September 3 and 4
Shortly after my rockstar ride partner Irena rolled away from the hostel in Halifax I loaded up and rode to cyclesmith bike shop. I had called a week earlier to set up the boxing day and was instructed to be the first one in the shop at 11. At 10:45 I watched all the employees check in the back door before they held the front door open for me at 11.
Sue planned to meet me there. Sue lives on Cape Breton and offered to visit and assist with my departure from Nova Scotia since her parents and childhood town is near the airport. I met Sue three summers ago when she served s the awesome adult chaperone for the arctic Girl Guides trip I lead.
It was swell to catch up with her and her husband Basil for a lovely lunch, a needed nap, and then a special dinner of homemade seafood chowder, fresh salad (with maple vinaigrette), and oat cakes with ice cream. Oat cakes started appearing on the menu at Timmy’s in New Brunswick, and Irena and I had some there and from the bakery in Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia. These Sue offered, with vanilla ice cream, were delicious. She explained that 50 years ago, every home in Nova Scotia made them and it was always on offer with tea or coffee when visitors came by. A local treat.
Very early Monday morning, we wrapped my bike box in a tarp, secured it in the bed of the truck, and drove to the airport, runway lights bright in the dark.
And then, by the miracle of flight, what had taken me 71 days to cross, zipped backward under my wing. A stop in Calagary, and then on to my emerald city, cloaked in a smoky haze from nearby fires. The west was hot and dry this summer and it was a shock. Seattle will be 34 °C Tuesday.
The kindness of strangers to bike travelers continued in town as some fellow Seattlites helped me to light rail on both ends.
I met my neighbor/friend at my station for the last leg home. His girls made me welcome signs for both my doors.
And my driveway neighbors/friends invited me to join them for dinner in the back yard: grilled fish, and veggies, wine, stories of mutual travel and wonder. My subletters, she told me, were great, the little boys from Oslo saying “they were borrowing my house and staying only a bittle lit”
The sun burned red. I climbed into my bed as the moon glowed red.
I am home.