I’m heading home. What a powerful motivator that can be. Whereas before I had a direction and destinination, it was a little like being suspended in place or cycling into the fog. The scenery changes as one place to the next rolls by but there’s a certain laissez-faire, experience-it-as-it-comes nature to the travel. Now I’m moving. Every kilometre, hour, and day ushers me closer to the end where the cycles stop. I’m getting excited.
For those of you who follow my progress from time to time, I won’t be blogging this last week. I’ve made it back to the mainland and am now focused in getting to the final ferry at Yarmouth, NS which will take me to Portland, ME.
I will continue to keep the map updated as much a possible.
Resting in St. John’s, I’ve been trying to process completing this trip across Canada but to no satisfaction. How do you cleanly package a summer of cycling? How to you neatly tie a bow around over 8200km (5100m) on a bike? You know I’ve cycled almost one quarter of the way around the planet or to make it sound more impressive, a dozen round trips to the international space station. Maybe time will reveal what it all amounts to?
I have made it to St John’s…the high, holy city of St John’s at last! Well there’s nothing particular about the city that should make it the city to end the trip at but that it’s located on the far eastern edges of Canada. I didn’t make it to the habour tonight but to a hotel within the city limits. I’ll do the official at-the-Atlantic picture tomorrow. And go up Signal Hill, which is something that cross country tourers seem to do. Maybe drawn by the view?
Traveling across Newfoundland reminds me a lot of Northern Ontario. Rocks, trees, and hills extend as far the eye can see, which isn’t always very far unless you just climbed the latest hill. The landscape is rugged and sparsely populated. However, this is not Northern Ontario and my impression is skewed by traveling on land among seafarers.
As I’m flying along here, I passed a place of actual significance to aviation. Gander Newfoundland is known as the ‘Crossroads of the World’ because it once served as the waystop for all transatlantic flights. Amelia Earhart also started her transatlantic flight on the island though from Grace Habour, which is closer to St John’s. Before planes could carry enough fuel to make the crossing, this was the closest point to Europe in North America.
Over the summer my thoughts would occasionally play with the idea of getting to St John’s. It was a fun diversion for the moment. Now I’m obsessed with getting to the end. I’m counting the days until I’ll get there, looking for ways to add a few kilometers to each day and maybe shave a day off the end, and imagining myself there to see if I can feel what it’ll be like. What a joyous occasion it’ll be. There are no shortcuts to St. John’s anymore but I’m mentally axing all the extras to get back to Boston.
Tired. Just bone tired would sum the day up well, leaving little room for interesting though, much less writing. The drizzle thankfully let up quickly this morning but it remained overcast until I set my tent up for the night. What exhausted me were the friecesome hills that began this morning. Those gentle slopes and rolling hills of yesterday didn’t return until late in the day. Climbing is obiously nothing new but I’m starting to hold my breath for the end, which makes them so troublesome. For the first time I can recall on this trip, setting up the tent and all that follows seemed like such an undesirable chore. As unbelievable as it may seem, those roadside motels beckon like havens of luxury to me at this point. There’s something to be said for pulling back the sheets and sliding in instead of blowing up your bed and awkwardly backing into your tent.
The fog rolled in as the ferry entered port, it started to drizzle which became heavy rain at times, and as I pulled out of the visitors centre to begin the 900km trek across my last province, I heard the foghorn in the distance; it was the most Newfoundland of welcomes. Every misty, foggy picture you’ve ever seen probably looked at lot like what I was seeing. It remained wet all day and even as the fog lifted in spots, the mountains I passed remained shrouded. As endearing as it all was, it does make for a very soggy close of day.