Friday, July 20, 2007

Cyclostravaganza 2007, Day 5: Portland ME to Yarmouth NS, thence to Arcadia NS

(My campsite in Arcadia NS had its own name.)

I awoke at 4:30 AM to realise that I had fallen asleep on top of my bed before undressing or even getting under the sheets. How ironic; this was the nicest, certainly the most expensive, place I'd be staying on this trip compared to the campgrounds, and I was too tired to properly enjoy it. I also realised that my laundry was still in the sink, and that my bike's tire was still flat.

In due course, the laundry was dealt with (thank goodness for the abundant hotel towels to wring them dry), and my bags were packed. I repaired the flat tire in the backyard, and headed to the ferry terminal; I was supposed to be there by 7:00 AM for my 8:00 AM departure; I left the hotel at 7:00 AM, but the map told me I was very close and I had a reservation.

Alas, torrential rain began to fall as I headed out. The signage to the ferry terminals was not as clear as I'd expected might be. I was going downhill, got confused, turned the wrong at the waterfront on Commercial Street, and perhaps because of the rain, did not see an old set of railway tracks peaking through the pavement. Hitting wet tracks parallel on a bike is a recipe for a wipeout, and I went down. I don't remember the fall (I never do), but I got bad scrapes on my right knee, right elbow, and left palm. Fortunately nothing on me or my bike was broken, and my cuts did not seem severe, so I got back on my bike and eventually found the ferry terminal.

Aboard the ferry, I discovered there were no special facilities for stowing bicycles (so why the surcharge?!). I bungeed my bike to a pillar next to cars and a bus, then went above to the passenger deck, and asked for the first aid kit. When they asked why, I showed my wounds. Their first concern seemed to be where my accident occurred and whether on board. I told them no, that it had happened ashore, that I had a first aid kit, but wasn't sure I had enough bandages for my wounds. They gave me theirs and showed me to a washroom, where I dressed my wounds.

The 'Cat' hydrofoil high-speed ferry seems to be a real motion-sickness machine, judging by how much retching I heard. The air-conditioning must have been on maximum setting, to keep fresh air flowing I guess, but I was wet and already very cold. I should have brought dry clothes to change into, but I'd left most of my bags on the vehicle deck with my bike. My heart-rate monitor showed my heart rate going down as low as 39 beats per minute, which was at the border of causing me concern.

I'd hoped to write some postcards and look over some music on the ferry crossing, but for the first time in my life, I was battling sea-sickness. I had to keep my focus on one thing; in this case it happened to be the CTV Newsworld newscast that kept cycling over and over on the TV in front of me; this and the noise of the slot machines behind me were not pleasant, but were less offensive than other areas, which were too noisy, had too many children, or reeked too much of retch. The casino really depressed me, though; they started serving beer at 7:45 AM. I can't say that I enjoyed the ferry ride.

We arrived in Yarmouth around 1:30 PM Maine time, 2:30 PM local time. It was foggy but warm, and I stopped shivering almost as soon as I got off the boat. The fog confused me; I was sure it was going to rain, but locals said there wouldn't be any rain. At the tourist information bureau, I enquired about hospitals to check my wounds, but it was a Friday afternoon, and I thought I might be there a very, very long time for no good reason. But even without the hospital, time passed quickly in Yarmouth. After the tourism info, there were stops at a bike shop (for a spare tube), a restaurant (I had only a light breakfast, as I couldn't eat lunch on the ship due to my borderline nausea; I had a scallop burger for lunch), a pharmacy (I needed many more bandages for my first aid kit), a bank, and to get directions... and it was well past 5:00 PM. My original plan was to cycle to a provincial campground 119 km away, but at this time of day, even plan B of Middle West Pubnico, 50 km away, was too far. So I checked my guidebooks for a closer campground.

Arcadia, some 9 km outside town, became my destination. En route, I stopped at a Sobey's grocery store to stock up for supper and breakfast: yummy strawberries, brie, rolls, coleslaw, Beep juice cocktail (which I had enjoyed as an occasional treat in childhood), cinnamon rolls, pears, chocolate. The man in the campground office was funny and friendly. He asked me if there was anything he could do for me. I said I had only one simple request: for nice weather. He kind of laughed at me, as the weather forecast as not in my favour. I replied that nice weather was really such a simple thing to ask for... Overall the campground was fine, and I had a very nice hot shower, although there were some noisy kids making noise as I was trying to get to sleep. On the bright side, there were some cyclists at the neighbouring campsite. Somehow it's nice to see other cyclists.

I had never been to Yarmouth, nor to the south shore of Nova Scotia west of Peggy's Cove; I planned my trip specifically to discover this part of the province; but so far, it was too foggy to see much in Yarmouth or its outskirts. As well, Route 3 - the old route, not the new limited access Highway 103 - seemed to lack a paved shoulder most of the way; I wondered how the cycling would be. Gretchen sent me a text message on my cell phone, offering to me up in one of their vehicles. It was tempting, but I decided against it - for now.

MXS 35.6
AVS 16.6
DST 9.10
TM 0:32:58

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