The origins of my ride in a nutshell

This year marks Canada's sesquicentennial, and fifty years since I was a sixth grader pining to go to Montreal to join in the Centennial celebrations. For the whole year our curriculum was Expo-obsessed and everyone was going except me.

No one seemed to care that I was celebrating on my own. I lapped up the coverage and information from fellow students who had travelled to Montreal with their families which left me with a desire to see this exhibit with my own eyes.
I wanted to see the world beyond London, Ont., but in sixth grade it was a clearly an insurmountable task. The germ was planted. I was bitten by a travel bug and the antidote was to see the rest of my country.

By the time high school hit, all the seniors were making the great pilgrimage to B.C. and hitchhiking across the county, but, again that seemed like an insurmountable task. Shit happened... again.

In 2014 Olympian Clara Hughes cycled across Canada to raise awareness for mental health. I watched her progress reli…

Day 72 - 1 Sep - St. John's

Day 72 -  1 Sep - St. John's - 83kms    Today started out rainy and overcast again! Our mood had not changed. We ate whatever was left on the truck as this would be our last breakfast together.    Whoa! The hills were very challenging and relentless! The rain was steady and colder than yesterday. We did have a tailwind though. That was a relief.    It should have been a day of reflection and slowly making our way to the finish but the weather made the day all about getting there and getting it over with. I was so cold, my hand and feet were frozen.     We were to meet at the Tim Horton's at 70k, eat, and wait for everyone to arrive. We were then to ride as a group to Signal Hill. I was too cold for that. I stopped, had a coffee, and kept going. I knew what was coming. The road up to Signal Hill is about 2 kms long, a 12% grade, and incredibly windy!    I arrived at the hill and did my best to climb it. It was not pretty, but I did it! I was happy I was still grinding away up …

Day 71 - 31 Aug - Clark's Beach

Day 71 - 31 Aug - Clark's Beach- 93km    Finally here in Newfoundland!!!  After taking pictures of each other at the 'Welcome to Newfoundland' sign, we started out for the day.
   The weather was overcast when we got off the ferry but, it quickly changed to rain. I was glad I decided to wear my heavier rain jacket. Because we disembarked at 10am, we didn't get started until 11am. The bikes had to be taken down off the truck and reassembled. That made for a longer day than we anticipated.
   There were little villages dotted along the route which would be very picturesque if it was sunny but it wasn't. We had a driving rain and a brutal headwind. My poor little lightweight bike was buffeted by the offshore gusts! There were many times I got off my bike to walk past the bay areas because I was sure I was going to lose control and fall off.
    The terrain was challenging. Newfoundland is not called the 'Rock' for nothing! The hills were relentless! All the e…

Day 70 - 30 Aug - North Sydney - Argentia

Day 70 - 30 Aug - North Sydney - 40kms - Argentia, NFLD ferry    Easy, easy day today! It's ferry day! This is the first time I've had breakfast with the rest of the group! There is no need to get to the ferry terminal too early. We have to be there by 1:30pm.    We left by 9am. What we didn't know was just past the RV park, there was a 200m mountain to climb! Hello Mount Kelly! We were still on the Cabot  Trail after all. There was still lots of climbing to do.    The weather was great. We toodled along taking in all the great views until we got to North Sydney. We had time to have a 'Timmies' while waiting for the rest of the group to arrive.    Once the truck arrived we loaded all the bikes on top of the van for transport. We changed out of our cycling clothes and went to the terminal to wait to board the ferry to Newfoundland.    We were very excited! Getting on that ferry meant we were almost finished!     The ferry was 15 hours long! I loved it! No tents! Aw…

Day 69 - 29 Aug - Englishtown

Day 69 - 29 Aug - Englishtown - 107kms    There is a definite wind-down atmosphere here! It was a short day today and everyone took their time to enjoy the incredible views! The Cabot Trail is hilly but very rideable.

    We had one more mountain (Smokey) to climb today. It wasn't as high (366 meters) but, with all the climbing I did yesterday, it was a tough one! The descent was a little scary for me.

    I met with Deb today! She retired before me and moved here to help her sister run the Colourtura Fine Art Gallery. The town was on my route for today so, all I had to do was stop and visit. It was good to see her again! She's happy and relaxed! The galley is amazing and the chocolates are yummy!

    We had another ferry ride today. That makes eight altogether!

   It's big ferry day tomorrow! We had to pack up all our things to leave in the truck. We only need a carry on for the ferry and the ride on Thursday.
   Only two short rides left! More importantly, only ONE more…

Day 68 -28 Aug - Dingwall

Day 68 - 28 Aug - Dingwall - 149kms    What a day! It started out very foggy and cold. The fog didn't burn off for quite some time. I was a little nervous that the drivers couldn't see me. I lost my rear light somewhere on the road but I found a little bike shop today and replaced it. I feel better now.

   We were on the north Cabot Trail today! Wow! What a ride! There are three mountains,  the French (455 meters), MacKenzie (372 meters)  and the North Mountain (445 meters). They were so steep I don't know trucks were getting up and down without issues!

   Even with the new cassette on my bike, I had a really tough time climbing. Those assents went on for kilometres! I found out later the grades were between 13% and 16%! Holy crap! It was no wonder  I had to stop every time my heart felt like it was jumping out of my chest!    The decents were super scary! I am not a confident decender at the best of times but today I actually had to stop and walk the bike down to more le…

Day 67 - 27 Aug - Lake Ainslie

Day 67 - 27 Aug - Lake Ainslie - 167kms    Wet day today! It rained until noon! I didn't think it would rain so I didn't have my heavy rain jacket with me! It's a good thing it wasn't cold.    We are starting to see more hills. The Cabot Trail begins tomorrow but today's ride was challenging. It took me most of the day to get to camp. The headwind was not helpful!

   At kilometre 101 we crossed the Canso Causeway into Cape Breton. The sun was out and my clothes were dry but, my shoes were still soggy! I hate putting on wet shoes!

   We're starting to see signs for the ferry to Newfoundland! We'll be there soon!

   Tonight the campers at MacKinnon's Campground put on a potluck dinner for us! Apparently, they do this every year. It was so wonderful! The food and the socializing were fantastic! They are very welcoming people. We introduced ourselves and talked about why we were on this tour. It was a good night!

Day 66 - 26 Aug - Lower Barney's River

Day 66 - 26 Aug - Lower Barney's River - 129kms   Goodbye P.E.I.! Hello Nova Scotia! WOW! Only one province to go!

  The day started out a little stressful! This was the last time my galley crew cooks and we had to catch the 11:15am ferry at Wood Islands. I didn't get to enjoy the ride because I thought I'd miss the ferry and I would have had to wait two hours for the next one!

I did get there plenty of time, thank Heavens but, I would have liked to spend some time in Charlottetown. It really is interesting as it's the birth place of Confederation.

    Now we start back with the hills! Our route for the next few days is the Cabot Trail. I've been told that it's super hilly! We haven't had hills since northern Ontario! I'm a little out of practice. At least I have the lighter bike with a different cassette more suitable for climbing!