Great mo­tor­cy­cle roads to travel down

From Nova Sco­tia to Maine, ex­plore long-for­got­ten roads, hid­den gems

South Shore Breaker - - AUTO - TOM VAUGHAN THE LONG WAY HOME edi­tor@southshore­

The world is full of fa­mous mo­tor­cy­cling roads that will test your skills and pro­vide great scenery along the way. In Italy, they have the Stelvio Pass, in the United States, they have the

Deals Gap in North Carolina. Here in Nova Sco­tia, we are blessed with the Cabot Trail, which is con­stantly ranked as one of North Amer­ica’s best biking roads. There are even more hid­den gems, all within a day’s ride, that can pro­vide sim­i­lar thrills with­out the ne­ces­sity of ship­ping you and your bike half­way around the globe to en­joy.

Th­ese scenic, but tech­ni­cally chal­leng­ing roads, are ac­tu­ally dis­ap­pear­ing from our maps as years of im­prove­ments to other high­ways have slowly led to their demise. Up­keep and main­te­nance dol­lars are be­ing spent else­where and in a few years, some of the roads listed be­low may sim­ply van­ish as Mother Na­ture re­claims her ter­ri­tory. Ag­gres­sive twin­ning man­dates in other prov­inces have also caused some good sin­gle-lane high­ways to be ab­sorbed in the process. An ex­am­ple of this is Que­bec High­way 185 that runs be­tween Ed­mund­ston, N.B. and Riviere-du­loup, Que. It used to be a lovely wind­ing road with great small towns like Ca­bano and Deglies to drive through. Their small mo­tels ad­ver­tis­ing cer­tain en­ter­tain­ment for the lonely trav­eller was al­ways good for a laugh as you drove by.

The views and curves around the Temis­couata area in Que­bec look like some­thing out of the Lake District of Italy. Now, it is mostly gone. High­way 185 is now Que­bec 85 and is twinned to avoid th­ese quaint Que­bec towns. Only a small sec­tion around Saint-an­tonin still re­tains the old sur­face and sin­gle lanes. If you want to ex­pe­ri­ence a unique side of Que­bec, there is still time. High­way 289 in the Kamouraska District of this prov­ince that show­cases the her­itage and great cul­ture of peo­ple who can trace their lin­eage back to the 17th cen­tury. This road starts as an ex­ten­sion of NB-120 that you pick up in Ed­mund­ston, N.B.

Once you have made the con­nec­tion to High­way 289, you feel as though you are rid­ing through the gen­tly ris­ing farm hills in France’s Provence re­gion. The style of old homes seem to be just once re­moved from the orig­i­nal sod shel­ters that dot­ted the area in the early 1700s. Rid­ing on this curv­ing as­phalt route, you will still see grand-mère rock­ing in her chair and giv­ing a friendly wave to mo­tor­cy­clists zoom­ing along. The main town that is cen­tral to High­way 289 is Po­hénég­amook, where I’m told that if you can pro­nounce the name cor­rectly, you are given an hon­orary cit­i­zen­ship.

That fate might hit the next road on our list, High­way 108 in New Brunswick. This can be reached by cut­ting off the twinned main road at Monc­ton for the qui­eter Route 126 to Rogersville and then over to Re­nous-quar­ryville and even­tu­ally, Plas­ter Rock. For a long time, it was the go-to route for zip­ping through the cen­tral part of the prov­ince and avoid­ing most ma­jor ci­ties. Now, it is a shadow of its for­mer self with even the half­way rest stop and fuel break busi­ness long aban­doned and left to its own demise. On the pos­i­tive side, it is still a great twisty ride with lots of breath­tak­ing views in the higher el­e­va­tions as you crest the ge­o­graphic back­bone of this prov­ince. It is get­ting a lit­tle patchy in spots so watch your speeds on the straights, as tempt­ing as they are.

Just over the bor­der in Maine is a lit­tle gem of a road that has a long sto­ried his­tory. High­way 9, or the “Air­line Route” to the vet­eran trav­eller, has been called an ex­tended “Isle of Man” on the Amer­i­can east­ern seaboard. New high­ways are mov­ing traf­fic faster through Houl­ton and onto US-95 for a longer, but quicker, op­tion. This is leav­ing High­way 9 to the rid­ers that want to ex­pe­ri­ence old Maine and not just blast across the state at posted speed lim­its. High­way 9 slows things down with great long cor­ners and scenery that shows the glo­ri­ous de­cay of old mo­tels and fad­ing signs beck­on­ing tourists to rent lake-side cab­ins that have long since dis­ap­peared into the for­est. En­ter this road at Bar­ing by the ubiq­ui­tous Big Stop and show up at Ban­gor two hours later feel­ing like you just time warped back to the ’60s.

Take a quick ride un­der the rail­way over­pass there and check out the tiny town of Est­court Sta­tion in Maine. The road has a few rough patches, but all in all it is in good con­di­tion. Get ready for a rude awak­en­ing, though, as the ter­mi­nus of this gen­tle trip spits you out onto Route 20 to Mon­treal where the posted speed lim­its seem to be a mere sug­ges­tion.

There are more of th­ese tour­ing roads within a day or two from our area. Even on the South Shore we have our own lit­tle Tail of the Dragon. High­way 332 from Dayspring to River­port gives you over 65 twists and turns in a brief 16-kilo­me­tre run as it snakes its way along the east­ern shore­line of the La­have River. Give that one a try and maybe

I’ll see you there. Re­mem­ber, don’t for­get to wave!

Tom Vaughan has been rid­ing all man­ner of mo­tor­cy­cles for over 50 years. He cur­rently re­sides in a semi-re­tired state on the shores of the river in East La­have.

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