The 4 Weeker: 4 semaines 4 provinces

Les Statistiques:

  • Time on the go: 4 weeks
  • Distance biked: 1700 Km
  • Tournaments played in: 2
  • Ultimate league/practice/scrimmages attended: 8
  • Nights spent in a tent: 7
  • Money spent: $1050
  • Weigh in: 179 lbs
  • Number of times someone has asked me where I am biking to next: 10000
Week 3 and 4: Fredericton to Ottawa

Week 3 and 4: Fredericton to Ottawa

I guess both languages were hit in this leg of the trip so I will try and do them both justice in the most unconfusing way possible. Donc on y va en français et anglais.

Mon look apres le frisbee a Quebec

Mon look après le frisbee a Québec

Mes hôtes à Québec, Déb et Charles-André, travaillent dans l’industrie alimentaire donc lundi matin tout le monde s’est levé tot et j’étais sur la route vers 6h30. Ce n’était pas un matin facile à cause que le dimanche on avait joué deux games de frisbee dans une ligue d’interior à Québec, malheureusement on avait perdu les deux. Il faisait beau dehors et après la deuxième game l’équipe s’est installé pour prendre quelques bières et de la pizza sur le patio de Janelle. On a quitté la maison de Janelle dimanche soir avec des bières pour la route installées dans nos bouteilles d’eau et c’était une belle ride dans la nuit à Québec avec de la bière. Sur le retour Charles-André m’a montré le chemin pour quitter la ville le lendemain. Encore une fois un gros merci à Charles-André et Déb, leur générosité était incroyable.

Le pont a Trois-Rivieres

Le pont a Trois-Rivieres

Trois-Rivières était mon objectif pour le lundi et malgré les efforts de plusieurs je n’ai pas trouvé du frisbee à jouer lundi soir. Surtout il faut remercier Isabelle qui m’a invité chez elle à Shawinigan avec même une offre de transportation en char. Quand je suis arrivé à Trois-Rivières en bonne heure j’ai décidé de continuer pour me rendre plus proche à Montréal. J’ai pris une photo du pont à 3R où juste à côté il y a le motel coconut et tout le monde qui a joué dans la série CQU4 à 3R connaît le Coconut.

Le lever du soliel a mon site de camping

Le lever du soliel a mon site de camping

My decision to push past Trois-Rivières only got me so far and I ended up in what I hope will be my worst camping site of the trip. Surrounded by farmers fields that gave off the scent of manure the only redeeming quality was the sunrise I got to see. Things do seem to be getting warmer and I had no difficulty with the cold that night, I even wore some cotton to bed.

Un petit pause sur le fleuve

Un petit pause sur le fleuve

Pushing into Montréal was a real grind and a light headwind knocked down my speed a couple of notches. Fighting out the wind I managed to arrive just in time for rush hour traffic, which in Montreal takes on a whole different meaning. I took some cues from some dress wearing locals on bixis who went by me weaving in and out of traffic; I am not ashamed to say that they passed me. Finally I landed on the comforting couch of Tyler and Caitlin, two friends who I know from the Odyssey language assistant program, not to be confused with the ultimate team. Cereal, pizza, playoff hockey, and beer were on the menu and it was just what I needed, some serious couch time.

Ça semble que l’été a frappé Montréal le moment où je suis arrivé. Charles-André m’a mis en contact avec un gars, Nic, de l’équipe Odyssey qui m’a invité à jouer avec les gars de l’Odyssey le mercredi soir. Le mixte powerhouse, était en train de pratiquer quand je suis arrivé sur le terrain. Ils ont vraiment une équipe forte à Montréal et c’était un plaisir de jouer avec eux. On a joué un peu d’Open contre Mephisto et c’était une belle game sur le turf artificiel à UdeM.

Montreal is a fantastic city and particularly getting to see the summer in take off mode was something special as my little strolls around the city showed people out enjoying the beautiful weather. Tyler and Caitlin were just the right kind of hosts for me. They left me to my own devices for the most part and Caitlin made an amazing stir-fry dinner with one of the best chocolate cakes I have ever had for dessert.

There is about 200Km of road seperating Montréal and Ottawa and with the promise of good weather I set off with my first companion of the trip who would be staying on the road with me for more than just one day. Dave and I met as part of the Canada World Youth program, we were in different groups but participated in the same exchange with Bénin.

Dave and I left Montréal early Friday morning metting in front of a high school in Northern Montréal. We glided through Oka park and stopped for breakfast 50Km from our departure point. The weather could not have been better with a tail wind, blue skies, and warm temperatures. We sailed along my final stretch of Québec crossing the Ottawa River at Hawkesbury where we stopped for a mountain of food.

The scenery was beautiful and the terrain relatively flat, having someone to share the picturesque travelling with made it all the easier to not take many pictures. Dave and I made camp on the Ottawa side of Alfred a mere 65Km from my childhood home in Ottawa. We pulled off in a little conservation area not quite on the Ottawa River but on one of its many feeder rivers. We camped well eating tuna, bagels, and apples and we made a fire and chatted about some of our previous summer occupations. Dave forest fire fights most summers and we have been over some similar stomping ground with my tree planting back ground. It was definitely not like my nights spent alone on the road but I thoroughly enjoyed the company.

The river was high and things got a little wet on the way into Ottawa.

The river was high and things got a little wet on the way into Ottawa.

We woke up and Dave ambitiously made a fire to get our morning started off right. We knew we didn’t have far to travel and had another amazing day of weather ahead of us. We pulled up in Orleans to get our bearings and refill out water bottles observing other cyclists stream out of the city. We got a little wet on the bike paths next to the Ottawa River and had to navigate some of the residential streets in Orleans to ensure dry passage. Dave and I parted ways, at the National Art Gallery, with a hand shake and a promise to see if we couldn’t make our paths cross again this summer.

Now that I have reached the land of living off my parents I will try and make the most of it and settle in for a little time off. I plan to take a weekend road trip down to Toronto for TUF but leave the bike behind then return to pick it up and keep on riding. I will also use this time to try and tweak and improve my trip and the documenting of it, so if you have any comments or suggestions now would be a good time.

If you are in Ottawa, I am trying to lay financially low, but I would love to grab a drink. I know some lads who produce a lovely moonshine, so if you feel like grabbing a mason jar, that is the J and D advantage.

Je vais dire une au revoir à la belle province. Ma relation avec le Québec n’est jamais facile, il existe des moments durs mais au même temps il y a plusieurs choses que j’adore. La population du Québec est une des plus intéressantes que je n’ai jamais rencontrées dans ma vie. Les gens sont durs mais gentils, et toujours prêt a t’offrir ceux qu’ils ont. Chaque ville possède une certaine “je ne sais quoi” qui donne un gout à retourner et explorer un peu plus. Et le frisbee, vraiment un système unique à soi-même avec plus du monde qui joue en hiver qu’en été. Et un système mixte qui est sur le primere rang de notre pays. Avec toutes mes émotions mêlées envers le Québec soyez pas étonnés si je m’installe ici un jour, mais pas aujourd’hui.

La belle province tu es vraiment la belle province.

Ottawa you are on deck for a little while.

I am so done with the Maritimes

It seems that I have some great ideas on the road and then when it comes to sitting down to write they all just disappear. When I last left off I was in Fredericton, now I am not, here is the story:

The Saturday morning Fredericton Market is an incredible place to run into people and get delicious snacks, but it is a little overwhelming if you are trying to find food for a pot-lach. So I turned to Kayla to help me prepare something for the Saturday night party Sam and Mike were hosting. In the process I accidentally watched the first episode of Game of Thrones, and now understand why those books I started reading when I was 12 are now such a big deal.

Sam saved me from what could have been a Sunday of watching nothing but GoT by taking me out to her parents’ farm where things got Lambitious, it was birthing season and I got to see some cute little guys. Her parents have a great place out in Cambridge Narrows and they made an awesome Sunday supper.

Now getting all my stuff together is still a process regardless of where I wake up be it a couch, tent, or floor. It seems as though things spew out of my two panier bags and it becomes a real game of tetris to make everything fit again. Monday morning was no different as I wanted to leave Fredericton at 7 which turned into a little after 8, delayed especially when I was offered porridge if I waited an extra couple of minutes.

A pretty average break point somewhere in NB

A pretty average break point somewhere in NB

I rode for Edmunston not really having a specific timeline figuring it would take me 2 or 3 days to make it there. Generally as I ride I try to give the part of my body that touches the seat a break every hour or so, by getting off my bike and walking around. I try and gauge this by a town that is 15-25Km away or a crossroads or something that is more interesting than just the road itself. However, when you have a bike that is loaded it becomes a bit of a balancing act trying to find a good place to lean everything, my personal preference is a guard rail beside a body of water. If I just throw my bike on the ground I stand a good chance of bending or breaking something like the rear-view mirror I bought in Truro whose lifespan was about a week and a half, despite Mike’s best glue and tape resuscitation efforts.

This is the first time in my life that I have owned a cell phone, save for a brief stint when I was 16, but they have become pretty impressive little beasts. I generally plan my route on it using the map and GPS and I continue to update my route as I go. I generally go for secondary highways and roads that run beside rivers tend to be more flat so I stick to them when I can. My phone also has a 13 megapixel camera on it, which I used to take pictures of the longest covered bridge in the World, located in Hartland, NB. I then put the pictures into a bunch of differently shaped rectangles to make them seem even more interesting.

Opened the flood gates here

Opened the flood gates here

I stopped for the night North of Bath, NB beside a hydroelectric dam. Which was really letting loose with some of the spring run off. My budget for this trip isn’t too extravagant so I plan on relying on accommodations I do not have to pay for as often as I can. When I happen to be out of range of family, friends, and random connections I turn to my tent.

Beechwood Dam Campsite

Beechwood Dam Campsite

Usually when I look for a place to set up for the night I try to be slightly removed from the eye of the general public and next to water. Which puts me in competition with just about every homeowner ever. At this time of year provincial parks are usually unmanned so they make for good free camping as did the green space around the dam. Which also had a nice sunset.

The falls were quite grand

The falls were quite grand

Waking up the next morning to all of my water bottles being iced over probably contributed to yet another slow start to my day. But I had made good time the day before, despite the hills, and I would be following the St John River basically all day so I was confident I would get to Edmunston that night. In this case there turned out to be a few hills while river following at Grand Falls, NB. But the road from Grand Falls into Edmunston was real fast. Unfortunately the only thing I ended up tossing in Edmunston was a few messages as none of the ultimate people would come out to play. Which is too bad because there is an ultimate story in Edmunston and I know some good people who started playing ultimate there, they also host a good tournament in the Spring that I have attended, called June Bug.

Botanical garden campsite

Botanical garden campsite

I used the time that I would have been tossing in Edmunston to get out to the New Brunswick Botanical Garden, which for the amount of signs you see on the highway didn’t seem all that spectacular. But I only camped there illegally, so what do I know. I often fall asleep in my tent thinking about some of my trip regrets: like how I wish I had gotten in on Ultimate Canada’s newsletter or wondering whether or not my gross helmet will actually save me.

I also struggled on that particular night with the debate of whether to take the 130Km of bike trail from Edmunston to Rivière-du-Loup or the highway. Now I am all for bike paths I think they are great for a city to have particularly a long one that not only is inter-city but also inter-provincial. However just after the Spring thaw with a loaded bike a gravel bike trail feels like someone is softly kicking you in the behind, while another person works on your privates, and yet a third jumps up and down on your baggage all the while your max speed seems to be about 75% of what it could be. You only get breaks in the areas where the snow hasn’t yet melted and you have to get off your bike and walk it over the icy patches. The reason this was even a debate in my mind, was because taking the highway would involve tangoing with some of our country’s most notorious drivers.

When I left the next morning, in my best time yet, at 7:30, which turned into 6:30 when I crossed the border, I decided to take on the bike path. But after 10Km and a 200m stretch where the aforementioned softly kicking felt more like a bludgeoning I decided the road was where my tires should roll.

And then I hit the sign.

Out of the Maritimes and into Québec

Out of the Maritimes and into Québec

My next couple of updates are going to be in French at least till I get to Montreal, then I will go half and moitié. Go to the contact page if you want to see facebook updates or to follow me on twitter. I am trying to find a way to get twitter popular which doesn’t involve me telling Brodie Smith I can’t sleep because I am so excited about his new trick shot video, sorry Brodie.

I will sign out on the Maritimes:

From the snowy turf in Halifax, to the ocean-view in Charlottetown, to the domes of Moncton, to the social scene in Fredericton, and the what could have been in Edmunston I have sampled Maritime ultimate stories in several forms but not all. The beaches of Parlee call and the hucks of St John zing and so many others that listing them would take too long, I will get to them one day, just not on this journey.

Truly though it has been a pleasure to kick things off in this part of Canada. The couches, floors, air mattresses and indeed beds I have graced have been through some of the most genuine people I have ever met. I would liken the Atlantic Ultimate community to a web. A web where the strands intertwine and weave through one another. A web that courses with beer of the local variety. A web where people connect amicably, professionally, romantically, and otherwise. A web where trips around the World can be planned or reminisced over, whether they are ultimate related or not. But at the centre of this web the thing that interconnects it all and sends its tendrils hither and tither is a field, a pair of cleats, and a disc.

To quote Darren Clark: Ultimate is alive and well here, and the Maritimes has the best local club scene in the world.

If a team from here is going to Nationals, I want the honour of being on that roster.

Québec you are on deck.

The Two Weeker

Figured it was time to bust out some stats:

  • Time on the go: 2 weeks, or 14 days if you are more of a d person
  • Distance biked: 700 Km
  • Tournaments played in: 2
  • Ultimate league/practice/scrimmages attended: 5
  • Nights spent in a tent: 3
  • Money spent: $600
  • Weigh in: 184 lbs
  • Number of times I have spoken with my parents: 0
My route 2 weeks in

My route 2 weeks in

I feel like I am already up to my eyeballs in social debt. I mentioned the amazing hospitality of my host Jordan in Moncton, not only was he great for driving me out to the ultimate league nights breaking with his Lebron-esque tradition of biking out. He also biked into Moncton with me from Shediac taking the afternoon away from work where he kicked my ass on the grind in, we were going into the most hellacious headwind of the trip thus far. Then at his place he helped me get rid of an annoying squeak that had developed in my chain all the while cooking delicious meals for the both of us and offering me the beer from his fridge. I can only hope one day I get to return the favour. His girlfriend, Laura, who I had met in Charlottetown is moving to Guelph in the near future and as a disc playing cyclist, I have no doubts she will find a solid crew there. I hope to see her and maybe Jordan, if he is up for a visit, at Gender Blender when I pass through.

Hilarious campsite

Hilarious campsite

Moncton was an interesting city that I have never really got to know in my travels. I still feel that the day and a half I spent there leaves much to the imagination. The people there are incredible and I love the mix of both French and English. I played league twice there both times comig out on the losing side of some good games. I set out from Moncton and made Fredericton in two days. On the first day out my IT band was bugging me a little and I decided to pull up a little early to give it a breather. Stopping in a campground, on Grand Lake, that seemed all too surprised to have someone looking to tent as they didn’t plan on opening for another month. The owners gave me free reign to select a campsite after my assurances that not having running water or a toliet wouldn’t be a problem so I plopped my tent down under a gazebo as it seemed to be the surest dry ground I could find.

As if all my hosts to date hadn’t been amazing enough Sam and Mike continued the trend in Fredericton. Giving me a place to sleep and cooking me a great curry on the night of my arrival and delievering me cereal in the morning. Friday night I got to spectate on some tournament planning for the Fredericton crew as they discussed their coveted beach tournament, Parlee, and a new one they are trying to organize called Summer Slam in August. And we headed out to one of the last indoor Spawn practices of the year which is always a good mix of experienced vets and young fresh talent. Afterwards some of us went and grabbed beers and some eats, a huge thank you to the magnificient ladies Sonya and Becky for picking up my tab, completely unnecessary but very much appreciated.

I am taking the weekend off in Fredericton, so no ultimate and definitely no biking. Just alot of foam rolling and eating. My thoughts are starting to turn towards the francophone portion of my journey.

Moncton was as sweet as the people who live there.

Edmunston, in due time you are on deck.

The Tall Tale of Toothless Tim

I am in Moncton, if you are at all interested. The PEI leg is all wrapped up, I got a lot of comments about how PEI was out of my way and a bit of a detour, I myself had doubts about whether I would actually make the in and out over the Confederation Bridge given the ferry wasn’t running. However, having witnessed the beauty, studied the storied history of the ultimate scene, tasted the burger love, and met some of the most happy go lucky individuals whose kindness is second to none I can say that PEI was anything but a detour; it was the red dirt in the mix of the foundation for my journey.

Moncton is actually a pivotal city in my personal ultimate playing history with two unique stories which both revolve around one man: Andrew Creeggan, an ultimate playing musician and who, yes, was once a member of the former Canadian rock legend group the Bare Naked Ladies. Now I like Andrew, but I haven’t walked away from all our encounters with a full smile. I wouldn’t go as far to say we are lovers in a dangerous time but we’re ultimate friends. The first time I met Andrew was two years ago when I was looking for a team to pick up with at an Edmunston tournament known as June Bug. He was then captaining the Moncton mixed touring team and gave me a chance to join them. I didn’t have a ride so I hitch hiked my way down to the tournament, having been given the idea by Quebecois ultimate legend Marc Dallaire the summer before. I had hitch hiked before and I had picked up on an ultimate team before but this was the first, but certainly not the last, time I combined the two. In this case you could say it hadn’t all been done before.

Things get toothless in the recounting of the second time I ran into Andrew, literally. It had been one week and 10 months since we had last seen one another and we met at the Right to Play tournament in Moncton hosted by the Université de Moncton. We were playing on two different teams and we ended up in the finals against one another. Due to an unfortunate up the line cut head collided with tooth and I went down lying in bed just like Brian Wilson did. Much to the delight of a dentist in Fredericton with whom I established a very expensive relationship, I am sure if Andrew had a 1 000 000 dollars he would have helped me out. This is also why I now play with a mouth guard.

The above pics were taken by Fredericton residents, Sam and Mike, which is where I was last weekend playing in Playa Hatas Bowl. I got a ride down with some Islanders who were also tournament participants. My team, Spunk, came out a little below expectations but the tournament itself was exceptionally run even if a knee ligament was torn in doing so. The party on Saturday was quite something and and while I only claimed $30 in my budget section, had I been at an actual bar I am sure my tab would have been electric. This is probably what contributed to my sleeping space for the night being spent in the electrical closet of an apartment building a mere 10m away from the amazingly comfortable bed my wonderful host, Kayla, had reserved for me. Reminiscent of the Tremblant hotel laundry room sleep of several years ago.

Driving back to the Island post tournament and going out for some Chinese led us to think that playing a little Sunday night indoor ultimate was just what we needed and I got some more exposure to The PEI ultimate scene.

I branched out from the Island the next day, being Monday, and stopped at a breathtaking campsite in New Brunswick just after the bridge. However, I am self imposing a rule where I will no longer be biking on post-tournamnet Mondays. Not even the free 50th wedding anniversary celebration cake I received with lunch could get me over my fatigue. But hitting the campsite, almost being a part of an expecting couple’s photo shoot, and roasting some meat on a stick over a fire made for a lovely Monday evening. The sunset was quite something too.

I was sorry to break camp and head for Moncton, but I had been promised a place to stay with a bunch of bike stuff lying around by Jordan my host. Jordan was actually one of the first people to reach out to me completely of his own initiative having seen my website out on facebook. Am I ever glad he did as he has been an incredible host and he even took the afternoon off work to ride with me into Moncton. But more on the story of his amazing generosity later.

There are Moncton league games to be played and a day off that will involve neither bread nor biking, but I do plan on eating an entire box of cereal. Then my handlebars turn towards Fredericton.

As always the pictures page is being updated as I go.

If you can’t wait the few days to see pictures of a sunset streaming through my beard posted on the website, then check me out on facebook.

And if you want to hear some of my more memorable one liners and definitely some less memorable ones then you can follow me on twitter

PEI what you lack in size you make up for in character both hilly and otherwise and you were anything but a detour.

Moncton you were on deck but I already made it.

Fredericton you are on deck.

The dash: NS to NB to PEI

I had mentioned last time, I was concerned that if all the cool cats I met along the way gave me a gift I would never make it to Vancouver. I would like to clarify: baked goods are welcomed, particularly if they are as delicious as the ones I recieved leaving Truro. Now that I am starting to cover some ground I am interested in finding a sexy map that will upadte as I go. If you know of one contact me.

Sometimes I wish my bike could take pictures of me

Sometimes I wish my bike could take pictures of me

Cutting across the spine of Nova Scotia from the Bay of Fundy to the Northumberland Strait has its beauty. But peaking in the Appalachians was a double edged sword: so beautiful you want to take a picture and so cold you don’t want to stop and dig out your picture taking device. Finally on the way down it warmed up enough for me to snap a pic, seen on the right, but it was nowhere near the beauty of the frozen lakes beside railroad tracks with deep valleys in the distance, don’t worry I took a few good mental shots.

Lunching in Pugwash, NS then making my way across the provincial border into New Brunswick made up my afternoon and I finally got to see some sun while on the bike. I settled down in Port Elgin, NB pitching my tent in a public park right next to the water.

Campsite for the evening

Campsite for the evening

The following day I was twice called the true sign of spring. The second of the two times was while crossing the Confederation bridge into PEI. Apparently I was the first cyclist of the year. The first time was as I awoke from my tent having braved the night that dropped to -3 C an older gentleman pulled into the park to do some bird watching. I packed up my tent as we chatted. He told me he had already seen a red-breasted robin and a blue herron but the first true sign of Spring was seeing someone take on the cold in a tent. As I still had some organization to do our conversation drifted to the graveyard that was not all that far away from where we were standing, he told me it might be the oldest cemetery in Canada. Things got philosophical after he asked me what it was that I was doing and where I was going. After I told him about my trip. He said:

You know by the time either of us end up in the ground, with a headstone such as the ones next to us, all people will ever see is the date we were born and the date we died, the only thing that defines what we did in between is the dash separating those two dates.

Talk about your waker upper. He went on to encourage me to make the most of life because in the end it is just a dash. Well I thought it was a pretty neat conversation to have with someone at 7:30 on a Wednesday morning on the shore of the Atlantic Ocean. And we both went on our way.

PEI is a deceptively hilly litte province, and I may have taken Sam and Mike’s attempts to warn me a little too lightly. My foray at avoiding the hills by taking the lovely confederation trail was thwarted by snow patches and soft ground so after 1 Km or so I gave up and went back to the TransCanada. By the time I got to the place I would be staying just outside of Charlottetown I was wiped.

The Islanders wouldn’t let me down easy though as they had already organized their first outdoor ultimate game of the season, I hesitate to say in my honour, but there was something more than a coincidence to the planning. We had a blast playing, not to mention a great view of the harbour. The Island ultimate scene seems to really be taking off. I should have a write up in the next couple of days by a resident expert on the PEI ultimate story.

ulTIMate in Victoria Park

ulTIMate in Victoria Park

My PEI host, Patrick, is someone I met only last weekend at the Tournament of Fools in Halifax, and after a bit of interweb communicating he graciously opened his house, shower, and laundry to me, unbelievably generous, I think they call it Island hospitality. After practicing we stopped at Tim Hortons and returned to his house where he invited me to play Magic with him and his friends. Now I never envisioned myself playing Magic, especially after a day of ultimate and biking on PEI, but it was different and a neat experience. To be honest I would probably rather try to figure out if someone is bidding a weak 2 sitting around a table of 50 plus year olds playing bridge than try to figure out whether my knight is going to out-duel my opponent’s goblin, but hey glad to have tried it out.

I think this also brings me to a point about people who do decide to offer me their couch for night or two, I generally try to find their level. So if my host wants to sip water and go to bed at 8 I will probably appreciate the rest. Conversely if dropping acid and going to a rave is whats on the menu I will do what I can to keep pace. Whatever it takes, you have opened your home to me and I am not expecting just accepting.

On that note I have been getting words of support or offers of a place to stay on twitter, facebook, and email. From Cranbrook, BC to Hamilton, ON to Moncton, NB and places in between and not so in between from people who might know someone who knows me or who have no connection with me whatsoever. All I can say is wow and thank you. I feel that my dash grows bigger and deeper thanks to you and I hope I can be a positive experience on your dash too.

I have updated the picture page to call it pics ‘n ‘flics  there are some new pics and I linked the post with the video.

As much as it makes me queasy and uneasy I am sharing my financial details in my budget section.

Today I explore Charlottetown, maybe even so some burger loving. And tonight I head to Fredericton for a weekend of Playa Hating and a sibling reunion. I will come back to PEI to fetch my bike on Sunday and then the journey continues to Moncton.

So long NS you were a great place to get started.

Fredericton (round 1) you are on deck.