Yarmouth, NS

Day 2

Home: Rodd Grand Hotel

Like our Chicago->Skaneateles segment, the Skaneateles->Mount Desert Island segment we just completed is our second time at it. So again I can do a statistical comparison. Unlike Chicago->Skaneateles, we intentionally took a much different route for this “repeat”, going “direct” over the mountains of New York, Vermont, and New Hampshire, rather than going around them through Quebec like we did in 2016.

Total Miles606578
Total Riding Time57.2 hours46.1 hours
Total Climbing25719 ft.18544 ft.
Days of Riding1411
Off Days41
Average speed10.6 mph12.5 mph
Days with <11mph average91
Days with >11mph average510
Nights camping76

So while we knew we’d definitely have a lot more climbing (39% more), the “direct” route actually ended up being slightly (5%) longer too! Also unlike the Chicago->Skaneateles segment, where the 2022 stats showed Rett to be a much-faster cyclist than her just-learned-to-ride 2014 self, these new stats show she was actually faster in 2016 than she is now. Of course she was also in a lot more physical pain in that 2016 segment, so some of the slowdown is due to our growing wisdom to not push so hard.

Anyway, forward to uncharted territory! When we crossed into Mexico, we spent three nights at an AirBNB. Here in Canada we booked only two hotel nights, but that was after I convinced Rett that her idea to go straight off the ferry to a campground six miles outside of town could be risky if the ferry was late, we ran into border delays, weather, etc. Given how smooth the ferry went, two nights probably was overkill, and we probably could have even pulled off the campground, but at least this gave us a little more time to see much of Yarmouth.

We walked back down to the waterfront, reading the historical signs, where the most interesting bit was how unapologetically proud Nova Scotia seems to be about their role in the rum-running trade during the Prohibition Era in the United States. We headed north to Taco Bell, where the slow-responding clerk got our order wrong, but the manager put things straight and then launched into a five-minute friendly chat about places to go on Prince Edward Island. Ah Canada, proving the “friendly” stereotype correct as quickly as possible.

Looking across to the peninsula on the western side of Yarmouth Bay, which gets really shallow and muddy at its northern end.
They seem to really like their hydrangeas in Yarmouth. ©Rett
More hydrangeas in Yarmouth.

We brought our fine dining takeout back south to Heritage Brewing, one of the more active places in the not-dying, but not-quite-thriving central strip of Yarmouth (being dominated by at least five bank branches is an oddity that doesn’t help the weekend foot traffic!) Being here, and seeing what was likely the line of cars from today’s ferry entering town, it became really clear what a dramatic effect the existence or non-existence of the ferry can have on the economic outlook for Yarmouth. And the ferry’s existence has been far from predictable, with no service between 2009 and 2013, and then from three years between 2019 to 2021, with service only recently resuming this summer. With the ferry, Yarmouth becomes a jumping-off point for American tourists, its peninsula-end location being a big advantage. Without it, it’s an extremely-isolated backwater at the far western edge of a peninsula connected to nothing.

A vintage Yarmouth building that has seen better days.
Crescent moon over Yarmouth Bay.
Yarmouth sunset.

Day 3

5.8 mi / 8.2 mph / 150 ft. climbing
Home: Camper’s Haven Campground

We got breakfast in the hotel restaurant for the second morning in a row, then waited until checkout to exit our room since we had almost no distance to cover to hit the campground Rett had found for us days earlier. The idea was to give us some more time to plan and relax, while getting us some cheaper accommodations.

On the way out of town we hit the ugly modern commercial strip and stopped at the only Walmart between here and Halifax (or maybe Bridgewater?) On the busy shoulderless NS-3 highway running out of town, Rett had a really tough time getting the bike started, so unfortunately crossing over to Canada hasn’t dissipated the black cloud that has been growing across her mind-body interface over the last week.

Early check-in was no problem at all at the campground, so I finally had time to spray Rett’s camp outfit with Pemetherin. It’s been difficult to find a time/place to do it, because it needs to be done outdoors, and then needs to dry for a few hours, and up until now she’s needed to wear her pants/sleeves for mosquito protection during those outdoor-in-camp times. Not that we were mosquito-free here even in mid-afternoon, but it was manageable. And still near the coast, the promised comfortable temperatures of Nova Scotia had replaced the debilitating heat of Maine.

Our Camper’s Haven campsite #1. The woods here, though similar to Maine in their relatively-short stature, feel even more “northern”, so it really does feel like we have come to a new place.
Our campsite from the other side.
I’m gonna call this a Tootbrush Caterpillar.


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