Sunday, August 3, 2008

Aug 3: I made it! YAY!!!

Well, I got to Cape Spear today and after having looked at the compass on the front of my bike pointing East all the way across the country, finally I got out to the point of land and the compass pointed East and there wasn't any more land. DONE!!

But a quick review of the last few days:
Aug 2: 52k to Whitburne, NL
Aug 3: 85k to Mile Zero, St John's, and then another 42k with going around town and then going out to Cape Spear in the afternoon/evening, for 127k overall.

The ferry to Argentia was great, I found a nice spot to sleep and we had nice views of the Burin peninsula and Avalon in the morning. Breakfast and lunch were free (because the ferry was late and slow, I guess) so I got two breakfasts and a lunch to fill me up. On the ferry I also met three other guys on bikes, two doing coast-to-coast, all with interesting stories - they were Mark, Donny and Jody, the latter going Toronto to St John's. That afternoon after getting off the ferry I went past Whitburne, passed 8000km and camped in a lovely forest with deep plush moss to sleep on, and I was up early and on the road by 7, all keen to get into town today. I came in on the Trans-Can and then Hwys 90 and then 60 through Conception Bay South and through Topsail and into town that way, which was OK enough, though mostly strip malls through CBS and into St John's, but fairly direct. I rode a few bits of the Trans-Canada Trail, both yesterday (a shortcut between Hwy 100 and Whitbourne) and a few bits today, and they were rideable (especially today - into town it seems to be all nice crushed gravel) but slower than the highway.

I got to town about 1:30 and rode down the waterfront looking for the Mile Zero marker, but I couldn't find it! so I went to the tourist info and it turns out it is not on the waterfront but a few blocks up, next to city hall, so I went there and Mark from the ferry had just arrived as well and was taking pictures with his family from town (he is an expat newfie) so I politely waited until they were done before taking pictures. The marker itself is kind of modest. Oh well. Mark's uncle, after we discussed how cool it was that some of his family were there to meet him, gave me his cellphone and said "call your mother!" I said, "oh I can't do that, it's long distance you know, in fact the most long distance you can get!" but he insisted so I called mum and dad from there, which was pretty neat. I also took photos at the Terry Fox memorial (not as big as Victoria's), at the only spot on the waterfront we could get our bikes down to to dip the wheels (and throw in the pebble, mum), and at the Mile Zero of the Trans Canada Trail.

The hostel in town let me camp in the backyard, and they didn't want to charge me, which is nice. After setting up there I went out to Cape Spear - easternmost point in North America - and back. Thank goodness I left my stuff in town and the bike was empty because there are three honker hills to get over on the way out! It is about 17k and it took me over an hour each way, with an unloaded bike.

And now I'm going to spend a couple of days checking out St John's before heading back to the ferry. I hope to get down to Cape St Mary's on the way.

It feels very strange to be here, end of the road and all. I still can't quite believe it's over, more or less - I still have to get to Halifax, but the point-to-point mentality is gone and I can relax and sort of do what I want, take a bus if I want to get somewhere fast, hitch rides, etc. Probably I'm not likely to do that, just ride all the way, but the point is that I could if I wanted to! I met a guy (named Andrew) in the hostel who has been exploring Nova Scotia and Newfoundland on bike for about a month now and is basically just going where he wants at whatever pace, what a nice way to travel.

Thanks everyone for emails and whatnot of support, it is really great to hear from people at home and hear what you have to think about all this. It still kind of boggles my mind. More updates whenever internet is available...


PS I won't be posting photos with my blog posts because that requires a card reader, which only Mary has. Sorry!!


Anonymous said...

Wow Mark! Congrats on an amazing accomplishment! We are very proud of your completion. . Do you feel really Canadian now?

LillAnne Claudio & Gemma

Unknown said...

singing "Bravo, bravo, bravo-bravisable. Bravo, bravo, very well done! Well done! well done!" Congratulations little brother! :-)


Mary Sanseverino said...

ALRIGHT MARK!! We are now in Corner Brook. It must have felt great to hit Mile 0. We'll be there soon.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations, man! May the road ahead be just as incredible as the road behind. :)