The Ruru's

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

Category: Canada2016 (page 1 of 14)

20/3/17 A Leaf from the Maple Visit – Two of Them

From the blog post 1/7/16 Licking Limes, Vermilion Bay to Wabiggon – 68.1. kms

“It’s Canada Day here in the land of the Maple Leaf today.

After yesterday’s acclimatisation to the inclines and declines, we encountered a number of folk who made the day seem to go so much faster yet taking longer.  But it wasn’t over yet.

As we came out of the local store, up rode another cyclist.  Her name was Sheri and she too was going in the opposite direction.  Marcus (out other biker mate up ahead of us) had told Sheri about the Kiwi’s on a tandem so it was like we just picked up a conversation like long lost friends versus being total strangers.  So much so that we all purchased a beer (or Claire a Licking Lime) and microwave dinner each, went back to the hotel (Sheri booked in also) and spent the remainder of the sunshine rays conversing about life, blended families, dreams and sore arses.

What a fantastic way to celebrate Canada’s birthday with special people met.

Must have been a little de-hydrated somewhat as we didn’t see the fireworks go off as part of the festivities.

Just the bottom of the eyelids.”

Who would have ever imagined that this one encounter with a total stranger would have the same person whom we now call a friend, sitting in our lounge down under in the land of the long white cloud?

Sheri is visiting New Zealand and has been cycling the landscape of the South Island.

And to think that Marcus from the same blog post had laid his head down on our lounge floor only last Thursday, just four days before!  He too has been cycling the landscape of the North Island.

A couple of maple leaf visitors of special people met where encounters began on the other side of the planet to now be rubbing noses in our part of the world.

Cheers Sheri and Marcus for visiting – it was just magic to see you both again.

Keep coming people!

26/9/16 Yarmouth to Portland, Maine, US: I Could See The Yellow Glove Treatment Emotion In The Officers Expression.


The monstrosity of the ferry had to be boarded by bus and so we bundled into one with our luggage, first on best seat.  The Cat named ‘Alakai’ was just as massive on the upper deck where we found a seat with surround views.



dsc07039-1280x853Who should join us on the voyage across the waters to America but our American cyclist friend too, Ken.  He had cycled back from St John’s to Halifax and then shuttled to Yarmouth.  The ferry sailings are numbered as winter approaches.  Not a good situation missing the last of the ferries to then have to go back the long way round through New Brunswick!


As more seats became occupied, it suddenlty dorned on us as to whether we needed a ‘visa’ given we were only going to be in the States for nigh on three weeks just passing through.  Oh shit!  The fine print said we did, even though there was some confusion whether our entry was classed as a land entry versus sea!!!!

Claire was frantic pushing mobile phone buttons applying for the waiver document they call ESTA.  Once the ferry was beyond the shores of Yarmouth, service would be lost and with it the possibility we would be returning because of being turned around at Customs and Immigration on the other side.  Eeeeeeek, stay calm Claire but hurry it along.

Huh, Ken said they have holding cells dockside for illegal immigrants like us without the proper clearances!  We’ve watched documentaries on prisoners in US detention centres … hurry Claire hurry, the ferry is moving.

With her application sent, there was only me to do.  The fine line between pressing the send button and and the no service signal  going ping was a split second.


We were in no-man’s land as the ferry powered from the shores of Canada destined for the beaches of the US.  Five and a half hours to cross the open Atlantic sea.  Within a couple nautical miles from disembarking, the ferry pulled up and started reversing.

Did they too forget something and so were backing up to get it?  Nup, something had got sucked into the Cat’s intake turbines and the Captain was trying to spit it back out.  Everyone’s eyes were on what would bob up to the surface – a whale, a fishing boat or net, a container?  Or were they just flushing out the toilets before land fall.



The short bus ride to Customs and Immigration when we did dock at Portland, Maine was tense because we had no phone service to receive a magical waiver form confirmation.

“Welcome to the States, what is your purpose of your visit?”

“Where will you be staying?”

“How long will you be staying?”

They processed Claire first; checked passport, took finger print scans and a photo.  The printer rattled out a form, it was the ESTA one.  A relief of “Yay.”

When it came to me it was passport checked and then, “Have you got your ESTA?”  At first I looked dumbfounded as to what to say.  Claire represented me with our frantic panic application over the waters some ways back explanation.  Apparently, mine wasn’t confirmed.

Oh great!  I could see the yellow glove treatment emotion in the Officers expressions on the other side of the terminal counter and standing there I jiggled with what happens now nervousness.

A Supervisor was called over, all the remaining bus passengers had been processed and were now on the bus waiting for us.  A conversation and a form filled in, finger prints and photo and then a rubber stamp versus a rubber glove.

“Welcome to America, please enjoy your stay.”


We picked up our rental car, navigated to our Airbnb accommodation, found a Walmart to purchase a phone with some access to Google Maps and over a glass of Australian Merlot, sat around a breakfast bar with our hosts getting to know them.

Helping Tom put the cast iron furnace chimney back together signalled it was time to rub sticks together for a fire.  The first for this new winter season approaching.  It was just lovely as the naked flame behind the glass glowed and the homestead warmed up.

Strewth, what another day in the lives of the Rurus!

The statement of the day had to be the one made by the receptionist at Enterprise cars when a customer asked if they had GPS for hire.

“We lost our privileges and therefore, our customers did too.”

Thank goodness the good ole US of A gave out a ‘get out of jail’ pass privilege.

To have been sent back to Canada or be held in a detention cell, no correspondence necessary!

24/9/16 Yarmouth Layover: Living Loving Laughing Always, The Rurus.


A cold wind chilled the bones when stepping outdoors. It was booting it in from the North, an Artic breeze. The sun was shining and there was certainly warmth when you found some form of sheild. Downtown Yarmouth had music heard from the pavement, they have attached speakers to the front of buildings all along the street above shops. Dancing like no one was watching to the bellow of an Eagles song is what we did. Okay, Claire wiggled her hips where I was full on dancing! More like prancing more than anything.





A farmers market with local produce; Claire tried apple pie whiskey which tasted like apple pie, except it was whiskey. We had spotted the freshly baked chunky steak and mushroom pie stall. The lips moistened at just the sight of them however, they lost out to a Bison Bagel Burger. That was lunch with a capital ‘burp!’




The Informtion Centre didn’t have any brochures on Portland, Maine in the US. Funny that. They did have a google maps of Canada on a 42inch screen that we could enlarge; we traced our route ridden to re-live aspects of the experience and from experience, that will not change for years to come. What did come was the question as to when does the adventure end and our just being on holiday begin?

It kind of has. The photo’s we snap nowadays are lovely with accompanying blog posts. Reminders still of our touch points with the landscape, nature or humans. There will always be something to take a photo of or blog about. I’ve loved both the click of the camera button AND the clicking of the keyboard keys.

Even if there wasn’t a ruddy Moose seen in the raw!

Also at the Info Centre, there was a bunching of television screens on a wall rolling over all types of pics of the land of the Maple Leaf. We sat and watched with heads darting up and down and sideways to ensure the eyes could affix to the screen shots being displayed. The only words echoed were, “we’ve been there and seen that, remember?”

Can you imagine the ‘wow’ emotional feeling that ran through the bodies. There were plenty as we gazed. They are the best emotions. Collect those and we experience some form of contentment or fulfillment. Being happy. Life that has had purpose, substance and meaning.

Not even a chilling wind could steal that feeling from us as we wandered toward home.


Arrrr, home. Back to New Zealand for a rest! Even that beckons a new adventure with no house or car to return to. Pfft, we have our tent and tandem!

Before that though, we have some friends to catch up with in New York that we met nine years ago on a Fijian Island in the Pacific – Joan and Kevin. Facebook has allowed us to stay in touch. Now after all these years, there will be a physical touch. I hope I wrote that well.


Many thanks to those wherever you are who have made our cycle across Canada by tandem an unforgettable experience – whether you supported from afar or in the flesh. It’s been one hell of a journey. A very enjoyable one.

Happening upon a little fashion pin ‘Live Love Laugh’ concludes blogging from Canada: Life is short. Break the RULES, FORGIVE quickly, KISS slowly, LOVE truely, LAUGH uncontrollably, and NEVER REGRET anything that made you SMILE.

Or GRIMACE.  That bit I’ve added in!

Living Loving Laughing always
The Rurus

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!

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