A Perfect Few-Hour Ride Out Of Halifax

Leave downtown Halifax and head out Portland Street. And drive out, and out, and out, and out past what seems like endless car dealerships, fast food joints, and little malls. Then just when you've lost track of how many Burger Kings, Pontiac dealerships, and Rogers Video rental places you've driven by, drive past two more of each. Do not turn, and only stop at stop lights. Don't buy a car or a burger and do not rent a movie.

Then you go over a hill, and Cole Harbour -- not the suburb, but the harbour, itself is in front of you, and the city is gone! There's a farmhouse and a wharf and a beautiful sparkling bay. Where did the city go? You glance in your rearview mirror, but it's gone. The ocean air washes the cellular phone store dust and flakes of paint and payment plans from your shoulders and helmet.

Stop at the teahouse on Lawrencetown beach and have tea, or not. Or watch the surfers, or not. Or don't stop.

Drive fast or slow along the 207 to where it T-Bones with the Number Seven. Lean the cycle east and drive through woods and houses into Musq Harbour. The Musq River will be your companion for the next while. Lean the motorcycle north.

You're in motorcycle heaven as you follow the road winding along the lazy river -- heading dozens of kilometers north without the altitude guage on the GPS ticking above 20 metres. If you drive fast, you get to enjoy the tenacious huggy tenacity of your tires on the curves and the adrenaline that focusses your attention on the next thing. If you drive slow, you see the turtles and sparkling water and guys fishing and the happy cohabitation of the mountain and the river and the tiny moss-covered cabin that someone spent a weekend in twenty years ago.

Sooner or later you'll see a sign for the Wyse Road to the Old Guysborough Road. Take it - or don't. If you don't, a few kilometers up the road, Elderbank, like your mother nagging you to pick up your clothes, tells you again. You can pick them up now, or you can pick them up later.

Zoom down the glistening smooth pavement of the Old Guysborough Road, but only for a minute, then turn left, in to Dollar Lake park. Head to the canteen and get some onion rings and a Coke. If you have a swimsuit, get changed and run into the water with the thousands of screaming children. Don't lose any jewellry or it will end up on the weird guy wading around with the metal detector and the thousand rings on a chain around his neck, and dozens more on each hand.

When you're done, head east again -- towards home. Do stop at the wetlands and let the redwinged blackbirds sing for you. Do not drive through the piles of manure left by the cows and horses which get trotted back and forth each day. This is the most peaceful part of the whole day's ride. Ride through Goff's and make some kind of joke to yourself about the Goff Course there.

For a few minutes, join the half dozen cars sitting in a gravel parking lot watching the airplanes take off and land. Or don't.

Watch the speedometer needle climb to its highest point, 120 or 130 or so, as you head north on the mighty 102 to the Enfield Big Stop. Turn east again on the Number Two. Race the train heading to Halifax. You'll win. Leave the friendly Number Two behind at Lake William and switch to the wavy, wavy, Waverley Road.

Now wiggle up, and down, and back and forth and up and down. Drive fast in the boring bits, and fast in the wiggly bits.

Your speed will gradually decrease, and by the time you get to Lake Micmac, your engine will be cooled off enough to put away.

You're home.