Ive been back to Brooklyn just a bit longer now than the time that I was away. Finally made a rough line of where I was.
View 2011 tour in a larger map
Ive been back to Brooklyn just a bit longer now than the time that I was away. Finally made a rough line of where I was.
View 2011 tour in a larger map
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
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.
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.
Aug. 31, 2011
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.
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.
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.
I woke up beside the Saint Joseph church. I had riden there after riding out of Moncton just before sunset.
Yesterday started up on a foggy vista inside the Fundy National Park. I was not wanting to make the decent into Alma after already riding over 150k so I was up top the last hill before hitting the coast. I rode into Alma right before low tide. Very good timing because I think I found the one place I had seen a photo showing the extreme tides. Might be the photo from wiki. Anyway I saw it at a good time. Boats sitting on the floor 20 feet below the docks height. Only to find out the town of Alma is on boil order for their water. I had to ride back up the hill to get clean water from the parks water system.
I spoke to one man at the general store. And after a Sticky Bun at the bakery and rolling out of town I seen him again outside his house. “just burning some trash”. He’d given me direction to Short Cut Road. To get back to the coast but avoid a big hill. It worked and after riding thru Fundy Park (nothing but hill after huge hill for about 20 miles) I did want to avoid hills. Very pretty ride. Little traffic. I caught up to a family of 3 touring from Saint John to Moncton. And as it turns out they knew my host Peter in St John too. After a talk I made my way ahead of them. And not long after I saw a freshly flipped car in a ditch. Might have been closer to that happening if we had not stopped to trade notes.
In Moncton I ate and walked thru main st to see a motorcycle show. Sort of stayed too long but on my last turn out of town was a burning old 70’s Camaro. Two tone blue and white. A blaze. I yelled to go to the gas station and get their fire extinguishers. They did not. The fire truck was there in a min.
I rode and rode to find a church. I stopped at a house two men were in a garage and gave me directions to St. Joseph church. Right at the ESSO go a mile or two. I though people spoke in km but they speak in miles.
So today, out of the church. Bask to the ESSO of snack and use toilet. Then down the road and met Wayne. Excited man in his 70’s. He had done some touring in Europe many years ago. Invited me to his house right next door. Drank some water and talked about Canada history.
Traded photos. And he gave me a “S” clip. Like double caribiner.
Into Sackville finally. Ok all is fine till I try to buy a coffee they don’t take credit. Got to the bank. Sat bank is closed. Use ATM. ATM does not take master card. In Canada the banks won’t do both visa and MC. one or other and both here are Visa. Well it turns out the coffee place will take US cash. And I got quarters to do laundry. But the place does not sell soap. Bought soap with my quarters at dollar store for $1.25. Then laundry needs a Loony and 2 Quarters to do wash. I was getting pissed. Just hot tired and late in the day. Nothing seemed to be right. My stuff was all over the place in the laundry and I’d need to get it all back together to walk around to try and change in for a loony. But right then a man offered to watch my stuff. “sorry I can’t leave my property, it’s all I have I have to keep it with me” he then offered to walk and get me a loony. I had him get two. He came back and I did my wash but it was good I got two because the kid next to me doing wash put money in a busted machine and I did not wash his clothes. He switched machines and I gave him my other loony SOS he could get a wash in too.
Drying now. Back on the road soon. With any luck I’ll be in Nova Scotia by tonight
I met a Doctor today as I was looking around Saint John. I had ridden from St.George and seen the reversing rapids near high tide. Deciding not the leave before seeing the river flow the right direction I went to look around town. After dealing with a nonsense bike lane into the city center I rode up a hill and looked and a free map I had and not two seconds later a guy in scrubs and on a bike w a pannier asks if I need help and such. We talked a min and suggested I camp in his yard “we have a great sunset right on he river”. I found out that was true. But first I re-up my stove fuel at a camping store and rode around for photos and looking for wifi. After 3 days and an new country I thought I should send out an Eh. Back to the gorge for some clearing out of my snacks supply. And a draining of my water. I keep running out of water. This is bad. Watched sport kayakers ride the waves. Photos. And after a chatted with them about the water and riding out of town. On my map I made a note of the doctors name a house number. One of the guys by the river knew him. Seemed I was best to get there before sunset. Making notes of out of town routes, I made tracks for the house I might stay at.
I got there in time. It was perfect. I’m in my tent listening to the waves of the river lap up on the small shore right out their back door. We had sat inside talking for about an hour over tea. Very nice people. Listening to a good record. Eating blueberry pie w ice cream.
I did not get very far today. The weather was much nicer and I rode a lot quicker. But Saint John was to nice to zip through. I’ll leave in the morning. And it’s good I stuck around, the few people I spoke with all suggested a different route that I would have chose had I just rode in and rode out.
Now the plan is follow the river not the coast. I’ll see much coast in the next weeks. I’ll avoid the hill and save a few miles on the way.
Oh on the 1, in a section that was just a 2 lane, I crossed paths with another fully loaded touring cyclist. I had the up hill at the time. I rang my bell and said hey as I slowed. He just smiled and waved as he kept pedaling. Sort of bummed about that. He would have been the first person I’d have talked to for the day.
Another odd thing was this morning in St George I asks the girl outside the visitor center where I could get coffee and find wifi. Tim Hortons and “we dont have Internet here”