The Ruru's

T.I.M.E. Habits • Minimalists • Travel Enthusiasts

Category: Tandem Cycling (page 2 of 15)

23/9/16 Digby to Yarmouth: I Think I Will Leave It At That!

Route 203 of Nova Scotia had it all!


Road conditions like Newfoundland; squashed Porcupines like New Brunswick; patriotic loyalists like Quebec; inland lakes like Ontario; barns like Manitoba; deer crossing the road like Saskatchewan; horse and cows like Alberta; and … and … a Black Bear on the roadside like British Columbia.


It was just unreal that this stretch of roadway in Canada that we drove today in solitude of other traffic (it was off the beaten track) had every experience from every Province we encountered when cycling across.

It’s hard to describe why this happened; it leaves me dumbfounded as to what to write, how to commute to words the surreal, even freakiness about it.

We are now in Yarmouth till Monday when we board a ferry and depart Canada for the US.

Haven’t seen a Moose … but we saw a Bear.

I think I will leave it at that.

22/9/16 Digby to Brier Island & Return: Lot’s of Seagulls Do Swimming Lessons Close By.








At the very end of the finger of land known as Digby Neck you will find Brier Island. Just 6.5 km long and 2.5 km wide, the island is located on the Atlantic Flyway, a major migration route for seabirds and shorebirds. Everything must have flown the coup as we only saw seagulls.




Salmon graze just off the shores in sea farms. Lot’s of seagulls do swimming lessons close by.

The island is also an iconic whale-watching destination however, all the boats were fully booked and so we ate our sandwiches sitting on the grass squinting the horizon for that one in a million close shore breach under the North Point Light House over looking the Bay of Fundy. And seagulls.


dsc06891-1280x853On Long Island, we walked and climbed down to the cliff edge to see a narrow column of basalt balancing on it’s rock perch. They call it Balancing Rock! Funny that. Seeing a small snake walking to the thing had Claire jump twenty feet straight upwards. Me seeing the bloody thing on the way back had me do the same! Harmless they are but christ almighty, we could see Halifax from the full height catapulted upwards!





The evening spent chatting to volunteers working at the hostel fuelled the passion to fall in love with the industry. The chatting with the new arrivals just made it more romantic. As they were starting five months of travel, we were nearing the end. It was a fantastic way to both nuture and honor our inner nomadic tendancies having surrounded ourselves with reminders of our journey. Equally, by sharing our knowledge we were able to offer a gracious hand up to the newbie nomads, sparring them the same rookie mistakes we made.

Digby – a ‘glad we made the effort’ kind of stop over.





21/9/16 Bridgewater to Digby: But None Of The People Conquered.


1605: Port Royal is founded, the first European settlement north of Saint Augustine, Florida.
1607: Jamestown, Virginia is established as the first permanent English settments in the United States.
1710: Soullard House is built.
1710: Port Royal is renamed Annapolis Royal after it’s capture by the British.
1781: Sinclair Inn established.
2016: The Rurus stand inside the former Sinclair Inn (the second oldest wooden building in Canada) at Annapolis Royal.




Most of the structure is original and displayed to give one some understanding of things were built back in the day of Cowboys and Indians. Upkeep, repairs and maintenance are done with traditional wood carpentry construction methods, it’s not the modern day D-I-Y house makeover dream project. The ghosts of the past are rumoured to haunt the place, we swear we heard an un-explained faint clunking of pewter tankards drift out from the exposed wall boards!





Fort Anne is the oldest national historic site in Canada. Over 3,000 years ago, the Mi’kmaq used the site as a stopping point in their voyagers. The site was also the centre of early European colonization and settlement. Today, the parapet landscape sits at peace with remnants of buildings and cannon placements to salute Canadian’s forefathers. What is haunting is that we have never seen a native bronze monument to recognize a people who owned the dirt first. There are heaps of British and French ones who were the conquerors; but none of the people conquered.

It’s been like that right across the Maple Leaf.





Digby overlooks the picturesque Annapolis Basin and is home of the world famous Digby scallops. We are now on the opposite side of the Bay of Fundy whereby the ferry service that connects St John in New Brunswick has been running for over 200 consecutive years. It also has the low and high tides except this evening, the tide was in.


The sail boats meandering out front on the harbour waters were barely moving, that’s how calm, clear and crisp it was.

Huh, bet you the scallops below were hiding, haunted by the sight of a boat hull!


20/9/16 Bridgewater to Lunenburg: A Lazy Routine Is Lethal.

It’s been +14 days since we disembarked the tandem. Hard to beleive if you say, “it is was just under half a month ago!”

As equally as there has been lot’s of reflection of what was; there has been lot’s of daydreaming on what is to be. The resting of bodies merged into a little lethargy purely because the routine of cycling has gone. The 6-7 hours spent rotating a pedal, poof! Sure it’s been filled up with tiki touring, new friendships and conversations however, we are creatures of movement under our own steam.

Expanding the gut or losing the fitness creeps in and before you know it, plump! A lazy routine is lethal.

We know our inside reflects our outside therefore our mind pictures have had to be reinvigorated with our motto – dream it; design it; and do it.


Walking down the hill was the easy bit as was along the footpath dodging workmen busily doing road construction and pavement construction. The puffy bit was the climb up to our accommodation. And that wasn’t carrying any weight!

It was the motivation we needed to re-frame habits going forward, more movement with perspiration.

The ‘no beer and chips’ has been firmed up in writing with an Accountability Coach. Only for three months as a start as it’s about taking small steps to create a more permanent habit. A tattoo of a french fry or stubbie bottle would not go with one of a hamburger!

Our tourist visit to Lunenburg had movement – park the car up on a hillside out of town and walk; cups of tea versus a coffee + two sugars; and find a nice spot in the drizzle to eat our prepared cut lunch (in the car looking at the dashboard was kind of okay, we had to walk up to it).

dsc06723-1280x853Lunenburg is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home port to the Bluenose II – a tall ship. Although out to sea today, we did get up close to some other pirate ships docked wharfside. Wandering the quaint shops was relaxing and eventful. Our accent continues to solicit conversations and meeting a mother who back packed New Zealand to discover she was pregnant down under had us spend a hour syncronising experiences. No, we are not pregnant here!






The road sign with New Zealand on it had us pull up to stop and stare.


It was a sign! Except, there is no going back.

Off to find some of that gel that burns bum cheeks for the legs! It’s been 12+ hours since the puff this morning.

19/9/16 Halifax to Bridgewater: Certainly A Treat To See It’s Population At Play.


Mahone Bay greeted us with scare crow like mannequins affixed to a road barrier. Some of them resembled ‘Chucky’ from the horror movie.

dsc06617-1280x853However, as we drove into the township itself, front doors, front porches and front lawns had heaps of them on display. It took us a while before we saw a real person to confirm the place was indeed inhabited.






Huge oval and round orange pumpkins adorned a shop roof. They have been harvested for both pumpkin pie or to be carved up with eyes, nose and a squared toothed mouth in readiness for Halloween night.


Yep, shops have stocked up on all the paraphenalia you could possibly imagine to rob you of your hard earnt dollar for the one night show case, Halloween. Sadly it’s gradually taken hold in New Zealand, it’s something we chose to ignore.


I remember once when we owned and operated our childcare business from our residence, all the kids who attended thought we would be an easy sweet or three when they came knocking. Giving them a bunch of silver beet vegetable had looks of bewilderment on faces at the time … grins on ours naturally. We never had as many kids knocks on the door the following year!

What was first a trick arriving into Mahone was certainly a treat to see it’s population at play.

Anyone ever eaten pumpkin pie?

Makes one crave for a good ole fashioned mince and cheese one.





18/9/16 Halifax Home Stay Day3: A Balance Of Purpose With Humourous Sisterhood Banter.


Our homestay hosts had us join a luncheon with an all women motor cyclist group called ‘Motor Maids.’

We got to again meet up with Cheryl (a previous homestay in Moncton) and Pearl.

The MM’s parked up chariots were impressive and their camaraderie a balance of purpose with humourous sisterhood banter.


How we have ended up here was because of a conversation with a fellow Motor Maid Christine we met back in Marathon. She advertised that the Rurus were cycling across the continent and if anyone wished to avale a bed and feed, that would be awesome.

That one interaction ripple effect has exposed us to folk with huge hearts who have.

To meet the extended group of Motor Maids was a bonus of being at the right place at the right time. They are certainly a cool bunch of women in leathers.

For our homestay hosts Sandra and Denise, another fantastic experience of hospitality we are most certainly humbled by.


A huge THANK YOU from us.

When you come visit us in New Zealand, let us take you for a blat across our landscape the Rurus style, on a tandem.

It’ll be a blast.

Everyone gets to peddal!


19/9/16 Halifax Home Stay Day 2: In Idil Spit For Filk To Sing Lidly!

Fall is coming and nearly came faster!



The wetness underfoot as I stepped out onto the deck nearly had me fall down the steps and into the covered pool … thank goodness that there was a fence in-between the pool and pond if I had or I could have ended up with the ducks lazily rippling the surface water where steam was rising from the pond!


Crimson’s tinge the trees, their journey to winter hibernation has begun. Sandra and Denise have a lovely spot where swimmers now lay folded in drawers and skates are now at the ready for when the water turns to ice. What happens to life below? How do they keep warm to survive the encasement?


dsc06529-1280x853It was back into downtown Halifax for some chores before Sandra took us onto the Peninsula to Peggy’s Cove. It’s a real tourist haven destination and photo bombing couldn’t be avoided! The Lighthouse was once a Post Office, on a good weather day everything went by sea; on a bad weather day everything went by air. Being reminded to stay off the black rocks so as not to become fish fodder was frequent, both in signage and from instruction from Sandra.








We drove passed a memorial monument where 229 names are etched into stone. They were passengers on Swissair Flight 111 that smashed into the shallows killing all on board back in 1998. The force of the crash made houses tremble on shore, a sombre part of the landscape history.dsc06566-1280x853

Marinating a chicken by sticking a can of beer up it’s butt was a first for us. It was all in preparation for Sandra and Denise’s friends who rocked up to join us for a dinner party and ukulele jam session. They were good … so was the beer butt plugged marinated chicken!


Pronouncing the word “deck” with our New Zealand accent sounded like “dick” to them. “Let’s go stand out on the slippery dick” they teased me with taking the piss out of me pronounciation!

All part of the ridicule one got for being the only male being present as more tunes echoed around the pond lake mist rising.

In idil spit for filk to sing lidly!

16/9/16 St John’s, Newfoundland to Halifax, Nova Scotia: We Must Go Ahead And See For Ourselves.


The wind abated making for a smooth jettison off Newfoundland under the cover of darkness. Only the hum of the propellors could be heard as we watched in silence the sun rise on the horizon and witness the puzzle configuration between land and sea take form.


Jacque Cousteau once said, “We must go ahead and see for ourselves.” We have.

It was absolutely beautiful. The magnitude of what we have accomplished became more surreal. More silence as the ball rose up to soon be descending onto the tarmac in Halifax, Nova Scotia.


To meet us was another homestay host, Sandra. Her tiki-tour by car of the city downtown had us identify destinations to visit on foot as we had the whole day as a tourist.







During the period of the Acadian Deportion, 1755 to 1762, Acadians were detained on George Island in the middle of the harbour prior to them being shipped off to other British Colonies; we stood at the Citidel to hear the cannon blast off a boom to signal mid-day and then stand at a ground zero plaque that spoke about the largest man-made explosion prior to the first atomic bomb; Pier 21 was where over 1.25 million immigrants since WWII landed so as to be indoctrinated as Canadian residents.



We met a couple from the UK who had just finished their cycle across Canada. It looked a lonely existence as they sat there with no one to share their achievement till we introduced ourselves. We spent an hour with them so they could share their story, to watch the glow of thier finish exude and make their accomplishment more surreal. It gave us goosebumps too, especially when they freedom camped 99% of the distance!



We met up with Sandra and her wife Denise for a beer to continue rapport formalities. Our meeting resulted from another ‘Motor Maids’ connection. They live half an hour out of downtown Halifax; to climb into a bed after the car experience straigtened out skeletal crookedness and everything else just moulded into the mattress fabric.

We knew this was going to be an entertaining homestay … no more chips and beer for a year … there is another day to start tomorrow.


15/9/16 Carbanear to St John’s – 164.5 km: Like A Baby Cradle Being Rocked.

dsc06382-1280x853We arrived back into down town St John’s to a howling wind and celcius just above the 5 degrees.




The text from our friend in the US to inform us that our rig had arrived was met with both a peace of mind feeling and one of it being missed.

We were in no-man’s land! One where we were treading water waiting for our flight off the island and one where questions were aroused as to whether we should have continued on with more riding to the US?


Ken our cyclist friend had departed St John’s this morning, cycling back to Agentia to catch the ferry. Poor bugger had to do it with a head wind and moisture. Our other cyclist friend Marcus had also arrived back into St John’s also today after doing a massive tour of Newfoundland by car – his daily minimum kilometerage was over 600 kms per day! Now he was preparing to depart back to the mainland also.

One last meal with Marcus signaled a handshake and hug farewell. This time it was going to be more permanent. Just like Ken’s a week or so back.

Our flight was at 5.40 am tomorrow morning so we decided not to book any accommodation.

Instead, we drove to the car rental car park and with the wind battering our little roller skate and like a baby cradle being rocked, it helped us doze off to sleep.

Wish we could say the same about sleeping like a baby!


Newfoundland Was First To:
Respond to Titanic SOS.
Vaccine for smallpox.
Have wireless communication in the world.

They have the oldest rock in the world.
Most pubs per square foot in Canada.
A Newfoundler invented the gas mask.
They are the most sexually active people in Canada.

14/9/16 Bonavista to Carbanear – 304.4 km “No Chips And No Beer For A Year.



When Italian Explorer John Cabot first discovered North America in 1497, his first word’s were “O Buono vista!” When translated into English, this phrase means, “Oh Happy Sight!” Standing at the historic place where he first landed (just north of Bonavista), there was a warm calmness to the surround. So peaceful.





We made it to Carbanear for a homestay with people we had met at the breakfast buffet on the ferry coming to Newfoundland, Ed and Regina.

The “no chips and beer for a year” resolution went right off the front porch when Ed handed me a local beer for consumption. I didn’t want to offend the hospitality offering and it tasted good. I had lasted only four days; there is always tomorrow!

What ensued was an evening where we felt like we were catching up with old friends that we hadn’t seen in a very long time. The stories became more theatrical as the volume of beverage depleted passed the lips. Soon, there was the odd charade to amplify the words yarned. Why had we left it so long to catch up with these people?!


Family portraits adorned the walls of the staircase. From childhood to adulthood, this was a tight family with unbelieveable closeness. I was too scared to ask which side of the family the Caribou head represented but I knew it was male with a tie hung round it’s neck.

This encounter with Ed and Regina was an “O Buono Vista” experience with Newfoundlanders that will always be remembered when we hear the ‘gong’ of a grandfather clock; see a flashlight; or eat blueberry pie! After dinner stories to be shared long after we leave the island.

And so, our journey to return home begins tomorrow as does the resolution, “No chips and no beer for a year.”

Unless we see a damn Moose and then we will drink ourselves silly with celebration.

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