2019-07-18

The Chaos 3 Backpacking Tent by Alps Mountaineering

The day finally arrived when I found a girl that wanted to share in my misadventures! The trouble is, my seven year old Lynx 2 just isn't large enough for two people AND their jackets, helmets and boots... So I opened the wallet, blew out some of the dust, and placed an order for the Chaos 3 tent by Alps Mountaineering.

Alps Mountaineering Chaos 3 Backpacking tent
 After paying for the floor saver, taxes and shipping charges, I think I am into this tent for $300 Canadian. You can do much better than the manufacturers suggested retail price of $279 USD, so shop around.
Pictured with rain fly


Chaos 3 by Alps Mountaineering
Why the Chaos model? It has more interior mesh than the Lynx 2 so it should offer more ventilation for hot summer weather. The cross bar supports the sides, so in addition to more available headroom than the dome, it also keeps water from dropping down INTO the tent which imho was the Lynx 2s single biggest failing. During a rain shower in the Lynx 2 you had to keep the rain fly zipped 1/2 way to channel the water down away from the inner tent. It's a dome shape, think about it.

The Lynx 2 set up at Soldier's Bay Nova Scotia
It's a couple of pounds heavier, but basically the same pack size and should give us enough room to store our helmets, jackets and boots inside the nice dry tent with us.

Optional Accessories:

You may find as I did, that the Alps tents can benefit from items such as a footprint, some better engineered tent pegs, etc. I did this with my Lynx 2 and have already bought a new footprint and a set of decent tent pegs. I've plenty of 550 paracord to make my own guy ropes if there are any needed for the Chaos 3. (It needed them)

  • Footprint
  • Tent Pegs
  • Guy ropes



I purchased the tent from Motorsport.com a week and a half ago, and the floorsaver from Amazon.ca and they just arrived at work today, so now I have dreams of pitching a tent on the Company lawn after work! Yeah, I can get a bit weird like that. :D

Unboxing and first pitch:

The stuff sack they pack it in has a couple of friction buckle straps on it with a carry handle, and when I slackened them off to get the tent out, found they were stitched onto the bag, and I found myself silently applauding their design change.

Next I found that the tent poles, do to their single pole design, were a bit bulky, and that was proven again when they went back into the bag from whence they came. I thought of myself standing in a downpour with water dripping off of my nose as I tried to slide the poles back into the bag. 

Setup is very straightforward. Lay out the floor saver, lay the tent on top of that, set up the poles, then place the foot of the four poles into the grommet in each of the four corners of the tent and floor saver, then clip the hooks onto the poles and Voila! The tent is up and you just need to sort out the rain fly. 

The Alps Mountaineering Chaos 3
Shown with the spreader pole installed, this is the magic of this tent... My old Lynx 2 would allow rain to drop straight down onto the tent floor if the fly was not zipped up to within 12 to 18 inches of the ground, while this tent uses the spreader to allow you to have the rain fly doors rolled up and out of the way if the rain is not driven sideways.
 
Setting up on the lawn outside my apartment building
Unboxing the tent, the rain fly does not have the guy ropes attached, so I quickly fastened them on using a secure bowline for each one, but as I noticed with my older Lynx 2, Alps Mountaineering still leaves two guy rope attachment points on either end of the tent, but with no guy ropes for it. I was prepared and quickly fashioned a couple of three foot guy ropes out of some spare para cord that I had brought down for just that purpose. 


The pale guy rope in the centre is one of two I just added. When the tent is guyed out, you want to stake these two ropes out so the rain fly stands off of the interior tent.


One of the elements I loved about the Lynx was all the guy ropes were on the four corners of the tent, with none in front of the doors themselves, but not so with the Chaos 3, so I'll ask everyone to kindly watch their step when entering and exiting the tent.

I miss the "window" that the Lynx 2 boasted, but I think my girlfriend wouldn't have been so happy with a window in the Chaos... I still can't figure out why not though. I like them on a rainy morning or in the evening when you hear something stirring close by.


The included gear loft needed to be hung up, and I had to have a do over, as it is a diamond pattern instead of square, and I hooked it up incorrectly the first time.


Disassembly and Put away:

It went down fast, and when I say fast, I mean in under ten minutes I had my brand new tent rolled up and back in the stuff sack ready to roll.


  • Remove the ten tent pegs used to secure the tent and fly
  • Place the tent pegs into the stuff sack
  • Remove the four rain fly buckles
  • Remove the rain fly, and from the top, fold the wings in half and half again until you have a long narrow sausage of a rain fly.
  • Remove the clips from the spreader pole
  • Remove the spreader pole and set aside
  • Remove the clips from the main pole structure
  • Remove the poles from each of the four corners of the tent. 
  • (Reinsert the "ferrule" portion of the poles)
  • Collapse the poles
  • Place the poles in the stuff sack


 
These "ferrules" may pop out on you. I was three for six today.

  • Fold the tent lengthwise in thirds
  • Place the rain fly on top of the tent
  • Place the poles (already in stuff sack) on top. 
  • Roll the tent using the poles to keep it taut and tight, pulling towards you, keeping the guy ropes off the fly inside the roll. 
  • Knead the air out of the tent roll, and place into the stuff sack. 
  • fold the floor saver and return it to it's stuff sack
  • Close the tent stuff sack after inserting the floor saver and tent pegs. 

Getting ready to put it away. 


Pros:

  • It goes together fast. You can have this up and standing in the rain less than five minutes if you forget about the tent pegs for a minute or two. 
  • Lots of mesh, and with the spreader bar, you can ventilate the tent in a light rain shower. 
  • Roomy for two people, with extra room for motorcycle gear. Alps reliability. Well made for a decent price.  
  • Freestanding. Erect it, then decide where it needs to go on your campsite. 
  • The rain fly buckles on and off.
  • Fantastic quality and durability that I've come to expect from Alps Mountaineering

Cons:


  • The tent is not a backpacking tent and is quite heavy, but if you were hauling this up a mountain and spread the load between those three people, I'll take those words back and hope you will all be comfortable. 
  • The "ferrules" pop out of the poles when disassembling the tent, and are a minor annoyance to deal with. 
  • There are two guy points that will need user supplied guy ropes and pegs.
  • Supplied pegs are waiting to hit a rock and become pretzels, and won't do well in a sandy soil. 
  • The tent stuff sack is on the small side, and you will have difficulty getting a wet tent back into it. A dry tent can be a struggle to get into it. 
  • The complete tent and floor saver have some weight to them.
  • Two doors, but with two guy ropes needed right in front of those doors.  


Would I recommend this tent? Absolutely, but as I did with my Lynx 2, I give it four out of five stars.

Cheers!

2019-07-10

2019 Bike Night - Kierstead style

My brother Shaun was visiting the island, and he made arrangements to borrow my sister Wendy-Sue's 2010 Triumph Bonneville for a ride ont the island, so Caroline and I invited him on a wee ride out to Canoe Cove then into Charlottetown for the Red Isle Riders weekly event known as bike night, which we use as an excuse to get out and ride, then meet up for supper and some bench racing and tall tales. 

What would bike night be without a burnout or two? 
Caroline had the great idea of having us meet up at Kelly's Cross for 1800, which is just down the road from my sister's place, so convenient for Shaun and my sister's two boys, Ryan and Tyler who would be riding with us.


Drive 87 km, 1 hour, 21 minutes



It's not a real store anymore... So don't be fooled

Of course it turned into a wee family reunion, especially when my sister and Shaun's wife Doris pulled up in the Jeep to say hello before heading off to Victoria for supper.





From left to right,

  • Ron on the 2009 Kawasaki Versys
  • Ryan on the 2009 BMW F800GS
  • Caroline on the 2004 Honda Shadow
  • Shaun on the 2010 Triumph Bonneville
  • Tyler on the 2016 Triumph Scrambler
Yours truly, Rotten Ronnie
Photo Credit: Shaun Kierstead


Wendy's bike is the loudest on the parking lot. :)



And we rolled out of there and headed across on 246 aka South Melville Road at a sedate pace, then crossed the Trans Canada Hwy in De Sable and jumped onto 19 that heads past one of my favourite parks, The Argyle Shore Provincial Park (visit this at low tide) through Canoe Cove and on past Nine Mile Creek Road and on out to Rocky Point to the site of Fort Amherst.

From WikiPedia:

"This location has the double distinction of hosting one of the first Acadian settlements in present-day Prince Edward Island, as well as the first military fortification on the island while under control of France as well as the first military fortification on the island while under control of Britain.

From 1720 to 1770 Port-la-Joye, later named Fort Amherst, served as the seat of government and port of entry for settlers to the island while under both French and British control. As such, it played an important role as a colonial outpost in the French-British struggle for dominance in North America." 

In fact, Prince Edward Island would still be known as Ile Saint-Jean if the French had not lost Fortress Louisbourg and later on Port-la-Joye to the English and New England irregulars (militia). Imagine what the Island would have been like if the French and their Mi'kmaq allies had successfully defended their settlement and fort?



Shaun enjoying the curves at Fort Amherst PE


Boss! Boss! The Cruise Ship! 
There were two cruise ships in the harbour today when I got off work, almost doubling the downtown population of Charlottetown, or so it seemed to me as I rushed home after work, and now they were both leaving and heading off into the Northhumberland Strait and away from the island. You can see why this would have made an excellent site for a battery of naval cannon...

Do you think it will buff out? 

Mike and Eli join us in the parking lot for the ride into Charlottetown. (Back into Charlottetown for them)


Park it in the shade next time. No one will notice. 
Caroline was gracious enough to ride out ahead of us and grab a wee video of the extended family ride...



And, it was time to let the the fast group head out while the slow group took our time getting to the meet.
Ryan leads the pack... 
We headed in through Cornwall on the Trans Canada Highway, did a couple of roundabouts, and on into the parking lot at Boom Burger on the causeway to join the already large group that was there. I pulled in behind Mark's Ducati and Derricks Triumph Thruxton, and decided I needed to get some photos before heading in for supper with Shaun and Caroline.

It's the largest Bike Night of the Year!
Photo Credit: Shaun Kierstead





It was off to Boomburger for supper, then Shaun treated us to dessert at Cow's Creamery across the way.

By the time we got back out into the lot with Kyle in tow, everyone was gone but for Tiffany, Jason, Kyle and our featured stunter who put on a wee smoke show for us as he left the lot on his 2017 Ninja 636.

Wendy-Sue and Doris showed up to see how we were doing, and as it was getting later and cooler, we waved fare well as they headed back to my sister's place in Stancel, and Caroline, Kyle and I tore up a couple of roundabouts on our way back into the city, with Caroline's Shadow throwing sparks as she set the pace for us.




It was a great night to be out and about, and I'd like to thank Jamie and Ryan, and the Red Isle Riders for organizing it.

Cheers!

2019-07-07

2019 The Lady & the Tramp do Advocate Harbour NS

This was supposed to have been last weekend, then it got changed to Saturday, but a work commitment made that untenable so we decided Sunday would work. At last! Now it was like a Beatles song as we scrambled to make our departure time of 9am. Who wakes up before ten on a Sunday? Who sets their alarm for 8 am?! Madness!!!

Woke up, fell out of bed
Dragged a comb across my head
Found my way downstairs and drank a cup
And looking up I noticed I was late
Found my coat and grabbed my hat (helmet)
Kickstand up in seconds flat
Found my way to the restaurant, had me cuppa
And somebody spoke and I went into a dream...

Clearly Sir Paul has nothing to fear from me, but we did manage to get off the island by 10ish. Perhaps I should have explained "Lazy Sunday" in more depth. Clearly I was holding CLine back, but as she paid for the meal, I thought it behoved me to try to keep up with her. (Behoved... I thought it was spelt "b-e-h-o-o-v-e-d" so I was going to tie this in with a cow joke. Darned spell check!)



I managed to keep up on the Confederation Bridge, and at the end of which, we took a run into Cape Tormentine and down Old Ferry Road where I found that the SDCard in my camera was malfunctioning with write errors, so CLine gets Photo Credit for all the Cape Tormentine photos.


Why did I add The Lady & The Tramp to the title? We invited friends to join us, and the conversation got round to sharing ice cream, and I mentioned that I thought of CLine and myself as united by a passion for ice cream, motorcycles and dogs...



Day Tripping to Advocate Harbour NS

Charlottetown PE to Advocate Harbour NS and Return
457 km - 6 hours
Google "My Maps"

That was actually a bit of a shock. I just calculated the kilometres via google maps, and thought "That has to be wrong!" but it was right on the money as a one way via the direct route is 218 km at 3 hours. Hmmm. That might explain with all our stops why it took from 0900 to 1800 on the motorcycle to get where we were going. Just for giggles here is a stop breakdown:

  • Cornwall Esso (fuel)
  • Kozy Korner (breakfast) 09:30
  • Irving (SDCard purchase for camera)
  • Old Ferry Road, Cape Tormentine NB (photos) 11:00
  • Roadside photo 11:22
  • Roadside photo 11:29
  • Roadside photo 11:34
  • Port Elgin NB Photos 11:43
  • Amherst NS pit stop 12:49
  • Joggins NB photos 13:36
  • Shulie NS Roadside photos 13:53
  • Sand River photos 14:02
  • Pothole photos 14:04
  • East Branch Apple River videos 14:15
  • Wild Caraway Restaurant 14:39
  • Amherst NS Pit stop and Tim Hortons 17:00
  • Stanchel PE 18:05
Do you think I take too many pictures? I could have taken a ton more after lunch, but as my brother Shaun is visiting on the Island from Barrie Ontario, we had to get back to the Island via a direct route to spend some time with him at my sister's place in Stanchel. That list comes as a bit of a shock, in fact it drew CLine's attention the very first time she read this post!

It might have been a mistake to wear a mesh jacket today, as crossing the bridge over to the mainland was chilly, but bearable. I could see the need to have an extra layer if we got caught out after dark, but it was a beautiful, cloudless day, and CLine and I were enjoying it.

She asked if we could ride down the other side of the peninsula through Cape Tormentine as opposed to Murray Corner on 955 that I usually take. "No way!" I said, but she ignored me and kept on going, taking the left at the top of the ramp instead of the right. "Alrighty then." The thing to do here was to follow her as she rode out to the old ferry terminal that used to be served by the Motor Vessel (MV) Abegweit (1947 - 1982) and other ferry vessels until it was replaced by the fixed link Confederation Bridge completed in 1997. The Abegweit Passage is 13 kilometres to the Port of Borden on PEI, while the completed bridge spans 12.9 kilometres from Borden-Carleton PE to Cape Jourimain NB.  

Old Ferry Road - Looking towards the Confederation Bridge
Photo Credit: CLine


MV Abegweit crosses the Abegweit passage
1947 to 1982
Prior to the Car/Rail ferry service that started in 1917, the island was served by the Ice Boat crews from 1827 to 1917 for mail to and from the Island in all seasons.


When you leave the terminal and head further East along NB 940, you pass the old railhead or perhaps I should have called it "rail bed", that used to serve rail cars boarding the ferry to head over to the island. Similar to PEI's rails, the rails and ties have all been torn up and nothing remains but that signature level bed with a gravel path atop it, running straight as an arrow back out towards Port Elgin and perhaps Moncton NB?


The Old Ferry terminal breakwater
Photo Credit: CLine

Cape Spear NB

Near Ephraim Island, Upper Cape NB

Upper Cape NB

Monash Cove NB
Both CLine and I did a double take when we saw this. Great minds think alike, and fools put on their indicators and pull over, waiting for an opportunity to do a U-turn to take pictures of this beast. She made me do all the dirty work taking the photos as she sat on her bike patiently waiting for me.

Beats Walkin'... HAHAHAHA!




So much for Port Elgin NB, and Baie Verte for that matter, as we felt the need to keep going, and we've stopped before for the parkette in Baie Verte, check out our 2018 excursions.

Amherst NS is a good place to fuel up for the last time before heading out ot Advocate Harbour, especially if you bike is fond of premium fuel, so we usually gas up and pit at McDonalds (I like their coffee). While sipping our coffee we noticed a pickup with three dogs on board, and when Tammy took out Bean and Sprout, two long haired dachshunds, I told her that they were very much like my sister-in-law's Scout and Annie back in Ontario. When I asked where she was visiting from, she dished out the "Toronto" that most Ontarians use... I was guilty of it myself before I smartened up and moved out East, so I laughed and asked Etobicoke? Scarlem? Mississauga? To which she responded "Alliston". "Really?! I used to work at CFB Borden and my brother Shaun works at the Honda plant there!" And wouldn't you know it? Tammy and Adam work for Honda as well. :D


Tammy's pack. 
Tammy still wanted to see more of the East Coast, but Adam was tired and ready to call it a done deal, and hit the Transcanada again to book it back home. Hey Tammy, if you make it out to PEI looks us up. My sister's couch is a pretty great bed and breakfast with hot and cold running dogs. :D

CLine and I both love dogs, so we spent a bit more time here than budgeted for, but who was counting?

The Bridge on 2 south of Amherst was out again this year, so we detoured through Southhampton and back onto the 302 South that would take us into Maccan where we would turn onto the 242 and on into Joggins NS

Old Branch Road, Joggins NS
Photo Credit CLine


Photo Credit CLine

"Look good. Okay, just stand still then."
Photo Credit CLine
I'm still not used to appearing in my own blog so often! 

"We need to go get a photo from over there."
Photo Credit CLine
Looking at the pilings for Old Branch Road bridge that is gone now. 
Now it was time to get moving and make our (late) lunch in Advocate Harbour NS.


CLine in on the Shulie bridge

Shulie River NS



Sand River NS
Our friends on the island will tell you (Jamie, this means you) that the Joggins Road 242 is pretty busted up. He and his fellow riders even give it a complete miss and ride into Advocate there and back again from the Parrsboro side. I find that I can ride these roads, but I slow down and average about ten over posted through much of this, and a bit slower when the road looks like this. Call it 8 kilometres of bad road that you need to slow down for, while the remainder is in decent shape. I took some photos to illustrate what you will see.

Yeah, this needs a patch guys... 
You head inland as you travel further from Joggins, but the road will bring you back down to the coast to cross the East Branch Apple river, across a single lane wooden bridge. This is the only warning sign you get from the Joggins side, and it is THE ONLY BLACK CHECKERED WARNING SIGN on the road. Slow the frick down, as it leads to a quick right, then left (across the gravel strewn road) on onto the SINGLE LANE BRIDGE. I figure they should have marked this as a 30 kph corner due to the tight corner, the gravel and the queue for the single lane bridge.

Add caption
When you rip down that road, you will see this gravel washed out across the road. Try applying your brakes here, go ahead, I dare you. :P

Lovely fresh gravel from yesterday's rain

The Bridge over the East Branch Apple River
I wanted to get a video of Caroline doing the bridge, and I asked her to focus on doing it safely as opposed to how I would have done it on my Versys with a video camera pointed my way: "HMBAWT"



After watching the video, she said "I chose the wrong gear. I guess I could have dropped one, rode the shoulder and roosted you with gravel. "

Straight on to our lunch stop, at the Wild Caraway Restaurant in Advocate Harbour NS. 

The view from the parking lot side. 
It has a large patio with picnic tables, so as always we opted to sit outside, and I made certain to ask for more of their signature rolls with butter. Today's not so secret ingredient was truffle, and they were delicious!

I ordered the Fish Cakes and CLine ordered the Bento Mackerel bowl.

Fish Cakes! Mmmmm!
CLine had these fish cakes last year, and I was very happy she shared them with me, for while I enjoyed the roast beef sandwich I had ordered, I found I was nibbling her fish cakes and beans with onion pickle far more than my sandwich. (She traded part for half my sandwich!)

I talked up the fish cakes so much a couple beside us visiting from Dieppe NB ordered them as well, and didn't seem to be disappointed at all.

Cline about to dig into the Bento Mackerel bowl. 
After lunch, we agreed that we would have to keep moving at a decent pace in order to meet up with Shaun and Doris at my sister Wendy-Sue's house, so no more pictures, sorry. We had a grand day out, and even managed to learn something new about each other's riding style.

I can hardly wait for next weekend... Or for riding the bikes to  work tomorrow for that matter.

Cheers!