Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Pause day - Thursday July 29

I drove David's car to the airport and had to call him because I didn't know how to lock the car with the key in the car (Answer: hold the outside handle open when shutting the door.) Fortunately, David was already awake and I had to tell him where the car was located anyway.

Flights were on time, but there was an incredibly tight connection in Halifax. I had to go through customs and go through security. As I walked up to the boarding desk they looked at me and asked, "Mr. Porter?" It was obvious they were waiting for me. The flight to St. Johns had some clear viewing as did the flight into Happy Valley - Goose Bay.

At Happy Valley - Goose Bay airport, I stopped in the office of Sylvia Shea and picked up the bear banger she had picked up for me. She was nice enough to drop me off at the fire station as it was the end of her workday. Don Webber was on duty and I presented him with the Randolph Fire Dept. patch and some Green Mtn. Coffee roasters coffee for the firemen. Don promised to stop by later and bring one of their patches.

Dempsey came on duty and he helped me build a plastic platform on top of my front rack to ease some of the stress on the water jug from the rack rails. I replaced the tube in my rear tire as it was flat. I knew it had a slow leak and when I took out the tube I found a small 3/8 in. long piece of wire had worked its way into the tire. (My only tire problem to date!) I spent the remainder of the evening reorganizing my packs. Rather than set the tent up, I crashed on the couch for the night.

Day 30 - Friday July 30

I departed at 8 AM after cooking the scrambled eggs from the camp food I had bought. Like rubber, but very filling. I could have fed two people as specified.

The first 20 miles out of HV-GB was paved. Along the way Don caught up with me and gave me the patch he had forgotten to drop off last night. The day's riding was hard. Road surfaces varied from fair to poor and there was a steady moderate headwind. Passing through a construction area I met Paul again. I had met him the first time when he stopped in for cribbage at the firehouse. Paul again told me about the snowmobilers hut at Cache River - a day's ride of 95 miles for me.

My right knee bothered me during the day. It ached at the top of the fibula and I think there is tendon there that was inflamed. I biked through the pain, as the same problem had occurred when I started biking in June and I knew after a few days it would resolve itself.

The terrain was more uphill then down, mostly spruce trees, with periodic streams and rivers punctuating the landscape. Popes Hill was an excuse for what I call a walking break. I don't loose but a mile or two mph by walking and it gives my seat a rest.

I pushed on to Cache River arriving around 7 PM - 11 hours in transit. It turned out the hut was locked, but at least there was a picnic table to eat at and a good water supply nearby. I cooked up the camp meal of Jamaican chicken (Just add water!) and had no difficulty eating the meal for two by myself. Chocolate Mousse from the camp meals for dessert and I was ready for bed. I was beat after 95 miles of biking.

Day 31 - Saturday July 31

I was packed up and on the road at 7:30 AM. I had a few miles of easy riding and then the road became really rough. By noon I had only gone 32 miles and was beginning to rethink getting to Churchill Falls that night. My seat was extremely sore and when I went to feel the sore spots, I discovered they had blistered and the blisters had broken. I thus didn't want to sit down and when I did, the seat constantly caused pain as I went over the bumps. I put some A & D ointment on the blisters and that helped a little.

Midway in the day I passed through a hilly section. The hills must provide a bit of protection for the trees as there were hardwoods, particularly birches, lining the road. It was a nice change in scenery.

Lichens, or carabou moss as the locals call it, filled sections of the wood. They are a very pale green, almost white, and they make the trees look like they are standing in snow.

I hit a work camp between the East and West Metchen Rivers around 3 PM and stopped in the kitchen to refill my water jug. The cook offered me some juice and while I chatted with him I managed to polish off a quart of OJ. I learned there were 31 more miles to Churchill Falls.

The road continued to be rough, but the headwind became more of a cross-wind. I fought my fatigue with two candy bars, 2 granola bars, and when I was on emply with 6 miles to go - I made up some Gatorade to power me to the end. I knew I was pushing it as my breathing was heavy as I pedaled.

Three miles from Churchill Falls I was rewarded with a smooth road and a 3 mile downhill. One mile from town the road turned to pavement. I had made it. I passed the hydro plant on the way into town and hoped to take the tour of it the next day.

At the Town Center I had some Chicken Parmegian for dinner. The receptionist at the hotel said most campers set up their tents by the church in the town. She also called up one of the tour guides for the hydro plant and arranged a tour for me at 9 am the next day. Mileage: 85

Day 32 Sunday August 1

I ate my granola for breakfast at the town center so I didn't have to worry about bugs. I had hoped to take a shower there, but the gym facility wasn't yet open.

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