DONE!

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

1401

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…

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