Category Archives: People

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Sept. 10th Day41
Today was a better day.
Three days ago was big hills
Two days ago was big hills and strong headwinds
Yesterday was flats but even stronger headwinds

Today I even had a tailwind for about and hour and was doing 30+ for most of it.
The day started cloudy and I even plastic bagged a few things before departing in case of rain.
That towns flag was pretty cool too but it was wrapped up on the flag pole too much for a good photo.
In the next town I stopped for water and coffee. Had a little chat with the store keeper. He reminded me of an actor who’s name I don’t know.
Noon was real before I even thought about it. Seemed like I was stopping a lot and not getting as far as I thought for the amount of time since I started. But still stopped and bought a little lunch at Walmart. $1.90 on a 500 of yogurt. And a free charge and some wifi while I was there. In that time the sun broke out.
My only real goal for day was to get off the map. My Gaspésie map. The last town on that map was Sainte-Flavie and I put it 30km behind me.
From Grosses-Noches to Rimouski.
Somewhere along the way between towns I met a man hiking the same path I’m taking but the reverse direction. Of course he was walking on the side of the road I was riding so I stopped and we chatted. He said he was leading a group, but they were all ahead of him, and he’s done it a number of years.
We talked about seeing animals and diet and my bike. We took photos of each other and had one of those conversations where right when you think is over and say bye then one more thing is said and the conversations starts again. Anyway, he started in Quebec and told me a little about it. Soon.

In Rimouski I just looked at the surprisingly unique lighthouse and a slow ride into town. A stop at IGA for foods and a scouting along the 132.
I found this one place I thought would maybe be good. Something new.
In the pit of a truck bay outside a loading dock.
There was a box store, closed like not in bidness and for sale signs on the place. A single bay and right across the street from the water. I looked in it, deep enough nobody would see me unless they were standing were I was looking into the ramp/pit. A little rocky but I could kick rocks aside and room enough to set up my tent. So a look around the other side of the building and it’ll be good.
Around the corner, next to the dumpsters, I find the most disheveled homeless man ive ever seen rocking back and forth, nasty dirty looking.
I’m cool with the homeless. But this man gave me the feeling it would be wise to look elsewhere. I would have liked to get a photo but I thought best not to bother.
On the other side of town I found a spot in the grass behind some trees in a basic park like place. A couple history info boards and a covered picnic table. Made dinner there and set up the tent after.
Fed and in bed by 8:30p.
Not a very exciting day but at least the wind chilled out and no bugs as I made my meal at sunset.


Granny gear for first 79.5km of the day

Sept. 9th Day 40
Tonight I’m camping in Grosses-Roches. I’m in the grass with light winds, no bugs and another endless sunset. I can hear waves just beyond the small cemetery. I’m looking at the St. Laurence right now, from inside my tent, with still a little bit of light at the horizon.

I woke up today and was in big trouble. I had to go bad but no place to go. My camp spot was in the middle of town and it was early, too early for any place to be open. Riding would be difficult and to get past town looked to be at least a kilometer.
I figured it out to say the least.

I usually start out in the granny gear daily. It’s good to roam around in the night before when scouting spots. And in the morning when legs may be still tired.
I rode around the cove that town was in, passing a huge waterfall over a big wall of rock, and a curve to the left and I was next to the gulf and facing the winds. The road was flat, skirting the water about 90% of my day but I never got out of the granny until my day was near done.

At one point I stopped to take a photo. Ahead of me the road went up a hill and curved to the left. And the shore curved to the right and right in the middle was a giant peak of land. A big pointy rocky mess. But really just a photo and a break for water. Before I clipped back in I saw a loaded tourist rolling down the hill. I was on the flats and I waited thinking he may stop. And not too excited about hills and wind that were in my face.
The guy must have been feeling that wind push him down the hill because he just waved and rode on.
I don’t understand why I am super excited to see other people touring but it’s like one in ten gives a shit to stop? I feel like I’m in a hurry. I ride everyday. I feel like I’ll go broke paying for food in this country. But still I would stop and chat for a couple few min with anybody on a bike. I mean anybody. I guess that’s the way it is sometime. People don’t stop.
Anyway he looked Euro. His clothes, bike and bags were a bit colorful in an uncoordinated way. And on the back rack he had a duffle bag set sideways that was as wide as my bike is tall. Later dude. I’m gonna do 7kmh up this hill.
Another town had a bright red lighthouse. That was cool.
All day I was seeing trucks moving wind farm blades. They look very long when they are just 5 feet of the ground.
At a roadside rest stop I saw a motorcyclist off his bike taking a photo of a waterfall. I waved and he seems friendly so I stopped. Turns out we both worked about a block from each other in Brooklyn. He told me a little about the way he came from and I told him about things he would see. We each took photos and hit the road but it was a good chat.
What else?
It’s 8:55 and the wind is picking up here. After some of my past nights, anytime the wind starts whipping my tent about I get nervous.

For the day I did 113 and was in the middle ring most but not all of the 79.5 to 113km. Before that nothing but granny gear. F’kn wind.


X, Y, and Z-gear kind of day

Sept 8th. Day 39
From the wind I woke up kind of early but slowed down the get up part because I figured the market might not be open before 7.
At about 7:15 I was ready to roll. But the market wouldn’t be ready till 8:30. 8 thirty?
Did an unnecessary backwards loop out of town. Lots of major road construction and a bad lack of signage. What’s and extra 2km? I would crack 3800 before the day would be over.
I stopped at the next towns Gaz station. Coffee and two muffins.
I just drink coffee black now but I should go back to milk for the calories. It was drank before I was gone, muffins too.

What do I remember about today? Well it was sunny. And I was dry. But the whole day was headwinds. Strong.
And there were hills. Too many to count. 100km of them.
I saw two tourist early. Riding with the wind. And lightly packed. Just a simple pair of panniers each, nothing extra. Waved but they did not stop.
Whatever they didn’t even look tan.

Then another, a bit later. He had a trailer. With one small bag and nothing on the bike. Strange to bring a trailer for what I could fit in one rear pannier. But I never got to ask, he didn’t stop either.
I was thinking over the last week I’d probably meet lots of other tourist around the Gaspe. But in the last few day and seeing none, not any since entering Quebec, I began to think I might be the only one.

Today I knew I’d have less distance than normal. It was one of those hell days where seeing 10km on the speed thingy would make me happy. I was in the X gear on the downhills the wind was so bad. I could be in the Y gear on the flats. But the rest of the day, on just about any incline, I’d be Z’ed out. Last gear. Stand up if you have to.

I rolled down one hill that was protected from the wind and hit 79km/hr. But at the bottom was all the wind I’d missed.

Later rolling down another I slowed as I made way through town. I look to the water and in a park space I see two more tourist, looking more loaded than the earlier ones, I wave, the woman waves, I slow and U turn in the street and as I get to be back where I can pull into the park, was just a couple second later, I look and see their backs as they walk to the water.
I just did another U and kept going.
What do they need me for? They have each other.
I felt kind of crappy after that.
I kind of wanted to stop in general but then I just kept riding thinking about how alone doing this can feel sometimes.
Of course more hills. But on the next hill I see another loaded tourist facing me. I slow and as I’m about to stop I see that she is stopping too.
Maybe the first thing she said was “you’re gonna be happy, it’s all flats ahead”
I went to her side of the street to talk. She was on her 5th day.
Talking to her was rejuvenating. Much like the last um, encounter was deflating.
We had things in common like drinking gaz station coffee. Put a Loony in the machine for 9oz. Enjoying the past couple days sunsets. She knew what it was like to tour, conversations in your head, packed well but shit strapped outside the bags too.
The best part was she was friendly. She smiled and laughed. Very pretty. The only thing that could make it better was if we were going the same direction.
I asked for a photo. She told me about landing in a ditch when I asked how her tour was going.
Totally the best part of my day.
But I had to chase a carrot. I fucking shook her hand and said goodbye.

She was right just a couple more hills and then flat for the last 30km of my day.
The wind never stopped.

For the slowest avg speed day of the trip I still did 121km.

And yes, another splendid sunset.


33 is my bad luck number

Sept, 2 day 33
But I didn’t think or remember that today was the 33rd day of this tour until just now, 9:23pm and I’m already fed and in bed.

Now maybe I’m rethinking I shouldn’t leave my front wheel on my bike. But the mosquitos out there are hell.

This morn I woke up at 8 like we agreed. Adam was up and by the sound of it he had been doing some work. The first thing he said was he’d got a piece of metal in his eye and would be going to the hospital after breakfast. I said we can skip it and for him to just go because I’m going to hit the road either way. But he was sure he’d be fine to eat before so we went to his families restaurant and ate eggs and potatoes with toast and coffee. He said he’d been in the same situation before, the hospital is a 15 min drive and they freeze his eye and use a pick to dig out the metal speck. Sounds gnarly.
After that I got on the bike but a couple quick photos before and I wished his father was there to get a photo of also. He reminds me of Mr. Schaubmayer.
I rode away and said good bye in French. I have no idea how its spelled and barely know how it’s said

I made good time to Bathurst. The 134 was smooth and the wind was nice to me for 20 km. I averaged over 26km/hr getting there. Then I walked around in town knocking it down to 19 on the thingy.
I sat on a bench and made PB&J for myself. I watched a flock of little birds all fly together and land on the top of maybe the coolest building in town. And just as I thought “get out the cam and vid them all flying off” that’s when they all jumped and flew away. It looked inspiring.
Then a man who had walked by and gave a hello reapeared with a camera and asked for a photo. Sure, take as many as you like. Me, my bike and eating PB&J. Perfect.
I asked his name, it was David, he said he’d be at the book cafe, and if I wanted he would buy me a coffee.
I finished up and met him and we talked about photography and photo gear for about 20 min over coffee and snacks. He showed me a small book of his photos. Almost every page I turned showed me two of the same photo. Different prints but doubles. It was his style I guess. He also showed me the gear and accessories he had in his bag. He had about everything one would need. Complained about always needing a new/bigger bag to fit it all. Showed him my camera and talked about film. Also tried to talk him into a camera strap like mine. I did ask for a photo there in the cafe. He allowed me but said normally would not. And also said he does not smile. I said I was glad to take his photo and there was no need to smile. Shortly after I left. I had to get to Campbellton and he had things to do.

Hit a little wifi at McD. Returned an email from outlier. But I think I should write them again and clear up what I said today.
Bought some food at the market. Very cute manager in there as I was walking out.
On the road.
Had a feeling I might catch a tourist. Because of the road I was on. Not many options between the two towns. And I seen a banana peel on the edge of the road. A tell-tale sign. I leave them all the time.
And I did! but they were headed to me. I decided from other times tourist going the other direction not stopping that I would stop as I notice them and they might be more likely to stop as well. It worked. The couple even came to my side of the road.
A cute older couple. 40’s maybe? 77km into their day 1 (of 4). A short trip. I asked their names but it escaped me very quickly because theirs were very French names. But I did get a photo.

More smooth miles with the wind being nice in a slight way. Nothing too major.

Today I rode over the 3226km mark. Making my trip over 2000 miles now. Cool.

In a small town of Jacquet River, so small it was not even on my map, there were 5 kids chilling on the street. As I rode by one asked where you going, where you from? So I stopped and chatted for a bit. These kids were about 13 I’d guess so they were a bit nervous it seemed but they were talkative a couple of them. Two had bikes. One was “Walmart junk” but the other kid had a nice older purple mountain bike. Got a portrait of him before I left. A good bit more riding to get to my camp town but the last 30km of it was as the bay narrowed. The water to my right. Looking at the mountains across the bay. Damn cool sights. And the sun set was very pretty across the water.

In town I seen some campers in a rocky (gravel lot) spot of land right on the water so I asked the guy at the gas station across the street what’s up. He said there have been RV campers there all summer. I’m just a tent but I knew where I was camping. Got water and snacks. Even super hot water out the coffee machine as per the lady behind the counter after I told her hot water is better, it gives my stove a break on fuel to get a boil going for pasta.

I lined my tent up so I think I’ll see the sun rise right from where I lay inside the tent tomorrow morning.

Other than a wall of mosquitos there is only little activity in the 300 yards of this camping land I’m on.

Tomorrow I’ll cross into my fourth province of the trip.
And I hear a train.





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Sept. 1. Day 32
Tonight I’m sleeping in a bed and typing these notes with my iPod plugged in to a wall.

I woke up to almost as many mosquitos as I had last night. I take too long putting my front wheel on. In the time it took I had twenty on each arm and each leg, who knows how many on the back of my neck. I had to walk my bike to the center of a near parking lot to get away from the thick of it. After a few trips I had all my gear in the lot and ready to pack onto the bike. By then they found me again. But I was off. Back to the co-op grocery. Bought basic things. Outside I had a short conversation with a scooter owner. Varied topics. From French speaking people to my grandfather being in the war to maps and road conditions. After that I hit the road.
I thought today might be a lot like yesterday. And it was for the first 90km. I had ridden through not much. Just quiet roads. Not much for towns. But then I hit a city. One with a big bridge. I made a quick stroll around the historic area, stopped in a bike shop to ask if the bridge was bikeable. And picked up something for dinner at a market.
Over the bridge. Damn cool looking bridge. But it took me to nothing. The other side did have a Walmart but I was going another 50 or 60 before sleepy time. After the Walmart was nothing for about 30km. Nothing but trees and a couple mailboxes. At a minor junction there was a gas station. I stopped for water. I knew I could make it another 25 to the next junction. I heard from the bike shop there was a little more there so that’s where I was going but taking my time getting back one the bike because my back was aching a bit. On guy on a motorcycle was chatting with me as he filled up. And shortly a buddy rolled up. We all chatted and not long into it he offered me a camper to sleep in. And it was in the town I was trying to get to.
He even called ahead to his family. They were cool.
It was a long ride and I got to his town right after sunset.
I met his father, Norman first. He even walked over to the gas station and met me there before I even approached the house. We talked for a while before his son, Adam got back from dirt biking.
So many details I’m going to leave out.
It was a long day for me and I didn’t get to bed til after 12 and that’s late. I’m finishing these notes a day later bc I fell asleep.

Anyway I slept good in a fifth wheel camper. And over night i charged everything needing charging, iPod, etc.

I think the best thing about meeting Adam and Norman is that it’s a perfect reminder that there are people out there that are not afraid of strangers. And on top of that can see a stranger and offer to share something that they have.
I never asked for anything and I never felt any pity from them. They were friendly and were open to new people. I was told of a female cyclist they offered the same camper to just days or maybe weeks before me. Also a trio of girls they met in another town and offers them to camp on a property that had near by.
It was a good time for me. We just sat in the garage and talked but it was good. And a mention of breakfast at the faimly restaurant in the morning. We argeed on 8 am

I went to bed. For me it felt late but I know for Adam I was crashing early. I really just wanted to make my dinner so I could sleep. I cooked pasta in the camper w my stove and things then bed. Tried to type out some notes but only got so far before I passed out.


Victoria PEI to Cap-Pelé NB

Day 30
Tonight I have my tent in the grass and the mosquitos were not so bad.

This morning Eric and I went for a coffee at Island Chocolate. A very nice place with a fine National Cash Register on display (the one for regular use was of the plastic variety). The draw was open and chocolate coins filled the till. I also bought a simple chocolate bar for later. We sat out front and were talking. Emma, who was serving us sat and chatted with the two of us and the refills were free, for everyone not just us.
On the front porch with us was a large sleeping dog. Rupert, we learned. Rupert had to be the most photographed in all of Victoria. Despite that he only moved when the sun crept into his resting place. Rupert was dark brown and the size of a cub bear. I hear the breed Newfoundland said but I wouldn’t know.
When the sun became too much for me, around the time of our third coffees, I suggest we go to the park and see about making breakfast and see if this provincial park showers rumor was true.
The tide was on the up and the park was grassy with a small cliff to the water. A nice place to eat, and there were a number of kites in the air. The breeze was right for kites. Nothing like yesterdays 100 km/hr winds.
The shower was true! It worked and had hot water. So very thankful because I was without a proper washing since Machias, Maine. It’s been a couple weeks. I think I need another shower to get clean. That one just made me not-dirty.
For food we each made our own things but shared this and that. Eric was a cool guy. I think I learned a few things from him that he does not know. Like, it’s better to go slow. Maybe not bike slowly but to not rush away, stay and enjoy a place, see what happens, who you can meet. We had some things in common and yet we were on opposite tracks. He had come from Montreal (in two months) and I am going to Montreal. I’ll likely be there in two weeks.
After lunch we tried to get wifi and an outlet at the visitor center. I got a charge but the wifi cut out on me so I walked around the docks and light house with my camera. Then I sat in the shade of a tree by the curve in the road near the light house and talked with a girl also walking around taking photos.
I wanted to take a photo of Emma and I had my recurring thought about one lesson of touring. Don’t procrastinate. I know this. But in practice it’s more like, I can put that lesson to use later. We were tired of the sun at the V.C. And notice the shade had hit our porch table from earlier so we were headed back for more coffee. I was detoured to get a photo and caught up to him a few min later but he was up the block outside the cafe I was in last night and talking to some locals. I walked up. But then decided I needed some water so walked back down to Island Chocolate. I thought if I saw Emma I would thank her for being so friendly and ask for a photo. I got more water but did not see Emma. I walked back to where Eric was.
He had said he was going to stay in Victoria for the day. I knew I had to go. A part of me said I should slow down and use this lesson Eric has taught me. But I said to myself, I’ll use that lesson later.
I took one more photo of him with my iPod and shook hands as I said good-bye.

The rest of my day was mostly just numbers. 116 (some packed dirt) to the 1 to the 10 back to the 1 to the bridge.
I tried to hitch hike just before the last gas station. That only lasted as long as I had snacks to eat as I thumbed at just the pickup trucks. Then I figured I’d inquire about the shuttle. Then I saw another touring cyclist. A solo fully loaded female with 6 bright red bags. From Germany. Began touring in Victoria (the big one) just came over the bridge. Told me to hurry to catch him before he goes back. I jumped away before I thought to take a photo.
I just caught the van. $8. Robbie was my driver. Bags off and into the van. Bike onto the trailer and strapped down. I could have easily ridden the bridge. Wide shoulder.
Back in NB there was another less loaded touring bike in the rack at the station. As I unpacked my bags off the van and back on my bike the cycle tourist came out in a hurry to get on the shuttle. Another solo female. Two in 15 min. And I did not get a photo of either. This lady did come over to me to say hello. It was her day number one of the tour. Robbie was making sure the loading was getting loaded and she was in the van quickly. Just before the driver jumped in for another traverse I asked for a photo. At least one person.
Water and info on the closest store in my direction from the V.C. A wee bit of wifi and I was off. Trying to make something of my day.
But really just back to the numbers. 16 to the 955( a cracky bumpy country road) to the 15 (wide shoulder high way) to the 133(like any state route that runs through towns)
Stopping before sun down in Cap-Pelé. A slow roll through to scout. Stopped at a biker bar and spoke to some guys in the lot. They pointed me to a nearby park I even just rode past. Chatted for a bit but the sun was setting. H2O at the Irving and a pasta diner then tent up.

I have not thought about the temp since being in Canada. Hope that stays the same as I head North.

There are some towns and cities I’ll be going through but the ride from Vic to Cap was very quiet(except bridge). Just one store. Not much traffic. No one really. It makes perfect sense that Eric wanted to stay in Victoria.

Oh shit how can I almost forget that I shaved my face. First time of the trip.

The Island Chocolate bar did not last long. Now I’ll try to go one week without any chocolate. After that I might try a week no coffee. Not as a test but sometimes it’s good to take a break to enjoy it a little more later. Or does that sound bad?

I think I’m going to make a list of things I carry on tour that get noticed.

Also a list of items I use to secure things to my bike.

Touring biker: Eric Martin


Eric Martin and loaded bicycle in Victoria by the sea, PEI

Eric is one of six touring cyclists I’ve seen in the last 3 days. We had a few meals together and shared some stories. He was touring from Montreal and the day we met was the day he was supposed to have been back to where he started. His journey has been a good one. Carry on my friend.

Arms tired from holding bike straight

Day 29
I woke up early, 6am. The wind was so bad my tent was tipping up. I thought a bad storm was getting near and thinking to maybe stake it down and hope for the best. I even got out and grabbed the ground tarp under neath and turned the tent 90 degrees to be closer to the building and have a less exposed surface area.
Laid back down and though about a day in the tent. But looked out again and saw no sign of rain. So I changed my mind. I packed it up and went to get coffee. Sitting in Tim Hortons I figured I’d head toward the bridge. A couple old men sitting there said the weather called for a lot of sun and a lot more wind. 100km/hr around noon. I rode the 210 back to the 1 in stupid wind. Riding at about 9km per/hr at times. Seriously I was in my Z gear on a flat road it was so bad. I had trouble even holding the bike up and keeping it straight. But what was I gonna do, I had to get somewhere. I stopped for lunch at Busters Diner on the 1 near the 3. Good grilled cheese, hash browns and another coffee. More wind to Charlottetown. I wifi’d it up there and really just sat around eating all my snacks. Nobody really was talkative. I even asked about a camping store to buy stove fuel but was told Canadian Tire??
I looked on my iPod for a camp store. Found one for on my way out of town. I ran out of laziness so I started to move West. Stopping at a outdoor outlet for a bit on the way. I did see the Canadian Tire so I went in for a look. I had slept behind one once but never been in.

Dang man its like a giant K-mart of the North. And they had my stove fuel. Fuel is the only non edible thing I’ve bought on this trip. The fuel was not the only thing that I liked but I have photos of the other things.
Rode by the camping store, stopped in, chatted with a guy there about Arkel bags. They had a good selection. I had not seen them in person before. Didn’t buy anything.
Rode the coastal route toward the bridge. Long and windy with no real places along the way. My goal was Victoria by-the-sea. I was told friends of a friends owned a chocolate store there. But rolling in just after 7pm, they were closed. I was hungry and didn’t have dinner in my bags yet. Find store.
I go into a cafe on the same street. Walk in and it’s like a restaurant. No I don’t want a table for one. Sorry I just need to ask where is a store to buy bread, a grocery? The guy was not nice and just points. A girl there tried to help but just seemed to suggest a different store. So then the guy points in two direction real fast and says “there is a store that way and that way”. He was no help at all but I said thank you and walked out. The problem was there was nowhere else around to ask and I was zapped tired. I just sat in a chair near the front and closed my eyes for 10 min. When I opened them a cat was sitting next to my hand and a man was walking down the street. He said something to me so I asked for directions to the store. He gave me good and easy to understand directions.
Just then a lady opens the front door and hands me a roll in a napkin. She said “just something in case the store is closed” she walked back in as I said thank you. I said thanks to the man and grabbed my bike and walked away. I opened the napkin and there was a roll and a butter packet. Something about the stress of the the scenario, tired, not being helped and then a witness to all that going out of her way to do something, even a single dinner roll. It got to me.
I ate it and it was enough to get me the 2km to the store. On the way the sun light on this one church was just right. Kind of the photo I’d been waiting for.
Made it to the store and as I made the last turn toward the front door I saw 2 other touring cyclist. I said hello. And Eric responded. I said hello to the other one but he was quiet. I learned they were not really together. Just by chance. Then three, by chance, seems very rare to me.
Before long Eric and I were chatting and then the other was gone. I didn’t even get his name. Odd but Eric said he spoke very little English and that he started in Vancouver.
We went in to buy our food. After I asked where he was camping. He had me look across the street with him at a flower bed in some grass yard or something. I told him he should camp behind a church with me. He’d been on the road for two months and not yet thought to camp behind a church. But from his stories he meets many kind people along his journey. He is very likable.
We rode to the same church I had photoed and the back yard was a fine camp spot. We made dinner and shared stories. We talked about staying in touch with friends and through that I learned that he didn’t know what a PB & J was so I promised to make him one in the morning. The mosquitos were very bad so after dinner I went into my tent for the night. Tired. Only 110km but all in the head winds.
Tomorrow I’ll try again for some chocolate. Then see what I can do about getting over the bridge. Back in NB I hear there is a nice beach not far to the north. Maybe a swim. Not that I care as much as I did a week ago but still no showering. Smelly.


To Ferry or Not To Ferry?

Day 27
Continuing on the 2 was a good road. Making good time for once in this part of the country. I feel like a never made any real stops, just snack breaks on the road side. There were towns where the map said they were also a first for NS. I did stop in Truro. Asked about good roads to get to the PEI ferry. And stopped at The Hub bike shop to double check the tourist info I got from the welcome center teenage girls. I doubted they bike on the road they told me to take. But the way they told me was backed up at the shop. And there they were nice enough to let me use their wifi password. The woman behind the counter was pretty and lots of smiles. There was sort of leads into a camping spot but I sometimes don’t want to be too much of a scrub when I should take the one in a million offers from attractive females. Stupid me. She even said she had a pump track in her yard. After I left I told myself she had to have a boyfriend so why fool myself.
Truro was surprisingly ok in the day time. But after a few photos of the 6 sections of the Berlin Wall on public display and on what might be permanent loan to the city from “some guy” (welcome center info for ya) I then stopped at the store for provisions. I bought pasta and a big bottle of water thinking I’d be camping in the sticks somewhere between Truro and Pictou. But today was an easy 128km and I made it to Pictou in time to ride around and make dinner before sun down. Watched the sunset over the water. Scored a second outdoor iPod charge on the dock while I made dinner at a table. A family unpacking from a boat trip chatted me up and gave me a grip of watermelon, some cookies and a couple cold beverages. Real nice people also chatted about camping and they pointed to a spot right near by, super close to the water and I’m guessing will get morning light. I’m tented up in that same spot right now.
As I was walking off the dock I found a place to dispose my garbage and inside the building there was the a couple things of interest (besides a restroom and water faucet). Inside there was a shower that seemed to be open for use. I plan on testing it out in the morning. And second, I noticed a schedule and fare sheet for the PEI ferry. $16 for me and another $20 for my bike. That’s a lot!

So now my thought is this. Maybe bike up the coast to the bridge (I hear it’s free to go to PEI and only has a fare to come back to NB) do a true loop on the island back to the bridge and then try to hitch back into NB to skip paying the toll.

One cool thing that happened to day was I met another fully loaded touring cyclist. He was on his way to Halifax and started in Vancouver. It was the last day of his trip. His name was Tyler Valiquette and his site is we met at a funny ramp interchange thing in Shubenacadie aka “Shube”. We exchanged info and traded brief stories. Compared bikes and I helped guide him to the way I rode out of HFX for a nice ride along the lakes and river into Dartmouth. He said he was with a friend, who was somewhere else I didn’t recall, they had raised $10,000 to help end hunger. He was nice enough to let me take his photo.

Now that I think about it the riding to the bridge idea might add a half day or full day to my trip but on the good side it’ll eliminate Truro from being the only city I visit twice.

It’s getting to be close to one month in. About that time that I do a re-sort and ditch or mail some things back to lighten the load. I already know I could lose a couple pounds without even trying.


Exiting Halifax Slowly

Day 26
I woke up to the sound of rain on my tent. So I went back to sleep.
Later I woke up to the sound of Collin saying good morning. He brought me a plate of eggs and veggies as he was off to work. In all my days of touring I’ve never had breakfast served to me as I lay in my tent.
A little later the rain moved away and Halifax was covered in sunshine. A truly beautiful day. On my way to downtown I saw a messenger I’d seen yesterday and said what’s up. Got to chatting with him for a min. His name was Philip and I took a few pictures of him on the street. Has 2 kids and said he’d get 90 runs in a day sometimes. That seems crazy to me. The most I ever did in NYC was 41.
I rode to the same cafe as yesterday for coffee and a muffin. Post a bunch of “tent tweets” from last night as I tried to sleep. Also catching up on my notes in my notebook. Watching my bike just on the other side of the window, two white guys on minimally loaded road bikes lean theirs near mine and walk in. I was at a booth alone. So I walk over and say if they would like to sit with me that would be fine. Really they were just asking the barista for some info but they did sit for a min. Then both ordered coffees. Their names were Michael and Joel and they were riding from Vancouver to Saint John, Newfoundland for ALS. I will have to look up their site they only had 14 days left on their tour. It’s so cool to see and talk to other tourist.
Said bye to the guys in Ideal Bikes. Too bad I’m sticking to this schedule of not staying in one place for more that 24 hours. But by the sounds of it, not much was going on tonight. I did see Christopher messengering and stopped him for a chat as well. We played pol0 together last night but I did not realize he was a messenger also. Got a couple photos and then he was back to the streets.
Walking around I saw the same recycler, scout, can-man, I’d met outside the bike shop yesterday. Talked with him a min. Gave me directions to a water fountain and bathroom. Finally got a bit of a wash/scrub in. So very dirty. Also thought to do laundry. Nah. Boring.
And walking around more (lots of girls to smile at in Halifax) I saw a homeless guy I talked to yesterday. We chatted more. Something about living off the bike. And having a three week beard and washing only in a sink for the last two, I guess we have stuff to talk about.
I thought I might meet a love in this city but my desire to carry on steered me away from her, if she is even there. I made tracks for the Angus L. Macdonald Bridge. Kind of one of those things. Very simple but now I can say I’ve biked over the bridge in Halifax. From there I went straight to Two If By Sea a coffee shop on Octerloney Street. Which conveniently becomes the 318 which becomes the 2 North. That will take me to Truro. Again. WTF.
On the road again I had a very pleasant stroll along a big river or maybe a string of lakes. Pretty. And basically flat.
I just did 42 km the whole day and that counts the walking around I did. Never even put on my road shoes. Still need to swap the wasted cleat for the new one also.
I thought about tenting up at a church in Grand Lake but opted out and pressed my luck to see what was up the road as it was getting dark. Riding at sunset is very beautiful at times. The sun setting over wooded lake areas along slightly curved 2-lanes. Its good. But not having a tent spot after sun down is not so good.
But up the road just 5 more min was an Irving 24 truck stop. Right where the state route 2 crosses over the 102 Highway (exit 7) from here north the highway will be West of me.
Tented up over on the side near an on-ramp. In the tall grass. Within a swarm of skeeters. The trick is to only unzip the lower length of the tent door. Not up the side were it’ll flap over and make a big opening for them to get in. With just the bottom open I sneak all my bags and such in, then I slither in real low to the ground. Of course I do a little de-bugging dance before I make my entry. Seeing 50 or more bugs blanketing the netting and trying to get in makes me thankful my tent is as good as it is.
The sound of many highway vehicles fills the air. Could be lots of jets up in the sky doing loops and flips and fly bys.
My bike is in the tall weeds keeping the mosquitos company.
I ate homemade banana bread(half a loaf) and cheese for dinner.
I think the sun will hit the tent in the morn. Hoping no rain. But seeing evacuation tweets about Red Hook, BK. Mandatory. Saying sat and sun will be the worst.

I have thought that if this trip continues past my return to NYC. I might make a little stamp with the PB&J URL and actually start telling people about it. Up to now there are only a handful of people I’ve mentioned it to.
Also need to permanently turn off all comments. On tour I like twitter and email only. No phone, hate texting, too many event invites I’m totally not going to make of facebook. And comments on a blog is just more time online. Reminds me of the debate I was having about doing any online presence. But with no phone, twitter is an easy was to let friends know I’m alive.
And doing a blog that effectively no one knows about makes it easy to have my mind think of it as a digital notebook and double that because all this is written in the Notes app on my iPod.
An equivalent would be changing cash money for chips at the casino.
It’s different when the medium is tipped to a less direct to online form.
The next step is to copy and paste in a cafe somewhere down the road. Where or when that is, I don’t know.


Day 25
I sort of tried but could not find the vantage point I had seen in an old photo. It was of the bridge. I still need to get a good look at the thing.
This morning I rode 25km into the city. I stopped at the first bike shop I saw and asked about bike pol0. No info. Was about to buy new SPD-SL cleats but at the check out after hearing the price I changed my mind. Figured I’d shop around. Roaming I found another smaller shop with younger less uniformed employees. No cleats but good pol0 info. Sent me to the shop that houses most of the players. Ideal Bikes. Got there and asked if they play pol0. His response was “Doug! I’m Michael”
Oh cool I found the spot. Met the dudes. Hung out a bit. Some local info. The shop was all used bikes and parts. So I didn’t figure to ask about road racing cleats. But I gave it a shot anyway. No. Chatting some more. And another guy, Mike, holds up a cleat and says “like this one?”. Perfect. And no charge. Looked for the pair in the bottoms of the bin he found the first but no. One was all I need anyway.
Rode around the point. Chilled. Didn’t do much just looked at the city. The little I could going as slow as I was. Back to the shop a little before pol0. Rode over on a pol0 bike. My touring bike was taking a nap in the shop while I played bike pol0 in the eastern most pol0 city in North America. Great group, court, and lights. Night games are nice but I had yet to eat dinner and it was way past the time I’d gone to bed for the last week. Didn’t care.
Michael, Mike, Collin, Christopher, Will, Roscoe, and one more I regretfully can’t recall his name.
Collin offered his back yard for a camp spot. So that’s where I’m camped. Made the last of my pasta from last night out my tent door and typed this up as well as a few loopy sounding tweets I’ll send tomorrow at the coffee shop next to Ideal Bikes.
Also went into MEC store here. No service to speak of wanted to ask about solar chargers. They had about 4 options. Did not bother to ask. Wasn’t buying. On my exit a girl getting off her bike to go in spoke to me a little after I said hi. We talked about touring. In there she introduced herself properly. I liked that. She wished me well on my travels.
They say a hurricane is on the way. Irene. For some tweets from today looks like NYC is getting some soon or now.

Eat like a King. Ride solo

Day 24
In the morning there was a teenager doing side work around the fire dept. As I was getting up we had a conversation. After he walked back to the FD i decided to bike down to The Deck to go to the restroom. He saw me from the bay doors and said I could go right there.
After, we both walked up to where he was doing some clearing and my tent was. He gave me a bottled water and a couple electrolyte powder packs. Blue stuff, drank one right away. He also told me to go a spot called The Diner for breakfast. It was on the way out for me and he said they had a bigger menu. When asked if they made good pancakes he said “i don’t know, I always get the burgers”. I should have known.
I rode there, 3.5km from where I started. I walk in and it’s just like an unfurnished house. Just tables in a side room I think was meant to be living room. I asked the waitress if I could plug in my phone? She said, with a pause, “sure I guess it’d be alright” but it sounded like “well arent you just a pain in the ass”. I looked at the menu for all of ten seconds and she asked me for my order. I looked and didn’t see pancakes. “no sorry, we dont do them”. I was polite as I could be but I knew I’d get a better meal and much better service back at The Deck. I didn’t mind back tracking, so i did. At The Deck I spent over an hour and $23 on breakfast. Meaning I talked with the cook and ate a lot. And two coffees plus one for the road. And plugged in my iPod. And took a photo of the two cooks, nice people. They invited me back.
Around about noon I took off to the road again feeling really good.
The rest of the 329 was incredible. Very nice views.
Made it back onto the 3 East way too soon. But only as long as it too to get to the 333. That would take me by Peggy’s Cove I’d heard about.
One thing is my cleat on my left shoe wore down to nothing. I put that foot down the most and pivot on my left to get my right leg over the saddle getting on the bike so it sees much more wear. Gotta get a new cleat set in Halifax. But I have a spare set sitting right there back in BK. Damn. Money I don’t want to spend.
Also need to get a water bottle. But like a spare fuel tank to hold the water more than to drink out of.
Also at the end of my ride, past the near servicelessness of the entire length of the 333, at least up to the road side church I’m camping at right now, uh, oh yeah I had to buy a full-size can of pasta sauce. I usually get a jar and use half and lid it up till the next night for the other half. Not so easy with a can. But the lucky part is that even though I’d completely run out of PB(a first on this tour) I still kept the jar, not wanting to litter and seeing no trash cans. I made pasta on the steps of the church. And as I usually do, I used bread to sponge the extra sauce off the pan after I eat. Well I took another slice and sponged out the last residue of PB out that jar and then poured the remaining pasta sauce into something I can tote around for a day. I’d almost poured it into my stainless coffee mug but would have been bummed to not have it for tomorrow in Halifax. I’m sure I’ll get a morning coffee there.
Did 101 km today and ate dinner and set up my tent before dark. Not bad for a 12:15 start.
Peggy’s Cove was pretty, on the way there a part of the 333 is so close to the Atlantic that I spit into it.
Also found wild black berries on the roadside just past there. Oh and I found wild raspberries on the last bit of the 329.
One good thing was I stopped at a bike/coffee shop on the 3. I was looking for cleats. None. But the guy let me have his Halifax map. I think it was his only one. Very generous. But it seems like he was never gonna need it for himself. I’m glad to have a map of town before I get to town.


Leaving Truro was no better than Truro

Day 22 (I should have been doing this from the start)

In the more newly commercialized end of Truro is where I woke. Behind a dumpster belonging to Canadian Tire. With a Soybes? Grocery next door and a mcDs across the street for some quick wifi. After breakfast I was already on the 236 so I started West for the first time of this trip.
Hit the country soon and that’s where the hills and wind started. None of it was to my liking. After a few miles I came to the 215. I heard the 215 was better. Rather that the 236 hot really bad with the road conditions and traffic. It was a longer way around, along the bay to a small town of Brooklyn where the 236, that cuts straight the country, and 215 meet again but I figured it could be as nice at the 2 was on the North side of the Cobequid Bay.
215 it is then. Maybe there will be less hills.


Still heading West the wind did not change. And instead of going on and on. The wind was hellish. The hills were shitty and about 45km in it started pissing rain.

There were almost no place with services or shelter. The towns on the map were likely to NOT be a town at all. Instead a sign by the road with a name, like Moose Brook, and absolutely nothing else.

One good thing was in Noel I met a kid who saw me walking my bike to a table to rest. He yelled out “hey you got peanut butter, that’s cool, peanut butter is awesome” he and his buddy came over and asked some questions. They both had bikes too. Told me about biking to school in the winter on the hills. Liked my fenders and rang my bell. Told me about the hills if I took 354 South and the hills if I stayed on 215 West. The buddy asked my name. When I answered the first kid goes “no way! That’s my name too!”. He told me about his soccer finals matches. I think he said he got second. There seemed to be nothing in the area. I’d guess that every kid around would have to play to get a soccer game going. I wish I could have seen some soccer. I miss watching soccer in the park in Brooklyn. Before I left he showed me his neckless with soccer placing and team name. I don’t know why I didn’t take a photo. Because I didn’t now I’m sure it would have been the best photo of my trip.

On the road I had a short break from the rain. But not long. Then about , I don’t even know, 50, 60km more of hurricane rains. No place to stop. Out of water. All food under bags. Felt like shit and the hills and wind were still making me look weak.

I made to a gas station. I didn’t know where I was just riding till I got somewhere. Anywhere.
I wasn’t going anywhere else. Fortunately the owner was inside. Older man named Geery. Or maybe Gary and I heard him wrong. Said it’d be fine. So I did. My best luck came to me at the end of my day. I got to that store 10 before it closed. Very important for the gallon of water I bought. First time of trip. Made pasta before bed. But it also had stopped raining. I set up the tent on wet grass but under dry skies.

One funny thing on my way in the rain. On one little pull out and under a few trees was a man holding an umbrella. He wave me over and said “come take a break” I said what good will that do me? ( I’m creeping up a hill and soaked in pouring rain), “it’ll let up here in a bit” he said. All I could do was blurt out a “Ha” and shake my head. My thought was “I’ll do another 30km before it let’s up”
Now I’m not sure if that guy was real.
I did do another 30 before it let up. But in the end I ate well and slept well.

Truro has many creepers

Woke up at the church and not a soul was in sight. Strange. Hit the road pretty quick, just rolled out to the road, I was already on the 2. Followed that till it hit the Minas Basin at Parrsboro. Glad I bought bread there bc not many options after. Of course I filled up on water and took a lunch break to make oatmeal. Inside the visitor center where I got water I asked the girl if I could put a pin in the where-in-the-world-are-you-from map. NYC didn’t have a pin yet. It does now.
The 2 turned along the water in my direction and was nice. Green, smooth, nice drivers, little traffic. I stopped at Five Islands because it was a short ride down a level dirt packed lane to a light house and good vista of a cluster of islands. One has a natural arch. Worth the stop. Also spoke to a family while there. They like that I didn’t know for sure what day it was. I knew it was Sunday but kept second guessing myself because I had not seen any people or cars at any of the churches I’d passed. Thought that was strange.
On the road just ticking away the miles to Truro. It seemed like I’d get there before dark but not have much time to go further.
In Masstown I stopped at a big and popular market. After 2 pb and j stops I needed something else for dinner. Bough stuff for pasta and banana chips, an apple and a 32 oz gatoraid. Outside looking at a bad storm cloud over the direction to Truro I waited and ate B chips. A couple exiting asked about my bike. We talked a bit, it was good, he had toured Vancouver to Halifax doing about 200km a day. Wow. Really I talked their ears off. But she was laughing and I felt like I could be more honest, a little more personal. I kind of went into what was on my mind. Talked way too much really but their response was a good one. Too bad I didn’t ask for there contact. I think they said they live in HFX. Oh well.
Back on the road. A few clicks further I was on a wet road but under dry skies. Works for me. I rolled over one little hill and saw another solo touring cyclist coming towards me. I stopped and as she got close I waved and said “want to chat?”. She gave what sounded like a stock reply “I’m actually meeting some people” while not slowing a bit. I just said “have a good ride” and clipped back in.
I thought about how useless the word actually is in most cases it’s used. And about how I’m excited to see others touring or talk to others who have toured. But then thought why would she stop on an uphill to talk to me, I’m nobody and it was getting late. Too bad, she looked cute, might have made a good portrait. The light was no good anyway. It’s all a wash.
Into Truro not much further I found a place to make pasta. Good to eat pasta, need to more often.
I rolled town looking for a camp spot. No luck. Bad luck. Kept seeing creepers walking all over the place. Making good spots bad. I did see 6 sections of the Berlin Wall in the middle of a block in what has to be the downtown.
Did about 8 loops around, found nothing. Could not even find the right way out of town.
Asked a gas station attendant direction and I gave up and rode away.
After a quick wifi break outside a McD’s further away to get my mind off the stress of needing but not finding a free and safe place to camp. I like towns. Being close to breakfast in the morning is good. But this one has way too many creepers walking around for any cover to be easy to think it’ll last the night. Leave me alone while I sleep please. Not asleep yet but I think I found a good place a cross from McD behind a Canadian Tire. In the back of the lot behind a permanent looking temporary fence. I can hear the highway. And I’m a little bit away from the foot traffic of the other side of town.
No wonder that female tourist didn’t want to stop, she had just broken free of this creeper of a town.
Tomorrow I’ll do the same.

Leaving Sackville and into Nova Scotia

Ok right now I’m tented up at another church. This time in grass and on a Saturday night, that part is a first, trying my luck and hoping to be up early an get some distance tomorrow.

After laundry in Sackville I really had to pee so I went back to the cafe. And why not another coffee? Not long after I packed it up, getting it all buttoned down right in front of the cafe I over heard two ladies talking about touring, stuff about their own experienced. I just minded my own. Just as I grabbed my bike to roll then one started to talk to me. Basic things but two parts that stood out were after saying I was not going to do the Cabbot Trail because of the hill she said she had just done it and something like it would be a shame to miss it. I wasn’t real sure what she meant by how she said it. But the other thing was telling me to watch out for coyotes. Uh. She said some girl backpacking on a trail with food in her bag and maybe talking on her phone was attacked by a hungry coyote so watch out, have something to swing at one. This whole thing was holding me back from making tracks. Glad to get out of there. On the highway to Nova Scotia I started to bonk. Too much coffee and not enough oatmeal. I’d been putting off making oatmeal all day. I took the last N.B. exit, found a table in the sun, didn’t care, and made 3 pb and j on flour torts, soft taco style. And 3 more on the last of my Ancient Grains wheat bread. The last of my big bag of Sunchips, and last block of cheese from yesterday’s vege burgers.
While there I briefly met Ray a backpacker and hitchhikeing traveler. Offered him some food but he was good and walked away. Before he left I did ask for a photo and he was ok with that. I need go ask more people because I can think of at least ten photos of people I met I really wish I would have taken.
Refilled the H2O and on the road again to Nova Scotia. The first town was big enough and saw many “I’d camp right there” type places. But had to press on another 22km to Springhill, NS. Was going to make oatmeal so I stopped at a gas station on the outskirts for water but ended up buying a double scoop of blueberry-vanilla ice cream cone and a big thing of homemade strawberry-rhubarb jam. I don’t even need jelly right now but it looked so good. I should have bought a whole pie too, they were homemade and only $7. By time I rode up the hill into Springhill I just wanted to get to bed. Tented up. Wrote in notebook. Typed this to post later and that’s that. Just a 75km day. Tomorrow I’ll shoot for Truro, NS and hopefully go beyond that.
Today was the second time I did laundry in 20 days.
Things I wish I had: good but light long-sleeve (for when hoodie is too much to add to when not enough) not just yet but might want later thin long-johns (maybe not but I own some that are light and small when not on) and for sure two pair of merino underwear. Cotton ones are not that good for touring especially with my washing schedule. But I was forced to buy a 6 load zip-lock bag of laundry soap so I won’t want to carry that around very long, a week max.
Other things if I had money. New iPod w better camera, better looking images. And a solar charger so I could take more photos more often.