Didn’t really want to leave such a nice quite camp today, my knees were telling me there was no chance of cycling today, but it takes a bit more than this to keep me off the bike. I did however get up, make breakfast then fall back asleep till 1030am! It was my compromise to my body. On the road at 1120am and I couldn’t get Barrett’s Privateers out of my head. So many a great time has been had to this song, usually with Jeff Whelan, Steve Small and Rich Polk…once you get it in your head it is hard to get out, and when you have a pub full of drunkards slapping their knees and belting it out at the top of their lungs it really becomes iconic.
O the year was 1778
How I wish I was in Sherbrooke now
A letter of marque came from the king
To the scummiest vessel I’ve ever seen
God damn them all
I was told we’d cruise the seas for American gold
We’d fire no guns, shed no tears
Now I’m a broken man on a Halifax pier,
The last of Barrett’s Privateers…
Today was a challenging ride. After about 12km I came across a small convenience store that prepared burgers, fish and chips and pizza. Having only biked about a half hour I wasn’t really ready to eat but the store owner let me know that there was no other options till Sherbrooke, my days destination about 70km away. Now, I stopped really listening to most locals as they have likely never cycled farther than their driveway and their idea of nothing on the way, or wide shoulders or challenging road or the best one; there’s a lot of hills that way. Generally their idea and mine don’t align so not worth paying a lot of attention to their input…don’t get me wrong, I appreciate their concern/thoughts but take a lot of it as input from a car drivers perspective. Something led me to believe she was possibly spot on this time so I ate a double burger and washed it down with a chocolate milk, purchased a couple more litres of water and headed off. There were several points on the ride that would be the proverbial maritime photo…small light blue coloured house with white trim perched by the ocean, lobster traps surrounding the dock and a fishing troller moored, the tide low and the waves crashing the nearby rocks. Truly some breathtaking and peaceful moments…biking you get so much more, the salty air, the smell of moss and seaweed, the sounds of the osprey and gull flying by. The road was another never ending roller coaster of hills, as a fellow X-Canada cyclist put it: 5min of grinding the gears up a steep incline to get 1min of fast descent just doesn’t seem like a fair trade as you are immediately thrown back into grinding up the next hill. Perhaps with no load I would attack the hills with the power to take on the next one, but pulling 60lbs it doesn’t even seem to matter getting out of my seat to charge a hill. They are not as long a climb as northern Ontario, about as steep, but they are more often…in Northern Ontario there can be many lulls of flat land between the hills; not here. It is up, then down, and as you enjoy the fleeting moments of speed you see the next hill, back up again! She was right by the way, literally nothing from that convince store to Sherbrooke. Not a gas station, convenience store, chip truck…nothing. With exception of some homes, that I am sure if I suffered for supplies I could get something, it was a very desolate ride. Often stretches of nothing but road and water, add to that very few cars made for a quite ride.
Found my camp at 520pm, just outside of Sherbrooke after enjoying another fish and chips dinner. When the fish is this fresh with a light beer batter, I could eat it every night for dinner. Enjoying another fire and for the second night I am heating up slate rock to keep me warm in the tent. Tonight, as with last, will be around 5deg so I heat the rocks, wrap one in my toque, and the other in a towel and they radiate heat for about 6hrs! That and a nip of Macallan make sure I don’t get too cold during the evening. Tomorrow marks my 100th day on the trip and yesterday I passed the 7000km mark!
Daily cycle: 80.7km
Daily cycle time: 4hrs 6min