This is the biggest trip of the year. We’ll be taking two weeks to ride up to Montreal for the Jazz Festival and then on to Nova Scotia for the Cabot Trail and Lighthouse Tours.  We’ll enjoy more of the Cape Breton culture and other natural attractions while we’re there.  I hope to get out on a Whale Cruise as well.

Cape Breton is one of the centers of Canadian Gaelic history and culture.  Scottish and Irish Celtic music is prevalent in the region and many villages and towns celebrate their heritage with Ceilidhs.  These gatherings are very informal often held in pubs and small function halls. (Ceilidh, roughly pronounced “Kay-Lee”, is translated as ‘kitchen party’ on some websites) and frequently with the advent of summer at outdoor locations. Every October the Festival of Celtic Colours is held.  Artists from all over Canada, Scotland and Ireland (and a few other places, I’m sure) come to celebrate the culture, tradition and music of the region.  I’m bumming that we’ll be missing the party, but I’m glad we’ll be missing those crowds and will enjoy a much more intimate experience as we travel.

As time grows shorter, we’re looking at weather patterns, and have started working our packing lists, and what contingencies we should plan for.  Packing for a motorcycle makes your priorities completely different from packing for a plane or car trip.  You can’t just pay the additional money for an overweight or extra bag.  “If you can’t carry it, you can’t pack it” is the rule for flying, and in motorcycle riding the rule is “If you can’t strap it, you can’t take it”.  Both of us have luggage that optimizes the dimensions of our bikes, and we each have certain mandatory items.  For instance, my laptop and his camera.

We have a couple of hot dates planned for Montreal which complicates matters for me.  Guys say, oh right, I should pack a tie.   Chicks say, oh right, dress, heels, belt, make-up (bwahahaha, not happening) and a black cardigan. (See “Shopping Redux”)  That right there would be half my luggage space.  We’ll have to see how this works out.  I have tricks up my sleeve; I always have tricks up my sleeve. (Did you know that “trick up your sleeve” refers to being able to pull a high card out of a hiding spot to take a trick in a card game, or a hand in poker?)

We’ve assembled our maps, and while we haven’t finalized the route, we’re pretty clear on the major points.  We’ve arranged hotel accommodations.  (The very last thing you want to do on a trip of this size is to find out the hotel isn’t expecting you until tomorrow, the rain is coming down in sheets, and you didn’t bring you rain gear.)

I’ll probably check in next week as we head to launch.  We’ll be leaving on Thursday, and riding straight through to Montreal, which is about a six hour trip.  In the meantime, I have a surprise BBQ to plan for my riding comrade.  I’m sure you’ll hear more about it later.

Oh, yeah,  one more thing:  Don’t let me forget my passport.