Friday, September 29, 2017

My Bike Trip to Nova Scotia, NB, coast of Maine

Day 14, Acadia to Deer Isle

Thursday June 29, 2017, 46 miles (74 km) - Total so far: 638 miles (1,028 km)

This was my official last day of riding. I won't complete the blog until I put in pics which might not be for a couple of weeks. I leave Saturday for my one-week residency at GSH island.

So today. Not a high-milage day but a toughie nevertheless. I left via the shuttle to Trenton which cut out some miles but also dropped me by the road at 10:30,which meant I missed riding during the cool of the a.m. Winds were relatively calm, but would ramp up with the heat. I got through Ellsworth, the town itself was quaint. There were also some sizeable hills. Not sure why, but I walked the bike up more today than any other day.

I was making good time and told myself I'd stop for lunch and put on sun screen in Blue Hill. Well outside of Surry I felt my back wheel to phlump. It wasn't flat yet didn't feel round. I tried to go and the brakes grabbed. Finally I pulled over and had a proper look. I'd thrown a spoke. I'd need a mechanic. On top of this I discovered I had no cell service. I got data so found a shop, in Blue Hill, but no way to call to see if they were open, viable, etc. I kept going.

At a 3-stop in Blue Hill a woman saw me checking directions. She asked where are you trying to get to. I told her, and Charlotte said put your bike on the back of my car and I'll drive you. So glad she offered, Kingdom Bikes turned out to be as far out as kingdom come. The mechanic was great, and for such an out of the way place he did great business. He certainly is the only mechanic for miles around.

After a great fix plus bathroom and water I wanted to hit it hard and get going. I'd snacked while he was fixing, so thought I'd be okay, but after three or four hills I had no steam left. My legs were shaking. I could barely keep the bike up. I had to eat. I stopped at Tasha's Amazing Food and put-putt golf. It really was a good burger. Too much, I had the rest wrapped.

Now I really had to book. On a map it doesn't look far yet it took me another 1.5 hours. My Warmshowser's host was not easy to find, plus there was a long way and a short way and I did double the long way until getting to their house.

Relaxed, in the ease of a comfy chair in a bucolic surrounding. I am here one more night.
Signing off from Merry Time.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

My Bike Trip to Nova Scotia, NB, coast of Maine

Day 13, Mainayr to Acadia Nat. Park,

Tuesday June 27, 2017, 46 miles (74 km) - Total so far: 576 miles (926 km)

So perfect. Really a great day all around. Now sitting in tent waiting for a thunderstorm.It took me about 39 miles to get here and it wasn't too bad. Some roadworks on 1 made things a little hairy. I took the turn-off for 3, and continued to the entrance info center. There I used a special phone to call around to the campgrounds. Everything inside the park was full, but I was able to secure a tent site at Bar Harbor campground for 2 nights for $68. I know, it aS much as a hostel. Overall though it is a good value. Everything is convenient, the shuttle bus, the showers, and washrooms. There's even an ocean view.

After getting settled in I took the shuttle with my bike and got on carriage trails at Hull Visitor Center. I had absolutely no idea what this would be. Let me tell you it is a dream come true. Like riding in Paradise. Tomorrow I plan to get up early catch shuttle complete a circuit and then hike Cadillac Mt.

Feeling satisfied.
Fun Day in the Park

Wednesday June 28, 2017, 17 miles (27 km) - Total so far: 592 miles (954 km)

And when I say fun, I mean it.

One thing before I begin about today. Yesterday at a gas station diner I got the special. Chop suey with garlic toast. Yes an odd combo but what came on the plate was even weirder. It was macaroni hamburger goulash. Nothing as close to exotic as chop suey.

And also about yesterday, I realize I didn't say why it was paradise on the carriage paths. These are not merely cycle paths or mult-recreational paths. These are lanes through pristine forest, by still waters, up mountains with views. It is like backpacking but without having to carry all that stuff and work all day to go 5 miles. I did 17 more miles today on paths and it was terrific. I just love it here.

After cycling I caught an island shuttle to the trailhead for Cadillac Mt. It took me under 2 hours to get to the top and it was steep. Some boulder scrambling and walking on sheets of granite. Pics will come. I caught a ride down from a couple, caught another shuttle, and headed to Bar Harbor village green for a chicken wrap. These sandwiches are so big they last me a meal plus a snack.
Then I locked the bike and caught the Sand Beach bus, got off at Thunderhole and hiked the sea trail to Otter Cliff where I caught another bus. Which was good because at that minute it began to pour. Rain.

Anyway, retrieved my bike and caught yet another shuttle back to Bar Harbor campground. I'm tired, but --wait. A man with a truck painted pink is going through the campground ringing a cow bell selling handmade pies and cakes. I bought a red velvet whoopie pie from him. So excellent. Ate it with the last bit of hot tea I made this a.m.--a thousand years ago now it seems. Off now for a HOT 25 cent shower.
carriage trail
climbing Cadillac Mountain

view from Cadillac Mountain

view from Cadillac Mountain

storm brewing

Eagle Lake

Eagle Lake

pond view

Witch hole Pond

view from Cadillac Mountain

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

My Bike Trip to Nova Scotia, NB, coast of Maine

Day 11 @ St. Brendan's

rescue donkey

Sue and Alan

Day 12, Dennysville to Steuben, Mainayr Campground

Monday June 26, 2017, 63 miles (101 km) - Total so far: 530 miles (852 km)

I'd like say today was easy, but I had to put on my game face. First, it was hard to leave St. Brendans Retreat Center also called Holy Trinity Chapel. Alan and Sue welcomed me into their home. Even the dogs started to love me. We'd sit around the table and have deep talks. There were also chores to do: goats to feed and milk, donkey pens that needed mucked out, and little baby goats that needed to be bottle fed twice a day. This a.m. I helped separate about 2 gallons of goat milk. I left with the sweet taste of cream on my lips.

I knew I had at least 60 miles to do today--and 1/2 of this is up. Nothing like my JOGLE but yet it is taxing--especially in the hot sun. Yes, there was sun. A blessing and a curse. Then I got a flat tire. I pulled over and ex a mined it and found a tack stuck in the rear tire. Off came the bags and I turned the bike over. I was a trooper, yet anxious. I'm terrible at changing tires. I did almost everything then knew I wouldn't have enough finger strength to slip the tire over the last bit of wheel rim. I had made an out of the way turn and was not on the main road, yet I went out and stood by the road and the first car that came I flagged down. It was a nice young man with his own bike on a car top carrier. He was able to manipulate the tire into place and helped me inflate to proper PSI.

For the next 20 miles I worried I'd get a second flat. I saw nails and glass everywhere.

Plus my bottom hurt. I counted down the miles to Mainayr Campground, a picturesque pearl on the banks of Joy Cove/Bay. I have a campsite that over looks the water (tide is out). There's boatloads of mosquitoes, but everything else is perfect. Having tea and cookies and watching the sunset.
Blueberry Land

Mainayr Campground

view from my tent

dusky sunset

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

My Bike Trip to Nova Scotia, NB, coast of Maine

Day 9, New River Beach to St. Stephens

Friday June 23, 2017, 40 miles (64 km) - Total so far: 428 miles (688 km)

After yesterday on route 1 I wanted to make sure I didn't have a long day in the rain. So opted to leave campground at a fairly leisurely pace. Route 1 was taken in 2 segments, to St. George's then to St. Stephens. I got to St. George's and bought a chicken pot pie right out of the oven. Nice!

The day started sunny but rather quickly faded to cloudy. I kept my orange long sleeve riding shirt on the whole time. Wind was NOT an issue so route 1 went a lot faster. Easier than yesterday going up and down the hills. It began to spit rain after lunch, but continued on route 1 to Oak Bay right outside of St. Stephens. It was 50% rain predicted for today and 80 tomorrow. So after an ice cream at Teepee dairy bar I found a hidey spot. It's still quite early, but don't mind being settled before rain comes. I'd stopped at a campground, but they wanted $31 for a tent site. This way I'm only 2.5 from a Tim Hortons and 3 from the border.

Also saw my first cycle tourists, going the opposite direction. We stopped and chatted and they have a blog on CGOAB, Too Far.

Day 10, St. Stephens to Dennysville, ME

Saturday June 24, 2017, 39 miles (63 km) - Total so far: 466 miles (751 km)

Today was about firsts. First time riding bike over a border. First time riding past 45th Parallel, and first time milking goats.

So glad I broke ride into 2 days. 80 might have been pushing it. Got here at st. Brendans Retreat Center at 11 a.m. I realised when crossing border that I went from Atlantic to Eastern time zone. Took route 1 coastal road. Very good shoulder. A delight, but some long hills. In fact there has been lots of hills this trip, yet none have felt defeating.

I'm glad to be here with my hosts Sue and Alan for a few days.

half way to north pole


hello goat

Tom Turkey

Monday, September 25, 2017

My Bike Trip to Nova Scotia, NB, coast of Maine

Day 8, Digby/St. John Ferry to New River Beach

Thursday June 22, 2017, 30 miles (48 km) - Total so far: 388 miles (624 km)

What a lovely morning, almost hot and I didn't need to be anywhere until 11. But I left early for the ferry. Probably only a handful of times I've actually been early for a ferry. The last coupe of times I've just caught it before the doors closed. Had a nice chat with a wonderful woman, age 86, touring NS with a group. We had a lot in common--opposed to the fact she was a psychoanalyst--yet we agreed: neither of us dreamed. I'm usually too tired at night.

I got onto highway 1,and let me tell you that was hectic. It is a super highway that allows bikes. There is a wide shoulder that keeps me out of the way of traffic. Yet the trucks just barreled past me making me nervous. On top of that the wind was a huge factor. I rode right into it. With the sun and the wind and riding uphill, I was constantly parched. I had to plan drink breaks because I didn't dare drink while cruising. The wind made it such that I had to gear down going downhill.

I was so happy to turn off and ride to New River Beach Provincial Park, right by the Bay of Fundy. I arrived at low tide and took a 2 hour walk exploring the exposed shoreline. Right now at 10 pm the bay is completely submerged.

Still haven't decided if I'll take an extra day here and ride into the States on Saturday. The 1 is so stressful maybe Saturday will be less traffic. On the other hand it's a lot of miles on 1 and maybe I can break it up by riding to St. George tomorrow and rough camping. Rain is also in the forecast.

clear seas ahead

exposed rock, Bay of Fundy

exposed rock, Bay of Fundy

exposed rock, Bay of Fundy

wide beach, Bay of Fundy

wide beach, Bay of Fundy

Friday, September 22, 2017

My Bike Trip to Nova Scotia, NB, coast of Maine

Day 7, Yarmouth to Digby

Wednesday June 21, 2017, 68 miles (109 km) - Total so far: 358 miles (575 km)

Last night my motel room was a drying factory. There was so much--even if it wasn't wet it was damp. I aired out my sleeping bag and all the contents of my handlebar bag. It literally took all night for my riding shoes to dry. Every surface was scattered with items in various degrees of wetness.A couple of times I opened the door wondering if I was just being a baby and each time the wind and rain confirmed my instinct to stop.

This a.m. there was no fog. No rain. Nothing but sunshine and birdsong. The motel offered a continental breakfast and the clerk insisted I take extra for the road. I did.

Now let me say today was one of those days, so perfect, that it makes you love riding. You can ride and ride forever. There was sun and some clouds, low humidity, not a lot of traffic. Wind at my back. I cycled uphill like a pro. I didn't get lost or have to worry about making my destination.

I stopped at Church Point in Acadia country to tour the largest wooden church in North America. There were 2 other churches and will add them here later. St. Alphonse, St. Bernard, and Eglise Sacre Coeur.

A beautiful ride past St. Mary's Cape and on up the Evangeline Trail/route 1. Really a perfect ride. I got on 101 which doesn't have a lot of berm. But, again, traffic was courteous. I stopped for a blueberry and cream ice cream about 6 miles out of Digby. I'm staying the night at Digby campground about 2 miles from ferry.
camping Digby Campground

Saint-Alphonse de Clare Church, near Mavillette
Sacre Coeur Catholic Church, near Saulnierville
Church Point, I saw the spires a mile away, biggest wooden church in North America
St. Mary's Church, which is located on the campus of Université Sainte-Anne, was constructed between 1903 and 1905 in the form of a cross 58 m (190 ft.) long and 41 m (135 ft.) wide and the spire rises and impressive 56 m (185 ft.) above the surrounding countryside.

St. Bernard

working fishing/canning port

Thursday, September 21, 2017

My Bike Trip to Nova Scotia, NB, coast of Maine

Day 6, Yarmouth, Lakelawn Motel

Tuesday June 20, 2017, 18 miles (30 km) - Total so far: 290 miles (466 km)

Well, I didn't get very far. I packed up dry--yet everything felt damp. The humidity. The first 13 miles were great though windy. I took a great pic(to come) of St. Anne's church and the interior of a Baptist one. It was the first time I'd actually seen one open. Even Sunday they all looked dead. After coming out of the church I noticed it was spritzing, not even half a mile down the road it was raining so I put on poncho.

I crossed several causeways to get into Yarmouth. The wind was pushing me off the road. It was scary and my poncho was ballooning. I finally made it to a Tim Horton's, my life raft. I had them fill my thermos and ate a sandwich. All the while I was checking warmshowers and CouchSurfing, looking for a host. At one point the rain came down so hard the hardy lobstermen inside commented on it. Meanwhile I'm in soaking wet clothes, squishy shoes, wondering what to do.

I got back on the bike. It would only be 17 miles to a provincial park and the wind should be in my favor. Then I saw the cutest little motel with gingerbread details and I stopped and asked how much. Silly question: I was prepared to pay almost anything. I've been carrying underwear for 2 days hoping to dry them. Lakelawn Motel is an oasis. I plan to give them a great review. With tax it came to $139.15, let's hope there's a good exchange rate.

So now after an excellent HOT shower and a chance to clean clothes, I'm snug, things are drying and airing out around me. There's TV and Wi-Fi and my thermos is full of tea. Life is good. Tomorrow I hope to make it to Digby in if not sunshine then at least not a hurricane.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

My Bike Trip to Nova Scotia, NB, coast of Maine

Day 5, Shelburne to Argyle Historic Anglican church

Monday June 19, 2017, 60 miles (97 km) - Total so far: 271 miles (436 km)

Yesterday it wasn't just cloudy but cloud-bearing, and at the last moment there was a cloud burst. The air was saturated. The same thing today plus strong winds. Throw in occasional fog.

I left the campsite about 8:30. Very relaxed. The night before I'd stayed up with Jerry and Wendy the campground host's talking around the fire. Lovely people, and so good to talk and hang out.

I hit the 103, and hated it the whole way into Barrington, which was nothing but a cluster of museums. The visitor centre was very helpful and directed me to a place where I ate lunch. The wind was against me the whole way. But after I left the wind pushed me 30 more miles. I knew I couldn't make Yarmouth, maybe I could, but with the fog rolling in I thought better of it. I just didn't want to be stuck with fog and low energy during rush hour traffic. Tomorrow it's supposed to rain all day, so basically all I wanted to accomplish was setting myself up for a short ride tomorrow to a campground where I could possibly dry some clothes. We'll see.

Anyway, I stopped at just 60 miles at a beautiful clapboard Anglican church in Argyle. The graveyard was established in 1790. I'm in a fantastically beautiful spot. I am perched here awaiting the rain.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

My Bike Trip to Nova Scotia, NB, coast of Maine

Day 4, Rest in peace, Liverpool to Shelburne

Sunday June 18, 2017, 62 miles (100 km) - Total so far: 211 miles (340 km)

Maybe not so much in peace. The winds picked up and it rained hard. I needed a strategy for keeping things dry. It's hard to set up in the rain, load in in the rain, and then decide what do do with the soaking wet clothes. Above all I needed to keep the sleeping bag from getting wet in all my manoeuvring. Also must sacrifice having wet socks on until last possible moment. Between the day before and the ride yesterday I had 2 pairs wet socks and only 2 dry ones left. I had to save one for sleeping in.

The rain pants were a joke. I put them on because I needed something for running to bathroom in and they were dry. But in the night the coating came off on my skin and the seam seal tape came apart.
I might need to find a laundromat for a dryer. I rode today in my spare bike shorts and they simply do not have the padding. They're pretty worn.

So the weather: the sun only came out once. It was overcast, humid, and at one point misty. So I couldn't even dry stuff I'd attached to the back of the bike.

I started at Tim Horton's where a gaggle of geezers gave me route advise. I rode route 3 into Port Mouton (Moo-ton). Where I bought a home baked good from the craft/hostel. Wish I had ridden 13 miles more to get there, but with the rain and dusk-like visibility, it couldn't happen. I then got on the 103. Shoulder was generous and traffic wasn't much and they were courteous. I got off at Sable River, actually I wanted to keep going on 103 and save time. I even rode up a huge hill, but the shoulder disappeared and the speed limit went up to 70. I turned around and did route 3 into Lockport, Jordan Falls, etc. I stopped at a picnic spot and ate and 15 miles later stopped again for fried paddock and fries. Only 4.95!

I made it to Shelburne--in a passing shower, and to The Islands provincial park. This place is beautiful. Very special and peaceful. I love it here. I took a HOT shower and can stay I side office and grab WiFi. Perfect.

Now just hoping stuff can start to dry out.

The Islands Provincial Park