Monday, 30 May 2011
After a long, LONG day cycling yesterday, I was dead on my feet and would have happily pitched my tent on the highway, but luckily Si is a bit more demanding and pushed us on for another few miles until eventually he rolled into a farmhouse gateway for another stab at negotiating the corner of a field for our tents.
A truly lovely chap called Steve not only happily offered his barn and his field but then appeared with 3 cold beers and the offer of his 'cabin' instead. So we spent a very happy and extremely comfortable night in the most delightful little house in the middle of the woods; the boys went for a swim in the river and drank beer while I curled up in my sleeping bag in the gallery bedroom. Fabulous - a big thank you to Steve and family - may your organic farm grow and prosper.
Today the Big Fat Cry Baby Monster that had been galloping behind me for a couple of days finally caught up with me on yet another horrid hill, so I had a red face and puffy eyes to add to my patches of sunburn, mozzy bites and unwashed hair - photographic evidence of me on my hols will be strictly censored. My lovely husband force-fed me cinnamon roll and gave me a hug and my lovely son insisted on burgers and fries at the next fast food joint and hey presto I was back on some sort of form. Big milestone today as we reached Wolfville so we are almost on (second) home turf and due for a day off; just back from a boozy night at Paddy's and nothing to do tomorrow except sleep, eat and swim in the pool. Glad I packed that bikini after all :-)
Saturday, 28 May 2011
It struck me today that I have absolutely the best travelling companions a girl could ask for; my husband and son have been unerringly patient, cheerful, kind and encouraging; I'm a lucky girl.
Six days cycling done - quite a few more to go... But hopefully only 2 until our next day off -woohoo!
Friday, 27 May 2011
After a fabulous day of motel living (donuts, Subway, rubbish TV, bubble baths, mascot shopping -see pic!) and a bizarre encounter with a mad shopkeeper, we hit the long road south again today. Cool, cloudy, a delightful lack of wind and gently rolling roads made it almost a pleasure to be back in the saddle again and the miles flew by without too much pain. We are now slightly ahead of schedule, having stopped in Antigonish at a very nice student cafe for lunch and then pressed on for another few miles - today we tipped just over 200 miles in total - only 350 to go!
Had to ride a couple of stretches on the main highway today which was very scary and really made me appreciate the quiet backroads we are on the rest of the time. The sun came out late afternoon so another first being able to ride with bare legs; on the downside the sun has bought out the blackflies, so we pitched our tents in a frenzy and dived inside to wait for sundown when hopefully they'll naff off. Poor old Hoss went for a dip in the river before doing the tent bit though so he's been eaten alive!
I'm not quite so comfy in my tent today as my lovely inflatable mattress died on me so I popped into Walmart and got a foam mat, which stinks and feels about as bouncy as paper. But its warm, sunny and peaceful and I don't ache as much today so I'm pretty content with life.
Wednesday, 25 May 2011
It's Tuesday and I am completely wiped out. We didn't make it Port Hood yesterday - 60 miles against a fresh wind after 2 days of mountains was too much to ask of my skinny legs. We did about 40 before deciding to try our luck with some good ol' country hospitality: 'excuse me ma'm, we're doing this ride for charity and are dead on our feet-might we camp in your field?' Blank look. 'Of course we would pay you something..?' Umm... No.
Hmph. Fortunately just up the rode we found a handy little corner in the woods and out of the wind so pitched tents and hoisted our bag of food up in the trees a safe distance from hungry bears - we haven't seen any yet but we have seen tracks, moose as well as bear.
So up and at it early this morning, hoping to make up some lost ground. The sun was shining and the wind was not so cold, but boy what it lacked in freeze factor it didn't half make up for in relentless ferocity - we actually had to pedal to keep going downhill! All very wearing so we decided to aim for around 40 miles to the Canso Causeway rather than attempt the remaining 30 miles to Antigonish. My tiny victory today, apart from endless miles battling the wind, was to not chicken out of riding across the Causeway, which is windy (of course), narrow, with BIG trucks bombing across. I raced across gripping my handlebars for dear life and rolled safely off the other side - piece of cake. A motel perched on the bay was just too tempting to resist, I had the most welcome bath of my entire life and am now tucked up in bed watching cheesy sitcoms after a hot dinner and a beer, with the promise of a foot massage from my lovely husband. Bliss.
Tuesday, 24 May 2011
Monday - this is going to be a long blog by the time I get somewhere with a phone signal! Yesterday we climbed McKenzie mountain - I made it to the top with only 2 stops at 'look off' points, and no walking-very pleased with myself. Then along the ridge through freezing wind and finally down the other side - oh and then up again, and again. By the time we hit the real descent I had frozen fingers locked on my brakes, so dug out a pair of wool socks for improvised mittens. Sadly but inevitably by the time we reached the iconic Cape Breton rollercoaster my legs did not want to play any more so I trudged up a few slopes before we finally rolled into Cheticamp and pitched our tents. A huge 'surf'n'turf dinner watching gannets dive in the bay and that was game over for me by 6pm-cue sleeping bag for me while the boys played with fire.
I feel quite guilty this morning as they both froze their butts off all night while I was warm and cozy (did I mention I am in love with my sleeping bag?).
But finally the sun is shining and although there's a cold wind we are all set for a 60 miler along the coast today to Port Hood. Pancakes, bacon and maple syrup for breakfast and away we go.