Monday, September 27, 2010

Ripley Fall Fair

Saturday September25th, 2010

Shelly and I made the quick drive over to Ripley to check out their fall fair.  Despite it rainning off and on and being a tad cool, it was really fun.  There were lots of people watching the parade and then most filed into the arena area to check out the exhibits. 
There were lots of animals.  All kinds of different poultry and duck varieties.  There were lots of goats, sheep, and cattle being shown by 4-H members, and there were plenty of horses in different competitions. 

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Recap and Final Thoughts

I had a super terrific trip and was so happy I did it. 

The toughest part was fighting through the weather.  I learned if you start the day dry, you can get 6 or 7 hours in and still stay mostly dry if you are dress correctly and it isn't that bad.  But if you start the day wet, you are screwed.  It is also tough to keep going when you are cold.  You just can't shake the bone chilling numbness in your hands especially.  Those things are tough.

Having the right equipment is so important for these long trips.  Especially in the clothing end.  The weather changes so much.  Being too hot is just as uncomfortable as well.  So I can't say enough about trying to have a good mix of clothing for these long hauls.  Bring it anyway....

The bike was awesome, awesome, awesome.  It gave me no problems, except for the heated grips of course.  It just ate up the gravel and it also does a dam fine job of the slab as well.  The big difference is having solid tires though.  I just couldn't imagine what, you know, regular highway tires would look like after 300 km on the gravel., let alone the 1000 plus I was on it.  Get good tires and make sure the bike has had a bit of a tune up before going on such a journey.

The best part was the day to day victories.  Everyday presented me with a victory, no matter how cold or wet I was.  Victories included reaching a certain destination or seeing someone.  I really focussed on riding for the moment.  I didn't get too caught up in tomorrow or a few days from now, rather I was concentrating on just riding for the here and now.  This was really beneficial in my opinion.

As far as other highlights, it was really special to visit all of the people I got to see.  Unbelievable.  I still find it a bit unreal I have so many friends on the road.  It was great to see my friends.

Seeing the changing landscape was also pretty cool.

I am also pretty happy that I made it all of those kilometres safe, sound, and back to that sweet baby of mine Shelly.  That is obviously the most important victory.

So ya = All is great at home; I know it is where the heart is.  I am in no big rush to push off any day soon, however......

Home Sweet Home

Day 18 Friday September 24th, 2010

Guelph, ON - Goderich, ON

Total Km –170 km (7439km)
Litres of Gas – 0L (405L)
Cost of Gas - $0 ($452.50)
Hotel - $0 ($463, 5 nights)
Camping - $0 ($15, 3 nights)
Ferry - $0 ($244.50, 3 crossings)
Running – 0 km (88 km – 15 runs)
Toll Roads - $0 ($7.00 – 2 tolls)

This would be the final ride in this chapter of the story.  But the story will continue...  I would be in no rush to get back to town, so Teresa and I walked the two kids to school and I leisurely packed up my belongings and headed across town to the Wright's.  One final freebie on the trip would include a breakfast with my other dear friend and his family in Guelph.

By 11:45 I was finally on Highway 86 west taking me through Elmira, Listowel, and Brussels.  I thought it would be fine to stop in on the wonderful Brookside teachers.  Time heals a lot of wounds, and perhaps they (Susan!) wouldn't be so angry at me today and will greet me more kindly.  Sure enough.  It was great to see the staff today and the school year seems to be going swimmingly well for everyone.  I'll be back.

The first person I saw when I got home.

I was home sweet home by 2:00.  I started to unpack and I was opening up my panniers I hadn't had open in a few days.  Sure enough more mess.  Two cans of beer had exploded in my top case and left a stinky mess.  Oh well.  Everything went straight to the washing machine and down in the basement to get cleaned.  I had a quick cleaning up myself and was off walking over to see Shelly at work by 3:00.

And that is about it....  I was so glad to finally get over and see Shelly. 

Friday, September 24, 2010

Day 17

Thursday September 23rd, 2010

Toronto, ON - Guelph

Total Km –140 km (7269km)
Litres of Gas – 16L (405L)
Cost of Gas - $18 ($452.50)
Hotel - $0 ($463, 5 nights)
Camping - $0 ($15, 3 nights)
Ferry - $0 ($244.50, 3 crossings)
Running – 5km + 4km (88 km – 15 runs)
Toll Roads - $0 ($7.00 – 2 tolls)

Kites and I made our way downtown to a memorial site which honours police officers who have been killed in the line of duty. A running relay of 460 km was to start at 9:00, taking the participants from Toronto to Ottawa. Two of Goderich's finest, Stephen Beasley and Paul Dobos where there to run. They were part of a team of 12 other police officers. There were perhaps 20 teams in all. I know this Stephen feller pretty well, and I know Paul a bit too. So I thought since I was in Toronto it would be good to see them off on their journey. Good luck guys!

I wheeled out of Kiteley's and onto the Gardiner Expressway. The land's topography is very interesting in this part of Toronto. In case any of you are not aware....

First there is a good mix of industry and housing. The land is generally flat, but there has been no attempt to farm it. None at all. There isn't too many trees either. Most of the area is full of concrete and cement. The housing units probably span a few hundred feet high, while the industrious buildings are of a “bungalow” shape in nature. Everything is so close together here. Also, in case you didn't know, there are copious amounts of cars and trucks. All are mostly singularly occupied and getting no where fast.

I made a good attempt to read and pay attention to the vanity license plates I saw today. There was WASTD, TOODLES, and PLAYR. I saw a GRAMPS, VETRN, PETERS, SARAHS 40, and DR SKY. The most ridiculous ones though were attached to some of the most expensive cars on the road today. For example the plate BMW X5 was clinging to a, you guessed it, BMW x5, and the 50 something guy who undoubtedly looked like he was going through a mid life crisis had SL500 plated to his, how original, Mercedes SL 500 convertible.

And while I am thinking about it – I saw a few funny bumper stickers on the road too. The one that sticks out was ITHICA IS GORGES. But HONK IF YOU'RE HORNY made me grin the most. You get it? You honk a car horn!!!! Or was it Shelly I was thinking of..... Yes, it was Shelly. I remember now.

Anyhow I stopped in Burlington by noon to drop in on a great guy named Jordan Closs. He is just doing the good-dad-thing and taking a few months off with his one year old son while his wife is at work. Jordan is a pharmacist, so I knew if anybody could prescribe a good lotion for saddle sores, he'd be the one. (I forgot to ask him however....) Jordan fired up the stove and we had a good lunch together as he neglected his crying baby. I filled him in on how all of our mutual friends are doing, and he dissed what gossip of interest that concerns me. It was a great time. By 1:15 though he was taking his boy to a play group and I was back on the road. Take care buddy! I'll mark down another $15 in freebies and generosities for the lunch.

Guelph beckoned. I was skunked as I first pulled into the Tremain's with a locked door and nobody home. No big deal. I know they aren't far away. Plus my good mate Joel and his family live in Guelph too. Joel is one of those lazy teachers who is on a four over five this year. He is even going out to Rossland, BC to ski for the winter! What a guy..... Hey, wait a minute.... That story sounds a lot like....

So I hung out with Joel and his wife for a bit and helped him frame in a bit of a shed for a canoe. We chit chatted about this and that, but he was well aware of the exploits of yours truly over the past few weeks. I told him I would be by for breakfast in the morning and we could firm up some plans for this winter living out west. I doubled his wife Trista to a dentist appointment and made my way back to the familiar grounds of the Tremain's.

Rich and I went into Waterloo for a run and came home to a delicious dinner. ($25 freebie with a few beer, plus a nights stay for $90 or so.) We watched a bit of the baseball game. Josh Kramer came over. He is another Dennis Fairall's Grey Hair teammate. Josh travelled a bit this summer through Holland, so we exchanged a few stories about life on the road.

It was another early night though. Tomorrow brings me home.

Thursday, September 23, 2010


Day 16 Wednesday September 22nd, 2010

Toronto, ON

Total Km –0 km (7129km)
Litres of Gas – 0L (389L)
Cost of Gas - $0 ($434.50)
Hotel - $0 ($463, 5 nights)
Camping - $0 ($15, 3 nights)
Ferry - $0 ($244.50, 2 crossings)
Running – 8 km (79 km – 13 runs)
Toll Roads - $0 ($7.00 – 2 tolls)

I woke up to rain this morning. Thankfully I had no discernible place to go. But since I was in the big smoke, I did want to stop in on and say hello to a former roommate. Why would he mind? He is busy, his wife just had a baby a week ago, and they've probably had way too many visitors in the past week. Timing has never been my forte. Perhaps I should email first. Naw....

I went over to Tim's, and today's 10km ride was by far the most scary in the past 2 weeks. Toronto traffic. Street car tracks. Manic taxi drivers..... I'll take 1200km of gravel any day over King, to Bathurst, to St. Clair, and up Younge. But like the trooper I am, I blasted through it.

I had a good visit with Tim's wife Kate and saw their two children. Tim was at work, so I got back on my trusty stead and went to find the Commerce Court West building where Tim works. No problems. We had a great lunch and a pint together. I retold some of my less then heroic antics on the road, but mostly we were talking about mutual friends and the Windsor-glory-days.  They'll pass you bye, you know.

This is where I wanted to mention something else I haven't kept an accurate tally on with the trip, but it has been significant. I have not logged all of the “freebies” I have gotten over the course of the trip. Let's see how I do....

  • lunch with Coates ($15?)
  • beers and breakfast with Gord (plus he said I could have stayed at his house and not pay the hotel..... so that has to be about $60 or so)
  • beers, food, snacks, more beers, place to stay with Marion ($300?)
  • beers, food, hospitality with Alex and Crystal ( $250?)
  • beers, food, hospitality, hiking with Scott & Allison ($300?)
  • Toronto hospitality of the MacLeod's again, Orman, Richy, Kites & Keya obviously, & Timmer ($500 easily....)
Excuse me if I have forgotten to mention anyone.... But it all adds up. Big time. The generosity has been more then phenomenal. Believable, but unbelievable. Thank you to everyone. I owe you all, and I have no problems with a stop over from anyone for a glass of tap water and bologna on white bread!

Kiteley and I met back up by 4:40. We went for a run over to the Centre Tech track, pulled a few loops, and back to his office. It was the longest run I've had since June at about 40 minutes. Everything felt good too. We had a good dinner of a Greek salad and Hawaiian pizza. But these two tired dogs retreated at 8:30, skipping out on a rendezvous with Beaser. Sorry buddy. (I was looking for another freebie too – Steve is generous.)

So it was a very early night.....  That is okay. 

It will be so great to get home and hold and see my Shelly.  This trip has been bittersweet.  It is tough to be away from Shelly.  Hearing her voice on the phone is nice, but not the same as being with her in person.  Soon enough.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Back In Ontario

Day 15 Tuesday September 21st, 2010

Gorham, NH – Toronto, ON

Total Km –890 km (7129km)
Litres of Gas – 39L (389L)
Cost of Gas - $40 ($434.50)
Hotel - $0 ($463, 5 nights)
Camping - $0 ($15, 3 nights)
Ferry - $0 ($244.50, 2 crossings)
Running – 0 km (71 km – 12 runs)
Toll Roads - $3 ($7.00 – 2 tolls)

She was a bitter, cold morning to start off. I rolled through one town and the digital reading on a bank's sign indicated it was 35 degrees Fahrenheit. 20 minutes into the next town the temperature dropped to 30 degrees. I felt it all in my fingers mostly. Thick fog covered the road and vistas too. It would be quite sometime before it warmed up.

The drive was really nice though. Smooth rolling hills were always to the south of me. I saw a fawn on the road, just hanging out. It is unbelievable how much warmer it is when I have my face shield down, however on mornings such as this it clouds up quite a bit and restricts my visibility. I rolled into Vermont, I didn't even see the sign or welcome centre, and kept a steady pace. Farms were starting to become more frequent, especially dairy operations more then anything. Hay was cut and waiting to be raked and bailed. It seems late in the season for that foolishness; haying, but what do I know. I found it quite funny that I hayed during the almost unbearable July heat this year, and here was hay to be put in the mow and it was barely above freezing. Both situations sound undesirable.

I had a McDonald's breakfast, finally, and it was horrendous. I should have known better. I guess the good spirit of travel was giving me an omen at all those McDonald's throughout Nova Scotia with the senior citizen tour buses, to warn me of its nastiness. Understood.

I zipped along through Montpelier and Burlington – Pictures would be appropriate at this time, especially of Montpelier, but my right hand was more interested in the throttle as opposed to the shutter. I got into the great state of New York – Rain.

It rained for about an hour. I still had my rain togs on when I crossed into Cornwall. Getting through the boarder was simple. I stopped at the Ontario Information Centre, changed, and made some phone calls. I was off to the big smoke.

401 west. 120 km/h. 3.5 hours. 16L of gas in Trenton. Tired. Hot. That's about what was important.

Toronto – Queen Street West. Gladstone Hotel. This is when the fun starts!

I met Kites at about 6:30. He just started a pint, so I thought it would be an insult if I didn't accompany his liquid intake with him. There would be a Alex MacLeod Toronto book launch and reading of Light Lifting. Moreover there would be a Kenneth, Lewis, and Marion MacLeod music performance. We were joined by the other two MacLeod boys; Andrew and Dan, as well as a decent enough guy named Richard Tremain and his wife Teressa Duck. It was a hell of an ensemble! Minus my dear sweet baby Shelly, of course. Ormond Benson and his wife Dionne were there too. The night takes a bit of a turn with all of the libations we were enjoying. No running home though!

Alex did a stand up job with the reading and the crowd was definitely hanging on every spoken word he had to say. He was pulled like a bit of a puppet throughout the night to meet, greet, be interviewed, and all of those celebritiy-esque things he has to do. I think he should get used to it. The collection of short stories is terrific, it will sell well, and people just want to be around him. Light Lifting, presented by Biblioasis publishing, is how you can get a copy of it. Atta boy Alex!

So Kiteley and I saw 1:00, and thought wisely to shut it down.

I have been going back and forth thinking about what Shelly would really enjoy, and what she wouldn't. You would have had a great time tonight. Everyone was asking for you.... Although they knew you couldn't be there.

I have been told countless times on this trip how lucky I am. How lucky I am to have the time off, to travel around, etcetera. But I know I am lucky because I have a great one in Shelly. I miss her so much..... Soon enough my sweet baby! See you soon.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Ripping on 2

Day 14 Monday September 20th, 2010

Bathurst, NB – Gorman, NH

Total Km –780 km (6139km)
Litres of Gas – 40L (353L)
Cost of Gas - $41.25($397.50)
Hotel - $52 ($463, 5 nights)
Camping - $0 ($15, 3 nights)
Ferry - $0 ($244.50, 2 crossings)
Running – 6.5 km (71 km – 12 runs)
Toll Roads - $0 ($4.00 – 1 toll)

A great weather day and ride! Awesome roads. A bit of traffic, but not too heavy. Hit lots of kilometrage, but it wasn't too much of a burden. Really crisp, sharp cool in the morning, and great by midday and all afternoon. Got in a great 28 minute run.....

I hit the road by 9:00. I had a terrific visit with Scott, and like all the people who have hosted me, I was treated like royalty.

I retraced our path from yesterday, with a fixed camera, and made sure I took a photo of the Mount Carleton sign. I followed two logging trucks for the first 90 minutes of the morning. We were flying along at 110 smooth km/h with no traffic in sight. As they pulled off and I around them, we waved at one another and I gestured for a few honk, honks of the big rig's horn. Hell ya I got them!

I got back into the Eastern time zone and Presque-Ilse, Maine by 11:00 am. A Tim Horton's was spied within 1 mile – unbelievable. I was online and emailed a few people and updated the blog. It is very sad to say, but seeing a Tim Horton's is/has become a bit of a “comfort blanket” for yours truly. (Purists cringe – I apologize to all of my smarter and more socially aware friends...... but it has.) I had a comforting half coffee half hot chocolate, glazed sour cream donought, and a bowl of chili. Sorry my anti-corporate, anti-establishment, more conscious friends.

This part of Maine and New Brunswick is awesome. Potato land! And the farmers were in full harvest. It was neat to see and drive through.

I saw 2 moose today.  They were on their backs.  In trailers.  Dead.  Victims of a 30.30 wound for sure.   

Eventually I made my way to trusty highway 2 in Newport, ME. This road is old faithful. Highway 2 brought my dad and I 2500km west starting in northern Michigan and ending in Washington State a few years back. It isn't quite as wide open here, but it is nice to be on. It slices through lots of nice communities of Maine, and has brought me 20 miles into New Hampshire for tonight. (Lacking pictures..... Sorry.)

A quick few words for my BMW friend from New Jersey. His wife was/is reading the blog and laughed that I referred to him as “elder”. What I meant to say is that he is one swinging dude and could have had his way with any girl north of the 52nd Parallel! But because he loves his wife  so much, it wasn't an option! Ride on my friend.

And of course to Doug Vincent again! Doug Vincent! Maybe I'll see you in Toronto – I don't know for sure though...

Boy do I miss my Shelly... A lot... I am just going to type her a special message to let her know how much I miss her and how much she means to me. For her eyes only, you know. No offence.

Pushing home – And I am really going to make the last few days count and be special.

Mount Carleton

Day 13 Sunday September 19th, 2010

Mount Carleton, NB

Total Km –0 km (5359km)
Litres of Gas – 0L (313L)
Cost of Gas - $0($356.25)
Hotel - $0 ($411, 4 nights)
Camping - $0 ($15, 3 nights)
Ferry - $0 ($244.50, 2 crossings)
Running – 0 km (64.5km – 11 runs)
Toll Roads - $0 ($4.00 – 1 toll)

Mount Carleton is the highest point in the Maritimes at 820m high. It is about 100 km from Bathurst, and Scott, Allison, and I made the kill to conquer it. The hike would be 9 km long, and it ascended over varying terrain. Pictures would be perfect right now however.....

First it was foggy. Thick fog and cloud cover surrounded us throughout the hike. There would be no panoramic shots exposed as the visibility extended half a kilometre in all directions.

Second there was no battery power in the camera. No more explanation needed.

By the time it took to drive there, hike, and get home a good chunk of the day passed. No run would be necessary today. There is still a few things to do to get ready to continue west. I am just completing some finishing touches on laundry and routing a way home. I am planning on passing through Presque Ilse, ME to Bangor, ME. From there I would like to scoot across Highway 2 and into towns such as Newport, ME, Rumford, ME, and Gorman, NH. I will continue until I hit Interstate 89 north. I will cross into Canada at Roosevoltown, NY. It isn't the most direct way home – but no matter.

I am still hoping to be in Peterborough on Wednesday to see the MacLeod's again, and Thursday I might stop into visit Jordan, or Drew, or the Tremain's..... Whomever has the best offer! Friday – Goderich.

For dinner we had a delicious meal of steak, potatoes, and salad.  Allison left to go to her band rehersal, she plays the clarinet, and Scott and I played some cribbage and watched football.  I was in bed by 10:30.

Thanks Scott, for being a great host.  I'll see you another time.

Day (Nice) 12

Day 12 Saturday September 18th, 2010

Dartmouth, NS – Bathurst, NB

Total Km –480 km (5359km)
Litres of Gas – 30L (313L)
Cost of Gas - $33($356.25)
Hotel - $0 ($411, 4 nights)
Camping - $0 ($15, 3 nights)
Ferry - $0 ($244.50, 2 crossings)
Running – 7.5km (64.5km – 11 runs)
Toll Roads - $4.00 ($4.00 – 1 toll)

All previous updates @

“Every time you're here the weather is great”, noted Allison (3:00 pm). It's true. Every time I cross paths with my friends Scott and Allison in Bathurst, NB, the weather is terrific. Funny......

Before I crossed paths with them, I must mention about the other friends I've crossed paths with in the past 24 hours.

Alex, Crystal, and I went for a run in the rain. That is where we left off in the previous post. We made our way on a great 33 minute effort around the Dartmouth rowing lake. My spirits were instantly lifted to be with such great company. They are the type of people you can depend on. To Alex, Crystal, and their kids too, of course! See you on Wednesday in Peterborough, Alex.

Later in the evening, Alex and I met up with fellow Dennis Fairall's Grey Hairs teammate Doug Vincent. Doug lives about 1 mile from Alex, and an evening in Dartmouth would not be complete without a beer in his company. Doug and his wife graciously hosted Alex and I. Doug is a clutch guy, and he told me some awesome stories of adventure and solo travelling from his younger years. I totally understand and get his appetite for this type of journey.

Sunshine. Saturday morning.

The whole MacLeod family and I set sail for the Halifax airport by 9:30 am. Alex has a week in Ontario and his family took him there for the departure. I followed on my motorbike and parted with some photos and hugs, as I was travelling north and west as well, albeit at a slower pace.

I figured Truro would make an appropriate first stop. I was still craving a McDonald's breakfast, and Exit 14 provided such. Tour Bus! No way.

I can't believe it. Two days in a row. Another tour bus was idling in the parking lot and a new batch of seniors cued in the golden arches. They were different ones too. One old timer told me they were from Ohio, and they had 8 more days on the road. I have 8 more days too! Blasted.

I continued on facing an increase of all sorts of traffic throughout the day. Probably typical for a Saturday. I must have past 50 other motorbikes and dozens of R.V.s. I scuttled through Nova Scotia and into the flat agricultural plains of southern New Brunswick. Another change in the landscape. But just as quickly, the landscape changes again on the turnoff north past Shediac and up to Miramichi and Bathurst.

The pavement is smooth and true for this 200 km. However it does not provide passing lanes, and antsy drivers ferociously pass when it isn't safe to do so. Plus there is an increase of signage for moose crossings. Dotted along this stretch is thousands of metres worth of fencing. Every mile or so there is a one-way gate that allows a moose to enter the bush from the road. The gate system does not work in the opposite way. It is a necessary safety feature of this part of the highway.

I happily arrive at Scott and Allison's by mid afternoon. It has been 2 and a bit years since I saw Scott. He has not changed one bit. In fact, he looks exactly like he did the first day I met him on the third floor of Laurier Hall at the University of Windsor in September of 1994. We lived together for 4 years in Windsor on California Avenue. Words can't explain how regrettable a trip out east would be if I didn't make an effort to visit this wonderful guy and his wife. There was a lot of catching up to do – I think we got most of it under control.

I went for a great run for 33 minutes and we jumped into the water for a bit of a swim. The water temperature was pretty cold. Probably mid to low 60.

Friday, September 17, 2010

More Rain, More Great People

Day 10 and 11 Thursday September 16th and Friday September 17th, 2010
St. John's, NL – Dartmouth, NS

Total Km –570 km (4879km)
Litres of Gas – 36L (283L)
Cost of Gas - $39 ($323.25)
Hotel - $0 ($411, 4 nights)
Camping - $0 ($15, 3 nights)
Ferry - $230 ($244.50, 2 crossings)
Running – 6.5km + 6.5km (57km – 10 runs)

All previous updates @

Thunder and lightning woke me up from a comfortable sleep by 6:00 on Thursday morning. I rolled my eyes in my head and my body back under the security of the blankets on the bed. Not again! But I woke back up by 8:00 and quickly phoned my sweet, sweet baby Shelly. These early morning rings mean snow days for a select few of us – Today though it was my voice telling Shelly how much she is missed and how much she would have enjoyed St. John's. (I never told her the running story though! It's another nice immature moment from this trip. No regrets.) Absence makes the heart grow fonder.

It took about one hour to repack and organize my crap on the bike. I had a very filling breakfast of Two Eyed Egyptians, bacon and coffee. The first thing I did, actually, was go for a run. I went back to the scene of yesterdays foolishness.... Hey, it is a flat, easy loop that takes about 30 minutes..... give a guy a break. Not much to describe except I saw a lot of ducks. They were swimming and eating grass.

With temperatures easily at 17 degrees centigrade, my brand new heated vest would not be worn. No matter. I bid Marion another thank you, then a goodbye. I was on the road travelling west for the first time. Back to Holyrood!

That is right. I drove into Holyrood, NL. Unsurprisingly it is bigger then Holyrood, ON. I filled up with gas and I thought maybe, just maybe there would be a Miller Mall for confectioneries. There wasn't. In fact, there isn't any propriety in the world that is like the Miller Mall. I should have known better. No big deal. Push for the Nova Scotia Ferry.

I arrived at 1:30 with a reservation to set sail at 3:30. The scow is called Joseph and Clara Smallwood. I thought it was unlucky to have a dudes name on a boat. No matter. I parked with about 12 other motorbikes. I told a few of them my tales, but they didn't seem interested at all! I found that a bit odd with all the good times and stories I have..... Whatever.

“Would the owner of a motocycle, Ontario plates 107B3, please report to the Chief Stewards office on Deck 5.” They found my weed!

It wasn't a matter of if, but when. The bike was on its side. It fell over. I didn't get a picture. Another seamen and I picked it up, and strapped it down again. This time I am using the suggested 4 tie downs instead of 2. Perhaps that will keep it upright for the next 14 hours.

I snacked away on some chips and other generally unhealthful foods while watching Avatar on the vessel. I went to suss out the sleeping arrangements shortly after 9:00. It was suitable for a weary traveller such as myself, but not for royalty. I snuggled in to the rhythmic hum of the engines and the rocking motion of the ship. I picked away at sleep for a few hours. I got up at around 3:00 and went for a bit of a walk and brushed my teeth. I settled back down, and finally awoke for good by 5:30. These sea legs of mine would be on shore in only one hours time. I had a restful night and would easily be ready for my day ahead on the Cabot Trail.

Although all did not go according to plan. The weather thwarted my sense of adventure again.

Within 15 minutes after arriving on the mainland shores of Canada, the rain gear was regrettably on. As I ascended up Kelly's Pass, I knew there would be no way I was going to make the right hand turn at St. Anne's to enter the Cabot Trail. It was raining hard. There was no way I was going to enjoy or see anything of what there is to see in this fantastic area. I drove on past Baddeck, over the causeway, then stopped in Antigonish. More setback.

I wheeled into the McDonald's to enjoy a hot coffee and egg McMuffin breakfast. I mentioned it was raining, so this was going to taste good. In the McDonald's parking lot there wasn't one, but 2 coach buses ferrying around a senior's tour of the area. The line up for food was 60 deep – and I am not talking age.... The age was like 75 years old per person here. I went to the can, another line up. Blasted! Back on the bike. Back in the rain. Back.

I drove the extra 45 minutes to New Glasford, NS. First I got petrol. Then I swung 'round back to the Wendy's/Tim Horton's. There was a Comfort Inn at this intersection in which I could use a telephone. In the back of my mind I had been thinking about stopping in Dartmouth for a lay over since I wasn't traversing the Cabot Trail. My good friend Alex MacLeod, Marion's brother, lives there. Surely there would be a dusty old bed, or a corner area for a wet man such as myself. Yes!

And here I am, with no Alex or Crystal in site. I let my self in. A sign on the door indicated I should, “Get comfy.” So I am airing out my wet stuff and enjoying a beer – A Schooner. The “Schooner” the better, as I always say.

I will sign off, even though I know there will be some pretty fun stuff that will happen in the next 12 hours I am here – I will write about them tomorrow. Besides, I have just had one beer and now I am going for a run! Lookout ladies of Dartmouth!

In closing my heated vest was fantastic today. Shelly, it made me think of you and the warmth you bring to me. It felt like a constant heated hug of your arms around my torso. I love you Shelly xoxox.

In St. John's!

Wednesday September 16th, 2010
St. John's NL

Total Km – 0km (4309km)
Litres of Gas – 0L (247L)
Cost of Gas - $0 ($284.25)
Hotel - $0 ($411, 4 nights)
Camping - $0 ($15, 3 nights)
Ferry - $230 ($244.50 2 crossings)
Running – 6.5km (50.5km – 8 runs)

In the span of 95 minutes I really pulled off some crazy stuff.

I drank 2 pints of beer, split a pound of hot chicken wings and beer battered mussels with Marion, and went for a 30 minute run. (That means 60 mins for the beer and food.) When I started my run the sun was out and it was getting warm. I got on the stone crushed trail and headed for the lake. I was feeling a bit light in the head.....

I start off this run at blistering 9 mins miles. The booze is starting to have more of an affect. Within 10 mins the Memorial University women's X/C team and I cross paths. My eyes wonder. Booze is starting to sink in more. Tight shorts and sport bra tops.

I pass many attractive middle aged female runners. The sun is getting hotter. Sweat, chicken wings, mussels, and booze is seeping out of my pores.

Women rowers were walking across the parking lot. Paddles were firmly gripped in their hands. More spandex. More sweat.

The (figurative) climax was when I came across two lesbians holding hands and walking lovingly on the path. Thoughts are swirling in my head. I am thinking about the Dildo, NL and Come By Chance, NL town signs. More greasy sweat. The sun is getting hotter. Intoxication is getting more noticeable. Running becomes laboured, laboured. The path is now not wide enough for my uncontrolled gate. The Memorial University women's team.... Where's Shelly? Where's Shelly?

My day started with a mission to get out to a motorcycle shop called The Toy Box and get hooked up with some heated clothing. I set off for it and found it no problem. The problem was it was rainning. I found what I was looking for. The shop was not busy. I pulled inside to the garage area and the owner went right to work helping me out. We rigged up the heated jacket system into the 12 volt. The owner checked over the bike. He greased my chain and gave me plenty of good pointers for bike maintenance. He was a great guy. He said, “Are you that guy who was gorilla camping in Lab City?” I posted on a motorcycle message forum saying how successful it was.... He had read it!

I ride back to Marion's in the pouring rain. The heated vest is aces. I am wet and warm!

The weather does not deter us. We donned our rain togs and set off for Cape Spear. This is the most easterly point in Canada. There are less then 10 cars in the parking lot which could hold 200. We amble around the grounds. It is foggy and raining, but I am please to be in this significant location. After Marion's narrated tour concluded in 40 minutes or so, we got our wet selves back into the car, drove into St. John's, parked the car, and began our next journey which was to tackle Signal Hill. This is home to the very historic Marconi Trans-Atlantic Radio Wave connection.

When we started our sojourn, the sun was more or less out and it was more or less not raining. We took the scenic pass to get to the top of the hill. It was probably 30 – 40 minutes by the time we got to our destination at the top of Signal Hill. It was well worth the effort to summit. The top of Signal Hill offers an incredible view of St. John's. Notwithstanding there is n historic building on the top of Signal Hill named after John Cabot of all people, as opposed to Macaroni. (Marconi....) Marion also narrated this part of the tour with lots of interesting facts. I kept asking her questions and she had most of the answers. The sun was out in full force and the fog subsided. We sussed it out, as well as a few other outposts along the way down, and wisely determined it was time for beer and some snacks.

We dined at about 3:45 at Nautical Nellies. Drank the beer and ate the chicken wings and mussels. We walked back to her place and I felt a run was just what I needed.

Refer to first part of email...... Shenaniganism.......

Marion and I both confessed to be hit by the alcohol when I returned from the run. The fact that we had no water all day, an early breakfast, no food all day, and a good deal of physical exertion walking to get to Signal Hill.... It was funny.
Dinner was a great arrangement of hummus, various cheeses, salami, guacamole, chips, grapes, etcetera. Imagine, we even found a few beer to drink in the refrigerator. The best thing to do at the time seemed to be to drink them. It was. We did.

We hit George Street by 10:30. We watched some open mike performances and then a Blue Grass band performed. We went to a different bar by midnight and there was more impromptu performances by the patrons. We saw 2:00. We then saw the door. Finally we saw ourselves walking home. This was a wise decision. It had been a long, eventful day.

I usually end these journals with an ode to my dear Shelly. She is pretty dam awesome and I love her a great deal.... But I would be at a loss if I didn't brag about another great teacher, musician, family person, and all around bitch'n girl! That is Marion MacLeod.

I can't possibly write it all Marion. I will just say, then, thank you so much for being a gracious and giving host to yours truly. I had a great time – and I hope to return the hospitality you gave me in St. John's.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

On The Eighth Day

Day 8 Tuesday September 14, 2010
Gander, NL to St. John's NL

Total Km – 330km (4309km)
Litres of Gas – 20L (247L)
Cost of Gas - $23.25 ($284.25)
Hotel - $0 ($411, 4 nights)
Camping - $0 ($15, 3 nights)
Ferry - $0 ($11.50 1 crossing)
Running – 6km (38km – 7 runs)

Names. Funny names.

I have driven past thousands and thousands of signs on the side of the road. I was really noticing how many of them reminded me of things back home or the people reading this blog.

KFC has an interesting advertisement out here. The slogan is, “Don't You Wish Your Cup Holders Were Bigger!” Then there is a picture of their 20 piece bucket of chicken. I know a lot of my friends love KFC.

Then there are hundreds of names of places and businesses of people I know.... Duck Cove, Sheila's Kitchen, Holyrood, Gould Lake, John's Repair, Diane's Bakery, Duckworth Street, Brooklyn, Norman's Cove, George Harbour, etcetera.

The most unique though is a string of 10 - 15 signs before you reach Dildo, NL. It starts simple enough like Dildo Harbour, Dildo Restaurant, and Dildo Hotel. By the time you pass a few more of these signs the thoughts are just running through your mind because, well, you have nothing else to think about. The last sign is for the Dildo Bank and Exchange. (Pretty immature of me, I know.)

I got going great in the morning. It was like 10 degrees centigrade and no wind at all. It was easy riding. I just got my momentum going, and then stopped at Joey Smallwood Lookout. (I know a John Smallwood very well – names.) I took a few pictures and walked around, then saddled up.

Halfway to St. John's I stopped in a community called Clarenville and hit up the Tim Horton's to critique its half coffee half hot chocolate. It was good. I chatted with a few locals. I told them about the journey and of my lovely Shelly. I got some gas and rode off.

The landscape had an interesting roll about it around this area. It was still hilly and full of coniferous trees, but all of a sudden the north side of the road lost its trees, and big rolly rocky terrain was evident. It was pretty nice.

It is no surprise, obviously, but it is really weird to go 100s of kms and not see any bit of agriculture at all.

Pictures = A second day of a weak effort, but I can explain it. Primarily it is because you are ripping on the Trans Canada Highway with faster speeds, more vehicles, and bigger trucks. It really isn't that safe to pull over and get on and off your bike on the side of the road to take photos.

In St. John's I got over to Marion MacLeod's apartment where I am staying until Thursday morning. Fantastic! She has been keeping tabs on the trip and reading the emails, so it wasn't like I had to bore her with 7 previous days worth of stories. We had a awesome bowl of soup and walked downtown to get a feel for the city. We poked our heads into a few different shops and had a great pint of beer at Yellowbelly. By 5 o'clock I went for my longest run since June; 28 feel good minutes along this stone path only 300m from Marion's. I'll call it 6km for sure.

For dinner we went down to a pizza place called “Pi”. There were 5 of us; 4 from Ontario and 1 local. They are friends of Marion's..... The food and company was awesome! One of the girls is a music student from London – I dropped Seth's name and sure enough Rebecca new him and his wife Amy well.

After dinner one of the girls went home because she is a teacher and had to work the next day, Marion went to a rehearsal, and Mark, Rebecca (from London), and I went to a bar for trivia night. Marion met up with us after 10 o'clock...... Some of the questions I remember:

  1. Name the Swiss hotelier who's name is a synonym for glamour, extravagance, luxury....
  2. What did Old King Coal call for?
  3. What classic rockers have a nickname the Glimmer Twins?
  4. What year did Elvis die?
  5. Who, when came to the U.S., told customs officials, “All I have to declare is my genius.”
  6. What planet has the hottest surface temperature?

There were 30 questions, we got 17 correct, and the winning team got 22 correct I think. It was fun. Beer was only $2.75 a bottle. Our team could have used Mick Cowden!

So ya – That was Day 8 basically. Safe, sound, dry, and warm in St. John's. Wednesday will be a day of touring around, resupplying, booking the ferry, doing laundry properly, (not in a hotel sink) and going to hear some live Blue Grass music at a bar. I will have to run too.

As always, my thoughts take me to Shelly.... I just called and it was 7:30 in the morning (Wednesday). I miss her a great deal. I think she is at band practice with the students. You'd love it out here Shelly, we'll come out sometime and check out Dildo, and hopefully Come By Chance too.