Prince Edward Island: Carving Coastal Canada

Text: Zac Kurylyk • Photography: Zac Kurylyk

Thomas Wolfe said you can’t go home again, but every summer I try to prove him wrong by taking a motorcycle trip to Prince Edward Island, where I grew up and learned to ride. In 2015, I tried something new; I took my brother-in-law Ty on his first two-wheeled tour and added some of Nova Scotia’s best twisties to the route.

By lunchtime Friday we’re just leaving the highway in Amherst, NS, having superslabbed it since departing Saint John, NB. Instead of beelining toward the Confederation Bridge, the gateway to PEI from New Brunswick, we’re taking the ferry from Caribou, NS. This will let us enjoy the boat ride and allow us to hit some curvy roads, too.

Outside of Amherst, Route 209 is a roller-coaster affair with hills and curves galore. This is a sportbike destination known throughout the Maritimes and there’s plenty of fun to be had on the R 1200 GS. Things start well. With dry roads and little traffic, we’re freewheelin’ our way toward Parrsboro.

Or are we? Halfway to Advocate, dark clouds deliver a pounding thunderstorm, sending lightning strikes mere feet away, washing gravel across the road, and defeating our helmet visors with rivulets streaming inside and outside the skid lids. We’ve gone from speeding down one of the region’s sportiest roads to desperately looking for a turn-off and finding nothing. With no way out but forward, we press on, and the clouds part around the same time we hit Masstown Market. 

As we dry out, I check the forecast and wonder, Are we in for this much rain all weekend? We’ve waited months for this summertime trip but have hit a deluge of Biblical proportions in the middle of the twisties. Should we admit defeat and slink home?

The forecast could go either way; I hate quitting, so we hit the road again.

The scenery at the top of the Bay of Fundy is beautiful, but we could hit a washed-out section at any time, so we don’t take our eyes off the road. A turn northward on curvy 311 in Truro offers a short ride through hilly country to 6, just as the sun sets. We explore Tatamagouche’s farmland for a few minutes and ponder camping wharfside and throwing a line in for striped bass, but change our plans once a local warns us of a 400-pound bear roaming the area. We settle inland at a provincial park instead, safely under a picnic shelter in case of rain.

(End of preview text.)

For the complete touring article, including facts & information, map(s), and GPS files, please purchase the May/June 2016 back issue.