The Voyage Home


Fairbanks, Alaska - as the subject line suggests, this will be the final entry in the Northerntierbiking blog. 'Cuz I'm home!
Not that I returned to Fairbanks the easy way. On Sept. 11(great day to travel, that) I hopped on an overnight train from Worcester, Mass. to South Bend, Indiana. After a day in the Bend, wandering around the almost unrecognizable university I graduated from less than a decade ago (they've gone on an obscene building boom) I met up with my Alaskan friends Tim and Jenna in Chicago.
Highlights of Chicago included a visit to the mammoth Museum of Science and Industry, which is a curious mixture of new, state-of-the-art exhibits and stuff they clearly haven't updated since 1983. The newest exhibit is "Target: America," a DEA-financed anti-drug display that attempts (with some success) to link drug use to terrorism. The highlights were the simulated meth lab abd crack den, which looked very bizaree sitting in a museum.
Tim, Jenna, and I also visited the Hologram Museum, an odd, out-of-the-way place full of very '80's holograms that appears to have been sited in an old funeral home, and Cereality, a downtown 'cereal bar' where you can order concoctions like Captain Crunch and chex with peanut butter, chocolate sauce and bananas. It's good stuff, but it basically amounts to paying $4 for a bowl of cereal.
Then I headed back to South Bend for a day to hang out with friends while Notre Dame played Michigan; I was actually offered a ticket to the game, but blanched at the idea of paying $50 to sit alone in the student section. So I watched it on TV instead; considering how badly ND got whupped, it was a wise decision.
After another brief visit to Chicago, I hopped on another train, this one a two-day ride back to Seattle. It was a wonderful trip, although they managed to time it so that the best scenery - Minnesota, Glacier National Park, the Cascades-mostly fly by at night. But the trip through the flatlands of Montana was endlessly interesting, mostly because I was directly paralleling the route I had taken on my bike. I even saw a guy biking past that I think I may have met a month beforehand in New York state! Very bizarre. And the entire terrain looked different: all of the crops had been picked since I last came through, turning everything shades of beige.
I spent a couple of days in Seattle, staying at a hostel and taking in all of the usual sights. My favorite parts were a ferry trip across Puget Sound, a peek at the weird public statuary in the Fremont neighborhood, and a visit to the Sci-Fi-Museum, which sits inside the Frank Gehry-designed building at the base of the Space Needle that is better known for holding the Experience Music Project.
Then I flew home, arriving in Fairbanks at about midnight on Friday after 104 days away. I'm now embarking on the next phase of my life, trying to make a living as a freelance journalist. It may not last long, but I've got the funding lined up to support me through at least November; after that, I might just have to get a damn job.
The bike trip was a fantastic experience, and I'd do it again in a heartbeat. Thanks to everyone who kept up with the blog and commented; I hope I was able to capture the spirit of the ride in my posts.
Now, without further ado, here's a last batch of photos:
Chicago, Illinois - This giant sculpture, nicknamed "The Bean," is a centerpiece of the amazing new Millenium Park, which just opened but has instantly became a focal point of downtown.

Chicago-Also in Millenium Park is this spectacular Frank Gehry-designed bandshell. Jenna said it looks like a lotus, while I more saw it as a giant cricket head.

Havre, Mont.-the Empire Builder, the train I took from Chicago to Seattle. Minutes after I took this photo, I ran into a convenience store to grab som soup for dinner and came about 30 seconds away from missing the train. Oops.

Seattle, Washington - the men's room door at the Science Finction Museum and Hall of Fame. Smartasses. I was hoping they'd have urinals to service 14 different species, but no luck.

Seattle - This giant troll sculpture is (of course) under a bridge in the funky area of Fremont. For a sense of scale, that's an actual VW bug in its hand.

Seattle-also in Fremont is America's largest sculpture of Lenin, salvaged from Slovakia. It's an impressive if incongruous sight.

The Big Apple (with photos!)


Hudson, MA - I've run through quite a few cities on the course of this trip: Minneapolis, Cleveland, Rochester, Halifax, etc. But nothing is quite like riding in Manhattan.
Backing up: after completing the trip a little over two weeks ago, I spent an easygoing week or so relaxing at home with my parents in the Boston 'burbs. I had great plans to explore the whole area by bike (and my dad's kayak), but it rained every day, so I spent most of the time reading, cleaning out my old stuff (anyone want to buy a baseball card collection?) and enjoying a million other minor diversions.
After about a week of that, my father and I loaded up the minivan and drove the four hours down to our summer place in Breezy Point, New York, an incongruous community of beach bungalows and pedestrian walks jutting out into the Atlantic south of Brooklyn. Its technically part of NYC, but sure doesn't feel like it. As in visits past, I spent my time there swimming in the Atlantic, walking around the beach, and generally chilling out some more.

Breezy Point, NYC, NY - This WWII observation post, opularly just called "The Lighthouse," is Breezy Point's main landmark and the thing that shows up on all the T-shirts. Coney Island is across the bay in the background.

Most of my time, anyway. Because this time, I brought the bike down, which suddenly opened up the whole of New York to some two-wheeled exploration.
My first trip was just across the bay to Coney Island, a place I'd heard a lot about in college and in various documentaries. Its nothing like it was in its heyday: where once there were three enormous amusement parks and thousands upon thousands of merrymakers every summer weekend, now there are mostly high-rises, a thriving Russian community in Little Odessa, and a few tattered remnants of the glory days. The boardwalk is still there, a wide wooden plain running between storefronts and the sea. So is Nathan's original hot dog stand, though the crowds deterred me from picking up a frankfurter there. (I instead had one at Nathan's not-quite-as-original hot dog stand down the street, and found it rather pedestrian. Great cheese fries, though.)

Coney Island, NY - that's the Wonder Whel in the background. The freaky logo with all the teeth was the mascot of "Steeplechase," one of the three huge amusement parks that have all since closed.

There's still one small amusement park, "Astroland," now home of the famous and rickety Cyclone rollercoaster, and a little ways down the boardwalk is the frame of the original Parachute Jump, a giant contrivance whereby patrons were pulled up maybe 300 feet suspended from a parachute, then dropped right back down. Looks like it was a hoot.
Coney Island is a poignant reminder of what New York once was, one that brought up pangs of nostalgia - which makes no sense, as I missed out on its heyday. But back in the day, this was the place to be, sort of Cedar Point and Disneyworld all rolled into one, and featuring some amazingly dangerous amusements that you simply couldn't get away with today.
A few days later, after Hurricane Ernesto had finished dousing New York, I hopped back on the bike for a ride through Brooklyn and Manhattan. This was actually considerably easier and more enjoyable than it sounds.
Though it didn't start out that way; riding through Brooklyn on a main thoroughfare, Flatbush Avenue, was an adventure in tight traffic, poor pavement, and worst of all lots and lots of pedestrians. In fact, getting around walkers and bikers was he hardest part of biking in NYC; after all, none of the traffic is moving very fast, so there's a minimal chance of anyone running you down. This was certainly one of the few times on the trip where I seemed to be making more progress than people in cars.
But I made it through all of that, and found myself on a cordoned-off stretch of road that was soon to become a parade route (this was Labor Day, but it was actually the West Indian Day parade. Go figure.) Then I headed over the sublimely graceful spans of the Brooklyn Bridge - which has both pedestrian and bike lanes - and into Lower Manhattan.
Now, the last time I saw lower Manhattan, I took a stroll right past the twin towers, which tells you how long its been since I hit the Big Apple. Needless to say, I headed straight to the same spot.
Ground Zero is, to be honest, not an evocative spot. At this point in history, it's just a massive, five-story-deep hole, surrounded by high fencing and generally blocked from view. It's also engulfed by tourists like myself and taken sad advantage of by vendors selling some truly tasteless crap. The only real poignant reminders of 9/11 I saw were the famous debris cross, which they've left in situ, and the exhibits in St. Thomas' Chapel, a small church bordering the WTC site that was turned into a respite center in the months after the attacks.

Breezy Point, NYC - Not the famous debris cross, this is another cross of the same type, part of a monument to the Breezy Point residents killed on 9/11. A working-class kind of resort, Breezy lost 30 people, many of them firemen.

Nondescript spot though it may be, Ground Zero was my main reason for biking into Manhattan, and afterwards I went wherever the island's bike trails would take me. I headed down to Battery Park on the island's southern tip, home of the boats to Liberty and Ellis Islands. From there, I found a very well-kept and busy bike path that took me more than halfway up Manhattan's western shore until I cut across to Central Park. Closed to cars this holiday, the park was a zoo of bikers and walkers enjoying the sunshine.

Battery Park - Three, count'em three, street performers dressed as the Statue of Liberty. I bet they're all really annoyed at the other two for stealing their shtick. (Not sure about the perfomers' actual genders, by the way.)

From there I headed back down the east side, stopping in Chinatown to grab an excellent lunch of various rolls (and a mango milkshake) at a Chinese bakery. Good stuff, though they didn't seem to be in a hurry to serve me. I crossed back over the Brooklyn Bridge and down through Brooklyn on a different route, eventually ending up on a shoreside bike path replete with one of the highlights of the day, rollerblading Hasidim. (The journey was a remarkable glimpse of Babel: I think I heard more different languages spoken than in any other day of my life.)
From there I cut back through Coney Island and back over the Gil Hodges Bridge to Breezy Point. 71.5 miles later, I was back in Breezy at the end of a ong day of biking, but one of the most revelatory of the trip.
It was also the last day of biking on the trip: On Monday, I'm hopping on a train to South Bend Indiana, where I will spend a few days visiting with a friend before heading to Chicago for a few more days and a few more friends. After that I'll hop on the train to Seattle, spend a couple of days there, and fly back to Fairbanks and, um, whatever I'll be doing with the rest of my life.
For thosewondering, I'll keep updating the blog until I get home, so keep an eye out for more deails and photos of the trip back. But no more biking, as I will be packing up Mr. Homn this weekend in anticipation of shipping him out.

By the numbers


Hudson, Mass. - For the edification of anyone who particularly cares, here are the lovingly complied statistics from the trip. They get a bit complicated and obtuse at times, so bear with me. Since I effectively took two trips with very different tones - Anacortes to Bar Harbor, then the less focused jaunt around Nova Scotia and down to Massachusetts I've mostly divided the numbers into the "cross-country" portion and the "after" portion, with a few numbers reflecting both. The ones in bold are the ones I'm most proud of.

Total miles traveled (both trips): 6,138
Total miles traveled (cross-country): 5,030ish
Total miles traveled (after): 1,100ish
Those numbers reflect every single mile I went on the bike, including tooling around on my days off. Based on those numbers, I averaged 88 miles a day on the first trip and just 51 on the second trip.
However, if you don't count my days off, I averaged 103 miles a day on the cross-country trip and 97 afterwards. I consider those much more accurate numbers.
Length of trip: 57 days cross-country(incl. 10 days off); 19 days afterward (incl. 9 days off)
Longest day: 149 miles (from outside Cleveland to outside Buffalo)
Fastest speed: 43.9 mph, down a steep hill(obviously) in New Hampshire. I probably went faster than this at other times, but at speeds like that I'm usually too busy hanging on for dear life to check the speedometer.
States passed through: 16 (WA,ID,MT,ND,MN,WI,IA,IL,IN,OH,PA,NY,VT,NH,ME,MA)
Provinces passed through: 4 (AB,ON,NB,NS)
Time zones passed through: 5
Cheapest campsites: $0(several occasions)
Most expensive campsite: $35(!), Searsport, Maine (fortunately, I was sharing it with another cyclist. So I never spent more than $19 for a night.)
Fast food meals: 2 (Dairy Queen, Malta, Montana; Taco John's, Kankakee, Illinois)
Hotels: 3 (Sandpoint, Idaho; Malta, Montana; Raquette Lake, New York)
Hostels: 6
Nights 'free camping': 2 (outside the Mason's Hall in Lubec, Maine; 100 feet down a nature trail in Exeter, New Hampshire)
Broken spokes: 6
Broken spokes fixed at Christian teen centers: 1 (no, really)
Front wheels/tires run through: 1
Rear wheels run through: 3
Rear tires run through: 6
Boat and ferry trips: 10
Numbers of rides hitched due to bike problems: 3(Outside Cardston, Alberta; outside Stillwater, Minnesota; outside Saint John, New Brunswick. For the record, I went back after the first two rides and completed the sections of the route I had skipped in the car, thus making this a true coast-to-coast bike trip; I didn't do that in New Brunswick, but that was after the coast-to-coast bit anyway.)
Close calls with motor vehicles: 3 (Idiot almost-sideswiping truckers in Iowa and Maine; idiot almost-sideswiping pickup driver in Maine)
Close calls with other bikers: 1 (The only time I was forced off the pavement the entire trip was by a dumb 12-year-old coming my way on a bike path as wide as a two-lane road who managed to swerve about 15 feet into my path for no apparent reason. Sigh.)
Other cross-country bikers encountered: I'd guess about 30, total. Most of them were in groups, and most were heading east like me.
Number of peanut-butter-and-jelly-on-a-tortilla sandwiches eaten: Lost count after about 150

Hudson, MA - Nova Scotia libraries, it turned out, were not all that useful in terms of giving me USB ports so I could post photos. Darn unfriendly of them. (And don't even get me started on the Digby library, where access was free unless you weren't Canadian, in which case it was $2 for half an hour.) Anyway, now that I'm home in the land of unfettered internet access, I get to post the final set of primo pix from the trip.

Halifax, Nova Scotia - This one's for all you fans of the Titanic movie out there. (Go on, admit it. There's no shame.) Jim Cameron lifted "Jack Dawson," the name of Leo's character in the film, from an actual Titanic victim; I think the real guy worked in the engine room. Anyway, after the movie came out, lots of teary-eyed teenage girls started leaving flowers and such at J. Dawson's grave, one of a few hundred uniform Titanic headstones in a cemetery on the outskirts of Halifax. As you can see, a few of them are still doing it nine years later.

Halifax, Nova Scotia - The CBC used to have a TV show called "Theodore Tugboat," sort of the nautical equivalent of Thomas the Tank Engine. So some enterpising soul built a full-size replica of the character and gives Halifax harbor tours on it. It's very cute, but when you see a giant face - even an innocent smiley one - coming at you out of the harbor mist at you, it's also invariably a bit disturbing.

South Shore, Nova Scotia - just a little scenery for you. Tell me that ain't a calendar photo.
Nova Scotia - They really like Kit Kats up there: hey have caramel ones, white chocolate ones, peanut butter ones, big ones, giant ones, and this novel creation. Better than it sounds, actually, though I preferred the yummy array of Cadbury bars you can get up there but not in the USA.
Long Island, Nova Scotia - "Balancing Rock" is a maybe 20-foot tall hunk of basalt precariously perched along the shore of this rugged and scenic island. It's quite a sight, but the shoreline itself, composed of eroding basalt columns rising straight out of the surf to the treeline, is just as remarkable to look at.
Off Camden, Maine - The windjammer Angelique, where my father and I were among about 25 passengers for a sailing tour of Penobscot Bay.

Off of Camden, Maine - My dad and I on board the Angelique, cruising through somewhere in Penobscot Bay. The scenery was stunning, and gave me a much better picture of Maine then the often terrible and crowded roads. You can shove about 10,000 boats into Penobscot Bay (in fact, I suppose they have) and it still wouldn't constitute a crowd.
Lisbon Falls, Maine - Moxie was the most popular soft drink in the US for 40 years, even though it tastes like Diet Coke mixed with cough syrup. You can still get it these days on the East Coast, especially in Maine, where the stuff was invented. And the small town of Lisbon Falls is the epicenter of it all, home of (I presume) the world's only Moxie gift shop. Which was closed when I got there. Dammit.
Tyngsborough, Massachusetts - Getting near the end of the road for Ganesh and I. Lord knows how many times I've passed "Welcome to Massachusetts" signs in my lifetime, but never under these circumstances.
Bolton, Mass. - I noticed this less than 10 miles from home. Proof that you don't have to go far to find roadside oddities. Don't know if I ever could have spotted it from a car, though.

Hudson, MA - Me steaming up the driveway of my parents' house with 6,100 miles behind me and about 10 feet to go. (Note: Ya got me. This photo was in fact posed.)

There and Back Again


Hudson, MA - Yeah, I borrowed the title from Bilbo Baggins, and its not very accurate, but damn if I don't feel a little like I just returned to Hobbiton after a long and treacherous journey halfway across Middle-Earth. Or at least Middle America.
So I'm home. At precisely 1:50 p.m. EST, I rolled down Davis Road and crossed the threshold of our driveway, letting out a massive "Woo-hoo!" before braking to a halt for the final time this trip.
It was incredible. It really was. I said back in Bar Harbor that I was saving the true moment of catharsis for when the trip actually ended, and I hit it this afternoon. Around 10 miles from home, I started getting goosebumps. A mantra stuck in my head: "I'm home." It repeated itself over and over again, strengthening each time I passed an area I recognized. In Ayer, I noticed the spot where I had had my driver's test. (I passed, despite parallel parking about 3 1/2 feet from the curb.) In Harvard, I spotted the beach where my father took me a few times. In Bolton, I stopped at the Candy Mansion, site of numerous sugar-laden shopping trips in my youth.
From there the whirlwind in my head just got stronger. The route map took me directly onto Berlin and Frye roads, two isolated, wooded routes that I had bicycled I don't know how many hundreds of times in my youth. By the time I get off the route map to head home along Rte. 62, I was picking out the landmarks before they appeared: the garden center, the 495 interchange, Roller Kingdom. A jog through the trailer park, up a short hill, over the end of Davis Road -for several years of my toddlerhood, the farthest away my parents would let me ride my bike- and I was home. 6,100 miles, and I had completed the last one.
I was, I dunno, agog. Ecstatic. I couldn't wipe the smile off my face. I had finally done exactly what I set out to do: get from Hudson, MA to the Pacific. I did it in reverse, but that's plenty good enough for me.
I was home, the house where I spent the first 17 years of my life and a not insignificant portion of the next 13. The trip from Maine to Mass. had actually proven fairly uneventful and often pretty dull. But I couldn't imagine ending the trip any other way, and I couldn't imagine ending it anywhere else.

The Final Countdown


Kittery, Maine - This is it. I know the stated purpose of this trip was to make it coast-to-coast, but there was always a tacit understanding (in my head, at least) that the ultimate finale would come when I rolled up the driveway of my childhood home, 12 Davis Road, Hudson, MA 01749. At the rate I'm going that'll happen tomorrow afternoon.
Of course, I'd have been home a long time ago but for a pleasant detour, my four days aboard the windjammer Angelique. I arrived in Maine on the "The Cat" catamaran from Nova Scotia (a speedy but soulless trip, full of too much plush seating and slot machines and not enough sea air) in a torrential downpour, which was pretty good timing on my part as I only had to bike for about 200 feet to the ferry terminal where my dad was waiting with the family minivan. From there he drove me to the touristy-but-awfully-attractive town of Camden, Maine, where we boarded the Angelique.
The trip was awesome in a lot of ways and a letdown in others. As this blog makes fairly obvious, I'm used to pretty active vacations, and the passengers on board don't actually have a lot to do. We got to lend a hand hoisting and lowering sails and such, but mostly we just watched the scenery go by.
Fortunately, the scenery was majestic. We spent three days plying a random course through the hundreds of tiny islands of Penobscot Bay, some uninhabited, others occupied by the gargantuan summer homes of the rich and/or famous. Some of us went swimming in the nippy Atlantic, many of us made a few token shore excursions in the ship's rowboat, and all of us spent a couple of hours on an empty island enjoying a mammoth lobster bake. (I had 4 of them, which is actually more lobsters than I've had in my entire life, combined, up to this point.)
The other part I really enjoyed about the trip was simply cruising along without the rlentless drone of an engine beneath you. The voyage really does feel much more serene when the only sound is the ripples of water against the hull and the sail billowing out with the wind.
The trip finished Thursday morning, and I had my dad drop me off at Damariscotta, which is the point at which my route to Bar Harbor and the route I'm taking back to Mass. (I got another Adventure Cycling map for this part of the trip) diverge. From that point, it was 220 miles back home.
I've now covered about 140 of them, so tomorrow should be a relatively brief final day. I must admit I've enjoyed this portion of Maine more than I did the jaunt into Bar Harbor, mostly because there seem to be more backroads on this map. The main roads south have mostly been mob scenes, jammed as they are with late-August vacationers, but get about 100 feet off them and you're in the middle of classic New England: qauint farmhouses, meadows, stone walls. Even the crowded roads have been enjoyable at times, as the maps have routed me right along the sea shore past some stunning vistas of a very frenetic coastline.
In about half an hour I'll be in new Hampshire and leave the Atlantic behind, turning inland past Exeter and into Massachusetts. I'll spend tonight camping in New Hampshire somewhere, one last time in the old sleeping bag (which could use a good airing-out anyway.)
Lest you think this blog is about to peter out, stay tuned: I'll have a final entry about the last miles of the trip as well as some more photos and a bunch of lovingly-compiled statistics from the trip.
But now: To home!

The Voyage Home


Yarmouth, Nova Scotia - ten days after taking off from Bar Harbor on the post-transcontintal portion of my bike trip, I'm sitting in this seaport town impatiently waiting to catch a ferry back to Maine. Tomorrow afternoon in Portland, I'll meet my father for a four-day trip aboard a windjammer, sort of the rustic retro New England equivalent of Carnival Cruise Lines.
This trip has definitely been a mixed bag, a situation that is entirely my own fault for not planning it out better. What I didn't realize is that Nova Scotia is actually a pretty big place, certainly larger than it appears on your average map. As a result, despite skipping the portion of the trip that would have led through northern New Brunswick, I've still spent the last week feeling pressed for time. I've had to do more 100-mile days than I really wanted, and I haven't found myself with enough time to stop and simply see Nova Scotia. Plus I've had to contain myself to a fairly limited route that cut out most of the province.
That all being said, I have at least gotten a chance to briefly dunk myself into Nova Scotia culture and ride down a lot of seacoast roads, many of them quite gorgeous. After Halifax, I followed the south shore of the province, then turned inwards and cut across the isloated interior. The highlight of the whole exercise came yesterday and the day before, when I rode out Digby Neck, on the north shore, to a place called Brier Island - basically, I rode out an isolated 25-mile peninsula, caught a ferry at the end of it, rode down a 10-mile long island, caught a ferry at the end of that, and spent the night on the tiny island upon which it deposited me. The ride was remarkable: no traffic and seacoast views all around. On Brier Head, I had an entire hostel to myself, and went to bed with the pounding of the surf outside my windows and sea air in my lungs. It was all too brief a stay (see previous lament), but it was worth it, even if I had to retrace my route for 40 miles yesterday.
Now I'm in Yarmouth, a small and generally pretty charming town on the west end of Nova Scotia. My plan is to catch the ferry tomorrow, spend four nights on the windjammer, then bike back to the ancestral Moran manse in Massachusetts, a two to two-and-a-half day ride. THat will end the biking portion of my trip, and commence the siting-around-on-my-duff-for-a-week-or-so-while-I-figure-out-what-I'm-doing portion. (Sure, no doubt, to lead to some scintillating blog entries.)

Madness in the streets


Halifax, Nova Scotia - I may have had bad timing rolling into Bar Harbor, but I couldn't have picked a better time to get into the capital of Nova Scotia. That's because it's in the middle of the Halifax Busking (street performing) festival, during which performers of every stripe roll into town and spend all week giving free shows along the waterfront. It's awesome. I haven't found Halifax itself to be anything special - it actually feels just like Boston, except with a French flavor replacing the Irish - but the buskers have made this a visit to remember. In just a few hours today, I saw a robotic Elvis impersonator; Japanese acrobats; another Japanese guy who could pretty much balance anything on anything; a wild-haired fellow from Montreal who can do things with his bike I would never consider; and a breakdancing bagpiper. After some more city touring tomorrow, I plan on spending most of the afternoon watching more of this inspired madness.
As for the biking around here, I have found parts of Nova Scotia to be impossibly gorgeous and others to be merely dull. After arriving in Digby two days ago, I biked 50 miles, mostly through the rain, to the middle-of-nowhere town of Middleton. (This was, believe it or not, the first sustained bit of rain I had to ride through this entire trip, which is kind of incredible. It was also my first chance to find out that some of my supposedly waterproof stuff, in fact, wasn't.)
Middleton turned out to be a sage choice, as for $5CN I stayed in about the nicest campground of this entire trip. Instead of cramming all of the tent sites together, the owner of Smith's Campground (who I guess would be, um, Smith) plowed out a giant lea, dotted with trees and with a tranquil river running through the middle of it. Then he stuck campsites at random spots through the meadow, each one in a peaceful glen beneath a small grove of trees, most with a river view. Cows mooed in the distance and the river gurgled nearby as I incredulously set up my tent. I felt like I was camping inside a Gainsborough painting.
In fact, a lot of the landscape of Nova Scotia reminded me of England: a gently rolling countryside of verdant fields interspersed with groves of trees stretching off to a ridged horizon. Parts of it were about as beautiful as anything I've seen on this trip.
Unfortunately, the biking book I've gotten up here doesn't seem to be as good as the maps I used before, and after some wonderful back roads I ended up on a fairly busy route into Halifax that only got worse as I neared the city. Perhaps this was inevitable, but I find it hard to believe there wasn't a less crowded (and hence safer) way into what really isn't that huge a metropolis. Ah well, I'm here now. I'm also ensconced in a fun hostel that has free internet access and a USB port, so here come some more pics:
Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia - The "Octopuses' Garden" (which was, in fact, under a tree, in the shade) was created by a local sculptor who took seaworn tree stumps and roots and glued burls to the top of them. Interesting, but frankly kinda creepy.

Windsor, Nova Scotia - It's good to know that I can find primo pieces of 'Roadside America' despite the fact that I'm actually in Canada. This, for example, graces a public park in Windsor, which is not only the birthplace of hockey, but also the home of a four-time world champion pumpkin farmer. This is him. And his pumpkin.

Halifax, Nova Scotia - Yes, that's an 8-foot-long Titanic model floating in the lake in the Halifax Public Gardens. This is where they brought the Titanic survivors, so there's a pretty strong local connection to the wreck. In fact, tomorrow I'm headed out to see the cemetery where they buried a lot of the victims.

Halifax - One half of "Sublimit," a Japanese couple performing at the busking festival. Note the startling amount of stuff he's balancing on.

Halifax - "Silver Elvis." Basically, he did the whole human robot routine, using Elvis moves, to Elvis music. Pretty novel. Very silly.

Halifax - "Dubike," a guy from Montreal with a ridiculous accent, even more ridiculous hair, and an impressive array of bike stunts. For obvious reasons, his performance struck near to my heart.

About me

I'm Tom Moran, a bicyclist from Fairbanks, Alaska. I'm spending the summer of 2006 riding from Anacortes, Wash., to Bar Harbor, Maine.

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