Monday September 10th
I had been thinking about shortcuts to Halifax for some time but I was trying to Pictou to see the Brown’s before I got there. I knew riding would be tough and I was hoping to catch the bus from North Sydney to New Glasgow. However the bus left at 8:30 and I arrived at 10:30 so I decided rather than stay in North Sydney because technically my only option was to ride 7 kilometers to a campground then in the morning ride back I decided
to ride to Port Hawkesbury or further. There were wind warnings and a hurricane is on its way that was hitting Newfoundland as we speak so the weather was frightful. I rode straight into the gusting wind which was so taxing I started stopping every few kilometers while I was exposed to the waterfront. Eventually the road went inland or rather onto an island in a huge lake called Bras D’or on Cape Breton.
While riding up one of the hills I saw someone walking along the road and look like a hiker. Indeed it was and his name is Lakeland Nidhatak (website http://www.trailjournals.com/entry.cfm?trailname=12694) . He is walking from Florida to the Northern Tip of Newfoundland. We talked for quite a while and I offered him my remaining water purification tablets from Global Hydration but in hindsight I should have given him some cash too. I wished him well since I knew the storms were coming to Newfoundland.
Within the lake is a massive peninsula which is more or less like a large island that you need to cross over. There is a place called Large Narrows where a little old Scottish like town is perched along the hillside. It is pretty hard riding. On one particular stretch will trying to tuck and pedal out the next hill I veered a little too close to the edge and before I knew it my tire was in the gravel and I was trying to pull back onto the road but the drop off from the was too deep and steep and down I went. This time there was no escape and I crashed into the road. A little scraped, not hurt but now really frustrated. What am I still doing out here I thought?
Not to far up the road was little narrows where there is a little ferry that transports you 50 meters to the other side which leads to the trans Canada. It was just waiting for someone to arrive and this time it was little me on the bicycle so it made its way over and picked me up.
Back on the trans Canada things weren’t much better since it was still hilly and gust of wind had slowed my pace down to 17 kilometers an hour. I was pedalling my heart out and getting nowhere . Okay I didn’t totally meltdown but my nerves were frayed and I have had enough. I stopped and yelled a few expletives and starred down the road. Someone gave a friendly honk. Okay Jeff, suck it up and get going, ride till dark. Left with no choice I did just that and eventually made it to the Canso causeway which I had crossed weeks early on my way the the Cape Breton Trail. I saw a subway store and grabbed some dinner to go since I was trying to make it to a campground. I succeeded in doing that too but it was pitch black by the time I got there. I chatted with the front desk lady for quite a while about local industry which there was no longer any and how hard it was for people to earn money here. Before I knew it, it was raining so I scrambled to set up camp in the dark and rain. I even surprised myself at how well I did with almost no light except my tiny flashlight I mounted on the picnic table.
Once done I had a shower and ate my sub in the washroom since it was warm, dry and I could see what I was doing. It poured rain all night long which made for another pitiful sleep but a small reprieve in the morning it was only sprinkling and stopped by the time I got back on the bike. However the wind was even more ferocious today and literally the clouds where blowing by I could see dark shadows all around. It started a torrential rain that soaked my to the core and being on the highway was a little scary too. The shoulder seems to disappear whenever there is a passing lane. The rain amazingly picked up and I stopped under this little cover by a convenience store about 5 kilometers out of Antigonish. I was done….
I know the video is a little sad but we all have our down moments and I am fine now. I rode into the College at Antigonish booked a bus ticked and changed into dry clothes. My old runners where wet and stinky so I just threw them in the garbage and boarded the bus to Halifax in bare feet. Though ended on a bad note I have already forgotten it and I know I made the right decision. As mentioned previously I will have a closing summary of the trip but for now I will blog about Halifax, Lunenburg and the Bay of Fundy (I rented a car). By the way Peggy’s Cove is beautiful but you will have to wait for the next post for some pictures!