A long time coming...

0 degrees fahrenheit. No heat, no lights, solid block of drinking water, exploded beer, frozen ketchup and it's only 8pm. After all that, we still had each other and we still had our determination to realize our vision. Despite the circulating perceptions that this maniacal way of life would inevitably lead to a divorce, we are pleased to say that you were wrong! We are as happy as ever and every frozen bone was well worth it! After 4 years of living together in our 21ft RV, we managed to pay off our debts, Kirsten complete graduate school, Seth become a certified arborist, both work multiple jobs and manage to save up enough money to travel. So here we go. We hope that you can come along for the ride.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

We were smitten when we met our new friends here, Harry and Judy Wray, from Chicago. Once again, ominous skies backdrop our camping site along the southern shore of P.E.I. near Summerside.

Pedal Power

Our most recent adventures found us in Tidnish, NS bearing down on PEI amid overscast skies and seriously ominous clouds. We hoped the weather would hold out until we could find our next camping spot, but soon the skies opened and it began to dump (think Asian monsoon rains). The water on the road was up to our rims in no time, and just when we thought we were completely screwed, our favorite sign, the small, brown question mark from heaven, appeared out of nowhere...an information center. We followed the arrow 100yds up the road only to find it closed due to lack of government funds and support (so said the sign on the window). As it turned out, that was the best case scenario, as we commandeered the 10 square feet of covered porch space and took shelter. We had crackers, cheese and a half bottle of wine, left over from our tasting the day before, which we quickly devoured. We just as quickly realized that the rain was not stopping any time soon and that our tenting options were limited to 1)the porch where we stood, in very plain sight of the road or 2)the 4ft wide mowed buffer zone between the back of the building and the jungle-like tall grass wilderness beyond it. We opted for the latter and after waiting for an appropriate level of dusk to settle and an equally appropriate lull in the torrential madness, we quickly got our tent up, threw gear in, and then ourselves. After a restless (at best) nights sleep amid the constant patter of rain on the tent alternating between hard and really hard, we awoke to more rain, soggy everything and...SLUGS!...EVERYWHERE. And where there wasn't a slug, there was a gooey, slimy, disgusting trail of slug grossness where one had been....in our shoes (found 3), helmets, rain gear, soaked socks and all over the tent. We contemplated staying in the tent forever, not wanting to face the prospect of taking down the tent and our slug-infested gear in the rain, but decided our next destination was the nearest hotel and there we could deal with all of the sogginess. We headed to the town of Port Elgin, N.B. and its' one motel, Indian Point, run by a cute German woman and her Nova Scotian husband. We proceeded to assault every square inch of hook, chair-back, hanger and towel-rack space this tiny room offered, hanging clothes, gear and soaked shoes to dry. The German woman then proceeded to cook us a homemade breakfast from heaven with a huge spread of homemade breads, jams, jellies, eggs, bacon and the best coffee we have ever had! We gorged ourselves silly over cribbage and settled into a lovely day of lounging (on a bed!) and watching trashy, daytime television (the best Oprah we've ever watched!). We took long, hot showers with scrubbing, shaving, soap and all over cleanliness. Possibly the first ever haircut with a Gerber tool was conducted on Kirsten's hair in that little room. (Don't try this at home folks!) Seth is considering a new profession-or maybe we found a new sport for the Redneck Olympics!

We watched the weather channel, which included depressing forecasts of rain, rain and more rain! After a long and restful nights' sleep (again, on a real bed) we woke to overcast skies and ominous-looking clouds-by this point we have forgotten what the sun looks like, but it seemed it was holding steady and check-out time loomed, so we packed up our newly dried (mostly) gear and set off to conquer the 25k to the Confederation Bridge, linking New Brunswick to Prince Edward Island. If you are unfamiliar with this bridge, as we were, it is an engineering feat of almost incomprehensible proportions. It spans over 8 miles of open ocean and you almost can't see one side from the other. As bikes are not allowed on it, we waited amid the masses of mosquitoes for the shuttle that would take us across. According to some other cyclists we met from Quebec, Francois and Frederique, who had already been to PEI, calling for the shuttle was like calling God..."Hello, we're here on the N.B. side...can you come pick us up?" "I'll be there in ten minutes, replies God" He appears in a white van with a large bike trailer hauling behind.

Having finally made it to the other side after a lengthy wait, we found the nearest Tim Horton's for some coffee and a muffin (or 3...each). We set off then for Summerside, a small town where we hoped to secure a location to watch the Euro Cup finals on Sunday, find a laundromat and get some groceries. We marveled at the rich, deep red soil, abundant seas of potato fields and above all, a new map with a much more bike friendly scale...we were in Summerside in no time (~30k) where we stumbled upon the College of Piping and Celtic Arts weekend long festival of bagpiping, fiddle music and Scottish step-dancing...it was so fun! As we were enjoying the festivities, our bikes found us some new friends. We came back to find Harry, a poly-sci professor at DePaul University in Chicago checking them out and we instantly hit it off. He had done a cross country tour in the mid 70's, is a big fan of all things bike and was interested in our trip. We exchanged stories and talked about our bikes...he has even written a book on politics and biking (Pedal Power...check it out!) and after meeting our respectives wives, they went on their way. After meeting yet another cycle touring couple and chatting for a bit, Harry and his wife Judy returned, offering to take us to dinner!

Never missing an opportunity to make new friends and hear exciting tales from the road (not to mention eat!) we humbly accepted and proceeded to have a magical evening, eating delightful island food (killer mussels!) and talking about traveling, family, politics, etc. By the end of the night, we were exchanging emails and hugs and best wishes for all our travels (they were leaving today to drive back to Chicago). What a truly wonderful, serendipitous occasion (and we found ourselves stuffed full for the first time in weeks...thanks Harry and Judy!!). I can't wait to read Harry's book.

We found yet another superb camping spot a few minutes outside town and just a couple feet from the lapping tide and we are ready for another big day of adventure...and soocer...and rain (it's pouring right now).
Best wishes and love to all...do some "no more rain dances" for us...we love to get your emails and notes on the blog.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

On the Northumberland Strait

Headwinds BLOW!!!! Ughh. This is fun, but not every minute in equal measure. We hit a sick, sustained headwind all day yesterday. We decided we needed to rub our tailwind fetishes that Susan gave us a little more! Seth mercifully blocked the wind for me yesterday and made my legs feel a lot better. We also met our first pair of touring cyclists on that ride. They were a young couple our age from Montreal. We had fun chatting it up with them a bit. We've rode past many farms. Some proclaiming how long their farm has been held in family lineage. The oldest one we saw proudly declared "Family Farm Since 1783." The insects here are relentless. We've been peeling them off our face like wallpaper and with it our blood. Yet, we have been able to camp the last four nights on waterfront, which is gloriously scenic for after dinner reading and journaling. And....we managed to stop at a vineyard for wine tasting yesterday. Some of you would be proud and jealous, I know who you are! The winery was beautiful, 45 acres and a classy, large barn to display wines and sell boutique-ish things. We learned that the taproot of a grape vine grows forty feet into the earth. Amazing! Unfortunately, the cheese we bought to go with our crackers and wine melted to an oozy slime, so we just had to drink the wine! Today we are headed NW along the northumberland strait on the way to the PEI confederate bridge. We're in a cute little town,called Pugwash, apparently a world famous peaceful village. The coffee shop here has free internet access and we've been entertaining ourselves with coffee and cribbage. We miss all of you a ton! Kristie-You are hilariously...we totally made a scene laughing out loud in this coffee shop when we read about Edwards St. carrots! I was singing "this is for tha G's and this is for tha hustlas..." the other day...and I kept thinking of you. Thanks everyone for keeping in touch. It's great to hear from all of you. with love- kirst and seth

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

We've made a bit of headway since I was able to write last. We've probably rode over 400 miles by now and our ravenous appetites cannot be satiated! We feel like eating everything in sight. I was just in the grocery store and hotdogs looked good to me if that says something. We've run into some exciting people recently. We met an elderly woman named Hilda at Tim Horton's, the Canadian version of Dunkin Donuts- She seemed so lonely and probably had her wits about her in better days, but she was a delight to listen to. She told us she had 6 kids. The 1st four all girls and when her husband said the 5th was a boy, she didn't believe him. So he turned the baby around to show her and he pee'd all over her! She was a hoot. The next morning, Sunday, we were riding through a small town and came across an elderly woman walking across the crosswalk coming out of church. We stopped for her of course and exchanged our customary "good mornings" and she shouted, "I envy you!" I glanced at my fully loaded bike, wondering how she could be jealous of this load and questioned, "Really???" She pumped her fist in the air and shouted a triumphant, "To Be Young!"
That same day we met Allan. He had a dozen bikes all lined up on his front lawn in his "collection" Most had streamers on the handlebars and funky art attached to them. When we stopped to take pictures, he came out to give us the tour. Seth said he had a lot of stuff and even more to talk about. A boy he did. The photo here shows the bike that he put a portable record player in and he kept his records in the front basket. He demonstrated the differing pitches of the horns, the mufflers, the dancing Elvis, the flags, buttons and so much more. Then he took us into his tool shed and showed us his collection of you name it. He like to play a little game with us. It was kind of like 20 questions but only backwards. He asked, "Do you have a garden? What do you think you use this for?" Our reponses were always close but never on the mark and he would say, "You're getting there, I'll give you a hint...." And this went on and on for at least 10 different tools. This man had over 100 tricycles in his garage. He said he brings them all out for July 1st, Canada's independence Day. Can you even imagine? We even signed his guestbook.
Later in the day, we went to a beautiful provincial park to camp. We have a site right on the Meander river and there was no one there since it was Monday. We decided to stay an extra day to give our bodies and well deserved day off. It felt great. Seth made a couple rock sculptures with these river rocks that were extremely flat, we read a lot, ate and just plain laid around. Ooh-and we made strawberry-rhubard otameal-yum! We have decided to head north to the northumberland strait to get a change of scenery. We have heard that the water is really warm for swimming and then we'll head to P.E.I. It is a joy to hear from those of you who have written...Kristie & Jenny...mom...Jess
We love you all! Kirsten&Seth

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Slowing Down and Taking it In

Whew! We feel like we've been riding forever and barely covering inches on the map. Nova Scotia looks so big from this point of view. We have been trying to branch off and take sides roads, but each time we do, it seems to slow our place down to a snails crawl. We've been meeting some really great people though. Yesterday was Yard Sale Saturday. People sell all kinds of junk here & wherever! Tables with crap and a sign that says $1. I have a lot more fun stuff to share, but Seth just came in and informed me that the rain is coming and we might want to get a jump on it. Whoaa more rain-I'm starting to get used to it-almost everyday!
Will write again. From Windsor, N.S. K&S

Friday, June 20, 2008

On Atlantic Time

Nova Scotia is so far a cyclists paradise. We have been having a splendid morning riding rolling hills on a rural road along the western coast heading north out of Digby. We foung this little internet cafe in Annapolis Royal, the first established town is N.S., (400 yrs old) so we were told. Apparently, we just missed "Riding the Lobster"-an 800 kilometer unicycle relay race! We saw pictures in the paper-it's too bad we barely missed them rolling through town. We were told it was quite a sight seeing the unicyclists bob through town without being able to stop.

After quite a boring ride through SW New Brunswick and iffy weather, we decided to hop the very large ferry across the Bay of Fundy into Digby, N.S. The ferry left at 11pm and therefore, arrived at 2am. Unsure of where we were going to sleep for the night, Seth asked the attendant at the ferry terminal about nearby campgrounds and he offered the little grassy picnic spot next to the ferry dock. He was right on about it being bright and noisy, but we caught some zzz's and ran into no problems. It was quite a sight, setting up in between a concrete slab, a chain-link fence and a huge ship!

The weather is fantastic today. The houses and cottages are quaint and the rhodendrons are bursting with color. Seth described them as being in such full bloom that their buds look like they could topple the whole plant over on its' end. We've run into plenty of friendly folks...some that try to get an word in edge-wise with each other to tell us the "best" places to visit. Our plan so far is to head north along the coast through Cape Chignecto and onto Prince Edward Island. We are having fun, in good spirits and health. Yeah for sunny weather. We love and miss you all. K & S

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Oh Canada!

Hey Y'all!
We made it to Canada after being holed up in northern Maine because of incessant rain. We took a day off and stayed in a campground for two nights near Lubec, ME to wait out the rain, but it just didn't stop. So after feeling a little ancy, we hit the road in the coldy mist and crossed over the FDR bridge to Campobello Island and ferried to Deer Island and onto mainland New Brunswick. It was too bad the weather was crummy, because the scenic views would have been gorgeous, but we couldn't see a thing! Last night we stayed at a beautiful provincial park on the beach, called New River Beach. I was really thrilled to be on a beach. Believe it or not, we've been riding up the coast for a week, but haven't spent any time on a beach. We're about to catch another ferry from St. John's to Digby, Nova Scotia, a 3 hr ride. We'll catch up again soon....Jess-You go girl!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Day #4

We made it to Machias this morning, which is about 40 miles from the border crossing that we're planning on taking through Campobello Island and then on to mainland New Brunswick. The last couple of days have been going really smoothly. Susan and Nancy met us in Belfast for lunch on Saturday and then we headed north mid afternoon. The roads were really nice and the hills flattened out slightly. Some of the ride was beautiful, especially a scenic byway along the coast. Others were less appealing as we headed inland. The second night we camped next to a beautiful lake and had a nice swim and last night we slept next to a patch of blueberries. It's a good thing they're not in season yet, because we probably wouldn't get very far with Seth's appetite for blueberries.

Yesterday, a front started moving in and we got a little rain last night and a hazy, wet mist as we were riding this morning. It is nice to be in library that is dry! We have been getting across Maine quicker than we thought, riding about 45 miles a day. My legs are starting to feel a little fatigued and are ready for a break on the beach. Talk to you all soon. K&S

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Our 1st Day Out!

Seth and I are doing great! We left Belgrade yesterday morning, 7:15am. Susan, Seth's mom saw us off on our travels and met us further down the road to give us the formal send-off. The morning miles were fantastic...the bikes were riding well and the weather was calm and cool. The first ten miles or so, we rode without a shoulder, but there were pretty few cars, so it was alright. We ran into a stretch of a nice wide shoulder and then on and off again until we got here in Belfast, on the coast this morning. We rode about 45 miles yesterday and stayed at a nice camp spot off the main road. We pretty much crashed as we hadn't slept much the night before. Seth and I both had butterflies in our stomachs and I was pretty much a wrecking ball on Thursday, but we're feeling great now.
Along the way, we met a few cute old folks...One lady, Eva was an 89 year-old cancer survivor that was born and raised in this little town. She was a total hoot and loved to talk with us. Then, we met some old men sitting in front of a gas station, like it was right out of a soda commercial from the early 90s. They were in this podunk town, called Freedom. One fella told us all we had to do was climb 2 big hills and then it was all downhill to the coast from there. I don't know what kind of dementia he had or how much fun he had making suckahs out of us, but it definitely wasn't all downhill...and either is Maine for that matter. We climbed a lot of hills yesterday. Our bodies feel good, except a little saddle sore. The drivers here are very courteous though. They give us a lot of room, which feels reassuring that we won't get run over. Unfortunately, the Belfast Public Library will not allow me to use any type of memory device in their computers (I had to sign a contract) so I can't download any pictures at this time. I will as soon as I can, though.
This afternoon, we're headed further north along the coast on Route 1. Hope all is well with everyone. love-k&s

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Kayaking in Maine

Seth, Susan and I spent a fantastic day kayaking around Bigham's Cove.  The weather was a perfect, calm day and very few people were out on the water.