Day 76 – My plan to get close to the Confederation Bridge before stopping today was abandoned at lunchtime, with heavy rain making cycling on the Highway really unpleasant. I pulled off at Shediac, stopped for a while to see if it would clear up, but the forecast was bad for the whole day. So out with the credit card and into an over-priced motel room, making this the shortest and one of the wettest days of the trip so far, with a distinctive and familiar Atlantic feel to it. However, should the weather improve a little later on, I might cycle down to pay my respects to the Atlantic Ocean anyway at Parlee Beach (marked on the map). It’s actually called the Northumberland Strait at this point, but I’m not quibbling. If you look at the map, you’d say it was the Atlantic. I never realised until just today that Detroit means Strait.
- Today’s Distance (miles/km): 23 / 38
- Time in saddle: 1h 31
- Max/min temp (°c): 20°/15°
- Climb/descend (feet) : 362 / 499
- Calories used:
- Cafe time: 2h 53 (first time that cafe time has been longer than ride time!)
Something happened this morning that made me realise just how long I’ve been out here on the road. Back on Vancouver Island in May, as I made my way towards Ucluelet and the start of my trip, I stopped in Nanaimo (home of the famous “Squares”!) to catch a bus, but more importantly to find a pub and watch Arsenal play Chelsea in the FA Cup Final. This was the final event of the 2016/17 season, and today is the start of the 2017/18 season! The same will almost be true of my teaching schedule – I left with half a term to go and will be back shortly before the new one begins.
In honour of this moment I’ve written a short poem, to be sung to the tune of a famous football-chant song, Seasons in the Sun. Just in case anyone doesn’t know the tune, or has forgotten it, here’s a helpful chap showing us how it goes:
Goodbye Moncton, it’s hard to leave
When your McDonald’s shows the Premiere League
My local team of Watford Town (nearly)
Are one-up on their home ground,
Liverpool are one-nil down
And now I’ve stopped at my motel
Chelsea’s opening game has gone to hell
Three-nil down and just 10 men
They get one back and score again,
Down to nine but lose the game
We had joy, we had fun, the new season has begun,
Arsenal won, Friday night,
But we nearly made a complete hash of it as usual (2-3 down with seven minutes to go, 4-3 final score)
I might have to tighten up that last line a bit.
As I left McDonalds, I was greeted by these two seagulls, perfectly placed on each of the two iconic arches, singing a kind of seaside duet to each other. I’m guessing that they were each claiming that their arch was the tallest and therefore the most desirable perch. Bad news guys. I remember my first visit to the US in 1979, and marvelling at the however-many-millions of customers the signs claimed to have served. As the years went by, and the orchestral tours came and went, it eventually became 1 billion, then 2, and so on until now they just can’t be bothered counting. By the end of my blog I might feel the same: “Day….oh whatever, loads”
Just up the road was the mystery place you’ve all been waiting for – Magnetic Hill!
This hill is similar to those I’ve mentioned in the blog before, where you think you’re going uphill but in fact you’re heading down, or vice versa. Moncton has built a whole theme park around one short stretch of road which is quite weird, but not as striking as the places I mentioned in the Rockies. I would imagine it’s slightly harder to build a tacky theme park in the Rock Mountains National Parks. There is supposed to be a charge for the privilege of trying it out in your car, but as I’d read they often just leave the barriers open and hope that you’ll carry on to the theme park bits. In case you don’t get it, there are even instructions on how to experience the hill, which sound like the recipe for a daily pile-up of freewheeling vehicles to me (deserted today).
Ok, so I cycled up to the start line and this is what you see. This is meant to look like a downhill stretch, but isn’t:
There was no more putting it off, it was time to get going. Unfortunately the weather was having exactly the same thought about catching up on the rain that has been missing for so many weeks. I got pounded on the highway, and stopped under a bridge to catch my breath and have a bagel. This truck stopped just in time as his load of pallets lurched dangerously to the right. He spent ages in the rain re-tying them, then left with no discernible difference whatsoever.
I saw an absolutely fascinating article during one of my cafe stops on why on earth MAMILs like me (middle-aged men in Lycra) feel the need to cycle. I’ve read a lot of these sorts of article before, but this one has something more meaningful in the in-depth nature of the interviews they conducted, and I recognise a great deal of what they uncovered. If you have a minute, it’s quite revealing – click here
Ever since bumping into the BMC guys in Quebec City I’ve been following the team and their 2017 season, and get updates from Lukas on Facebook:
The rain did relent, sort of, briefly, enough for me to ride down to the beach, where my encounter with the Atlantic was cut short here by a lack of memory on my phone!:
It really is a lovely spot despite the weather, and absolutely deserted this evening. Everyone was at the live gig, getting soaked listening to this:
To join me in the atmosphere in here this evening (Honky Tonk Women played at full volume) try this:
Not a funny sign today, but the options for wifi that I was offered in McDonalds today. The first one might not be the best choice from a cyber-security point of view.