The Atlantic Coast
The key elements on this ride are food, sleep and mental focus. I had some inspiration from Jock Hobbs (All Black and rugby administration great). In his last months of his battle with cancer, Jock was asked what motivated him. His response was “When I get out of bed in the morning I try to be world class”. Jock was world class in many aspects of his life.
My modest take on this quote is “to make a positive impact on someone along the way today”. That mental focus helps relegate the more mundane. The ride is out of the ordinary and sharing it offers a gift. Access to someone’s own adventure, past or planned or simply allowing them to be part of it. It is fun to see where it goes with each conversation.
In terms of the ride it is difficult to shift the focus from the end point now so tantalisingly close. The ride up the Saint Laurence River offered an amazing shift in geography on the last day. Vast flat flood plains punctuated by rocky island-like outcrops, each with a village on top. The villages separated by no more than fifteen kilometres also offered seductive temptations. Coffee shops with muffins, quaint motels with beds much more comfortable than the tent.
I agonised over a route change to follow the Saint Laurence to the mouth. It was already becoming distinctly tidal a thousand kilometres upstream. But it was time to get back to the wilderness, classic Canadian riding. I turned south into New Brunswick. I hit some big industrial mill towns like Edmunston, so I headed east, right across to the Atlantic shore. Nice towns like Campbelton and Miramichi. A coastal road alternating between classic Atlantic beach holiday coast and giant timber mills belching clouds and dust.
Hurricanes, having devastated the south of USA are creeping nasty weather up the coast, so far the sun has largely held it’s own. Nights are a different story, deep sea mists roll in cold and damp. The tent ends up terminally soggy. The night in the Miramichi Enclosure camp (why would you name a camp that?) also brought out a very fat raccoon wrestling with my bear-proof food container. He was determined to outdo grizzly power with ingenuity. A hail of rocks eventually sent him scuttling.
The holiday season also ended abruptly with school starting last week. Camping grounds I have targeted from over a hundred kilometres away, appear with “closed for the season” signs. Cafes and Icecream shops are boarded up already. Summer is also road construction season in a big way. Diversions cater for the traffic on the highways but my insignificant back roads are led in confusing loops. Twenty extra kilometres today.
Saint Laurent villages
Colours starting to change
From big timber truck lineups...
To lobster boat lineups
Still no Moose