I want to acknowledge and sincerely thank the following Great Canadians who hosted me on my cross-Canada journey and/or toured me around their ‘hoods while I was visiting. I really hope I haven’t missed anyone! A big dose of gratitude to all of you who have provided such outstanding moral support and encouragement to keep me going every day!
Janice & Joe – Kamloops, BC
Mikaela – Prince George, BC
Leslie & Florian – hosts and tour guides around Prince Rupert, BC and ride companions to Kitwanga
Anne – host and tour guide around Whitehorse, YT
Alexis & Steve – hosts and tour guides around Fort McMurray, AB
Glenn – ride company from Athabasca to Fort McMurray, AB
Fred & Gertie – breakfast hosts in Tobin Lake, SK
Gord & Bert – hosts and tour guides around Flin Flon, MB
Mom and Don – McCreary, MB
Dad & Shirley – Arden, MB
Elaine & Brian – hosts and bike babysitters, Winnipeg, MB
Kim & Dale - lunch providers and rock star moral support, Winnipeg, MB
Doug McLarty – tour guide in Rankin Inlet, Nunavut
Neil & Christine – Dryden, ON
Grace & Grant – Thunder Bay, ON
Phil – tour guide in Ontario
Guylaine – host and tour guide extraordinaire in Shawinigan/Quebec City, QC
Candice & Greg – hosts and tour guides around Breadalbane, NB
Patricia & Andrew – hosts and tour guides around Halifax, NS
Reg & Ella – hosts & tour guides around Halifax, NS
Art – coffee infusion and tour advisor, Stillwater, NS
Junior & Heather – hosts, tour guides and party creators - Random Island, NL
Pam & Rob – hosts and tour guides in Cardigan, PEI
Ron & Anne – hosts and tour advisors, South Melville, PEI
Zane & Claire – hosts and tour guides, Moncton, NB
Well, my last day in Moncton has been absolutely lovely. Zane made breakfast and showed me around their property. It is a lovely spot, backing onto a valley that provides privacy within a pretty and well-kept neighbourhood. I loved the little log cabin built in the trees and thought if Bronwyn saw that, I might never see her again! Zane is a guy who likes to keep busy and showed me some of his projects, from making his own miniature cannons to the ottoman made from his father's WWII trunk. They have an interesting collection of antiques and unique items acquired through family over the years.
Through Claire's work, they have travelled to Europe and had so many great experiences. They had lots of great stories about their travels and experiences and I was very happy that we ran into each other (no injuries sustained). Zane and I share an irreverent and somewhat smart-ass sense of humour and fortunately for me, Claire tolerated this nonsense with extreme grace.
Claire and Zane took me out for a drive and we made it out to Cape Enrage, stopping on the wind-swept, pebbled beach to appreciate the beauty. Along the way, we stopped at an old cemetery where they knew there was a bald eagle next. We saw the huge next, but no eagles were at home. We also found a pottery shop with an artisan that Claire knew of, and also stumbled upon a glass blower’s studio on our route. Pleasant little detours that got us out of the car to meet cool people.
Making our way to Alma, we stopped for lunch at the Alma Boathouse Restaurant. The food was fabulous and we left feeling we would survive until supper time. Alma has a few lobster stores and we stopped at one to have a look at the poor beasties that were destined for lobster rolls and other dinners. I have never seen lobster so big!
Claire had said there was a bakery in Alma that sold the best sticky buns ever. Thinking we would pick some up after lunch. While the place only had one other person in it when we arrived, it filled up right behind us and there was a collection “AWWWWW!” when we heard they were sold out of sticky buns. So we left empty-handed and determined we would stop for ice cream on the way back to Moncton. We (or rather I), were so busy yakking away that we passed several ice cream places and never did manage to stop in time.
Back at “home”, we had a bit of a break and freshen up before heading to the Blue Olive in Moncton for supper. Goodness knows we don’t want to starve to death! This was a Tunisian restaurant with a varied menu and the food was great. They were a little haphazard about service, but we enjoyed ourselves anyway and had another good meal.
Martha and Ellie (the household pets), were a bit disgusted with us for leaving them alone most of the day, but readily forgave us once we were settled for the evening. I bored Zane and Claire with videos and pictures of the kids and my trip before heading for bed.
This morning, I was treated to Zane’s blueberry pancakes and eggs and coffee. After some last-chance pictures of us all, they drove me to the airport and we made our farewells. Their hospitality has been above and beyond anyone’s expectations and I hope there will be a chance to repay it in the future. While I am looking forward to being home, it will feel strange when I am boots-on-the-ground at home again. I suppose I had best make use of the travel time to adjust my mind to “normal” life again. Grand finale post still to come. 😊
I said goodbye to Fury today as I left her at the Moncton motorcycle store. They are going to give her a 50K service and then crate her up for shipping. The crew over at Toys for Big Boys have been amazing at helping me figure out what I needed to do and how to do it to send Fury home to Vancouver. This included a visit to Armour Transport, where Barry ensured everything was arranged to have Fury put on a truck when she is ready. While awaiting my ride at the motorcycle shop, word had got around about my adventure and I had a talk with Steve, who is planning a big trip next year and had questions about Bc. Peter came out for a talk as well and gave me a company hat, letting me know that sometimes they get criticized for their name. But it has been the TM for Toys for Big Boys for 50 years. Not being over-burdened with political correctness, I will be happy to wear this hat and let people think what they may - after all, what people think of me is none of my business. I laughed this evening when I realized that the hat also says "Est. 1968".......the year I was born!
I feel a bit like I'm in shock and don't know what to do with myself. It is very weird not to have a "plan" for tomorrow that involves a new destination and a motorcycle ride. This transition is being aided by Zane and Claire, whom I met in Nova Scotia a couple of weeks ago. In spite of not knowing me from a hole in the ground before then, they picked me up at the motorcycle shop and have taken me into their home for a couple of nights, fed me and given me a bed. It's been a jolly evening of visiting, swimming, eating and philosophical discussion.
I expect there will be a period of adjustment as I return to real life. Although, I have to say, life has never been more "real" than the last 3.5 months of exploring Canada's landscape and people. Stay tuned as I create my finale of this experience over the next few days.