Category Archives: Places

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.


Gaspé day

Sept 7th. Day 38
Even though I went right back to my old ways of staying up late and didn’t really go to bed till after 1am I still woke up to my 7am alarm.
Make some oatmeal. Tidy up the kitchenette. Double check I’ve got everything. Return the key and hit the road. My host wished me well and made mention of the big hill just out of town.
He was right about 2pm into my morning I hit a steeeeep hill. But I picked a spot ahead to stop and look back. And holy shit it was cool.
Ride more to the top and a ripper down. Had to slow because of a rock slide on the route 132. But one lane was open and I didn’t have to stop.
In the next town I stopped for dirty gaz station coffee. Also bought my first? Red Bull of the trip and a muffin in plastic. Was pretty based after that but the views were sick at a rate of one per half km. So I had nonstop a bunch and take photos. Otherwise I’d have made it to Gaspé in no time.
Some good flats and a few hills too.
Hit a nothing town with the name Douglastown on the way. And stayed on the 132 into town versus the short cut way.
Gaspe was just a place. But look away from the town and it was rad. I bought food first. And a guy on his way in talked to me. That was cool because it feels like days since the last time.
I was parked right by the door though. Not to get attention but because there was an outlet by the soda machine and I wanted to play music on my iPod while I ate my food. It was 500 of Greek yogurt.
Leaving there I rode over a bridge into more of the downtown Gaspé. Spotted a McD and tweeted out a few things after checking the email.
Bank. 50US got me 48,03CA.
On the hunt for a laundry, I rode hills and a circle only to come back the the spacious but mostly vacant motel and ask to use their laundry room. No problem.
Walking around the corner I saw a guy sitting and smoking a pipe. He had tattoos on his face and he looked like he had been a traveler for a long time. I tried to talk to him but he spoke French. I think he said he was not a traveler. I rolled my bike to the washer and walked back with my camera but he was gone. Why did I wait?

Only my way out of Gaspe I stopped at their second photo exhibit. The. Further to another flat bridge. And around and into the park. Some hills. Like “first floor, going up” then “second floor, going up” then maybe back to mez before seeing the third floor. After and bit of that the messing around was over. Big climbs.
But the odd thing was they were over before I knew it. It sucked and I was in my Z gear but I thought it would be hell for hours. Nope, a couple of climbs then a long down hill to the water on the north side. It was winding and had some up scoops but there were some very pretty landscape to be seen. And then like a surprise that is Friday when you were sure it couldnt be more that Thursday I rounded a turn and there was the lighthouse that’s everyone was talking about. Looking good to the sun was setting and pushing good light right onto it. And pretty clouds behind making the sky look like a magazine cover.

But I couldn’t take photos for ever. A lady walking her dog who I’d passed way back was now in front of me again and making me look slow.
Riding with the water on my right but now a new body of water.
Riding into the sunset. West.
Riding to find a camp spot.
Riding past sunset
Riding up a hill to see more bright sunset colors on the horizon.
Riding past having the energy to ride.

All I wanted to do was find a spot

I did find a spot. Not a good one but I needed to set up and make dinner.
I think I’m very close to the water. Could be just over the rock barrier I’m next to in this undesignated gravel lot. Very close to the street too. No cover except a lack of light.



Hotel day

Sept 6th. Day 37
Well not so clear.
Last night I was asleep by 7pm. And awake at 11pm long enough to see the rain had not stopped. And again at 4:30am. This time the wind was lifting my tent.
I had to sit up and unzip an opening to reach my arm and hold the top of my tent where all the tent poles intersect. I held them all. For about two hours.
By 7am I was thinking about getting a hotel room. I waved down a driver and asked about the weather report. Rain ALL day she said.
The debate about what to do.
I figured I’d just find a cheap hotel.
Was starting to get all my bags in order because I figured I’d have a problem getting packed with the wind as bad as it was. My tent was sure to blow down the street if I didn’t keep one hand on it.
As I was about to exit when 2 cars parked at the church. And I was asked to leave.
Kind of surprised by that. But because she was the first person to talk to me in 3 days, not that upset by it.
The other gentleman to arrive was a little more friendly. He understood my situation and directed me to a cheap hotel. Close to the market too.
Everything I had was soaked, wet or damp.
I rode to the hotel and paid $65 for a room at 8am.
Right now it’s 11:12 am and its still raining and windy. Weather on TV says rain til late evening.
Room no. 7 has a mini kitchen so I can cook w/o using my stove fuel. I sat watching Springer for an hour before I noticed the tv was sitting on a mini fridge. Laying everything out to dry. And I’m laying in bed. Bummed about the weather and spending so much money today, getting behind schedule.
Listened to some music on the iPod (first time of the trip) Wayne and Lighting Bolt.

Rain day

Sept. 5th. Day 36
Again woke up to the sound of rain on my tent. I’d woke up a couple times in the night. Maybe the traffic. Or maybe because I tried a night of sleeping on the ground. I left my air pad in it’s stuff sack and just used it as a pillow. I don’t know why I’ve not done the clothes in the stuff sack thing?

It was still morning when the rain stopped. I packed up but made sure to get a photo of the rusty sign post.
Oh, wait a min, I might be in trouble. It’s labor day here and nothing is open. Gas stations, stores, markets.
I had some food. Ate oatmeal for breakfast.

Riding was not as pretty as yesterday. It was but the clouds were low and the light was dark. Even with it being around noon.
The rain was toying with me for a few min. Just light drips. I rode through it. Then not stopping I said well I’m not getting drier. So I geared up for the rain. Grocery bags on the fronts and ground tarp action for the back end. Was good timing. Not much in the way of cover where i was and the rain kicked up it soak mode.

In Percé I’d only done about 45km and it was maybe 1:45. I wanted to see a little of the town, not just roll through and it looked like a few things were open.
But I didn’t do much but sit under a small-as-it-could-be structure covering me and a picnic table from the rain. I found an outlet nearby so I figure some cheese and crackers and a little lag time might make the rain stop.
No such luck. I ate more than half my food sitting there. At a store I bought 3 for $5 big 796ml cans of soup. Rain = soup.
After 40 min of standing in front of the store. Waiting on the rain to stop and watching the odd parking habits of drivers if there are no yellow painted lines to guide them (grocery had gravel lot) Then i thought to go back to park spot with shelter. I did and looked for a tent spot. Right by the water, could set up with a view of the majestic rock out in the bay. But no. Nothing looked good. And iffy feeling about being kicked out. That would suck. Set up then tear down to find another set up spot. In the rain.
Thats it I’m going to the church. I found the church and nothing looked great but I was going to make I work if I had to. Found the one over hang at a side entrance, stood out of the rain, bike too.
Waited for rain to ease, 45km is not enough but I am cold and wet, no more riding in the rain for me.
The church bells rang 4 o’clock. Told myself, if it don’t stop by 5 i’m setting my tent up right there. In the lot right next to the road kind of. The grass looked like puddles. I could see a high spot on the edge of the lot.
5 o’clock. Set up the tent(vertically) under the over hang and carried it over to my spot. Gear inside. Wet clothes off. Dry sock on. Make soup. Relax.
By 6:30 I’m in bed. And it’s still raining.

Hope it’s clear tomorrow. I want to get to Gaspé.

Note: buy more woolie boolie socks by Defeet. Have one pair and glad I was sort of saving them for a day like this.

Quiet day

Sept. 4th. Day 35
I woke up early to see some of the sun rise. The colors are best before the sun is up. I didn’t take a photo just laid there and watched for a bit.
I woke up once the sun was just high enough to shine into my eyes.
Filled up some water and made my way, 20km, to New Richmond. Getting close i had a lady driving slow beside me as im pedaling up a hill and ask where there is a gas station. My response was “I don’t know, I’ve never been any further than right here”. She said I think I’m going to turn around. That was the last I saw her.
Just as I was at the junction to get to town another biker stopped and told me to go another way because of construction on the road. That helped. Stayed on the 132 to the next intersection.
In New Richmond I stopped at a cafe for coffee and a muffin. Had a refill from a very cute girl, wrote in my notebook and then left before I lost too much of the day.
Breakfast at IGA. Basically donuts and OJ. And Greek yogurt, it’s my new thing. I get the 500 but they cost too much to do daily. Here it was a dollar off.
On the road I stopped in one of the 10-15(?) towns doing the Gaspe photo expo. Outdoor photos. Not sure of the theme but found out it’s the first year and it goes all along the Gaspesie.
More riding with the water to my right for 90% of the day. One town was not much but every single fire hydrant had a cartoon figure painted onto it. Bert, tigger, bam bam.
Stopped at a yard sale. For no good reason. The family tried to give me 7″ Quebec plate/art thing. I couldn’t.
Found a working Blackberry Curve on the road side. Kept it.
Hit Chandler town limit right as a quick (10min) rain shower opened up. Took cover under a tree. I’d seen dark clouds behind me since the afternoon. But I had a headwind all day. Not sure how that works that it caught up to me. I think the rain clouds just grew above me.
Hoped it would stop because this is my camp town.
A bit before dark i found the Chandler photo thing and more art a little ways away of workers faces, very large photo paste ups, on the side of silo style big ass tanks. All right by the water.
Lots of good views today but very overcast. Not much light the whole afternoon. Few photos.

Camping in the weeds. Not even 50 feet from the roadway of 132. Other than the side hop to New Richmond I’ve been on 132 all day (139km).
I’m easy to be seen if someone were to look and I might have set up further back but there is a old rusty sign post in the middle of this weedy, grassy, nook of a piece of land (behind/beside) a “C” market.
I’d rather have something to lean my heavy bike against when unpacking it to go into the tent. And double because it’s the same think again in the morning. Could be a wall, could be a tree, tonight I have the luck of an old post being in the weeds with me.

I think my interactions with others are becoming less often and more brief. In part because of less people and because I know very little French.


Another over the water sunrise I hope

September 3rd. Day 34
This morning I woke up early. I saw the little bit of sun there was with all the clouds. Not really sun but a strip of orange glow. Thought about getting packed early and banging out a long distance day. But the rain started. I stayed in the tent and slept more.
A few hours later I woke up to a bit of mud around me but the rain stopped.
Coffee, muffin and a toilet at the gas station then walked back over to pack it up.
Rode around one corner right next to where I slept and saw the Van Horne Bridge. A cool one. I like riding over cool bridges.
I went to the Soybes and even parked my bike next to an outlet. Charged the iPod while I shopped.
Saw the lady from the gas station last night shopping too. We chatted. She was nice. I think inside the store would have been awkward but had I bumped into her outside I would have asked for a photo.
McD for wifi. Not very long.
More photos of the bridge. Then a ride over.
In Quebec I stopped in the ? for a map. They had decent Gaspe maps. And then I rode the 132 East. I did take a side road from Escuminac to Nouvelle. Not much to talk about today but it is very pretty like they say. It’s different already on this side of the bay. There was a time today that I just started laughing. Maybe because this place looks like nothing else and I’m not even to the good part yet.
I rode to a town named Maria. It was on the east side of Baie de Cascapédia and the next town is another 20km and on the west side of the bay. So I stopped early and looked around town. Today I’ve seen three outdoor photo exhibits all by the same project but different photographers. I think it may be in towns all along the Gaspe.
Spotted a church facing the water. It’s Saturday night, not the best night to camp at a church but with any luck I’ll see a sunrise and there will be no rain. And I’ll ve gone before the church goers arrive.

First day to not wear Outlier three way shorts. Looked at the butt and my Brooks brass rivets are doing a bit of wear on them. Wore the Climbers today because it was cool. Also the cap under helmet and wore tank, black T, and hoodie till about 4pm when the sun showed up. Then just pants and T for the rest the day.

Need to trim some fat. Maps I don’t need, a couple items of clothing not getting used (bibs, 2nd jersey) exposed film, and some other doo-dads not cutting it or extras brought on accident. I have 5 lens cloths. Dumb. 1 w eye glasses, 1 w sun g’s, one in camera bag, one in ziplock with camera doo-dads and a “spare” in the handlebar bag.
Not all that much really, but it can be about space as much as weight. I need space for food. The weight I can carry but there is only so much I can strap to the outside and expect it not to fall off.

About four hours after buying bread I busted it out to make PB&J. I was happy to see the little closure clip was baby blue. A new color for my collection. Only the 4th or 5th since I started. So far every one has been a different color. I’d like to find one in black.

And today I hit a record speed of 72.9 km/hr (highest for this trip I believe).
Oh, did the math and it’s only 45mph. Pretty weak.

9:45pm lights out


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.





No title

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.


One full month on the road

Aug. 31, 2011
Day 31
A month of no rent(or paying to camp), no phone calls, and no GD text messages.

Tonight I’m in the dirt and swarmed with mosquitos. I might have brought this on by the way I opened yesterday’s notes.

Um. What happened today?
I rode my bike.
It was sunny.
I rode thru Shediac and stopped at the beach everyone talks about. Wasn’t that great. I ate a couple PB&J and rode on.
I don’t think I spoke to anyone beyond asking for water or toilet or paying at a check-out.
A lot of French speaking going on in these parts.
Some roads were smooth and very nice. And a few stretches were bumpy and dumb.
Many pretty views of the Northumberland Straight. I ride with it on my right so at times just beside me was a strip of grassy land and then vast water. PEI was within view in places.

Where am I? The map says Richibucto, NB.

Oh I clicked 3000km just as I crossed the Bouctouche Bridge.

Pretty uneventful day.

I did see a couple of touring cyclist early in my day. A girl and guy they had just crossed a one lane bridge I was approaching. I slowed and waved. We kind of just asked how it was going today and said hi. No stopping. They were maybe in their early 20’s and as I looked back I thought I noticed matching tie-dye tee shirts.

That makes 6 touring cyclists I’ve seen in 3 days. I don’t think I’d seen that many in 4 months of touring on my first trip.

I have trouble when I think about what it is I’m going to do after I ride back to NYC. I could go back to work and get an apartment again and do what I was doing. I could try to spend more time getting food but spending less and travel further. I could move my things to a new town and try a different place, someplace not New York City.

New York is a great place. And I love it for photography and the productive people there.

Touring more is an easy draw for me. I eat as much as I want, sleep as much as I want and ride my bike in any direction I want. And all the while meeting people and taking photos.

Trying something new is never a bad thing. I’ve been thinking about Madison for a while now.

I can’t decide. Reminds me of my thoughts when I left California after 5 years. I had three things in mind. I moved to NY and became a bike messenger.


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.

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.



Day 28
I woke up to rain so I did my usual and slept in.
With not much sun I was barely motivated to get up but I was hungry and wanted something hot. The rain eased back long enough to go sit on the dock again and heat some water for oatmeal. Again talking to a couple of boaters about the day. I learned that the PEI ferry is free for everyone and everything. Only charging to get back. Same for the bridge. So after realizing this, and that the shower building is locked in the morning, I high-tailed it to the station before 11am to catch a boat. Quick stop at the market for second breakfast and again at the visitor center for a restroom and water fill up. Well water. High in iron. Not so good but I’ve drank water in a lot of places not so good.

On the ferry I mostly wifi’d it up in a cushioned seat next to a plug. Also keeping an eye on the weather channel of TV. The storm that was supposed to wreck NYC is on track for PEI. So they say.

Once on the island I had no idea where I wanted to go. So I sat and watch all the cars unload and then all the island cars load while I switched out my maps. Not till the end of the ferry road did I have three choices. I could have gone straight on the 315 and that would have me go straight thru the island toward Montague. And by a nothing (I’m certain) town named Brooklyn. West is the Trans Canada 1. Would quickly get me toward the bridge, maybe too quickly. Or East I could ride along the South coast to Cape Bear and Murray Harbour.
It wasn’t till the intersection I decided. Pedaling to the 4way I sort of thought a little “fuck it” and turned east on the 4. The long way around and opposite the bridge. And of course about 10 km along the way it begins to rain again.
The road was very quiet. I could see the water straight to my right over wheat fields and farm lands. The 4, as a road, was just like any country road in south-west Ohio. I thought that if Ohio was an island it could be the PEI of the Mid-West. But I’ve only seen a little bit so far. Staying straight the 4 became the 18. Not much else changed. The towns on the map were nothing more than a couple mail boxes. But the end of the road did take me to a cool light house. On the point, sitting on a cliff and I arrived just as the rain let up enough to take some photos and eat a lunch. I had the place all to myself. Quiet and pretty.
I followed the 18 around to the 348 to Murray River. Not anything there to make me stop.
Beyond that was a mandatory detour steering me away from the water. I had to take the 4 north. The 17 was out due to closed bridge.
So, inland on the 4 again I followed it a ways. Was gonna skip all the coast till Montague but out in the middle I hung a right on 317 and made my way back onto the 17. A few extra km’s to get to Montague but whatever.
Seemed like the numbers were my friends today. The rain was not. On and off like every 20 min. My rain jacket and rain pants hit all possible configurations today. On and off, back and forth.
In town I stopped at the first place I saw, an ESSO station for some water. One guy working there was helpful.
Outside, while I was taking some cover from the rain, he came out to chat. We talked about my impression of Canada, it’s very good, and he gave me some local info. I might have talked with him more because he was truly interested in what I am doing but I was very hungry (lucky for me this town has a store, two even!) and I felt like the gaps between rain showers where getting closer to being nothing but rain only so I left the ESSO.
My plan was buy food, find a camp spot, and make food.
That’s what I did. With some hot water from the ESSO I gave my stove gas a slight break, maybe I’ll have enough fuel for oatmeal tomorrow.
Pasta dinner. This time I tried something new, to beat the skeeters. Made dinner by just sticking my arm out the tent door to man the stove. It worked well enough.

The odd thing is that from about 10 min before I put up my tent to over an hour later there has been no rain. I like that but worry about tomorrow. Think I might spend the whole day tented up due to that storm coming this way.

As I get close to one month on the road I start to think of ways to travel even cheaper so I may do this longer. I’ll need to work again because on this schedule I’ll eat my way thru my budget before long. And that’s with me not paying to camp.

I don’t remember the last thing I bought that was not food or drink.


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.