Sunday, 30 December 2007

On how I got into cycle touring, part 1

There is no one reason why I got into cycle touring, only a history of sorts. To be quite honest, I sort of fell into it. Growing up in North Hatley, I used to bike around the village a fair bit. However, leaving the village was not a very attractive proposition as all the roads leading out involve significant hills. However, even as early as my last years of primary school, I did on occasion venture further afield. There were several school trips on bicycles which, ironically, went to North Hatley. (My primary school was in the neighbouring village.) On one occasion, I biked to school, went on the trip to North Hatley, and then rode home by bike!

Another impetus was the proliferation of bike tours in Quebec in the early 1990s, such as the Tour de l'Île. These showed me just how far I could cycle with relative ease.

One of the most significant events was the brainchild of a former college chemistry teacher of mine. In his capacity as one of Lennoxville's town councillors, Michael Sudlow got the town to first buy the Massawippi Valley Railway bed from North Hatley to Lennoxville and then to turn it into a bike path. Now, I had an easy way to get out of North Hatley on my bike. This truly expanded my horizons as a transportation cyclist as well as a more serious recreational cyclist. I eventually cycled from North Hatley to Montreal for fun.

While, I was cycling long distances, these were all one day affairs. All the touring I had done, was relatively short distances with a minimal load. Not to say that necessarily anyone could do it, but that they were short jaunts. (One of my favourites was to cycle from Bangor, Wales to Beaumaris and then Caenarvon castles and back on a rented bike.)

A significant step occurred in 2004 when I brought my bicycle with me to Vancouver. The bike was intended to facilitate my getting around the city more than anything else. However, as I intended to visit my eldest brother in Victoria, I had always been thinking about travelling by bike between the two cities. (Well, by bike and ferry.) The trip was done with improvised gear. The bulk of the carrying was done with a milk crate strapped on the back to which two backpacks were attached. Hardly elegant, but it got the job done. The trip over was fun as it was an absolutely gorgeous day and I had very good luck. To get to the ferry terminal from Vancouver, it is necessary to take a tunnel under the South Arm of the Fraser river. As bicycles are not allowed to use the tunnel, the B.C. government has instituted a free shuttle service for cyclists. I had been told about it but didn't know what to expect. As it turned out, I arrived about a minute or two before its hourly run. I had barely any time to wonder whether this was right spot to wait before a van with a bike trailer rolled up, driven by a Sikh gentleman (at least I guessed he was a Sikh from his turban, the lack of a spot on his forehead and his magnificent beard.) He cheerfully helped me get my bike on the trailer and off we went through the tunnel. (I have since heard from my Aunt Margo that he sometimes brings his own bike along so he can use it between runs.) I was sufficiently impressed by the service that I later wrote to the BC Ministry of Transportation to thank them.

In any case, cycling to Victoria was lots of fun. My example may have also stimulated Margo and Chris into doing the same. Then again, they were heading that way anyway. They then took cycling one big step further and went whole heartedly into cycle touring, starting with a significant bang by spending about a month cycling around much of Cuba. Rather than my admittedly ad hoc approach, they did things properly with proper touring bikes, bags, etc. Margo had done some cycle touring in her younger days, including cycling from Montreal to Halifax, but for any number of reasons had given up major cycle-touring.

Just as a digression, I have a very happy memory of cycling around the sea-wall in Stanley Park with Margo just before her wedding along with my mother, my brother Philip and my grandmother. (And I have photos to prove it!) Looking back, it was very neat to have three generations all on our bikes, all enjoying ourselves.

Digression aside, Margo talked about cycling to Santiago de Compostela as a future trip. This rather caught my imagination. I began a dialogue with her about when we would go and what I would need. This took place over several months during the summer of 2006. In September 2006, I returned from a week-long trip to Jersey (where I had rented a bike as transport) to a nasty situation at work and a serious bout of self-doubt about whether I was physically (not to mention mentally) capable of cycling all that distance. The end result of all this angst was that I went out to Vancouver in November 2006 with the Castafiore (my old Bianchi bike) with the idea that it would be adapted for touring at the bike shop where Margo worked part-time. Once this was done, Margo, Chris and I would go on a short bike tour of the San Juan Islands in Washington State.

To explain what went horribly right with this plan, it is necessary to state that I had been putting off maintenance on my bike for months on the grounds that there was no point in spending money when I was "just about" to have it rebuilt. Margo was horrified at the state of my tires (and rightfully so) among other things. As well, the changes needed for the Castifiore would have cost roughly $700. On the other hand, the store had a 2006 De Vinci Destination in my size (XL) which they were prepared to sell at nice discount in order to make way for the 2007's. After some thought, a trial ride up the hill and a night's sleep, I went for the new bike, which was soon dubbed Leonardo. (The choice would have been easier had it come in a more attractive colour such as bright red, but then, that's just me.) I also got many of the accessories, etc. Not all, as I still wasn't convinced. Ironically, one the things I didn't go for, probably came close to adding cost. I didn't feel confident enough to go for clipless pedals and instead opted for toe clip pedals.
After some day tripping around Vancouver to get used to new bike, I was more or less ready to start my first cycle tour. Unfortunately for you, you will have to wait until my next post to find out more about it.

Monday, 24 December 2007

On the benefits of fuss-budgeting and maps

It is entirely possibly that I am something of a fuss-budget. However, I prefer to see it as active foresight. I mean, I know I could easily ship my bike back from Deer Lake without a bike box. However, if one has (as I do) a sister and her fiancé in the area, it makes sense to make inquiries about their willingness to support my crazy expedition. This blog is about thinking about the trip and I know some of my thoughts are niggly and petty concerns. However, writing about them helps me deal with my anxieties and even fears. A little fuss now, can save fuss later. Fuss-budgeting in a skewed sense of budgeting one's fuss. ;-)

And having fussed three weeks ago, or at least pondered the concern, I was able to deal with it by talking to my sister and her fiancé when they were here about two weeks ago. It seems that they are in Corner Brook fairly frequently and were very open to the idea of procuring me a bike box and hauling it back to their house. As for the pedal wrench issue, my sister said that the locals were only too pleased to lend tools and therefore getting a suitable tool wouldn't be an issue.

On another topic entirely, I believe I have worked out how I navigate on my trip. For the Québec portion of the trip, I will use the Guide de la Route Verte, suitably annotated, particularly with comments from my downstairs neighbour who has done much of what I intend to do in Québec. I am seriously thinking of mailing it home once I reach New Brunswick. For the Atlantic provinces, I think I will photocopy the relevant pages from my Atlantic Canada Backroad Atlas (or possibly remove them), annotate them, and then waterproof them. In this way, I will be able to fit the pages into my bike map holder. (The Guide de la Route Verte was designed to fit in such things.)

Part of the annotation process will involve comparing the planned route on the maps I will be taking with me, with the topographic maps available through the Map Source program on my Father's computer. While Map Source can indicate the presence of hills, it lacks many of the details I am interested in, at a useful scale.

Merry Christmas.

Saturday, 1 December 2007

On the limitations of Deer Lake

I was in MEC doing some Christmas shopping today. I was browsing through the book section, when I noticed a guide to the Trans-Canada Trail in Newfoundland. I looked up the trail near Deer Lake. I had been hoping to see that a trail existed in where roads don't. Alas, there was no such animal.

In addition, it seems that there are no bike shops in Deer Lake. This is a significant problem as the nearest I could locate was in Corner Brook. This will make life a mite difficult as I will likely have to inquire if my sister would be prepared to drive to Corner Brook to pick up a bike box. As well, I will have to make sure that she has a suitable wrench for pedal removal. The possibilities are either to pack the bike at my sister's and get a lift to the Deer Lake airport or to have her leave the box at some motel or other in Deer Lake. Neither option is easy. Furthermore, I am not sure that either her car (a Golf, I believe) or her fiancé's (I don't recall the make) is suitable for moving bikes or bike boxes. Ah well, they are coming here next weekend, so I should be able to discuss the problem with them.

Sunday, 25 November 2007

On the end of the biking season

I believe I biked to work for the last time this year on Monday. Snow was an issue on Tuesday, and has been ever since. This is my street on Wednesday morning.
While it is possible to bicycle in the snow, it has difficulties and dangers that I can't be bothered with. Snow becomes both ice and slush. The former is a hazard as both a slippery surface and as road debris. The latter often hides the former. In addition, the presence of salt in slush, means that any buildup of slush on one's bicycle brings corrosion to expensive parts.

There is also the matter that at some point, it becomes far too miserable to bicycle in the winter. At least, in Québec winters. I concede that Vancouver winters are much more bike-able .

My friends and colleagues had been asking me: "When was I going to put my bike away for the winter?" I always tell them, when the snow comes. This is not a fixed date. It can be anywhere from mid-November to early December. Admittedly, if my bike suffers some form of major breakdown shortly prior to the first snow, I tend to throw in the towel early. This year, the end of biking seems slightly early, but such is nature. Besides, I rather enjoy snow.

Also, I have had something of a banner year for cycling having gone on my first truly major cycling tour this May in Spain, a glorious adventure. I was reminded of it earlier today when I went to see Elizabeth, the Golden Age. Part of the movie was shot in El Escorial, a palace/monastery built by Philip II, Elizabeth's former brother-in-law. This was one of the places I visited on my trip. In addition, I understood the overzealous catholicism driving the Spanish in the movie better because of my experiences. Finally, before the movie, there was a trailer for a thriller called Vantage Point, set in Salamanca, another sight from my trip. I am almost tempted to go see it just for the setting!

Anyway, this blog is more about what is to come than what has been. As what has been, has been good, here's to hoping what will come, will be great!

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

On plans, baroque and otherwise

A friend of the family describes us as having a tendency to have baroque plans of actions, usually a response to juggling various people in need of being picked up at different places and times. This can result in references to "plan 32B".

With regards to my proposed trip, I am going to start numbering the various options for no other reason than to see how far I get.

Plan 1. Proceed via the Eastern shore of New Brunswick and North Sydney.

Plan 1A. The same but break the trip into two sections at about Le Bic.

Plan 2. Bike to Rimouski, Ferry to Blanc Sablon, then across to Newfoundland, bike to Deer Lake.

Plan 2A. Same as above but end in St John's, (likely to have more flights).

Monday, 12 November 2007

On uncles, blood and otherwise

One of the tricky things in writing this blog is trying to figure out just how honest I can be regarding persons featured in it. In one of the first posts, I mentioned a pair of uncles in Nova Scotia I am hoping to avoid. I didn't go into much detail about why I don't wish to stay with them. While not writing about them, it got me thinking about how I see my uncles. Of my blood uncles (i.e. the brothers of my parents), none are people I would like to spend much time with. A couple, I would prefer to avoid. Of my Mother's and Margo's sole brother less said the better.

Of my father's four brothers, one (the eldest) kept himself almost entirely aloof from the rest of the family for most of my life and I had very little connection with him. I won't have the opportunity to form any sort of relationship as he died a few years ago. I think I learned more about him at his funeral than while he was alive. Of the rest, their competitive Roman Catholicism gets quite obnoxious. The second oldest is what I think of as an American republican conservative Catholic. Very different from the very relaxed, 'normal' Catholicism I grew up with in Quebec.

Two examples: over ten years ago, I was in the second uncle's car going to a family wedding with the uncle and my father. It was early June. As we were driving through Montreal with the Tour de l'Île in progress beside the highway, my father and my uncle became embroiled in an argument about the Shroud of Turin. At some point, they decided that they shouldn't be arguing on their way to a wedding and that they should say the rosary together in order to make peace. My uncle reached down from the steering wheel and pulled out a rosary from a dashboard storage compartment. I don't even know how to say the rosary let alone own one. I wouldn't even dream of having one in the car, "just in case."

A second example was the time I was staying with said uncle in Boston. The night before my first day visiting the sights of Boston, he gave me a laminated card of some saint connected with the Knights of Malta and told me it would protect me in the big city of Boston. I responded with a chuckle and a good natured "Yeah, right," until I noticed that my uncle was deadly serious and he wasn't having a joke. To me, such things are (and were) superstitious nonsense. Not to him, it seems.

The third uncle is the one who set up shop as a peasant farmer after retiring as a university history professor. While his Roman Catholicism isn't as superstitious as his older brother's (I don't think an historian can maintain much faith in the mumbo-jumbo of Catholicism), he nonetheless can be rather obnoxious about it. He also is somewhat obnoxious in treating any guests as potential labourers on his farm. "Here, why don't you get up at 6AM and do [something agricultural] to my strawberry plants. You could probably do two rows before you have to leave for your ferry."

The fourth and youngest uncle is the Roman Catholic priest. Nearly ten years ago, my mother and I spent the night with him at his parish in Kingston, Ont. While we had breakfast with him, I don't think we exchanged more than a few sentences in a row with him as he was always getting up to deal with something, usually quite trivial.

All in all, my blood uncles are not people I would travel great distances for. On the other hand, of my uncles-in-law (i.e. the husbands of my parents' sisters) are mostly good eggs. My uncle Chris is your quintessential absent-minded scientist type: a brilliant, warm if somewhat introverted and slightly distracted human being. According to my aunt Margo, I thought he was a good guy even before she married him. That was in 1981 and they are still married. My criteria back then was he was fun to play Lego with. He is largely the same person I saw all those years ago, though my expression of my regard for him has changed. A good human being, but not one you should ask to speak a language other than English. ;-)

An interesting contrast with Chris is my uncle John (my father's side) who I like to think of as a fussy little English gentleman. (Chris is also English but from a very different background.) What makes this odd is he is married to a large, boisterous (and possibly mad, but in a good way) Canadian woman (i.e. my aunt Izzy). I don't quite understand how their marriage works, but the fact is that the two of them are still very obviously in love after 40 odd years.

The other two uncles-in-law, I have less to say about. One is a rather remarkable South African (of East Indian descent) academic, currently teaching somewhere in the U.S., possibly Syracuse, N.Y.. The other is rather unremarkable Québécois academic. (I have a friend who had him as a professor. He said my uncle was a rather boring teacher.)

Anyway, the tricky thing is how does one dance around the character flaws of one's relatives when writing such things? I don't have much of an answer and this whole post doesn't say much about biking to Newfoundland. Except for the mention of the Tour de Île, which played a role in getting me biking in a serious way.

Monday, 5 November 2007

On the synchronicity of timing and how to avoid it

I don't like the travel section of my Saturday newspaper that much. Too much about where to go on what is usually an expensive exotic vacation that sounds attractive but ultimately isn't my cup of tea. However, this Saturday it had a significant article that was very relevant to the planning of my trip. To be precise, it was an article about next year's 400th anniversary of the founding of Québec City. (How time flies. I remember going to see the tall ships' parade for the 375th anniversary!)

I had completely ignored the fact that my proposed trip would coincide with Québec City's quadricentennial. I had known about it, but I hadn't put two and two together until last Saturday. Now that I know, I don't know how to incorporate this event into my planning. On the one hand, it would be fun to participate in the festivities to some degree. After all, centennial parties don't come that often and, as a historian, it would be fun to bear witness to it all. On the other, I don't enjoy crowds. Nor do I enjoy the often paternalistic and nationalistic flavour such celebrations often take in this province. Compounding the matter is the fact that these festivities will increase the cost of lodging in Québec city and surrounding areas, or at the very least make it imperative to book well in advance. This in turn requires the Montreal to Québec City leg of the trip be much more planned than would otherwise be.

Apparently, July 3 is the official day when the international dignitaries (including the French prime minister but not the Queen) will be present. This is very close to the traditional, start of Summer holidays in Québec of St-Jean Baptiste / Fête Nationale (24th of June) and Canada Day / Moving Day (July 1st). I don't know if I want to be involved in all this or not, but these events cannot be ignored in planning the trip. Another holiday to be taken into consideration is the Québec Construction Holiday, namely the last two weeks in July. My ideal timing would be to not be on the tour in the Province during this period, especially not near the start or even worse near the end of the period.

However, it might be a good thing to take my vacation during this time as the cataloguing side of library work slows a bit in the time. One of the reasons for this is that my library's book binder shuts down for a number of weeks in July. (I catalogue French books. A majority of them need to be bound before my library can circulate them.) If I could plan it so I am out of the province duringJuly, maybe it would easier for me to get the full four weeks in a block.

Anyway, there is still plenty of time to plot, plan and ponder. Not to mention pontificate.

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

On the path not taken

I was discussing my proposed trip last weekend with a family friend of about Margo's vintage. One of the friend's brothers was either about to take or was thinking about taking a motorcycle trip that resembled my proposed trip as he was going to Newfoundland from central Quebec. However, he was planning to ride along the North Shore of the St-Lawrence until the road runs out. From there, he was going to take a ferry to Newfoundland.

I must admit I had given it a brief bit of thought, but the logistics of it don't work for me. This northern route has more hills and fewer towns. Too few towns for my liking. It is one thing if you are on a motorcycle to push on for 50 km to reach the next down, but quite another on a bicycle. In addition, I believe the ferry service in question is far less frequent than the North Sydney to Port-aux-Basques run. If memory serves from my initial investigations, the latter service is something like twice a day in high season. I would be surprised if the former was more than once a week. I would spend too much time worrying about timing my arrival to match the ferry.

Addendum Post-Facto
I found the website of the ferry company that serves the Lower North Shore, Relais Nordik. This took some doing, namely looking up the Harrington Harbour website. It was the first village in the area I could think of owing to the fact it was where La grande séduction was shot. There is in fact 1 ferry a week, taking 3 nights to get from Sept-Îles to Blanc-Sablon. Not terribly useful. It also asks that you book your vehicle at least 30 days ahead of sailing and ideally 180 days! I am not sure if this applies to bikes, though it likely doesn't. ;-)

One off-beat option that the Relais Nordik website brings forwards is the possibility to sailing from Rimouski on the South Shore to Sept-Îles and from there to Blanc-Sablon. This could cut about two weeks worth of cycling, but
I wouldn't get to see New Brunswick or Nova Scotia. However, it would add the best part of a week on the ferry. Chances are I would go stir-crazy on the ship.

Monday, 22 October 2007

On timing, accomodations and party expected

The duration of trip will take is very much up in the air for a couple of distinct reasons. The first is the fact that who will go on this trip is still an open question. Obviously, I will be going. However, whether Margo and Chris will be along has significant ramifications. First of all, I think that if I am by my lonesome, I will be making better time for the simple reason that I am younger, bigger (an advantage on the longer haul, but not going downhill! Margo and Chris often passed me on long downhills. See below, I'm in the one in orange) and possibly fitter than they are.

This gives me an "unfair" advantage. We would also be camping which would mean carrying more stuff per person than if I went alone and credit card toured (i.e. stayed in motels and hostels), again meaning a slower pace. Furthermore, if Chris and Margo were along for the ride, we would more likely spend extra time in Québec City than if I were by myself. I have been there many times and don't feel any particular need to sightsee. However, Chris has never, to my knowledge, been there and it would be a seriously missed opportunity if he didn't spend at least a day visiting the place, especially as I would a good person to be his guide as I have two degrees in history.

The other complicating factor is work. The initial estimated distance from Montreal to Deer Lake is approximately 1810 km. If one assumes roughly 100 km per day, this translates into 18 days of cycling, which combined with rest days, ferry crossing, visiting my sister, etc. leads to the idea that one could cram it into 3 weeks vacation time. However, that is a very dense chunk of time with little options for variations. The problem arises from the fact that while I currently enjoy 4 weeks of vacation time per annum, my workplace discourages people from taking their vacations in too large a chunk. They can't actually force us not to take such a long vacation as it is not in the contract, but that point has yet to be tested. Consequently, it remains to be seen if I can weasel the time. I am hoping that I may be able get the longer period by saying I am prepared to coordinate the period with other people's vacations to avoid problems.

This problem may be eased by the fact that my sister has recently left Port-Aux-Basques for Norris Point, in Gros Morne National Park. This locale is roughly 70 km beyond Deer Lake. This in turn means an extra two days of cycling. Strangely enough, the extra required time, makes it easier to demand the full 4 weeks of vacation time in one chunk as there is it would be unreasonable to do the distance in 3 weeks.

However, there is yet another complicating factor in that in the coming year, my union's contract is up for renegotiation and as the local representative, I will be on the negotiating team. I don't know how much time it will take or whether there will be a break for summer vacations or what have you. I do know that I don't know.
One option I have thought of would be break the trip up into two sections. One section, possibly with Margo and Chris, would be from here to about Le Bic. I would then take a bus back to Montreal and at a later date, would take the bus back Le Bic and resume the journey. Depending on how long the gap between legs of the journey, I might even leave my bike with a friend of my brother Philip in Le Bic.

One downside of cycling to Newfoundland compared to Spain, is that window of opportunity is much smaller. I will be likely cycling in high tourist season. I was in Spain in May which seemed to be lowish season. I was also pretty much off the tourist beat, unlike my proposed route through the Maritimes.

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Origins of a trip and blog

Origins of the trip

It is hard to say why one does anything, let alone an idea so foolish as cycling significant distances in a region known for bad weather and rough terrain, but I think the seeds of this expedition began on my last expedition, which involved cycling considerable distances in a region known for good weather and rough-ish terrain, namely Spain and, to a lesser extent, Portugal.

Last May, I cycled from Seville (or Sevilla as the locals spell it) to Santiago de Compostela in the company of my aunt Margo and her husband Chris. During our trip, we discussed ideas for other cycle-touring adventures, one of which was to explore parts of Quebec, notably the Gaspé. While Margo is from Montreal, she and Chris live in Vancouver and he has never been to that part of Quebec. I was lukewarm to the idea as the Gaspé is not terribly interesting to me as it suggested a lot of hills.

When I got back to Montreal, I found out that my sister was moving to Newfoundland, specifically, Port-Aux-Basques. This lead me to the idea of flying out to see her and cycling home. A certain amount of research and mediation led me to the decision to invert the order of events and cycle to Newfoundland and fly home. The reasons were that the prevailing winds tend to blow from West to East and that I don't have to worry about my bike being damaged on the plane before I start.

At first this was mostly a mental exercise, but the planning has snowballed. Two things that encouraged it were the Trans-Canada Trail Guide to Newfoundland and the Guide de la Route Verte. While the information in the former can be summarized as forget taking your touring bike on the TCT, the latter describes bike routes from about 4-5 blocks away from here all the way to New Brunswick.

Choice of Route

While I cast a few thoughts about going through the United States, the fact of the matter is, Maine really isn't a great for bicycles. Every time, I cross the border into Maine, I feel I have left "settled" country for the boondocks. Don't get me wrong, Maine is settled, just not very densely compared to the surrounding Canadian regions. Also, if I don't go through the United States, I don't have to bother bringing my passport.

Oddly enough, deciding which route to be take through the four provinces I will be visiting was fairly simple for in three cases. There is only one road that can be taken for most of the distance in Newfoundland. For Quebec and Nova Scotia the decisions depended on the route taken through New Brunswick. Once New Brunswick was decided, the routes to be taken were fairly obvious.

The Route Verte network reaches New Brunswick in two locations. One goes to Edmundston via an old railbed, i.e. very good cycling. (Indeed, my parents raved about it.) The other goes via a lesser cycling route to Campbellton. From either of these two starting points in New Brunswick, three routes suggest themselves. The first is to cycle down the Saint John river from Edmundston to Saint John, N.B. (as opposed to St. John's, Newfoundland) and from there take the ferry to Digby, N.S. From Digby, the route to North Sidney (and the ferry to Newfoundland) is fairly obvious. Alternatively, I could go up the Bay of Fundy and cross into Nova Scotia by land. However, I drove this route a couple of years ago and it didn't strike me as great cycle-touring. So instead, I will go from Campbellton, down the Eastern (or Acadian) coast of New Brunswick.

This route has three distinct advantages. The first is that I have never seen that part of New Brunswick. The second is that it goes through Campbellton, New Brunswick. My maternal grandfather (Margo's father by the way) came from Campbeltown, Scotland and the similar name amuses me. The third reason, is that I now have a decent excuse not to visit a pair of uncles in Berwick, Nova Scotia as said local is too far off the logical route.
(One them decided to retire from teaching history in Ottawa and set himself up as peasant farmer. At one point he was raising veal calves despite not having an established outlet for said veal, and was also letting them get too old to be interesting veal, but not old enough to be proper beef. My uncle neglected to do the market research which would have told him that there wasn't a market for "cuddly calf" veal in Nova Scotia. I understand he is now out of the veal business. The other uncle, an unemployed Roman Catholic priest, decided to join in on the farming venture and moved to Berwick as well. For various reasons, I find them a bit much. They are on my father's side of the family.)

Origins of the blog

I was inspired to write this from reading Margo and Chris' blog, Wanderings. As well, I feel the need to express in writing my thoughts on the planning process. With any luck, I will posting from Cyber cafés from here to Deer Lake. Maybe even beyond.

The name Moose Wanderings, comes from a combination of their blog title and the role of the moose as a symbol of the trip. While in Spain, I put a bull sticker on my bike, as a symbol of Spain. While pondering this proposed trip, I had the silly idea that I should get a moose sticker for this trip as one could argue moose are a symbol of the regions I will be traveling in. I also have Buddy Wasisname and the Other Fellers' song "Gotta get me moose, b'y" running through my head. It evokes Newfie culture to me. As well, the odyssey the narrator of the song goes through could be seen as similarly quixiotic as the undertaking I am thinking of.