By Wendy Nesbitt
Photo: Harold Nesbitt
The Bay of Fundy
Entering at Amherst, bear right along Routes 2, 302 and 209, leading you along the dramatic shores and cliffs of the Bay.
These curvy highways hug a coastline carved by the highest tides in the world and contain attractions unique to Canada. At Joggins, view 300-million-year-old fossils in the rugged cliffs and new fossil centre. In Parrsboro, view Canada's oldest dinosaurs at the Fundy Geological Museum.
Closer to Truro, on Route 215, you can take a ride on the wild side and go tidal bore river rafting, a unique North American adventure, or take in a motorcycle race at Atlantic Motorsport Park in Shubenacadie.
Following the shores of the Minas Basin leads to Route 1 and the glorious Annapolis Valley, abundant with apple orchards, wineries and fishing villages hugging the coast.
This area is rich with history from the Acadian Expulsion in Grand Pré to the mighty fortresses of Annapolis Royal. The riding is excellent with an abundance of routes and attractions to explore.
Digby, entry port of the Saint John, NB ferry, is world-renowned for its sweet, succulent scallops and nearby Digby Neck and Islands features the best whale watching west of Cape Breton Island.
Every Labour Day weekend, thousands of motorcyclists from across Canada and the US gather in Digby for the action-packed Wharf Rat Rally.
Route 1 continues towards Yarmouth, entry port of the Cat Ferry from Bar Harbor and Portland, Maine. This relaxing seaside town lies within Nova Scotia's oldest Acadian settlements and is host to the exciting Sou'Wester International Bike Rally from July 24-26th.
The Atlantic Coast
Departing Yarmouth and beginning your curvy ride on Route 3, along Nova Scotia's South Shore, rugged outcroppings and expansive white beaches abound. The salt air will accompany you to such exotic destinations as the 1967 UFO crash site in Shag Harbour; and the seafaring Mecca of Lunenburg, homeport to the famous Bluenose racing schooner and expansive Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic.
You will ride through seaside towns sharing a rich history of sea captains, pirates and, yes, tales of buried treasure; right up the coast to world-famous Peggy's Cove and the capital city of Halifax.
A vibrant and bustling seaport since the 1700s, Halifax has retained its charm and beauty through protected parks, gardens, and careful restorations. The city has countless attractions and a playful atmosphere ensures you are never bored. The restored harbourfront features outdoor cafés, shopping, marine museums, boat tours, fine dining, live entertainment and a casino. Halifax will host the Tall Ships from July 16-20 and welcomes motorcyclists to the Atlantic Regional HOG Rally from July 23-26.
Continue up the coast on Route 7 featuring some of Nova Scotia's most pristine landscapes. Spectacular isolated beaches, parks, wildlife habitats and a living history museum at Sherbrooke line the shore to Canso; where you now head north towards Cape Breton Island and the Northumberland Shore.
At Auld's Cove, the causeway leads to Cape Breton Island and the spectacular Cabot Trail. Rated as one of the top five rides in North America by HOG (Harley Owners Group), you will be constantly challenged by sharp curves, mountain climbs and steep descents.
The island boasts numerous attractions, whale watching, scenery second to none and a friendly Celtic atmosphere. Ferry service from Newfoundland docks in North Sydney, a short ride from the Miners Museum in Glace Bay, the gigantic Fortress Louisbourg and scenic Baddeck along the Bras d'Or Lakes. Join fellow riders in Sydney at the Bike Fest from July 31 to August 3.
Departing Cape Breton, Routes 4, 337, 245 travel the beautiful Northumberland Shore, where the ocean waters are the warmest, north of the Carolinas. Historic Pictou has several attractions and is near Caribou, entry port of the Wood Islands, PEI ferry.
Joining coastal Route #6 returns you to Amherst at the New Brunswick border.
(Wendy Nesbitt and her husband, Harold, created North America's first free travel guide designed for motorcyclists, the Motorcycle Tour Guide Nova Scotia. They have won four awards of excellence and gained international exposure on the Live with Regis and Kelly show. To receive your FREE copy of the Motorcycle Tour Guide Nova Scotia, log on www.motorcycletourguidens.com or call toll free 1-800-565-0000.)
By Katharine Mott
Photo: New Brunswick Tourism
North Shore Paradise
Begin in Campbellton, end in Bathurst, with many side road jaunts. Enjoy the freedom of the ride with the sights and smells of the North Shore. Inland by-roads wind through farmland and villages with old world names; coastal roads lead to towns and stopping spots along Chaleur Bay, designated as one of the Most Beautiful Bays of the World. Summer festivals in Campbellton and Dalhousie are attractions you shouldn't miss. Beaches, lobster feeds, cafes, First Nations lands-stop and enjoy it all. North Shore people are friendly, hospitable and bilingual. Allons y!
Acadian Smells and Tastes
Begin in Bathurst, end at Confederation Bridge to PEI. Smell and taste the changes in the scent and temperature of the air as you surf the tarmac through Acadian villages along the Gulf of St. Lawrence and Chaleur Bay. Let your nose lead you to the many "boulangeries" (bakeries) along the coast-you'll be tempted by the Acadian delicacies. You'll be introduced to the unequalled identity of Acadians when you listen to the snippets of conversation-it might be French, English or "Shiac," that unique blend of the two languages found only in this part of the world.
Roads and Rivers
From Edmundston to Saint John, enjoy the cities and all that in between. Feel the wind and soak up the sunshine and fresh air along this portion of New Brunswick, as you ride from top to bottom along the fresh water of the St. John River to the salt water of the Bay of Fundy. This ride runs the length of the St. John River Valley on secondary roads. Let your senses sharpen as the tranquility and gentleness of the land and water roll along with you.
You may want to include visits to some of the 63 covered bridges in this province in your itinerary. Many are closed to vehicular traffic, but motorcyclists are allowed to cross. Be sure to have your camera close at hand. You'll be in deer and moose territory all along the way. Be cautious!
Salt Water and Scenery
From the US border to Sackville feel the road unfold beneath you as you cruise on your bike through some of the oldest and most historic communities of Canada. Phantoms of the past surround you on the straight stretches and sweeping curves of United Empire Loyalist country. Historic villages lure you to stop and explore. See if you can follow the route taken by Loyalists who came to Canada in the late 1700s. You will be near several covered bridges on this journey.
Breathe deeply all along the way. The fresh, salt air of southern New Brunswick has been known to lift the spirits of all bikers. Enjoy, but watch out for deer and moose!
All roads lead to the isles in the Bay of Fundy. Grand Manan, Deer and Campobello islands await your visit by land and sea, with mainland exploring in between ferry rides. Pick your starting point of choice; just make sure you don't miss the highlights.
For detailed suggestions about motorcycling and road advice in New Brunswick phone 1-800-561-0123, or visit www.tourismnewbrunswick.ca/ThingsToDo/Itineraries/MotorcyclingItineraries.aspx
PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND
By Katherine Mott
Prince County - North Cape Coastal Ride
From the Confederation Bridge, take the road to Summerside. From there, you can travel the coastal route on the Gulf of St. Lawrence side to North Cape, then back to Summerside on the Atlantic coast. Along the way, you'll meander through charming towns and villages, Acadian country, fishing villages and Mi'kmaq lands. You can do the fast run in a day, but you may want to take the time to soak up the sun and relaxation of the Island, and visit with local residents along the way. Enjoy the Lighthouse Chowder too!
Queens County - Central Coastal Ride
From Summerside, ride along Route 1 to Hampton, turn right to Victoria-by-the-Sea, a charming village. Park the bike and walk through the shops and the wharf. Double back to Kensington and up through Anne of Green Gables country to national and provincial parks and beach country. Be cautious on the red clay roads - they can be slippery when wet. From beach country ride down through historic villages to Charlottetown, the seat of Confederation.
Kings County - the Points East Ride
From Charlottetown, follow the road northeast to Morell, then around the easterly tip of the Island to Souris. Be sure to stop at the unique Singing Sands Beach (Basin Head). After exploring Souris, wend your way to Montague and around the southeastern tip. You can't get lost in PEI: roads always take you to the water! Visit the villages, craft shops and lighthouses on your way. You have a choice of going back to Charlottetown, or you may take the ferry at Wood Island over to Nova Scotia.
(For more detail on PEI trips, visit the website www.motorcyclepei.com, a useful reference tool designed by experienced bikers. Or pick up the booklet at Visitor Centres.)