Friday 17 August 2012


Alright everyone , this will be my final blog post, and yet only my second post. Today is the first day after cycling across the country , unfortunately Matti had his flight at 4:30 so,he really did not have a chance to do much.

Today started with Matti and myself going Velma's for Toutons, which is a fried bread that is covered in molasses or syrup for breakfast. Mayo , the cool guy we are staying with, said that is one of the foods that Newfoundland is famous for and it was delicious.

Afterwards Matti did who knows what( read his blog post, maybe it fill you in?!), and I cycled to Cape spear which apparently is the most eastern point in Canada, as well as north America. It was just over 15 km away but the path had some big and really steep hills which was a pain, but it was well worth it in the end.

Newfoundland is also famous for their cod, so for lunch I went to their best fish and chips place which is duke of Duckworths. They easily were the best fish and chips I had on this trip, though this is only the 3rd time I have had fish and chips.

Sadly I was suppose to go whale watching but it was canceled because of the weather :(  Instead I went to the Newfoundland and Labrador heritage shop where I got my my souvenir for Newfoundland. In every province I have brought a souvenir back to remind of them. In Newfoundland I got a 50 cent coin from Newfoundland before they were part of Canada, so it says Newfoundland instead of Canada.

This trip has been spectacular, a lot of great times and amazing memories. I know I haven't not posted very much to the blog but if you would like to see pictures or hear some stories, I would be glad to talk to anyone about whatever you're interested in or curious about. I appreciate all the support and encouragement and I will see you when I return.

George St Bested Me

So we're done. Done! DONE!

Whaaaaat!? This is crazy!

We cycled about 130 km from Argentia to St John's, our final destination, in about 6 hours. Newfoundland is beyond gorgeous. It was a tough and hilly day, mostly against the wind, but as my friend Ethan put it, "Newfoundland is the perfect end credits" to our journey. As we cycled in to St John's we were met with green rolling hills that were hosts to boulders and glimmering lakes scattered throughout. It really was breathtaking.

We got to Mayo's place around 6:30 pm, quickly showered and went out for our final meal together. We found a place that served excellent Newfie cod, and possibly the best soup I'd ever had: a succulent spicy crab chowder. Lordy was it good.

Finally, we celebrated our accomplishment with Mayo and another surfer he was hosting, Bobbie, on George St. (a street that's famously crammed with bars). We attended a "Screech In" which made us honorary Newfies. It came complete with a certificate that I shall proudly mount on my bedroom wall.

The ceremony involved a charismatic Newfie fisherman official with a really thick accent. He spoke really fast and led us in some traditional Newfie chants and songs before having us all "kiss the cod", eat some balogna, repeat an oath and take a shot of screech rum.

We then hopped from bar to bar with our new Newfie friends and drank like true east coasters. All the bars on George St seem to try and out-compete one another and so there were fantastic deals to be had. Many places had three drinks for $5. The beer here is great. Mayo's friend Matt bought us both celebratory beers from Quidi Vidi brewery. The beer is called 1892 and commemorates the year of the great fire in St John's. It's a great beer - probably ranks number four or so on the list of best Canadian beers.

We then waddled home and I wrote a really bizarre "post-George St." letter to Mayo. I read it this morning to much confusion. I can only imagine how confused Mayo must have been.

All in all, it was a great final night. I'm now off to the airport and should arrive home by 9:15 pm tonight. Thank you so much for reading, and for your amazing support. It means a lot to both John and myself.

Stay tuned for a final post by John either later today or tomorrow. Lucky bastard is going whale watching. We'll also be posting a best of/worst of list, and a page of stats in the coming weeks.

Thanks again for all your support.

Matti + George St. = This

Newfies LOVE Long Dick's
The end.

Thursday 16 August 2012

140 Km Left

It's almost done. We're drifting closer to shore with each passing second - closer to the end. As we sail along the shore of Newfoundland into Argentina, I'm put into a pensive state, and find I'm already reflecting nostalgically upon the trip which isn't yet done. I can't wait for whatever is next.

Wednesday 15 August 2012

This Boat is Stupid

Yeah it is.

We're delayed.

Stupid ferry.

It's okay though because it's pretty radical in here. We'll be able to sleep on a couch somewhere rather easily I'd imagine.

The ride should last about 14 hours so we should arrive in Argentia by about 10:30 am tomorrow. Hopefully we'll get to St. John's at a decent time, as I'd very much like to check out George St. It's only about 140 km so it shouldn't be too bad.

We're about 140 km from the end, yet I feel as if this is just the beginning.

Tuesday 14 August 2012

The Cabot Trail

We left rather late today to check out the Cabot Trail. On our way there we stopped in a small town called Englishtown which was, fittingly enough, home to at least one English lady. This particular English lady worked at a small restaurant and whipped up some poutine for me to eat on this authentic English double decker bus. What a cool town!

We then took a ferry across the river to the Cabot Trail. The ferry ride was honestly about a minute long. I think the total distance was about the length of two ferries end to end. Why they don't just have a bridge is beyond me. It's probably because the ferry fare is the only thing that brings money into the town (aside from the double decker restaurant of course). It would take them five minutes to make a bridge.

We didn't really cycle much of the trail but what we saw was indeed quite beautiful. It's a shame we don't have time to do the whole thing but I'm sure I'll be back here again some time before I die.

When we got to the B&B, we walked town to a water hole under a small bridge and I had a swim. This upset the troll who demanded I leave at once. I begrudgingly obliged. It was far too cold anyways. It was refreshing, but cold. It was probably full of troll pee (I hear their pee is cold).

We cooked our own dinner for the first time today. Boy, we're such grownups! The cool dudes with funky mustaches who run the B&B let us use their kitchen and even offered us some expired parmesan cheese to go with our pasta sauce. It was actually awesome.I obviously had to add hot peppers to the dish.

Tomorrow... well, tomorrow we'll be catching a ferry to our final freaking province. Our final, freaking, province. Newfoundland here we come!

Monday 13 August 2012

It's North Sydney


We cycled about 155 km to North Sydney today. It was extremely hilly for the first half of the day, and there was a very light spray of rain for the first two hours. Fortunately, it didn't linger, and disappeared completely.

It was yet another scenic day. I'd even say it ranked somewhere in the top five in terms of Canadian dazzle. There were many fishing boats as we cycled along the coast, which really helped to highlight the charm of Cape Breton. I'm actually rather glad the day was quite grey - I feel like our time out east wouldn't quite be as authentic without some cloud.

We got to our host's place rather late. He's this super cool farmer who owns one of the biggest chicken farms in Nova Scotia. He had this really intricate and detailed mural painted in his garage that was inspired by the song Somewhere Down the Crazy River. It's littered with references to the song. Can you spot them?

Sunday 12 August 2012

Cape Breton and the Fiddler

We woke up today slightly nervous about the rain. As we ate breakfast, our lovely host, Jane, boiled us some eggs for the road. She seemed to live quite the adventurous life. Her and her husband work on cruise ships, and are very well traveled. It seems like quite the ideal job.

We made way to Port Hawkesbury and hoped that we'd have a place to stay when we got there. Steve (our host in Charlottetown) has grandparents that live here and so he tried contacting them for us so that we could stay with them. Unfortunately, they weren't able to host us and so we scrambled for a place to stay.

Initially, it didn't seem like we'd have a place because all the motels and B&Bs were either way too expensive our had no vacancy. I called back a B&B that John had tried earlier, but this time asked instead if we could give them money to camp outside and use their shower. The lady told us to come by and that she'd try and make something work. She offered us a room across the street from the actual B&B that they usually don't rent out. The owners apparently don't think it's up to standard. We found it perfectly charming - it had a kitchen, a washroom, everything we needed. We gave her $20 under the table so that she could pay the cleaning lady to clean it without the owners ever knowing it was occupied. She was super nice and sympathetic.

It was supposed to rain and thunder shower all day today but we only encountered about forty five minutes of light rain. We lucked out again.

After a quick shower at the B&B (I was covered in dirt from John's tire which splashed me quite a bit) I made my way down to a fiddle performance by a guy called Ashley MacIsaac. Every Sunday night in Port Hawkesbury, they have a free concert by the water. This guy was absolutely masterful I'm his workings. His speed blew me away. I'm very glad to have caught it.

It really feels East Coasty here on Cape Breton Island. We're right by the ocean and there are lots of fishing boats and beautiful cliffs. I'm sad it's all almost over.

Saturday 11 August 2012

Nova Scotia and Where's Matti?

We are so close now. I'm back in less than a week, and we only have five more days left of cycling. This is nuts!

We started the day by cycling 60 km to the ferry port at Woods Island PEI. We rode the ferry for about an hour and a half to Pictou (pronounced pict-oh), Nova Scotia and from there cycled to a place called Trenton which is a small town that's home to Canada's first steel mill. ISN'T THAT FASCINATING?!?!!!!!111

The lady whom we're staying with tonight had a late night last night so because we got here rather late, went to bed soon after we arrived. She showed us to a cool little cabin in the woods with no electricity and... uh... what appears to be blood on sections of the wooden walls? Is it blood? It has to be blood. Oh, em, gee...

Before we got here we had dinner at a restaurant called the Dine and Dash which was incidentally the most tempted I've ever been to dine and dash at a restaurant. To dine and dash at the Dine and Dash seems like it would be a pretty sweet accomplishment. Unfortunately, the waitress was too nice to warrant that, and you know...the whole ethics thing. I am ethical at times. Shh!

It's supposed to rain all day tomorrow, but I'll bet it doesn't.

Where's Matti?!

Friday 10 August 2012

Bitter Sweet Golfing

So I got up really early this morning to make my 11:10 am tee time at Crowbush Golf Course on the north eastern coast of PEI. It's apparently the best course to golf here in PEI and has hosted several golf championships. It's understandable - it is a really beautiful course, it's just darn expensive.

I had to cycle 40 km to get there which means I had to leave around 8:30 am so that there was some buffer time just in case winds were bad or the terrain was hilly. I was paired with these two outstanding players. One was an elderly gent who was a course member, and the other was his friend from the states. I think they resented the fact that I used a pull cart instead of a golf cart (which would have been an extra $40 on top of the $185 I spent on the green fee and club rentals). As a result, the round went rather slow. Towards the end  of the round, they had me hop on the back of the car while they pulled the pull cart along side. Weee!

The course itself is stunning - it's right on the water with amazing views of the sea. When I was done the day, Gavin (the elderly gent who was a member) tried to get them to refund some of my money. He's a well known and well liked member, and so I cautiously hoped that his authority would hold some sway. Sadly, they didn't give me any money back, but instead offered me a free Crowbush hat when Gavin told them that I'd cycled all the way from Vancouver just to play golf at Crowbush. I appreciated him stretching the truth, but alas I don't ever wear baseball caps. I may give it to my dad if he stops beating me someday. Unbelievable right? Even at 25, my dad still beats me. Dad, if you're reading, stop beating me and you get a cool baseball cap from Crowbush.

I cycled back to Charlottetown and met John and Steve at a restaurant downtown. I ordered a beer while they had dinner. We each ordered PEI oysters which had surprisingly little taste. They just look so freaking unappetizing. Seriously, who in their right mind thought, hmm, yes... this looks absolutely edible and delicious. Let's slurp it down our throats... ? I'll never have an oyster ever again simply because they look atrocious. It's kind of like Celine Dion - I simply can't stand her because of the way she looks when she sings. She's a great singer, sure, but her singing face is just awful.


In other news: John updated the blog! I'm excited to read his post.

(diclosure: my father only beats me at golf)

Better late than never!

    Yep, that's right I am finally doing a blog post! Today myself and Matti split up and explored Charlottetown in our own ways. He got up early and went to play golf and the rest of his day is a mystery to me, so I guess you have to read his blog post to find out what he did. 
     I began my day by visiting st.Dunstan's Basilica. It is arguably the most beautiful church in Charlottetown, and the most famous. After st.Dunstan's Basilica I walked around Charlottetown and explored the many cool little shops they have. If you have not been to Charlottetown you would not know how nuts they are about Anne of Green Gables, she is everywhere. They have an Anne of Green Gables store , as well as an Anne of Green Gables chocolate shop and I visited both. At one of the shops I visited I bought lobster flavoured potato chips, but when we ate them they didn't really have any kind of a lobstery taste to them but they were alright.
       Charlottetown is apparently considered the birthplace of confederation( At least they consider it the birthplace) so I decided to go to Founder's hall to get a history lesson on events that lead up to it and what happened after confederation, it was rather informative and probably far more interesting than a round of golf.
       The next " touristy" thing I did, was go on a boat tour of the island. It was great and really showcased the beauty of Charlottetown and P.E.I. I really love all the red. The dirt and the sand is red in P.E.I and is one of the reasons why P.E.I is so great.

       There were a bunch of random facts I learnt today that blew my mind. P.E.I up until about 5 years did not have any cans, they would only have bottles for all their drinks, so P.E.I had drinks that were not normally bottled, in bottles. P.E.I had to make a special request to exporters of those drinks. Raspberry cordial is a famous soda in P.E.I and I learnt that it was mentioned in the Anne of Green Gables book but didn't actually exist when the book was written, it was made by someone after they read the book. There are a lot of Japanese tourists here and the reason why there are so many looking for Anne of Green Gables as if the book was non fictional  is because in Japan they use the book to help students in school learn English. P.E.I is nicknamed Spud island for obvious reasons. Alright , maybe those random facts weren't mind blasting but they were cool...... Well I thought they were cool.  If you disagree go read Matti's blog, he writes far lamer stuff than I do.

      Charlottetown has been arguably my favourite city so far, if not, it is definitely top 5. Stay tuned I will make one more final Blog post before I return home!!!!!

Thursday 9 August 2012

Cows Creamery Tour

We took a tour of Cows Creamery today in PEI which according to Reader's Digest has Canada's best ice cream (they weren't shy about emphasizing this point). They have locations all over the country including Niagra on the Lake, Banff, and Halifax, but are based here in PEI. The tour itself was mediocre because they weren't actually making ice cream at the time. They showed us factory videos instead. Each moovie was full of really awful puns. I'm not milking this, they were udderly terrible. That being said, the ice cream truly is remarkably rich and delicious.

John and I then split up and explored Charlottetown individually. I met a couple cyclists who were also doing the cross Canada thing. They told me that they started May 17th - a whole month before us! They've been taking their time and really exploring each place they go. It makes me wish we had more time and money to spare so that we could do the same. When I cycle the United Kingdom next summer, I'll be sure to take my sweet time.

Tonight we're staying with a gent named Steve. We really didn't think we'd have a place to stay tonight until late in the morning when Steve responded affirmatively. There were many Couch Surfing hosts in PEI but I guess they were all booked up because nobody responded to our plea. PEI is absolutely full of tourists this time of year, so they were probably all hosting surfers already. We're so lucky that Steve responded - he actually had plans to go to Halifax this weekend but they fell through. Unlucky Steve; lucky us. 

Tomorrow I'm golfing at this place called Crowbush which is one of the top courses in Canada. I'm extremely excited, but also sad that I have to cycle 40 km just to get there. Since I'm a single, I'll probably be paired with a group of really good players who planned their entire vacation around this golfing destination. My suckiness will probably ruin their vacation, but I really can't care - look at the beauty:

I wanted to go kayaking today but nobody in Charlottetown rents kayaks. Weird. Maybe tomorrow I'll find a place near the golf course where I can splurge even more money to go kayaking before I cycle back to Charlottetown. 

Wednesday 8 August 2012

Prince Edward Island

Yay! We're finally out of that cursed province!

We cycled about 95 km from Moncton to the Confederation Bridge, and because bicycles are banned from the bridge, we had to shuttle over on a bus. We then made our way to Summerside, a town that comes highly recommended to us.

We immediately felt a different vibe in PEI. It just seems like a very independent, easy going place. I like it here.

We went to a nice restaurant for dinner that sat right by the ocean in Summerside. I had a local beer called Island Red Ale but it was only good, not great. It almost tasted too watery or something.

We had local PEI mussles as our appetizer. While they look absolutely disgusting, they're actually pretty freaking good when dipped in butter. It was a first for me and I was pleasantly surprised.

We are now at another bed and breakfast that was pretty hard to find. Google maps really screwed up this time. The owners were skeptical when we told them we were cycling across the country.

Tomorrow I hope to kayak, and the next day I really hope to be able to play a round of golf. We'll see...

Tuesday 7 August 2012

Monkeys in Moncton and a Crash and Dehydration and...

Actually no, sorry. No monkeys in Moncton. I just used that headline to grab your attention and it worked. I rock!

Today we cycled around 175 kilometers from Fredericton to Moncton, New Bruinswick. Despite the incessant hills, we cycled pretty fast. At one point, I crashed and landed on my elbow and knee. We were just starting back up from a quick pee break, and I was looking down to check if my zippers were done up properly, and John (who was just in front) hit his breaks. I crashed into the back of his bike and fell pretty hard. My bike made some sad bike sounds for a little while after that, but they eventually went away. Hopefully it doesn`t implode on me in the next coming days. That would be... quantum-physicsy...? I dunno.

On we cycled from there. About 100 km in to the day, we finished off our water. There was nowhere to stop to refill. Just our luck - the one day we really need water there`s nothing. There were no streams, no lakes, no gas stations. We didn`t find water until we were about 25 km from Moncton in a place called Salisbury. When we finally downed some water it was like drinking liquid gold, except not as scaldingly hot and heavy. I had the biggest, most delicious slushy of my life. I then stumbled over to the Subway where I tried a lobster sub. It was yummy. They`re made from 100% real lobster meat (they`d better be, the darn things are expensive!).

Finally we made to Moncton and had some dinner. At a nearby pub I tried my first beer from New Bruinswick which was both extremely bitter (it was an Indian Pale Ale [IPA]) called Picaroons Yippy IPA. GET IT!? I actually love the name. I learned that IPAs are really bitter because when the British were first importing them from India, they hopped it quite strongly. The added hops acted as a preservative so that they could still have good drinkin` back home. Kinda cool. Good beer. Number 5 or so on my list of best Canadian Beers. I bought a six pack for our hosts tonight that was also from a local microbrewery. It is called Pump House Special Old Bitter and is also up there. Mircrobreweries always produce excellent beer.

Tomorrow we`re in freaking PEI. Oh god am I hyped! Golf? Yes please. Better book tomorrow morning!

Kiss me Tamara, I miss you. 

Monday 6 August 2012

Hallucinating Polar Bears

We started the day with a trip to the Potato World museum which actually ended up being pretty cool. Did you know that potatoes originate from Peru and Bolivia and were exported to Europe by explorers in the 1500s? At the end of the tour we had strawberry banana potato smoothies that were pretty good. The fries were even better (but mostly because of their seasoning).

About 20 km after we set out for Fredericton I got yet another freaking flat. We soon discovered that the pump was lost and were at a loss for what to do. Since it was a holiday, no stores were open. John cycled a coupe km into a nearby town for help and fortunately found a cattle farmer named Wayne who drove us to his farm and helped us out. It was ingenious what he did: his pump didn't fit my valve so he cut the top off the plastic protective hat of my valve and somehow connected his pump to that. I was shocked that it worked.

After that we cycled another 25 km and I got ANOTHER flat. With no tubes left and no hand pump, I cussed loudly before calling CAA to see if they could help. There was no other option. Their website said they had a service for cyclists too, but when I called them they told me that they didn't... Okay whatever. They put us in touch with a towing company that finally picked us up and took us about 17 km back to a town called Woodstock. The driver called his friend who works at the cycle shop. It was closed for the holiday, but the owner agreed to open it up to help us out. Awesome. We were so grateful.

So with a new tire and tubes we were on or way. I'm pretty sure it's been my tire that's been acting up so much, but it's all just speculation. We really have no clue why the tubes keep blowing. Hopefully I'll be fine now.

On we cycled for what felt like an eternity. We cycled those same 17 km over again, and at one point I was so burnt out I actually mistook a rock for a polar bear. I was so confused.

Anyways, when we finally made it to Fredericton it was about 10 pm. It was dark and dangerous because we couldn't see the road. If there was a big rock (which there sometimes are), we'd be screwed if we'd hit it. We're couch surfing yet again with a cool guy named Adam. I'm exhausted and ready for sleep. Sorry for the grammar and flow of this post, I just really don't care tonight.

Sunday 5 August 2012

They Offered Us Beer by Throwing it at Us

Screw this day, seriously. It may very well have been the toughest yet. If it wasn't the toughest it was definitely the most annoying. Cycling through the Appalachians with 35 km/hr direct headwinds the entire 140 km was brutal. Today was quite tough mentally too. We had to pedal hard DOWN hills. Not cool, Mr. Wind...not cool.

When we were about 30 km from our destination (Florenceville), some punk and his friends passed by us on four wheelers, gave us the finger and attempted to throw beer at us. They then waited at the top of the hill we were climbing so that when we got close, they could stir up a cloud of dust in for us to eat. I didn't really get too angry, but I actually felt very sad for this kid and his drunk friends. New Brunswick, I expected better from you. Nah, actually one aberration doesn't really impact my opinion of the place. Everybody else is really friendly (of course - it's Canada).

Florenceville is the home of McCain and some crazy potato museum we plan on checking out tomorrow. Hopefully it's awesome.

The hotel we're at has a pool. I was really looking forward to a refreshing swim but when I checked it out it looked so depressing I felt as if I'd break into tears if I went in. The floors were heavily cracked and it was very grimy and empty. It was probably filled with the tears of it's victims.

Fredericton here we come! Let's have better conditions tomorrow, please.

Saturday 4 August 2012

Little Gnomes Slashing Tires

Dominique biked with us to the Trans-Canada this morning before bidding us farewell. The day was rather hilly, but at least there was no wind to slow us down.

Halfway through the day we saw road signs telling us of a place a called St. Louis du Ha! Ha! It was a coupe kilometers away and so we had to check it out.

To or dismay, St. Louis du Ha! Ha! was devoid of anything that would make anybody smile, let alone laugh. There were no clowns, there was no circus. There were no little people, no comedians, and no joke shops. There was no laughing gas, and no dead baby jokes. The streets were not very charming, and the place lacked vibrancy. The people didn't even smile. What a downer. Maybe the name is meant to be ironic.

We went through several tires today. John had the initial flat, and as we were pumping up the tube, the valve broke and started leaking air.

A little while later, I got another flat. Immediately after I changed it, John got yet another flat. I'm convinced that little gnomes are slashing our tires while our backs are turned and giggling gleefully back to their homes in the bush where we can't see them.
If you're reading, leave us alone gnomes.

Finally we made it to New Brunswick,the first province I've never been before. There was a time change right at the border and we're now an hour ahead of Eastern Standard Time. Edmunston (the city we're staying in tonight) is having some sort of festival and so is quite packed downtown. We tried to find a motel but it none had vacancy so we're camping instead. Yay.

Now I'm about to watch Dumb and Dumber and eat BBQ Crispers. So excited. My calve hurts. Hopefully it gets better. It hurts a fair amount. I hope Teddy isn't dead.

Friday 3 August 2012

I'll Miss You Quebec

Oh Quebec, how I'll miss you. You're a beautiful province that radiates charm.

I stopped at a fromagerie today and bought some delicious smoked sheep cheese. Fromageries are apparently too cool for John so he abstained from joining me. John abstains from cool things like wineries and fromageries, which is his loss.

We cycled onward about 40 kilometers and stopped in another small town on the Saint Laurence. The café almost felt European and the servers offered me bread to go with my delicious cheese. The coffee was extremely strong . I left three place feeling really good.

Unfortunately the winds switched directions as we cycled onward from that small town. They slowed us down drastically and hampered our styles. We were only about forty kilometers out at that point so it wasn't so bad.

We're with a gentleman named Dominique tonight who is a vet with a very affectionate cat. He is also as cyclist and has amassed over 4000 km of cycling this year alone. The guy is sixty! Amazing! He also lives on a street called Saint Dominique, and our last host in Quebec City was named Dominique. Dominique overload! My head feels like it's about to Dominique!

The house we're in is the biggest yet. It's a beautiful 125 year old mansion. I'm expecting to see a ghost tonight and if I don't I'll punch a hippo... a house hippo.

Enjoy the thoroughly mediocre pictures.

Thursday 2 August 2012

Moo Moo Montmagny

Yo yo, check it check it...

We is in Montmagny today and it be trippin fo real, yo. Like, John be so fly and like, I be so happy to be here.

...sorry. Enough of that...

We started the day of by rolling our bikes up to the Old Quebec area because my tire was flat and we need to get it checked out. I've had several flats in the past couple weeks and up until today it was a mystery as to why. As we explored downtown Quebec a little further the guy from the bike shoppe determined that there was a tiny piece of glass hidden in the tire.

John for some reason wanted a coin that reflected the spirit of Quebec somehow, and so we spent much of the early afternoon bouncing from store to store trying to find one. Nobody had any, except for a cigar store that sold an official coin set that commemorated the 400th anniversary of Quebec. It was something like $40 for about $5 worth of coins and John opted to not but them. Good call.

Quebec has an interesting law where you can only buy tobacco if the bill adds up to $10 before tax. It's meant to discourage smoking - especially amongst youngsters who may not have much money to burn. Heck, it discouraged me out of a purchase because I only wanted a single cheap cigar. I don't know what I think of this law...

After retrieving my fixed bike, we cycled down to the ferry and rode it to the other side of the river. We then cycled about 65 km (if that) to Montmagny. The ride today was definitely on my list of top five most scenic days so far. We were right by the river for most of the day, and were pretty high up. The weather was beautiful, and the Appalachian mountains rose steadily higher on the other side. At the foot of the mountains were fields of golden wheat with little red barns plastered throughout. No pictures, only memories.

Wednesday 1 August 2012

Quebec City

This is such an awesome city.

For our forth and final consecutive day of couch surfing, we're staying with a very sweet young woman who was kind enough to show us around downtown, and to give us tips about what we could do tomorrow before we leave. The distance is really short, so we can leave a little later if we'd like. My bike keeps getting flats for whatever reason. I'm going to have to investigate the cause tomorrow.

For dinner we went to a delicious restaurant called The Hobbit. I was hoping we'd be served by little people, but there were none to be found (maybe they worked the kitchen). The portions did however seem to be for little people. Alas the food was excellent so we cannot complain much.

After a short walk down Old Quebec so that John could find souvenirs, we made our way to this unique section of highway overpass that served as the stage for a dazzling Cirque du Solei performance. It was quite special and I was amazed that it was completely free. If this is what Cirque du Solei is like for free then I can only imagine how splendiferous a paid show would be. Crazy.

Well, good evening. You win for reading this blog. You win gold.

- John

(just kidding it's Matti, silly)

Tuesday 31 July 2012

Trois-Rivières is AWESOME

We cycled around 150km today into Trois-Rivières, and it was amazing. The route itself was quite cyclist friendly, and took us along what has now officially become the Saint Laurence river. Interesting fact: in french, they differentiate between rivers that flow to the ocean and rivers that flow to other fresh water bodies. The Sait Laurence is therefore not a rivière but a fleuve since it flows directly to the ocean. Claire taught us that a couple days ago.

The host we are with tonight is SUPER cool and super French, but I can somehow understand about 90% of what she is saying at any given moment which actually surprises me. I was in french immersion a while back, and while my written french is atrocious and my oral french isn`t much better, I can understand quite a bit when I`m spoken to or when I`m reading it. Luckily, Nancy was pretty good at deciphering my broken french too. Her english isn`t much better than mine

Nancy`s style is pure bohemian and so I love her. The house is super funky and full of all these unique, insanely creative pieces of art. It`s the type of house that has a freaking plant growing out of the kitchen counter! I get the impression that she hosts many Couch Surfers because the entirety of upstairs seems devoted to them. Right now there`s a Brazillian woman staying with her who is looking for places to stay in Toronto (...any takers? Couch Surfing is a great way to host interesting people from various cultures!) Unfortunately she doesn`t speak a lick of english so it may be tough to organize something with her. She`s coming on Thursday with her son and needs our help!

Anyhoo, the only thing that sucks is that it`s super hot upstairs in this house. I`m using our hosts computer to type this (which is why it`s probably full of typos and weird apostrophes) and I`m literally dripping sweat on the ground. Who knew that typing could yield such physical exertion?

Trois-Rivières is a place I`d like to visit again soon and actually look around. It`s only an hour and a half outside of Montreal, so should be feasible. It`s got lots of really cool old architecture and a bustling downtown core. The people seem really friendly (except for the drunk guy we passed who was swatting at invisible flies and muttering obscenities). I tipped my helmet to him, but he was too busy being drunk to care.  I`m sure he would have tipped his muddy baseball cap back at me had he known.

Go Canada go - by the way - bring in the bronze! Oh silly Canada in the summer Olympics. When will you ever learn that gold is the first place medal?  Regardless, I`ll always be proud as hell of you, Canada.

Monday 30 July 2012


What a short day -67 km to our destination in Laval. We took a ferry across the Ottawa river, and cycled along that until we reached destination. Actually our hosts accidentally told us that their address was 13 Unnamed St when it was really 131 Unnamed St. The lady who answered the door at 13 seemed rather confused about us asking for Mark and Andrew. We were equally confused about them not living at that address.

Fortunately it was all sorted out and Mark and Andrew ended up being a really cute and hilarious couple. The stereotype about gay people being wickedly funny and entertaining holds true, I must say. They cooked us a lovely chicken dinner and treated us to their beer keg which they had just gotten a couple days ago for a party they are hosting this weekend. I can't remember the name of the beer but it was probably my forth favourite so far. I'll post it tomorrow if I remember. It's from Quebec and only available here I think.

Before we got on the ferry we stopped in a small town called Hudson (I believe the name was) and we each bought almond croissants. They aren't your typical fluffy croissants but were obscenely delicious nevertheless. Eat them if ever you find them.

Now I shall sleep. The end is so close and so far. I almost don't want this trip to end.

Sunday 29 July 2012

We Are in Quebec! Oh Mon Dieux!

After 17 days of cycling in Ontario we finally made it to Quebec! Man that was a long stretch. I'm so glad to be some place new.

Getting out of Ottawa today was quite a struggle. I kept having to check my Google Maps app every two seconds to find the next road to turn on. We're not allowed on most of the main roads with or bikes here so it's tough to navigate.

We cycled almost 100 km today on a designated cycling trail that led straight to Rigaud. It was actually a pain to cycle on because it was laid with a fine gravel that reduced our pedaling efficiency. There was also nowhere to stop for water along the way and so by the end I was dehydrated. In town I bought a Sprite, and downed it in a matter of seconds.

For dinner we each had a pizza to ourselves. For some reason, after the first slice I really wasn't hungry. That's a first - usually I'm starving after we cycle. I think it was all the water I'd drank to remedy my dehydration, plus the fact that that I was in fact dehydrated that killed my appetite.

We're staying with a lovely lady named Claire tonight. She's done lots of traveling herself and has hitchhiked across several countries including Scotland, Canada, and Germany. She makes me want to do the same. She seems like a very down to earth, compassionate person. Hopefully she isn't mad at John for eating all her ice cream. In his deference it was remarkably good ice cream...

Saturday 28 July 2012

Tour of Parliament and a Ghost Tour

No cycling today.

Instead, my fam, Tamara, John, and I toured the parliament building. It's a truly breathtaking structure, with intricately cut limestone blocks and sculptures. Construction broke ground in 1859 but it wasn't until 1876 that it was finally completed. There was a pretty big fire that destroyed much of the main building in 1916, and was subsequently rebuilt using less wood. It's probably the most gorgeous structure in Canada (that I've seen anyways).

After much indecision we indulged in some great gelato at Byward Market. If you ever go, I highly recommend the Ferrero Rochet gelato. My lordy it's good.

I then had some beer at a place called the Clock Tower which was located in the same area. They brew their own beer and the Extra Special Bitter (ESB) I got was yet another great drink. It ranks third behind Snow Bunny and that maple beer I had in North Bay.

We then went on a guided ghost tour. It was pretty fun and actually taught us a bit about the history of the city itself. I don't think anybody was particularly frightened, but rather fascinated by the tales. One cool story pertained to the Fairmont. Apparently it was designed by a man who died on the Titanic. He allegedly haunts the fifth floor which is also the same floor that holds a suite that was named in his honor. The hotel is said to be his crowning achievement which is why he chooses to haunt it.

Tomorrow we set cycle to Quebec. I'm very much excited. It will be sad to say bye to my parents and Tamara though. Oh well, we're getting pretty close now!

Friday 27 July 2012

Ottawa and Family

After a lovely pancake breakfast served to us by Melissa, we cycled about 90 km to or nation's fantastic capital Ottawa.

We weren't allowed to cycle on the Trans-Canada as we approached the capital, and were initially frustrated by the predicament. Fortunately there was a cycling trail we found that went along the Ottawa River to the downtown core. The trail was very scenic and even included a small section that was full of these odd stone effigy thing-a-jigs.

We got to Bonnie's place rather early, and so we showered and waited for Tamara and my parents to arrive. It's really good to see them all. I've missed them all very much.

After a delicious dinner, we explored the architecture and a few attractions. We caught a light show at Parliament Hill, and are now about to sleep. It was quite dazzling, but nothing we haven't seen before. Still, it made me feel quite patriotic watching such a detailed and colourful display on our parliament building with the Canadian flag blowing wildly in the wind atop the clock tower. Funny enough my mother ran in to her coworker Pam at the light show. What are the chances?

Tomorrow we shall explore Ottawa more thoroughly, so expect an epic update. I'm excited I'm also really excited to snuggle with my gal tonight. <3

Thursday 26 July 2012

John's Phobia = Suspension Bridge; (-1)(-1)=1

Today was cloudy. Very cloudy. We were certain it would pour. There were dark ominous clouds cramming the skies in every direction for the entire day. Surely it would drown us, we thought, it was only a matter of when.

Nothing came. We arrived in Renfrew at around 4:15 pm as dry as my sense of humour. Since it was too early for dinner, we took our time and visited an old suspension bridge that hung over a river. You should have seen John - he was so scared. I shook and wobbled the bridge with a series of jumps and shifted my weight back and forth. John seized at the knees and he cried out for me to stop. As he coiled up in fetal position on the bridge, I approached, patted his head and assured him it would all be okay. Poor John. He'll never trust me again.

Renfrew's downtown section is actually quite a charming place. We went to a great little sushi restaurant for dinner called Seven Star Sushi. The waitress was enjoying a small meal and reading a book on her e-reader before her shift began. We asked her if she knew of any camping places we could stay at in Renfrew. She told us there was one just outside of town, but that we could camp out in her backyard if we'd like instead. We graciously accepted, and she wrote us out directions to her house. What luck! To top it off, the food was great too. We got all you can eat sushi for around $20 each. Not bad since it was our only real expense for the day. For desert they served us deep fried bananas with chocolate sauce and ice cream. It was scrumptrulescent!

We're at a Tim Hortons right now and about to make way for the waitress' house. I got a coupe beers to enjoy as I watch the movie Speed Racer on my cell phone tonight in the tent. I have no idea why that was the first movie to come to mind when I first considered downloading torrents on my phone. It's not even supposed to be good.

The quote of the day is from John. Nicola texted John about whether or not we fight a lot. John said that we didn't. He thinks that because we're both such jerks that if you multiply two negatives together you get a positive. I think it's a brilliant theory.

Wednesday 25 July 2012

Bed & Breakfast in Deep River

We cycled 166 km to Deep River today. It was a pretty hilly day of cycling and it was mostly devoid of any signs of civilization. Because there were no signs posted, we had no idea how far we were from our destination until we were basically there.

Amanda made French toast for us this morning, and we left close to noon. When we made it to Deep River it was almost 7:30 pm. Not bad, but not great time.

There was a road sign today that said "Mr. Gas" and as I pointed to it I was like, "Hey John, it's you!" John farts alot and I'm usually downwind when he does.

We looked around town for a motel for a while but none of the four motels had any vacancy. The owners informed us that the town is full of contractors who come up for weeks at a time, and use the motels. Apparently Deep River is involved in nuclear energy or something? I dunno, there was an utterance of nuclear energy at some point. I don't really know how it's involved.

Fortunately we found a charming little Bed & Breakfast just off the Trans-Canada. The owner only charged us $50 after we told her what we were doing. The setup beats the hell out of any motel. It's so freaking cozy and clean. We would have camped, but the script did call for rain tonight.

In other news, JOHN MADE A POST, pigs can fly, and hell has frozen over.

Revised schedule

Vancouver to Burnaby 20km June 17
Burnaby to Chilliwak: 96 km June 18
Chilliwak to Hope : 52 Km June 19
Hope to Merritt : 120 km June 20
Merritt to Kamloops: 85 km June 21
Kamloops to salmon arm: 109 km June 22
salmon arm to Revelstoke(mudslide ): 103 km June 23 and 24
Revelstoke to Golden : 149 km June 25
Golden to Canmore : 139 km (Alberta)June 26
Day off June 27
Canmore to Calgary : 145 km June 28 1009
Day offJune 29
Calgary to bassono: 124 km June 30
Brooks to Medicine Hat: 155 km July 1
Medicine Hat to Maple creek :100 km (Saskatchewan) July 2
Maple creek to Swift Current: 138 km July 3
Swift Current to Regina: 252 km July 4
Regina to Broadview : 156 km July 5
Broadview to virden: 142 km, 2086 (Manitoba)July 6
Virden to Brandon : 76km July 7
Brandon to Winnipeg: 218 km July 8
Day Off July 9
Winnipeg to Falcon lake: 148 km July 10
Falcon lake to Kenora: 66 km (Ontario) July 11
Kenora to Dryden 147 km July 12
Dryden to Ignace: 107km July 13
Ignace to Upsala: 114 km July 14
Upsala to Thunderbay: 126 km July 15, 3000ish
Day offJuly 16
Thunderbay to Nipigon: 114 km July 17
Nipigon to Marathon: 187 kmJuly 18
Marathon to Wawa: 188 km July 19
Wawa to Montreal river harbor: 109 km July 20
Montreal river harbor to Sault St.Marie: 126 km July 21
Sault St.Marie to Blind river: 154 km July 22
Blind River to Sudbury: 172 km July 23, 4145
Sudbury to North Bay: 130 km July 24
North bay to deep River: 166 km July 25
Deep River to Renfrew: 104 km July 26
Renfrew to Ottawa : 100 km July 27
Day off July 28
Ottawa to Rigaud: 118km (Quebec) July 29
Rigaud to Laval: 74 km July 30
Laval to Trois-Riviere: 153 km July 31
Trois-Riviere to Quebec city: 148 km August 1, 5138
Quebec city to Montmagny: 82 km August 2
Montmagny to Riviere du Loup: 140 km August 3
Riviere du Loup to Edmunston: 132 km (New Brunswick)August 4
Edmunston to Florenceville: 142 km August 5
Florenceville to Fredericton: 140 km August 6
Fredericton to Moncton : 175km August 7
Moncton to Summerside : 135 km (PEI)August 8, 6071
Summerside to Charlottetown: 76 km August 9
Day Off August 10
Charlottetown to Woods islands: 60 km August 11
Woods Island to Caribou ferry : ferry (1.5 hours) August 11
Caribou Ferry to Trenton: 33 km (Nova Soctia) August 11
Trenton to Port Hawkesbury: 121 km August 12
Port Hawkesbury to North Sydney : 135 km August 13
Bike around the Cabot Trail: 80 km August 14
Cabot trail to North Sydney : (Ferry) 80 km August 15
Argentia to St.John's : 142 km August 16

61days 6800 km ish

Tuesday 24 July 2012

That Guy Gumming Your Big Toe

Hiya, folks!

Matti Cowan here, updating the blog from who knows where (it's North Bay)! Here's a fun fact about North Bay: it's on a bay, and it's north. It has a population of around 53, 000 people and is the birthplace of this guy:

I cannot confirm the accuracy of that statement.

...that guy looks like either the friendliest guy ever, or somebody who you'd notice gumming your big toe while you're sipping a coffee at a cafe.

Tonight we're staying with yet another really cool couch surfer named Amanda. She recommended a newly established restaurant for dinner called Raven and Republic. John and I both ordered a delicious hand made pasta with creamy tomato sauce with hand made blackened sausages. I had a flavourful Ontarian beer from Oakville called Maple Bock. It's a strong beer with a distinct maple finish (indeed it's brewed with pure maple syrup). It's an exceptional beer and is so far my second favourite beer. It's second only to Snow Bunny from the Slow Pub in Regina. If you like maple syrup (and you do - of course you do) , I highly recommend it. It was quite a fantastic restaurant with a great beer selection, but it was rather expensive. I doubt if ^that guy^ could afford it.

John didn't like the beer, but John doesn't like the Beatles. John's is often wrong.

We walked down to lake Nippissing and I sat on a hill (like a fool), and watched a mediocre sunset. We explored downtown but most stores were closed, except for this odd little bong shop that was curiously owned by a sweet old lady. Is that inconspicuous or quite conspicuous? I can't decide. I wanted to buy a cigar, but all they had were these disgusting blueberry ones. Rum cigars are good - even chocolate cigars are good - but blueberry? No. Come on!

We walked back to the house, and when we got in shared a beer and some stories with Amanda and her roommate. Amanda suggested we play Bananagrams which is a game similar to Scrabble but much more fun and less pretentious. Scrabble is for stuffy English majors who have nothing better to do but lament their useless degrees while playing Scrabble. I hate Scrabble. I'm not smart enough for Scrabble. Bananagrams is awesome. 

Today I decided that Abba is one of my favourite bands (top 15 at least). Who can deny the brilliance of Dancing Queen and Voulez Vous?:

Answer: John. John probably could.

Monday 23 July 2012

Sudbury the Toilet, 4000 km and Huge Donations

We've reached two milestones today: we have now officially cycled over 4000 km, and are also well past or fundraising goal thanks to an insanely generous donation from an incredibly giving anonymous donor. We give a huge thank you to this person and are now revising our goal from $1500 to $3700. Sure it's a big increase, but we think we can make it! Please please please spread the word however you can!

We cycled to Sudbury today. It's pretty much the toilet of northern Ontario in my opinion. I've never been to such a dreadful, depressing place. The roads are worse than any we've yet cycled on, many stores are closed up, there are some really sketchy people who hang out downtown, and it's got several smoke stacks that apparently help create acid rain. The acid in the rain has apparently altered the colour of rocks in the town, and also decimated fish populations in done of the nearby lakes. It's very much like Detroit, I'd imagine.

When we were about 75 km from Sudbury, we stopped at a busy Tim Hortons for a break and to refill our water bottles. Several people warned us of an extreme weather alert that had been issued for Sudbury. As we cycled on we noticed huge dark clouds on either side of us, as well as above us. There is a kitten crawling on me as I try and type this. It's very cute but very annoying typing with cat ass in my face. Frig, it won't go away!

Anyways we somehow missed all the rain. It must gave known we were coming and been intimidated by our candor. Go away, cat! The storm was quite ginormous according to the gentleman we're staying with tonight. He's a friend of John's who used to work at the Y. Nice guy. How do a keep missing the rain?

The place we're in right now us sweltering hot for whatever reason. I hypothesize that it's because this cat is really the devil. We opted to walk along the train tracks to the only non polluted lake in the area and take a dip to cool off. I'm always scared I'm going to step on a decomposing body when I swim in lakes. It hasn't happened yet though, but I'm still only 25 and sure love swimming in lakes.

I Don't Know Why I'm Posting This

This story/poem is really old and made me chuckle silently to myself... And yes I already know fastly isn't a real word. Sometimes fake errors just work. Enjoy?:

Moo Said the Cow
By Matti Cowan


Benji the Cow was a regular Cow, with black and white spots.

Benji loved to graze the meadows with his friends the sheep and the pig.

Benji lived a simple life, eating grass and watching sunsets. He had only one real life goal: to be the best moo Cow in all the world.

Benji simply loved to moo...


Benji moo'd louder than most cows he knew,
He'd also moo softer than both me and you!

"Mooooo..." said the Cow, he didn't know how!

He'd moo with a laugh, moo with a giggle,
He'd moo upside down, and his belly would jiggle.

"Mooooo!" laughed the Cow, he didn't know how!

Sometimes he'd moo for ten hours straight
And wake up the neighbours - it made them irate.

"Mooooo!" taunted the Cow, he didn't know how!

On beautiful nights he'd moo with the horse,
Who'd moo with the sheep, and the piglets of course!

"Mooooo!" said the Cow, he didn't know how!

One fateful night he moo'd near a road
His moo was so loud that it woke up the toad!

"Mooooo!" said the Cow, he didn't know how!

The toad who was startled croaked out in fear
It frightened poor Benji and all who were near

"Mooooo!" screamed the Cow, he didn't know how!

The farmer had heard him and thought his moo ghastly
So onto the truck he was loaded quite fastly

In the dark abattoir Benji's wish had come true:
His last moo was loud and the whole town now knew...

Yes, famous he was, but not for his mooing
It was Benji's lean meat that was famous for stewing

Sunday 22 July 2012

Blind River

After a great little breakfast of blueberry pancakes and blueberry syrup with Cayla and David, we cycled to Blind River. Cayla made a generous donation to our charity, which we really appreciated. Thanks Cayla, hope you're reading!

Today was a very easy day. Again, there isn't much to say. We ate a 2L tub of Farquar's cookies and cream ice cream. It's an absolutely exceptional ice cream made on Manitoulin Island and only available in the surrounding cities and towns. It's ours. You can't have any.

As we gobbled down the ice cream at a Subway restaurant, it suddenly dawned on me how ridiculous it must appear to people who don't realize that were cycling 8 hours a day. I feel quite gluttonous.

Alanis Morissette played from my smart phone today and it reminded me of my buddy Kailen. When we were kiss we used to play an obscure Jurassic Park game on my old Windows desktop while listening to the album Jagged Little Pill. It's cool how various artists and albums remind you of certain people at certain times in your life.

I wasn't kidding about it being an uneventful day. Please keep reading and spread the word by sharing links to this blog and/or to our donation page on Facebook or Twitter (or just word of mouth). It would be very helpful and much appreciated!

Saturday 21 July 2012

It's the Soo

Sault Ste Marie is a silly place... Mainly because it has silly spelling and silly roads that are all one way. Silly Sault Ste. Marie - when will you ever learn!?

Today was a remarkably easy day, but last night was a remarkably horrible night. It was sweltering hot in our tent, and so we removed the outer layer of the tent (the one that protects against the rain). It cooled us down a bit, but sure enough a little while later it started to rain and so we had to get up in the pouring rain and put it back on. The night was windy, and the camp ground was right next to the Trans-Canada and so it was really hard to sleep. I may have only gotten four hours.

Fortunately the rain cleared up and we cycled through another sunny day with the wind at our backs and lots of downhill declines. About 40 km in we stopped at this really cool native arts and sculpture place that sold a whole array of souvenirs. It was really fun just to look around and pretend we could afford the stuff. John ended up buying some wild blueberry syrup that we will share with our awesome couch surfing hosts David and Kayla tomorrow morning when we take them out for breakfast. We're all curious as to what it will taste like. My guess is it will taste like blueberries but hey, I could be way off with that. I've also found that most Couch Surfing hosts love to offer delicious beer to us. I will never turn down beer. I can't believe I actually once thought this stuff tasted like skunky gasoline.

David and Kayla were not expecting us today. My bad. I accidentally told them we'd be coming in tomorrow. It wasn't a huge problem - they just had a barbecue to go to in the evening. We opted to see the Dark Knight Rises while they did that. The theatre was only a couple kilometres from the house, so it worked out perfectly. We both really enjoyed it - Tom Hardy is amazing.

I'm really excited to see my family and girlfriend next Friday and Saturday in Ottawa. Hopefully they recognize me. My beard continues to overtake my face and make me look like a serial killer. Don't worry though, I am not a serial killer; I am a cereal killer!:

AHHHHHHHH HAHAHAHAHHAHAHAH! HAHAHAHHahahaahAhlsahodahlaloloL! lmao omg wtf bbq!

Friday 20 July 2012

Scenic Ontario

We started the day very late because it was only to be 90 km. We hung out in Wawa and explored the town before we departed. I bought somebody an awesome black bear slingshot. Somebody else gets a stupid pickle finger thing. I dunno, it seemed cool at the time. Who wants a cool pickle finger thing?

Today had absolutely breathtaking scenery. There were so many gorgeous lake bays. I only really took pictures of a coupe of them and left the best one for my memory (I think it was called Old Woman Bay or something). It reminded me of southern France for some reason (I've never been but probably will next summer).

We were initially going to stay at the Agawa Bay campground but decided it was too much money and lacking in amenities (no hydro or water). We cycled 18 km ahead to a place called the Montreal River which boasted one of my favourite downhill sections yet. We must have been zooming down at about 60 km/hr right into a beautiful sunset. It was perhaps the only time I noticed we were cycling straight west towards the sunset. I feel so lucky to be alive, and so proud to be a Canadian.

I just finished a cigar while locking my eyes on a purple sunset. Every couple seconds, small fish would jump and gulp bugs. Cigars by silent sunset lakes are one of the best things. It's only really beaten by cigar subsets by oceans with old friends or lovers.

I love life.