Saturday, 25 October 2008

On what may come

I haven't been blogging much as I haven't really got a trip to plan in a concerted way. That is not to say, however, that I don't have trip ideas kicking around. In fact, I have three of various levels of probability.

The first is really an outgrowth of the Newfoundland trip. I skipped the Acadian Peninsula by taking the train from Bathurst to Moncton in order to have more time in Newfoundland. This was an excellent decision as Gros Morne National Park throughly deserved the time. However, the Acadian Peninsula also deserves time. In a recent issue of Canadian Geographic, it was described as a very good bike touring destination.

This is to be taken with a grain of salt as the touring described in that issue is of an exceedingly leisurely variety. As in five days to do 150 km! With a light load, I have done as much in one day. Even my mother thought it a very slow rate.

In any case, I have a plan of sorts to take the train to Bathurst and bike around the Acadian Peninsula and through Kouchibouguac National Park to Moncton and take the train back to Montreal. This would take a relaxed week or so. Ideally, this would happen in June.

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Mummy has expressed a certain interest in joining in on this expedition. I would welcome her given proper notice and preparation.

Depending on other factors, such as whether other bikes trips are or are not in the works, I had one idea of doing a loop around the Bay of Fundy via the Digby-St John, N.B. ferry after reaching Moncton. Obviously, this would take longer than a week.

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The second trip would be to join Margo and Chris on the later legs of their epic journey from Bangkok to London. This could be rather tricky as my starting point would be something of a moving target and I would have to figure out where we would meet at well ahead of time and figure out how to get there both easily and cheaply. My very preliminary plan would be to fly to Vienna at the beginning of August and meet them there. However, this is all very speculative as Margo and Chris might easily give up halfway through Kazakstan or something rendering my ponderings moot.

The third plan is rather less likely, but is related to the Newfoundland trip. The short version is that I would fly to Deer Lake and bike to St. John's, possibly via St. Pierre et Miquelon. However, given that Alice and Mark will likely have left Newfoundland this trip may very well not come to pass, at least in the near future.

Friday, 17 October 2008

On the last day of the trip and other news

Sorry if I haven't been updating a lot of late. My best excuse is that there hasn't been a whole lot of biking news. Of course, I hadn't written about the last day's hike, even though I made a blog entry on that day.

As I mentioned, the last day featured a hike up the Tablelands. The Tablelands are an odd geologic feature of Gros Morne National Park, the one that earned its UNESCO world heritage status. The short version is that it consists of ancient volcanic sea bed, something that it rarely seen on the surface. The rocks themselves have a weird chemistry that plant life has not been able to adapt to particularly well.
If you look at this shot taken from near the top of the Tablelands, you will see that the background is much more verdant than the foreground despite the fact that both are roughly the same altitude. However, as the foreground is this funky volcanic rock, vegetation has a hard time growing on it.
As you can see from this shot of Jason and Alice, there isn't a whole lot of veg on the climb up. As well, the rocks themselves have a strange appearance and texture to them.
A fair number of them had this odd looking "skin" on some surfaces. All their surfaces had an odd feel to them, almost like plaster or sun-dried bricks. It was a very strange place.
It was also rather steep as Jason and Mark demonstrate in this shot. We stopped for a break to regroup and to get in a group shot.
It also allowed us to take pictures back towards Norris Point and Bonne Bay.
In order to get to the start of the hike, we had motored across Bonne Bay in Moonshadow. I must confess I was somewhat uneasy by the crossing as the wind and waves were higher than I felt comfortable with in such a small vessel. When we got to Woody Point (the village opposite Norris Point) Alice negotiated a ride in shuttle bus up to the start of the hike.

It was a spectacular last day. Then it was back to Alice's to pack and to catch the plane back to Montreal. More hike pictures are on my Picasa site.

Other news

I found out today that I will be gaining an "official" sister-in-law. My brother Philip intends to make an honest woman of Dominique, mother of his daughter. No date announced. This is slightly surprising as in the past Philip has voiced opinions against being formally married. Admittedly, this was prior to his getting involved with Dominique. Best of luck to them.

In the bargain, I gain Eowyn as an "official" step-niece. Interesting that I now have one "true" niece (Désirée), one (soon-to-be) step-niece (Eowyn) and one proxy-niece (Isla) and no nephews to speak of.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

On getting the facts after the case

You may recall my post that raved about biking between the Midway Motel (which I didn't rave about) and Corner Brook. Well, I was casually poking around the Atlantic Canada Cycling route database when I came across this snippet in their description of that bit of the Trans-Canada Highway, and I quote:

[T]he western section of this long road is given a 3 rating. ... A very strong tailwind usually pushes northward to Corner Brook. It is so strong that the railroad once had professional "wind-spotters" along the coast!"

Evidently I was enjoying just such a wind. Of course, I did say I had the wind at my back at the time.

Monday, 6 October 2008

On a gratuitous moose video and sad moose news

Margo sent me the url to this cutesy moosey video. Quite remarkable to see the creatures so relaxed and playing, especially the cow moose. I would hazard a guess that the house is roughly on the edge of a community or is otherwise relatively isolated.

In less happy moose news, I read this article from the CBC news website today. While the loss of one bull moose is not the end of the world, I was surprised to learn how few moose there are in Nova Scotia.

Saturday, 4 October 2008

On a party in North Hatley and a new proxy-niece

Earlier this week, I went out to North Hatley to participate in a family gathering in honour of my aunt Isabel (or Izzy) and her husband John. They live in England and consequently, we don't see them that often. Isabel is one of my father's younger sisters and is my favourite of his siblings. Also in attendance was my father's older sister Caroline, Michel, her eldest son and his two daughters, Florence and Alicia.
Caroline and Izzy
However, the star guest was of course Désirée. She was winking at the camera and showing off her ability to move to her great aunts.
Désirée winking at the camera
She has added some new tricks to her repertoire since I last saw her. She can now sort of, almost, crawl backwards. It will only be a matter of time for she starts going forwards. As well, she seems to have started to interact vocally with her surroundings (aside from crying or screaming). Not talking by a looong stretch, but just cooing and babbling.
John Fox, Désirée and Philip
She was there with her "support staff" namely Philip (her dad), Dominique (her mum) and Eowyn (her half-sister).
Eowyn, Désirée and Dominique
Obviously, her paternal grandparents were there to dote on her as well.
Désirée and my Mummy
A good time was had by all.

New proxy-niece

To explain what this section is about, it is necessary to me to digress and say my best friend James is almost my brother. Our families have been friends for about five generations. I hope that it will go to six generations. I have turned to him for a shoulder in times of crisis and so has he. Therefore, when he became a dad on Tuesday, I considered his daughter as my proxy-niece. I was thinking I should contribute a casserole or something, however, his wife has odd allergies that would make it tricky for me to cook for her. Instead, on the way home from work yesterday, I bought some pink roses for them. This was partly an excuse to get to see my proxy-niece, Isla Heather. However, my visit and my gift was very much appreciated.
Isla Heather
James confessed the full significance of the event still hasn't quite sunk in. That hasn't stopped him from being absurdly (and rightly) pleased with himself. Then again, he has a talent for being pleased with himself.
James, the absurdly proud dad