Cycle Touring Trip 1 - North Sydney to Halifax: Days 5 through 8
Halifax to Linwood, Nova Scotia (Map)
147 km & 129 km (91mi, 80mi)
My two reward days in Halifax were pretty quiet. I was fine with this of course, since my body was moving as if GW's house was a nursing home.
I left the house a couple of times though, because in a funny coincidence, Nicole was in town at the same time. We went for delicious Turkish food and as a result, all of sudden Ankara & Istanbul strongly appeal to me.
GW & I also went out for dinner with our friend Neil, but other than that, a lot of time was spent relaxing in GW's basement. As GW was working while I was in town, he didn't feel like doing very much...and as I had just cycled 509km (316mi) in 4 days, I didn't feel like doing very much either.
We also enjoyed watching the Bruins eliminate the Habs in overtime, as GW doesn't care for the Habs, and I sort of like the Bruins.
Throughout the 2 days, GW watched how I moved after I got to my feet, and especially at how I tackled the stairs one step at a time while leaning heavily on the handrail. I wasn't moving with much gusto; instead it was slow, deliberate movements.
He questioned whether I'd be able to leave on Thursday as planned, but thankfully I woke up on Thursday morning feeling a lot better. Whereas I was sore whenever I started moving on Tuesday & Wednesday, I was feeling substantially better on Thursday. The 2 days of rest seemed to be the requirement.
I dilly daddled around GW's house even though he was at work. It was difficult to set out to cycle the ~500km back towards crumby weather & a place where I don't have friends like GW. Procrastination was more appealing, as I was enjoying wasting time a lot more than I'd imagine I would be having riding the eastward, wet streets of Halifax.
I really appreciated how GW's Dad broke out some better maps & helped me with my return route...then asked if I'd like a ride to Lake Echo, as he could find something to do at his cabin today.
It was only a 30km ride, but it really helped me to get my act in gear & break through the leaving barrier.
My return route involved riding just 13km of the Eastern Shore ocean highway, before I turned north into the Musquodoboit River valley. GW's dad was correct in that this was a lot quieter road, as maybe 10 cars passed me in the first hour. I also found it to be more scenic, as it followed the pleasant Musquodoboit River instead of passing through so many forests like the previous ocean highway.
Musquodoboit is a Mi'kmaq word which roughly translates to beautiful water.
I was concerned that the return route would involve more work because I'd have to go inland into the hills.
In actuality it was far easier, as this road didn't dip & rise for every stream or river flowing into the ocean (which was the key feature of my ocean highway I took to Halifax).
There weren't many settlements along this route, but it passed through the Musquodoboit Valley, which was scenic & fresh enough to make cycling enjoyable this day.
I knew this route would bring me to a sizable community in Westville, which excited me as I liked the other nearby towns (Trenton, New Glasgow). I knew Trenton & New Glasgow had beautiful stone buildings which you don't normally see around here, so I was excited to finally explore Westville.
I was pleasantly welcomed to the community as I passed two girls while entering town: one of the girls said hello...and when I replied "hello", the other girl quickly replied in a cunty manner, "faggot."
Westville's post office, abandoned school & main street were fairly attractive, although the town was a little smaller than I expected. Unfortunately it didn't have a motel & I ended up putting an extra 5km on the bike, while I circled around New Glasgow-Stellarton-Westville in search of cheap accommodations which I'd never find.
By the time I learned the only accommodations were in excess of $100, it was already raining & dark. Great.
Good thing I had been to this area before, or else I'd have a pretty shitty opinion of it.
I woke up briefly around 6am to watch a bit of the royal wedding, but it was so terribly boring that I went back to bed within 5 minutes.
Three hours later, I was cleaned up & ready to go. My wheel had a new wobble & looseness to it, as I had smacked into a harsh curb-cut the night before (after a car guided me off the road & towards the uneven sidewalk).
I muscled the wheel & the slightly broken rack, debating whether to fix it here in New Glasgow. It seemed like it could make it the remaining 250km & that I just needed to avoid extraneous bumping & jolting.
The above picture shows the pedestrian deck below the George Street Bridge, which passes over the East River between Stellarton & New Glasgow.
Fueled by New Glasgow Italian food, my cycling was through another day of drizzle, although it wasn't that bad. I was happy with how my body felt after that good night's sleep, so the day was actually going well.
Even as I made a mistake & added about 20km to my day, it didn't sour my spirits all that much. It was an especially crumby mistake though, as it wasn't a road where I'd still make progress, it was a 20km mistake where I had to turn around and pedal right back down the road I just came down.
At least I've seen Lower Barney's River now?
As I stopped to snap a picture of a house, a dog came running over & I didn't have time to mount my bike.
He was friendly & more interested in the Crispers/Pistachios in my pannier, than he was in biting me.
I ended up cycling on the Trans Canada for a bit, as the old Highway 4 didn't seem to do much besides add extra kilometres.
Good thing I did cycle on the TCH, as I was reminded of America's greatness along the way.
After Dairy Queen in Antigonish I returned to Highway 4, which was now close enough to the ocean to change the scenery. The places like Afton which I passed through, were barely large enough to register as a community in my observations.
Tracadie was more sizable & their Roman Catholic church was stunning. I really wanted to camp in the shadow of this church, but I still had an hour of daylight & there were lots of neighbouring houses - I figured there wasn't much of a chance to stealth camp here without being noticed.
The reason I passed on camping in Tracadie also had to do with the fact that I knew of a campground 8km ahead. At the campground I could relax peacefully without worry of neighbours.
The funniest part was that the campground wasn't open for the season, so I ended up stealth camping anyway.
My experience was just as pleasant & memorable at the campground, as it was a calm, enjoyable evening & I had plenty of time to make camp. Afterward, I had some Salt & Vinegar Crispers washed down with a rum & coke. I looked up to see a fox stroll through the campground & check me out, but I never saw him again. The sunset was overcast, but for about 3 minutes the sun was at just the right angle, where it turned all of the sky into a faint red & purple hue.
Darkness would come very soon & I retired to my tent.
Onto Days 9 & 10.
1 - Wikipedia: Musquodoboit River
2 - Wikipedia: New Glasgow, Nova Scotia
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