Day 77: Solitude in between Mileposts

September 8: Port aux Basque to Barachois Pond Provincial Park, 152 km in Newfoundland 

Milepost 0: ferry dock; changed my watch half hour forward; breakfast and gear sorting at Tim Hortons


Milepost 1: Provincial sign & Visitor Center 

Milepost 57: gas station 

Somewhere in between still having fun 



Milepost 61: motel where I considered staying until I saw it and thought it looked like the kind of place where serial killers find their victims

Milepost 94: steep downhill to my home for the night where I managed to talk my way into some laundry detergent and a site near a picnic shelter. Laundry done and bike stays dry. 

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Day 76: It rained and rained and rained some more

September 7: Ingonish to North Sydney, 107 km and a night ferry to Channel-Port aux Basque

I decided to have a second cup of coffee when I saw the down-pour outside. Maybe it will pass – I was hopeful. It rained last night but the morning looked ok. I wondered when I will have an opportunity to dry the tent fly. I am often thinking about the tent. Not seeing a change in weather, I decided to leave by 9 am. So It Rained. Sometimes hard. Sometimes just a drizzle. Every once in a while there would be a short break. Clouds were low and if there were any views to be enjoyed, I certainly didn’t see them. I was soaked all the way through but figured that I wouldn’t get cold as long as I kept moving. So I cycled. 

No pictures were taken until around 1 pm. I took my gloves off to give my wrinkled hands a break just before a gusty stretch to my little “short-cut” ferry. I watched the waves, kept both hands on the handlebars and was barely moving. 

This was the scariest little ferry boat ride; I had a good grip on a door handle as waves splashed over the deck and the ferry attendant casually carried on conversation. He advised me that “5 km into the wind and then you have a mountain to climb” on the other side. 

It stopped to rain briefly by the time I reached “the mountain” and I was delighted with my first sign for the Newfoundland ferry. A steep down the mountain on the other side and few more climbs to the ferry terminal in North Sydney. 
I took a picture of a cool bridge in the distance but when I finally got close, I was concerned how to get across. No signs of bikes not being allowed, in fact a “share the road” sign but no shoulder or bike lane and the wind blew so hard, that I pushed my bike across the bridge. Every time a car came by, I leaned into the railing. This was not a fun adventure. 

The ferry terminal in North Sydney is new and fancy and the town has all the expected amenities. I managed to sneak into the laundromat, before they closed, to dry my wet clothes. Grocery shopping complete and leftover pizza packed, I biked back to the terminal only to get soaked again. 

Sleeper cabins were all sold out so I paid $20 extra for a recliner in a quiet area. Curled up in my sleeping bag, earplugs in, it was like an oversized airplane seat with leg support. 

Stats: 

107 km wet and windy

A Giant grave 
End of the Trans Canada Highway 

One enormous ferry and no good place for a bicycle. The loading started over two hours prior to departure. 

Wet shoes drying 

Day 75: Earned Views 

September 6: Cheticamp to Ingonish via the Cabot Trail, 120 km / 75 mi

Every mile and every view was earned today. This has been by far the hardest day with its epic steep climbs and scary descends. But it was worth it! This scenic highway lived up to its reputation in all aspects. 



I came across a campground in the Cape Breton National Park, about 10 km before my planned destination. Wiped, I called it quits for the day. My average speed was low which left me with an hour of daylight. I cooked, got cleaned up and by 9:15 pm, I was asleep in my tiny tent. 

Stats: 

120 km / 75 mi – these road grades should be illegal

French Mountain – 6 km at 11% grade; North Mountain – 3 km at 13% grade; to name a couple that actually had signage

Glory and a recumbent loaded in the back of a pick up truck – A ride from the “follow me” car through a 2.5 km road construction zone. I reluctantly accepted and was releaved when I saw the road mess as we drove through. 

Drenched in sweat all day

Sweat dripping down my face

Day 74: The Cabot Trail 

September 5: Linwood to Cheticamp, 162 km / 101 mi 

400 km across Nova Scotia and Cape Breton Island to reach the ferry to Newfoundland and I have changed my plans three times. In the end, I have decided to ride the world famous Cabot Trail. It will mean couple extra long days before the ferry and one less day on Newfoundland. 

The Cabot Trail – “Rising from the sea and clinging to mountains, the Cabot Trail is a winding staircase that will take you from majestic ocean vistas to quiet fishing villages.” A scenic highway! 

The friendly ladies at the Cape Breton visitor center convinced me to ride the hard-packed gravel and dirt trail on the west side of the island since it’s closer to the water than the coast road and the views are better. They were right and that wasn’t even a section of the Cabot Trail. 

I met Bea at my mid-day stop at the convenience stop for some coke and Gatorade. We chatted for a while and when I came out of the washroom, she had a goodie bag of nuts and bars ready for me. Love these random acts of kindness. 

Here are some pics from today. 



I saw my riding companion, David, on and off during the day and he caught up with me, after grocery shopping, at camp. Another night of good company. 

Stats: 

162 km / 101 mi today … over 7000 km / 4300 mi since June

Cape Breton Island! Woohoo!! 


Canso Causeway connecting Cape Breton with Nova Scotia 

Beach walk 

Day 73: The recumbent 

September 4: Brookfield to Linwood, 167 km / 104 mi

The muffled sound of earplugs is effective for preventing being kept awake by your partner’s snoring but not effective for karaoke or rain and wind storm. There was not much sleep in tent site #10 last night. 

The morning rain made for a quick pack job and more sorting and organizing occurred under a covered shelter. Being alone for a day, I welcomed the chit chat with the usual Tim Hortons retiree crowd. Labor Day weekend made for quiet roads and puddles disappeared mid-day. 

I startled a cyclist resting on the side of the road but we were both obviously delighted to see each other. He immediately offered me a sweet wafery biscuit and we exchanged plans for the day and trip. We rode together to Tim Horton’s for an afternoon coffee break. 

David, my new riding partner, is on a recumbent bike but he might as well be a celebrity. People flocked to him as we came  into Timmys in Antigonish. Turns out, with a recumbent bike its like that everywhere and especially in China. This is his second trip across Canada, over a decade apart, and he has done many adventurous cycle tours. 

The trees danced in the wind and the weather continued to improve throughout the day. Nice tailwind at the end of the day. 

Beers and vegetable soup shared at camp. It’s nice to have company! 


Stats: 

167 km / 104 mi might be my longest day yet

Closed grocery store on Labor Day 

Jess’s journey home

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.

Day 72: Part IV

September 3: Halifax to Brookfield, 92 km

This story has 10 provinces and only 9 have been completed so far. There is still 1300 km of road to be cycled; a day and a half of back-tracking across Nova Scotia; Cape Breton Island (not its own province); 7 hour ferry boat ride; many more sights and smells to enjoy and stories to collect. This road ends in St. John’s, Newfoundland. 

On the road again, solo


Two more weeks of camping – the tent is going to feel huge (and quiet) without Jess 


The Bad Tan Lines Project may be finished since I am sitting at the picnic table in my down jacket and it feels like the season has changed 


Stats: 

92 km / 57 mi

The same road, cycled twice, once in each direction 

First Campground with karaoke