Friday, August 29, 2008

Day 66 and 67, across Canada in 57 hours.

We were all eager to get back to Lethbridge, so we agreed to not stop anywhere except to get gas on the ride back. We all took turns, and drove for over two days straight. 57 hours to be exact. We only stopped once for food, and that was in Regina. We all grabbed a bunch of food in Antigonish NS before we left to tie us over until we reached Lethbridge.

Day 65, St. John’s NFLD to Cape Spear

We only had to ride 15k today, but it felt like more. The grade of the hills to reach the cape was almost the same as BC. However 15k of hills is hard to complain about this stage of the trip. I felt the trip had finally been accomplished as we arrived at Cape Spear. I grabbed my rock from the Pacific Ocean, and through it into the Atlantic. Great feeling. You weren’t allowed to go down to the water, so we couldn’t dip our bikes, However, we did get down there to dip our feet and take photos. We didn’t spend too much time by the water as there was a memorial not too far away with the names of people who had drown at the Cape.

We started to drive to Argentia around 1:00pm, and arrived around 2. The ferry was going to be 17 hours to Nova Scotia. We didn’t have to wait long before boarding the ferry. There weren’t a lot of vehicles boarding the ferry, as it was moving past the tourist season. The ferry had pretty much everything you needed for an enjoyable trip: movie theatre, showers, restaurant, and wifi. Around 11:00pm I started to get a bit sea sick, so I went to the Chief Steward’s office, which gave me some graval. Allan had to grab some as well.

Day 64, somewhere NFLD to St. John’s NFLD!!!

We decided to drive and grab a quick breakfast before the final leg of the journey. We didn’t begin to ride until noon, as we only had 40k to ride. We had plenty of positive honks to motivate us during the ride today. As we rode into the city, it finally hit me we’re going to be done riding today, and that we’ll be back in Lethbridge in 4 days.

Again, I can’t do it justice how it felt to ride to the 0 Mile marker in St. John’s. After almost 7000km and 9 weeks, we were finally there. Maybe I should have been an English major instead of Management. Would have served me well writing these blog posts throughout the trip. We all took a bunch of pictures for about a half hour, before heading for celebratory food and drink.

We stopped at a seafood restaurant on George Street. The food was fantastic. After dinner, we grabbed a coffee and went touring a bit. As we were walking, we all decided to ride to Cape Spear, which is technically the most easterly point in Canada, the next morning.

We found a campsite by Memorial University to stay at for the night. The tent area was a free-for-all with no designated sites. After we set up camp, we went to the theatre to watch a movie.

Day 63, Gander NFLD to Argentia NFLD to right outside St. John’s

We woke up fairly early today and had breakfast with Janelle and her adorable 16-month-old daughter, Georgia. As we were leaving, the neighbor gave us some small fish he and a friend were drying in the back yard. They were incredibly nice people. However, their accent was strong to the point that Janelle had to interpret a couple times.

It took us 4 hours to reach the port of Argentia. We began our ride at the ferry terminal. We decided to take 2 days to ride the 130k. We wanted to be able savor the moment of arriving at the 0 mile marker. We didn’t start riding until late, so we would have had to ride in the dark for a couple hours if we hadn’t split the ride up in two.

We rode for 90k to a campsite 40k outside the city. The ride was pretty uneventful except for a moose we saw on the side of the road. We all ran to get our cameras, but it ran away. We had a tailwind for most of the ride. The wind as strong as it is in Lethbridge on a windy day. It took me over an hour to put up my tent. As soon as we set up camp, I felt compelled to cook the fish that Janelle’s neighbor had given us. They weren’t too bad, but very salty. They reminded us of sardines. Tomorrow is the big day, as we’ll finally, after almost 7000km, reach the Mile 0 marker.

Day 62, North Sydney NS to Gander NFLD

The Ferry took 6 hours to reach Newfoundland. We arrived at around 5:30am. We began to drive to Gander, where we were going to staying with Brett’s cousin’s house for the night. I can’t describe how it felt to be in the van when it began to rain. It’s funny what you learn to do to take your mind of things. One way I use to use to get my mind of the bugs, rain, hills/mountains, logging trucks, and images of Allan’s gnome, was to sing random songs. Bohemian Rap City would definitely be the Kelly’s top ten sung on the trip.

We arrived at Brett’s cousin Janelle’s place in Gander by noon. She made us a fantastic dinner, that included many “Newfoundlander” foods. We all just hung out for the night and watched a movie. It was a very relaxing night.

Day 61, August 19, Whycocmagh NS to North Sydney NS

I woke up early this morning to catch up on my blog. It was a short ride today, so we didn’t leave the campsite until 10:00am or so. We stopped at a restaurant by the campsite to eat breakfast. All our meals were under 6 dollars, which was fantastic this far into the trip.

The sun was hot for most of the ride, and we had the ocean to our right. It was a great day to ride. We stopped at the Alexander Graham Bell Museum in Baddeck for a couple hours in the middle of the ride. It was quite a large museum considering the size of the town.
We arrived in North Sydney around 7 and had a 4-hour wait until the ferry arrived. The ferry terminal had a tone of services, including a shower. Allan and I watched movies in the terminal until we boarded the ferry.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Day 60, August 18, New Glasgow NS to Whycocomagh NS

We left the campsite at around 10:30am and went back to the highway outside of New Glasgow. The sun was hot today, with no cloud in the sky for the first few hours. The shoulders were a little rough today.

We stopped every hour and a half or so to fill up our water bottles. We haven’t had to do that in awhile. We stopped for food at an Atlantic Superstore. We stayed there for about a half hour and then began to ride again.

Nothing too exciting happened today. The weather was hot and perfect. The traffic did pick up until we crossed onto another highway to head to Cape Breton. A great deal of positive honks and waves today.

I just wanted to thank the President’s Office again for chipping-in and sending us money for a couple meals each. Real food will be nice. Gloria: we’ll send pictures of the wild dinner stories!

Day 59, August 17, Charlottetown PEI to New Glasgow NS

I woke up at around 8:30am to the smell of coffee. Nothing has smelt as good. I checked the weather report on the Internet before heading down stairs. Neil and Khym were busy making breakfast and watching the Olympics.

As we finished breakfast, we headed down to the beach by the house to take a couple photos. After, we said our goodbyes and drove to where we left off two days ago. Thanks again to Neil and Khym for putting up with us for the night. It was greatly appreciated!

It took us awhile to get out of the city. The hills definitely intensified as we made it to the ferry. The sky was almost clear blue during the ride. It was the first time I’ve had to put sunscreen on in some time. The ferry we wanted to catch was at 2:45pm, but we didn’t end up making it, and had to take the 4:30pm ferry. The scenery on the ferry ride was very enjoyable, and a nice break in the middle of the ride. It took about an hour and half to get to Nova Scotia.

We only rode another 40k into Nova Scotia before we decided to stop outside of New Glasgow. We found a campsite just outside the city. Tomorrow is a good ride at 155k

Day 58, August 16, Rest day in Charlottetown

We woke up fairly early. The kids in the campsite next to us were up at 7:00am. We planned on riding to the ferry today, but decided to have a full rest day once we got into Charlottetown. It was probably a good choice because it started to rain an hour after we stopped.

We went to a coffee shop for a break and to decide what to do for the remainder of the day. The rest of the team went back to the van before I had. As I was walking back to the van, which was in front of the PEI legislature, I saw Neil Boyden standing on the side of the road. Neil was a Director on the U of L Alumni Association. I knew he had moved to PEI, but we hadn’t made contact. He told us he saw our van on the side of the road as he driving by. Fate? I think so. Neil and Khym Goslin, a former U of L Students’ Union President, offered to have us stay at their place for the night. We gratefully accepted. By

They have a beautiful house in a town just outside of Charlottetown. Khym and Neil made us a fantastic meal: pork tenderloin, rice, bread and vegetables. By this point, it had been raining steadily for a few hours. After chatting about the trip and their move PEI, we went to the watch a movie in Charlottetown. The GPS sent us to this small theatre first, but we eventually found the correct one.

Allan and I have our own beds to sleep on, which is quite the treat to enjoy. Tomorrow we will ride to the ferry and cross over to Nova Scotia. We want to get a fare distance in tomorrow to lighten the long ride the day after.

Day 57, August 15, Moncton NB to Cornwall PEI

Our right back tire was low again this morning, so we headed into Moncton to find a tire shop to look at it. We found one pretty quick, thanks to GPS. We went to a little restaurant down the road while they looked at the wheel. The place was great. It must be quit the popular place to eat, as it was almost completely packed. I was able to get my usual, with a warning from the waitress about cholesterol.

We had a decent ride ahead of us today at 165k. Considering Confederation Bridget, we only had to ride about 150k. The weather was sunny most of the day. It seems our bad luck with weather is over. We haven’t had rain since Quebec City.

The highways were fairly busy today. You definitely know it’s the beginning of the weekend when you’re riding your bicycle on a highway. It was about 100k until we made it to Confederation Bridge. I’ve been looking forward to PEI for the entire trip, so the 100k went by reasonably fast. Vanessa and I stopped at the bridge to rack the bikes. You can't ride or walk across the bridge. However, the shoulders on the bridge were wider and in better condition than most roads we’ve cycled on so far.

We stopped at a tourist trap a kilometer off the bridge. We toured the shops for a while and grabbed something to eat. I was instantly reminded of who/what Anne of Green Gabels was. I vagly remember my sister having a number of the books, and watching the TV show at my Grandma’s when I was young. They probably would have gone nuts in these stores. I on the other hand, may have nightmares. Too much Anne for me.

We continued riding for around 50k into PEI. I’m still in awe of how truly beautiful this province is. I’m a management student, so my descriptions wont do what I saw justice. The rolling hills, thick green grass everywhere, and the red soil made the ride truly enjoyable.

We found a campsite off the beaten trail just outside of Charlottown. Our neighbors were from St. John’s NFLD, and were incredibly nice. They lent us there lantern for the most of the evening, and it just so happened one of them was into road biking. We left them a couple U of L pins before we left.

Tomorrow we plan on riding to the ferry, and then drive back to Charlottetown to spend the night. It will only be 60k or so. A very light day.

Day 56, August 14, Gagetown NB to Moncton NB

We woke up at the average time and headed to gas station that we left off from the day before. I was finally able to do my laundry at the campsite last night. Having clean clothes again definitely puts you in a good mood. Today was going to be an average ride in terms of distance of 140k.

Nothing really exciting happened during the ride. My tires have been good since I found the staples in the one. It would be great if I didn’t have another flat for the remainder of the trip. There are tones of hills in New Brunswick. We haven’t seen as many hills since Northern Ontario. However, there not near as steep, just long. The weather was overcast for most of the day. Other than the rain on the trip, we’ve had great riding weather. Not too hot or cold for the majority of the days.

We have plenty of time to think during the ride, and the idea of finishing the Social Responsibility Minor at the U of L has kept my mind busy. We’ll see what happens.

Day 55, August 13, Hawkshaw NB to Gagetown NB

We had the van packed by 10:00am, and sat around talking about a solution to our ferry problem. The campsite owner seemed to be having a bad day, and wanted us to be aware of the fact. We subsequently drove off.

We rode for the first 50k, and then racked the bikes to head into Fredericton. It was off the main highway. We all had lunch at a Smitty’s and did some banking. A nice gentleman rolled down his window as we were driving to tell us our tire was flat. We pulled over at the nearest gas station, were we saw how substantially low it was. We filled it with air, and hope it lasts until Moncton. With 4 flat tires the other day (I later found a tiny staple embedded in my tire), I need to buy more tubes. We stopped a Sport Check and bike store for more tubes. I should have enough now for the remainder f the trip.

As we finished with what we had to do in the city, we drove back to where we racked the bikes. We only had 50k left, which went by really fast. We had a tailwind today. We were hoping to have Internet at the campsite, but we didn’t. We all haven’t updated our blogs in awhile.

Day 54, August 12, Grand Falls NB to Hawkshaw NB

We woke up early today for some reason. Another camper told me that we had 4 skunks around our tents last night. I guess Vanessa thought one was a cat, and was going to pet it. Good thing she found out it wasn’t in time. They must be attracted to Allan.

We spent some time at the falls in Grand Falls. They were going to charge us to park, so we parked a block away and walked. They were pretty cool site to see, but it wasn’t worth the price to park- three dollars.

We decided to ride a 160k today to save a day in our schedule. It was the longest ride we’ve had in awhile. The shoulders and the weather were in our favor, so it wasn’t too bad. We had a good size break in the middle of the ride. I was able to recharge on a ridiculous amount of Reese Chocolate Bars.

We eventually found a campsite a short jaunt off the highway.

We haven’t had Internet in awhile. I checked my e-mail today with Allan’s phone. Gloria Roth, who works in the President’s Office at the University, wanted our banking information so she could put a little money in for a meal. This was great motivation for the remainder of the trip, and we’re incredibly grateful.

Day 53, August 11, Cabano NB to Grand Falls NB

We woke up early this morning. We didn’t need an alarm clock with noisy neighbors. Brett and Vanessa met a couple from Nova Scotia at the campsite last night. They offered to buy us breakfast at the campsite restaurant. Incredibly nice people.

Brett phoned the Ferry to Newfoundland today, with some interesting news. I’ll let you read his blog post for the details. At this point, we’re not sure what we’re going to do. I would swim with my bike on my back than quite in Nova Scotia (completely unreasonable, I know).

We rode 120k today, with great weather. It was cool and didn’t rain the entire day. We’ve been lucky the last couple rides, or we were just really unlucky earlier. I don’t know. The ride was pretty uneventful. We rode into Grand Falls with some light left, and stopped at a McDonald’s and a Superstore. I needed to by some eye drops. My eyes seem to be getting infected again.

We eventually found a campsite outside of the city. It looked as if a good storm was coming in, so we all put tarps on our tents. Allan was able to put his tent under a picnic table enclosure.

Day 52, August 10, St. Denis QC to Cabano NB

We decided to take some time in the morning to update our blogs. We didn’t get out on the road until around 12:30pm. We were going to eat at the campsite, but they didn’t take interact. We decided to ride for a while until we found a place to eat.

About 10k into the ride we found a beautiful restaurant in an old house that overlooked the St. Lawrence River. I ordered the usual, but with some difficulty. The server didn’t speak much English, so we had a table next to us translate. Although, it still took awhile for the server to understand what I wanted. She probably thought what I wanted to order was being lost in translation. I guess ordering 7 eggs and nothings else isn’t as common as you’d think.

It’s always a good day to ride when you’re going cross into another province. It’s motivating to know you’re actually making progress. There were times I didn’t think we’d make it out of Northern Ontario.

Today was another good day to ride in terms of weather. We ended up finding a campsite just on the outskirts of Cabano. We’ve become quite proficient at putting our tents up in the dark.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Day 51, Quebec City to St. Denise QC

I wasn’t looking forward to getting up this morning with the prospect of putting the tents away in the rain. However, when we did get up, the sky was clearing. We all ate the campsite, and were on our way by 12:00pm.

It took us an hour to get out of the city with all the traffic lights. We hit 5 reds in a row at one point. As we made it out of Quebec, the scenery was once again remarkable. The St. Lawrence to the left, old farm houses to the right. With the sun and great bike paths again, the ride was amazing.

Our schedule today was only 90k, but we decided to go further with the weather being so favorable. The scenery started to change with fields now filled with grain and not just corn. We were somewhat elevated on the road, so we could see the fields for some distance.

We rode 151k today to a town called St. Denise. There wasn’t a campsite, so we drove 10k back to the previous town. It was 10:00pm by the time we made camp, so we all made dinner quickly (I made rice in the laundry room) and went to bed.

Day 50, Rest Day in Quebec City

We woke up early this morning, and headed to the restaurant at the truck stop. I had my usual, 7 eggs (increased by 1 egg) and a coffee. We decided to drive across the river to the old part of the city to tour around.

Our first stop was Chateau Frontenac. It was an amazing building, not unlike the other Chateau’s across the country. At this point in the day, it was rainy steady. I bought an umbrella at a souvenir store, which served me well all day. We went to the National Assembly building of Quebec, Plains of Abraham, and other magnificent buildings and landmarks within walking distance.

We found a KOA to stay at across the river by the truck stop we stayed at the night before. It was a nice place to stay, although expensive for a campsite. I bought some bacon, and ate the entire package. I know I shouldn’t have, but it was wonderful. The weather report for tomorrow is 100% chance of rain-great.

Day 49, August 7, Trois Rivieres QC to Quebec

We were on the road by 10:30am to Quebec City. We were all excited to visit the historic city, and for the rest-day that followed. It was “misting” for the first couple hours of the trip, and didn’t really let up until we were almost into the city.

Aside from being wet, the ride was fantastic. It was one small town after another, with farms in-between. We had bike paths again, and gas stations every 20k for the needed chocolate bar.

As we made it into Quebec, the traffic began to pick up. It was also getting late, and the sun was going down. We decided to rack the bikes at a Tim Horton’s just south of the city in Levi. Being that it was late, we couldn’t find a campground to stay at. We decided to find a truck stop and sleep in the van.

As we made it to the truck stop, it began to pour. I never thought I would happy to spend the night in the van at a truck stop. The truck stop had showers and a large common room to enjoy.

Day 48, August 6, Joliette QC to Trois Riviers

We intended to get up early so we would have plenty of time to drive to Joliette, which is about three hours (with traffic) north east of Montreal. In the end, we didn’t leave Joanne’s apartment until 9:00am, and didn’t arrive in Joliette until around 12:00.

It was raining for the majority of the ride, which seems to the norm the last few weeks of the trip. However, the bike paths in Quebec have more than made up for the weather and the mildew pillows and tents. Allan’s opinion may differ. Somehow his gear takes the worst of it.

As we made it into Trois Rivieres, we needed to cross the St. Lawrence River. We couldn’t ride our bikes across the river, so we racked them and drove across. The bridge and view were amazing. We ended up finding a decent campsite by the bridge to stay at. You can tell they’ve had a lot of rain here. The campsite looked like a swamp. We did find a relatively dry site to pitch our tents.

Day 47, August 5, Rest Day in Ottawa Ont.

Vanessa and Brett woke up early to grab a tour of Ottawa. Allan and I slept-in until around 10:00am, and then walked to Parliament to tour around. It was only a 10-minute walk from Joanne and Brittany’s apartment.

Allan and I toured for a couple hours, and then headed to Rideau Centre. We needed to buy Joanne a new cell phone charger so she could call a couple Alumni. We then walked to DFAT, where she is doing her internship.

We all headed to the restaurant were the Alumni reception was going to be held at around 5:00pm. Joanne was concerned very few Alumni were going to show up. At one point, she told me only 12 people were going to attend, and that included the four of us. As the time went on, more and more Alumni began to show up. I later found out she was trying to make me nervous. In the end, about 13 Alumni and 3 current students on Coop, attended the event. I really enjoyed talking to everyone, and hearing their U of L stories. They were all very interested in our travels, which we enjoyed talking about. We didn’t get out of the restaurant until 9:00pm. No one made an early exit. The event was incredibly motivating for the rest of the trip.

Special thanks to Joanne Luu for making the Alumni event happen. She sent 130 personal e-mails with follow-up phone calls to Alumni in the Ottawa region. I don’t know how she does it, but she does, so thanks again Jo! An interesting note: other than our trip, the formation of an Ottawa chapter was topic most Alumni were talking about.

Day 46, August 4, Rest Day in Montreal QC

We took the metro to downtown in the morning. It was the easiest way to get to Old Montreal. We stayed there for most of the day. It didn’t rain for the entire day, which seems unusual these days.

We met up with Jamie Huckabay, who was recently awarded the U of L gold medal for Arts and Science, and headed to St. Catherine’s street. It was a pretty cool place to hang out at. Vanessa was able to shop for a while, albeit difficult with 4 males as shopping mates.

We went back to Jamie’s apartment to cook chili for dinner. A much more economical way to eat than a restaurant. The food and the company was fantastic. We were on our way again around 9:00pm for Ottawa.

We didn’t get into Ottawa until 1:30pm after having some difficulty finding at parking space at the University of Ottawa. Joanne, being Joanne, was awake and waiting for us. She also had a pan of gluten free cookies waiting!

Day 45, August 3, Lachute QC to Joliette QC

I had a great sleep last night in the motel. We’re all going to enjoy sleeping in beds again. At one point last night my back tire just popped. Allan and I had no idea what the pop was until I felt my back tire. It was my second flat of the day.

We began our ride at the Tim Horton’s that we stopped at the day before. I decided to change my tire there. 15 minutes into the ride, my tire popped again. My back tire had a couple gashes in it, so I decided to change the tire. It started to pour a minute after my tire popped.

It stopped raining as we headed into a town that had a house of the former PM, Wifred Laurier’s. Turned out it cost money to go in, and it actually wasn’t his house. We decided not to stay. It only lightly rained for the rest of the day. We packed the bikes in Joliette, at 95k, and headed in Montreal.

We ended up staying in a motel in the outskirts of Montreal after searching for reasonably priced accommodations for sometime. It wasn’t too bad of a place to stay. Our plan tomorrow is to sight see in Old Montreal, and to meet up with Jamie Huckabay.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Day 44, August 2, Gatineau QC/ Ottawa Ont. to Lachute QC

We didn’t leave Ottawa until 10:00am, and began our ride out of Gatineau around 11:30am. After we left the city, we were on the same highway all day. There was a bike trail for the entire ride, which was incredible. We haven’t had shoulders like this since Alberta.

It looked like it was going to be the first hot day in about 2 weeks. It ended up raining about an hour into the ride, and didn’t quit for the next 4. The shoulders made it easy to ride in. However, it’s difficult to spot the odd pothole when they’re filled with water. Vanessa and I both had a close call with one in particular. Vanessa had two flats today, and I had my first one in over 2000k. It was warm out, so it wasn’t too uncomfortable changing the tires in the rain.

As we made it into Lachute, the rain was subsiding. We all had a coffee at a Tim Horton’s to decide what the plan was going to be. Vanessa and I were completely drenched. We decided to stay in a hotel for the first time since Surrey. There weren’t any campsites for 40k, and most of our stuff was wet and needed to be aired out. Having a nice bed to sleep on, and the thought of a light day tomorrow at 90k, makes for an enjoyable night.

Day 43, August 1, Haley Station Ont. to Gatineau QC/ Ottawa Ont.

It was easy to get up this morning. I had a great sleep, except for my eyes being worse this morning. They both seem to be infected. . I couldn’t put my contacts in this morning, and had to wear my glasses. The $5.00 investment in a new Wal-mart pillow was worth it.

We all went to the campsite’s/ amusement’s restaurant for breakfast. Allan learned the difference between regular and farm-fresh eggs. It was a serious question, but the waitress still called him a smart-ass. Small talk was around the horrific Greyhound killing.

We took a lesser-traveled road into Quebec, so there wasn’t much for traffic. It was a nice change from the past few days. The sides of the roads were filled with old farmhouses that were full of character. I really enjoyed riding passes these houses and other outbuildings.

The roads riding into Gatineau were challenging. I’m surprised Vanessa or I didn’t get a flat. By chance, barely into the city, we stumbled across a bike path that went through the city. Vanessa and I road this until we somewhat got lost. Allan and Brett were driving in the Van, and had made it to the eastern edge of the city. They met us at a gas station, where we racked the bikes to head into Ottawa. We rode 130k today.

We made it to Joanne Luu and Brittany Earl’s apartment, where we would be spending the night. Jamie Huckabay, another U of L graduate, was also there. It was great to see these fine folks again. Vanessa and I showered quickly, and we were off to a restaurant in the market. It was a great evening.

Thanks again for putting up with us Joanne and Brittany!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Day 42, July 31, Stonecliffe Ont to Haley Station Ont

We were up early today. Young kids always seem to get up early, and like to let everyone else know. Our tents were fairly dry, which was nice. Even Allan’s for a change. Our goal today was 120k. It’s motivating to know Ottawa is only 100k away.

There were few hills today during the ride. We had a tailwind for most of the ride, and we averaged 26km/h. Traffic picked up again today, and most-likely wont lighten until we pass Quebec City. It rained slightly during the ride, which passing semi-trailers would throw your way, with a little sand for good measure. Although, the rain was refreshing during the ride.

We stopped 80k into the ride and drove to Pembrook for lunch at Tim Horton’s. I had a delicious bag of Doritos for lunch-Cool Ranch. We drove back to where we left off on the highway, and rode the last 50k to Stonecliffe.

We ended up at a campsite with an outdoor water park, mini-golf, petting zoo, etc. It pretty much has everything. We didn’t get a chance to try the slides, but we did get to eat in a “Noah’s Ark,” complete with paper animals. I’m surprised the paper bear didn’t spontaneously combust when Allan saw it.

Tomorrow we’ll deviate from our original plan and ride into Quebec early. We’re going to bypass the traffic in Ottawa and ride to Hull, which is on the other side of the Ottawa River.

Day 41, July 30, North Bay Ont to Stonecliffe Ont

It was pouring when I first heard Allan’s wake-up call this morning at 7:00am. We all decided to wait and see if the rain would subside before we had to pack our tents. Packing a tent when it’s raining isn’t too much fun. To our luck, it stopped raining around 9:00am.

We drove to the Ottawa turnoff and began to bike. We’ve been biking longer than our scheduled distances to make up for the lost 60k in Sault Ste. Marie. I had to laugh at myself during the beginning of the ride because of what I wrote in a recent blog post regarding the flat terrain. We were greeted today with non-stop hills for the entire ride. I also ate a ridiculous amount of Reese Chocolate Bars during the day. I may have a problem.

We found a nice campsite in a small village after 130k. The Ottawa River was 100 meters away. It rained for a while, but quit for just enough time to put our tents up.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Day 40, July 29, Sudbury Ont. to North Bay Ont.

You always seem to wake early when you haven’t paid for where you're staying. As were leaving a large crew of grounds people arrived to mow and whip the grass. We were on the road by 9:00am.

We experienced construction early in the ride. I dropped one of my water bottles, which I couldn’t stop and retrieve. When you’re on a bike, you have to move fast through construction sites. Vanessa had an experience with an individual who thought she should go faster. He was much more creative in his language than I give him justice here.

There was a very narrow to non-existent shoulder for most of the ride. We decided to eat 45k into the ride at little restaurant at the side of the road. I had my usual, and we were off by 1:00pm. We didn’t stop again for a rest until we were 25k out of North Bay. We had a mild headwind to contend with for most of the day. However, we still averaged a respectable 26km/h for the 115k ride.

North Bay is a larger city than we expected at 55,000 people. Riding through the city was interesting. We racked the bikes at the Ottawa turn off, which is close to Don Cherry’s restaurant. After we set up our tent, we went to the beach for a fantastic swim in Lake Nippissing. We still haven’t been able to convince Allan to go for a swim.

Day 39, July 28, Spragge Ont. to Sudbury Ont.

We were all woken early to seagulls eating rice left out. I didn’t know seagulls could make so much noise. Almost all the rice in the bag had been eaten. Reminded me of the dog/wolf eating the spaghetti in Upsala.

The roads seem to be getting worse. They remind us of Manitoba. We were concerned about the roads in Northern Ontario, but they seem to be worse east of Sault Ste. Marie. The traffic had been picking up considerably as well. On the bright side, hills are few and far between.

Huge smoke stacks greeted us, as we got closer to Sudbury. We didn’t have to ride through Sudbury, as highway 17 stayed north. The ride today was fairly easy, although a bit long. We rode 150k. Our plan was 130k, but we couldn’t find a campsite, so we just continued riding. We decided to camp at a tourist information center, again. It actually isn’t that bad, except for being a bit exposed. Vanessa and Brett decided to sleep in the van. Vanessa isn’t a big fan of bears. As long as I can out run Allan, I think I’ll be fine.

Day 38, July 27, 50k out Sault Ste. Marie Ont. to Spragge, Ont.

We drove out to where we left off the day before. We were greeted with an excellent tailwind as we began to bike. Our average speed for the first hour was 37km/h. We decided to ride for 70k straight before our first break. It was fairly easy to do.

We arrived at another KOA after 4 hours of riding. A very short ride. We completed 128k in 4 hours, for an average of 32km/h. Everything was pretty much perfect with this ride, except for a minor fall Vanessa had as we turned into the campsite. KOA campsites have been the nicest campsites to stay at throughout the trip.
I was finally able to wash my sleeping bag that had become disgusting. My tent seems to leak, but not as bad as Allan’s. He has had no luck with tents this trip.

Day 37, July 26, Sault Ste. Marie Ont.-Rest Day

We left the amazing KOA and headed for the last remaining Husky Truck Stop Restaurant on the trip for breakfast. I had eggs as usual, which is usually preceded by a drawn out explanation on why I need the grill cleaned before they cook my food. As we were leaving the restaurant, Vanessa received a phone call from the hospital in Marathon. We needed to go to the hospital in Sault so she could get new meds. Somehow Vanessa and Brett both have what they call the “Super Bug.”

We didn’t get out of the city until late, so we decided to take half a day off. We only rode 50k out of Sault Ste. Marie, and racked the bikes to find a campsite. We unpacked, spoke to neighbor that was two bricks short, and went to a movie. The Dark Night was a fantastic movie. As we drove back from the movie, we saw a vehicle that had crashed into a large power line. Our campsite was without power for the night. Not a big deal when you live in a tent.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Day 36, July 25, Montreal River Ont. to Sault Ste Marie

It was raining when we woke up this morning. It’s always fun packing a tent when it’s raining. It had quit by the time we took off.

About 10k into the ride, it began to rain lightly. We put on our rain jackets and continued on. We stopped at another park to hangout about 40k into the ride. It was a nice break. It was hardly raining at this point.

For the next 80k, it rained, rained and rained. Coupled with the most intense hill since BC, made for an interesting ride. I’m currently drenched, sitting in a laundry room washing my clothes.

I was feeling flat most of the day. I’m going to eat more rice tonight and tomorrow morning in hopes the extra carbs will boost my energy levels. It's going to be interesting cooking with it pouring outside. I may pay Allan to do it.

We’re staying at probably the nicest campsite we’ve stayed at during the trip-KOA. It has everything, including a Wii. If we weren’t going to bed ASAP, it would be a great place to hang out at.

Day 35, July 24th, Wawa Ont. to Montreal River Ont.

We took off at around 11am today. We decided to have coffee and Tim’s in Wawa before we left. We also took photos by a giant goose statue. Very exciting.

After an hour of riding, we stopped at a provincial park to hang out on the beach. The scenery was surreal, and the sun was hot. I have nice sunburn on my chest to remind me of it. We stayed there for about an hour before taking off.

The hills were back today with a vengeance. Reminded me of BC. It was perfect biking weather, so it wasn’t bad. We didn’t see any signs for Montreal River during the ride. Made us a bit nervous, but we did eventually come across it on the highway. We found a decent campsite on the road. It had a great view of Lake Superior that we all enjoyed. I wish I could have videotaped the sunset. My camera didn’t do it justice.

Day 34, July 23th, White River Ont. to Wawa Ont.

We had to wake up early this morning considering we were camped at a tourist information building. Aussie Rob had told us of a bear he saw earlier down the road. The next thing we know the bear was in the garbage 50 meters away. Then an OPP officer stopped in front of the garbage, pulled out a rifle and shot the bear. Allen gave me the same look as he did in Christina Lake, the “did that just happen” look. It’s ironic that the bear was shot behind a Winnie the Pooh statue. The same picture from my previous blog post.

We decided to catch up on our blogs at a restaurant with wireless Internet, and didn’t get out of town until noon. Aussie Rob took off around 8:30am. It was a nice warm day today. There were plenty of hills, but we averaged 25km/h for the entire ride. I was definitely keeping an eye out for bears today. I only saw one adolescent bear in the ditch. I went from 30km/h to 40km/h in a matter of seconds. You never know where the mother may be.

We found a nice campsite right before Wawa. We didn’t meet up with Aussie Rob again, who probably spent the night somewhere in town.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Day 33, July 22, Marathon Ont. to White River Ont.

We all agreed to sleep in until 10:00am this morning. Great sleep. The campsite was a kind of a dive, and was 15 minutes out of Marathon. We drove into town to get Vanessa her prescription, and to have lunch. We didn’t get on the road until 1:00pm.

The highway was pretty bad for the first 20k. Construction again. It was like riding on rumble strips for the entire distance. Jpan sent me a link to an article about the effects of cycling on males that I opened in this morning. I wont go into details. It was perfect timing. Thanks for the motivation J!

We arrived in White River around 7:00pm. There wasn’t any campsite for 20 miles in either direction, so we pitched our tents in front of the tourist information building. It just so happens that the Aussie we lost before Thunder Bay was thinking the same thing. We ended up camping with him again. It looked like a Hoovervill-4 tents and a camp stove.

Day 32, July 21st, Terrace Bay Ont. to Marathon Ont.

Today was the second shortest day of the trip. You’d almost think we’d planned it that way with the hills we encountered. It felt like we were back in BC at times. The only difference was the hills only lasted a 1 or 2k, not 20. Again, the views were spectacular. Every time we rode down a hill, we had Lake Superior to the right. It was difficult to take pictures because of how overcast it was today.

Brett was having difficulty with his knee today. We have been worried about what these hills would do to his knee since Dryden. I rode ahead most of the day. I didn’t see the bear that was killed on the road. Brett and Vanessa were visibly disturbed when they caught up to me.

I rode ahead into Marathon and waited for a while before Vanessa caught up. I saw Brett’s bike racked on the van. He wasn’t too upset. I think he knew this was a possibility for this leg of the trip.

We all decided to go to the hospital to get some things checked out. We arrive in these communities too late to go into walk-in clinics. It was a funny site to see us all waiting in the hospital. We didn’t get out of there until 11:30pm. Allan had set our tents up at the campsite, which was greatly appreciated. We were all pretty tired. The hills today took a lot out of us.

We only rode around 78k today. Tomorrow is another light day in terms of distance at 96k. Although in terms of hills, we’re not completely sure. Every local has a different opinion on what to expect.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Day 31, July 20th, Nipigon Ont. to Terrace Bay Ont.

We woke up around 9:00am this morning, and decided to have breakfast at the Husky Truck Stop just down the road. It took us well over an hour to get our food, so we didn’t get on the road until noon. It was another overcast day. We had Lake Superior on our left for portions of the ride. Just like the scenery in BC, it was great motivation.

We experienced some hills today. They are definitely getting bigger and longer. Being that it was only a 100k-day, they were fairly manageable.

We stopped and had some food in Schreiber, 15k from Terrace Bay. After dinner we rode into the campsite around 8:00pm.

Day 30, July 19th, Thunder Bay Ont. to Nipigon Ont.

We woke up at 7:00am this morning. We had breakfast with the Kennedy’s, which was great. A welcomed change from cold rice and noodles I usually have in the morning. It took us awhile to reorganize the van, so we didn’t get on the road until 10:00am. Thanks again to Bruce, Tracy, Irene and Philip for making our stay more than pleasant.

Today was a short ride. It was only around a 100k. About 40k into the ride, we decided to stop at Canada’s longest suspension bridge. It cost us $18.00 to cross it. I expected a bit more, but it was a nice break.

Since it quit raining a few days ago, it has been overcast most days. This makes for the best riding. Not too hot or cool. Although today we experienced a great deal of construction that brought with it some terrible roads. We were riding on gravel for a while. I was surprised none of us had a flat tire during or after.

We arrived at the campsite around 7:30pm. We met up with a guy from Quebec that we met riding up Anarchist Mountain in BC. He’s about 60-65 years old. He hadn’t taken a break for the entire trip. I hope that I’m able to do this trip when I reach that age. Tomorrow is another easy ride in terms of distance. However, the hills have been getting steeper and longer.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Day 29, July 18, Rest Day in Thunder Bay

We woke up around 10:00am, and had coffee with the Kennedy’s. We then went for lunch with my second cousin Philip. I had a 5-egg omelet. Bruce was going to take us in his boat on Lake Superior, but it looked like it was going to rain. He also lined us up with another boat at a lake an half hour away if we wanted. It was probably a good thing we didn’t take too much leisure time considering how long it took us at the bike store to get our bikes fixed and tuned. Our bikes definitely needed the work. Bruce new the owner of the bike shop, so our bikes were worked on the same day we brought them in. After everything was said and done, we spent $550.00 combined at the bike store.

For dinner we had a fantastic meal prepared by Tracy. We were definitely spoiled. I was also able to look at photos of my Grandpa that Irene had in her suite in the basement. We stayed up late again chatting and playing Halo.

Day 28, July 17, Upsala Ont. to Thunder Bay Ont.

I was woken by heavy breathing outside my tent 3 times last night. I looked out my screen the first time and didn’t see anything and fell asleep. The second time the breathing was followed by heavy crunching. The third time I saw a white and gray dog outside my tent eating a large amount of uncooked spaghetti. I wasn’t completely sure if it was a dog or not being that it was dark, coupled with being blind without my contacts. The Aussie thought it was Allan at first, but then was convinced it was a wolf. I didn’t believe him, probably because of his accent, but I didn’t venture of my tent to check.

Allan and I saw a dirty mutt in the campsite in the morning. It looked like the animal I saw during the night. We didn’t tell the Aussie. The dog must have eaten a half a kilo of uncooked spaghetti noodles.

It was a fairly long day in comparison to the last couple, so we took off early. About 20k in we stopped at a gas station to grab some fuel, and chocolate bars for myself. The Aussie was there having a pop, and he continued to ride with us for the next 80 or so km. Brett and Vanessa were riding slow to help Brett’s knee, so I rode ahead with the him for most of the day. BC Guy eventually caught up with us.

We split with the Aussie and BC Guy 40k outside of Thunderbay. We took an alternative root that would have less traffic. It did end up having less traffic, but a tone of construction.

We arrived in Thunderbay around 7:00pm. We lost an hour today because of the time change. We found a nice campsite to stay in, but we didn’t stay there after I phoned some relatives of mine that I had never met.

Since we were taking a rest day, I thought a coffee with my Dad’s Aunt and his cousin’s family would be a good idea. When I phoned them, they offered to have us stay with them in a trailer in their backyard. A nice bed and a clean shower would be a nice change, so we gratefully accepted.

We hadn’t met before, and I didn’t know what to expect, but all four of us were greeted like family. We stayed up until 1:00am chatting about family, curling, the trip, etc. It was a fantastic night, considering all I new about the family was through a brief conversation with my Dad, and what I found through Google. Thanks Bruce, Tracy, Irene and Philip, for hospitality. I felt a little guilty because I don’t know when I’ll get the chance to repay it.

Day 27, July 16, Ignace Ont. to Upsala Ont.

We didn’t get up until late today. We didn’t know if we were going to take a rest day or not. Brett broke a couple spokes on his back tire yesterday, and we thought we might have to head back to Dryden to a repair shop. The Aussie we met was able to give Brett a hand, and we were able to ride to Upsala.

The campsite we were at was impressive considering the size of the town. The owners were great to talk to. It was interesting to here about the economy of Northern Ontario, or the lack there of. The softwood lumber issue between Canada and the U.S has really hit them hard.

We met up with another lady who was riding her bike around Ontario for Cancer. It was interesting as well as motivating to chat with her for a while.
t was a good ride today. A couple hills, but they were manageable. We arrived in Upsala around 9pm, and got a campsite just inside the village. The guy we met in Dryden, who we’ve affectionately nicknamed “BC Guy,” met us there. The Aussie also met us there. We decided to all share a campsite. The Aussie was hilarious. We chatted for a while, played frisbee, and made fun of Allan. A good night.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Day 26, July 15, Dryden Ont. to Ignace Ont.

Today was a short day, so we didn’t leave Dryden until 11:00am. We stopped at a gas station to stock up on chocolate bars and Doritos.

Rain hit us as soon as we got on the road. It only lasted about an hour before we saw blue sky. A benefit of rain is that you don’t have to deal with the horse flies. There was a fair bit of construction on the road today. Being on a bike, you can usually just go ahead.

The ride was pretty uneventful. Brett broke two spokes on the cartridge side of his back rim, but made it into town. As we rode into town we met up with an Aussy who was making the same trip. He was trying to lose weight before his wedding. We also met up with the guy from Dryden. He decided to stay with us for the night.

We only rode a little over a 100k today. It was a nice break. We are now a day ahead of schedule. Tomorrow is only a 100k-day, again. There are such few town around here, you either ride 200K+, or split it in two.

Day 25, July 14, Kenora Ont. to Dryden Ont.

We didn’t get out of Kenora until late morning. Luckily there was a Canadian Tire just down the road. I needed a new rain jacket. A McDonald’s was just across the street, so we ate there for breakfast/lunch.

It wasn’t very long before I needed my rain jacket. A large storm over took us. It rained for a couple hours, but it wasn’t too cold. Vanessa and I decided to have a coffee at a mom and pop shop on the side of the road. The coffee was fantastic. Brett was riding slower today because he wasn’t feeling well. He decided not to stop and continue on.

We made it into Dryden fairly late, around 9:00pm. We talked to another biker on the side of the road who was making the same trip as we made it to town. A pulp and paper mill was the first thing we saw and smelt as we rode in.

The highways have been improving. Everyone warned us about the roads in Northern Ontario, but aside from the copious amount of semi-trucks, they’ve been okay. No comparison to Manitoba. We only rode 130k today. There wasn’t a flat stretch of road on the entire leg. It was all hills the entire way. It was a good ride, however.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Day 24,July 13, Richer to Kenora

It was bright and sunny day in the morning. We decided to sleep in and do laundry, so we didn’t get out of the campsite until around noon.

The wind was coming from the north, so it wasn’t in our favor today, but not against. It was warm, and that’s what seemed to be important. The shoulders, what shoulders we had, were rough this section of the road. There also seemed to be ridiculous amount of horse flies. They were pinging of our sunglasses.

We reached Falcon Lake around 3:30pm and had lunch. The scenery was definitely changing by this point. It felt like we were back in B.C. We were off again by 5:00pm.

We arrived in Kenora by 10:30pm. The campsite stayed open until we arrived. The ride into Kenora was fantastic. The city is breathtaking. I hope to come back here and spend sometime in the future.

Day 23, July 12, Portage la Prairie to Richer

There was another storm last night. I didn’t think my tent would make it at times. The day began well. The tailwind was around 40km/h for the first 20k or so. Then it began to rain, rain, and rain. I remember thinking, “ don’t get a flat,” so of course I did. I was going pretty fast when I hit some raised pavement.

It took me awhile, but I managed to get it in. After about 500 meters, I had another flat. I realized I had punctured my tire. It took me about a half hour to change the tire and the tube. Trying to change a tube and a tire when it’s raining in 40km/h wind is not easy or fun. Especially when the driver has a religious radio station on. I don’t think he knew.

Brett’s parents followed Vanessa and Brett on the highway as I changed my tire. I eventually met up with them on at a gas station where we had lunch. Vanessa friend, a recent U of L graduate, joined us for lunch.

We decided to continue on despite the weather. We took a southern highway to bypass Winnipeg. We passed a semi that had crashed on a bridge 10 minutes before we got there. As we went to see if we could do anything, two min-vans rubbernecking began playing bumper cars.

My rain jacket seemed to have blown away during the windstorm at the last campsite. The poncho I bought at the gas station tore in the wind within 20 minutes. I was completely drenched. I did pushups on my handlebars to keep warm. On the bright side, the wind was with us 80% of the time.

We eventually made it to a campsite, which had a hot tube and showers. Brett and Vanessa went to the hospital to see what was with a sore Brett had. It was a 140k day.

Day 22, July 11, Virden to Portage la Prairie

We woke around 6:30am. I didn’t really get a good night sleep. My tent blow over numerous times during the night. We probably should have slept inside. Allan’s tent looked like one of those kids’ pools you’d buy at Wal-Mart. There was about an inch of water in it. We had coffee with Kathy, showered, and said our good-byes.

We drove back to Virden to continue riding. Today was the first day that Brett rode with us since Anarchist Mountain in B.C. It was great to see him ride again. After about 20k the shoulder ended. This is where the bikers were killed 3 weeks before, so we had Allan very close in the Van. We had to ride in the left lane. We were later pulled over by the RCMP. I guess we needed a permit to have a slow moving vehicle on the highway. Anne phoned the RCMP before we left, and they weren’t aware of any permit needed. The guy was pretty good about it and just told us to keep in single file.

About half way to Portage, we were greeted by Brett’s parents on the highway. They drove all the way Provost to see us. They followed us the remainder of the way, which ended up being quite awhile.

As we pulled into the campsite, 15k beyond Portage, it began to lightly rain. Brett’s parents took us for a fantastic meal back in Portage at Boston Pizza. Thanks Ruth and Richard!

Today ended up being a +200k day. It really didn’t feel like it though. The tailwind was around 30km/h during the entire ride.

Day 21, July 10, Moosomin to Virden

I woke up a couple of times during the night swatting mosquitoes. Somehow the passenger side door opened while I was sleeping-creepy.

The headwind was strong today. It felt like we were back in Lethbridge riding to Monarch and back. We were only going between 12-18km/h. Our goal was to ride to Brandon, but the headwind was too strong. We decided to rack our bikes and drive to Brandon to have dinner at Tastee’s Ice Cream and Grill. Also, I needed a new tent.

Bob Cooney hooked us up with the owner of Tastee’s, Kathy Crossin. She made us a fantastic meal on the house. She offered to have us pitch our tents in her backyard of her house in Shilo. We gratefully accepted.

Allan and Vanessa are staying in the house because of a severe thunderstorm warning. I want to test out the new tent, so I’m staying outside. We ended up talking to Kathy until 1:00am about pretty much anything. She was incredibly accommodating, and made us feel right at home. Thanks Kathy!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Day 20, July 9, White City to Moosomin

We woke up somewhat early today, but it took us awhile to get on the road. Allan was dropped off on the highway by the campsite where we picked him up. We didn’t have the tailwind today that we’ve had for the past few, but the important thing is we didn’t have a head wind. The weather in Saskatchewan has been really mild. Rarely pushing the upper 20 degrees.

Around 90k into the ride, we saw a 50’s nostalgia restaurant on the highway. We later found out that it doubled as a Coca-Cola Museum. We had dinner there for an hour or so. We chatted the owner up for awhile before we left. We’ll try and stop by there again when we’re Alberta bound.

Saskatchewan has been fantastic so far. Nice people, decent scenery, and most importantly: no mountains. Although, one thing that we see a lot of on the highway is road kill. Mostly gofers. Every couple minutes you have to dodge one.

Our goal today was Whitewood, but we decided to go further to Moosomin. It was our first 200k day today. It was perfect weather to do it. I was feeling pretty worn out by the end of it.

We found a decent campsite just off the highway. There are tones of mosquitoes. My tent pole snapped, so I’ll be sleeping in the van tonight.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Day 19, July 8, Moose Jaw to White City (10k outside of Regina)

We woke up at 6:30am today. It was a cool morning, and had rained during the night. I did my laundry in the shower before I went to bed, and set it out to dry. It was drenched when I woke. There must have been some exercises for railway workers by the camp we were at because there were around 75 guys in overalls about 50 meters from our tents in the morning.

We rode 15k out of Moose Jaw and then packed our bikes and headed to where they film Corner Gas. I don’t think I’ve sat through one show, but Vanessa is a huge fan. There wasn’t much to see, and it definitely was in the middle of no-where. It was worth the trip though-a nice break.

We began to ride again around 11:00am. We had that fantastic tale wind again. My GPS stopped working, so I don’t know what my average speed was. It was probably around 30-35km/h. Vanessa got a flat on the highway, and I didn’t realize until I was significantly ahead of her and the van. Another road biker passed me while I waited and told me they were changing a flat 10k back. We ended up talking about the U of L for about 10 minutes. He had been there for a visit last February.

We made it into Regina at about 2:30pm. We stopped for food at an A&W. Brett told us that he might be catching a bus back to Lethbridge because his knee wasn’t getting any better. After some convincing from Vanessa, he decided to wait until Winnipeg to see if it improves.

We dropped Allan off at his Grandparents house for the night. I guess he hasn’t seen them for 6 years. He’ll meet up with us in the morning. We made it to this nice campsite outside of Regina by White City. I just had two campers come by and chat with me for 20 minutes about U of L and pretty much everything. I went to shake their hands, and they both gave me a hug. Very nice people. Made my night.

So after I was finished writing my last post at the coffee shop in Moose Jaw, I went to buy one last Pepsi before we left. The girl at the till told me not to worry about it! That’s twice so far on the trip. Now it happened again today, twice. The cashier at A&W told me not to worry about paying for a coffee, and they girls at the campsite just gave me two free stamps to mail some postcards. Both times I pulled out money to pay for them. I looked in the mirror, and I didn’t have chain grease on my face like I did in Cranbrook. I’m thinking that I should have started trading a red paper clip at the beginning of the trip. I might have had a motor home by now.

Our distance today was only 100k. We’re heading to Whitewood tomorrow. If we have the same tail wind, it’ll be an easy ride.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Day 18, July 7, Herbert to Moose Jaw

We woke up at 6:30am today to a great breakfast prepared by Anne. We ate and said our goodbyes, and were on the road at Herbert by 8:30am. We had another tailwind today. It was great. It was easy to sustain 35km/h.

The weather was hit and miss today. Within a span of 20 minutes, I put on and took off my rain jacket twice. You were either cold, or extremely hot under your rain jacket. However, the tailwind for most of the day more than made up for it.

At one point we noticed that Brett and Allan weren’t behind us. After about an hour they caught up to tell us the van had a flat. We rode the next 24k into Moose Jaw where we tried to find a tire store with a tire we needed. After the 3rd tire shop we visited, we were able to get one. It cost us around $200.00. Enterprise will reimburse us-hopefully.

We rode 120k today. It was an easy ride. We’re hoping to ride beyond Regina tomorrow, but we’re not too sure yet. We’re going to the town where they shoot Corner Gas.

Day 17, July 6th, Gull Lake to Herbert

We deliberately slept in today. It felt great. We didn’t get out onto the highway until 11:00am. Who ever said the Saskatchewan is flat, didn’t ride their bikes across it. It is continuous hills. Although, considerably easier to climb in comparison to B.C.

As we were riding into Swift Current, another biker rode beside me. He was also riding his bike across Canada for a hospital in Toronto. The only difference between our two tours was that he started in Vancouver, and was riding 380k a day! He was planning on being done at the end of the month. I still don’t know if he was in the Sasky sun too long, or if he was serious. He did ride in the right hand lane and not the shoulder! Speaking of shoulders, and the lack there of in Saskatchewan. It’s nice to have van behind us during these stretches.

We went through Swift Current because we were ahead of schedule. We rode another 40k to Herbert. We experienced a significant headwind for this section. At times, we were only going 18-20km/h. Felt like we were riding to Monarch again. We then put our bikes on the rack at Herbert, and headed to Maureen Schwartz’s mom’s house to spend the night. Thanks for setting us up Maureen! We went and had dinner and Smitty’s, where we tried to convince our server to go to the U of L. We gave him a U of L pin and our contact info. We were definitely spoiled again tonight with our accommodations. We each have our own bed and a shower. Thanks Anne!

We only rode about 110k today. It was a nice distance from the last couple days. Tomorrow is Moose Jaw.

Day 16, July 5th, Medicine Hat to Gull Lake

We woke up to a wonderful breakfast prepared by Brett’s Grandma, Margaret. We went back to the teepee around 9am, and then began the journey into Saskatchewan. I didn’t eat much for carbohydrates the night before, and I definitely felt it in the morning.

Although tired, we had a fantastic headwind. We were averaging 35km/h for most of the trip. Our destination for today was Maple Creek, but we decided to continue on further to take advantage of the wind.

Since we took the tandem bike off the back of the van, we’ve been getting a tone of honks and waves from passing vehicles. A simple honk or wave is a huge motivational boost after a 100k.

We arrived in Gull Lake around 7:00pm, and set up camp in the Village’s campsite. A small and simple campsite, but it had free showers, which is always a plus. We rode a 160k today. The women that ran the campsite was very personable, and sat and chatted with us for a while. She currently has two grandkids at the U of L.

Day 15, July 4th, Lethbridge to Medicine Hat

Adam Vossepoel, Brodie Pattenden, and Chris Courtney joined us for this leg of the journey. Adam and Chris both want to do this next year for the University, so it was good experience for them; or that’s at least what I told them. The owners of Alpinland lent their personal bikes to Adam and Brodie for the trip. These weren’t the cheapest bikes to borrow, and it saved them a great deal of time and money in not having to find other road bikes. A shout-out to Alpinland! Brett had a Doctor’s appointment at 2pm, so he stayed behind and caught up with us later in Medicine Hat.

We began biking around 8:15am from the west side of Lethbridge. It took us awhile to get out of Lethbridge. Whoop-up was a breeze after BC. As we got out of Lethbridge, there was a not so friendly storm behind us. We were able to sustain 40km/h for around 15k with a substantial tailwind from this storm. As we turned onto highway 3, the storm caught up to us, and it began to rain fairly heavy. It didn’t let up until we hit Taber, where we decided to take a break at McDonald’s. Having Craig and Todd from CRDC filming on the highway gave us motivation as we biked through the rain. Thanks guys!

Around 100k into the ride, Adam and Brodie were getting pretty tired. Completely understandable for people who don’t regularly bike and just rode a 100k. We stopped for a break and refueled on energy gels, drinks, food, and ibuprofen. We were all good for the remainder of the trip. Chris on the other hand looked as if he had road BC with us. You could tell he worked at Alpinland.

Around Burdett, we saw this Armored Personal Carrier on the road by a John Deere dealership. The owner let us get on to take a picture. He then showed us his personal collection of army vehicles in the back. It was a pretty cool break from the highway.

We all stopped for photos and high-fives at 160k. It was the first “century” Adam, Chris and Brodie had rode (100miles). In the end, it was 180k to the teepee in Medicine Hat from Lethbridge. Google was off again. Sorry Brodie!

We had dinner at the Medicine Hat buffet. Allan’s dad had our meals covered. Adam, Chris and Brodie then headed back to Lethbridge, while Alan and I went to Brett’s Grandma’s house. It was quite a treat to stay at her place. We each had our own bed. Definitely spoiled. Thanks Margaret!

Thanks again to Brodie, Chris and Adam for joining us on this part of the trip. It was a nice change. Although, I think Adam thought all the honks on the road were attributed to his bike shorts.

Day 14, July 3rd, Rest Day in Lethbridge

Nothing really exciting happened today. We spent most of the day prepping for the remainder of the trip. I went and bought extra tires, tubes, and energy gels at AlpinLand.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Day 13, Rest Day in Lethbridge

I slept in until 9am today. Felt great. We went to the University around 11:30am for the BBQ they had to greet us into Lethbridge. I didn’t expect to see so many people out. There were around 50 people outside U-hall clapping as we rode our bikes down the hill. As we walked into the atrium there were a couple hundred members of the University community gathered. Bill and I said a few words to the group of people, and then we ate and spoke to all those that came out. Seeing so many people out made the 1200km journey so far worth it, and will make the remaining 6200km that much easier.

We decided to take another rest day tomorrow to give Vanessa sometime to heal. We’ll head to Medicine on Friday morning. I ended up just hanging out on campus for a good part of the day catching up on what’s going on, and what’s flooded. Brett is making arrangements to see various professionals about his knee while in Lethbridge. We’re still hoping he can join us from Regina onward. Fingers crossed!
I forgot to mention in my last posts, but our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the two bikers that were killed on the Trans-Canada Highway last week-a very sobering reality. We’ve taken steps to limit our risks when we reach this stretch of highway in a couple weeks.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Day 12, July 1, Sparwood to Lethbridge

Day 12, July 1, Sparwood to Lethbridge

We got up at 5:30am today so that we could get into Lethbridge at a reasonable time. It was raining when for the first 15kms or so, but not too hard. We met up Vanessa’s Dad 50k into the leg. He’s competed twice in Iron Man Canada, and once in the U.S. I wasn’t looking forward to the pace he would set for the next 150k, although we only ended up staying around 23km/h.

We thought we’d have a tailwind coming out of the Mountains, but we didn’t. We had a substantial headwind from Cowley to Fort MacLeod. I was in need of some serious energy from Pincher to Fort MacLeod. This felt like the longest part of the ride.

We stopped for an hour in Fort MacLeod at the A&W for some food. I can’t eat there, so I ate at the gas station next door. It was nice to eat a Reese Peanut Butter Cup that wasn’t melted.

It started to rain in Fort MacLeod and didn’t stop until we hit Lethbridge. This was the first substantial rain we’ve had on a trip. Passing trucks and campers would throw rain and sand in your face. My bike and helmet are caked. We were lucky though; we missed the flash flood that happened in Lethbridge.
It is going to be nice to sleep indoors tonight. Today was our longest ride at 178k-my second century. Tomorrow we will attend a BBQ arranged at the University. We’re looking forward to seeing everyone.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Day 11, June 30th, Cranbrook to Sparwood

We left the campsite later this morning so we could visit the bike shop in town. I finally got my back tire trued. We also picked up a bunch of extra tires because of how fast we’ve been going through them.

Before the visit to the bike shop, I stopped by the ESSO to grab a coffee. When I went to the till, the lady told me not to worry about it because the coffee was on her. I just thought this lady was just incredibly nice, until I went to the rest room in the bike shop. I had chain grease on my face and hadn’t shaved in 11 days. Add having to pay for a $2 coffee with a credit card because my license and debit card fell out of my wallet in Victoria when the leather ripped. I’m pretty sure she thought I was going through a rough time.

Today was around 35 degrees outside. We’ve been going through a heat wave for the last 4 days. The ride was easier with a bit of cloud cover and a headwind. There were limited hills we had to contend with, which was nice. We definitely need the break when we get to Lethbridge. By the time we hit Lethbridge, we will have been going straight for over 1200kms.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Day 10, June 29, Creston to Cranbrook

I awoke today to find my back rim rubbing badly on my brake. Brett and I worked on it for a while and got it to the point that I could ride. My back brakes don’t work that well right now, but I’ll have them fixed while in Lethbridge. Today’s ride was the easiest so far in terms of hills. The terrain was mainly flat, and what hills we did have, we could do at 15k an hour. The sun on the other hand, was hot. I didn’t push myself too hard in the 117k we biked. The temperature was pushing 40 degrees again on the highway, with no wind, tree or cloud cover. Vanessa and I both stopped for water and a breather every 10k or so. We arrived in Cranbrook at 6:30pm, Mountain Time.

Vanessa’s not feeling too well, so we may take a rest day here tomorrow. We’re taking bets on what’s going to happen to me now. Brett’s continuing to stretch and ice his knee. He wont be riding with us until we ride into Lethbridge.

Today we saw the first sign that read Lethbridge in 300kms. It’s going to be nice to be back in the bridge, at least for a day.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Day 9, June 28th, Fruitvale to Creston

We got going at 9:30 this morning. The first 20 kilometers of the ride was fantastic. It was slightly downhill for the most part, with a light headwind. We stopped in Salmo for a coffee and something to eat. It was getting pretty hot by then. We continued on, full of food and caffeine for the Kootenay Summit.

It wasn’t long before we began the assent. I was going through 3 bottles of water an hour-roughly 1.5 litre. The heat was getting intense. There was no wind or shade from the trees. Vanessa’s computer on her bike read +40 degrees on the highway. We took a bit of time out of the sun and sat in the shade. There was a small waterfall that we went under and drenched out clothes in. It was the best feeling that you could have imagined. Something that I wont soon forget. I soaked and old t-shirt and wore it around my neck until the summit. We finally reached the summit, approximately 70k from our last campsite, at 1774 metres.

A sign at the summit read that the next 35k were downhill. I had my brakes on for almost all this time. It was here that I realized my back rim is rubbing on my brakes. I’m going to have to adjust my spokes tomorrow morning.

We arrive in Creston at around 6:30pm. We found a fairly decent campsite. We’ve been really lucky to find campsites considering the long weekend.

Day 8, June 27th, Christina Lake to Fruitvale

We got up fairly early today because of these giant crows that lived in the tree by our tents. Brett decided to take another day off, which is probably a good thing. He is perpetually stretching and icing his knee. Hopefully it pays off. He’s in good spirits considering, which I admire.

The first bit of the ride was fairly easy. Flat, with some down hill sections. We then began the journey to the Nancy Greene submit on Mount Paulson. It was just over 1500 meters in elevation. It was a difficult ride at times, but the weather was perfect. Not too hot or cold.

Vanessa hot a couple flats behind me so I didn’t see the van for awhile. I ended up running out of water, so I stopped at a rest area. There was a water tap with a sign that read “boil before drinking.” Some guy saw me and offered a couple liters of water, which I took gratefully. He was up from Rossland with his son for the day. He knew Jeremy Girard, who is currently the student rep. on the Board of Governors at the U of L. Small world.

It was downhill all the way to Rossland and Trail. We were going as fast as traffic in town. I received the “bird” for the first time in Trail. I politely smiled and waved. After riding for over 6 hours, defending any other gesture I could have made, would have been a difficult task J. At the other side of Trail, we stopped at the Wal-mart and replaced the camping stove. We then began the climb of a large hill that would bring us to Montrose and our destination, Fruitvale.

We ended up in this campsite off the beaten track. They only charged us $12.00 for the night. It looked like it would have been a sweet campsite 15-20 years ago, but was now run down. Actually, it looked like one of those places a group of teens find in movies after they go the wrong way. I’m going to bed early tonight to get a good nights rest before the Kootenay Summit tomorrow.

Day 7, June 26th, Rock Creek to Christina Lake

We got up late to give Brett’s knee a bit more rest. He decided to take the complete day off. We left for Christina Lake around 11am. I had a 5-egg omelet for dinner the previous night. Although filling, it didn’t give me the carbs I needed for the next day. I was flat for the first half of the ride. It didn’t make things better with an 1100m submit. I will be eating a more rice/rice noodles now at night and in the morning

We stopped and had lunch around 2pm in Grand Forks, and booked an appointment for Brett to see a masseuse. He’s going to try his leg tomorrow. If it doesn’t work out, he’ll take two days off. He’s determined to ride into Lethbridge on his own steam. We arrived at Christina Lake at around 6:00pm or so. We found a perfect campsite right by the lake. We talked the guy down to only charging us $30 for the night from $60. The owner couldn’t find the axe to chop wood for our fire, so he literally put 2 litres of gas on it. The look on Alan’s face was priceless. He was basically asking me if this was normal for camping, and if he was going to die.

We’ve decided to go through Trail now instead of Castlegar. We need to stop by the Wal-mart to replace our camp stove. Thanks Joanne for the phone call today. Greatly appreciated!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

June 25th, Osoyoos to Grand Forks (sort of)

Today was the infamous Anarchist Mountain. We left the campsite around 9am. The first 15k were completely up hill. We were averaging between 8 and 12kms an hour. The view was spectacular, and with plenty of stops for pictures, it wasn’t that difficult. I drank 3 litres of water, ate 12 Reese Cups, and had 2 energy gels by the time we made it to the summit; roughly 22kms. That’s like going up Whoop-up 14 times! It was a steep ride coming down the other side of the Mountain. At one time, Brett passed me going over 70km/h. I’m definitely a more conservative biker with respects to hills. My top speed today was 55km/h.

We stopped and had lunch at a beautiful park for an hour. I had another flat (5 so far), and dropped behind the others. My chain later came off, and I realized my actual tire was blown. After the ringing stopped in my year from bursting a tire tube with a kink in it, I continued to catch up with Brett and Vanessa. I thought they would be considerably ahead of me, but they weren’t. Brett knee was really acting up. He could hardly walk on it. We decided to spend the night in a little town, whose name escapes me at this moment. We only rode 75k, and we’re 60k short of Grande Forks. Most likely, Brett will ride in the Van the next couple days. He will come back to BC and ride the distance he missed after we’ve completed the trip. This is pretty much the worst thing that could happen to him. We hope his knee improves soon so he can continue on.
We ended up in this great RV campsite. We went for dinner at a small mom and pop restaurant, where it was rather difficult to get them to understand what things I couldn’t eat. Our goal is Cristina Lake tomorrow, but we’re hoping to make it a bit further.

June 23rd, Princeton to Osoyoos

Today began well. We were up at 6:30am and left at 8am. At about 2 k out, Vanessa got a flat. I rode ahead to send Alan back. I continued riding for another 25k until Alan pulled by and told me Vanessa’s tire was blown. I rode back with Alan were we found out the bike shop didn’t have her size. Brett and Vanessa rode the tandom bike until Alan could go to Osoyoos to get another tire. He ended up being awhile because he had to go to the next town. I ended up waiting in a rest area for two hours. I’ve found out the my helmet make a great pillow when on.

After Vanessa had fixed her tire, we were off again. Brett and Vanessa stopped for a sandwich, and I continued on as I had already eaten. The ride was great for the first 80k or so. However, towards Osoyoos, the hills never stopped. I ended up arriving in town about an hour and a half earlier than the others, so I fell asleep at a truck stop. The only thing better than seeing peoples reaction to your attire at an IHOPE, is at a truck stop.

I’m pretty tired from today’s ride, although not sore. Brett’s knee seems to be doing very well. He’s icing it whenever he gets a chance. Tomorrow is Anarchist Mountain. This will be one of the most difficult rides, if not the most difficult of the trip. My GPS says that I’m burning around 5000 calories per ride. We’re eating every chance we can get. My staple during the day is Reese Peanut Butter Cups.

June 22nd, Hope to Princeton

We didn’t get out of Hope until around 11am. This was a bit frustrating because we want to be on the road by 8am most days. As soon as we began the ride it was uphill. We were averaging around 10kms an hour. I lost Brett and Vanessa when they stopped to rest. Reaching the first summit was a relief. It was around a 1200m climb. I ended up being around 10kms ahead of the Brett and Vanessa, so I stopped riding so there wouldn’t be too big of a gap.

The second summit was grueling, but fun. The spread between the three bikers was no more than a kilometer for this leg of the day. I’m definitely going to replace my brakes when we get to Lethbridge. There were times in the day I would have to have them on for up to 5k.

We made it to camp at about 8pm or so. The owner of the campground was friendly and curious about the trip. He has a grandson at the U of L. Our neighbors were also very friendly and they gave us a hammer and a saw for the rest of the trip. The camp stove we bought 2 days earlier was broke, so we used the first pit to cook our meal. Alan was cooking rice in a rice cooker in the washroom for awhile, until we found an outlet outside.

June 21st, Chillawak to Hope

We decided to take another highway North of highway 1 for this leg. It took us an extra 10kms, but it was worth it. The ride was the nicest so far. We had a head wind, hardly any traffic, no flat tires, and surreal scenery. We weren’t going to stay in hope, but Brett spoke broke, and his wheel was a bit bent. We found a great campsite 10 meters from a river.
Today was also the first day the tandem went in the van and Brett rode his bike. His knee held out, which is obviously a good thing. Vanessa should be commended for riding the tandem with Brett since Victoria. We’ll see what happens with the mountains between Hope and Princeton. There are two summits before we reach Princeton. This will be the first set of summits we’ll have to tackle in BC.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Day 2, June 21st

We left Surrey and found an IHOPE. I had 5 eggs and a 3 glasses of OJ. We all wear bike shorts, and the looks that we got were priceless. I doesn’t help that Brett is always stretching his injured leg out! Our goal for today was Chillawack.

It took us awhile to make it to Abbotsford and then Chilliwack. Brett and Vanessa are becoming quit proficient in the riding of the tandem, but we are still going fairly slow. We took the highway 1 until Abbotsford and then got on this sweet bike path until Chilliwack. We got into town at around 9:30pm. After a search for campgrounds, we decided to sleep in the van in a Walmart parking lot. We weren’t the only ones, so it wasn’t a big deal. I had pretty good sleep actually. This trip so far had reinforced my respect for our driver, Allan Hall. He has been very dependable and good humored.

Our goal today is for manning park, past Hope. Brett is riding his own bike today. We hope that everything goes well with that before we start tackling the Mountains of the interior.

Day 1 — Friday, June 20

June 19th-20th

We left Brett’s at about 6pm for Victoria. The Students’ Union Executive came over to wish us well and help us pack before we left. We drove all night and reached the Ferry at 9:00am. The ferry was uneventful except for the obscene amounts of tourists. We freshened up in the ferry, and left for dinner at Ch√Ęteau Victoria around 10:30 am. At this point, most of us hadn’t slept more than 6 hours in 2 nights.

We arrived at the Chateau around 11:30am. We were pretty pumped to see the Alumni in Victoria who were coming out. Approximately 10 Alumni came out to have lunch with us and wish us well. Having those Alumni there definitely gave us the added push needed before we began the trip. We went to Beacon Hill, the mile zero marker, around 2:00pm. We found a place to dip our tires thanks to Kyle Robinson, a current student and resident of Victoria. We took ridiculous amounts of photos in the water and at the zero mile marker sign. We had three Alumni stay with us until we completely got underway, which was very cool and inspriring. We even had an Alumnis ride with us through the city until we were a couple kilometers into the Lockside Trail. She was the first UofL student to receive a Masters in math. Coincidently, she had also been a faculty member of SAIT in the past, and lived in my hometown of Camrose for one year of University. I know Prosser would like that.

It took us a few hours to make it to the Ferry from the mile 0 marker. It was approximately 30 kilometers from the mile zero marker. When we got there, we couldn’t find Allan. It took us around an hour to find him so we could enter the terminal. I thought I’d be a nice guy and ride Brett’s tandem bike onto the Ferry. Bikers have a different location to get onto the ferry, so that’s where I went. The attendant directed me onto the Ferry with explicit instructions to “hurry up.” After about a 30 minute search, I realized my team wasn’t on the Ferry. I had no money, no cell phone, and no pockets. The only thing I had with me was a massive tandem bike and attractive biking attire. After the hour and a half Ferry ride, we landed in Twassan (don’t know the spelling). After having a half hour conversation about the trip with a tour group of elderly people, I phoned my parents collect since I found out you can’t phone cell phones colelct. I told them to phone the group to tell them were I was. I then phoned my parents back, and it was clear that I accidentally caught the early Ferry. The attendant read my ticket wrong. We eventually met up, and it made for an interesting first story of the trip.

We rode our bike until we reached Surrey. It took us awhile to navigate, but we eventually made it to a hotel because it was too late find a campground. The other guys weren’t too keen on the hotel. It was a little sketchy, and you probably could rent it per hour, but I didn’t mind it at all-it was a warm bed. Besides a couple yelling matches outside, a pair in the dumpster, some guy who said he was going to turn the world upside because of something to do with his cat, the night was uneventful. I grew up watching To Serve and Protect, the Canadian knock-off of cops. I knew we were safe in Surrey!☺

June 18th

The day before we left was filled from 6am to 2am the next morning. I moved out of Brett’s house and sold all my stuff to give me motivation to move away for Canada for a few years. Trying to get this and the trip organized has been interesting. I also had my last final Thursday morning. I finally have a degree!