Day 65, August 10: We’ve Arrived! North Sydney and on to Port au Basque

We had a great, and I will say, well deserved celebration and cork popping upon our arrival in North Sydney.

Aug10-cheers

Aug10-familycheersHugh and I said our goodbyes that will leave us with memories to share for our lifetime.  Jon then took Hugh and all of his gear to a local motel to ready for his flight home in the morning  back to his lovely wife Uta and their dog Lars….thanks Uta for your support and allowing Hugh to participate with me in this venture that we undertook.

The family went out for an early dinner, where I enjoyed the best seafood chowder ever, though it was the pizza we went enjoy, which proved itself as very delicious Cape Breton style.

After a quick packing and instruction run over of the trailer for Ian and Cindy, Jon and I said our good byes to head to our 9:45 ferry which would take us to Newfoundland.  I gave our trailer a good thanks for a lot of good sleeps on the road! And as I said to Cindy and Kelly and families,  I cannot express enough how much it had meant to me to have family with me there at the start and finish to celebrate my ride of a lifetime.

After a ten minute ride from the campground Jon and I arrived at the ferry to a very large line up of trucks, trailers and many cars… no panic however as we did have a reservation for the passage.  After boarding we made our way to the 9th deck where we had reserved seats in a very nice lounge, no hardship thanks to Kath!

By the time we settled in it was after midnight with another 8 hours to our arrival in Port au Basque, NFLD. I shortly dozed off and slept most of the night reasonably well only awakening a couple of times when we powered through some rougher seas. I awoke with the sunrise and made my way out to the deck for some fresh air and photos.

It was a thrill to get my first glimpse of Newfoundland from the water and see in person that which I had only seen in commercials… believe me, they don’t computerize it, it is truly breathtaking.  We soon docked and made our way off the boat to find a local restaurant for breakfast… when in Newfoundland eat like a Newfoundlander – the fish cakes were delicious.

Our first destination today would be Deer Lake, about 250 km drive to greet Kathie who was flying in shortly after 1:00 pm. This gave Jon and I an opportunity for a leisurely drive and go off the main highway to visit some of the small fishing villages and to spend some time in Cornerbrook.

We arrived at the small but very busy airport that services the west side of the province just before 1:00 pm and after a short wait Kath arrived, very happy to see her and she is still number one with me although no longer that way at GBC, congrats Tammy!

Our next stop was at Rocky Harbour in Gros Morne National Park where we will spend time relaxing, hiking and taking in the amazing surroundings. We will then drive towards St. Johns, about 400 km from here, where I will  finish my ride  by cycling the last few km into the city, including the challenging ride up Signal Hill.  That will be on the 15th when we plan to meet friends Brammer and Lisa Long and enjoy the city and surroundings for a couple of days before we depart for home on the 17th.

I will be signing off on my blog today until the 17th and at that time will provide you with a summary of the experience and  say the many thank you’s to everyone that I  owe for support and encouragement that made this epic ride  a reality, and a memory of a lifetime.

Cheers Sid!!

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Day 64, August 9: Antigonish to Whycocomagh

We awoke to a nice morning with grandkids in the tent beside, look forward to playing later today.  So far clear skies, which was encouraging after yesterday’s storms, and variable forecast for the day.  We got started on our second last day on mainland around 9:30 am.

Aug8-tentWe found our way out of town that took us by St Xaviers which is a much larger campus than I had expected… all beautiful old brick buildings with great architecture, enrollment 5,000.

Our ride on highway 4 was quite straight forward with lots of gradual hills and a decent bike lane. The scenery was great as we looked out over the water in many places and over it as we crossed through Canso.

We heard a horn blowing and to our surprise it was Kelly, with kids Jack, Max & Henry and Michael who had arrived earlier after a bus ride from the Halifax airport and to Antigonish after our departure. They pulled off at a lookout place and two minutes later Jon came along so the timing was great for a quick hello.

After 10 minutes we were on our way for the last 50 km which was very nice until the variable weather arrived, today was ok by me as it was just hard rain… it’s the lightning that causing issues!

We arrived in the little village of Whycocomagh and found the provincial park with no difficulty. Soon after arriving Michael and the gang arrived with other daughter Cindy, Ian and their three kids Zoe, Jamie and Charlie. This was a very special time for me and both families as the cousins had not seen each other since last summer. It only took moments before the kids were playing soccer in the field and the adults were having a beverage.

The outside fun took a break as another storm blew in but for our good fortune there was a shelter building close by well equipped with tables, chairs and a BBQ.  We moved the tables together to seat thirteen and enjoyed the best of burgers, hot dogs and a fresh salad. … not McDonalds style!

Aug9-dinner

Aug9-4The storm soon cleared and we enjoyed a campfire with what every campfire needs …marshmallows, graham crackers and chocoloate – SMORES! We finished off the evening with great conversation and headed to our tents and trailer for what was a good night sleep.

So here I am sitting on a bench completing this and thinking it is almost over as we are off to North Sydney today, where Hugh departs home and Jon and I get on a ferry to Newfoundland for a 11:45 pm crossing. Since we have an overnight on the ferry I will work on my summary of this amazing journey!

Well back on the road!  Time to get going, catch up tomorrow.

Cheers Sid and team!!

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Day 63, August 8: Northumberland, PEI to Antigonish, NS

We were up early to get ourselves through the rituals and make the 9:30 ferry to Nova Scotia…we actually got there by 9:00 am with Hughs prodding and it afforded us some walk around and photo time. I spoke to two of the men waiting for the catch to come in and they told me there was an abundance of crab and lobster this year. Each fisherman was limited to 3,000 lbs of catch with a limit of 7,000 lbs a boat. A good time to be buying either as prices are down.

Aug8-lobstertrapsAug8-LobsterWe were the first on the ferry and as we walked through the empty hull I felt we were inside a stadium but very soon the fifth wheelers, campers and cars arrived to fill it to capacity. We enjoyed the trip to NS over calm water and sunshine…75 minutes…thank you Northumberland ferries for comping the ride, a savings of $150.00.

Aug8-FerryWe were off first and riding to our destination of Antigonish, which was a nice ride, except traffic coming off the ferry for the first 20 km.

Aug8-NS

Aug8-PictouWe rode through New Glasgow and saw Sobey’s and I immediately thought of Bill and Donna McEwan and their years of being familiar with this area.

We then ventured off on a secondary road, #4 which made me think of many of the Saturday morning rides at home up Frogs Hollow and onto Walters Falls. We took this route because we believed that all the names marked on the map would be interesting to see but most of the places could have one board welcoming you and saying come again. We pushed ahead through the rolling terrain until we came to the point where #4 intersected with the main highway #104 and made the decision to ride the last 25 km on this shouldered highway. This started out just fine but very soon the thunderstorms that had been forecast started to make there presence in the distance with light rain. Very soon we were into the eye of the storm with hard rain and lightning and loud thunder very close.  Ok I won’t try to be macho…it was scary. We continued because there was no place to go as we revisited trucks and trailers going by reminding us again of being in a carwash. We finally saw an overpass ahead and we agreed to stop and take shelter along with several motorcyclists.

We were only a few km from our destination, and with lightning and wind circling around we called Jon for a pick up.  We ended at the Pipers Pub for a dry spot, and then back to our campsite once all had cleared, and actually enjoyed a sunset… pretty amazing how these storms come and go!

Enjoyed a campfire with smores and now off to a dry sleep!

Cheers, Sid and team.

 

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Day 64, August 7: Borden Campground to Charlottetown to Northumberland Provincial Park, PEI

We had to pass through Charlottetown again this morning after being there the previous evening having the wonderful evening described in the previous blog. The views of the farms and the rolling hills made an ordinary ride quite pleasant.

Aug7-spudsWe spent a few minutes in the city before finding the right exit that would take us directly to our destination, a 120 km ride.  This ride was very nice taking us on a secondary road with nice shoulders and very little traffic, with a couple of interesting market stops along the way.

Aug7-ChuckwagonOur campground is at the Wood Islands, located just 3 km from the ferry that we will be taking the next morning with a great view out over Northumberland Strait.

Aug7-woodsislandVery soon after our arrival I was thrilled when daughter Kelly and my three grandsons arrived at the site. It wasn’t long before I was playing catch at the site then to the beach for a swim…swim put on hold to many jelly fish. The boys went back to the site to get the bocce set and then it was game on…you can see where they loved to throw the pallino.

Aug7-BocceNext event was dinner and I think we were all ready for Hughs pasta  with Italian sausage…it was great. Jon had visited  Montague earlier and bought dessert which included a birthday cake for Jack who turned 11 yrs old the previous day and some drum sticks which went over well with everybody.
After a nice sit around the firepit we all headed for bed…Jon in the trailer and kelly and the boys in the tent.

Hugh and I planned for the 9:30 am ferry so we  all crashed early after another busy, or I guess just another day at the office .

Catch up tomorrow…Sid and Team!!

 

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Day 61, August 6: Moncton, NB to Borden Campground, PEI

I have enjoyed my sabatical over the past two or three days… but back to the ride! Here we are in an ongoing downpour in PEI, after just crossing the Confederation Bridge. Even though this is the second time seeing, I am still amazed at the engineering feat and the changes that it brought to the Island.

We left from Moncton yesterday morning where we had spent the previous two nights at the Hampton Hotel, which was a real treat. A special thanks again to Gord Williams and the owner Danny Murphy, outstanding service, nice rooms and a great breakfast. It was our first break since we left home so we both benefited and enjoyed the day off.

Yesterday morning we left Moncton with the Borden KOA as our destination. The ride was quite uneventful except for the stop after a couple of hours, where we enjoyed a country grill that served up great cod on a bun, a little early in the day but well enjoyed.

We did the 100 km ride in four hours, arriving at the bridge on schedule as we had some plans in Charlottetown later in the day. Bicycles are not allowed over the bridge, so a shuttle drove us for $8 each. A brilliant thought hit me and I suggested we put the bikes in the trailer, which worked out well so we didn’t have to wait for the shuttle or spend a dime.

We were surprised at the campsite when the owner said since it was a charity ride our stay would be complimentary. After a short break and a nice shower Hugh and I headed into Charlottetown to meet with another Murphy. Kevin who we discovered is the brother of Danny, the owner of the Moncton Hampton.  Thanks Gord C for making this introduction.

What a great evening with two wonderful individuals Kevin and Kathy who have made an impact on the downtown restaraunt scene, with wonderful bars and restaraunts. We visited three of several of there places, including The Gahan House, Fish Bones (with the only roof top patio in PEI) and Sims, a wonderful building with an amazing atmosphere, great food and service. We can testify to this as we had an outstanding dinner with fresh oysters from three different areas of the island, and a filet that just melted away along with the extras that included nice crab. Hugh suggested for dessert we should have a date sticky toffee pudding, great decision!

As we met with Kevin and Kathy at 4:30 pm, it gave us a nice opportunity to get acquainted and exchange names of the folks from Kinkora and the Island. We also learned about the Brewery that has become a real a success and the brand Gahan that is everywhere in PEI and sold in the liquor stores in the other Maritime Provinces. Congrats Kevin to you, Kathy and your boys for all of your success, and thanks again for a memorable night in Charlottetown.

We arrived back to the campsite about 9:30 pm, ready for lights out. Catch up tomorrow from Northumberland Campground which we be very special as Kelly, Michael and their three boys from Vancouver will meet up with us for the next few days before we head off to Newfoundland.

Cheers Sid and Team!!

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Day 60, August 3: Nackawic to Cambridge Narrows, NB

After a busy day yesterday and no breaks since our departure from GBC on July 21st and losing 1 hour to Atlantic time we are taking our time in getting started in the morning…with no guilt and no apologies.

We are looking forward to going to Janet Dagneau’s brother’s cottage at the narrows today, and the opportunity to kick back and have a swim when we arrive after our 130 km ride planned.  It was great to meet Jeff who lives in St. John and has done very well running a company that makes control valves for industry…the pulp and paper industry is a large part the market here. It was a trip highlight arriving to the lovely cottage. After a long day of hills and heat, we were thankful for the drive from Bill, who helped us out by picking us up at the highway and drove us and bikes to the cottage.

We jumped in and enjoyed a swim right away, and lay around in this huge floating platform called a fun station…named correctly! Janet prepared a great home cooked meal, giving our iron fill with amazing tenderloin, that we really appreciated.

After making some arrangements for our last few days…campgrounds, ferries and coordinating with daughters Cindy, Kelly and families for meeting up with us in PEI and Nova Scotia, I enjoyed a few minutes around the campfire.

I made an early exit a little after 10:00 pm, looking forward to a good night’s sleep. I awoke early, remembering right I needed to repair a flat tire that had occurred just as Bill had picked us up. Then I enjoyed a quick morning swim in the river before a wonderful breakfast that will keep us going for a few hours.

We departed for our day ride around 10:00 am, with Bill driving us out to the main highway that left us with 130 km to Moncton. Will let you know about our ride and our stay tomorrow.

Cheers Sid and team!!

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Day 59, August 2: Perth Andover, Nackawic to Cambridge Narrows, NB

… so continues the story of last night’s Bistro.  This little Bistro, overlooking the St. John in Perth Andover was outstanding and the owner and his wife made everything even more interesting.  Aug2BistroCharles lived in Africa for fourteen years and subsequent to that in South Korea.  We started talking, and Charles was so excited for us, and said the Blackfly Gazette would love our story, so he made a call to the owner, publisher, editor and reporter of this new local newspaper, here is the photo for the news coverage.

Aug2photoforpaperPerth Andover is really such a very nice quaint village and that evening we enjoyed a parade of boats after dark, felt like we were at Disney with such a top notch production, with the streets on either side of the river lined with all the residents.

Aug2BoatParadeAfter the wonderful dinner we decided we couldn’t turn down an invite back for breakfast. A great decision to start our  59th day on the road.

Aug2BreakfastAs we were having breakfast we introduced ourselves to a nice couple, who were keen to know about our ride. They were First Nation members and had been to Vancouver for the National Council  meetings.  I had to ask how they would like to be referred to as everyone has a different idea what is politically correct, they said Native Canadian was quite appropriate.  As we were preparing to leave they brought over an envelope with a sizeable donation to our cause and also suggested that they would contact their brother, the Leiutenant Governor of New Brunswick and he would be happy to receive us and show us around the provincial buildings.  As it was Sunday when we would be passing through, we thanked them for the gracious offer, but that it wouldn’t work with our schedule.

We drove back to our campsite and started our ride to Nackawic, leaving with great memories of Perth Andover and our new friends.

The ride to Nackawic was longer than the anticipated 140 km as we took the country road running along the St. John, which meant no traffic , but extra distance.

Aug2Farmland

Aug2NackawicI have attached a picture of the worlds longest covered bridge in Hartland where we also stopped for food fuel.

Aug2Covered BridgeWhen we arrived close to 6:00 pm Jon was excited to tell us that there was a concert and free food across the river celebrating the official opening of a new nano brewery called Big Axe Brewery, as the town is known as having the largest axe know to mankind. We showered quickly and drove over the bridge taking us to a bed & breakfast brewery, which is a different approach. There was a sizable gathering with a rock & roll band playing music from the 70’s, pretty good sound and to our delight lots of food including burgers, dogs, salads, fruit etc…and beer for $5 a pint.

Aug2BreweryWe enjoyed the host’s free food, had a couple of beers and departed around 9:00 pm as we had just finished another full day.

Catch up tomorrow,

Cheers, Sid!

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