We woke up in our comfy camper bed on our last morning! We were pretty excited - one because it rained heavily the night before and we were bone dry! (he he) and two, because... we would dip our front tires in the Atlantic ocean today - just like we had dipped our back tires in the Pacific Ocean, two months before...
Charles, Car and I had our best day of riding this trip! We maintained our 30km/hr average for the first 85km or so. We were driven by adrenaline, by the completion of a dream, and by... two cyclists who were in dire need of being humbled by a girl on a heavy tourning bike ... and two guys who I guess, seemed to look slower then they really are!
We made up for the overly confident (not so nice) duo, when we met an older gentlemen who was training for a bike race in Italy. He generously went off his course to show us how to get to Dartmouth Crossing ~ (bikers helping bikers)!
Shawna Ray ~ my sister ~ accompanies us to the "finish line" ... :o) Across Canada Accomplished!
After a yummy breakfast of fruit and yogurt, we decided to ride straight to Dartmouth where we would meet Martha for lunch at Jack Astor's. Carlin and I would then load our bikes back up with the panniers and ride the last 13km with my sister!
After lunch at Jack Astor's we met up with Shawna close to her home! She was our own personal tour guide and she lead us (12km) through the city to Pleasant Point Park! We finished our cross Canada cycling tour with her by our side! What an incredible feeling!
Our finish line...
We had a fantastic morning ride - (about 60km), when we met Martha and the RV, about half way to Trulo. We climbed into the camper and happily colaspsed onto the comfy cushioned benches around the table. Before we knew it, Martha was pulling out Brie cheese, Goat cheese, Harvarti cheese, a baquette and even chicken! YUM!
The afternoon ride was amazing. Fast, smooth, and sunny! We couldn't believe this was our second last day....
Tomorrow would be our last day of this grand journey. We were less then 100km from our finish line, when Martha and Charles thought that this was something to celebrate!
We reconnected with Martha and Charles this-morning at the campground in Amherst where they spent the night in the Camper.
Within moments, Martha had offered us some peaches and gave me her road bike and cycling shoes ~ (my goodness it doesn't take them long to get back in the role of giving!)
We arrived in Trulo where we met Martha at the campground. She was prepared once again!
Above: Charles and Carlin with Cohog Dip and Richards Red!
Left: Martha making our bed in the camper! YAY no more tent!
... and they certainly know how to celebrate! We had an incredible dinner ~ (T-bone steak,
sweet potatoe, salad and of course... red wine!)
Charles and Carlin (early morning ride!)
Stopped to have a look at the Payie de la Sagourine in Bouctouche N.B. (Acadian Historic Site)
Oh no! This lobster is getting revenge!
Nikki and Wayne fed us delicious Vegan meals and snacks, with the fresh ingredients from their impressive garden. We felt at home amongst their pets - (two birds, a cat and a dog)! We even got to try out their Tandem!
We started out in the rain. We didn't know what to expect of one another's speed, strength or cycling ability ~ (besides that Car and I made it across Canada and Charles rides 60km every morning with an average of 30km/hour) ....!
It turned out that we were perfect riding partners. Charles is an amazing cyclist - so strong and could lead against the wind all day. He pushed us to our limits as he increased our average riding speed on the uphills - he glided effortlessly dispite the length or steepness of the hill!
Without our gear, Carlin was super fast and his strength was incredible. He wouldn't miss a beat, always seemed to pull out a burst of energy when needed and would get us into a great pace by starting in the lead with a quick 28-30 km/hour.
.... I just held in there!
We rode straight for 77km the first morning, averaging 28.9 km/hour. Charles and Martha had a golf tournament, so Carlin and I carried on to Amherst where we had another warm shower.
We were so used to following Charles and not having to think about where we were going, that we rode another 30km before we realized that we had gone in the completely wrong direction!
Well... everything happens for a reason. Our 150km day may have turned into a 190km day, but it gave us an opportunity to have some great conversations and reminded us how lucky we are to have one another.
It rained all day, but you can't get any more wet once your soaked, and it was warm so we didn't mind the rain!
Muffy & Zane surprised us in Shediac and we stood in the rain and caught up as much as possible within our hour or so visit. We realized how much we miss them - (and our other friends and family too)!
Despite the detour, we still made it to our warm shower location by 4pm and had
a warm welcome, a warm shower, a warm meal and a warm conversation with Nikki and Wayne!
Summer Salad and Pad Thai (in a pineapple bowl!)
Mirimichi Theater with Martha & Charles!
The second night we made brushetta, stuffed mushrooms, stuffed peppers, and chicken skewers with Carlin's famous peanut sauce.
We really enjoy the company of Charles and Martha so we were thrilled when they told us that had some time off work and Charles was going to ride with us and Martha was gonig to follow us in their camper... all the way to Halifax!!!
We got a good night sleep so we could get an early start! Bacon & eggs at 6am - on the road at 6:30am!
Wow. What an amazing last two days. We slept in a woke up feeling clean, rested and recharged.
We got all of our gear cleaned and organized and then we relaxed and watched an episode of Wild on NetFlix!
Charles and Martha left us the keys to thier truck and even grocery money! Ha ha (see what I mean by givers?). We drove to the store and got some supplies for dinner!
It was Martha and Charles anniversary the night they agreed to host us and make us lobster dinner. So we wanted to make them a nice meal (and our famous Carrot Cake dessert!)
We were more then happy to prepare dinner for Martha and Charles so it was warm and ready when they walked in the door from work.
We made summer salad & Pad Thai. After dinner we all enjoyed a big piece of carrot cake. Then we jumped in the car to make it to Miramichi in time for a MOVIE! They took us to the Empire Movie theater to see the movie Lawless!
This is where the "wrestling for the right to pay" began... Charles wouldn't let us pay for the movie (but I was able to sneak $30 into the pocket of his shorts while Carlin distracted him at the self-serve ticket machine).
They think of EVERYTHING!
When we started biking from Miramichi this morning, we were excited to meet our warm shower hosts, to have a warm shower, and to do laundry...!
But we had NO IDEA what was in store for us for not 1, not 2, but 3 days and nights at Charles and Marthe's house!
We were early to arrive, so we were relaxing on Charles and Marthe's beautiful porch over looking the river when they pulled into their driveway ...
Martha & Charles (with INCREDIBLE wine!)
Our Bedroom (complete with Bath Robes!)
Playing with the uni-cycle!
We were told to make ourselves completely at home while they took a quick ride on the Harley!
We showered, put in a load of laundry and relaxed.
Charles on his Harley!
Back at the house, Carlin and Charles took the Porche to go and pick up the 12 Lobster ~ (fresh off the boat!) and Marthe and I took the car to pick up some french fries and coleslaw!
Charles and Marthe are professional Lobster
consumers ~ (they even have their own Lobster cooker thingy)!
What a treat. We have never had Lobster like this. Home cooked, fresh, and delicious!
We also comsumed the most fabulous bottles of red wine that we have ever had tasted ~ (now these two, know how to live life).
Carlin completely focused on how GOOD his lobster is
Carlin chasing Seagulls at the start of our ride
Charles and Marthe own a pharmacy in St. Louis De-Kent; they are both pharmacists there. Fortunately for us, they had the afternoon off! They drove into their driveway honking the horn and we knew right away that these people were full of life!!
After quick introductions we were brought into their home like life-long friends or family! Before we knew it, our bellies were full of delicious lasagna and garlic toast and we were having a tour of their gorgeous home...!
Relaxing while watching Netflix after a shower!
Charles and Marthe don't miss a beat; upon their return, we were in the car on a tour of Kouchibouguac National Park and on a beautiful walk on the sand dunes along the ocean.
As we watched the lobster ships come in, Charles offered to make us fresh lobster for dinner! At this point, we thought we must be dreaming...!
They took us to the Ocean!
We were here!
We got to cook them ourselves!
Oh my goodness!
What an incredible day! When we were asked to stick around for another day...
how could we resist?! I can't wait for tomorrow! :)
One COLD morning (4 degrees)!
Today we lost an hour as we crossed into a new time-zone... but this didn't discourage us... we were like wild wolves tracking a scent... nothing could slow us down or encouraged us to fall short of our destination... not tonight... for tonight was movie night!
We rolled into Miramichi at 5:00 (just in time to stop off at bulk barn for some healthy snacks!) We grabbed subway for dinner and headed for the 6:00 showing of The Campaign. Hilarious!
We slept behind the movie theater where we had night cut flat grass down by the river! Beautiful!
We shivered into conciousness to find frost forming on the outside of our sleeping bags. For me this was one BIG motivation to get cycling as soon as possible... I think Carlin was quite content curled up with only his nose exposed out of the mummy bag... until I remined him that we were in the middle the town of Jaquet River (beside a very visable pavilion just off of main street) and people were surely going to walk/bike/run/drive by us at anytime.
So we wrestled to get into our stinky clothes while remaining in the warmth of our sleeping bags, and then quickly and smoothly (as if it were our 50th+ time doing it) we packed up, ate breakfast and were on our way!
My view from the picture on the right
It certainly helps that today was absolutely spectacular. I will let the pictures speak for themselves!
We entered New Brunswick today and are happier then ever that we took the longer northern route to get here. It felt like we were back in the mountains of B.C. We followed the river up and down a curving road through the rolling hills of N.B.
Tonight the temperature dropped to 5 degrees by 8pm. We were so cold that I ate dinner in my sleeping bag. But tonight was one of my most memorable nights. We made a great meal
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What a change in perspective the sun can make.
When I reflect over the last few days, I do not recall them the same way I described in my previous blogs. Instead, my mind has chosen to hold onto memories of the flat, smooth bike paths that hugged the powerful St. Lawrence River. These well maintained trails were mingled with shared vehicle/bicycle streets (max 50km/hr), which brought us close and personal to the Atlantic Ocean for the first time in our lives. I bring back images of quant little towns each with one or more massive churches. Last but certainly not least, I remember the people. The kind conversations we had through our broken French, (complimented by our descriptive body language)! So like most trips I've been privileged to experience, it is the positive experiences that stick with you!! :o)
Cooking with all my warm gear on (even my helmet and gloves!) The waterbottles are to block the wind!
Deb, Car, Tereza & Irene
Another windy, cold, dark day made it hard to leave the comfort of the hostel. But alas it is our chosen holiday (and I would not change one thing for the world)... okay maybe a little sun would be nice!
We travelled HWY 132 for hours before making our first rest stop (60km into our day)! Carlin was a machine and was afraid a rest would effect his turbo legs. I on the other hand, believed that a lack of rest would surely make my legs fall off or explode! (Neither of which I was willing to chance!)
We stopped at a "Metro" in a mall and once sitting down on one of the mall's center benches, we realized how hungry we were. We sat in silence, consumed by the food we were consuming!
Going back outside, reminded us of the warmth and comfort of the inside. ... not pleasant. But once out, we were smiling at the incredible views we were seeing for the first time in our lives.
We arrived in Rimouski around 3pm and of course checked out the local movie theater - all in French, so we decided to get some late lunch and play some more cards in a near by cafe (to keep warm and dry for a while)! We knew we were going to have to start thinking about finding a place to spend the night, so we headed out into the rain and down to the Information Center.
We noticed 2 more touring bikes (loaded with panniers), so we excitedly entered the Info Center scanning and smelling for people of our kind. I was thrilled to see two chicks with bike shorts and approached them with my fingers crossed that they spoke English! YAY they did!
Tereza & Irene were touring from Montreal to Rimouski. They hooked up by couchsurfer.com and it turned out that they live only a few hours from one another back in Eastern Europe! (Too cool.)
After speaking with them briefly, we noticed that they may also be looking for a place to stay. We already knew that the closest campground was 6km East and the local Hostel was $29 per person; we suggested that we all split a cheap motel room. I called the closest one and for $76 we got a room with 2 double beds, free internet, TV, long-distance, and breakfast! The weather report says 70% chance of thunder-storms so the 4 of us agreed YES to the motel room!
After getting warm and dry we ventured to the near-by grocery store and had dinner in bed while making fun of Romney's speech. What a great night with two great, new friends!
Staying warm while making B-fast!
A cold, windy but BEAUTIFUL day
Our warm, dry hostel room!
Brrr... the wind blew a fraud breeze from the North... best to stay bundled in our sleeping bags!
We finally got the courage to emerge from our tent around 8am ~ (either courage or the intense need to pee)! It was too cold to fool around, so we got on the road and decided we would cook one of our dry meals for breakfast.
After about 40km of riding in wind, we found a church and a public picnic bench overlooking the river. We brushed off frustration, (from being tired of cold, overcast, windy days) and reminded ourselves to be happy to have found a spot to unwind. We were hungry and in need of shelter from the wind.
We bundled up and started cooking, but neither one of us felt satisfied from this so-called rest. We were on double duty trying to keep the food from being blown off the table and to keep the camp stove lit (as the wind persisted, blowing it out - again and again). Dried eggs from a bag just never quite taste the same and our bodies fought to stay warm... I growled and our eyes met across the table and we began to laugh at the situation. We decided the best place for us was on the road. We got back to it with dreams of sunshine and westerlies.
We were 10km outside of Riviere-Du-Loup and we both were about to fall over. The weather had worsened and the skies not only threatened to pour down, but began to. We started to discuss where we would find shelter and longed for our hotel room in Quebec City!
We made it! As we climbed the last hill into the city we saw a Walmart and I went straight for it! I needed to get changed into warm, dry clothes and just to be indoors was heavenly. We picked up some supplies (more toothpaste and some snacks) then headed to Subway! We were happy to hang out and wait out the rain in Subway... it was only after we ran out of 2-player card games, (Rummy, Go-Fish, Crazy 8s), that we decided it was time to make a plan.
I liked our new plan! It involved a shower, free breakfast, and a bed! We stayed at the HI (international) hostel in Riviere Du-Loup. We had warm showers and then snuggled on the couch and watched Americas Got Talent! Ha-ha. It is amazing how much we take warm and dry places, for granted.