Crossing Canada

A cycling journey from coast to coast

Category: Marc’s Blog (page 1 of 9)

Day 94: We made it!!!

We did it! After roughly 8700kms, 94 days, 10 provinces, 4 ferries and one hell of an adventure we made it to Cape Spear, the most eastern point in North America!
We were all up pretty early and anxious to get going. We were so close to the end! We went to Tim Hortons, grabbed a quick breakfast and took a final selfie before heading off.

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The rest of the Trans Canada was a pretty nice cycle. The weather wasn’t the greatest but we didn’t care! We turned off the Trans Canada onto route 60 towards Hollyrood.

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Route 60 was a pretty nice cycle. The first part towards Hollyrood was pretty quiet but then the road got a little busier. There was no shoulder and a fair bit of traffic. The road was fairly hilly as well but they were gradual hills. We had about 35kms from the turnoff to Manuels. We made it there in good time and stopped at the Manuels River Interpretation Centre where Jason was meeting a local reporter about his trip. From there we cycled a km or so to my grandparents place where we waited for my parents to arrive. They’d just landed in St John’s and were on their way. They took us out for lunch to the Royal Newfoundland Yacht Club. It was a longer break than we were hoping for but we were back on the road by 2.
We set off down the road and cycled onto the overpass and caught up with route 2. There were some good hills and the wind had really picked up. It really slowed us down, the wind was really strong! There was a point where we crested a hill and the wind almost knocked us over. We reached St John’s and were so close now!

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We took the Kilbride exit and headed towards Blackhead road.

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Right after the Cape Spear sign the hills began! Man that was a big, steep hill and did I mention it was long! We took a break part way up when my aunt and grandmother passed us. My aunt hopped out to come see us. My 97 year old grandmother wasn’t far behind her!

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We set off again and as we reached the top of Shea Heights there was a very, very steep but short hill. It was a tough hill and we all stopped at the top. More of my family drove by and stopped. Family reunion. I ran into everyone! Both grandmothers, aunts, uncles and cousins along the way! It was pretty foggy at the top and we couldn’t see much of anything in either direction.

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There were a few other big hills in our way but nothing we couldn’t handle. The last hill before Cape Spear was a doozy! It was steep and wound around the hill. It just never stopped! Every time you rounded a corner it kept on going. The end was in sight and I kicked it into over drive. The downhill was nice then there was a short uphill to the Cape.
I rolled in and there everyone was
There was a warm welcome from my entire family: aunts, uncles, cousins etc. Jason was already there. Chris wasn’t too far behind. Man it was amazing having everyone there at the finish line! It’s too bad the weather wasn’t better but still what a feeling! Big thanks to everyone for coming out to cheer us on! 8700kms and 94 days after leaving Tofino we made it to Cape Spear! We snapped a few photos and were ready to go.

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They offered to drive us back to St John’s. We thought about it for a bit but decided we might as well cycle back. We unloaded our gear though and cycled back without any weight. Cycling back was so much easier! The hills were a breeze without the weight. That long, steep hill going up to Cape Spear was so much fun going back down! Picked up speed so quickly! I had to slow down a bit because I didn’t feel as stable at speed without all the weight.
We cycled into St John’s, down Water St and to the Terry Fox monument, mile 0.

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My aunt and uncle’s place was only around the corner and everyone was there waiting for us. They were all pretty adamant we take a shower, and quickly, because it had been 3 or 4 days since the last one. So nice to be clean again! There was lots of beer and food and what a way to celebrate! There was even cake! My dad screeched in Chris, Jason and Amy, as is customary in Newfoundland. The cake was pretty awesome! Thanks to my aunt Vicky for organizing everything on short notice!

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She even gave us fisherman hats!

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Of course we had to go down to George St to celebrate! We went to Christian’a in order for them to get screeched in properly. The screech in at Christian’s is hands down the best in the city and worth the $20. They put on an awesome show!

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So now that it’s over it doesn’t feel real yet. I don’t think it will until I board the plane back to Toronto.

Day 93: So close!

We’re now less than 100kms to Cape Spear and I think we’re going to aim for Cape Spear tomorrow.
I was up pretty early, packed up quickly and told them I’d meet them at the Tim Hortons down the highway. Of course there was a big hill in the way. I stopped at Tim Hortons, got breakfast and waited for them. We sat around for a bit, had breakfast and chatted with a few people about our trip. We’re so close now!
We set off and were aiming for Whitbourne. There were still a few big hills in the way but nothing we couldn’t handle. We spotted our first moose of the trip and stopped to have breakfast.

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Man there were some big, long, steep hills today. The past 2 days have been characterized by some big hills but the end is near! It was hot out at times today but the clouds rolled in over the course of the day and made the riding easier.

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There was one especially long, steep hill that went right through the rock. I came up to the cut in the hill and saw Jason had climbed up to the top. Of course I had to go up to take a look. I climbed up to the top and the view was well worth it!

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It was a good climb but the most interesting aspect of it was the shoulder. For most of our trip across Newfoundland there has been a nice paved shoulder and occasionally the rumble strips have taken over but not for long. The rumble strips took over on this hill and pushed us into the road. There was a lot of heavy truck traffic and a few close calls.
About 20kms from Whitbourne Jason pulled over and had another flat. His tire was pretty worn out and had a few cracks in it. Lucky that Chris had been given that spare tire and tube because Jason needed it.

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We fixed the tube and set off again. The sky ahead of us didn’t look too inviting and we were waiting for the heavens to open up. There were some heavy showers but for the most part we avoided the rain.

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We stopped at the information centre in Whitbourne and played the same song and dance as last night. They closed in an hour so we went to Subway to get dinner and kill some time.
We headed back to the info centre and I noticed a pathway at the end of the parking lot so I went to check it out. It was a perfect spot to camp! It was secluded, on a lake, near services and quiet. We set up camp and played some cards for most of the night.

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We’re so close to St. John’s and Cape Spear that we’re going to make a dash for it tomorrow. Our original plan was to stay in Manuels tomorrow and head to Cape Spear on Thursday. Manuels is only 65kms away and Cape Spear 105kms so we have to go for it!

Day 92: People are awesome!

The best part about this trip has been the people we’ve run into along the way and the generosity and hospitality we’ve received.
Since we camped across the road from a campground last night we decided to have breakfast there and take advantage of the facilities. We packed up our gear and headed across the road. We made a quick breakfast of cold oatmeal and fruit, filled our waters and were ready to go. Just as we were leaving Jason noticed his rear tire was flat. That was a slight delay, but it was alright because we got some free coffee.
Once the flat was fixed we were ready to go! There were a couple decent hills until we came across Joey’s Lookout. The lookout overlooks Gambo and is absolutely stunning!

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We hadn’t gone very far, but ended up sticking around there for a little bit and enjoying the scenery. We got rolling again. There was a slight uphill followed by a nice, long downhill. Jason and I were ahead of Chris and didn’t look back as we flew down the hill. Up ahead someone had pulled over. He stopped us and told us our friend was half way down the hill waving his arms and shaking his head. He must have a flat! We doubled back, dropped our bikes at the bottom of the hill and walked up to Chris.
When we got there, another gentleman had pulled over to help out. We chatted for a while, while Chris replaced his inner tube. The tube had popped and slightly ruptured the tire. We thought we were sunk! The guy offered to drive Chris to Clarenville but he figured the tire would hold. The guy gave him his spare tire and inner tube. The tire would be a tight fit but would work in a pinch. We thanked him and headed off.
We stopped at a restaurant just before Terra Nova National Park to grab lunch. We didn’t think there’d be many options in the park.

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As soon as we entered the park the real fun began! Terra Nova is absolutely beautiful but my god is it hilly! It was one hill after another! They were big, fairly steep hills and it was hot! The heat and humidity made things infinitely more difficult and sweaty!

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We made it out of the park in 1 piece but we were all exhausted! Port Blandford was less than 10kms away and our best bet to refill our water. We stopped at the gas station but their pipes had burst so there wasn’t any water. We had a short break and decided to continue onto Clarenville. It wasn’t much further, only about 30kms.
We stopped at Lakeside campground about 15kms from Clarenville to refill our waters. We discussed staying there for the night since we were all tired. We were told it was only $25 for a site. We decided to stay but the lady inside was going to charge us $25 per tent for 1 site. That’s absolutely ridiculous and made our decision for us! We left and didn’t look back.
We stopped at the information centre on the outskirts of Clarenville to ask about somewhere to camp. The ladies there told us of a few places until I blatantly asked if we could camp out there for the night. She said you’re not supposed to but once they leave for the night whatever happens happens.
We set up camp and just as we were talking about making dinner Trudy came back and had bought us dinner. She bought us subs, smarties, and chips. People are just awesome!
Today was another great day in Newfoundland! We covered about 115kms and were met by some amazing generosity and hospitality!  We’re so close to the finish line I can almost see it. It still doesn’t feel real that this journey will be done in only a few short days. What next?

Day 91: Bush camping in style

Another great day of cycling. We ended up doing a bit more than we anticipated but that’s alright. Turned out to be a 128kms in 6hrs day instead of just over 105.
It was a bit of a later start this morning. We woke up and Mary cooked us a big breakfast of: bacon, eggs, hash browns, coffee and toast. Bailey had warmed up to us too. She’d slept in the hallway all night and I guess she figured if they slept here they must be alright.
We packed up our stuff and played with Bailey in the backyard for a bit. Mary drove us around to show us 2 alternative exits from the city instead of that steep hill we came in on. We played with Bailey some more,  dawdled and were finally ready to go. Thanks again Mary! We all really enjoyed ourselves!

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Mary had given us some advice on the next gas station and dealing with the Robert Bonne bridge. She was dead on with her estimation to the Tim Hortons,  15kms. We stopped there to refill our waters and have a snack. I ziptied my rack before leaving because another screw had vibrated out, a  non essential one though.
There were a few longer hills, but they were very gradual. There was only a couple steeper hills, but nothing too major. The steeper ones were around the Norris Arms, just as Mary had said. It was really hot out but the breeze kept us cool for most of the day. Mary had suggested we stop at Notre Dame Park for a swim and lunch, as that was the last place to fill up until Gander. We stopped at the visitors centre, filled our waters, had a snack and break then were off. It was a little longer break than I would’ve liked, only because I’d been keeping a good pace and my legs were getting tired. I find it easier to maintain a pace for a while,  but harder to start again after a break.

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We still maintained a good pace, but there were some long gradual hills. It was hot, especially when climbing, but we still had a breeze. We stopped on the bridge over the Gander River and paused for a minute.

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When we started again the breeze had died off and the cycling was much tougher! There were a few more hills and no breeze to keep us cool. It wasn’t long before Gander but it was hot! There were a few good, steep hills as we approached Gander. There was an especially good one just before the city.
We stopped in Gander at Jungle Jim’s for lunch. It was a late lunch, 95kms and it was 3:15. We loaded up and tried to decide whether we’d camp after Gander or stay in the city.
It was decided for us that we go on ahead. Jason has a discount at the Comfort Inn, so we left it up to the hotel. If they could give us a decent rate, we’d stay, if not we go. We left after over a 2hr rest.
We cycled for a while and couldn’t find any good camping spots. We decided to keep cycling for a while longer. It was a little hillier but not too bad. We crested a smaller hill and saw a very large one looming in the distance. It was decided to get over that then camp. It was a long, steep one! There were 4 stages to this fella. A long, steep climb, followed by 2 more gradual sections, then a short, steep climb to the top. It was a long and sweaty climb! The downhill was awesome though! It was long and pretty steep!
We kept our eyes out for a suitable camping spot. We came across the “Copper Kettle” and tried to find somewhere around back. There weren’t many good camping spots but there were some  nice views.

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Jason cycled down the road to what looked like another road while Chris went into the restaurant to ask. I acted as the relay man in the middle. Chris came out first so we cycled down the road. There was a campsite there but it was full. There was a perfect flat patch of grass hidden behind some bushes right off the highway. We set up there and headed across the street to “Square Pond RV Park” to shower.

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We ended up getting dinner there as well. No one was hungry enough to cool since we’d had a late lunch.
It was a pretty quiet night in the end. We ended up playing cards for a while before heading to bed. Only 4 more days of cycling to reach Manuels. Time is ticking!

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Day 90: Grand Falls-Windsor bound

It was another hot, humid day of cycling but all in all it was a good day, we even had a place to sleep!
We started the morning around 7 and had planned to make breakfast but since the restaurant was right there we decided to buy it instead. Chris and Jason decided on breakfast pie, now that’s normal pie but just for breakfast. I chose to forgo breakfast pie.
We hit the road by 9:30 and had about 115kms to cover to get to Grand Falls. The cycling was pretty easy but the heat made for a long day! We stopped every now and again to rehydrate and take a little break. Our first stop was just passed Kona beach East of South Brook.

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I’ve really been enjoying the cycling in Newfoundland so far! Probably some of my favourite on the whole trip! The roads have been good, there’s been a great shoulder the whole way and the scenery has been stunning, the only downside is the heat!
We stopped in Badger, about 90kms, and ate our lunch outside of the Irving gas station. We made some wraps and hid from the afternoon sun. After a nice break and something cold to eat, we set off for Grand Falls which was only 30kms.

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The cycling was pretty good, there were a few hills but nothing major. We rolled into Grand Falls found our exit and headed down a steep, but very fun hill to our hosts’ for the night. First we had to stop off for chocolate milk. We pulled up to Mary’s house and got a warm welcome from her chocolate lab,  Bailey. We brought our stuff in the backyard but Bailey didn’t seem too sure of us. I think the beards, well Chris’ scared her a bit.
We chatted for a while before one by one we headed up for a shower. A shower was definitely needed after another long, sweaty day! Mary had been reading the blog and had even gotten us chocolate milk! Awesome! She also made us a fantastic dinner of spaghetti, salad, garlic bread and lemon meringue pie, which she slaved over all day.
I think we all had a great night vegging out on the couch, watching TV and chatting with Mary. What an awesome lady with an amazing sense of humour! So glad we got to stay here! Thanks so much for having us and thanks to my Aunt Heather for setting it up! Bailey still hadn’t warmed up to us though. She wouldn’t even come in the same room as us. We watched TV for a while, had a beer or 2 and that’s going to be all folks.
It’s going to be a relatively early night as I’m tired. We did 117kms in 5.5hrs today. The cycling was good and it was another beautiful day in Newfoundland. Note: this weather is not at all normal for Newfoundland and I wasn’t expecting it!

Day 89: Not too remote

I was thinking this leg of our trip was going to be much more remote but it wasn’t that bad at all.
We’ve always struggled with leaving early from a hotel and today was no different. We were all up around 7, packed up, made breakfast and headed downstairs to pack our bikes.

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By the time we left it was 9 and we only had 45kms to Deer Lake. We were off and the cycling was great! We followed the Humber River through the valley and the views were spectacular!

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The cycling was really easy also. The road was pretty flat with a few gentle inclines. We made it to Deer Lake in no time and stopped at Tim Hortons for 2nd breakfast.
After a little rest we headed to the closest gas station to pick up an extra couple bottles of water. There isn’t much between Deer Lake and Grand Falls so we didn’t want to get stuck without water.
The next 45-50kms were so easy! It was pretty much flat and I was able to maintain a 25-30km/h pace the whole way with minimal effort! It was a beautiful sunny day, with little to no humidity and a slight breeze at our backs.
There is a gas station/restaurant about 45-50kms from Deer Lake so we stopped there to refill our waters. They had ice cream so of course we had to. We had a little break in the shade, eating ice cream. Pretty nice break. We got chatting with a gentleman who had cycled across Newfoundland before and he said there was another gas station 30kms from us. That would be our next destination.
The terrain from there got a bit hillier, but they were fairly gentle slopes, for the most part. The main issue was the wind had shifted and we were cycling into a headwind. I was still able to maintain 20+kms/h but it felt much slower. The road kept changing directions as well so that didn’t help with the shifting winds.
There wasn’t much of a view from Deer Lake. We were mostly cycling through a dense forest. We emerged from the woods and there was a spectacular view overlooking Birchy Pond. Ponds seem to refer to lakes in Newfoundland and Brooks to rivers.

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The rest of the way to the gas station was fairly flat and easy cycling again. We hit the 30km mark and no gas station so we kept going. The gas station was at the 50km mark. The guy was 20kms off which is a big distance when on a bike!
We looked around for a place to camp and saw a good spot next to the Pinewood Restaurant, so we went in to ask if we could camp there. The owner said we could but told us to follow the road down a ways and we’ll come to a loop where there are some camping spots. We first decided to get some dinner before heading down. The food there was really good and so was the pie.
It looks like there used to be a campground there as there were designated sites and some water hookups. We found a spot nestled in the trees and set up our tents and hammocks. The ground was a loose, fine gravel which was actually pretty comfortable for camping. Hammocks are hands down the best investment of the trip! Best way to relax!
We set up the slackline and introduced Jason to his newest hobby. We bounced around for a while and then I spent more time in my hammock.
We did 139kms in just over 6hrs today and we’ll be in Grand Falls-Windsor tomorrow and then there’s only 5 days cycling to Manuels. This trip is quickly coming to a close and reality is slowly creeping in.

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Day 88: Thanks Mom & Dad!

My parents are trying to slow us down so we make it to St. John’s on Wednesday as they arrive. They succeeded since we only did 92kms in 4.5hrs compared to the 130 we’d had planned.
I woke up just before 7 and started to pack up. Jason did the same but Chris was a little slower. He knew we were going to have breakfast at the restaurant and had time. As we were heading to the restaurant Chris emerged from his cave.
I turned my phone on and there was a message from my mom. She was offering to get us a hotel room at the  Marble Inn Resort just passed Corner Brook. We discussed it and it was hard to refuse such an offer. Well played mother. My parents want to be there when we get to Cape Spear. Since they changed their normal vacation to Newfoundland in order to be there, we should probably take them up on their offer.
By the time we were ready to go it was closer to 9. It was overcast this morning and very humid! When the sun came out it was very hot! I’m glad it stayed hidden behind the clouds most of the day otherwise those 92kms would’ve been torture! The terrain was very up and down but it wasn’t too bad. There were a few longer hills,  but overall a good day terrain wise.
We stopped about 20kms West of Corner Brook to regroup and were about to head off when 2 other cyclists rolled up. We ended up chatting to them for at least 15 or 20 minutes. They told us there was a restaurant around the corner where we could fill up our waters. The restaurant was around the bend and I had to stop to get a photo because the view was pretty nice. The scenery through Western Newfoundland has been breathtaking so far!

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We decided to stop for lunch there instead of in Corner Brook in order to save some time. Had fries, dressing and gravy at lunch, which is delicious and only found in Newfoundland.
We didn’t have very far to get to Corner Brook but as we set off it started raining. There was a decent hill right after the restaurant but after that it stays mostly flat. I love riding in the rain! I find I can go much faster.
It rained pretty good the whole way there. We were all soaked when we pulled up to the Dominion (grocery store). The Dominion was absolutely freezing! When we walked in we all froze since we were soaked from head to toe. We stocked up on groceries and cycled to the hotel.
Coming out of Corner Brook there is a long, steep downhill to get to the Humber River down in the valley. The view coming down that hill is beautiful! I was planning to just coast down the hill but when Chris flew by me pedaling as fast as he could with Jason catching up I couldn’t let him pass me. I flipped into my highest gear and tore off after them. I never thought I would’ve reached my top speed for the trip in Newfoundland. I hit 75.4kms/h as I passed Chris! That’s fast and so much fun on a bike!
We had 10kms to the hotel but made it there in no time thanks to that hill. We checked in, dropped off our stuff and headed downstairs to do laundry and use the pool. It was nice to get some laundry done. The last time we really did laundry was Fredericton.
We took advantage of the fact that there was a steam room, sauna and pool. What a great way to chill out after a day of cycling, my legs were definitely thankful. My quads had been sore all day and that was perfect.
We planned to order pizza for dinner but the only place that would deliver to us wanted to charge a $20 delivery fee! Tim Hortons it is! The restaurant at the hotel was too expensive for us and there was a Tims pretty  much across the road so we went there for dinner.
We walked down to the Humber River after dinner and sat on the dock for a while. Pretty beautiful spot to chill out for a while.

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All in all a pretty lazy evening after a relatively short day compared to what we’ve been cycling recently. Those 92kms felt a lot longer though because of the humidity, sore legs and the hills. The next leg of our journey to Grand Falls-Windsor is supposed to be fairly remote for long stretches. I think we’re going to pick up extra water in Deer Lake just to be safe. Only 6 more days of cycling left.

Day 87: The last and final province

We entered our last and final province this morning and it won’t be long now until this adventure is over.
The rest of ferry ride was pretty good. Sleeping Beardy had a nap and we chatted. The sunset was absolutely stunning!

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We arrived in Port Aux Basques early this morning around 12:30. It was very foggy and we still had no idea where to camp. Someone had suggested we camp behind the Port Aux Basques Hotel so we headed that way. It wasn’t an ideal spot. It was on hotel property and right in the open. We decided to find somewhere else.
We went to the Irving and it was suggested we head up to the Visitors Centre, great idea! We cycled up and searched out a suitable spot. There was a lot of open grass but all the terrain was on a steep angle. We found a flat bit behind the centre but it was a concrete pad. It was now 1:30am, we were tired and said the hell with it. We set up camp and all headed to bed. Probably one of the more interesting places we’ve camped on this trip.

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We woke up at 7, since the Visitors centre opened than. It was still really foggy when we woke up. We packed up and cycled down to the Tim Hortons for breakfast. There was a huge lineup since the overnight ferry had just arrived. It was pretty chaotic!
We picked up a sub from Subway for lunch since we weren’t sure if there would be any restaurants. We finally left around 9 and set back up the hill towards the visitors centre. Of course we had to snap a couple pics with our final provincial sign!

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The first 35kms were awesome, it was pretty much all down hill! The fog was beginning to lift but we still couldn’t see most of the mountains which was a shame. The mountains did however look really cool with the fog hovering over them. Such a beautiful part of the world! We stopped at a gas station to refill our waters and take a little break.
From then on the going got a little tougher. It was very humid out and the terrain got a bit hillier. We got to our first major hill of the day and were all sweating buckets. Half way up the shirt had to come off. As we crested the hill the sun came out and it was roasting! These temperatures are not normal for Newfoundland!

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We stopped for lunch and at this point the sun was out in full force. The clouds had lifted and we were sweating like no tomorrow! As soon as we got moving again we started up another big hill. There were quite a few big hills in the afternoon.
We stopped off at the next and only gas station along the way to refill. I put my  shirt back on but I think it was too late, already burnt. There was ice cream and we were all sold. We asked where the next gas station would be and were told it was another 40kms or so, but there were a few big hills in the way.
They weren’t kidding! There were a few very long hills and a few steep but shorter hills and one steep and very long one just before the gas station. The humidity and blistering sun were what was killing us, not the hills!
We came to the gas station and started to look for a campsite. We decided to get dinner first since the restaurant was closing. We doubled back to a point that looked like it’d be suitable for camping but it was all marsh land. We went back to the gas station and asked if we could camp on the patch of grass to the side. Of course they said yes! We set up and got some funny looks as we did, pretty strange place to be camping. We just chilled out and played cards for most of the night. We did 133kms in 6.5hrs today and it’s definitely good to be in Newfoundland! It feels surreal that we’re here and this adventure is almost over! Another 7days of cycling and we’ll be done!

Day 86: A Day of lasts

Today was a day of many lasts. We will officially be in Newfoundland just after midnight. This will be our last province, our last ferry, our last time zone and the last few days of the journey from Tofino, BC all the way to Cape Spear, Newfoundland.
I slept through my 4:30 alarm and woke up just before 5. I got up and packed up. Chris was much slower so I got breakfast going while he packed. It was humid, foggy and cloudy. The clouds started to lift just as the sun was rising. We couldn’t really see the sun rise though due to our position but the sky still looked cool.
We set off just after 6 and had to be in North Sydney by 4. It was going to be a long day! I’m very thankful the clouds came back because it was 100% humidity! If the sun had been out I don’t think we would’ve made it.
Nova Scotia is one hilly province! My legs felt good though and maintaining a good pace wasn’t hard, even considering the terrain.
We stopped in the town of Whycocomaugh after 45kms and 2hrs of cycling for 2nd breakfast. Steak and eggs is good fuel for a long day of cycling. Only 95 more to go!
We stopped again just west of Baddeck at the Herring Choker to pick up lunch. The Herring Choker is this awesome little bakery/ Cafe and definitely worth the stop.

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We picked up some sandwiches and I got an oatmeal fudge bar which I thought was a date square. So good though! Only 65 to go now!
I trucked ahead and pushed on. As we were passing the turnoff for Baddeck I looked back and saw another cyclist with Chris. I was off in my own world when he caught up so he startled me. We cycled together for a while and chatted. He was saying a friend of his is going to try and cycle the whole Cabot Trail tomorrow, roughly 300kms of coastal road!
The cycle computer I bought in Oakville started giving me problems today. The speedometer read 0 for a while and didn’t register any distance. It didn’t last too long before it started to work again. This time it would register my proper speed, drop 5-10kms/h then climb another 4 and occasionally drop to 0. It was really starting to annoy me, and I wanted to throw it in the woods!
We stopped for lunch about 40kms from the ferry. We turned off the highway towards the Cabot Trail and sat on the rocks eating our lunch overlooking the ocean. I fiddled with the sensor a bit and hoped the computer would be working again.

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Immediately after we got back on the 105 a sign read we were approaching “Kelly’s Mountain”  240m elevation gain over 7kms. At first that didn’t sound so bad and the first 4kms weren’t but the last 3 were tough! It was a constant steep uphill in 100% humidity. We were sweating our butts off to say the least! The computer was better but still not working properly so I reset it. After a while it started working again. We finally reached the summit and I was so looking forward to the downhill!

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The downhill was well worth it! Travelling at 50 to a top speed of 65.2kms/h for over 4kms is definitely well worth it! At the bottom of the hill we came to big bridge which crossed over to Seal Island. It was a steady climb up to the bridge with no shoulder. It got pretty tight when we actually crossed the steel bridge.
There were quite a few big hills on the last 25kms to the ferry but we were able to maintain a good pace. Our pace actually picked up and we made it to the North Sydney ferry terminal. We rolled through the toll booth, picked up our boarding passes and went for the head of the line.
There was another tourer already there so we got to chatting for a bit. He’s crossing the country from Victoria to St John’s. There were showers in the terminal building and we both desperately needed one! It’s been 4 sweaty days of travel without a shower so it was definitely needed! I even did a bit of laundry in the shower, necessary evil.
We’d been at the ferry for just over 30minutes before we started to board. We were the first to board and spent over 90minutes on the boat before it set off. We patiently waited for the buffet to open but it wouldn’t open until the ferry left the dock.
The buffet was expensive but so worth it! We got our moneys worth and shared stories with Jason, the other tourer.
The ferry is about 6hrs long and we still have another hour to go. We haven’t done much but sit around, chat, listen to the music in the pub and have a beer. The ferry arrives in Channel-Port-Aux-Basques at 12:30am. We have no place to stay so our first step is going to find a place to set up our tents for a couple hours, preferably near a grocery store.  It seems like the 3 of us are going to cycle together across Newfoundland. We are all out of food so definitely need to pick up some supplies before the journey East. There are quite a few long stretches of road between towns in this province so we’ll need the extra supplies.
It won’t be long now before St. John’s, Cape Spear and the end of this journey. I don’t want it to end! Maybe cycle back?

Day 85: Welcome to Nova Scotia

So we made it to Nova Scotia and it’s much hillier than I was expecting. We were planning on catching the 11:45pm ferry to Newfoundland tomorrow but it’s full. Apparently you need to make a reservation but who knew?
Our ferry to Nova Scotia was due to leave at 6:30. We were only a km or 2 away so we woke up at 5:30. Chris doesn’t do well with early mornings and the little things were frustrating to him. He wrangled with his tent for a bit and a few choice words were said. We cycled out of the visitors centre and onto the road. I was slightly ahead of him and heard his lock drop, he turned around, hit some sand and hit the deck. That’s when the helmet went flying! I have to say I was laughing pretty hard, he would’ve and has done the same.
We made it to the ferry with minutes to spare. We paid, boarded and headed right for the cafeteria; we needed breakfast. The ferry was only an hour, much shorter than I’d anticipated.

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We were now in Nova Scotia and ready for a big day! We took some time refilling our waters and what not but were off by 8.

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We headed south on the 106 to the 104. It was hilly and we were cycling right into a southerly wind. It was also humid and the sun was starting to come out from behind the clouds. The wind was killer and is soup crushing! The real fun started when we turned onto the 104. The sun was out in full force and the terrain had gotten significantly hillier, atleast it felt it! There were quite a few long, fairly steep climbs.
The highway is good for cycling because there’s a decent paved shoulder but there are long stretches where there is nothing in the way of services. The 1st 60kms took us the better part of 4hrs. We cycled a little further before stopping for lunch. The road was flat or a gentle downhill and I was struggling to maintain 15kms/h let alone surpass it. I had plenty of energy but no power in my legs. I stopped shearly out of frustration and decided on lunch. I think the blazing sun, humidity, early morning and hills all contributed to the problem.
A ton of fruit at lunch was the key to the revival of my legs. We had about 20kms to Antigonish and I was having no problems maintaining 20-25kms/h. There were still quite a few hills but they weren’t much of a problem. We stopped in Antigonish for a little break and to top up on water. We were both completely out and sweating our butts off in the humidity. We were both so happy that the clouds were back otherwise we would’ve continued to struggle!
The rest of the day was pretty easy. Still quite a few hills but we didn’t have many problems. We took a couple short breaks but nothing major. We stopped just before the Canso Causeway to Cape Breton Island at the Tim Hortons to top up on water. It was 5 and we were both hungry so we picked up some sandwiches. We got to talking with someone in line about the trip. We ran into him again outside and he asked if we wanted some wine for the road. I mean why not it’d be rude to refuse. So there we were having a glass of red wine out of Tim Hortons cups in the parking lot. We chatted for a while, he gave us a bag of cherries and we were off. We didn’t get far though.
About 100ms down the road there’s a gift shop. The shop keep was calling us over so we decided why not, we’re in no rush. He poured us a glass of chocolate milk and apple cider of all things, and then chocolate milk and orange juice. To our surprise, it was actually really good! The chocolate milk and apple cider was much better though! A combination I never would’ve tried or thought of before. He was quite the character/ annoying salesman and of course he had an angle. There’s always an angle! He says he’s been raising money for the Terry Fox foundation and has been ever since we ran through on his Marathon of Hope. Who knows if he actually was,  but we both gave him a couple bucks. He didn’t stop there and tried selling us some hats and everything under the sun. He didn’t stop until we essentially said “dude, that’s enough we aren’t buying anything” and left.
There was a long line up of cars on the causeway and we cycled down the shoulder right by every single one of them, well almost. There were a couple of people sitting on the shoulder with their lawn chairs waiting, so we stopped and chatted with them for a while, while we waited for the boat to pass. There were really great to chat with, 3 guys and their daughters on a father-daughter trip around the Cabot Trail. The boat passed and we cycled by most of the traffic and over the bridge onto Cape Breton.
It was now 6:30, those last 4kms took about 1.5hrs to do. We’d been planning to do another 20kms or so but given the time we decided to look for a camp site. We cycled onto the 105 and found a decent campsite near a truck pullout. The site was behind the trees in a little clearing. We’d done about 138kms in 8hrs today. We set up camp and since neither of us were really hungry we didn’t cook and didn’t know what to do with ourselves. We ended up playing cards for a few hours.
Someone had told me that we needed to make a reservation for the Newfoundland ferry, but my phone was dead for the past couple days. Chris let me use his solar cell to charge it, but the battery was pretty low. It charged to about 15%. I tried to make the booking online but it wouldn’t let me because the ferry was full. With my last few percentage points I called to ask. The 11:45 was full and all that was available was the 6pm. I couldn’t believe they wouldn’t let us on with our bikes. It’s not like we take up very much space and we haven’t had any problems on the other ferries we’ve taken this trip. The 6pm was our only choice because the ferry was fully booked for the next few days so we booked it. We didn’t have much choice. It’s going to be an early morning! Originally we thought we’d have all day to cycle the 140kms to the ferry but now we have to be there by 4. We went to bed and are planning to get up at 4:30 and hopefully be off by 5:30. We’ll see how that goes.
It’s only another 140kms to the ferry and our final province. We should be in Newfoundland just after midnight on the 30th. This trip is quickly coming to a close, might have to prolong it a couple days.

Day 84: Love that fresh sea air!

I was planning to sleep in this morning but I guess my internal schedule is more or less fixed now. I didn’t get to bed till 1ish but woke up at 6:45 and was wide awake. I lay in bed for a few hours, caught up on some blogging, watched Netflix and waited for Chris to get up.
He finally got up and we wandered toward downtown and breakfast. We were downtown by 10 and decided to stop at “Leonhard’s” for breakfast. It was a little pricier but the food looked good. It felt a little too trendy for us but oh well. The food was really good! All local and organic but the service was terrible!   Very unattentive and incredibly slow! For the price it wasn’t worth it.
We wandered around town and explored. Really beautiful, quaint downtown, I like this city! We walked over to the old battery. The views of the city and surrounding area were spectacular!

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We strolled back towards downtown and the harbour.

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Of course we passed another Cow’s so we had to get more ice cream. They are all over the city. Disappointed that they don’t have stickers though. You think they of all places would have them. We picked up some PEI stickers for our bikes and continued our wander.
We headed back to the house to get packed up and ready to go. We packed our gear, thanked Mike and said our goodbyes. Thanks again Mike for your hospitality! Much appreciated!

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We set off for the ferry but knew it wasn’t going to be easy, we were cycling into a headwind. We left at 3:30, our latest start yet. There were a few hills but nothing too steep the thing that slowed us down the most was the wind. We were cycling right into a 30km/h headwind that was gusting up to 45kms/h. It was slow going and mentally draining! Even when we were doing 20kms/h it felt like 5. Having to pedal down hill is a real drain!
I hadn’t eaten anything besides breakfast and was starving. About half way we came across the only restaurant, The Chuckwagon Market. We got there just as they were closing but they still made us some burgers. I was thankful for that because I was starving and in poor spirits.
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The second half of the day went much quicker as we picked up our pace and pushed for the ferry. We made it and looked for a place to camp. The best spot was at the visitors centre. The Confederation Trail, which is a bike trail crossing the island, ends there. We camped right at the entrance to the trail, tucked away and out of sight. We got there at 8 so it took us 3.75hrs to cover 64kms. Time to get in bed now since we’re aiming for the 6:30 ferry. We’ll have to get up around 5:30 to make sure we can catch it.
Nova Scotia and our 9th province tomorrow! The last few provinces have flown by! I keep thinking, what the hell am I going to do when this is over?
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