NEW ENGLAND and NOVA SCOTIA explored from the seat of a bicycle in the midst of autumn colors and cool temperatures while accompanied by nine cycling friends....what could be BETTER?
Follow along with my BikingwithBill.org daily journal entries filled with commentary and photos of our adventures on and off the bike.
We begin in the hills of New Hampshire and Vermont and cycle the Lighthouse Trail to Bar Harbor, ME where the ferry departs to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia.
Our welcome to Nova Scotia, the beautiful Canadian Maritime Province, is amplified by the awesome scenery, the spirited people, and a unique culture shaped by the sea. Join us on Cape Breton Island and the Cabot Trail where we will cycle the seacoast by day, and enjoy the evening performances at the Celtic Music Festival. Come along with "Renner's Riders" as we ride together again in the hills of New England and along the craggy coastline of Nova Scotia! "Allons y"!
Tragically and unexpectedly on Sunday
evening October 4th at our B&B in Queensland, NS, our friend and
fellow cyclist Peter Crowell died of an apparent massive heart attack.
Several of us had ridden in the van with him
all day.It was a dark, stormy day,
unfit for cycling, but enjoyable for all of us as we stopped in small Nova Scotia towns to
explore and to meet some of the people.We lunched in Chester, arriving in Queensland in the early
The reality of his death has shaken me.The suddenness comes as a reminder that life
is so fragile.
The rapid response of EMS
personnel, following the attempt of CPR by our team of cyclists was to no
avail.He had passed away quickly and
silently in his room.
We had all spoken of the previous day’s
coastal bike ride from Liverpool to Lunenburg,
NS as one of the most scenic and
enjoyable rides we had ever taken.It
was pure joy to be on the bike in a beautiful section of Nova Scotia enjoying the day with
friends.Peter was truly in his element.
One can gain some comfort in knowing the peace and happiness Peter experienced
on this…his last…ride.
Peter Crowell was a fine man; accomplished
in business, and surrounded by a loving family.He was a friend to all and a man who spoke his mind plainly.He demonstrated his faith and generosity
continually.He was my good friend!I will miss him!
Joyce and I left Halifax, NS immediately and
returned to New London, NH. We wanted to express our condolences to his
family.We will participate in his
funeral remembrance service on October 10 in New Hampshire.We will say Good Bye to a loyal friend.
May God Bless you,
Posted: Sun, 4 October 2009
DAY 10 LUNENBURG TO QUEENSLAND, NS
Our mood this morning was as sour as the
Halloween character pictured above.It
was windy, rainy and rain was forecast for the entire day.
Only Elizabeth and
Steve ventured out on their bikes for a 40 mile soaking ride.Peter, Dan, Rick and Kathie and Joyce and I
rode in the van. We enjoyed the Sunday Rain Out.
It remained gray
and rainy all day as we looked out the windows at the white capped waves on the
ocean and bays.The fishing boats and
pleasure boats remained tied to their buoys on this wet weather Sunday.
The town of Mahone Bay went all out
for Halloween with scenes, many humorous, using stuffed figures to create tell
Joyce and Dan stood
for a photo near one display, while Joyce and I visited the pumpkin stand.The colorful fruits and vegetables look ready
for Canadian Thanksgiving to celebrated next weekend
Our B&B in Queensland overlooks the
beach and St Margarets’s Bay.We are the only quests in the house again tonight.
We hope to be back
on the bikes tomorrow for our visit to the famous Peggy’s Cove.
Posted: Sat, 3 October 2009
DAY 9 LIVERPOOL TO LUNENBURG, NS
Today’s 52 mile
ride along Nova Scotia’s magnificent SouthShore
was one to remember for a long time.We hugged
the coast from Liverpool to Lunenburg marveling
at the beauty of the Maritimes.On a
sunny but cool day with little or no wind we rode the coastal hills full of the
color of the season.It was a happy
group of cyclists enjoying the seaside beauty as we passed by.
At the 20 miles
mark the SAG stop was at a local “Penny auction” in East Port Medway at the
Community Center.The town folks were
raising money to improve the Center—“It is all we have left”, I was told.The tiny and ageing community was forced to close
the school and sel the church for lack of funds.The people were great—welcoming us and showing
interest in our journey.Joyce talked with
one of the citizens before getting back on the bike.
We kept the “ocean
on our right”, so there was little need for directions.Our only difficulty today was trying to limit
our photographs—we had so many post card scene photo opportunities.
With only 12 miles
to go to our B&B in Lunenburg we had the Le Have River to cross by cable
ferry.While waiting for the boat’s scheduled departure time, an excellent nearby
bakery welcomed us in for a quick lunch
The historic town
provided an interesting walking route to see the beautifully preserved
buildings of the old town district.
Posted: Fri, 2 October 2009
DAY 7 BARRINGTON TO SHELBURNE, NS
The 45 mile route
today took us from the “bleak” town of Barrington
to the “sensational” little shore town of Sherburne,
Nova Scotia. It is here on a
waterfront set, only a short walk from our B&B, that the two part
mini-series “Moby Dick” is being filmed for TV.
We have been
hearing about the excitement for days from folks in the towns along the coast.
“Donald Sutherland, William Hurt., Ethan Hawke etc. are all in Shelburne for
the movie”, we were told.We were
looking forward to our visit.
It was a very
pleasant morning, but it got greyer and more cloudy as we rode the last few
miles into town. The last few miles into town were ridden in the rain. The landscape was easy on the eyes; the rocky
shoreline, the tidal bogs, the rivers,and forests in their autumn dress.
We noticed many
homes with stacks of lobster traps in the yard.In front of one home with a barking yellow Lab, I stopped.The owner came out from behind his traps to
chat-(I love the Nova Scotia
accent).He told me he was busy getting
his lobster traps ready for the opening of the season “on the last Monday in
We rode into
Shelburne and went directly to our B&B on the waterfront.
nearby were an indication of the “smartness” and appeal of Shelburne.
We had reserved all
of the rooms at the inn, but one.The
We were excited to hear was movie star Donald Sutherland,
staying with his wife.We saw him only
to wave hello as he departed for the set located down the street.
The church above is
on the film set.It was built there 2
weeks ago for the movie, but gives the appearance of being more than 100 years
old.Amazing!Donald Sutherland will play the part of the
Elizabeth’s and Peter’s birthdays, we dined at the best spot in town.Great group, great night!
Posted: Fri, 2 October 2009
DAY 8 SHELBURNE TO LIVERPOOL, NS
I began the day behind the steering
wheel.It was my day to drive the
van.I was a bith apprehensive about
pulling a big wide trailer, but actually all went very well.It was only a 20 mile driving shift and on
very quiet country roads with no tricky maneuvers.Besides, I had Dan in the van with his GPS
telling me every up-coming turn, and Joyce with a map and instructions
confirming the route.At the 20 mile
mark we parked the van and got our bikes out of the trailer, locked it up for
the next driver who was on the road, and departed.We had a 45 mile bike ride ahead of us along
the coast and into Liverpool.
It was again a cold
and grey morning- undershirt, leg and arm warmers, and a jacket at a minimum
.The route remained the Lighthouse Route
all the way on very quiet coastal roads.
The Fall colors are
surprisingly good.We are not too late
in the season for the bright reds, light yellows and browns.They reflect beautifully off the lakes and
ponds.I also enjoy the colors in the
bogs and tidal pools that are so common near the ocean.The bog grasses are shades of rusty brown.
Ten miles out of
Liverpool we stopped at SommervilleBeach, a sandy beach
resort that is very popular in the summer, but calm and deserted now.
Quarterdeckbeach side restaurant
beckoned us in for lunch.Rick, Joyce
and I were alone in the enclosed deck overlooking the beach and ocean when we
ordered our seafood lunch.Then we had
the pleasure of having Donald Sutherland and his wife join us at a nearby
table.We spoke about the movie Moby
Dick, his travels in Europe for more filming,
our bike trip and home towns etc.I was
asked to speak in French to his wife, a French Canadian with a home in France. We has
a very pleasant and interesting conversation.When Joyce asked for a photo, he gladly accepted saying “I would never
miss an opportunity to put my arm around a pretty lady”!
Posted: Thu, 1 October 2009
DAY 6 YARMOUTH TO BARRINGTON, NOVA SCOTIA
THE LIGHTHOUSE ROUTE
On our first day
cycling in Nova Scotia we rode out of Yarmouth on a 55 mile route to Barrington,
a small town in Southeast Nova Scotia.Our course was primarily route 3, which is
also part of the coastal Lighthouse
Route, a scenic and quiet road which is excellent
for cycling.It runs from Yarmouth to Halifax.We are often reminded that this SouthShore
seacoast is where most postcards are sent depicting Nova Scotia.
It was a beautiful
morning, cool early but warming as the day progressed. We experienced some wind and we are told it
will continue and even increase as the month progresses.
Scotia is known as “Canada’s Ocean Playground”.On our first day we experienced the meaning
of that phrase.We saw the presence of
and importance of the fishing industry—the fishing vessels, the small scale sea
food industry factories, and the preparation of the lobstermen for the upcoming
season.We also were surrounded by the
rough beauty of the coast.
We were biking in
the region formally called Acadia.Many signs were in French, such as this on St
wind mills and piles of sea moss on shore rocks were a part of the varied
landscape along the coast.
We were welcomed to
the sign at the town’s border.
Posted: Thu, 1 October 2009
DAY 5 BAR HARBOR, ME TO YARMOUTH, NOVA SCOTIA
Our group has now increased to 8
cyclists with the addition of Kathie and Rick (FL) and Steve (VA), all of whom
We assembled early,
loaded the van and departed for the ferry terminal in Bar
Harbor.The high-speed CAT
ferry to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia makes the 3 hour, 100 mile trip daily, EVEN IN
SEAS OF 9 FEET, which unfortunately was the case today.
In a dreary driving
rain we pulled out of Bar Harbor and headed
out into open, rough seas.It was not
long before sea sickness swept through the passenger group.It was 3 hours of hell for so many on board,
including Joyce and others in our group and throughout the ship. Time stood
still as we experienced the 3 hours of bouncing seas slip by slowly.Eventually, the port of Yarmouth,
our haven from the ocean waves, came into foggy view.The trip was finally over!
Our B&B in
town, A Victorian style home had “Seven suites each representing a decade which
featured a journey through time. From the 1900’s room (mine) to the 1960’s room
our guests are transported back through the generations of this home”. It was a
very interesting place located in a cluster of Victorian B&B’s.
We walked in the
evening chill through the small downtown area and down to the waterfront for
dinner.Commercial fishing boats were
numerous in the harbor.
We learned that Nova Scotia from tip to tip is approximately the length
as the State of Florida,
some 580 miles.It population is not
quite 1 million, with over half of the people living in Halifax and its suburbs.The coastline measures 3600miles.The fishing industry and tourism are the
economic foundation of the island.
We are prepared to
begin the much awaited biking of Coastal Nova Scotia tomorrow.
Posted: Mon, 28 September 2009
DAY 4 BIKING IN ACADIA NATIONAL PARK
CADILLAC MOUNTAIN SUMMIT
This morning we
rode about 6 miles on Crooked Road
after departing from the B&B on our way to the entrance to AcadiaNational
The town of Bar Harbor and the Park are located on Mount Desert Island,
which hangs off the coast of Maine.The island has an abundance of glacially
carved lakes, and tide pools along the rocky coast.The woodlands combine spruce and fir as well
as the sun loving hardwoods of birch, aspen and oak.But I think it is the mountains, often barren
at the peaks, that attract the 2 million tourists, hikers and cyclists each
year to AcadiaNational Park.There is rugged yet beautiful terrain here,
the most challenging of which is the well known CadillacMountain.
4 mile zig-zag route to the peak was our primary goal today.Dan, Joyce and I pedaled the scenic road to
the 1530 ft summit.It is the Grand-daddy
of Acadia; a pleasure to climb and an absolute
THRILL to conquer!!
On the long climb
up the mountain we had many opportunities to stop briefly at the numerous
scenic overlooks.We took advantage of
only a few, mainly to take photographs.But
from the seat of a bicycle you do not miss much.We saw some grand shots of nature.
was the first “real” mountain challenge for Joyce.Her previous experience in climbing was
limited to Sugarloaf Mountain in Florida, but
you don’t get a magnificent view of Bar Harbor, FrenchmanBay and the CranberryIslands
After our descent, a
slow, safe ride down the mountain, we stopped for lunch at the Jordan Pond
House, a popular spot with good food and great views!
Dan and I got off
the bikes at a road side waterfall for a photo op.
The ride home (our
B&B) in the mid-afternoon sun was an up and down affair in the Maine hills. Our final
stats showed we had ridden 34 miles today with 3030 ft of elevation gain.Not a bad day’s work!
Posted: Sun, 27 September 2009
DAY 3 ROAD TRIP TO BAR HARBOR, ME
Our tour planner,
director and fellow rider, Elizabeth Renner from Sisters, OR is pictured above
wearing the team “colors”.The blue
sweatshirts with the logo “Renner’s Riders-Nova Scotia 2009” were presented to
the early arrivals at dinner last night.Joyce had them made for everyone as a souvenir of the tour-- and to stay
warm in this northern climate.They are
a big hit!
The loaded van
boarded by 5 cyclists departed this morning for AcadiaNational Park in Bar Harbor, ME.It was pouring rain for most of the trip, and
in fact well into the night.The 7 hour
trip looked like this from the van.
We stopped briefly
in Augusta, ME, the Capital, for this photo of a Civil
War monument with the capitol dome in the background.
came into view in the town of Belfast
(pop 6200) the self-proclaimed
“Coolest SmallTown in Maine”.The haddock sandwich special was most popular
for lunch, which was followed by a walk around this harbor town.
I joined in with
the “Faces of Belfast” for a photo.
After crossing the PenobscotNarrowsBridge we passed Bucksport, ME
with its former Champion International Corp. paper mill.Fields of blueberries lined the road into Bar Harbor and our first B&B, The Collier House. The rooms overlook a quiet New England duck pond, and the breakfast pastries were being prepared as we checked in.
We ride in AcadiaNational
Posted: Sat, 26 September 2009
DAY 1 TUNE- UP RIDE DAY
TUNE UP RIDE
We pulled into the L-O-N-G driveway
leading to Peter’s 60 acre ESTATE thinking our GPS had made a mistake.This looked like a country club or resort
B&B…but it was in fact Peter’s house, as we saw Peter, Dan and Elizabeth
waiting in the driveway.
The 5 of us are
meeting here to ride a few days in New England before heading for Bar Harbor, ME and on to Nova Scotia where we
will meet up with the other 5 cyclists in our group.
We began our first
day with a most interesting tour of the Durgin-Crowell Lumber Company, owned by
Peter.They produce high quality Eastern
White Pine yard-grade lumber for knotty pine paneling and framing etc.We walked the successive steps from the wood
yard, sawmill and on to the finishing operations.It was a beautiful late September day; cool,
crisp and filled with the colors of early autumn.
Joyce and I were
invited to lunch by Audubon C.C. friends, Sue and Spike, at the nearby Lake
Sunapee Country Club.We enjoyed our
time together and caught up on our respective summer happenings and travels.
In the afternoon we
all took a “tune up” bike ride in the New
London area.Joyce and I got off a bit later than the group due to our luncheon, but
it mattered little as the others returned to the house individually, having separated
on the New Hampshire
Elizabeth returned 90 minutes after Peter got
in.She called in informing us that she
had taken the wrong turn sending her way off course.She asked a lady taking in her groceries for
directions and ended up getting a ride home in the back of the pick-up truck of
new friends “Bob and Effie”, a helpful and stereotypical New Hampshire couple, accent and all.
The Floridians are
having some trouble keeping WARM enough, a worrisome thought as we head further
north where COLDER weather awaits us.
See this morning’s
frost and strings of mist coming off the lake demonstrate the colder