*to Hanlon's razor: Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

Friday, 30 January 2015

About that plan: cycling and coasting Canada's 'Maritimes'

One of Japan's ad nauseam platitudes is that people are mountain or ocean persons.  Why choose?  Well, unless one is in British Columbia, you get only one or the other here.

If I do not have a partner for this canoeing trip, as is likely, I'll go off cycling Les Isles de la Madelaine, PEI, Cape Breton, and the south coast of Newfoundland, with a side trip up to Gros Morne to hike, and St. Pierre et Miquelon to say I've been to France.  The plan to go by bike and ferries, camping as available, but getting under a roof every time I'm knackered or need to scrub out my kit.  I see this taking three weeks in July.

This trip would once have cost a fortune, when Canada had only one air-carrier of any size: Air Canada which every Canadian resents.  It was not long ago consistently cheaper to fly Toronto to London or Hawaii than anywhere but Montréal or Ottawa, which you could still drive to for a fraction.  Flights within Canada now are just expensive, rather than usurious, now that Porter and West Jet compete with them.

As much as I'd rather take this boat to start my journey, it's twice the cost of flying, and with a train Toronto to Montréal and an overnight there, nearly three times.  A shame.  However, my bicycle and I on various ferries will get enough coasting, in a more rustic manner, than a cruise full of bourgeois: after the islands, next to Souris, PEI by ferry; some cycling there, another ferry from Belle River to Pictou on mainland Nova Scotia; yet more cycling, and a ferry from Sydney to Port aux Basques, Newfoundland; my ride to Burgeo with a side trip to Gros Morne to hike, followed by ferry coasting along the south shore including the trip to St. Pierre et Miquelon; then a ride into St. John's and a flight home.  Something like 1700km by bicycle, and nearly as many by sea.  The sea routes making fortunate 'rest days'.

Nobody does this here!  Canada's coastline is ignored for tourism.  A bicycle's an ideal way to travel the road bits in between the sailings, since it costs a fraction to have with you than a car, and then there's not being a 'cager'.  A motorcycle in Canada would just get you dead for our shit drivers. I have been through New Brunswick and the main of Nova Scotia, and the coasts between them and Maine, so this would all be new to me, and seafood!

These are the sea legs.

The south coast may, or may not, have discontinuous boat routes, and I would not want to have to go far out of my way via Stephenville to Burgeo to make it work, by bicycle.

The road bits are tooling about Les Iles, and the following.

Not certain I won't sometimes cheat so that I do not have to backtrack on the bicycle.  I hope beyond hope that the ferries connect across the south coast of Newfoundland, otherwise, including the side trip to Gros Morne, I am facing this much more by bike, or car or bus if I cheat.  There seems to be a 20km stretch on that coast without a link, which I should be able to pay someone to ferry me, ideally not paying it alone.

Going all the way north to L'Anse aux Meadows...?  Nope.

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