It’s been nice to not be moving the past couple of weeks. Last weekend the temperatures touched the mid-40s, and after a couple of days of hard rain to wash the roads, I actually got out for a quick loop through some surrounding towns. It felt good to get on the bike again, even if briefly. I picked up a cover for it, something I haven’t needed while it’s lived in a carport, but I’d like to keep the weather off it when I’m not using it regularly – not to mention the snow. Right now, it’s been snowing for the past 24 hours – fortunately without much accumulation, so the end of winter is coming. And I’ve been plotting and planning.
I’ve been planning a possible 4-5 day ride through New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Canada has been on my to-do list for a while. More than once in the past few years – most recently, during my Vermont trip – I could see Canada, “just over there,” but couldn’t quite make it across the border for whatever reason. This year I want to cross the border and explore another country. I’ve read rants and raves about the Cabot Trail, a beautiful scenic 185 mile loop around Cape Breton Island, so that kind of became an end goal – not “end” as in the end of the trip, but a destination and turnaround point. It just so happens that there are hostels located about every 400 miles or so on the way there and back – Saint Johns, NB; Digby, NS; and one along the Cabot Trail. It has the makings of a good extended weekend trip.
Of course, I’ve never done 400+ miles in one day on a bike before, so finding out if I can do that comfortably is a prerequisite to this trip. With a little digging, it turns out that a loop from my home to Fort Ticonderoga, NY, is a bit over 400 miles depending on my route, so that’s a potential day trip to test my range. It’s a historic site that I wouldn’t mind visiting, and it would be a chance to try some riding in upstate NY – another place that was “just over there” on my Vermont trip. I could do it on a Saturday so that if it kills me I’ll have Sunday to recover. There are numerous variations on the route I can take, and on a day with this much mileage I’m not at all opposed to using superslabs to get away from home turf as quickly as possible and get exploring new places.
I’ve been doing more ham radio stuff recently. I now have a Kenwood TM-281A as a “spare” 2 meter rig. I used it in my car for a while, but I recently put my dual band radio back in, along with a bunch of other stuff, and my handheld radio with a good antenna or two lets me talk locally, so I don’t need to hook it up at home, either. So I spent a few bucks on some wiring harnesses and power connections, and converted my APRS setup to use this radio instead of my HTX-202. I think the main reason APRS didn’t work so well on the Silverwing is that the radio only put out about 5 watts of power. The TM-281A will do 65 watts. Problem solved. Now I just have to figure out how to physically install the radio (easy, in the trunk somewhere) and the antenna (more difficult, since I have no handy rail to clamp to like the Silverwing had), and KJ1H-9 will be back on the road.
So, like I said, plotting and planning. It’s something to do while it snows.