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An Epilogue

Posted September 18th, 2009

672km St. Bruno to Rimouski

Our circuit around the world ends in St. Bruno but the next morning, after Michael has gone to work, we carry on as if nothing has changed at all.

Hurrah! What fun we've had!We eat our breakfast of cereal and fruit, lug our bags downstairs and load them on the bikes like we’ve done a thousand times before. I take a moment to examine the fraying bag that sits across my back two panniers, the one that has held our sleeping mats for months now. I wonder how it’s ever held out this long. This one bag, more than anything else we’re carrying, really looks like it’s gone around the world. Maybe it will stay intact just a little longer.

My thoughts are broken by Andrew handing me some sunscreen. We make the last checks of our bikes and gear, drop in a few cubes of ice from Michael’s freezer into our water bottles, give each other a kiss and head out under a surprisingly intense September sun.

Our loop is already completed but we’re continuing to cycle because, just like a runaway truck going down a steep hill, a strong sense of momentum pushes us onwards. We have been continually moving forward for 3 years now and it’s so incredibly hard to even contemplate putting on the brakes. More than anything we need time: time to digest all those special places and kilometres riding in our wake and time to consider what will come next. (more…)

Last few days in Canada

Posted October 14th, 2006

Andrew and DouglasFriedel the next morning, at a Montreal CafeWe`ve now left Sackville and have arrived in Montreal, after an all-night train journey up the coast of New Brunswick and through Quebec, passing many of the spots we cycled through just a few weeks back. Our bikes were stowed without any hassle by VIA Rail at the Gare Centrale, amazingly for free for the first day and then just $3 per item for each day afterwards. A bargain! Our second bargain of the day came when we were told public transport is free in the city today. We spent our unexpected riches on a coffee, which we`re now enjoying while watching British football as we wait to meet up with a couple friends. We`ll spend the weekend with them before flying back to London with BA on Monday night.

Posted in Canada, Quebec

56km Notre Dame du Lac to Edmunston

Posted September 15th, 2006

* WPG2 Plugin Not Validated ** WPG2 Plugin Not Validated *Started the day by continuing down the rail trail, which is about 132km overall. The south half of the trail really didn’t live up to the standard set by the north half though, which was better signed, in better condition and had more facilities. The lower bit of the trail was partly paved but this meant the frost and thaw of winter and spring had ripped parts of it up, so there were a lot of cracks and bumps to navigate. It also often followed the Trans Canada highway pretty closely so none of the great views from the days before. Tourist information at the NB border were very helpful though and gave us maps for cycle trails between Grand Falls and Woodstock, also on old rail lines, so that was nice. Now we just have to navigate our way to Grand Falls / Grand Sault tomorrow, which could be full of big hills! Ended up at a great little campground just outside Edmunston for the night — Iroquois River Campground — which has very friendly owners, who let us use their phone free to order pizza, and free wireless internet of all things! We never thought we’d find that in a campground and we’ve certainly been making very good use out of it. Hope to hit Fredericton on Wednesday, where we’ll visit one of Friedel’s good friends from university.

Crossing The Border

Posted September 15th, 2006

Just a little note to say we’ve finally crossed the border into New Brunswick. We’ve got about 500km behind us and roughly the same amount ahead of us before Sackville. The trip has been amazing so far and, although we’re a little sunburnt, we are loving every minute of it. We really notice every little change in the scenery, from corn fields in the first part of Quebec to hillier roads towards New Brunswick and now the amazing fall colours welcoming us home.

We’ve met some great characters along the way too, including Richard, a cyclist from Kansas who’s been on the road for 6 months every year for the last 12 years. We’ve got an interview with him coming up, once we get to somewhere where we can upload it, including a trumpet solo from him, played on the side of the 132 highway in Quebec, just outside Kamouraska.

We’ll camp in Edmunston tonight, and then head for Grand Falls tomorrow.

70km Riviere de la Roche to Notre Dame Du Lac

Posted September 14th, 2006

A slightly longer day for us, but not too hard a one as we were on the Rail Trail all day, which means no traffic and a very gently graded slope. After the first 20km, a lot of today’s ride was downhill so we made quite good time! This part of the trail is fantastic, most of it on hard packed ground so no loose gravel to contend with and as it’s autumn we also get to see the fall colours. Lots of beaver dams too and a few herons, dozens of chipmunks, but nothing in the way of big wildlife. Our bikes are likely too noisy to allow us to sneak up on a moose. Got through the afternoon thanks to a bakery, where we picked up a massive molasses cookie (a “galette” in French) and an apple turnover, as well as a baguette for supper. It’s amazing the food you get through when you’re cycling. Spent the night at a campground right on the trail in Notre Dame Du Lac and also next to Lake Temiscouata, so we enjoyed watching the ducks as we ate supper and the sun went down.