Sunday, August 24, 2008

Sunday, August 24, 2008, St. John's, Nfld. 135 km.

I arrived in St. John's yesterday afternoon just in time to be at the door as Joe of Canary Bicycles was closing up for the weekend. He very helpfully delivered a bike box to the Delta where I got a room on the top floor overlooking the harbour.

On the ferry Friday night were 8 other cyclists, 5 of whom I had met somewhere along the way. We traded stories, of course, and surprisingly not one of us saw a live moose despite all the signage along the way. The scenery along Hwy #100 and #1 was unlike anything I had seen anywhere on the journey; the very stunted evergreens, granite outcroppings and small surface "ponds" reminded me of how far north Nfld is comparatively.

St. John's is a fun city, with steep streets and walkways leading away from the harbour. The "saltbox" houses are colourful and rise up from the downtown. I had to do some pleading to get my tattoo done this afternoon but Adam at Studio Maxx fitted me in at the end of his fully booked afternoon. Thanks to Dave 3 and Jim for the design...I love it!

I totalled up my distance travelled to this point and got 6918.9 km (first computation). It was done a day at a time and was a wonderful journey. Thank you to Dave and Brenda, Pat and Adele, Jim and Ute, Carol and Dave 2 for making the experience possible. You are a great group of friends.

from Yvonne

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Postscript: The Tattoo!

We all knew when we left on this very special bicycle trip that it would forever touch our lives. But only a week or so ago did we begin to discuss any kind of permanent mark to commemorate the tour.

Today we brought closure to the trip by taking a design that David developed (with lots of input from the rest of us) to a genuine tattoo parlour, going under the needle as a group and coming out with identical tattoos that we will be pleased to show to all our friends and relations.

Clover, David and Brenda's RCMP daughter, was especially delighted that we were getting tattoos. They're great for identifying bodies, she told us. There you go. Fun for ourselves and easy on our heirs! :)

Submitted by Adele, David, Pat, Brenda, Dave 2 and Carol

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Postscript: RV Driver's Report

Always heading east, 90 -130 km a day - what a great way to see the country.

New grocery store, buying huge quantities of food that disappeared in hours - that was my daily routine.

Then, finding the next campground, a challenge because they are often not well marked, negotiating the price, another challenge, then setting up to wait for the cyclists to arrive. I set small neon cones on the road to show people where to turn in, until they were swiped. We lost three cones that way. So if the way was tricky, I would stand on the road being a human cone to wave the cyclists in.

The prettiest part of the whole trip was on the south shore of the St. Lawrence River. Several of the villages were rated in the list of the "Most beautiful towns of Quebec".

I never ceased to be amazed at what the cyclists were doing.
Submitted by Brenda.

Hi from Yvonne, Tuesday, Cape Breton Island

It was great to see that everyone arrived in Halifax in good time. I stayed in Antigonish last night, largely because the next accommodation meant 4 more hours on the bike. I plan to take the ferry to NFLD on Friday. Looking forward to Mile Zero in St. John's. Yvonne

Postscript: Pastries of Note

One of the sub-plots of our journey was a raucus search for the best cinnamon buns in country. Here is Ute's report on the best cinnamon buns (and other treats) that we encountered en route.

Pastries of note:
Here's the report for the best cinnamon buns. Greenwood, B.C. (Greenwood Bakery?), we all agree, is "Number One" - large, lots of cinnamon and raisins. Number Two - bakery, downtown in Nelson - large, lots of cinnamon and pecans. Kate's a truck stop in Hagar, Ont. (one redeeming factor for Northern Ontario). Hers were a good 2 1/2, light and cinnamony, no raisins but lots of icing. The Atlantic Provinces were a "bust", mostly biscuit type of dough, very heavy and almost tasteless.

Now on to pies. Both of these were excellent and "neck and neck". Fresh, hand picked wild blueberries 31 kms. east of White River, Ontario at H & S Family Outfitters, as well as flaky pastry. Also "number one", raspberry pie at the Petro-Canada (Acorn) restaurant across the road from Kings Landing, N.B. Light,flaky pastry as well as fresh berry filling. Also great was their coconut cream pie.

Our last sampling ws at Rob Bitar's pizza shop,Hwy 2 Elmsdale,N.S. The carrot cake, the chocolate fudge brownie and the caramel cheese cake, were reported as "excellent"!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Day 85, Aug. 18, Penthouse, Super 8 Hotel, Dartmouth, 104 km

Hey folks, we're done! We're here! We cycled from sea to sea! We are eight happy people right now. We're not sure it has sunk in yet, but we are very proud of ourselves. We are also proud of the fact that each of us cycled 7,000 km with a 100% safety record, despite the distance and especially despite the often miserable road and weather conditions. For much of the country this was the summer that didn't happen, and we were there to witness it up close and personal.

Today's ride was much easier than yesterday's, although it wasn't the ceremonial three trips around the Champs Elysees we thought it would be. The sun was shining, the wind was reasonable and the roads were relatively flat, at least until we got near the city.

Right now all eight of us are happily ensconced in this penthouse suite, a far cry from the cramped tents on wet ground we have been experiencing of late. And it is from this launching pad that we will be returning home to Victoria to reconnect with our families, friends and others.

Save the forks!!!!!
Submitted by all of us.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Day 84, Stone House Motel, Truro, 102 km.

Three drowned rats from yesterday's tough ride decided to wuss out and travel in the RV today. Good thing we did. The four who actually cycled here were assaulted by ferocious headwinds and lots of hills. They arrived exhausted but triumphant here in Truro. We, on the other hand enjoyed the sunshine out the window of the RV, saving ourselves for the final push tomorrow into Halifax.

We are seven now because Yvonne left us yesterday to travel solo to St. John's. She is very strong and is looking forward to being able to go at her own speed and for her own distance each day.

Tonight we celebrated the end of yet another province with our usual cake and one candle for each province down.

In case people are interested, the cyclists today were Ute and Jim, Adele and Pat. Congratulations to them. Submitted by Carol