Well, here we are, two weeks removed from our ride finale and it is finally time to wrap things up with … the Ride Wrap-Up. Here, I’ll be covering some highlights, summarizing my trip with a few lists, and featuring a few fun details (interesting tidbits if you will) that I may or may not have covered already. So without further ado, let’s get on with the show…
The lost blog
On August 7th, I arrived in New Brunswick after a short ride from Cabano, Quebec. But did anyone hear about it … apparently not. I actually had plenty of time to write a blog entry, so what gives? Well, actually, I did write my daily story, complete with an interesting tidbit and tune of the day. However, it looks like instead of sending it to my blog, I sent it … to myself. Yes, since I composed most of my entries by using the previous day’s email, this time around, I forgot to change the To: address, and sent it only to myself. Oh well, if you’re interested, Day 13 is now available for your reading pleasure.
Also, in a similar mishap, when I was in Saint John, I tried to post an obscure little joke and I accidentally re-sent the entirety of one of my previous entries. It has since been corrected, but does anyone know why the hell I was referring to a blackhole? (Hint: it has to do with something mentioned on Day 17)
The tunes over a long, long way …
See the breakdown of my 2240 km trek on my stats page, and the Great Canadian Ride’s Greatest Hits on my tunes page.
Man’s best friend
Es-tu Brutus? Apparently, this title should not extend to include Man with Bicycle. Yes, for some reason, there is some unexplained animosity that dogs feel towards cyclists. As previously reported, on Day 14, I was chased by three dogs along Route 105 in New Brunswick. The first was small, but rather nasty, the second was very large and rather quick, and the last was at least obedient, as he did pretty much stop in his tracks when I scolded him with a stern “No!“. And it didn’t end there, one chased me the next day, and between St John and Sussex on Day 19, a pair came at me from across the street to greet me. So, all you cyclists out there, take heed and BEWARE OF DOG … at least while you’re in New Brunswick (it didn’t happen anywhere else).
Though everything would work out very well in the end, there were definitely some tough going and obstacles along the way. Here are the toughest days of the ride:
3) Day 21 – Sackville to Charlottetown
This was supposed to be an easy charge into PEI, but any day with 4 flat tires cannot be considered easy. Had Tooby, my last patched-up inner tube, not been able to hold up over the last half of the day, this might’ve been the toughest day, but thankfully, after a tough morning was over, things worked out OK.
2) Day 12 – St-Denis to Cabano
The first part of the day started off with one of the stiffest winds I’d ever had to ride into. Then as I hit some of the trails of la Route Verte, I was struck with two flat tires. As it was already getting dark when I got hit the second flat tire, I didn’t bother patching it up and walked the last 5km to Cabano. Over this last bit, the mosquitoes happily feasted on my granola bar-enriched blood.
1) Day 1 – Toronto to Cobourg
Yep, Day 1 was the toughest. I only had around four hours sleep the night before, and it poured for a good 2 hours during the afternoon. I also had to deal with a fairly complicated route through the GTA and accomodation issues as I didn’t end up quite as far as I expected. When I finally made it to my room at the Comfort Inn in Cobourg, I laid out on the floor for a good half hour before going to get a sandwich at Tim Horton’s. I was completely wiped!
I ate pretty well over the trip. Though I did have some nice meals at a few fancy restaurants along the way, as you might imagine I did subsist primarily off of convenience store food and yes, you guessed it Tim Horton’s. By my count, I had 12 meals at Tim’s and got several of my snacks from there as well. Actually at one point in New Brunswick, it looks as though I had 5 meals in a row there. A couple of times I had dinner there and also bought breakfast and lunch for the next day (not having to depend on places along the way made things a lot easier). Quite honestly, I probably would have ate there several more times had I been able to find more – they aren’t quite as ubiquitous as you might think, especially along minor highways with less traffic. Also, it looks like I averaged one Nutri-Grain bar and one granola bar a day. This also might’ve been greater had I not supplemented my intake with rice krispie squares, brownies and not surprisingly, goodies from Tim Horton’s. Oh, and don’t worry healthy-eaters, I bought as many Granny Smith apples as I could carry along the way to keep my fruit intake up.
Wherever I went, everyone was helpful and friendly. Marcel in Cabano drove me to the hardware store so I could pick up some inner tubes after a tough day of flat tires. Drivers in PEI would stop along the highway so I could cross the road … even when I wasn’t planning on crossing in the first place. And, Paul and Françoise of St-Denis didn’t seem to think twice when they offered up their backyard as a makeshift campsite when my original plans went awry. I suppose one should expect this in a great place like Canada, but it was certainly nice to experience it first hand — over and over again.
Finally, in case you are the type that likes the abridged version, here are the highlights, one day at a time …
Day 1 – Made it through downpour and mud to ride a respectable distance
Day 2 – Longest ride of the trip, made it 204 km past Picton and Kingston
Day 3 – Nice day’s ride and visited Fort Wellington in Prescott
Day 4 – My own cycling escort into Montreal and arrived to see my hosts Robin and François
Day 5 – Spent some time with my friend Rich, and took in a little Tennis at the Rogers Cup
Day 6 – Confusing day through Longueuil but arrived safely in Granby
Day 7 – Short but hilly day towards really great campsite at Parc du Mont Orford
Day 8 – Long tough ride, but nice scenery on the way to Victoriaville
Day 9 – Arrived in Quebec City and enjoyed the sights and my ride on the bus with the friendly Québecois
Day 10 – A nice day off in Quebec City to see the sights (including my grandfather’s paintings at le Musée al des Beaux-Arts)
Day 11 – A tough windy day ending with a campout on Françoise and Paul’s backyard
Day 12 – A couple of flat tires leads to a final walk towards Cabano
Day 13 – Short ride into New Brunswick and a pleasant stay at a cool hotel in Edmundston
Day 14 – After being chased by dogs, a long day’s work ends at the longest covered bridge in the world in Hartland
Day 15 – Past the biggest Axe in the world in Nackawic and over the biggest hills of the trip to arrive in Fredericton
Day 16 – Fredericton has some great sites and is … ridiculously nice
Day 17 – Over the hills of the peninsula to arrive to a lovely stay in Rothesay with the Fitzgeralds
Day 18 – A day off in Saint John highlighted by a tour of Moosehead brewery and a nice dinner out
Day 19 – More hills pays off with a great stay at Fundy National Park where I see the ocean floor
Day 20 – A tough ride around Shepody Bay but arrived in funky Sackville, home of Mount Allison University
Day 21 – Four flat tires pose no match for me and Tooby as we made our way into Charlottetown
Day 22 – Founder’s Hall and a PEI must, Anne of Green Gables – The Musical
Day 23 – A fun trip to Avonlea and seeing the ocean at PEI National Park
Day 24 – A final trip to Province House, a walk around Charlottetown, and flight 8859 brings me Home Sweet Home