would round the corner on horse at anytime. Then night rolled in, and apparently so did some clouds. They announced their presence in spectacular fashion, beautiful bolts of lightning. The storm was 20 km to the north of me. I guess another warning of riding night is that you don't know what kind of weather you will run into. I rode a little faster. Finding a hotel along the way was tricky since not many were well lit with gaudy neon signs. I decided to press onto Billings. My GPS had indicated that the road was veering south away from the storm. I rolled into Billings late a night. The skyline was beautifully lit up with marker lights from the refineries. I'm sure it was ugly in the day, but it looked nice at night.

Day 32 - August 1st
Billings, MN to Surrey, BC

Another day, another grind. Being so close to home I decided to make a big push for home. I mean I checked Mapquest and there was only a thousand miles to home. No problem, right?

Well it was all nice, with good roads and blue skies. I never knew that eastern Washington state was so flat. I mean it makes the prairies look hilly. It was all fine until the afternoon when I hit the Columbia plateau, east of Seattle. Then I was hit with nasty gusts of wind. I was blown all over the road. Manitoulin Island, Ontario was bad but this was worse. The wind seemed to have a heck of a punch.

I crossed the Plateau and started to climb. Then I remembered something I saw on a map once. I had to cross the mountain pass. The sign announcing that I had entered the Snoqualmie National Forest seemed to confirm this. It also confirmed that I can be a stubborn idiot. Riding mountain passes in the dark is not a good idea. There was enough traffic to keep the animals away or at least wary. But then there was the cold. My thermometer dropped to 13C. It was a pity that I shipped my heated vest back home from Truro, NB. Oh the joy.

I rolled off the mountain and into Seattle with a heroes welcome, complete with fireworks. Seriously there were fireworks, that ended as I crossed the Mercer Island Floating Bridge. (Seattlites would say the fireworks were from SeaFest, but I'll say they for me.) A stop for hot chocolate in Seattle and then I was off north. I rolled back across the Canadian border at 1:00am. Then into my own driveway at about 2:00am.

I was home. I rolled my tired and beat Strom into the garage. Then I headed into the house to sleep in my own bed for a first time in a month. Except there was one snag... mother had locked the deadbolts on the door. So much for a triumphant return. I was locked out of the house.

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Contents Copyright (C) Michael Fodor 2012.