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Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia


Date Destination Distance (km) Total (km)
Sun July 15 North Sydney, NS 99 5157
We didn't set the alarm last night, but luckily still woke up around 8:30 and were rolling by 9:30.  The owners of the campground donated the fee to the Cancer Society, which was really cool of them.  We grabbed breakfast in a local restaurant, and went two rounds since we were really hungry, before heading out.  The terrain was fantastic for riding:  Short, rolling hills that your momentum would carry you up most of before coasting down the backside.  I was flying from a total sugar and coffee rush from breakfast, which helped too!  The Cape Breton scenery was again beautiful, and it wasn't too long before we made it all the way into North Sydney.  Since we had all night to kill we asked about a movie theatre, but were pretty much laughed at.  We were told that we would have to go to Sydney for that, but while that's an easy drive it wasn't really possible by bike.  Instead we lounged around an Irving station, took a picture of the Taxi/Ambulance service, and then grabbed some dinner from Subway.  When we headed over to the ferry terminal at about 6:30 I missed the fact that there was a pedestrian walkway and took the (quite) long way around with all the busses and trucks.  I also thought that I was ahead of Scott and Nadia and so stopped and waited for a while before giving up and heading in, only to find them already there!  Doh.  Later in the evening Nadia managed to score us our ferry tickets as a donation to the trip, which was a welcomed win-fall that we were very grateful for. After that it was just a matter of setting up camp for the night in the terminal (which a lot of people were doing) and waiting for our ferry in the morning.  We found a lounge that was for sleeping and set up shop at one end, and called it a night.  Tomorrow, Newfoundland!!!!! AB.
Date Destination Distance (km) Total (km)
Sat July 14 Whycocomagh, NS 128 5058
So on to Cape Breton Island!  We made pretty good time to the Canso Causeway, except for replacing Nadia's broken rear-view mirror, and my flat tire once we crossed the channel.  I seem to be the one with all the flats, lately!  As we crossed the causeway, there was a single, militant cyclist going the other way taking up the whole lane and telling us to do the same.  I can think of some people back on campus who would have been proud.  Technically, yes, cyclists are entitled to a full lane, and the rest of traffic has to treat us accordingly.  The three of us, however, believe more in the sharing principal, that if we stick to the right, then motorists will go politely around us and still give us a safe amount of room.  I guess that we recognize that if we were driving and were stuck behind another motorist who was going 25 km/h (or less), we'd be pretty aggravated.  Cyclists, share the roads.  And motorists, please give your friendly-neighbourhood cyclist a safe amount of room when passing.  Can't we all just get along?

We grabbed some lunch in Part Hawkesbury, and were heading out when Scott discovered his brand-new flat.  This time it was the fault of the Mr. Tuffy that was lining his tire.  Oh the incredible irony!  Once we were going again it was up HWY 105 (the Trans-Can) which was really nice to ride and had absolutely beautiful scenery.  Everything that they say about Cape Breton is true.  When we stopped for ice-cream (isn't traveling fun?) the woman gave us directions for a short-cut tomorrow that not only would take a little bit of distance off the day, not only let us go on a ferry, but also detour us around Kelley's Mountain!  Sweet!  Eventually we got to our campground in Whycocomaugh, which was very nice with good facilities.  Just before the campground Scott and I noticed that we were near Mabou, which we think is where a cute fiddle-player whose band played at the Keg in (not the restaurant; the original) Guelph a couple of years ago is from.  I also have a feeling that Nadia was less then impressed that we would remember that!  More importantly, we broke 5000 km today.  Yea!  AB

Date Destination Distance (km) Total (km)
Fri July 13 Antigonish, NS Rest Day 4931
This was a fun rest day; nice and chill.  First up we watched the voting for the 2008 Summer Olympics, and then spent the rest of the morning debating the merits of Beijing winning it, and how it was a cop-out to try and paint Toronto as a racist city.  If you want Beijing to have it, fine, but don't trash the competitors as an excuse for the decision.  Around lunch time I got to go on the scooter to pick up John Arthur from one of his fields, which involved some quick learning on my part.  It was pretty easy except that I kept wanting to find the rear brake at my right hand, not my foot.  It was kind of weird, but I survived.  In the meantime, Nads tried to go riding, but the horses just weren't interested today.  Later on in town we gave an interview for "The Casket", the local paper.  Apparently before it meant coffin, a casket was something that pirates kept their treasure in.  In the evening we split:  John Arthur and I went into town to for the opening concert of the Highland Games, Scott talked with his parents and Nadia's third try at riding was a charm.  Later Scott dropped Nadia off at the concert before driving out to visit a friend of his family's.  In the meantime the three of us tried to hang out in the beer tent at the games, but Nadia didn't have her ID and we got the shaft.  John Arthur tried to pull some strings, but to no avail.  We ended up getting to bed kind of late considering that we're riding tomorrow, but oh well.  Two days to North Sydney!  AB
Date Destination Distance (km) Total (km)
Thurs July 12 Antigonish, NS 43 4931
We got up late this morning, as it had been raining all night and continued on into the morning.  We were expecting the mosquitoes, but the big surprise was that over the course of the night we had been overrun by Earwigs.  Ewww.  They were in everything except the tent and (luckily) our shorts, which had been outside under the vestibule for the night.  We had checked our shorts extra closely for them, because those suckers BITE and if there is one place that you don't want to discover them the hard way ... .  We got going at about 8:00 and were amused to see a camp van trying to get on the highway to go pick up a trip.  When the guy turned off of the YMCA road onto the side-road that we were on his trailer fell off.  No big deal, he got out, put the trailer tongue back on the hitch and got into his van.  Then he drove off and again the trailer fell off and was dragged by the chains behind the van.  That's when we realized that he was just resting the tongue on the hitch and hoping that it would catch when he drove forward!  So we showed him how to properly put his trailer on and sent him on his way.  We didn't have too far to go today, but that didn't stop my front derailleur cable from snapping.  Luckily though, Scott and I fixed it without a hitch, and we were on our way in about half-and-hour feeling fairly accomplished with ourselves.  Nadia fell asleep during the repair, but at least she wasn't asking if we could hail down a car, heh heh.  Eventually we got to the exit for John Arthur's farm, but took a left instead of a right.  When we stopped to ask someone for directions they still sent us on straight ahead!  So eventually we called the farm and found out how to get there properly.  Once we were there we showered and made up some lunch with some farm-fresh eggs, and generally chilled for the rest of the day.  In the evening John Arthur and Lindsay took us to this huge community salmon dinner, which was awesome, and delicious.  To say that there were tons of people there would be a blatant understatement.  On the way home we took a quick tour through St. FX University.  Before heading to bed we decided to take a full rest-day tomorrow, which would give us two days to ride up to North Sydney.  AB
Date Destination Distance (km) Total (km)
Wed July 11 Exit 27, NS 117 4887
We were up and at it without breakfast this morning, but quickly took care of that at Tim's and McDonald's in Charlottetown.  Believe it or not, but we're actually getting sick of Tim Horton's.  The Apocalypse is upon us!  We rode through Charlottetown pretty quickly, but were impressed with what a nice city it was, as well as UPEI.  We didn't think that we would be able to make the early ferry to the Mainland, but at our first break Nadia realized that if we hauled it we still had a shot.  So for almost two hours we literally sprinted (relative to our usual riding) to make the ferry, and only missed it by a couple of minutes.  That was OK though, because after riding that hard I needed the extra 1 1/2 hour wait to rest up.  When we did get on the ferry we were sent to the deck that housed all the big tractor-trailers, and we felt kind of dwarfed compared to the rest of them.  It was a nice ride, and we got some cool pictures of the classic PEI red soil as we left.  On the Nova Scotia side there was a woman whose car wouldn't start and the ferry workers had to push her down the hill and let her coast onto the ship!  Again, the 'Welcome' sign wasn't for a couple of kilometres into the province, but we had learned our lesson in New Brunswick and didn't take any premature pictures this time.  As we got going there was an ugly head wind, which seemed to change to match the bends in the road.  Kind of like canoeing on Opeongo Lake back home in Algonquin Park, for those of you who've been there.  We were rolling along nicely though, enjoying the scenery, when there was a loud 'BANG' from under my bike.  It was so loud, in fact, that Scott up ahead thought that someone was in the woods hunting.  In actuality it was our first true blow-out of the trip, as Bob's tube literally exploded.  When we took a closer look at the tire we realized that the bead was wearing apart, and that there was a bulge in the tire itself.  Duct Tape provided a temporary fix, but we were a little concerned that we wouldn't be able to find a store with a replacement, well, anywhere until North Sydney, or even St. John's.  Luckily the Next Town, New Glasgow, was bigger than we though and had a giant Canadian Tire!  Whew.  We grabbed some dinner from the grocery store in the mall and then set out again towards Antigonish.  It was starting to get dark and since we weren't exactly sure where John Arthur's farm was (a friend of Nadia's family that we were going to stay with), we were starting to debate whether we should call it a day or not.  That's when the lightning started, and our decision was made easy.  We ducked out at the next exit, and were happy to see a sign pointing towards a YMCA camp that I figured we could stay the night at.  The thunderstorm was getting a lot closer though, and I've worked at enough Outdoor Ed.  centres to know that the YMCA camp might still be another 10 km down that dirt road, so we got permission from a nice couple to camp at the edge of their lawn for the night.  It was a good thing that we did, because the storm rolled in just as we got the tent up and the bikes tarped and it was brutal!  Strong enough that we were all careful to be up on our Therm-A-Rests, and were counting the intervals between the lightning and the resulting thunder.  After about an hour the storm eased up, but it was still pretty humid in the tent.  A fun day though, with the 'sprint', the ferry, and then the storm.  For some reason I've always liked getting forced off the road/water by big storms and then waiting them out.  Adds some excitement to the day.  AB
Date Destination Distance (km) Total (km)
Tues July 10 Charlottetown, PEI 97 4770
For some reason I was particularly excited to get to the bridge today, even though I had been there last year.  In a way it made the morning harder because it seemed to be taking forever to get there.  We stopped for a break at a little gas station that I recognized from when I was here with my dad, and then we passed the Bed and Breakfast that we stayed at last year.  After that we rolled into the tourist centre on the New Brunswick side of the bridge, which consisted of a portable building with a call-box to the other side.  I guess it's true that all the spin-off development from the bridge affected PEI only.  While we were waiting for the shuttle-bus to take us across (no cycling on the bridge) we met a couple that were setting out to cycle PEI for ten days ... maybe that will be another trip for us at some point.  We also met a cool British guy who was hitchhiking across the country.  Then the van came, we loaded our bikes and Bob onto the trailer and we were off across the "Billion Dollar Bridge."  It's funny, but you think of something like a bridge as not taking any time to cross, but at 13 km long had we been allowed to cycle it it would have taken us about 45 minutes to get from one side to the other!  On the PEI side there is a whole tourist village, complete with shops, restaurants, a tourist centre, etc etc.  On our way to Charlottetown we stopped in a little village for a break which is where a friendly German Sheppard decided to follow us out of town!  We took it back, but had we not it would have followed us to Charlottetown, we're sure.  Our campground just to the west of Charlottetown was kind of pricey, but nice.  While we were taking care of the particulars and booking our flight home (July 21st) we met a nice couple from Massachusetts, and a guy with his young son from Montreal. His son thought that we were the "famous bikers, that were on TV."  We think that he meant the Climate Change Caravan, but were not really able to explain it to him.  Our neighbour that night was blown away at how far we've come, and sometimes we are to.  Almost there, though.  Starting tomorrow only two provinces left!  At this point, we've also decided to head straight to St John's.  It would be nice to get to Halifax, and to see all of Newfoundland, but we're too tired to pedal 1000 km or so out of our way.  So once we get back to the mainland we'll head straight for Antigonish and Cape Breton Island.  Instead of taking the ferry to Port-Aux-Basques and riding for 10 days to St. John's, we'll head straight to Argentia and spend one day riding in.  It would be nice if there was a ferry that offered a little compromise between the two (like three or four days of riding), but there isn't so we won't sweat it.  Besides, we will still be under our own power, which is important to us.  The two busses earlier in the trip were for safety (in Ontario) and out of necessity (in Saskatchewan).


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