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August 15 - Day 100

GO! GO! GO!

It rained until nearly 7, when I packed up and left. My intention was to go as long as possible today, but two hours into it I realized I just wasn't capable of it. I was already exhausted, and by the time I got to Antigonish, I had covered only 40klicks. Over 200 lay before me. That's ten hours of riding at 20kph.

The hills were bad, but not first day P.E.I. bad. The worst part had to be that I didn't pass through a single town between here and Antigonish. Partly because of the fact I'm on the Trans Canada (to cut down time and supposedly fewer hills. Not much traffic, though) but partly because the towns really are spread out and small. Makes you feel isolated and alone, especially on a wet, foggy day like today.

I just want this to end!

I've enjoyed the trip, the people I've met, the places I've been, but enough is enough! To think that if I miss the ferry tomorrow I'll be on the road for another four days (or more) makes me want to scream. I had it all worked out!

But then part of me thinks that it's suppose to work this way. Maybe I'm supposed to be in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland for several days. After all, P.E.I. could have been done in one day, but because of circumstances it took me four! I could have been through Nova Scotia in two days, but if I miss the ferry I'll have to stay for four. Then when I get to Newfoundland (which should have taken two days there and back), because there is no Sunday Ferry, I'll have to stay an extra day there as well.

So what if that's a good thing? What if I'm supposed to stay these extra days so I can see more of the provinces and people? If I rush through, how will that affect the book? The interviews?

At one point I decided, screw it, I'll hitch a ride to as close as Sydney as I can get, and bike the rest, I'll be sure to catch the ferry then. Getting a ride isn't easy, however. Eventually I found out a bus ride is in my price range, and they'll take the bike as well. But it doesn't leave until 5:30. But it will get me there tonight. I took the information, confident that one way or the other I'd be in Sydney tonight.

I stepped out of the Information Center just in time to see my bike fall to the ground. Omen? Ordinarily I don't believe in them, but things have been happening on this trip that make me wonder...

Ah hell... I don't know what to do.

I compromised.

Found a guy who took me to Cape Breton Island, and from there found another couple who took me about 60k from North Sydney. And I tell you, it was worth it.

The first guy was friendly but not very interesting, sorry to say. However, the next couple threw me for a spin. In a really nice motorhome, trailing a new Volkswagen Bug, there is a black and white gay couple, Tracy and Todd. They took me as far as Baddeck, and during the hour or so it took to get there we talked and talked and talked. I wish I had my recorder on to capture some of it.

They were the nicest pair you'd ever hope to meet. They retired when they were thirty (having invested heavily in Microsoft and selling back in 95), and have ever since been traveling across the country in this motorhome. They've been all over North America, and really love Canada. We talked politics, phylosophy, cultures and customs. It gave me a really different perspective on the Traveler and traveling. They gave me their business card afterwards, apparently they aren't completely retired, but run it from the road.

So now I'm in Baddeck, and I've only got 60k to go.

However, there is a price to pay for taking the easier way out.

I now have to run headlong into a mountain I had initially planned to avoid by taking a different route. Apparently, I'm in for a lot of pain. A lot.

Pah! 240 meters? I laugh in the face of that pathetic mountain!

I think it had to do with being in the right frame of mind. If had been in the same fame of mind in P.E.I., I might have had better luck with the hills. But then again, there it was a case of constant ups and downs, here it was one long challenge. Still, pretty easy since I was ready for it. The downhill was a nice payoff, but the fog made things a little unnerving. The fog turned to fog with rain by the time I crossed the harbor about 20k from North Sydney. So I took a short break, hoping it would pass. Unless the ferry is fully booked, nothing is going to keep me from Newfoundland tomorrow.

Met a Harley rider and his old lady (young enough to be his daughter) from Vancouver who are touring Canada as well. We chatted, they offered me a joint, I refused, but Mossfoot was tempted (problem was there's no way to hold it in his mouth). Hey, he's experimental, what can I say? I have no control over him! Anyways, we parted company just before I crossed the bridge to this rest stop.

Time spent cycling: 5:11:02 hours

Distance traveled: 107.79 km

Total distance: 6014 km

Average Speed: 20.8 kph

Maximum speed: 63.2 kph

Current Location: Ma and Pa's in North Sydney.

Maritime Hospitality has got to be my next article. I'll probably write it on the ferry ride over tomorrow.

When I got to North Sydney, I purchased my ticket ASAP (there was a small chance of it being full if I waited till tomorrow). Then, when looking for a house to stay at for the night, I stopped at the closest one to the ferry dock. Not only did Ma and Pa (as I shall call them) let me camp, but they hustled me inside and fed me till I burst, then offered me a bath and to wash my clothes (plus gave a me a change to wear in the meantime), and even use their phone long distance (they have a special discount). They even offered me a new toothbrush! At least I know this isn't a New Brunswick phenomenon. I tell you, they went above and beyond the call of duty by about a million percent. All I wanted was a place to pitch my tent tonight!

Ma and Pa have a frisky little cat that looks almost like Boba Fett. This isn't the first time they did this, a German man had visited them for the past eight years hitchhiking across the country and stopping here each time he passed by. He knows a good thing when he sees it.

It turns out that my article is also on the internet! On the Globe and Mail web site in the Hitchhiker's Tales section... wow...

So, the tent is set up, I'm very full, and I should have no trouble getting up and ready tomorrow.

Newfoundland, ready or not, here I come!



Onto Day 101...