Sunday, August 9, 2015

Traveling to Moncton....Part 3

We say goodbye to Bangor, ME and Stephen King heading toward the Canadian/US border and Moncton.  A brief gas stop and we are on our way, well, not exactly.  The engine and battery lights on my bike came on shortly after leaving the station.  A stop on the side of the road, remove the seat and we discover the EMC module has popped out of place.  Given some of the roads we have travelled the last couple of days it isn't surprising that something had been jiggled loose.  We tighten all the nuts and bolts, return the EMC to its proper seating  position, put everything back together and we are rolling.

Almost.  A  few miles down the road the lights on my bike come on again.  Stopping at a gas station we begin removing the seat and calling our friend, Pigpen, who can give us some suggestions on what to check.  Rechecking all the nuts and bolts, re-seating the EMC we decide to head to the nearest dealership to get things checked out.  However halfway to the dealer the problem has not reoccurred so we decide we must have tightened everything sufficiently and agree to bypass the dealership.

Calais is where we plan to cross the border into Canada.  It is a small town on the St. Croix river with an old city flare and some beautiful old buildings and homes.  It is also home to the newest border crossing.  Neither Debbie nor I have crossed the border since passports have been required so this is a first for both of us.  Fortunately, it is early in the day, it isn't very hot as we slowly inch our way toward the booths where border agents question each person prior to admitting them to Canada.  At least the scenery is nice while you are waiting on the bridge across the St. Croix.

Finally it is our turn.  Debbie pulls up to the first available agent and a few minutes later I move forward as well.  The agent takes my card, asks me a few routine questions like where am I headed, how long do I intend to stay, etc.  I notice that Debbie has already cleared the border and is slowly headed around the corner out of view.  Meanwhile, I am still answering questions and beginning to get concerned.  Eventually the agent returns my ID along with a yellow form.  She instructs me to park in a designated area and to go inside the building.  Now I am really sweating, thinking that some extremely poor judgement 25 years ago is going to keep me out of Canada and prevent me from attending the convention.

I park my bike as instructed and head into the building.  I don't even take my helmet off hoping that will help me get in and out quicker.  I'm also concerned because Debbie is probably around the corner wondering why I haven't come through.  Inside the building another agent asks me pretty much the same questions as the first.  I mention my concern to the agent who explains that there is an area for people to wait.  That helps but what if they don't let me in?  I'm getting antsy when the agent takes the yellow form and tells me to enjoy my stay.  With a heavy sigh of relief I am out the door and on the bike and ride into Canada where Debbie is waiting for me.

We have crossed 20 states, been on the road 9 days and finally we are in Canada.  Once we are out of the little town on the Canadian side we are on New Brunswick Route 1 headed towards Moncton. It doesn't take long for me to identify the differences between Interstates highways in the US and those on the Canadian side.  While the scenery is as beautiful as many areas of the US some of the standard roadside staples are missing in Canada.  There are no billboards except for a very few near the cities and they are overall smaller than those in the states.  At the exits where in the US one would normally see a collection fast food restaurants, in Canada these are missing as well.  Just a couple of the difference I notice during our time there.

Finally we are in Moncton.  Our hotel, the Delta Beausejour, is located in the heart of Moncton near  the river, parks, restaurants within easy walking distance.  As we pull up to the entrance we are thrilled to see familiar faces of other Motor Maids and friends.  The area outside the entrance that is reserved for unloading while checking in and out is crowded with motorcycles, Motor Maids, their roadies and hotel staff. As I let out a breath I inhaled the feeling of having come home, almost 8,000 miles from my home, there I was, surrounded by my Motor Maid sisters and family so, yes, it was like coming home.  For the next few days we will have a reunion of sorts as we laugh, talk and most importantly ride together.