Well, I made it to St. John’s, Newfoundland and even a bit past there. Not being satisfied with being so close to the end I decided to make the haul up to Cape Spear, the farthest eastern point of Canada to snap a few photos, take some video, and dip my front wheel in the Atlantic Ocean. I took a video which outlines this moment in time..
The final week coming into the east of the province was a difficult one to say the least. A good inch and a half of snow came down in Gander making my ride incredibly difficult and draining any motivation for further continuation of the trip, but rather than sit and mope, I hopped on my bike and pedaled forward, screaming in agony when the snow pelted my face going up and down some absolutely legendary hills. A few stops along the way to dry off, warm up helped as I crossed into the last National Park of the trip – Terra Nova. I didn’t stop and deviate off the highway as it was getting late and I was looking to meet some sort of distance target that day and most importantly, find a place to stay that was going to shield me from the coming winds and further drops in temperature that was forecast, so I made the decision to go down a steep (200metres) embankment into the town of Charlottetown, certainly not as large as the one I visited in PEI. This was a small fishing village that felt the brunt of Hurricane Igor a month ago with many roads washed away, sides of hills collapsing and buildings flooding. Hungry, I searched for a restaurant or convenience store with no such luck and decided to bang on the door of the fire department to see if I could pitch a tent behind their building. A man was there and granted me permission, coming back later in the night to let me inside to warm my socks and shoes and feeding me some soup and deserts his wife had baked. This was very welcoming to me and I didn’t go to bed starving. Not having a stove really limited my caffiene consumption and the ability to cook the pounds of food still sitting in my panniers and I couldn’t be happier that I am in a warm place with a roof over my head and such conveniences as power, a stove, and oven.
When I awoke the next morning the windchill was listed at -10 and I quickly moved to get out of this coastal town dealing with the worst hills of Newfoundland finally stopping on the side of the road beside Goobies, where the skies had cleared, the temperature was well above 0 and I setup my tent in the light for a change giving it a chance to dry out for the nights sleep. I was up on the road early by 7am the next morning starting to get broken signals on my cellular phone which meant I must be getting close to somewhere populated. As I mentioned before, I decided to deviate from going straight to the capital city and heading north past the town of Dildo and spending 2 days in a small town of 600 called Green’s Harbour, meeting a new friend and relaxing, heading for a hike towards a waterfall, and hanging around while they took care of 6 horses multiple times per day. I also gleamed some valuable information regarding Africa which further increased my knowledge and awareness of what to expect down the road.
Some of the nicest days I’ve seen all on tour led me into the end point of Canada with temperatures soaring into the high teens and minimal headwinds giving a great shot of the cities of Paradise and St. John’s as I heaaded up two nasty mountains towards the end. Unfortunately, I couldn’t make it the final 10km as it was getting dark and camped out behind a water tower in Shea Heights, waking up multiple times per night out of excitement to get back going onto the road. Daylight Savings time adjusted itself over the course of the night and I was on the road by 6am climbing 11% grade hills with a sore back, minimal food and water, but pure determination.
Ironically, after I visited Cape Spear, less than 1km away I had a flat tire. I laughed the whole time while repairing the puncture..
Now that the trip is all said and done, I’m going to stay in St. John’s for a few months and wrap up some projects, fix up and sell my bicycle, and see what the east coast has to offer from a resident. There is an awful lot of history here, with some of the areas being the first cities in all of North America in 1610 so I’m sure I’ll be able to get some good history lessons from the many Historic Sites, musuems and take part in some of the festivities with an absolute tonne of music, not to mention some good beer drinking on George St, a small area setting the Guiness Book of World Records for most bars in one area – surely to be a gongshow at later hours of the day.
I’m also planning on volunteering at a few Bicycle Co-Ops to understand more about bicycles, Community Centres to be more immersed in the community, and start planning for the next leg of the tour. For now? Rest. It has been a long time coming. You’ll see more followup posts on the website of the trip shortly as I get some time and cross off things from the to-do list, but I’ll leave you with some final stats.
Date Left: April 7, 2010 - Vancouver BC
Date Arrived: November 7, 2010 - St. John's NF
Distance Traveled: 14,230.37km
Ascent: 99320 metres climbed
Energy: 631716 calories burnt