The Rurus - Adventure Before Dementia

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Month: August 2016 (page 1 of 4)

30/8/16 Antigonish to St Peters – 116.1 km: It Signalled The Start Of The End

“You get the bike out.”

“No, you get the bike out.”

“I ain’t getting the bike out.”

“Why, you scared of an iddy biddy snake?”

“If that was the baby yesterday, how big do you think the momma will be?”

Elaine got the bike out and I was the assistant!

DSC05647-1280x853But before we retraced the 12 kms back out onto the highway to head due East, Elaine cooked us up a hearty breakfast. It was certainly appreciated as today was over a hundred kilometres in distance. More ups and downs and tree tops to tree stumps; deer feeding on an island in a river bed; road side lakes of water to shore side bodies of water of the sea.

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The sea. We had recently been to the Bay of Fundy which is tidal. However today for the first time in just on three months, we saw the open water of the sea.

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And as we crossed the causeway surrounded by sea water that led us onto Cape Bretton, it signalled the start of the end.

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C’mon legs and bike tubes and head winds and no verges and close encounters with traffic … not far now!

29/8/16 New Glasgow to Antigonish – 73.5 km: Cute But No Way Were We Cuddling!

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DSC05585-1280x853We awoke to it raining. Heavily. Normally we would have taken a lay over day. The bodies deserved it as we had ridden for seven straight days and the bodies are fatiguing quicker earlier each day. The undulations have been many. However, we had an arranged homestay and already postponed by a day to break up the distance because of tiredness.

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So we donned on the heavy jackets; ensured the phones were in a dry bag; and braved the weather. To our surprise, it lightened up quicker than anticipated and it was just a matter of grinding the rubber to Antigonish. Another puncture on the trailer tyre meant a visit to a bike shop for extra tubes to give an easy fix should it happen again. Looking for a miniscule hole in the tube is like like looking for a needle in a haystack!

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Our homestay were relations of the homestay back in Moncton and Allan was waiting for us at the end of his driveway (they reside out of town in the countryside) to flag us down so we didn’t go further down the hill. A lovely welcoming gesture as Elaine came out to meet and greet also. After dismounting and unloading we put the rig and bits into the garage. As we were exiting, we discovered a snake! Aaaaaargh, it still gave us the jitters even though it was a little one. Cute but no way were we cuddling it!

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DSC05633-1280x853The meal plated up and placed before us was so delicious, all the veges were homegrown. Both Alan and Elaine have travelled extensively so there was much sharing of lands traversed made more lovely with them celebrating our clicking over 7,000 km ridden. What we loved about the evening was their acknowledgement that we had arrived to their doorstep under our own steam by bike and wouldn’t let us lift a finger to help with the hospitality. Even when the heavens opened up again and our shoes were drenched did they place them in-front of a de-humidifier so as we had dry footwear to put on in the morning.

What they didn’t know was Claire’s needing a wash from crooked nature call crookedness. Cute but no way I would have touched them!

Cheers Alan and Elaine for your kindness shown. It was awesome.

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28/8/16 Truro to New Glasgow – 66.9 km: I Think Marcus Jinxed Us

Our other cyclist friend Marcus (we met in B.C.) is ahead of us on Newfoundland. He is on the last bit close to ending his cycle across Canada. He inspires us with his daily in-depth description of locations, history, road conditions and experiences collected from the bike seat. The latest being how the ‘Newfies’ speak the good Queen’s English with an Irish twang meaning he has no head nor tail as what the hell they are talking about!

Our daily contact over FB Messenger gives him confidence that he can always rely us for a listening ear, even though we tap our chats out on a keyboard.

DSC05564-1600x1067The day before yesterday, we had a chat about the wear and tear on the tyres. Marcus had experienced a back tyre deflation and sought thoughts about how to deal with the problem given he was a day passed a bike shop and three days till the next. Patch, swap tyre from front to back and ride till she pops. That’s from our experience literally. We have been very fortunate with not having had a flattie since way before Thunder Bay until this morning, waking up to a sad looking back tyre.

I think Marcus jinxed us!

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I wrote the other day that ‘cursing a flat tyre won’t fix it’ and so I mended the puncture and swapped the tyres around. That’s walking the talk or leading by example even though Marcus is out in front, leading us. It was kind of a technical change too as the tyres we have a big road kahuna’s … getting the pressure up using our little pump wasn’t going to frustrate me.

What did was taking a wrong exit thinking we were going up and onto the highway. I was one exit too short giving the person on the back some joy in her play with words. Another Marcus jinx I feel.

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With 20 km to go, the tyre on the trailer being towed deflated. F..k! It was on a busy part of the highway and the spare tube had more holes in it than the original one needing replaced.

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It was about keeping one’s cool, unpacking a cooking pot, filling it up with water and running the inflated tube through the water to find the air bubbles which indicates where the hole is needing a patch. Eliminating the reason for the flat is equally as important, a small staple was all that did it.

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Patched up and re-inflated, we were off and arrived into New Glasgow without further issue. Except, the rotated repaired tyre on the front is now showing signs of bounce again meaning it may be another slow flat.

I think I forgot to remove the reason for it’s deflation earlier this morning.

More Newfie Queen’s English with an Irish twang have been spoken!

Translated for Marcus, good old fashioned swear words.

27/8/16 Amherst to Truro – 108 km: Wonder If We Would Smell Like A Skunk.

DSC05557-1280x853The alarm still beeps on the 6am every morning to signal the moment one should stir the body into momentum. Where before it would be absolute daylight making the rise and shine easier, now the ball of yellow is slower to peek it’s rays above the horizon. We love watching sunrises. It’s in tune with making it to another day and therefore we need to get on with it with passion, zeal and enthusiasm. Nature is at it’s best also, no matter the season.

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As we pulled up to the toll booth to pay our fare for using the Cobequid Pass Toll Road, the man in the booth didn’t know what to say. Car’s are charged $4 for driving the 45 km section of Hwy 104. We had ridden it by bike so quite enthused about how this was going to pan out.

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Traffic speeds were fast as we watched the local constabulary going up and down collecting revenue. Part of the road had no verge which surprised us and we had our closest truck call yet in nearly joining the many number of Porcupine road kills we experienced today. Wonder if we would smell like a skunk after a day or two sunning on the seal!

It was a grind up and over the Pass to the toll booth. A voice from a neighbouring booth yelled the words, “You don’t have to pay” with a wink and a grin. It put a grin on the first guy too as he had no idea what he was going to do.

We acknowledged with a return smile and the $10 note went back into the kitty. The down hill part was a blast giving the thighs a much deserved break. Any longer and the pillion passenger on the back could have easily fallen asleep was communicated.

Body exertion is also taking it’s toll and so an afternoon eye lid closure for some extra shut eye prevailed to help restore the energy reserves.

Another beep on the alarm was set so we didn’t sleep what day light was remaining. Allowed us to watch the sun set too which was as equally stunning.

And so begins the nighshift with a different passion, zeal and enthusiasm. More ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ!

Too buggered for the nature bit!

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26/8/16 Moncton to Amherst – 72.8 km: Venomous Little Bastards!

Our homestay went too fast. It’s always been the case. But the costumes must go on and we take with us the memory of another cool couple. It’s always been the case.

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The cloud cover kept the sun from higher temperatures, the humidity was enough. Reaching Sackville meant a stop for a cuppa and team meeting. We discussed the remaining route to the edge of Canada and what happens once we kiss the cod and drink the screech!

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It was more real after we crossed open landscape that had the wind hurtling through from right to left and then crossing over into our next Province, Nova Scotia.

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A photo at the boundary was fast and furious because the mosquito’s were all of a sudden vicious and sucking blood relentlessly. We haven’t needed to slip slap slop insect repellent throughout New Brunswick however, the itchy love bite welts were challenging us not to itch.

Venomous little bastards! Must look up the symtoms of Zika.

We are under three weeks from touching the ‘Mile 0’ monument on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. The costumes are getting excited.

Bags not kiss the cod!

25/8/16 Hopewell Cape to Moncton – 42.2 kms: Shediac Spider Ride

DSC05390-1600x1067The Bay of Fundy is home to the largest tides on the planet and our return to the platform this morning on the low tide revealed a view that was breath taking. We stepped down the steps to leave our footprint under the “Lovers Arch”. It was truely remarkable and had us stand in silence pondering what is.

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We rated the emotion up there with ones collected at the Temples of Bagan in Myanmar; from Gokyo Ri in the Himilayas; and on Africa’s roof top Mount Kilimanjaru. Do include this on your list of must visit’s when you bike across Canada or however you travel.

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DSC05491-1280x853We returned to the tandem to cycle back to Moncton with a spring on the bike seat to find our homestay. They found us nigh of Moncton itself and the offer to have a ride with Cheryl and their fellow biker Pearl was accepted. We switched costumes and blatted off under a visor toward Shediac, home of the World’s Giant Lobster. It was natural that we tried a Lobster Roll down on a wharf, very much like our own New Zealand Crayfish without the pinchers.

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Shediac is also the birthplace of the crossword game later to become known as Scrabble, bit of useless information for a triple word score!

We have no explaination how we are ending up in the situations we do. The hospitality shown was again exceptional as we shared an evening with Byron, Cheryl and Pearl and watched the tides empty out of each bottle of wine consumed.

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Adenture is something you seek for pleasure but experience is what really happens to you in the long run.

We continue to ponder what is, eventually horizontal.

24/8/16 Moncton to Hopewell Cape – 41.3 kms: We Had Experienced Only Half Of What We Had Ridden To See.

Another email arrived into our in box for another invitation to meet up with another Motor Maid (Cheryl) and her hubby (Byron). Arrangements were made to connect after breakfast at a place just down the road from where we were staying. Cheryl and Byron had already arrived when we brought the rig to a stand still.

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This couple are the proud owners of motorbikes called ‘Spiders’. Three wheeled, they are manufactured in the Quebec Province which explained their popularity. At first, we had reserved thoughts about them due to them not being as tough looking as the two wheeled Harley. However, as we got used to them frequently motoring by us they started grow on us. We took the opportunity to have a look at them up close while stationery and they are kinda awesome. Especially as we are now starting to tick senior aged boxes on application forms!

This was after Cheryl and Byron got to meet The Rurus over a second breakfast for which they treated us with. In their words, “you need protein to be able to keep up the biking” and it was unexpected and humbling. Our other new friends Robert and Kelly Budnik had suggested we visit the Bay of Fundy to experience the highs and lows of nature. Over the time it took to consume the protein, Cheryl and Byron had motivated us to do the same and therefore we set riding on a side ride south to Hopewell Cape at the top end of the Bay of Fundy.

Bike there today to witness the high; stay the night and witness the low in the morning; then bike back to do a homestay with Cheryl and Byron … all over two eggs sunny side up! It also meant that riding to Prince Edward Island was an option now. We bid the Spiders off, but not before meeting and chatting with Beth Myers who worked at the joint, also rides a tandem and has previously travelled New Zealand. Receiving a message from her wishing us well later in the day on the screen of the tablet was an unexpected warm fuzzy.

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We straddled the Petitcodiac River all the way to the Cape. The river at the upper reaches had exposed a chocolate brown muddish silt. It was tempting to see how far one could slide down the channel where there was some water still trickling toward the bulk. Not today. Soon after we checked in, we had to pedal a short distance more where we locked up the rig, paid to enter the park and walk 500 metres to a platform.

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Immediately to our front were rock formations, the ‘Lovers Arch’ home to a few pines sticking up from the top. It was high tide and even then it was beautiful as waves crashed the platform structure below.

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DSC05371-1280x853Another short walk to another platform had us overlooking the Bay of Fundy stretching as far as the eye could see, waves rippling the water from the wind sweeping up the bay.

But wait, there is more; we had experienced only half of what we had ridden to see.

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23/8/16 McCreadys to Moncton – 98.3 km: Cursing A Flat Tyre Does Not Fix It

Mr Wong (that’s me) got up through out the night to flip apparel over in the Chinese laundry to ensure stuff was drying. It’s my job holding the responsibility of repairs and maintenance I have in the tandem relationship. The key was to do so un-consciously so as not to become too conscious that you inhale the smell of wet shoes drying. If you become fully awaken and get a sniff of that stench, you’re stuffed for getting back to sleep.

Yay, the map dried enough for us to have some comprehension of direction. The mobile was dead.

When we became fully conscious, yup, stinky shoes too!

Placing them outdoors exposed a contrasting sky from the day before, it was stunning. Once on highway 2, we kept rythym and pace going easily not needing to refer to the map at all. Instinct kicked in. That and the sign that told us which way was East.

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First stop as we arrived into Moncton was a Tellus phone shop for some advice on our phone. Hah, they advised that we should put it in some rice for a couple of days to absorb any moisture. No way did we tell them we had tried that except the rice was pre-cooked! A $17 sleeve for the sim-card so that we could insert it into a NZ phone we were carrying resovled the situation. Yay, we have google maps again.

Mr Wong philosophy (that’s me again): cursing a flat tyre does not fix it.

It’s the best approach to any situation.

There wasn’t enough leftover rice after getting the Canadian phone sorted to fill up one of my shoes. They are still wet under foot.

No worries, I placed it on the wong side of the bed tonight.

That being Claire’s side!

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22/8/16 Fredericton to McCreadys – 82.6 km: Houston, We Have A Problem

Reflective puddles greeted us as we left the underground parking where the rig was resting. The rain wasn’t as heavy and our hosts offered us the option of staying another night and depart tomorrow under the delightful weather prediction however, we decided to make a ride for it as it seemed to lighten up since the feet hit the apartment floor.

It wasn’t without a cycle by farewell to Catherine at her place of employment where she did an impromptu movie capture of our journey without make up and rehearsal. Un-rehearsed also was which direction to head … keep going East toward Moncton or head South toward St John. Either direction was going take us to Nova Scotia and the many chats with people praised the pros and cons of both. Arrrrr, decisions, decisions!

A toss of the coin eventuated in us hanging a right after crossing the bridge to head East.

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DSC05314-1280x853Trees sheltered us from a breeze blowing and the odd drizzle. Market garden shops are in full swing with produce abundance. Some tree branches had encased cob webs that looked like candy-floss. There was no toss of the coin as to who was going to touch one to see what lives within. Coming passed a house overgrown and decaying with a crow squawking gave it an eerie haunted look.

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With thirty kilometres to go till our destination for the day, it started to really rain. It was so much so that our heavy coats were sopped to drench our apparel beneath and it stayed like that for the remainder of the pedaling. Who honks at cyclists like they do thinking we are our living life having fun under the conditions of waterfall down pour? What is the matter with those people?

Houston, we have a problem was an under statement when we took out the cell phone and it too poured water from it’s cracks. It was vibrating profusely thinking someone was calling us to see if we were okay. No one was calling. It was having a hissy fit and then it died. Oh shit, with it went our google maps! We’d been told to put a wet phone in a bowel or bag of rice for a couple of days to soak up the water. We purchased what the gas station had only to find once we had followed the place the phone in the rice instructions, the rice was pre-cooked so that too was a disaster!

DSC05318-1280x853Thank goodness the room had a heater and fan. Our abode ended up looking like a Chinese laundry from everything needing to be dried hanging from anything we could hang things from.

Back to the good old fashioned paper map tomorrow to help with our navigation into Moncton. Trying to un-fold it, it too being soaked took careful precision so as not to tear.

Huh, if only the rice was’t pre-cooked. The bloody thing would have been keeping the phone company, that’s for sure!

21/8/16 Fredericton Hang Over

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Our summary of our Fredericton Hang Over …

DSC05295-1600x1067From a chance meeting of a fellow motor cyclist in Marathon … to receiving an email of hospitalitity offer … to tapping out the keys on a keyboard and make initial contact with acknowledgement … to a second contact to advise we are nearing … to the meet and greet on the street corner … to the foldaway bed and warm shower … to meeting Brian so we knew where to go to join the party on the 9th floor … to attending The Tragically Hip concert across the road downtown from where you live … to meeting Jesse who is the owner of a cycling across Canada face book page and sharing conversation with him over a doner … to meeting Mike the Mayor of Fredericton in the concert beer garden … to meeting Travis and Co and share a beer on the deck of the apartment after we thought we had entered the wrong apartment … to attending the party on the 9th floor overlooking the concert in the park and becoming a mentor to Boyd Maillet … to meeting Bev with similar tired bodies after a night of the odd glass of alcohol or even glass … to share breakfast on the apartment balcony and converse as global citizens … to draw a snake and bed bug and fish for your grand daughter and meet Zac and Sandra … to visit Bev and Catherine’s business that promotes and encourages healthy food choices … to meeting Mike the Mayor and the first lady of Fredericton Anne … to meet Jason (and earlier in the day Tina at Isaacs Way where the ‘giving back’ was extremely amazing) … to sharing an Acadian cuisine supper over a glass of NZ wine … to having a conference call with Sandra and Denise on the road of more travel ahead … to retiring to the foldaway bed in preparation for our departure to get back on the journey of crossing Canada by tandem bike … priceless!

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So much has happened in such a short interaction, it could bring a couple to tears!

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It’s been so humbling and heartfelt appreciated.

Great visit to Fredericton … great people … great hosts in Catherine and Bev … another great experience collected.

Ka kit ano ehoa, love The Rurus :0) xx

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We are so out of condition at drinking these days!

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