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Week 16: The End!

Here it is, my last post about my trip.  We landed in amazing Newfoundland, spent far too little time there.  Met some amazing people, some more amazing scenery and hit some end of the ride milestones.


Aug 29: 74km
to Middle Gulf Pond.  The ferry got into port around 9AM and as we were on bikes, we got to leave way at the beginning of the crowd!  Finally, our tires were on Newfoundland pavement!  Within half an hour, we saw a couple of cars pulled over on the road and saw our second moose!  It was much further away than the first one we saw, but we did get some pictures and this mooose hung around in a meadow for much longer.  We made it to Whitebourne, NL and stopped at a Timmy’s to get some lunch.  Turned out to be a popular stop for cyclists as we met 3 others during our meal!  Justine and Tommy had done the west coast from BC to San Diego, then flew to St John’s and were on their way to Montreal.  Jeanette had left Montreal, took the north shore of the St Lawrence up to Labrador, then the west tip of Newfoundland and was also making her way to St John’s.

After lunch, we decided to go as far east as we could that day to minimize the ride to St John’s the next day.  As the day turned into evening, we began our search for a campsite or a place to stay.  It started to get rainy and windy too!  I found a house by this lake and knocked on the door.  It was a big family dinner going on!  Turned out to be the house of Bill and Doreen Moore.  They gave us permission to use their lawn for a tent but their daughter Sherry said no way!  There was rain in the forecast and said we could sleep in her RV!  What luxury!  We went inside the house for some dessert and stayed up far too late chatting with the Moore family and their friends who were visiting for the summer.

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sunrise from the ferry

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welcome to Newfoundland and Labrador!

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Moose!

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Jeanette, Justine and Tommy at Timmy’s

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dark dramatic clouds incoming

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with Sherry and her son Jake!

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Bill and Doreen!

 

Aug 30: 45km to St John’s NL.  We had an awesome breakfast with Bill and Doreen and took our time getting ready for the last real touring cycling day.  Wow, were we in for a surprise!  There were gusts of wind (we would find out later it was up to 80kmh) making the day really really hard!  Thankfully, it was blowing us off the road and away from traffic.  There were scattered showers too so we started getting the chills from the wet and the wind.  About 20km outside of St John’s we saw a truck and a trailer pulled over on the side of the road.  A man named Ian was standing next to the trailer and asked if we would like a ride into town.  It turns out during our ride, the poor weather was prompting an actual wind warning and even motorists were told to be careful!  Ian saw us on the road and decided that we must not have been up to date on the warning.  We did a quick pow wow and decided…YES.  We would make up for it with our later days of cycling around St John’s.  Thanks Ian!

We got into town, and checked into our accommodations.  We had some famous Ches’ Fish and Chips for dinner and cleaned up and SLEPT as despite the short distance, the day’s ride took a lot out of us.

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Breakfast with Bill and Doreen! We tried salted codfish for the first time, delicious!

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Thanks Ian for rescuing us!

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Dumping our luggage on the floor

 

Aug 31: 33km.  We had a great (mostly unloaded) ride to Cape Spear, the furthest of the landmarks we wanted to visit.  Cape Spear is the most easterly point in North America, second lighthouse built in NL and oldest one surviving to this day!  The winds never really went away but somehow ended up in our favor as we were able to get back into town quicker than we had left despite the elevation gain!  Martin, who we had met in Antigonish was also in town and invited us out for a beer in downtown St John’s.  It was great to see him again and share the different experiences we had going across the country.

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Cape Spear!

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Cape Spear lighthouse, as you can see the weather changes a lot!

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Stefan and Karen, who met us at the site and were touched by my story, wanted to appear on this blog!

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Mile 0 of the Trans Canada Trail! I rode quite a bit of it during the entire ride.

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with Martin at YellowBelly Brewery

 

Sept 1: 21km.  We started the morning by heading to Qidi Vidi, a harbour just north of downtown so I could dip my front wheel into the Atlantic!  There wasn’t actually an easy or safe way to do it in St John’s harbour so this was the closest!  What a way to finish the ride!!  Next was the rest of downtown that we hadn’t been to yet to see the Terry Fox Memorial (where he began his Marathon of Hope) and the pretty Jellybean Row houses that are all around the downtown core.  At 2pm, I was scheduled for my last TV interview at NTV.  It went really well and actually the first one I did having actually FINISHED!  :)

Our last big bike ride of the day was to Signal Hill, the site of the first Trans-Atlantic wireless signal.  It was a 2km climb from downtown but wow, were the views worth it.  We could see Cape Spear, all St John’s, Qidi Vidi and of course, way out into the Atlantic Ocean.  We went back to our place to drop off our bikes and walked into downtown so we could do our last tourist thing: getting screeched-in.  Getting screeched in involves kissing a cod fish, drinking the local rum (screech) and learning a lot about Newfoundland.  We went to Christian’s Bar and it was so much fun!  We ended up with our honorary Newfoundlander certificates and some new friends who were participating along with us.  We also all watched the news together as my NTV interview aired!

dipping into the Atlantic!

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Terry Fox Memorial

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the iconic Jellybean houses

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St John’s from Signal Hill

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Nick in front of Cabot Tower

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at this point, I didn’t know what a Screen In was

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kissing a cod fish!

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we joined the Royal Order of Newfoundland Screechers!

Sept 2: 0km.  Our last day in St John’s.  We packed up all our gear and bikes for the last time and wheeled them down to the nearby bike shop Cychotic Bikes.  We had been in contact with them to make sure they had a couple of boxes and packing material for us to use.  It was a really fun afternoon hanging out with Mike and Jamie while putting our bikes in boxes!  One last meal of fish and chips from Ches’s and we were off to the airport and home!

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with Mike, the owner of Cychotic Bikes

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packed up for the last time

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last proper meal!

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got surprised by Nick’s mom at YVR with a medal, a trophy and flowers. So funny!

 

Week Total: 173km

Grand Total: 7618km 

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Week 15: Cape Breton Island (Aug22-28)

This week is going to be awesome!  First off, spending time with Auntie Cecile and her family.  I was back here in Cheticamp 8 years ago as part of the volunteer program Katimavik.  It was so much fun revisiting places and people and to see what has changed.  We spent a little longer than we anticipated because Auntie Cecile was able to take some time off work to be with us!

 

Aug 22 – 0km Sleeping in (this would be a theme this week!), we woke up to the smells of Auntie Cecile’s famous raisin bread!  She made 60 buns and we would eat most of them this week eventually.  Cecile wanted to bring us whale watching so we booked it for the 24th as she had a whole day off.  We went to the church to see the awesome Paulangus!  He retired from working at the nursing home and was now the caretaker of the church.  He also was one of the lead people in organizing the Katimavik program in Cheticamp.  We then went to the nursing home I volunteered for during my time and saw all the staff and residents who were still there.  Time really flies!  We then went around to the old Katimavik house (it’s now a B&B) and then to 106.1 CJFM radio station!  Auntie Cecile had reached out and gotten me a live on-air interview with them!  On the way home, we saw these 2 girls cycling towards the Cabot Trail and we would run into them again at dinner at La Gabriele!  Small world.  They were from Montreal and were doing the Halifax to Cabot Trail loop.  Maybe we will see them again!

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RAISIN BREAD!

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surprising Paulangus at the church

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with the staff at Foyer Pere Fiset

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a burning bush planted by the Katimavik team in the courtyard

interview with Daniel Aucoin at 106.1FM

interview with Daniel Aucoin at 106.1FM

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dinner at La Gabriele with Auntie Cecile, Lindsay, Kara and Paulangus

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Aug 23 – 0km Today was a all-home maintenance day.  Lucky too, cause it was really rainy and windy!  Laundry, bike tune-ups, and catching up with Uncle Dan (oh and their young new pug Gus!!).

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the view from our room

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Uncle Dan and Gus watching the family drive off to work

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eating breakfast with Gus

 

Aug 24 – 0km Auntie Cecile went out early to pick berries (oh yes, she’s been doing that almost every day and the wild berries here are AMAZING) and came back with goodies from The Dancing Goat bakery.  Best scones and sandwiches!  We also got some cookies for the road ahead :)
In the afternoon we went on the whale watching boat ride.  Oh man, we all got quite seasick as the seas were rough.  Did manage to see a seal and a family of pilot whales though!  We capped off the evening with some homemade seafood chowder and dessert!  While going through albums of old photos we remembered Uncle Dan getting Paulangus with his chocolate covered hands all over his white shirt many year ago.  Paulangus would get him back this evening though with a pie to the face!  Hahaha!  Lots of laughs, photo taking and good food to end off our time here.

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Pilot whales!

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sitting down for dinner

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with the Boisverts!

looking over old Katimavik photos

looking over old Katimavik photos

recreating an 8 year old photo!

recreating an 8 year old photo!

sweet revenge!

Sweet revenge!

 

Aug 25 – 78km to Big Intervale Campsite.  Today is the day we’ve been psyching ourselves up over since we got to Cape Breton.  1100m of climbing and 2 mountains later, we were doing much better than we thought we would have!  The downhills after cresting the mountains (French and North) were very welcome.  However, North Mountain was so hard, we had to stop almost 10 times going up.  Hardest hill of the trip!  We coasted down into a small campsite, set up shop before dark and got a good amount of sleep as there wasn’t more to do after the sun went down.

goodbye Cheticamp!

goodbye Cheticamp!

entering the park

entering the park

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first look back at our climbing!

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that is HARD

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looking down on Pleasant Bay, NS

still climbing North Mountain, maybe the hardest climb all trip!

still climbing North Mountain, maybe the hardest climb all trip!

 

Aug 26 – 57km to Ingonish Beach Campground.  In the morning, while packing up and setting up, we were approached by our neighbours asking about our trip and setup.  We ended up sharing cookies and coffee for the morning and had a nice chat over breakfast.  They asked us if we’d like to hop in their car for 2km and go see a nearby waterfall.  We would not have biked down this trail otherwise so we said yes!  Thanks Francois and Marianne!
Today’s riding was mild compared to yesterday, but still some hard hard hills.  We took the scenic Coastal Route at South Harbour, as it followed the coast, while the main Cabot Trail was more inland.  The road was super quiet, and so scenic.  We were right by the Atlantic Ocean!  We didn’t touch it though, saving that for St John’s.  Stopped for an early dinner at 4PM in Ingonish as that was the last town before our night’s destination.  It was nice being the only people in the restaurant for awhile.  We finished the day at one of the largest campsites in the national park and had a nice long (hot!) shower and meal.

packing up at Big Intervale

packing up at Big Intervale

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Beulach Ban Falls

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seeing the Atlantic Ocean taking the coastal scenic detour

finishing the coastal detour

finishing the coastal detour

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entering Ingonish and seeing…a bike lane?!?!

 

Aug 27 – 95km to North Sydney, NS.  Today was going to be an easy day, but as the day progressed, we gutted it out and made some serious distance!  We didn’t leave the campsite until 1230, maybe went 10 minutes and stopped for lunch!  We had one last climb up Smokey Mountain but a huge epic descent down afterwards.  Might be the prettiest descent of Cape Breton!  It was fast going on rolling hills all the way to past Breton Cove when we ran into it must’ve been 10km of construction!  Bumpy roads with the pavement stripped off made for really really slow going.  About midway, we saw a ton of cars and motocycles pulled over on both sides of the road.  We stopped and were able to catch the reason why – there was a moose in the lake!  She walked into woods before we could get our cameras out.  That pretty much ticks off all the boxes of wildlife I expected to see in Canada!  Elliot the moose, is on the loose!
We took Route 312 down to the Englishtown ferry, it was free for cyclists and only crosses 300m!  Pretty funny but it saved us 10+km.  After another short food break, we made our way back onto the Trans Canada Highway.  Most of it was pretty nice save for the occasional rumble strip that appeared out of nowhere.  One long gradual climb up Kelly Mountain later, and we were in sight of North Sydney!  We got into the ferry terminal just after sunset and the staff had no problem with us staying until our departure tomorrow.  We didn’t want to rush it on the 28th in the event we had media or had to get supplies before the departure.  It’s awesome here with wifi, security, electricity, clean washrooms…comparable to an airport but empty!

leaving Cape Breton Highlands Nat'l Park and the end of the bike lane :(

leaving Cape Breton Highlands Nat’l Park and the end of the bike lane :(

which is English and which is Celtic?

which is English and which is Celtic?

on a spit approaching the Englishtown ferry

on a spit approaching the Englishtown ferry

loading up for the 1 minute ride across

loading up for the 1 minute ride across

Seal Island Bridge, officially leaving Cape Breton Island

Seal Island Bridge, officially leaving Cape Breton Island

inside the ferry terminal

inside the ferry terminal

 

Aug 28 – 0km Around noon, I got a call from the Atlantic CTV affiliate and had an interview outside the ferry terminal!  The ferry leaves at 5:30pm, taking us to our last province and time zone: NEWFOUNDLAND!  We got on first along with the motorcycles and found a place to sit for the ride.  I went to the purser’s desk to ask about having a room. A nice lady (Sarah) told me they’d call me if there was any openings, but I’d be on a waiting list.  Before I halfway back to my seating area, there was an announcement calling my name! I went up to the desk and told them I wanted the room, didn’t need anything big, and about the cause, before I was even finished, Judy the lady in charge, had already said “You’re gonna make me cry. You’ve got the room, and I’m adding the buffets for you too!” O.O!  I wasn’t able to thank them enough for this amazing 16 hours on the ship (though 10+ hours was sleep to energize for the final stretch of the tour!

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with Ryan Macdonald of CTV Atlantic

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going into the belly of the ferry

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Judy (right) and Sarah (left) on the ferry! Thank you again, ladies!

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The snack bar played CTV just for me! There I am!

 

Weekly Total: 230km

Grand Total: 7445km

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Week 14: Land of Green Gables (Aug 15-21)

This week will take me from New Brunswick to PEI to Nova Scotia!  It’ll be awesome seeing friends old and new and most of all, there will only be 1 province left til the finish line when this week is over.

Aug 15: 75km to Murray Beach Provincial Park.  Said goodbye to Monica and Sharon this morning and made my way along the northern coast of New Brunswick.  I could spot glimpses of PEI as I made my way across!  Checked in before the sun went down at the highly recommended Murray Beach Provincial Park.  It’s right on the coast with magnificent views.

 

morning and goodbye to Sharon!

morning and goodbye to Sharon!

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Pascal Poirier Park in Shediac, NB

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Checking into Murray Park Campground

 

Aug 16: 83km to Stratford, PEI.  This is when I bumped into Frank and Craig (2 cycle tourers who started from Vancouver) as we were headed on the shuttle over the 12.9km Confederation Bridge! The rest of the day was just trying to catch up with these two older men, who were flying at 25+km/hour.  Man, they were tough, didn’t need eating/peeing breaks.  They just kept going, hoping for beer at the end!  I arrived at Jason and Emily’s in time to settle in and prepare for busy rest days that they had planned for us!

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bye bye Murray Beach

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waiting for the Conferederation Bridge shuttle

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with Frank and Craig on the Confederation Trail

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Jason and Emily!

 

Aug 17: 0km Today was a big day, Emily and I went to the Charlottetown airport to pick up Nick!  He is joining me for the rest of the journey and we’ll fly home together. :)  It was great timing too, because the weather was awful.  Forecast: pouring rain all day!  Jason and Nick went to get grab some lunch for us (Fresh oysters and lobster!).  We rested and hung out the rest of the day, catching up and recharging.

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Together again!

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Assembling and tuning up our rides

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Seafood!

 

Aug 18: 0km This was a touristy day, as we went to Cavendish, PEI to the Green Gables site, the resting place of L. Maud Montgomery as well as PEI National Park!  Super lovely cliffs, more seafood and lighthouses everywhere!  Capped off our great visit with dinner at Point Prim with Jason and Emily, the oldest lighthouse on PEI and a fantastic restaurant on the beach :)

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Eileen of Green Gables

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Resting site of L Maud Montgomery

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Provincial House Historical Site. Was the Legislative Assembly for PEI until 2015 when it started renovations. Home of Confederation!!

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Sunset dinner at Point Prim

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Nick and Jason chowing down at Point Prim

 

Aug 19: 138km to Antigonish, NS.  After a hearty breakfast of crepes made by Emily and Jason, we were on our way!  We took the Confederation Trail through PEI all the way to the Wood Island Ferry Terminal.  Fantastic trail!  It is a bit longer than going via the TCH but there’s no traffic, no hills and lots of little benches and covered areas to rest.  There was no time for us to rest though, as we had to make it to the ferry in time!  We made it with time to spare but the ferry experienced delays as today was the Golden Cup and Saucer Parade (a PEI holiday) so the ferry didn’t leave until 40 minutes after its scheduled departure.  The ferry is so neat, it has 3 levels for cars with ramps that move up and down so the terminals on both sides only have 1 level for exit and entry!  Kind of hard to explain but very cool.  We stopped in Pictou, NS for a Timmy’s run and ran into Mayor Joe who introduced himself to us!  He also gave us a couple of Pictou pins, very cool!  His brother was a bone marrow donor and wished us well on our journey.  Getting to Antigonish was long and hilly, it was a pretty tough first day back in the saddle.  Thankfully, our host Brian, cycled 20km out to the exit on the highway to meet us and led us back home with his son.  A late lovely dinner with Brian and Tara later, we crashed as our heads hit the pillow.

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loaded!

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goodbye Jason and Emily!

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handy gates and signs on the Confederation Trail

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we saw 2 people the whole morning on this trail

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ferry departing Wood Islands

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Nova Scotia!

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Mayor Joe of Pictou, NS. our host Brian actually grew up in Pictou and said he had been mayor for over 20 years!

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Brian and Tara and dinner!

Aug 20: 78km to Ceilidh Coastal Trail.  We had breakfast and goodbyes with Brian and his family and made a fairly early start out in town.  We stopped for a coffee with Martin, who I had heard about (and vice versa) through our Warmshowers hosts and mutual acquaintances.  It was nice sharing the different things we learned and experiences in our cross-Canada trips.  We may run into him again in North Sydney or St John’s!  The riding today was much more mellow but hills are still hills.  We made it to Cape Breton before 5pm and decided to get an early dinner so we could hit the trail before it got dark.  The trail itself is awesome, but if you’re ever cycling this, enter at Troy, NS (8km after the bridge to Cape Breton) as the beginning is so rocky, you have to hike it!  We heeded all suggestions and did the Troy path.  As the sun was starting to set, we found a quiet hidden spot to pitch a tent and have a good sleep.  Once the sun goes down before 9PM there’s nothing else to do!

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Goodbye to the Nicholsons!

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bumped into Martin in central Antigonish

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after a hard hill, seeing the first sign showing what’s to come ahead

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crossing the Canso Causeway into Cape Breton

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Ceilidh Coastal Trail

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sun is setting as we find a spot to camp

 

Aug 21: 100km to Belle Cote, NS.  We had another relatively early start and continued on the beautiful trail.  We did switch to the road at Port Hood so we could make better time on the pavement.  We stopped for lunch at the Mabou Farmer’s Market, battled a few hills until we got just outside Inverness.  From there, it was mellow (even flat and fast sometimes!).  We took Route 219 as it followed the coast and was quieter traffic-wise.  We stopped in Whale Cove to take some photos and saw what must be the coolest cemetery in the world when someone pulled up behind us.  Auntie Cecile! She knew we were coming and guessed we would be on this road and took this route on her way home!  What a surprise!  Re-energized, we raced onwards, hit the famous Cabot Trail and…overshot Auntie Cecile’s house!  It was only by a few meters but we heard her yelling from her yard, turned around and went up her driveway.  What a happy reunion!  Obviously we are staying here for a little bit :)

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Ceilidh Coastal Trail

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Mabou farmer’s market selling whole pigs!

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Inverness parked next to a lucky organ recipient!

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Whale Cove

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Cabot Trail!

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on the back deck having drinks with Uncle Daniel before dinner!

Weekly Total: 474km

Grand Total: 7215km

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Week 13 – Let the Games begin! (Aug 8-14)

This is going to a fun and unique week, both in my trip and in my life!  I’m in Toronto for the Canadian Transplant Games from the 8-12th.  It’s so great to re-meet the CTA members that have helped me so much along the way and to share my story in a crowd with many stories of their own!  Of course, I am not competing as an athlete but I will be volunteering and doing anything that needs to get done in this huge event!

Aug 8: I spent the day meeting lots of wonderful people at the games.  It was just a lot of taking the whole event in for me.  I had an interview with a reporter from Radio Canada International (international wing of the CBC).  It was for a Chinese audience and I spoke Mandarin on the phone with her, but it was so poor, she ended up only using the English I was using!  Oh dear…  In the evening was the opening ceremony at Nathan Philips Square, just awesome to see the provincial athletes walk out!

 

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Opening ceremonies

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Athletes approaching the stage

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reunited with Sophia, we met at a CTA event in Calgary!

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with Sandra Holdsworth, Ontario CTA manager and planner of the entire games!

Aug 9: Had an early morning session of volunteering at the cycling event at Sunnybrook Park.  I spent the afternoon hanging out with Ryan, who I hadn’t seen since Katimavik!  We did some sight seeing, had some coffee and caught up as best we could for 7+ years.

 

 

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a hug for a fellow team BC member

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a medal for Team BC!

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the awesome athletes

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Ryan and I

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Toronto painting the city green for the Transplant Games!

 

Aug 10: Today was a Family Day and 20km Cycling event.  We all took the ferry to Toronto Island Park for more events (20km cycling, 3 and 5km race walk), a BBQ lunch and exploring the beautiful area!  I cheered on and handed out medals and hugs to all the deserving athletes!  Heading home, we did get stuck at the ferry terminal for awhile.  Just the sheer volume of participants along with the regular crowd.  Whew!

My back tire on my bike had some unfortunate wear in some areas, allowing debris to get inside.  Steven actually came by to deliver a brand new one from his friends!  Thanks to Summit Cycles, I can now safely ride out of Fredericton to finish the rest of my journey, hopefully flat free!  I’ll be sure to get some looks with this carry-on :)

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early in the morning, waiting for the ferry

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catching sunrise from the ferry terminal

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Cyclists ready to go!

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Toronto Skyline from Toronto Island Park

Thank you Summit Cycle! :)

Thank you Summit Cycle! :)

Aug 11: Finished all my volunteering duties today.  It was a relax and recovery day.  Spent most of the afternoon working on a slideshow presentation to present at tonight’s AGM.  It was really cool to show off pictures of all the places I had been and the people I had met.  If you’ve been following this blog and social media, you’ve seen most of the photos :)  I also had a short interview with Cathy from CCTV4, a news channel located in China.  We made plans to have a video shoot and in-person talk the next day.  At the AGM dinner, I finally Helene Campbell, who had a successful organ donor campaign called “A Lung Story”.  She even appeared on the Ellen show!  The presentation went well, but there were many speakers all with great stories of their own.  You just had to be there! (CCTV Interview Video)

Athletes!

Athletes!

 

Aubrey Goldstein, president of the CTA

Aubrey Goldstein, president of the CTA

Helene Campbell and I

Helene Campbell and I

 

Aug 12: Early morning start today.  I was all packed, headed down for my last breakfast in Toronto, and waited for Cathy to come down and meet me for the interview.  She luckily gave me a ride to the pedestrian tunnel which I took to the airport. As the plane was landing, I could see it was drizzling but was ready to head to the taxi line to get a ride back to Tom’s.  To my surprise, Sue and Jade were waiting for me at the airport!  After getting my things packed up again, I went for a visit down to the Radical Edge bike shop to a little tune-up and clean.  I said my goodbyes to my basement-mate Clinton as he wouldn’t be around to see me off tomorrow.  After a yummy dinner with Tom and his family, I got some well-needed sleep.  It’s time to get back on the road!

Goodbye, TO!

Goodbye, TO!

off and away

off and away

Spa day for the bike

Spa day for the bike (new tire courtesy of Summit Cycles in Toronto!)

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another homecooked meal :)

 

Aug 13: 86 km to Coles Island, NB.  Breakfast and goodbyes were the first order of business.  Tom’s family helped me so much since I met up with them, I couldn’t and can’t thank them enough!  They also had packed my bags full of food for the ride to come.  There was a 80km stretch between Moncton and Fredericton where there is not civilization.  I crossed a bridge to get North of Fredericton and took the nice quiet Route 105 onwards to Jemseg and Coles Island, my destination for the night.  I don’t miss the Trans Canada highway at all!  Was able to make it to the campsite in good time; easing back into the saddle!  Thanks to Leslie and Cameron at TNT Campground in Coles Island!

 

Farewell with Jade, Jasmine, Serena, Susan and Tom!

Farewell with Jade, Jasmine, Serena, Susan and Tom!

St John River

St John River

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crossing the St John River to hit Route 105

Beware...piranha plants?

Beware…piranha plants?

Young's Cove One stop store - last bit of civilization for 80km (but only 9km from my campsite for the night)

Young’s Cove One stop store – last bit of civilization for 80km (but only 9km from my campsite for the night)

 

 

Aug 14: 97 km to Moncton, NB.  The rain came to meet me today and keep me honest.  Pretty uneventful route today (not complaining, I still remember what Ontario was like!).  I stopped by a post office to eat lunch and a couple approached me (Melissa and Bob) and asked what I was doing.  Great chat and they left with a donation too!  Thank you!

I made it to Monica and Sharon’s place aroud 8pm just in time to find out all my batteries were dead!  Phone, trip computer, all of it.  Hence, I don’t have many photos of the day.  Thank you Monica and Sharon for hosting me and thanks Johnathan for connecting us! :)

leaving TNT Campground

leaving TNT Campground

Moncton!

Moncton!

 

Weekly Total: 183km

Grand Total: 6741km

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Week 12! South from St Lawrence (Aug 1-7)

Aug 1: 94km to Notre-Dame-du-Portage, QC.  I said my goodbyes to the lovely Jacques, Monique and Andre and made my way further along the St Lawrence.  I stopped for a break in a very nice cafe inside a church.  I was riding along towards the end of the day as the sun was going down and I was approached by this family going for a walk and told me to get inside!

Jacques’ parents who saw me off! Wonderful people!

Le Café du presbytère de Saint-Roch - a cafe inside a church!

Le Café du presbytère de Saint-Roch – a cafe inside a church!

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sunset on the shores of the St Lawrence

Aug 2: 83 km to Cabano, QC.  Left you hanging on the last day didn’t I?  The reason the family were so happy to see me was that Helene (second from the left) is a heart transplant recipient of 5 years!  It was so nice to hear her story and see someone so personally touched by organ donation.  I continued along the Route Verte which turned into the Petit Temis trail, previously a rail line that follows the Trans Canada Highway.  It was the best route so far!  The trail passes through many small towns, is far away from traffic, has covered rest stops and camping pads every few kilometers.  I could spend days on this trail!

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the wonderful Lafrance family

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Awesome “highway signs” on the Route Verte!

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Maia and Philippe who are doing a PEI to Montreal round trip loop

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HAH!

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most of the towns have these helpful amenities signs

Aug 3: 99km to Saint Leonard, NB.  More progress along the Petit Temis trail today.  I made it into New Brunswick (and lost an hour due to the time change) around lunch time.  I decided to go further past the city of Edmunston as the routes were good today.

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taking a dip in the lake to freshen up in the morning

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entering New Brunswick just outside the Edmunston Airport. Also skipping ahead an hour!

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a bike bridge going into Edmunston,NB proper

 

Aug 4: 83km to Clearview, NB.  Passed through Grand Falls, NB and made my way south along the St John River.  However, there was a huge thunderstorm warning all over New Brunswick this day.  I had to take shelter every time the rain came down.  As i was riding along, this couple saw me from their porch and said I was crazy to be outside that day.  Get inside!  We had a lovely time waiting out the storm and I made it to the River County Campground before the sun went down.  Ahh a nice hot shower was very welcome.

beautiful scenery along the way

beautiful scenery along the way

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Grand Falls, NB

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i’ve been…THUNDERSTRUCK! (just kidding)

Waiting out the storm on Becky and Doug's porch!

Waiting out the storm on Becky and Doug’s porch!

River County Campground

River County Campground

 

Aug 5: 84km to Meductic, NB.  Today was a day of silver linings.  I’ll get to it later!  I woke up and had a great chat with Tricia and her baby daughter Victoria.  She practically forced food into my bags and her baby was so cute!  Good to see little ones getting used to being outside!  I went all the way to Woodstock, NB and had a horrible realization.  I had left my nice sunglasses on a trail off the side of the road when I had a list pit stop…15km away!  After some deliberation, I decided to go back and retrieve them.  5km into the backtrack, i got a FLAT TIRE!  Arghh! However, while I was fixing it, I ran into Leah!  I had heard stories on the road from other cyclists talking about Leah who was cycling solo from Tofino to St John’s.  We got along great immediately and rode the rest of the day together.  if i hadn’t forgotten my glasses or gotten a flat, there’s no guarantee I would have seen her!  Things sometimes just all work out :)

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Tricia at River County Campsite

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Kidney Road!

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Leah setting up camp next to me

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Enjoying the sunset

 

Aug 6: 89km to Fredericton, NB.  Today felt quite long as we were not taking the most direct route to Fredericton.  We felt plenty safe though, with not a lot of traffic rushing by us.  We stopped in Nackawic, NB, home of the largest axe in the world.  It was late (after 8pm) by the time we rolled into Fredericton and Tom’s house.  We were so lucky to be connected with Tom in Fredericton.  Nick back home, went traveling with a climbing friend, Chris a few years ago.  Chris had grown up in Fredericton as a child and still knew people back in town.  Thanks so much Chris and Tom and his awesome family Sue, Jade and Jasmine!  We had an awesome dinner and I got to re-packing and storing my things for my detour tomorrow.

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big ol’ axe

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like on Game of Thrones!

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with Leah entering Fredericton city limits!

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dinner with Tom, Sue, Jade and Jasmine!

Aug 7: Slight detour to Toronto!  I am going to be in Toronto Aug 7-12th for the Canadian Transplant Games.  I’m super excited to see the Canadian Transplant Association members I’ve met along the way and to see all the inspiring people who have had their lives changed by organ donation.

After a big breakfast, I parted ways with Leah, got a ride to the airport with Tom and made my way to Toronto.  I made it to the central area in downtown Toronto where the events would be and rested a bit in my accommodations.  Luckily, Nick’s cousins Bryan and Steven are in Toronto for work for the next few days and called me up and asked me to go to dinner!  Dinner and dessert to follow!  Yessss!

Bye Tom! See you in a few days!

Bye Tom! See you in a few days!

Flying to TO via MTL

Flying to TO via MTL

downtown TO

downtown TO

my VIP badge and my view from my accomodations

my VIP badge!

Dinner with Bryan (behind me) and Steven (second from the right) and friends!

Dinner with Bryan (behind me) and Steven (second from the right) and friends!

DESSERT

DESSERT

 

Weekly Total: 532km

Grand Total: 6558km

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Week 11! La belle province (July 25-July31)

July 25th: 113km to Hawkesbury, ON.  Viva la Route Verte!  Quebec has such lovely lovely bike paths (flat too!).  Spotted a beaver on the side of the road headed into Hull, QC.  I stopped into Mcdonald’s in Gatineau to get out of the rain (hard showers on and off all day!) and shared my story with Mary-Pierre, a woman I met.  She was with her 4 year old daughter and bought me lunch after hearing about my story!  :)  Overall, I made good time and will spend some time in Hawkesbury before the bustling city that is Montreal.

Quebec!

Quebec!

groundhog spotted!

groundhog spotted!

The wonderful Route Verte

The wonderful Route Verte

 

July 26th: 0km.  Rest and disconnect day!  Full of stretching, eating and sleeping.
July 27th: 110km to Montreal, QC.  A great day of riding on Route 138/Route Verte 1.  Met up with Justin who met up with us in Manitoba.  It was awesome to see him again, right before he starts his studies at McGill.  We also were able to make plans at the local bike co-op to get my tires sealed.  There was some wear in the rubber where debris would get in.  We’d be able to go tomorrow morning and get that filled up.  Thankfully, it’s pretty minor as far as wear on a tire goes!  Justin’s friend Issac also came over to hang out and we had some goofy times hamming it up for the camera.

dinner with Justin

dinner with Justin

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goofing around with Issac and Justin

July 28th: 107km to Louiseville, QC.  It was an unexpectedly long day!  The bike routes in the city are great, but there is so much traffic and stopping in the morning.  It took me almost 3 hours to get out of the city proper!  Didn’t make it as far as I wanted to (Trois Rivieres) but the nice town of Louiseville, QC would have to do!

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after 3 hours of traffic, finally crossing the Prairies River out of Montreal!

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lunch at Berthierville. Can you see the tape holding my bottle cages together?

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July 29th: 80km to Sainte-Anne-de-la-Perade, QC.  Woke up today to a lovely note on my tent offering me a shower and a phone number in case I needed anything.  I didn’t take them up on their offer, but it was so heartwarming the kindness of strangers :).  If you’re ever in Louiseville, QC go to Brassette L’ami for their food and drink!  I headed into Trois Rivieres to get a new bottle cage and reflector because mine fell off.  Apparently the heaviest load I have are Gatorade bottles!  It took some time to get everything installed so I took some time in town, and took my time to the next big town.

:)

:)

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Guillaume, Felix and Jade (behind camera) with my new bottle cage and reflector

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sometimes, the best way to hide is in plain sight (of the highway)

July 30th: 90km to Quebec City, QC.  Beautiful ride today.  Made good time to Quebec City and stocked up on some POUTINE!  Delicious.  I was lucky to stay with my warmshowers host Marie-Pierre.  She was so awesome!  I arrived to clean sheets in my own bed!  Sometimes, it is the little comforts in life that make all the difference.  I also learned about her tour history; she did a Victoria to Winnipeg tour a couple years ago.  Lots of shared stories that night:)

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St Lawrence River

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Chez Anton’s poutine!

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Marie-Pierre and her roommate Justin

July 31st: 116km to St Aubert, QC.  I did a quick loop around the old city this morning on the way to the ferry to Levis, QC.  It’s a short 10min ride like the Seabus and took me to the south side of the St Lawrence River.  The riding today was quite mellow until THE VERY END.  Oh boy, it took me almost 2 hours to do the last 13km today.  They were the hardest hills since…since…I can’t remember that far back!  It was all worth it in the end, as my host Jacques and his family hosted me for the evening.  I got to ride on their boat around Lac-Trois-Saumon and walked up a observation tower where we could look at the St Lawrence River.  It was wild to catch a small glimpse of how far I had come!

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old Quebec City

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the view after getting off the Ferry on the Levis side

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climbing a watch tower by Lac Trois Saumons

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the view from up top!

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riding in a boat with my host Jacques!

Week Total: 616km

Grand Total: 6026km

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Week 10! Capping off Ontario with a visit to the capital (July 19-24)

This would be the last leg of the worst roads so far.  Everyone we met on the road and online said to avoid as much of it as possible, and they were all RIGHT!  I can’t wait to check out the beautiful cycling paths of Quebec…

July 18th: 120 km to Mattawa, ON.  We were well rested from our Comfort Inn room in Sturgeon Falls.  Had a lunch stop in North Bay to visit some friends of Rob’s.  One of them, Shane, rode out a part way out towards Mattawa!  I got off the highway and took Centennial Crescent for a more stress-free experience.  Much better than the still terrifying Highway 17!  Rode into town fairly late, got my tent set up nice and secluded!

with Shane outside North Bay

with Shane outside North Bay

in Mattawa!

in Mattawa!

July 19th: 120 km to  Deep River, ON. No avoiding Highway 17 today.  The rumble strips would appear on and off, how frustrating!  The road itself though and the scenery were gorgeous.  I also had my first encounter with a bear!  This black bear crossed the road Got into town fairly late but Ron Wensel, my warmshowers host, came out to the main strip to pick me up!  We had a lovely time with his wife Diane enjoying the sunset.

lovely views, awful roads

lovely views, awful roads

enjoying sunset and food with the Wensels

enjoying sunset and food with the Wensels

July 20th: 40km to Trevor Lane’s in Petawawa, ON.  Today would be a short distance day, so I spent the morning looking over my bike, paddling Ron’s kayak, and going for a short ride with Ron and Diane!  Getting into Petawawa took longer than I expected as all traffic was stuck for a bit due to construction.  Regardless, made it into town and met with Trevor, my warmshowers host for the evening!

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bike ride with Ron and Diane

bike ride with Ron and Diane

coming into Petawawa

coming into Petawawa

July 21th: 85km to Braeside, ON.  It was starting to get really hot today!  I got some good information from the Wensels to take smaller side roads on my way to Ottawa.  Anything to avoid the Trans Canada!  I ended up taking Beachburg Road and River Road for anyone thinking about doing this route.  I was taken in by the super awesome John and Fawn Bott!  Oh my goodness, I had a meal and sleep and food packed in the morning.  Oh, and two dogs Teah and Bodie, keeping me company in the morning.  It was such a nice respite from the hot hot weather!

with Trevor, my Petawawa host!

with Trevor, my Petawawa host!

 

Fawn and John Botts!

Fawn and John Botts!

Teah and Bodie!

Teah and Bodie!

July 22th: 80km Ottawa, ON.  Today was an extremely long day.  The temperature was in the 30s and the humidity was off the charts!  I took two naps in the shade (pre-lunch and post-luch) to beat the heat a little before getting into Ottawa.  I went to visit Claudio Wensel, son of Ron and Diane from Deep River, at the e-bike company he owns.  I had a much longer test ride than I expected as the bikes are so light and so quick!  Good times :)  As I entered the city limits, the clouds came in and it started POURING!  Thankfully, Michelle and Marc live in a great location and I was able to get inside.  Whew!

with Claudio at Pedal Easy bikes

with Claudio at Pedal Easy bikes

catching a glimpse of Parliament! Skies are still clear at this time.

catching a glimpse of Parliament! Skies are still clear at this time.

July 23th: Ottawa, ON.  Quite the packed day!  Michelle, Marc and myself caught a changing of the guard and then brunch at Zak’s Diner.  Then an interview with CTV Ottawa that would air that evening (link on my Media page!), and a yoga class at Rama Lotus Yoga to un-knot all the sitting and cycling I’ve been doing!  We had a lovely dinner in the Byward Market area with Kim (liver recipient) and Craig (kidney recipient) and then dessert at the Oh So Good Dessert.  Mmmm lots of calorie replenishment today.

always a crowd for the changing of the guard

always a crowd for the changing of the guard

with Marc and Michelle at Zak's Diner

with Marc and Michelle at Zak’s Diner

Megan and Justin from CTV Ottawa

Megan and Justin from CTV Ottawa

dinner with Michelle, Kim and Craig

dinner with Michelle, Kim and Craig

July 24th: Ottawa, ON.  One more interview this morning on 580 CFRA Radio with Dan Pihlainen.  Interviews are getting easier and easier :)  Next up was a brunch organized by Kim (she coordinated yesterday too!) for a meet and greet with other CTA members!  We were at the Earl of Sussex Pub and it was fabulous.  It was so nice exchanging stories and experiences with people from all kinds of backgrounds.  Lovely!  Rama Lotus Yoga helped me out with a couple of classes, so I was lucky to be able to do another one today.  My body definitely needed it!  A little more sightseeing and a little more resupplying was left in the afternoon and then I went back home to make dinner for my hosts!  They were so awesome and it was nice to have a kitchen to work with again!  Thanks again Marc and Michelle :)

580 CFRA morning show with Dan Pihlainen

580 CFRA morning show with Dan Pihlainen

brunch with the CTA members!

brunch with the CTA members!

outside the National Gallery

outside the National Gallery

Dinner by me with much assistance from Michelle :)

Dinner by me with much assistance from Michelle :)

 

 

Weekly Total: 445km

Grand Total: 5410km

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Week 9! From Lake Superior to Lake Huron (July 12-18)

Having some rest time in Sault Ste Marie and then making our way through Northern Ontario and headed towards Ottawa!  It is fairly slow and stressful going in this stretch of the Trans Canada Highway.  The shoulders are very inconsistent, the traffic moves fast

July 12th: 6km around Sault Ste Marie – lots of relaxing as we got in late the night before.  I got my bike checked over at Velorution in town.  What a nice bike shop!  We also ran into Marcus who we had met back in BC!  He’s also crossing the country but got sick a few days so was able to catch up with us. I also got interviewed by The Soo newspaper as Jeff, our warmshowers host, knew a reporter!  I went back to our hotel that was graciously donated by the Algoma Water Tower Inn!  Thank you for your support!

Water Tower Inn in SSM

Water Tower Inn in SSM

fancy running into Marcus again, 3500 km later!

fancy running into Marcus again, 3500 km later!

July 13th: 5km around Sault Ste Marie – Today was an errands and refilling supplies day!     JJ , the owner of the hotel, sat us all down for a lovely chat in his office.

hanging out at the Inn with JJ and Jean!

hanging out at the Inn with JJ and Jean!

July 14th: 120km to Iron Bridge, ON – this was a long muddy/wet ride.  Thankfully we had some decent rest back in SSM.  So lucky to have John and Regina Ross hosting us in their beautiful cabin.  What a sight for sore eyes, it was.

the awful shoulder on Hwy 17/Trans Canada Highway

the awful shoulder on Hwy 17/Trans Canada Highway

with the Ross' at their cabin!

with the Ross’ at their cabin!

July 15th: 77km to Espanola, ON – We had to take a break from the terrifying Highway 17 for a while.  Hopped onto the very pleasant Lee Valley Road all the way to Espanola.  We were able to stay with the lovely Miranda and Reagan in this quaint town.  Thank you ladies!

Lee Valley Road was much much better!

Lee Valley Road was much much better!

Miranda and Reagan, our hosts in Espanola

our hosts in Espanola

July 16th: 79km to Sudbury ON – Thankfully today’s route took us off the Trans Canada for 2 long stretches.  It is just so much easier mentally without worrying about speeding traffic, cramped shoulder (if at all) and only one lane each direction.  Yikes!  We had some fruit stand produce, some llama petting at the Dare2Dream farm, and some lovely views on the way to Sudbury.  Thanks to our warmshowers host Tyler for letting us use his yard!

getting supplies by the roadside

getting supplies by the roadside

llamas!!

llamas!!

the occasional good shoulder

the occasional good shoulder

Tyler in Sudbury!

Tyler in Sudbury!

 

July 17th: 90km to Sturgeon Falls, ON – Pretty moderate day, the highway is still stressful though.  Was able to check into the Comfort Inn around 7pm.  A good sleep awaits!

July 18th: 110km to Mattawa, ON – After North Bay, the highway finally had double lanes and a real shoulder for most of the time!  However, it wasn’t all roses and there were some tough rolling hills!  Oh Ontario, you’re never quite finished with us. Geofact: Mattawa is where the Mattawa and Ottawa Rivers meet.

passing by Samuel de Champlain Provincial Park

passing by Samuel de Champlain Provincial Park

Aloha Mattawa!

Aloha Mattawa!

 

Week Total: 487km

Grand Total: 4965km

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Week 8! (July 5-11) Eastward on the Upper Peninsula

Leaving Minnesota and headed through Wisconsin and Michigan!

July 5th:  69km to Iron River, WI.  Linda Lindahl saw us outside the church and offered her place to camp and warm shower!  Thank you, Linda!

Breakfast with Linda

Breakfast with Linda

July 6th: 134km to Ironwood, MI.  Linda led us to the famous Delta Diner in the middle of nowhere.  35 minutes to wait but oh boy their French Toast!  We also bumped into Will, another cyclist going coast to coast but the other way.  Made it late to Terry’s other home in Ironwood, MI.  He keeps a water jug on his lawn so campers can use his lawn even if he isn’t home.  What a host! :)

the famed Delta Diner

the famed Delta Diner

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the even more famous French Toast!

 

running into Will just west of Ashland.

running into Will just west of Ashland.

With Terry after our waffle breakfast

With Terry after our waffle breakfast

 

July 7th: 132km to Ewen, MI.  Terry came out and made us waffles breakfast!  He wasn’t home when we arrived the evening before. We ended up in the rain outside Sacred Heart Church in Ewen, MI.  A quick phone call from Father Anthony and his friends Theresa and Harold came on by to help us out.  Thank you! :)

Teresa and Harold in Ewen, MI

Teresa and Harold in Ewen, MI

 

July 8th: 136km to Negaunee, MI.  We had some lovely weather followed by some terrible weather to keep us honest.  Made it to Marybeth’s Midtown Bakery.  Oh my, what delicious delicious foods she makes!

RAIN!

RAIN!

parking outside Midtown Bakery

parking outside Midtown Bakery

July 9th: 64km to beach side Lake Superior campsite.  We woke up and got stuck in Negaunee for the day since a street parade was happening!  A nice forced break before a decent half day of cycling.

with Marybeth of Midtown Bakery!

with Marybeth of Midtown Bakery!

a great view of the parade from our window

a great view of the parade from our window

July 10th: 108km to Old Flowing Well Roadside Park.

our little roadside park home for the night

our little roadside park home for the night

July 11th: 115km to Sault Ste Marie, ON.  Had an early sunrise breakfast at McD’s.  We sure needed it cause we were in the rain and mud all day.  We did eventually make it across the bridge from Sault Ste Marie, MI to Sault Ste Marie, ON.  BACK IN CANADA!  Spent the evening hanging out with Jeff and Juanita (and Bianca, their white cat) Thanks America, for your lovely hospitality and lovely views :)

the International Bridge that connects the two Sault Ste Marie's

the International Bridge that connects the two Sault Ste Marie’s

Jeff and Juanita

Jeff and Juanita

Weekly Total: 758km
Grand Total: 4478km

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Week 7! Everyone’s An Organ Donor (June 28-July 4)

So far everyone I’ve talked to in the States are organ donors!  This is amazing!  No if, ands or buts.

  • Jun 28: 91km to Erskine, MN.  Taken in by Reverend Tim and Candy!  We even got to ride on a motorcycle to breakfast! Vroooom!
inside Rev Tim's garage!

inside Rev Tim’s garage!

Rev Tim's congregation!

Rev Tim’s congregation!

  • Jun 29: 105 km to Bemidji, MN stayed at Joseph’s with his German Shephard, Ogema.
Joseph showing Rob around his acreage

Joseph showing Rob around his acreage

  • Jun 30: 106km to Cohasset, MN where we had connections to Joseph’s nephew Quincy and his wife Hannah who last minute offered an entire rental suite for the night!
  • Quincy and Hannah!

    Quincy and Hannah in Grand Rapids!

  • Jul 1: 108km to Brookston, MN where we had a few drinks at the Country Corner Bar and met  Denise and Ben Beargrease who offered us their yard to camp in and a warm shower!
The lovely Beargrease family! :)

The lovely Beargrease family! :)

  • Jul 2: 51km to Duluth, MN where we stayed with an amazing family (Barb, Aaron, Claire and her friends).
Aaron and Barb in Duluth

Aaron and Barb in Duluth

Duluth waterfront

Duluth waterfront

  • Jul 3: 0km exploring the Lake Superior area and continuing to talk to people about the importance of being an organ donor!
  • Jul 4: 10km Superior, WI hanging around with Chris and Mary Bode, and their dog Stella and cat Sadie!
  • Chris and Mary Bode!

    Chris and Mary Bode!

  • Weekly Total: 471km
  • Grand Total: 3720.4km (so far!)