Cycle Touring Trip 1 - North Sydney to Halifax: Days 3 & 4
Sherbrooke to Sheet Harbour to Halifax, Nova Scotia (Map)
80 km & 119 km (50mi & 74mi)
The reason I chose this route to Halifax was because I'd never heard much about the Eastern Shore area. About the only thing I knew was that friends had visited Sherbrooke Village when they were kids.
So even though it was a dreary morning, I still went for a spin through the historic buildings of Sherbrooke Village. For those of you who aren't familiar, Sherbrooke Village is approximately 80 buildings, preserved and used to show life in 19th century Nova Scotia. In the summer, they have wagon rides, period actors, penny-farthing bikes & other 19th century miscellany.
I only rode about 10km outside of Sherbrooke before finding a store! I must be on busier roads today!
There wasn't pouring rain this morning, but there was drizzle. As the day continued on & I powered through the mediocre conditions, the drizzle stopped & things dried up a bit.
(When I was talking about this trip to my friend, he asked what I would have done if I needed help, since I didn't have a cell phone - then he gave an example of being roughed up in Ecum Secum. I thought it amusing, that he picked the one random town which I snapped a picture of my bike with.)
Not far past Ecum Secum, I entered Halifax!
In reality, I only entered the Regional Municipality of Halifax. A sign quickly reminded me how far I had to go, by indicating a distance of 150km to Halifax proper.
While the towns were bigger than those from days 1 or 2, it still wasn't as if I was passing through metropolises.
I still appreciated the experience though, as I was able to stop & admire random churches & birds, both of which I might have missed if I was flying by at 90 km/hr.
The above picture is of a Downy Woodpecker. I would have surely missed her in a car, as I only noticed her because I was going about 5km/h up a hill & heard the prrdrr, prrdrr, prrdrr of its beak striking the hydro pole.
When I woke up in Sherbrooke today, I was certainly feeling more sore than my morning in Port Hastings. I knew I had about 200km until I would get to my friend's house in Halifax, so I thought about how I could spend the next two days attacking that.
As there was a gap in large towns after Sheet Harbour, I figured the best course of action was to have an easy day #3, by only cycling 80km. Doing this, I could check into a motel early in Sheet Harbour, lick my wounds, rest & get ready to attack the last 120km to Halifax on Day 4.
The above picture shows my hotel room in Sheet Harbour.
Sheet Harbour was a shock to my system as it took more than 1 minute to cycle through, it had a pub & it even had a high school! Nova Scotia's ~40th largest community was impressive!
I limped over to the town pub & had a really sub par lobster quiche with a pint of Keith's (they had nothing besides Keith's & Bud on tap, lame). Later on, the motel television had so much static that it was hard to tell the score of the hockey game. Sheet Harbour didn't leave the greatest impression for a place I was looking forward to.
The above picture shows the falls which flow through town, along with the ruins of the old lumber mill. The town is called Sheet Harbour because of the Sheet Rock in the area.
Leaving Sheet Harbour, the coastal highway continued to climb & fall with every stream or river emptying into the ocean. It was scenic at times, but it was also frustrating to be cycling along, constantly riding the brakes down a hill, only to quickly come to nearly complete stops on the uphills.
The towns were coming more quickly & I knew it was only a matter of time before I reached Halifax. By this time, my legs & backside were in some pain & I was looking forward to 2 days without having to cover any distance by bicycle.
A gauge of my pain is that there is a lighthouse 9km off of this road & I was quite certain I would detour for a visit.
That is until I was actually cycling, still 70km from Halifax, and noticed the road to the lighthouse.
It would have to wait.
Add in some hunger & stopping at a jam-packed restaurant...and I wasn't exactly a ray of sunshine. After someone cut me in line because I don't stand in people's personal space like they like to do on this side of the country, I looked around at the copious amounts of Sidney Crosby pictures and left the restaurant in Musquodoboit Harbour.
I'm being over dramatic though. I was still happy enough to snap bridge & train station pictures in Musquodoboit Harbour.
I ended up eating Subway in some forgettable sprawl wasteland. It was here that it struck me that I was actually nearing the city, as this was no longer rural, and more typical of Canadian city outskirts.
After Subway in Porter's Lake, it was time to climb past 100km for another day & wrap up the last kilometres to Halifax.
As I neared Halifax's neighbour Dartmouth, I found more highways & actual, honest-to-goodness traffic. Whereas, I could be slack about my turns & decision making out in Ecum Secum, here I had to consciously focus my mind to avoid squishing.
It was all good though, as I passed through Dartmouth & onto the MacDonald Bridge. I had always wanted to cross this bridge by foot because it's really strange to someone who grew up with a pedestrian-free bridge, so this was another accomplishment on this trip, to finally cross the MacDonald outside of a vehicle.
GW wasn't home when I got there, so I sat outside his house & read until he pulled up & I could rest inside.
I had made it to Halifax in the allotted 4 days.
Onto Days 5 through 8.
1 - Wikipedia: Sheet Harbour
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