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Saturday, August 31, 2013

St. John's

What a feeling!!!   I got up and had NO COMMITMENTS today. It was my day to do what I wanted, although I did have plans. But none of them involved riding a bike.

Quite a few of the group were leaving today and I said a few good byes as they waited in the lobby for their ride to the airport. The end of these trips is so bitter sweet. As much as you are excited to go home, it is sad to see the people you have spent so much time with over the last couple of months go home.

I walked downtown yet again (I am really getting to know my way around this part) and met up with Neil and his wife Susan, Rob and Mike. We also ran into Larry and Gee as well at the Bagel Cafe. A restaurant that knew how to serve food. The portions were gigantic and thank goodness Mike was beside me because he got to eat part of my omelet that was to die for. I just could NOT eat any more. Thank goodness I was walking back to the hotel so gave me a bit of a chance to work some of that breakfast off. One has to be careful now and NOT eat like you need thousands of calories in a day - just a few!!!!!

Neil and Susan generously offered to take myself, Becky and Louise to Cape Spear. Originally there had been some talk about riding bikes there, but thank goodness we did NOT. It is a fairly long ways away and the HILLS - oh yes - there are hills. And when we arrived the wind was whipping at fierce gales around. So I was very happy to get a ride. The place is the most eastern tip of Canada. We went into the old lighthouse which is pretty neat as the HOUSE for the lighthouse keeper is built AROUND the lighthouse. Yep - the base of that lighthouse is INSIDE the house. Pretty wild. A new lighthouse is now on the site, but this place was very interesting to visit. There was a path around the tip, but it was so windy that it probably was best that we didn't walk there especially since part of it was on the cliff!!!!   Can you imagine - I survived cycling across Canada only to be blown off a cliff in Newfoundland??????

Also the weather wasn't the greatest all day - we had rain, we had WIND and we had cold. But fortunately it did stop raining for most of the afternoon. We could see Signal Hill from Cape Spear. Neil then drove us up Signal Hill so we could get a view of the harbour and see what we missed the day before. Holy cow - if I had of seen where we were going yesterday on the bike - I might have quit before I got there!!!!   But it was beautiful albeit WINDY. What a beautiful place - again it would be nice to come back and visit on a nice day so you could hike around the grounds and really get to enjoy the view. So neat to look at St. John's and see all those coloured houses. Makes it very cheery looking.

We popped into a pub and had a pint and more food - but by this time it is late afternoon. I have seafood chowder which was delicious. We managed to get bike boxes from the bike shop next door to the pub for Becky and Louise. Then back to our hotel. Thanks to Neil and Susan for chauffeuring us around today. We really appreciated it!!!!!!!!

I went to my room and decided to read for a bit. Yes - the room was still a disaster and I NEED to start packing, but I was so TIRED from not sleeping well last night that I ended up having a nap. After an almost three hour nap - I was finally awake!  I have managed to get MOST of my stuff packed. The bike is apart and in the bike box - still a few pieces to add to the box before it gets closed up for the trip home. Yes - I am coming home tomorrow. That is going to be very weird to be going home and staying there!!!!!   While I am sad that our trip is done - I am excited to go home. My girls better be excited to see me!!!!!!

I had two missions to complete while in St. John's and one of them was to get to Cape Spear. I have accomplished that today - I still have ONE geocache to find tomorrow. I have done the research and know where it is and will head out in the morning to get it. It is close to the hotel and hopefully (according to the notes - it was found just the other day) so I should be OK.

On that note - I am off to finish packing - or maybe another nap - or maybe read my book.

Have a great day!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ciao!!!!!!!!!!!!

Day 72 - Signal Hill

Funny how everything looks so much better in the morning!   While I still wasn't "happy", I wasn't so tired and what a nice feeling to stretch out in a queen sized bed with nice clean sheets, lots of pillows and OH YES - there were fluffy white towels in the bathroom.  I didn't have to share a bathroom with anyone - not even those nasty mosquitos or black flies!!!!  Practically felt like royalty!

Went to the breakfast room to get something to eat - may take a day or two to get the appetite back to normal. Was also hoping to hook up with the others to see what the plans were for the day. I think only three people went to Signal Hill yesterday and it was dark. So the plan was to leave the hotel around 8 AM and finish the trip. Yes - the weather sucked - it was foggy - it was drizzling a bit and so big rain gear was in order. Neil would meet us on the way as he was in a different hotel.

We made an impressive looking group - I think there were about 12 or 13 of us that made the trek. Not only were we impressive in numbers, but just the fact that we were on a bicycle. If you have ever been to St. John's you would understand why. This city is built on a HILL - a BIG HILL and everywhere you turn you have to go UP or you have to do DOWN and we are not talking gentle little hills - oh no - these hills are HUGE and STEEP.

Our first stop was the Mile Zero in the harbour. This is the spot where Terry Fox started his cross Canada run many years ago. If you think what I have accomplished is a feat - imagine running a marathon EVERY DAY for 143 days. Yes - he ran for twice as long as we rode until he couldn't run any longer due to his cancer. Those markers at either end of the country and the monument in Ontario - well if ever you get a chance to see them you should. They have special meaning to our country and now they have meaning to me.

This is one of Terry's quotations and is one the monument at St. John's

"I just wish people would realize that anything is possible is you try, dreams are made if people try. "

I really could not have said this better myself. Who knew or would have thought that six years ago when I started riding a bike that I would ride across Canada on a bike!!!!!!   At the end of that first summer of bike riding, M and I rode 50 K in 3 hours and we were so proud of ourselves. FIFTY K in one day!!!!!   I think every time people say "I can't", they are doing a disservice to themselves. Don't over analyze - JUST DO IT!!!!!!    That is what happened yesterday - more on that in a bit.

Oh yes - as we neared the street corner where we were meeting Neil - yes - we saw Neil and he had a blasted flat tire!!!!!!    Danny went to help him and the rest of us went to the monument. Loads of pictures as people wanted pictures at the statue of Terry, at the Mile Zero marker - then we had individual pictures, shots of the entire group and groups of riders. Oh yes -- we were there for a while and we had barely begun our mission for the morning.

Now in order to get to the Monument we had to go down a fairly STEEP hill and in order to go to Signal Hill - we had to go back up. Some chose to walk as the road was wet. I geared down and went for it. In a few short seconds I was puffing like I had been smoking my entire life. Then it was up the road (and MORE HILLS) as we rode to the top of Signal Hill. All I can say is thank goodness it was foggy because I had NO IDEA where we were going. Up and up and round the corners, PUFF PUFF PUFF until at last I saw the tower on my right hand side but we were NOT at the top yet. Around one last corner and then we were in the parking lot. When I say foggy - I mean foggy - we could barely see a thing - even ourselves when we were up there!!!!! 

We did walk our bikes from the parking lot to the tower and then took MANY MANY pictures. I got one of me with my bike and I had to HOLD onto that bike. The wind was fierce. There was a lady in the tower who opened the door to peek out a couple of times and each time she said "oh my - it is even windier than before". Well STOP opening the door!!!!!!

Again we got individual shots, group shots, but not an entire group - there was no way the tripod was going to stand firm in that wind. Although we did miss the grand view - I will just have to come back for that another time, the thrill of being on Signal Hill was AMAZING. I remember back when I posted the Mile Zero (Victoria) and Signal Hill pictures on Facebook many months ago. And what a feeling to know that I connected those two dots on a bicycle. (Yes - that made up for all the bitter sweetness from the day before).

At last, it was time to move on. We still had to dip our wheels in the ocean. I know - there is a LOT of housekeeping to do at the end of a tour like this!!!!!    Now came the scary part - descending that hill in the fog and staying in one piece. Everyone went very cautiously, but at one point, my hands and arms were cramping so bad that I had to let go a bit and I was terrified. Thankfully, the road flattens out a bit at the main parking lot, but then we had another hill to descend to get back into the town proper. Yikes - I can't hold on much longer - my arms are dead!!!!!!!   But I managed - I don't know how. Where are those pedal brakes when you need them. My legs are much stronger than my arms - it would have been way easier.

Then we had to descend that bloody hill at the monument one more time in order to find a spot to dip the wheels. I took one look at it and almost chickened out. I don't think I can or want to go down the hill. BUT everyone else was already on their way down (Joyce walked) so I sucked it up and went down. Don't forget it is wet!!!!!   I was fine - just being a baby!!!!!!    We found a park that had some boat docks off it and zipped down there for the dipping. Naturally that wasn't an easy process to get there either. The waves were bad, the dock was a floating dock and it was a bit steep to get down and the dock was wet and slippery. I tell  you this trip is a challenge right to the end!!!!!!   I could just imagine someone going down that dock and losing their bike in the water!!!!!!

Dan stood on solid ground and took pictures of each of us as we each dipped our bike in the water. I don't think I was even looking at the camera, I was so focused on not falling in!!!!   Some of the girls had someone dip their bikes, but I wanted to dip my own. Then I had to stand on that rocky dock for a bit holding someone else's bike while they helped the others. I can still feel that darn rocky motion. A sailor I will NOT make.

At last we were done!!!!!!   The trip was ALMOST over. The only thing remaining was the brunch. Back up that STEEP hill, but we found a shorter version of it so it wasn't too bad. Arrived at the hotel with mud all over my legs. And don't forget the drizzle, although we were VERY lucky that while it was wet, we did NOT get a downpour. Oh yes - while all or most of us had our fancy jerseys on for that last effort, I don't think one person exposed themselves to the elements - all you see is rain gear!!!!!!

Fortunately, our hotel agreed to shuttle us to the restaurant which was just down the street. Yeah - we arrive in dribs and drabs. It was ONE last chance to be together (some people left yesterday). Many stories were related, many laughs, some tears, two minutes of silence for Bob and Irene. Oh yes - forgot to mention that we got some ribbon (green for Bob because he had green handle bar tape on his bike and purple for Irene because she always wore purple ) and we tied that to our bikes or helmets in honour of them as we rode up the Hill. Actually I made a curly bow and tied it to my helmet. Neil had mentioned (the day before) that if we had a tailwind those ribbons would have caused us some problems as they would be blowing in our face - well that was NOT a problem at all).

Anyway - Eric brought the "official weigh-in" scale so people could see how much weight they had lost. According to that scale, I lost 10 pounds, but I am not sure about that. I know I have leaned up a lot and I am OK with that. Now the big thing will be - how to stay that lean. Bill (our tattoo artist) brought in a poster (not sure how to call it) that had a small emblem representing all the provinces and territories of Canada. He designed each of the crests, hand drew them and hand painted them. It is truly a treasure!!!!!!   Now I want each as a tattoo -- but trying to decide if I want them on my calves, my quads, my arms, my back?????   They are truly beautiful and we thank Bill for offering us such a beautiful memento  of the trip.

I also received my Sea to Sea to Sea pin. When I completed the Tour Arctic in 2010, a number of people on that trip (those that had already done Tour du Canada) received a pin that Bud had designed for those that have ridden from Pacific to Atlantic to Arctic Oceans. I now have one of those pins and I am VERY PROUD to have it. I think I have earned it!!!!!

Then we walked back to the hotel and I think I made my room even messier than it already was. Clark was in the hallway trying to get his pedals off. Unfortunately one would not come off and when I checked the little arrows that say TIGHTEN - he was trying to tighten the pedals, not loosen the one and there was NO WAY that thing was coming off. That freaked me out and I hurried to my room to see if I could get my pedals off. YES - they came off very easily - especially when you turn the wrench in the right direction.

OH shoot - I forgot to mention ONE very important thing about that final lunch. You see if anyone asked me about flat tires during the trip -  I always said NO COMMENT and right until the end when we arrived at our hotel I NEVER said a word about tires. But I did thank my bike (and Schwalbe - the manufacturer of the tires) for a pretty trouble free ride. The only thing I needed to do was change the brake pads once and the chain - OK - so Greig changed them for me, but that was just part of normal maintenance. The bike shop in Ottawa added a screw that was lost somewhere along the way and that is it!!!!!   I was one of three that had no flats - Bill, Louise and myself - no flats. Megan had the most at 10. I know - TEN!!!!!!   They were also surprised that I NEVER put air in my tires. The last time that air was put in the tires was in Ottawa at the bike shop. OK - so the pressure might be a bit lower now than it is supposed to be, but there is still a lot of pressure. Maybe I am just lazy - but I always use that strategy and I have hardly ever had a flat. Great - I can see what is going to happen when I get home!!!!

Now - what to do with the afternoon. I could start to pack up, but no - I am HAPPY to be living with my stuff all around me instead of neatly packed up in a bag. I am enjoying the freedom!!!!!   I will pack tomorrow. It was raining and then it wasn't and while we are not far from downtown, it is still a bit of a walk. I finally bit the bullet and walked downtown where I had a great time browsing the shops of St. John's. Found some neat stuff - some of which I bought, most of which I did not. Some cool art work, but so hard to bring home so I left it in the store, but got the contact info. Found a neat used book store that actually had the book that I was looking for!!!!!   A novel - so I am now on my eleventh book of the trip.

Off to meet with some of the others downtown where we ended up a pub for fish and chips and beer. A nice way to end the day - I think we were eight at dinner which was great and great live music. The others were going to move to another pub, but I was tired and decided to walk home. It was a nice night - well let's just say that it was warm, but still misty!!!!!!  Crazy weather!!!!

Of course once I got to my hotel room, I could NOT sleep and it didn't help that I had the noisiest neighbours next door. But around 1 or maybe it was two - I finally dozed off.

In retrospect, I am VERY HAPPY that the previous day turned out as it did and that most did NOTmake it up the hill on the night we arrived. It was much more fun as a group and I can say that I have finished Tour du Canada on a very POSITIVE note. I am proud of myself for making it through all that this Tour tried to throw at us. Am I better person? I don't know, but I know this experience will help me in my day to day. Don't give up! Have dreams and work towards them - and as the saying goes - what doesn't kill you makes you stronger???   Oh yes - I believe that with all my heart.

I am going to try and upload my stats from the Garmin at the hotel computer.

Have a great day!!!!!!!!!!!

Ciao!!!!!!!!!

Friday, August 30, 2013

Day 71 - Argentia to St. Johns's

What can I say - today - the LAST cycling day of the Tour du Canada was probably the HARDEST day of the entire trip. It almost was the END of my cycling adventures!!!!

Had a pretty decent sleep on the ferry, but every time I woke up - I looked out the window and could see the waves. Now that is not a bad thing except waves mean WIND. Of course - we are on the open water, so one could expect wind, but we knew from the forecast that there was going to be a LOT of wind.

The buffet breakfast on the ferry was awesome and we all stocked up as much as was possible. Still had time to kill until the ferry docked. I guess with the ferry - it can sometimes take longer or shorter depending on the weather conditions. I do believe it took 18 hours to cross. I got a chance to read my book, but not finished (OK - I finished this morning - NUMBER TEN on the trip)

Then it was another half hour at least before we were able to go downstairs to catch the shuttle bus to the terminal. They unload most of the cars before they allow us down to the car dock. Different than BC ferries, but there is no other way off than shuttle bus. We got to the terminal where Adam and Bud (who joined us in Englishtown) had most of the bikes off the truck/van. Found my front wheel and got that installed and the wind was HOWLING!!!!!!   Made a sandwich in the event we find no place to stop along the route. Get everything loaded on the bike, get dressed (FOUR layers) because not only was it windy, but the temperature was cool. Barely double digits. By the time we left the terminal, it was 11 ish. I didn't look at the time and don't have access to my Garmin info.

As Neil and I left the terminal, we wondered - could the forecast be wrong????   Could we be having a fabulous tail wind?????   We stopped at the Welcome to Newfoundland sign - PROVINCE NUMBER TEN. Hard to believe. Too bad my euphoria didn't last long because soon we were climbing and into a FIERCE headwind. I don't know what the speed of the wind, was, but it was strong. So strong that at points, you were struggling to handle the bike.

After doing some mental math - how long to the mid point, how many kilometers in total, our speed - well it be apparent that it was going to be a LONG day. Originally the mileage for the day was 140 K, but Bud had said that if we take a couple of "shortcuts" we could knock 20 K off the day. Those 20K in fact were only 6K and that 14 K difference did NOTHING to pep me up.

I have to say that I had to dig deep - really deep in order to actually cycle the entire day. I thought of everyone cheering for me, I thought of Bob and Irene, I thought of the distance that we had already done. I thought of how close we were to the finish and even with all that - there were times when I was close to dropping my bike on the side of the road and having a tantrum. OK - so make that a wallow in self pity!!!!   Then I thought of all those things and said - you are so close - just suck it up princess and get your butt in gear and keep pedaling. And as always happens on a tough day - all manner of things come up - my butt was sore, I couldn't get my cycle shorts to sit on the seat - they were pinching, my knees hurt, my eyes were watering from the wind, my wrists ached, my ears were tired of the relentless wind whistling through them. Anyway - as you can tell - it was a tough day. My only consolation was that we were all experiencing the same situation - even Bud!!!!!

And that wind - well it wasn't really gusty - it was steady. Now how many of you have paid attention to the wind?  I think it usually calms down in the afternoon????   NOPE - not this wind - it stayed nice and steady and strong, the entire day!!!!!   And most of the roads that we had to travel on were major highways which are WIDE OPEN. Just perfect for that wind to whistle down. And there were spots where I must say that I was a tad worried as some of the bigger trucks went whipping by and the wind generated by the trucks coupled with the wind made handling the bikes a tad precarious!!!!!!

We did turn off the main highway at one point and that offered a bit of relief, but not much. But it was enough to get us a few kilometers down the road with minimal effort. I was taking every wind "free" point that we could get. Even downhill - you still had to pedal like an idiot in order to go anywhere. Normally that route from the ferry to St. John's would be amazing, but with an EAST wind - it wasn't pretty.

After more calculating, I figured that by the time we reached St. John's it was going to be dark or very close. We stopped at the Tim's where we were going to meet and ride as a group to Signal Hill. Of course - no one was there - we hadn't seen many people in the day. I told Neil that at this point, I couldn't care less about Signal Hill - I just wanted to be at the hotel. He felt the same way - so we headed to the hotel. Neil's wife flew out to meet him, and they were in a different hotel than the group. By this time, I had my glasses off (they are prescription sunglasses and my other glasses were NOT on the bike). It was getting dark and I only had a small light for the back of my bike. It was crazy!!!!!!   I so wanted to be at the hotel.

We had calculated the street where we would split off and I went one way and Neil the other. I turned the corner and saw this MASSIVE hill (Barter's Hill if any of you know it). ARE YOU CRAZY???????   You want me to cycle up that FLIPPING HILL?????   I don't think so!!!!!!!   I checked on Google Maps and saw that I could zig zag my way up that hill and that is what I did. But of course - I had to stop a couple of times to read the streets signs and house numbers. Good god - it was AWFUL. I was never so happy to see a hotel in my life!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And I will confess that I was close to losing it at this point. I came in - saw a couple of people who just stepped aside when they saw me. We were supposed to be sharing rooms, but I said - SCREW THAT and got a room to myself. I was in NO MOOD to be with people, to talk about the day, to share the experience. I was spent - emotionally, physically and mentally - I was hungry, I was cold, I was exhausted. I know that sounds extreme, but that is exactly how I felt. I had a shower and donned my PJs and my fleece jacket and crawled into bed to read. I think I arrived at the hotel sometime after 8 PM. It was DARK to say the least.

There was a pizza dinner and the traditional Tour du Canada cake - I just couldn't have cared less about either. I bought a chocolate bar at the vending machine and that was it. That sounds so pathetic now, but let's just say that it was NOT a good day. OK - to be fair - the others went through the same thing,  I just didn't handle it well!!!!!  But as Becky said this morning - you have energy for the kilometers of that day and when you think they are going to be 120K and ends up being more - well it just doesn't work for me. Plus the wind or maybe because we didn't stop for ice cream??????

The bottom line is that I made it to St. John's. I was a bit disappointed in myself because I wanted the trip to end on a better note. Don't worry - all is fine now - wait for Day 72 blog.

On that note - I am out of here.

Have a great day!!!!!!!!

Ciao!!!!!!!!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Day 70 - Englishtown - Ferry

Two things I forgot to mention from yesterday. I had forgotten that there was ANOTHER mountain that we had to climb. This one was Smokey mountain. And while it was pretty easy to climb - a lot was at 3 - 4 %, and towards the top - it did get steeper but still very doable. But the descent - well that was quite a descent. If you remember, I took a video of the descent last year and posted it to YouTube. I will try to find the link. Let's just say that it was as scary this year as it was last year. And while you think that cycling only uses your legs - don't let anyone fool you. It took a LOT of hand/arm strength to keep the bike under control. CRAZY!!!!!!

And the second - well I can't remember what the second thing was!!!!!   I am sure that I will remember tomorrow.

We had a short day today so no need to get up early. Yeah!!!!   But when you are conditioned to get up at a certain time - it is hard to not get up at that time. Again - a restless night. Not sure if that is because of the excitement of the trip or just insomnia. But I need a good night's sleep!!!!!   And I am trying not to nap because that will really mess things up.

Even though it was a short day, Neil and I got off to an early start. We were on the road by 8:30 AM which in fact was late for us!!!!!   We were trying to figure out how we were going to work in THREE stops in only 40 KM. Turns out that there wasn't any place to stop until we reached our final destination!!!!!!

We got to North Sydney around 10:30 AM. Hmmm - we don't have to be at the ferry dock until around 1 PM so lots of time to kill. We rode through town and found a bank which was very important since I was running out of money. All those darn food stops!!!!   Now in case you are thinking that I am eating a lot - I am just not eating stuff from my packed lunch. Instead of having apricots and almonds for a snack, I have been eating cinnamon buns, tarts and other baked goodies. And no peanut butter sandwich for lunch - we are having a nice lunch. So yes - it is a few more calories but not that big of a deal.

After getting some cash, we happened upon a bakery. Sounds like a great place to stop. But this bakery did not serve coffee - so we had a look at what they had to offer and when we asked about the cinnamon buns, we were told they had some fresh from the oven. OH yes - we will have one of those - they were HUGE. And the price????   ONE DOLLAR - I would have bought a few more had I the room. Well - I wouldn't have, but I could have bought extra and sold them for $2.00.

Got some milk and coffee at the gas station and then sat by the water and enjoyed our morning snack. It was awesome because we were able to watch one of the ferries leave. There were two in the dock when we arrived.

After hanging out at the water for a while, it was time for lunch. I know - that was very sad!!!!!   But we had a light lunch and again sat right by the ferry dock and enjoyed the beautiful view. It was awesome. Then off to get to the dock where we were pretty much the last to arrive. The rest of the group had arrived and immediately dropped off their bikes - the van and trailer were not at the dock when we arrived in town. Front wheel off the bike and then it went up top. Looks pretty impressive with all those bikes up top.

Sat in the ferry terminal for a long while as we waited to board. It is quite a process to load this ferry and the one that we were getting on was the one that was already in the dock when we arrived. It does take a long time to put all the truck trailers on the ferry as the truck cabs do not go on. The trailers are dropped in the parking lot and then another vehicle drives the trailers onto the ferry and then leaves the trailers on. It is quite a process and with two ferries in dock at the same time - well it is interesting to watch. There was a Tim's right beside the dock and so I popped over to get a TEA since we were going to be at the dock waiting for a while. And it was AWESOME to just sit and spend an hour enjoying that cup of tea. It is also interesting that we had to have a boarding pass (which makes sense), but also to show photo ID to get on the ferry. And when you go out the gate to get to Tim's, you need your boarding pass and PHOTO ID to get back in.

Then it was time to board the bus and get to the ferry. Yes - you do NOT walk on this ferry - a shuttle bus takes you to the bowels of the ferry and you get off in the parking garage before the cars are loaded!!!!!   Then I dropped the luggage in our room - we are four to a room - four to a VERY TINY room. And I got the CO-ED room. Two guys - two girls. Oh well - should be fun!!!!  But we have our own washroom with a shower (which I hear is very good). By the time, I took a quick tour of the ferry and ended up on the deck up top, the darn truck and trailer were already loaded!!!!   DRAT!!!!!!  And yeah - I get the top bunk!!!!!  At least we found the ladder so I don't have to do gymnastics to get in bed.   I always seem to get the top bunk!

A bunch of us ended up outside on the TENTH deck of the ferry and watched as the ferry finally got ready to leave the dock. Quite an impressive show - well at least for a land lubber like me.

There is definitely enough to keep one entertained - there is a bar, a couple of restaurants, a place to watch movies and of course - just watching the sea go by!!!!  We did see a whale - but not much of it - just a fin!!!   I don't think any of it showed up in my pictures.

However I am not sure that I am going to like this MOTION business. Even though this ferry is big - we are a LONG way from land and I can feel the ferry moving. Maybe that is what I need to rock me to sleep and I hear that the winds are going to pick up in the night. The ferry left dock at 5:00 PM and won't reach Argentia, NFLD until about 9 or 10 AM. Depends on the a lot of things including the weather.

We had a great buffet dinner - and I would imagine that the ferry lost money on us!!   Many people went back for seconds and lots of dessert. I was very controlled - I don't want to lose my dinner because of the motion! Although I am NOT normally prone to motion sickness????

The ride this morning was a great one. We did have to climb Kelly's Mountain which at this point was really not a big deal. Although it was about 6 KM of climbing, the grade was about 5 - 6 percent maximum and that is really not a big deal at this point. BUT - for every up - there is a down and this was a nice long descent, but why do we have to do all these ups and then downs - we get nothing from the entire process. However at the bottom of the mountain was a bridge. Another HIGH bridge. I hate high bridges!!!!!!!   This one had no shoulder and no sidewalk so we had to ride with the traffic which I hate. But we did get lucky in that there was not much traffic at that time. The rest of the route was pretty easy and my legs were definitely feeling much better than they had been the previous day.

Well - it is getting dark outside and it looks very stormy on one side of the ferry - oh well - best to just ignore it. I am not fond of sailing. No cruises for me!!!!   Just hope I don't feel this rocking motion for days like I did when I took the ferries up the west coast a couple of years ago.

On that note - I am out of here. ONE MORE DAY of riding!!!!!!    Yes - and with the shortcuts - we are looking at about 120K of riding. Let's just hope that the weather is going to cooperate - at this time - the forecast is NOT good.

Have a good day!!!

Ciao!!!!!!!!!!

Oh yes - I remember what the second thing was!!!!!   We had black flies the other night or some little thing that bit me on the ankles. My right ankle is VERY itchy and swollen. Stupid BUGS!!!!!   I am getting very tired of BUGS!!!!!!

Day 70 - Englishtown - Ferry

Two things I forgot to mention from yesterday. I had forgotten that there was ANOTHER mountain that we had to climb. This one was Smokey mountain. And while it was pretty easy to climb - a lot was at 3 - 4 %, and towards the top - it did get steeper but still very doable. But the descent - well that was quite a descent. If you remember, I took a video of the descent last year and posted it to YouTube. I will try to find the link. Let's just say that it was as scary this year as it was last year. And while you think that cycling only uses your legs - don't let anyone fool you. It took a LOT of hand/arm strength to keep the bike under control. CRAZY!!!!!!

And the second - well I can't remember what the second thing was!!!!!   I am sure that I will remember tomorrow.

We had a short day today so no need to get up early. Yeah!!!!   But when you are conditioned to get up at a certain time - it is hard to not get up at that time. Again - a restless night. Not sure if that is because of the excitement of the trip or just insomnia. But I need a good night's sleep!!!!!   And I am trying not to nap because that will really mess things up.

Even though it was a short day, Neil and I got off to an early start. We were on the road by 8:30 AM which in fact was late for us!!!!!   We were trying to figure out how we were going to work in THREE stops in only 40 KM. Turns out that there wasn't any place to stop until we reached our final destination!!!!!!

We got to North Sydney around 10:30 AM. Hmmm - we don't have to be at the ferry dock until around 1 PM so lots of time to kill. We rode through town and found a bank which was very important since I was running out of money. All those darn food stops!!!!   Now in case you are thinking that I am eating a lot - I am just not eating stuff from my packed lunch. Instead of having apricots and almonds for a snack, I have been eating cinnamon buns, tarts and other baked goodies. And no peanut butter sandwich for lunch - we are having a nice lunch. So yes - it is a few more calories but not that big of a deal.

After getting some cash, we happened upon a bakery. Sounds like a great place to stop. But this bakery did not serve coffee - so we had a look at what they had to offer and when we asked about the cinnamon buns, we were told they had some fresh from the oven. OH yes - we will have one of those - they were HUGE. And the price????   ONE DOLLAR - I would have bought a few more had I the room. Well - I wouldn't have, but I could have bought extra and sold them for $2.00.

Got some milk and coffee at the gas station and then sat by the water and enjoyed our morning snack. It was awesome because we were able to watch one of the ferries leave. There were two in the dock when we arrived.

After hanging out at the water for a while, it was time for lunch. I know - that was very sad!!!!!   But we had a light lunch and again sat right by the ferry dock and enjoyed the beautiful view. It was awesome. Then off to get to the dock where we were pretty much the last to arrive. The rest of the group had arrived and immediately dropped off their bikes - the van and trailer were not at the dock when we arrived in town. Front wheel off the bike and then it went up top. Looks pretty impressive with all those bikes up top.

Sat in the ferry terminal for a long while as we waited to board. It is quite a process to load this ferry and the one that we were getting on was the one that was already in the dock when we arrived. It does take a long time to put all the truck trailers on the ferry as the truck cabs do not go on. The trailers are dropped in the parking lot and then another vehicle drives the trailers onto the ferry and then leaves the trailers on. It is quite a process and with two ferries in dock at the same time - well it is interesting to watch. There was a Tim's right beside the dock and so I popped over to get a TEA since we were going to be at the dock waiting for a while. And it was AWESOME to just sit and spend an hour enjoying that cup of tea. It is also interesting that we had to have a boarding pass (which makes sense), but also to show photo ID to get on the ferry. And when you go out the gate to get to Tim's, you need your boarding pass and PHOTO ID to get back in.

Then it was time to board the bus and get to the ferry. Yes - you do NOT walk on this ferry - a shuttle bus takes you to the bowels of the ferry and you get off in the parking garage before the cars are loaded!!!!!   Then I dropped the luggage in our room - we are four to a room - four to a VERY TINY room. And I got the CO-ED room. Two guys - two girls. Oh well - should be fun!!!!  But we have our own washroom with a shower (which I hear is very good). By the time, I took a quick tour of the ferry and ended up on the deck up top, the darn truck and trailer were already loaded!!!!   DRAT!!!!!!  And yeah - I get the top bunk!!!!!  At least we found the ladder so I don't have to do gymnastics to get in bed.   I always seem to get the top bunk!

A bunch of us ended up outside on the TENTH deck of the ferry and watched as the ferry finally got ready to leave the dock. Quite an impressive show - well at least for a land lubber like me.

There is definitely enough to keep one entertained - there is a bar, a couple of restaurants, a place to watch movies and of course - just watching the sea go by!!!!  We did see a whale - but not much of it - just a fin!!!   I don't think any of it showed up in my pictures.

However I am not sure that I am going to like this MOTION business. Even though this ferry is big - we are a LONG way from land and I can feel the ferry moving. Maybe that is what I need to rock me to sleep and I hear that the winds are going to pick up in the night. The ferry left dock at 5:00 PM and won't reach Argentia, NFLD until about 9 or 10 AM. Depends on the a lot of things including the weather.

We had a great buffet dinner - and I would imagine that the ferry lost money on us!!   Many people went back for seconds and lots of dessert. I was very controlled - I don't want to lose my dinner because of the motion! Although I am NOT normally prone to motion sickness????

The ride this morning was a great one. We did have to climb Kelly's Mountain which at this point was really not a big deal. Although it was about 6 KM of climbing, the grade was about 5 - 6 percent maximum and that is really not a big deal at this point. BUT - for every up - there is a down and this was a nice long descent, but why do we have to do all these ups and then downs - we get nothing from the entire process. However at the bottom of the mountain was a bridge. Another HIGH bridge. I hate high bridges!!!!!!!   This one had no shoulder and no sidewalk so we had to ride with the traffic which I hate. But we did get lucky in that there was not much traffic at that time. The rest of the route was pretty easy and my legs were definitely feeling much better than they had been the previous day.

Well - it is getting dark outside and it looks very stormy on one side of the ferry - oh well - best to just ignore it. I am not fond of sailing. No cruises for me!!!!   Just hope I don't feel this rocking motion for days like I did when I took the ferries up the west coast a couple of years ago.

On that note - I am out of here. ONE MORE DAY of riding!!!!!!    Yes - and with the shortcuts - we are looking at about 120K of riding. Let's just hope that the weather is going to cooperate - at this time - the forecast is NOT good.

Have a good day!!!

Ciao!!!!!!!!!!

Oh yes - I remember what the second thing was!!!!!   We had black flies the other night or some little thing that bit me on the ankles. My right ankle is VERY itchy and swollen. Stupid BUGS!!!!!   I am getting very tired of BUGS!!!!!!

Day 70 - Englishtown - Ferry

Two things I forgot to mention from yesterday. I had forgotten that there was ANOTHER mountain that we had to climb. This one was Smokey mountain. And while it was pretty easy to climb - a lot was at 3 - 4 %, and towards the top - it did get steeper but still very doable. But the descent - well that was quite a descent. If you remember, I took a video of the descent last year and posted it to YouTube. I will try to find the link. Let's just say that it was as scary this year as it was last year. And while you think that cycling only uses your legs - don't let anyone fool you. It took a LOT of hand/arm strength to keep the bike under control. CRAZY!!!!!!

And the second - well I can't remember what the second thing was!!!!!   I am sure that I will remember tomorrow.

We had a short day today so no need to get up early. Yeah!!!!   But when you are conditioned to get up at a certain time - it is hard to not get up at that time. Again - a restless night. Not sure if that is because of the excitement of the trip or just insomnia. But I need a good night's sleep!!!!!   And I am trying not to nap because that will really mess things up.

Even though it was a short day, Neil and I got off to an early start. We were on the road by 8:30 AM which in fact was late for us!!!!!   We were trying to figure out how we were going to work in THREE stops in only 40 KM. Turns out that there wasn't any place to stop until we reached our final destination!!!!!!

We got to North Sydney around 10:30 AM. Hmmm - we don't have to be at the ferry dock until around 1 PM so lots of time to kill. We rode through town and found a bank which was very important since I was running out of money. All those darn food stops!!!!   Now in case you are thinking that I am eating a lot - I am just not eating stuff from my packed lunch. Instead of having apricots and almonds for a snack, I have been eating cinnamon buns, tarts and other baked goodies. And no peanut butter sandwich for lunch - we are having a nice lunch. So yes - it is a few more calories but not that big of a deal.

After getting some cash, we happened upon a bakery. Sounds like a great place to stop. But this bakery did not serve coffee - so we had a look at what they had to offer and when we asked about the cinnamon buns, we were told they had some fresh from the oven. OH yes - we will have one of those - they were HUGE. And the price????   ONE DOLLAR - I would have bought a few more had I the room. Well - I wouldn't have, but I could have bought extra and sold them for $2.00.

Got some milk and coffee at the gas station and then sat by the water and enjoyed our morning snack. It was awesome because we were able to watch one of the ferries leave. There were two in the dock when we arrived.

After hanging out at the water for a while, it was time for lunch. I know - that was very sad!!!!!   But we had a light lunch and again sat right by the ferry dock and enjoyed the beautiful view. It was awesome. Then off to get to the dock where we were pretty much the last to arrive. The rest of the group had arrived and immediately dropped off their bikes - the van and trailer were not at the dock when we arrived in town. Front wheel off the bike and then it went up top. Looks pretty impressive with all those bikes up top.

Sat in the ferry terminal for a long while as we waited to board. It is quite a process to load this ferry and the one that we were getting on was the one that was already in the dock when we arrived. It does take a long time to put all the truck trailers on the ferry as the truck cabs do not go on. The trailers are dropped in the parking lot and then another vehicle drives the trailers onto the ferry and then leaves the trailers on. It is quite a process and with two ferries in dock at the same time - well it is interesting to watch. There was a Tim's right beside the dock and so I popped over to get a TEA since we were going to be at the dock waiting for a while. And it was AWESOME to just sit and spend an hour enjoying that cup of tea. It is also interesting that we had to have a boarding pass (which makes sense), but also to show photo ID to get on the ferry. And when you go out the gate to get to Tim's, you need your boarding pass and PHOTO ID to get back in.

Then it was time to board the bus and get to the ferry. Yes - you do NOT walk on this ferry - a shuttle bus takes you to the bowels of the ferry and you get off in the parking garage before the cars are loaded!!!!!   Then I dropped the luggage in our room - we are four to a room - four to a VERY TINY room. And I got the CO-ED room. Two guys - two girls. Oh well - should be fun!!!!  But we have our own washroom with a shower (which I hear is very good). By the time, I took a quick tour of the ferry and ended up on the deck up top, the darn truck and trailer were already loaded!!!!   DRAT!!!!!!  And yeah - I get the top bunk!!!!!  At least we found the ladder so I don't have to do gymnastics to get in bed.   I always seem to get the top bunk!

A bunch of us ended up outside on the TENTH deck of the ferry and watched as the ferry finally got ready to leave the dock. Quite an impressive show - well at least for a land lubber like me.

There is definitely enough to keep one entertained - there is a bar, a couple of restaurants, a place to watch movies and of course - just watching the sea go by!!!!  We did see a whale - but not much of it - just a fin!!!   I don't think any of it showed up in my pictures.

However I am not sure that I am going to like this MOTION business. Even though this ferry is big - we are a LONG way from land and I can feel the ferry moving. Maybe that is what I need to rock me to sleep and I hear that the winds are going to pick up in the night. The ferry left dock at 5:00 PM and won't reach Argentia, NFLD until about 9 or 10 AM. Depends on the a lot of things including the weather.

We had a great buffet dinner - and I would imagine that the ferry lost money on us!!   Many people went back for seconds and lots of dessert. I was very controlled - I don't want to lose my dinner because of the motion! Although I am NOT normally prone to motion sickness????

The ride this morning was a great one. We did have to climb Kelly's Mountain which at this point was really not a big deal. Although it was about 6 KM of climbing, the grade was about 5 - 6 percent maximum and that is really not a big deal at this point. BUT - for every up - there is a down and this was a nice long descent, but why do we have to do all these ups and then downs - we get nothing from the entire process. However at the bottom of the mountain was a bridge. Another HIGH bridge. I hate high bridges!!!!!!!   This one had no shoulder and no sidewalk so we had to ride with the traffic which I hate. But we did get lucky in that there was not much traffic at that time. The rest of the route was pretty easy and my legs were definitely feeling much better than they had been the previous day.

Well - it is getting dark outside and it looks very stormy on one side of the ferry - oh well - best to just ignore it. I am not fond of sailing. No cruises for me!!!!   Just hope I don't feel this rocking motion for days like I did when I took the ferries up the west coast a couple of years ago.

On that note - I am out of here. ONE MORE DAY of riding!!!!!!    Yes - and with the shortcuts - we are looking at about 120K of riding. Let's just hope that the weather is going to cooperate - at this time - the forecast is NOT good.

Have a good day!!!

Ciao!!!!!!!!!!

Oh yes - I remember what the second thing was!!!!!   We had black flies the other night or some little thing that bit me on the ankles. My right ankle is VERY itchy and swollen. Stupid BUGS!!!!!   I am getting very tired of BUGS!!!!!!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Day 69 - Dingwall - Englishtown

Wow - deju vu!!!!   It's my birthday and I started my birthday in the exact same campground as I started my birthday last year. What a weird coincidence!!!  (I did the Tour Atlantic last year and the last part mirrors what we just did)

Anyway - I did not have a great sleep. It turns out that no one had a great sleep. Not sure if that was because of our late dinner or whether it was hotter than we are used to. But needless to say - I was still tired when we left camp. We got off to the same early start that we usually do and we decided to take the scenic route which added 4 K to our route. Let's just say that it was HILLY. Oh yes - some of the hills were just as steep as those from yesterday, but they were not as long. That was a good thing because my legs were like a wet noodle when we left camp. They were so tired that I didn't think I was going to be able to ride 1K, let alone 109 K.

But the workout on the hills was what I needed and although I did not get any more energy, it did change my mind set and I knew I was going to be able to do the day. I had forgotten how hilly this part of the trail was. Everyone focuses on the big hills and forgets about the rest of the route.

We stopped for our second breakfast in Ingonish where I had waffles and chocolate milk. The waffles were great, but NOT as good as those in Belgium. That is a very high standard and hard to beat.

Back on the road. We saw a lot of the others today as we would stop - they would catch up. We would chat for a bit and then we were gone again and they would catch up at the next spot.

I may not remember all the names of places, but as I got to the various spots, I recognized them from having ridden the same route last year. We stopped for our sandwich in Wrecked Bay at the general store. Oh yes - I remember this place well - as Bruce had taken this picture of me as I sat outside the store totally exhausted and dejected. I must get that picture from him - it is terrible!!!!!  BUT the same as last year - we had a LOVELY headwind to contend with as we cycled south. While I don't think the wind was as bad as last year, it was still not my friend today.

Another stop at a bakery before we finally made it to Englishtown where we took yet another ferry. We made it to the ferry as it was loaded and it was a short ride - a couple of minutes across. Then three K to the camp site. Now we were warned that the hill into the campsite was steep and NOT paved. Oh yes - that is a STEEP unpaved hill. Danny was with us at this point and we all just geared down and crept up the hill. OK - so Danny sped up the hill, but I crept up the hill. The gearing on Danny's bike is not the best for these steep hills and his bike just creaked all the way up and of course just as we arrived at the top - the sun came out and it was HOT.

While we did have a head wind, the rest of the weather was not so bad. There was no rain, although I did hear it rain a bit in the night. But it was a crazy day - should I wear the jacket - a bit too hot with all the climbing, but the vest just didn't seem to be enough. It was a weird day - a bit humid.

We played switch a roo in the campground tonight. The Tour Atlantic finished yesterday (Hi to Mike, Jim, Larry, Tim, Mark and Lynn!!!!!!) and we are now taking all the stuff off our truck and putting it on the van and trailer. This will allow our bikes to go up top of the trailer rather than on the ferry (which costs more) - and we don't really need all that room now that we are technically done. So that caused a bit of chaos as we had to figure out what to keep with us on the ferry (can't access the truck during the voyage across) and what we need to ride on the last day.

It felt like old times on the trailer. I have traveled SEVEN weeks in three different years using the van and trailer. Yup - just like old times.

I had to rescue Myra from the shower. The showers cost fifty cents and she had only one quarter but didn't realize until she was in the shower. I only had a toonie in my pocket so I had to run back to the truck and see who had a quarter handy!!!!!!!   We got a good laugh over that!!!!!!

So tonight is our last night in our tents!!!!!!   Hard to believe that we started this trip almost 10 weeks ago. We had two days of riding and about 165 K left to ride. Thank goodness tomorrow is a short day - I really need to have a bit of a rest - my legs feel better now, but they will be happy to ride only 45 K to the ferry tomorrow.

Oh yes - one should always have cake on their birthday and I got CAKE!!!!!!   We have had five or six birthdays and we always got cake. I did get a picture of it and it was YUMMY. I even got candles on my cake - I think I was the only one. Not sure if they thought I was older and needed the candles or whether they felt sorry for me!!!!   Anyway - I made a great wish and let's hope it comes true!!!!!

I did have a couple of "recovery" beer when I arrived at camp and now I think I have eaten too much!!!!!!

On that note - thanks to everyone who sent birthday wishes via FACEBOOK. It was great to hear from all of you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Have a great day!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ciao!!!!!!!!!!!

Day 68 - Lake Ainslie - Dingwall

What can I say - this was the day that I was "dreading" from the very beginning of the tour. We finally arrived at the Cabot Trail and having done the Cabot Trail last year - I knew what it was like.

We were on cook duty this morning and therefore didn't get a chance to leave camp until 8 AM. This was our fifth day of riding in a row and given the fact that yesterday was a long day with lots of climbing and today was going to be worse - we knew it wasn't going to be easy.

The first part of the day was not bad. Small hills and rolling terrain. A nice tail wind and gorgeous temperature. What more could one ask for? Well we could ask for LESS hills.

The hills are really not that bad until you enter the Cape Breton National Park. Then you get HILLS. Right off the bat - and yes there is the hill that I lost my chain on last year. It got so jammed in that it took a while to get it out. I remember that moment well. But I just geared down into those gears I have been saving and climbed the hills.

Then we got to THE hill  - the first of two. The first one is French and I remember from last year that it wasn't that big of a deal. I geared down - and slowly attacked the hill. I have learned - you do NOT rush up these hills as you will very quickly run out of steam. There was about 5 KM of climbing with grades between 5 and 12 percent. I know it sounds awful, but it wasn't really that big of a deal. I didn't have to stop - we just cruised right up. Then we got to ride on the top of the mountain range for quite a ways - ups and downs were very much part of the route.

We ran into Bill, Megan and Greg in one of the pull outs. Wait a minute - this never happens since they are the fast group and NEVER or rarely stop for pictures. Turns out that a bee got stuck in Megans sunglasses and stung her on the eyelid. By the time they stopped, her eye was pretty much swollen shut. No let's make that - it was HUGELY swollen. She had it concealed behind Bill's bandana and my first thought was she was looking pretty cool with her bandana sweatband - cause we were sweating a LOT. Actually they were waiting for the truck which came by shortly after we stopped. We all told Megan she could NOT ride with one eye on the descents that were coming up so she hopped on the truck. Actually this happened before we did any of the big hills - so who was the lucky one??????

After a beautiful ride along the top of the range, it was time to descend. Let's just say that descending those hills is almost as bad as going up. Switchbacks and STEEP is the word of the day. No more than 30 K on the curves - well that was hard when your brakes are operated by your hands. My hands were getting cramped up and yes - you could release them, but not too much or you wouldn't be able to get back in control for the next corner!!!!!  I won't even check the maximum speed to protect myself!!!!!

We stopped in Pleasant Bay for lunch even though it was late by this time - we did have our peanut butter earlier, but we figured that we deserved a LOT of food today.

Then we came to the North Mountain. This is the one I have been dreading the entire trip. I knew it was going to be tough - in fact it was at least 13 percent almost the entire way up. The climb was a bit over 3 KM and there were times when that grade went up 14 - 15 - 16 - 17 percent!!!!!   It was CRAZY and the lowest it went to was 10% which wasn't really any relief at all. When I did this climb last year - I had to stop about 4 times. I told Neil if he had to stop that was fine and if I had to stop - well we would meet at the summit sign. But I was determined that I was NOT going to stop. And he wasn't going to stop if I wasn't. So we struggled up that hill. Again geared right down and went up slow. No other choice - it was a slog - no make that a TOUGH slog and I remembered every turn on that darn hill. I knew that we were getting close and I was NOT going to give in. But when you see the "top" - you still have at least .5 KM climb before the grade goes down. But you bet I yelled and whooped it up when I got to the top!!!!!!!    Hey - the worst is over - well I sure hope so!!!!

There was still about 25 K to camp and for the first bit - the road was pretty decent, but then it got a bit hillier and it seemed that every hill was a MOUNTAIN. My legs were just about done in - no energy left.

Got to camp and had a recovery beer - best to have within one half hour of arriving in camp!  Got the tent set up and then had a bit of time to relax while we waited for the rest of the group to come in. Every one was tired, but you can't say that it wasn't an amazing day - the scenery is breath taking, the temperature was awesome, the wind was our friend (for the most part), the route was challenging. Yep - a day perfect for cycling!!!!!

Oh yes - speaking of that wind - As we were doing the crazy descent - the wind was actually in our favour and pushing against us. But then we had to keep the bikes under control as the wind was trying to push us all over the place. Pretty scary descents (I was glad Megan did not ride down them) and we could smell many people;s brakes as they descended (in their cars).  Traffic was very kind to us through that part which was good because I took up the ENTIRE lane for my descent.

On my second last night in the tent - I have realized that I can use my handlebar bag as a "desk" for my tablet as I type the blog. Shoot - why didn't I think of that sooner?????   Oh well - next year!!!!!

I guess  I had better do some stretching before I go to bed. We still have three days of cycling before our destination and according to "Bud" Miles - that equates to about 300 KM. I am very much in awe of what our group has accomplished. 

And I am so proud to wear the T-shirt that M made for me. It says - "It doesn't get any easier - you just go faster!!!"   And that is so true.

So that makes 144K or something like that and 1,910 Meters of climbing!!!!!!  And YES everyone is TIRED!!!!!

Well I am pretty sure that if I want WiFi - I have to walk down to the office so I may do that tonight or wait until I go to the washroom in the morning.

Have a great day!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ciao!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Day 67 - Lower Barney's River - Lake Aisley

Day 67 - a day that I have been dreading for a while. It was our last CENTURY ride (100 miles) and I knew the terrain was going to be hilly.

Keeping in mind that last night was Saturday, some people were yakking around their campfires for a bit. But it was the band or some form of music that started playing at 1:30 AM that was the killer. I mean - does the campground not have rules about that sort of thing???   I put my ear plugs in and because I was tired - I was out and it didn't bother me at all.

When we awoke - let's say that it was a tad CHILLY!!!!!   I don't know what the exact temperature was, but it was cold. I threw on my knee warmers, my shrug beneath my wind breaker and my gloves over my my cycling gloves. The sky was clear and we were in the shade - I knew that it was going to get warmer, but by how much and when????   About 10K out of the campground, you could feel the warmth of the sun, but it was NOT enough to take anything off yet - well I did take the extra gloves off. Then we rounded the point and were completely in the shade and I was glad I still had the extra clothes on.  Around 9 AM - all the extra stuff came off - it turned out to be a nice sunny day, but not too hot.

We stopped in Antigonish for our second breakfast. There wasn't much open, but we found a cafe in one of the hotels. I SHOULD have remembered that there was a little restaurant at the other edge of town because I had lunch there last year. We came into town from the other end last year - I really need to look at a map to see the roads - I am NOT good at remembering.

Then just before we got to the Canso Causeway - we saw a big sign that said TdC Riders. Hmmmmm- someone welcoming us to Cape Breton?????   The sign was in front of the firehall, so we took pictures and left it at that. Later we found out that the sister of a rider from last year had a FABULOUS spread for us inside. Some of the others stopped, but we had no clue!!!!!   Oh well!!!!   And it was at that spot that I was looking for a washroom and maybe lunch!!!!!!  I guess she had come out and waved down some of the others after us, but she missed us!!!!   Not like we were going fast or anything!

We did see a lemonade stand a while before that on one of the secondary highways. It seems that almost the entire group stopped at some point in the day. Those kids made good money - I hope they realize that won't happen every day!!!!   But they had lemonade which was EXCELLENT and fudge - I didn't have any fudge, but it was equally as good I heard.

The route that we are taking on this trip is completely different than what we did last time. Well - tomorrow we will get on the same route as what I rode last year - the much anticipated CABOT TRAIL.  We crossed the Causeway - it is so deceptive - you turn the corner and see a HUGE hill, then realize a few minutes later that you are NOT on the same highway as that hill. Thank god!!!!!   Cross the bridge and you are on CAPE BRETON island. Let's just say that while the terrain in the morning was hilly, it got MUCH hillier once we were on the island. Not that the hills were steep - but many of them were LONG. And given the fact that we were riding 167K, the hills got to be a LOT after while. My gluts were working overtime and I was getting tired. Did I say that we had a headwind as well?????   Not a big one or else, I am getting stronger, but still enough to make it annoying.

About 20 K from camp, we stopped a gas station in a small town on the Indian Reservation. It just so happened to be their summer olympics day or something like that. The event was being held not far from the gas station - needless to say - the place was hopping. It was like a zoo - there were three security people in the store besides the people behind the cash. And of the course the line was long and it was taking forever. Normally we just park our bikes outside the store and go in. The longer we waited, we weren't sure if they would still be outside when we went out. But they were.

At last we arrived at camp. And although it was our cook crew's turn - we didn't have to cook. The campground was putting on a pot luck for us!!!!!!    WOW!!!!!   We did cut up some veggies (any leftovers will be very welcome since we don't usually have that kind of thing) and we took the veggies, but we have loads left over for tomorrow. Let's just say that this community knows how to put on a pot luck. There were salads, meat dishes, chilies, perogies, and desserts - too many to mention. I think we all ate well. The only problem is that some of the people didn't get in too early and so they rushed to get their tents up and then had a shower after dinner. But the pot luck was enjoyed by all and we definitely got a feel of the Cape Breton hospitality.

Again our tents are set up by the water. That seems to be a common theme!!!!   And while it was warm when I arrived in camp at 4:30 PM, it had gotten quite chilly when we left the rec center.

I will be doing some stretching tonight before I go to sleep. While today was a tough day with 167 K of distance and 1,227 Meters of climbing - tomorrow is going to be even tougher. The distance is shorter (not by much), but we hit those mountains tomorrow. I remember them from last year - only the second one should present a problem.

Our tents are packed in tonight and already I can hear someone snoring. That is the problem with getting in early and setting up - you then have NO control over who puts up their tent next to you. I wasn't smart when I picked my spot!!!!!!   It is getting too late to get smart about that!  But I think that those that snore should be conscious of it and put their tent up far away, but NO - they insist they  being right in the middle of the group. Oh well - ear plugs again I think.

I see we are supposed to have WiFi, so I will try to get this posted tonight without resorting to going up to the washroom - which are VERY NICE indeed.

And there are FOUR days of cycling left. Can you believe it?????????   The more I ride and the closer we get - it is finally starting to sink in - the enormity of what we have accomplished this summer. I think we have about 450 K left to cycle.

Oh yes - my gluts - so as you cycle - you have loads of time to think about things. I was thinking of Jane Fonda - remember when she talked about "the burn" -  well that is what I felt today. And then you have heard of BUNS OF STEEL - well I think my butt is feeling like buns of steel after today. I hope it survives tomorrow.

On that note - I am out of here.

Have a great day!!!!!!!!!!!

Ciao!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Day 66 - Cornwall - Lower Barney's River

Based on how busy the campground was last night, I figured it was going to be very noisy last night, but in fact it was pretty quiet. I did hear people chatting around their campfire. I put in my ear plugs and read until 10 PM and then I was GONE. Woke up at 5 for some reason but of course I did not get up until 6 AM. 

Got things organized and left camp around 7 AM. The usual!!!   Really starting to get into a routine and there are only 5 days of riding left and soon things are going to change!!!!

We were trying to catch the 11:15 AM ferry to Nova Scotia and according to the map we had 74 K to get to the ferry. Hmmm - right off the bat - we did 2 K coming out of the campground that were NOT included in the mileage so make that 76 K.  We had pretty decent riding conditions - went right through Charlottetown. I LOVE that town and remember the fabulous used book stores that I found last year. But no time to stop, BUT if I rent a house on PEI next year - I could browse several times in those stores!!!

Anyway - we had to make a tour onto one of the scenic routes and I remember getting confused last year and it appears that we did the same thing this year because we added another 5K to the day because we did the ENTIRE scenic route rather than just part of it. Well no big deal - we did end up getting to the ferry with one hour to spare and a total of 81K. Yes - we really pedaled hard and with the mostly tailwind - it was a pretty decent ride. Honestly - my legs are feeling very strong (I know - you are thinking - THEY SHOULD BE) and it was just one of those days when you could ride forever. Well almost!!!!!   But the sun was out, it wasn't too hot and just perfect.

Neil and I had a second breakfast while we waited at the ferry dock and soon half of our group had arrived. We got on the ferry - they sure are NOT equipped to take bikes because there are NO racks - you just shove the bike in a corner - if such a thing exists on the ferry. At least, the BC ferries have a bike rack - not a rack for 12 bikes, but at least for one or two. Headed upstairs to get our COWS ice cream. I know - TWO days in a row - that is disgusting!!!!!   Especially since I do NOT eat ice cream on a regular basis.

Once we got off the ferry, we had to stop for the picture with the Nova Scotia sign. There was quite a group of us and it took a bit of time.  Neil and I headed into Pictou - he had been there before and had wanted to see the progress being made on a  replica of the ship that brought 200 Scottish settlers to Canada. Oh my - it is a tiny ship compared to what we have today!!!!!!  And YUP - we then stopped for lunch and had a beer. Thank goodness, there are only 5 more riding days!!!!!!  But in fact - our total calorie intake is NOT that huge. I don't think I am eating HUGE quantities - maybe huge calories, but not that huge.

Back on the road with more twists and turns. We had about 50 K to get into camp once we got off the ferry. The neat thing is that I know some of the roads because we cycled them last year when we did Tour Atlantic. The funny thing is that I really only remember those spots where something happened. This one road was under construction last year and I remember the spot where Sharon lost her jacket and had to go back to retrieve it!!!!!   Very bizarre - the rest of the roads - a total blur!!!!   A sure sign of old age!!!

The last 20K were against a fierce head wind. And I remember that head wind from last year. It was ugly, but I do have to say that I am stronger so it doesn't bother me as much, but still a pain, especially since there are hills. And I am remembering the head winds that we had last year as we continued up the coast. Tomorrow is a long day - 167 K - I am not sure how "excited" to be about that!!!!   I will be glad when the day is over as that is our LAST long day - well longer than 100 miles!!!

Another TdC vet showed up in camp. Keith did the trip in 2011. They brought fresh fruit tray and cookies. I LOVE these guys!!!!!   I will have to figure out a place to meet the group next year - if I am in PEI - then I could meet them there!!!!   BUT I must bring something for dessert!!!!!   Got to do some research when I get home.

I remember the campsite that we are in - same one that we were in last year, although I didn't think the location was the same from the maps - well as you know - my brain doesn't work all that well sometimes!!!!   I have NO memory for things and in particular places.  Again - we are right on the water and it is windy!!!!   Putting up the tent was like trying to fly a kite!!!! The tent would have been history if I had not held on for dear life. Needless to say - it is WELL pegged into the ground tonight.

Another fabulous dinner - I am going to miss these meals for sure once we are back home. Especially since I will then have to cook every night!

Took me forever to get myself organized in my tent tonight - I think I had to walk back to the truck THREE times before I got everything I needed. I am not sure why that happened - I am usually very good and get it right the first time. Supposedly we have internet so I will try to publish this post tonight without having to walk to the bathroom (where the routers are usually housed). Had to do that last night and it seems that I posted the same post TWICE!!!!!!

Margo - I am looking forward to those Nanaimo bars!!!!!!     and catching up on all the gossip from the Monday girls!!!!!   Soon!!!!

On that note - I am in the middle of a GREAT John Grisham book and I NEED to find out what is happening.

Have a great day!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ciao!!!!!!!!!!!!

May or may not have internet as we head along the Cabot Trail.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Day 65 - Murray Beach - Cornwall

I did not get a good night's sleep. At first I could hear one person snoring, then I could hear two people and even though I had been tired earlier (even had a semi snooze in a lawn chair), I just couldn't get to sleep. Then at 9:30 PM, I caught a whiff of a skunk!!!!!   Oh dear - I hope that wasn't near my tent!!!!!

Eventually I did go to sleep, but a fitful sleep. I ended up putting in ear plugs for the snoring but I could still hear them. Perhaps I need new ear plugs. Then I woke up 15 minutes LATE this morning. Because of the darn ear plugs, I could hear NO ONE moving around. Then when I realized what was happening - NO ONE was up like usual. This campsite was WIDE open to the ocean (well the strait) and the wind was blowing and the rain was pounding on the tent. So no one wanted to get up!!!!!   But when I did brave the elements - it wasn't that bad. The rain didn't last long and the wind did die down. I got rid of all the loose things in the tent and then pulled the tent closer to the truck so it wasn't blowing around so much. The tent was a bit wet, but not so bad.  It is amazing how amplified the sounds are when you are in your tent.

Today is the day we crossed into PEI. I know  another province. Now we are not allowed to cross the bridge on our bikes, so we have to take the shuttle. We were told that the shuttle starts at 8:30. No big deal - Neil and I left around 7:30 and got to the bridge at 8 AM to find 2 half tons and the bike shuttle waiting for 20 cyclists to show up!!!!   Oh oh - anyway, Yukon Greg wasn't too far behind us and then the three of us got a ride across in one of the trucks. But not before we went up the observation tower and got some awesome shots of the bridge. I sat in the front of the truck so I could take pictures as we crossed the 12.9 K of bridge. Last year, I made Mike take pictures with my camera as we crossed!!!!!!  

Then we were let off at the "tourist" village on the PEI side of the bridge. We took some pictures of the bridge from that end. PEI is famous for its COWS brand ice cream and YES - there is a shop at this tourist village. So we had to start the day with ice cream!!!!!   So many flavours to choose from - you need to check out their web site  - they have amazingly cute T-shirts. I didn't buy anything, but there was a cute bag that screamed NEIL all over it. Something about happiness and ice cream!!!!! 

At last we were on our way and by this time, we had seen most of the others arrive at the village and were gone. But not before we got a picture of the sign for PEI.

The roads are pretty decent here. Once we are off the main route (highway 1), there are no shoulders, but the drivers are so darn courteous - well it was a very pleasant day. We had to stop in Victoria by the Sea for a famous chocolate shop. I know - we stopped for TWO dessert breaks before lunch. Thank goodness, the trip is almost over!!!!!   We had the special of the day - fresh fruit (amazing fresh fruit), covered in chocolate and topped with real whip cream. And I got a tea with honey. Let's just say that we drooled a LOT in that shop!!!!!!

We met up with Danny, Rob, Larry and Gee and we all had the snack in the chocolate shop. Then Neil and I were off again. I think the others stayed for lunch in another restaurant in the same town.

We did have a decent wind for most of the day, although we knew that at one point we were going to get a headwind. There were several little twists on the road where we had to make an executive decision about where to go. A few others chose to take different routes (as usual) - a few didn't realize that they did not take the route as planned and wondered why their kilometers at the end of the day were much shorter than the rest!!!!!   I did catch Neil trying to cut the day short and we went all around this one part of the island as planned. There were lots of hills, but they were rolling so you could get a good down hill and then momentum would take you up most of the way on almost all of the hills. It was a great day.

About 8 K from camp - we hit a HEADWIND. It was so bad that I was wondering if we were even going anywhere. It was fierce and a smidgen of rain at that point, but nothing to worry about. We did stop at one point to eat our peanut butter sandwiches - sandwiches which had been languishing in our bags for about three days and well - three days is a tad long to hang onto a sandwich - even a peanut butter one. They were a bit dry, so as we entered Cornwall, we scouted a Tim's and I had some soup. I figured I had better not eat any more dessert for the day!!!!!

We headed into camp which was a short distance away and got the tent more or less dried out. Even though we did not get rain today, well we did get a little bit at one point - enough for me to take off my glasses but that was mostly because we were working up the hills and they kept getting fogged up. Yes - don't let anyone tell you that PEI is flat because it is NOT!!!!!  

Robin and her husband Clark and their three dogs came to visit. They have been on the island all summer. I am thinking that would be fun - rent a house for a month and cycle the entire island. Anyone want to share a house?????   You don't have to cycle - I'll do that!!!!!!   Anyway - it was great to see Robin and we had a great chat while we walked the dogs who were VERY interested in going in the water, although they were not allowed!!!!!   I don't think they were too happy about that. Robin brought fresh baked cookies which were to die for!!!!!!!  I must try to scoop the recipe from her. And then all too soon - they had to get back home as they are leaving for Toronto tomorrow morning!!!!!

Another great supper - yep - going to miss those meals!!!!!  And all the company. It is going to be boring to sit at home and have dinner. I will miss the rather lively discussions about what everyone did during the day - what hidden spots or treasures they discovered. And then let's not forget the discussion about the next day's route. What does "shorter, but more hilly" really mean?????   Is the longer way really better?????   What time is the ferry????   You know - all important details that MUST be figured out!!!!

The campground we are at is pretty decent, although it is busy, but then I realized - it is Friday night (I think so) so that would explain why the campsites around us are full. Well - just might have to keep those ear plugs handy!!!!!

We have six days of riding left. At this point - the only comment I have about the Cabot Trail is BRING IT ON!!!!!!   I feel strong, and personally - let's just get that over with!!!!!!   Then we can enjoy the rest of the trip!!!!!!  

I always seem to think of things to write when I am on the road - you know - some of the stupid little things that happened and then when I get to write the blog at night - well I have already forgotten them!!!!!   A sign of old age?????  Or they weren't too important!!!!!! 

Bill's cook crew was on duty tonight and although, Bill has a good job as a tatoo artist, I really think he should become a cook!!!!   I mean a chef - he runs a mean kitchen and is running around like a crazy person, cooking chicken, getting the water ready and well - he is just an awesome guy!!!!   And all with a smile on his face. Look out Chef Ramsey!!!!!  And I think Bill helps out with several other cook crews as well. A very versatile guy!!!!! 

So many wonderful people with hidden talents - so many memories!!!!!!   I dare not share too many stories of what each person is like - well maybe later!!!!!!

On that note - it is time to get ready for bed. That is so sad because it isn't late at all!!!!!   Actually - I will get some reading in before I get tired.

And if the weak internet signal works - this blog will get posted tonight.

Have a great day!!!!!!!!!!!

Ciao!!!!!!!!!!!

Day 65 - Murray Beach - Cornwall

I did not get a good night's sleep. At first I could hear one person snoring, then I could hear two people and even though I had been tired earlier (even had a semi snooze in a lawn chair), I just couldn't get to sleep. Then at 9:30 PM, I caught a whiff of a skunk!!!!!   Oh dear - I hope that wasn't near my tent!!!!!

Eventually I did go to sleep, but a fitful sleep. I ended up putting in ear plugs for the snoring but I could still hear them. Perhaps I need new ear plugs. Then I woke up 15 minutes LATE this morning. Because of the darn ear plugs, I could hear NO ONE moving around. Then when I realized what was happening - NO ONE was up like usual. This campsite was WIDE open to the ocean (well the strait) and the wind was blowing and the rain was pounding on the tent. So no one wanted to get up!!!!!   But when I did brave the elements - it wasn't that bad. The rain didn't last long and the wind did die down. I got rid of all the loose things in the tent and then pulled the tent closer to the truck so it wasn't blowing around so much. The tent was a bit wet, but not so bad.  It is amazing how amplified the sounds are when you are in your tent.

Today is the day we crossed into PEI. I know  another province. Now we are not allowed to cross the bridge on our bikes, so we have to take the shuttle. We were told that the shuttle starts at 8:30. No big deal - Neil and I left around 7:30 and got to the bridge at 8 AM to find 2 half tons and the bike shuttle waiting for 20 cyclists to show up!!!!   Oh oh - anyway, Yukon Greg wasn't too far behind us and then the three of us got a ride across in one of the trucks. But not before we went up the observation tower and got some awesome shots of the bridge. I sat in the front of the truck so I could take pictures as we crossed the 12.9 K of bridge. Last year, I made Mike take pictures with my camera as we crossed!!!!!!  

Then we were let off at the "tourist" village on the PEI side of the bridge. We took some pictures of the bridge from that end. PEI is famous for its COWS brand ice cream and YES - there is a shop at this tourist village. So we had to start the day with ice cream!!!!!   So many flavours to choose from - you need to check out their web site  - they have amazingly cute T-shirts. I didn't buy anything, but there was a cute bag that screamed NEIL all over it. Something about happiness and ice cream!!!!! 

At last we were on our way and by this time, we had seen most of the others arrive at the village and were gone. But not before we got a picture of the sign for PEI.

The roads are pretty decent here. Once we are off the main route (highway 1), there are no shoulders, but the drivers are so darn courteous - well it was a very pleasant day. We had to stop in Victoria by the Sea for a famous chocolate shop. I know - we stopped for TWO dessert breaks before lunch. Thank goodness, the trip is almost over!!!!!   We had the special of the day - fresh fruit (amazing fresh fruit), covered in chocolate and topped with real whip cream. And I got a tea with honey. Let's just say that we drooled a LOT in that shop!!!!!!

We met up with Danny, Rob, Larry and Gee and we all had the snack in the chocolate shop. Then Neil and I were off again. I think the others stayed for lunch in another restaurant in the same town.

We did have a decent wind for most of the day, although we knew that at one point we were going to get a headwind. There were several little twists on the road where we had to make an executive decision about where to go. A few others chose to take different routes (as usual) - a few didn't realize that they did not take the route as planned and wondered why their kilometers at the end of the day were much shorter than the rest!!!!!   I did catch Neil trying to cut the day short and we went all around this one part of the island as planned. There were lots of hills, but they were rolling so you could get a good down hill and then momentum would take you up most of the way on almost all of the hills. It was a great day.

About 8 K from camp - we hit a HEADWIND. It was so bad that I was wondering if we were even going anywhere. It was fierce and a smidgen of rain at that point, but nothing to worry about. We did stop at one point to eat our peanut butter sandwiches - sandwiches which had been languishing in our bags for about three days and well - three days is a tad long to hang onto a sandwich - even a peanut butter one. They were a bit dry, so as we entered Cornwall, we scouted a Tim's and I had some soup. I figured I had better not eat any more dessert for the day!!!!!

We headed into camp which was a short distance away and got the tent more or less dried out. Even though we did not get rain today, well we did get a little bit at one point - enough for me to take off my glasses but that was mostly because we were working up the hills and they kept getting fogged up. Yes - don't let anyone tell you that PEI is flat because it is NOT!!!!!  

Robin and her husband Clark and their three dogs came to visit. They have been on the island all summer. I am thinking that would be fun - rent a house for a month and cycle the entire island. Anyone want to share a house?????   You don't have to cycle - I'll do that!!!!!!   Anyway - it was great to see Robin and we had a great chat while we walked the dogs who were VERY interested in going in the water, although they were not allowed!!!!!   I don't think they were too happy about that. Robin brought fresh baked cookies which were to die for!!!!!!!  I must try to scoop the recipe from her. And then all too soon - they had to get back home as they are leaving for Toronto tomorrow morning!!!!!

Another great supper - yep - going to miss those meals!!!!!  And all the company. It is going to be boring to sit at home and have dinner. I will miss the rather lively discussions about what everyone did during the day - what hidden spots or treasures they discovered. And then let's not forget the discussion about the next day's route. What does "shorter, but more hilly" really mean?????   Is the longer way really better?????   What time is the ferry????   You know - all important details that MUST be figured out!!!!

The campground we are at is pretty decent, although it is busy, but then I realized - it is Friday night (I think so) so that would explain why the campsites around us are full. Well - just might have to keep those ear plugs handy!!!!!

We have six days of riding left. At this point - the only comment I have about the Cabot Trail is BRING IT ON!!!!!!   I feel strong, and personally - let's just get that over with!!!!!!   Then we can enjoy the rest of the trip!!!!!!  

I always seem to think of things to write when I am on the road - you know - some of the stupid little things that happened and then when I get to write the blog at night - well I have already forgotten them!!!!!   A sign of old age?????  Or they weren't too important!!!!!! 

Bill's cook crew was on duty tonight and although, Bill has a good job as a tatoo artist, I really think he should become a cook!!!!   I mean a chef - he runs a mean kitchen and is running around like a crazy person, cooking chicken, getting the water ready and well - he is just an awesome guy!!!!   And all with a smile on his face. Look out Chef Ramsey!!!!!  And I think Bill helps out with several other cook crews as well. A very versatile guy!!!!! 

So many wonderful people with hidden talents - so many memories!!!!!!   I dare not share too many stories of what each person is like - well maybe later!!!!!!

On that note - it is time to get ready for bed. That is so sad because it isn't late at all!!!!!   Actually - I will get some reading in before I get tired.

And if the weak internet signal works - this blog will get posted tonight.

Have a great day!!!!!!!!!!!

Ciao!!!!!!!!!!!

Day 64 - St Louis de Kent - Murray Beach

Remember yesterday (I think it was) when I mentioned how I would like some simple things????   Well I would LOVE to eat breakfast without being eaten alive by mosquitos and I would love to brush my teeth without flies crawling all over my legs!!!!   Just simple things!!!!!

We got up and ready to hit the road this morning, but that campground was infested with mosquitos!!!!!!  One way to avoid them was to stand in the road (off the grass) and let the breeze (what little there was) get rid of them. Needless to say - we did not stick around for very long. We had thought of going to that restaurant that we went to yesterday so we could have breakfast, but then we would have to wait until 7 when it opened so we had breakfast at camp and headed out.

There was a bit of a hill right at the start and I geared down and BANG - I lost the chain on my bike. I knew that I had to STOP immediately because the more you try to pedal, the more it gets jammed in the gears. So I managed to unclip and hop off before I fell off. YEAH!!!!   And lucky that the chain was not that jammed so very quickly I was able to get it out and back in place. However Neil didn't know what had happened to me so he came back down the hill and then had to go back up again!!!!!   I guess the chain was so SHINY and slippery from the degreasing it had the day before that it just didn't know when to stop!!!!!

The day went by pretty uneventful. We had a couple of "detours" off the main highway and I must admit that Neil took a wrong turn - no let's say that he missed a turn (and I DID NOT catch it) and next thing we knew - we had a HUGE body of water on our right. WAIT A MINUTE - that huge body of water needs to be on our left!!!!!   We backtracked about 1 KM and were soon on the right path. Then we did take another wrong turn - well we missed another turn when we were in Buctouch, but I do blame that on the fact that we were looking for a bakery and none to be found so we had to stop at a gas station for our morning snack.

Then we arrived in Shediac for lunch, but not before we took pictures at the BIG LOBSTER. I remember being there on Tour Atlantic except I was by myself and had no one to take picture of me, but this time, Neil took the picture. I had to laugh because we met a couple of tourists who were admiring my "Paris" jersey. Too bad it didn't come from Paris, but it is a nice jersey - I will get a picture to show you. Neil had his London map jersey on so we ha quite a European flare today.

There was a pretty strong wind today, but for the most part it was a cross wind although at times it was a head wind and then for a bit we had a tail wind. I had to laugh because close to the end of the day when it became a REAL tail wind, we ended up on a gravel road where it wasn't really meant to be going full speed ahead. No worries - we still made pretty good time and not a bad day at all.

We did take a "very" scenic detour although it wasn't really worth it and we ended up riding directly into that head wind for about 5 K and it was BRUTAL. It was also hot today and I just wanted cold drinks which of course we have to stop and buy. The water in our bottles does not stay cold very long.

Some of the shoulder was crap today and some roads had NO shoulder. It is very hard to look at scenery when you are watching the road because of the traffic or because of the potholes and other unwanted details on the road. Sometimes, I think it is better to stay on the busier roads with WIDE shoulders - then you can relax a bit and enjoy the ride instead of being on guard all the time.

We are definitely in Acadian country. Holy cow - everything is painted red, white and blue with a gold star. Telephone poles, flags everywhere, lobster traps, bicycles, you name it - it is painted and on display. There are also stars on a lot of houses. Now the question is - are they there for decoration or because of the Acadian connection?????

Oh yes - I have to tell you about some of the stuff we see on the road. The other day a transport went by and it had building materials on it. The first one went by and I thought the load was hanging quite far off the right hand side, but I didn't really see it. After the second went by - oh yes - there are HUGE trusses hanging off the right hand side of that truck. He had to take a BIG detour to the other side of the road to miss us. Thankfully he gave us loads of room. But then you have the idiot camper who goes by with his stairs hanging out into the road shoulder and probably doesn't even know it. That is an accident waiting to happen - not just with a bike - but with anything on the side of the road. Do these people not do a walk about BEFORE they take off?????

This is our last night in New Brunswick. Yes - another province down and three remaining. The end is so close now - I think as much as we are all getting tired of riding - well most of us are - it is going to be difficult to leave this all behind. I could miss the mosquitos and flies, but the rest of it - I really like.

One other thing that we have noticed is the reaction of others when we chat about what we are doing. In the west when we told people we were riding to NFLD, most sort of wished us good luck and probably thought we were idiots!!!!!   Now when we tell people that we started in Vancouver and are riding to NFLD, they are IMPRESSED that we have ridden so far!!!!! 

I know most people could probably never imagine undertaking this type of journey, but I think it is important for everyone to undertake some kind of journey that allows them to reflect on life, but mostly to  challenge themselves and do something that they have always wanted to do, but never had the courage. It is never too late. As one TdC vet said - she wanted to lose more weight before she did the trip and then thought - I have to just do the trip and she did.  The thing is if you leave things for "later" - later never comes.

No internet tonight - so will try to post this tomorrow.

Have a great day!!!!

Ciao!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Day 63 - Rest Day

Hard to believe but this is our LAST official rest day!!!!!!!   We now have eight days of cycling ahead of us as we work our way through the rest of the Maritime provinces and onto the ferry to NewFound Land. Even though I have cycled all those K, I don't think the enormity of what we about to complete has sunk in. Someone mentioned earlier that this has become our job and we just get up every day and ride our bikes which is essentially what we do.

This morning, I got up to go to the bathroom around 6:30 AM -  yes walked outside to the bathroom which isn't that far away, but then went back to my tent to read for a bit. Finally hunger drove me to get up and by this time, there were a few others up. But it took a LONG time before everyone was up. The day before had been tough - we had also ridden six days and everyone is getting tired. Strong, but tired.

I got my bike ready for the last part of the trip. Gave the chain a GOOD cleaning - it was pretty dirty and checked everything else - I will need new brakes by the time I get home and probably another chain.

Then with nothing else to do - I grabbed my book and a chair and found a shady spot to read. It was a glorious day. The sun was out - it was HOT and yes there were mosquitos!!!!!!   Always mosquitos. A number of people had gone down the road to a little restaurant recommended by the campsite. The report was that they served an excellent breakfast. Hmmmm - I might just go there for lunch. I decided to walk since it was only 1 K away and why dirty up the bike!!!!!   I had a good chat with Yukon Greg while I munched away on a HUGE omelet that was to die for. Very tasty indeed.

They also had some delicious baked goods so I bought a few of those back to camp for an afternoon snack.

Then back to my book (which I just finished) - that makes nine for the trip!!!!!!!   I know - I have a bug and I can't seem to stop reading, which is why this blog has no pictures which take a lot of fiddling and as you can tell - I lost patience with that long ago!!!!!!   I have taken tons of pictures - trying to get more people pictures the last couple of days and succeeding nicely. I hope to put them all into a great book along with this dialog when I get home.

A number of us decided to go back to the same restaurant for dinner. They had a pizza special on, but even though we arrived at 5 PM, the pizza was gone. Apparently they do a great take out business and the pizza was sold. So most of us had fish n chips which was great  - but way too many fries!!!!!!   This time I rode my bike - I didn't want to walk all that way again!!!!!

Yes - as the days wind down, we are all getting a bit nostalgic about the trip, but also looking forward to getting home and back into somewhat of a routine. Me - I am kind of torn - while I am excited about coming home, I really like the cycling. So that means - I just have to get my butt in gear and keep getting out on my bike when I get home. I will need to wean myself off!!!!!  Of course - I might just be lazy and and not ride for a while. I'll see how I feel when I get home. It would be nice to get on the bike and just do a short ride!!!

I have crawled back into my tent for the night and while I have evaded the mosquitos  - it is still a tad hot so I have the fly open to try and let it cool off. While I like my tent - it does have one flaw - the ventilation is not the best.

Everyone is in good spirits as we head into this last segment of the trip. It won't be easy -  8 days of riding - 973 K - The Cabot Trail - well I rode The Cabot Trail last year and while I did cycle the entire thing - there were parts that were challenging and I don't know if I am better to know about them or just go blindly in.

Anyway - here are some stats to date from the trip...............

52 days
6,778.25 KM
316 hours
34,505 Meters of climbing
34,581 meters of downhill
Average speed 21.4 KPH
200,538 calories

On that note - I am out of here. I love having access to the internet in my tent!!!!!  

Have a great day!!!!!!!!!!!

Ciao!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And yes - it you want to see pictures of the trip - don't forget to check out Neil's blog - he faithfully posts pictures - windaturback.com