The Rurus

Adventure Before Dementia

Month: August 2016 (page 2 of 4)

20/8/16 Woodstock to Fredericton – 103.2 km: One Could Have Thought That They Were In Heaven

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We awoke to being surrounded in thick moisty clouds. Out came the heavier jackets to keep the dampness out and on went the tail light to signal the Ruru’s were present on the verge of the tar seal. Please don’t run us over!

Then is was down out of the mass and then a thigh burning teeth clenching grind up into the mass meaning it didn’t take long for moisture to form on the inside of the jacket. C’mon heaven, make up ya ruddy mind!

DSC05197-1280x853Dullness made for everything to be more crisp – the green of trees and grasses; the shitty brown of the river when crossing a high bridge; the yellow of head lights from on-coming cars. Alas, the sun broke through, heaven dispersed and everything brightened up except for the distance of undulation rode today.

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DSC05214-1280x853It was by fluke that we bumped into Douglas the cyclist we met in Grand Falls, of all the places. His riding days were over with cycle box in hand making his way to the Fredericton airport to return home. Our disembarkation came a short time later down town when we met our homestay host (Catherine) at the bottom of her apartment in the street.

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How the event’s of what followed had us in awe from share bewilderment!

We met a motorcyclist Christine on the morning of our departure way back in Marathon. Christine belongs to a motorcyclist group called ‘Motor Maids’ and from that short interaction, she put out a call to fellow Maids to offer a bed to us if passing through. Catherine (and husband Bev) sent us a message resulting in our the homestay connection in Fredericton.

Catherine and Bev were going to a family dinner (we were invited if we felt up to it) or we could attend a concert in a park directly over the road from their apartment. Local bands were playing up till 9.30pm. Then the iconic Canadian band ‘The Tragically Hip’ were going to perform via satelite from Kingston (we had already cycled through Kingston). Most of Canada were doing the same with satelite park concerts; this was the groups last performance. Their lead singer has a terminal brain tumor.

We decided to attend the concert.

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DSC05222-1280x853However, this was not before Catherine took us up to the 9th floor to meet their friend Brian who was going to be holding a balcony party overlooking the concert and we were invited to join them later in the evening. Furthermore, Catherine had arranged for us to meet the Mayor of Fredericton over at the concert for which we did during the warm up bands. But before we caught up with the Mayor and then went Brian’s balcony party, we did a meet and greet with a fellow cyclist who is the owner of a face book page for people cycling across Canada.

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At the balcony party, we got to meet a number of folk who were so encouraging of our cycling (including an amazing artist Boyd) that from craft beer to red wine consumed, one had to be careful that one didn’t fold up the pull down closet bed by mistake and end up in the closet sleeping upside down!

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Catherine’s hospitality and social introductions this day was like we had met an angel who gave more than we ever anticipated. One could have thought that they were in heaven!

Deciding to take a lay over day in Fredericton tomorrow was not due to self indulgence … but more because of self destruction from the riding! No more needs to be said about this day.

Amen.

19/8/16 Grand Falls to Woodstock – 114.6 km: Kiwiana Hanging

We had never seen a spread like it.

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DSC05179-1280x853Sausages and french bread; home made cheese scones baked still warm from the oven before we sat at the breakfast table; blueberry or chocolate chip muffins; cheeses, yoghurt; fruit salad and options of cereal; and the cup of tea made fresh in a tea pot. Real cutlery and crockery versus the plastic and paper disposables.

And Rachel the Bed & Breakfast Owner had risen early to prepare ours because we were on a time line to depart so as to get on the road. Feasts like this don’t come often and one had to savour every bite on whatever entered the cake hole. It was fresh, delicious and putting raspberry jam on french toast which is cooked in egg was outside the square box.

I wasn’t missing out on the home made jam!

 

Rachel was a little older than us but of the same generation. Our conversations had depth with warm reflections of life growing up where respect for each other, other species, and what we had was the best. There just isn’t an App you can down load on your electronic device where you can tap ya fingers and it’s instantaneously there.

Life has become so complex that every now and again, enjoying a simple spread where tea is poured from a tea pot brings us back to what matters most. Stopping to swallow tea leaves by mistake and then spending some time trying to spit every one of the last little bugger out.

That’s respect for a great brew! One landing on someone elses dish of fruit salad … wish I had an App to hit the go back key on the phone, ops!

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Our ride today had a lovely encounter. The meeting up again with Team Budnik who we met camping at Cobourg. They were the kind folk who donated the bottle of red wine for us to enjoy over our cooked camp supper. They were in transit pointed in our direction and we just happened to be stopped at and Esso gas station drinking a cupper from plastic cups. Tasted a bit like coffee as it came from a machine this time, versus a tea pot earlier.

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It was like we were old friends and wish we could take them home to New Zealand with us as they have similar tastes in the outdoors. Maybe we need to migrate to Canada … maybe. Like before, it wasn’t a goodbye as much as we will see you again. They headed off in the direction of Hartland where the worlds longest covered bridge resides. We got back on Highway 2 as we loved the company of speeding trucks and cars. Nah, the down hills were long after the low gear ups.

There is something about having the air scream through you hair at speed, I tell ya. Or was it Claire on the back yelling at me to slow down holding on for dear life! I kinda forget the respect for my fellow passenger there, ahem!

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As we registered with our stay for this day, there on the wall was a woodedn carved Tiki with paua shell eyes, just staring out looking.

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Greetings to all our family and friends back home down under. Kiwiana hanging like that does that. Think of home. And the four hundred cups of tea we will end up consuming catching up with folk.

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Cover the home made baking though. Wouldn’t want to spit a tea leaf out like this morning. That would be disrespectful.

18/8/16 Degelis to Grand Falls – 98.9 km: Plus One: Minus One

DSC04976-1280x853It was like putting the key into the ignition: turning it right to fire up the cylinders; throwing it into automatic; and then pressing the pedal to the metal and then, we were into it. In just under 20 clicks up the road, we crossed over into the New Brunswick Province and bid Au Revoir to Quebec.

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Signage was back in our native tongue and we resumed riding the highway without interruption from the local constabulary. We weren’t too phased by the long upward hauls because with reinvigorated frames. It was magic conditions with mild temperatures and a wide verge to own as highway 2 straddled the U.S. border.

DSC04982-1280x853The logging industry with hundreds of logs piled up like match sticks explained the logging truck traffic, there were heaps of them. Ski slopes were evident too with lifts in hibernation for the summer months. A sign indicating reference to the Appalachian Range stirred emotions of a future to do list adventure.

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Battlestar Galactica shaped clouds filtered into the sky above threatening predicted thunder, lightening and rain and a speckle of rain teased us to pedal quicker. However, it farted out to nothing.

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Todays accommodation is a Bed and Breakfast in Grand Falls. It’s lovely and the owner/operator very inspiring. It’s something we have conversed about doing during the time spent on the bike – it’s ironic how things present themselves in tune with things you consider unexpectedly! Once unpacked, we wandered down to the Falls themselves bumping into a fellow touring cyclist. From Montreal riding to Halifax, we were provided with some alternative route suggestions given his bum on bike seat experience of the Provinces. More food for discussion over the coming days.

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It was nice to see some mention of the Indian history at Grant Falls. Very little during Quebec, it was like they didn’t exist at all in that Province.

To hasten our day to an end quickly, time went forward an hour meaning we lost 60 minutes from our day.

Wished we carried some jet-lag tablets to help with the adjustment! Will need the choke throttle pulled out tomorrow, that’s for sure!

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17/8/16 Degelis: Claire’s Right Butt Cheek Became Inflamed As Well

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Biofreeze is a gel you can rub on the parts of your body that aches. Claire has been using it off and on since given it back in Tobermory. She has got some joy from it’s relief and after yesterdays ride, it was applied to the legs again last evening.

I hadn’t until last night. Decided to use some to give some relief to the leg fatigue aches. Rubbed it on both calves and upper thighs.

Holy shit! It went from freezing to extremely hot in a matter of rubs! Powerful stuff too. One quick roll over for a cuddle and Claire’s right butt cheek became inflamed as well. We had to sleep with air between us and no blankets.

Didn’t regain consciousness to know when the heat abated but woke with all feeling back. Claire’s butt cheek looked balanced too.

The previous times where we have had days off the bike were active whether exploring or repairs and maintainance. We haven’t had a mental health day off just relaxing and doing absolutely nothing. Today we did and the bodies lapped up the extra sleep. It’s amazing how tired we actually are thinking the good nights sleep along the journey are enough. Fatigue is coming quicker nowadays which is all part and parcel of the adventure.

Let me add that I won’t be applying the parcel of gel again like last evening!

I can though thoroughly recommend that it’s excellent stuff to help with muscle aches and pains.

Word of advice: be mindful what muscles. A butt cheek would be as far one would want to apply it too.

16/8/16 Riviera Du Loup to Degelis – 93.4 km: Minor Trespassing Incident

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Once upon a time, there was a High Road (highway), a Middle Road (service road) and a Lower Road (lake side Route Verte).

After the first hill cycling out of Riviera du Loup being the warm up, we knew we were in for a sweaty one!

DSC04946-1280x853Deciding to ignore the ‘no cyclist’ signage, we rolled down onto the motorway (the high road) and went for it. The plan was to stay on it until we got caught by the Police. It was 52 kms later that we were when we knew the flashing lights weren’t an escort. Playing tourist dumb foundedness had the finger point us onto a service road (middle road) at the next junction.

DSC04943-1280x853Didn’t understand why because us clocking 65 km/hr drilling a down hill section shortly before was within the 60 minimum speed limit. The cop was cute too. Don’t know what BClaire thought of him though!

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Both the high and middle roads had their share of thigh burning, knee grinding and teeth gritting sweats. Descending a middle one that was 10% down grade was the camels back. There was a lower road (Route Verte) that hugged the lake meaning flat as. Getting down onto it meant us cutting through someones property … the first two attempts were unsuccesful due to barking dogs!

Once onto it, it was a beautiful ride with bush side cliffs littered in native forna. The water looked inviting however, it was a case of get to the motel as quickly as possible so as to hide from more flashing lights should they appear due to our minor trespassing incident.

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We lived happily ever there after, sweat as!

The End.

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15/8/16 St-Jean-Port-Joli to Riviera du Loup – 94.4 km: 6,000

The cloud dispersed as the ride made distance.

DSC04930-1280x853We observed a spectacular view of the far coast line where sometimes whales can be sighted in the waters between. Rock formations like rib bones have returned onto our landscape which is the indication we are now going to be working the thigh muscles more often than not. And more fields are turning a deeper yellow or gold.

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DSC04919-1280x853We also saw our first moose sign in ages and spooked a Deer that bounded off to the safety of bush across a field of yellow. Another David Attenborough moment when Claire spotted a furry thing crawling at a rest stop. Up close, it looked more prickly. Camera has a zoom, yay!

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DSC04877-1280x853A lot of artists live in this part of Quebec and contributed to keeping our enjoyment of riding today. The sculpture of a nude women looked so realistic as if a busker smothered in mud – very clever. As was an old washing machine painted bright red. Claire mentioned that once she got her fingers stuck in ones ringers!

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Today we clicked over 6,000 kms cycled. What better way to celebrate than to again met up with our biking buddy Ken who was also booked into our accommodation as well.

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Tomorrow we hang a right leaving the St. Lawrence River as the New Brunswick Province beckons.

A new blank canvas indeed.

The thighs can sense it!

14/8/16 Québec City to St-Jean-Port-Joli- 107.8 km: Dumb Dumb Detour

We imagined that the noise up the hallway that echoed loudly at some ungodly hour was Dumtypical behaviour of University larikens! Already sleeping in confined conditions, leaning over for a snuggle got me smacked by the bike in the middle. For some reason, the sheet didn’t fit the bed neither meaning it crumpled up at the foot end and was hard to unbundled to get warmth after leaving the window open and the moisture from rain drop the room temperature. All while the other half snored!

Surprisingly, a good nights sleep was had!

DSC04812-1280x853Although raining, we headed off to catch an 8.30 am ferry across the St. Lawrence. Google maps was fantastic to get us onto a road that would take us down to the rivers edge and along to the terminal. However, Google Maps doesn’t show road construction nor detour signs. Thought we would be smart and like the other day, walk the bike but as we got closer from gliding down the hill, the road was completed blocked off meaning no access whatsoever.

When did the construction safety in this country decide to get all politically correct after seeing what we have ridden through! Even trying to cut through a church yard was useless meaning we had to unload the rig to turn it around, push it up some to then ride the uphill back in the direction of the University to take another route.

Dumb dumb detour and subsequent re-routing meant missing the 8.30 am ferry and another hour before getting the next. Been a while since we have jumped in puddles having by-passers think we had lost the plot. Thank goodness we had a good nights sleep eh?!

DSC04822-1280x853Looking back at the city from across the yonder gave us a pleasant feeling of exploration gratitude. Again, if traveling, make sure you venture down to waters edge below the township, it is so worth it. We missed that part and there were certainly some extra km we should have included.

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As we rode out of Levis, the St. Lawrence was now on the left. It was habit to keep looking right and different seeing farmland versus the St L. River. It was even more fascinating when we did look left that the river itself widened into the Gulf of St. Lawrence and nigh impossible to see the opposite side.

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The rain abated early afternoon but the fiesty head wind continued to hit us smack on the nose didn’t. We haven’t experienced this type of mother nature in a long while but had to keep pushing forward, even if the speedometer slowed to below 12 km an hour forward motion. Most people would have given up and found lodgings earlier. Not us, we had pre-booked our accommodation and knew a bath would be waiting for us on our arrival. Even the contributing aches from yesterdays walkabout didn’t weaken our determination.

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DSC04828-1280x853Riding passed a section that had sculptures of heads remined us of the ‘Night of the Museum’ movie where the similar head statue was referred to as ‘Dumb Dumb’. We had some dumb dumb moments today where we had to laugh at ourselves. It helped with the mental games.

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Just who was dumb and who was dumber?

Pfft, it goes without questioning naturally. And you won’t find the answer on Google Maps either!

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13/8/16 Québec City Rest Day

DSC04640-1280x853The fortifications surrounding Old Québec measure nearly 4.6 km long and was the only fortified city north of Mexico. Walking the massive stone walls gave views of the Old City, considered to be one of the world’s 20 most romantic destinations with history, culture, flair and European charm.

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For the religious tourist, there is heritage for all denominations to worship with steeples and statues a plenty. Add on a wander through the ‘Plains of Abraham’ and you will descend and ascend the site of several battles between the French and British forces in the mid 1700’s.

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By the time we got back to our bed for the night, we would have walked nearly 20 km exploring Québec City. Wearing flip flops (not the best foot wear choice) and perhaps some redness from sunburn was worth the aches and pains to get lost amongst the hordes of fellow visitors.

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DSC04695-1280x853A knock on the door as we were chilling was a fellow cyclist we had met earlier in the day. We watched her cycle passed on a street incline that had me scurry after her. She was quite speedie. I thought about taking off one of me jandals and try to hit her in the back of the head to get her attention. Wasn’t needed. I caught up and ended up giving her a helping push up the last hundred metres. We introduced ourselves and the bonus, Christine too was staying at the same place as us and hence the knock on the door to catch up to share journey tales.

At 69 years of age and originating from B.C., she has solo-cycled some 1,000 kms sharing the cross country journey with train transport. Christine has camped more than us as well so that was embarrassing. It just means we have years ahead of us to transition back into the wild … what’s the rush?

Chatting with Christine did amplify getting out there to live life to the fullest; and don’t let age be a fortification.

Especially being a charming single female staying in a dorm of a University. Has a romantic worshipping flair to it.

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12/8/16 Portneuf to Québec City – 59.8 km: Is Four Ice Creams in One Day Too Many?

It was pouring rain when we awoke! Knowing it was a short distance and that we didn’t have to vacate until late morning, there wasn’t any rush to place the feet on the floor and take the step to leave. Instead, we watched some of the Olympic Games being played out just down the road.

Naturally we saw more Canadian codes being covered but when we learnt that Fiji had won its first Olympic medal ever in Rugby Sevens, that brought our room to a standstill. The same happened when we watched the Ethiopian Athlete smash the Women’s 10,000 metres in running. Leaving was going to be tough with all the buzz on the square box happening however, the rain eventually abated enough for us to get back on the tar seal and at the chime of mid-day, we did.

It didn’t take too long before the undulations started and a reminder that not all the bumps in the topography were over. The new brake pads were put to the test on the down slope parts. They worked!

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Google maps to find the right direction in-between the Le Chemin du Roy signs were frequent too. When frustrated, the best solution is to stop for an ice cream. Each lick evaporates the gritted teeth type of emotion. Is four ice creams in one day too many?!

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Arriving into Québec City ended 90 days on the road since wobbling out of Vancouver. Naturally elated for having ridden so far, there is a weird feeling of having just on 2,000 kms to ride still until the finish.

We have been watching a number of fellow cyclists complete their biking journeys to imagine their elation of completion. Ours too could be over in 20-25 days. A weird feeling.

DSC04590-1280x853Back to the now; our bed for the next two nights is at Universite Laval. Yep, they hire out their student accommodation during summer holidays and we have a room like no other before. A new experience with the rig snuggly fitting in-between the two single beds. Cosy.

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Neither of us attended University as part of our educational journey. We graduate in two days.

Don’t know what in however, a golden opportunity to make something up to put on our respective Curriculum Vitae’s.

For when the Cycling Across Canada by Tandem journey does eventually does come to its end.

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11/8/16 Trois Rivières to Portneuf – 81.1 km: The King’s Road

In the early 18th century, the road network only occupied a small part of the vast territory of New France. There was no road that connected Montréal and Québec City.

In 1706, the Superior Council decided to build a road that would run along the seaway. Work began in 1731 and construction ended in 1737. The King’s Road (Le Chemin du Roy) was 7.4 metres wide and stretched 280 kilometres.

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It became the longest road north of and the land cousin to the St. Lawrence River.

We departed on today’s ride open minded about how far we would ride and take a chance at finding somewhere to stay.

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The wind was blowing from left to right meaning the stench of silage was ripe and stinky. Only one other smell reeks worse. The skunk. Spill a litre of milk on your car carpet and let it soak under the sun with closed windows doesn’t even come close to the a skunk’s perfume. Thank goodness we have only encountered dead ones. Flies don’t even feast off a dead skunk carcass because of their perfume.

Gites are bed and breakfast set ups in private homes and were starting to be an option when we reached Deschambault. The ice cream break under the shade of a tree out front of an old grocery store allowed for a google search and subsequent motel find another five kilometres up the road at Portneuf.

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And more of the beauty riding Le Chemin du Roy.

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It most certainly kept the spirit of New France alive today as we pushed on like two galloping horses of old.

Just a point of clarification. Old being the horses that used to ride Le Chemin du Roy and naaaaaaeigh us being an old gelded stallion or mare!

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