Thursday, August 19, 2010

EP Bike Trip #2: Peggy's Cove, Part 2

When I last left you, I was recuperating from my failed first attempt to cycle 43 km to see the world famous village and lighthouse at Peggy's Cove, Nova Scotia. Fast forward two days and after filling my new light weight riding pack (a children's backpack I bought at Wal-Mart) with my new light weight, high pressure bicycle pump, spare tube (really just my old tube I had patched up in case of an absolute emergency), a patch kit for any extra punctures I may encure, a smorgasbord of tools, and all the other things I normally bring on a trip, I headed out the door to take another crack at making it all the way.

This time the weather was much more agreeable, and I found it quite pleasant not having to battle the wind. I did however dislike battling the heat that comes with no breeze, especially when I had to wait in line at a road repaving for more than twenty minutes - it'd better get a bicycle lane!

Since I purchased my bicycle in Ottawa, and hadn't had time to set it up properly at the shop before it was shipped (I was on a tight sight seeing schedule), my riding position for the past six weeks or so had been less than optimally efficient. After about 8 km into the ride I figured there was no need to continue torturing myself, and so I pulled over at the only gas station along the entire road to adjust my seat height and position. After fiddling around with every conceivable position for about half an hour, I finally settled on my favourite height/angle, and continued on.

I may have been set back a half-hour, but in hindsight it was definitely worth it. The new position placed my back in better alignment so it didn't get quite as sore, and my legs were able to push more effectively, meaning I practically whizzed along compared to what I had been doing before.

At Shad Bay, the half-way point, I stopped to rest and eat the sandwich and apple I had packed for myself. From here I had one last chance to take the shorter route to Prospect, but I stayed strong and continued on to Peggy's Cove.

This was not the first time I had been to Peggy's Cove - in 2001 I had travelled to Halifax as part of high school music trip. I remember quite distinctly enjoying my visit that first time, but being too immature to truly appreciate it. In fact, one of the main reasons for coming to live in Halifax was to atone for wasting my great chance when I was younger, and to see everything again, the "right way".

During that trip there were three events that stuck out in my mind: 1) Exploring Downtown Halifax, which I actually did very well with no regrets, 2) Visiting the Atlantic Ocean, which I did not do well, but successfully recompleted during EP Bike Trip #1, and finally, 3) going to Peggy's Cove. What follows is the closing of roughly a decades worth of regret (over not paying more attention at Peggy's Cove, not over my whole life), and the beginning of a new chapter for EP Dave, in which I move forward and create new goals.

(I've been waiting roughly nine years to take a picture of these homes. I saw them from the lighthouse when I was here in 2001, but for some reason it was just "too far" to go walk over 200 metres and check them out for myself.)

(This rock, carved with scenes from Peggy's Cove's history/legend, is a memorial to all the fishermen of Peggy's Cove who harvest the ocean - perhaps too much recently. It's called Fishermen's Monument and was carved and donated by local artist William E. deGarthe.)

(There it is, perhaps the most photographed lighthouse in the world. Definitely in all of Canada at least.)

(The fog rolls in quickly though on the coast, and in a matter of minutes the sky can go from clear to thick as soup.)

An interesting side note: The public toilet at Peggy's Cove's Information Centre uses little electricity, employ zero chemicals, create no odour, and produce only safe and reusable end products like compost. In the basement underneath the washroom are four large compost chambers. Any water that is used comes from collected rain water, and waste water is disbursed through a planter bed (whatever that is) to prevent contamination of the ecosystem. These toilets are the first public washroom in Canada to use composting together with treatment from a planter bed.

On my way back home, the sky was still a bit foggy, but I stopped in at a little restaurant along the side of the road in West Dover, called Shaw's Landing (with the beautiful view from the patio seen above). I had noticed on the way to Peggy's Cove that a sign out front said "The Best Fish and Chips" and having seen numerous Fish and Chips shops in Halifax and in Scotland, but never having had the money to go to one (in Halifax), I decided to treat myself. In the interest of full disclosure, I did not have the money at this moment either, but I didn't want to get to the end of my life and regret not having tried those fish and chips.

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