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.

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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.

6/16/2013 Port Maiton through Yarmouth to Argyle.


The day dawns clear and bright but my heart is in arrythmia. Damn, I put magnets on my heart spots, drink electrolytes and eat salty peanut butter for breakfast. No avail. I decide to ride slowly.

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The wind shook my little tent all night.

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Crossing Darling Lake.

I make Yarmouth about 8:00AM.

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Family feeding ducks in Yarmouth park.

I find a McDonalds and upload my posts and make a phone call and eat more salty food. I ride and find the visitors center. I want directions to Cape Forchu to see the lighthouse. The visitors center has wifi and is very helpful.

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The ferry from Maine stopped running two years ago. This is the abandoned terminal.

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Lobstering is a major industry here as well as in Maine, and these colorful traps were enroute to Cape Forchu.

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The fishing harbor. It is low tide, and the docks and boats float up 15 feet at high tide.

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En route to Cape Forchu.

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There are some amazing beaches at low tide.

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The lighthouse at Cape Forchu.

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My bike awaits my return from visitng the lighthouse. Leaving Yarmouth I find a Canadian Tire, which is actually a general store, and buy a big bottle of Methyl Hydrate for my Primus alcohol stove in the paint thinner isle. Then I stop at Dollar General and buy some crackers and two pairs of dollar sunglasses! All set to go!

When leaving Yarmouth the cycling road changes from route 1 to route 3. It’s called “the lighthouse route.”

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Crossing the Tusket River. This used to be a major indian trading route.

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Continuing with the theme of churches too big for their communities is the Iglese St Anne. She is circa 1799.

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I find Glenwood Provincial Park and pop in to see if it is a good place for stealth camping. It is not, too many people, so I go for a very refreshing swim.

I find a place to stealth camp about 10 miles down the road. My tent is comfortably sheltered by pines on an abandoned road. I rode 49 miles today with arrythmia. I surprised myself how far I could go taking it easy. However, I had maliase all day.
Tomorrow it’s supposed to rain. You take the good with the bad.

6/15/2013 Barton to Port Maiton Nova Scotia


The tide took a long breath then exhaled. The water gurgled as it inhaled, then lapped as it exhaled. The stars were clear and bright and the Milky Way cast her ribbon of light. Morning dawned clear and inviting to an eager cyclist.

I decided to ride without the GPS today and just use the map. I find myself constantly looking at it for data, and I wanted to focus on more important things.
My legs gave my spirit flight and I headed south towards Yarmouth. The route I am taking along old Highway 1 is called the Madeline Trail.

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Crossing the Sissibou River

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An inviting road sign.

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What the heck is this doing here? Did I sneak in a pic from Europe? No, this is the Eglise Saint Bernard. It was built over 40 years and has granite walls. It is in a neighborhood of qaint little wooden homes. I go inside to take a peak and to charge my camera.

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It is dreamily beautful inside. There is soft classical music playing, and the church is filled with the sound. The acoustics make the music sound like it is coming from everywhere at once. Tears come to me because the music is so beautiful. A door opens and shuts. I hear something else- it is a gentle, well, buzzing. A bumblebee has gotten inside and it fills the church with it’s song! I look everywhere for the creature, but where to look?… the sound comes from all sides!

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But wait, not to be outdone, a few clicks down the road is the largest wooden church in North America, the Iglise St. Marie.

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I step inside, but the feeling is entirely different. This space feels like a ballroom preparing for a party.

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Here is a working shipyard. the boats are so big and awkard out of water, but look so small in the open sea.

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I am feeling tired and pull off to eat lunch in Smugglers Cove. The area reminds me of central Oregon.

I ride for a while further and come across a small sign in French that I think says “Park.” I ride down the rock road and love what I see. I decide to stay, even though it is only 2:00pm. Take a look:

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My tent in a sheltered nook.

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There is a creek which I bathe naked in and wash my clothes and shave. The water is not too cold. I can’t describe how good it feels after a day in the saddle to bathe in a creek. How relaxing it is to dry off, get dressed and get warmed up again. How much better I smell!

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All mine for an evening. I am so enjoying the sea breeze puffing into my tent as I write this. I wish I could share this pleasure with you.

6/14/2013 Rain, Rest,


This morning Susan was not feeling well and chose to take a van to Halifax. We hug, she wishes me well and gives me some magnets to tape to my cardiac points. I tell her she has not yet earned her first paw towards her certificate of creaturedom, that she must stealth camp before this honor is bestowed. Susan has been a trooper, but Paw certificates are not easy.

I decided to cycle down the western shore of St Mary’s Bay, which is separated from the the Bay of Fundy by Digby’s Nose, a long peninsula.

It soon starts to rain. I ride 17 miles and at 10:30AM find a park with roofed picnic benches. I spend time in solitary meditation and study. I clan ooh down from my cliff top picnic bench and monitor the salt water filling the bay as the tide shifts.

It is cold, but my new little Primus alcohol stove makes hot tea and my 40 year old North Face down bag keeps me comfortable.

At 2:00PM the rain lifts, but it is still gray and dark. I decide to stay here, even though camping is not allowed. I am the only person in the park but little red tinged squirrels sprint in opposit directions along the wooden fence rails one on the lower and one on the top rail.

I read Attack of the Theocrats by Sean Faircloth using my Kindle. I cry a little over the death of my father, Bill McCarty, who gave me my enduring sleeping bag, and think about the rareness of quality. I pick memorable rocks and glance out at St Mary’s Bay between pages to see how quickly they become immersed. I study my Nova Scotia map supplied by the tourism office and read the Lonely Planet guide to the Maritime provinces.

It’s perfect here.

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Maud Lewis, a local artist.

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Looking across St Mary’s Bay with the tide out to the Digby’s Nose peninsula.

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Deciding to stay put.

Later in the afternoon I am visited by these biodynamic beekeepers, Klaus and Shirley Langpohl. We talk of Transition and Permaculture and gardening and heart. I am so pleased when they return later with a jar of their honey. www.belloucello.wordpress.com . Their email is bello.bees@gmail.com

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Pennfield New Brunswick to Digby Nova Scotia


Susan awoke and looked out of the window. The sky was clearing. She got her cycle loaded and waited for me. “Susan, it’s 5:00AM, what are you doing?” “I couldn’t sleep. Must have been the tea last night.”

So we left early, hoping to get to Port George today.

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The scenery was stunning.

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We took the old highway one for a while. It has been replaced by the Trans Canada highway. Small hotels hang on, their vacancy signs lamenting a bygone time.

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We made it to St George just in time to catch the noon ferry to Digby, Nova Scotia.
Lifeboats are ready to go.

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Rope ladders are at the ready to lower us to safety.

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Ship Sculpture.

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We find a hostel and take a walk around Digby.

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Digby harbor is mostly working fishing boats.

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After walking I am hungry. I eat at three shops in a row. First was Subway, a 12″ vegi, second was the Pizza place next to it, and finally a double dip ice cream at the shop next to that. I was finally full.

In the evening I worked on a few of Natalie from Germany’s photos. A very nice hostel in Digby- the Backpackers Hostel.

6/11-12/2013 Perry, St Andrews, Pennfield


When we left Audries house my heart was in Arrythmia. We went very slowly for a while, and I was normal-as I’ll ever be- by lunch.

It has been raining, and we have been riding in it. Susan is paying for a hotel each night, that was our deal, as I woud have been camping.

We rode today singing for fun. I love to sing outloud and ride.

Here are a few shots of St Andrews, a very popular tourist town.

Susan on the pier.

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St Andrews from the pier.

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My favorite- a shot of the clams in the shallow water around the pier. It looks like a Monet.

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It’s supposed to be suny tomorrow.

6/10/2013 Millbridge to Perry – Audries birthday


Today Susan and I cycled our longest day- 74.5 miles. Susan was a real Marine, and only needed 2 coffees and one Coke despite the hills and headwinds.

Theis beautiful falls was in Millbridge, Maine. The native americans named it “Big Bad Falls.”
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Somebody has a sense of humor.

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The Maine countryside is so lovely.

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At last we arived at Aufries home. It is the last house on a dirt road. You can see Canada across the inlet, St. Andrews.

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Such an amazing setting.

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Here is Audrie’s kitchen, all the copper pots came from France.

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Happy Birthday Audrie!

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The house was filled with family pictures and portraits and art.

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The dining room awaiting the birthday guests.

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And my cozy bedroom.

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I am learning a lot about Maine and the people that live here. I admire their rugged independance, I see the old money, I talk to well educated people often. Their short growing season- from late June to early September- astonishes me.

A really good trip.