~140 mi via U-Haul
Home: Rodd Grand Hotel
When we left Prince Edward Island two weeks ago, and decided on a route back through Nova Scotia, we also established a goal to be in Boston, MA for the second week of October. If everything fell into place, we would be able to ride the whole way (except for the ferry back to Bar Harbor, Maine!), but in our back pocket we knew that there was a train we could take into the Boston area that would cut off a few days of riding. Well, the weather’s decision to be abnormally and consistently unfavorable already told us that we’d be taking advantage of that train, but being forced to a standstill by Hurricane Fiona meant that we’d now need even more help than that.
So rather than spending four days riding into headwinds to get us to Yarmouth and the ferry, we would be using the U-Haul option for our second time in Nova Scotia. U-Haul doesn’t rent the small(-ish) cargo vans that we used last time for one-way trips, so our best option was a ~10mpg 15 ft. truck. So although the rental was only US$140, our gas bill ended up being US$87 on top of that. Part of the reason we went with the U-Haul at all was because I was able to use a hard-to-believe hack I’d discovered to get a good price. If I searched for Kentville to Yarmouth, I’d get quoted a $540 rate. But if I put Digby (a city much closer to Yarmouth) as the origin, I got the the $140 rate. Sure, that makes some sense, it’s a shorter distance, maybe it’s easier to keep the fleet balanced, those cities are in the same “zone”, whatever. But then I could say “sure, I’ll take that deal, but you know what, can I pick it up at this dealer in Kentville instead?” The website says “sure, no problem”…and then doesn’t change the $140 rate! Even though I’ll be picking it up from the same dealer that it defaulted to when it gave me the $540 rate! Very odd, and until I got the final charge on my credit card, I wasn’t sure that I’d in fact still get the $140 rate.
The drive was pretty uneventful and gray, meaning that we weren’t too sad to not be riding, but of course we also had the knowledge that the act of driving is a big contributor to making it feel uneventful. Nowhere along the route did we see any damage or other evidence that Fiona had just swept through the province a couple days ago.
We stopped in Digby for lunch, a harbor town famous for their scallops. So we went to once of the many waterfront restaurants and both got their scallop combos (bacon-wrapped, deep-fried, and pan-seared). They were good, but still nothing close to the scallops that were gifted to us on the southern coast of Nova Scotia during our first week here.
We countered that expensive, place-specific lunch with cheap, generic, Taco Bell dinner. This was the same Taco Bell in Yarmouth that we’d visited on our first day in Canada, nearly two months ago. And somehow, the manager immediately remembered us! And not just like “I vaguely recognize you”, but she remembered our chat from the last time and that we were headed for Prince Edward Island, and she asked how it all worked out for us! She must just really like access to unlimited Crunchwrap Supremes, because she seems way overqualified to be working in a Taco Bell! And for us, beyond the fun chat and “being recognized”, it was a nice bookend and a way to reflect on our last two months.
I dropped Rett and our luggage and her bike back at the same hotel we also stayed at previously, got them all moved up to our room, and then successfully remembered to not drive the U-Haul forward under the hotel’s canopy that might have ripped the top off. Drove a few miles back out to a car-repair shop, parked the truck in a random spot in the middle of a menagerie of busted vehicles, went through the check-in process on my phone, dropped the key in a box, and hoped that this human-free process continues to work! Hopped on the bike back to the hotel for my final few miles in Canada, and called it a night after our re-heated Taco Bell dinner.