Went the distance: Days 72 to 76, Charlottetown, PEI to Cape Spear, NL – July 21 to 26, 2010

Cape Spear: Success!!

I have completed the journey I set out to do. I have bicycled thousands and thousands of kilometres across Canada, West to East, coast to coast. I have bicycled across an entire continent, the second largest country in the world, through all ten provinces, through intense wind, rain, snow and heat, up steep hills and mountains, then down them at incredible speeds. I biked up two summits at over twelve hundred metres. I biked through long stretches of flat highway in the middle of nowhere fighting off the psychological effects of boredom on seeing nothing hours and hours on end. I have had days where I cursed loudly at myself for not pushing fast or far enough and days where I have patted myself on the back for a great ride. My bike, built like a tank and powered by rocket fuel rode like a freight train across the country, together taking in the abuse that the changing climate and road conditions of Canada had to offer and its beautiful scenery from sunrise to sunset. I have met fantastic people along the way who were on their own journey or shared stories of past adventures and accomplishments, which made this trip all the more rewarding.

The desire for challenge and adventure is always in mind. For the past seven years the thought of bicycling across Canada stuck in mine. What about you?

I am proud to have taken part in this great fundraising initiative for the Griffin Centre and to help spread the word about mental health. This journey wouldn’t have been possible without the encouragement of my family and friends, the assistance and support from Griffin Centre and my colleagues at GBC, and contributions from people who donated for this great cause. Thank you all so much for all your help! Together, we have raised a total of $3,934.79

Special thanks to my logistical support team: Peter, my go-to web guru, Renata, who kept a lookout for changing weather and Andrew and Lori for gear swap and accommodations. And to Arleen, Bill and Catia for making this happen.

Now here is my last journal entry….

Went the distance: Days 72 to 76, Charlottetown, PEI to Cape Spear, NL – July 22 to 26, 2010

July 22, 2010: Charlottetown, PEI to Antigonish, NS

Light rain greeted me that morning. It made for a fast ride to Woods Islands in order to catch the ferry to Nova Scotia. I stopped to take some pictures when the opportunity arose. The mosquitoes liked my idea. Whenever I stopped, they swarmed me.

The thought of being close to the finish line and accomplishing such a huge endeavor brought a smile to my face. Well, more like a grin. It brought out more intense riding from the added adrenaline rush of knowing I have come so far. I started feeling this back in New Brunswick and the closer I get to Newfoundland the more intense I ride and the bigger the grin on my face 🙂

Taking the ferry to Nova Scotia

The seventy-five minute ferry ride gave me time to eat some snacks before landing in Nova Scotia.

Hello Nova Scotia!

The rain picked up a little more and with the added hills in Nova Scotia the ride to Antigonish was a little tough for the next couple hours.

Then it started to downpour.

I cannot recall riding in so much rain. What was fortunate was that the wind was either to my side or just a tad to my front. About 20 km from Antigonish I took refuge under a highway underpass. There I met two motorcyclists who had also taken refuge. They joked that they will no longer complain about motorcycling in the rain when here’s a guy on a bicycle doing the same thing. With the rain not letting up I fueled up on some chewy chocolate chip cookies and off I went. That helped me in that last stretch. And the rain slicked roads allowed for reduced surface resistance which helped my bike go faster. For some reason, I was in good spirits: grinning from ear to ear and even singing to myself in the hard pouring rain.

I arrived in Antigonish soaking wet. I have been cold and wet many times before. But this was the only day I ending up shivering and with my teeth chattering.

July 23: Antigonish to North Sydney, NS

Google map the distance between these two towns and you’ll know that it was a LONG ride for me to catch the ferry to Newfoundland. The ferry was scheduled to leave at 1:30 am on July 24th. I was not concerned about missing the ferry. My concern was getting to North Sydney before sundown. It’s dangerous to ride a bike on a highway at night. The next ferry was scheduled to leave on July 27th at 1:30 am.

It was slow going for the first half. I had more hills, headwind and intermittent rain. My knees were aching when I took a rest stop in Whycocomagh. I drank down a litre of chocolate milk, ate a banana and took some painkillers (been a few weeks since I’ve taken any) and was off again. I also stopped in Baddeck and had a large triple-triple coffee.

Roaring along the highway I ended up in North Sydney just as the sun had set behind the treeline.

While waiting for the ferry I took time to get some more food and supplies, eat dinner and explore a music event by the harbour. There was also a Kawasaki motorcycle stunt team, M & M Freestyle, there that I hung out and chatted with for a bit. One of the guys gave me invaluable travel tips for when I arrive in Newfoundland. I already knew the password to get on the island. Thanks, Keith.

Later on at the ferry terminal I took a nice hot shower to freshen myself up. It was a pleasant surprise that they had this type of amenity.

Steve, from Vancouver, BC

As the night wore on I wore out. I couldn’t wait to get on the ferry. I had reserved a dorm/bunk bed to get some good shut-eye during the trip. Then I was informed that the ferry was behind schedule and would be departing to Argentia at 4:30 am. During this tiresome and frustrating wait I met another touring cyclist also going on the same ferry. Steve was from Vancouver and had bicycled across Canada. His last stop is St John’s.

July 24th – Ferry ride to Argentia
Zzzzzzz…..zzzzzzzz….zzzzzz. I slept for eight hours then got up to walk around a bit, had lunch, watched an in-ship movie then back to sleep for another few hours until port.

Welcome to the Rock!

Welcome to the Rock!

A thick blanket of fog had enveloped the ferry terminal and the surrounding areas. You couldn’t see anything. Steve and I stayed at a campground only two kilometres from the Argentia ferry terminal. We decided to bike together the next day.

July 25, 2010 – Argentia to St John’s, NL

My original plan was to bike to Butter Pot provincial park. Like that last piece of cake, you want to take your time and savour it. That said, the weather conditions were fantastic. The headwind that we had for the first 40 km turned into a 30 km/hr tailwind. At one point I stopped my bike and stood up close to the handlebars. The wind pushed it forward. When I reached the provincial park, I did a check of the next day’s weather, it called for rain. The decision was obvious, ride on to St John’s.

Welcome to St John's

WELCOME TO ST JOHN’S! Seeing that sign was an emotional moment for me. I was overjoyed.

We booked rooms at the local university. Steve went out that night to enjoy a pint. I stayed in to do laundry as all my clothes needed a good cleaning. (I know what you are thinking, that I’m a bore. Well I haven’t finished my trip yet! )

July 26, 2010 – St John’s to Cape Spear, NL

St John’s is not the most Eastern part of Canada. Afterall, I started in Ucluelet, BC on Vancouver Island’s West Coast. I have to go coast to coast to complete the journey.

Chocolate Oblivion

I slept in that morning then had a late breakfast-lunch at a Mexican restaurant with Steve. We indulged in one of their desserts. You could not pass up “Chocolate Oblivion: a dark chocolate cookie crumb crust cradles cream cheese mouse packed with crushed Oreo cookies and semi-sweet milk chocolate chunks, topped with a cream cheese frosting border and more crushed Oreo cookies. All drizzled with plenty of white and dark chocolate.” In hindsight, I should have bought the whole cake and brought it back to my room and put a “Do Not Disturb Sign” on my door.

Cape Spear is the most Eastern point of Canada

It was a challenge getting to Cape Spear. First, a long climb up a steep hill called “The Wall” out of St John’s. Then a short descent. And just when I thought we were at Cape Spear another long climb, a gradual descent, then another long climb. It was the first time since British Columbia that I used my bike’s lowest front chain ring (I’ve got the standard three).

I arrived in Cape Spear, the most Eastern point of Canada.

Total distance traveled: All the way across!

Total donations received: $3,934.79

More trip photos