40.5 mi / 10.3 mph / 1619 ft. climbing
Home: Mary and Bernie’s WarmShowers house
This time, fully-prepared for morning rain, we woke to…nothing. Not even any condensation on the tent; it was our driest morning so far in Nova Scotia! Ugh, stupid weather. I’ve never been in an area where the various forecast models give such divergent results, which makes it more difficult than usual to make actionable plans around the weather.We still went ahead with our plans to do breakfast in the (bath)house kitchen though. Not least because we’d packed up everything last night, including the stove, which we usually don’t do. So we made coffee with their electric kettle, though unfortunately couldn’t toast our bagels since the toaster doesn’t work (or, I don’t know how to work Canadian toasters?)
The road out of the campground continued like it had on our way in: a relatively-poor surface, lined with vacation resort cottages (and even a modern, multi-story hotel(?) building that was the first such thing we’d seen in Nova Scotia). I guess we’re getting close enough to Halifax for these seaside spots to be in quick-getaway range?
Our first turn into Liverpool, we pulled off with the Neil-scout-ahead trick. But then at the center-of-town stop-sign left turn, with lines of cars in every direction, Rett felt she had no chance of restarting so she hopped off immediately and ran onto the sidewalk. We walked a couple blocks across a bridge, and then stopped at a parking lot driveway to restart. But traffic kept coming down the narrow city street with frustrating regularity, and Rett’s fear-pain-rage boiled up to a level close to the morning a week ago outside Yarmouth where we nearly quit.
We finally decided to just continue walking to the grocery store that we were planning to stop at a half-mile down the road anyway. And it was actually nice because at walking speed we could admire all the elegant old houses in Liverpool, something we both enjoy doing and should probably do more often (there were surprisingly-few Beatles-related historical markers).
We found Rett a less-chaotic starting position on the way out of the grocery store, and we were rolling again. Today was the day that the heat was finally supposed to abate, with the Heat Warning going inactive after being active for days. Rett felt a bit bait-and-switched to learn that the front had not yet passed through by morning, so there was still some mugginess to oppress us, but by the time we stopped for lunch, she needed to put on her down jacket while we ate. Success!
We ate at a park in Vogler’s Cove, a place so unnoticable, on a coast road so quiet, that it was surprising to find a park there at all, much less the wonderfully-appointed waterfront park that we found. We made our lunch on one of the high tables under the shelter, and then moved to some Adirondack chairs to look out into the bay as we ate.
We were on this coastal road again, tracing the edges of the lobes, because in this case we would be taking a ferry that connects one lobe to another, letting us enjoy the water without needing to turn back inland. Once we set out again after lunch, our pace had us frustratingly reaching that ferry, 15 miles away, somewhere near 4pm. Frustrating, because the we had multiple recommendations telling us to stop at the LaHave Bakery, just before the ferry, and it closes (stupidly!) at 4pm.
I relayed this to Rett, and she made the call to just skip it, rather than adding more stress to the day’s ride by pushing it. The problem was, even without pushing it, the arrow our pace was pointing at failed to ever push clearly past that 4pm deadline. Unless we actually stopped and took a decent break (something Rett currently doesn’t like to do!) we would inevitably keep ourselves right on that maybe/maybe-not edge.
So at 3:52pm, a mile away, Rett gave me permission to do something I almost never do: leave her tail and ride out ahead of her. I screeched my bike to a halt and got myself in the door at 3:55pm, and then let Rett in (between the attempts of the workers to soft-close the door) when she safely rolled up a few minutes later. Success again! (without even really trying). We loaded up on boxful of various treats, a few cold drinks and I threw in a pack of oat-cakes since I had a vague impression that they’re a Nova Scotia thing.
We sat out front (under the awning amid a new drizzle) to savor some of our spoils, and had a nice chat with a couple of guys about various places to see in Nova Scotia. Eventually they left, and with the shop closed up, we were the only people hanging out, but no one harassed us away. We could see the ferry picking up and dropping off nearly-full loads for its 4:30pm and 5pm runs, but by the time we went over for the 5:30pm, it was us and one car. Rush hour on the Nova Scotia coast was over!
The ferry is free, crosses back and forth on a 30 minute cycle, and, despite essentially being a barge that pulls itself along a cable, was an oddly-seaworthy and well-equipped vessel. I figure the poor pilot never hears the end of it from his boating friends: “haha, Mark, do you need to pull yourself along a cable to get from your couch to the fridge too?”
Just a half mile down the road on the other side of the ferry was the WarmShowers house we’d be staying at. Bernie, who knew when we’d roll up based on the rhythms of the ferry traffic, met us out on their really smooth asphalt driveway. We got to meet him and his wife Mary, both originally from Ireland, then to Alberta, and now for more than a decade in their beloved beautiful house on this gorgeous flower-filled property bought almost on a whim in Nova Scotia. Bernie showed us to our room upstairs, and by the time we both finished our warm showers, dinner was ready and served on their patio table, filled with scallops and other seafood from their “seafood guy” (who is a girl in this case).
We all talked long into the night, with topics ranging from immigrating to Canada, retirement, and counter-steering (the latter part of my quest to see if other cyclists can provide and insight or advice that might help cure Rett’s starting troubles). Not that we had any doubt, but it turns out that Canadian WarmShowers hosts are just as generous, interesting, and a joy to get to know as their American counterparts.