Some places make you feel right at home, even when you’re just visiting. The Maritimes are like that. Whether it’s the friendly people, the stunning shoreline, or the salty sea air, the place casts a spell on you.
It was the COWS Ice Cream and sticky buns that called to me as a kid. (They still do.) Now, it’s the thought of Peggy’s Cove and Jellybean Row that brings me back. In a way, I’m every bit as hooked as the mackerel at the end of an angler’s line in the Northumberland Strait: it’s my third trip to the Maritimes in the past year.
I started this ride with my bicycle tire dipped in the Pacific Ocean. As I write this, I’m drying off from swimming in the Atlantic. What a feeling. The journey isn’t over yet, but the finish line is getting closer and closer.
A few thoughts/stories from the past while:
1. One thing you notice a lot more of in Eastern Canada is the pride in provincial flags. New Brunswick’s red, yellow, and blue banner is everywhere, much like the blue saltire in Nova Scotia. Just as common is the Acadian flag. Name the last time you saw an Ontario flag flying from someone’s home. I’m willing to bet the next time would be the first.
2. In the span of a day, I had an egg thrown at me from a passing car (it missed), and I rode over a stretch of broken glass without getting a flat tire. In the deep recesses of my saddlebags, I must be carrying a horseshoe.
3. Speaking of luck, after seven provinces of problem-free riding, my bike’s magic run has come to an end. I had to repair the bottom bracket in Truro. Thankfully, it was a minor operation.
4. Oh, how good it feels to rest. After cycling 100km a day for the past two months, the prospect of sitting still sounds awful good these days. I’ll indulge in some longer breaks while visiting friends in Halifax and Antigonish.
Things I’ve seen:
1. Coastal cities.
From Campbellton, to Miramichi, to Halifax, I’ve covered Atlantic Canada’s coastline — leading to some of the most beautiful views on the entire trip.
2. Shades of blue.
Speaking of beautiful views…
Distance travelled: 6,500 km
Best ride: Campbellton to Bathurst, NB.