DONE!

September 2nd, 2006

Trip: Argentia to St. John’s
Distance: 140km

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The last day of the trip. I spent a good chunk of time this summer thinking about this day and how far off it seemed, and suddenly here we are. It was almost impossible to imagine jumping off the ferry when I was getting off the plane in Vancouver, but now here we are. Just one last ride, and an amazing chapter of my life will be closed. It’s absolutely staggering to think about.

We were aroused from our lovely floor-slumber by beeping on the ferry intercom, and a woman sweetly wishing us a good morning. It was just after 5:00 - nothing is good at that time in the morning! Anyways, Iona and I began packing up our stuff and went to get dressed. Our last day in spandex! We were all given a free ticket for breakfast, so Iona and myself, along with a couple of the guys from the other trip wandered on down in search of sustenance. There was a massive, massive line (what else did anyone else on the ferry have to do besides eat, too?) but we eventually got our stuff. After breakfast, we pretty much had just enough time to wander back upstairs, break out a package of noisemakers and hand them out, and then roll on off the ferry.

Getting the bikes off the trailer seemed to be a significantly easier process than getting them on, so I waited for Iona and we started off together. We figured after all the time we had spent cycling together, it was fitting to start off on the last adventure together, too. Man, the first half of the way was super hilly - I hadn’t really believed Rudy when he told me how much climbing we were going to have to do to get to St. John’s, but wow. It certainly didn’t help matters that we were bucking a headwind for a good chunk of it, too. We made it to an Irving gas station with a restaurant, and man, was I ever happy to sit down to my second breakfast. The place certainly wasn’t prepared to be bombarded by 40 hungry cyclists, and it took about an hour to get my food and chow down. The omelette I eventually got was really good, though.

I set off from the Irving alone, and continued to combat the hills solo. Eventually I reached the place where we were supposed to turn off the TCH, but there was a TdC vet selling fish there, and he advised me (and Bob Mack and Gary, who were also there) to take the TCH instead. I don’t know if he just didn’t give this advice to the people behind me or if they didn’t listen, but I chose to take the TCH the whole way and I was one of the only ones. I trudged along, through a couple quick rain drizzles which weren’t enough to get me soaked, but certainly enough to make it hard to see through my sunglasses, and I cannot even tell you how exciting it was to finally reach the turnoff for downtown St. John’s.

We were all supposed to stop and wait at a Tim Horton’s close to Signal Hill so that we could go up as a group, so I rolled in there somewhere around quarter to three. Melissa and Bob W. were there when I arrived, but were getting ready to head out, so I wished them good luck and settled in to wait for more people. After an hour, we had amassed a group including Rudy, Graham, Doug, Brett, and Lori (and watched Jamie, Gary, and Bob Mack blow on by) so we headed up together.

I think Signal Hill may be the fastest I’ve climbed a hill all summer. It wasn’t as steep as I thought it was going to be (or I was just incredibly hopped up on adrenaline and didn’t notice) and after all the tales I’d heard about it, I didn’t find it that long either. It was such a rush, and it only helped matters that Megan and Mike were sitting at the top, cheering us on. I made it to the top, got me some celebratory hugs, and quickly pulled out the camera so that I could take pictures of Lori coming up. From there, we continued celebrating, took some pictures, drank some champagne courtesy of Rudy, and then stuck around to watch people come up the hill. I’m not sure why a lot of the people who finished earlier left, because I found the highlight of the day to be watching others come up the hill and finish their journey. Cheering everyone on was almost as big a thrill as finishing the trip myself. I loved it.

When pretty much everyone had come up the hill, Iona, Lori and myself checked out the Signal Hill gift shop. I picked up some postcards, and a bracelet, as a wanted something from Signal Hill that I could keep with me that would remind me of this amazing journey and its culmination (I’m a sentimentalist, in case anyone was unaware). Eventually we decided it was time to go down the hill and find our hotel and then start round two of the celebrations.

As I was heading back to the hotel, there were some people jaywalking (slowly) that I didn’t want to bowl over, so I quickly came to a stop. You would think that after 73 days pretty much living on the bike, this wouldn’t be an issue anymore. Well, you would be wrong! I unclipped one of my feet, but somehow managed to tip myself straight to the ground anyways. It was certainly a slow motion go to the ground, and nothing was damaged (except maybe my pride) but I found it pretty funny that I bailed to culminate the trip. I guess I bailed on the first day out of Vancouver, too, so everything came full circle.

My bike needed to be dropped off at the bike shop that was going to package and ship it for me, and Lara-Lynn (from the 72-day group) got her father to drive me over there, which was very much appreciated. The people at Bill’s Cycle were incredibly nice - I wish I had more time in St. John’s, as I would have gotten them to do the work I needed done. Great people - I was very, very impressed. Anyways, we got that little task done, and then it was back to the hotel to shower, grab some pizza from a severely overcrowded and claustrophobia-inducing room, and then get ready to hit the town.

Lori, Iona and myself set out from the hotel for George St. and the bar that we were told the rest of the group was going to be at. We wandered in and looked around, but we couldn’t spot anyone we knew. Figuring they were jerks who had left us behind, we settled in at our own table and started our own party. Shortly after, one of Lori’s friends joined us, and shortly after that, we were informed that the bar had an upstairs. Guess who we found up there? Oh yes, everyone else! Guess they weren’t jerks afterall. We made our way up there, the drinks kept flowing, and we spent the night reminiscing, laughing, and generally having a good time. When we were finally ready to leave, we did what all good drunken bar-goers do - went for food! Lori and I split these amazing nachos at this little spot that Margot (a local from the 72-day group) knew. We wandered around a bit after that and managed to locate Jamie drunk and happy in a bar down the road before finally deciding to call it a night.

Tomorrow is the banquet, and right after it, I’m on a plane and off to Toronto to begin my next whirlwind adventure - getting to Edmonton. The fun never stops for this kid…or should I say the exhausting jet-setting about the country never ends…

Posted from St. John's @ 47° 32' 57" N, 52° 39' 50" W

Sailing, Sailing, Sailing

September 1st, 2006

Trip: Little Bras D’Or to North Sydney (Ferry to Argentia)
Distance: 7km (biking)

Even though we were up late by trip standards and even though we were in no hurry this morning, I still found myself awake at about 6:30. Given the more relaxed pace of the day, I refused to exit my tent at such an early hour, and instead read a chapter of Ghost Rider before rolling on out of bed and fetching myself some breakfast. Most people were getting started on the packing thing, but since I had done most of mine the night before, it only took me about an hour to get the tent down for a final time, check through my stuff, and affirm that everything was packed the way I wanted it. The only reason it even took an hour was because I was trying to kill time as I did it. Having finished, my options were to bum around what would only become an increasingly stressed and crazy camp environment, or hit the road and find something to do in North Sydney for the remainder of the time before we got on the ferry. The latter option appealed to me the most.

North Sydney isn’t exactly a huge place, but they were big enough to have everything I needed - namely, an Atlantic Superstore and a library with internet. I picked up a few things to munch on for the ferry ride, and then headed over to the library to try and snag a computer before other people began filtering into town. We discovered that there was a rural internet access place above the library with additional computers, so I ended up holing up in there for a good amount of time, and made a good chunk of the updates I needed to. That lasted me until lunchtime, when I ventured out to…well, I’m sure this will surprise no one - I went and had the deal-of-the-day at Subway. Man, am I going to miss our daily adventures together. Perhaps I’ll start making myself subs at home to remind me of the time we shared.

I rolled up to the ferry dock a couple minutes early, and the truck wasn’t there yet. I decided to use that time to make a few phone calls, and during the time I was on the phone the truck arrived and they loaded most of the bikes on the trailer. Oops. I figured if someone really wanted me, they knew where I was. The added bonus was that I didn’t have to put my bike up on the trailer, and instead got to walk on. Downside to walking on was waiting outside for a decent amount of time waiting to walk on, but hey - you’ve got to take the good with the bad.

The ferry ride was pretty cool - I’d never been on a boat for that length of time. I started the trip relaxing in one of the lounges and reading trashy magazines (hello In Touch!). I ended up having a plunk-my-head-on-a-desk nap, and then watched a bit of a movie (which randomly got turned off in favour of a different one). At that point, I set off on a little walk around the boat, and discovered a good chunk of the group in the bar. There was live music playing and beer flowing, so I settled on in there for the next few hours. Sitting in a bar in my pyjamas, which I had worn onto the ferry, was certainly an amusing experience.

There was lots of dancing taking place in the bar, which led to my interesting story of the night. A slower song comes on, and people in the group start partnering up to dance. I’m still sitting at our table, and there’s a guy sitting behind me, who isn’t part of TdC. We have previously noticed this guy, as he is quite intoxicated, and has danced with a few from our group previously. He asks me to dance. I attempt to politely decline. He insists. I sigh, not wanting to make this into a scene, and agree to dance with him. Now, before everyone thinks I’m just a jerk that didn’t want to dance with the nice little drunk man, let me add this - a little bit earlier, he had peed his pants. We’re talking huge wet stain on the front of his slacks. So here I am dancing with drunk-pee-man, trying to create a large degree of separation between our lower areas so as not to get pee on me while he wraps his arms around me and randomly kneads my back as we dance. I am making the worst facial expressions to Lori and Graham who are still sitting at a table, and they (and the people behind them) are just killing themselves laughing. I have never been so excited for a dance to end in my life. I also switched chairs at this point, to attempt to put myself out of “asked to dance by pee man” range. Good, good times. Or something like that.

In an unfortunate turn of events, the bar got shut down early due to a fight that broke out, which was pretty sad because we were all having a good time. From there, I made a quick little trip onto deck with Ira, another guy we met that was going across the country on his own, to experience the wind at the bow of the boat. Wow. I don’t know what I was expecting, but that was incredibly intense - I couldn’t actually go all the way out onto the front, as I thought I was going to blow away! It was very cool.

Having come back in from the freezing cold and windy exterior of the boat, the reality that I needed some sleep began to set in. Good thing we got “reclining deck chairs”! Actually, I’m not entirely certain how anyone can sleep on these things - they recline, but not to anything close to a horizontal position, and there’s no way to keep your feet from sliding off the footrest thing. In short - it’s an incredibly uncomfortable proposition, and even more so when you’re hoping to get some sleep before cycling 140km to finish off a trip across the country. When I first got to my seat, Iona was actually sleeping across both of ours, and not wanting to wake her up, I went into the lounge room and grabbed an hour sleeping awkwardly across two seats in there. When I came back, Iona was awake, so we both tried sleeping in the chairs for a little bit. Finally, we gave up and decided that we would try sleeping on the floor at the front of the room - something that is supposed to be not allowed on the ferry - and catch some sleep until someone noticed and made us return to our seats. That never happened, and I actually slept pretty well on the ground, all things considered. It was a definite improvement on the stupid chair.

Posted from Argentia @ 47° 17' 26" N, 53° 59' 33" W

Nearing the End…

August 31st, 2006

Trip: Dingwall to Little Bras D’Or
Distance: 136km

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This morning was our last one on galley duty (we were the only group that got stuck doing an extra shift…lucky us!) so I couldn’t get off and onto the road early. More accurately, Doug, Rudy and myself were the last ones to leave by a fairly decent margin. Oh well - there are certainly worse things in life.

There was a huge climb to start the day, which was kind of a thrown-into-the-fire way to kickstart my already weary legs. The bonus was that, at the end of said hill, there was a very, very long descent. It was something like 10km where I did absolutely nothing but coast. Bliss! Bonus number two was a lookout down the road where Brett pointed out the heads of seals peering out of the water. Seals! We don’t get those in Toronto!

The first town of the day was Ingonish, where I thought for sure I could get the second breakfast I was so craving. I wandered past many a restaurant that was closed, and began to think that there was no place open. Finally, I happened upon a grocery store, where I had to make a decision - eat something from there, or risk not getting anything at all. I decided on the former, and wandered in to pick up some chocolate milk and a box of pop tarts. I sat on the steps and ate a package of the pop tarts, and then got back on the bike. What was maybe 200m down the road? Oh, a restaurant, where I found Lori, Iona, and Rudy. Crap.

Iona and I climbed Smokey, the second-last of our mountain climbs, together and it actually wasn’t anywhere near as bad as the other ones. It was a steady climb at maybe 14-16km/hr and then boom, there was the top. It was actually quite surprising because we hadn’t felt like we had gone up that far and then suddenly we were in the midst of an amazing descent. The ground was dry again, which allowed me to fly on down…actually, the thing that slowed me down was a Jeep, as it was going incredibly slow on the switchbacks and I couldn’t get past him. It was a rush anyways.

I waited just past the bottom of the mountain for Iona, and then we moseyed on down to a general store for a little stop. From there we headed towards the Clucking Hen, a nice little deli, where she and I and Bob Mack stopped for lunch. Lori caught us as we were finishing up, and joined up with our little crew. I ended up busting ahead of the trio, but waited at the ferry for them (the ferry was actually a five-minute long roll across 100m of water). From there, we climbed the last of the mountains, Kelly, which was also the one with the least elevation (I believe it was 240m). It still allowed for a pretty nice descent at the end of it.

The big surprise for the day was that the route map was off my 20km, and instead of being a 156km, it was 136km. I’m not entirely certain how one can be off by that much, but it definitely got me into camp a lot earlier than I thought I was going to be.

When I got into camp, the story of the day became organization. Everything had to come off the truck, and I figured if it all had to come off, I might as well pack it all then (as opposed to tomorrow morning). Into the bags everything went - I seem to be able to fit things better now than I did when I left Toronto…I don’t know how that happened (or if it means I’m missing stuff), but I’m just going to operate on the belief that I’ve just become better at packing. Yes, that must be it.

Not having to be up at any particular time tomorrow morning, we were hoping to stay up a little later than our typical, oh, 9:00pm. The biggest thing that tried to throw a wrench in our plans was the weather - man did it ever get cold! A bunch of us sat and chatted around a fire until 11:00, but then with the combination of the cold and a chilling wind, we all packed it in for the warmth of a tent. Safely secured in my sleeping bag I was able to stay warm - that thing was a great purchase. I have never been cold in it once this summer. Can’t go wrong there.

Tomorrow is our wicked-long ferry. We have to be at the docks around 1:30, and it sails at 3:30 (and then docks the next morning somewhere around 6:00am). This should be an interesting experience, to say the least. One more day of riding, and then we’re done. I can’t believe it. It’s even harder to believe that I will be in Edmonton in four days (it’s also quite scary, so I’m trying to live in a fantasyland where that isn’t really happening). Each day as it comes…each day as it comes.

Posted from Little Bras D'Or @ 46° 16' 05" N, 60° 14' 02" W

Hardest…Thing…Ever

August 30th, 2006

Trip: Lake Ainslie to Dingwall
Distance: 146.52km

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I was up and ready to go today at 6:00 - I guess all that anticipation (and okay, a little bit of worry) regarding the Cabot Trail has got me quite wired. I ate a bit of breakfast, and was out of camp and on my way at just after 7:00. I’m not sure what people thought, seeing me out on the road as one of the first, and not my typical last. Eh, I do things at my pace and that’s what’s good.

The pre-Cabot Trail portion of our day was challenging, but not overly difficult. Bob W. rode with me for a little while before jetting off - he’s a speedster, that one. I stopped for breakfast at the first place I happened to spot, and Dennis and Melissa were just finishing up, while Rudy had just gotten his meal. I waited for a while to get some eggs (it was the guy’s fourth day and he said it was packed in the restaurant…there were eight people…either they don’t get much business, or he doesn’t get out to restaurants much) and read a bit of the local paper to kill the time before finally heading on my merry way. I stopped again in Cheticamp, right before the Trail starts in earnest, and had an Iced Capp at Timmy’s. Spotted Doug there, though he returned to the Coop in town to pick up some bars for the road, so I was off to enter the national park all by my lonesome.

I met up with some cyclists from a London cycling club as I was ascending French mountain, so it was nice to have a little bit of company. There were positively gorgeous views as we went - both on the up part, and the later down part. The down was just incredible - I felt like I was flying, and I never wanted it to end! Lunch was at the bottom of that mountain, and it was unfortunately not quite as amazing. In fact, it was slow and rather crappy. I ordered a crab roll (since, you know, I’m in the MARITIMES) and it was chock full of mayonaise and honestly, my lobster on wonderbread on the ferry was significantly better. What a disappointment. Oh well.

After lunch came another mountain. North Mountain. North Mountain has officially become the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. I don’t know what the hardest thing I had ever done used to be, but North easily replaced it. I was going up at speeds between 5.5 and 7.5km an hour. For 6km. Everything hurt - my legs, my arms (from gripping the bars so hard)…wow. It was rough. It also started to rain as I was ascending, so that just added to the pure joy of the moment. Getting to the top though, man, was that ever a thrill. I did it. I did it, and it’s something that there’s no way I could have ever done at the beginning of this trip, when I thought Jackass was a challenge. It was really cool to think of how far I’d come - it was still very hard, and there are certainly people who could have done it a lot faster, but I did it. And that’s what matters to me.

The descent from North…man, that was another pretty hard thing to do. The rain had made everything, well, wet, and it was foggy, and it’s this steep, switchback-filled mountain. I still enjoyed it, but it wasn’t the same kind of carefree thrill that descending French was. I was also freezing cold by the time I hit the bottom, but I knew that camp wasn’t that far away, so I just put my head down and tried to chug away into camp. Imagine my surprise when I got there, and discovered I was actually one of the first ones in. This was cool, but also really great because the ground was sopping and I wasn’t looking forward to setting up Spidey…but Rudy had rented a cabin and there was still space in it and boom, warm bed for the night. Bonus.

Everything at camp was very low-key tonight, and the cabin (filled to the brim with Rudy, Doug, Lloyd, Emilie, Iona, and myself) had lights out and people asleep by 9:00. Day two of the Cabot Trail tomorrow…if I can do today, I can do anything.

Posted from Dingwall @ 46° 55' 52" N, 60° 27' 54" W

My Bike is Clean! It’s a Miracle!

August 29th, 2006

Trip: Lower Barney’s River to Lake Ainslie
Distance: 170.11km

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Today was probably the best cycling day I can remember having in a very, very long time. My legs felt good, my body felt good, my knees felt good…my nose was still stuffed up, but otherwise, everything was great. The only bad thing was that my map went missing and we ran out of copies, so I stuck on Lori like glue for the day in order to make it into the next camp. Well, I probably could have made it without sticking like glue (the directions weren’t exceptionally hard), but Lori’s good company. We ran into Danielle a little bit down the road, who told me a story about how she thought she had left her USB key in camp and needed to stop Mike to get him to phone Bud. About three seconds later, Mike rolls on by, and I just start waving, as usual, until Danielle behind me yelled about the key, so I started frantically tapping my head (our sign for him to pull over). Good times, there.

We had a very yummy second breakfast in Antigonish - I had a breakfast burrito, and it was definitely worth the wait. Actually, because we had to wait so long for our breakfast, by the time we left, we had pretty much missed the entirety of a rain shower. Bonus.

Lori and I finally came across a Subway (of course, what else?) sometime in the afternoon, and given that we were both starving, we stopped there for a little bite. We then wasted a good chunk of time in a gift shop, looking at postcards of the Cabot Trail - and then freaking out over how steep some of the mountains looked. From there, we hit the Canso Causeway to enter onto Cape Breton island, which was quite cool and a bit of a highlight for the day. After we crossed over, we saw a sign for North Sydney - only 145km away! We still have to do the Cabot Trail, but it was crazy to think that we were that close to our second-to-last destination. It’s really winding down…

The highway after the causeway was just gorgeous, and I had a highly enjoyable ride all the way into camp. It was almost 7:00 when Lori and I finally got there, but that’s not the kind of thing I worry about. It was enough time to shower, do laundry, eat dinner, put my tent up, and go to sleep, which is really all I need. Sleep came early, as the real test of the trip begins tomorrow - the Cabot Trail.

Today was a very up and down, hilly day, and yet I finally managed to keep my cadence up better than I ever have before. Something has finally clicked! Finally! It only took what, 69 days of the trip? Better late than never. :)

Posted from Lake Ainslie @ 46° 00' 43" N, 61° 10' 05" W

Lobster and Wonderbread…Now THERE’S a Delicacy!

August 28th, 2006

Trip: Cornwall (PEI) to Lower Barney’s River (NS)
Distance: 128km

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I woke up feeling marginally better this morning, which was certainly something like a positive. I still wasn’t feeling 100% though, so I skipped eating breakfast. Tylenol Cold and Flu was my breakfast of champions. We were all packed up and ready to go when I discovered that my rear tire was flat - I guess at some point I must have picked up a slow leak. Ticked off, I changed to a Gatorskin before we headed off to try and make the ferry.

Iona and I were riding together and realized fairly early on in the day that us making the 11:00 ferry wasn’t going to happen. This fact was further brought to truth when I hit a fairly decent sized pothole type thing as I was trying to avoid crashing into Iona when the piece of road I was riding on ended and boom, there went my tire. Knowing for sure we weren’t going to make the 11:00, we stopped for a little juice break at the only gas stop we found. We got down to the terminal around 12:20, so we bummed around until it left at 1:00. Lunch was lobster on wonderbread - how can you go wrong with that? This ferry wasn’t the best one we’ve ever been on - I ended up sleeping awkwardly with my legs over the side of a different chair and my head on my arms, but hey, it killed some of the time.

After the ferry we tracked down our 9th provincial sign and snapped some shots there, before moseying on down the road. We stopped at a Sobey’s along the way, where I picked up some house brand cold medication and a litre of juice in order to try and drown my illness. I hadn’t initially planned on drinking the entire thing while we were stopped…it kind of just happened. Cycling with litre of juice in your stomach? That’s fun. It started to rain a little bit and the bugs were pretty bad whenever we stopped, so Iona and I started booking it into camp. Met two nice guys while we were stopped at an intersection, and chatted with them for a bit. We ended up meeting them again at a construction stop, about 5km down the road as well.

We got into camp and…miracle of miracles…I cleaned the bike. This hasn’t happened in a really long time, but really, I was hoping that if I got some of the grease off it, I might not be completely covered in it when I lift the thing in celebration on Signal Hill. Good times, that. The mosquitoes were quite bad at the camp we stayed at, so that meant an early retreat to the tent.

Posted from Lower Barney's River @ 45° 35' 46" N, 62° 25' 12" W

Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired!

August 27th, 2006

Trip: Murray Beach Provincial Park (NS) to Cornwall (PEI)
Distance: 96.67km

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After having gone to bed somewhere around 4:00 (okay, I got up to have dinner, so it wasn’t an exact sleep-through-until-morning), I woke up still feeling like I could sleep another day away. Still feeling sick, still feeling incredibly annoyed that I’m feeling sick. The stomach felt a little less than great, so I ate a bottle of baby food for breakfast before setting off for Confederation Bridge with a fairly large group (Iona, Lori, Brett, Lloyd, Emilie and Gary). We had quite the little peleton going as we hit the windy couple kilometres on the highway before we got off to catch our shuttle.

The shuttle was just leaving as we got there, so we had to settle in for a half hour wait. Fortunately, they had two computers in the information booth and I was able to take advantage of that and send a couple journal entries off to Dana for posting. The trip over the bridge was pretty awesome - what a tremendous view. When we got to the other side, Lori and Iona and I cruised the tourist trap shops on the other side. They had some really cute PEI t-shirts that I seriously considered picking up, but the desire to not carry it on the bike won out. We then plodded our way down the road (well, I plodded more than they did - every hill felt like a mountain to me!) and stopped for lunch at a cute, though incredibly overpriced cafe. On the way to camp we took a little detour to Fort la Joie, where we saw the monument for the first Acadians to land in PEI and a great view of Charlottetown…although really not much else.

After struggling my way into camp, I grabbed a shower and then slept for two hours, waking up only to eat a bit of chowder. I was pretty upset, because dinner was pretty great - mussels, clams, corn…stupid illness. Back to bed I went at 7:30. I’m praying beyond everything and anything that I feel better for the Cabot Trail. It’s really irritating to me that I looked forward to the Atlantic for pretty much the entire trip, and now I’ve not been able to enjoy it as much as I would have liked and just…fully embrace it, really, because I’ve been feverish. Oh well - I guess it will just have to fuel my motivation to come back.

Posted from Cornwall @ 46° 18' 07" N, 63° 12' 18" W

Illness, Cramps, and Giant Lobsters

August 26th, 2006

Trip: St. Louis de Kent to Murray Beach Provincial Park
Distance: 145.32km

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Today felt like the longest day ever. When sick, what is high on the list of things I really want to do? I’m not entirely certain (generally it’s “watch TV” and “sleep”) but “cycle 145km” normally doesn’t factor particularly high on the list. Nonetheless, choices were quite limited, so I had to drag my rather pathetic ass onto the bike and put one foot in front of the other.

My nose was so stuffed up that the Dristan nasal spray really didn’t make too much of a difference, so there were a lot of nose bombs being fired off as I cursed my way along the road. My first stop was about 20km in at a Tim Horton’s, where I drowned myself in some orange juice and kept down a bagel. Up the road I went, though I had to take a little break around 65km, when I was struck down by The Worst Cramp in my Side EVER ™. That was just plain crappy. I stopped in Shediac to see the giant lobster (which, somehow, Lori, Iona and Doug managed to miss) and was quite impressed. Of all the giant objects I’ve seen on this trip, the giant lobster was the most lifelike and thus, the coolest. I stopped at Subway for lunch, finally securing myself the lobster sub. This probably wasn’t the best time to eat it, as I think it may have had more taste if I hadn’t eaten it during a time when all things seem to taste the same. Doh. At least I can say I ate it now.

My average speed declined throughout the day as I plodded away, counting down the kilometres to camp. I’m pretty happy it was an easy day, or else I really have no idea where I would have ended up. I got to camp and got the nicest surprise ever - Lori and Iona had taken pity on me and had set up Spidey! Grateful, I changed out of my biking clothes, crawled on in, and went to sleep. I woke up a couple hours later and ate dinner, and then returned to my hexagonal sanctuary to sleep the rest of the night away. Here’s hoping that all this sleep makes a difference - go away, evil illness of doom!

Tomorrow is a short day as we cross on over into PEI (and spend our one and only night there). Should be fun.

Posted from Murray Beach Provincial Park @ 46° 10' 45" N, 63° 58' 45" W

Rest days shouldn’t be wasted being sick

August 25th, 2006

Rest Day in St. Louis de Kent

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I woke up this morning with my cold/flu/whatever starting to rear its ugly head in full force. Sniffles abound with this kid. I’m not too happy about this fact (to say the least), but there’s nothing I can do besides try to drown it in massive amounts of orange juice and prayers that it will dissipate by the time I hit the Cabot Trail. If there’s any fairness in this world, it will.

Breakfast came in the form of some super amazing blueberry and almond pancakes, courtesy of Danielle. Yummy. The next task of the day was laundry, which was actually a fairly easy task given that I had to walk maybe 100 metres to do it. While that was going, I read for a while. When it was done, I hung up what needed to be, and then set out to brave the walk into St. Louis de Kent proper.

The walk was about 2km, but when I was about halfway there, a older guy in a truck stopped and asked where I was headed. I told him to the school to use the internet, so he told me to hop on in and drove me there. Apparently it was too cold for me to be walking. No complaints here!

St. Louis de Kent seems to consist of a Kia dealership, a Home Hardware, a Coop store, and two restaurants. Oh, and a bank, as I did have to use that to take out money. Anyways, given this wide variety of things to do and places to see, it was fairly easy to just plunk myself down at the school and putter about on the internet all day long. The good news of the day? My computer has been fixed (or at least, I hope it has been fixed. Either way, it’s been sent back to my house) and was being delivered that day. The added bonus was that my mom had just gotten home from her trip to New Brunswick and was actually going to be there when it was delivered. No drama about the lack of Dana Lacoste’s living there! Hooray!

Lunch consisted of a fried scallop burger, which wasn’t all that impressive (but wasn’t all that bad). Dinner was far more depressing, as I paid a pretty decent amount for a seafood pizza and it wasn’t even that great. Hopefully my bad luck will end as we head towards PEI and I can get myself some decent seafood without breaking what is turning into quite the meagre budget. One can only hope.

Fairly early night for me, as I continue to try and kill this evil illness plaguing me. Wish me luck!

Posted from St-Louis de Kent @ 46° 43' 44" N, 64° 58' 29" W

It took me a long time to find this place on google maps

August 24th, 2006

Trip: Petit Rocher to Saint-Louis de Kent
Distance : 149.1km

Today was a fully solo day for me.  I had to clean up after breakfast and by the time that was done, everyone had gone on their merry way. This was okay with me as sometimes I enjoy the quiet that a ride on my own provides. Well, that, and I’m coming down with a cold and wasn’t entirely sure how well (read: fast) I was going to be cycling because of that. I meandered my way down the road until Bathurst, where I stopped at a Tim Horton’s for a little break and snack. The bonus about riding by yourself is that you don’t have to feel guilty when you want to stop and be lazy and do something like read the paper while casually sipping an Iced Capp and eating a bagel (can you guess what I did in Bathurst?). Having had a satisfying break, I pressed onwards to Miramichi (where you tie up to a tree…if you know the Great Big Sea song).

We had been warned about a big, potentially scary bridge in Miramichi, so I was actually pretty surprised to find that it was far smaller than the bridge we had been required to cross in Montreal. The wind was a little crazy and I found myself having to concentrate to hold the bike steady, but other than that it was fine. I circled what I think was downtown Miramichi for a little bit, trying to find a place to eat. I couldn’t figure out the difference between dive, hole in the wall, greasy spoon, and cafe, so I ended up just playing it safe and eating at Subway. I had wanted to be particularly tourist-y and eat the “authentic lobster” sub, but they had sold out by the time I got there. They were also out of honey oat bread, so I had to branch out to parmesan oregano. Setting out even later (though with less distance left, admittedly) from lunch than I had the day before, I was pleasantly surprised to find the exact same circumstances - a wonderful tailwind to guide me into camp!

Camp is not exactly in Saint Louis de Kent, which is not exactly a big place. I actually went to ask one of the women working at the park if there was anything interesting we could do in “town” and she answered me no, with a completely straight face. She then elaborated and said the only thing they had there was a skate park, but that nobody good hung out there and that was where the drugs were (and she wasn’t sending anyone to the drugs). So yes - good times abound in Saint Louis de Kent. I debated making a quick cycle into town to pick up a DVD, but laziness prevailed and we instead watched the last of the movies on the truck - Confidence. It wasn’t an exceptionally tremendous movie by any standards, but Megan and I were determined to get through it and sat through the attack of the killer mosquitoes and the attack of the killer cold (which resulted in the departure of the killer mosquitoes) to do so. Afterwards, we were banished by the cold to the wonderful world of tents, where I continued reading (Leslie should love this) Ghost Rider. Admittedly, I think the chapter that I had to read for WRIT 295 gave me a bit of a wrong impression of the book as a whole.  I think having read from the beginning (instead of just a chunk in the middle) I understand a bit more where his style comes from and why he writes the way he does (at one point he even explains himself a little). I’m still not entirely sure how I feel about Neil Peart, but my opinion of him has changed considerably since January.

Tomorrow’s plans include the exciting world of laundry, and then the exciting world of going into town and seeking out the community access centre, which offers internet for the day for $2.00. I don’t think there’s much else in town that I want to do (or that there is to do?) so I’m sure much internetting is my tomorrow future.

Posted from St-Louis de Kent @ 46° 43' 44" N, 64° 58' 29" W