Thursday, 28 September 2017

It is done

Vancouver to Halifax, 3 June - 23 September 2017
Total Distance: 7565.84 km
Total Time: 364:15:43

Total Height gained/lost: 49760m /-51253m

Total Calories: 234494
Average speed: 20.66 km/h

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Day 116: Shubenacadie to Halifax

This is it.
Bittersweet feelings today as I make my way into Halifax, and to the end of this amazing journey.

The day dawned misty again, but much warmer than yesterday. I was out of camp by 9 and was sorry not to say a proper goodbye to Willy. His campground is amazing.

I rode on the 102 for a bit, but it was far too busy, so I went back to highway 2, the old highway.
The scenery was beautiful. Lakes, woods, cottages and little towns all the way. The humidity was also on the rise today, and I was sweating profusely.

When I saw the main bridge that crosses from Dartmouth to Halifax, I realised that I had made it, I had actually cycled my bicycle across Canada! I shed a tear or two as I continued towards downtown Halifax and Point Pleasant Park.

I rode into the park and found a suitable place to park Shirley. I emptied a water bottle, went down to the water and scooped some sea water up, then poured it over my front and rear wheels.

I had no words. My mind was blank. I sat for a long time just looking out to sea, hearing the waves, the seagulls. Tears wet my beard.

I tried to capture the moment as best I could, but I don't think I did very well.
I took some more photos and video then packed up the bike and headed to the HI hostel, where I would be staying for the next few days.

A shower, some food and then out to meet Aaron for a few beers and a proper celebration.
We met at the Split Crow pub, sank a few, danced, listened to local music and had a great time.

It is done.

Distance: 75.7 km
Time: 3:37:15
Height gained/lost: 530m /-601m

Calories: 2409

Friday, 22 September 2017

Day 115: Oxford to Shubenacadie

Those kids were right, it does get cold here at night. In fact, it gets freezing cold!
I woke to a cold mist hanging over the town, so I quickly donned 3 tops, the top one being a down jacket, and scooped some breakfast into me.
I packed up as quickly as I could, and went down the main road to Tim Horton's, I needed a warm breakfast in me, so I had a second breakfast, with a thick and creamy hot chocolate to get my body warmed up.

The air was cool, and the mist lifting, but there was still cloud at a higher level, so I kept a jacket on for most of the morning. I took the 204 to the junction with the 4, then went through Wentworth (it has a ski slope).
Once again, there were plenty of hills, nothing massive, just plenty of them.

I stopped at the Big C truckstop for lunch and had the works. It was another hot day, so I drank heaps. The waitress asked about my journey, so I told her what I had been up to. This blew her mind, so she started laying into the locals, saying they needed to get out and do more exploring. This got a few laughs from the customers, and soon I was feeling quite good too. It had been a tough morning.

It was a quick ride into Truro from the diner, but the road was getting worse, as were the drivers. I had a couple of close calls as I got closer to town, but luckily nothing more than that. Once through Truro I took the 2, heading south.
As my energy levels started to head south as well, I spied a barn on the top of a hill advertising camping. It was not a moment too soon.

I rode into camp and met Willy, owner and manager of Wild Nature Camping. What a great guy, he instantly made me feel at home by sorting me out with a top camp site, then promised beers later in the evening, once I had settled in.
I rode into town to get dinner and got some Gatorade and chips, and a donair. The donair possibly saved my life.
It was delicious!!!

Back at camp, Willy cruised in on his golf cart, unloaded some fire wood and cracked some beers. We talked about all sorts, then heard the wolves howling as the moon rose.
The wolves were in the wildlife reserve next door.

What a perfect ending to a tough day on the bike.
Wolves, stars, beers and a fire.

Distance: 129 km
Time: 6:29:59
Height gained/lost: 972m /-979m

Calories: 4045

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Day 114: Summerside to Oxford

Confederation Bridge
I said my final farewell to Dennis, Jane and Ursula and set off towards the Confederation Bridge, 25km away. This would be my only biking on PEI.
I had a massive tailwind pushing me, and hoped it would continue once I was over the bridge.

While waiting for the shuttle to ferry me back to the mainland, I had a Cow's ice cream. It is a big thing on the island, and I can see why. It's delicious!

Once I was back on the mainland, I met Daryl going the other way. We had last seen each other in Montreal. It was good to see him again, and we had a quick catchup before he was whisked over the bridge and onto the island.

The tailwind pushed me to Port Elgin in no time, but as I was leaving town I got my first genuine puncture. A tiny sliver of wire had worked its way into my rear tyre and flattened it fast. While repairing this, I realised that my spare tube had the wrong valve, so didn't fit. It's a good thing I carry so many patches.

Once I was back up and running, I took the 970 and then the 366 towards Amherst. The roads were quiet and rolling, with a good surface. Forest and fall colours kept me company for most of the way.
The rolling hills kept coming, I was getting tired and I didn't know what facilities Oxford had. When I arrived in town, I was nicely surprised. It had everything, including many places to stealth camp.
I ate dinner (wings and a burger and fries and a chocolate milk) and asked the manager of the cafe if I could camp here. She replied, saying that there weren't any signs saying that you couldn't! Fair enough.

I pitched my tent next to the Information Centre, well hidden from all eyes, except a couple of kids who walked past once I was in bed. They hoped I would be warm enough as it gets cold in the mornings now.

I am now in Nova Scotia, whoop.

My legs were tired, so I hoped for a good night's sleep.

Distance: 124 km
Time: 5:41:59
Height gained/lost: 739m /-783m

Calories: 3949