Bill Weidenfeller

Home: Naples, FL

Hobbies: Biking, Tennis




Rails to Trails Conservancy

America by Bike


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 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"!
  • Posted: Mon, 5 October 2009



                                              THE  LOSS  OF  A  FRIEND






       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 afternoon.


       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, Peter!

  • Posted: Sun, 4 October 2009


                                                         RAIN  OUT




       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 their story. 






       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


                                     THE  SCENIC  SOUTH  SHORE




       Today’s 52 mile ride along Nova Scotia’s magnificent South Shore 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 of Lunenburg provided an interesting walking route to see the beautifully preserved buildings of the old town district.




  • Posted: Fri, 2 October 2009


                                                     MOBY  DICK



       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 NOVEMBAH! 




       We rode into Shelburne and went directly to our B&B on the waterfront. 


       Beautiful gardens nearby were an indication of the “smartness” and appeal of Shelburne.




       We had reserved all of the rooms at the inn, but one.  The other guest

    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 preacher.         




       To celebrate Elizabeth’s and Peter’s birthdays, we dined at the best spot in town.  Great group, great night!





  • Posted: Fri, 2 October 2009


                                 LUNCH  WITH  DONALD  SUTHERLAND




       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 Sommerville Beach, a sandy beach resort that is very popular in the summer, but calm and deserted now.






       The Quarterdeck  beach 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



                            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 South Shore 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.




       Nova 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 Anne church.






       Power generating wind mills and piles of sea moss on shore rocks were a part of the varied landscape along the coast.




       We were welcomed to Barrington by the sign at the town’s border.



  • Posted: Thu, 1 October 2009


                              THE  FERRY  RIDE  TO  NOVA  SCOTIA




       Our group has now increased to 8 cyclists with the addition of Kathie and Rick (FL) and Steve (VA), all of whom arrived today.




       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


                     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 Acadia National Park.




       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 Acadia National Park.  There is rugged yet beautiful terrain here, the most challenging of which is the well known Cadillac Mountain.


       Cadillac Mountain’s 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. 


       Cadillac Mountain 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, Frenchman Bay and the Cranberry Islands from Sugarloaf!!



       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


                             RENNER'S  RIDERS


       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 Acadia National 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.



       Penobscot Bay came into view in the town of Belfast (pop 6200) the self-proclaimed

    “Coolest Small Town 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 Penobscot Narrows Bridge 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 Acadia National Park tomorrow!




  • Posted: Sat, 26 September 2009



                                      TUNE UP RIDE DAY


       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 hills.


       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 temperatures.