6/27/2013 Halfway River East Nova Scotia to Port Elgin, New Brunswick


I woke up rarin to go, and so I did. I’ll be on Prince Edward Island tomorrow, a place that a few months ago I would have guessed was in Europe, and now seems like a place that I know well through reading.

Cycling through Cumberland County is pretty flat. Again, I just let my legs do the work and try and not to think for them. We travel 30 some miles by 11:00 and make Amherst.

I find a bargain- only 40,000 and I bet they’d take less because the paint on the sign is faded to illegibility. And it sits on 6 acres!

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Little house, big water at Baie Verte, a small part of the Northumberland Strait.

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Amherst gives me the willies- it creeps me out. I don’t know why, it is too pussed up and churchfilled and seemed to sneer “We have it all figured out and if you don’t agree get out.” I feel tension and fear and posturing in the populace.

Despite the visitors center question mark logo, and the arrow pointing into town, there is no visitor’s center. The old church seems to be the town center, and when I stop there the secretary confides that “they like to leave it up because it sends people to town who visit the church.” She is a friendly peach and lets me sit in the church and use their wifi.

Someone tells me to “get the hell back where I came from.” A more friendly soul tells me about a bicycle trail that runs to the base of the bridge to Prince Edward Island. Perfect! I resolve to look for it.

I find it! It’s part of the trans-Canada bicycle trail that is nearing completion.

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It starts off pretty.

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It seems to be paralleling highyway 16, which makes sense. It is through swampish land, and is slow going. The soft surface, dodging potholes and puddles and avoiding the biggest bumps takes concentration and lower gears.

After 10 miles or so I am getting pretty tired of getting beaten up. And then I hit a long stretch of this large loose gravel.

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It is unrideable. I keep having to stop to keep from falling. Who ever designed this as a bicycle trail should be forced to ride a bicycle on it- that would be severe punishment. I give up and push the bike a ways. But the coarse gravel seems to go on and on. So I turn around, and walk a half mile back to a cross street and ride the paved road. What a relief!

It’s raining. I’m camped just off the highway behind some bushes, far from ideal, but it is too wet and darkish to ride the highway. 59.5 miles. Prince Edward Island tomorrow!

6/26/2013


Sleep was difficult last night, the bullfrogs are amazingly loud in their choruses, even to the point of startling me when the closer ones sound. I hear the throat of one drag on the ground before it sounds, and it makes a double noise like a fart/croak as it projects a raspy honk into the nights rain. I make several wet, frustrating, flashlit expeditions to try and shush the little bugger, but can not find him.

The sound of rain on the tent is pleasing to me, and strong winds keep the tent quivering. I monitor the lake waterline to be sure it isn’t rising and threatening my camp. I am deep into David Copperfield and can’t put it down. Sometime in the morning I become sleepy enough to ignore all the stimulation, and doze off.

I awake to heavily overcast weather with rain and a strong wind. Difficult riding. The rain is not so bad, but I don’t like riding in dark conditions for safety reasons, and the wind would be a straight on headwind. I also have a bit of arrythmia, probably from all the sugar in the half gallon of cold fruit juice I bought at the co-op yesterday and slugged down in 20 minutes…

I have plenty of time to explore Prince Edward Island and still meet Sage on July 8th. So I stay put.

But, I am mulling over not cycling here much beyond Sage’s stay. I am thankful for the priveledge of seeing beautiful maritime Canda, and after 21 days my animal self has awoken, but the culture is too western to enchant or challenge me. Cycling in India or anywhere in Asia sparkles right now- even with the charming bullfrogs!

6/25/2013 Lower Onslo to Halfway River East


My body is feeling good. I am letting it do it’s thing, which is to set the right speed for how it is feeling. I try and stay out of the way, an observer perched on an organic engine. It’s amazing to me how those legs keep pumping all day, hour after hour. It’s amazing to me how we keep moving along, 40, 50, 60.5 miles today.

Route 2 along the Minas Basin of Nova Scotia starts with gentle rolls from Truro, and gradually develops into moderate rolls with a few steep climbs. It is mostly farming communities along the way, with some crafts thrown in. The houses are all wooden with wood siding.

The bay is the big thing, inhaling and exhaling twice every 24 hours. When I was riding it was between breaths.

Upper Economy. There is also a town called Lower Economy, but I only bring you the best.

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A view of the filling tidal flats from a 50 foot cliff.

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Typical farmland scene.

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Passing through the town of Five Islands. Except, they aren’t islands at the present.

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Ok, all you wind power buffs, here’s a new one- a wind generator made of old ironing boards- oh, and so is the fence.

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Yes, I know you want to study the details, so here is a close up.

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I made it to Parrsboro and after shopping and emailing, turned away from the coast, inland on 2. About 10 miles in I found this place to camp, right on a lake. The water is brisk, and I enjoy the swim.

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It is supposed to rain all day tomorrow. We’ll see what happens.

6/24/2013 The Truro Tidal Bore


The Bay of Fundy has the largest tidal range on the planet. That creates some dramatic revealings of sandy beachs and cliffs, and also pushes and sucks water out of the creeks that flow into it. The Bay of Fundy has a subbay called the Minas Basin, which has a subbay called Cobequid Bay. That is where I am standing to watch the incoming tide push its way up this river. I missed the bore by half an hour yesterday and have waited 24 hours for it’s return.

Waiting. It is scheduled to happen at 2:22.

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At 2:25, we hear a rushing of water and this bore makes it way around the bend in the river and approaches rapidly.

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And it passes, headed upstream until the rising tide can lift it no farther.

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And that’s it.

THe day is dark and sprinkly. I ride only 6 miles up the road and make camp at 3:00PM. I don’t want to be caught out if it starts to rain.

Sometimes I get lonely. I miss Leslie and my friends and my domestic life. There is no “but” coming, I just do. I think of everyone often.

I don’t know what this trip is giving me just yet. I don’t do it only to sightsee, I do it for adventure, to practice flexibility, and to overcome adversity. We’ll see.

6/22 and 6/23, Halifax/Dartsmouth to Truro


It’s Friday evening in a six bed dorm room at the Backpackers Hostel in a seedy part of downtown Halifax, $28 a night. It’s 9:30PM, and the ony one in bed is a tired cyclist. He decides to leave the one window wide open despite the disco right across the street booming a monotonous drum track. The ladder to his bunk is covered with girls clothing; pants, a bra, panties. Should he touch it-move it- to climb up to his bunk- or just step on it? What would Ms Manners do?

He decides to just climb on it.

Around 1:00AM the disco is still going strong. The last roomate comes in and slams the window shut. Great. Six hot breathing bodies in a smallish bedroom. At 3:00AM the disco closes. The room is stifling, humid and hot. The cyclist climbs down over the womans clothes and throws the window back open. The fresh air helps all to sleep.

TAKE YOUR HANDS OFF ME- DON”T TOUCH ME- JUST GET AWAY FROM ME!!! All us roomates sit bolt upright in our bunks as this is shrieked by a woman just outside our window. It goes on a few moments- a male roomate declares it is a rape and pulls some pants on to go out and help! A few minutes later I hear a car door slam and drive away. The roomate returns dissappointed. “It was just a cop arresting some girl” he says. We all try to go back to sleep.

6/22/2013. I wake up first. It is 7:30 AM, late for me. I realize that I am the only one awake and attempt to be very quiet climbing down on the girls clothing. I walk to the Farmers Market and get info about bus schedules. I return about 10:30. Everyone is still asleep.

Halifax Farmers Market- Just Wonderful, held every Saturday. Indoors is a good idea in their climate.

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Jane and Eric are Warm Showers hosts who offer to let me stay at their house- even though they aren’t there- they are away at a Folk Music Festival. As part of my training I am trying to learn to graciously ask for and accept all good things. This is very hard for me, I don’t want to put people out, and I am so damn independent. But I have some good models for this in my life. Jane texts me with the lock code for the back door. I cycle and ferry over to Dartmouth and the code actually works. The door opens and YOWLLLL.

They have a pudgy Calico cat who wants out desperatly. I want to be the prefect guest. Do I let the cat out or keep him in? I decide that keeping him in is the safer choice. He settles into being my best friend after a serious investment in petting and opening a window for him to look out of. They have a book “The Barefoot Architect” that I have been wanting to read and I devour it. The cat reminds me constantly that I have duties.

6/23/2013 I leave early and head towards Prince Edward Island. I ride highway 2 out of Dartmouth. It is fantastic cycling, gently rolling, little traffic, and lake home scenery. Towards Schubencadie on 2 the road becomes more rollie farmland, very pleasurable.

I am heading for Truro to see a tidal bore. Not a total bore, I could just look in the mirror. A tidal bore is when a wave caused by the incoming tide goes up a river and can actually be surfed in a rubber boat. I have been told there is an abandoned hotel that is a good place to watch the tidal bore here in Truro. The visitors center knows exactly what I am talking about, and gives me a map directing me to it. It is located on “Tidal Bore Road”, how appropriate. The problem is that I just missed it. The bore did it’s thing a half hour ago. The next bore is at 12:50 AM, the next is at 1:22 tomorrow afternoon. I cycle out to the abandoned hotel on Tidal Bore Road and study the brownish river. Nothing going on here.

I cycle back to the visitors center and ask where do the kids go swimming. They know exactly where, Victoria Park at the falls. I explain I am a traveling cyclist and am looking for a place to stealth camp, do they think Victoria park would be appropriate? I am sure by the raised eyebrows and the attempts at diplomacy they have never been asked that question before. I decide to go for a swim and see for myself.

Victoria Park in Truro is where all the families go on a warm summers day like today. The park centers around a creek which runs down a valley. Wooden steps and walkways criss cross the valleys sides. It is all quite elaborate. I push my bike up to the falls, unzip my pant legs, and jump in. Man is that refreshing. I enjoy all the kids playing in the natural pool. Adults lean over the rail and grin sheepishly. I wash the sweat of the day off in the most casual manner.

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Kids reminding us how it’s done.

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No stealth camping in Victoria park. I must find somewhere. It is 4:00 PM. I rememnber a shopping area that I rode through on my way to Tidal Bore Road. I head there and poke around behind the backs of all the box stores. After about 20 minutes I find the place. I camp behind a fast food resterant, a hotel and a tire store. A little scrap of forgotten land with some trees and elevation hides me.

Where is Shawn? He’s writing after riding a 72 mile day.
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There he is- but you’d never of found him if I hadn’t shown you.
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The wind hits the tent hard with a one/two punch, and it starts to rain. No worries. The traffic noise is muffled by tentdrops. Must figure out how to cook a pizza with no oven.

6/21/2013 French Village to Halifax


I awoke this morning excited by the prospect of seeing Peggy’s Cove. Peggy’s cove is the most touristed lighthouse in Nova Scotia, and is on the must see list for most Nova Scotia tourists. I awoke at 5:00AM packed my bike, rejoiced that my back tire had held air, and took off.

On the way I rode past Hacketts Cove.

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The first sighting of the Peggy’s cove lighthouse.

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This is Peggy’s Cove, a small inlet in the rocky peninsula that is great for docking fishing boats.

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The lighthouse.

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What is amazing is that I have it all to myself, no other tourists. There is a big parking lot for the busses.

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Had a good conversation with Jiri Novek, from the Chezk republic. He has traveled all over the world, but currently has a girlfriend in Halifax. He cussed up a sailors storm over all the blankedy blank tourists that came here. He looked enviously at my bike and said he wanted to do that sometime.

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Reluctantly I left Peggy’s cove for Halifax. So beautiful.

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This rocky part reminded me of Avebury.

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West Dover
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Shad Bay

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I finally made it to Halifax, and crossed over the McDonald bridge to Dartmouth to visit Jane and pick up my bike parts. Then I went to “The Bike Peddler” in downton Dartmouth. They were great, and soon had me on the road with everything repaired. I enjoyed talking with the owner, who has done a lot of touring himself.

Next I took the ferry with my bike across to Halifax, and checked into the backpackers hostel. I found a soft spoken friend in Aaron, who told me the story of the man who killed an attacking grizzly bear by sticking his fist down it’s throat to choke it, then bit it’s juglar till it bled to death. Quite a story!

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Halifax from Citadel hill. Look at all the construction- it really seems to be doing well.

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Oh my God- Japanese tourists drive by taking pictures….

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Halifax waterfront.

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There was a couple selling Segways and giving rides. I fell to talking with them about their business- stayed for nearly an hour, looking at their battery capacity, going over how to power them with the sun, helping out an enthusiast who wanted to ride one across Canada. My electric bike experience provided valuable perspective.

Back in the hostel its nice to be engaged with younger people.

I think it’s important to have a cycling destination, it gives me something to shoot for. I am looking forward to cycling to Truro- I hear the Pallison hotel is abandoned and is the perfect spot to watch a real tidal bore.

6/20/2013 Martins River to French Village


Today was one of those days that seemed like two. The first day was leaving my beautiful camp and deciding to ride without changing the tube, to just keep pumping it up until I could find new tubes. I had a half hour pumping cycle, and would watch my watch. If I pumped it up to 65, it would be down to 25 in 30 minutes.

There are many small graveyards in Nova Scotia.

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Western Shore, route 3
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But, as luck would have it, there was a hardware store in Western Shore that had bicycle tubes.

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I celebrated by having a footlong veggie at a nearby Subway. And then the second day began, as I rode with that worry resolved. I stopped to chat with a cyclist and he asked if I was riding the trail. I didn’t know what he was talking about, so he told me there was a trail that ran from about 30 feet from me to downtown Halifax. So I get on it and began to ride.

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After 15 or so miles and a few conversations I got off at an old railway station, now called “Bean and Bike” and enjoy tea and a fig bar while thinking things over. I decide to leave the bike trail to go visit Peggys Cove, a very famous lighthouse. It will take me a lot longer, but I will probably never pass here again. These Mallards? were spoted at Tantalone, en route to Peggys cove.

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Tantalone waterfront.

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This area is heavily touristed- for Nova Scotia- and stealth camping is difficult. I find an old pioneer cemetary with an abandoned house. By positioning my tent precisely behind the house and shrubbery, I am invisible from the road. I casually stroll- like a tourist- across the street to the bay and wade into the seaweed and rocks. Out far enough I swim. Yowsers, is it refreshing! I sit on a submerged rock with my legs chilling and nibble seaweed. I find a dribble of a creek and fill my 5 gallon water bladder, hang it from the back of the old house, and rinse off. My neighbors the pioneers approve.

Am I nuts to think this is fun?

6/19/2013 East Port Medway to Martin’s River


I awaken and it is still raining. I must move, I have no extra water. Besides, the location is very buggy and my tent is wet on the inside and out. I pack up inside. My tent is littered with dead mosquitoes. I step outside to pack up and am assaulted. I manage to get the whole soggy tent onto my bike, though it is difficult to hold the bike upright and pack – the kickstand broke yesterday. Standing still is crazy making with the mosquitoes.

I walk the loaded bike to the road and start to ride- it feels funny. I get off and check it out- the back tire is flat again. What to do, what to do? The other inner tube has a slow leak too.- I have attempted to patch it already. So I decide that my first priority is not the tick on my back, but to get a good inner tube. I decide to skip seeing Lunenburg and head 16 miles straight up the 103 highway to Bridgewater where I have been told there is a Canadian Tire Company which sells bicycle parts.

I have to stop and fill up the back tire every 2 miles. I keep watch on my gps. Now my GPS shows me an alternate rout, where 3 parallels 103, and I decide to take it. The first building is a veterinarians office. I pull in to have my tick pulled.

The 4 month pregnant vet examines my back. “All I see is a very distressed mole” she says. Oh, what a relief, it is not a tick after all. I just couldn’t see it, and it felt like a tick, and I tried to scrape it off in my slightly freaked out state. She also tells me that the rain will break this afternoon and it will get sunny. I leave feeling sunnier.

I make it to Bridgewater after having stopped to pump up my back tire 9 times. At Canadian Tire I get a tube, some insect repellent, and then go to Walmart for a snack. I change the tube and eat lunch on the sunny picnic tables. Phew, everything is going to be OK.

I am all set, everything worked out, it always does, that is the lesson. I have just seen it happen again. Yay! Then I notice my back tire feeling funky. I stop, the rear tire is flat. I have made it 6 kilometers. I get my bike off the road, unpack it, and take it apart again.

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The hole is in the same place, right next to the valve stem. I patch it, put it back together and pump it up. It leaks air, I hear it. I take it apart again, redo the patch, being as careful as I can. I put a liner on the rim to protect the tube. I reassemble. I have done my very best, there is nothing I can do better. It leaks- I hear air coming from the wheel…. I don’t know what to do next.

Then Merle from next door comes over, sees my plight, and offers to help. Merle is very handy. He punches a hole in a long patch that fits over the tube nipple, and we repair the tire. It seems to hold air. We then repair my other tube in the same manner. His wife has shown up to assist too. The assembled tire is holding air. I am so grateful. Thanks Merle and Nancy.

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See- things do work out! I ride into beautiful Mahone Bay.

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I find a beautiful spot next to Martin’s river to make camp. It is not very buggy. I get all my wet gear out from last night and hang it up to dry in the trees.

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I go for a long cooling swim.

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The site is perfect, I am feeling great and happy to be alive and cycling again. I check the rear tire confidently, just give it a little squeeze.

It is flat.

6/18/2013 Jordan Branch to East Port Medway


Man there are bugs here. They swarm me when I stop for a moment in the country. When I stop at night to camp I rush to get the tent set up, as clouds of bugs hover around me. When I set the tent up and toss my panniers inside, I jump in and zip it up and start killing the bugs inside.

I woke to find that I had a flat tire. I walk to an open part of the drive I am on and keep walking in circles as I work on the tire, trying to keep the bugs away.

I ride for a while on highway 3 which is the scenic route, but must get on 103 to avoid tripling the distance. Route 103 is a broad two lane road with adequate shoulders. The grades are also more gentle than route 3. However, ou are cycling through forest, nothing else to see. Cycling on route 3 also is mostly forest and country cottages and small farms, but it is more intimate. The woods are closer.

Crossing the Jordan River.
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The Port Hebert migratory bird sanctuary. P6185391P6185392P6185393

Summerville beach. Yes, there is a lot of sand, but no bathers.

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Hunt’s Point Beach

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I made Liverpool. Not much like the Liverpoole in England with its’ wonderful Beatles museum and carney atmosphere.

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I have to say it- this trip is a little boring. I could be cycling in Oregon. The scenery is lovely, but there is very little to remind me I am in another country.

I made camp this evening in a flurry of bugs. Then I discover that the orange spray that I bought to freshen my clothes kills them. I take great pleasure in exterminating all my little tormentors. Then I feel something on my back. What is it? It must be a tick, and I can’t see it to get it off. Gross. What to do? I spray it with citrus spray- yowsers, it burns! I’ll have to find a nurse who can remove it tomorrow…

Ahhh, new challenges.

I wake up at midnight to the sound of a steady rain falling. The floor of my tent has become wet- I am camping in a rocky area and couldn’t secure the fly well, and I was in a rush to get out of the bugs.

6/17/2013


It’s nightime, raining. The wind roars through the pines above me. My little island stays dry. I lie awake waiting for the sunrise. The sunrise comes slowly through the fog and drizzle.

I dress for rain and leave my stealth camp.

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I am on route 3 heading towards Barrington then Shelburne. Route 3 has no paved shoulder and is the longer scenic route. Route 103 is the fast road, but it has a shoulder and bikes can ride on it, and I hop on it today. Here is a shot of it. It has plenty of vacancies where car noise does not disturb the cyclist.

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Birchtown was where blacks who were loyal to the queen during the American Revolution came. Here is their schoolhouse.
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When I arrive in Shelburne, the sun is out. Shelburne has a quaint historical waterfront with the sweetest tourist office!

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More Shelburne waterfront:

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I see some teenagers swimming in the boat launch ramp and strip down to my chamois and dive in. It is soooo refreshing to lose the heat of the day.

Bob and Sheila Rowe are Canadians seeing Nova Scotia and beyond. We chat for 20 minutes about adventure. Sheila offers to say a prayer for me. I say I am not religous, but accept the spirit in which it is offered.

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I cycle out of Shelburne picking up groceries. I now have too much food and must drape it over my bicycle. Never shop when you are hungry, especially on a bicycle!

My stealth camping spot overlooks a river and is buggy, but I eat well. 55 miles today, and it was at the right pace. I stopped to enjoy often.

I am not yet settled into this journey. It is really easy to be in this culture, there are no challenges that way. I think I rather like something more culturally challenging, as it is more engaging. Here my thoughts and diet are not much different than back at home- with the exception of my new must-have food, Kippers! We’ll see how this progresses.