Day 71 – I’m getting the hang of this now. Checked the weather before bed, rain at 6am predicted, set alarm for 5am to pack up dry, booked a motel in Fredericton, found a target for brunch, preloaded map on iphone, slept like a baby (woke up screaming every 45 minutes – no, actually I slept fine, thanks for asking) and brunch is where I am now.
STATS!! DONCHA LUVVEM?? YES YOU DO!!
- Today’s Distance (miles/km): 22
- Time in saddle: 22
- Max/min temp (°c): 22°/22°
- Climb/descend (feet) : 22 / 22
- Calories used: 22
- Cafe time: 22
- Today’s Distance (miles/km): 62 / 100
- Time in saddle: 5h 05
- Max/min temp (°c): 30°/10° (brrr)
- Climb/descend (feet) : 2562 / 2465
- Calories used: 2902
- Cafe time: 3h 09
Susie finally made it home, despite a last-minute problem letting her Tesla-driving cabbie pal Mitch know that she’d be a couple of hours early and at Heathrow, not Gatwick. When she finally got through, he was at LHR anyway, so he just had another coffee and met her as planned!
Today I travelled briefly along a local backroad, then half the day along the TCH and then a quieter road alongside the St John River, which flows all the way down to the Bay of Fundy, famous for having the highest tidal range in the world.
Canada has more than its fair share of disused Motels. It’s not always obvious that they’ve shut down, but the tell-tale sign is the growth of grass and wild flowers anywhere on the property. Working establishments nuke all weeds, flowers and grass, unless it’s a lawn and can be mown with a ride-on. Also the big sign by the road is clue – retro and faded = shut, but using that measurement I would have said that the Ritz the other night was defunct. If a nail parlour goes out of business, a coffee shop can easily rent the same premises and open up; motels are hard places to re-use. I’ve seen them being used as flea-markets but that’s about it. I get a bit of a shiver imagining spending a night in a deserted place like this. Not much chance of a ‘cosy cabin’, more like the freaky arrangements of twigs and twine a la Blair Witch Project. And just look at that lawn…
Three years ago, our neighbouring village in Hertfordshire, Kings Langley, changed its name. The change was only to last for one week, before reverting back to plain old King’s Langley. And the reason? Some bright spark who was a big fan of Game of Thrones saw a chance to get some cheap publicity during the release of a DVD of the series, so it became “Kings Landing” for the week. We had lots of tourists coming out from London to have their photo taken next to the sign (we’re also quite close to the studios where Harry Potter World is) and one of the local schools got involved:
So you can imagine my surprise when I came upon this sign today, and in fact passed right through it:
Someone missed a trick there. Didn’t even need a tacky new sign.
Everyone has been talking about what a strange summer Canada has been having, ever since I first got to British Columbia back in May. Mainly the issue has been rainfall, but of there have been awful wildfires too. I’ve had a good run recently, with lovely warm weather both day and night, and great for camping, but there something odd that I’ve noticed. Where are the bees, and the wasps? Yesterday, in my campground, I saw one bee (dead) and one wasp (alive but dopey). Which brings my total for the trip since May to, and I kid you not:
Bees……………….3 (1 dead)
Two of those bees were on Virginia’s balcony in Toronto (well done Virginia!). Now, I can see that highways aren’t the best place to meet bees, but I’ve cycled through some pretty varied terrain overall, and it’s unavoidable: there are hardly any bees in Canada. Do the plants rely more on other polinators? Do bees do badly in climates with such cold winters? Any info or opinions welcome.
Today’s drizzle also brought the coldest air for a long while – as I climbed a steep hill I saw my breath and thought “What on earth is that?”
Today also brought another car beeping me as they passed, and scaring the living daylights out of me. Yesterday Zoel beeped me, but I knew he was coming and he wound down the window and waved, and it wasn’t a surprise in any way. If you beep a cyclist on the highway you have no idea how loud and alarming it sounds as you speed by. Much better would be to slow down, wind down the window and give a wave. I’m afraid that any lip readers looking in their mirrors after beeping me might regret it.
The Guildhall Strings (keep cropping up, hmmm) used to have a rather posh manager called Malcolm Farrer-Brown. He phoned me at home once, but Susie answered the phone. She had just picked up the phone twice to a silent caller, so was getting pretty freaked out. When Malcolm rang she let rip and gave him some suggestions of where to go. “Well!” said a very shocked MFB “There was some very colourful language there, I must say!” When I got on the phone, he said the same again to me!
(In the early days of spellcheck with word processors, before they recognised real names, we never tired of entering each other’s names in to see what approximation the software would come up with. Malcolm’s wife, Jilly, came out as “Jolly Farmer Brown”)
I also passed a very impressive cedar-shingled barn on my way into Fredericton (I followed the quieter riverside road since a guy at my lunch stop said it was great). I love the look of these grand barns, but they’ve mostly been demolished in favour of modern megabarns. This one has shed its winter coat and is ready for summer. It also had a new roof, so I think it’s going to be around for a while longer yet:
Since our Jacob provided a sign yesterday, I thought I’d send him one back as a thank-you:
I just heard that Glen Campbell died today. I wasn’t a big fan but when I was young I remember thinking that “Wichita Lineman” was an amazing song, and I still do. Great chords. Here are two versions, the original and then the live cover that R.E.M. recorded twenty-three years ago. If you don’t know it already, see what you think: