Don’t know what you call this.
Looks like some sort of crew working gondola to transport repair equipment.
Friend took the photo, and have no good editing software to fix the over-exposure! All good though!
Photos by: Katrina Okane
Well, what can I say… This is the last blog post of my 3600km, 30 day, solo cycling journey through Eastern Canada. It took place from Aug 16th- September 17th 2013 and I have been busy with school and other hobbies ever since my return. Probably why I am completing the last post now, but better now then never, right?
This is a map of the route I travelled. Definitely more extensive than what I had planned.
The tour was interesting, challenging, emotional, eye opening, and in general a real stepping stone in my life. If you want to see what I mean, just skim through the last 15 or so posts and you’ll get the idea. (I suggest starting from the bottom and working upward. This is the order I wrote them in.)
It really took alot of effort and time to acquire enough funds for the tour as well. My main source of income was obtained through recylcing cans, bottles, and scrap metal. More regularly, I worked 6-7 days a week doing exterior painting while working for a moving company on the weekends. It was rough but in the rare spare time, my friends and I managed to sneak a few beers and laughs in trackside.
I am looking to do more intense endeavors in the future both alone and with others.
If you’ve been following my posts from 8-10 months ago, you would understand that this was a first for me in terms of travel; leaving Montreal, QC on a bicycle with little experience in terms of long distance solo-touring. I’ll tell you now, there were no five-star hotels with breakfeasts included every morning. Accomodations consisted of sleeping on peoples floors and couches, or simply pitching a tarp in city parks, ditchs, bushes, beaches, and in one case, a graveyard. Some bug repellent probably would have helped on a few occasions.
Below: Organizing gear before departure out of Montreal.
I cycled a total of 1800km. Not the 2200km I planned. But, I soon realized that the plan didn’t matter anymore. Especially once it got wet and became unreadable. The most important lesson I learned was that the plan didn’t matter. I just had to make it to Newfoundland. When you set your expectations exceptionally high, it typically leads to disappointment. I learned to appreciate the now while taking in as much value as possible, and going with the flow. I try to incorperate this concept everyday. This was an ongoing experience for me. I found myself in many storms, sometimes forcing me to stay put in certain places like Moncton, North Rustico, PEI and Antigonish, NS. And you know what, those were three of the most memorable moments. Steve, Blaine and Penelope were great to hang around with and their friends were wicked too. The extended time with each gave room for relationship building. Something I only touched on throughout the trip. A big reason why most of the trip was just way too lonely. I’ll remember to leave much more time for relationship building on the next trip. The same could be said for what I will share next, and is the subject of my final post for this tour…
As a hurricane pounded Antigonish, NS I was pondering how I would continue the next week I had available till my flight out of Deer Lake, NL. Cycling was not an option, well it was, but I’m not that crazy. hah.
It was pouring, and it would be pouring on and off all throughout my desired route through Cape Breton Island, NS and Newfoundland.
To make a long story short, I was given the contact of a trucker from New Brunswick who ran fishing supplies from NB to remote fishing villages in Newfoundland. I was told Tommy was a friendly guy and that he’d most likely be able to pick me up off the Trans Canada Highway if the storm got too bad.
Well it was bad, and I bailed on cycling the last 300km of the trip. And plus, by the sound of it, this was an oppurtunity I couldn’t pass up. Screw the schedule! I called him up and he was able to meet me at 1 am in the morning at a truck stop outside of Antigonish. Of course I thought this was sketchy, but I was drunk, and figured I could handle any surprises.
He was 2.5 hours late do to some technical issues with the engine (“this is going to be a smooth ride” I said) I threw my bike in the back and there we went. It didn’t take long for both of us to realize we both liked to talk.
Below: Passing time filming myself, drinking whiskey, and listening to Bob Marley.
Below: Hanging out at gas stations was not uncommon.
We made it to the port at Sydney. We waited over 30 hours in the port gates for one of the storms to pass. Winds were blowing upwards of 100 km/h.
There was a Tim Horton’s. Thank god. It was at this time I blabbered on about my adventure to all the curious truckers from around North America. It was an interesting perspective travelling to Newfoundland via truck. Especially because the majority of truckers were aged 45+, and I stuck out like a sore thumb. Which was not neccasarily a bad thing. It was also funny to see the reactions of the tourists and families traveling over by ferry. I was thankful to be in the shelter of a truck chatting a way with a guy who liked to chat. I think we became friends quite quick. Tommy was an awesomely funny guy with a good heart. I was happy to have a bed to sleep in too ( I got the top bunk).
After 30 hours, we got the clear to drive onto the ferry. From my memory there were about 50+ 53ft trailers allowed on, and we were one of the last to squeeze onto the ferry.
If we hadn’t of made it we would most likely be there for another 6 hours. I really didn’t care, It was warm inside the truck and there was a Tim Horton’s nearby. Once parked and into the passenger section of the ferry, Tommy and his trucker friends made there way to the buffet. I sat with them but couldn’t join in on the eats due to my lack of funds. They offered to pay but I refused, and was satisfied with their leftovers and infinite refills of coffee.
When we hit the otherside, I had an intense and immediete sense of accomplishment, excitement, happiness, and that hoppy-skippy feeling in the chest. I was so far away from what I call home…
What a beautifully interesting landscape this was. It was exotic. This was not a Canada even a Canadian would think about let alone a foreigner. Newfoundland is a must see.
I won’t explain the Newfoundand tour km by km or mile by mile but we generally headed north to about Deer Lake, then east toward St John almost the span of the entire island (but on the north side), and then cut straight south through the most vast landscape I’ve ever seen. We dropped off nets and other equipment to a salmon farming company situated in Pool’s Cove. We were there at about 5:30am and for the first time the sun was out. I was half asleep and really didn’t feel like taking photos, but I managed to do so.
Of course nothing goes perfect, and we broke down a good two times.
Below: Tommy getting ready to secure the door with 50,000 lb of Salmon inside.
In the 4-5 days I was with Tommy, I slept at the most 12 hours. I didn’t want to miss anything. That, and I had a hard time sleeping with the abundance of Moose on the loose. We stopped only a few times to rest.
I got dropped off in Deer Lake. Tommy now headed for the port.
Slept in the woods that night, and managed to get a ride from another trucker into Gros Morne Park where I was supposed to climb the famous Mountain the next day. This was supposed to be the highlight of the trip. But the weather was too bad. I saw the mountain, though. It was nice.
After getting rained out at Rocky Harbour and having to move to the more secluded Norris Point, I was forced to stay in the first payed motel of the trip (80$). It sucked, but was nice staying dry. I thought for a minute that the weather would break up for a day and I could get to the top of that mountain. The next day I found out there was a hostel for $30/night 5 minutes away. But of course, Pittman, the owner of the hotel wouldn’t let my broke ass know before I paid. There are good and bad people out there and everyone in between. Live and learn… They felt bad once they knew I found out and gave me a complentary breakfast in the morning. I forgave them.
It was time to get out of Gros Morne, and with no visibility there was not much point in staying anyway. Temperatures were also dropping close to 0 Celsius at night. I managed to get a lift from an older fellow named Bob who lived in Alberta his whole life but returned recently. Funny enough, he was headed into Deer Lake to pick up blue berries for his wifes’ dish. We shared stories the whole way and he dropped me off at the truck stop where I would spend the rainy night.
I was able to convice the cashier to let me sleep in the restraunt till it opened at 6am. There was a guy on drugs in the trucker lounge and even after all I’ve seen on the road I was in no mood for anything freaky. But that’s another story in itself.
I managed to link up a ride to the airport the next day. Bob’s Blueberry supplier. The woman was actually the aunt of a girl I hung out with at the truck stop that night. She brought me fresh blueberries and frozen moose meat which I managed to keep frozen on my stop-over flight to Toronto.
I made it back home to Toronto with no issues. 3 days later, I was on a train to Montreal a week late for school. I felt weird to say the least; going from a free for all to a structured/fixed city environment.
So many places seen, so many people met, and so many emotions along the way. Even months later it’s still all very hard to comprehend, and I stopped trying.
Below: Bob and the Blueberry Lady
It was what it was and it has affected me in ways I can’t put into words.
Below: Flying over the greater area of Halifax.
The storm that came through North Rustico (pictured below) finally blew away, and I got the clear. I’m surprised I didn’t see any windsurfers out there.
Twas’ a hilly ride to Charlottetown. Thank god this checkpoint was only 1/3 of a regular days distance. Scenery was nothing special as I got closer to C-town, but there were some cool towns along the way.
In no time I was within the city limits and cycling along the coastline. I was out of deodorant so I hunted down the Shopper’s Drugmart and made my big expenditure for the day (so I thought). Now smelling fairly decent, I embarked on a small unintentional tour of the city trying to locate my hosts’ location.
The boardwalk was really beautiful. The whole city was just so pleasant and cute… And I never say things are cute. On top of the cuteness, it looked and felt like one of the safest towns/cities I’ve ever been. I had no problem leaving my bike and trailer unlocked outside the store. Kind on felt like a smaller Ottawa, ON. It’s the whole “clean” thing. Traditional houses painted nicely and in all sorts of colors. Everything was well kept. You could almost eat off the sidewalks.
I noticed quite a large student population, and what looked to be a trouble free group. Everyone was well dressed. The majority gave off a bit of a trendy but classy vibe, maybe even a little snooty. Met some really interesting people on the streets, including one guy walking around with a huge snake.
My deodorant stop caused me to be a bit late for our meet up. I connected with Andrea, who is a very talented singer/songwriter, through http://www.couchsurfing.org days before I arrived in town. We met at the Malpeque Folk Festival where we watched some awesome local talent, many of whom Andrea has played shows with in the past.
Yet again, another awesome host and now a new friend.
She knew that I was a beer fanatic and after having a few east coast beers at the folk festival, I sort of insisted we go to the Gahan House Brewery in town. It is the only craft brewery in the town. In my sole opinion, they had one or two excellent beers but the rest were just, meh, OK. Yes, I tried all 7 of them (2 were samples and a sip of Andrea’s), $40 later…A real nice hangout all in all, and their food looked great. There went a huge chunk of money I made from working with Blaine at the logging yard. I hope Andrea enjoyed her Beer 101 tutorial that night.
We ended up going to some other bar I can’t remember the name of, and then to a very well known pizza shop: Famous Pepper’s.
The town ate a weeks worth of my food money in a night. Your welcome Charlottetown.
On the walk home there was a cat that would not leave us alone. I felt bad for this little guy. I could not convince Andrea to bring it home.
Slightly hungover, I packed up my trailer over a coffee (thanks Andrea) the next morning and hit the road toward Wood Island, PEI on a full stomach. Wood Island runs a ferry service to New Glasgow, Nova Scotia. Just an hour across the Atlantic Ocean.
This was a rough stretch. A very hilly and gusty 44 km along the northern PEI coast. I had no idea PEI was home to so many god damn hills. You think it would be flat. There were no places to eat for almost the whole way, and I was running low on water too.
I eventually came a across a pretty traditional lobster joint; The New London Seafood Restaurant. A tad expensive for my liking but a good experience all in all. Definitely gave me the fuel to carry forward on what was a very windy,hilly, and rainy day.
I stopped in Cavendish on the way to Blaines house in N.Rustico. The beach was awesome and is a must see for any tourist swinging through. The weather cleared up and I wish I could have spent two more sunny days there. I felt like I was in Mexico or something. This beach just killed the many Canadian stereotypes I had of the east coast.
Anyways, it was about 2pm, and Blaine called me asking where I was. I planned to be at his place around dinner time. He said he would pick me just down the road. Long story short, Blaine was a real cool guy and is a handy man. He does contracting work including painting, interlocking, and builds houses from scratch (including his own). His side business is in the fire wood market. He orders huge logs to his lot, and then using a bulldozer and chainsaws, manages to cut them up into 16 inch pieces, and delivers quads of them all over the island. He does very well, and needed some big help the few days I was there. A lot of large rush orders to prepare and deliver. With no time to waste, I was working at “the wood” as he called it, for the next two days. Cutting and chucking the wood and everything in between. Labour of this type never felt so good. This had to be one of the coolest “jobs” id ever done. I felt like a champion wielding a gas powered chainsaw for the first time.
Blaine was at the wood most of the time, but otherwise it was Sheldon and I sawing the wood and loading the bulldozer.
I could go on and on about how interesting the two of these guys were. But I won’t. I’ll let the documentary film (in process) speak those words. I met him through http://www.CouchSurfing.org
Blaine treated me, along with one of his girlfriends at a local restaurant; By the Bay. They specialize in steak and fresh seafood. Most people were overweight by a long shot, so you know the customers couldn’t get enough! Sort of had a flashback to Houston, TX
A storm came in after my second day at the wood. Man was I happy not to be cycling. Instead I went out the windy peer, picked up some oysters, and long story short I ended up on Blaines brother’s tuna fishing boat. We went about an hour into the middle of the ocean to bring in his fishing nets so they would not get swept away in the storm. We dropped the lines in because there was a 600lb Bluefin Tuna below us. We didn’t catch him, but we caught a bunch of Mackerel (bait for tuna).. but I ate them when we got home! A couple Cod, a lobster, a sharp weird looking fish, and a couple Mackerel came in on the nets. All food for the birds. It was not a lucky haul in the brothers opinions.
Third day I met Blaines close family. His sister owns a family farm with a cow and chickens.
All in all. These three days were some of the most exciting and interesting of the trip so far. Not hard to believe I wanted to stay for another week or so… But I wasn’t going to make it Newfoundland sitting on my ass. Time to say goodbye.
So it was rough go leaving my hosts Ben, Kat, and her family in Albany. I was even starting to miss their dog the moment I said goodbye.
Actually, the wind was the whole reason my plans drastically changed.
My next location was Alberton, PEI. About 100 km straight to the northern tip of the island. It is supposed to be beautiful there and I had a place to stay with a friend of a friends uncle or something like that.. Long story short, the winds picked up big time, i was cycling on relatively flat roads but was surrounded by flat barren farmland after Summerside and the airport near Miscouche. 1. It was boring 2. I was getting fried by the sun and 3. I couldn’t get going much quicker than 10 km/h. So after about 15-30 km outside Summerside I decided it was going to be to much of a hassle to get up there. I made the executive descision to turn around, go back the way I came and head to the central northern coast, where I was headed to in two days anyway.
Funny enough that the man who had the house in Alberton told me that day he wouldn’t be there because he was getting married on Sunday. I would have felt weird staying in his house alone, while he got married, and then leaving the next day.
Cabot Beach looked nice and from the pictures I could tell you that the beaches looked very inviting at that point. Really, I was just getting fed up with the cycling and wanted to get away from the farmland and lay out in the sand. In some more exotic looking areas.
So I did.
I got to the beach, which is part of a provincial park, layed out, swam.
It still felt weird knowing I’d be sleeping on the beach or in some trees. So I waited around till it got dark and managed to get by the front gates without being seen. I found a tight little spot in behind some trees, to keep visibility low, allow me to tie up my tarp tent, and keep me the set up out of the wind.
This was one of the loneliest nights. Just waiting for it to get dark was painful in itself. I was able to get some footage of the area with all the time I had to kill.
Not only was it lonely, but extremely windy, and it rained through the night to top it all off!
The weather was clearing up quite nicely and even though Moncton was quite cool, I needed to keep on moving. The sun was out full throttle.
This stretch was one of the most efficient of the trip yet. I had rested for almost 5 days; my muscles had time to recoup.
I left Moncton via the “old Shediac Road” It was quite smooth with a small shoulder and many rolling hills. A nice ride all in all. Shediac was a nice town, home to a large lobster monument. The city claims to be the “lobster capital of the world”. With the seaside-lobster- statue so large, I did not challenge the claim. I decided to have lunch in town and put some loonies and toonies into the local economy.
Norm’s Pizza really did the trick. Cheap and delicious.
As soon as I started following the coastline toward Cap Pele I could smell the fresh seawater. It was energizing and motivating to say the least. I was so far from home but felt right in place. The winds picked up increasingly toward the bridge.
On the “scenic” route 950 I struggled with about 5-10km of heavy construction. Deep and heavy pebbles littered the road. I guess they were in the process of repaving the stretch. This was the third time during the trip where I wish I had a cross country bike with thick knobby tires.
I am not the type of guy to turn back though even if I had wiped out. There were only close calls, thankfully. Thinking it was the trailer that gave me more stability.
The Confederation Bridge was one of the most outstanding bridges I’d ever seen. I think it is now the 2nd longest bridge in the world. It takes about 15 minutes to get across by car and is 13km long.
Unfortunately it is illegal to cycle across because of the high winds and traffic. They offer a free shuttle service on call from the information centre.
At the shuttle I randomly met up with some other touring cyclists. The third encounter with cyclists on the trip. They were from Montreal, but had taken the train with their bicycles from Montreal to Moncton. They cycled from Moncton to the bridge where I had bumped into them. They were on their honeymoon and were going to tour PEI.
We would have cycled together on the island, but I got the impression the husband didn’t want me tagging along on their honeymoon! I respectively informed them I was headed to the North Eastern coast and couldn’t join.
When we got to the island I met up with Ben who was also a cyclist. He and his girlfriend were my hosts that night not far from where the shuttle drops you off in Borden Carleton, PEI. We connected months before on Couchsurfing.org. He rode to the bridge and was able to pick me out from the small crowd getting out of the shuttle bus.
We rode back to their summer home in Albany, PEI which was 10km away. That was a touch 10km in the high coastal winds.
The house was beautiful and the view was amazing. The whole family was into healthy eating. Lot’s of local greens. I was able to indulge in some alcoholic treats like Potato Vodka and the Lighting Moonshine from the area.
The lighting had me burning and spinning at the same time. It would be very similar to the island moonshine developed during prohibition.
I was their first “couchsurfer” they’ve hosted. The couple, Ben and Kat, are in New Zealand right now, surfing on couches and waves.
Wish I could have stayed another night.
It was time to split course with the father and son cycling duo. Saturday afternoon they were picked up in their car . I miss them and wish them luck in their future nomadic lifestyle in Europe. The three of them headed back to Maine and I continued the journey south toward Fredericton and then would eventually head east toward Moncton. The festivities would continue on without us and the sacred fire would continue to burn until Sunday night.
Now that I look back i really wish I had stayed for the remainder of the ceremony. I was just starting to build some nice friendships as well. Luckily, email exists although it is not the same as a personal relationship.
It’s possible that future travels will not take me through that reservation again.
One thing I’ve learned from the tour so far is that there is a fine line between checkpoints and deadlines and spending quality time in places I found interesting along the way. This hit me hard just after the first few pedal strokes on Day 12.
I’m sure this could be worded differently and I’m sure some of the “pro’s” , if there is such a thing, will disagree with this statement.
But let me add that I only had a limited period of time to get to Newfoundland. In a case where I had all the time in the world, I would probably spend weeks at every checkpoint. (Sounds to good to be true). Visit all sorts of places, stay as long as you please and then move on to the next location and repeat. I think the only solid issue in this being a lifestyle is the required $$.
So that is why I am starting trip by trip. Spaced with work and for not much longer, school in between.
Doing a trip like this ( a bunch of mini connected trips inside a big trip) has a small drawback: leaving good people along the way. But on the plus, there are good people all throughout and this is what kept my spirits up.
Enough of my blabbing- let’s get on the road…
I followed the St John river south on the east side. The old highway NB 105.
You can read all about this awesome river here
There were some rolling farm type hills and mini valleys but things were sort of taming down compared to the days before in the Appalachian mountains. Some points were extremely beautiful where the 105 rose way above the river.
I saw a few osprey and even some big eagles fishing below me. No visual proof though.
In fact, not that many pictures at all.
To give you an idea of what the road was like here is a google maps snapshot from the 105 south bound.
Hartland, NB hosts the worlds largest covered bridge. It crosses the St.John river. I did not get to ride across it
I was in a rush to meet some “family-friends of friends” who were waiting for my arrival around dinner time. So i never had any time to take out my big camera, and I hadn’t gotten the chance to charge up my go-pro.
I made it on time averaging about 21 km/h. The speed would have been higher if it weren’t for the deep valleys on the 105.
Rocky, my host in Woodstock was a really cool guy, with an awesome accent. He introduced me to his friends and we definitely drank a couple beers. Something that is quite routine on any Friday or Saturday night most places you go.
We went to his friends trailer, had a big corn roast and bon fire and then made it down to the local bar afterward. Lots of laughs.
I can honestly say it felt damn good to be riding with someone. Well, two and a “half” people to be exact!
We conversed a lot of the way, and shouted for the cyclist in front if there was a car approaching from behind. I found this tactic to be quite useful as a lot of the roads had shoulders that were not ride able on the farthest right side. That or they were really small, and you had to ride in the car lane a bit.
Don’t know if this was just me, but it felt as if if rode a lot more efficiently the whole day. The weather was modestly overcast-perfect for cycling- and we didn’t draft for more than 45 minutes total. We were usually at least 20 meters apart. I think was the fact that I had another benchmark (partner to keep pace with) , another motivation (someone to not fail in front of) , and not as lonely on the road anymore (someone to interact with).
Oh, and I have wanted to go to a legit pow wow so long as I can remember. The excitement must have boosted my adrenaline.
My ass hurt less, my legs felt awesome, and my wheels turned faster.
There were a lot of hills but they didn’t bother me. It may have been the hilliest day of the trip so far (10 days in). Some hills maybe as steep as the ones before Quebec City. But I managed to climb enthusiastically- I actually enjoyed them/didn’t mind them.
My new cycling partner hadn’t been on a bike in over 3 months, i think he said vs. the fact I was in the best shape of my life-cycling wise. Even though it was quite the opposite of a race, we were a natural distance apart for a good chunk of the ride. The baby trailer was much heavier than my trailer. It probably weighed 40-60lb. Every 15-30min we would always regroup. I mean, we weren’t that far away from each other- always within yelling distance!
There was a lot of sticky tar on the road too, quite interesting. My trailer had layers of these little balls all over the cover that were kicked up from my back tire. Some flew off my back tire so far that it actually blinded my cycling partner.
We stopped for lunch at Burger Kind in a place called Grand Sault (falls). My friend had been here before through interest and knew where the trail down to the falls was. I doubt I would have even stopped here if it wasn’t for him mentioning this. It was beautiful. Although the water was not flowing, the rocks looked cool.
You can sort of see the drop of a hill we just finished climbing in the pic below. We were taking a little break here. Not really much of a shoulder eh?
So after a few patches of rain, and some crazy hills, we finally reached the native territory situated in more crazy hills. A really cool feeling for me as it was something I’ve looked forward to for months.
We didn’t know where we were going to stay either. There was supposedly camping somewhere near the Pow Wow grounds. We didn’t see a sign anywhere. There weren’t many cars around to ask either, the ones that did pass were going way to fast to flag down too.
It was like there was no speed limit here. Some gave us friendly honks though.
With almost no street names or signs, we could not find the grounds, we kept on going till we hit the bridge to Andover, and on the way more god damn hills. Generally going downhill though. We descended with the thought of having to come back up these hills eventually. I didn’t care about tomorrow after a tough 115km.
At this point the hills were no fun anymore. They literally kept on coming all the way out of the reserve. All we could do was laugh at this painful roller coaster ride.
Would have been fun on a $10,000 carbon frame bike, but not on your dad’s rusting 1975 Peugeot, lugging a now defective trailer.
We got to the bridge in Perth , but just before crossing got some good info at the local library about where we could stay.
As the sun set, our options were pretty limited especially with the baby. I think everyone was down for a cheap motel, a shower, some peaceful sleep, and some beer.
So we cycled about another 2km, got a hotel room, and bought some bootlegged beer from a “special” woman.
This was the first bed I’d layed down on, and the first real shower I had in over 6 days. After about 120 km, and a s**t load of hills, I could have never felt better.
Privileged is the word. You never really appreciate the comfort of a bed and a roof until you remove it or have it removed from you.
And don’t get me wrong, I like looking at the stars while I fall asleep, and hearing the birds in the morning, and feeling the fresh air. But when your on a physically demanding trip while on a tight budget and forcing you to camp illegally. You tend to appreciate a shower, a bed, a roof over your head, and the fact you can forget about being woken up by an angry property owner, a security guard, or the police.
In other words, I’m new to the whole sleeping -out- doors- for- an- extended- period -of -time -thing, and I enjoyed the basic luxury of putting my head down on a pillow.
When we woke up the next morning we were all super sore and stiff. We did not want to cycle another 10km up those Tobique hills to the Pow Wow.
I had an idea to hitch a ride back up into the reserve.
I figured we’d head back over the east side of the river and catch a ride north.
Of course, there were 2 big people and a baby, along with two bikes and 2 trailers.
Everyone just waved at us driving by, so I tried another strategy and started asking people in town parking lots.
I managed to snag us a ride from a Tobique resident named DJ. He was working construction and was just in town picking up some supplies to bring back to the work-site (only 2 minutes away from where we needed to be)
A super cool dude. And if your out there DJ, thanks again.
We had some time to kill before the pow wow though-things got going much later than we expected.
“Indian time is not like our time”, let me tell you. When something is supposed to start at noon it will start at 3 pm. And this is just not me saying this..
Everyone on the reservation is much more relaxed than in our typical white dominated society. Everyone is much more in tune with themselves and there community.
I noticed right away the rez was like a big-beautiful family.
We were its newest members.
The Maliseet Nation at Tobique Pow-Wow. New Brunswick, Canada
August 24-26 2012.
Today was the day I entered the province of New Brunswick for the first time ever. It was picturesque all the way through, and although the Trans Canada Bike Trail was a “B****H” of a ride… the fact I made it to a new province done me good.
The gravel bike trail weaves in and out of forests and towns the whole way to Edmunston. I rarely saw pavement, and suggest that if you are going to do the stretch, you have larger width tires than I did:
-Lost traction constantly (found myself in the ditch a couple times)
-Felt I could have been going at a faster pace on the gravel. Then again, I probably made up time on the smooth pavement in Eastern Quebec.
At some points a cross country bike would have been beneficial- there were all sorts of combinations of roots, large stones, gravel and packed dirt for about .5km stretches. I asked myself what I was doing many times on this trail especially just leaving Cabano, and getting into Edmunston near the golf course.
I’m glad I had those Mavic A719 rims though. They didn’t collapse.
Once I reached Degelis, QC I was on a paved path for a few km’s. In my fatigue, I failed to slow down at a crossing where there was a slight deformity in the pavement. I didn’t think much of it, and then the next thing you know my 65lb loaded trailer is on it’s back, dragging along the trail at 15-20km/h.
My belongings were packed so tightly that the trailer held it’s structure no problem. Other than a bend in the aluminum trailer arm (attached to rear chain stay , slightly out of true wheels, and some tears in the fabric I was good to go). And thankful. I was in no mood to take everything out of the trailer to find out I did not have the right part to fix whatever problem there was. ( I never planned on the trailer flipping.. who would).
For next time, If i still decide to use the trailer, I will be more prepared. Maybe even to the point where I could design and build my own custom trailer, addressing the faults on my Burly Nomad.
- Not a very sturdy floor
- Structure fairly wobbly with and without gear in it (has nothing to do with loos bolts)
- Could probably design one a few pounds lighter
- Trails behind off center of my back wheel (Don’t know if this is normal for all trailers, but I think it creates drag and balance problems)
- Lastly, and not so importantly, the color and shape. I am not a fan of yellow.
There were nice rivers and trees along the way, again, there were no significant hills, as the trail lays on top of an old railway bed. So other than the gravel it was all fine and dandy. 60km did however feel like 95.
Not having a computer or a roof to sleep under for the past 5-6 days really makes a difference when your trying to film your trip.
Hence why this post doesn’t many visuals other than the odd camera pic, and some cell phone pictures.
The go pro, lent to me by a friend, had to be charge via usb plugged into a computer. I even had the little USB-Outlet converter but for some reason it didn’t like that.
So once my Go Pro ran out, there was no hope in charging it unless I could get to a computer who’s owner would allow me to plug in it in.
This was the only tool I had to capturing moments on the road. It was unrealistic to take out my big camera every single time I wanted footage. Maybe I can think of some better system next time.
The Trans-Canada Bike Trail runs along side of the Trans Canada highway. In NB, i guess it’s illegal to ride on the highway for this reason
A free shuttle service.
The construction on the highway overlapped onto the bike path and so it was un-ride-able. The construction company operated a little shuttle to bring you to the ride-able section of the path 2km down the road.
This was sort of cool.
I got into Edmunston late afternoon with a slight drizzle coming down on me.
I had no “meetings” to go to or any plans really so I explored around. I got to find out that helmets are required in the province of NB, without getting a ticket. Whew..
Of course the dive bar wasn’t hard to find.. The owner gladly let me bring my gear into the bar for a few hours. Pool was free, I bought more beer because of this.
Kind of drunk now, I get a call from a very unknown number- An area code iv’e never seen before.
It was a cyclist dude I talked to online about my trip. He and his family lived in Maine, US. We were sort of unsure if the whole meet up thing was going to work out because one of his two children could not get their passports renewed in time. The whole idea was for the wife, husband and kids to come along on the cycling adventure for a few days. We were planning on going to a Pow Wow at the Maliseet Nation Reserve in Tobique, NB (100km’s south of Edmunston) .
Anyways, he calls letting me know that he’s going to meet up with me in Edmundston to tag along for a couple days or so.
I was absolutely stoked. I had been alone for about 6 days now. Kind of wanting someone to share these experiences with, let alone someone to talk to on the road.
It turns out when they arrived, there was just 1 baby and no wife. The baby was just 2 years old. He rode in his own personal trailer and seemed like he was just lovin’ it.
Once I got the trailer hooked back up and said by to all my new buddies at the bar, we headed out to a campsite just 3km outside town.
It cost us $21 for the whole “family”.
We chit chatted, I had a shower, and we pretty much hit the sack.
Don’t think it took to long for us all to get to know each other.
They had a tent, I just sort of slept on the grass. Something I don’t mind if the mosquitoes are kind!
No visitor’s from any rodents either.
We were up by 9am , grabbed some Tim Hortons, and were on our way to the pow wow for day #10. It was cool rollin’ with a dad and his little kid.
Soran was damn cute too and was a real celebrity everywhere we went.
I thought it was pretty epic. I hope that I can do something this cool if I ever had kids one day.