Friday, July 17, 2009

July 17th, 2009 - 2 years after the fact

Well, it's been two years since the conclusion of this trip. I want to explain what happened to the end of this blog. First of all, I've never really been good at finishing anything. I guess it's because it don't want it to end so it's my childish way of pretending that it continues. Who knows.

But I do have a little bit of an excuse. A week after the end of my bike ride, I left to volunteer in Ghana for six months. I didn't have much time to see this blog to completion and decided that I would work on it there. Unfortunately, my laptop was stolen my first day there, thus I lost all of my mileage info and entries.

But there's no excuse.

So here it goes. After Montreal, the riding was beautiful. Quebec is one of the BEST provinces to cycle. End to end, border to border cycling trails. I stayed in hostels in Riviere de Loup and Trois Riviere, and had incredible times at both.

One hostel served everyone supper. It was so nice to sit down to a family dinner with a bunch of new, kind people. I had been on the road a while so this company nourished me as well as the food did. The gentle rolling hills and valleys of grass and blue skies are what I remember of Quebec.

New Brunswick was nice as well but what sticks to memory is long hills along busy highways with wide, well-paved shoulders. Campgrounds were less frequent, but this just meant that I'd cycle a few kilometers out of my way to get to one. A few times I remember it meant that I got to see some of the New Brunswick country side, parts of which I would not have seen.

My route was pretty straightforward. Crossed in to Edmundston, to Fredricton, to Saint John.

Saint John? Why there? Well... Saint John has a ferry going to Digby N.S. When I figured out that I would save a couple days riding by taking the ferry, and considering how late I was, I decided to cut that corner. Not sure if this was cheating, I was glad to cycle through a bit of the NS valley.

I don't remember much about NS other than being in Digby and eatting scallops and how friendly people were here and how I felt like I was home. I stayed in a campground next to a couple of guys who asked me to go out on the town with them. I declined since I had a long ride the next day into Kentville. I met my good friend Katie in Kentville the next evening at a campground. It was really great to see her and to be in the province. Too great. We celebrated by getting very drunk on good ol' Jost wine. It was a crazy night. In the morning, I was in no condition to cycle the 100 kms into Halifax. I was really hung over, but I had also come down with a cold from sleeping in a puddle in my tent all night.

So... it's hard to admit, but I got a ride in with Katie. But I figured, no worries, I'll get her to drive me out to Kentville so I can continue the last stretch of my tour into Newfoundland from there. Reasonable right? Well, it turns out my cold turned into a severe congestion. Also, time was running out and I was realizing that I wasn't going to be able to do half of the things I wanted to do in Halifax. It had been 8 months since I left my favourite city and I wasn't read to part with it. So I decided to end it there. I had my flight switched from St. John's to Halifax. I should have had Katie drive me out to Kentville so I could have finished the tour in good standing. I should have but I didn't. This tour remains to be unfinished. Lingering in Kentville, in a memory of drunken debauchery.

The conclusion to the ride was anticlimatic. With my laptop one morning, I switched my flight to leave from Halifax, and with that click of a button, I was finished. Not after a long day of riding, no sunset or crowds cheering my name, nothing. I was in my buddy's living room in my pjs. I felt like it degraded the entire experience but I didn't have much choice. I had to leave for Africa in a few days. I had ran out of time. And I was having such a great time in Halifax.

The ride was 7,000 kms long. 90 days, 30 of which were off days. I loved riding and in these past years, I've done relatively nothing. But I look back on the experience so positively that I often think about doing it again. Or at least ride from Kentville to St. John's to finish my intended trip.

Thanks for reading.