51.9 mi / 10.7 mph / 1886 ft. climbing
Home: Twisted Tent Geodesic Dome Glampsite
Unlike most times when we’re at a campground where other bike tourers are staying, Emma was kind enough to still be at her campsite by the time we got out of our tent. She says it’s because she “slept in” for an extra half-hour because it was too cold outside (she’s out here doing this all with only two panniers, so she must have barely any clothes), but I really think she was just trying to not make us feel like lazy sloths.
We repeated the uphill-and-downhill to get out of the campground, and then returned to more beautiful farm-country riding on a still-empty Route 2. As we approached our turning point at Truro about 20 miles in, the road surface turned to absolute trash, which combined with the increased traffic and light rain for a trifecta of terribleness. But maybe it’s better to have all of that junk smashed together for a brief period than stretched out separately for a dozen miles?
With this just being Rett’s second day back to feeling marginally comfortable on the bike, I was fully-supportive of keeping the days short and easy and just stopping for the night at a motel in Truro. But she was willing to make the much-longer jump to the next available habitation 30 miles east. That would make it the longest distance we’ve gone in six weeks, kind of like pitching a complete game in your first rehab start after Tommy John surgery, but ok!
Now on Route 4, the steady stream of traffic out of Truro soon dropped off, and then decreased again, and then fell to nearly nothing. Not needing to be concerned about cars at all definitely made the big-mile day easier for Rett. We stopped for lunch at an empty pull-out lot, that, despite the vastly different vegetation, gave me strong vibes of some of our roadside lunches in Baja; only a handful of cars went by during our entire lunch (or, maybe it was just the unusually-high-for-Canada amount of trash scattered in the brush).
As we continued on, we even got wide shoulders, which barely exist in Nova Scotia! (we later learned that this was once the main highway, until they built the new double-track highway that parallels it 20 years ago, so they had the extra width available). The first bit of civilization near the end of that 30-mile stretch was an NSLC liquor store, such an odd surprise outpost in the middle of nowhere. Soon after was “Twisted Tent”, the glamping campground we’d booked on AirBNB, because there was supposed to be rain overnight, and we wanted a roof that wasn’t our own tent.
The owners weren’t initially on-hand, but a guy from the go-kart track on the property (who was also helping to build up the newly-opened campground) came to show us to our site. Our huge bell tent was immaculately appointed inside and out. There were snacks, homemade vegan “honey”, and a cooler with ice. Outside was just as impressive, with a set of cooking tools and ingredients (oil! vinegar!) more-extensive than most AirBNB houses we stay in! Walking around to the outdoor shower (which was wonderful for me because the gas got hooked up to augment the sun-heated water tanks just after Rett’s shower), I was amazed at how every detail had been thought of (e.g., first-aid kits strapped to trees along the perfectly-graded gravel paths, sawdust for the porta-potty, and a hand-washing station (with soap and towel!) outside of it).
I rode a quarter-mile over to the also-middle-of-nowhere WhistleBerry Market to pick up some items for dinner, but it was such an unexpected combination of local produce, artisan products, and made-to-order food (all run by vaguely-Amish-appearing staff) that I decided it was best to just ride back to camp, collect Rett, and walk over so that she could shop the place on her own and we could simplify with dinner there after the day’s long ride.
Walking back to our tent-house across the campground property, we ran into the owners, who generously and perceptively asked if we’d like to change sites, since our neighbors had returned with their three energetic young boys. They would be happy to put us in the geodesic dome thing that we’d just walked by and peeked in on. Um, ok! (They also have hammock-tents, and floating tents(?!) on their pond that you row out to to sleep in…the latter was the initial hook that grabbed our curiosity, but we decided that wasn’t very practical for us). An extra bonus that made this the perfect stop for us was that we didn’t know if we’d want to continue riding tomorrow, or if the weather/wear would be telling us to take a day off, and they said it would be no problem for us to wait until tomorrow to make a late decision about that.
We also got to learn more about the history of the property, which had been a small amusement park run by the current owner’s father, but after years of creating nostalgic memories for local kids, had then fallen into disrepair. There are still remnants of the park awaiting dismantling, though they add significantly to the charm (especially the Storybook Village houses), so hopefully they won’t completely go away as they convert the land to this new vision. It seems like an incredible amount of work, but with what they’ve done so far, it’s hard to imagine it not being a success, and we’re so glad that we had the opportunity to stay here in these early days.