36.0 mi / 10.9 mph / 1514 ft. climbing
Home: Dawn’s AirBNB
During our three days and four nights in Pictou, the only time either of us left the house was when I made one ride back out to the grocery store. We normally hole up pretty solidly when we have a multi-night roof to stay under, but this was extreme even for us. Pictou seemed like a nice enough historic harbor town, but exploring it didn’t rise to take priority over staying in, catching some much-needed downtime, doing laundry, drying camping gear, and cooking all of our own meals. In a sign of our progress, we didn’t even have a discussion where we repeated to each other that we don’t need to “feel guilty” about not seeing every possible place; we simply came to that consensus without a reminder!
There had only been a couple periods of actual rain during our stay, though the would-be-headwinds stayed consistently high, waving the heavy-leafed trees surrounding the house (even if I don’t think we quite got the 45mph gusts that were forecast). Either way, we certainly didn’t feel like we were “wasting” any nice bike-riding days.
And even upon departure, we still had one more day of high winds before they would relax again. Luckily, they had shifted enough to be coming more from the north, which would result in crosswinds at the worst. Rett still had a lot of biking difficulty coming out of Pictou, and the moment when we were suddenly blasted by a huge gust from the right as we got sucked down a hill was scary even for me, so that definitely didn’t help her confidence.
Luckily after that, we turned south enough to have the wind mostly pushing us, and even when we eventually turned more westerly, the thick Nova Scotian forests did a stout job of protecting us from crosswinds. We had a nice middle-of-nowhere chat with a Dutch bike tourer headed the other way to PEI. Our route was largely a backtrack, so we knew we’d have a long stretch of quiet and empty Route 4 taking us west toward Truro, but this was also such an empty area we had to traverse significant distance in order to reach shelter for the night.
Luckily Dawn’s suburban lower-level-of-their-house AirBNB, the first available place on our route, was one of the best-value AirBNB’s we’ve ever stayed in, incredibly well-equipped and comfortable, with laundry included (and we definitely turned the heat up too). Too bad we couldn’t really make use of their gorgeous outdoor space. As an illustration of the difficulty we frequently have keeping all the details straight when looking at so many possibilities of places to stay, we initially thought we messed up because we’d bought a frozen pizza at the convenience store on the way in, only to discover that there was just a cooktop here, with no oven. Whoops! But no worries, a test-fit showed that the pizza actually fits perfectly in the counter-top convection oven/air fryer they had (and probably cooked better, and definitely more-efficiently than a full-sized oven!) Problem solved and knowledge gained!