I write this in North Sydney, hours from boarding the ferry for Argentia, NL. In three days, I’ll arrive in St. John’s — bringing my cross-Canada trek to a close.
It’s been a long haul: two wheels, three months, and five time zones (and counting). I’ve been rain-soaked, bug-bitten, and wind-chapped. My clothes and bike have been through the ringer a few times. I suppose I have too.
On the other hand, what a journey it’s been. I’ve swum in oceans, lakes, and rivers. I’ve seen sunny days and starry nights. I’ve pedalled the width of a continent, made friends all along the way, and amassed enough stories for a lifetime.
That should be enough to make any man happy.
A few stories from the past while:
1. I’ve come across some more noteworthy town slogans in my travels. My new favourite? Stewiacke: “Halfway between the Equator and North Pole.” Tourists must be coming in droves.
2. After holding up so well for so long, my body is showing signs of weariness. I was hit with knee troubles en route to Sheet Harbour, forcing me to hitchhike the remaining 20 kilometres into town. Thankfully, I’ve had several strokes of luck. The first time, a good-natured mechanic named Ken offered me a lift without hesitation. The next day, I arrived at my host’s house in Sherbrooke — again, hampered by knee troubles — only to learn that she was making a quick trip to Antigonish that evening. Just like that, I had a ride to my best friend’s house, where I could rest and recover.
3. People in Antigonish are serious about their pizza — and fiercely loyal. I’ve learned you are either Team Wheel or Team Kenny’s — or, if you’re a renegade, Team Snappy Tomato. Choose wisely.
4. Cape Bretoners have a name for the rest of Canadians: mainlanders. The sense of hometown pride on the island is strong.
Things I’ve seen:
1. Splendid harbours.
Lunenburg is a national treasure — not to mention a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The splashes of colour along the waterfront give the town a postcard charm.
Halifax is a wonderful place in the summertime. The boardwalk bustles with life, as speedboats and ferries dance through the Halifax Harbour. You’re never far from a spectacular view.
2. Coastal cliffs.
This shot comes from a trip to Ovens Natural Park, just south of Lunenburg. The Ovens are a series of sea caves, some so large and deep that local legend tells of a man entering one and emerging on the other side of Nova Scotia.
3. Rugged wilderness.
This kind of view is surprisingly common in Nova Scotia — the two days’ ride from Halifax to Sherbrooke was brimming with them.
Distance travelled: 6,892 km
Donair sauce consumed: More than enough.