First I get to stay at the Ritz, and now I’ve played ukulele at Woodstock. Awesome.
- Today’s Distance (miles/km): / 93
- Time in saddle: 4h 10
- Max/min temp (°c): 36°/12°
- Climb/descend (feet) : 2058 / 2273
- Calories used:
- Cafe time: 3h 54
Does anyone read all the stuff above? I honestly don’t mind doing it but I’m genuinely curious because it’s surprisingly fiddly to put together each day (I won’t bore you with the details – TOO LATE!) and if it doesn’t serve much purpose I could just keep it all on the computer. Maybe just distance travelled? When I read Captain Cook’s famous logbooks for his epic voyages around the world, I became quite hooked on what type of gravel he dredged up in 20 fathoms of water, or where the wind blew them and how fast. My idea of having the stats was sort of based on his daily log entry. Anyway, let me know, and I’m happy to do whatever!
A quick apology for the lack of responses to comments recently – I’ve had no luck getting connected over the last few days and when I do finally connect I often don’t have time to do everything on my list. I’m sure you all understand!
For the first night in ages it was actually chilly enough to be inside my sleeping bag, which made me think of camping at home in England, and that cozy feeling of being in a nice tent. I do like my tent, which is just as well.
Sort of a serious question for you all – how many trees are there in Canada? Does anyone even know how you’d calculate such a thing? It just boggles the mind how many times I’ve looked across an endless vista of nothing but beautiful trees as far as the eye can see, and there’s an awful lot more of Canada beyond that.
I did my now-normal thing of getting 50km in the bag really early then stopping for a good long brunch break. Today I rocked up at this poutine joint which was just opening as I propped up my bike (it’s a national holiday day bu the TCH services all seemed to be open. Unfortunately here was no wifi so I couldn’t call Susie who would be safely back home in England by now, or so I thought…They took my order (“Angus Poutine with Curly Fries”) but couldn’t give me change as the drawer of their till had jammed shut. The entire staff of five were gathered around it, jabbing vaguely with a butter knife and banging it hopefully whilst a queue was forming behind me. “We’ll call you when it’s ready!” they said, so I went and got some coffee from another spot and sat listening to some country music on the cafe sound system (also used to tell you your food’s ready).
When it comes to really funny titles and lyrics, country is king. Whilst I waited I heard the following (sung by guys)
“We Won’t Be Happy Until We’re Rich and Miserable”
“Dang, If We Didn’t Get Drunk Last Night”
and my favourite (sung by a gal):
“Maybe You’d Want Me More if my Name was Whisky”
On a long tour of the US more than twenty-five years ago, we had a guy from our agent with us the whole time. I forget his name but he wore white snakeskin boots with the snake’s head still on the front of each boot. His first choice of music for the tour bus was country, and two numbers are still in my head all these years later:
“All My Exes Live in Texas, That’s Why I Hang my Hat in Tennessee”
and the clincher
“I’m So Miserable Without You It’s Almost Like Having You Here”
When they finally paused the music to say, rather uncertainly, “Ben. That’s, Ben. Your food is ready?” I found that I’d ordered the biggest dish on the menu, and could hardly carry it back to my picnic table (they’d prized open the till but the butter knife was wrecked). To me curly fries are fries that are curly, but around here they are home-made potato chips cut continuously in a big curly mess, and then deep fried. I’ve barely left anything on my plate since May, but I only got through about two thirds of this assorted belt-strainer, and I was hungry:
I got the car in the background for scale. Seriously, I should have put my hand in the picture like the nature photos. It weighed the same as a volume of the Encyclopedia Britannica.
After another spell of cycling I tried calling Susie again from a Subway, and found that she was back at her father’s in Toronto, not making a cuppa in her own kitchen. Their flight was cancelled after four hours of waiting, seatbelts on, on the tarmac. Susie very quickly collared an Air Canada rep and got herself a door-to-door limo voucher back to the city then out to the airport again tonight. New flight was 7pm, now put back to 10pm. Fingers crossed.
As I left the Subway, a guy asked me “Aller loin?”, and my “um…” reply was clearly English enough for him to switch languages! His name was Zoël, and he had cycled across Canada himself a few years ago. It was one of those encounters where you seamlessly shift from small talk to subjects you’re both really interested in, with out even noticing. He works for a Mental Health organisation called L’Arche, and spent a long while in Vancouver before shifting to Montreal. He’s actually from New Brunswick. We got talking about his work and also my charity, and when I mentioned Choluteca in Honduras, where I sponsor a village, his eyes lit up. “Come and look at this!” he said. His son had appeared by now so we all walked over to his car, where from the boot he produced a hammock – “A hammock from Choluteca!”:
He’s been there recently in connection with his job, and said that if I ever manage to realise my dream of paying the SOS Children’s Village down there a visit, he’ll put me in touch with some very useful people to know. Thanks again Zoël. As I said to you, I knew that there was a reason why I was spending so much time over my iced tea in Subway!
I’m now at my campground where down the hill below me the local soccer team are playing some kind of a summer knockabout match, with lots of shouting of “Allez, Woodstock!”, making a nice summer eveningatmosphere at the end of a great day.